Thicker than oil (P2)

Seth looked over his teams roster.
Team leader: Seth Kwinn: 360 points + 100 (Team Leader) + 100 (completion of advanced training disciplines) + free pistol upgrade kit Use of Own Weapon with modifiers
Sam green: 200 Points +50 (Completion of optional training disciplines) + free use of tool kit and vehicles
Roger Smith: 120 Points
Joseph Rose: 100 Points
Eric Wide: 110 Points
Team: 345 Points
“This isn’t good…” Seth said, frowning.
“What’s wrong?” Sam asked as they settled in their bunks
“Our points. You and me are fine… the rest of the team are going to have to get a standard rifle, sidearm and pray that I can push the group budget for armor…” Seth said darkly. Looking over the list of what he could buy, he was a little disheartened at their odds.
“Well… what if I put mine up for it. Just get me a recon kit for 100 and they can have whatever’s left” Sam said
“I’m getting you a jeep” Seth said “And a concussion kit”
Sam blinked “what? Why?” she looked over the points list. That would cost 150 for the jeep and another 100 for the demo-gear
“We lack in ranged and advanced skills… we need to be able to get the hell out of there and I am not letting them at the wheel of the car. The concussion gear will allow you to be armed and defended while remaining in cover. If all else fails you will be able to hit them” Seth said “I am getting them all a rifle, they won’t use anything else… getting them all a tac-com and… can’t even afford their sidearm!” Seth sighed and shook his head, trying to re-work the math over and over
“OK… then I just use the pistol, they have rifles… basic armour is standard but offers little protection…”
Sam watched him in awe… he really wanted them to have the best!
She looked over at them. One was pretending the training rifle was firing some sort of lazer-beam and making all the sounds effects while the others pretended to die and get zapped in various manners.
“got it! We all have a basic Tac-Com… with my points I’ll upgrade that to have the visual map and intel-readout. That will allow me to tell them what’s coming up. Two shields and my gear. I’m getting us all a little extra armour and taking point where I can. You have the jeep and the concussion gear. They have rifles and… oof… a grenade each.” Seth said, noting it all down on his datapad.
“the shields?” Sam asked, looking at the team again “who gets them?”
Seth cracked his knuckles. “me and you. I think we may get to a point where we can’t take the jeep with us if we find that an opponent is dug-in to try and boost their survival-count… because we have better armour we will be ok to go hunting. I recon we could take a hit or two and still keep moving. Ten minutes cool-down perhaps? Yes… I think this is it!”

