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Tobias rose his eyebrows, almost as if to comedic effect with her last sentence, holding back the chuckle.
"Holiday? What's that?" He sarcastically asked, chuckling as he gave his coffee a sip, a gentle one as it was still roastingly hot, as he concurred, knowing she had a point. They had seen some serious shit together, some very exotic places too- and while many of them were just cleaning out insergent attacks, sometimes it did amp up bigger than that. Tobias couldn't help but feel with all the different moves mercs were making, they were going to be kept busy, and flushed with cash as he turned back to Gabby.

"Yeah, I know how you're feeling. Time away from this would be pretty decent....anything wtih a decent riptide would work wonders." The Cornishman added in a resigned manner, sipping away before continuing.
"I suppose there's plenty of places they could send us, but the list seems to always change of late. I remember getting into a firefight with a bunch of mercs back when I was in Greenland running a security detail on a mine there. Without the armour, of course. Made me think....they can send us to some war-torn shitholes, but it's only a matter of time till we end up toe to toe with people who might actually be better trained, in places where there's shadow companies. You know, people who might actually mgiht be a serious threat..." Tobias added, sipping down a bit more coffee as he looked dead into Gabby's eyes, deadpan as he could be.
"Though mind you, that'd be a really fucking bad Monday for them when we turn up." He gave a wry chuckle, knowing sure, it was important not to downplay other people in their profession, it was worth remembering they might have had a bit of an ace up their sleeves.

Finishing up the donut and putting the paper wrapper back on the table, he gave another gentle swig at the coffee, Tobias leaning back as he checked over his phone quickly, skimming through the headlines and then looking back to Gabby.
"Shit, do you remember when we first ended up in this company? All fresh faced, unsure what we even signed up to....makes me wonder, going back to regular infantry work someday is going to be surreal. That is, if we ever do..."
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Gabby let herself get immersed in the low-level mid-morning burble of the coffee shop, her darkly luminous eyes drifting outside to watch the sporadic traffic on the road adjacent to the business park; all of it nondescript and perfectly normal as she picked at her muffin and popped another light, spongey and chocolatey chunk past her lips, eyes flicking to Tobias as she listened half to him, and half to the recycled indie-pop that warbled through tinny speakers and underlined the rigid normality of the place.
She nodded to Tobias' words about tangling with mercs and other undesirables. The big woman had her own checklist of awful shit she'd squared off against in the past, and she smirked and gave a soft laugh as he deadpanned a response. She finished her muffin and dusted her hands off, taking a sip of her hot chocolate to wash the last of it down and turning a more attentive look as he continued.
"Mmm, having worked with the suits and in the way we have, going back to Israel and back to my old role wouldn't be the same; I'd just be thinking of how much easier it would be to do everything if I had what we've got here. Not to mention the pay cut," she said with a wry smile. "I'd say it'd be a bit more regular working back with the Israeli Police, but... well, no two days are ever the same there either. I just suppose the work is a lot more, eh" she shrugged and twirled her long fingers. "I don't know, more up-close-and-personal work; tracking, investigating, interviews and paperwork than what we do". She frowned as she recalled why they'd stepped out in the first place. "Well. Maybe not the paperwork..."
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Tobias chuckled, sipping down a bit more coffee, agreeing with the Israeli's sentiment, giving a gentle nod to agree as he swallowed the boiling beverage.
"Yeah, I was gonna say, you cops do a lot of that...if we do more, that's something hey." The Cornishman commented, looking at his legs, then back at Gabby. He had to admit, this made for a welcome change from sitting in the office- even if it was a regular haunt, it was at least a change of pace, a change of scenery from the constant crap that was going on in there. Still, much as it was boring at times, it allowed them to do the work that they did, advanced as it was.
"I mean, it'd be easy to kerbstomp a perp with one of those things. Who needs kevlar when you've got several inches of titanium and composite plate, hah." He wryly chuckled, knowing that with Gabby's physique, it was hardly like you wanted to be on the other side of an arrest from her. That'd be an asskicking and a half, Tobias had to admit...though he was enough of a scamp in his younger days to know you didn't have to fight, you just had to run.

"But yeah...that kit...it's the only way I'm in work I guess. No chance I'm working any other security work with these legs. I'm just enjoying the ride while I'm here, I suppose. But I guess I'll find a way to land on my feet if I did end up out of work, right?" With that, he clacked his metal legs, and gave a shit-eating grin to the god-awful pun he'd just played, knowing he'd almost certainly get a sigh out of Gabby. While she likely did that, he sipped down the rest of his brew, clearing his throat as he looked back across to the HQ, across the far end of the car-park.
"And on that note...wanna get back? Now we might be done with this paperwork, we might get to go actually have some fun today." He retorted, wiping his stubbled face with the napkin he'd gotten with his coffee, wiping any marks from the coffee off his face.
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The pun got the rise Tobias expected, as the big woman cracked a smile and rolled her eyes in amusement as she mirrored his action, dabbing her lips with a napkin, leaving a smudge of dark ruby lipstick on it before she stood up and stretched a little, elicting a crack and a pop from the powerful muscles in her shoulders. "Yes, let's. Hopefully, as you say, there might be something more interesting waiting for us now. And a break helps with feeling refreshed". She lead the way to the door, feeling a bit more a bounce in her step from the influx of sugar, and holding the door for someone coming in, and Tobias as they went back out into the morning air and back towards the office.
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Tobias led the way back in, feeling a little more bouncy just like Gabby did, high on the sugar and caffiene that felt like it was fuelling him on a dreary morning like this. Enough to put him back in motion, and enough to get him back into some sort of state of affair, as he led the way back, and in through the door of the office with a swipe of his keycard. The office hum was the same as it was before, as he headed through the corridor, checking the time on his watch and their next meeting. They had a bit more of a practical session to attend- new attachments and upgrades, as well as a bit of a running brief on their next deployment, or at least, forecasted one. Things could change so much in this industry- possible operations fall through, but then new opportunities arose. They had to be ready for them, because when it came, the company's payday was always good.

