Brontide Pt. III – Inside the Courthouse

OPERATION ELANOR TIME REMAINING 02:34:56

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From the town planning dug up from Earth Union records they had made their plan. Ezral and the rest of fireteam Rook, consisting of Adrian, Pwcca and Saethwyr, would reach around the perimeter of the courthouse and infiltrate the building from the eastern side whilst Bishop – Sparek, Yuri, Harved and Clara – would reach around the northwest and make their way over the walls before the inquisitive lights spotted them secreting themselves across the gardens and into the government building proper.

Pulling himself into an alcove just shy of a cellar door saved his arse. Sparek, making sure that the others had gotten in, had almost been caught in the spotlight. If that had happened then it was due to be one needless firefight either to the objectives or out of the city. Sparek fancied that nobody wanted to run all the way back to the deployment zone whilst avoiding rebel hounds and peppering fire.

Sparek quickly made his way to the cellar doors, closing them behind him and for all their efforts not leaving a shred of evidence that they were ever there. Yuri kept his eyes on the door – the only other exit and the only way forward. The room was cleared when Clara first entered the room and was now cleaning the excess gore from her blade. Nobody wanted to leave a trail of the blood of the Mandate soldier slumped up against a nearby wine barrel. Sparek squinted at the bottle in its hand. If he didn’t know any better than he would have thought the bugger a sleeping drunkard. An ugly, disgusting drunkard, but still a sleeping drunkard nonetheless. Harved saw Sparek’s face and smirked.

“Couldn’t find anywhere to hide the body. It could buy us more time if it’s found like that,” he explained. Sparek grinned largely. He’d found the idea of hiding a corpse as a napping drunk amusing. The pooling blood on its tunic was even disguised as a wine spill. “Sir…”

“I know,” he said. Sparek’s thoughts echoed his face. “This isn’t a Mandate soldier.” His comrades frowned and looked at him rather than exclaimed their surprise at this. They must have known. Clara did, certainly. She’d served alongside Sparek for years now. She knew that something was wrong too.

“The pair of watchmen outside the walls weren’t either,” she said. To this Sparek agreed.

“The hanging corpses aren’t the usual MO for them either. They’re a lot less inclined to that level of depravity.” His eye itched. Sparek balled it with his fist.

“Which one first?” Clara interrupted his thoughts.

“We’re already in the cellars and basement rooms. We’ll check the holding cells for the Unit first, then make our way to the roof. If Rook doesn’t find anything then they’ll meet us there, like we planned, before time is up.” He checked his watch. Two hundred and seven minutes left, then Sparek retrieved the overhanging bulb with his bandana after it was turned off. ”Ghosts and shadows, my friends.”

With their eyes adjusted like a well oiled mechanism they entered each room, one by one, each room as dark as the last. Their night vision optimal and covering each other and their rear, the fellowship constantly ventured forwards to the cell area.

All the while, neither Mandate revolutionaries nor these imposters. Sparek hated it. Where were they? He hadn’t seen an absence like this in years. “Colonel!”

Yuri spoke his harsh call. He pointed down a long corridor with his longrifle. Sparek peered. A way down the length of the corridor saw the telltale sign of a captive’s area.

 

A set of iron bars signified a security checkpoint for the holding cells that they had sought after. It was open.

“It’s a trap, sir, surely,” said the medic. Sparek shook his head.

Clara spoke for him. “Who even knows we’re here?”

“The only other entrance would be from outside or the courtroom itself.” Sparek rubbed his jaw – an instinctive habit since his first meeting with Clara. “We don’t have time to give the room the proverbial reach-around. Clara and I will go in first.”

They passed the checkpoint with little problem. The metal detector was offline, as was all the electrical equipment here. Still no hostiles. The large metal doors of the cells lay beyond. Large, heavy metal doors sat imposingly on their threshold seats. He lay a hand upon one. Sparek could feel the aching cold through his thick woolen glove. A well grew in the pit of his stomach. Something gnawed at the back of his mind, driving his eyes into an impossible itch. He took his hand from the door. The feeling slipped away. A distant memory that was never quite there.

Then he grasped the handle.

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OPERATION ELANOR TIME REMAINING 01:47:23

© Copyright Kier Sparey 2014

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