EUF: Man Down
Shawn M.I. Tigges
Original Road Rovers concept, Gustof Havok and Con-fus-us © Warner Brothers Entertainment
Dylan is © Dylan Rinaldi
EUF concept, Emily, Amelia, Otto Jr. Kyra and Catherine © Robert Baer Jr.
Marauder is © Jeremy Bass
Krystal, Chaser, Mia, Robbie and Tim © Shawn Tigges
Robbie McLoude leaned back as he rubbed his eyes. He had just downloaded the most recent raw intelligence data that the Rovers had, coming from all sorts of sources, some native Rovers, others, from intelligence agencies friendly towards the organization. The data was all raw, unfiltered, not distilled down to concise reports such as the ones most Rovers would see. As an intelligence analyst, it was Robbie’s job to sift through such raw information, look for things of importance, and expand on it. In this way intelligence was turned from raw data to information usable by others be it searching for drug lords, or keeping tabs on Parvo or some other super villain. One had to be careful though, that you did not opinionated, that could cause certain, small pieces of information, that might turn out vitally crucial, to be missed or passed over. The work was largely relied on the talents a analyst was naturally borne with, honed by both schooling and experience. Robbie was lucky; he was a brilliant natural talent for intelligence work, that being said, it did get trying at times.
As Robbie rubbed his eyes, he felt a pair of hands come to rest on his shoulders and he jumped a little, not much but still, enough to cause the hands to recoil away from his shoulders. “Oh Robbie! I am sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!” a gentle feminine voice exclaimed.
Robbie smiled and sighed, turning to face Emily Maddog, her hands up to her long refined collie muzzle. The sable and white collie/GSD-mix hadn’t meant to sneak up on him, but he had been so enthralled with the work, he had not been paying attention to what was happening behind him.
Robbie smiled warmly. “It’s all right Miss Emily,” he said warmly, admiring the beautiful mix in front of him. To be honest, he had been attracted to Emily since he first met her. However, it wasn’t her looks, while stunningly beautiful, that attracted his attention. It had been her eyes and voice that had first got his attention. Those eyes were soft, warm, and expressive, sparkling with life. Her voice carried a warm feeling caring and soothing tone, as her eyes and voice had pulled him in, her personality and character grabbed hold of him and refused to let go.
“Robbie what are you thinking of?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your pulse has not yet settled to its normal rate, even though the fright I caused you is gone. Whenever your brother accidentally scares you, it almost immediately returns. Plus, your body is warmer than normal temperature for a cano. It always is whenever I touch you.”
Robbie smiled at that; he always let it slip from his mind that Emily was not quiet your normal cano-sapien. The young cano was bionic, but Robbie always kept that furthest from his mind, it was something that really didn’t matter to him. In fact, if it were not for the times Emily would remind him herself, he would never even think of her as bionic.
Of coarse, he had to admit, it made keeping a secret from this lovely mix a bit of a challenge. “You have me Miss Emily, I was thinking of how beautiful you are,” he said, taking her hand gently.
Emily blushed, she had to admit, Robbie was a wonderful dog. He was tall and handsome, looking a lot like his father, save he had his mother’s ears and he had both his arms brown from the elbow down instead of just one. He wasn’t nearly as broad either, being more height than width. He was quiet and thoughtful, a gentle dog really. She had fallen for him over the first few weeks they had known each other. They had really only been together for a month or so now. In fact, Emily had been scared that he would not want a relationship with her because of her bionics, and the fact that their children, if their relationship went that far, would be bionic, just like her.
“Now, fair is fair,” he said warmly. What are you thinking?”
“Just about how wonderful a dog you are, that, that you are willing to be with me even though…”
Robbie put a finger against her muzzle. “Emily, I don’t care, I don’t care if you are bionic, or, that you will pass those bionics on to our children, if we ever have any, that isn’t what is important. What is important is that you are everything I have always wanted in a girl dog, what my father said I would know when I found her.”
Emily smiled warmly, taking his hand and nuzzling it into her cheek. “Thank you.”
Robbie smiled and nodded. “For you, anything.”
Emily smiled at him, then, reached over to the console he was using and tapped in a command or two, saving his work and shutting down the computer. “Emily what…”
“Robbie, you have been up for 23.33 hours today. You need to rest, I don’t want you collapsing on me.”
“But I still…”
“That can wait till the morning you need your rest,” Emily returned as she pulled him to his feet quite easily, even though she was at least a head shorter than he was. “I intend on you getting that rest, even if I have to put you to sleep with my magic.”
Robbie sighed as the two reached his room. Robbie knew he couldn’t argue with her on that point, not because of her magic or bionics, no, because she was his girlfriend and she knew he would be up another 23.33 hours working if she hadn’t come along. “All right then. At least I have a beautiful sight to go to bed with,” he returned, wrapping his curled, bushy spitz tail around her bushy collie tail affectionately. He had to admit, these times, just the simple times when the two of them where together made him wish there was a way to freeze time, other than in memories.
Emily blushed as she stepped in closer to Robbie, leaning her head against his chest, wrapping her arms around him. “You are a hopeless romantic you know that Robbie?”
Robbie smiled. “Yeah, but would you have me any other way Miss Emily?”
“Absolutely not,” Emily returned, and looked up into her boyfriend’s warm, caring eyes. “But, you need your sleep, and as much as both of us would be perfectly content with the current situation we find ourselves in, I don’t want you sleep deprived just because of me.”
“All right,” Robbie said in a mock upset voice, then uncurled his tail from hers. “Good night Miss Emily,” he breathed gently and kissed her tenderly on her muzzle.”
“Goodnight Robbie,” Emily returned after they broke their kiss and watched him as he opened his door, turned and looked at her, almost as if he wanted to stay outside with her, but, she made it clear in her look that she would only be happy if he was in bed, so he smiled that warm, shy smile of his and then closed the door.
Emily sighed and leaned against the door, hugging her body. She felt so warm whenever Robbie was near, a really comfortable, loving warmth. She had to admit, it was a rather addictive feeling.
“Sister, you are becoming quite overly emotional again,” a stern female voice sounded and Emily spun to see her sister, Amelia standing in front of her. “You do know that Robert can put himself to bed correct?”
Emily sighed, even though Amelia was involved with Robbie’s twin, Tim, she still was a bit too literal, stiff, and a bit haughty at times. “Of coarse he can sister, however, that does not deny the fact that we enjoy any time we can spend together. You do the same with Tim.”
