When Titans Clash : Little Lost Sheep

Author: Kosh Len <kosh_len[at]yahoo.com>

Date 18 Sept 2007

Category: Crossover

Rating: PG-13

Keywords: None

Legalese: All characters with their respective rights, properties and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Summary: Little Bo Peep has lost a sheep, little boy blue, and her big lizard as well……

Addition 06 October 2007

Addition 21 October 2007

Chapter 1

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
- Douglas Adams.

"Aw shit!" yelled Cameron Mitchell as yet another light on his consoleturned from green to red. "Come on you piece of shit, stay in the air."

His hands worked across the control panels with a hurried pace as he struggled to keep his X-302 in the air. Checking the monitors for a third and final time, he came to a dark realization. His bird was going down and there wasn't a single thing he could do about it. Worse yet, there wasn't a single place to land for nearly one thousand miles.

"Control, this is Mitchell, I am declaring an emergency," he said into his headset. "I am going down, and I don't even know if you can hear this."

His plea for help was met with silence and Cameron Mitchell knew he was alone in this. Studying the controls, he desperately tried again to get the plane stable, only to have yet another series of warning alarms erupt from the panels. In one final attempt, Mitchell banged on the top of the console, hoping that, much like his computer at home, the blow would fix his present predicament. The attempt was followed by the sound of silence as the planes electronics completely failed.

"Yeah well, fuck you too!" He yelled at the controls, praying that they would miraculously spring back to life.

After an eternity of silence which was only a few seconds in reality, Mitchell looked around the cockpit one more time for signs of life. Seeing none, he tightened his helmet and mumbled to himself, "Guess it's time to leave this party."

He reached down, feeling the ejection handle in his hand. "I really hate this part," he said, and then pulled.

With a crash of glass and a yank, the ejection system flared to life and Cameron Mitchell found himself flying through the air before landing on the soil of a foreign land.

Crash + Three Hours

"When Cameron was in Egypt's land... let my Cameron go," sang the downed pilot as he trekked his way through the trees. "But go where?"

Looking around at the heavily wooded area, he wondered again which way he was headed. GPS readings were shoddy at best, there were too few satellites deployed to give an accurate read. Stars might or might not work, but Mitchell had decided he wasn't staying near his crashed fighter till dark to find out. Operating on compass alone, he had decided to move as far from the crash site, before activating his rescue transponder, as possible.

Climbing over yet another ancient tree stump, the lone pilot slipped and fell on the thick leafy foliage and with a tumble went sliding down the side of an embankment. Ending with a tumble he bounced to his feet with a clap like a circus performer, his hands held in the air.

"I'm all right," he said to the trees around him. "I'm all right. Nothing to see here."

"Well, nothing you might be," said a voice from behind. "But you will certainly taste nice, invader."

Turning, Cameron found himself face to snout with the largest, and possibly angriest, looking lizard he had ever seen.

"Ah hell, can't I get a freakin break!" he yelled as he quickly weighed his options.

"You shall have several, I imagine," replied the dragon. "Every time I chomp down on you, in fact. Your bones will help heal the wounds you inflicted on me."

Mitchell could see great tears in the dragon's wings and skin. Terrible gashes ran up and down the length of the huge beast, both from flying debris and from the crash itself, he was sure. Cameron could also see burn marks all over the body of the red and gold lizard.

"Whoa! Whoa! Now hold on a sec," said the pilot as he held his hands up and slowly started to back away. "Wait one sec, I'm here to help. Hell, we're here to help. I fm with the Wanderer."

"Wanderer, you say," asked the Dragon, his eyes fixed on the pilot. "Tell me about this Wanderer."

Mitchell was caught off guard by the request and slowed his retreat for the moment. For a second, he was struck by the irony of the situation. Here he was, talking to an overgrown iguana, pretty much begging for his life, and now it wanted to know about someone he had never met.

Best option, he thought, was to tell the truth. "Honestly, I've never met the guy," he began. "There I was, tweaking the settings on my plane when orders came in that we were headed to parts unknown, to help folks unknown."

He jumped as the great beast before him rolled its eyes and settled its head down on the ground with a thump, a big cloud of dust and a groan.

"Yes, you have definitely encountered the Wanderer," the dragon mumbled as the tension left its large body. "My name is Fragnar. Come, sit, pilot. I shall not hurt you. I shall tell you of the Wanderer."

"My name is Mitchell, Cameron Mitchell," replied the pilot. "Call sign, Shaft... But, I'm guessing that doesn't mean a whole lot to you."

The dragon blinked at the tiny mortal before him, "Excuse me?" he asked.

"My name is Mitchell, Cameron Mitchell," replied the pilot. "And, let me just make sure that this is TRULY the most surreal moment in my life... Well, in the top 3 anyway... But, scales... wings...talking... You wouldn't happen to be a dragon would you?"

