Operation: Dead Bang
Operation: Dead Bang

Tales of the AICEFF
Operation: Dead Bang

Day 1: 0900 hours. -
I open my eyes to view the world as it was meant to be seen for me, through the tubes of a regen tank. I casually reach out and knock on the glass so that Phillipe the lab boy would pry himself away from his Duke Nuke'Em game and open the tube. If he doesn't get his ass moving, I'll give him a real life dose of Duke Nuke'Em. A half-hour later has me standing outside the briefing room reveling in my newfound freedom from permanently affixed boxers. I was in the show for about 30 minutes just flapping around in the breeze. If I see Codename: Plohoie Debushka or Codename: Evil Pixie even glance at my pants, I'll revive the tooth fairy and stuff her down their shirts.
The commander has issued the latest target in our ongoing fight against the Holiday Coalition, The Firecracker Four. The little bastards have been illegally smuggling small arms weapons into the US borders disguising them as innocent fireworks. We know what they really are though, for every time some kid gets his finger blown off from an M-80, they are secretly infected with a neuro-toxin which dominates their minds like The bastard Barney the Purple used to. That is, before we assassinated his butt. True, he wasn't one of the Holiday Coalition, but we were itching to kill something during those long May days when there aren't any real holidays, and he was close enough for our tastes. Ah, the good old days. The Firecracker Four, however, were much more volatile than Barney ever could be, as they are less obvious. One moment, a kid is fingerless and crying, the next he is choking the life out of the neighbors weed garden with his bare hands. That's just not right. They've got to be stopped and only we can stop them, only us, the AICEFF.
The others have finally begun to filter into the room, still toweling off after washing the regen juice away.
Codename: Ligeia has been stretching out her legs all morning in preparation for her scouting duties.
Codename: Schrodinger's Cat just flops into a nearby chair, scanning the morning paper for the horoscope section. I explain to her briefly that I don't think astrology works after you've died more than twice. She just sniffs and keeps on reading.
Codename: Evil Pixie is putting on her fairy wing necklace and enjoying the view from outside the window. Either that or she's spotting potential sniper targets.
Codename: Not A Phase and Codename: Druidic Concoctions are working on some new explosive device that I'm sure will have us all back in the regen tanks in no time.
Codename: Plohoie Debushka, Codename: Rohmer, and Codename: Devil's Dance are quickly engrossed in watching the WWF on TV. No matter how many engagements they get into, they still believe pro wrestling is real.
The only ones missing are Codename: Heart Shine, whose body parts we are still collecting for salvage use, and Codename: Immortal Sin, who is already in deep cover at the Boom Box, the homebase for the Firecracker Four.
I let the team take a moment to relax and enjoy being dead again. Pretty soon we'll be dead again again. This is Ibidis Mortem saying, hold on to your hats for Operation: Dead Bang.

Day 2: 0431 hours -
The sweltering night air is ripping though the ATV like Oprah thru a box of Ho-Hos. I'm eating dust like it was candy and the rest of the crew is so covered in dirt, they look like the cover of that album, by that band. You know the one I mean.
We've been steadily approaching the Boom Box for the last few hours and I've been waiting on the dawn to appear behind us so I can see the stinking thing. From what I understand from Immortal Sin's intel is the building is made using stealth technology. Great, a stealth building. Why the Hell would you need a stealth building?
To my left I see Devil's Dance skimming along the desert floor in the hovercraft, his eyes gleaming red through my night vision goggles. Or else it might be normal, he did eat a lot of hot crawfish before he left.
A tap on my shoulder makes me look up at Pixie, who was looking through her scope, hoping for a glimpse of the Boom Box. She tells me she can see something blocking out the stars about 2 miles ahead. Whatever it is, it is big. I reach up and slap her on the back to tell her good job, and accidentally start her jetpack. With a yelp, she goes sailing off into the night. I tell Rohmer to get on the horn and tell Pixie to scout around a bit while she's up there.
