Hidden 10 mos ago Post by BigPapaBelial
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BigPapaBelial I have seen you...I have watched you...

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Location: Third Class Car, Blue Line, Matanbai Rail lines
Time: Just a little past Four AM.

The train carriage bumped and shifted as it clattered down the rails. Various people within and without shifting. Some in their sleep some, night owls most like, try to resume doing whatever they were doing before the train shifted.

Up in the First Class car most of the people are in their bunks. Happily sleeping away the night. Tourists and sight seers, rich dentists and doctors out for a peek into the slums of the world. And along down the line it goes as people have more realistic reasons for travelling these rails.

Reporters, journalists, members of the press. Well funded support and relief workers coming into the company. Not for Profit organizations that want to help out in a soon to be war torn country. And people who want to look good but can't claim to any fame...yet. That's up in the middle class cars.

It's back in the lower class cars where those people who aren't highly funded or are humble enough to admit they don't need money and can offer their services properly perhaps.

And usually someone like this man would stick out. He's obviously been through something. Something that has left a stain on his soul and outlook. Even while sleeping he seems to be ready to go at the drop of a hat. And he does indeed rock and roll at the drop of a hat as a train worker stupidly fumbles his way through the car. The man slips abit and tries to catch himself, in doing so putting a hand on the broken man's shoulder. The man in question, with all the speed of a viper lashes out, grabs the hand pulls the train worker even further off his feet and to one knee...all in a few moments. The broken man's fist cocked back. Until he finds himself again and he smiles, "Sorry...was...um yeah..." He helps the train worker to his feet and lets him move on. The Worker looking a little shocked, enough so that he quickly runs off, somehow having better footing then a moment ago.

The broken man sniffles and looks around, to make sure no one saw what just happened. He corrects the placement of the redcross badge on his lapel, part of his cover. He's close...just a little longer.

The man has a passing moment when he thinks, just how many others there are like him inserting or infiltrating this little country. And where they are right now, and if he'd recognize them when he found them.

He briefly recalls his mission pack. And the words, "All Operatives are tasked to arrive in the capitol of Tangayi before beginning their mission."

The broken man, one Hayden Moses swallows thickly and leans back in his seat. Only a matter of time now.
Hidden 10 mos ago 10 mos ago Post by FourtyTwo
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Location: Somewhere over Nambo Province, Matanbai

"Everyone else is likely inserting quietly and looking for clues, Bethan. What the fuck are we doing dropping out of the sky?" The Northern Irish tone of Sean was irritating now to Bethan's ears, but depressingly, a part of the operation that was mandatory to her. Sean stood at about 6"3, with moderate-length black hair, a patchy ginger beard with a pair of Oakley sunglasses on, the look of someone grizzled from his experience, certainly no stranger to using the tools at his disposal. That primary tool was a tricked out Colt C8 at his side, the same as what Bethan had to hand- Trijicon ACOG, Surefire silencer, foregrip, customised Magpul stock and a tan spray. The special forces workhorse of choice for the Pathfinders, Royal Marines Commando, and SFSG, and a tool that Sean was happy to be reunited with.

Just like her, he wore fairly lowbrow fatigues, no shiny new MTP, more the DPM that was usually in an Army surplus shop now. It was effective though, and would do the trick for this- the two only carrying fatigues and a light combat pack alongside their rifles and sidearms, with Sean a basecall cap tucked into his bag and Bethan a boonie hat. Up in the sky above the wartorn shithole they were dropping into, the RAF C130 was not sticking around and flying home after leaving the two former lovebirds to get on with their job.

"We have a lead on the Hyena and our ride is paid for. So are the rifles. Have some faith. Sooner we get this done, sooner we get to go our seperate ways. The plan is super simple. Drop into the rainforest, find who he is, get into the camp, whack the bastard, get to the border and find a payphone. Someone'll fill the vaccum of selling guns within a few hours, but that's not my shit to give, so long as we go our own ways once we're bloody done." Bethan's tongue was cutting, as the Welshwoman checked her own setup. Standing at 6"0, she had short dulled blonde hair, with a well muscled and shaped physique, less burly and more cardio-focussed, her face bearing a few scars and cuts. A different kind of warrior, the sort that found their talent another way.

"It really is like that? You've got no calm on you since we left, Beth." Sean jibed, annoyed with what they were going through just as much as she was, but trying to bridge that gap.

"I can't fucking stand another five fucking minutes of you Sean, so yeah, it is. Red's on. Give me a gear check?" The Ulsterman responded accordingly to Bethan and silently looked her over, with Bethan responding in turn to give one last check over him. Open-face helmets and goggles, rigs secured up and altimeters on, they were ready to go. There were no comms with the pilot, anyone in command, even the jumpmaster. Radio silence was the prefered option, given the clandestine deniability of this work they had embarked upon- and nothing really needed to be added for the cargo that wasn't officially on board.

With a flicker, the green was on, and with a thumbs up, both were running out of the back door, and over the thick clouds of the very early morning pink and white sunrise over Matanbai's highland. For a moment, a sight to behold, the distant plains and the thick rainforest of the northern region was stunning, not that they could see much of it due to the high-level cloud layer that went pretty much all the way down to their expected landing zone. They hadn't gone to high enough an altitude to make this a HALO drop- no oxygen was thus required, and from 12,000 feet it was going to be about 60 seconds before opening up and not going splat.

The two were qualified for this, and while the drop seemed overdramatic, it was based on seemingly quality intel- and a fast way to resolve this issue from what they'd been both briefed upon. Lot of people wanted the Hyena after all- this was just a head start that the Brits had, and it was hardly like Sean and Bethan knew the reality of where they were going and the complexity of the situation beyond icing one HVT. That said, dropping into a completely unnknown DZ was new to them both however, especially into trees. But fuck it, the reasoning went that it was better than a train into the country, right?

---------------

Crashing into the trees after picking a lightly foliaged section of the rainforest canopy, Sean managed to barely miss a trunk, taking a breather and checking the drop down. With the distance mentally measured up, he cut the harness away from the main, grabbing a few branches and sliding down off the tree canopy and through the low-level forest with a thud, landing on his side. Bethan followed suit further along, the dark underbelly of the rainforest in the early morning basically like going into pitch black, night-sky levels of dark. She rolled as she hit the red-dusty floor, silently beckoning the Ulsterman over as she stood, knowing while she would want to go her own way here, safety in numbers was better than being a lone wolf for this one. They had some movement to do, as she checked the compass bearing, and with a look at her GPS, checked their first OP to get towards. Time to move, and without even a word said.

It wasn't long to move at least a good twenty minutes through the soundtrack of crickets and loud wildlife, the true heart of darkness where it felt so easy to lose your soul. Right now, Sean knew he had lost his. Sold it to the wrong devil, and so hard that his wife was here to enjoy this carnage too. They were almost totally silent as they moved, not becuase they were telepathic, but because they had no words to say to each other. Sean hadn't learned, he'd never learn how to not be a piece of shit, Bethan reasoned, not aside from his alluring charm which might keep him alive here if he was on his own. His lie that the money was clean, and that it was an honest piece of work, rather than the reality that it came from honestly just felt like a sinkhole at this point. He'd gotten in with the wrong people and saw nothing wrong about it, just another way to get by, any means needed rather than actually try and be a member of society. No ambition, and she was annoying she hadn't seen the signs sooner.

Bethan on the other hand, Sean reasoned, was just a tagalong. Poor girl had argued and argued to not be dragged in, but she never asked where the money came from when they were talking of seperating and she had costs to pay back- so now she was here, she was trying to make a point to him, in a fucked up way. They weren't total bastards to each other- arguements happened but they had tried at it, though since both coming here it had sunk through the floor. Way he saw it, the bills added up, and he wasn't such a piece of shit to kick her out onto the road but to help her get through hers before they left. What he did was what he had to do, and hell, he had little care for law if it meant he was kept in a nice standard of living. Shame it went the way it was, but live by the sword, die by the sword, he reasoned.

It didn't matter who was right and who was wrong right now, because either way, they had a task at hand, and approaching their first OP, they managed to get themselves to the edge of the rainforest hill, with a small escarpment making a good position to look ahead. The two looked at each other, looking at the encampment in the valley beneath them, cutting through a higher part of a river valley. Immediately, it didn't fit the satelite image, nor the profile of anything they were expecting to see.

"Fuck, the intel has to be wrong...I can't see anyone who even fits the MO. It's a COGS site, no sign at all of this being a moving dealer's camp. Either that or he is very, very well disguised. If he's here, these fuckers don't need any guns to buy, because these COGS lot look like they're about ready to do some war crimes for themselves." Bethan said, sighing as as she peered through the binos, her sigh to that of no recognition that there was anyone that looked like a foreign arms dealer, or anyone who even was selling guns.

There were only lightly-packed Land Rovers, rows of tents, and a fuck load of well armed COGS soldiers, at least a company's worth. This didn't look like anything what was even remotely mentioned in the intel- the Hyena's mercs were well equipped, so the rumour went - and if this was where he was based, the atmospherics of a dealer's setup seemed totally off- encamping himself with COGS meant he wasn't dealing to anyone else, which most definitely wasn't the case. This did not feel like it, and the gut feeling grew stronger by the second.

"What are going to do then, Beth? Watch the jungle book a bit longer, go fucking Rambo and kill as many of them as we can, bullshit that we got him now to upper command?" Sean commented crassly, Bethan replying her own annoyance back.

"Yeah well, we'll have to sit and watch, maybe see what happens....I mean, we haven't got much in the way of altern..."

And as if by cue, the rifle round cracked right on the tree above them. It was a classic setup. Whoever had provided that intel clearly had set a decoy, or worse, tipped off a redirected target that they were getting visited, exact time, exact date, exact place. That single rifle round punctuated it to the two of them better than anything else could. Before another had the chance to get them, Sean and Bethan were on their feet, scrambling to get out of their scouting position and back into the rainforest, giving each other an instant look of agreement with exactly how this had just played out. There was a squad directly to their left that were very, very aware that someone was coming to visit and did not take kindly to snooping eyes through binoculars, barking orders. And that squad ballooned to what looked like a platoon.