Stepping into the lift, Tobias pinged the button, the doors closing as they headed down to the basement again.
"This shit never gets old...back into the fray." He added, giving a gentle yawn as the doors opened, the slick and clean facade of the basic office up top giving way to the concrete hallways, and the black, yellow and white coloured walls and bare concrete among it making the scene far more stark to the relatively warm office above. This felt technical, cutting edge, and like the money was spent on the essential in the rooms and labs. But their one to head to was where the suits were stored, the lack of personel masking the fact that they were mostly working on their two. Approaching the secured door, Tobias provided a retina, finger and card swipe to get the door open, a feat that Gabby would have to follow to gain entry through the double-layered door, with a second through a small atrium. The cargo exit was much the same, a lead that would make entry just that slight bit more hard to reach a pair of very, very expensive exoskeletons.

Coming through, the black chassis of Firehound and the green-black of Stormhound were perched up on two racks, being worked upon by a few engineers and techs. Being one himself, Tobias enjoyed tinkering too, more to make the suit fit his legs more than anything else. That the techs didn't understand- but he did, and knew how working his prosthetics or stumps inside would actuate the suit's legs. It wasn't a remote toy, it felt like an actual extension, a genuine piece of metal in his legs...that weighed far more and could pound dirt. The sight was something to see, as one of them clambered off the Firehound, the sight of the short ginger-haired Scottish gal a sight for sore eyes.

"Hey up Gabby, Tobias! You two alright? Here to have a look at the upgrades? It's been four days, I know, but these have been saved up, and your lass here can shit miracles, you know!" She asked, with a charm of Alexandra Maclod something Tobias found endearing. A mechanical engineer by trade, she seemed to be the link between the R&D, and the actual mechanics that went into making the suits sharper, twitch, and actually work when the components were made, fitted and intergrated into the complicated mechanics of it. A team worked with her, but she was their main liason- the go-to person to ask about things. Blunt, eccentric and unintentionally humorous would describe her well.
"Yeah, not bad Alex. You good?" Tobias asked, as Alexandra nodded, looking back.
"Yeah, we're good. Both of your suits didn't take any major dents, I'll give you that. You know I get pissy when you bring it back and it has lots of bullet holes and dents?"
"The feeling is sort of mutual, Alex. Though it's what they pay us all the big bucks for. Saves us from getting full of holes with em on right, yeah?" Tobias added, Alex nodding as she gave a wry chuckle.
"Yeah, but your suits would at least be here, getting clean and polished...but ah yeah, of course you guys are important too! So anyway, upgrades upgrades upgrades." She said exitely, walking around, looking back to the Cornishman.

"Tobias, I saw the requisition you put in. I've set up a pnumatic harpoon on that left arm, as requested. System can't carry the weight of the suit yet, so you aren't climbing up walls with it, but it will go through a couple of inches of steel, and people, like butter. Retratcts with a cable linkage, and it has at least a handful of uses on it before the blade and firing mechanism is fucked. Doesn't add much to the arm, but like I said, I'll try and get a motor on it in time. Get you reeling in, and pulling the suit in no time." She said, pointing it out, Tobias giving a quiet whistle, the tungsten-black point jutting out nicely.
"Splendid. What else?" He asked, taking it in, the imposing stature of the towering armour always bringing out the kid in him.
"So harpoon...ah yeah, the entry mechanism. Set it up now a bit easier for you to clamber in when you're in field. Yours immerses more than Gabby's by design, but I know you said you want to actually go stretch those titanium legs of yours. That I wanted to sort for ages, you too, sorry for the wait on that one. And lastly...there's an improved servo in the legs. The Firehound's Overcharge is a bit more powerful than the Stormhound, so thought you might like it. Means when you overcharge the suit it should have a lot more linearity to how it applies force. Meaning you don't jolt as much when you sprint, basically and it goes a bit harder." She explained, Alexandra one of the few people to show genuine child-like exitement at times, though she said it all as succinctly as possible.
"Nicely done. You've earned yourself a cuppa with that one."
"A bit more than that, surely?"
"Fine. Get the guys to get you a pack of Bourbons too." Tobias wryly said, giving a grin to Gabby, sighing as he eyed up his suit, then looking to Gabby's.
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Gabby moved along quietly in Tobias wake, smiling gently as she walked through the building with him, nodding or giving greetings to those she recognised as they headed into the basement and passed others at work. She followed suit with her security checks and stepped into the maintenance bay a few steps behind the slighter man, taking her hands from her jacket pockets as she walked closer to the pair of suspended Exosuits, hanging by chains from suspension points in black-and-yellow hazard striped steel frames. She glanced over as Alexandra greeted them, pressing one of her hands against the Stormhound's cool metal chest and looking into the blank visor that was above her own head height, before turning back around and listening in to the chat.
She chuckled as Alex mentioned the harpoon and the cable, grinning to Tobias. "Aw, so no Spiderman adventures for you yet, eh?" she said with a smirk, before listening attentively at the rest of the upgrades and giving an appreciative nod at the increase in performance and capability in her partners' suit. The big woman lightly rapped her knuckles against the suits' smooth armoured carapace and turned with a raised eyebrow to Alex in expectation. The ginger-haired woman grinned in reply and flicked through the tablet she held up.
"Don't worry, I got around to yours too. Let's see here; ah yeah. Wasn't too hard to add those mods you requested-" she tapped the screen of the tablet, and a small retractable camera popped up from the head of the suit; and another from the left forearm guard.
"They should let ya see around corners like you requested. And behind you as well. What else... stripped and re-skinned all the bearings in the joints, they're now about twenty percent quieter when you're moving, which added with the new padding on the feet makes you a lot more stealthy... well, for an eight-foot mass of electronics, steel and weapons anyway. Oh, that reminds me; your taser has been upgraded too. It's now an air taser, so you can make contact or short-ranged attacks with it to stun people."
Gabby made an appreciative murmur at that as Alex looked back down at the pad and then back up, an amused smile on her face as she locked eyes with the much bigger woman.
"Oh, and there's a message here from R&D for you... they said 'Please tell Ms. Bat-Seraph to stop requesting the Stormhound to be upgraded with Iron Man blasters and a Gundam beam sword'".
Gabby made an attempt at an innocent face which was immediately ruined by her sniggering
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Hearing her comment, Tobias gave a chuckle, looking up to the tall frame of his Firehound's black-grey armour, the lukewarm feeling of the carbon-titanium composite skin something like a Formula One car would have, albeit the skin only masked a cold, armoured core that could withstand a beating. A slight variation to the Stormhound, but one that had a different heart, a different idea. But no less relevant as a prototype, one that was going to get
"Not yet...but with enough creativity and a bit more mechanical torque I'm sure it'll happen in time. For now, it'll skewer nicely." He looked at it one last time, following Alex and Gabby over to her suit, listening to her upgrades. It seemed like she had gotten a new series of tools, even from afar. Tobias whistled, seeing the cameras pop out of the Stormhound, quite impressed with that feature.