I hear some huffing and puffing to my left and see Ligeia running along side the ATV, keeping pace. She had refused to ride in a vehicle, claiming that her people (God knows what they are) had been running through the desert for centuries and only using some green chiles for fuel. I smiled at her as she ran along side the truck. I hope she doesn't flag behind. We're moving pretty fast, and those chiles can't last forever.
If Pixie's distance was correct we had to be getting close to whatever was blocking out the stars, but I did not see anything. I tell Devil's Dance to stop the hovercraft and I get out and listen to the night. The darkness is so thick; I can really focus my hearing. Other than the distant whine of Pixie's jetpack engines, the only sounds I hear are a low hum coming from up ahead and Ligeia's panting coming from my side.
I have Rohmer give the signal for all quiet and I hear Pixie's engines shut down from above. The wings on her pack should allow her to glide to the ground safely. I take off my infrared goggles and suddenly see where the humming is coming from. A giant bug zapper! My infrared goggles couldn't detect it, but the naked eye could. A horrible thought crosses my mind and before I can react I see Evil Pixie drawn towards the light like a big moth. Ffffzzzzaaaappp! I can hear her scream as she makes contact with the blue lighted zapper.
Without Heart Shine around to be a medic, Plohoie Debushka, our chemical expert, is the closest thing we have. Devil's Dance thinks quickly and fires up the hover craft positioning it quickly under Pixie's falling form. Just as she gets close, he rolls the hover craft over, slamming its roof into the sand and catching Pixie on a cushion of air. Not A Phase hurls her grappling hook and yanks Evil Pixie from her bed of air. She lands on the ground with a crunchy thump. Break out the aloe vera Plohoie, she's gonna need it. Talk about needing to put on some sunblock! Plohoie Debushka drags Pixie's body behind the ATV while the rest of us attempt to get the Hovercraft righted.
I can hear Devil's Dance's muffled voice coming from the sand below the hovercraft. Druidic Concoctions pulls out what looks like a crazy straw from his pouch and shoves it into the sand. A few seconds later sand is blown from the hole and we can hear Devil's Dance's breath sucking in the straw. Druidic smiles and says it's his patented Sand Diversion Air Conversion Device. I ask him, isn't that a crazy straw? He looks at me with a flat stare. Of course not.
By the time we have the Hovercraft righted (by strapping Pixie's jet pack to a roll bar) and Devil's Dance extracted from the sand (by Druidic's Dune Displacement Device, the DDD. Which looked suspiciously like a leaf blower to me) it was almost dawn. Evil Pixie appeared to be raw, but functional. As we loaded up into the vehicles to continue our examination of the Boom Box, the first rays of sunlight hit the Black Building and we could see what appeared to be a small tower on top that waved in the wind.
Schrodinger's Cat used her feline eyes to get a closer look and gave a sudden yell of horror. It wasn't a tower! It was a fuse! The ray of sunlight struck the fuse as she spoke and we could hear the hissing as the fuse burst into flame. Oh shit! This is Ibidis Mortem saying, this explosion should be louder than my Uncle's colon after a night at Taco Mayo! yuk yuk.

Day 2: 0446 hours -
We're shaggin' ass! The ATV and the hovercraft are going full out, but it seems we're not getting far enough away from the Boom Box to make a difference. The wind is tearing through the cabin of the ATV so fiercely that I can barely hear the engine. I shout out to Rohmer to let me know when the fuse is getting close to running out. I'm not sure if she hears me, cause she's got her hand over her ear like she's listening to a conversation. At least Ligeia has come off her high horse about riding in the hovercraft. There's nothing quite like the threat of a building blowing up in your pocket to get a person to ditch morals quickly. At this rate, we'll all turn Libertarian soon.
I hear Rohmer shouting at me over the radio. Apparently Immortal Sin is on the horn with her and he's saying not to run away from the Boom Box, that the fuse is fake. Better safe than sorry is my motto. I keep it floored.
