Track 11: War Picts

Before I could get a good look at what was going on (or as good a look as I could, given the circumstances,) the Pict guarding me bodyslammed me further into the elevator wall as soon as the gunfire started, controlling me and shielding me from any incoming bullets. The sound of pistol and shotgun fire was almost literally deafening.

The engagement only lasted a few seconds. Then there was a longer period where I just stood there, pressed into the wall by my captor, my ears ringing. Slowly, I could hear screaming. That confirmed that they’d been using their hallucinogenic gas. I’d never been hit with it, but I’d seen its effects. The people I’d seen it used on had, at best been, stricken by paranoid hallucinations for a few hours, and at worst, been stuck like that permanently or committed suicide. It was invisible, odorless, and could fill large areas instantly, but thankfully (probably by design) it was easily defeated.

Before I could be thankful for the gas mask, I was dragged out of the elevator. Apparently, the rest of the Picts had left already, and a few had even salvaged weapons, amounting to an M4 with reflex sights, an MP5/10, and a black shotgun, probably a Remington. I noticed that several of the Pict operators were doubled up, and one was limping slightly. Two were out of sight, but they were probably still up.

The FBI agents hadn’t fared as well. We were in what appeared to be some sort of bullpen, with desks scattered all around a large room. The ones who had intercepted us near the elevator had mostly been shot in the head. Judging by the doubled-over Dragon’s Teeth, they had followed standard law enforcement training and aimed for the Picts’ chests. That had come up against Dragon’s Teeth armor. Meanwhile, the Picts had been aiming for headshots, probably because Sgians were shit at penetrating anything thicker than skin. I’d killed a squad because it had been close-quarters and they had been aiming at my armor’s plate. They had Sgians and an SMG using the same ammo, I had a G3 firing 7.62×51.

Then I heard a large thump, so loud I felt my internals vibrate like it was the Fourth of July. I turned around as best I could. Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see that the two Picts had been standing by a door. That door had now been mashed into what seemed to be a jail cell door. One of the Picts let out a yell of frustration and kicked the wall when he saw the results.

Then there was another thump, this one less loud and less chest-rattling. Before I could even turn to the source, I saw the Pict who had kicked the wall in frustration jerk back and slump against the wall as what sounded like an M4 opened up.

My Pict handler bodyslammed me into the ground, but not before I saw some men in body armor, gas masks and dark green fatigues file into the room, shooting M4s and MP5/10s. Judging by how well they were equipped and the fact that they just happened to be on site, these had to be either FBI SWAT or HRT.

From my position on the ground, I could hear the Picts return fire. The Glocks they had were particularly pathetic. Then there was a huge explosion. Several somethings slammed into the wall behind us. I turned and saw that an FBI SWAT operator had been thrown like a ragdoll into the elevator behind me, his pants looking more like a skirt and one leg severed at the calf. The shooting stopped pretty soon after that.

Even though it seemed safe now, the Pict was still pinning me. As the other Picts began moving around, occasionally executing a SWAT operator who wasn’t dead enough for their liking, I realized that the Pict pinning me was actually extremely light. Now wasn’t the time to resist, but it might come in handy.

When I was dragged to my feet again, the Picts had more firepower. Now, most of the seven had M4s and MP5/10s to supplement their Glocks and Sgians. Even the Pict who I had seen go down had an M4. They had also taken off their dress shirts and suit coats, revealing flexible bullet-proof vests, skinny, muscular arms, and more tattoos. They’d also donned what appeared to be sunglasses at first glance, but on second look seemed to be some kind of imaging device. Normally, I would say it would either be thermal or UV, but with the Dragon’s Teeth I couldn’t be sure.

The interesting thing was that they seemed to be preparing the one who’d been shot for a final stand. He was sitting in the corner on a chair, his vest a mess of fibers. The desk had the shotgun and several pistols, and he gingerly gripped an MP5/10.

Then I noticed that there were a bunch of small spheres taped to the floor near me, connected by wires. I then remembered that the gas bomb that the Picts had thrown had been a small black sphere. “Oh shit,” I said, “are you going to blow through the floor?”