“Simply logical progression of our courtship towards matrimonial paring.”
Emily simply sighed as she listens to her sister. At times, she was amazed that Tim could be so loving to her, even though she had an arrogant streak a mile wide. “One of these days Amelia, you will learn, luckily you have Tim to teach you.”
Amelia simply frowned at her sister. “If you continue as you have with his brother, you might wish to engage your birth control fail safes.”
Amelia continued on. “You two seem to be on a path towards intimate contact. That, in its self, could lead to children out of wedlock, something, I believe, our father and mother would not approve of.”
Emily was blushing horribly red at her sister’s comment. “Amelia, how could you…”
“Simple logic sister, that, and the known fact that you are both driven by your emotions for each other.”
“Amelia, Robbie and I are not doing that sort of thing! We never will until the day a pastor declares us husband and wife if it ever comes.”
Amelia simply looked at her sister. “While, you maybe correct that I am in error, still, you cannot fault my logic.”
“Even if it is flawed?”
“It was not flawed, I have been analyzing known data of relationships in the teenaged shows…”
Emily almost laughed. “Those teen shows show the worst of relationships, Amelia, I think you need to talk to mother about relationships to get a real perspective.”
“Mother is just as emotional as you…”
“Exactly, you can’t boil a relationship down to logic Amelia, it just doesn’t work.”
“I will, consider your statements, however, it is time for us to gain our required rest for this day’s cycle.”
“If you mean its time to get some sleep, I agree,” Emily said with a bit of playfulness in her voice as the two sisters walked to their own rooms.
Robbie gave a little grunt as he heard the chime at his door. He turned over and blinked, looking at the clock laying on the bed stand. The device said 10:30 in the morning. Well, he thought, at least whoever this is let me sleep a little while.
The mix sighed and stood, pulling a t-shirt on over his top, he walked to the door and opened it. Standing there was his brother, decked out in the standard Rover armor smiling like the proverbial Cheshire cat. “Boy, did you ever sleep in bro.”
Robbie grumbled then turned his back on his brother, walking back into his room. “I think I preferred the face I went to bed seeing.”
Tim nearly laughed, but kept his voice low. “Well, I could get Otto or Amelia to cast a spell on me to make me look like that little lady of yours…”
Robbie sighed as he stumbled over to his drawers in a stupor, glad he kept things fairly neat for a guy, or else he might have caused himself some serious pain in his half-awake state. He collected a tee shirt and a set of the Road Rover’s armor pants and underwear. “No offense brother, do that and I will hurt you.”
Tim chuckled as his brother trudged to the shower. He waited for him to shower and immerged newly dressed. “I rather doubt you could do that, after all, you are my flesh and blood.”
“Do what Tim?” Emily asked as she entered the room on her own mission to gather her boyfriend, though, to be honest, Robbie wished she would have been the first,
“Tim was making a joke on how he should have had your brother or sister make him look like me, give me a better face to wake up to than his ugly mug at the door.”
Emily walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him. “Oh, I hope you don’t think your brother is ugly Robbie, because, other than the color of your right eye, your facial structure and appearance is identical, it would mean that you consider yourself as ugly as well.”
Robbie blink and thought about that for a second, Tim rolled out laughing. “the pretty lady is right brother!!!”
“Normally they are,” he said softly to Emily as he ran his hand through her sable and white hair, bending down and giving her a very soft, yet very loving kiss. “Now, why did you guys wake me up so early on a Saturday?”
“Something has come up that requires your attention, Gustof Havok has escaped, and we need to know where he might have traveled to so we can recapture him quickly.”
“Amelia wanted to just download all the info on his old hide outs and do a statistical analysis on how likely each base was to suit his needs, Otto talked her into doing it your way,” Tim didn’t say what was left open, Amelia did not think that they were right. Even after he had proven himself several times, the other sister still found his skills archaic and unnecessary, even his computer skills.
“All right,” Robbie said, turning business like in tone, but still keeping a gently protective and affectionate arm around Emily’s waste. “Pull up the list of his bases, let Amelia do her analysis, I am going to need one to do some narrowing anyways, you know that, and she can do it in a second or so, see if we can get our taps into the National Reconnaissance Office’s spy-sats open to supplement our own sky coverage, I want foot-prints from right now to twenty-four hours.”
Tim smiled and left the room, almost laughing at the way his brother’s voice went almost deadpan when he was business. However, his business was important, and next to their mother, he was the best there was at intelligence anlysis.
As tim left, Robbie looked down at Emily. “I am sorry this ruined our plans for a date tonight Miss Emily.”
“Duty calls Robbie, besides,” she said as she pulled herself closer to her boyfriend. “This is suffice enough for now, after all, I may be the stronger of the two of us, but your arms are very inviting.”
Robbie smiled, glad to share a private moment, he savored all of them. “All right then, lets get to work,” he said almost reluctantly, because it meant he had to break contact with the dog he was head over heals for.
“This is a waist of time,” Amelia grumbled for what had to be the fifth time as Robbie sat hunched over actual hardcopies of photos from both the Rover’s own reconnaissance satellites, but also a few choice once for the United States military’s NRO, a special agreement the Master had secretly reached with his old government let them, from time to time, augment their own coverage from a limited number of images from the NRO. At the moment, the images Robbie had chosen were both visual and scanning imaging radar prints from the NRO’s KH-12 ‘Boxcar’ satellites. While the Rovers more than had the technology for SIR, it was just far to big to be practical in their disguised satellites meant to be kept hidden from terrorist and other nefarious groups that had the means to track the artificial moons. “He is actually looking at photos!!! This would have gone much faster if he had kept the information to the computer screen!!”
Tim almost shot a comment to his girlfriend, but, his feelings for her for once kept him in check long enough for Robbie to respond as he continued to take an interesting device that was a ‘u’ shape plastic carriage with two lenses and hold it on certain spots of each of the four photos he had singled out and look through it. “You can’t get the quality you need from a computer screen, sure the resolution is actually much higher, but, you can’t have the definition on certain points you need that you get from a photograph displayed on a computer monitor, that is why I have that high grade industrial photo printer. I need to be able to see detail that a computer screen would simply gloss over… like this.”
As Robbie said that, he slid the large black and white photo, about the size of a decent desktop that was from one of the high SIR passes over to the gathered group, he then handed the special magnifier to Amelia. “Take a look, about three centimeters out from the center, just off the big mettle structure that the SIR is picking up.”
