Log Title: Geopolitical Climate Change
Location: Frusenland - Reindeer Festival
Date: February 17, 2014
The Reindeer Festival preliminaries have all started. Crowds of Frusenlanders have gathered for their traditional fair activities, which include Reindeer Meat cook-offs, booths selling various skins, antlers, and other parts of reindeer, and the kid-favorite Reindeer Skinning Demonstrations.
The wide open space has been filled with people, and tents, but on a tree covered rise, just over 1200 yards from the center of the festival grounds, where a pavilion and stage is set up, is a woman. She might be hard to detect as she is in arctic camouflage, laying in the snow, with her long barreled XM 2010 Sniper Rifle, wrapped in white cloth, resting on a log. At the moment, she is using her bionic eye, not the rifle's scope (Which is still capped to prevent any flashes of sun reflections from giving away her position), to maintain watch on the festival. She is here to do a job, and when the Joker of Spades has a job to do, she is entirely focused on that job. No thought is given to her partner, who is guarding the getaway vehicle, no thought is even given to the possibility that this might be her last job. Artemis is locked in on watching for Frusenland's Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is moving around the festival, greeting people and sampling the food, trailed by his token security force and a moving crowd of hangers-on. He is slowly making his way towards the stage, taking his time glad-handing his people along the route.
Artemis' eye finds, and focuses in on the Prime Minister. She smiles, and keys her radio. She sends a burst transmission, to Cobra Unity.
<Cobra (IC)> Artemis says, "Prime Minister Aune has arrived. I will await his speech, and at the appropriate moment, put a bullet in his head."
<Cobra (IC)> Baroness says, "Excellent Artemis. Proceed as you see fit. However, make sure you do not fail Cobra."
The sniper pulls herself to her Sniper Rifle, but does not yet uncap the scope. She maintains a watch on the Prime Minister, waiting for the right time, so that his death will be splattered all over international television. During his speech, should be perfect. And it just might set off a riot...
The Prime Minister FINALLY makes his way up to the podium.
Artemis finally uncaps her scope, and uses her organic eye to look through the scope. Her bionic eye dials back slowly, watching the fluttering flags, and the clothing of the spectators, to gauge the wind speed and direction. She reaches up and adjusts her scope slightly to allow for the wind, and then double checks the range. 1194 yards. She adjusts the scope slightly again. Now to wait for the speech to start. She lets her radio give her the timing, as she has it dialed, now, to a local radio station, that a Tele-Viper is also simultaneously translating, as she does not speak the local language.
Finally, just the right part of the speech comes along. Artemis glances around quickly, just to make sure no one is close to her, or close enough to present a danger, and while she does not see any one, that does not mean there is no one close by. She than turns back to her rifle, and looks through the scope. "Now, Prime Minister Aune. For the glory of Cobra..." She puts the crosshairs on his left eye, and slowly starts to squeeze the trigger.
The bullet travels at just over 870 meters per second, so less than 2 seconds after leaving the barrel of the rifle, the Prime Minister's head explodes. Less than 5 seconds after his head explodes, the sound of the rifle being fired can also be heard. Of course, by this time, there are screams from the crowd, while the Prime Minister's bodyguards rush to locate the shooter. Emergency Personnel try hard to get to the Prime Minister, but it is evident they will be unable to save his life.
CNN Live Report "The Prime Minister of Frusenland, Jarl Aune, was just assassinated during the opening Speech of the Annual Reindeer Festival in Frusenland. Details are sketchy, we will have more details as they come in. For now, all we know for sure is that he has died on the scene, and this happened live, on Frusenland Television moments ago!"
Artemis quickly caps her scope, stands up and slings her rifle over her shoulder, "Time to blow this popsicle stand!" She begins to move towards the exfiltration point, quickly, as she keys her radio again.
<Cobra (IC)> Artemis says, "Mission Accomplished. Phase one of Operation Popsicle, complete."