The “blow through the floor” part was cut off by the bombs going off. Dust flew up, covering everything. Then I felt myself being pushed towards the hole. “No no no no no!” I yelled. It became a scream as I was lifted up and tossed in.

I fell, with my ankle going in a weird way due to my angle and the scattered debris. Then my knee hit a large chunk of concrete and my hand hit another chunk. Then I hit my head on a rock. My eyes burning from the dust and my head swimming from the pain and the bump it had recently taken, I tried to gain an idea of what was going on.

Judging by the moans of pain and swearing, there were people there. As the dust cleared, I noticed that buried underneath the debris was a man in a suit and gas mask. Using my good hand, I got to my knees. Farther around the room, outside of what was apparently the kill zone, several FBI agents were drawing their guns. I could barely make them out through the still-floating dust, but one close by saw me instantly.

“Hey!” he yelled, drawing his Glock, his voice muffled by his gas mask, “Put your-”

He was cut off by the Picts above us opening fire. One had targeted him, and the agent fell, dropping his gun. I crawled towards it as fast as I could. Around me, the FBI agents were dropping like flies as they fired blindly into the hole in the ceiling. We must have been in some kind of command post.

Speaking of things dropping, I could hear the Picts joining us. One was even running straight towards me. I sped up, despite the pain that shot through my injured hand and knee every time I moved. Finally, I got to the discarded Glock. I flipped around and aimed to see a Pict almost on top. I fired, the Pict kicked. The Glock went skittering away, and the Pict fell, his crotch landing on my face.

Before I could complain or wonder about the sticky wet stuff on my face, the Pict rolled off me. I looked and saw he was clutching his leg with both hands. As one of his buddies knelt besides him knelt down and fired an MP5/10, the injured Pict drew out his Sgian with a blood-soaked hand, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.

Several other Picts descended on him. The dead Pict was stripped of his vest, weapons, and ammo. Others forced me to my feet. I screamed as I put weight on my bad leg. One Pict, hatred evident behind his professional tone, said, “You’ll live.” Then, they forced the jacket on me so that it doubled as a straightjacket. To add to that, a Pict hooked the sling of an M4 so that if I wasn’t pointing the way they wanted, I’d get choked. Also, the vertical foregrip was digging into my shoulder like crazy. I was then spun around and force-marched towards the stairwell, along with most of the other Picts.

Every step was painful and slow. I could hear firing both ahead and behind me, and it echoed in the stairwell, causing my ears to ring. When we came to the bottom floor, I saw that one of the Picts was firing through the door between the bars that had just gone up, return fire bouncing off the heavy door he was using as a shield. Two with MP5/10s were setting bombs on the wall.

They did not wait for any more to join them before blowing the wall. As the three other Picts filed through and the gunfire became more intense for a brief moment, I wondered if the other two had died.

Then we were through the wall, moving as fast as we could through the hallways. My Pict handler was going so far as to lift me up with his other hand. Occasionally, we would come up against FBI agents. A few times, the gun that would cut them down would be the one right next to my ear. Eventually we turned a corner. There was the lobby. Outside were dozens of cop cars and police officers. It seemed like almost every single one of them had some sort of long gun like a shotgun, rifle or SMG. And they were all trained on us.


The Picts did not drop their weapons. But they didn’t fire either. Then one moved his hand towards a pocket.

Instantly, what felt like every cop in the entire state of Hawaii opened on us. I saw at least one Pict go down instantly before my handler dragged me away, the intensity of fire so great that not even his body armor could keep up. A few bullets even hit my chest. It felt like I had been hit by multiple trucks.

I was frog-marched down the hallway. I was forced into the cleanest public bathroom I had ever seen, the Pict using me as a battering ram to open the push-open door. The rifle’s sling was unhooked from my neck, and I fell, landing on my bad knee and injured hand. If I hadn’t been somewhat asphyxiated, I would have screamed. Instead, I gasped for breath. I then looked up to see that the Pict shoving the M4 through the handle of the door.

He looked at me. It was the same one who’d shoved me into the elevator wall, and he wasn’t happy with me at all. I was suddenly very conscious of how much trouble I was in. Then my phone rang.

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