We just start to clear a dune when I notice the tanks waiting on us about a quarter of a mile away. It's some of those tanks that shoot sparks out of their cannons and set themselves on fire. This should be no problem. I'm about to give the order to just tear right thru them when the nearest one cuts loose with a shower of flaming rocks that are so hot they melt the sand to glass in front of it. Quickly, the other 5 tanks beside it do the same. The desert is on fire! There's not any way we can get thru that alive!
I tell Devil's Dance to split off and go right while I go left. We'll just circle past the slow moving things and let the bomb behind us blow them to Hell. I break off and start to circle about when I hear screams echoing over the radios. The others must be getting attacked! I'm about to reverse my course to assist when the sand in front of the ATV erupts in a burst of light and sulfurous smoke.
A humanoid figure emerges from the hole, wearing some type of a faded paper suit. He quickly leaps straight in the air and spins around sending out waves of hot metallic shards cascading from beneath him. It's Jumping Jack Jerry Springer, one of the Firecracker Four!
We all duck for cover under as best we can as the hot metal chunks imbed themselves in the ATV's body, effectively rendering it too hot to touch. We all bail out of it and scramble behind a sand dune. We see Jumping Jack land back on the ground and start spinning and hopping about, making those hooting noises like Daffy Duck used to make.
Plohoie and Rohmer claim they've heard enough of that and they both get up and empty two clips into Jumping Jack Springer. The Firecracker Four member just smiles back at us and advances quickly towards us, hooting and spinning all the while.
I ask Plohoie if she's got any solvent in her chemical case. She replies only the universal solvent. Good enough. I tell her to hurl a jar of it in the air towards Jack Jerry when he gets closer, and I tell Pixie to get her crispy self ready to shoot. Jumping Jack is within 30 yards when I give the order to throw. Plohoie hurls the jar in the air directly towards Jack. Fire!
Pixie shoots with uncanny accuracy and the jar of universal solvent shatters, dousing Jumping Jack Jerry Springer with a wave of water. The jumping critter stops and looks at himself in amazement, his sparks completely extinguished. It's about that time that Rohmer gets close enough to pummel the punk with the butt of her rifle. Ha! I love my job!
I look at the ruined wreck of an ATV and realize we'll never get anywhere in it. I can hear crackling sounds coming from over the dunes and I crawl to the top to take a look. The sparking paper tanks are moving slowly towards us, melting the ground in front of them with their super-heated showers of flame. All right, that's breaking the fire code. That really pisses me off!
I give the signal to the team and the four of us move off silently to the side, disguising ourselves as sand. (Not an easy feat, mind you) Within moments we have commandeered a tank of our own, leaving the previous drivers with a glass of water and a three legged card table between them to get out of the desert.
We turn the tank and head back to where we previously heard the screams from our team members, who are no longer answering the radio calls. We'll get the bastards who ambushed them. This is Ibidis (Codename: Mortem) saying, am I happy to be here, or did I put a roman candle in my pocket? yuk yuk.

Day 2: 0530 hours -
As soon as the tank clears the top of the dune we realize what must have happened. The hovercraft had fallen prey to a field of Camellia flowers that melted the hovercraft's rubber balloon bottom. Bad luck there. These sulfur-stinkin' punks are about to get on my last nerves. Whatever nerves are left after so many regenerations.
I tell Plohoie to get out and search for tracks leading away while I examine the wreckage. It looks like the guys put up a Hell of a fight judging by the empty shell casings lying around the sand. Plohoie radios in that she has found signs of departure from the enemy troops. In short order, Plohoie, Pixie, Rohmer, and I are assembled and ready to follow.
I light the match the starts the tank's engine fuse and we are rolling out. We are just starting to roll forward when the tread wheels are blown off the bottom of the tank. We pile out of the tank and assume prone positions along the desert floor, looking to see who had attacked us. I see the sand shift slightly three feet in front of me and a small periscope looking object emerge from under the ground. As it swivels around I recognize it's make and model, and only Druidic Concoctions would even consider carrying one on a desert mission. The viewer turns towards me, and I give it the serious middle finger.