Amelia did, but did not use the magnifier, instead, she simply looked, using her bionics to do the same job as the magnifier, in, her mind at least, a much more efficient way. She scanned the area for a few seconds, then, looked up. “I see nothing in this photograph.”
“Exactly!” Robbie said excitedly, and Emily had to suppress a giggle as she watched her boyfriend. He loved his job, thought it a wonderful puzzle that needed to be solved, at least, that was how she saw it, it may have been very tedious, like the previous day, but when presented with a puzzle, Robbie attacked it vigorously and enthusiastically. He next slid over a high-definition visual shot from one of the Rover’s own satellites. “Now, take a look, same place in this pass.”
Amelia sighed exasperatedly, looking down through the foliage of browns, greens and whites of the north-Baltic area of Europe, she noticed something, trucks, they were camouflaged, but extremely poorly so, the lines, instead of being broken up, were made painfully clear. “I see trucks, so this must be the site…”
“Wrong, take a look at these two, four centimeters down, and slightly to the left of the upper right corner, on the SIR image there will be a railroad-line, the ties are what show up so it will look like a series of rectangles laid out on a path, go a little south of that.”
Amelia looked, and saw several small, squarish shaped dots. “Now, look at the visual pass same place,” Robbie said, and Amelia did, found the rail line, this time the track was completely visible, but, there was nothing else there.
“There is nothing where those metallic objects are.”
Robbie nodded then pointed at the first two photos. “These two are taken roughly twenty seconds apart from each other, far too short a time for anything to change dramatically, it is in the Norwegian costal areas, the base area your analysis said was the most likely place Havok would go, well he did, but he never was there to stay, those badly disguised trucks? They are not trucks, they don’t show up on the SIR scan like they should, in fact, they don’t show up at all, my bet is that they are wooden decoys, ment to draw our attention to that old hideout, Havok probably thinks that we are the main people tacking him right now, and that we don’t have access to thermal or SIR footprints. The next two were taken up on the Kola Peninsula in Russia, about one hundred miles west of Murmansk. Whoever Havok has a camo-expert, he really knows his stuff, the real trucks are perfectly disguised, no way you can pick them out, even with spy-sat photos, that is, at least with visual spectrum passes, unfortunately for them, you can’t hide a mettle object any larger than a lunchbox from an SIR pass. This is where we will find him.”
“But, this list was low on my priorities, you even said that my analysis would…”
Robbie looked sheepishly at Amelia. “Sorry Am, I know what I said, but, after you gave me that list, something tugged on my gut and I played a hunch, math isn’t everything in intelligence, you have to know a little about what you are looking for, Havok is big into military strategy, and history, he knows how most people who would be looking for him think, and he tried to fool us by giving us exactly what we wanted.”
Just then Con-fus-us harrumphed. “Well then, now that Robbie has shown us our mission, The Master has tasked you six to retrieve Havok.”
“Wait a sec,” his own daughter, Catherine asked. “Isn’t this something normally given to Hunter’s team?”
“The Master wants you to participate in this mission, he feels that since you were the ones who discovered Havok, you should bring him in.”
The team nodded, there was no true leader, however, three of them Otto Jr, Tim, and Robbie all had things to say on that subject, Otto was first.”
“We will need to teleport inside the base, Robbie, can you get us exact longitude and latitude, down to the second, on that base?”
“Its one of his older ones, we have scouted it a couple times, I’ll run it over with some help from Emily, give us ten minutes for something that precise,” Robbie returned. “I am not too concerned about the two of you, but Catherine, Emily, Tim and I need to get a set of cold weather armor paint black for each of us, we can’t afford the normal colored armor giving us away, but I don’t want to risk the loss of the protection it gives us.”
Otto looked strangely at the tall mix, Amelia however, took the chance to get a rub in, after all, Robbie had just let slip that he often, in fact, very regularly put Emily’s bionics so far aside that he seemed to purposefully forget. “Robert, you memory, once again, has proven inferior, Emily has no need for armor, in fact, I do not…”
Con-fus-us harrumphed again, drawing everyone’s attention to him. “Amelia, don’t continue that statement.”
Tim took that moment to pick up his part of the conversation, shooting Amelia a ‘we really need to talk later’ look. Then, he turned back to the entire group “I had three suits painted up like the US Army Delta Force’s ‘ninja’ suits,” Tim said with a smile. “It’s a dark blue with green grid-like markings, may not seem it, but the scheme breaks up a figure really good. Also, I figure we each ought to carry at least pair of stun-grenades and a mini grenade apiece…”
“Timothy, my siblings and I do not need such archic…”
“Amelia, can your knock-out beams bend around corners? Or be dropped down a ladder shaft?” Tim asked sweetly to his girl. “A stun-grenade can, granted, your built in stunners are great, but they just can’t do some things a stun grenade itself can do, just simply by being able to toss it around a blind corner.”
Amelia thought for a few moments, then, grudgingly accepted that Tim was right, she did that more with him than anyone else these days. “Agreed.”
“All right,” Catherine said, lets get everything together and get moving, we don’t know how long Havok will be at the base, so we need to move fast.”
With that, the team split up to take care of their own areas of specialty, a well oiled machine, ready to do their job. Emily and Robbie stayed in the main briefing room for a few moments as everyone went off. “All right, Emily, I’ll pull up these base schematics, see if we can find a nice quite, secluded place all of us can ‘port into, then crunch the numbers on the mainframe to get exact GPS coordinates.”
Emily looked at him for a couple moments as his hands flew over the keyboard, Emily had not thought a normal cano-sapien could type so fast so accurately, but, Robbie’s knowledge of computers and his power, heightened reflexes and psycho-motor skills allowed it. “Ok, lets see, no… no… wait…” He zoomed in on one section of the third level of the base, moved around it a few times, looking at the adjacent room, then, thought for a few moments, his hand on his lower muzzle jaw, he stood, still looking, his bushy tail swished back and forth. “As mum would say, ten pounds sterling say that that room is some sort of storage locker, these two rooms here and here are rather strangely shaped, they are too long, take up too much room to be much, and the ceiling, according to these schematics the intelligence network collected, is too low to be a decent garage of some sort, there aren’t any ramps either. I bet that those are in door firing ranges, they’re the right shape, and that is the only logical thing to use that sort of shape for a room with that low of a ceiling. Which means not only will they be surrounded by sound proofing, but these other two rooms, hear, and hear, probably the range master control rooms, will be heavily sound proofed as well, which means this room right here, in the middle, we can ‘port into and no one will hear us till it is too late.”
