Colour Me Purple - Part 3

**Colour Me Purple - Part 3**

[Some of these stories were co-authored with DawnCharger. The number of hours they have had to spend convincing me that a better way to write a line was actually my idea :stuck_out_tongue: Some of the characters are ones we play in game, eg Alpharius, Ceara and Faolán, The rest are persistent NPC’s that we use in many of our stories and RP’s. We hope you enjoy.]

=== Zhara’s Café, al Marayah, Egypt ===

Ceara enters Zhara’s Café. While obviously not of Arab extraction, she has respected local custom and has donned a Hijab. Truth be known, it was more to shield her face from the ever-present cameras that she knew the irritatingly proficient Mary would be studying.

Despite the danger, she knew that Poo-Head had left a message that their mum had become aware of. After all, it was she and Aunt Roxy who had found it.

Ceara had been singularly ineffective in finding her younger (by all of fifteen minutes) brother, and had cursed more than once his sudden acquisition of common sense. She needed to try and get a message to him, which is what brought her to Zhara’s on this unpleasantly hot day. She orders a short black coffee and a small pastry.

On receiving her order, she moves to the table where Faolán had left his message. Ensuring that she is neither being observed nor in a camera’s line of sight, she scratches a small H-shaped Hagalaz rune along with the word SKER and the roman numerals MMXXI, below his message.

Before leaving, she rubs in a mixture of coffee and earth in an attempt to age the graffiti.

+++

=== The desert somewhere near al Marayah, Egypt ===

Faolán had run all the remainder of the night following his encounter with the Roach squad. He was pretty sure he’d done enough damage to have definitely silenced forever, three possibly four of the team.

Although to be fair, four would require that the irritating Viper was one of the fatalities. By the gods she was persistent, and she did get a shot off … and … fv<k! Did that hurt! It still hurt! And his left ear hurt … why? Oh, that’s right the last member of the squad … he frowns as he remembers his jaws getting caught up on the man’s helmet and body armour. Scarred him yes … killed him no.

Unlike his sisters (how he missed his sisters), he had little magical aptitude over and above his Jötnar inclined gifts in the elements. His sisters always fixed his ouchies.

He had had the presence of mind to quickly cauterise the wound. He was no Bee despite his ability to heal quickly.

Making his way into a small cave that he’d set up as his hidey hole, the air shimmers and he stands there shaking a little. He peels off his blood soaked and now scorched tank top and retrieves a Medpack and a bottle of Betadine from his kit.

Taking a breath and bracing himself he pours the contents of the bottle over his right shoulder. He winces, huffing a pained breath through clenched teeth. The pain brings him to his knees as the brown liquid flows over his shoulder and tracks down the ugly tear made by the mushrooming, .45 hollow point projectile.

He had been in wolf form when shot. The projectile entered just to the right of his spine at the level of the lower chest. It had skidded across his ribs up and outward to finally leave just behind the shoulder, the wound starting at only a half inch where it entered, growing to nearly 2.5 inches wide where it finally exited just behind the shoulder. The skin was torn from about four inches from where the bullet hit to behind the shoulder. Leaving a ragged wound that was 7-8 inches long.

He knew he was lucky that the bullet had not actually penetrated and had caused no significant bony injury. He could already hear Ceara’s commentary, “Poo, It’s just a flesh wound.” To be honest, right now he’d welcome her ridicule.

Not for the first time, he wonders if she was really here and if so, had she found his message.

+++

=== Orochi Vivification Unit, Tripoli, Libya ===

Viper stood outside the office. Her appointment was for 0900 and it was now 0859. The nameplate on the door read “Dr Tabetha Kyrikios, Director Psychological Services, Manticore/Vali Joint Vivification Unit, Libya.”

While waiting for the time to click over to 0900, she wondered about the bright sapphire-blue eyes and the feeling of having her throat first penetrated by the wicked fangs of the beast’s maw before her throat was torn out. The dream repeatedly woke her, bathed in a cold sweat.

Inside, Dr Kyrikios has been reading up on the woman standing outside her door. To her, the most remarkable thing wasn’t the injuries this woman had survived, or the speed of her physical recovery: It was the fact that this combat veteran had requested to be seen by a member of her services. Indeed, it was the reason she was seeing this case personally.

