Lieutenant Shaun Franklin watched as the last Word of Blake Purifier crashed to the deck with a smoking hole through its face plate. With the operator dead, the suit switched itself off and the mimetic armor covering it went from its chameleon like camouflage to a dull grey.
Franklin was pretty sure it was the last one. The Black Omen battle armor squad had swept through the entire facility and methodically eliminated whatever resistance they had encountered.
The Word of Blake had made a large tactical error in the positioning their remaining forces. Instead of grouping up to focus their firepower, they had positioned their remaining troops into squads of one Purifier and a handful of infantry. These squads had then set up in separate locations in an attempt to ambush the attackers and whittle them down.
Needless to say, it had not worked. Franklin’s battle armor squad simply barreled through the facility and eliminated each Word of Blake squad with overwhelming firepower, one by one.
Still, the Word of Blake troops had fought hard and all of his trooper’s suits were significantly damaged. Everyone would need to be treated for bruising and flash burns when they got back to the drop ship.
“Wasp actual, Stinger one. Level cleared.”
“Copy that Stinger one.” The Commander replied. “Bravo team will arrive shortly to double check for traps and civilians. Sit tight for now.”
Now that the fighting was over, Franklin could relax a little bit and get a better idea of where they were. The Word of Blake troops had shut off all of the lighting on this area and his squad had to rely solely on their infrared scanners, which didn’t show the greatest amount of detail.
“Ober, police these bodies and get their weapons secured. Cole, find the electrical panel and get the lights on.”
A moment later the overhead lights flickered on.
“What the…?” Franklin suspected they were in some kind of med bay, but what he saw now didn’t look like any med bay he had ever been in.
“Wasp actual, Stinger one. Sir, we’ve got something weird down here.”
“Stinger one, define “weird.”
“Tech I have never seen before sir. We had better mobilize the boffins.”
“What are we looking at Reynolds?”
The Commander, tech Jean Reynolds, and Mechwarriors Bill and George stood around the small holotank, trying to decipher the 3D holographic schematic slowly rotating above it.
“Based on what our techs are pulling out of the Wobby and Red Prophecy ’mechs upstairs, I would guess that these are schematics for some kind of neural interface system, and this med bay is where they install it.”
“Something like the Clan EI system?” Bill asked.
“Perhaps. I can ask some of our Clan techs if they ever worked on EI. It might be similar.”
George chimed in, “Sir, there were some rumors a while back that a Fedcom research group was developing something like this, but they couldn’t get it to work. Apparently it drove a test pilot crazy and the whole project was scrapped.”
“Enhanced Imaging has been known to cause mental instability in the user, so the theory behind this tech is probably the same.” Reynolds said as she tapped some keys on the holotank and manipulated the image.
The Commander pinched the bridge of his nose, as if he was attempting to ward off a head ache. “Alright, so Word of Blake got this technology to work and is recruiting mercenaries to help test it. Fantastic.”
“But sir, who would ever volunteer for this?” Reynolds asked.
“Mechwarriors will take any advantage in combat they can get. Combine that with hefty compensation…would you turn it down?”
“Yes! If it made me crazy!” Reynolds answered incredulously.
“Maybe the Red Prophecy didn’t have a choice,” Bill opined gravely.
“We will figure that out during interrogation.” The Commander said. “Okay. This is what I want to happen next. Reynolds, get a crew down here and box all of this stuff up. I want this entire area stripped down to the paint. George, get tech team together and start downloading everything from the control room mainframe. Bill, head back upstairs and see where we are at with the salvage operations. We boost in 24 hours. This damn planet gives me the creeps.”
With all of the activity surrounding the capture of the Word of Blake base, Operative 212 had managed to slip away from his ‘mech and get into the facility’s control room easily enough. The Commander had ordered all of the Black Omen mechwarriors to park their machines in the the Word of Blake ‘mech bays and get started on field repairs, just in case any other hostiles showed up. (The Word of Blake wouldn’t be needing their ’mech bays anymore, so why not?)
This had given Operative 212 the perfect opportunity and proximity to gather some choice intel, and he had probably struck gold on this mission. Based on all the coms chatter, the Wobbies were using some kind of new tech; tech his handlers at MI4 would definitely want to know about. And they were developing it here! This wouldn’t just be some scraps pulled off salvage. He would have access to databases, schematics, test procedures, and all the rest.
He just had to be careful to not get caught.
Not that he was worried too much about it. He was very well trained and had been doing this kind of stuff for a long time. Covert ops were his specialty. He had also been with the Black Omen as a trusted mechwarrior for years! He had clearance to areas that typical jobs spooks liked to infiltrate (like janitors or admin assistants) simply didn’t have access to. And mechwarriors typically weren’t questioned about their comings and goings. Win win!
He plugged his noteputer into the main terminal and got to hacking. It wasn’t too difficult as the hacking program did most of the work. The wobbies were running outdated software that hadn’t received any recent security updates (not hard to believe being isolated on this creepy crawly world). His cutting edge DMI hacking algorithms blew right through it like it was tissue paper.
Within minutes he had downloaded everything he was looking for. Now for the coup-de-grace!
He hated to do this to the Black Omen, but he couldn’t let this data fall into Chandrasehkar Kurita’s grubby little hands, let alone any other Drac organization. Tapping out a command on his noteputer, he initialized a special virus that would trigger as soon as another user tried to access any of the data folders he had just downloaded. The virus would cause a power surge in the computer system (forcing a reboot) while simultaneously causing the drives to rewrite certain areas with junk data several hundred times to make the whole thing impossible to recover. When the computers rebooted, all those files would be nowhere to be found.
With that done, Operative 212 stowed his noteputer and egressed back to the ‘mech bay, easily avoiding the random tech or soldier moving about the facility. His timing was impeccable. Not five minutes later, he saw George and a few of the Omen’s computer specialists head up to the control center. They were in for a rude surprise, but ultimately, no one would get hurt. Win win!