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Red vs. Blue: Reconnaissance (Chapter 8)
Posted By: Stelladea<zaptina211@aim.com>
Date: 13 November 2011, 8:34 pm

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We jumped into our tank and drove over to the Red base at light speed. I saw Sarge jumping inside the Reds' vehicle, and I called him over.

"Sarge!" I screamed, waving. "Over here!"

He saw me and drove over—in the back of my mind I wondered whether he had ever owned a license.

"Eleven!" he yelled. "One of our fuses shorted out and blew up part of our Base! There's a fire! Come on, we gotta go get the others!"

Leaving the horrified Blues behind, I leapt into the Warthog and we sped off, looking for the other Reds. We saw Donut first, trying to douse a fire in the kitchen with the tap water from the sink. I shouted at him to get in the car, and he didn't hesitate just as another small explosion took place. Simmons found us at the front of the base and hopped in next to me, but Grif was nowhere to be found. We circled the base countless times (at my request—Sarge wanted to leave him), calling his name and spraying the various fires with the limited water supply on the Warthog.

Just as I was beginning to lose hope, I heard a terrified yell from inside the base. Before I could explain myself, I jumped out from the moving vehicle. Ignoring the protests from the others, I ran into the blaze.

"Grif!" I shouted, my helmet hardly protecting me from inhaling the dense smoke. "Grif! Can you hear me?"

"Over here!" The sound was coming from down the hall in the living area. I dodged the various flames licking at my ankles and rounded the corner.

"I'm trapped!" Grif gasped, his voice cracking. "This pole—I can't stand—"

I stepped closer and saw through the smoke that a large metal beam, formerly a support for the room, had tipped over onto the yellow-orange Private's legs.

I heaved against the giant metal rod, but it didn't budge. There was no way one person could lift the entire thing off of Grif, whose breathing had become more ragged.

"Hold on!" He could just barely reply, but I shut him up. "No! Don't speak! You need to conserve your energy!"

Just as I said that, I saw a wild electrical wire flailing on the floor. As if I needed one more thing to complicate things. The sparking wire flopped around like a land-stranded fish, all the while inching closer and closer to one of Sarge's older rifles. It had clattered to the floor and now spilled a pile of gunpowder mere inches away from the pole covering Grif.

Then, I had an idea.

"Grif, brace yourself!" I warned. "This is going to be a big jolt, so be ready to get out from under that pole!"

Recklessly, I grabbed the live wire and stuck it deeply in the pile of gunpowder. I had only half a second to get away, but that was enough.

The explosion went off, flinging the metal beam into the air as if it were a plastic straw. I was thrown back against the wall—that seemed to be happening to me quite a lot—but opened my eyes in time to see Grif scramble away from the pole just as it collapsed back down again.

"Let's go!" He grabbed my wrist and we sped out of the base, coughing heavily. Finally stopping at a small hill a good while away, we inhaled the sweet, fresh air greedily.

"These… helmets… suck." Grif was still panting and sounded like a chain smoker.

"They're standard issue," I said, and chuckled at my own voice. I could have gotten away with pretending I was a guy again. "We should file a complaint."

We finally caught our breath as the others finished up taming the fire. When they had killed the last of the flames, we stood up and headed back to the Warthog.

The guys were busy inside the base when we got there, shifting through the wreckage. The damage didn't seem too terrible—of course, the worst of it had been inside the living area. Just as I was attempting to help Grif get inside the Warthog, I heard a yelp and my name.

"Eleven!" Sarge hurried over. "What the hell was that? We thought you had gone inside the base!"

I shifted uneasily. "Well, I did, but then I came back out."

"Ah, what a shame, Grif didn't make it out." He didn't seem sad at all. "Well, let's go."

"I'm right here, Sir," said Grif as he popped out from the Warthog.

"Grif! What are you doing in there, you lazy ass? Get out here and help us clean up!"

"Sarge," I said quickly. "He just inhaled a crapload of smoke from that living area. Give him a second, will you?"

"Eleven, I'm the Sergeant here, not you!" It looked as though he were about to say something else, but he sighed instead. "You aren't the soldier I thought you were. You should have left him where he was—it would have made it easier for all of us."

The next thing I knew, I was tackled by a lightish-red blur.

"Oh my God! Eleven! Are you okay?" asked Donut apprehensively. The other Reds and Blues had heard the commotion and made their way to the Warthog. "We thought you—"

"Ells, what happened? How did you make it out of there alive?" It was Tucker, looking just as tense as he had when O'Malley came back to life. "I was—I mean we were—so worried!"

"I had to go in there. Grif was trapped."

"You saved Grif?" Simmons sounded shocked.

"Yes. I did."

Simmons didn't say anything back.

"Now," I said, taking a deep breath. "We've got to move forward if we want to catch Epsilon, or O'Malley, or whatever it is. Reds, we're going to need your help. This fire explosion was no accident."

"What do you mean?"

"We don't know how, but an AI, Epsilon, has sort of evolved. It has come back to life in the form of O'Malley. I know you're familiar with him." The Reds groaned. "We figure he can control the electricity, so he blew the fuse, but we don't know how he actually escaped. The AI O'Malley didn't have the ability to self-transport, so he could still be here somewhere. Our job now is to find O'Malley and stop him, no matter what the cost."

"Why?" asked Tucker. "I mean, why do we care?"

"Because," I began with a smile. "We know that only one person had access to Epsilon before we did. Therefore, this one person could have planned this whole uprising as a sort of rebellion in case Freelancer City fell. If we find the right proof, we can arrest the Director."