"They literally gave you eyes in the back of your head....and your hand. That is kinda cool. Gonna be super weird, but then again, what isn't in this line of work...that'll help with any breaches." He commented, looking around the Stormhound as Alex continued, showing the rest of the performance upgrades off, oh, and the taser. Damn, now that was a cool tool...no doubt they were going to develop that one further, given it was mostly a stun-based weapon. Good for crowd control, but even his engineer's mind was whirring away with how to develop, change and make it even more exotic than it already was. Safe to say, no contact-tasing sounded like one hell of a way of putting someone down, if a swipe of an arm couldn't. Alex's last comment made him chuckle though, that was for sure. Tobias gave a disapproving, yet warm sigh, looking up to the Israeli with only a slight disdain.
"Shit Gabby, don't give the game up! That's something I'm working in my shed! Wait, did I say that out loud?" He wryly commented, laughing as he sniggered too, Alex looking on with a bewilderment, the kind that came with dealing with the two of them being the kinds of people that weren't classical engineers by trade.

"Riiight....anyway, that's all your upgrades, you two. Should have some more coming through soon after your next op. I believe you're needed over in the briefing room. The one that isn't upstairs. So I'd assume it's something fairly important...it's always a pleasure, you two. But bring them back in one piece, please?" Alex replied, putting the tablet away into the pouch as the ginger-haired girl packed up her other tools and cables for the diagnostics, the Cornishman giving a firm nod and taking a look at his watch, then back to the two.
"We do our best, but you know the score....thank you, Alex. Cheers for sorting this out with the team, much appreciated. Anyway, that meeting sounds like it could do with the next op on the horizon. Come on, Gabby, let's get going." Tobias commented, Alex giving a casual salute as the Cornishman led their way out of the room, giving one last glance over his shoulder at the Firehound, giving quiet, approving look at the thing that had stopped him being turnt into Swiss cheese not too long ago.

Walking inside the small briefing room adjacent to the suits, the sight of Bluestone sat in a blue-collared shirt and a pair of smart trousers and shoes, or as he really was outside of the field, Gavin de Vries- a tall, blonde-haired mid-40s something former operative, and he was the sight of someone who proved that old men in a field where it was likely to get killed were people you feared. He wore a pair of designer glasses, and an expensive watch on his wrist- an obvious statement of the fact that you made money in this game. He had given up that life of being an operative given he'd made his money doing stupidly risky shit and survived- so now as a team leader, he knew he got more than enough to support his lifestyle doing this sort of work. He didn't even have to manage too many people. Just two assets with an incredibly expensive pricetag attached to them...no pressure, right? So unlike the stereotypical South African merc who was utterly scary as shit and made every other reference to being a complete badass, Gavin was actually calmed down, if anything, impassionate yet caring. Gentle, but always with a good sense of humour behind him because of it. He'd probably take a few more years of this, retire and enjoy the quiet life. Maybe run a vinyard back home, on a nice, quiet farm.
"Afternoon, you two. How are we? Grab a seat." Gavin asked, his Afrikaner accent still strong, even in spite of the fact he'd lived in the UK for the best part of a decade now, and always giving Tobias the feeling he was definitely in a stereotype of some kind.
"Caffineated. Not dead. S'ppose that's alright." The Cornishman replied, taking a seat and pouring a glass of water for Gabby and himself from the jug on the table, watching as Gavin fired up the laptop across the desk from him, already connected up to the interactive whiteboard.

"Marvelous. So, Papua worked out very nicely for you, eh? Diagnostics from our meeting earlier seems to say your suits performed admirably. The client has already settled up with us nicely, as we expected- so no doubt they'll keep us on their list for future work. Wanted to start with that. You definitely earnt your paycheck this month. We appreciate it." He started, sipping down his water as Tobias did the same, taking a gulp.
"Cheers, Gavin. We do our best." Tobias replied, as Gavin nodded, seeing the PC fire up and finally boot up the briefing, the main bit he wanted to come onto. He wanted to get pleasantries out of the way- because what he was going to give them was going to be a bit heavier, and something he needed buy-in into.