"My, you do have a keen eye for the obvious don't you?" retorted the dragon with a reptilian smirk.

"Great, I'm billions of miles from home, and I've got a giant lizard as a comedic sidekick," grumbled Mitchell.

"Don't push your luck pilot, I'm still hungry," chuckled the dragon.


Chapter 2

Crash + 4 hours

Staring out over the troubled clouds in the distance, Cameron Mitchell looked at the sky and wondered what mysteries they held. The overgrown iguana snoring next to him made it quite obvious that he wasn't in Kansas anymore, that was for sure. Watching the tree line around the dragon's crash site, Mitchell had to wonder if anyone was coming to rescue him or Fragnar. He had activated the transponder on his ejection seat, but given that he had no idea if anyone could even get to his location, the pilot had immediately begun SERE tactics.

Cameron had moved across the terrain, stopping every now and then to activate the transponder with the hope that search and rescue was on its way. Given how far away from the ships though, he thought to him, the SAR team would have to be pretty far off still. Idly he wondered if they had anything on the New Orleans that could even reach out here besides the 302s but given everything he had watched being loaded onto the ship, nothing would have surprised him.

And then there was the rather large problem of the dragon who was presently resting nearby. Even if Search and Rescue arrived, he didn't want to leave the big guy here where the assholes who shot up his ride could find him.

"Do they have anything that could lift a dragon on either of the boats," he wondered idly. "Hell, do they make anything that can lift a dragon that would fit on a carrier. Maybe a Chinook."

As he put out the remains of the small fire he had made and burying the charred remains of the deer that had mistakenly run in front of Fragnar earlier, the pilot checked his watch. Seeing the time, he activated the portable rescue transponder and his radio, hoping someone responded.

"This is 302 pilot Call Sign Shaft to any allied forces in the area," he spoke into his radio. "My present location is…. Ah hell, I don't even know where the fuck I am."

He continued to ramble for a few more minutes, pausing every now and then with the hope that someone would respond. The only sound his hope got was silence.

KVS Krovag

"General, I am detecting yet another distress signal. This one also does not match the Reigan and it is outside of the main battle zone. "

General Kearn looked up from his mission reports at the ensign and raised his eyebrow.

Kearn thought for a moment and studied his own displays. Touching several icons, he found what he was looking for.

"Dispatch these ships to investigate and send some ground forces as well," he said, dismissing the ensign with a wave. "Have them capture and return anyone found alive, if possible. Any intelligence of this additional foe will be good. Have one of the interrogation teams readied."

"There it is again," said Billie Guthrie as she monitored her screens around here. Information flooded into her flying datacenter from miles around here. From her vantage point, the veteran intel officer watched the dance of men and ships around her with a keen eye. One object had been eluding her till now.

"Repeat that Bird Dog," asked Striker One.

"I've been tracking what looks like a portable Air Force rescue transponder, but it keeps vanishing, like it's being turned off. It's back online again," replied Bird Dog as she punched buttons on her console. "But I don't think I'm the only one who's spotted it. A couple of the smaller Magg ships and a few of their ground elements appear to be moving toward it now."

"That flyer is in for some deep shit if they catch him," Billie heard the boss say as she continued to watch the elements on her screen adjust. While there hadn't been a lot of information concerning the Kromagg in the mission report, the details they had gotten made them sound like Nazis but with a grudge toward an entire species, namely humans.

"Inform command that we've got another flyboy and mark him on the map," came Striker One's voice. "Not much we can do right now."

"But…" started Billie, only to be cut off by Little.

"No buts," he commanded sternly. "Our job is to protect you, Bird Dog, and cover the Commander's team. Command said intel was the priority. Not, I repeat, 'Not' to get into a shooting match with there guys. You hearing me Preston? "

"Yes sir," came a lazy, almost bored response. "No shooting match. Want me to sit and stay as well? "

Though the voice sounded lazy, both could easily imagine the look on Striker Two's face as he sat in the cockpit. It was easy to envision it being much like a dog who has been told he can't bite the mailman. Yet.

Crash +6 hours

"Anything I can do Big Guy?" asked Mitchell as he trotted next to the limping dragon as the two slowly made their way through the wilderness.

"I think you have done enough already," growled the dragon indignantly. "Quite enough in fact."

Fragnar tried in vain again to flex his wing, but the parachute cloth the human had wrapped and stuffed into several of his wounds prohibited it. While he admitted his method for treating the wounds was a bit …. exotic…. he would have preferred that the tiny mortal would have waited for the dragon healers had gotten there.

"Hey! I've never done field medicine on a dragon, sue me!" grumbled an abashed Mitchell. "I wasn't going to let you bleed to death though, Big Guy."

The snort and scowl Fragnar spoke volumes. One of the volumes was clearly labeled 'And you should never attempt it again'.

