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Asymmetrical Warfare
"Falcon 2-1, this is Foxtrot actual. Request ETA on the drop, over."
LT's voice crackled over the squad's comms. It was good to be back in American armor, using American weapons. The suits were lighter weight than what the Custody offered, but the maneuverability difference was night and day. Still, this operation was off the books. There were no identifying marks on the suits.

It was early morning in northern Liberia. The sun was still a couple hours' off cresting the horizon, but the birds were starting to sing. In a few hours, sentries would be swapping shifts across the nation. Miles overhead, an XMC-130's cargo bay was opening up. The response came through over the radio. "Foxtrot Actual, Falcon 2-1. Package is free, ETA one minute on your strobe, over."

The team waited, and watched. They'd dropped an IR strobe in a field a hundred yards from their position. The minute wasn't even up yet when the drop pods slammed into the ground, retro thrusters firing in a flash heartbeats before they hit. Even so, a couple of the stabilizer fins were knocked loose from the impact. Even the most highly trained soldiers needed a supply chain, and the drop pods left a small footprint.

LT stood up and waved the team forwards. "Appreciate the gifts, Falcon 2-1. Foxtrot actual out."
They had swarm drones buzzing the surrounding area, and the chances of someone sneaking up on them were low - but that didn't mean they were going to wait around. When Koehler reached the first pod and pulled the latch, he was greeted by fresh batteries for their suits, and a healthy amount of ammo - preloaded in M6 magazines.

Once the team's supplies were topped off, Koehler seized the power and destroyed the evidence. He was getting good at that. A few lashes of fire and some air to whip it all away, and it was like the pods had never even hit the ground. Granted, there wasn't much point in the effort; it wasn't like they could pick up every 6.8 mm casing that hit the ground. The Custody's ammunition was all caseless, the Chinese used mostly 7.62, and African forces were a strange hodgepodge of last-gen weapons from across the world. Any ballistics tech with half a brain would figure out who was icing the Liberian army.

Team Foxtrot was made up of eight SUBGRU SEALs, and two of them were psychokinetic. LT looked at Koehler. "Andrew, I'm sending a waypoint to your visor. I need you, Weber, Jonesey and Frank to take out that supply station."
A moment later, a white diamond popped up on Koehler's HUD, to the north. Most of the other helmets used a closed circuit video camera system - made things like flashbangs useless against them. Koehler had to make due with a polarized lens and a holographic display. Cameras didn't pick up the power.

"Got it, boss. Any civilians we need to worry about?"
It was good to be able to talk on mission again. Last time Koehler was out, they were pretending to be Custody troops - and there weren't any Bostonians in Taskforce Vega.

"Shouldn't be, no. You good to go?"
If there were, Koehler knew what he had to do. With the number of people deployed across the country, and the fact that the operations were still off the books, someone really high up the food chain wanted this kept quiet. Someone Koehler didn't feel like fucking with.

Koehler nodded. "I'll see you at the rendezvous, sir."
With that, his squad split off from the team. They set out at what would pass for a dead run without the suits. Modern batteries could maintain a fifteen mile per hour sprint for hours on end without powering down, and they had spares in their packs. Even if they didn't, one of the first spells they'd developed at Camp Hoover gave squad psychokinetics the ability to recharge batteries in a pinch.

It took an hour to reach the supply depot, and by the time they got there the first red hints of sunlight were starting to brush the sky. The squad took cover on a ridge overlooking the whole setup. Koehler switched on thermals. "Looks like thirty seven contacts,"
he said over their local comms. The depot wasn't heavily defended. It consisted of a motor pool, a warehouse, and a barracks building with chain link fences all around. Looked like they had a lot of expensive hardware parked there nonetheless. Koehler found himself wondering whose bright idea it was to sell Bradley IFV's and Humvees to the people they were going to have to blow up later.

Jake Weber chimed in next. "Thirty seven. Some of them are unarmed; may be noncombatants. How do we want to take this?"

