The warm wind blew through the hair of a young girl walking around the center hub of a huge military base on the sea, with nothing in view except the huge metallic constructions that formed the said base. In truth, it was called the Motherbase by the soldiers that lived here, and it was a large complex housing several hundred personnel. The beautiful soldier passed by one of the struts that formed it, and she could see five other soldiers, smoking some hardly paid cigarettes and drinking some beer while complaining about the guard shift, as always. She smiled at that simple thought, as she didn't find guard duty to be that bad, since it was easy, calm, you could observe the beautiful blue sky with the birds flying, and combined with the sound of the waves crashing through the foundation of the base, creating that easy, calm and pacifist atmosphere. Which is kinda ironic, considering what they do here at FOX-HOUND. They are soldiers, going into war, or infiltration missions, killing people and creating waves and waves of endless, pointless conflict.
The creator of those thoughts is Catherine, codenamed Silent Cat, which pretty much fits her personality. A young beautiful girl, that should be having fun with friends, and discovering all the beautiful things there is to life. Instead, she was here, a soldier, a killing machine. Exactly just like a cat, beautiful, but if you don't watch you'll end up with a missing eye, and she would done it in silence. Even through she was a good soldier, she still didn't had the chance to prove her worth on a good mission, she was apparently too green in the eyes of the commander of the base, Seth Adams, codenamed Panther. Those thoughts of pointless guard duty running through her head, torturing her, since she wanted to prove who she was. Damn it, if she sees him, she would definitely talk to him about it... And there he was. In front of her, a few meters away, talking to a man in an expensive-looking silver suit. She guessed it was one of those guys from ArmsTech coming down from Langley, to berate Seth for his last mission in which four new recruits were killed when one of them accidentally tripped an alarm, causing a fairly large military force to come down upon them, overwhelm them, and... Making what happened. Only Seth and two other recruits got away, but no matter how Seth tried to explain the event, it was still considered a failure by ArmsTech. Those guys behind fucking desks don't know how it is to be on dangerous missions. Shit happens, no matter how skilled the soldiers sent are. Even the legendary Snake failed sometimes.
As she was dreaming in that ocean of thoughts, she was broke back into reality as Seth waved and called her to come to him. She nodded and began to make a light jog to her commander. Here, at Motherbase, like any normal army, hierarchy is important, but they add a spin on it by all having different codenames and not reveal theirs, even to fellow comrades, since sometimes... Your friend can transform into an enemy by the vicissitudes of ironic fate. She guessed that she was the only one who knew his real name as when she accidentally dropped his real name, he calmy turned his head to look at her angrily, and everyone around him look dumbfounded. In return, he was the only one who knew who knew who her father was.
Catherine had met him when she was fifteen, and he was the one who gave her lessons on rock climbing, gun control and the basics of sneaking when her father was away on mission. A year prior, he'd contacted her, stating that ArmsTech had made a deal with the military to revive The FOX-HOUND project, he was placed in charge of the Alpha Unit in charge of R & D and Special Forces Operations, while the Forward Operation Bases were lead by separate people, and managed single units such as the medical unit, another R & D, and more dangerous or experimental weapons division had their own location to minimize health risks. She inquired on why he would be telling her this, he replied, stating he wanted her to join his unit. She happily accepted, and three months later she started working on the Motherbase. Seth would often be the one going on missions, either by himself, or with other agents, at least once a week, always coming back with one bullet wound at the minimum, at max, he wounded his leg so badly he couldn't walk for three weeks. She often dreamed of going on her own missions, being the hero, saving the day, getting the girl, but she knew she was far too green to be going on missions on her own. Around Christmas, she requested that Seth bring her along on his next outing, he stated since it was an S rank, she couldn't come along due to the extreme dangers. She understood the reasoning, but it still left her distraught.