"So, where are we going?" Mitchell asked, trying yet again to start a conversation going with the ancient golden dragon walking next to him.

"South if you must know," sighed the dragon, who hopped the prattling human would cease his talking. Humans were always in such a rush. "Either the Wanderer or my own people will have sent a rescue party out for us?"

The trees started to rustle and both man and dragon looked up in the air. A shadow fell over the two as something blotted out the early morning sun. As their eyes came into focus, both could make out a highly advanced ship that seemingly hovered above them.

The sound of breaking branches brought their eyes downward, and barreling out of the trees came several armored vehicles. Turrets on the vehicles swung toward man and dragon as they came to a halt in front of them. Mitchell could hear something slam down on the ground and suddenly men in uniforms that reminded him of an old WW2 movie came pouring out of the tanks, bring what appeared to be weapons to bear on them.

"Surrender or Die human scum!" shouted one of the newcomers.

"Friends of your Fragnar?" Mitchell asked as he slowly raised his hands above his head.

"Hardly," responded the dragon.

"Crap, I was hoping you wouldn't say that," Mitchell said after a moment as he watched more and more men pour out of the armored vehicles like a herd of heavily armed clowns. "Umm….. Hi guys! I don't suppose we could talk about this could we?"

His only response was the sound of several heavy energy weapons that were already aimed in his direction being charged.

"Didn't think so…."

"We have word from on high Striker Two. Word is 'Go get'em Rover!' I'll cover the mission. " Preston heard Little say as they watched the Magg elements converge on rescue transponder.

As his Orca took off from its hidey hole in the rocks, he thumbed his comm one last time, grinning wide as he fed full power to his war machine.


Chapter 3

I always have a fallback position whenever I take a risk. If all else fails, I'll die horribly, at great length, and in great pain. Mind you, it's not a good fallback position...
- Walter Slovotsky

With well over a dozen of the ugliest SOBs aiming what looked like evil garage door openers in their direction, Cameron Mitchell wondered how he had gotten himself into this mess. A little while ago he was just in a whole different dimension, accompanied by a dragon, and they were both wandering lost through an old growth forest. Now mere minutes later, his world was turned even further on it's ear with the arrival of some of these things.

"Didn't I meet you guys once in a bar fight," he asked, trying to sound casual in the face of danger.

"Surrender human, and we'll let your pet live," snarled a figure in what looked like an old SS Wehrmacht uniform. In Mitchell's mind, he figured that to be the 'thing' in charge.

"Pet? Pet?" Mitchell responded in confusion, which quickly clear as a plan came to mind. "Oh my big lizard pet here, you mean?"

Thumbing towards the dragon, he tried to catch Fragnar's eye. The dragon eyed the human with suspicion for a moment and wondered what he was up to.

"If I surrender can I at least say goodbye to him," Mitchell asked after a moment.

"Make it fast human, you have 30 seconds, starting now," growled the head ugly in charge.

Moving to stand with his back to the enemy, Cameron Mitchell hoped and prayed this trick would work. Winking toward the dragon, he really worried the dragon wouldn't understand what he was up to.

"Sorry I'm going to have to leave you here, Big Guy," he began, winking yet again. "I had fun teaching you all those tricks."

Fragnar smiled and wondered what the small human was going to do. He bobbed his head and neck in a lazy and stupid nodding motion, hoping that their opponents hadn't heard their conversations in the woods.

"Thanks," Mitchell said as he turned around. "We had some good times together, I hate to leave him out here.

"I don't care human, now, move slowly toward the vehicles," snarled the leader who jerked his weapon toward the APCs behind him. "Toss out any weapons slow as you approach."

"Ok, Ok," Cameron said as he slowly limped forward. "Would you like me to show you some of the tricks I taught him? Hold on, hold on, you gotta see these."

He turned back toward the dragon, and an evil grin crossed his face.

"Human!" the head guy shouted.

"Wait wait, you gotta see this!" Cam said. "Sit!" Internally Fragnar couldn't believe the command, but he dropped to his haunches. Sitting down, the dragon waited to see what would come next.

"Wave," said Mitchell in a commanding tone.

Lazily the dragon raised its claw and waved his hand back and forth.

"Wave bye!" grinned Mitchell.

Opening and closing his claw, the dragon made a bye bye motion like a small child.

"Now……" Mitchell's grin grew bigger. "Speak!"

The Kromagg commander noticed the great beast suddenly smirk as he was about to yell at the human for one final time. The dragon opened its mouth as if to speak and then suddenly and a large gout of flame exploded from its jaws.

A wave of fire, heat and death washed over the front line of the Kromagg, burning the commander and several of the soldiers to death instantly

Homing in on his targets, Big Dog thumbed the control on his stick and listened for the sound he loved to hear.

"I have tone, Fox One away," he said, his eyes locked on his target.