Running through the thick brush, Bethan laid out of the rest of her mag in blind fire back after vaulting a treestump, running at pelt behind Sean after and quite frankly, running out of ideas.
"Fuck, where do we go!?" Bethan called out, Sean pointing ahead as Sean emptied his mag to cover taking cover by a tree, firing suppression fire backwards into the treeline, not even taking time to reload as he could see figures growing, and growing behind them in number. The hostiles were beginning to cover off more of the seemingly impenetrable rainforest, the logs and flora that felt like it was almost impossible to sometimes break through, but in situations like these, parted when it had to. That didn't help with the bullets flying their way too.

"Keep fucking running, there's fucking hundreds of them!" Sean yelled out, skidding down a bank after Bethan, the adrenaline fully going. The forest began to break, as Bethan looked back, and down over the side of the jagged looking rock and canyon-like river down below, flowing downstream from the encampment on a meander. The Welshwoman only gave a glance to Sean, beckoning her head towards the abyss, knowing they were as good as screwed, unless they dropped the 30 feet.
"That's where we go. Broken bones might heal, they want us dead...arrgh, fuck it." Bethan was completely spent and out of breath, just like Sean, but could see where this was going. With a run, she awkwardly slipped down the wet reddish rock and off of it into the muddy, raging rocky river over an almost 30ft drop, all to the sight of Sean.
"Jesus..." The bullet right over his head prompted Sean to follow far more awkwardly, and with that, falling clumsily and nastily into a torrent of water, dark, horrid, and inhospitable. As he hit the water, he smashed his helmeted head against a rock as the torrent took him away, his vision blurring as the water pulled him along.

-----------

The small shoreside sandbank was still in the jungle, but further down, much further down. Sean coughed his lungs out, sand and muddy water coughing out, realising Bethan had basically dragged him out, and more or less gone with him floating down the river, out of the firefight. In exchange, they'd lost pretty much everything- bags, rifle, GPS, binos, and he'd left his helmet off now by the shore alongside his smashed sunglasses, a very significant crack in the side of it being the main reason he wasn't dead upon impact with the rock in the torrent. The most useful stuff they were carrying it seemed was gone, and Bethan was in a foul, but exausted mood, laying pretty much by her ex's side and feeling broken. Even so, the river was an inviting alternative to getting shot at, even in spite of that. No rifles, no equipment, not much at all left on them. They were lucky not to be dead or have any broken bones.

"Your fat fucking arse nearly drowned, you've got no idea how lucky you are. You're gonna feel concussed for a bit, but it beats a gammy leg." Bethan merely retorted, weak but still spiteful, annoying as hell she hadn't just let him go in all honesty- well, apart from the fact that it was probably better to keep him alive rather than face another hundred people alone. At least he could stay behind and be a decoy.

"Alright then missy, who says intel is solid as fuck, explain what just happened?" Sean's reaction was equally fierce, knowing she had no real reaction, perking him up a bit as he spluttered more sand. Sometimes it was nice to be right, just able to go "fuck you" after all that had happened.

"Well, it didn't work, did it? He wasn't there, we got double-crossed and chances are, we're as good as dead. So yeah, here we are."
"And you got a plan, Beth? Because I don't think those COGS wankers are hiring and this place is a lot bloody worse than North Wales right now." Sean added, clearing his throat and checking what was left on his person, inspecting his P226 at his side and his machete, which was pretty much all he had literally on hand. They could scavenge the rest of a kit together more likely than not with just those two tools alone, but it wasn't like it would be easy.

"Shit...well, Plan B was get to the capital. Tangayi, it's thirty klicks south of the LZ, which means we're probably 25 as all the rivers here branch south for a bit out of the rainforest. We can't exactly walk into the British embassy as there isn't one, not that they'd get us home. They did say there's a set of mercs that are friendly, working on the same job. We might be able to tag along with them. Directive's the same, just this op was going to snatch and grab him faster."

"Yeah, well that didn't happen. And you think those mercs won't just frag us if you say we're crossed? Right now, I'm inclined to trust fucking nobody, not even you." Sean said, bitter as he spat out the last of the sand, wiping his brow and taking his baseball cap out of a pouch on his jacket, screwing it on tight over his hair as Bethan did the same with her boonie, sitting up and checking her own Glock over, sliding a mag out and back in.

"You got any other ideas? Because I don't trust you either, but we're gonna be dead if we don't work together, and find some allies here. Chances are, they'll just kill us if we aren't needed. But more likely than not, we have a common goal and that works for us. The contract for MI6 still stands, no matter how it gets done...and chances are, whoever the intel came from clearly found the money better elsewhere, so that bastard is probably on their list too. And lastly, I suppose those mercs would need a very big payday to waste their rounds on strangers, so yeah, that's where we are at the moment. Thoughts?"

"After your last one, I fucking wish I did have some ideas of my own rather than trusting you. But fine, whatever, you have a point. Chances are, we'll get tapped by them on sight at least if they don't like the look of us, but not before we tap them. So we walk 25Ks, ditch the jackets, don't die of dehydration, malaria and godknowswhat, and hopefully, find a safehouse full of people wanting to go back into what we just jumped off a cliff for." Sean reiterated, as Bethan stood up, nodding to confirm, offering a reluctant hand to the sitting Sean.

"Bang on. Let's go before they catch up." Taking her hand, Sean stood up again, and holstered his P226, drawing the machete instead to start cutting through the rainforest and down the slopes towards the plains, hopefully to find a road, and then a track which led onto a more major road into the capital. They would stick out like sore thumbs as white westerners in the heart of darkness but then again, they looked battered enough to not worth picking a fight with, no obvious bags, high value items or anything really at all standing out. They looked like lost little mercs, which they very much were.

That was the plan then. Try not to die, find the mercs, and carry on with the mission with some allies.

(A long intro but I did want to throw a real curveball to the reality of what they've gone into, and a bit more of exposition on the world).
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by Starlance
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Location: Somewhere along the Nambo-Balilon Highway, Matanbai

The ZIL-131 shuddered as the driver released the clutch too early again.

She, along with eight other people, had been cooped up in the back of that flatbed since they left Upington over seven hours ago, and by now was convinced the transmission would sooner break free of its mountings, bust through the cab floor and slap the driver for his sins than they would reach the capital where she’d been instructed to go. Only problem was: The briefing did not mention where to go from there or how to contact the rest of the team tasked with hunting down this ‘Hyena’. The driver may have been told by the agent who hired him where exactly to drop her off, or so she hoped.

Speaking of the team, that was another unknown she could only speculate about. Not being told anything told her they weren’t Russian. She heard good things from her comrades who worked a joint op in Kosovo with Green Berets, but would she be given that sort of work after the Chechen Incident? The Devil would sooner rollerblade to work. That left either locals, or mercs. And while members of the local armed forces ought to be able to speak at least English, or even German in the Namibians’ case, she couldn’t find a reason for the Kremlin to care. Helping out a mining corporation in a land rich with diamonds, oil, uranium and whatnot in a deniable manner, on the other hand, that held more water in her mind.

A crunch as the driver missed yet another shift. At this rate the gears would be smooth before Christmas.

If she’d at least had proper equipment for this, but even that didn’t pan out. Her lockpicks stayed in Samara, confiscated by some busybody still shaking in his boots in the wake of ‘9/11’ as the event came to be known. The issued sidearm may have been brand new, but only qualified as ‘cutting edge’ in the sense that she cut her thumb on the magazine when her fingers slipped loading it. The fact that hers was clearly an early production model, as evidenced by the tool marks that gave the impression of the polymer frame having been made by hand with a chisel and the worker’s own teeth, didn’t help. She got lucky with the halligan at least, in that one hardware store in the entirety of Upington that carried this sort of tools. Whoever her team were supposed to be in the near future, at least she wouldn’t have to explain why they got someone trained for a given role who was unable to carry out said role.

Another jolt, this time with a bang, a pull to the right and the cab drooping slightly, followed by a slow stop. The front right was flat, she knew that even before the driver could start swearing, echoing her own thoughts. Sticking her head out from the back of the truck and looking forward, she could see the driver trying to juggle fitting the hydraulic jack into the proper spot and holding a flashlight to see what he was doing. Up north, one could see faint light pollution rising over the horizon from what she assumed to be Tangayi, while the eastern sky showed the first light of the new day. With a resigned sigh, she jumped down on the ground and made her way to the driver to offer help.
Hidden 10 mos ago Post by BigPapaBelial
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BigPapaBelial I have seen you...I have watched you...

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@Starlance

The last one hundred and twenty kilometers to Tangayi on the Big NB, is known for three things. The hacked back foliage along it's edges, the spectacular view of the central plains beyond that and, well the endless traffic. It's almost like driving the Queen Elizabeth Two highway in Alberta, or watching the German Autobahn sometimes. Almost endless traffic. And having a big fat Soviet era cargo truck groan to a halt on the near un-laned highway, well. The other traffic has to dodge. The driver of the ZIL grumbles, flashlight held between his teeth, and shoving the jack up under the truck. The flashlight shaking as he grumbles something in a harsh bastardized form of what sounds like a mix of English, and German. The man mutters something that sounds like, "They have to give me the bad one. Always me. Always Gunter..." He starts to lever the truck up with a grunt. Ignoring other vehicles blazing around them. An egyptian cargo truck there, a surplus soviet era 4x4 next, an honest to god year 2000 Bugatti, with shouting Matanban teens at the wheel. Children of one of the mining chiefs perhaps.

As he works the man suddenly stops and looks up, and right at Yekaterina approaching him. He takes the light out of his mouth and shines it at her feet then calls out in that broken language of his, "Hey! Why out of truck?" Another ZIL growls past them. The driver groans and tries to get back to work.

