Date: August 23, 2011. Time: 0207. Location: Somewhere in the Pacific.
The men of Poseidon's Trident have spent the past 21 days on this island. They have kept busy replenishing the freshwater stores on the Hammerhead from the single spring on the atoll along with drying fish which they have caught from the lagoon. The Captain has been careful not to deplete the population within its waters as he knows this area may be needed again in the future. He has also led the men in daily PT, physical training, determined to get as much use from the land as possible. His men performed their limited PT regime while under water but there is nothing better then a beach run, always with gear and rifles.
The time has been a welcome respite from the horrors of the deep. Lacking major shipping lanes few if any vessels ventured into the area prior to the end. This has meant that THEY aren't as prevalent. There have been a few stragglers which have been quickly dispatched and disposed of. For the most part the time has been quiet yet, despite the tranquility the men have remained diligent; protected fires burn each night, guard shifts are rotated, weapons loaded, the Hammerhead always ready for war.
Tonight is like every other night except there is no moon to light the evening surf. Complete and utter darkness engulfs the atoll. Where others would be terrified these men know they own the night.
"Did you hear that?"
"Sounded like oars splashing."
"Yeah." There is no argument, no excuses, no brushing aside of what was heard. For these men it is always better to be safe than sorry. The two EELs grab their rifles. Each dons a pair of advanced NODs, night vision optical devices. O'Leary takes watch while Ganson quietly alerts the rest of the team. "Heard something." He does't need to say more each man knows his duty. Like a well oiled machine each man takes his post. Sgts Ganson and O'Leary begin a perimeter search. It takes only a matter of minutes. With hand signals and whispered voices they proceed. Weapons hot and ready they silently stalk the beach from the tree line. Approximately 50 yards from their camp they see them. Tracks.
O'Leary takes a knee and examines the tracks from the cover of tropical brush, "Looks like four possibly five. By that trail I'm guessing zodiac. SEALs?"
"What the hell are they doing out here?" The two continue on. They find the small semi-inflatable raft the preferred infiltration vehicle of the elite Navy SEALs concealed under palm fronds. "Radio back. Let 'em know to expect company."
"On it." The message is sent on an encrypted channel. "I knew this was all too good to be true."
"It was only a matter of time." Before heading back towards the Hammerhead the men sabotage the small craft, pulling out a few wires from the outboard motor. The tracks lead them in a round about way back towards their camp. "They knew we were here."
"Musta' been watching us." With increasing stealth the two advance when out of no where shots ring out. The familiar sound of ADS rifles mingles with the quick staccato of M4A1. The two quicken their pace in hopes of flanking their attackers. They come up behind the interlopers quickly drawing razor sharp blades across the throats of two closest before quietly melting back into the brush. The others realize the loss and are taken off guard by the two front attack.
"Dammit. Keep firing." The man's eyes show signs of extreme wear. His beard unkempt. He quickly takes in the situation and realizes there is only one option reluctantly he orders for withdrawal. The two grab their dead comrades and dissolve into the darkness of the jungle. The firing from the men of Poseidon's Trident continues. As the three aggressors pick their way back to their small craft the two EELs ambush the group. Each quickly grabs one of the attackers causing them to drop their comrades. Pressing a glistening knife to the throat of one of the men Sgt O'Leary calls out, "It's over. You're out numbered and out gunned. If you want these men to live drop your rifle." There was a time when the men wouldn't have been so easily caught. When they would have fought off all comers with the fortitude of tigers. A time when their commanding officer would have resisted tooth and nail. That was a time before THEY came. Now their leader hangs his head dropping his weapon to the ground. Falling to his knees he interlaces his fingers behind his head, familiar with what would come next. "Good." The EELs release their captives forcing them to their knees along side their leader. A snapping sound brings Ganson around weapon up.
"Woah there big boy." The familiar voice of Captain Wright announcing the arrival of the crew of the Hammerhead. Wright and Sgt Cruze step from out of the foliage. Sgt Paul having stayed behind to guard their camp and their craft. "So what do we have here? The last vestiges of the former SEALs? Did you really think you'd be able to take us?" Captain steps forward looking down on the men before him, their hands having already been quickly bound with zip cuffs. They wear the long ago retired BDUs of the Army. Boonie hats block their eyes hiding their faces even more then the thick grease stick camo they had applied. "Well?" In another day and age the men would have stuck to their guns giving only name rank and serial number.
Now is not that time.
The man who had led the expedition speaks, his voice is gravely with age and wear. He is too beaten to raise his head, "We didn't think we could take you out. We were… we were hoping to avoid a confrontation. We just wanted supplies. Thought we could grab some of yours and be off before you realized it."
Captain Wright looks down, venom in his eyes, "You expect me to believe that? You expect me to believe armed SEALs weren't looking for a fight…"
"I'm the only SEAL." This from one of the men on his knees.