“Exxon. What are you doing still in bed?” James asked the bundle of clothes Ethan had left there.
Ethan was watching from the door. The barracks were clear and people were all training and getting their gear sorted. This pompous stuffed-shirt was probably here to ask Ethan what was with his points.
Most of them had around 300 points depending on how many of their posses dicks they had tasted.
Ethan had 500!
He had left Anita in a particularly good mood, she had given him a glowing review of his skills and even vouched for his competence in all the relevant fields.
“ETHAN!” James said, shoving the clothes, feeling the difference. And throwing the sheet off.
Exxon stepped into the room and closed the door. “we need to talk” he said. His coarse whisper echoing around the empty bunks.
James wheeled around. His hand close to his personal sidearm.
Ethan knew that it wasn’t loaded. “You aren’t the one in charge here. Are you?”
James’s face twitched a little
“cadet Exxon. You’re late for training” James stammered, trying to keep the shake from his voice
“You were there first. Almost a hour before everyone else got up. You weren’t alone…” Exxon satched the expression on James’s face carefully “that your daddy? Or uncle? Taking little promotional throw-backs to keep tabs on certain people? Fancy yourself in the intelligence division? you have a lot to learn about not being seen.”
Jame’s face went pale “what you think you saw-”
“I don’t think I saw anything. I DID see you giving the posh dick your datapad. He downloaded it to his. You then took a nice little handful of credits that you stashed in your datapad’s archive slot. Careless. The training grounds are made to be hard to hide in.” Exxon said. His hand resting on the long package under his arm
“what do you want?” James asked, stepping forward. He stopped dead when Ethan drew the knife.
“what do I want? To keep quiet? To not blow your cover, career, his, and this whole steaming pile of bad reputation into the open? To not shoot you in the back of the skull the moment we are given life ammunition? Or to not slit your political throat?” Ethan asked, slowly drawing the blade of the combat knife through the air at throat-height.
James took a step back… hands suddenly going to his pistol, drawing and aiming at Ethan’s face
“why don’t we start discussing terms of a treaty?” James asked “you have seen the sort of company I keep. We can make this very comfortable for you”
Ethan looked down the pistol’s barrel. The solid-looking piece of metal that all fitted together almost seamlessly was beautiful in the cool morning light.
“all right. Let’s start with put the pea-shooter away because you spent all your bullets earlier. Got a poor accuracy rating too” Ethan said, sheathing the knife and pulling up the long package that hung over his shoulder, uncovering the long, solid barrel of the sniper-rifle “and I’ll not use this on you”
James’s hands shook “wh… where did you… get that?” James asked, his pistol falling to the floor
“questions are not a part of this negotiation. But I will lay down my terms” Ethan stepped back, leaning against the wall and resting the butt of his rifle against the wall, still aimed at Jame’s chest. His heart. The dead-centre of his hammering little political heart.
“anything… please” James begged, his eyes welling up with tears
Ethan smiled “your high-places friends are going to authorise my weapon for regular use. Allow it in the games, modified of course, and they are going to never bother me with anything. And the reason they won’t bother me is because once they bother me, your father, uncle or whatever will find your little stash of shards you keep in the necklace. Very nasty contraband… very expensive. Very, very illegal”
James’s face paled even more. His hand going to the thick chain around his neck. To the fake bullet next to his tags. To his little stash of shards that he kept for when the shakes came back. when he couldn’t get I direct fix…
“you would loose your status and get a black mark for what you did this morning… but those things” Ethan pointed at the shards “would get you into prison and out of here for a very long time… do we have an agreement?”
James nodded “y-y-y-es… sir…” he looked at the rifle “I-I’ll even pay for the rifle. You’ll own it yourself”
Ethan grinned, reaching into his breast pocket of his shirt “now you’re getting the idea. Glad we see eye-to-eye. If you do not fuck with me, I will never let anyone else know” he pulled out the card that James had hidden in his datapad. “you cross me and you won’t even realise how fucked you are. I have your precious little secrets in more places than you know exist.”
James sat back on Exxon’s bunk. Ethan threw the card at him “you’re in a little debt on this one. You may want to pay it off quickly. The interest will kill you” Ethan said, covering his rifle and opening the door.
James was silent… his hands reaching for the bullet around his neck and removing the cap.
Ethan closed the door and James took out a thin sliver of silvery-looking metal. It seemed to glow a little in the light from the window.
James looked at the capsule… there were two empty slots.
His vision suddenly blurred with tears and he wasted not time in sliding the metal into the end of his tongue.

