That first mission was an eye opener for many of us, myself included.
Based on how long the trip was, we had to be a good distance out of Rembress by the time we finally arrived. As soon as the tram shuddered to a stop, the guards were yelling at us to get up and get out. We scrambled out, making sure our gear was with us. Trace stayed as close to Selvik as she could.
Instead of a platform, we stepped out onto a flat plain that looked like it hadn't had rain in months. Off in the distance ahead of us I could make out the shape of some big structure. Couldn't tell if it was one building or a small town or what. Near us were several military trucks, engines running. My guess that they were our rides to this structure were confirmed when we were yelled at to get in them. They stuck two of us in each truck by some predetermined strategy or something. I was paired with Selvik, much to his and Trace's disappointment.
As the trucks took off, our guard turned to face us and yelled over the noise of the truck.
"Each pair is to get into the fort and clear a path to the center! Take these radios and update us when you clear a section! An extraction team is being sent there to gather an important item! Do not worry about getting the item yourselves! Kill any who resist you! Do not let any resistance back into your path, or you will suffer severe consequences! Do I make myself clear!?"
Selvik and I gave a quick nod. Selvik kept his face straight, but I'm pretty sure he was having similar thoughts to mine. Mainly what kind of "resistance" we'd be expecting. And what this item was.
As soon as the truck came to a stop, we were practically shoved out of the back. We had a moment to see a huge, old stone wall in front of us before we were being shoved towards an opening at ground level. Our belts had a thin flashlight that we each turned on as we entered the doorway. The hall in front of us wasn't lit, and seemed to be as long as the wall was thick. It was damp, old, and entirely stone. Completely reassured me, that did.
After a minute, we walked into an area open to the sky. My earlier thought of this being some kind of small town was confirmed. there were a bunch of small, single-story buildings near the wall with narrow streets running between them. Over in what I assumed to be the center of this "fort" was an old, steel building on a hill. That was where this "item" was located, I guessed.
My radio crackled and an angry voice was yelling at me to get to work before I ended up like the mannequin head back at the base. I shuddered and started forward, with Selvik following. The area looked like it had been under heavy fire for a while. Buildings had gaping holes in them, and others were burnt to the ground. As I passed one building, I looked to my right and froze in my tracks, wishing I kept my eyes forward. There was a small, burnt corpse not more than ten feet from me. I couldn't tell if it was a little boy or girl.
My knees threatened to buckle under me. Selvik must have noticed that, because he gripped my shoulder hard and spoke my name. I turned to him and saw the sadness in his eyes. "Come on, Zel. Nothing we can do about it." I swallowed, nodded, and turned forward again, making it a point to not look down any more streets.
Which, of course, got me shot.
A couple streets further, there was a shout from my left. I turned in time to see a man with blood across his head aim a gun at me. I swung my arm towards Selvik to shove him back and lunged forward at the same time. Selvik landed on his butt as I fell forward. Before I hit the ground, I heard the gun go off and immediately felt pain in my left calf. As I landed, I heard a scuffling sound, a shout, and silence. Slowly, I turned over to look towards the man. He was crumpled on the ground with Selvik standing over him. Selvik was staring at one of his swords, which was covered in blood. He turned to me, and something was different about his expression. I couldn't tell what it was.
"You okay?" He slowly walked to me, putting the sword back in its sheath. I gritted my teeth as I moved my leg to find the damage. There was a nice hole on both sides of my calf. Selvik looked at it a moment, then sighed. "Round went through. Looks like it missed the bone." I nodded a little. "Good. At least I some good event today." I took one of my knives, cut the leg of my suit above the wound, and used that to tie around the bullet holes. Slowly, I stood up. Hurt like hell, but I could walk.
"Alright..." I looked to the body of the guy who shot me for a moment, then back to our target location. "Let's keep going. Eram knows that a bullet hole would be a poor excuse to quit." Selvik gave a smirk and followed me.