Rainham, outskirts of London... Night
Patricia was sleeping in her tent, it wasn't exactly a warm night in the middle of November. Her internet reception was not the greatest, and her account was running low. That and she was down to the last 50 pounds on the debit card she had charged up. With the jobs she would normally be on dried up, that and people willing to hire a un-certified hacker girl of 18 years of age for network security was a pipe-dream.
She laid back, thinking of her next plan as she popped around less than savory websites with more proxies than the most paranoid of conspiracy theorists. And one of those sites popped something of interest in her mind.
>>Lobo So, I heard there was some odd crew of PMCs operating in Europe. Seems they're a division of some larger private security force. >>Axl Oh? And who are these guys? >>Lobo They call themselves Alpha 6. But get this, they're more like vigilantes for hire or something. Some descendants of a group called ‘The A Team’.
This caught Patricia's attention. She started looking into things on her end while monitoring the underground forum thread. All she found was a black page with some sort of prompt and some cryptic references to ‘The A Team’ in older news stories. She decided to keep her knowledge of the ‘black page’ a secret.
>>DominaTempus So, who exactly do they look for in employees? >>Lobo Domina Tempus... that's a name I've not seen in... forever. As for your question... I honestly don't think they got a help wanted sign.
Patricia started packing her belongings. She started to think she might have to look for yet another dumb criminal who has poor protection of his criminal bank.
She kept monitoring over her smart-phone while walking along a road. She had gotten permission the night before (with a generous amount of money) to stay on the property of a farm owner for a few days, in exchange for helping watch the farm for any other less desirable wanderers. So far, it had been quiet.
Patricia pulled up the yellow collar of her rain suit. A cold November drizzle was in the air as she continued on into the small town a mile from where she has been bedding down. As she did so she noticed something odd from the corner of her eye. A older woman with shorter dark hair being dragged into a delivery van, she looked unconscious as the van loaded her up and then the people doing the dragging sped off. What was being said though caught her attention from behind a dumpster.
“So... this woman is with those A6 prats?”
“Yeah, I think so. Seems she's not their best.”
Patricia's mind raced for a moment. Then... she went back to that page.
A6> _ The prompt blinked for a moment, but then Patricia went to work. A6> contact distress There was a pause for a moment... >>We're all in distress, particularly our clients. What makes your situation different? >>It's simple, one of your team just got caught. I saw her being dragged off.
Patricia saw a busted up bread stick on the ground.
>>seems she has a penchant for breadsticks. >>Oh boy.
Patricia knew the road the kidnappers were taking. She went into action. First running into a used bike store. There was a used bike sitting on the floor, seemed well used and up for sale for 40 pounds, with tax and a couple new tire inner tubes she grabbed just in case, she was flat broke. As soon as she got the bike out, she put her legs to work, hoping she could catch up. Luckily they gave her a complimentary bike helmet.
She checked back on that page occasionally, seems whoever was on the other end knew who she was when she would return and the page now would open a private chat window.
>>1 Alright, you said Monty was taken by some kidnappers, right? >>DominaTempus Indeed. I'm chasing them down now. Seems they're heading for the Thames. I've been biking for a good bit here. >>1 Where exactly are you?
Patricia cut and pasted a Google Maps location.
>>1 Okay good... don't pursue further.
The connection was cut.
Patricia sighed as she decided it was better for her to continue pursuit. It eventually led to an old warehouse and a dock, the lights of the Dartford bridge in the distance. She sneaked about, seeing that they were loading the woman up on a Zodiac style rubber boat. They placed her in a metal cabinet, and locked it shut with a padlock.
Once they took the tied up woman on board, they began to cast off. There was a second, similar boat nearby and Patricia took it, although she lost a little time fishing from her bag a airliner-style life jacket she had gotten from Ebay over the summer. She'd been looking for a proper and portable flotation device, and the jacket seemed a good choice.
She eventually embarked from the dock and followed, feeling self-conscious as yellow on yellow wasn't exactly stealthy. So she played it cool, like she was part of the boat traffic heading out to the North Sea.
-Wait... the North Sea?- Patricia thought. She knew while she was sitting on enough fuel to head out, heading back might not be possible. But to her, someone had to do something. Luckily they weren't going into the North Sea, just Canvey Island. Patricia parked behind some rocks, and she peeked through a gap to see the captors and the woman Presumably named “Monty” being loaded on to a yacht.
Patricia gripped the handle, and decided she was boned but...
