"C-137 to base, C-137 to base, do you copy? Over" called Marcus. His voice was quite calm and collected, even though he was hunched behind a small stone wall as fire splatter against the opposing side. He was speaking into a receiver on his left shoulder, which he was operating with his right hand. In his left was a pistol.
"...This is base. Read you loud and clear. Go ahead C-137." replied the operator.
"I have a 501 in the West Precinct. I repeat, 501 in the west precinct," began Marcus before rolling his neck to the left. Next to him was a still sack in uniform, riddled in earlier fire. "I have an officer down, and I'm pinned by fire, out of ammo; requesting back up and assistance."
"Roger that 137...we have assistance on route... mayday 137, assistance is being pinned from the rear, caution is advised assistance cannot breach the perimeter." replied the operator. As she spoke, Marcus realised that he was no longer being fired upon, and peered out slowly from his cover, to see that his oppressors were now looking in another direction, presumably to where his help would be coming from. Marcus raised an eyebrow before rolled back into his cover.
"C-137 to Base, I spot assistance, what's their status on neutralising the threat?" he asked scratching the nuzzle on his chin.
"...Assistance is ready to breach but cannot confirm a shot. Hostile are focusing all firepower on their vantage point." replied the operator. Marcus bobbed his eyebrows and scratched his head.
"...Understood Base. I'll take flanking manoeuvres, going into radio-silence," replied Marcus, knowing exactly how Base would take his response.
"Repeat that 137!? Do not move from cover! I repeat DO NOT MO-*kzzzt*" Marcus switched off his monster took a deep breath and waited a second before vaulting his cover and running towards the shack in which the hostiles were taking cover, screaming as he ran towards them. His wild noisy charger caught their attention, forcing them to turn towards him. They aimed their sights at him and swiftly shot him down. Marcus felt the pressure of their rifle fire throttle and rattle his body, completely neutralising his running momentum before he dropped to the ground.
"Target confirmed!" called the assistance squad leader. "Fire now!" he cried, quickly followed by a cry from his squadrons weapons against the hostiles, neutralising them exigently. He lowered his sniper rifle and stood up from his own cover and gave the signal for the team to move in. As they move to the hostile area, he walked over to where Marcus had fallen and stood over he body. He kicked him gently in the ribs with the tip of his boot. "Are you gonna stay there for ever" he muttered casually in a jesting voice. Marcus opened his eyes, seeing the squad leader's hand outstretched with a smile to pick him up. He grabbed it with a wince, being lifted up to his feet, while he stood, he had his hands on his knees gasping a little, causing the squad leader to chuckle. "Oh yeah! That's the feeling of about 3 full magazines hitting you in the chest! When you take that much, your vest can't numb all the pain!"
"Well... we... won... right?" rasped Marcus. The squad leader gave a whimsical sigh in the midst of his smile while a buzzer echoed through the arena, signifying the end of training.
"Yeah, but at what cost? If we had been in a real hostage situation, we'd be putting you in a body bag right now." retorted the squad leader, being chastising in his voice. Marcus regained his breath.
"They had hostages and had started to fire. I did what we were trained to do," insisted Marcus, trying to dumb down the severity of his action.
"Don't give me that. You turned off your mike because you knew I was going to overrule you. You should have waited. You didn't need to take all the risk on by yourself." replied the squad leader. Marcus smiled and shrugged.
"You're our leader. The hostages are our objective, and everyone else still had ammo. Someone needed to risk getting shot at, and the rest of you would still be useful after the distraction, right? Anyway, looking at the paint splatter," paused Marcus, glancing down at his colourfully stained uniform. "I think I might have survived if this vest was good enough."
"Dumbass, you got shot in the leg too. And we should be able to complete drill without losing anyone. Marcus... you have a good heart, you make my job a lot easier because I know you'll always look to support me, but you're just one person. You can't always be the sacrifice. You have to learn to let us help you once in a while." rebutted the squad leader as they walked over to the rest of their cadet class.
"Wow," replied Marcus solemnly. "...I guess I would have died... touché." replied Marcus with a hint of mild amazement as he scratched at the paint on his inner thight as he walked in toe.
"Did you hear a word I said!?" snapped the leader.
Marcus was sitting alone at a bus stop about 20 minutes later, having left drill practice and on his way home. He was in a tracksuit with his cadet gear in a sack on his back. He sat mulling over his squad leader's words. He understood, but he just didn't want to hear it. Sacrifice was Marcus's stellar skill, just as everyone else in his squad had their respective forte. He couldn't do the things that they could so easily.
"Let you help? Don't make it so light!" Marcus mumbled under his breath as he leaned against the side of the bus stop glasses. "If you can't use the sandbag as a guard, what good is it?" As he queried to himself, he glanced further up the road, able to see that his bus had just appeared over the hill. In the same moment, he could hear a noise coming from his duffel bag. After a quick rummage, Marcus realised it was his cadet monitor picking up static. For some reason, no matter how he flicked the power switch, he couldn't turn the blasted thing off. He glanced up, seeing his bus was coming closer. He closed up his bag and slung it back over his shoulder and tried fiddling with it on his feet. The static got louder and then the monitor began to vibrate and illuminate with binary which quickly began to envelope him.
The bus was still in top gear as it passed the bus stop. Not a soul was there. When Marcus awoke, He was hanging from a tree branch by the strap of his duffel bag. Before anything else, he took a look at his surroundings, realising he was in what looked like a garden, but definitely not one he remembered. Deciding that he was a little uncomfortable, Marcus fidgeted a little before the branch gave way and he crashed into the earth below. He rolled over feverishly with a grunt and sat up. He took another look, fixing his gaze on the only house he could see. After fixing his bag he stood up and walked towards it, hoping for signs of life and directions back home.