Thuringian forest, German, Europe. 18 January 2019. Hours 23:58.
The man was running for his life, and he knew it. Tightening his grip on his rifle, he let loose a hail of bullets, mistaking a tree for an enemy. The man was so frightened that every shadow looked like it was attacking him. Two other times he wasted his ammo, hitting shadows instead of the creature that was following him. Then, as he pulled the trigger a fourth time, he was rewarded by the sound of an empty clip. Cursing, he tried to reload his weapon, only to be hit by something on his back, knocking him to the ground. He was struggling to get back on his foot, when he felt a gun being pressed on his head, and a low, growling, but definitely female voice said: “Don't move.”
The man freezed and began trembling: “Please, don't kill me, I don't want to die, I don't want to die, I don't want to d-” Then everything went black.
Alexis looked at the unconscious man at her feet. He didn't want to die, but he was more than willing to kill hundreds of persons... Disgusting. If not for the informations he could provide, she would have killed him on the spot. Instead, she had just knocked him out. As the female werewolf handcuffed him, she heard somebody approaching. Without turning, she asked: “What is the situation?” The footsteps stopped just behind her. “All clear, this is the last one. About that, good work with catching him. Maybe I should hire you as a watchdog for my manor!” With a sigh, Alexis turned to face a man who would have looked perfect in a Nazi war poster. He was tall and slender, with pale white skin, blond hair and blue eyes. All in all, he looked like an handsome, although cadaverous, young man. However his smile betrayed his true nature, revealing an abnormally long pair of canines. Alexis only gave him an icy stare which would have made most persons uncomfortable, but this wasn't the case with Manfred von Leichner IV: it took much more than an angry werewolf to remove a smile from the vampire's face. Alexis knew this full well, but it didn't stop her from trying. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work, so she simply shaked her head: “I will contact the others, can you get the prisoner?” “Aye aye, ma'am!” Answered the vampire with a chuckle. The werewolf sighed again. Sure, he was a good soldier, and his skill in close quarter combat was unmatchable, but at times he could be really annoying. Turning on her radio, she heard someone talking: “Alpha-3, do you hear me? Alpha-3, respond!” “I'm here commander. 2 is with me, we have got a prisoner. How it is going there?” “All clear, all hostiles eliminated. Meet us directly at the LZ. Alpha-1 out.” Alexis blinked. Seeing how much different the commander was on the field from his usual relaxed and laid-back self always sursprised her. She turned toward her companion, who was approaching her, with the man she had captured on his shoulder: “It looks like we are finished here. Commander says to meet him at the LZ, better move now.” “How much do you think it will take?” He asked, in a somewhat bored tone. She simply shrugged. “Don't know, it's about two klicks from here, if we move quickly we can be there in ten minutes. Just follow me.” “Sure, sure... I'm not a little kid, you know?” “But you behave like one. Now move, there shouldn't be anyone except us in the area, but I don't want to take any risk.” With these words, the two began running.
It was quite a strange sight, two persons, or better, a werewolf and a vampire, clad in camouflaging combat uniforms, running through the forest at an unnaturally high speed. But, after all, in this crazy world the boundary between what is normal and what is often blurred: one day, a werewolf is considered a normal thing to see, and the next everybody thinks that werewolves never existed. But I'm digressing, let us return to our two soldiers, by now they should have reached their destination.
Thuringian Forest, German, Europe. 19 January 2019. Hours 00:22
Alexis slowly crept toward the clearing, trying to find any sign of an enemy presence. However, after surveying the area for some minutes through her scope, she decided it was all clear. Gesturing for Manfred to come forward, she turned on the radio: “Commander, we have reached the LZ. No hostile detected. What is your position?” “Roger that, 3. We should be entering your field of vision in about two minutes. Evac is already on its way. Out.”
True to his words, about two minutes later Alexis noticed two shadowy figures moving in the woods. Pointing her rifle at them, she looked in the scope, finger ready to press the trigger, before relaxing, although only a bit, when she recognized them: the first one was a tall, bulky man,with a light machine gun in his hands. It wasn't hard for the sniper to identify him as Lev, the russian Ghoul who was their heavy weapon specialist. But what attracted her attention was the man who was following Lev: there he was, the commander. His true name was Michael, but everybody simply called him “Commander”. At first glance, he was nothing particular, short, glass-wearing, in fact he looked more like an engineer than a soldier. In reality, he was a born soldier and a masterful tactician. No matter how dire the situation was, he was always able to come up with a (often unorthodox) plan to save himself and his squad. Alexis was quite happy of having him as the squad leader: if there was a man who knew how to complete a mission, that was him.