Part of his mind registered the uncoupling of the Raptor missile as it detached from his Orca. Even as the missile flew toward its target, Preston was already angling up on his next series of targets.

The Kromagg were only stunned for a moment, but the moment was enough for Mitchell to draw his sidearm and open fire. Squeezing the trigger, he managed to drop one of his opponents before they realized what happened.

"Move it Big Guy!" he shouted to the dragon, motioning toward a rocky outcropping nearby that he hoped would be big enough to protect the large beast.

Shocked from the suddenness of the attack, the Kromagg drew beads on both man and lizard, and their beam weapons lashed out across the clearing. Ducking behind a tree, Mitchell popped his head out to fire off another shot, only to be forced to duck back by the superior number of Kromagg descending on his position.

"Oh this is so not good," he muttered as he sprinted toward another tree, the beam weapons lashing at his heels. "Not good at all."

He heard Fragnar roar, but couldn't spare a glance as suddenly a large blast from above ripped through the treeline in front of him.

"Oh you have GOT to be kidding me!" he yelled toward the heavens. He looked up and saw a large mantis like craft hovering above him, its beam weapon preparing to fire. Continuing to run toward Fragnar's position, Mitchell ran with his eyes partially closed as waited for his death to arrive. A large explosion erupted above him and he looked up to see the craft suddenly explode.

As parts of the alien craft dropped down around him, Mitchell dropped down behind the rocks next to Fragnar and attempted to catch his breath. Chunks of dirt exploded around them as the things on the ground opened up on their position. Checking his ammo, his heart dropped as he notice how few shots he had left. Part of his mind wondered how long they could hold out without any help.

And that's when Mitchell heard the 'Noise'. An idle part of his mind flashed back to a conversation with an Army friend of his who had said "I mean, film an A-10 firing it's main cannon. There's no "bang" -- it's a low buzz, like the Weed Wacker of God. And not your nice New Testament God, kid. A mean God. And then the plane flies through a smokescreen it just produced."

Mitchell immediately realized what was emerging from this smoke cloud was clearly not an A-10, but it was something just as fearful. It hovered slowly, bringing death to the Kromagg ground forces with a sweep of its gun before taking off at a clip in search of a new target.

"I don't know what the hell that was, but I gotta get me one of them!" he said in amazement as he took in the carnage the unknown attack 'whatever' had done. "One of yours, Fragnar?"

"No, but I have seen one once before," said Fragnar with awe in his voice. "It was a long time ago, in a different time and place."

Watching the HUD, Jake Preston swung his gunship around looking for new targets. Quickly he spotted a new airborne target and homed in on it, his gunship swinging around and bringing its main cannon to bear again.

"Smoke 'em!" he began to chant as he squeezed the trigger and unleashed hell from the front of his craft. "Shoot 'em, nab 'em, grab 'em!"

"Preston!" he heard a voice say over his headset but he chose to ignore it as a Magg vessel attempted to dodge the Orca on its tail. Lining up the gun, he squeezed of a few more rounds into the aft of the craft, sending metal and flames toward the earth.

"Shake 'em, bake 'em," he continued to chant as he brought the gun to bear and destroyed the tail section of the fighter, the 30mm gun sending wave after wave of bullet into his target. "Cook 'em! Broil 'em, kick 'em!"

Lining back up with the targets on the ground, Preston swung his Orca back toward the armored APCs and raked them with the main gun. He watched with satisfaction as yet another of the ground vehicles exploded.

"Twist 'em!" He continued to yell as he brought his Orca in line toward the last of the Kromagg fighters. He twisted and turned the gunship, bringing his missile bank to bear. "All gone! Bye-bye!"

Another missile decoupled from the frame of the Orca and sailed through the air, exploding violently against the hull of the Kromagg fighter. He raked the rest of the now dying fighter with the main cannon before angling the gunship downward toward the remaining ground forces. Squeezing the trigger on his joystick he continued to shout.

"I am the greatest! I am the greatest!" Preston chanted as the last of the APCs exploded, clearing the ground for the downed flyer and…. Dragon. The sight of a dragon on the ground broke the spell and the world came zooming in as he left the 'Zone' he had been in.

"Preston! There are two more approaching on your six!" he heard Guthrie yell through his comm and his eyes quickly flicked to the long range radar, confirming what Billie was yelling.

"Aw shit!" he groaned as he jerked the Orca toward the new contacts. He had forgotten the two fighters that had been headed toward the Commander's position.

Adjusting his Orca to meet the two incoming fighters, he quickly scanned his resources. Everything was running short, but he with some hope and luck, he could take them. He had to, lives depended on it. Dodging as their beam weapon lashed out, he brought the gunship into a steep dive, driving the Orca beneath the Kromagg fighters and brushing the top of the tree line with its belly. Twisting the fighter around, he was about to open fire when the lead Kromagg fighter was suddenly engulfed in flame.