She grabbed a flare gun and floored the boat. Closing the distance as fast as she could. There was a spot at the stern where someone could pull up. And that was where Patricia aimed the boat! She ripped out the fuel line, squirting petrol everywhere and Patricia herself bailed out, not before firing a flare into said boat. It was engulfed by the time it hit the back.
Patricia spat out the cold water... her suit wasn't exactly a survival suit, she wouldn't have long, life vest or not hypothermia was a thing. Not bothering with her lanyards she relied on her swimming ability and went to the side. Luckily there was a nearby ladder and everyone was distracted by the sudden crash.
The yacht itself was one deck with a flying bridge above and one deck below the waterline. The heat from the fire was quite noticeable, as well as a couple M4 carbines. She grabbed one and hid behind a crate. She saw on the bed Monty was still tied and looked quite beaten up. Then...
Patricia jumped pulling the trigger with a click... then another.
“Idiot you have the safety on!” The crewman on the boat shouted and tried to slam the butt of his AR-15 into Patricia's face, but she managed to step aside and cold-cocked him instead with her rifle. He was out cold, but now everyone turned towards her, leaving one of the other crewman on the boat to put out the fire. The three captors moved up then leveled their rifles on her.
This time Patricia remembered the safety as she ducked behind another crate, but then a “OW!” was heard next to her. She was stepping on Monty's toe. Monty had already grabbed the dropped AR-15 and instinctively got into a defensive position.
“The boys sent you, Glasses?”
Patricia blinked. “No I...”
“Who you with, MI6 then? CIA? Interpol? Nah, by the look of you, I’d say RNLI…”
Patricia shook her head and gunfire rang out, starting to shred the counter in front of them, the steel crate was starting to dent up bad.
Patricia heard a lull and jumped to the other side, then unloaded with her M4. Her captors took defensive positions, but the difference between an untrained gunner and a trained one would be apparent shortly. Monty in three controlled bursts took down her Captors. Patricia had managed to kill the poor crewman of the yacht sending him over the side. Of course Patricia's was blindfire, Monty's was of a trained professional. Her captors were writhing, holding a leg or crumpled in pain.
Patricia could only stand for a moment after setting the M4 she had down. She killed someone, and he wasn't even shooting!
Or so she thought… a few seconds later, his head bobbed out of the water and he was not impressed...
“Name's Monty. I would assume you have a mobile on you?”
“Uh..." The question snapped her out of her ruminations on the fragility of life. "...actually your friends know about your situation.” Patricia said, somewhat confused.
“How did you get into contact?”
“I... sorta... umm...” Patricia started wringing her hands. “I hacked to get to your site a little...”
Monty grinned, rummaging through a box or two. “We're gonna have to get off, this was my yacht and... they just activated C4 packs they placed under the water line. Bloody prats. I was gonna take a vacation with this. They were gonna kill me by making it look like some sort of accident. You... complicated matters.”
“Umm... we can stop it, right?”
“Nope!” Monty said tossing a pistol to Patricia, and a survival suit. “You know how to use one of these things?”
“No, the suit!”
“Oh, right!” Patricia said, quickly working on putting it on. In about 45 seconds the suit was on and she had replaced her life jacket.
“Okay we got 30 seconds left... better get swimming!”
Patricia nodded, and it was a break-neck scurry off the boat before a series of explosions rocked the yacht.
“Son of a...” Monty said as Patricia could only look in amazement. "...and I just got a new paint job on her."
"Hey... at least you escaped, right?"
"Well... you did sort of help with a distraction."
It was a few minutes before A6 sent a helicopter in to pick the two up. On the way back Monty looked Patricia over.
“What am I going to do with you... you didn't exactly hurt my plan. Heck, you were one hell of a Plan B. But, you do know a few things...”
Patricia looked down at the floor of the Eurocopter that was modded to have a deployable arm with a hoist on it. Starting to think she might get tossed overboard with a nice clean trepanning between the eyes.
“What's your name, even, Glasses?”
Patricia sighed. She felt she was dead if she did, dead if she didn't. “I'm...”
She looked around before slumping back into her seat with a sarcastic grin. “I could be MI6... Might know James Bond personally... I could be a Time Lady of Gallifrey, or perhaps, just perhaps a member of U.N.I.T... Who knows. Perhaps I'm friends with Nick Fury.” Sass to the last, she thought. If she was gonna go out, might as well go out shining.
Monty grinned, loving the attitude, then cracked up. “Ah... you're the girl I've been watching. Glasses seems better for you. Am I right, kid? Unflappable even in the worst of circumstances.”
