Dan walked into his room to find a large box. On top was a letter. Dan read it and smiled. He reached inside the box and pulled out the helmet he wore when he was in the VDE.
Two days passed with fern dwelling in her lab and Dan constantly checking for signs of Pistachio’s tracker.
It was three in the morning and Tempe woke up. The only other light on was Fern’s lab.
“Hello?”, Tempe called out.
“I’m in the back.” Fern replied with irritation in her voice. She was busy checking results that didn’t make sense.
“Remember the girl I accidently killed?” Tempe asked.
“Yeah, that was a thing.”
“Uh, she came to me in my sleep. She needs me to do something and promises information in exchange.”
“As a ghost?”
“A spirit, she has a husband and son. They didn’t know what she did. She doesn’t want them to do without, and computers aren’t my thing.” Tempe finished
“Yeah I’ll help you out…BINGO!” Fern suddenly interrupted herself. There in the genetic code itself was the copyright trademark of Weyland-Yutani bioweapons. Corporate bastards had to make sure everyone knew it was theirs.
“Look,” she excitedly motioned over Tempe.
“What am I looking at?”
“That is the product trade mark that Weyland-Yutani placed into the genes of those dog creatures showing that it was theirs!” She swapped a few dials, “And there!”
“Ok same thing, but it’s a little different.” Tempe said as she looked at this new sample.
“Yes, that’s the corporate tag on the insect beetle things genes. We have a suspect; Damn I should have said ‘jenkies’ first!
MINERVA appeared in the lab. Her soft blue light brightening the room. “Fern, I have a sample of Pistachio’s blood from his event at the castle. Will you please review it against your last two samples?”
“Sure.” Fern was still irritated that the A.I. had refused to let them pursue Pistachio and now acted as if it cared.
The information came up on her screen, she began to go over it. There it was, tied into his DNA was a marker, BWP-7539-5. Pistachio had been a test subject, or a clone or god knows what else. She quickly debated the merits of hiding this information and decided to keep it close to her chest.
“Nothing here, at least nothing unusual for Pistachio…” Fern told the two women, real and simulated, she shared the room with.
“Very well.” MINERVA said curtly and disappeared.
The girls said good night and went back to sleep.
At 5 a.m. the sirens began screaming throughout the complex.
“Everyone to the conference room! Now!” MINERVA commanded over the intercom.
MTF PHI-7 gathered around the center of the conference room. The girls looked rough.
Bono was sipping coffee while sporting a pair of ear protection.
MINERVA appeared, “I have a position on Pistachio.”
Dan spoke up, “Get ready to roll, team.”
Bono whistled at Dan and gave him a thumbs up.
Dan had traded in his NSA suit for his full VDE gear. His mask was pulled back but hints of design could be seen.
“I have the bus ready for transport. The signal is in a remote sector of White Sands testing range. I will continue to monitor while you are in transit.” MINERVA informed.
The team loaded up into the familiar surroundings of the bus. Dan pulled out and focused on getting Pistachio back.
Pistachio slowly began to blink awake. He was slumped against the glass of a large specimen tube.
The room swam into view. There were four other specimen tubes in the room. One contained his doppelganger. “That dude looks like a dick.” Pistachio thought to himself. A man who looked like a scientist type, a woman, and a bunch of techs filled the room.
Pistachio shrugged, got as comfortable as he could and slept.
Dan pulled the bus onto a hill overlooking the small squat building that Pistachio’s signal was coming from. It looked to have been built in the 1940’s. Three men with guns stood a disinterested and sloppy post at the front of the building.“Team we have organics. We want fast and loud or slow and ninja?” Dan advised.
“So should we be quiet and sneaky?” Fern asked.
“If we could take them out all at once, that would be the best plan.” Dan added.
Fern held up her hand indicating that she wanted everyone to switch to channel 50 on their radios. She didn’t want MINERVA listening in.
Everyone shifted over their radios.
“Guys, I found something in Pistachio’s blood sample. A tag, just like the creatures. He is a subject or a creation of Weyland-Yutani. I didn’t let MINERVA know. I think it needs to be on the low down.”