Emily ran a probability program through her computer for a second, her eyes fluttered a nanosecond, too fast for Robbie to catch, and then she nodded. “I agree Love,” she said, looking at Robbie and smiled, even with the serious work ahead, she wanted to have him always know what her feelings were.
Robbie smiled back at her, and then bent over the keyboard again. “All right then Miss Emily, let me set up the computer to crunch the GPS and depth coordinates…”
“I can do it much faster Love,” Emily said as she gently put a hand on top of his.
Emily smiled softly, he had done it again she knew, forgotten about her bionics. “With my bionic computers.”
“Oh, oops, I forgot a…”
“I know Love,” Emily said with a smile. “And believe me, I thank you for it, but, now, I need them, so let me use them.”
With that, Emily straightened up, smiled, then mentally brought the program online, inputting the parameters she needed, she waited for her internal bio-computers built into her body to bring back the answer. While this was all happened, she stood stock-still, the only movement was her eyelids, which, half closed, fluttered rapidly. Robbie frowned; he could feel his tail begin to bristle in nervousness, he reached out to touch her, to make sure she was okay, when her eyes snapped open again. “I have the coordinates, I have up-loaded them to my siblings through our interface, they have already crossed-checked my own findings.”
Robbie blinked; in all that had taken thirty seconds, the mainframe at the EUF headquarters would have taken closer to ten minutes to do same work. “Wow, where can I get my hands on a processor like that?”
Emily giggled and blushed; Robbie hardly ever made any acknowledgement of her bionics, save for soft, complimentary tones. She took his hand, held it, and then wrapped it around her small waist. “You all ready do.”
Robbie gave one of his sheepish ‘aw shucks’ lopsided grins. “Personally, I’d much rather have the packaging that one comes with.”
Emily smiled, stretched up on her tip-toes and kissed him gently on the muzzle. As they parted, Robbie looked at her in wonderment, not because of her emense strength, her magic powers, or her incredible computers, but because of her personality and soft, gentle ways. “Another down payment Miss Emily?”
She nodded, and with that, Robbie himself bent down and gave her just as gentle a kiss. As they parted, Emily was blushing horribly; she looked up at him with a smile that made her look very innocent, something that was hard to do considering how innocent she really was. “I guess that is an advance then Love.”
Robbie nodded and was about to respond when Amelia’s voice came over the collars both Emily and Robbie wore. She could have just as easily used the data link she shared with Emily and not have Robbie hear what she was saying. However, she wanted him to hear. “Emily why have you wasted so much time. The task delegated to you has been completed, and you have not moved for seven minutes and thirty five seconds.”
“Aw common Amelia!” Tim’s bouncy voice broke in over the radio conversation. “Lets see how well you move the next time I get to give you a loving kiss. As I recall, you become fairly well paralyzed for a couple min…”
“Timothy Duncan McLoude! You will not discuss the rituals of our courtship over an open channel!” and with that, there was a faint ‘click’ of radio noise as Amelia shut down her end of the line, followed quickly by Tim muttering something in Scotch Gaelic and another click.
“What was that language your brother spoke, it isn’t in my data banks for known spoken languages,” Emily asked. As the two stayed arms wrapped around each other.
Robbie gave a small chuckle. “That’s probably because it isn’t spoken, well, officially that is, anymore, its Scotch Gaelic. Moms from Scotland, at least her family was, the people that owned her parents moved to the states a couple years before Mom was borne. They kept the ancient language alive, spoke it the house, trained their dogs in it. Before Mum was bought, she had all her initial training in it. She still understands a few words and can get buy, she taught us the first bit we learned. Tim and I kind’a took it upon our selves to learn the language fully, sort’a as our own private way of communicating we were pretty sure no one else would be able to but in on, kind’a like how you have the data link with Amelia and Otto. Now, mind you we’d never pass as true borne Scotsmen, but we are pretty fluent in the language.”
Emily nodded. “Then can I ask what he said?”
Robbie laughed gently. “It was an old Highlander proverb, short version basically translates ‘From the most difficult of women, come the greatest rewards,’ there is a bit added about how kindness and love are the only way to get those rewards, but, right now the first part is Tim’s favorite. I think every time Amelia pulls one of her haughty acts, he starts quoting it to himself.”
Emily giggled. She could picture Tim saying that quite a lot unfortunately in a relationship with his sister, but he loved her, just as strongly as Robbie loved Emily herself, and Emily was absolutely sure under that cold, logical front, Amelia loved him just as much as he her. “Then do you have a saying for me?”
Robbie smiled shyly, and rolled of a string of words that her translator still couldn’t understand, though Emily had to admit, it was a beautiful language. “What did that mean?”
“Roughly? ‘A gentle soul shines on a beautiful face.’ It really isn’t anything ancient, or a grand poem, just something I think about when I see you Emily.” Robbie smiled gently, curling his tail around hers protectively.
“And you say sir,” she said playfully. “Say you are not very good at telling me how you feel.”
Robbie blushed. “Miss Emily…”
“Hey you two slow-pokes!!” Tim’s voice came not from the radio but down the hall, and it was playful and well meaning, not cold and haughty like Amelia’s had been. “You mind getting a move on before we have to turn down the thermostat with all the heat your putting out?”
Both cano-sapiens blushed a very deep crimson under their fur, so deep it was even coming through the white of their cheeks. “Well, I guess we shouldn’t keep them waiting anymore Miss Emily,” Robbie said as he reluctantly broke their embrace, but kept her hand in his., gently rubbing his thumb over the top of her hand, feeling the soft for there, and unknowingly imitating a motion his father loved to perform on his mother’s hand.
Emily nodded one and the couple walked down the corridor to the two ready rooms to change and gather for the mission that they had almost let slip through their mind. Now however, they were all business, but both promised the other silently in their mind that the other would be treated to a good night as soon as they got back.
The room was dark, the only light that was evident was a simple, and failing light bulb, all other lights were off. That was the perfect conditions.