From below Preston could see that the dragon had decided to get his say into the fight and unleashed his breath weapon onto the fighter as it passed, melting and buckling the craft before it crashed into the ground with a loud explosion.

The second fighter arced back, with its weapon lashing out at the Orca from the rear of the Magg ship. The beam sliced across part of the wing section and alarms suddenly erupted from all wounded craft. Jake struggled to keep the craft in the air, all the while trying to keep track of his opponent. Dodging close to the treeline, Jake fought to keep the Orca airborne and the Magg off his tail. Bringing his engines up to full, more warning lights came on as he attempted one last, desperate drive to get ahead and away from the Magg. Sweeping his wounded bird around a rocky precipice, he slowed the Orca and brought it close to the rock face. Holding his breath, he could only hope the Magg ship would do what he thought it might.

Seconds later it blew past his hiding spot in search of its wounded prey.

"Oops, you blew it.," he muttered as he squeezed the trigger. A torrent of hell erupted from the 30mm cannon, destroying the front of the Magg ship. With a flip of the toggle switch and a squeeze, Preston released a missile, hoping that it would bring down the Kromagg vessel once and for all. The Raptor sailed straight and true, tearing into the engine casing of the Magg fighter and exploding its reactor.

Warning alarms increased as shrapnel from the exploding vessel tore through the already damaged frame of Striker Two and suddenly Jake Preston found himself at the controls of one very heavy brick. As the engines failed Jake could only watch helplessly as gravity took over, and the treeline and rocky ground below rushed closer.

"Aw shit," was his last conscious thought, then the world went dark.

Chapter 4

Billie Guthrie watched her screen in disbelief as Jake suddenly vanished from the display. Punching buttons, she tried to get the status of Striker Two, but to little avail as her equipment stubbornly refused to change it's verdict, or lack thereof, on his position and status.

"Jake, Jake can you hear me?" she pleaded into the comm. "Come on Jake this isn't funny, please respond!"

Her plea was met with silence, and Billie Guthrie was forced to do something she had common nightmares of being forced to do. Flipping over to another comm channel, she tried to control her emotions as she spoke the rote words to invoke DocWagon.

"Command, this is Bird Dog," she started, her voice cracking. "I am declaring an emergency. Striker Two is down. I say again, Striker Two is down."

Though it was only seconds, it seemed like an eternity for a response to come. Her radio snapped to life and as she listened, she had an inkling of hope that Jake Preston would make it out of this alive. Just so she could kill him when she got her hands on him.

"Snake Doc and his Docwagon HRT are inbound and expected on the ground in the next 20," came the voice. "Spooky Too is on it's way as well and the hounds of hell are coming with it. We'll get your boy back."

"You'd better get them there quick," she said as she studied her screens, her voice filled with dread. "I'm detecting more inbound Kromagg signatures."

"Man would you look at all this wreckage," said Mitchell as he stepped lightly through the burning remains of the unknown fighter. "He came down hard."

"Indeed," agreed the dragon. "His ejection module should be in this location somewhere, I saw it eject toward this area."

"Dragon's have good eyesight, eh Big Guy?" asked Mitchell as he kicked over another piece of metal.

"Must you call me that?" asked Fragnar indignantly, a look of distaste clearly written across his draconian face. "While we are on the matter, Next time, you get to do the pet tricks. Sit indeed."

Mitchell looked up over his shoulder and grinned. He knew the dragon wasn't all that mad, his plan had worked for the most part and they had made it out alive. Well the pilot of the mystery ship helped too.

"Right, no stupid pet tricks ever again," he agreed. Fragnar was too big for the Letterman's stage anyway. Shaking his head to clear the image of the look on the TV show host's face as he conversed with a dragon, Mitchell resumed his search for their downed 'ally'.

"I believe I have found something," said Fragnar, his claw pointed toward a damaged tree in the distance.

The two made their way carefully through the debris field, and they near the edge of the clearing where the craft came down. There at the base of the large old growth oak, the duo could see a broken and batter body. A bloody parachute lay strewn around the base of the tree like a bad parody of a Christmas tree skirt.

"Oh man, he must have hit every branch coming down," grimaced Cameron as he followed the trail of damage up the tree.

Mitchell knelt and gently examined the body, taking care not to move the body too much. It didn't take much of an exam to tell that the pilot was severely hurt. The pilot's arm lay at an odd angle, clearly broken. One of his legs also appeared to be broken, a bone in the lower leg having pierced the skin and becoming the source of the ever growing pool of blood that expanded around the body. Doing what he could as gentle as possible, Cameron did his best to stabilize….

"Preston," muttered Mitchell as he tied off another bandage made hastily from the parachute.

"Excuse me?" asked Fragnar. The dragon had taken up a sentry position, his eyes constantly watching the terrain around them.