“Good. I don’t trust the bitch.” was all Dan said.
“There’s no way to approach.” Tempe observed.
“Hard and fast it is. I’ll hit them with the bus.” Dan said flatly.
The bus trundled up the road gaining speed.
The guards were slow to respond and walked into the road to check ids.
The bus continued to speed up.
The guard in the center raised his hand to signal a stop.
Dan smiled and pressed harder on the gas. He watched the three guards slide under the unstoppable bus. He stopped with the bus door facing the facility door.
Tempe looked the front of the building over and seen no cameras or reinforced facility.
The doors were unlocked and opened easily.Tempe tossed the drone into the air, and guided it into the building, watching its camera in her goggles.
A T-shaped hall way was present immediately. Sand was gathered along the edges and dust lay across the halls. Tracks disturbed the dust in multiple paths. Lights were on but missing in areas. It was occupied but haphazardly and had been abandoned in the past.
She flew the drone down the center hall. There were several doors, but the windows were frosted.
Seeing the hallway empty, Dan stepped into the hall.
Tempe recalled the drone catching it as it landed in her hand.
Tempe and Arturo both joined Dan.
Fern set herself up in the bus to try and supervise the op.
Bono grabbed His P90 and took his place with Tempe.
Dan looked at Arturo, damn he was young. Had he ever been that young?
“This building looks to be a typical old style boxes in a box floor plan. Stay fast. We are not here for prisoners or information. We are simply here to bring our boy home. If it’s not us, kill it.”
Dan Headed toward the center hallway.
Arturo shifted to Lupine form as he headed down the right side hall.
Tempe and Bono headed to the left hand hall.
Arturo’s senses exploded. He could smell the Wyrm on the wind. He could smell Pistachio. He could smell Pistachio from four different sources. That wasn’t good.
Dan made his way to the closest door and began to check the handle. It was not locked. He slowly edged it open trying to see what lay past it.
Inside the room there where several specimen tubes, inside two of the tubes were Pistachio. Two Pistachio’s.
A technician was working at a computer. The room was cooler, brighter ad cleaner.
Pistachio looked up. There was a man in heavy armor and a ballistic mask with white stripes opened the door.
Fern was watching the video feed and drew in a quick breath.
“Team I think I have eyes on our prize. Problem is I have two Pistachios.” Dan radioed.
Arturo turned around and started to charge back.
Tempe and Bono headed back to Dan.
Pistachio smiled and pressed his ass against the tube glass. This should keep them from thinking he was the evil twin. Was he the evil twin?
Through the back doors another Pistachio walked out escorted by what appeared to be a nurse and a doctor.
Dan had pulled back and grabbed a flash bang off of his vest. He pulled the pin and his finger ripped through the pull ring. He fumbled the grenade and it fell at his feet. Luckily the pin had stayed in place.
Dan snatched up the grenade and grabbed the pin itself and jerked. His throw this time was dead on target. The grenade landed in the center of the other people in the room.
Dan’s mask dimmed his view to protect him, and deadened sound.
The flash didn’t catch Pistachio’s eyes as he still had his ass pressed against the glass. ‘Tactical mooning’, Pistachio thought to his self. ‘Team Meat serving up pressed hams’. He smiled at his own inner monologue joke. It took his mind off the pain in his ears.
The over pressure from the grenade hurt Arturo’s ears.
Tempe and Bono proceeded to the second door and began to enter the room to help cover the area.
The people in the room were crumpled on the floor, blind and in pain.
Arturo dashed between Dan’s legs.
“Don’t clip the balls!” Dan shouted as he felt Arturo pass.
Tempe seen the Pistachio with his ass on the glass, and seen the scars on his face that Arturo had not intended to give him. That was their Pistachio all right.
Fern radioed in to the team, “Steal anything not nailed down so I can try and see what they are doing.”
“Copy that.” Dan responded.
The specimen tubes were not a model Tempe was familiar with. Where was the open button?