"Splendid. So, we have another contract that has come through...lucrative, but way more sensitive. They're not all as easy as Papua, after all." He added firmly, as he pulled up the map on the interactive whiteboard behind him, bringing up the Eastern Med, and in particular, zooming in on Cyprus, bringing in a UAV reconaissance shot as well.

Zooming the map in, Gavin highlighted a large villa on the northern coast, the part Tobias knew was in Turkish Cyprus. The part that had been left behind after the Turkish invasion, a chunk that sat in legal no-mans land, even after decades of disputing. It hadn't recovered, if not, it had become worse, what with companies using small chunks of Northern Cyprus as a "R&D Zone" and effectively fencing off their chunks for labs, research centres and weapons-based facilities. More than just a bit of private land, it was theirs to do what they wanted with- beyond rules, law, and order. A part of the world that nobody wanted anyone to pay much attention to, even if it was so glaringly obvious to look at from the Israeli or western side. While it didn't compare to the DRC's, Greenland's or Central Asia's zones, which were enormous and allowed private firms to do far more, it did show an influence- the Turkish had ceded private companies the ability to run riot, if it brought in jobs and the ability to draw down their troops in a cold warzone, they would take it.

"This isn't going to seem like much, but this one will be a bit of a bastard. The man who owns this big coastal villa here is former General Mehmet Ali, a retired fella from the Turkish Army. Retiring in fact, from pretty much everything. Our client wants him captured, not killed, and a laptop taken from his office. Can't tell you what's on it, all you need to know, the client wants this, badly enough that they went to us very directly."

"What you're allowed to tell us? This sounds spicy. Definitely not our usual."

"It is...and don't read any more into it, Tobias. Now look, I know you two are specialists in blowing things to pieces, and this job doesn't fit your usual MO of killing insergents and taking on lots of them. But from what I can tell, he is well defended and most wouldn't be able to crack this nut. Not unless you get someone to infiltrate it....far too high a risk though. He has a platoon of troops on station given his connections and his need for security, automated sentry weaponry, and worse, the area he's in is a Centurion Security R&D area- small as it is, they have a QRF that would be on station if someone intruded on their land. And they aren't a farmer with a shotgun, as you know....turn that platoon into a couple of companies within an hour. They aren't protecting him- they just don't want any armed personel sniffing around, and if they see you...you will have a fight on your hands. It won't be easy, given a proper aerial or naval intrusion just won't be an option, and unless Centurion were willing to fuck over their reputation, they aren't going to want to hand this on a silver plate to us." Gavin began, zooming in on the villa, and the approach road it had up to the coastal villa.

"So, our plan instead, is to get you in as close as possible via other means. Mehmet has some building work going on at the bottom end of his villa, and his builders are bringing in an ISO-standard container....our client has pulled a few strings, and you can see where this is going. Before you can even say Trojan Horse on a greek island....yeah, we know. Our intel on this one from the client suggests they don't perform checks until his front gate.....at which point, you basically are going to have the chance to spring the trap on them. Get up the drive, clear the villa, find the General and grab him. And his laptop, and any dossiers, or paperwork. He'll likely hide in his safe room neext to his office...which given it's mostly bulletproof glass, you'll have no issue ripping him out of. There's a dock at the bottom of his villa you'll need to wait at once you get out- we'll have a boat get you out of there and back via the south." Gavin went through the plan, the look on Tobias's face firstly of shock, knowing this seemed a bit...well, out of wack compared to their usual insertions. Out of an aircraft, or in a mlitarised truck, it made sense but a cargo container? It seemed preposterous...but their boss hadn't let them down yet.

"What, and that boat will be fine? After a massive firefight in a remote villa? And Centurion are gonna just be fine with Operation Trojan Container?" Tobias asked with an enquiring look on his face, as perplexed most likely as Gabby was, the insertion one he still couldn't quite grasp.

"Yeah, that's one to write down for the actual op name, cheers Tobias. But yeah, it'll be fine. We can't insert you on a boat given you will get shot on sight from the compound. But given Centurion don't have a heavy amount of naval assets on station, we'll be able to get you out. I know it seems a bit insane, but given your armour, the fact they won't be expecting a threat like you, and the fact you'll be past most of the perimeter defenses, it plays into your hands nicely. Speed, aggression and clearing out the garrison will be key." Gavin reiterated, the enigmatic Bluestone knowing that it was going to be a difficult one to convince, but at the same time, their best play of action.

"Right, that works. Anything else?"

"I'd advise you don't take weapons that blow things up or shred things too much, and you go lighter than usual for this one- automatic shotguns and LMGs might be a better call for this run. Be ready for close-quarters fighting, basically. The soldiers guarding it are competent, they aren't skinnies with AKs, they have grenade launchers, LMGs, even light anti-tank weaponry, fuck, they're just about ready for World War Three down there. But no doubt your anti-personel loadout is something more than that. So you'll need to have the firepower to basically level them, but also something to work inside the villa with. Ah yeah, it is all plasterboard by the way....so you should be fine breaking through walls if your frames don't make it in his doorways. There's one area that isn't going to be accessible to either of you- the top floor of the villa sticks out of the hill he's had it built on, and if there's any hostiles in there, one of you will need to go on foot in there with cover." Gavin started, as he adjusted the map's zoom.