"His tags say his name is Preston. Jake Preston," Mitchell called out over his shoulder. "The rest of what this tag says I don't understand, it's in some sort of funny text."

"Can you move him?" asked Fragnar as he wobbly stood up, his eyes locked onto something in the distance.

"Not easily?" Mitchell responded slowly. "Why?"

"We appear to have more company coming," growled the dragon as a beam lanced out from the distant treeline.

"Can't we get a freakin break here?" Mitchell yelled to the sky as he dove to the ground.

A beam slashed the space where his head had been moments only before. Rolling onto his back, Cameron took aim and fired off one of his few remaining shots, dropping his attacker. Grabbing the parachute, Mitchell prayed to whatever gods could be listening that this wouldn't hurt the injured pilot any more and dragged the man behind the tree for cover. Preston let out a low moan and Mitchell could have sworn he heard the man mutter something.

"Why couldn't you have put the bunny back in the box?"

William Gant marveled at how smooth a ride the Orca transport was. It handled better than any bird he had ever flown, and that included the Firefox. Hell, he didn't have to speak Russian to this bird, though he was pretty sure it would respond to Atlantean had he known any. He watched his screens as he cleared a stony rise and dropped the transport down toward the valley below. In the distance he could see the massive amounts of damage the air-burst nukes had wrought onto the landscape but he paid them no heed. Lives depended on his bird getting there safely, and that was where he was focused for the duration.

"We have the transponder," said his co-pilot, Billy Covington. "Heading is on mark 123, should I tell the children to get ready?"

"Yeah," Gant said in his gravely voice, his eyes locked onto the screen. "Playtime in 5. Tell'em to expect a warm reception. We've got probable Hotel Tangos on the ground."

In the belly of the Orca Transport, it shuddered, rattled, and thumped as it weaved its wave over the treetops. A scraping noise could be heard inside as the belly of the transport hit the foliage as it stormed its way across over the forest. In the hold, several men and women looked up as the red light announcing their eminent arrival turned on.

"I'm telling ya man, Covington and Gant do this low to the ground stuff on purpose," groaned a very green Blair Sandburg as he attempted to hold on for dear life. "I don't know how you guys do this without getting sick."

"Years of practice chief," grinned a camo faced Jim Ellison. "Years of practice. Hell, this ride is better than some of the ones I've been on. Look at it this way junior. No windows, you can't see out to be afraid of heights."

"Ha ha, very funny," groused the younger man. "You're a riot. Asshole."

"Alright Children, that's enough" said a large black man as he entered the hold and began grabbing his gear. "Listen up, we've got a hot LZ, with the potential for it to get hotter. Reports show multiple groups of Hostile Tangos, and a hell of a lot of injured bystanders. This is a grab and go, lets get our boy out of there so we don't have to worry about losing him to any misguided crossfire. I want you people set and prepped in 2 minutes."

The men and women in the hold all nodded and the playful banter was replaced with a serious tone. Jonas Blane watched as the men in his command moved with a practiced professionalism. While half of his team were ex-Unit members, the other were just raw recruits. Some of the recruits like Ellison had military experience, while others Sandburg and his two other medic counterparts had little to no combat experience. In the end though, it didn't matter, they were all professionals. As the team continued to prep their equipment, Jonas half listened to some of the conversations going on around him and was surprised when Sandburg suddenly drew him into the fray.

"Seriously Top, what's the strangest OP you've ever had?" he heard one of of his guys ask.

Jonas Blane smiled as he finished attaching equipment to his combat webbing. Settling down he pulled out a cigar out and stared at it before putting it in his mouth.

"I did this stint trying to get a guy back into the game by hiding out as a baseball player on the same team with him for a few seasons," he said finally, his eyes closed and lost in memory. "I had to play, and I kid you not, a crazy voodoo witch doctor. Jamaican accent and all."

"So you acted like Hairboy over there," quipped Mack Gerhardt, from his seat across from Jonas.

"Nah compared to Blair, I was the real deal," responded Blane, referring to Blair's minor shamanistic habits.

"Everybody's a freakin comic on this ride," groused Sandburg as he settled his medic bag onto his back. "Is it suddenly pick on Blair day? Wait, You were Serrano! I remember seeing you play once. Hey, was Shale on the same team as... Oh, hell, he was the target?"

Jonas smiled, chuckling, "Yeah. Stubborn SOB, though. He finally went back to Merc work for Uncle Sam, mostly, though... so I guess is wasn't wasted."

Blaire frowned, "Why'd you stay for a third season in the minors?"

"Vacation," grinned Jonas. "Well that and Molly thought it was sexy."

Several of guys chuckled out loud at that one, as Jonas' wife was well known to the group as someone you didn't want to cross, but could count on dearly if you were in trouble.

The light turned green and all traces of humor vanished as Jonas stood up.

"It's showtime people!"

