05/27/3063 00:00 Location – Isle Azul, New Hebrides, New Avalon
The blue-green sea around Isle Azul was calm, storm season had passed and summer would soon be upon the sleepy island. The three moons were full as they danced across the starry night sky, gentle waves lapped along its wide white sand beaches. A black suited figure appeared out of the surf and removed the re-breather from his mouth, then another, and more cleared the ocean quietly dashing across the sands to the cover of the dunes.
05/27/3063 01:11 Location – Villa Azul, New Hebrides, New Avalon
Princess-Regent Yvonne Steiner-Davion couldn’t sleep anymore, she was shaking, this place had become more a prison everyday, they were trying to break her will, she wasn’t even sure who they were anymore. The only people she saw were masked and showed up with guns and a script for her to read, or else. She resisted at first but they beat her until she did as they asked now it was just reflex.
Radio addresses to her loyal and loved Federation citizens that were concerned about her well-being assuring them that she would return when she was ready; that they were never far from her thoughts. That Bishop Sortek was doing what she asked of him, not a rogue general that had kidnapped her and imprisoned her on a remote island, that likely planned to murder her.
She couldn’t eat either, she eyed the plate of cold food from dinner but refused to touch it despite her hunger. She was sure they were drugging her, since she had stopped eating the food her thoughts had cleared but rapidly turned back to food; fancy parties at Castle Davion, exquisite state dinners, lunch meetings with important ministers, now all she wanted was something to quiet her growling stomach.
Six months of near isolation was taking its toll on her body and mind equally, her will was beginning to falter as it became clear just how little the universe cared for her. All of her friends had abandoned her. Why weren’t they pushing Bishop to release her? To be allowed to visit? Maybe they weren’t her friends at all, she had grown up with them, trusted them with her heart’s desires, and believed it to be true. Maybe they were just using her, like Katherine said they would.
When she got out…if she got out
The balcony and windows had been barred and shuttered with metal, the only sign of time was the clock that ticked relentlessly like a metronome. It’s constant click was slowly driving her mad, many times a day she walked up to it and almost broke it to quiet the noise. She could hear birds sometimes, but most had moved on with their migrations or were driven off by the sounds of construction around her. Her captors had taken all her books, stereo, everything but a bare chest of clothes, the gaudy colors of this resort’s walls mocked her in this now barren room.
Soon they would have to finish the job or move her to another location, she almost wanted them to finish it. All it would take is a moment of pain to free her from a lifetime of nightmares.
She heard a faint crash in the hallway but dismissed it, maybe her guards dropped something. However, she heard the lock turn and froze, whispering to herself, _“not again, I can’t take it anymore, please go away”
Three camouflaged, armored, and masked men holding pistols at the ready entered, their rifles hung forward from the slings. One moved with purpose toward the bathroom, he low kicked the door then entering with his pistol up. A fourth came behind them carrying a duffel bag but his rifle is strapped behind him.
Yvonne stood up, defiant. The three men in the room look at her through gray tinted goggles, “If you are going to shoot me at least let me see your face.”
The three men looked at each other apparently confused, the fourth returned to the room weapon down. The leader carrying the duffel takes his goggles and mask off, “We are here to rescue you Yvonne.”
Yvonne ran and embraced him almost knocking him over he only managed to stay up by crashing into the wall behind him,_ “Nik you came back.”_
“I said I would, Katherine will be arriving at the Zenith point”, he checked his chronometer over Yvonne’s shoulder, “in four hours, give or take thirty minutes.”
“Really!?” Nik covered her mouth and she quieted down
Yvonne let go and Nikolai handed the bag to her, “Really, but let’s get off this island alive first. I need you to change.” She hesitated looking at the rescue team for a long moment, Nik made a hurry up motion, but she looks at them again, understanding finally developed in the Captain’s head, “Gentlemen we have some FedCom traitors to deal with, let’s give the lady some space.”
