Amazon Jungle. June 16, 2005
It was a dark and stormy night. The fighting had been fierce. Fiercer than any that she could remember. Something's changed, medusaD thought to herself. We've been kicking these guys' butts all over the place, and all of a sudden, we can't even hold our own. I've got to get the team back to Capper Central to formulate a plan.
"All right, everyone," she said through her wrist communicator, "we've got to pull out. We don't seem to be able to hold our ground against the Kortac."
"Pull back?!" Valshiro asked incredulously. "We've never had to pull back from the Kortac. This is just a little hiccup is all. We can take these guys! Haven't we always?"
"That's not the point, Val," medusaD returned. "The simple fact is that there is something wrong. Something has happened. I don't know what it is, but we aren't going to figure it out here pinned down by these Kortac goons. We've got to get back and consult with Gray, Tolstoy, Hobbes and the other Capper Leaders, to figure out what's going on. Everone check in." She received confirmation from Valshiro, devildoll, gowest, and YibbleGuy.
"claimdude! Are you out there? Check in, claim!"
After a brief pause, claimdude responded. "Yeah, I'm here, medusa. But I've been hit... Good thing I've got two hands, 'cause I ain't gonna be able to use my left one for a while."
"claim! Are you OK? Do you need help teleporting, or can you manage?" medusa asked, concern plainly obvious in her voice. This is the first time someone under her command had ever been hit by the Kortac. It was the first time anyone had ever been hit by the Kortac, as far as she could remember.
"I'll be fine. Just give the word," claimdude responded through clenched teeth.
"Everyone! On the count of three, teleport back to Capper Central. One... two... THREE!" There was a shimmer of light as the Cappers disappeared from the Amazonian forest.
Back at Capper Central
RIZZZ and animebabe were sitting at the main console in Capper Central, keeping tabs on the other Cappers out in the field. RIZZZ kept pointing at the console, indicating trouble spots.
"I can see that," animebabe said, slapping his hand away. "You don't have to keep pointing them out to me. I think we better call them back. ALL of them..."
"Yeah," RIZZZ agreed. "I'll get Tolstoy. He needs to know about this. Hobbes, what is Tolstoy's current location?"
"He is down in Briefing Room Three, with CaveDweller and Moon Queen, going over indoctrination with some new recruits," the computer answered, not being its usual jovial self. Hobbes recognized the seriousness of the situation, and realized that the Cappers out in the field were in serious danger.
"OK. I'm on my way. I'll be right back," he said, walking toward the door.
"And in the meantime, I'm calling everyone back," animebabe threw over her shoulder to the exiting Capper.
She was just about to place a call to medusaD when the now familiar shimmer of the teleporters caught her attention. She turned to see medusa, with her Capper team behind her. This was the first time she had ever seen a team come back from the field looking defeated. Their clothes were covered with mud, and some were ripped. "One minute." She placed several calls to the other Capper teams that were out in the field, ordering an immediate return. After she finished, she turned back to where medusa and her team stood behind her. "My God, medusa, what happened? Are you and your team alright?"
"Yeah," medusa said, wiping some mud off her hands. "Except for claim. He was hit. In the hand."
"Figures," claim said, holding his hand. "Couldn't have shot me in the foot or the leg. It had to be my hand. How am I gonna cap now?"
animebabe smiled to herself. Even with all this, and even being injured, he can still crack a joke. "claim, you better get down to medical. Have NurseNoir take a look at that. See what she can do. If things are this bad all over, we're gonna need all the help we can get."
She watched as he left the control room. After he left, she turned back to medusa. "So, what gives? Those Kortac are worse shots than Cylon Warriors. They couldn't hit themselves, even if they tried!"
medusa sat down, exhausted. "I don't know. I've never seen anything like it. I hated to bring gowest into that kind of situation on his first outing."
"Hey," came a voice from behind her. "Don't feel sorry for me. I wouldn't have signed up if I didn't think I could take it."
"Too bad you didn't bring along one of those automatic tunnel paintings that you guys make there at ACME. Would have come in handy down there," medusa said, forcing a smile. "See if you can call in some favors, would ya?"
"Well, I'm going to take a shower. I've got mud in places that I didn't think it could get to." As he left, he was followed by Valshiro, YibbleGuy and devildoll.