Chapter 5

"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood."
-- General George S. Patton

As deadly beams slashed into the tree he was hiding behind, Cameron Mitchell wondered if his day could actually get any worse. Leaning out to fire a shot off with his handgun, he berated himself for even wondering as the gun fired and the slide locked back. He stared at the gun for a second until another beam slashed through the air, breaking his stupor.

"Empty," he growled as he ducked back behind the tree. He wondered what he should do next, but options were severally limited. He had a combat knife, but somehow he didn't think the uglies were going to get close enough for him to use it on them. Glancing down at the other pilot, he wondered where his sidearm was, but didn't see one on him.

"Too much to ask, huh?" he said to Preston, but the unconscious man didn't respond. "I suppose just one thing going right today is too much to ask."

A groaning noise broke Mitchell's reverie as more beams dug holes into his hiding place. He heard something crashing through the tree above him and Mitchell looked up in time to see what appeared to be an ejection module fall out of the tree and slam into the ground, mere feet from him. The module hit the ground like a load of bricks, and Cameron watched in amazement as an emergency hatch sprung open, spilling contents on the ground all around it.

"Now that's what I'm talking about!" he shouted to whoever was listening as his eye lit on the frame of a P-90. Grabbing the weapon from where it lay on the ground, he racked the slide back and took aim.

"Alright you bastard, come get some," he said with an evil glint and a small amount of hope in his eyes.

In the distance, Mitchell could hear a roar as Fragnar cried out in pain, but there was little he could do to help the dragon at the moment. Firing off the P-90, he was happy to see his opponents fall, but he knew it would be a small respite. Even on burst mode, the ammunition in the weapon would eventually run out and then they would be all over him. Firing each shot with a deadly precision, Mitchell was glad to see to see his enemies die, but more just took their place.

"Where the hell are all these guys coming from," he said as he watched the Kromaggs pour out of the trees. "It's like a herd of evil clowns. They never seem to stop."

A breeze suddenly blew across the battlefield and the great trees swayed back and forth. Dust whipped around and Mitchell was forced to squint. As a shadow washed over Cameron's position, a feeling of dread formed in the pit of his stomach.

"Well, this is it," he muttered, bracing for the death from above that he knew was about to come, but it never did. At least for him.

Overhead he heard a whirring sound and suddenly the Kromaggs started dropping to the ground like puppets whose strings had suddenly been cut. Mitchell glanced up and much to his surprise, he saw a craft much like the one that had saved his bacon before, only bigger and meaner. From the side of the craft, Mitchell saw what looked like a minigun projecting out of the torso, and where it pointed death followed. From the rear of the craft, he could see a door beginning to open, and suddenly there were four figures dropping out of the back on quick decent lines.

The four figures hit the ground within seconds of each other, and the men moved with a practiced precision. Their weapons snapped up, and they too quickly began dropping foes. Mitchell watched in disbelief as three more people began their decent, each with a heavy pack strapped to their back. They in turn hit the ground and began moving quickly toward where Mitchell and Preston lay against the tree.

Mitchell swung his P-90 around toward the lead person and all three slowed their approach.

"Easy there Captain Mitchell, we're here to get you out. You all right there?" one of the figures asked as they dropped to the ground for cover next to him.

"Are you hurt anywhere?"

"You know who I am?" responded Mitchell as he came out of his shock. "Who the hell are you guys?"

"Lena Kendricks, Docwagon High Threat Response. We're here to get you and Captain Preston out." said the lead figure, who Cameron immediately recognized as female. "Are you hurt anywhere?"

"Nah, but my two buddies are banged up pretty bad," said Mitchell as he pointed toward Preston and the medic quickly bent down and began to work.

"Two sir? We were told it was only you and Captain Preston. Where is the other one," said another one of the medics who had followed in behind the lead. "We're here to get you all out."

Mitchell glanced out from cover as another roar filled the air and Fragnar came stumbling out of the treeline, bellowing smoke toward the now retreating Kromaggs. His scales were burned in more places and his limp was more pronounced as he headed toward Mitchell's position.

"Friends of your Cameron?" asked the giant beast, his wary eyes washing over the newcomers with a suspicious glare.

"He followed me home... can I keep him?" Mitchell asked with a grin as he saw the shock on the medic's face.

Hovering from her perch high in the mountains, Bird Dog surveyed her territory with a growing fear. Several more aircraft were headed toward the location that Jake had gone down in, as well as what appeared to be another series of ground units. Icons on her screen indicated that the Orca transport had arrived, but it hadn't left yet.

"Birddog to Boxcar, what's the holdup?" she asked with a worried tone in her voice

"Birddog, you wouldn't believe me if I told you," came the reply. "We're working on it though."

"Command, this is Dirt Diver, we have Rover and Shaft, but we've run into a small snag on this extraction."