Catherine stopped in her tracks as she watched Seth talk with a man in an expensive-looking silver suit. She guessed it was one of the guys from ArmsTech coming down from Langley to berate Seth for his last mission in which four recruits were killed when one of them accidentally tripped an alarm, causing a fairly large military force to come down upon them and overwhelm them. Seth and two other recruits got out, but no matter how Seth tried to rationalize the event, it was still considered a failure by AT.
Seth waved to Catherine to come to him, she nodded and made a light jog to her Commander. She saluted, he nodded for her to be at ease. "Yes, sir?"
"Cat, this is Agent Jericho from ArmsTech, he's here to make sure the money they're spending isn't going to waste."
Catherine looked at the man, nodded and said "Nice to meet you."
He just grunted at her, turned back to Seth "You better turn this around. Keep in mind we can replace you easily."
"Yes, sir." Seth said as Jericho boarded his helicopter.
As the vehicle departed, Catherine grumbled "What an asshole."
"He may be, but he had a point. Listen, Cat. I need you to do something for me."
"I need you to go on a mission."
Catherine's jaw dropped "Really?"
"Yes, my leg is acting up again, and I believe it's time for you to go out on your own."
"Solo!? Are you serious?"
The old man smiled "Yes, now head down to R & D, get your gear together, set up your depart time, and Cat."
"No Buddies, alright?"
"Yes sir! Thank you sir!"
He bent in, his head coming within inches of hers, she noted he held his leg "Don't let me down, Catherine."
She walked over to the R & D lab, thumbing her Codec and dialing Katnis's number "You won't guess where I'm heading."
"The nerd cave."
Catherine sighed "You're on sniper duty today aren't you?"
"Yup, what's going on? Boss got you on a supply run?"
"Nope, heading on my first operation!" The joy emanating from her voice
"Oh my god! Congrats! Solo or group?"
"Solo. I'm going to choose my gear now, wish me luck!"
"Good luck sweetie." __________________________________________________________________________________________
She drove down the beaten road, littered with debris from crumbled buildings, she could see items of families that used to live there from her jeep, most broken from shell casings or raids from thieves. She looked down the street as many of the people who formerly lived there huddled together, sobbing over their past lives. They'd look up at her, scorn, hatred in their eyes. To them, she was just a tourist who got a cheap vacation to a third world country. She'd gotten in under the guise that she was a reporter trying to get the word of their civil war out to the public, to try and get help, but the black armored guerrilla vest gave her nasty looks, she'd guessed they saw through her deceit, or they just didn't trust anyone with a flag on their chest that wasn't their own.
She peered back to the road, trying to forget the hateful glares, she looked over to her right for a second to look at the weapon she brought to the field with her, a UN-ARC-M non-lethal assault rifle. Ruby, Seth's second in command chastised her for taking it on mission instead of an M4 or an AK-12. Catherine just brushed her off, as Catherine wanted to be her own soldier, she didn't want to be a killing machine, as she saw no reason to kill a guard to make her life easier. Seth's early training sessions rang through her head "Only kill if you have to." That one line rang through her head over and over like a broken record.
Catherine was snapped out of her thought bubble by a road block, she brought the old jeep to a stop and put it in park. She craned her neck to see two Militia guards dragging a person out of his car, and hit him over the head with the butt of his rifle. While she was distracted by the commotion at the checkpoint, she heard something to her right, a large pickup truck came barreling down the alleyway. She had no time to react as the truck collided with her jeep, sending her flying out, and landing against a pile of rubble, and she blacked out.
Feeling returned to her body as she awakened, then the distant sounds of gunfire, explosions, the boots on the ground above her muffled by the concrete. She opened her eyes, but was only greeted by more darkness. She knew she was on a bed, she could feel the thin sheet beneath her hand as she gripped the mattress. Catherine struggled a bit, but found her right hand was secured by a zip tie. She ceased her struggles to catch her breath, but when she did, her head started to flare with pain, right above her right eye, she tried to rub the pain away with her left hand, but was greeted by a burning sensation.