In the distance a series of pops and cracks. And roaring engines. The driver looks up again then ducks under the car as several jeeps and SUVs approach at even higher speeds then some of the other vehicles approach. Riding in passenger seats, standing in the back of truck beds, proudly shouting and roaring to the sky, surplus AKs, FALs, and G3s popping rounds into the air. Less like they are trying to cause trouble as to just get attention. As the six vehicles race by one of them heaves back then throws something at the stopped truck, something about the size of a grenade pinging off the side of the truck and rolls to a stop right at the feet of the driver under the truck...

And nothing. The item sits there. The driver after awhile crawling out from under the truck to look at it, "Not bomb?" He picks it up, and manages to unravel a flyer from around a rock.

The Flyer reads, "SAMC invites you all to a get together and BBQ at their offices on the Eastern side of Tangayi, come and enjoy the hospitality of the SAMC board of directors." In very small print it also reads, "Recruiters will be on site." The driver hands the flyer to Yekaterina, "Maybe good?"

@FourtyTwo

It's dark under the canopy. Blacker then pitch even. Someday in the future only one thing would be darker and that'd be Vantablack. But now right now this is dark. Without a light it's hard to tell which way the pair are going. Easy to get turned around in the jungle. But luckily, just barely they can make out the slowly rising dawn sun. Atleast they know which way is East. And the capitol can't be that far.

It's some time later though that they luck out? Maybe? Well some kind of luck. As between one hack of the machete and the next suddenly a drop off. Holy fuck it's a logging road! And as if on cue and early early EARLY morning truck is rollign towards them, lights blazing, with a surprised honk the large loggingrig rolls to a stop. The dark skinned man who gets out isn't African, he's French. He starts shouting at them in French, "What the fuck are you two doing here? Do you have any idea how dangerous the jungle can be?" He climbs down out of his truck and crosses over to the pair, "What the hell? You mercs? Who are you working for? SAMC? COGS?" Upon saying COGS the man spits to the side disrespectfully. He sniffs then, "Ah, come on. I'll give you a ride to the camp. Maybe one of the foremen can get you to the capitol, he can take you to the offices. Get you settled. Hear there's a big get together going on over there." He gestures for them to join him in the cab of his truck.

---------------------

Elsewhere the train shifted again and this time Hayden sighs and gives up on trying to sleep any longer. His eyes opening and he can see the slow dawn rising.

And suddenly the train begins to slow. It's clear. The serengeti about the train line coming to a stop as the train grinds to a halt. And several trucks starts to drive along side train. Some with Red Cross logos on them some with COGS though they stay on the left, while on the right are a bunch of SAMC trucks. Hayden hums and casually as he can reaches up for his bag, grabbing the battered Hi Power out and carefully hiding it before any of the real aid workers see it. He hides it in his jacket. As he sees SAMC and COGS men board the train.

There's a tense quiet moment as groups of them meet between cars. Then the COGS go to the high class cars while the SAMC proceed into the third class cars. One of them crying out, "Everyone here. If you are Matanban, stay seated. If you are not. Stand up!" And about two thirds of the first car, and many more in the other two third class cars also stand. Hayden among them. The Canadian keeps his hand ready to grab his gun as the SAMC militia work their way through the standing crowd. One of them speaking from the front, "People of foreign lands. You come to Matanbai. Home of Proud people. Here you are the strangers not us! Remember that SAMC, watches over the ones who are strong and kind. Though COGS say otherwise. SAMC is wise. Matanban people may go in peace when the train stops. But you Red Cross and you foriegn people will come with us, in busses. To the SAMC offices."

Hayden's eyes narrow. And watches as the SAMC and COGS begin to exit the train, leaving one man in every car to watch over the people. Hayden hums, sitting down again as the train starts to move. And all he can think is, "Damn...this is not good..."
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Hidden 10 mos ago Post by FourtyTwo
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Leaping into the cab, Bethan and Sean took a seat on the dirty and old looking Kamaz's passenger bench, the passable French that Bethan had getting them out of the situation. It was pretty poor, but it would do, just about, to get them through. She'd lied that they were COGS, and while the gambit hadn't worked, the guy seemed friendly enough. He wanted them to stay out of trouble, and very firmly asked them to reconsider. Given the state they were in, and the fact they'd been shot at by a lot of COGS troops, it was probably for the best. The two looked silently at each other, exhausted and only taking in the atmospherics here. Even the Francophone speaking gent felt it too, they were not here because they were willing. It was obvious to see. And Sean felt it too. The rainforest had swallowed them and spat them out, just about whole. They'd gone into a territory they had no right to be in, a place that was dark, humid and full of people who knew it inside out. They were tourists in the tiger's den, trying to do what any stupid westerner does, that of pretending they could end this with a nice easy resolution. It was not ideal. They were being taken back to a local SAMC camp, and from there, more likely than not, they were being funnelled down into the capital. Whatever had to happen was going to, Sean reasoned- and he only had one last play to get them there. From there on out, they had to find any other mean to get by, and that was likely working for the SAMC.

----

Two hours later and journey had taken them through the dusty foothills and out of the rainforest, the tense heat growing and growing, humid and sticking to every pore. The roads threw them all up and down, and sitting in the back of another Kamaz, this one filled with rice, they had to admit it wasn't great. They had no money, well, nothing aside from two 50 dollar notes stashed in Sean's boot, the only bit of cash he had as an insurance policy. They took it at the camp and laughed at the two, and told them to get on a local's truck into the capital- these weren't the typical SAMC mercs but more a local militia that clearly had no care for the wellbeing of the mercs, just the dollars they had and a ticket out of their way to stop being such a nuisance. A kind of "welcome to Africa" sort of welcome, but better than being shot.

Now, they were very fucked. No money, nothing at all. It was bankrupt and scavenge for the two of them, in the poorest, glumest shithole in Sub-Saharan Africa. They had kept their soaked DPM jackets for now, knowing it probably beat the sporadic showers of rain when they were going down in the open-topped rear just about for now, but wouldn't later. And the sight of the haze and the hustle of the city was probably an area it would blend into. Firefights and skirmishes seemed sporadic, and there was this overall feeling that there was no direct control here. Individual companies had held it together, with no accountability. Dollar had become king, and any semblance that there was a government, or anyone in their way felt absent. It just felt like warlords, everyone for themselves, and people trying to survive in their villages and local areas. The King might have ruled these lands, but it felt like that soon was going to dissolve into no control at all.

Stepping out of the truck, they had nothing to thank the driver given the fact he'd given them warm food, drink and no shit for the last few minutes, keeping them alive beyond the money they'd just had to bribe the camp foreman with. On a dusty street corner a few blocks away from the SAMC HQ, they had a little less walking to do, but they were close.

Heading through the town, Bethan looked up to Sean, who seemed a bit bemused still about the situation.
"So, we're going to a barbecue, in the hope of working for some mercs? Again, honestly, this still makes no sense at all..." Sean asked, Bethan nodding.
"Yeah, that's the plan. We don't look the best, but fuck it, they might offer us work. And you still don't have any alternatives to my plan" Bethan replied, Sean shrugging as he kept an eye on the trucks going past, loaded up with crate after crate of what looked like ammunition, a worrying sign indeed for any capital city of the world.
"Well...you know the average wage around here on average is less than a dollar a day? Sorry if I seem stupid but that doesn't sound like a lot of money to live on, if that's what they offer, Beth. Sounds like a pretty crappy wage to nearly die on, and I thought the UK was bad..." Sean was straight, Bethan nodding in turn.

"Well, they pay foreigners more, because they're not expendable. We actually know how to shoot, kill, maintain guns, lead, etc, etc. It's not about the money. Think of the bigger picture, they give us bed and board, we might get a lead on how to get guns, local intel, and what needs to be done. Some allies to actually find out who the Hyena is, what he does, where he goes, and so on. White man's in a gully here if those SAMC militia seem to think we're worth keeping alive to go to the capital."
"Or easier to get ransom money for. We're gonna end up on fucking LiveLeak." Sean saracastically remarked, to a chuckle from Beth.
"Fair point. Well, this Hyena seems to be a fucking ghost. He threw our own intel off that badly, so that ain't good. Probably not a great idea to go around mentioning it too. Our intel might be poor, but the Hyena's the name they keep mentioning. Has to be something to it. Just have to find out how he's fuelling the fire, the amount of cheap ammo and guns here is ridiculous." She commented, to no reply from Sean, as they rounded the corner, the large concrete walls of the SAMC compound, and the imperious looking barbed wire on it making a clear point that they didn't want unintended visitors.

"Shit, here we are. Alright, act cool." Sean said, Beth blowing a rasperry as Sean stood in front, the imposing Ulsterman wiping his brow of sweat as he stood in front of the SAMC merc on the gate, the man even taller than Sean and armed with a PKM that he was comfortably holding on a sandbag.

"You here for the grillades, ami? Name?" He asked, his tone baritone, certainly with a French inflection, maybe Malian or Burkanbe.
"Sean Mason. And Bethan Mason." Sean replied, the guard chuckling.
"Frere et soeurs?" He asked, eyeing them up, turning his gaze to Sean again.
"Marri...seperated." Sean uttered, cutting himself halfway through.
"Very funny. You are here together in this mess, non? You are not seperated. That is fact. Go in, make your way to the garden." With that, he pulled the gate open, and Sean and Bethan made their way inside the compound, the smell of a barbecue and the hubub increasing as they walked past the main office and around the rear into a garden, the company offices here lavish and beautiful compared to the slums that surrounded it. It felt surreal, almost strange, other mercenaries gathered here and clearly sent to a place where they would be assembled into teams and put into work. For Sean and Bethan, they had some networking to do, as the two of them made their way towards the BBQ itself and mingled.
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Yekaterina was about to reply to the driver’s question when gunfire reached them from somewhere up the stream of traffic. She pressed herself flat against the truck to give the roving display of recklessness a wide berth. Normally, she would’ve been worried about where and when the bullets would fall back down, but she didn’t have time for that today as a grenade-like object landed right beside the driver, placing her well within the kill zone by the explosion’s overpressure alone. Stuck prone under the truck, poor Gunther was dead to rights and she only had two, maybe three seconds to change her fate from ‘dead’ to ‘maimed’. Yekaterina took off towards the front of the truck, silently counting as she did.

