• Published 25th Jan 2018
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XCOM: Ranger - Wanderer D



Sunset Shimmer escapes Equestria... with unforeseen consequences.

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Chapter 145: Uncertain

Ranger

Chapter 145: Uncertain

By Wanderer D

Mimicking Ember's initial move, Sunset had guided her team around the edge of the city in the opposite direction, keeping alert as they effectively walked around the lines ADVENT had set up. Once they were close to their intended point of entry, she motioned for everyone to gather 'round.

"Okay, Elena and I will take point, Jane, you and Fridge follow. Angel and Trojan you come in last... Greg, do you see a good place to nest?"

Greg opened up the map on his pad, skimming through the area, then looking up with narrowed eyes to survey the visible buildings from their location. "Yeah… I think this building should be good." He pointed at one of the buildings on the map, then towards it from their position. "Gives me a wide area to cover once I reach the easternmost edge… it overlooks all of our intended AO."

Sunset nodded. "Understood. Angel, I'd like you to serve as backup to Trojan."

Greg shifted a little uncomfortably. "I… don't think I need the backup, I'll be pretty much out of range for just about all our opponents."

"Have you ever faced one of the Chosen before?" Elena asked.

He grimaced. "No."

"Then take the backup." Jane shrugged.

"We're not sure of what abilities the Hunter might have," Sunset said, "But we do know she's a sniper. That means that whether you feel you're safe or not, you might still be targeted or even spotted at a distance."

"Fine, fine…" Greg muttered.

"Aww," Fridge said, smiling at his friend, "don't tell me the snake lady makes you nervous? One would think being nicknamed Trojan you'd--"

"Yeah, stop that right there," Greg said, "I'm just used to working solo as a sniper. I'm skilled enough that I can take cues and spotting through the radio for long distance shots."

"Yes, well, I'm not risking it," Sunset said, "You might be the one thing keeping us alive out here, so keeping you alive is a sound investment, I think." When Trojan didn't give any indication that he was going to argue the point further, she nodded. "Alright, let's get going."

She led them towards the city, then, when she deemed the range appropriate, she lifted her fist, stopping them. Sunset took a deep breath, and focused her magic, casting the spell in her mind and projecting it through her eyes, activating her bloodsight.

The darkness receded a little, as if some sort of sourceless light was somehow shining an aura of sorts on the objects and plants around her. Here and there she could see little red spots… birds, bats… the occasional large biped moving a block down from her location.

"I don't see that many ADVENT troopers nearby," she said, drawing suspicious looks from Trojan and Fridge. "Two of them are about a block away… two o'clock from our position. Buildings are empty of organics… they probably cleared them up already."

"Two is a bit small for a pod," Jane said.

"Most likely they have some MECs with them," Elena said, "now that your rogue AI friend has lost its relay."

Angel tasted the air with her tongue, then rattled her tail. "Hiss…"

"That's true," Jane said, "we should be thankful for small miracles."

"Hiss."

"We're never that lucky," Annette muttered, "but we can hope."

"We don't know when that will change," Sunset pointed out, "but we know it will. Sooner, rather than later with our track record."

"Does anyone else feel lost?" Trojan asked, "I don't speak snake."

"They're talking about the Hunter not being in the immediacy," Elena said.

The other members of Menace exchanged amused glances.

"Do you also speak snake?" Fridge asked.

"I'm not a parseltongue, no," Elena replied, shrugging. "But considering the context of their conversation, and the fact that they are obviously making an attempt to not mention the actual issue, it is the most logical conclusion."

Trojan gave her a pitying look. "You deal with this often, don't you?"

Elena nodded. "It became old quickly enough."

"Hiss…" Angel said, approaching Elena and touching her arm.

"It was only annoying at the beginning," Elena replied in her usual monotone, but tilted her head in acknowledgement. "I am used to it now, don't worry about it."

Trojan massaged the bridge of his nose. "I thought you didn't um… parseltongue."

"I don't."

"Right."

"Okay... " Sunset spoke up. "We'll stick to the plan, Angel, Trojan, you both stay behind, then when we give you the clear, you'll climb to the top of the building and nest there, okay?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Hiss."

Sunset motioned for the others to follow, stepping into the city proper and navigating around one of the smaller buildings. When she knelt, she indicated her orders, motioning for Elena to move ahead.

The Reaper took off like a ghost out of hell, jumping over obstacles and sticking to the walls. Somehow, despite the fact that she had observed Elena do this several times, and despite the fact that she should be fairly obvious, her teammates' skill was such that within an instant, her body would cease movement completely and almost blend with the background.

It was also clear that her choice of route wasn't random. She studied it for a solid moment, then took off. It was a level of focus and understanding of her environment that was completely outside of Sunset's abilities.

Once Elena was in place, she waved back, then activated her comms. "I have spotted them. A priest, a Lancer and a MEC. There is a turret in the street, and a small command center of some sort. There are a couple more MECs there."

"Roger that," Sunset replied. "Jane, take cover behind that pillar, it should give you line of sight…" she thought carefully, trying go decide her next move. "Fridge, you're with me, how stealthy are you?"

Fridge watched Jane run quickly to take cover, then glanced at Sunset. "I'm a bit slower than you guys, but I should be able to sneak by without getting caught if we can somewhat predict their movements."

Sunset nodded. "Good. Since we need to draw back as many ADVENT troops as we can, we're going to set things up to really draw their attention.

She turned the comms on. "Outrider, Fridge and I will go around and take cover on the other side. We're aiming for a big boom."

From the shadows, Elena answered, "Understood. I will plant the claymore."

Sunset signaled Trojan and Angel, who trotted and slithered over to the side of the building. Angel coiled down, then, with a powerful burst of strength, she straightened up, effectively jumping three stories high and landing on top of it.

The comms flared to life. "Hissss"

"Angel says the coast is clear."

Trojan nodded, skillfully climbing the side of the building. Sunset followed their movements on the top of the building until they stopped at the edge.

"In position."

"Good, set yourself up for overwatch. When this place goes up, we'll get a lot of action," Sunset said. "And don't hit on Angel."

"Will do a—wait, what?"

Sunset grinned, then nodded at Fridge. "Come on. The whole thing will start with your boom."

o.0.o End Chapter 145 o.0.o

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