Mack Gerhardt couldn't believe he was about to have this conversation with command, nothing in time with the Unit had ever prepared him for this. Drug dealers, arms dealers, small wars in countries people never knew existed, Mack knew he could handle all those. Dragons on the other hand were a whole different problem. Tiffy was never going to believe him when he got back home to Prosperity. He listened to the transmission as Command finally listened to him.

"There is a third wounded here and Shaft is refusing to leave without him..." he paused and listened as whoever it was on the other end yelled for a moment. "Command, there is a problem with that though, the other wounded is a dragon."

He grinned as he got silence, imagining the look of the guy on the other end of the comm. REMF seldom, if ever, listened to the guys in the field. It was good to hear silence for a change instead of yelling. When Jonas had asked him to join this outfit, Mack never imagined the simple fun he would get to have.

Billy Covington watched the screens as MITCHELL Gant worked in the rear of the craft, overseeing the extraction of the wounded. The Kromagg had retreated for the moment, but everyone knew they'd be back soon enough. A flashing light on the console attracted his attention and he flipped on the of sensors, only to go white in the face.

"Ah shit," he mumbled as he thumbed the comm channel on his helmet. "We are VSF, Gant! VSF! We've got multiple boogies inbound. ETA 2 minutes maybe. They are moving fast! We gotta boogie!"

Billy could he a thumping in the back of the craft and suddenly his grizzly partner appeared in the cabin, a scowl on his face. He threw himself in the chair and started locking himself in.

"We're what?" he asked in a gruff voice.

"VSF, you know like FUBAR," Covington replied as the craft shuddered and began to increase in altitude. "Its a saying I picked up in Laos. We are 'very seriously fucked'."

"I'd have to agree," concluded Gant as he did his own check on the monitors. Seeing no choice, he quickly opened a comm channel and spoke as he watched Covington begin to steer the transport. "Snake Doc, this is Boxcar, skies are getting stormy, we've got to seek higher ground. Reapers flight will have change the weather report before we can pickup. Extract wounded at Beta site, I repeat Beta Site! Boxcar out!"

Jonas Blane, aka the Snake Doc, stared up into the sky and watched as the Orca transport rose above the tree line and headed off at a quick pace. With the tide of war quickly changing he knew he needed to get his men on the move toward the Beta site and quickly.

"Alright team! Change of plans, we've got boogies inbound," he informed his team. Jonas watched as all eyes fixed on him, waiting for their orders. "We're extracting to beta site for pickup. That's about...."

"He won't make it if we do," said Lena Kendricks as she cut Jonas off. The team doctor worked furiously over the prone body of Preston and Jonas could see her hands were covered in blood and crumpled bandages lay strewn about. "He's in no condition to travel like that. We've got to get him back to base soon or he won't survive. He needs either a miracle or Witch Doctor herself. There's not a whole lot more I can do out here on the ground."

Removing his hat and wiping the sweat off his brow, Jonas looked around and worked his way through all of his options. Leaving Preston behind wasn't an option, but the ten klick march wouldn't work either. The dragon probably wouldn't make it any easier either. It wasn't like they could hide their movements with the lizard limping with them. As Jonas studied the terrain, he came to a final decision.

"Ellison!" he yelled and the Sentinel turned to look his way. "Get out there and see if you can find us some place to hold up. We're here for the long haul. Make it someplace we can dig into until these guys clear out or our ride comes back."

"Mack," Blane continued. "Go with him and set up some party favors for our friends out there, the meaner the better! Move it people."

Jonas watched as the two men quickly vanished into the trees before stepping toward where Blair Sandburg was working. Crossing the hastily made camp, he crouched down next to his other medic and spoke quickly.

"How is he?" Blane asked, his eyes sweeping across the giant mass of the dragon. Some of the golden scales were scratched and scarred, others were gone completely, replaced instead with a bluish goo that the medic had applied to stop the bleeding.

"He's not good," Blair answered as he continued to work. "Whatever their weapons are, they're radiation based, and the big guy here has taken a lot of hits. Like Lena, I'm doing what I can, but my options are limited."

"I will be fine, child," said Fragnar as he craned his neck to watch what Blair was doing. "I am made of tougher stuff than what those things......"

"Kromagg," Jonas responded, answering the questioning look that the dragon gave him.

"Ah, I see. And just who are you? I heard what you told Captain Mitchell you were called, but I imagine you are more than just 'Docwagon'," the dragon asked as he looked over the group working around him.

Jonas smiled and was lost in thought for a moment, remember the first time he had entered the barracks housing the Docwagon on Avalon. There written on the wall was 'DocWagon! We make your survival is paramount to none. We go above and beyond to keep your innards innard and your brains out of zombie hands'. His musing was interrupted by the staccato of gunfire in the distance and he knew Mack and Ellison must have made contact with the enemy.

"Looks like it's time for round two people!" he shouted as explosions ripped through the trees and suddenly the battle for their lives was on.



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