One. Two.

She threw herself into the drainage ditch, shallow as it was, but minimal cover was better than none whatsoever. Between that and the truck’s left front wheel, the amount of shrapnel that would reach her should be reduced by a not insignificant percentage.

Three. Four.

What?

Five. Six.

The Russian chanced lifting her head up to glance back, her gaze meeting the driver’s, looking as befuddled as she was as he crawled from underneath the ZIL. “Fuck that for a joke.” she cursed under her breath, dusting herself off as she rounded the truck again, careful not to get run over. A flyer tied to a rock and thrown from a moving car puzzled the mind. That was something unlikely to happen even in Russia on a Friday night, and she considered herself fortunate the advertillerist aimed true and didn’t hit her instead. But since someone went through all that effort to get the flyer to them, it’d be impolite not to read it. The driver was already handing it to her anyway

A corporate cookout at the SAMC headquarters? The office should be reasonably easy to find, and sounded like a place mercenaries could be found at. Mercenaries looking for work perhaps, but what of those who already had a task in their mind? It was an option, a good fallback if nothing else. Having skimmed the offered piece of paper, she shoved it into a pocket of her windbreaker and flashed the driver a smile. “Change wheel now, change job later.” She spoke German, leaving out some articles and ignoring conjugation to match the driver’s speech as best as she could, holding her hand out, “I’ll help, give light.” she said, more a demand than an offer. “Go here often? This normal in Matanbai?”



Talking to Gunther as they removed the dead tire didn’t yield any results, and as she stopped asking questions he turned to complaining about his shitty lot in life. 30 minutes of work and two hours of driving later, she finally stood in the capital. Gunther refused to take her to the SAMC headquarters directly, wisely choosing to replace the busted tire and be on his merry way out of this shithole back home as fast as possible. At least she would stretch her muscles after half a day of sitting near motionless.

The city itself looked better than the impression her briefing left her with. Besides the amount of guns being higher than rural Texas and the average education of those who wielded them equal or lower than Chechnya. The SAMC headquarters was another nail in the coffin of that illusion of normalcy, looking more like an unusually luxurious forward operating base than a corporate office. Some distance away from the gate, she made sure her sidearm wasn’t printing, wrapped the halligan in a spare shirt and buried it as deep in her backpack as she could and fished the flyer out of her pocket before approaching.

Privet! Was told there was a shindig around here, is this the place?” she spoke to the merc at the gate, waving the flyer.
Oui. Name?”
“Yekaterina Belyayeva.” she introduced herself, “Need that spelled out?” she added with a raised brow.
The guard declined with a chuckle and directed her to the garden. He didn’t have to, the noise and smell of meat and grease was easy to follow. She positioned herself within earshot of the only Russian she could hear - a trio of ex-marines from Vladivostok who by the look and sound of it spent a few years in prison. There was also French, German, a few languages she couldn’t recognize and a wide variety of English, from Yankees through Aussies and Irish to something that sounded like Wales. “Quite a menagerie.” the fourth Russian muttered to herself in English, taking in the scene.
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Despite which ever way they arrive, the group of killer, thieves, deadlasts, mercenaries and/or wannabes find themselves in the garden of the South African Mining Company. The place, like a fortress.

It's almost disgusting. Men and women with guns almost everywhere. Many of them wearing SAMC outfits. There's as many as fifty barbeque grills going. There's a few spits even with hogs, and hunks of beef and even a bunch of lambs turning over the flames. There's booze by the gallon, pop and soda abounds. SAMC seems to have pulled out every stop they could to make this shindig something that anyone attending and even some not attending will remember for months to come.

As a band starts on a stage there is a spectacle to see. As three buses roll into the courtyard. They park up and SAMC mercs are the first out. AKs and low grade G3s. They then start yelling and out of the buses come tourists, business men and various other kinds of people from many walks of life. From one bus comes four different groups of relief workerss. Red Cross, Doctors without Borders and UN Aid Workers. Out of that bus is dumped the relief workers gear and kit they brought with them. Food, medical equipment and gear to repair and recreate the infrastructure of the country. Dumped rather unceremoniously on the ground. The medical personell withing the groups rushing to salvage any of their gear that might be damaged.

As they do one of the SAMC leaders. A man who looks like little more then a African warlord steps forward. Dressed in clean fatigues and with a shiny silver plated revolver at his hip walks forward chewing on something that leaks brown spittle out of the corner of his mouth. He nods then shouts, "Relief and Aid workers from around the world. Witness the power and safety of the South African Mining Company. And know, as long as you do not go to the Congolese Oil, Gas and Silver company you will be allowed free passage all across Matanbai! Come all of you. Join the feast. We will make sure your gear is repaired and made ready when you go out among the people of Matanbai!"

The aid workers of all three factions are guided out and away. And into the garden.

Hayden managing to grab his duffle bag, makes his way into the crowd. Well the insertion/infiltration went about right. Now he wondered where the rest of the group is supposed to be.

---------------

It takes a little while but soon Hayden, Yekaterina, Sean and Bethan are approached by people. In the case of the Masons, it's a long haired African woman, in respledent silks, "Sir and Madam Mason? Come with me please." For all anyone knows she's a representative of SAMC. In Yekaterina's case it's a tall square jawed Balkan man, "Madam, follow me please." His manner is like that of an executive. In Hayden's case it's a round faced Korean woman with a nose piercing and grey eyes. "Mr. Moses, please follow me." Each of the groups is lead to a trio of tables arranged in a circle. Atleast at first they are arrayed so they are looking away from each other. But after their guides leave. It's Hayden that finally gets bored and mutters, "This fucking job is getting more and more complicated. Why the hell does the guy take me here and leave me? Am I meeting someone? And where the hell are the other operatives!?"
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It's Hayden that finally gets bored and mutters, "This fucking job is getting more and more complicated. Why the hell does the guy take me here and leave me? Am I meeting someone? And where the hell are the other operatives!?"


Bethan looked across, seeing the Canadian mutter out loud, the accent clear from the sound of him that he wasn't an American, at least, the thick accent she recognised from her time in Afghanistan something that had a different inflection. She learned the difference quickly between a Canuck and an American, you did naturally becuase you didn't want to start shit. The other woman appeared Slavic, definitely a Russian, almost without hesitation she could make that out, as Bethan turned and broke the ice back.

"Sounds like you're in the same boat as all of us. Perhaps that's why we're here. Maybe we're those operatives." She said bluntly, looking to Sean, and then across to the Russian woman, eyeing her up as well. The Canuck looked experienced, like he'd seem some shit, and the Hi-Power and the look of him said Special Forces. The Russian, she seemd like a more unknown quantity - but someone who'd also seen her fair share, an equal perhaps to Bethan's own gaze.

It was clear to tell that while Sean was the burly one of the two, Bethan had a different fire, almost the kind that said "don't fuck with me" written across her, born of frustration and sheer animosity to the situation she found herself in with someone she really wanted nothing to do with. It had clicked though, "this fucking job" was clearly, blatantly what herself and Sean had walked into, as had the Canuck. Same shit, different people. No need to reveal anything they'd gone through or been told. That would come later. Or never. It depended on how this went- you didn't play all your cards. Not all of them.

"Fine then, I won't be so cryptic. Seems like they put us here with good reason, so we may as well be pally. I'm Bethan, this is Sean. Found out this shithole spits people out quick if you don't go with one of the factions, it seems like. And it sounds like you both got contracted for a job too, and we're all sitting here wondering what the fuck is going on." She started, pausing to take a cup of water from the table that they'd grabbed on their way in. Beth and Sean had managed to scrape some scratchings together, a shitty lunch but it would do to keep energy levels up and they'd certainly need it.

"Funny feeling I get is you got sold the same shit we did, and here we are, trying to figure this out not because you want to work for these pricks, but because you actually have something else going on. Neither of you two look like you're here to sell your souls to the devil, let's put it that way. But it seems like we might have that in common." Bethan said, looking in particular to the Canuck, in response to his thoughts on looking for "other operatives".

"Fucking hell, relax, Beth. We're not gonna have a Mexican standoff here. Who knows what the plan is, chances are, we're gonna get told where we're going, what's going on. Get us some dollars and get us righted." Sean iterated, Bethan looking across to him with the same daggers in her eyes.

"Ah shut up, Sean. I'm not in the mood." Beth uttered, Sean just sick and tired, to the point he just held back, not even wanting to press her anymore, because he was mentally done, and she was just looking for any tether to take on him.

"Jesus, fine."
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Speaking to her guide was even less useful than speaking to Gunther, as he rebuffed her probing with a polite, yet somewhat curt “All will be explained soon.” Her newfound companions on the other hand, offered something of interest, however temporary their company might turn out to be. Time to strike the iron while it’s hot. Phrases like ‘This fucking job…’ and ‘...the other operatives.’ sounded promising. Despite the fact that they all seemed to be just as out of the loop as she was, maybe there would finally be some answers. After all, Jawline didn’t say anything about not talking to others. Neither of them looked like the driftwood that accumulated in places like this because the rest of the world rejected it, these people looked like they still had a clear purpose in mind. The Welsh-sounding woman, Bethan, pretty much confirmed that, even if there might have been some internal friction in that pair.

’All Operatives are tasked to arrive in the capital of Tangayi before beginning their mission.’

Could it really be that easy? If so, where was this luck in Chechnya? And was finding the closest thing to an actual ghost even doable with four people, or would a small team allow them to move under the radar more easily, if it was really them she was supposed to be working with?