There was a loud ‘boom’ that reverberated off the walls, but also seemed to be absorb to the point were even inside the room it was dampened significantly. As the noise dissipated, six shapes appeared, all dressed in black and dark green gridding that seemed to break up all their shapes, three wearing armor and carrying weapons, three simply in black sweater like tops and pants tucked into boots. The three armored shapes also wore strange looking devices with single lens lenses, also they totted submachine guns,, all armed with a interesting round Tim had developed, firing from a normal gun, it was firing a tranquilizer dart, not the normal lethal round.
One of the tall ones with the night-vision goggles snapped his head left, then right then nodded, whispering harshly. “They didn’t hear us.”
“Correct Robert,” Amelia said, seeming un-concerned about the noise she was making at the moment, “lets get this assignment over with.”
Amelia tried to move forward but Tim put his hand across her stomach. “Wait!” he hissed out and walked over to the door, knelt by it and looked back and the shape that was Emily. “How many on the other side?”
Emily’s eyes fluttered. “Seven according to thermal analysis.”
Tim frowned, looked at Otto. “I got an idea, how close together can you guys do two teleports?”
Otto didn’t even hesitate. “Two point six eight seconds.”
Tim nodded. “This going to have them knowing we are hear as soon as it happens, but, surprise isn’t as important now that we are in, speed is. Otto, teleport out into the hall, drop two stun-grenades then ‘port back in here, that ought to take out all the people on this level.”
Otto nodded, disappeared in a bang, then, a few seconds later reappeared with the with the same bang. Outside there was a muffled ‘pop,’ the only vestige of the stun-grenades going off that permeated the sound proofing. Tme counted exactly give seconds in his head, then, dispensing with any form of handle, kicked down the door, his MP5 up swinging back and forth, but everyone outside, all wearing the trademark red and black uniforms of Havok’s mercenary and arms merchant organization were on the floor.
“Clear!” the twin shouted out and waited for the others, then brought his gun up to the ready. “Where would Havok be?”
“There was a rather well appointed suit the next level up, Havok is most likely there,” his brother returned.
Tim nodded, seemingly taking charge of the situation. “All right, those grenades put out everyone on this level, but I definitely thing they know we are here, we gott’a move quick, common.”
With that, Tim ran down the hall, the others in tow behind them. Robbie frowned and turned to Catherine as they chased after his twin. “Catherine, when you Otto Amelia and Tim all went on that double date two nights ago, what did you guys go see??”
The cocker spaniel giggled when she realized what the more stayed twin was getting at. “An action flick.”
Robbie sighed, if there was one thing his brother was, it was enthusiastic, though, never reckless, but, sit him down and let him watch an action movie and he thought he was Chuck Norris. Luckily, he was about as close to a real life one as one could get, his brother thought with a small smile, and he had to admit, this job called for a little action.
Robbie and the others let Tim lead the way, not more than a pace or two ahead of them as he went up the stairs, around two corners, and three sets of guards, on downed by Robbie, the other two by Otto Jr.’s stun beams. The six canos stopped when they reached a rather ornate, and thick looking door.
Amelia grunted and looked at it sternly, shooting her laser eyes at it, which, while began cutting, did so rather slowly. “Brother, Sister, I need your assis…”
Tim stopped her and smiled at her. “Sweetie, I think I can get this done a lot quicker,” he said as extracting six square blocks about the size of the pointing finger, made of a putty like substance and a set of wire leads.”
“My brother, always looking for a chance to use his toys,” Robbie muttered, one of his few jokes, but Tim simply smiled and worked rather quickly, with the speed and ease of one who knew what he was doing, and had done similar applications many times.
“Yes, you are correct Robert,” Otto noted sternly as he watched the other twin quickly work. “However, his administrations will take at least four minutes less than Amelia’s idea, would have.”
Amelia harrumphed but did admit she had thought rather hastily, after all, she thought proudly, Timothy’s skills were extremely useful in the field, unlike Robert’s, who would do better to stay behind on field operations she though, still barely even tolerating his presence on the team.
Tim finished placing the blocks and connecting the leads, finally, he plugged them into a reusable button detonator, about the size of a small TV remote, real demolition experts such as Tim abhorred timer fuses that the movies seemed to love so much, too much could go wrong with them, and demolitions was an exacting practice, you always had to get it right on the first try, or you could cost lives. Tim nodded in satisfaction with his work then turned to the others. “Stand against the wall, this is going to pack a punch!” The others complied, and he did the same. He smiled and smashed his finger on the trigger for the detonator.
There was a deafening jumble of sounds, the ‘bang’ of the plastique going off, the horrible groan of the mettle giving way on the door, and the ringing ‘boom’ as it fell in, leaving a door sized hole with scorched, melted edges where the door once was, and one very shocked Gustof Havok who moments ago had been discussing his further escape plan with his senior lieutenant when the door had given way and six cano-sapiens poured in, three unarmed, three with sub-machineguns raised.
“Hands up Havok!” Tim shouted as he jerked the barrel of his gun up a couple times to punctuate his statement.
“Our colleague is correct Havok,” Otto returned.
“Give up now, or you shall not be in position to make any movements in a few moments,” Amelia said, as if challenging the elder, buzz cut man of Slavic decent as she walked forward. “You will be returned to the penal instillation in which you escaped from.”
A sudden smile sprouted on the man’s face, a marked contrasted to the edgy and defected look to his lieutenant. That set Robbie on edge in an instant and took a step closer to Emily. “I think not, Rovers are you? You do not look very familiar, and I am sorry to say that I have run up against I thought all of them at one time or another,” he said in a Czech accented voice.
Amelia continued to step forward. “We are the Elite Undercover Force, and have no choice in the matter of your re-apprehension.”
“I would disagree,” Havok said, and then Robbie noticed it, there was a silver sliver, mounted on a spring-loaded sheath, moments ago it had been concealed in his sleeve, but, somehow he had activated it and brought the device to his hand, even though both were raised none threateningly. Before Robbie could utter a word of warning, Havok smashed his thumb down on an unseen button or trigger on the device.
Faster than Robbie could make out, three turret mounted machineguns dropped from the ceiling, each one mounted with a small device that looked like a radar dome, each one picked a different target and open fire.
Unfortunately for Havok, the first two machineguns had chosen Otto Jr. and Amelia as targets. They had seen the weapons drop into view and were ready for them. As the loud chatter of machinegun fire echoed in the room, the rounds aimed for the two canos splattered against the floor where they had once been, sidestepping so fast that the weapons could not track. Both of them looked at the turrets and their eyes glowed red and beams lanced out, cutting the ammunition boxes off their two targets, leaving the weapons without anything to fire.
