All right, so some background info. This short story was actually an RP post made between a friend and myself on another website. The premise is that a raid on a super-powerful weapons company has to be timed to the letter with another groups infiltration of another area.

The soldiers on the protagonist side fight in customized battle suits called AETHERs, which are essentially Iron Man suits if developed by the military. They come in all shapes and sizes, and four basic classes. That should be all that's needed here, hopefully.

Oh, and the setting is sort of post-apocalyptic. More like on the verge of apocalypse. If you get bored by politics, just skip to the next line for action.

Ryan nodded to his friend Damon, and slipped inside, sitting down next to Doe. "Sorry I'm late. I felt that our hacker would benefit the planning." Time to plan a raid.

Damon gave hardly a glance to the group around him, as was his personality, and said, "Whatever technological incompetence you present to me, I'll find some way to make it work. Present any and all computer-related item you have, and we'll have no problems with the execution. We can't have any margin of error on a mission like this." He had fully recovered from his previous outburst, and his disdain for the group was apparent in his tone of voice.

Ryan ignored the statement. Damon being himself, is all. He turned to Doe. "All right, so a raid."

"Not just any raid, Fearghal." The only person to ever used Ryan's real name spoke. David Carnelli, the bear-like pharmaceutical titan of years past. "If Doe here's told us anything, it's that we're going to have to time it to. The. Letter." He placed emphasis on the last three words, quite unnecessarily. Ryan knew about the troubles they faced.

He glanced at Kenchin Ryouichi, a younger man, first, but his gaze swept over the elected sponsors. All of them were here because they were useful. Kenchin was their material engineer; he made sure the AETHER suits had the best possible armor. Stark, well, Stark Anderson knew how to deal with governments. He kept military and political support both with the project, and off their backs.

David had a ridiculous amount of money, which he insisted on handling personally. Charline Amparo was possibly the only person on the planet that Ryan could compare to Damon in terms of technological skill, and she had plenty of funds to back up her knowledge. And then Sandra Conners, with a Master's Degree in economics. She was the unofficial treasurer. Altogether, they had a nice team going on.

He'd spaced out. Ryan refocused. "I'm aware, David. We're looking at, what?" He asked, to anybody or nobody..

"It'll certainly be very precise," Kenchin spoke with a slight Japanese accent. "We'll have to make sure that every single part of the plan is flawless. We don't really want to risk our most valuable assets after all, do we?" He gave a slight smile and continued. "The thing that I see as being the most precarious part of the operation is the coordination between the passenger plane and the assault." Kenchin had a penchant for long sentences.

"If it were to be a commercial airline, I do expect it to be madness making sure that there will be no hiccups of any sort. The aviation industry is hardly a spotless one." He was referencing their tendency to cut on the passenger's experience, all to save a few bucks. "Otherwise, it'll be just like any other operation, provided no satellite crashes down on the heads of our dear soldiers."

Charline cut in. "I'll be coordinating the cyber infiltration, since Mr. Damon here'll be out of the control room, and without any electronic devices." She gave a meaningful glance towards her target.

Ryan nodded. "I don't like it, but we can't take anything electronic with us. We'll have to either find it there, or pay our pirate friends a little extra to get some more 'toys'. We'll basically be stripped clean, unless we can develop any gadgets that might-"

"No, not happening." Oh, wonderful. Sandra was not to be denied. "We might have ridiculous amounts of money, but if we don't have to spend a small fortune on random technology, why would we? I'm sure Damon can live without his stuff for a few days."

Damon turned his head and narrowed his eyes. He was used to dealing with obstinate sponsors, but Sandra was the pinnacle of all that he despised, with her mannerisms and lack of field experience. "Well, I presume you'll be sending in Team Alpha blindfolded and without a single armament? It's the exact same thing. Please, I've made more in the Mojave Desert with a handful of fiber optics than I have with the funding of Project AETHER at my back. And honestly, there's really no reason to act like such a-"

"Point is," Doe interrupted before things got messy. Well, messier. Sandra snorted derisively. "The point. Is. We'll be limited to whatever we can carry onto the plane."