Liam was still practicing with the heavy machinegun he had been given. He had traded in his basic armour for the weapon.
The accuracy wasn’t bad. He was able to take out all but the long-range targets in the first clip.
He felt a little tired. The others in his team had kept him up with their cigarettes and their booze. He was a little ashamed to be in the same team.
At least I am here. These delinquents are just like back home so I shouldn’t be surprised. I just wanted…
“Oi! Meathead. Gimme that gun” the team leader called. A man called Alex. He was the leader of this rag-tag group of idiots “here’s a rifle for you”
Liam looked at the man “you want to trade weapons?” he asked, not entirely sure what Alex thought this was
“No. you are giving me that gun and I am letting you hold mine while I am not using it.” Alex said, getting close to Liam and grabbing the gun
“so you are just training with my weapon?” Liam asked, not letting go of the heavy metal
“No. I am taking it into the games you stupid fucking suckup! Gimme that fucking gun!” Alex said, pulling the weapon. Liam didn’t let go
“Sir. I traded my armour in so I had enough points. If you are trading then I’ll need some protection” Liam said. Easily holding the weapon to himself
Alex took a step back, picking up his rifle “you are going to give me that gun asshole”
Liam saw a man from a nearby group walking over. The man looked rather proper. His team were a little childish but not as bad as Alex’s. The girl over there looked familiar from somewhere. She was fiddling with a pair of gloves that she couldn’t seem to get her hands into.
“You got a problem here?” the man asked, standing near Alex.
Liam saw the pistol on the man’s hip. It was modified with stun-rounds by the look of the barrel and the clip.
“nothing to do with you hot-shot” Alex said, looking back over his shoulder “or do ya wanna go tell yer daddy?” Alex said. Liam didn’t move… his weapon had about fifty rounds left. The weight of it would allow him to incapacitate either men easily.
If I start getting involved I’ll be kept out of the games… this isn’t like the far-side. I need to find an officer and tell them.
“Alex. Are you threatening him? You remember what the drill-sergeant said last time?” the man said. Liam saw that his badge said “Quinn”… Liam was sure it was wrong.
“but out before I but you out you jumped up lill ritch-boy” Alex said, turning slowly. The rifle held at waist-height with his hand inside the guard and over the trigger.
The man quickly raised his hand and held the barrel, aiming it at the sky. His pistol pressing into the small of the small of Alex’s back “do yourself a favour Alex. Fail the games. Get out of here and stop wasting all our time”
Alex scowled at the man, not moving the rifle but Liam knew he was thinking about it. “Fuck you Seth!”
“leave the cadet alone” Seth said, letting go of the barrel
Liam watched as Seth holstered his weapon and walked back to his team. The woman looking anxiously at him. Her eyes met Liam’s and he was sure he recognised her…
“bastard! Thinks he can do what he wants because of daddy? Let’s see how he like’s this!” Alex hissed, aiming his rifle at Seth’s back and pulling the trigger before Liam could even raise a finger.
The weapon clicked…
Liam looked at the hole where the clip was meant to be. Seth threw it to the woman who tried to grab it. But it bounced off her hand with a loud metallic clank.
Liam watched the man go
That is the sort of think I was hoping to find here… forceful and lawful. Perhaps there is a chance of improvement here

“What was that about?” Sam asked picking up the clip and looking at the man with the rifle as he threw it at the larger man. He looked like someone she had seen on the transport over here. He had helped carry her gear. And the tools for the guy in the next room.
“trying to keep the peace really” Seth said. Looking over the team “Everyone ready to kick ass?”
“hell yeah!”
“You bet it Seth!”
“Bring it ON!”
Seth smiled “good. Because that’s what we’re gonna do! Kick their asses all the way back to fucking BOOT! They’re gonna wake up and wish today was a nightmare! They will BEG to stay in their bunks in case they see us out there!” Seth said, grabbing his armour and putting it on quickly.
As he pulled his helmet down he looked at his team. Three fools and a woman with prosthetic hands “there’s no way I’m going home tomorrow. This is the closest to war we will get and guarantee survival. I am going to make the most of every bullet. Every shot. Every second and every heartbeat!” Seth banged his chest plate. Feeling the dampening layers nullify the impact.
“FUCK YEAH!” Sam cried, slamming her hand on the table. The metallic thud audible through her gloves.
The other three roared their agreement, knocking helmets and fists.
Seth grinned and looked at the time. 07:55
“All right! Let’s move out!” Seth called to them, leading them to the square where the other cadets were slowly filing towards.
“our chances?” Sam asked quietly so that the others would not hear
Seth locked onto her with his Tac-com, whispering “*a snowballs chance in hell?*”
She nodded. Gripping the shield tightly.

“ATTENTION! All Cadets not here are already disqualified” the sergeant called “you had all better be ready for hell because that’s how it’s going. you all see the line across the middle of this area? All of you on my right are green. Green transports are over at landing bay A, Blue are at D. bays C and B are where you will be arriving if you do not follow the rules. The rules are in your manuals. If you have not read them then that is your error! When you arrive at the location your weapons and ammunition will be handed out. All of you with your own personal weapons please remove the clip and deactivate until told to do otherwise” the drill sergeant spread his arms wide “troops! To battle!”

Thicker than oil (P2)

Nathaniel Tempest

Redditch, United Kingdom

  • Artist

Artist's Description

the second and most recently written part of “thicker than oil”

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