Prologue: Poseidon Trident

Prologue

Operation Poseidon Trident

Pure Desert Republic

North West Frontier Province

01:11 EDT

It was the conclusion of a long, long chase.

“Jackpot. Third Floor.”

“S***!” This wasn’t the ordinary night at the compound he hoped for. The thick bearded man in a loose-fitting tunic and pajamas cursed under his breath. He pulled the door shut, then recoiled as splinters came flying everywhere, leaving three bullet holes through the weak wood. A woman in loose robes came out of the bedroom. “W-What’s going on-!!”

“Quiet, Amfath!” It turned out that curiosity is out for the cat. Checking up on that annoying late night ruckus was a grave mistake, for it wasn’t the pesky police banging on a bribe, or the captured local militia begging for rations, or reports from his cult army he couldn’t care less about. Another woman in loose robes came. “My lord, what troubles you-“

“GET OVER HERE!!” The man pulled his two wives together, unmindful of their confused faces and yelps. There was only one thing on his mind, and it was not anyone else’s life.

The door broke open. From the shadows emerged two fully armed men. Their dark green uniforms reawakened the fears of every fool who dared defile the right of the people. One of them had an unreadable mask with four glowing green eyes that made him look like a monster, while the other in front of him had deadly convicted stare under the shade of his camo fishing hat. They were elite forces from GoD OPS.

“Arthur-Six Actual. Jackpot in sight.” The armed man with the fishing hat radioed in.

The so called jackpot pushed one of his wives between them, and the other one stumbled to catch her out of concern. It gave him enough time to lock himself in the bedroom where his final trump card awaited. The four-eyed monster grabbed the two women, and restrained them. “He’s yours!” He assured the captain, who left the scene without a word.

The door broke open. The man clenched his teeth, cold sweat trickling down his temples. He held a strange device on his left hand, while on the other…

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“P-Papa? What’s going on?” A weak voice forced out of a small throat. A small child in thick rags was in the arms of this madman, who hoped that she bear all the punishment he was about to endure. But this cowardly tactic was nothing special from the most notorious man of the decade. The infamous leader of The Newfound Nation, the Dust Devil. Three quick flashes followed. The next thing he knew, his left hand was writhing in pain, his daughter was out cold, and the detonator was in pieces on the grimy floorboard. “F***-!!” From the shadows, a calm voice spoke.

“As expected. No less from a goddamn terrorist.”

The Dust Devil fumbled with something beneath the rags before kicking away the small body, and pulled out a pistol. “Rubber Bullets? You’re too forgiving.”

“Unfortunately, that’s all I have.”

Two more flashes, and his gun too hit the ground. “EEAAAAAARRRHHGHH!!!” The devil writhed in pain, holding up his two hands that now dangled on thin skin, bone bits and blood all over. His angry yet fearful eyes turned towards the abyss beyond the safety of his bedroom. An old man emerged from that abyss. Heavily armed in green, and yet he held a fishing hat on one hand, and a pistol on the other. Oddly, he had his rifle tucked away behind him, but smoke steamed out of its under barrel shotgun.

“Kept us searchin’ for 10 years. I’m not even mad.” His face was obscured in the darkness of the room. Only when he donned his fishing hat did his eyes reveal themselves under its shadow. Unblinking. “Oh? And I was beginning to feel lonely.” The Dust Devil forced a grin as he did a breath. His face relaxed as it did tense up, for he was met with a grim familiarity. “Do you feel like an accomplishment now? Was it that hard for you? I’m not impressed, Captain Caller.”

“Wouldn’t be flattered if you were.” The captain stood there, unmoved. His sidearm raised against the target. “Either way, it’s checkmate. Nowhere for your coward ass to run.”

“Coward?”  He sucked in more air, trying to ignore the burning sensation of his broken wrists. “I’m the bravest of them all. The selfless apostle of god who acts on his will to right the wrongs you bloody patriots practice on a daily basis!”

“Let’s see…” The man counted his fingers. “Bombing of Triple-T, Gas Crisis in River Orphans, Chemical Blowback on Faith Hill, Bloody Revolt of Oil Garden. Not counting countless terrorists attacks by the Newfound Nation on civilians worldwide. You say attacking the defenseless is brave?”

The Dust Devil burst out manically from the pith of his stomach. “Don’t go spouting to me about war crimes now, captain! You’ve certainly heard of the Boondocks Takeover, or the Raid of Red Sand? The Untimely Death of the Second Prince of Grandeur Oasis? And the most unforgiving of all… your undying support of Witness Crown.” His glare darkened, and his face twisted into a deep-seated hatred. “Who are you to interfere with our matters? Trampling on our beliefs with your self-imposed doctrines. Do you think of yourselves as gods? That is the ultimate sin of a nation of arrogant infidels. There is only one true god, and by me he acts his will.”

The captain exhaled disappointedly. “Of course. You’re whack on the head.”