Druidic pops up out of the sand in front of me with a sheepish grin on his face. He said he couldn't help it, Devil's Dance was too eager to blow anything away that moved. He blows a loud whistle and the rest of the AICEFF emerge from the sand, looking a bit scorched. Ligeia tells me of how they sought refuge under the sand when the going got too tough. They used a device of Druidic's to breathe under the sand: something he calls the Below Surface Breath Saver. They look suspiciously like mini oxygen tanks to me, but Druidic opens his eyes wide in shock and says, No of course not. Enough chit chat, it's time to kick some ass.
We start to trudge along the desert floor and suddenly Not A Phase asks why the Boom Box did not explode. We all just stare at her. Trust the demolition expert to be upset that she didn't get to see the explosion. Pixie, using her scope, reports back that the fuse is not burnin' and that the Boom Box still stands. Damn! It must have been a decoy designed to send us running into the trap set for us. Well, no problem with that anymore. We've got killing to do.

Day 2: 1700 hours -
Using Schrodinger's Cat's grappling hooks, we have successfully scaled the first section of the Boom Box's walls. We stand on a ledge approx. 150 ft. above the ground. Above us stands at least 600 more. Whew! That's a lot of climbing left to do. We're all going to be puffing like Ed Asner eating a foot long chili cheese dog with a side order of sugar coated, deep-fat-fried lard balls. Jules fires the hooks into the wall for the next leg of the climb, and we're all ready to roll on when I notice a large camera floating in the air 20 yards behind us. Damn! We've been spotted. Get ready for anything guys!
Long minutes pass and nothing happens. We are starting to believe that nothing will when we hear the faint sound of whistling coming from above us. We look up to see a flock of whistling chasers streaking down at us from above the ledge. Get back against the wall! Just as we press ourselves there the chasers whistle by us. That's not Dixie they're whistling, team!
Devil's Dance opens fire into their midst as they make a return pass, but he does very little damage. The things are too small to hit with bullets. We all start to scatter again, except for Pixie who was attempting to get her pack started so she could draw them away from us. Six of the chasers thud into her, but do not explode. She collapses to the ledge with the things sticking out of her in various places.
I tell the team not to touch her for fear of setting off the explosives. Instead, I have them focus on what to do with the chasers coming back around for another pass. The damned things drop low for a charge from below. We open fire as much as possible and Druidic is trying to put some device together to help us out. Just as we are about to dive for cover again, a flame spurt roars out of the wall below us. It destroys the chasers in one swoop. I peer back over the edge in time to see Immortal Sin's grinning face look back up at me from a window some 20 feet below. He tells us to come on down. He'll show us where the rest of the Firecracker Four are at. This is Ibidis (Codename: Mortem) saying, Screw those dwarves who said to whistle while you work. yuk yuk.

Day 3: 0640 Hours -
We've been trying everything we can to get the stinking unexploded chasers out of Pixie. Druidic brought out the biggest set of tweezers I'd ever seen to pull one out, but as soon as he touched it, it started to vibrate like it would explode. We've pretty much exhausted our options, and we've been staring at each other for the last fifteen minutes trying to think of our next step. I hate to stick the Pix in the regen tanks again without trying everything first. Plohoie asks why we don't just leave a couple of people here to guard Pixie while the rest of us go kill the bad guys. Gimme a break, ya Russkie! Just because you're blood-thirsty isn't a good enough reason to unnecessarily split the team.
Schrodinger's Cat suddenly perks up (must be cold in here) saying she's got an idea. She starts rummaging around in her pack for something. We all lean forward to take a look at what's in there just as a stitching of bullets zips thru the air where our heads used to be. We all flatten to the ground and see the Black Cats, the foot soldiers for the Firecracker Four, firing at us from outside the room.
