6. Chapter Six
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men [and women] stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
― George Orwell
"Ok! Line up!", yelled the ever so jolly Colonel Sutlers.
Buffy found herself in a hanger somewhere near New York surrounded by jets, cargos, transports, fighter planes and rows and stacks of wooden crates spewed all across the floor. This is where General Kerrigan needed her, on the Eastern Seaboard with 3 other very different guys. A Full Bird, half Bird and a Major Medic. Buffy sighed and sat a crate along with the Medic while the Birdies stood in front, acting a tad too arrogant for her liking.
Buffy gazed at the man. He was a 6' 9" tall, well built man with an unusually black hair cut at the ear. Piercing azure eyes, hard squared jaw combined with a jagged white scar against his tanned skin going in between his hairline and lower jaw which gave him an intimidating aura. Considering the man was pushing the half a century mark, it was pretty impressive. The man had barely said more than ten words and already she could hear the arrogant undertone in his voice.
Next to him, the Lt. Colonel Brian West. The man was 6' 1", much smaller than the Colonel. He had brown-blond hair and green eyes, light skin and vertically the textbook example of an Iowa Boy. He gave off the ' I'm completely harmless with a pearly white toothy smile to prove it ' vibe.
In other words, completely dangerous.
Lastly, the guy next to her, the Major Medic. The name he introduced himself was Aaron Adar. Based on his name and physical distinct features, he has roots in the Middle East. He hadn't said a word beyond expected pleasantries. His gaze was focused at the Birdies and he sat stiffly, as if he didn't know whether or not it was safe enough to to relax or not.
"Welcome to the 'Pack' ." Colonel Sutlers started up suddenly. "This will be the your new team! I expect everyone to get along, not get each other killed and protect each other. Do you understand?"
A chorus of "Yes, sir" rang out.
"Today, we're headin' out. Once we get on our transport, then I inform you lot on the details. Got it?"
"Yes sir" they said again.
"Also, we men also need to protect the little lady over there." Colonel West said, mentioning in Buffy's direction.
Buffy's face instantly contorted in anger. She opened her mouth to protest but was cut off by the Lt. Colonel.
"Ok then! Let's head out!" West said.
Buffy bit her tongue. She felt the urge to walk over there and knock him upside the head. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned head to the left and saw it was Major Adar. He gave her an encouraging but faint smile. His dark brown eyes seemed to convey a knowing glint, as if he knew what she was feeling. He released her shoulder and headed out.
"Tsk." Buffy had a feeling she's going to have to show Colonel 'Men are superior to Women' he was wrong.
The 'Pack', as they were affectionately codenamed, made themselves comfortable on the various transport containers securely fastened to the walls of the decently sized cargo plane.
Major Adar and Buffy naturally sat themselves near each other on a long rectangular crate that spanned the entire length of the right portion of the plane and had the added convenience of being lower than the rest of the crates.
Colonels Sutlers and West sat directly in front of them on the only two actual chairs on the plane.
Colonel Sutlers began the mission briefing.
"Ok boys and girls! We're goin' to the Russian Steppes. Of course the Russians know we're comin' so there won't be any political misunderstanding. How the hell that happened is beyond me. Anyways, the objective today will is the camp of a known terrorist cell. Reports say that the group and its leader, Kazimir Hedeon, os a radical anti- well, everybody else beside their little gang of friends and likes the taste of people. His following is thought to be in the twenty to twenty-five range armed with sub machine guns, rifles, automatics, grenades, virtually any thing that could be bought of the Black market. Luckily for us, the guy is a incompetent leader with no military experience and large amount of negative emotions clouding his judgement and his crew is no better."
"Yippee. A cannibalistic, homicidal maniac in a leadership position with a group of other cannibals. Just great." Buffy commented sarcastically.
"Scared, Summers?" West said provocatively.
"Ha. Don't make me laugh. The likes of him don't scare me. I've faced worst." Buffy said, her face twisted into a grimace.
"Really? What?" The Colonel asked genuinely interested.
"Its best to leave it at that. Monsters like him don't deserve ever being remembered. As the saying goes, 'let dead dogs lie.'" She said in a low, borderline threatening, voice. Her pointed emerald eyes fixated onto the Colonel with an intensity that made him shudder violently. Her body language didn't help in the matter.
"Right." He instinctively shifted away from her. He had a feeling that he was digging up old wounds.