Having identified the two as allies, she turned on her radio: “Commander, I see you, area is free, how much until evac?” After some crackling sounds, came the answer “A couple of minutes, I guess. The prisoner?” “Still out cold. I assume that he was the leader of those guys.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, sir. I saw him giving orders to the others, before fleeing.” “... Disgusting.” Alexis could understand what the commander was feeling. For somebody like them leaving others -especially their own men- to die in order to save oneself ...well, it was simply inconceivable. Pushing the thought aside -she was a sniper after all, she had to remain concentrated at all the times- she slowly got up, showing the two her location. Then, they waited. After a couple of minutes, they heard the sound of an helicopter approaching. “Finally, this was getting boring...” Muttered Manfred. “Better having a boring but safe mission than having to shoot our way until the LZ, bloodsucker.” “Yeah, I know, I know... But it is still boring.” “Quiet you two. We are still in an hostile area.” “Yes sir!” “Yes sir!” The two replied in chorus. Sure, at times he could be a bit paranoid, and the noise made by their vehicle would surely alert every enemy in the zone, but still, better safe than sorry, so they quickly established a defensive perimetere around the LZ. Once the helicopter had landed, they ran toward it, covering each other, until everybody was in. A second later the machine took off. Inside, Alexis removed her helmet and sighed. “Well, another mission completed. Think that command will like what we've got?” She said, glancing at their prisoner. “Oh, I'm sure that the Major will be quite interested...” Was the answer.
Echo base, [REDACTED], Europe. 19 January 2019. Hours 15:37
Major Carroll marched through the base corridors, heading toward the cell block. Walking with him was sergeant Michael “The Commander” O'Connelly. “I assume that the mission was a succes, Michael” “Yes sir, it was. We arrived right in the middle of the encounter. Fifteen hostiles, all eliminated, except for one, we presume their leader. He tried to escape, but Private Leichner and Specialist Ashford managed to capture him. We brought him in for interrogation.” “Yeah, we are already working on that. I'm actually going to check the situation. Do you want to come?” The shorter man shook his head. “For as much as I would like to see it, I have to take care of some things. If there isn't any new mission for us...” “Nothing for the moment, Michael, but don't worry, if we can get him talking you will probably have a lot of work in the next months.” “Good, my team tends to get twitchy if they don't see some action!” Both men laughed. “I know Michael, I know! Damn if I know, I was the one who chose them!” “And I am thankful for that, it is probably the best team I could ever get. Well, I have to go now. Major...” “Sergeant...” They saluted each other, before departing. Some minutes later, the Major arrived at a door guarded by two soldiers. On the other side of the door there was a large interrogation room, divided in two by a one way mirror. On one side, the one where the Major was, stood two medics and another soldier. On the other, the prisoner and his interrogator where sitting at a table. Nodding at the soldier, the Major entered this part of the room, right in time to hear Luke Reed, his adjutant, telling the prisoner: “... You are too stubborn for your own good, you know? Just talk already, and this will be all over.” The man simply looked at him, an intense hatred in his eyes. “Well, you asked for it.” Pulling on a pair of earplugs, Luke turned a recorder on. A second later, strange, undescribable shrieks filled the hair, causing to man to scream in fear. The Major simply laughed. It was told that the screams of a Banshee were able to instill fear even in the heart of the bravest man, and that listening to them for too long could cause a person to become crazy. The perfect form of torture, with no serious physical or psychological effects. Except for the risk of going crazy, of course, but nobody could resist that long. The Major knew it. He had never seen a person who could resist for more than some hours, and this one was no exception. He was going to surrender, and soon.
The men on the outside gulped, seeing the mad grin on their commanding officer's face. There he was, the only man who could withstand a banshee's screams, because there was nothing he feared. Or maybe because he was already mad. After all, he was the last Cheshire Cat in existence.
When the prisoner said: “Enough, enough, I will talk, I will talk! I will do whatever you ask! Just stop this!” one of the medic felt a chilling sensation running through his back. For a moment, just a moment, he was sure that he had seen a look of irritation appearing on the Major's face, almost as if he was annoyed at the man giving up so easily...