*FEED INTERCEPTED. MERGING WITH DATA STREAM….MERGED. TARGET MARKED.
*RUNNING SLEAZE PROGRAM. TARGET MARKED.
!!!MATRIX FEEDBACK DETECTED. G.O.D. OVERWATCH IMMINENT.
*LAUNCHING PSEUDO-OWNER AGENT. TARGET MARKED.
*LAUNCHING BABY MONITOR. G.O.D. OVERWATCH SCORE = 29.
*COPYING FEED. OS = 32
*DELETION OF ORIGINAL FILE COMPLETE. OS = 36
06.30.78 17:15 military standard time.
Soldier’s Neural Log #548. Visual feed attached according to protocol.
Private Hillcox reporting. Even though it’s been two years since my last contact from HQ, I knew that if I kept hope alive, I’d be called back. I understood the repercussions of my previous actions, and have come to accept the terms of my temporary decommission. It was ultimately for the best, and my team needed me to be removed. I was too volatile after the incident.
Still, I couldn’t give up on the dream that one day HQ would need me again. I’ve waited long and hard, and today I received contact from a colonel. I have been called back to duty, but I can’t share many of the details. This appears to be one of those “top secret” missions, but I can share with you this, my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms: the Avengers are real, and they are still on active duty.
I’ve begun this log on Need-To-Know status so that only the squad I’ve been building during my civilian station can access it, as well as HQ should they need to send in a recovery team or provide aid. The Avengers, of course, are a capable team, but protocol states that a soldier is to log their location and upload all critical video feeds to base in order to keep comms optimal.
This team, led by Colonel Johnson, has a protocol for rank that is peculiar to a private like me – they don’t refer to each other by rank and act extremely casual on mission. But, I suppose this is part of their elite training and could enable them to pursue teamwork-oriented strategies without comm-obstacles. I’ll have to ask HQ if this is part of my training during the debrief. Until then, I will evaluate this new strategy and determine its value to my team.
Two of the Avengers appear to have magical capabilities – a male troll and a female elf. They also have seen fit to give one of our honored veterans a place amongst their ranks, a testament to their golden hearts and respectworthy souls. This veteran has seen extreme action during his tour, and he bears the woeful signs of our calling, but he is a good man, indeed, and he has taken me under his wing. He’s like the father I never had.
The troll appears to be the Strategic S.O. on this team, and the elf must be the team’s civilian relations and research officer. From the stories I have heard and the way others interact with the veteran, I believe he must be a counterintelligence expert as he is a master of diversionary tactics. They are a small team, but I am impressed with their wide breadth of capabilities thus far. I will do my best to make my country proud and fill my role as weapons and gunnery sergeant, provided they grace me with this promotion and I pass my initial training period.
We engaged in a covert mission at 1700 hours to rescue citizens from a habitation in a location in Everett I will keep confidential until instructed further. However, the colonel and chief research officer stated they had received a distress call for another mission. The team agreed they should perform reconnaissance.
The strat-s.o., C.I.E., and I ran into difficulty with local KE law enforcement, and I was initially concerned why the colonel did not pull rank and jurisdiction. However, I now understand the necessity of keeping our cover at all costs, even if it means using covert means to circumvent civilian legalities. I still don’t feel quite right with it – the need to do things illegally when we have full legal jurisdiction in a combat zone – but I have learned that sometimes in war the ends justify the means, and there is a depth to covert special ops that I could not have realized otherwise, and I thank the strat-s.o. for helping me see this. I know I will become the best soldier I can be under this team’s tutelage, and I’ll work harder than ever to earn their respect and make my country proud.
The strat-s.o. shared his expertise on the enemy, and we learned that we were dealing with paranormal critters known as “Demon Rats,” larger versions of Devil Rats that could command Devil Rats as well as normal rats. He also revealed that we may encounter up to four variants of the species, including ones that could carry electrical shock, VITAS-3, or other magical properties.
When the C.R.O. and colonel returned, they debriefed with the team about another mission that might have taken priority. That led me to believe that this habitation mission may be some sort of training mission designed for me. We were about to disengage and address the new priority, but the team chose to complete my training first after evaluating our operational time-frame.
After gaining entrance to the strike-zone, I took point, and we proceeded toward the target. We encountered a magical barrier, but our magical support team made short work of the wards placed on the structure. It was horrifying to see that petite elf undergo such a traumatic experience, although I could not imagine what she saw that I didn’t. Still, she appeared revolted, and from the talk I heard, it had something to do with slime or sludge. The troll lent a supernatural strength to her, though, and she was able to press through the grime she perceived to tear down the barrier.
Overcoming the barrier, we entered the 1st sub-level of the habitation, and were immediately engaged by hostiles. I feel I did not react optimally during my first engagement with the enemy since the incident, and I hope this does not influence the colonel’s view of my abilities too heavily. I was slow, and because I reacted slowly, my team suffered. I take full responsibility, and I am resolved to understand my responsibilities during our team’s efforts more thoroughly.
The C.I.E. acted so quickly, I didn’t remember my training. I should have provided cover-fire immediately. But, because of my failure, he was forced to compensate. His heroics are an inspiration, as my visual feed will show. Rather than allow us to lose ground or be overrun, he pulled out a fragmentation explosive device, charged the enemy and punched it down that giant rat’s throat. The demon rat’s body absorbed most of the blast, but the C.I.E. was forced to endure the residual shockwave at ground zero. He was thrown 9 meters, bounced off the wall, and fell prone. He sustained grievous injuries that would have killed a normal man. His selfless effort protected the lives of our team and reminded me why I joined our great nation’s defense force.
The team wasted no time in rushing to his aid. The colonel and C.R.O. began speaking in some sort of elvish code, and enacted a plan so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye, I’m not ashamed to admit. When they drew heavy pistols, it was like watching two graceful snakes uncoil to strike at those disgusting rats. Words do not do it justice, my brothers and sisters. It made my chest ache and struck a fire in my loins. They opened fire on the second demon rat, forcing it to adjust its evasive pattern on the first shot and driving it into direct line of fire of the second shot. When it fell dead, the control it had over the other rats was broken, and they began to scatter. I laid on the trigger and spent my clip trying to mop them up, providing cover fire for our strat-s.o. as he closed the distance to the C.I.E. He placed his huge hands on the broken, torn form of the C.I.E. and – I swear to my dear lord and savior – his wounds began to glow and mend! I have never seen anything like it in all my short years on this good earth. The C.I.E. regained consciousness and began to live again, as I stand witness to his miracle. The C.R.O. brought a medkit to attend further to his injuries, and I am certain he will continue to be operational during this mission. He will require medical attention when we debrief, however I am certain he will not be defeated so easily. He is an Avenger, after all.
We are establishing a base camp and point of retreat quickly, and then we will continue the mission. I am a little intimidated at the severity of this training op. Still, if I am to join the Avengers, I suppose I must learn to endure dangers of their magnitude. Semper Fi, my brothers and sisters. I will log on again at our next strategic pause.
Private Jeffrey Hillcox, 1st Class
UCAS Army Corp
Weapons and Gunnery Divison
Civilian Assignment Status – Ares Weapons World Sales Representative, Eastwood Strip Mall 34th and Clover St.
Avengers Program Trainee