From his spot to the side of the grandstand, unseen to mode, a bald Scottish businessman smiles among the chaos, and begins to slowly make his way back to his hotel.
Angel has been sitting by the getaway vehicle, bundled up so much that he's impossible to recognize, unless you knew him well. He doesn't speak as Artemis approaches, merely giving a nod.
<Cobra (IC)> Tomax and Xamot can be heard over the comms. well one of them, hard to tell which "We suppose you will be looking for a performance bonus?"
<Cobra (IC)> Artemis says, "Why would I want a bonus for doing my job? Especially when it is a job I love?"
<Cobra (IC)> Tomax and Xamot say in unison "Good answer."
<Cobra (IC)> Zarana says, "heh."
<Cobra (IC)> Head Snake Cobra Commander says, "I'm enjoying watching the results of your work on live TV, Artemis. You have done well."
<Cobra (IC)> Artemis says, "Thank You Commander." Does her voice sound slightly in awe? "I am glad I could provide your viewing pleasure."
<Cobra (IC)> Head Snake Cobra Commander says, "Always impressed by your work, Artemis. Baroness, are the rest of the pieces in place?"
<Cobra (IC)> Baroness says, "Very Good, Artemis. I expect a full report. I will be sending you additional Units, for Phase Two. Tomax, Xamot, it is time to contact Minister of Defense Akenheil. He may soon have a use for our services. As soon as the Reworked Paranoia Device begins to work on the country, I am sure the rioting will be cause for Peacekeepers. If not, Artemis, you will begin taking out the rest of the targets on your list."
<Cobra (IC)> Baroness says, "And Yes, Commander... All the pieces are in place. By the time we need them, Destro will have enough WOLF and Arctic HISS's coming down the pipeline for our use in country. I also had Interrogator check the Cold-Weather survivability of the MAMBA's, and they will provide the bulk of our air assets in Frusenland."
Artemis returns Angel's nod, as she gets close. She tosses her rifle onto the WOLF, and asks him, "Any signs we've been spotted?"
<Cobra (IC)> Tomax and Xamot intone dryly, "As you wish Baroness." A slight pause before Xamot then inquires "Are we to board a flight? I assume this contact is to be made in person?"
Angel shakes his head, clamoring onto the WOLF, still holding his rifle. "No signs, ma'am." he says shortly. His hands clench and unclench; he's probably trying to keep feeling in his digits. "It's been quiet."
<Cobra (IC)> Baroness says, "Not in person. Are you crazy? If any of our known operatives are spotted in country, before we are invited in, it will ruin the illusion that we *were* invited in. Back Channel. Use Cobra Unity Diplomats. Use our Contacts at the United Nations... but please, quietly."
<Cobra (IC)> Destro says, "I have been speaking with Minister of Defense Akenheil personally, as an independent representative of MARS. I've taken a full measure of their defenses, and I can represent Cobra's interests in this manner, unofficially of course, if you would like."
Artemis smiles and nods, "Good." She moves into the WOLF, herself, pausing only long enough at the hatch for the forward gunner position, where Angel will have to take up position, if she is to drive them away, to give him a quick kiss, "Hopefully that will warm you a little... We have to make tracks." She continues on to the top, driver hatch, and climbs in, sealing the canopy after her.
<Cobra (IC)> Tomax and Xamot come back on channel, the assumption via the tone of Tomax would suggest they are collectively rolling their eyes. "Sorry if my brother was unclear. He meant board a flight back to Cobra Unity.. It would be ill advised for us to begin discussions from New York..." Tomax pauses as Destro speaks "What a fine idea."
<Cobra (IC)> Baroness says, "Very Well Destro. We will give you this opportunity."
<Cobra (IC)> Destro says, "Excellent. With the chaos in country right now, I'll have them eating out of our hand."
<Cobra (IC)> Baroness says, "And James. Thank You."
<Cobra (IC)> Tomax and Xamot says, "That's all well and good, as long as you are aware of where their mouths have been..."