"And," Stark spoke up, with his smooth, but somehow raspy voice. "We need to make sure that nobody sits anywhere near each other on the plane." Ryan glanced at him with a questioning look. The pale man shrugged. "I'm not proud of my past, but that's an important part of dealing with political opponents. Bring in people on your side, but keep them at a distance the whole time, until you need them."

He pulled his suit a little straighter. "What I mean to say, in basic terms, for David's sake, is that we can't let anyone, anyone, see our boys together." His face never changed, but the statement was enough.

"What did you say to me, stickbug?" David was up and out of his chair in half a second. He wasn't known for his calm demeanor.

"Why, exactly what I meant. Weren't you listening?" Stark's face twitched, ever so slightly, in what might have been either annoyance, or smugness.

Before anyone could stop him, David had pushed back his chair and stormed up to the tall man, glaring with deathly malevolence. "You will not talk to me that way, Anderson." He almost snarled the name.

Stark smiled, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. "Understood. Please, sit. You're ruining the meeting."

Ryan barely moved in time to catch David's tightening fist. "We don't have time for this." He was all business, and not satisfied with how things were going. "Dave, sit your ass down. Stark, shut the hell up. My friend is stuck in hiding, with information that might just save the world, and you're about to start fighting like little kids. It's stupid." His voice was measured, but intense.

Surprisingly, the two sponsors sat quietly.

Ryan turned to Charline. "Now, what, exactly, does the cyber infiltration entail? We need all the details on the table."

"We're gonna have to coordinate it, so we can scramble their network capabilities. They'll hopefully take it as just another part of the assault. But," She held up a finger. "In reality, it'll be just another cover for the real operation. Two diversions occurring at once. In the actual infiltration, we'll throw their servers some wrenches that'll give our guys some coverage. You know, on what's happening inside the network. It's also got the dual purpose of infiltrating... for purely strategic purposes. Think the term is, uh...Mordred Trident?"

Damon finally had some useful input. "From what I can recover from the scrambled data of one of the past missions, they'll be updating their firewall... and patching the previous SQL glitches we noticed a week ago. Not too sure whether our bugs will be able to go through it."

David snorted. He didn't give a damn about all this technojargon. "If there's a way, then money is no object. He glared at Sandra, daring her to tell him otherwise. "Damon, my friend, I will personally fund any projects you might have, as long as they'll make this plan run smoother."

"I will, as well." Stark shocked everyone with his words. "Anything to end this damned war."

David eyed the other man viciously. He'd been counting on being the only one to volunteer. "Yes, anything to end it."

Slowly, surprisingly, all of the sponsors, aside from Sandra, agreed to drop as much money as needed. Doe nodded, satisfied that the bickering fools had finally come to an agreement. "Right," he broke in. "All right, with that being said, we'll only need Kenchin, Charline... and Damon and Ryan to stick around. The you three can go." He made a shooing motion.

"All right. So we need to time this perfectly, as you've said, Ken. The attack has to happen at the exactly the right time, or our team might not have boarded, or they might have landed to early, or other bullshit. Got anything? Anyone?"

Ryan shrugged. "Got nothing."

"The air traffic will need to be controlled from the nearby airport, because I've seen too many cases of delayed flights from stupid flight controllers." Kenchin nodded emphatically, to mark his disapproval.

"I'll send everyone memos, and possibly collaborate with members of my team to decide what to bring. I've already got a list started..." Damon's voice faded away as he stared at the sunglass monitor in front of him. "Tesla coil? Perhaps. Wireless chargers..." he started muttering away.

Charline glanced around for several seconds before frowning, and decided it was time to leave. "Well, if you gentlemen are to excuse me now, I'll be leaving. I have some logistics to plan now, and this boring shit sure isn't helping it go along." The room was soon echoing with the sound of clicking as she walked off.

"She's got a point. This isn't her strong suit." Ryan liked Charline, no matter how much others didn't. Maybe he was just strange. "All right." He turned back to the others. "So if this is going to work..."

"All right, raiders. Operation "Tear up the Town" is a go. In case you didn't know, I'm Talon, head of Gamma, and my second is Rawhide. We'll be coordinating the raid. Say hi, Rawhide."