"Anyways, this cell is our hit." Colonel Sutlers said.
Major Adar raised his hand. Colonel Sutlers raised an eyebrow but motioned him to talk. "Why are we doing this mission now instead of earlier?"
The Colonel sighed. "I knew one of you was gonna ask that. Well, we, as in the Russian government and the United States, were gonna leave em' be a first. They really weren't doing much 'cept stockpiling weapons."
"Did something change?"
"Yeah something changed. Twenty-five dead children is what changed. A squeak from the group snitched out his crew and told the Russians that Hedeon and his merry band of friends tortured, maimed and slaughtered the children. That's not the worst part." He paused. "The deranged bastards ate them."
Everyone was silent.
"The reason why we were given this assignment was for two reasons. First of all, that the head bastard was born an American but since renounced his citizenship. Second of all, two of the kids were in the process of bein' adopted by a family back in the states."
Major Adar looked at the Colonel's solemn expression and at the enraged ones of Buffy and the Lt. Colonel's. "I will never be comfortable taking another human's life." He gave a slight smirk. "Good thing that this monster isn't human."
"My sentiments exactly." Buffy said.
"No real human would ever do that to other people, let alone children." Colonel West said. "Let's put a bullet in this monster's fuckin' face."
The Pack meticulously readied themselves for the coming mission.
Having spent several months undergoing special training in groups for a variety of reasons - the two Colonels and Major Adar, Buffy and two others - the summer months had come and gone. Winter was just reaching its early stages and already there was several inches of snow on the Russian ground. All their gear had to be camouflaged in white in order not to attract attention.
Several layers of clothing was first. The white boots, pants, and jackets came last. Carefully, they packed away the necessary gear and grabbed their respective weapons.
Since the plane couldn't land, the four would have to parachute down to the surface. The group slipped their chutes on and fastened it in the front. After that was done, they all checked each others chutes, checking to making sure they had been packed properly and other possible complications. After that was done, they were ready.
They sat patently, waiting for the plane's interior light which gave them the signal to jump to switch from red to green.
"You know, even with the horrible things this monster has done, there are always more out there." Buffy said
The men looked at themselves. They knew truth rang in those words. Before they could ponder over them, the light switched to green and the hatch opened. They were off.
Sutlers was the first to land, West was not too far behind him. Adar soon followed and lastly, Buffy.
They cut off their parachutes and stowed them away in their respective packs for a possible later use. After making a last cursory check over their weapons, they made their way forward. They walked in a semi- straight line in accordance to rank.
The sky was clear save for a cloud or two. The land the group walked was protected by the Siberian Larch. The large trees littered the grounds in clusters, in forests. Their branches covered in layers of snow. They also provided the group traveling within its bowels a relatively safe pathway in which they could travel.
The leader held up his left, gloved hand up. The rest stopped. The leader motioned to the group to look down.
They all followed his line of sight and saw an man.
The man was large. At least six and a half feet tall and 190 pounds. He made no attempt to camouflage himself. He wore a brown clothing made out of what seemed to be of a bear. The man was smoking a clay pipe - seemingly carefree - with a shotgun slug over his monstrous shoulders. Also, according to file presented to them, he was a known companion of Kazimir Hedeon.
"I got him." mouthed Buffy. Sutlers motioned her to go. The rest of the Pack continued forward.
She separated from the group, weaving in and out the clusters of trees while crouching low to the ground. She made her way through and, once she found a spot that fit to her liking, she crouched low to the ground. She slung the white painted M3A1 over her shoulder and grabbed one of her personally made throwing knives - 4 inch blade with a streamlined body and a 1 inch black hilt - and prepared to throw.
Her aim was impeccable. She had managed to land the blade in between the man's eyes all the way up to the hilt. He had never saw it coming.
He fell backward, dead in an instant.
The clay pipe still lit in the man's lips was smothered by the snow and soon its light faded into nothingness.
Buffy surveyed the scene. She saw her three fellow Pack members, heading toward Hedeon's location, were several hundred meters ahead of her. Without her superior eyesight, she'd never would had been able to spot them through the dense Larch.
'Eyes of an eagle, the damn best,' she thought.
Once her survey of the scene was done, she grabbed her M3A1 from the ground and slung it over her back and continued forward. She walked toward the man, put her booted foot on his head and yanked her blade from the man's skull. There was a sickening plop. The blade was amazingly clean, not a hint of blood or brain matter. She quickly re-sheathed it.