"Hey devildoll?" animebabe called out, before she left the room. "Come here a second, would ya?" She waited patiently for her to arrive. "Turn around."
Devildoll, turned her back to the Capper Leader, a puzzled look on her face. "OW!" she exclaimed, hearing an audible pop, and then a sensation like being stuck with a pin. "What was that for? What did I ever do to you?"
"Oh, sorry," animebabe responded. "But if you want your little friend back, you can have him..." She held out the big black leech to devildoll.
"Uh... no thanks... You can keep him. Maybe medusa will want it as a souvenir of her trip to the Amazon," she laughed over her shoulder, exiting the large control center.
"Hobbes," animebabe said, "get rid of this thing, would ya?" She tossed the leech down on the floor by the computer.
"Consider it gone," Hobbes responded, and the leech vaporized.
Just then, RIZZZ returned, with Tolstoy, CaveDweller and Moon Queen in close pursuit. "Are they all right?" RIZZZ asked, indicating with his thumb the cappers that they had passed in the hallway.
"What the devil is going on?" Tolstoy demanded. "I've never seen a Capper team come back to headquarters in that kind of condition before. claimdude is injured, and the others I passed look like they insulted Gray Zombie in front of Edgar."
"We don't know, Tolstoy," animebabe replied. "But from the looks of things, it's going on all over the place. The monitor was showing trouble spots all over the place It's like all of the sudden, the Kortac learned how to aim their weapons! I've pulled all our teams out of the field until we can get this sorted out. We need to know what's happening before we dare send anybody else out there."
"She's right," Moon Queen said. "When RIZZZ came down there and told us that there was trouble, I was worried about evryone's safety."
"Me too," CaveDweller followed up, casting a glance over at the monitor.
Tolstoy walked to the front of the room. As he turned, he saw the Cappers talking amongst themselves. "Everyone, may I have your attention, please. We need to find out what has happened." He turned to Hobbes. "Hobbes, locate BuckFifty and Gray Zombie. I need to hold a meeting with the Capper Leaders." He then turned back to Moon Queen. "My dear, if you will excuse us, we have some very serious business to attend to. No offense, but I need to to talk to just the Capper Leaders."
"Not a problem. There are some things I needed to do anyway," she said, and turned and left.
"Hobbes," Tolstoy asked the computer, "have you found Buck and Gray yet."
"I have located BuckFifty. He should be here in one... there he is."
BuckFifty entered the room. "What's going on?" He looked down at medusa, still seated on the floor. "And what happened to you?"
"To make a long story short, the Kortac can aim their weapons now."
"Sum Bitch," BuckFifty muttered to himself.
"Hobbes," Tolstoy turned to the computer again, "any word from Gray?"
"No. He hasn't answered my calls."
"Well, we can't wait forever," Tolstoy said, sounding a little annoyed about Gray. A Capper Leader, and he won't even answer an urgent call from Hobbes. He better have a damn good excuse. He turned his attention back to the Capper Leaders who were present. "All right, everyone. Take a seat. anime, have all the other Capper teams returned from the field?"
"Thanks for waiting until I was sitting so I would have to get up and look." She walked over to the console and checked. "All teams have returned. However..." she said, her voice a whisper.
"However? However what?" CaveDweller asked nervously. He never knew animebabe to be at a loss for words.
animebabe walked back over to her seat and sat down heavily, tears starting to form in her eyes.
"What is it?" BuckFifty asked, concern in his voice for his longtime Capper friend.
"We've lost someone. Scouty. She was on a mission with Agent_Moldy over in Paris. They were checking out a lead we had on some activity to taint the wine supply, and she went out to scout out the area. Isn't that ironic?" she asked, trying her best to maintain her composure.
Tolstoy looked around the table, seeing the shocked look on the Capper's faces. "Listen, when she signed up, she knew there was danger involved. All of you did. It was bound to happen sooner or later. We've just been lucky so far."
"LUCKY?!" CaveDweller shouted, standing up. "Scouty is dead! How lucky is that?!"
"I share your grief. With all of you," Tolstoy said, resting a hand on CaveDweller's shoulder. "Please, sit down. We need to figure out what has happened."
"I can help you with that..." Gray Zombie said from the entryway, leaning heavily against the doorframe, his face white as a ghost.
To Be Continued