"Rawhide here. Gettin' ready to blow up some ass."

"Neat. Someone gimme an outlook on what we've got." Talon, an Eagle AETHER, flew alongside the gunships with the rest of the raiders. "I've only got two eyes, here. I want them all, stat."

One of the pilots, who wasn't actually involved in the raid, crackled over the radio. "Looks like the targets have been busy, busy bees. All the houses and shit from before are gone. It's just a bunch of walls, weapons, and gray."

"Sounds good. We're here to wreck shit, not be stealthy. Let's do this fast, let's do it right, and let's not lose anyone. Everyone get it?"

There was a collective affirmative. "Eagles are going to scout, so Rawhide is gonna tell you all the game plan." Talon zoomed off, confident he could dodge surveillance. He switched on his anti-radar, which helped absorb radar rays, and rocketed ahead, leaving his second to lay down the information.

"Awesome. We'll get the party started with Tau and Xi moving in to attack their munitions depot, in on the southwest. Delta and Gamma teams, we're moving in to destroy the anti-aircraft and let our Eagles take down what air forces they throw at us. After that, we'll move in towards their main citadel-fortress area. Make sure to cause as much mayhem as you possibly can, hellraisers especially, and do not get pinned down. We're planning to get out of this alive, and remember, this is a diversion." Rawhide ended his speech with a roar. The Omnisign bastards were getting what was coming to them.

Talon was back. "Good speech. Let's move it. Gunships, hug the river. There's a little bulge coming up, and I want you to drop them there. We'll move up through the smaller complexes, and wreck whatever we can. I want maximum damage, here. Move. Rawhide, you're with me. You deploy now. We're going to alert their forces, and destroy as much of their shit as we can. Drop, and I'll meet you at the drop point."

Rawhide gave a grunt of assent. With practiced ease, he threw himself over and out. Within seconds, he had landed on the ground, the motors and anti-grav thrusters working together to negate the fall. "I'm here."

"Great. I'll cover you." Talon landed lightly, and pointed to the nearest complex. "I want you to annihilate that, then move up to me. I'll be taking care of the next one." Talon rocketed off, and grinned. The pair of them were old friends, and this had been their friendship's base. Combat. He sent a mental signal to his shoulder weapons, and the twin beam cannons whirred to life.

A swoop and a spin later, and the full fury of the heavy weapons was laid down on the poor concrete building. Boom, boom, boom, boom. The foundation never stood a chance. Dust filled the air, and the siren blared. Game on.

Rawhide had hardly entered sight of his target when the siren blared. He grinned, and adrenaline started pumping into his veins. The first squad of soldiers to make their way out of the outpost were mowed down by a cluster of high caliber machine gun rounds. He finished the job with an RPG, sent from the launcher on his back. The blistering heat melted the tarmac surrounding it, and in the ensuing chaos, Rawhide made his way inside. In the first several rooms he encountered no resistance, but upon entering the armoury, a rifle bullet slammed against his arm.

He ripped the door off its hinges and used it as a shield of sorts, protecting him from the brunt of the defensive attack. With his left hand he raised a scattershot. Using its brute force, he tore a man into bloody shreds, and soon followed the action by tossing the door sideways like a boomerang. Most of the remaining men ducked, except for one who had his upper body ripped off. With that, he pumped several dozen rounds into the makeshift barricades. They gave quickly and he was soon able to move on, after disposing of the bloody remains of the soldiers.

He made his way onto the roof. A single man stood with his back to Rawhide, training a sniper rifle on some unseen target. He sprinted forward, and before the sniper could even lower his weapon, he was flying into the asphalt below. "Complex butchered. Moving towards your position, Talon."

"Sweet." Talon dropped. As he landed, smoke filled the air. The attack had begun. He switched on his comm unit. "Eagles, into the air, but stay low. Take out the A-A guns, and then anything else you can. But don't, I repeat, don't take out their communications arrays. That's all. Unleash hell, raiders."

Talon turned to Rawhide. "It's on, man. Let's head for their hangars. Maybe we can stop some of their aerial units from launching." He jumped up, into the air, but stayed low enough to let Rawhide stick with him. "I'll let you take the front." He whirled around behind the massive Hellraiser.