We all roll to defensive positions except for Schrodinger's Cat and Evil Pixie who stay in the center. Plohoie fires a smoke grenade into the corridor, effectively creating a screen for us to move along with. We still keep firing randomly to make sure the Black Cats don't get too brave and try to sneak by us.
Cat has finally found what she was looking for in her pack and pulls out a magazine article with Saddam Hussein's picture on the cover. What the Hell is that for? Cat says that the chasers should leave Pixie and go after this picture. Why is that? She says because she noticed the chasers were made in America, so it only stands to reason that their original programming would be to chase down this image. Sounds good to me. Let's give it a try. She holds up the photo in the air, hoping that the chasers will see it. We all start yelling, trying to get the chasers to changes their target. Nothing! Dammit! The things are buried too deep to see anything. How can we communicate with them?
Rohmer comes up with an idea. She adjusts her radio so that she gets a lot of feedback, sounding much like the whistling chasers themselves. One of them starts to shake and withdraw from Pixie's body. It's working! I casually reach down into Pixie's pouch and get a small bag of the ever stick pixie dust. I've got an idea myself. All of the chasers are now shaking and they'll be free in just a moment.
About this time the smoke clears and the point man for the Black Cats emerges into the corridor, intent on a Kamikaze mission. I hit him squarely in the face with the bag of ever-stick pixie dust and Schrodinger's Cat slaps the magazine cover over it. The chasers are now free and they spot the Hussein standing in the hallway and streak towards him. It's not a pretty picture as they spike into him and explode. There's nothing like the sound of a Black Cat popping is there? Ha! Immortal Sin tells me that the rest of the guard will be coming in on their usual patrol pretty soon. I order the all quiet attack, so we all pull our knives from our belts. We sneak around the corner and lay into the remaining Black Cats like a weedeater thru Bermuda grass. Ligeia and Schrodinger's Cat's iguana maneuver has picked up in style as they cleave a couple of Black Cats from head to tail.
Luckily Immortal Sin was thinking ahead as he cut two of the Black Cats completely out of their clothing before killing them slowly. Now we've got a couple of outfits to disguise ourselves as soldier hauling prisoners.
This mission's looking better and better. As soon as Pixie recovers, we take off down the hallways. Immortal Sin and I are disguised as Black Cats while everyone else just acts captured. These uniforms aren't exactly the best fit. A little tight in the crotch. Immortal Sin agrees with me. The Black Cats must be asexual or something. We bluff our way past 3 sets of guards until we reach the spot Immortal Sin says is the War Room. This is the Firecracker Four's main lair. Firecracker Three I tell him, since we've already killed Jumping Jack Jerry Springer. We kick open the door and see that our toughest challenge is still yet to come.
Sugah - The Cherry Bomb, Caesar - The Roman Candle and PopGoesTheWeasel with his twin M-80's stare back at us with satisfied looks on their faces. It looks like they were waiting for us. Oh shit. This is gonna hurt. This is Ibidis Mortem saying, tune in next time for the exciting conclusion of Operation: Dead Bang.

Day 3: About 10 minutes before we're dead again -
The remainder of the Firecracker Four are staring us right in the eye. There's not a whole lot we can do now but run or shoot. We of the AICEFF never run when we can shoot, sooo it's GUNS BLAZING!!
Devil's Dance has been just waiting for an opportunity to cut loose on some real targets, so he unlimbers his M-60's and goes into a machine gun battle with PopGoesTheWeasel and his M-80's.
The rest of us quickly clear away from the lead parade, and fan out so we aren't an easy target.
Pixie is about to hit her jet pack engine and head for the high rafters when Sugah cuts loose with a vicious burst of sweet-sticky explosive, trapping Pixie in mid-flight and sending her plummeting to the ground. When she hits, the gunk enveloping her explodes in a wave of fire. I don't have time to check on her as I am fired upon by Caesar. As I hit the ground in cover, I hear the others take off into flanking positions.