"Oh yeah!" Tobias said, with the accental voice, knowing the reference might be lost on people- what of breaking through a wall like the Kool-Aid guy. He felt the judgement from Gavin, as the South African shook his head, bringing in the map one more time, sighing.
"Right...Gabby, any questions?"
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Gabby grinned widely at Tobias' comment about building things in his shed, and laughed as Alex showed her confusion. She waved a goodbye to the technician as they made their way to the briefing room next door.
As they entered, she nodded in greeting to Gavin, following up her partners' response with one of her own. "Much the same as Tobias, sir. Charged up with caffeine, and bored of paperwork. Ready to get out into the field and do the practical part of the job".
She tuned in attentively as the South African began to talk. She found his demeanour and attitude comfortingly familiar; he reminded her of many of the higher ranks she'd encountered during her career with the IDF and the Border Police; people who'd done their time on the line and had the experience, knowledge, and professionalism to show for it, and bore it with understanding, quiet dignity and occasional dour humour, and understood the things their fellow personnel of lower rank were dealing with. She respected him as a result, as she knew he had the same for her and Tobias.

As the Op was revealed in detail, she could feel her eyebrows climbing into her hairline and a bemused smile growing on her ruby-painted lips. She swung slightly in her office chair as she considered the task, leaning back in the chair and looking over the images and information on the interactive whiteboard and pursing her lips. She gave a frown as the Cornishman mentioned the title of 'operation Trojan container', absently replying as she kept her attention on the screen.
"If we're going for Greek Myth, maybe 'Operation Pandora's Box' works better". She turned her attention to Gavin, one eyebrow quirked upward and a slight wry smile still in place.
"We couldn't get the amphibious kit finished in time for this one, eh?" she said ruefully, before shaking her head, raven ponytail swinging. "Well, it seems... not straightforward, but not like something we can't handle, necessarily. Bit more James Bond than we're used to, but unlike Commander Bond, we have bulletproof armour, and we don't need to be subtle. Like you said; speed and aggression".
Tobias made his comment and she caught the reference, rolling her eyes but a smile in place as she did so.
"I have a loadout in mind already, if it's mostly infantry we'll be dealing with. Shouldn't be too much worse or better than the last op; just in closer quarters and with a... 'unique' insertion and extraction, to say the least. When do we ship out - pun fully intended".
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Gavin's eyebrows raised with Gabby's remark for the operation idea with an even more apt take. It had to be that, though the irony wasn't lost on him that they were literally driving a container to the front door of this operational site. The blonde South African's hair was short, but remarkably, he had something left- a fringe that looked as good now as it probably did 20 years ago, when he was out in work himself.

"Okay....sorry Tobias, but that operation title wins for me. Yeah, we've got no amphibious kit ready yet- techs are still working on that, so we've kept it straightforward for this one. Straightforward as using a shipping container to get you close to the target can be...and yes, I don't expect you to take the general quietly. I don't know which of you wants to take the guy, but you'll find a way to convince him to come with you, I'm sure." Gavin added, musing a little in awareness that this was truly not something out of the ordinary, a tear up of the playbook.

"Fairs, I'll give you that one Gabby. I'm sure our charismatic methods will convince Mehmet to come with...that bit will need a bit of Bond." Tobias commented with a wry chuckle, as Gavin finished up the presentation, bringing in all the information on the board- the layout of the villa, a two and a half storey house bedded into the side of a hill overlooking the sea, with a seperate annex and compound for the troops using his abode as effectively a garrison. The general's ID was on the screen, as well as the suspected laptop on the screen. The complex was well defended, but Tobias knew they'd have the firepower to punch through, as Gavin sat up again, finishing up his cup of water.

"I am sure you will. You'll be shipping out tomorrow morning, and the delivery is due for 4pm, tomorrow afternoon. We'll get you in that container for 12, when you get the signal from the driver, kick the doors off that thing and raise hell. Your driver knows once you bring ragnarok in there to keep his head down and stick it in reverse. Don't keep him waiting, yeah? If you have anything more, give me a ring- send your manifests across and we'll get your suits tooled up. All good?" Gavin asked, as Tobias gave a simple nod, swigging his own down and looking across to Gabby.
"Sounds mostly good to me. Sitting in a shipping container for hours on end is gonna be fun. Though that said, I do have an idea for a loadout too. Been wanting to try it for a while...." Tobias added, Gavin nodding in response, the South African opening his laptop up, knowing he had a few bits of admin to run through. He left his operators to it- no need to overbrief, they knew the score, and anything more would follow.
"Well, I'll eave you to it then. I'll be in touch when we're closer in." With that, the Cornishman stood up, beckoning to Gabby to follow, knowing their work was done here. It felt like an operation that may not have on the surface fit the two armoured operators, but there was a feeling in Tobias's mind that if there was, they wouldn't have been on the contract. Infiltrating, like Gavin said would have been far too risky, and any other group of mercs, while being able to do the job, would make it far too messy. In a world of shadowy PMC conflicts, fucking over Centurion's own people in the process with a conventional attack would make things very, very messy.

Getting back into the workshop, Tobias made his way across to the bench that was "his", as the engineers had learned to leave Tobias a bit of space whenever he needed to start doing some technical work down by the suit, be it diagonostics or coming up with a design for the suit. He left it to the professionals who knew what they were doing, but they learned to give him some space- and he was happy to share that with Gabby. Brushing his long brown hair back a little, Tobias had a look about him of more a surfer, though knowing how mercs operated, they weren't all completely strict about hair and beard codes anymore- he had allowed himself a bit more stubble than usual, the look really adding to the fact he looked more likely to catch waves in Perranporth than bullets in Operation Pandora's Box. Bringing across a tablet from across the desk, he synced it up to the account on his laptop upstairs, the encrypted link bringing up a weapons manifest.