<Cobra (IC)> Artemis mutters, "As long as they do what we want, who cares where their mouths have been? We can always wash our hands."
Angel might be blushing from the kiss, but it's impossible to tell. He gets hunkered down in the gunner position, holding his rifle carefully. "Ready when you are, ma'am." he says. As they head off, he's completely silent, but not still. It's not really fidgeting, but he does seem... restless.
Artemis glances down, between her feet, as she drives the WOLF back towards their original Camp, where the Range-Vipers await their return. She frowns, and wonders if she should be concerned. She sits in silence, watching the 'road' for a few minutes, than finally, she asks, bluntly, "All right, Zack. What is wrong?"
<Cobra (IC)> Lord Destro says, "I am quite familiar with the history and leadership of Frusenland, and just where the hands and mouths have been."
Angel's head pops up from looking down the... path they were going down. "Huh? Nothing's wrong, ma'am... I just don't like this part of the mission. I'll feel better once we're back at base, ma'am." Sounds reasonable enough.
Artemis nods slightly, "Which part? The Assassination, or the ride back to camp?"
Destro gets back to his hotel, and makes a few calls.
Angel makes a soft noise in the back of his throat, and takes his hat off, scratching his scalp vigorously for a few moments before putting it back on. Sweat itch, it's the worst! "The ride home, ma'am. I feel... exposed." He shrugs, holding his rifle carefully. "I know that, logically, we should be in the clear. But my gut isn't built on logic."
Artemis nods her head silently. She is not sure she truly believes him, but she is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, they are only 10 miles from their camp, and if he is still nervous at that time, she will know the truth.
Destro arranges to have Iron Grenadiers brought in immediately for security, opening the door for Cobra troops later, depending on the Commander's plan.
Angel settles back down somewhat as they continue on. Once they get back to camp, he really does seem to relax, although he does take his hat off again to scratch at his head, making an irritated grimace as he does so. "I really hate cool weather." he grumbles.
Artemis smirks, "You'll hate this assignment, it doesn't warm up here til April." She settles the WOLF into the cove of trees, and leans back, just cracking the canopy a little, to let a little of the cooler air in, as she has been running the heat the whole time. She likes it cooler than Angel does, obviously. She looks down at him, and looks thoughtful.
Angel decides to leave his hat off for now. His unruly blond hair is rather disheveled, and he spends a few moments trying to tame it, and gives up with a sigh. He really did need a haircut... He's not paying attention to Artemis, instead just sighing. He does still fidget though.
Artemis says softly, "Zack, did the fact that I just killed someone, in cold blood, bother you that much?"
Angel blinks, and looks over to where Artemis is sitting. "Uh... I'm claustrophobic, actually." he admits sheepishly. "I've been trying real hard to get over it. Really, I have been. But... Obviously I'm not doing such a good job at it, if you can pick up on my anxiety." He seems a bit embarrassed over the whole thing.
Artemis nods, slightly, "But did it bother you?" She seems almost nervous, but, however, her voice is level, and perhaps she is not just asking for her own personal reasons.
Why were women always so insistent? How bothersome... Angel gives a sigh, leaning back slightly. "...Maybe a little." he admits finally, not looking at Artemis. "I was trained for combat... That man was unarmed, and so a non-combatant." he tries to explain.
Artemis nods, ever so slightly, "Yes. He was a non-combatant." She lets that sit out there for a few seconds, "However, he was also an obstacle for the Baroness' plans, and I was under orders to kill him." She shrugs, "I changed the Geo-Political nature of Frusenland with one bullet, and I promise you, the Prime Minister never knew he was dying. Now, Cobra has a way into this country, and with any luck, less people will die, all because of one bullet, to one man, at the right time. Is it not nobler for me to have saved hundreds of lives, by killing him, than to have not killed him, and have forced Cobra to invade the country, and kill how many more soldiers, instead?"
