Gear on, wheels up!

Agent Zero stood beside the lowered steps of the Dassault Falcon 900 jet that would fly the team to an undisclosed airport near Kitty Hawk, N.C. One by one the members of his deployment team entered the underground hangar and walked toward the aircraft.

The Falcon 900 is generally used as a private commercial aircraft by self-aggrandized people with way too much money to blow. However, after investigating the options for their particular needs, Agent Zero decided this was the plane he wanted. Of course, some minor interior modifications had to be made for storing gear, making sure the team members are comfortable during long flights, and conducting briefings at a mahogany office table in the back. The plane had an over sized leather recliner for each team member. The commercial version seats more, but Zero had the modifications made so that his people wouldn't feel like they were being released from a sardine can once they touched down.

The Storm Syndicate's Falcon, affectionately dubbed "The Storm Chaser," had a matte black exterior with a single metallic red stripe around its entirety. The inside of the aircraft is mostly black and dark gray, but the seats are outlined in red stitching. There was no particular reason for the color combination. Zero just thought it "looked bad ass."

The Storm Chaser has much of the same equipment onboard as the Ops Center at Facility 47, minus a few, and obviously smaller and lighter. In theory it was impossible for the aircraft to lose communication with HQ or anyone they wished to reach on the ground below. Zero wasn't sure he believed that, but until now, it had proven true.

Zero was extremely fond of TSC; not just because he had picked out, but mostly because of the hardly-world-class travel conditions of his previous career.

Agent Spartan was the first to arrive -- as had become his norm for anything -- at the underground hangar.

"Hey Chief!" Spartan said as he drew closer to Zero. "I did what you said," he laughed. "Come loaded for the Spanish Armada!"

Zero didn't pay much attention to what particular heavy weapons Spartan had chosen as he loaded them into the luggage compartment. As he put his weapons and duffel bag inside, he saw Zero's trusty-rusty M-16.

"You never will let that old girl go, will you Zero?"

"Doubtful," his boss confessed. "And you know I don't have to tell you why. That baby has probably saved my ass more times than you did."

"I wouldn't doubt it," Spartan grinned. "But I got you out of a jam a time or two."

"I know you did. And I paid back the favor a few times."

"Sure did. We've always made a good team. I'm sure we will here too."

"Get on the plane, my friend. You can take any seat except the one on the front right as you enter."

Damon Lyons arrived next.

"I thought I was done with deployments, " he joked. "But I'm honored to be aboard."

"I'm glad you're going with us, Lyons. Good field experience for you, figuring out what this thing is made of for us. Grab a seat. Leave mine open.

"Copy." Damon said, loading his gear, then stepping inside.

F6A Charon rounded out the deployment team.

He loaded only a single suitcase into the belly of the plane.

"Where are your weapons, Charon?"

"I don't intend to do any harm."

"Intentions are great until shit hits the fan, kid. Here. Take this. It's a modern Browning 1911. I drew two from the armory this morning."


Once everyone was settled in, Zero boarded the aircraft.

"Miceli," he said, shaking the pilot's hand firmly. "Good to see you again."

"You as well, Chief. What's the mission this time?"

"I'm not exactly sure, but it seems to be a ghost ship."

"Wild. You've got to let me go with you sometime."

"I might. But right now, you're the most important part of this deployment. We can't do our job until you get us there safely."

"I plan to do just that."

Zero turned to face the team as the pilot began his flight prep.

"Alright, guys. We've got about four and a half hours from wheels up until our arrival in North Carolina. Use that time to rest, read, or just rack out if you want. I want everyone awake and alert when we hit the ground. I'll give you your final briefing there."

"Do I have permission to lower the blast door and take off?" Miceli asked Zero.

Without missing a beat, Zero answered, "Go fly."

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