The third turret had locked onto Emily and fired. The bionic cano would have done much the same as her brother and sister had done if it had not been for her boyfriend. The moment he saw the barrel swing towards his girlfriend, he had leapt into action, headless of the danger to him self, his only thoughts of protecting Emily, his mind not registering once again that she had bionics just as her siblings and that she could easily do what they had done. He shouldered Emily bodily out of the way, however that left him standing exactly where she had been, and he had no amazing bionics to help him out-step a bullet.
Emily registered that she had been shoved, and that it was Robbie as Catherine disabled the third turret by borrowing one of Tim’s trick, she simply tossed one of the small explosive charges Tim had given them all and detonated it right as it reached the gun, wrecking it. She also with horrible realization, registered the three sickly sounds of bullet and body meeting. She quickly spun and found Robbie collapsing to his knees, his eyes already on there way to closing as he had been hit three times, once in the shoulder, leg, and once in his side, he groaned silently and collapsed all the way to the floor as Amelia and Otto moved with super speed to Havok and his lieutenant’s side, grabbing and disarming the both of them.
“Oh no!!! Robbie!!!!!!” Emily fairly screamed out as everyone turned. Up until that moment, no one had known save Emily, what her boyfriend had done, and now, everyone was stunned, that was, save Catherine who was at Robbie’s side at a moment, checking his pulse. “He’s still alive! Otto! Amelia! Tim! Get Havok to jail! Emily, teleport the rest of us to RRMC now!”
Emily, tears streaming down her face at the site of Robbie laying on the floor with bullet holes in him, all because he had wanted to save her overrode her senses for a moment, till Catherine stepped up to her and looked her straight in the eye. “Emily we need to go!”
Emily snapped out of herself just long enough to activate her teleported, taking her, Catherine, and Robbie to RRMC, and only one thing was on Emily’s mind.
Robbie could die.
The group had gathered again, not at their own headquarters in the mountains, but, at RRMC where Robbie was being cared for. The twin’s parents were all ready with him, along with Tim. That left the rest of the EUF to wait on his condition. Otto Jr. and Catherine had gone off on their own, leaving Emily to sit with her sister, waiting for any news on what was to be Robbie’s fate.
Emily herself had deposited herself in a chair outside the RRMC infirmary and was crying into her paws. Robbie had been injured because he had been trying to protect her, even though she didn’t need it. Emily felt horrible, not only was her boyfriend laying in a hospital bed, in essence, she had been the one that had put him in that bed, and she didn’t know is she could handle that. The young collie/shepherdess sniffled as she looked toward the door to the infirmary ER and ICU ward. “Robbie…”
Just then, Amelia returned from calling their parents and telling them about the situation, and looked directly at her twin. She had been calculating and debating her coarse of action over the last few minutes. For someone with the built in computers that the triplets had, that was quite a long time. However, even as much as this coarse was going to hurt all three of them, she had to at least try to peruse her sister on a coarse that would be logical, even if Catherine had not agreed. “This situation is unfortunate sister, and, it proves my point about Robert.”
Emily looked up at her sister. “Amelia, what do you…”
Amelia pressed on. “Robert’s inferior emotions precipitated this crisis. You or I or Otto Jr. could have easily avoided those lead projectiles. In fact, Otto Jr. and I did just that with no help.”
Emily’s eyes were read as she responded. “Amelia!! Robbie was trying to protect me!!!”
“Exactly dear sister,” Amelia returned. “He was doing something unnecessary. You require no such chivalric actions on his part such as protection; your bionics makes such deeds unnecessary. His did not even think of your bionics, which, as I suspect, he quite purposefully forgets. That inferior outlook and memory retention has caused this predicament, along with his inferior abilities have led to a crossroads for us sister.
Emily bolted to her feet. “What is that suppose to mean Amelia!!!”
Amelia sighed, she was somewhat torn to her next series of actions, but decided to go ahead. “It means that based on this performance, Robbie is a liability to our team, he has lost his focus, much as you have for having a romantic relationship with him in the first place.”
“Wait! Are you saying I should have never gotten involved with Robbie to begin with?!”
Amelia sighed, looked up, steal in her eyes. “Affirmative.”
Catherine held Otto Jr.’s strong arm tightly, as if she were afraid to let him go. Robbie’s injury, after all the adrenaline she had been hopped up on during the event, had hit her rather hard. She had known that Otto Jr. would most likely have done the same thing Robbie had if that gun had aimed itself at her. The question that kept going through her mind was, what would have happened to him?
Intellectually, she knew probably not much. Even though Robbie had the phenomenal reflexes and psychomotor skills of his mother, he still couldn’t move as fast as Catherine’s bionically augment boy. Otto most likely could have shielded her and moved them both out of the way in an instant, keeping them both from harm. However, her heart was telling a different story, and she could feel her cheek fur begin to moisten with tears.
Otto Jr. detected her distress through his multitude of sensors, knew something needed to be done, and led his cocker spaniel to a bench somewhere in the living quarters section and looked at her. “You are in distress.”
Catherine looked up at him. That stern look he and Amelia almost always seem to have melted away in his concern for her. “I’m sorry Otto, its just…”
“This is about Robbie’s situation, and the possible thought of such a thing happening to me?”
Catherine sniffled a little. “I know it isn’t likely Otto, but…”
“It still concerns you does it not?”
Catherine nodded slowly. “I know it is irrational, and all too emotional as Amelia would say, but, I can’t help it, I don’t know what I would do if something ever happened to you Otto!”
Otto gave his warmest smile, something only Catherine ever saw. “Then I will endeavor to remain in tact.”
Catherine looked at him. “But, well, if…”
Otto cut her off. “If anything does happen to me, then we will go across that proverbial suspension device over a waterway when we come to it.”
Catherine couldn’t help but giggle at that. It had the desired effect Otto had wanted. He knew that the proper version of the saying was ‘cross that bridge when we come to it.’ Thanks to Tim and Robbie, however, he had wanted to cheer his cocker spaniel. “Catherine, I know there is a chance, more than ever, of my becoming injured, however small. I also know how that will effect you if it ever does happen. I also know there is a much greater chance of you becoming injured. However, I would never give up this opportunity to be courting you for one set period of time.”