“Oh my, where’d you find this wonderful bundle of joy?” She turned to Sean with a chuckle after his and Bethan’s spat. “But back to the subject of introductions, I’m Yekaterina.” The Russian stood up and walked to the center of the table triangle, looking toward the British pair with an offered hand. “The cheerful one has a point though.” She gestured to Bethan after handshakes were done or ignored for a few seconds, lowering her voice. “And even if we’re all seated here by coincidence and our goals in this cesspit of a country, whatever they may be, are completely unrelated, that itself doesn’t necessarily prevent us from helping each other. I think it’s safe to assume people don’t last long here on their own, with or without patronage. I doubt the exchange rate between natural resources and merc lives is favorable with either faction.”

“So, what’s on your mind?” She decided to take a risk by questioning Hayden directly, “What’s that ‘fucking job’ that’s getting complicated?” Having spent her early childhood years under Brezhnev’s rule, she had been raised with the mindset that asking too many questions led to misfortune, but the alternative was tiptoeing around it and getting nowhere.
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Hayden sighs and rubs his cheek then turns slightly a little startled at first. He looks at the woman striding up towards him, "Ah? What Deal with the..." He hums, and listens looking the woman over. The accent first of course, Welsh islands...Irish? Something along those lines he really can't tell. Lords but it's clear. He flicks his eyes over as the man who was sitting with her speaks up. Hayden's eyes narrowing a touch, not sure if this is a play or something. Then the lady that looked...Russian? Or something along those lines. It's shocking.

And they seem to have some idea. Could these folks really be the other operatives? The guy from the Prime Ministers office that called him said there would be others. That other governments had pitched into the operation. There were supposed to be a fair number of them, but it looks like just them in all, four operators. But then sometimes a small group like that is enough to do something big. You just gotta trust. After abit he nods, then brings out a piece of paper. On it stamped is the symbol of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Prime Ministers of Canada. And in curt words on it is all the information he was given. Meet in the capitol, the team would meet up and go about the mission. Any surviving member would get one hundred and fifty million of their home countries dollars. Lots of money for almost anywhere. More then enough to live comfortably for anyone for any amount of time.

He looked up at the pair, "So the question is, have any of you, seen something like this?" He quirked an eyebrow, looking to Yekaterina then Bethan and Sean. "Because if the answer is yes, then great, the job is slightly less complicated, if no, then I'm sorry." His hand beginning to move to the duffle bag on the top of his table, "I got too much riding on this. And I'm not going down so early in the mission." The Hi Power snakes out of the bag, and into his palm.

--------------------

Meanwhile across town a gun market is bustling. A dark skinned man shouting into the street, "Come on everyone look at these guns!" He lifts an AK-47u and fires several shots off for a French merc. Showing that it works. The Frenchman hums and nods, taking a .357 magnum off the table, looking it over, snapping the loader open checking the barrel and everything. Noddding curiously. The market stall owner crowing and nodding, "You know good weapon sir. Only been used ten times. Each time a kill. Bought it from a Belgian merc, sadly he is very dead, but his gun remains. Ten diamonds or 50 gems and it's yours yes?"

The Frenchman hums and reaches into a pocket, pulling out a bag, and starts to count out 25 gemstones, ranging from rubies to sapphires and tourquies, then three diamonds atop them. He pushes the stones to the stall owner, "This should be enough, for the revolver?" The stall owner hums looking the gems over with a practiced eye then nods, sliding the gun over along with twelve rounds, "More then enough sir. Yes yes. Pleasure. And remember Ajid has best guns." The Frenchman nods, and turns away holstering the revolver. And walks off brushing past a pale skinned blonde haired man, with a steel case in hand, he walks right up to Ajid and places it on the counter top, his voice deep and menacing, "Compliments of the Hyena." Ajid goes quiet, "What...but he never does business here...what do you want...what do you have?" The case pops open and inside, a pair of parted out M4 carbines. Older guns, slightly patined, but they are still beautiful in their make. The blonde haired man smiles, "I'm of the Pack, just remember who gave you these. Worth atleast 100 diamonds together."

Ajid gasps and whips out a machete and hacks at a man who tries to grab the case. He nods to the blonde, "Yes sir, Ajid will remember."

----------------------

Back at the BBQ Hayden looks at the three in front of him, "I'm going to need an answer. No one will notice right away if this comes to blood." As if to affirm that there's a blurt of rifle fire to their rear as some merc shows off his accuracy.

Hayden looks at them through slightly narrowed eyes. His hand fisted around the grip of the Hi Power, "Are you the other operatives?"
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After abit he nods, then brings out a piece of paper. On it stamped is the symbol of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Prime Ministers of Canada. And in curt words on it is all the information he was given. Meet in the capitol, the team would meet up and go about the mission. Any surviving member would get one hundred and fifty million of their home countries dollars. Lots of money for almost anywhere. More then enough to live comfortably for anyone for any amount of time.

He looked up at the pair, "So the question is, have any of you, seen something like this?" He quirked an eyebrow, looking to Yekaterina then Bethan and Sean. "Because if the answer is yes, then great, the job is slightly less complicated, if no, then I'm sorry." His hand beginning to move to the duffle bag on the top of his table, "I got too much riding on this. And I'm not going down so early in the mission." The Hi Power snakes out of the bag, and into his palm.

"I'm going to need an answer. No one will notice right away if this comes to blood." As if to affirm that there's a blurt of rifle fire to their rear as some merc shows off his accuracy.

Hayden looks at them through slightly narrowed eyes. His hand fisted around the grip of the Hi Power, "Are you the other operatives?"


---------------

Bethan had watched the Canadian, watching as his tone got more and more serious, more and more driven, more to the point . The yank of the Hi-Power got a response in turn from her, more on her toes than Sean was, far more pissed off, annoyed and frustrated with this situation herself. She wasn't showing restraint, maybe that she should of used, but right now, she was losing her patience, P226 tight in her hand, sighing.

"Jesus, Mexican fucking Standoff it is. I'm not up for dying either, I'm just the same...so even if I was another operative, why the fuck would I trust you now? Funny that, eh?" Bethan said, pistol raised, staring straight at him, her sing-songy Welsh accent hardened into that of a rough, gritstone like demeanour. It was remarkable that for all his misgivings and the way Sean acted, he was able to keep a calmer head than her right now, able to not do something ridiculously stupid and actually keep his cool. For a guy that had no interest in command and blowing shit up, this situation seemed to flow better for him. It was more like a bar fight, not a military engagement. He moved back, clear of the table, in clear, pointed view, aware that he was likely to be drawn on.

"Fuck me, calm down, both of you. I'm not reaching for anything, my sidearm's on my right. That paperwork seems similar to what we got. It's in my left pocket. Calm now, easy." Sean added, his cloudy Ulster accent remaining as much as he could, reaching into the left pocket of his DPM jacket, and drawing a similar letter, opening it up and throwing it onto the table. It was from SIS, the UK's intelligence agency- a similar text with a similar reward, and a similar statement- direct to him. Not that Sean knew Bethan's, and perhaps the reason she was hesitant was that she wanted even to show anything of that kind. She hadn't drawn hers, after all.

"And you're going to play the part, just like that? Shit, you seriously haven't even learned, have you?" Bethan was nearly screaming, holding back the volume as they didn't want to make a scene, Sean looking at the two of them, eyeing up the text on the letter the Canuck had produced. She kept the Sig raised, pointed very decidedly at the Canuck, but almost had half a mind to just whack Sean if he was going to carry on. While Sean was no diplomat, he'd done enough deals to know how to keep calm when a gun was pointed- the name on the sheet giving away who he thought the Canadian merc was and enough to now address him, given he hadn't even made an introduction. He sighed, and ignored the comment, looking straight to Hayden.

"Now...Hayden, I think you are? I don't know if we are in the same group. But your paperwork matches ours. Look at it. Now...if that's right, we're here to waste some cunt," Sean began, the swear harder than any dialect of English could deliver, as he took a look at everyone, before elaborating.

"That is supplying guns to everyone, literally anyone who has dollars, diamonds or gems to hand. Wants to make this third world shithole even worse. We kill him, we all get paid. We all go our seperate ways. Sounds about right from whaat yours says." He looked around, giving a stern look to his partner, knowing that while he had no time for her either and wanted her gone, right now, it was worth being careful with mercs who actually might not hesitate to aim properly.

The Welshwoman obliged, sighing, nodding to Hayden, as she drew the pistol down, standing up out of her seat, looking across to the Russian girl, the other female friendly enough, able to break the ice and keeping her cool. She didn't need to be threatened, she had seen this all play, and Bethan was now calmer now she wasn't being aimed and they three in their corner had broken the deadlock.

"Fine. Now, that leaves Yekatarina. Now, it's three versus one, missy. You might kill this deadbeat fuck, bundle of fucking joy as he is," She started, waving the pistol at Sean, who at this point, was honestly just done, fucking through with arguing, just wanting to let her carry on.

"But it'll just be a really messy cleanup for someone else to mop up two bodies. So, I'll take a guess you're in, because you do not look like the other mercs tooled and kitted. The question is, now what? Are our hosts going to come in here and tell us they'll help with what what's on our paper? COGS weren't friendly to us when we came in here. It's a long story that one, but....chances are SAMC, COGS, local militias, they all likely buy from whoever is fuelling this. So chances are, best we keep our traps shut, and figure this one out. Work for them till we have more idea who's important, who buys, who sells, where it's stored. We do that togther, we might live." She added, Sean nodding.

"For once, you've actually come up with a competent plan. Missy fuckin', let's go with Mexican standoffs at twenty to fucking twelve in the fuckin' mornin." Sean retorted as he cracked a smirk, giving a light chuckle as he knew sarcasm, as fucked up as it was, just felt right to him in that very moment. The scowl on his partner's face said it all, quite a lot of the logical part of Bethan wanting to hold back from shooting him in the head, and Sean just wondering how he could keep going.
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The Canadian’s paperwork and last question were a good sign. One found, that was the first task of the day done and dusted. Lucky as they might have been, that was still the easy part. Finding someone who was looking for you was one thing, finding someone going to great lengths to not be found was another. Now the only remaining variable were the Britons.