“I was going to send you an invitation to join our team, but you're a hard girl to find. You come well recommended. Helping the Met as a young teenager... bringing down a drug cartel all on your lonesome... You have the Ethical and Moral compass we like.”
“How much did you know about that?”
“Enough to know you are on the run from the last time you helped The Old Bill. On the run - Triad family based in London wants you dead for bringing their operation down and causing other crime syndicates to make a move against them. You've caused quite a bit of chaos.”
“Then... you realize who I hang around with are marked as much as I am.”
Monty laughed. “Don't you know who the heck we are? You hacked us, remember!”
Patricia peered over to where the pilot was. “Actually... I like this Helicopter... smart choice if you want to go unnoticed as a civilian helicopter. Clever work with the hoist here.” She said, patting the hoist arm. Deflecting the conversation.
“Yeah... the last guy that did the mechanical-type work ended up... well...” Monty trailed off looking at the water below.
“Well... seems you need someone who knows the digital dark arts and is comfortable around machines.” Patricia said, pulling back the cowl of the suit she was made to put on. Quirking an eyebrow she adjusted her glasses once she put them back on. “I think the first order of business would be to improve how people can get to your page while keeping clandestine, not to mention better firewalls and other security functions to keep prying eyes out. After all, if I can get in it... you need a upgrade.”
Monty reached over into a pouch next to her seat and pulled a breadstick out. She put it in her mouth and then started to well… hold it like it was a cigar. “Well this couldn't have gone any better then.”
Patricia smiled, looking into her wet backpack, although it was waterproof, and nothing inside was drenched at all. She pulled out a foil wrapped package. “Well... if you'll have me.” She pulls out a cracker-like biscuit stick coated with chocolate. “Then I'm sold. I'm sure this won't be the first rescue.” Patricia said, pointing her stick at Monty before putting the chocolate end of the stick in her mouth. Like the young girl was lecturing Monty.
Monty laughed. “Cushty!! See... maybe I should have picked that instead of these darn bread sticks. Fewer calories though, I wager.”
Patricia shook her head with an embarrassed grin. “So... do you... have a place I can crash?”
"One rule, don't say crash while we're flying..."
Patricia grinned. "Alright, we got a place where I can land? That and I could use a change of clothes. I don't look good in orange."
"Or yellow." Monty said with a smirk.
"Hey, mum gave me that rainsuit! Could be worse. Could be red. I hate red. Particularly what's in me. Or someone else..." Patricia said, trailing off thinking about the probably innocent man she shot to death.
Monty cracked up laughing. "You're alright, Glasses."
Patricia couldn't help but look over the pilot's shoulders by now. She knew how to fly the heli, but didn't let on. "I suppose that is my callsign? I've been thinking I should use another name online... I am Domina Tempus no more. Sort of happens when you're a white hat gone legit."
"Well, the team picks their callsign."
Patricia adjusts her glasses taking her seat again. "Glasses works. So... When do we start?"
"Soon, I wager. Sort of got to get you up to speed on tactics and what not. I wager within a year you should be ready for field work."
Patricia nodded, looking at the pistol she was handed.
"Shoot, I gave you my least favorite pistol." Monty said, sort of glad Patricia might get a unwanted thing out of her collection. "Don't worry about it, it still works. You can keep it." Monty said reassuringly.
"I like quality over anything else... M1911 Longslide, setup for target shooting, am I right?" Patricia said, looking it over...
"Yeah... how did you know?"
"Internet, you pick up on random facts. You know a gunsmith?"
"I know a couple off-hand, why?"
"If I'm gonna work for you I need a proper sidearm. This one might do some damage with a slightly larger calibre. .454 Casull rounds I think is about as large as I dare. Up there with the Raging Bull and a Desert Eagle."
"Oh... now you're making demands."
"Hey... at least I'm not demanding to get paid up front here. I'd be happy to have three meals a day and a comfortable, dry bed, and not be in gaol to get them."
Monty nodded. "Well that does modify the total division of pay for each contract..." She said with a innocent look on her face.
"Hey... doesn't mean I don't want paying work."
"We'll work out something." Monty said extending her hand. "Welcome to Alpha 6. Name's Victoria Shaw. Street name is ‘Monty’".
Patricia smiled. "Charmed." She said, taking Monty's offered hand. "Patricia... Patricia Kent."
"Well Miss Kent... things are about to get very interesting."
Thanks to Silent Hunter for polishing this up and getting it properly British.