“Aye.” The devil shrugged, “Geniuses are idiots to idiots. You’re not someone who can be saved anyway, you have sinned the moment you were born!” His eyes twitched, staring down at the gun barrel aimed at him. “So go ahead! Get on with it! I may be gone, but you will immortalize me here and now! My death will give life to millions more! And my sons will carry on my legacy! For my legacy is the will of the one true God!!”

Cpt. Caller remained fixated on the Dust Devil with his unblinking eyes under the shadow of his fishing hat. “What made you think you’ll have it that easy?” Then, his radio erupted.

*CROSSGUARD ACTUAL! GETTIN’ SOME REAL HEAT UP OUT ‘ERE!! HOW’S IT GOING THERE?!*

*Arthur-Five Actual. Arthur-Six made contact with Jackpot. Engaging Tangos in 3F. Over*

*Bravo-Foxtrot on stand by! Confirm Jackpot Geronimo! Over!*

“Captain.” His smile turned devilishly calm, “The more you waste time on me, the more your men would have to put up with your b*******. Is that such a wise thing to do? Are the quality of patriots diminishing? How unfortunate, but expected of an infidel nation.” he ended with a wicked grin.

“Yeah. I will admit, I might not be able to hold back.” The captain holstered his pistol. “… hey.” The Devil’s blood turned cold. “What are you saying? You fools can’t cross the Red Line y’know? You’ll get severely reprimanded!” His wide eyes shivered to the cracking of the captain’s knuckles. “Ain’t as bad as getting your corpse gangbanged and paraded over the slums, then chopped up and fed to child soldiers.” He stated indifferently. “I’m surprised you’re even concerned about me, or even knew about Red Line. Kinda makes it worse now.” The devil’s sweat froze. “Ah… you’ve heard about that, huh?”

“Mhmm. Anne Seyer. A good woman. Green Hat for almost five years. Would’ve made her my wife when we retired.”

“Yeah… she felt great. Wished you knew?” He tried agitating him, but the captain remained unblinking.

“Well. You’ll have to do.

“What?!” What did he mean by that?

“It’s just you and me, and we have all the time in the world.

The captain eerily stretched his neck, almost snapping himself. “M-My reinforcements will obliterate your measly task force if you don’t get this over with and pull out! Then we’ll see whose body gets dragged out and made pig s*** afterwards!!” The devil’s face twisted to desperation, and a hint of madness. “Maybe I’ll start with that other bitch on your side! What was her name? Riley? Yeah, I’ll f*** her while you watch!! LIKE GOOD ‘OL TIMES!!” Caller pulled off his gloves. “The only one getting f***** today is you, and I’m not pulling out anytime soon. Gotta trust the guys to do their job.”

“You’re just a Green Hat!!” His target fumbled on his words, trying to tame his shaking legs, “A glorified diplomat who uses others to do the dirty work for them!! You wanna play dirty? You’re in the wrong field and years too early!” He grasped for anything that resembled power. A faked grin. A confident spine. Anything that could break the soulless gaze before him. “You’d be correct.” The words relieved him, but dread came next. “But I’ve been on your trail longer than any wife you’ve had. Seen your tricks a few or so times. Can’t say I’ve mastered them yet, though.” The captain pulled out a pair of rusty tongs and a hammer. Only God knows where those came from. The devil visibly winced. “Y-You can’t cross that line!! You’re really going to break the Red Line Convention for your own satisfaction?! You patriot pig?!!”

“…Heh.” A small grin crept up to his lips. It was so dry, the cracks reached up to his face. “Who’s gonna know?”

“Y-YOU INFIDEL!!” The devil screamed, stumbling to back away. “STAY BACK!! YOU DEPRAVED, IMMORAL, CREATURE!!” As he lost his control to inhuman fear, his foot stepped on something that caused him grave misfortune. “WhA-!!” He saw a rotting peal fly over as the world tumbled down to oblivion. Then, his vision violently twisted, snapping his throat shut. He reflexively gagged out blood, but a sharp blow to the head cracked his skull open, spilling out his last thoughts of escape and vengeance. His vision was blurring. His memories were fading. The last thing he heard was only the painful ringing of his ears before everything went silent forever. The room remained still.

*3F Clear. Arthur-Five moving to Six. Over.*

Cpt. Caller stared at the body of the prey he had been hunting down for almost a decade. Many lives had been taken by him. Many more ruined. Now, the Dust Devil was lifeless before his eyes, next to a wooden table with an protruding rusty nail now coated in crimson. His death a pitiful whimper.

*WOOOWEEE!! CROSSGUARD-ACTUAL! CLEAR OUT’ERE!! HOW’S IT GOING THERE?!*

“…S***.” Three more flashes followed. Then another three. And then, the Captain emptied out every shot of his pistol onto the dead corpse, riddling it with bullet holes and lead. He walked up to the bastard, and stomped on his head. “S***. S***. S***. S***-” He kept stomping, harder and harder, every kick deforming his pale stiff face, ripping the skin, cracking the skull, until it caved in from the weight of his range.

S***!!!