As Hayden started getting squirrely, the Russian shifted her weight forward, her own hand inching toward her side where her ‘Gesha’ was concealed by her jacket. She wasn’t sure about trying to draw and fire faster than the other merc with a weapon she was unfamiliar with if he got aggressive, but with just a few paces between them felt confident she could close the distance and get up in his face fast enough to buy herself a precious second or two to act.

That plan suffered a significant setback when the Welsh woman drew on Hayden. This group needed to calm the fuck down before they made the Challeneger’s tenth launch look like a relative success. That thing at least got off the launch pad. Fortunately, the Irishman was of a more agreeable disposition - a welcome change from what seemed to be the norm here - taking a diplomatic approach and confirming their goals also matched hers. She took a few steps back, waiting for the standoff to be resolved, her right hand still hovering around her holster. As the air cleared and she was addressed, she raised her hands in an attempt to prevent more guns being pointed.

“I’ve been given something similar. ‘Go here, find the others, kill the target. What, don’t know who the others are? Don’t care, figure it out, bye.’ or something along those lines. I don’t have it in writing, the people back home wanted maximum deniability, but they agree this country has a hyena problem and sent me to help take care of it, for reasons I’m neither important nor politically active enough to know.” She tried to explain without giving away more than necessary, “So, it might be a good idea to put that away.” Yekaterina slowly pointed to the Canadian’s Hi-Power and Bethan’s Sig. “We’re all friends here, and the moment someone sees this going on there’s bound to be questions I don’t think we can answer to our hosts’ satisfaction. Don’t even try to pretend your covers still hold up after this.” She indicated Hayden’s red cross lapel pin.

With this out of the way, she nodded along as Bethan laid out her plan, “I agree we hitch our wagon to these people for the time being, but how do we ensure they won’t separate us again? In a way it could be beneficial, different things to be learned North and South, but communication could be a problem in that case.”
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Hayden gripped his pistol tight. He realizes he started this with his own paranoia and distrust, but even as it slowly looks like it's about to turn into a shit show. He breathes evenly, his eyes closing as he wrestles with himself to try and turn this around. When he opens his eyes he stares down the barrel of that pistol. His eyes narrowing, but not backing down, it's too late for that. He stares over the business end of pistol in his face, “Fine...fine...” He takes another deep breath then slides his Hi Power into the waistband of his pants, and raises his hand, “My paranoia gets the better of me. Tell you what. Let’s sit, all at one table get a drink. If we’re all on the same side that should be okay right? Come on.” He motions to Bethan and Sean’s table, and then motions the Russian woman over.

HE sits down on one of the stools and motions to a waiter who's walking by. The dark skinned Belgian that comes over, wearing SMAC colors comes over, "Ladies, Gentlemen? Can I be of assistance? Drinks? Food perhaps?" Hayden is about to ask for a round of beers, when the waiter raises a finger, "Ah I should mention sirs and madams, that here in Matanbai, the inflation on our dollar has sadly reached a point that...well it takes millions to buy a sack of flour. So paper money of any kind even coins are mostly useless." He nods, "I am paid in diamonds or gemstones, they are abundant. And honestly at the moment are some of the most valuable things in Matanbai." He smiles, "I say this just to warn you sirs and madams. All food and drink tonight are on the SAMC gem. But out there. Not so much."

Hayden hums, "Then we're going to need to find a way to earn it. Drinks then." He tells the waiter, "Nothing too hard. Just like...Canadian Whiskey if you can manage it, Black Velvet if you can." The waiter grins, "Give me just a short moment sir." He then runs off quickly. Hayden sighs, "Consider this me trying to put in the effort to apologies. We're all in this beside each other. I'm sure we could all just leave and fuck off. But when I'm given a task I see it through. Besides the reward is worth it." He nods, and looks around the table, "We don't have to like each other, but I think, we're going to have to work with each other."

He looks around carefully, "So I propose, we work together. Find some work. SAMC maybe, for now, see if we can figure something out. Get some intelligence. Find out something about this..." He looks at his mission briefing, "This Hyena, learn about him, track him down, get rid of him, then get out of her. Somehow, somewhen." Hayden leans forward, the waiter returning with indeed a bottle of the black labeled Lehbridge distilled Black Velvet whiskey, a good Canadian brewed drink. The waiter pours out four glasses and passes them out. Hayden looking around the table again, "Drink to it?"
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Bethan chuckled, looking at Hayden, then back at the other two, hearing Yektarina's comment on their official covers.
"Agreed. Killing each other definitely will screw our covers." She shrugged, listening out to what Yektarina had to say, and now much happier that she didn't have a pistol aimed at her in a mexican standoff. She seemed charming, calm under pressure and able to act diplomatically- and thought logically. Bethan's sort of person. And Russian Army weren't a fuck around, that much Bethan knew partaking in war games in Germany, the forces they were up against were no less vicious than the Marines she'd been in. She'd seen them in Kosovo, they weren't playing around, probably a bit better with the poorer quality of weapons here too no doubt. On the plus side, everyone was aware of this "Hyena" - that much was in the open.

The situation was helped by the fact that Hayden had calmed down, so much so that he was getting them a drink- Sean very appreciative given he definitely could use one right now. With the the Canadian, the Russian and her former partner now at their table, Bethan had the chance to eye them up all closer, getting a better feel for them, the two sitting quietly as the waiter came over and at last, asked them if they needed a stiff drink.

The waiter's statement was as blunt as any, as Sean shrugged, almost a wry chuckle. Not like they had anything else, they had no money and no dollars at all, American or otherwise. Gems it was, as he nodded in agreement with Hayden, as the Canadian gave his order.
"Fuck it, whiskey might actually do my Irish blood some good. Thanks for the free one." Sean cackled, the Ulster accent crackling through, as Bethan sighed, shrugging.
"Is whiskey this early a good idea? Actually, scratch that. I can fill my flask with some I guess....and I guess we have no dollars to spend anyway. No issue there. We'll go get some gems." Bethan's more screwed on head came through, not wanting to be left behind, but certainly not wanting to go all in. In the meantime as the waiter grabbed the bottle, Hayden explained his idea, the same trace of thought coming through as Yekatarina, and Bethan had mentioned- the feeling felt fairly mutual at this point in time in working as a team. It seemed like they all had their own demons and reasons to be here- Yektarina didn't know much clearly, and it felt like to Bethan at least, the more they learned the less they did either.

"Agreed, Hayden. Not like we have a choice for us, we're here to get rich or die trying. And I guess going back to what Yekatarina said earlier...I imagine it's worth trying to tell them we're a package deal, and besides, it comes only when we know where to go. If we split, I guess we can find cheap SIMs and burner phones if we're totally screwed. People are still using phones...just about. Sat Phones are a safer option, but again, try finding one of those." Bethan commented, shrugging as she saw the waiter bring over glasses, as well as a mean looking bottle of whsikey.

Taking the molten-brown looking whiskey glass, Sean clinked his with Hayden's, giving a moderately toned "Cheers" before scoffing the entire thing, all in one, clean shot. Bethan didn't do the same, mind- taking a sip- while Sean barely looked fazed, like he'd done this too many times before, the spice on the Canadian whsikey not like the kind at home, but close enough.

"That's some good shit....man, Canadians doing good whiskey? Not bad, Hayden. Anyway, long story short, you're probably wondering why we're here looking like this. We're gonna have to be very careful wtih 'dis Hyena fella. We had a lead, and dropped into Nambo Province. He was supposed to be holed up in an encampment, small detail of guards, the sort we'd just pick off easy. Put it like this, it weren't easy. Nearly got killed the two of us, by some COGS wankers that were in the camp, knew where we were coming from and all. Point is, bastard managed to throw off our intelligence people. If he can do that and completely go invisible, this Hyena fella does not want to be found." Sean commented, the Ulster tone almost stronger with alcohol, knowing he had to build some trust- and while he felt it was a risk, it was worth probably coming out with it now. They weren't gonna exactly change their view, and he knew that his other half wouldn't agree.

Bethan stared a disaproving look, sighing. Giving the game away a bit early, but then again, that was always Sean. She had nothing to say- this would be discussed later, as she couldn't be fucked making a scene, even with the whiskey making it a little easier.

"Well...Sean's got a point. The Hyena threw us off easy back then, and if we hadn't have run, we have been killed. My working theory, well, my guess really, is he has to be dealing only in a very small circle of people. Constantly moving, constantly going from point to point. That might explain why we got caught by a COGS encampment, if he was there before. If he's selling guns to both sides, he's smart enough to know that if he fucks up, justice around here comes at the hand of a machete...so he knows how to cover his own tracks at the least."

"Nobody's asking questions either, so he's cornered anyone else who wants to come play gun dealer and that's why nobody's squeezed him...well, unless the people he's talking to are a weak point. What that means we need to be higher up the food chain. Either faction, or any other way, we need to find out who's who, and what we're gonna need to do to find, and go kill him." Bethan said, sipping a bit more whiskey.

"Only question is now, what are mercs gonna send us into? Because I know this drink ain't free. No such thing as free lunches in this game. Shit...I'm gonna save this for later, the bit before we call end up on LiveLeak." Bethan added coldly, giving a wry laugh at the end, almost as if she was now buying into a bit of the collective misery of just how up against it they were, four mercs against what seemed like an invisible, untouchable spectre of a guy selling guns in the heart of darkness. If you weren't laughing, you were crying. On that note, Bethan poured the remaining brown whiskey into a small flask that she kept on her jacket pocket, and sealed it tight, musing over the task at hand and the two new unlikely allies they would be working with.
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At last, the air of paranoia and distrust was dispersed. Now they were in business. Even the impossible could be a mere inconvenience with a good enough plan of action, equipment and some luck. Luck they seemed to be having so far and equipment was beyond their control for now, but now that they were all on the same page about what they were here to do, they could figure out at least a rough outline of how to go about it. Bringing her bag over from her previous table, Yekaterina sat down, shaking her head slightly at the waiter’s explanation of Matanbai’s economical situation. “Gemstones for pocket change. ‘Abundant’ he calls them. With what those must be worth back in the civilized world, we get our hands on a few of those, we could disappear in Argentina and forget this whole clusterfuck.” the Russian chuckled when the waiter left.