"Firehound- Lionheart"

Main (Carried): HK GMG (40mm Buckshot)
Shoulder-Mounted Munition : 2x Pods, 12x Mini-Missiles (High Explosive)
Secondary: 2x Vector KRISS with drum mags
Melee: Fire Axe, Harpoon
4x V40 Frag Cluster
4x M18 Smoke Grenades


Finishing up, he slid it over to Gabby, setting it up for hers, knowing full well she would have the ability to select her options on the suit of a loadout, as well as any other options.
"Have a fiddle on there- I've gone for the GMG with 40mm buckshot. Bit heavy, you might want to go for a couple of shotties or something else, but it might shred the infantry contingent nicely with a bit more spread than a usual buckshot round."
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Gabby looked over Tobias' shoulder as he went to work on his loadout, doing her best to be annoying and distract him in a friendly way as he went through, before relenting as he got to work properly. It was only a few minutes and he was done, and sliding it over to her. She accepted with a nod of thanks, meeting his eyes as he spoke.
"All right," she replied with a nod. "I think I've got a few ideas already. From what the boss briefed, looks like we'll be dealing with soft targets primarily... although; I hate surprises, and it never hurts to be ready".
Her slender brows curved as she concentrated on the screen, large but long fingers dancing across the icons as she tapped in the details for her own loadout specific to the mission, taking Tobias' advice onboard as she did so.

"Stormhound - Duner"

R. Arm - Auto-Shotgun (select-feed: Buckshot/FRAG-12)
L. Arm - Flamethrower
R. Shoulder - Recoilless Rifle (select-feed: Smoke/HEDP/Flechette)
L. Shoulder - GMG (select-feed: sticky foam/HE/CS Gas)
Secondary: 2x CBJ-MS with drum mags
Melee: Chainsaw
2 x Limpet Mine


"All of that combined with the shredders already onboard and my normal 'light and sound show', and I think those poor bastards are going to be wishing they'd stayed at home. I almost feel sorry for them; but who knows. Maybe there'll be some smart ones who actually run away this time, eh?"
She patted Tobias on the shoulder as she stood up. "At least this time there's not a massive time difference to make up with sleeping or whatever... and I doubt there'll be much else to other than sleep and wait once we're packed into our crate, either".
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Tobias could only peek over her shoulder, his own eyebrows raised as he chuckled, hearing her comment and knowing her loadout was one hell of a setup. She had a lot more firepower, but as always, they were an anvil and hammer together.
"Shit... that is quite the setup. Your creativity knows no bounds, Gabbs! I mean, I think we'll certainly ruin their holiday...a few of them will run, but they'll want to protect their boss. These are actual soldiers, and if they have anti-armour or anything heavy, it won't be skinnies handling those tools, so just keep your head. Ooooor....do something ridiculously awesome like you did on that BTR. Seriously, Gavin just lit up like a schoolgirl when he saw that....so friggin' cool. I dunno, do a fucking flip into his pool...we need to get our boss proper, eh?" He waffled, knowing she'd appreciate the support, knowing that while this operation seemed easy on the surface with just infantry, it could become anything but once they got there.

They'd need to take out a small but entrenched detatchment, and moving aggressively, quick and reacting to any bigger threats would get them their man- all before they were rumbled or set up. Taking the tablet, he stood as well, nodding to her next comment about getting rest, as he adjusted his shirt and his hair a little, the larger Israeli's comments he couldn't help but agree with.
"Aye, that's too true. We'll be waiting till our driver confirms it to us. Then we spring the trap...and that poor bastard is gonna have to drive the other way very, very fast."

-------

Operation Pandora's Box

1550 Hours
Somewhere near Bafra, Northern Cyprus
Inside "Zonis Theta" Centurion Security


The container wasn't lit, but then again, a hot container in the afternoon sun wasn't gonna be a "lit" place to be- aside from the headtorch Tobias had by his side shining a beam of light upwards into the roof, illuminating the inside back at them. Sitting by the side of the fully upright Firehound, the Cornishman was dressed in a tight black tactical fatigue, similar to the tight operators suit that Gabby had. He had to chuckle, it brought her curves out a bit better than his own, stopping at his legs where the lumps of solid metal could be seen, with a specialist webbing attached to the end of the blades of his trainer-capped "feet".
"Lionheart, Duner, this is Bluestone, still copy, over?" The radio fizzed in, as Tobias put hand to ear, leaning back against the side of the container, sighing as he put his head against the lukewarm metal. The heat had beat down, not as humid as Papua had been, but still searing.
"Copy, Bluestone. Send message, over?" The response came from Tobias, as he cleared his throat, taking another sip from the water bottle he'd stashed in the suit's arse, effectively a very small storage container. The "Prison Wallet" as the techs euphemistically called it, but it was better a store for peripherals, tools and anything that couldn't be carried by an operator inside or on them. Sick bastards...but it was effectively half a shoebox that fit into the exo's rear armour.
"Roger. You're ten minutes out, right on time. I'll cut the comms till you break it. Comms are encrypted, but if they have an EW team, they'll see you coming before you open the doors through signal. Remember the mission, and stay on your shit. When you're ready, call the boat in and we'll have you out in no time."
"Affirm, Bluestone. We'll holler at you when ready. Over and out." With that, Tobias cut the comms, switching to the shortwave frequency, the one for him, Gabby, and their driver, Georgios. It'd been mostly sleeping in here, picked up at the docks and then moved onto a truck, and it was where they had been for at least the last three hours, sweating away on the metal floor of the ISO container.
"George, we nearly there? You know the score, drop us off at the front, right?" Tobias asked, enquiring as he sat up, brusing his hair nearly back and adjusting the stray hairs to stay out of his face.

"Almost there boss-man! Hey, so you must know this General then, right? This seems like one hell of a way to surprise him...what have you got in the back of there, some bootleg wine....maybe some whiskey? Anything for this Turkish general from the man from England....whatever you are planning, he must have a very funny sense of humour for you to come this way, no?" Tobias looked across to Gabby, the sudden look hitting him as he realised it. They'd been sitting in this container, loaded up, able to chat to their driver....and only now did the sudden realisation hit that the driver wasn't in on this.