Rawhide started on a run, being sure to take note of any tactical advantage that his war-hardened mind could identify. "Where should we fall back if we're outnumbered?"

"Get behind...there." Talon pointed to a wall, high, covered in barbed wire, and, flying closer, saw it was almost two feet thick. "Damn, what the hell is this?" He sighed, and shook his head slightly. "Yeah, get behind one of these walls. There's probably a shit ton of them."

They soon arrived at the intimidating-looking building. Rawhide wordlessly slipped into one of the side doors, into a hallway that led to the actual hangar. He took cover beside the door, and eased it open to see the soldiers inside. Seeing none, He kicked the door open and went in. Within seconds, he had thrown a grenade in the cockpit of a fighter. He managed to destroy another fighter when soldiers started pouring in, with copious amounts of firepower on their side. He ducked behind the wing of a fighter before they could even fire, but he was pinned down. "Talon, need your support."

"I'm moving. Get ready." Talon dove, drawing level with the massive hangar doors. He took a moment to stabilize himself, and then blasted the door down, and rushing in. Twin automatic rifles slid down from his upper arms, and he flew sideways, blowing huge, gaping holes in the bastards. "Make you move, chap. You got the armor."

He obliged, stepping out and opening fire with all he had. Grenades pumped out of the launcher on his back, and his machine gun cut them down like grass. Once he had decimated their main host, he stepped in closer for the opportunity to use his twin scattershots. With Talon's help, they made short work of the force.

"That takes care of that." Talon's guns retracted to their stored position, and he turned. "Let's move o-"

"Talon! Problems! We're pinned down!" A voice was panicking on the comm.

"This is Talon. I want you to flash your frequency three times, so we know where to find you."

"Roger that. One sec..." One of the dots on Talon's visor blinked three times, and Talon nodded.

"Gotcha. We're on our way." He clapped Rawhide on the shoulder, and the clang of metal on metal echoed through the destroyed hangar. "Trouble. Let's go." He settled low, right next to Rawhide, and zipped off. The distress signal wasn't too far.

The hellraiser followed, his metal boots clanking against the floor. Again they found themselves near what looked like a two-story structure. Surrounding it were three tanks, infantry with heavy guns, and a mechanized unit. He gave a breath and retreated behind a nearby building. He gave himself a systems diagnostics, and found the most pressing issue - he had run low on grenades. He swore. "I'm low on grenades."

"Of course." Talon rolled his eyes. Before he could be any angrier, though, his eyes lit up. "AETHER units!" The pinned down pair was a Psychic and an Eagle. "I want you to jump when you see the signal! Straight up! And trust me, you'll know!" He turned to Rawhide. "Throw me in. As hard as you can."

Rawhide raised an eyebrow, but trusted his friend nonetheless. Crazy ideas had saved them on more than one occasion. He grabbed the Eagle by the shoulders and threw him at the mass of soldiers.

This was a terrible idea. Talon surged toward the giant mech. "Move in, Rawhide," was all he managed to say, before slamming into the mech with enough force to dent the steel alloy. Unlike the AETHER's titanium graphene, Omnisign was stuck with regular metal. The mech lurched forward, crushing on of the tanks, and rolling toward the two trapped AETHER. Right on cue, the two unit leapt into the sky, and the tables reversed. Four AETHERs, all working in tandem.

Rawhide realized what was going on and stepped into the fray. He sprinted forward and rolled onto the top of a tank. Using his immense strength, he tore the hatch on the top of the tank open. But before he could fire in a grenade, he was thrown off the vehicle by a light explosive. Armor smoking, he staggered up and killed the man with a spray of his scattershot. The tank, however, had turned to face him, and it was all he could do to roll to the side before it fired at him, tearing up the ground.

The psychic was the one to save him. A chunk of concrete slammed into the barrel of the main gun, throwing it off balance. Rawhide gave a roar and leapt up, threw a grenade in the hatch, and rolled off to the side, all in one maneuver. The tank soon went up in flames.

Talon grinned fiercely. This was fun. "All right, guys, let's-"

"This is Raider One. Reinforcements en route. Raid successful. It's time to pull out."

