A team consisting of Scottie, Doll and Zen was tasked to go to Colombia and track down Arthur Nielsen with the help of Black Hawk, who had aided the Black Hearts before. This time she was less helpful and let the team fend for themselves when it came to obtaining intel. All she was willing to do was play Tracker for them.
In a town with a lot of soldiers in and near it, the team quickly employed their good points: Scottie showcased his ability to get the group in trouble, while Doll showcased her ability to smoothtalk things and Zen just helped hide them when consequences came a-running. With a lot of difficulty they managed to score intel on where Nielsen had gone, so now it was time to go and hunt him down…
Reaching the jungle, the team had to leave their truck behind and go on foot. Black Hawk found the trail without problems and lead the team along the path as they sneaked to the camp, a few hours travel away. They had to evade the jungle patrols, but that didn’t prove too difficult (a single close-call aside): The team all was at least somewhat trained in stealth, while Zen supplied a powerful Spirit that helped conceal them.
After this stressful trip the group reached an outcropping which helped them oversee the enemy camp. Using binoculars they could see a camp with three big tents and two Ares Roadmasters in the center. Surrounding that were several more tents, containing both semi-disciplined military troops and casual cartel heavies. There were lookout spots and two more parking spots for jeeps and other trucks. Last but not least, the camp (which was about 60 meters either side) had a wooden fence set up around it.
The group managed to spot Arthur Nielsen for a split second, before he disappeared out of sight again. Given the amount of enemies and the fact Zen was quite exhausted from summoning the Spirit earlier, the team decided to rest and go for a night raid instead. Meanwhile Black Hawk stayed a while removed and wasn’t getting involved at all here, as she had told them before already.
After dusk the group discussed tactics, and of course Scottie had a big preference to putting his explosives to work. His Coyote had charged by the kilogram for the smugglejob, rather than by punch. If he’d known in advance the kind of stuff Scottie was bringing, he might have charged more. See commercial explosives aren’t that great. You need 25 kilograms of it to rival a single kilogram of the top-of-the-line stuff.
Scottie had brought 10 kg of that.
The group considered hiding small packets of explosives around the camp, to take out their trucks and lookouts: Strike their eyes and legs. But explosives by themselves wouldn’t be lethal enough, the agents felt. So they would need additional shrapnel to increase the killing range. Since they hadn’t packed that stuff, they needed to get some first. Fortunately for them, there was an enemy camp nearby which had plenty. So Doll snuck in and came back with lots of bolts and other random junk from the motor poles.
While Doll was gone, Scottie and Zen debated exactly what targets to hit. Since their initial targets would be on the outer edges, they wouldn’t really take out too many enemies. Zen had already summoned a new Spirit since dusk, an Air Spirit which they figured could just grab the remaining explosives and drop them on the tents in the middle of the camp.
The group hadn’t been hired to kill off the troops in the camp. Their one and only goal here was Nielsen’s head. If they were going to deliver a bomb by air, there was absolutely no need to first sneak in and set off explosives on the outer edges: Just make one huge bomb, deliver it and blow up most of the camp. Heck, with Scottie’s skills and the size of his supply, they might just blow up the entire camp and then some. After all they were using the equivalent of 250 kg Commercial Explosives…
So that’s the plan they went with. To maximize their chances, Zen turned his spirit invisible and pushed himself to make it the best Invisibility spell he’d ever cast. And up the spirit went, carrying a large packet for delivery. Not a single soul in the camp managed to notice it so the bomb got dropped at the center, the Spirit quickly jumped into the astral and just before it reached the ground the bomb was set off manually for maximum effect.
A Thor Missile would have made a bigger mess. This, however, was the next best thing. The tents were shredded, so were the cars and pretty much everyone in and near the camp. Heck even at half a click away Zen still got nicked by shrapnel. Good thing his armor managed to block most of the damage. As for the camp: Only a few were still standing: A cartel soldier and two soldiers including a Lieutenant.
Then, from the wreckage at the center suddenly appeared Nielsen, injured but still standing as if protected by the devil himself. The group immediately started sniping and even though he got lucky and managed to evade and take cover, no cover could save him from a sniper rifle and a Thunderstruck. While he died by an enemy he could not see, the soldiers at least tried to return fire. The spirit was sent to them to take them out, got taken out himself but soon after the snipers managed to take out the lieutenant. Taking no chances, the soldier quickly threw away his gun and stayed down.
Normally one would take the chance to loot the enemies and get precious paydata. However the team was half a kilometer removed and they already were starting to hear cars racing recklessly through the jungle back to the camp, while rotors were approaching from afar. Now was not the time to fight a war.
The job was done and there was no purpose in risking one’s life and not get to spend their pay…. So together with a rather spooked Black Hawk the group quickly went back into the shadows and, with yet another fresh summon’s aid, snuck away to get to an extraction point. What they left behind was damage great enough that most likely the astral space would be damaged for decades to come. What they left behind was a very big warning sign.
What they left behind was Nielsen’s body. On him two commlinks sparked and smoked from the shrapnel and blast damage they had received. One of them started cycling through recently-edited files. First came Victor Mondreau, next Daniella Mirando. The final name that showed up, just a split second before the commlink permanently fried, was Angela Serrano.