"Tsk tsk tsk, you know the that will only hurt you more.", A familiar voice said in the darkened corner of the room.
She looked around, she saw nothing, "Who's there?"
The ceiling light flickered on, revealing a man dressed in a black three piece suit, perfectly blending into the room. A silver-white cane with a chrome fox head on the tip, and a fedora on his head, a five o'clock shadow graced his face, and a small, but deep red scar above his devilish smile.
"You know who I am girl, I am the one who gives you nightmares, I am the one who gave you those scars on your stomach, I am the one who shattered your ribs, I am the reason you choose not to kill!", The man said, his voice getting more intense
"I have no idea who the hell you are.", she replied, trying to keep the fear out of her voice
The man stepped forward, avoiding the light, "I am your negative thoughts, I am the demon on your shoulder, the voice that keeps you up at night...I am-"
The man vanished as the door opened, main lights were switched on, and Seth entered with two soldiers at his side.
"Set-Panther!" Catherine said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Seth gave her a hug, minding the wound on her head, "Hey there girl, you miss me?"
She just nodded, "I...Jesus...help."
He backed off a bit, "What's wrong? What's hurting?"
"I'm seeing him." She said, her voice cracking at the end.
Hours later, Catherine sat in front of the bases medical head, Dr. Michiko Takiyama, she was well liked around the base, not just because of her overall nice, kind, loving behavior to her co-workers, but also due to her amazing figure which got glances from everyone on base.
"So," Michiko said "When did the hallucinations start?"
"I told you, after I got into the car wreck, went unconscious." Catherine said, annoyed that she forgot
"Oh that's right, silly me. Well you seem to be healthy-aside from the concussion you received. My best guess is that it's the concussion that's causing these hallucinations of yours, "he" should vanish as it heals. Tell me, is he in here now?"
Catherine glanced over Michiko's shoulder, the apparition was indeed in the room, but now dawned a white suit vest, his fedora and jacket were gone, and he seemed to be "reading" the doctor's notes. The apparition met Catherine's glance and winked.
"Yes." She mumbled
"Is he...talking to you?"
"Come on now girl, it's been a decade since I nearly put a bullet through that pretty little blonde head of yours! Can't you learn to let it go?" The apparition shouted, standing up from his chair, his hat appearing from out of thin air as he placed it on top of his head
Michiko cleared her throat "He's talking now isn't he?"
"What makes you say that?"
"You look annoyed as all hell."
"I am, ma'am."
She smiled "Well, I'm sorry to do this, but you will have to be put on medical leave for a few days-a week tops."
Catherine blinked, "What, why!?"
"A woman hallucinating a man she shot when she was thirteen is on a base. In the middle of the ocean. Surrounded by high-tech weaponry."
"You have a point..." She mumbled "Fine."
"A few days isn't gonna kill you. If you have any problems, just call my codec, alright?"
Michiko bent down and gave Catherine a little kiss on the cheek "Now be good alright? I've got a few patients to attend to."
A few days later...
Catherine tossed and turned in her bed. She couldn't sleep, she'd gotten plenty of it, she wasn't allowed near her guns or knives to clean them, Katnis had cleaned her laundry, she left all her movies and books at home, her only company was her hallucination who wouldn't shut up. Finally she had enough, kicked her covers off, got dressed in her black tank top and hot pants and took a walk. While out on deck, she was greeted with the familiar sent of the sea, the cool wind brushing her face, she smiled a bit, as this was the most comfortable, most relaxed she'd felt in days.
"I like this view girl." The apparition said, breaking her mood
"Don't you ever go away?", Catherine mumbled
"Well I'm in your head, so no.", it replied.
"Hey, Cat! Over here!" another voice shouted.
Catherine looked around for a moment before seeing a person waving to her on the usually-empty platform. She made her way over, where she was greeted by a "campfire" in the center.