She straightened her back and left to rejoin the Pack.
She could heard the distinctive sound of the discharge of bullets leaving their chambers. Her sensitive nose could smell the unforgettable scent of gunpowder along with the bitter iron tang of blood, a large amount at that.
She ran faster, no longer caring about hiding her approach. Going faster than a cheetah, she arrived in less than ten seconds.
She took in the scene in under less time.
It was in a small clearing, the tree line no more then 100 meters wide. Her three fellow Pack mates were pinned down at the rightmost portion of said tree line.
The enemy numbered in the twenties. Twenty-six, three others dead, to be exact if her senses were correct. Most of them weren't even taking advantage of any cover that was available to them. They stood up plain view, shooting randomly into the trees - loosing the snow that had gathered on the branches - effectively forcing the highly trained and elite soldiers to take cover in order to avoid the hail of bullets being sent their way.
Buffy narrowed her eyes. She was lucky for she had managed to come out on a fairly large hill the gave her an impeccable view of both sides. She quickly got on her stomach, dug the M3A1 into the snow, and aimed the barrel at one of the men shooting at her guys. Her eyes combined with her fast reflexes allowed her to take out five men before they noticed her. The men she had shot were covered in bloody holes and, luckily for them, dead before they hit the ground with resounding thuds. Their comrades stared at the empty husks that once held known souls.
Their firing stopped for a second.
That was all that her team needed. The three once-pinned men peeked out of the tree line. They seized the opportunity of their adversaries' absentmindedness and started shooting.
The men came out of their stupor too late. After a ten minute firefight, all the opponents were dead.
Buffy met up back with her Pack mates. They advanced. They found Kazimir Hedeon not long after. He had apparently heard them coming and taken a cyanide pill.
He took the easy way out. Completely expected of a coward such as him.
The Pack, after completing their mission, were placed on a cargo plane out of the country. Sutlers and Adar were asleep. Only Buffy and West were awake.
"Hey Summers, I want to apologize for what I said earlier. It was unfair of me to judge you solely on your gender and without giving you a chance to prove yourself." he said, sincerity in every word.
Buffy was in an corner. She was curled up in a ball trying but failing to go to sleep. She contemplated just ignoring him but decided against it. She sighed and said, "Don't worry to much about it. Its not like your hurt me or anything."
"Really?" he asked like a child.
"Yeah. So quit talking and get some sleep already."
High Command had given the team a short leave in Yokota Airbase in the Tokyo Metropolis Prefecture of the Kantō region of Japan.
Buffy wanted to do some drawings of the local landscape, a fact that she wants to keep to herself at the moment.
She went off-base in the standard fatigues and hat along with a small, black, one pouch backpack in which she carried her supplies.
Walking for around thirty minutes, she finally found the perfect spot along the Tama River's swelled riverbed. Recent rainstorms in the unusually hot upper portions of Japan had turned the ordinarily docile river into a monstrously choppy torrent.
It being a Friday afternoon, there were many students walking about. Most in clumps and all wearing some type of uniform.
Buffy paid them no mind. She had found paradise and was determined to draw it. The water, a mixtures of hues of blues and whites, took up most of the twelve by eighteen drawing paper. The small metal and concrete bridge, fifteen feet above the raging river in which students and regular people crossed, was but an ant in comparison.
She had been almost completed the drawing when it happened.
She heard the shouts of many people and she whirled toward the source; it was coming from the people on the bridge. They were mashed up on the railing pointing and screaming over the side of the railing. Heightening the sensitivity of her ears and she managed to get a grasp on the situation.
Someone, a young girl, had fallen in the water; into the clutches of the disgruntled river.
Buffy swerved her head and scanned the churring surface of the river. She caught a glimpse of black, vastly different then the rivers' natural colors, against her acute eyes.
She didn't think. All she knew was that someone needed help and she was capable in providing aid.
In to the water she went like an Olympian, barely making a ripple in the already disturbed surface.
Shock was the first thing she felt. The bitting cold water. The shifting currents pulling her to and fro. For a second, she stopped moving, allowing body to adjust itself to the sudden change. Then, she was off like a bullet, heading toward the shape and color that had no business in being in the river.
