Chapter 28: Alive, not Injured
Lunch that afternoon was tense, mostly cause of the grim atmosphere made by the frequent deployments of various students to Thermus to aid in the aftermath of the bombing. It was enough of a rude awakening to many that this is what they were meant to work on once they graduate. Though it should be noted that some students have tried their best to lighten the mood through the usual banter and occasional offers to a different city to cope or relax.
But that did nothing to lighten the mood as some of the students have lost families and loved ones in the aftermath.
"You think the two are a thing now?" Oscar asked as they ate lunch and spotted Thomas and Lissa walking side by side talking in a low voice.
"I'm betting on yes," Jun smiled excitedly. "Think about it, the dude practically crashed a wedding just to be with her."
"I like the fact you omitted a good chunk of the context behind it," Oscar chimed in earning an amused look on his and Ren's faces.
"Yeah but why else would he have done it if he isn't in love with her." Jun pointed out.
"A butt stroke in the face perhaps?" Ren added.
"Hush," Jun interrupted. "Those two love birds are a couple."
Louis silently sighed and placed twenty thrones.
"I've known her longer than anyone else on this table so I'm saying it now, they're not. She may be mostly uptight but she's a maiden at heart."
"You're on," Jun said confidently as the others shared amused looks as they are split into two groups. The Team 'They're a Couple' which comprises Jun, Nina and Ren as the prime members and Team 'They're not a Couple' which comprises Louis, Oscar, and Ester. Meanwhile, the two in question were still ordering their meals, there was a tense air around them as they lined up awkwardly in line.
Mostly since they were both still trying to accept the reality of their conversation from yesterday.
"Can we talk?" Lissa asked him worriedly as the two left the classroom after the briefing from earlier had ended.
"Yeah sure..." Thomas trailed off, having a vague feeling on what their talk is about.
The two found a secluded spot where both of them can talk.
"This is...about us isn't it?" Thomas asked taking a seat.
"Yeah..." Lissa said standing behind a window to lean on it, slowly hesitating about what she was about to do. There was a brief moment of deafening silence until she finally spoke.
"Thomas, I love you but we should best stay as friends." She said avoiding eye contact. It was justified, to be honest, the two of them came to Axis to become soldiers and not become a couple. And with their assignment into Task Force Revenir, the two need to remain in a professional relationship to avoid any rash and impulsive decisions.
But make no mistake, she hated this decision. Had things went differently, if the two met in different circumstances, then she would have loved to be in his arms.
"I know, it's best we keep emotional attachments away from our mission. But I want to set the record straight." He said moving closer to her and placing a hand on her hip. "I love you and if I have to wait for a long time to be with you I would do just that."
"Don't say things like that," Lissa said resting her head on his chest. "You're making me flustered."
"That's the point." He chuckled as he placed a finger on her chin causing their eyes to meet, but then his eyes wandered to her lips.
"Just this once," She answered as she felt her cheeks get warm.
Thomas and Lissa arrived at their respective table with a sigh of relief.
"Finally I'm starving," Thomas admitted.
"Yeah you look like you were about to pass out from hunger there," Lissa teased him.
"I mean the line was too long what did you expect?"
"Are you two dating?" Jun asked the two.
"Smooth..." Ren and Louis commented in a low voice.
"No." Both Thomas and Lissa said simultaneously.
"Dammit." Jun said in a low voice as the 'They're a Couple' group paid the winners earning an amused chuckle from the two.
The Coastal City of Irago was a popular tourist spot within Axis, known for its popular resorts and cruise routes. However, following the tragedy of Thermus all known resorts have been closed and the entire city is under lockdown in fear of a potential second chemical attack. Thus the entire population of the City mostly consists of those who live within the area locally or part of the Military Police sent to secure the place.
At least that was the Legal population, of course, Revenir is currently on route to locate and capture Wilmari Ercov who is speculated to be planning on escaping one of the personal yachts that are found in the area. And through the connections of Hathaway, they managed to sneak themselves inside the City without any issue and have temporarily holed themselves within a nearby apartment building located near the very Resort where Wilmari Ercov is hiding.
"I see the bitch." One of the Revenir Members, Simon Winters a third year, scowled as he handed his binoculars to Thomas while Lissa grabbed another one as they spotted her, she looked exactly as the intel provided, a woman in her mid-thirties with dark brown hair done in a single bun with light grey eyes. And instead of wearing her standard business suit, she wore a sundress instead indicating that she is very much just here for vacation.
"Okay, so what's our approach?" Lissa asked.