Catherine sighed. “Otto, thank you. That is something I needed to hear. I was afraid after hearing Amelia’s plan…”
Otto frowned. “What plan?”
“I can’t believe you are saying this Amelia!!” Emily cried out as she faced her sister.
“I am, and it is the correct option open to the three of us sister. Amelia’s face clearly had a pained look to it, something rather new to her normal stern visage. “Because all he could think about was protecting you, Robert has now become injured quite critically. Given the chance, he would most likely go through the exact same punishment again for you. Also, look how his injury has affected you! You have not been able to compose yourself since his wounding. If Timothy…” Amelia’s voice caught as she said Tim’s name, tears beginning to flow down her cheek. “If Timothy follows his brothers actions, and he most likely at one time or another will…”
“If we continue this coarse of action, there are high probabilities that our relationships with the McLoude brothers and Catherine will one day cause them irreparable harm. You, Otto Jr. and myself must relinquish our relationships with our lovers. If we do not we endanger them dearly.”
Emily growled at her sister, something that she never did to anyone, her tail swinging back and forth in a very agitated fashion. “I will not give up Robbie!! And you sister shouldn’t leave Tim!!”
“Do you believe I wish to!!!” Amelia nearly screamed, her emotions to the fore, her cool exterior developing cracks that were widening greatly with each word. “I love Timothy Duncan McLoude! However I could not bear to see him injured. I love him, so… so… I… I have to relinquish him.”
Emily stopped short of her reply and thought for a moment. “You’re scared, scared of Tim dying.”
“Yes!!!” Amelia cried out, tears flowing quite freely from her deep brown eyes over her fur now. Her cool exterior was completely gone; the only thing left was her tightly controlled emotions. “I do not know what would happen if he ceased to function!”
A new voice sounded in the conversation as a pair of strong, loving hands rested on Amelia’s shoulders, startling her a bit as he spoke. “Then I’ll try my hardest not to get myself zapped.”
Amelia spun to face the voice, which she already knew belonged to Tim. He had his normal happy-go-lucky, lopsided smile on his muzzle, but there was more there, especially in his eyes, the crystal blue orbs shone with caring, compassion and love. “Tim… Timothy?”
Tim nodded with a warm smile, outside his mother, Amelia was the only one who called him that, though it did sound good coming from her muzzle. “I’ll never abandon you,” he said softly, gently, as he took a finger and scooped up a tear as it rolled down the silky fur of her cheek. “Ever.”
Amelia continued to cry freely. “But… your… your emotional attachment to me could… could cause you harm,” the bionic mix looked at her own sister. “Like Robbie’s attachment for Emily did him…”
Tim scooped her muzzle upwards with one finger; bring her eyes into contact with his own. “Robbie would do it again, and I would go through it myself for you, no matter the cost, it doesn’t matter that we get hurt trying to protect you, you are what matter to us.”
“It does to ME!!” she cried out burying her muzzle into his chest and sobbing heavily. “When you are damaged, I… I am damaged.”
Tim gave a small, soft, warm chuckle. “I’ll take that as an ‘I love you’,” he said very warmly as he stroked her long black hair gently.
“Affirmative,” Amelia sobbed heavily into his shoulder.
“Then I am just going to have to keep myself from getting perforated then won’t I Amelia?” To punctuate his statement he lifted her muzzle again and gently brushed her muzzle with his own, kissing her gently and passionately.
As the two parted, he looked at his little bionic mix with a warm smile. “No more talk of leaving me to save me?”
Amelia shook her head vigorously, sending little droplets of her tears flying from her cheeks. “No… no…” she returned weekly, all her energy seeming to have been drained through her emotional outburst.
Tim nodded and sighed, then, Emily finally spoke up. “Tim? How is he?”
Tim sighed. “Kyra and Marauder are working on him now, they say his injuries don’t seem life threatening, but, they won’t know till they’re done. Mom and Dad are in there right now, waiting for them to get done.”
With that, Tim excused himself as he led his still sobbing girlfriend away to try to calm her down. That left Emily to pace to simply look down at the door again.
“I heard what happened,” another voice said and Emily turned to see Dylan standing next to her, a sympathetic and caring look that he almost always seemed to have on his face.
“Oh Uncle!!” Emily cried out as she flung her arms around Dylan, crying. “Its all my fault!!!”
“Shhhh,” Dylan returned, trying to comfort her. “It’ll be all right. Robbie maybe a quite kid but he’s tough under all that. He’ll pull through.”
“But he wouldn’t need to pull through if he hadn’t have been trying to protect me!”
Dylan sighed and lead Emily to the chairs again, sitting her down. “You think it is because he constantly, and purposefully forgets that you are bionic?”
Dylan shook his head gently. “No Emily, he would do it weather he pushed your bionics out of his mind or not, that isn’t what matters to him.”
“Then why did he do it.”
Dylan shrugged and looked her straight in the eye. “Same reason your dad has risked his very existence so many times for your mom. Same reason Hunter for all his wackiness always gets very serious whenever Colleen is in trouble. Its because he loves you, with all his heart.”
Emily looked at her surrogate uncle. “Scanning data banks…” her voice turned suddenly flat, like it always did on the occasions she let her guard down an actually used her bionics in this way. “You are correct Uncle, all the times my father has risked personal termination on behalf of mother…”
“Granted, we could probably find a bit healthier way to show you ladies that we love you with all our hearts,” Dylan said, trying at least to cheer her up a little bit.
Emily giggled despite herself. “Thank you Uncle Dylan.”
The mix smiled warmly. “I try Emily, I really do.”
Just then, a very tall, broad akita/malamute mix and a graceful, stunning merle headed white collie came out of the doors that Emily had been staring at for so long and went straight for her. Emily wished she had been able to meat Robbie’s parents under better circumstances. He talked about both his mother and father a lot, so much so that she had taken to storing each one of his stories and descriptions about them. In Emily’s mind, his mother Krystal was just as beautiful as he described her, she had the graceful collie figure and features just like her own mother, but her coloration was almost pure white save for the flare over her right eye and her brown-streaked bluish/black hair. Robbie’s father was strong proud, and very protective it seemed of his wife and family. He reminded her so much of her own father. And finally, there was the newest addition to the McLoude family, little Mia, Who was only about three years old who hid behind her father’s massive leg. Emily remembered Robbie telling her about the little pup and how his mother found out she was pregnant with her right after her eldest daughter, Sarah’s, wedding. Unlike her brothers and sister, Mia would grow up as a cano-sapien, which meant she aged more like a human, though she looked like she was more along five years old than the three she was. Unlike Sarah, Mia favored her father more than her mother in fur coloration; she had almost the same pattern of color as her father, just like the twins, though she did posses a flare like her mothers, and her hair was the exact same as her mothers.