Using the currents to her advantage, she grabbed hold of the girl. Grabbing the girl from the arms and pulling her close so she could wrap her arms her waist, she was swam backward at an angle toward the opposite bank and used only her legs to propel her forward. She didn't stop until she felt a thud as her back collided with solid ground.
The entire rescue had taken under a minute.
To Buffy and most likely the girl in her arms, it felt much more than that.
Even though her body was empowered, it was still human. Her lungs cried out in pain, desperate for the life-straining air stolen by the frigid water. Her muscles ached and,most dangerously, she was cold. The temperature might not be cold enough to freeze the water, but it was cold enough that the threat of hypothermia in high which was made even higher because of their currently drenched conditions.
She felt someone take the girl off her frame, easing the weight on her diaphragm. She took deep breaths, filling her empty lungs.
"Well. You're lucky that I just so happened to be in the area, Airman. Must have been a convenient coincidence," said a female voice left of her.
She opened her eyes but had to close her eyes to allow them to adjust - it was rather dark under the water. She relied, "I don't believe in coincidences."
The women laughed softly. "I bet you don't. Now tell me, why'd you jump into the river like that. You could've died."
Buffy couldn't respond immediately. At that moment, she began to shiver slightly. The women frowned and clicked her tongue disapprovingly. "We can't have that, now can we?"
She stripped Buffy of the thin jacket of the fatigues. Taking off her own black jacket, the brown haired woman draped it over Buffy's own freezing body. A minute later, two ambulances arrived and whisked both girls to the nearest hospital. Buffy and the other Airman rode in one while the other girl rode in another.
Buffy took the opportunity to study her fellow countryman. She was older women - at least ten years her senior. She had short fine chocolate brown hair which was combed to the side and chocolate brown eyes to match. By the insignia displayed on her cap, she was also an officer, a captain to be exact.
"So, are you going to tell me why you did it?"
Buffy looked her straight in the eye. "She needed help. I had the skills to provide it. Simple as that."
"Simple as that huh?" She was quiet a minute then a smile spread across her face. She shook her head. "That a refreshing thing to hear nowadays. Anyway, do you mind telling me what's your name?"
"2nd Lt. Buffy Kenn Summers. And yours?"
"Captain Janet Fraiser."
"Nice to meet you, Captain Fraiser."
Buffy closed her eyes and lifted the sheets of the gurney.
Gurney plus ambulance equals Hospital?
'Oh shit.' Buffy thought.
Buffy's eyes flew open. The machines she had apparently been hooked up to started going crazy. The paramedics and Janet all jumped.
"Summers? What's wrong?" Janet said alarmed.
Buffy ignored her. She turned to the paramedic. "Where is this going?" She demanded in Japanese.
"Um, well, the hospital."
Buffy's brain stopped working. A hospital. The worst place imaginable. Buffy let out a pitiful noise and shrank back onto the gurney.
"Ugh! I hate hospitals!" she yelled in english
"Ah, you have nosocomephobia." Janet said understandingly, her eyes returning to their natural size. The paramedics, still confused, continued to check her over.
"Yeah I do. Now let me off this bed!" Buffy begged.
"As a medical professional, I can't do that."
"Your a doc?"
"Oh, I have a feeling your gonna hold this over me for a long time."
"Oh yes." Janet proclaimed, a wicked smile making its way a cross her face.
Luckily for Buffy, all she had to endure was a couple of tests as a procaution.
The girl she rescued wasn't so lucky. She was taken to the hospital with a mild case of hypothermia and had to stay in the hospital for a couple days under observation.
"Captain Fraiser, can I ask you a question?" Buffy asked. She was sitting on one of the universally uncomfortable chairs that existed in all hospitals while Janet was filling out the paperwork transferring her care to the base's sickbay.
Janet looked up from the paperwork and said, "Depends on the question."
'Well, at least she was honest.' Buffy thought. "I just wanna know what room that girl is."
"The doctors here already updated you on her condition." Janet stated.
"I know. Its just that I wanna see first hand that she ok…" Buffy mumbled.
Janet looked at her. She sighed. She reached into her pocket and produced a piece of paper. "Go ahead. Meet me later."
Buffy smiled wide, almost like a child receiving candy. "Thanks Captain," she said as she saluted and walked away.
"That girl…" Janet mumbled under her breath and shaking her head, "She going to be the death of me."
