Lieutenant Alex "Tactical" Sherman moved slowly through the woods, carrying his weapon lightly in his hands. He was on the hunt, looking for his target. That oh so elusive, target. This isn't as hard as Parris Island, at least, he thought. A twig snapped somewhere to his left, and the 24-year-old dropped onto one knee and pointed the gun barrel in that direction, peering down the sight, looking for any kind of movement. His finger applying slight pressure to the trigger, he panned left and right, striving to find the source of the noise. Silently, patiently, he waited. He was not disappointed. Movement caught his eye, and he focused in. Gradually, the figure of a man, dressed in camouflage, came into view, slouching through the woods, gun at his side. Alex grinned. He squeezed the trigger, and let loose a barrage in the direction of the unsuspecting male.

Captain Phillip Morse didn't know what hit him at first. All of a sudden, it felt like he was in hell, as things started whizzing by, and impacting his camouflage suit. Gradually, he realized he had been had, and that, once again, his best officer had taken him out. He raised his hand and let Alex know that he had been hit. Shortly thereafter, Lt Sherman emerged from the trees, grinning, holding his airsoft rifle in his arms. "No wonder they call you 'Tactical,'" Captain Morse observed. "With lethality like that, pretty much anyone would be toast." Alex nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, that may be true, Cap. But you know, I ain't the only one out here. I just found you first." Captain Morse shrugged. Alex continued, "I'm still trying to find Chelsea. She's out here somewhere, and I have a feeling I know where she is. I'm pretty sure she's got all her troops up there, just over the hill. But, you just happened to show up first." Phillip looked around, and then nodded.

"You are probably right about that, Tactical. I never understood how you guys know EXACTLY where each other is. I guess that's what happens with friends like you." Captain Morse shouldered his weapon, and turned to Alex. "Well, I'm headed back to base camp. Remember, whoever wins this skirmish gets a steak dinner on me." Alex saluted, grinned, and then vanished. How does he do that? Phillip pondered. He turned and struck north, towards the open field where the staging tent had been set up.

Alex Sherman slowly made his way up the hillside, looking for the errant sentry as he picked his way. He didn't exactly want Chelsea to know he was coming. Well, she knew he WAS coming, he just didn't want her to know WHEN he was coming. The element of surprise is very important. Chelsea and him went way back, along with Phillip. They were all part of a volunteer fire department, back in a rural Vermont town. Phillip was an assistant chief, and Alex and Chelsea were firefighters and EMTs. But, then the war struck home. The Russians had attacked the US, but a stray ICBM had landed on the local elementary school. Russia had apologized for the incident, but everyone knew they didn't mean it. The next day, the three of them signed up for the Marine Corps.

These days, the Marine Corps were looking for people that could keep secrets, and could disappear. Plausible deniability is what the commanders wanted. You can't blame people that don't officially exist. At the time Phillip, Alex and Chelsea had signed up for the Marines, the commanders were looking to piece together a team for the 13th Legion… the Legion that didn't exist. It only seemed logical to put people in it that knew each other already. People that didn't really need to communicate, because they already knew what the others were thinking. So, without so much as a "if you please," the trio was put through intensive training, and put in charge of the fledgling 50th Battalion. Captain Morse was the overall commander, while Alex and Chelsea each were lieutenants, commanding a group of nine.

And it was one such group of nine and Chelsea, that Alex was currently trying to locate, and decimate. It wasn't easy. Chelsea had this knack of finding ingenious spots to hide her, and her troops. Alex's communications link buzzed. He touched his finger up to his ear, and answered. Chelsea's pleasant voice came over. "Should I kill you now, or wait until you have a prayer?" Alex silently cursed. He thought for a moment before answering.

"I prefer the slow, agonizing death. If you take me out quick, how much fun is that?" Alex was trying to figure out if she actually knew where he was. He peered around, looking for any trace of where ten people might be hiding. He couldn't find any. There was the problem that this was dense forest, but, heck, he could risk it.

Chelsea started singing into the link. "The itsy-bitsy spider, climbed up the water spout…" Now, that was enough to piss Alex off. He hated that sort of taunting, and Chelsea knew that. He clicked the communications link, and said. "Chelsea Daniels. Just wait until I get my hands around your…" Chelsea's laughing cut him off. Suddenly, he felt a pellet hit him… in the back. Alex spun around, and there was Chelsea, laughing hysterically at him. Alex let out a silent expletive, and the smiled. How could he have walked right past her? Captain Morse came over the link now.

"Hey guys, I hate to cut this short, but we got an urgent request for assistance. Get your asses out of there. We are headed to Afghanistan." Alex and Chelsea looked at each other quickly, seeing the emotion. This was not what they wanted, but as part of the Legion, when duty called, you had to answer. They struck out to meet up with Phillip.

Five hours later, they found themselves on a C-130, bound for the Middle East. This was going to be a dangerous mission. Phillip looked at the 20 men and women sitting in the jump seats. "Try to get some sleep, guys. It's going to be a long day when we touch down."