"Hey, what's going on, I thought you guys would be on shift?" she asked
"Panther gave us the day off, we decided to have a picnic, sit down, have a burger." Katnis said.
Catherine looked at the crowd in front of her, they were all members of her unit, Rhyno hailed from Germany, he was a large man, six foot, seven, three hundred fifty pounds of pure muscle, he had blond hair, blue eyes. He preferred heavy weaponry like shotguns and MG's to other guns. He was the one usually sent into war zones to clean up the mess. On his left was Sting Ray, he was a silent man, he had brown hair and green eyes. He'd taken a punch to the throat, severely damaging his vocal cords. He preferred shock gloves and his Sawed-Off shotgun, which he only used the latter in emergencies. He was commonly teamed up with Rhyno to complete missions, as Rhyno would usually intimidate and talk, while Sting Ray would take out targets stealthily. On his left was Gordon, his codename was Hammerhead, although he was technically a soldier,he'd shaved his head before joining the unit, and he had brown eyes. He'd only been on one mission where he was the long range, sniper. He instead chose to be moved to the cook unit, as he found his combat skills to be lackluster. He'd had a crush on Catherine and would often try to ask her out, but she'd always turn him down, claiming that relationships between squad mates were off-limits, though the real reason for not accepting his offer wasn't against him, moreso, that he wasn't her preference. To his left, there was Hornet, he was about Catherine's height, he had a nice build, he had brown hair and blue eyes. He preferred to use an AK-47 and 1911. She wasn't exactly sure of his country of origin, but he had a slight French accent. Lastly, Katnis Rowe, otherwise known as Phoenix, she was taller than Catherine, actually came up to Rhyno's chin, she had raven black hair, green eyes, and she had a slight tan due to her constant guard duty. Her weapon preference was an SVD sniper rifle, and an SMG, oddly, she was the only member of the unit to have a custom emblem on her right shoulder, it was that of a white lily. It was common knowledge that she was a lesbian, but no one really cared. Everyone would tell her how proud they are of her decision, but there was no teasing, a few jokes every now and again when alcohol was involved, but nothing major. Catherine liked really everyone in the unit, but she'd never been one for a crowd, she'd always tended to be in a group of three, four at most. Seth knew this and chose to place her in this unit, had her get to know everyone a few weeks before being sent to Mother Base so she could get accustomed to being around a large number of people more often.
"Sure, why the hell not?" she said with a shrug
Hornet tossed her a beer, which Catherine caught, and gave a nod of thanks. She opened it and as soon as she took her first sip, Katnis nudged her.
"You been keeping up with the news?"
"I've literally been sleeping for the past three days."
"Ah, well. Long story short...well, remember how Russia made some land claims in Afghanistan and Iraq a few months ago?"
"Well they were ordered to give it up by the UN, but they refused. So now the UN ordered military forces to be deployed, now the base here is going to be used as a hub, soldiers going to and fro for the next few months."
"How long's the conflict supposed to last?"
"Panther thinks a year, at minimum."
"We'll be getting more traffic." Catherine said, annoyance lining her voice
"You won't be getting to enjoy it!" Seth said as he approached
"There is no way you heard that." Catherine said, unsurprised of his arrival
"I did girl. But I am glad you're here. I have an announcement." He said, grabbing her shoulder and giving her a smile "We've been given more contracts by the suits in D.C."
"The assholes in the White House or the assholes in AT?"
"Both. To make a very long story, short, we will all be getting more missions thanks to this conflict with Russia. In fact, at dawn tomorrow we are departing out to Afghanistan, one of AT's labs got hit hard by Russian troops, they need help evacuating equipment."
Catherine raised her eyebrow, "All of us?"
He nodded "All of us. So get some sleep."
Seth departed with Scarlet back the way they came, while Catherine and the rest of the unit celebrated, beer bottles piled up as they shared old war stories, embarrassing moments, and just as they went to put the "fire out", which was really just a lantern, Catherine noticed, that the apparition hadn't once appeared.