There was tension in the air, like there was every morning before a mission. Members of the Frontline Plus Ninja Police Force worked hurriedly to finish their reports before the briefing with the Captain.
Rookie Officers, Stacey Harrington and Andrew Pridmore, walked into the station an hour late, noticeably disheveled. Precinct Jokester, Duncan Ramirez, stood up at his desk and shouted over the daily commotion, “Aww, Ms. Harrington, did Officer Pridmore make you some of his famous peanut butter pancakes?!”
Harrington and Pridmore looked at each other and blushed. It was no secret that they were interested in one another, but as Ramirez eloquently pointed out in front of the entire office, they had obviously taken their relationship to the next level on the previous evening.
As their fellow officers joked and laughed, long time partners, Robert McCown and Kathryn Michaels rolled their eyes at each other and smiled. They graduated from the Academy together and were placed in the same unit as rookies. There was an underlying sexual tension between them, but neither wanted to let it interfere with their careers. Over time, they grew to be great friends and supported each other through it all.
Captain Quigley walked in as the hooting and hollering reached a crescendo. He folded his arms and stood behind Ramirez, who was doing the Gangnam Style dance, performing what he imagined was an accurate reenactment of the sexual maneuvers used by the rookie lovebirds the night before.
The squad fell silent at the sight of the Captain, but Ramirez continued twirling his virtual lasso. Finally, he noticed the horrified looks on his colleagues’ faces and turned around.
The Captain stared at him, his green face turning an angry red. He composed himself long enough to say in a forced polite voice, “Officer Ramirez, can I speak with you in my office?”
As the door closed behind him, the Captain exploded.
Sergeant William Anderson, 2nd in command to Captain Quigley, assembled the rest of the force in the war room to prepare for the day’s mission.
He ran through a slide show detailing a situation with a Blood Hound, struggling with a Japanese gang of fleas known as the Fleakuza. A team of three Frontline Plus operatives was to be delivered to the back of the canine via the handheld applicator.
Captain Quigley entered and Officer Ramirez followed, embarrassed. The Captain walked in front of the screen and addressed the room, “It seems to me that some of you, in this department, think that the elimination of enemy flea factions IS A JOKE! I don’t think any of you would say that it was funny when the team members sent to handle Operation Beagle Alpha Bravo were ripped to shreds by that gang of Russian HitFleas... Sergeant Anderson, please continue.”
Sergeant Anderson turned on the lights and ran through the itinerary, “Officers McCown, Michaels and Pridmore, you’ll be taking the lead. The three of you will be dropped in the heart of the Fleakuza stronghold. You need to hit them hard and move on quickly. If you give them time to recover and react, there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to get you out alive.”
McCown and Michaels had seen it all before and they confidently nodded to each other, but when they looked over at Pridmore, he was white as a ghost.
McCown punched Pridmore in the arm and said, “Snap out of it kid. We need you to get your head right.”
Pridmore looked at McCown and Michaels and forced a smile, but he was noticeably shaken.
Ramirez stood up and said, “Captain, look I’m sorry for messing around today, but this was supposed to be my mission! My probation ended two weeks ago... I need to get back out in the field!”
Capt. Quigley smiled at him and said, “Officer Ramirez, you are going out in the field today. I need you to run to the market to pick up my lunch!”
The squad laughed and the briefing concluded. McCown and Michaels cornered Pridmore in the break room to ask him a few questions.
Michaels started, “Look, Pridmore, you’re a nice guy and a good agent. This mission will give you some great field experience but I need to know that you’re head is in the right place.”
McCown continued, “We’re going to work together on this, but if you think we’re going to slow down for you if you lag behind, you’re wrong. If you need to speak to the captain and have someone take your place, the sooner the better.”
Pridmore looked at them, annoyed, and said, “No! I’m ready! It’s just that this will be my first mission since my partner died. He was one of the officers killed in Operation Beagle Alpha Bravo. I need to do this though. I need to get back in the field. Don’t take me off the mission! Please...”
McCown and Michaels looked at each other, then back at Pridmore.
“We’ll see you at the loading zone.” McCown said.
McCown was the best on the force with a blade. His weapon of choice was a samurai sword that was made for him by legendary blacksmith, Brent Hashimoto.
Michaels was fond of projectiles. She used weapons ranging from a bow, to an uzi, but for this particular mission, she decided to bring her old standby, ninja stars.
Pridmore equipped himself with a spear, the standard training weapon at the Academy.
It was bad luck to talk to an officer before a mission, so the other squad members left the three of them alone all morning. Finally, the time came and they loaded themselves into the green handheld applicator. Pridmore caught the tip of his spear on the doorway to the loading zone and it broke off, leaving him with a just a pole, to combat the entire killing force of the Fleakuza army. McCown shook his head but he wasn’t about to harp on Pridmore’s mistakes. He was concerned solely with Michaels’ safety, and his own.
The team didn’t talk on the trip to the application sight. That time was reserved for self reflection and controlled breathing. When the vessel came to a stop, McCown and Michaels exchanged a concerned smile and prepared to be dropped onto the Blood Hound.
Footage of the mission can be seen below...
“Not bad, Kid!” he chuckled. The truth was, Pridmore was great in battle. He hopped around and used his weapon like an extension of his own arm. McCown continued, “You can take a seat though. It’s over. We won.”
Pridmore remained on high alert.
Finally he turned and said, “Where is our chopper? We’re in the landing zone. Does it usually take this long?”
Michaels and McCown turned to each other, realizing that it had definitely been longer than usual. The Frontline Plus fighting force continues to occupy the enemy territory for a full thirty days, but the first team never stays longer than twelve hours. They are always air-lifted out and replaced by reinforcements. Michaels activated her communicator pod to contact the base but heard only static. McCown saw the worried look in her eye and grew angry.
“Look, Pridmore. We’ve been trained to handle situations specifically like this! We’ll set up camp and try to get in touch with base in the morning. We eliminated the enemy without complication. Now you need to relax, Officer. That’s an order.”
Pridmore finally took a seat next to Michaels. He started to unwind but still kept a firm grip on his weapon.
Darkness fell and McCown put the finishing touches on the shelter. He put on a brave face but he too was growing worried. Despite what he said, he never believed that they would really have to spend the night away from base, but as the minutes ticked by, he knew they would have to stay on the Blood Hound until morning.
TO BE CONTINUED...