“Emily?” Krystal asked softly as she touched the mix’s shoulder.
Krystal tried to smile, her eyes a little red from the crying she must have done for her son earlier when she had first found out about his injuries. “He’s stable, and out of danger. Kyra and Marauder say he isn’t in danger of dying. He’s asking to see you.”
Emily let out a cry for joy and hugged everyone she could. Dylan, Krystal, Chaser, she would have hugged Mia had she not made it perfectly clear that she was happy hiding behind her father’s leg.
Chaser smiled warmly at her. “Go on, go in and see him Miss Maddog, he’s waiting for you.”
“Thank you Mr. McLoude Sir,” she returned, her mother’s politeness in full affect as she hurriedly walked toward the ICU. There she found Robbie’s room, and Robbie, lying in bed with no shirt, his shoulder and arm in a cast, and his leg most likely as well. There were several tubes IVs and other such things running to and from his body. Emily almost cried right then and there had he not opened his eyes and cracked a week smile. “Hey, this is a wonderful sight to open my eyes to,” he said a little weekly.
Emily half laughed, half cried as she walked up hurriedly, sitting down in a chair next to the bed, she took his uninjured arm in her hand. “Robbie…”
“Shhhh,” he said and winced a little, causing her to gasp. “Ow, well, looks like I am not a bullet proof as I hoped,” he tried to joke. It sounded something like what Tim would say, and not really him at all, but it got her to stop crying for a few moments, which was what he wanted. “Don’t you dare say this is your fault.”
“Mom told me you were outside blaming yourself for what happened,” he returned, taking a long breath before continuing in his weak, soft voice. “I chose to take the coarse of action I did, and… would do it again if presented with that problem… Emily… Granted this hurts like the dickens… but, it was worth it.”
“But… It was unnecessary Robbie, I could have easily dodged those bullets just like my sister and brother.”
Robbie smiled weekly. “I know… but that really doesn’t matter. “He laughed weakly, winced, looked at her for a few moments, and then continued on. “Call me… old fashioned, call me a pig head… egotistically ape-man, call… me just plain old stupid if you have to, really doesn’t matter to me… All that matters… Is that… you are safe Emily, and if that… causes me to get a few holes… well, then… they were worth it.”
“But, what happens if this happens again Robbie?”
“Well,” he said with a smile probably looked more at home on his brother. “I think I’ll try… to avoid being perforated again. But, also, I will, as your sister would say: ‘Avoid bodily damage or cessation of active functions’.”
Emily giggled, then thought of something. “Robbie! I think I can speed up your recovery!!”
“Robbie looked at her in a puzzling manor then it seemed to slowly dawn on him. “Your magic?”
Emily nodded vigorously. “Yes, in all the emotional turmoil I and my sister have been feeling, I, I completely forgot about it. I am sure there is some way of completely healing your injuries…”
“Well, Doc Kyra said they got all three rounds out of my body, so, that shouldn’t cause you a problem. Give it a shot, I’m a willing guinea pig.”
Emily nodded slowly; concentrated, then preformed a few had gestures. With that, Robbie seemed to glow a bright azure color before it faded, and he blinked for a few seconds, the look on his face stronger and more healthy than it was a few moments ago. “Did it work?” Emily asked, obvious that the effort had taken a little out of her.
“Well, I don’t feel like I had three holes put into me,” Robbie returned with a definitely stronger voice. “Only one way really to find out.”
Emily nodded then went to the door, finding Kyra looking over one of Robbie’s x-rays. “Aunt Kyra? Could you come in here?”
Kyra smiled gently. “Of coarse Emily, what is it?”
“Please, examine Robbie, I hope, if everything happened correctly, that he is perfectly healed now.”
Kyra looked at her niece in confusion, but did as was asked. “I don’t believe it, all signs of his injuries are gone!”
“Does that mean I can get out of these to casts Doctor Kyra?” Robbie asked.
Kyra nodded with a very large smile across her muzzle as she called in Marauder, showed him her results and smiled. “But how? He was going to be laid up for at least a month recovering, then his physical therapy sessions,” the black lab asked in confusion.
Kyra smiled. “Emily tried a spell on him, looks like it worked pretty good.”
“I wish she would have told us first,” Marauder said, but brightened, turned around, and grabbed the small cutter saw used for casts rather enthusiastically. “Lets say we get him out of this things, and get those IVs out as well.
Kyra nodded and as Marauder went to work on the cast, she gently pulled out all the leads, tubes, IVs and what naught that hand been connected to the young dog, bandaging each one carefully. Finally, Marauder had both casts off and Robbie smiled, hoped from the bed with enthusiasm to hug his girl, and promptly realized he was only wearing a set of boxer.
“Oh Geez!!!” he said as he scrambled to cover the rest of his body with the blanket that had covered it moments before in a knee jerk reaction, sending everyone else laughing and causing his cheeks to blush under his fur.
Emily walked up and looked at his arm and leg for a moment, there were small places on each where no fur was crowing, only scar tissue, there was another place much like it on his side. “My spell didn’t work, you have three scars.”
“Work good enough for me,” Robbie said warmly as he accepted a rob from Kyra, wrapping himself up in it and tying it off before hugging Emily. “And if those stay with me, I don’t mind the battle scars one bit.”
“Are you sure?”
Emily sighed and leaned against him as more visitors streamed into the room, amazed at Robbie’s recovery. Mia who had reentered with their parents jumped into her big brother’s arms and squealed happily, nuzzling his neck with her muzzle. Tim slapped him on the back in his own brotherly fashion, and finally, Amelia came up to him.
“I apologize for my actions Robert, your risking your life for my…”
Robbie smiled and held up his hand. “Got it Amelia, I understand.”
Emily smiled and looked at Robbie. She had known that he would have done anything for her; she had not known however, exactly how right she had been. She just hoped she would never again have to be proven in such a dramatic fasion. Now, all she wanted was to spend time with Robbie, and she realized just how lucky she was to be able to. She intended on remembering that for as long as she could