Accepting the free drink, she raised the glass before taking a careful sip.“Za zdorov'ye, Damn, this actually has some taste. And you’ll excuse me if I don’t put too much trust in local infrastructure. I’ve seen the roads here. Much like blacktop, I’d be surprised if cell coverage extended too far beyond the biggest cities. A lot of the comm towers around the country could be private networks owned by the mining corporations. Not great if you want to sneak information by them.”

Sean’s story sparked some interest. “Honestly, it seems it isn’t much of a problem to throw intel off for someone this big. ‘Tis a sad state of things, but scumbags aren’t strangers to political connections, and knowing the right people can get you places no amount of firepower ever could. Doubt he would’ve gotten this big without some envelopes delivered to the right people in the first place.” She spoke confidently, perhaps with some experience given her home country, “And if he keeps a small team and keeps on the move? Wouldn’t surprise me if this guy - if it is indeed one guy and not a group of people under one pseudonym - was once in our line of work.” Facing a group of salty Gulf War veterans or an ex Soviet officer who cut his teeth selling Red Army equipment after ‘91 wasn’t a cheerful prospect.

“And as to what they’ll have us do? Probably the same things as the people who almost took your heads off were doing for COGS. Asset protection, maybe messing with the competition.” the Russian finished her whisky, turning to face a light to read the engraving on the bottom of the glass. “I’ll hazard a guess and say we’re a grade above the usual merc. Probably our biggest asset, we’d do well to capitalize upon that. Like you said, we’ll likely need to get to higher echelons if we want a realistic chance of learning what we want to know. With a bit of luck, which seems to be on our side thus far, there’ll be an opportunity to shine. Get us noticed. Hopefully without too much recognition from anyone but our current bosses. Don’t think most of these mercs would think twice about putting us in the dirt if they felt like we were a threat to their paycheck.” She set the glass back down, “And speaking of assets: Any of you bring something special to the table? Knowledge, skills, anything helpful the others should know about? Certainly easier convincing them we’re more useful kept together when we know what and who the others are, not to mention actually working together.”
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Bethan nodded, agreeing with Yekatarina on that, they were certainly a grade above and not just some dumb mercs, they seemed to have something about them. Not just idiots with FALs marched in from South Africa or militants from Somalia running through with AKs, but Westerners who were here with purpose.
"Well, you might be right on that one, we are a grade above. We're not gonna sit guarding posts, I feel like. And I guess 'round here, gems are king, people get greedy easy...let's just keep our heads on and find what we need. We'll find opportunities, out here, it feels more like being fast on your feet than a slave if you want to go places." Bethan remarked, hearing her next comment on skills, responding in turn as she put her hands on the table, looking across. It felt odd to go from pointing guns to this, but then again, that was Africa. It was wild, it was uncontrolled, and you had to just be fast on your feet. Bethan had to admit, she was more paranoid than she would have liked, but now she was beginning to get the lay of it, she was getting back what she knew.

"Well, I'm a trained Paramedic both from mountain and military experience, and I worked as a nurse for a bit. Did most of the SFSG training course too before breaking my leg in two places, so I know my way a little around marksman work too, and done Ironman for a bit so take what you want from why I don't fuck around. Thought I gave up killing people a while ago, but here we are." Bethan added confidently, Sean looking acros, chuckling when he gave another wick of the remaining whiskey in his glass that hadn't gone down with the shot.
"Well, throw me a light machine gun and I'm happy as larry, carried my section's FN MAG, resident heavy weapon specialist. Happy shooting the shit out of anything that looks like it moves. I did an introductory course to setting explosives and using anti-tank weaponry too, not that I actually got to do much of it in Afghan...beyond that, me and Bethan are Marines. Happy in any dinghy, and..." Sean added, cut off by Bethan before he could carry on, her annoyance getting clear.

"Yeah, well, right now we're in a boat without a fucking paddle. Pretty much, our Marines spend 10 weeks longer training than the Americans do at being soldiers on boats, and we've done it 100 years longer than them. So you can imagine we don't piss around at any aspect of it." Bethan interrupted, before looking across to Sean, who was also interested to hear their stories, sitting up and full well knowing their nationalities.

"And how about you both? Fought any bears? Fuckin' one of yas has, I bet." Sean asked, a wry smirk on his face, that classic Ulster charm coming through. They may not have been from the southern end of the island, but Irish people alike were always craic, and always up for taking the piss when the opportunity presented itself. He seemed more gregarious than blunt, but it definitely showed a more raw, disobedient streak compared to Bethan's professionalism and work-rate.
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Hayden eased his elbows on the table top, "True, we're likely going to have to swim in Shit Creek before we get to rose scented waters. It's not going to be an easy trip." He looks around, then at his three table mates. He hums and nods, "We're going to need time, work and funds. I think that should be our priority don't you all think?" He reached down to take a slug of the whiskey in his glass and hisses softly as it goes down, "Smooth...just like I remember back in Army training. Hoooo, Gunney would sometimes take a trip down to Lethbridge from Wainwright and would sometimes bring back a few bottles. Share most of it with the Brass, but sometimes he'd have a bottle or two left over. And he'd bring it to the Barracks. And the Company would sit in the dining area get a glass each and we'd sit there and get a little buzzed on it. Bunch of kids mostly, our first real taste of alcohol came about in those barracks." He swirled his glass.

He heard the talk about their training and their prospects, "Hmmm we're probably a few pay grades above what they usually get. I see alot of militia manning the walls." He gestures towards the guard points, "Those aren't men and women who have full training." There was indeed about thirty to fifty men and women in uniforms with weapons patrolling the perimeter or standing at posts along the walls. Sure they held their guns like they had an understanding of their use, but none really had the look of a person who's seen true combat. Not really at any rate. Hayden sniffs, "I'm sure us four have seen our fair share. I'm Canadian Armed Forces and CSOR. Riflemen with Autogunner training. Give me a Light Machine Gun and I can do wonders, give me a rifle and I'll perform surgery if I have too." He nods with abit of a chuckle. Hayden thought it a good start after almost starting that fight earlier. The Canadian reached over for the bottle on the table and poured himself abit more of the whiskey. Taking a drink before speaking again, "So we need work. And get our hands on some gems. And then we can figure out what we can do about the Hyena." He gave a sharp nod, "So the question then, is, where do we start?"

There's a chuckle from behind them all, and Hayden whips around. Sitting at the table he vacated a short time ago is a trio of people, it's not the group that all brought them together but another group entirely. All of them dressed in white, cream colors or light grey. Two women and a man. And it was the man who is wearing a grin and seems to be the one to have chuckled. He nods to Hayden. The women at the table looking at the four carefully, saying nothing. But the man raises a hand, "Looking for work then? Perhaps I can be of assistance." He sits forward and smiles, "Four prime new to Matanbai mercenaries. Not often I get to to be the first one. Pop your cherries yes?" He chuckles again, "Victor Manar, CHRO of the South African Mining Corporation. I don't usually get to talk to potential new hires, temporary or otherwise, too high on the ladder. But well a shin dig like this I had to show up. And I get to be the one this time." He laughs softly, the two women with him giving looks of annoyance at the man. They're both tall, dark skinned African women, with almost amazonian qualities to them, one of them has a beautiful golden chain pierced to her nose then up to her right ear, some facial bling. The other is tattooed from the top of her bare head to somewhere below her neckline. And both bare the sense of professionals.

Victor smiles, "You see I have a, well let's call it an oppurtunity, on the bottom floor. I can tell you four have some skills. So, I'd like to put forth a feeler let's call it. SAMC has been trying to get in with the Dry Trail. And I have news of a Driver coming through Southern Tangayi. Namely the Bo'lobo slums. There's a notorious black market in the area or so I'm told. And the Driver may be there." He pulls a photo from his suit jacket, with an emblem on it. A circle with what looks like a dry riverbed painted along it, "This is the symbol of the Dry Trail. And all of their trucks and vehicles are marked with it in some way. Find the truck, find the driver. Bring him here, alive. Whole if you can as well, but wounded is just as good. And twenty diamonds are yours, a piece. Should be enough to get you some gear each yes?" He smiles, "I'll even provide transportation to Bo'lobo. What do you say?" Victor gave another huge cheshire grin at the four. His companions, likely his guards giving them apologetic looks.
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One by one, the others began to open up. Good. Communication, exchange. “Nice to have someone with more than basic medical expertise. Here’s hoping we don’t need you.” Yekaterina raised the empty glass in a mock toast in Bethan’s direction as the other woman revealed an impressive range of experiences and traits, “And an explosives guy, okay, glad to hear that. I’m going to leave any potential demolition stuff to you, my track record with that... isn’t great.” There was a brief, yet perceptible pause as she thought of a way to phrase it without using words such as ‘clusterfuck’ and ‘stereotypical Russian disaster’ “And sorry, no fistfights with bears. Wildest thing I’ve wrestled were shitfaced Londoners.” The Russian chuckled. Hayden’s resume was also a cause for optimism, apparently full service in special forces, unlike Bethan’s unfortunately aborted training, under the paranoid canuck’s belt. With her turn to speak, she leaned in closer so she could lower her voice a bit, seeing no reason to openly flaunt different allegiances that might make people question their presence and motives, masking the motion by reaching for the bottle and pouring herself another shot. “As for me, I’m Main Intelligence Directorate special forces, you’re probably more familiar with the old designation, GRU. A door kicker by training. Mechanical, ballistic, explosive, thermal, the lot. Not like we’ll need, or find for the matter, more than irons here. Aside from that, I’m originally motorized infantry, so I’m pretty familiar with the operation and basic maintenance of vehicles, mainly older Soviet trucks and four by fours, and speak German.”