Talon nodded, and jumped back, dodging a rocket by the slightest hair. "Excellent. Did we lose anyone?" No, they had not. Wonderful. He looked around. They had done their job. "Right-o. Rawhide, need a lift?" His thrusters were powerful enough to carry the man, at least for a while.

"Sure thing. Make sure you don't drop me, like you did last time." He shot a man in the head and moved to Talon.

"Right." Talon jumped up, latching on to Rawhide's AETHER. "Sit tight. You two," he said to the rescued pilots. "Keep up." Then they were off, streaking through the sky to the waiting Gunships. In an almost poetic scene, dozens of pairs of AETHERs soared into the air, all shooting back to the ships. It was actually quite beautiful, but maybe that was the adrenaline talking.

The landed on the back of the dropship easily, but after a moment of thought Talon jumped back out, carrying the massive Hellraiser with him. They weren't done yet. "Look sharp, everyone. fighter drones are coming. We're going to stop them. Get ready, dude."

"Heh, they should know better." Rawhide switched out his scattershot for his rifle. The weapon was at the ready in seconds, the sound of whirring motors a soothing confirmation. Once a fighter drone was close enough, Talon threw him onto the back of the metal bird. He found purchase on a small outlet. Soon he was clambering forward, keeping close to the metal, until he reached the cockpit. He shot through the glass, and soon he had made a hole wide enough for his bulky hand to reach through. With a final effort, he shoved himself forward, and using his weight, ripped a set of massive cables out of their respective sockets. Electricity flew, and soon Rawhide and the drone were falling through the air. "Now would be a pretty nice time to catch me!"

Talon caught him. "You couldn't have just, like, rode it?" Talon was back in the air. The drones were still coming, but the gunships were almost in the clear. "Once more into the fray?" His shoulder cannons whirred to life. "Say 'when', and I'll toss you, then we'll catch up, and get the fuck out of here."

"When!" He again found himself on the back of a fighter drone. This time, the drone was actively trying to throw him off. He felt the need to activate his magnets, draining his power. Using it, he made a small jump forward onto another small crease in the metal. The fighter flipped over, and started to spin. The force started to tear his grasp from the metal.

"Not today," he grunted. His muscles screaming with the effort, he punched into the metal and made purchase for himself. He repeated the process until he hung off one of the engines. He dared to leap and threw himself forward as the drone veered to the right, allowing him to punch through the tough glass. He got inside the cramped space, and punched the automated control until it was spitting sparks.

As it neared another group of drones, he ripped the cube of wires apart, and sent that flying into the wind. Switching out for his scattershot, he fired into the box of controls, sending sparks flying. He pulled the eject lever, sending himself and the seat soaring, but he managed to watch as the sabotaged drone clipped a wing of another. The pair veered off and down, smashing, one after another, into another one of the complexes.

They'd nailed it. Talon flew back to the big man. They'd only get one shot at this. He took a deep breath, and reached out for the seat, which had a heavy duty loop of some material protruding from the back. "Hold on tight, Rawhide." Then his hand slipped into the grip, and he clenched his fist as the seat reached it's apex. He'd done it.

Rawhide just sat on the seat as Talon flew them back to their gun ship, and remained sitting until Talon set him down inside the ship. Mission complete.

Talon mentally retracted his helmet, turning with a ridiculously wide grin to his friend. "That was the single most badass thing I've done this year." He broke down, laughing his head off.

Rawhide's booming laughter filled the small area as he clapped Talon on the back. "You know, sign me up for the next suicide run, or something. Heh, I bet that sure roused Omnisign's toes up a bit."

The pilot's voice reached their ears. "More than that. We got out just in time. Looks like a mass of Omnisign reinforcements are just coming in from the northeast. We timed it perfectly. Hopefully they did, too."

Talon nodded. "All the same, I judge Operation "Fuck Shit Up" to be a huge success. Wait, wrong name." He chuckled. "But I don't give a damn."

Thanks again for reading. This might be sort of confusing, but I felt like it was too badass to leave alone. I judge this to be one of my friend and I's finest action scenes.