Angel is quiet for a long while, carefully considering Artemis's words. Privately, there's a lot about the situation that makes him unhappy, but he knows that it wouldn't serve any purpose to voice his dilemma. Suddenly, he thinks he understands. 'Is this my Loyalty Test?' he wonders to himself. He nods, finally. "I... I understand, Diana." he says, voice calm. "You're right, of course. When it's looked at from that perspective..."
Sadly, this is not his loyalty test. Diana simply nods, and lets the subject drop. She asks him, "So, now that that is over, we are likely not going to have any more missions for a few days. Anything you want to do to fill the time?"
Angel 'hmms' to himself, relaxing a bit as he thinks. He idly scratches at his head again, ignoring his horrid hat hair for now. "Usually I read. I've got some books stuffed into my bag to pass the time. Keeps my brain working."
Artemis nods, "Doesn't do much for your body, or to keep you warm."
Angel makes a face. "That's a good point..."
Artemis says softly, "I can think of a few things that will work your body, *and* keep you warm."
Angel definitely blushes at that. "Ah - um... thanks for the offer, ma'am, but, ah... I'll think about it?" Aww, isn't he cute? While Angel's not a virgin by any stretch, the thought of casual sex with his CO, who could probably kill him easily with her cybernetic limbs, is... daunting.
And who said anything about Casual? Diana nods, "Well, the offer stands, if you decide you want to." She likes how he blushes all the time, it does make him cute, and hey, blood rush to the face, should keep his face warm!
Angel decides to try again to wrestle his hair into submission. It's an uphill battle. "I really should have let Heather cut my hair before I left..." he grumbles to himself
Artemis arches an eyebrow, and wonders if she is going to have to compete with Wiretap, one of her best friends, for Angel's affection. "Heather.... As in Pennington?"
Angel nods, smiling. "Yeah, Wiretap. She's like the big sister I never had." He smiles warmly. "She's smacked me on the head a few times when I did something stupid, and she's hacked my phone at least three times - once to change the background to Miley Cyrus twerking." He shakes his head, grinning.
Artemis smirks, "Heather is one of my best friends..." She thinks for a moment, "In all honesty, she might be my only friend. Since, I am not sure what you and I are, at the moment."
"She's a right pain in the butt, but that's okay. She's a good friend." Angel looks up at Artemis, looking a bit... wistful? He knew how it felt to be friendless, and it wasn't a good feeling. "I'd like to be your friend, at least, Diana." he says quietly.
Artemis says softly, "I have a horrible track record with my friends. Especially the male ones. They either die, or somehow, end up on the opposite side of a gun barrel." She shrugs, "Just a fair warning, being my friend most likely, will get you killed. At least all but a few of my exes, are still alive." She adds that last, almost, but not quiet, in a joking manner.
Angel considers what Artemis has said. After a moment, he simply smiles, and shrugs nonchalantly. "Diana, we're soldiers. Death is an everyday fact for us." he points out. "And if I ever do piss you off... I'll keep my head down." he adds, his tone about the same as hers.
Diana almost laughs at that, "I didn't say *I* was going to be the one that killed you." Although that *has* happened.
Angel shrugs again. "Even so, having a sniper pissed at you is reason enough to keep your head down, right?" He winks. "Not that I'd intentionally try and get you angry. That would be suicidal."
Diana offers a slight smile at that, and than lets her eyes drift closed. "There are worse people to have angry at you, but they are all in High Command, or ninjas..." She shrugs, as the adrenaline rush of her work has started to fade. "Think you can handle making sure The Range-Vipers outside have a watch schedule worked out? I need to sleep for a few hours..."
Angel gives a short chuckle at that. "I'll do my best to get them in line. I guess I just don't have the intimidation factor you do." He gets up, slowly, carefully stretching is legs and back. "You need anything, just yell okay?"
Artemis nods, "To intimidate them, all you have to do, is make them think you are meaner than they are...." Her words drift off, and soft snoring is soon heard coming from the little sniper.