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» Teamplay

Author: Ash
Date Started: 7th January 2003
Current Chapters: 4
Explanation: Follow an elite team of Rangers as they embark upon daring missions into GLA territory, discover their true emotions on the battlefield and fight for themselves and their team. With a ruthlessly fast enemy and a shaky alliance, Sanders has more enemies than he bargained for....

Chapter 1

The C-130 flew gracefully through the icy mountain air, the engines leaving a soft smoke trail in the cloudless night sky, lit by the moon and nothing more. Inside the cavernous bay sat Sgt. Peters, quietly fiddling with a coin, rolling and flicking it around his thick coarse fingers while huddled up against the cold of the Middle Eastern night. Opposite him the Rangers, M16's in hand, waited quietly, they too shivering in the freezing temperatures. They were, of course, used to conditions like these, but no person is invulnerable to cold capable of enveloping your body, no matter how hard the training you've done.

There was tinkle of metal on metal as the coin rolled across the floor, a quiet sound to many but like a brass drum in the silence of the aircraft. As it came to a rest Sgt. Peters heaved himself to his feet, and addressed the Rangers.

"We are nearing the Drop Zone, so a reminder of what we want you to accomplish down there," he began. The Rangers stiffened, alert to each word said.

"The GLA have set up a base in the mountains ahead of us, impenetrable to air attacks because of the unique nature of the mountain face, and the fact that their tunnel system is far below ground. You will be dropped 1km away, near the base of the mountain, and from there you will ascend to the base and take it out using whatever means necessary. Fortunately for us, we spotted the early preparations, so there aren't many troops or buildings to contend with. However, I urge extreme caution; they have no morals or qualms about taking you in for interrogation. Understand?"

"Yes sir!" the Rangers barked in unison.

"If you encounter resistance you cannot contend with, fall back and wait for another team. Hound1 is currently engaged; E.T.A. seventy two hours, Aries is returning at this moment. I trust you are satisfied with the equipment?" he added, glancing to his left where one knife had already been discarded due to a loose handle, and also at the "˜Flashbangs' which had recently been added to their arsenal, he didn't want those to be found faulty straight after being commissioned.

The leader of the team, Sanders, raised his weapon and gently turned it round in his hands, examining it with a trained eye that had seen more than any civilian could ever want to. "Appears to be fine sir," he acknowledged, and the others nodded their agreement.

"Good. Can't have any errors like that again."

There was an edgy silence, and there were glances to the spare seat at the end of the row. A month before, Holland, a new member to the squad, was killed in action when his M-16 locked up. It had been his first mission, and Sanders had to break the news to the family. He had kept the recognised face of a Ranger on for display, but inside he felt sick and thought of all those who died in the first world wars, how many grieving, weeping parents had been left without their children after years of senseless, mindless killing. He had resigned himself to never have to do that again, and since then every piece of equipment, from grenades to boots, had to undergo thorough safety checks otherwise it wasn't permitted for use.

"Of course," Sanders replied, more curtly than usual.

"Now," Sgt. Peters continued, "there is one member of the GLA team you must be extremely wary of. He goes by the name of "˜Jarmen Kell' and, from an account by one of Team Scorpio's men, he has one of the most lethal sniper rifles we've ever come across. Granted, the story can't be confirmed, seeing as the man is now in a mental hospital, but we do have reason to believe someone like Jarmen Kell is out there."

"Why is he in a mental hospital?" Sanders asked curiously.

"He says that his friends just kept dropping down, their heads ripped from their bodies, even the tank drivers were killed, but none of them saw who did it, except him. We tried to get a description, but all he could tell us was a "˜cloak of death' was staring at them from far away, and he doesn't know anything more until he woke up in one of our bases. The name, well, we have no idea who found the name out, but it does seem to spark something off in the GLA we've captured. Of course they won't say anything, but they have a gleam in their eyes whenever we mention him."

"Approaching DZ in one minute," the pilot announced, breaking the uneasy mood in the bay, as the Rangers contemplated what they had been told.

There was a rustling as everyone stood up, and shuffled to the door. An icy wind cut through the bay as the door slid open, and the green light flashed once, twice, then stayed on, lighting the bay in a dim glow, making eerie shadows upon the faces of the Rangers.

"Let's go!" yelled Sanders, leaping into the night sky. The rest followed suite; and careering to the ground at 70MPH, the mission had started.

» Chapter Two

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