Plohoie is trying to put together an acid bomb to take PopGoesTheWeasel from behind.
Rohmer comes over the comm and tells me that Druidic is digging in his bag for something to take out Sugah. Well, I hope those two hurry their butts up, or the rest of us will get slaughtered out here.
I glance up just in time to see Caesar drawing a bead on me. I pop off a couple of shots at him which make him step back. As I roll to the side, Schrodinger's Cat launches a rocket towards him. The rocket explodes with a deafening boom, but when the smoke clears, Caesar stands there, dripping wet, with a smile on his face. Damn! He must have had some type of aqueduct system that kept him from getting burned. Tricky Bastard.
Not A Phase has lobbed a couple of grenades at Sugah that quickly get enveloped in her sticky sweet plastique. She just hurls them back towards Not A Phase with a casual flick of her wrist. Not A Phase dumps a canteen of water on the fuses, but realizes too late that Cherry Bombs explode under water. Booom! I see Not A Phase get slammed into the wall hard with a bright red cherry-like nose on her face. Now that's just adding insult to injury, dammit! Ligeia pops off a couple of shots at Sugah's knees, causing the Bombshell to fall to the ground in agony. Let's hear it for the rules of combat!
I shout out at Rohmer to get around behind Caesar, but the Roman Candle hears me say it and he turns to attack Rohmer. He has no gun, so I wonder what he's going to use to.... Ohmigod! His little leather roman skirt lifts up from the front and his real roman candle sticks out. That's gotta be one of those 24 shot ones, at least! Rohmer is like a deer in the headlights with that thing pointed at her. Sure enough he fires his balls off at her. They strike her in the stomach, burning her armor and slamming her against the wall with a sickening crunch. He just stands there with a sick smile in his face waiting for his next shot.
I take out my sword and hurl it towards his little gladiator. It slices through right at the base, causing what's left to backfire and ignite his skirt. The severed candle skids to a stop in front of Plohoie who promptly whistles for Caesar's attention and drops it into a beaker of acid. Ooooh, that's gotta be painful to watch.
Finally, Immortal Sin walks up behind the screaming Caesar and hits the button on his boot, arming the explosive tip. He then firmly plants the Explosive Boot of Retribution in Caesar's backside. The resultant explosion quickly turns the Firecracker into a ceiling decoration called "hint of ass". Ha! One down.
When I turn back to Sugah, she had Ligeia and Not A Phase pinned in a corner with her sweet exploding confection. She's about to deliver the deathblow when Druidic finally finds what he is looking for. He pulls out a Halloween mask and a small hatchet. He puts on the mask, waves the hatchet around, and shouts out for the Cherry Bomb's attention. When Sugah sees his eerily accurate George Washington disguise, she freezes up in terror. As she huddles to the ground, Not A Phase picks her frozen body up and hurls her towards Ligeia and Jules, who make short work of her with their Iguana maneuver. Nothing left but to pick up the pieces.
It's then I notice that we don't hear any more machine gun fire. We look at PopGoesTheWeasel and Devil's Dance. Who are starting at each other, completely out of ammo, and covered in blood from the numerous bullet holes in them. Devil's Dance is about the fall over when Immortal Sin tosses him a pistol. Devil's Dance catches it and empties the clip into PopGoesTheWeasel's head. The Firecracker man falls over dead. His last twitch of muscle fires off a previously unspent round which glances off the ceiling, causing a rafter to fall. Pixie is just getting back up from her last explosion when the rafter smashes into her. Damn! I know someone who's going back to the regen tanks.
I punch in the code to send our DNA back home and we all grab our wounded and get ready to leave. I console myself with the fact that at least the Boom Box didn't explode. Ha! Waitaminute! Does anyone else hear a fuse?!?
This is Ibidis (Codename: Mortem) saying, BOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!! yuk yuk.

©   1998   C A Lutke

Go to the next story | Go storyland to Storyland | Leave comments here