Buffy found the room easily with the help of some doctors. She stood outside the room, gathering up the courage to turn the knob and enter.
After two full minutes, she finally did it.
"Pardon the intrusion." said Buffy as she entered and walked in.
Instantly, she scanned the room. The walls, painted white, had picture frames strategically placed to make it give off the home-like feel. Their was little in the way of furniture, only a small table in the far left corner next to the window, a large chestnut drawer opposite of the table, a smaller side drawer and a TV on the left corner of the wall intersection of where she was standing. All that had surrounded a medical bed in which the girl Buffy had saved was located.
The girl was young, most likely a high school student. She had raven-black hair and a pair of deep brown eyes to match.
"My name is Summers Buffy. (1) May I ask how you are feeling?" Buffy asked politely.
"Oh, wait. Are you the one who rescued me?" the girl asked confused.
"Um, yes… it wasn't that big of a deal…" Buffy said sheepishly.
"Oh, yes it was! You saved me!" The girl was practically gushing out praise.
"I'm sure that someone else would've stepped in if I wasn't there."
"Maybe so, but you were. Please accept my gratitude." From her bed, she bowed as low as she could.
Placing her hands hesitantly on the girl's shoulders, she righted her. "Its...not really necessary to thank me, but, if it helps you, I will accept. Now that we got that out of the way, you mind telling me your name?" Buffy asked as she sat down on a nearby chair.
"Oh how rude of me. My name is Daisaki Torako but you can call me Torako."
"Are you sure?" (2)
"Yes." Torako said enthusiastically.
"Ok then, you can called me Kenn."
"Kenn? Didn't you just say that your first name was Buffy?" Torako asked slightly confused.
"Um, well, I prefer to go by my middle name."
With that, it was the birth of a beautiful friendship.
After talking for a few minutes, Buffy said she had to go.
"Sorry, but I really have to go. My Captain's waiting for me." Buffy explained apologetically.
"Can we keep in touch?"
Buffy blinked, surprised, then smiled faintly. "Sure, tell me your address and I'll write when I get back to my barracks."
"Don't you need a piece of paper to write it down?"
"Nah, I got a photographic memory. I'll remember it."
"Really? That's cool. It must be great, not forgetting things."
"Its really not so great." She said quietly, tilting her head away. "There are many things I'd rather forget."
Torako said nothing more on the subject. She told Buffy her address and smiled as Buffy vacated the room.
Buffy gave the high school girl one final wave and smile before she closed the door behind her. After the door gave a final click, she rested her head on the chestnut wood door. Her smile fell and her eyes closed. She took a deep breath and pushed herself off and headed off to where Captain Fraiser was.
'This memory of mine, ' she thought, 'is both a curse and a gift.'
An elephant's memory, something she wouldn't give to anyone.
She sighed. Her thoughts were getting a tad too depressing even for her.
She walked on. There was no need to try to head back and retrieve her stuff. It had probably stolen already anyways-
She glanced outside. It had been raining ever since they arrived at the hospital and only just minutes before had it stopped.
-or washed away in that damned river.
She met up with Janet who told her to go on without her. Buffy nodded in understanding and began the thirty minute walk back.
As she walked, she saw a mother and child leave their home and head into the direction that she had just come from. The child was no older then four. She had light brown hair with brown eyes and the woman next to her, which Buffy assumed to the girl's mother had the same characteristics.
"Okaa-san, are we going to see Otou-san?" the little girl asked. (3)
"Yes, Mai-chan. After Otou-san gets better, we'll move to the new house in Shibuya."
Buffy glanced at the nameplate on the gate surrounding the house. It read Taniyama. 'Huh,' Buffy thought, 'what a lovely family.'
Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence.
― Sholem Asch
(1) The Japanese say their family name first and their first name last. Buffy's just following the culture.
(2) To refer someone by their first name is considered highly intimate in Japanese culture and traditionally, only close friends do. Family members use the suffixes -kun ( diminutive only under certain conditions and instead has some connotation of
respect ) and -chan ( is generally diminutive or endearing )for younger boys and girls though are not gender specific
3) Okaa-san is Mother, Otou-san is Dad
A/N: Remember people, this is a work of FICTION written by a high school student.
I wanted to keep some of the Japanese aspect in it to spice it a bit
Also, I'd like to apologize for the unexpectedly long hiatus... I'll try to update faster. -_-