Fuck, Tobias felt so stupid...well of course he didn't, they'd barely spoken and Bluestone had never officially confirmed the driver was in on this. They'd said it in euphimisms, "surpising him", "paying him a visit"...because that didn't need to be said publically that they were going to collect the poor general. So the poor bastard had zero idea of it, they'd had a few back and forths, and for all this driver knew, he was dropping them off with the container on site with a "surprise" inside it.
"Shit. Nobody told him what he was carrying. And he thinks this is fucking legit. Do we play along? Till you know....last second?" Tobias asked, before engaging the radio, shrugging his shoulders to Gabby.

"Uhh...yeah, a nice big bottle of whiskey. They'd have taken it at the checkpoint you went through if we were with you. You know the guards here. How far are we?" Tobias replied, the long silence between the two for the Cornishman just hoping the gig wasn't entirely up.

"Yes, they'd take anything. Bribes, but good sprits are hard to get around here. Especially with all the other English around here...we're five minutes away. Sounds like you are going to all get fucked up, my friend." Tobias only gave a glancing look across to Gabby, giving a particular sigh in a particular tone, just wondering when to pop the response back.
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Gabby had found the inside of the container as much of a sweltering sauna as Tobias had. The Stormhound stood with it's back open ready for her to climb in, while the Israeli herself was laid down on her back atop a long packing crate, legs propped up against the container wall, head lolling over the end of the container. Despite her thick black hair being pinned up, strands of it still clung to her forehead with sweat, and the front her her operator suit was unzipped and rolled down to her waist, leaving a purple sports-bra covering her modesty, despite the curves - and muscles - on show. An empty bottle of water lay on the floor of the container next to her, with a capped one in her hand as she debated pouring it over her face instead of drinking it. Normally, she'd have eaten chocolate before a mission, allowing herself to enjoy the sweet, velvety treat... but this time it would've just been a melted, pulpy disappointment. Instead she gave a low groan before pressing one hand to her ear, listening in over the discreet earpiece plugged in and tied to the Stormhound and Firehounds' comms via bluetooth. As Tobias replied, she clicked her own mic in conformation as well, listening in. She rolled over and sat up, pulling her clothing back up and on, pausing only as the same realization crept across her as Tobias, sharing a look with him with a momentary stunned expression on her face, before she slowly zipped up the rest of her suit and downed another mouthful of lukewarm water with a grimace.
"Well, shit". She said quietly and shook her head. "Will it make a difference now if we do tell him? It might even make things worse; he might warn the guards or something. I mean, he doesn't sound like he's got any issues with the General. But," she shrugged. "We don't want to put him in danger unnecessarily". She made an exasperated sound, chewing her lip a moment and glancing toward the direction of the cab and tapping the now empty plastic bottle against her thigh in thought, before she keyed her own mic. "The General's definitely going to be surprised, Georgios," she replied, using the same voice she used to use when in the border police and giving instructions to civilians in dangerous situations. "Best you keep your head down once we spring it on him though. Things will get very... confusing once we do. We'll make sure you get your own, far more pleasant, surprise out of it too, don't worry".
She looked to Tobias and shrugged back. "No time to do much more," she said with obvious worry. "Other than get as ready as we can. Had situations go sideways like this when I was in the police and Yamam. Only thing to do is assert authority and keep plowing ahead".
She grimaced and tossed the empty bottle to the container floor and climbed into the Stormhound, beginning the suits' start-up sequence, the machine coming to life with a melodious hum, before the suit folded closed around her. A few moments later the internal environmental system cut in, dousing her with blessedly cool air. A sip of cold water from the suits' internal system helped, as the HUD sprung into life around her line of sight. As the power came up to ready, the suits' artificial muscles energised, and the weight came off of her body as the machine took its' own weight. Flexing her hands in the padded 'waldo' like arms made the suits' robotic hands flex in the same way and she set her face into a firm, stern expression as she watched the time tick down in the display, straining her hearing to listen for any reply to the conversation, tension setting in to replace the boredom and heat-related fatigue from minutes earlier.
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"That your Sigma grindset? Assert dominance...holy shit, you would be wild as a motivational coach. I prefer....let's shoot the bastards, yeah?" Tobias remarked with a sarcastic bite to his tone, knowing he might, or might not elicit a laugh out of his Israeli counterpart, throwing his bottle down by the side of hers, sititng up as he checked his comms. They were getting closer and closer- and it was nearly time to spring the trap. That said, even he couldn't help but almost giggle on the comms when Gabby said they would "put him in danger"...subtle, and easy as.
"Georgie, no need to hang around when you stop at the checkpoint, yeah? Just turn around...and leave the party to us." Tobias confidentally called on the radio, as he opened the suit's rear up, clambering inside slowly but surely, exhaling hard as he coiled his legs inside and contacted the "feet" inside the armour's legs, as well as the "waldo"-arms.
"Uhh, right. Sure. We're coming up to it now." The reply from Georgios succinct, confused, but still happy to be paid even in spite of his oddly strange cargo- the one he hadn't even checked inside. The Firehound purred into life, the motors engaging as the cooling hit nicely, bringing the tempurature down just right.

With that thought in mind, Tobias checked the GMG feed, this time loaded with 40mm buckshot, a round that wouldn't hit like a 12 gauge would, but would scatter and send shrapnel everywhere and anywhere. It didn't have the overpenetrative value of a flechette round, nor the complete, shit-scary anarchy that came with a flamethrower, but the firepower to keep any poor bastard down in a hose-like fashion. Taking a deep breath, he checked the suit's sensor systems over one more time, as well as the movement in the arms and legs, feeling secure in this bastion of his.