"What was that?"
"I'm the only SEAL. Forrest, Brian. Sergeant. 701-54-8793. I'm the only SEAL. The others aren't…"
The Captain recognizes the name immediately, "Brian Forest a.k.a. Wetsuit." He turns to his men, "Looks like we have ourselves a Joe. Let's see who else we have." He removes the hats off the other two prisoners.
The identity of both shocks him.
The first is a woman. Not only a woman but one that he has seen on Cobra Island. A well known and respected agent of Cobra. One who was ranked among the world's best assassins. A woman the Captain is all too familiar with Vypra.
The second is a legend of the open waters a man once feared by all in the Cobra Navy. A man who led the most powerful ocean going vessel ever created the USS Flagg. Admiral Keel Haul.
He quickly looks at the dead men. Turning their corpses he immediately recognizes, Frogman of Ation Force SAS squad and Corporal Smith a Lamprey of the Cobra Navy that had applied to be a part of the Poseiden's Trident. Neither he nor his men can believe their eyes.
"What is the meaning of this?" His words spit at Vypra. She hangs her head in shame. Her hollow cheeks telling more of the story then words would have. Captain Wright looks to his men, "Check them all for weapons then double check them. Make sure they are secured. Then give them food and water." At the mention of having their hunger and thirst quench the two raise their heads. They offer no opposition to being led away. "O'Leary make sure these two get a decent burial."
For the first time Admiral Keel Haul looks up tears streaming down his face, "Thank you."
The Captain looks upon the man once feared the world over with pity. "You're welcome."
Admiral Keel Haul looks up, for the last hour he has been relating his story to the man between mouthfuls of dried fish and gulps of freshwater, "We were doing well, had plenty of supplies; beans, bandages, and bullets you know. We were far out at sea when it happened. We came across a derelict cruise ship. I ordered her scuttled we were preparing when we saw her. A woman on deck. Waving a red flag. She was frantic. I… I couldn't sink her. A boarding team was made, volunteers only, but you know being Joes everyone volunteered. Despite all we had been through, all we had seen, all we had done… We still clung to our oath. So they went to the cruise ship. Found the woman, also fond the whole things was full of infected. How she lived so long we had no idea. Turns out it was your Vypra. Apparently she had been on a vacation when it all went to shit. I didn't even realize you guys took vacations." He stuffs more fish into his mouth followed by a giant mouthful of water. His decorum all but gone. "Well once we figured it out, and it took a while, we locked her up. How we missed it, a valve open when it shouldn't be. Missing rounds of ammunition. Crew members disappearing… Listen, I've been in this man's Navy for longer than most. Some say I was a relic. THey were probably right. But I always did right by my men. I always kept my word. But this…" He raises his bound hands to the world. "No one could have been prepared for this. Then with word of the Cobra Civil War, we were spread thin. Too thin. We just…" His voice trails off as tears roll down his cheeks. "Captain, I know I'm your prisoner but my girl, she's still out there. We've been barely keeping her alive. She's little more than a floating casket at this point. And I don't know ho much longer she can stay afloat. Hell, I've been barely able to keep us alive. I can take you to her. She's no good to you strategically, all her arms have all been depleted. We have a few thousands rounds of 5.56 left. But there are people. Some Joe, some from other places. They're dying one by one. We have no food. Our desalinator stopped working when Vypra… Well let's just say she wasn't a nice house guest."
The Captain listens on with growing pity. By Cobra regulations he is to keep the prisoners and bring them to the nearest Cobra facility for incarceration. The traitors are to be publicly executed. Given the situation he cannot transport the prisoners. Besides where would he bring them? He hasn't heard word one from any of the Cobra upper echelons since bugging out. He seriously considers setting them all free and even giving them supplies enough to survive. Survive what? Once their supplies are depleted they'd be back in the same position. Dying on the open water. Adrift at sea in a failing world. If what Keel Haul has been saying is true the world's government's have fallen. There is no more United States. No more Joe team. Just pockets of survivors and hordes of THEM. For all the Captain knows Cobra has fallen and they are the last left. His thoughts are interrupted by Mack, "Sir you need to see this."
He turns to find his man standing behind him a print out in his hand. He stands, "What is it."
"Sir it's our orders."
"Orders? From who?"
Captain Wright stands and takes the paper out of the Sergeant's hand and quickly reads each word. After re-reading it he hands it back. "Tell the men to ready the Trident. We have our orders."
"Yes sir." The sergeant snaps off a sharp yet uncharacteristic salute, the Captain long ago ended the practice with his crew. He knows it's only being given now for the benefit of their guest. He salutes back and turns to the Admiral who had remained seated.
"Well Admiral looks like things just changed. Now where is the Flagg exactly?"