"Bag and Drag," Thomas said putting the binoculars down and grabbed a taser and two handguns, one was a tranquillizer gun and the other was a live one. Since what they were doing is unsanctioned and could potentially face expulsion and prison time, they would have to use standard weapons rather than their ones.
"Stun her and take her in right before anyone can realize she's gone." Thomas continued as Kyle and Petra exchanged worried looks.
"And her security?" Simon asked as Lissa nodded.
"Kill anyone that gets in the way," Thomas said with a shrug earning a concerned look from Lissa.
"Honestly since that's our only option on hand let's go with it." Simon shrugged and turned to Lissa. "Go with him while, Hoffman, Lowell and I ready our gear for an extraction."
"Got it," Lissa nodded as she grabbed her stuff and followed Thomas on the way out.
"Just casually make our way there and keep our weapons concealed," Lissa reminded him. It was their first mission, and she was worried that Thomas could get 'trigger happy' so they should be fine.
"I had a thought," Thomas told Lissa. "What if she's just a double?"
"One way to find out." She told him with a confident smile as the two left the hall and entered the Elevator they were met with a shocking extra member.
It was Wilmari Ercov.
She wore the same outfit as before but she looked at the two and sighed.
"You two are surprisingly sloppy," she said as she stood between them. Both of them reached for their tazers and she cut them off.
"No need for that, I am surrendering to you both." She said raising her hands in surrender, but before Lissa can pull out a zip tie to hold her Thomas pulled the live gun and pinned her to the wall of the elevator and aimed it at her temple.
"What's the catch?" Thomas asked coldly.
"They were tying up loose ends and that involves killing me," She told him.
"Orphen! Ikross! Can you hear me?" Simon called out through their communicators. "The mission's compromised, Ercov was shot. We need to get out before ALC troops find us and frame us up for it."
"You have a lot of questions to answer," Lissa said as she shot her with a tranquillizer shot knocking her out while Thomas grabbed a bag and placed it over her head for good measure.
"What's the plan?" Thomas asked Lissa.
"Bag and drag right?" She asked him heading towards the Basement parking instead.
The two made their way towards the Basement parking to find Simon, Kyle and Petra preparing their stuff to flee. Simon especially was about to explain everything but he eyed the unconscious woman over Thomas' shoulders.
"Wait who the hell is that?" Simon asked confused.
"Wilmari Ercov," Thomas said as he laid the unconscious Wilmari on the floor of the van as Lissa sat in as well.
"But how?" Petra asked in a confused look but then she and the others were struck with a sudden realization that she could have just faked her death.
"That was too easy," Kyle said worriedly as they looked around one more time as they all got into the Van.
"Did she say anything when you took her in?" Petra asked as she took off the bag over her head out of curiosity.
"That we were kind of sloppy at doing it," Thomas said almost worriedly as the more he thought about their current situation.
"We need to get out of here then," Lissa commented looking around uneasily. The five of them hopped into the SUV and prepared for the trip home.
The drive back was mostly silent, making sure that they kept the unconscious Wilmari from being seen by the City Security.
But that silence would immediately be broken by the sound of her groaning from the tranquillizer. And immediately prompted Thomas, Lissa, Kyle and Petra to aim their guns at her.
"You students need to learn how to properly-"
"Be quiet or I'll shoot your limbs," Thomas said with an almost calm voice earning a concerned look from Lissa, Kyle and Petra.
"Ugh so unrefined," Wilmari commented. "But hats off to you for not trying to kill me, looks like your source knows full well that I know something vital against the ALC."
"Can you tell us some right now?" Kyle said helping her sit up and take off the bag over her head as he and Lissa lowered their guns while Petra and Thomas kept their guns aimed at her.
"Well since you asked politely," She smiled at him. "I'll give you one."
"In exchange for what?" Lissa asked, given how she's that easy to surrender there was an obvious ulterior motive behind it.
She chuckled and looked at Thomas who had a glare on her.
"Take notes this is how you deal with VIPs okay?" She teased him as he silently took off the safety of his gun without any of the others noticing.
"Now then," She continued and turned to Lissa and Kyle. "All my demands are to simply gain protection and safety until all of this blows over and you'll have all whatever you need to know."
"You're going to have to take that up to our boss," Kyle said with a sympathetic smile. He can't blame her for wanting peace despite having a hand in a Terrorist Attack.
"That's fair, now then for my first would be that all trade routes and warehouses under Ercov Express have been used as Safehouses and Base of Operations by the ALC." She told him with a confident smile.
"Ambush!" Simon shouted as he took a hard right as the SUV they were on was rammed by another SUV causing them to tumble along the Highway.
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