With all his anger, he threw the pistol down, smashing the body’s ribcage open.

“CAPTAIN!!” Another man stormed the room. His rifle automatically pointed to the target but as unreadable as he was, he clearly hesitated. If the bloodied mess of a barely recognizable body was any sign, the mission was long over. And standing beside it was his unblinkingcaptain, the one who fashioned himself with a fishing hat rather than a helmet like any sane person. He might have been the shortest in the team, at just 5’10, but everyone knew he was the captain. His unfazed glare peeked out under the shadow of his fishing hat. He was characteristically quiet, recovering a bloodied pistol.

“… confirm target?”

When the captain gave one stoic nod, The four-eyed demon relaxed his breath. It had been a long chase, but the deed was now done. A gentle but firm hand settled on his shoulder. He gripped the radio piece hanging on his neck, and uttered history.

“For God and country—Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.”

Those words travelled far. From the radios of fellow Fireteam Sword on standby, to Sniper Cell Shield overlooking the building, to Night Hawk in the sky, all the way to General Operations Directive back at headquarters.

“Confirm, HEЯO Team.”

“Geronimo EKIA.”

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And straight to the president.

“Well. We got him.”

That celebration was beyond them at the moment. They still had to get out of there. Cpt. Caller exhaled. He gripped his radio, his tone flat. “We’re going home.”

*HOOOWAAH!! CAPTAIN!* The radio exploded. *HOW’S ‘BOUT YOU TREAT US TA ‘GOOD ‘OL HOUSE?!*

*Better put up a good excuse to skip yer wife’s cookin’, Crossguard. I ain’t puttin up with dat s*** if I were ‘er.*

*AH, CAN IT!! WE AIN’T HAD IT FOR SIX MONTHS AND SHE DON’T SEND ME NO LETTERS!*

*Finally!! Bravo-Foxtrot moving in to recover Jackpot!”

*Shield-Six to Arthur, Might want to check your six.*

The radio chatter piped down.

“What? Shield means the child?” The four-eyed demon gestured to the child crawling over to her father’s dead body. Surely enough, this was its own tragedy, but what were they to do? The captain narrowed his eyes. The child was hunched back to the corpse, but she wasn’t sobbing. “Hey, kid. Move away from that-“

“Papa said.” She pulled out something from the loose tunic, and immediately the Captain and the four-eyed demon rearmed themselves. “Hey, Put that down.” The demon aimed his rifle at the child’s small hand. She was holding what looked like a smaller device with a trigger. A second detonator. “Papa said that if he was gone…” She sobbed. “…I’ll use this to bring him back.”

“Sandman.”

Sandman shot the device off the child’s hand. A high pitched scream erupted in the dark room. Although the four-eyed demon was on point, the sheer trauma of the shot was enough to leave heavy bruises on a small child’s fingers, causing her immeasurable pain.

*Arthur-Six, Evac is enroute. Pull out and rendezvous at Destiny. See you soon, HEЯO. Over.*

“You heard GoD. We’re out of here.”

As the men walked out, the sobbing of a child filled the walls. She cried in pain, and in misery all alone in the blood-stained room, memories of it left in the lead. The faint cries echoed in the mind of the dead-eyed captain. There was no gun fire or blood pumping to drown it out now. They were the remnants of a shattered home. Haunting like the ghostly wind in the silent compound. Like a silent house in a long and far corner of the world where everything wasn’t so tense and terrible. A place he had always hoped to return to, yet would only come to visit once in his many life times. But he was one of the few men without such problems. Not since the mental image of a home had long faded from his mind. In a quiet place without a directive, those images would resurface in the form of shattered glass. And they will begin their torment, forcing him to piece back together a warped warmth that once blossomed from behind. Those were the burns etched unto his steel resolve. And those burns were aching again.

That’s it?

His mind grew uneasy.

Ten years of Inhumanity. And he gets killed by a wooden table?

The pupils in his unblinking eyes shook of something long unkempt, and restless.

I assisted the kill of a wooden table?!

“CALLER!!” Reality once again pulled him back, but it was too late. He found himself frozen stiff with a child clinging behind his back, tears pouring out of her reddened face. Her rags had been removed, revealing a vest with many wires and makeshift explosives plastered around it. On her small hand a pull pin. His daughter was a mere tool to him. A last laugh beyond the grave. “G-God is…”

“S***!!” Sandman aimed for her forehead, but his captain steeled himself.

*Arthur-Six, what’s going on?!*

“OUT. NOW.” He methodically turned to the little girl, and wrapped himself around her tight. “DAMNIT CALLER!!” Sandman followed without a second thought. Cpt. Caller squeezed the girl tight, his unblinking staring back at her frightened ones. For all his built experiences through countless deployments through and through, nothing has ever once fazed him. But just this once, his steel resolve softened as a warm glow engulfed them both.

“No less, for a goddamn terrorist…”

And in an instant, the world turned to white as Cpt. Caller, leader of HEЯO Team, faded to nothing.

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