"We'll take it as planned. I'll thin the herd."
Koehler reached deep, and grabbed hold of the power. There wasn't much of a battle anymore, even if he found it difficult to hold for long without getting tired. He had to remove himself from the world around him to get control - something hard to do when bullets were flying. "On my mark,"
he said. Lashes of fire danced out, before taking root in the motor pool's fuel reserves. Moments later, a fireball engulfed the collection of vehicles and sent shards of hot metal flying all around. "Mark."

Somewhere in another world, Koehler knew he could hear the sharp hiss of suppressed M6's firing off rounds into the Liberian soldiers who were still standing. While the squad did their job, Koehler sought out and cut the lines to the depot's radio tower. No way they were calling for backup. The soldiers' spines were already broken, and they didn't put up much of a fight. Most died with exit wounds in their chests. A few tried to take cover in the barracks, but a quick slice of air took the walls down on top of them.

Before long, the only life signs Koehler could see were holed up in a cage, away from the fire. A secondary explosion from one of the Humvees' gas tanks cooking off toppled what remained of the motor pool's overhang. A piece of shrapnel slamming into the tree next to him shook Koehler's grip of the power free.

"Cease fire,"
Koehler said, and all the shooting stopped. "I want to see what the fuck's up with that cage."
LT didn't say anything about prisoners. Koehler figured he might as well see what he could find out. Afterwards, well, he had a little trick he'd been working on. Might as well try it.

It took another half an hour for the fire in the motor pool to burn down to a safe level. When it did, Koehler and Weber picked their way down the ridge and into what remained. Jonesey and Frank stayed up on the ridge to watch for any new contacts. "Shit, man,"
Weber said when they reached the twisted remains of the fence. "Must be crazy being able to do all this with your head."

"Should ask your sister what I can do with the other one, Weber,"
Koehler said. "Well, you should've if I did trannies. Who knows, might make an exception for her since she's your sister and all. Coulda sworn I heard you say she was in country."
He laughed a short laugh, not quite ignoring the destruction around them.

"Fuck you, Andy."
That exchange was far from the worst. Didn't change the fact that any member of the team was ready to give his life for the others at a moment's notice. "What's the plan with this? If these two see us - "

"Don't worry about that, Weber."
Koehler cut Weber off. "I've got a trick I've been wanting to try out. That private back in Camp Hoover was doing it."
Mind control. Well, in a simple sense. If it worked the way Koehler thought it would, he could ask the two in that cage anything he wanted and they'd forget all about it.

"Ramirez, right? That dude was fuckin' creepy. Can't tell you how many times he 'borrowed' cash off me."
The flames were still crackling when they rounded the corner to come in view of the cage. One of the men inside was slumped over, a chunk of shrapnel sticking out of his neck. He must have bled out while the squad waited for the fires to die down.

The other man was in good enough condition and his face lit up when they came in view. "Americans!" He shouted. The accent was thick and judging by the clothes, he was local. He shook the cage's bars.

Koehler began. "You speak English?"

"English..." The man shook his head, looking confused. "No."

Koehler sighed, checking the satellite uplink. Less than a quarter of a megabyte per second. The voice translator wouldn't work, and the only one on the team who spoke the language was with LT. He grabbed hold of the power, a little more sluggishly than he would have if he hadn't just destroyed half the complex. "Well, that was useless."
He sent lashes of spirit drilling into the man's mind, coupled with fire and earth. The way Ramirez did it, it should... Crap.
The guy's eyes crossed, and he slumped over. A moment later he was seizing up on the ground.

"I don't remember doing that when Ramirez was fucking with me, Andy."
Koehler could imagine the horrified look on Weber's face. "What the fuck did you do to him?"

There was a dead Liberian soldier lying on the ground, and his weapon looked loaded. Koehler released the power, and picked the decades-old AK-47 up. Only way not to tie anything back to them. "I fucked up, that's what."
He pointed the AK at the man's head and pulled the trigger. "Don't tell LT about this, Weber."

Edited by Andrew Koehler, Sep 29 2016, 12:48 AM.

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