Black Maiden

The boat gently bobbed on the blackened Caribbean water, the hammock-like swaying betraying the edge emanating from Moses' men. They all looked tough, but he could feel the weakness that seeped through the cracks. Unease, anxiety, doubt, it was as potent as stink. The grizzled veteran, not even 30, yet sporting a mug more hardened than any other mercenary on the watercraft, turned his gaze to his men. Backlit by somber moonlight, he nearly looked like some armed revenant, a militarized spirit of vengeance, that had at some point boarded the ship and claimed a spot, now standing silently at its edge. His face was grim, as usual on ops like these. The left of his lip was curled into a permanent scowl, a result of the intense scarring upon that side of his face. He took in an audible breath, sucking in through exposed teeth before exhaling through flared nostrils. After a few moments, he straightened up, "Lights and smokes out, eyes up, prepare for rebrief," before officially addressing the mercenaries before him.

"The fuck do we need another brief for?" He heard one of the men, Rodriguez, say in a hushed tone, his shoulder gently bumping a female mercenary, Silva, the only female member of the unit. Moses' nostrils flared again as he looked over Rodriguez. Who does this guy think he is, his scent said. He saw his gun, and though hard to see in low light, he noted the glimpse of red on his AR's charging handle. Custom make, there were probably even Santa Muerte and holy warrior of death inlays engraved on it as well. Made sense, Moses figured Rodriguez for an action boy, a hero soldier wannabe that preferred to look at war and armed conflict through glasses tinted a lovely romantic rose. Well, Moses was about as close to that as any of them were going to get, and all he saw anymore was red. The veteran then looked to Silva, who seemed to straighten up the second she realized she had the captain's attention, brows furrowed with dutiful fury. She had the look of a good soldier, some scarring, still attractive though. She was a right bitch with a trigger finger, but the kind you happily pointed at your enemies. And it seemed she had a thing for disobedient men.

"I have absolutely zero tolerance for failure, so I'm giving you zero excuse. Why don't you ask your buddy there, I'm sure she gets it."

There was a bit of uncomfortable shuffling, and it seemed Moses' laser-sharp attention to detail did well to deflate Rodriguez's hot air balloon. This was a mercenary company, after all, hard take-downs were necessary, as were rebriefs, to ensure no one got any rebellious ideas and risked jeopardizing lives or the operation.

"Let's get down to business, ladies," Moses pointed behind him, highlighting an imposing presence that was more than likely sucking up even more attention than Moses himself. A massive oil rig, the shadows of night enveloping it only seemed to make it impossibly larger than it could have been. It seemed massive, even from miles away, and eerily quiet to boot, which only added to the scare factor.

"This is Operation Black Maiden, and that is our primary target. The Rig is a producer for five different states, and they need their damn oil back. We have hostiles on the rig, so we're going amphibious, come out of the water and hit 'em, hard and fast."

Moses had moved into a seated position by this point, securing his swim gear and tank, a breathing mask hanging limply over his shoulder as he prepped to dive. The mercs followed suit, knowing well enough to follow suit. They had been briefed already, after all. Moses continued, double-checking his equipment almost automatically, even as he spoke.

"Intel suggests that a man named Rodrigo Vera has taken up shop here, along with a small squad of current and ex-Cartel. All run of the mill, but of course, we all know it ain't that simple or they wouldn't have called us. Vera is a known Super, apparently possessing some form of super strength. That's our secondary target, he needs either a blackout treatment or a bullet in the head by evac,"

"What if a 'bullet in the head' ain't enough, cap?

Moses barely lifted his head, Rodriguez, once again running his mouth as if anything useful ever came out of it.

"Then we give his ass two, Rodriguez. If no one else is deaf, check your masks, vests, and tanks. If you start drowning on my op I will find you and cut your line, we'll save it for someone who knows how to use it."

"Damn, cap." He heard from Silva, not out of surprise though, it seemed moreso she got a kick out of Moses' grim remarks. He felt a twinge of something from her, happy or something, Moses struggled to pin it when it wasn't dark; the light and fluffy feelings all felt similar to him. Moses regarded the others with a look, before securing his face mask. On the side of it was a transducer a clunky little device with a small green pinprick of light on it. His voice was muffled, but it seemed to still carry its normal weight.

"Let's get it."

The other nodded, equipment secure as they sat on the boat's edge. Moses heard a unisoned, 'Let's get it,' before giving the command, "Dive," and fell back into the warmth of the water, another betrayal. No matter how warm the water was, the blood would always be just as cold as usual.

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