Portal – Chapter 38

Scimitar was thankful that the Mosin was not an accurate rifle. When Justice demanded he drop his shield, the sniper fired again. He could hear the bullet fly within inches of his head and impact the ground nearby. He reformed the shield after that, not caring if Justice was looking in the right direction. He had his chance.

As Team Three engaged the colonists on the berm, Scimitar began to worry again. They were closer to their objective, but they were also closer to  the machine guns. He could see the green tracer fire as it occasionally raked the deployment zone and even shot at Turbulence and Lady Justice in the air. Team Three was protected by natural cover, for now, and would be protected by the 20 foot berm as they climbed to the campsite, but they would be exposed once they crested it.

Some of the colonists were prone on top of the berm but retreated as Teams One and Three approached. Scimitar could see several bodies face down in the dirt, left behind by their allies, dead or dying, from JTF weapons. Against the modern M4, the bolt-action Mosin was outmatched at closer range and the colony appeared to only have a few AKs.

Scimitar still had trouble believing the situation. He joined the JTF to fight super-criminals,  the Jokers and Lex Luthors of the world and the very real Herr Metall and his right-hand man, Enforcer. He thought during real missions, he would be a one-man army against the odds, saving the world. He would even be happy working on a mixed-team of mundanes and Enhanced, but not like this. Justice, Lady Justice, and Turbulence were fighting Enhanced but he and Cortex were supporting the JTF in a gun battle with other mundanes. He just hoped someone had a plan for dealing with the machine guns.

As Team One and Team Three linked up at the berm, Scimitar moved to the south side of the group with his shield covering the team. Cortex moved to the north, trying  to protect the teams from sporadic gunfire coming from the sides. Although the agents and Enhanced were protected in the vulnerable areas, no armor was perfect. They all heard stories of the magic BB finding that one weak spot, like Atomic Power.

Team Leader One looked over the berm, assessing the situation in front of the assault group. He quickly ducked back down as dirt and red tracers exploded overhead. Neither the Enhanced or JTF agents with him were equipped for taking on an APC with a mounted heavy machine gun. The needed Justice.

“ Bravo Niner this is One One,” called Team Leader One. “We’ve got a problem. We can’t get in the camp. They have an old M113 blocking the front gate.” As Team Leader One finished, another burst of gunfire erupted from  the other side of the berm. Cortex and Scimitar crouched lower. Unlike the JTF agents or the Flyers, they did not wear helmets.

Cortex was surprised when he saw two heads lean over down the berm, colonists looking to avenge their dead at the berm. They were armed with automatics, AK47s he guessed, and open fired on him. He created a telekinetic shield, the  rounds targeting him bouncing harmlessly off. Using his power, he pulled the rifle out of the hands of the closest colonist, tossing it over the berm. The colonist panicked and crawled backwards, moving out of the team’s line-of-sight.

Acosta, the four man on Team One, saw the other colonist, stood up to get a clean shot over Cortex, and fired. His aim was true. Two rounds penetrated the colonist’s chest, killing him instantly as his body tumbled over the berm and landed at an awkward angle 20 feet below.

“Acosta, get the hell down!,” yelled Team Leader One. Acosta did not hear the call from his team leader, still standing up and exposed as the .50 caliber machine gun opened up on the new target at the berm, dirt and debris flying as the rounds impacted the ground around the teams.

Scimitar knew he could not grab the exposed agent in time. He extended his shield as far as he could over Team Three in front of Acosta as the APC found its target. He screamed as the round flattened against his metal shield, creating large dents . It  strained under the punishment, finally shredding with rounds blasting through. Acosta fell as one of the bullets penetrated the visor and red blood sprayed across the interior of the helmet. The back of the helmet exploded out, the armor layers peeled back like a tin can. Scimitar, unable to hold up his arms any longer, dropped his damaged shield and retreated below the berm crest. The APC continued to fire a few more seconds before the area was silent.

“Acosta,” yelled Team Leader One, crawling over to agent.  “We need to get him back to that Enhanced medic.” The unconscious agent was prevented from tumbling down the berm by Cortex, holding him up with his power.

“HQ,” shouted Team Leader One, “We’ve got critically wounded coming your way and we are seriously screwed here. We need Justice, right now!”

Scimitar slowly reformed his arms from the shield, afraid to look at the  damage. He knew this required a lot more than Trauma’s magical touch. The left arm was bleeding in several places, bullet entrance and exit holes scattered across the forearm. He was Enhanced, so it would heal quickly, but it would still hurt like hell until it did.

“You,” yelled Team Leader One to Scimitar, “get him back to HQ now. We’ll cover you but hurry. He doesn’t have much time.” Scimitar wondered if the JTF agents noticed he was bleeding or even cared. In either case, he had a job to do.

“Yes, sir,” Scimitar answered, now focused on the mission he always trained for, saving lives. Cortex gently maneuvered Acosta over Scimitar’s shoulder as he kneeled down, trying to keep his injured armed immobilized. The Harris armor was heavy but not too much for an Enhanced, even one-handed.

Scimitar never looked back as the agents tossed smoke over the top of the berm or when the APC fired blindly overhead, red streaks hitting everything but him and the wounded agent he was carrying.