Her eyes glanced down to the file in hand:

Name: Megan Taylor “Viper”

ORN: MRG-987602

DOB: 15 May 1994 (27 years)

Place of Birth: Chicago, USA

Designation: Team Leader – Reclamation/Retrieval

Next of Kin: Samuel Williams – “Breaker”

She has named a squad member as next of kin … interesting. Dr. Kyrikios flicked through a number of pages until she finds what she’s looking for: the patient’s an orphan, parents deceased when she was about 12 years old. In and out of foster homes until she joined the military at age 17. Served for four years before being head-hunted by Manticore. Loyal, ambitious, resilient, skillful, numerous instances of what the military would call ‘mentioned in dispatches’.

Her eyes flick to other descriptions, and comments from her patient’s peers: ‘Engenders great loyalty in her command’, ‘Hard as nails’, ‘Persistent’, and ‘Determined in the execution of her mission. On and on and on it went…

Dr. Kyrikios flipped the page to Viper’s Manticore service record. She, Breaker and Cross (deceased) had been squadded together for nearly three years. Hatch had joined them about 18 months ago and Rook (deceased) had been part of the team for 6 months.

Her desk clock turned 0900. She was not surprised by the knock on her door at that precise moment.

Dr Kyrikios puts down the file and closes it. Leaning back in her chair she rests her chin on her thumbs for a moment, her fingers tented over the tip of her nose as she quickly ponders this information and how it may relate to why Viper had requested a psychological review.

While it seems like forever, the time that passed was only thirty or forty seconds. Sitting forward again and resting her hands on her desk, she calls “Come.”

Viper walks in with a measured pace–calmer than the brisk march of a recruit fresh out of Boot Camp, but faster than most civilians, especially ones on their first visit to a psychologist. She gives Dr. Kyrikios a measuring look before glancing around the room as she steps inside. Immediate threat assessment, most likely. Was it the recent trauma, or did her sense of caution just not have an off switch?

“Thank you for seeing me, Doctor.” Viper waits until the doctor gestures to the couch before taking a seat–not lying down immediately. Again, either no off switch or her instincts still have her on guard. “Your time’s appreciated.”

Dr Kyrikios leans back in her chair as Viper takes a seat on the couch and has already started her assessment … hyper vigilant, hyper observant … while appearing relatively relaxed, the woman is actually coiled like a trigger spring, first pressure taken.

Voice calm and light, her face and smile warm and engaging, “Of course Ms Taylor.” She pauses for a blink of a second, “Or would you prefer Viper?”

“Viper works, thank you.” The woman sits up, back straight, legs straight, arms resting on her knees.

Dr Kyrikios remaining outwardly relaxed, smiles “Viper it is then.” There is a slight pause, “Viper, an interesting code-name. How did you come by it?”

Viper blinks as she registers the question. “Relevance?” She pauses again, nodding a slight apology without actually voicing it. “We’re told to take code names, as well as designations for fieldwork depending on the outing. Bigger groups require numbers as well as designations so the TOC know’s who’s who–Sceptre 1-1 as the primary squad leader, with Breaker as Sceptre 1-2, and so on.” She pauses. “TOC–Tactical Operations Centre.”

She pauses again, staring through Dr. Kyrikios as much as at her, then lets out a small breath, her shoulders sagging slightly. “As for the former … this is confidential, right?” She waits for a confirmation, then shrugs. “‘Metal Gear Solid’ was a childhood favorite.”

Dr Kyrikios continues to smile warmly as the woman explains basic operational procedure. If she’d been taken back by the questioning “Relevance”, she gives no outward indication. But does file the response away in case it actually becomes relevant.

Nods to Viper’s question regarding confidentiality … or was it to the information regarding the origin of her code-name.

“That was your avatar’s name in that game?”

Viper nods. “I wanted to make the story mine, even if only in name. He was Snake, so I became Viper.” She shrugs. “Small, agile, lethal. I liked it.”