Their little bonding was interrupted by the arrival of a corporate-looking type. Guy looked like he had more money than Ukraine. Definitely looked out of place in a country like this. She hadn’t even noticed his arrival. Idiot, pay attention. His offer seemed decent though. They couldn’t afford to be picky this early on, so a simple-looking task to bring a guy over - with no penalty for damaged goods no less - seemed like a continuation of the good fortune smiling upon them, compared to the shitfest that was personal protection, frontline combat or other grunt work assignments they could’ve been saddled with as unproven new hires, each with a hundred and one ways it could go horribly wrong. Of course this could still get complicated. Uncooperative driver, driver in the middle of transporting half a platoon of COGS-affiliated mercs, driver getting killed by some passer by for looking at him in a weird way... After witnessing a convoy of mercs throwing fliers tied to rocks at vehicles on the highway, she had a feeling everything was on the table, at least it would seem that way until they got used to how things were in Matanbai.

Standing up to see Victor, the Russian nodded at the offer. “20 diamonds doesn’t tell us tourists much. What’s that worth, can you give us some examples? And is haggling with traders the norm here like in, say, Tunisia, or is it frowned upon?” She wanted to know, not even bothering with attempting to hide how clueless she was about how things in Matanbai worked, inwardly wishing unspeakable things on the person who sent her into the middle of bumblefuck nowhere, Africa, with what could not be by any metric considered adequate intelligence. “Wouldn’t happen to have a picture of the driver, would you?” she asked, trying to remember if Gunther’s truck had any markings like the one presented on it. That would’ve been an ironic twist.
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Sean nodded, pouring another glass himself, the whiskey's golden brown filling the hazy glass as he took a wick himself, nodding to both Hayden's and Yekatarina's backgrounds.
"Yeah, same- it helps when she ain't pulling rounds out of us. And they told me all Ruskies were scary. Then again, GRU...you guys weren't fucking around, weren't ya now? Door kicking in Chechnya, must have seen some shit. And anyway, I've done the same in fighting with Londoners. Trick is, they're worse in a bar fight. They can't stand a chance against the Irish." Sean added, glass raised to her as he sipped, a wry smirk on his face, knowing there was no bad blood from his end to Yekatarina in this setting. It was a mutual respect for the fact that before now himself, Bethan and Hayden had half a mind to the fact that the Ruskies were going to be the next enemy they faced in a potential world war. Not that it was gonna happen, but it was always that classic paranoia, wondering if it might happen and they'd be back into the 80s all over again.

"Same for you, Hayden. You're not fucking around. Special friggin' Forces. And able to pick good whiskey. Can't go wrong a man like that, d'yknow?" Sean simply remarked, knowing those CSOR lads weren't half bad themselves in Afghanistan. Less smug than the Rangers and other US Marines, in that they would probably apologise if they could to the Taliban's families. So the joke went back in Bastion.

Bethan sighed, nodding to the other woman at the table, and other at Hayden.
"Sounds like you've got your uses, Yekatarina. You keep trucks moving, I keep you moving. I've pulled enough shrapnel from people to know that bit can be worse." Even Bethan seemed loosened up, her own remark coming right as Hayden took his own drink, and the group only then realised who was coming behind. Bethan had spied it in the corner of her eye, the man with a wry smirk on his face and the two girls that seemed to even make her athletic physique look relatively tame. And any girl willing to tattoo most of the side of her head, or wear a necklace like that wasn't doing it for fashion purposes, they did it to prove a point- the sorts of girls that looked more Wonder Woman than soldier. A point Bethan knew this man, who introduced himself as Victor, was very much making- with the wrong attire but a diamond-sharp mindset. Herself and Sean stayed quiet, listening to him introduce himself, and the opportunity that was presented.

Stealing a truck, and the driver inside would be an interesting ask- not the hardest job in the world, but then again, so had the idea of killing this Hyena been when they were sold on it back in the UK. If it had soldiers inside, or was escorted, it made it a tricky job. But then again, she knew how quickly they could make something happen, as a team, if they got clever about it. It was better than being in a meatgrinder, running logistics, or guarding a post. There was no doubt it was doable, but Bethan had a feeling the law of the jungle meant you had to be fast, both mentally and physically, to get away with a truckjacking in an African slum. As Victor finished, the guards gave an apologetic look, the look of a set of guards who felt embaressed to have their employer go off the rails a little with excitement.

Looking at Yekatarina first, Sean piped up, hearing her comment and feeling like he had some input, silly as it was.
"Look around you. I don't see anyone setting prices for anything....dollars are worthless, diamonds could be too, and I know too easy you don't ask, you don't get. I'm sure we can always work something out- they're worth something disproportionate here. Nothing to lose apart from getting clapped, right?" Sean sounded like he knew what he was doing- though unlike Yekatarina, he was talking out of his ass, and more likely than not, it showed. It was an educated guess that diamonds probably had some worth, enough to get them tooled, but 20 wasn't going to be a lot in the scheme of things. Perhaps it was more the drug deals or illicit work he had done that taught him that, but still, it was probably bullshit.

Bethan couldn't help but know it was, but held back on calling him on it, looking to Hayden. Deep inside, she knew this could all go haywire, but then again, they had nothing to lose. If they did this clean, it wasn't so much the money, it was more the trust they could gain, Bethan looking to Hayden first, then to Victor.

"Well then...I'm in. I agree with Yekatarina, it'd be nice to know what we're risking our lives for, and who it might be. Though I mean far as I can tell, you probably get we're not packing a lot of heat and you expect us to come back. Fuck it. I say let's go get ourselves a truck. Get us a lift and we'll go from there." Bethan said plainly, the ex-Sergeant collected in her mannermism as she nodded to Yekatarina on the first part of her comment, then looking over to the Canadian, the more qualified operative more likely than not aware of what could be involved in this.

"Hayden, how do you want to do this? We'll need to hunt it down in the slums, but keep in mind we're all pasty as fuck and armed with nines. They'll know how to stop carjackings. So....my thoughts are we split up when we arrive, me and Yektarina try and aim to stop it when we find the truck and you and Sean support us from another angle. Try to uhh...not gain too much attention. Clap anyone else watching while we....convince this driver to take us here." Bethan suggested, a brief but short plan for now, Sean looking across with a bit of disbelief.

"Sure staying seperate is a good idea?" Sean seemed a little puzzled, wondering if already, this was some passive aggressive move on his part.

"Yeah, because you two meatheads might look intimidating to a supply truck and two women don't. And jesus, Sean, we have gone through this before. We're in a third world shithole, don't act silly with me what they think here. Unless you're those two girls there. Holy shit. I need whatever diet you two are on, you certainly look the part." Bethan replied, nodding across to the two women next to Victor and raising her voice on the last bit, hoping the compliment came through honest.
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Victor grinning sitting on his stool. His two near amazonian guards-women standing just behind him and to his sides. That wide grin on Victor's face tells a great deal. First that's he's pleased to hear and see they are considering his offer and mission. He's positively giddy by the looks of it. One of his guards coughs and speaks up, her voice a lilting African tweak to it, "In case you are wondering. Twenty Diamonds, is worth almost five hundred American dollars at the moment. Maybe just a little more. It's a fine sum. And for a job like this...rather, much." She looks at Victor side ways. The other guards-woman huffs and smiles at Bethan giving her a nod at the compliment, then says something in a almost sing song tonal language that flows like water and has a variety of tongue clicks and motions with her hands. The first guard who spoke smiles, and nods, "She says it's almost over generous." As the two speak Victor seems to shrink in on himself abit, as if embarrassed somehow. The business man coughs finally, "Alright alright alright alright! Enough please. So I assume by your making plans you will be taking the job?" He grins brightly yet again.

Hayden takes a deep breath and turning back to the group he nods, "First yes I think I like this plan. We're all going to look as out of place as a Quebecois in the middle of Calgary. But if the big guys are the ones moving we're likely to get spotted. The girls are right. It's easier to be suspicious if two guys walk up, but two women do, it's a little disarming. We watch from a distance, and be ready to run in to back them up. I don't know alot of this Dry Trail, but they're going to be ready for any bad business I'm sure. I've done operations in areas with lots of unknowns. If they're coordinated they tend to be able to sniff out the ones that look like they mean business. But a pair of women? Not so much. In fact a good insurgent or enemy may even discount these two. If they play it right." Out of the corner of their eyes they may notice the two Amazons grin brightly, as they feel complimented by that as well.

Hayden nods, "We get after them the way you laid it out Bethan." He looks over, "I don't know why I'm the one saying yes, but we'll take the job. And I hope you keep us in mind for future jobs." Victor grins broadly, "Oh I'm sure I can. You'll find a older blue Cadillac waiting for you out the north-west gate. Along with four Matanbian cellphones with sim cards already to go. They're burners mind so don't expect them to last forever. I'd advise to use some of the Diamonds I'll pay you to get something for communication. For now, load up, and get moving." he stand sup and offers his arms to his two guards, "Ladies, let's mingle." The man then walk soff, his two guards looking miffed at having to go along with this.

Hayden hums, "We all have atleast a mag or two for our pistols right?" He reaches up to smooth his dark hair back out of his eyes, darker skin briefly lit by the light, his full jacket hiding alot. The tall and broad Canadian shifting, where he sits. Grey eyes narrowing a little, "We're going to have to fight I know it, so when we do, make your shots count. Looking around I'd wager that combat armor isn't a major thing." he gestures at the fighters around the party, none of them wearing any king of armoring, "So a body shot will work. But we're going to need decent weapons eventually." He sniffs, "Either way, let's go see if we can find this driver, and then we see what happens after that."
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