Dan heard movement in the room behind him. He grabbed the door and braced it shut; he placed a foot on the wall.
Bono snatched up the Tech’s chair and slammed the chair on the tube. Nothing
Fern opened a closed channel to Tempe.
“It’s a class Omega specimen container.” She quickly guided Tempe through the menus, “Try 1999 for a pass code.”
The tube hissed open. Pistachio stood up tried to step out, and failed. He fastened his pants and stepped out.
Arturo attacked the downed guard and bit deeply into his throat. He felt the man attempt to fight, and then fade away.
Dan felt a pull from the other side of the door, but held firm.
Arturo felt a radiant of cold, the smell of death and ancient dust flooded his senses. There in the corner of the other room was an Ancient man surrounded by three other men in Dark suits.
Arturo started to move to them, and shifted to Crinos as he did.
Bono whistled at Pistachio and tossed him one of the pistols Bono carried.
Tempe looked around the room. They needed to leave. Her eye’s stopped on a flash drive sitting at the tech station and the Tech’s ID. She grabbed them both.
“Time to go guys!” Tempe yelled.
Dan pulled a frag grenade pulled the pin and jammed it, with the spoon still on, into the space between the frame and door handles.
One of the suited men grabbed the Pistachio from the floor and began dragging him back to the waiting elder.
Arturo grabbed the scientist. He looked at the Crinos form Garou in front of him. The man had seen strange but his mind refused this. He began screaming and fainted. Arturo threw the dead weight onto his shoulder. “Team, do not approach the ones in the back. They smell of a crypt and rot!” Arturo growled into his comms.
“Package secure, everyone vacate! I’m last man out!” Dan ordered over the comms.“There can only be one!” Pistachio said as he shot the controls on his doppelganger’s tube.
Arturo stormed onto the bus, casually tossing the scientist into the back.
Tempe and Bono were hot on his heels.
Fern started the bus.
Pistachio stopped at the door to the bus to watch Dan’s back.
Dan ran to the bus. Behind him he heard the door jerk open and the grenade fall. The men inside crowded the door to bring their weapons to bear on him. That’s when the grenade exploded, ending any threat they presented.
As Dan’s feet hit the door, Fern stepped on the gas.
They pulled away and everyone finally began to catch their breath.
“So what have you guys been up to?” Pistachio asked casually.
Fern was still at the wheel when she seen the blue and red of police lights in her rear mirror. She pressed down on the gas. “Guys we may have an issue.”
The police were still following. A chopper began to spotlight them.
Fern kicked her comms back over to the channel MINERVA monitored. “We have police trying to stop us.”
“Pull over and present them with your credentials.” MINERVA demanded.
Fern brought the bus to a stop and watched as three officers tried to secure the area.
They began to shout commands, but where interrupted by ear splitting static burst that made them stop.
“Officers, this is National Security Artificial Intelligence 7J27525, these people are official operatives of the American Union. You may check their credentials. That is all you may do. Anything beyond that is outside the scope of your duties. You may not ask questions, nor may you search the operatives or the vehicle. They are on official AU business.” MINERVA announced over the police radios and the teams comms.
The police were shaken. They began to shakily check the presented credentials. They got to Pistachio. Pistachio had no credentials.
The lead officer began to call in to his home base again when MINERVA interrupted.
“Officer you have no authority over this mission. You have seen their valid credentials. You have no authority to question anyone present. Anyone or thing on this bus is considered AU property. Your job is complete. EXIT MY VEHICLE.”
“You can’t just come into our jurisdiction, and start throwing federal authority in our face!” one of the officers began to raise his voice.
“Can I just shoot him?” Pistachio asked.
“Please don’t.” Tempe replied.
“Well I’m not going to say you can, but if you do…” Dan trailed off.
“But then we have to bury them.” Fern added.
“Nah, the Scooby can eat them.” Pistachio added as he pointed to Arturo.
The officers had not been trained for this and backed off the bus.
MTF PHI-7 resumed their trip home to the outpost.