Dr Krykios makes a bit of a show going through Viper’s list of official commendations. She lists off a few of the more impressive ones, nodding, “It would seem you have chosen well.”

She puts the file back down and looks directly at Viper, now looking very businesslike “Before we get to why you’re here. May I ask a few questions that will give me an idea of who and what … Viper … is?”

Viper nods, putting on a careful mental mask that nobody who wouldn’t expect to look for it would ever even see.

Nods as she notes ‘the shutter coming down’.

Flicking through the file in front of her for a short second, “Ah, here it is.” Looking up to Viper again, “It tells me here that you lost your parents at a young age.” She quickly consults the notes, “age twelve I believe.”

Leaning back to make herself comfortable, “What can you remember about that time … if it’s not too painful … how did they die?”

+++

=== The desert somewhere near al Marayah, Egypt ===

Faolán had spent the next week to ten days recovering from his wound. It was only the abnormally fast healing, provided by his and his sisters unique genealogy, that allowed him to recover to the extent he has now.

Despite his enhanced natural healing, the wound had left an ugly scar across the back of his chest on the right. If he had had the benefit of magical healing from one of his sisters, the scar wouldn’t have been so prominent. Still his natural healing had left a scar that was considerably less than without.

He spent a lot of the time ‘gone doggo’ as mum called it. The pain was so much easier to bear in wolf form and … in spite of evidence to the contrary, Faolán did not like pain and tried to avoid it whenever he could. In fact, it wasn’t until day four when he finally convinced himself to return to human form and start stretching and exercising again. He still returned to wolf form at night to sleep.

By the end of the first week he was able to perform a complete series of exercises and get his range of movement back to near normal. Getting shot was now very high on his list of things to avoid in the future.

During his convalescence he had a lot of time to think about things. Surprisingly, his brush with the damnable Viper and her squad wasn’t the only thing on that list. But he had thought about them for some time. He went through the short action again and again trying to determine what had gone wrong.

Every way he looked at the action suggested to him that even Ceara would agree that his decisions were tactically sound. Cross, the sniper had to be first. Then Rook, on point, as expected he was far enough in front to allow a silent kill.

He hadn’t given enough credit to the professionalism and discipline of the squad. S#!t, they’d twigged there was something wrong way faster than he was expecting. Despite this he’d still been able to achieve surprise, but that higher level of alertness had allowed them to respond to the changing situation much faster.

He’d hit Viper hard and broke things in her chest, from the sounds and feel of crunching bone. That with how hard he’d slammed her head into the rock face, should have put her out for the count.

His hit on Breaker had been equally quick. In this case he was slowed by the big man’s build. He couldn’t get the arm to come off. However, the amount of blood that sprayed from the ruined arm suggested a likely fatal injury, especially in the field. The other thing he hadn’t accounted for was Hatch’s willingness to respond to the need to fire ‘danger close’.

He wasn’t sure how he’d explain his notched left ear to mum when he saw her again. Maybe she wouldn’t notice? Thinking self depreciatively “Yeah right … that’s gunna happen.” … One thing he wouldn’t be able to hide easily was the scar he now sported up the right side of his back.

The other things that occupied his mind were his sister’s. Firstly, because if one of them were here, he would have to worry about the scar sooner than he wanted too. Secondly, he missed them terribly. He needed to get back to al Marayah, to Zhara’s café to see if there was anything to show if his sisters had managed to do something.

He also surprised himself by wondering how Astra was in this time period. Unlike home, she was still alive in this world. Back home she’d been lost early on, to one of the filth detonations.

The horror of these extra detonations had somehow been stopped here. He knew this difference was very significant but couldn’t work out why. This worried him, not the fact that the detonations hadn’t taken place. But why was there this difference. He couldn’t get the ‘why’ to gel.

Anyway, his childhood memories told him that she had been vibrant, good humored and willing to ‘walk-the-plank’ when she looked after them. She was soft and smelled nice. He loved the times she snuggled the three of them and read them stories or watched Frozen for the gazillionth time (conveniently forgetting the many, many watchings of the Pirates Of The Caribbean series).

He was older now and he couldn’t help fantasising about how she’d feel snuggling now.

+++

Next: Axel’s Restaurant

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