The truck came to a stop, as approaching the rear door, Tobias turned to Gabby's Stormhound, and even with all the armour, gave a gesture to get ready to follow. What was gonna happen was going to be nothing short of ridiculous, and while Tobias had felt what had happened was stupid, he couldn't help but agree with Gabby's comments. Aggression was key.
"Georgios's overrun comms makes it sound like there's a few guards to his side...I've got left out the door, you've got right. Watch your aim, then let's clear the front barrack- that gets us to our man." Tobias called on the comms, making sure the 40mm round was chambered, the GMG in his suit's metal hands tight and grasped. Plenty of fire to send down range when they got out, and it was going to be like having a couple IFVs on station. The radio was left open from Georgios's conversations with the guards, and it was clear that in broken Turkish he wasn't running something by the rules.

Not that he'd have to wonder any longer what rules he was breaking, because Tobias was just about to give them a clear reason. A hard kick from his foot from inside the container smashed the steel door open like it was a patio door, dramatically blowing out across the gravel track and giving the gigantic armour the chance to step down and turn, the uninvited guests making their grand, epic entrance. Dust was kicked up from the two, truly past the more hardened security measures that would stop them, and putting them directly into the line of the General's facility.
"Georgie, chuck it in reverse! No questions, this is a party!" Tobias's only yelled across the suit's loudspeaker mic, as GMG raised, the buckshot would explain itself on the poor Turkish soldiers getting one oversized barrel. A click on the GMG's firing trigger and the recoil was minimal, the carnage maximised. The wooden hut was torn to bits from the GMG as one solider tried to take aim, to no avail. Moving forwards, Tobias kicked the shed over and took out another two in close quarters, the 40mm shotgun rounds leaving nothing to the imagination as they chomped the poor guards to pieces. The lorry was still there though....and Tobias was sorting it.
"I said get the fuck out! Now!" Tobias yelled back at Georgios, the terrified driver doing exactly that and not even stopping for thought. Tobias knew he must have been mindfucked by the anarchy that happened, as he saw Duner on the other side, taking a breather to get ready to move, and move hard, seeing the QRF immediately begin to rush from the barrack and throughout the wider compound.

"Hustle time, Duner! Lots of infantry, all over the right flank!"
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"Sigma what-now?" The Israeli woman said in reply in her lilting, mellifluous accent as the Stormhound turned toward the rear of the container and took a few heavy-footed steps. "I have no idea what you just said".
She followed along in his wake dutifully and with practiced and efficient motions as they burst out of hiding. A brief thought of how poor Georgios' mind must be blown wide open flitted through her head, and then it was down to the practical side of things. And if their driver was surprised, the soldiers weren't far behind.
Tobias words registered with her as she caught sight of a group of people running to position, taking cover and setting up to shoot with careful, smooth motions that she recognised and respected. Of course, it didn't change anything much and they'd still have to be dealt with.
Crosshairs and icons in her line-of-sight, projected on the inside of her helmets' visor slid over the forms of the men and women aiming rifles and SMGs at the pair of them from their right, and with subtle movements and acknowledgements in sub-vocalised commands, she sent rounds toward them from the auto-shotgun on her right arm, walking the booming stream of 12-gauge across their positions. Those it didn't hit outright kept their heads down. Spying the twisted door of the container lying on the ground, she wrapped both armoured gauntlets around it's edge, and with a whirling throw, pitched it towards the nearest knot of men and women, who went running with a yell; one too slow and sent flying in a bone-crunching heap. Others ran to his side, effectively removing them from the fight as well, to her satisfaction.
A short burst of CS grenades forced others into scattering, breaking up their formations effectively, and a couple of smokes covered their flank, and gave room for her to charge closer in heavy footfalls.
"I'm keeping them scattered," she called out to Tobias over their channel as she moved up. "Not giving them much of a chance to get any good firing positions or rally against us. If we keep our momentum up, it shouldn't be a problem!"
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Tobias kept the GMG levelled, watching as Gabby hurled the metal door like it was a piece of plywood at the soldiers behind the sandbags, chuckling wtih a wry giggle as an idea whirred in his own head. Using her covering fire, he fired a harpoon from his left arm at the same door, using the overpenetrating metal hook to give a gentle pull on the door whilst he held the GMG in his right. With a slight turn, the metal door went flying again as he hit the retract on the tungsten hook, the door yeeting off into another guard tower and sending a sniper cartwheeling out as the hook flew back into Tobias's left hand, in something that could only be described as pure, total comedy.

"Fuck, this thing is cool! No high ground for them!" Tobias added, using her cover to move forward and pick off another few that had run out from the main house itself. With a blast, the GMG's shotgun rounds made short work, leaving none standing as he pushed forwards, the suit on overcharge and allowing him to push on, the rounds flying past. His Trophy caught a 40mm that whistled past, then another that hit right by his side, the gentle blast felt through the layers of metal as he squinted and sent a singular mini-missile their way. They tried to run, but there was no escaping once the point had been locked- and it blew them back, neutrilising them as a threat. Holding down, he covered the outside of the main villa, the garden that they were in turning from a nicely trimmed area into a bullet filled arena...and they had made a bit of a mess of it. He took the chance to cover their flank with a couple of smoke grenades, removing the distant threats that were now picking up marksman and other rifles and picking off from afar, the loud pings constant and the reminder they were under fire.

"Nice work with the gas, that's scattered them! Sneaky fuckers are trying 40 mike, just keep an eye out." Tobias added, the heavy, stomping footsteps of the two armoured exos now able to bear down on the main building itself. It would be time to breach and enter- and they were no ordinary houseguests, but here to rip the place to shreds. The building being on a hill confused things, but same time, it gave them multiple entry points.
"Alright, you want to take the ground floor, I'll take the second? Remember, keep using your momentum, give them time and they'll try and entrap you in!"
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