Nikolai’s squad left the room and she opened the bag on the bed it was filled with gray combat boots, camouflage uniform, flash goggles, head cover, Ablative/Flak vest with a knife on it, some TRG rations, first aid kit, and a pair of canteens. She ripped open the rations and chowed down on the nutty and sweet snack bars inside, it was the best thing she had ever tasted. Yvonne stripped and dressed taking a moment to breath and collect herself.
She exited her prison into the simple corridor eating a cracker pack from the rations, she was still so hungry but this made it a little better. One of the commandos adjusted her vest and web gear tightening it in the right places so it wouldn’t shift and impede her movement.
“Yvonne, are you ready to go? If not tell us right now. We can bring the way out to you but it will get messier.”
“I’m fine Captain, I can walk.”
“Good, do as I say and stick close, if everything goes according to plan this should be an easy extraction.”
“When does anything ever go according to plan?”
“Princess, I always try for the best and plan for the worse. If we run into more trouble than we can handle take this.” Nikolai removed his drop leg holster containing a L110 Semi-Auto pistol and magazine carrier handing them to Yvonne who attempted to strap them onto her own legs but not to Nikolai’s satisfaction. He knelt down, adjusting and tightened them which drew looks from the squad, and “The Look” from Yvonne. “Don’t you have more important things to be doing?”
They turned away and Nikolai was satisfied having confirmed with Yvonne that the rig was comfortable and secure. He ordered the squad to form up and move on, his rifle at the ready. Yvonne stayed right on his back, one hand on his armor’s carry straps as they moved in the center of the formation. She tried to stay clear of the FedArms M42B Carbine that occupied that space as well having been taken from the fallen jump infantry after the commandos dealt with them. She didn’t know how many guards had been staying in the house but there were no bodies, just dark pools that she saw in the red tinted lights attached to the commando’s rifles.
As they slowly walked through the manor Yvonne secretly seethed. If Tancred Sandoval had any balls he would have ordered the DMI’s Rabid Foxes or one of MIIO’s Covert Ops teams to bust her out and eliminate Bishop Sortek. Instead he was off world supporting the Capellan and Draconis Marches in their unsanctioned wars against the Combine and Confederation. That’s what she gets for trusting Victor’s friends rather than Katherine’s agents, she at least got the job done. I mean DOPPLEGANGER; who thought that was a good idea?
Once the lead commandos neared the exit, one of them whispered to Nikolai “wait here, we’ll deal with the sentries” Three of the squad drew their pistols and screwed on the suppressors, their rifles were put over their shoulders and they held their narrow daggers in the other hand and crept out into the darkness.
They returned in five minutes, “we’re clear now”, the Captain nodded and signaled for them to continue. The squad regrouped with another in a palm grove and headed out toward the village.
Yvonne watched as Captain Vasiliev spoke with his subordinate squad leaders, she was happy to be outside again and the stars were beautiful tonight untainted by big city lights or the near constant storms that had whipped the island during her captivity. All she could make out was that they were going to have to move soon, the elimination of her guards would not go unnoticed much longer. The village below was dark, only the long pier showed any lights and those were from the NASDF auxiliary ship Blue Harvest and the pair of Sea Skimmers docked there.
A Karnov was on the Blue Harvest’s fantail and a Marten and Ferret were painted in Coast Guard colors on the ground of NASDF Air Station Cliff Key. She looked through a set of Rangefinder Binoculars and followed a PVC-141 on its patrol route near the barbed wire fence that formed the perimeter of Cliff Key but didn’t see any other lights or movement.
“It’s so dark, where is everyone?” she asked
Nikolai looked back at her, “Most of the houses are summer rental properties, so they weren’t occupied while you were here, Colonel Bareis asked the few full time inhabitants to leave for an extended military exercise. There is a reinforced company of troops mixed between the 2nd and 33rd on the ground and most of them are aboard the Blue Harvest or at the Air Station. Problem is…we need to go there.”