Even Mercs can Fall in Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


Every cloud has a silver lining. If I hadn't screwed up that mission, I would never have met the love of my life.

Submitted: June 17, 2018

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Submitted: June 17, 2018

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Well, this sure was my kind of party. Warm, subdued lights, slow-rocking jazz, and everyone on their best behavior. Of course, that included me, but only because the girl I’d reserved my naughty side for had yet to show up.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the ace merc himself.” A blond dude said, approaching me. “I guess even the legends need their downtime, don’t they?”

“What are you playing at? Legend? Really?”

“Well, you are one, Mr. Raider Extraordinaire. You don’t screw up deals, don’t leave loose ends behind, and usually follow your assignment orders to the letter. That’s more than what most of our kind can say.”

Okay, he had a fair point there. Why do you think mercenaries get such a bad reputation? Most of them are just assholes out to get their kicks under the guise of ‘just doing their jobs’ and so they poison the frakking well for the rest of us who actually have a work ethic to be proud of.

“Enjoy the ball, Ryder. You’ve earned it. But, oh wait, your plus one still isn’t here.” He smirked.

“And what of it? She’ll be here in due time. We’re just another couple, man. No need to consider us a threat.”

“Is that a frakking joke? You know perfectly well we should all be terrified of what the dynamic duo of you two have pulled off. I pity these idiots who just walk on by without giving you a second look.”

“Yeah, well, going full sincerity mode,” I smirked. “I pity them too.”

 

It had just been one mission. One messy hell of a mission that brought the two of us together. But looking back, neither of us would change a thing.

Okay, maybe we would. Especially her, yeah, things were rough down there. But it’s the spirit of the whole thing you know. If some of her teammates hadn’t died, she may never have fallen for me, yadayadayada.

So, what happened back then actually relates to the larger myth arc of this plot, you see. In this story, magic is very real, and you have select maidens who often unconsciously channel their power, causing everything from natural miracles to natural disasters.

So, obviously, you have the good guys trying to harness this energy by befriending or dating the maidens, you have the anti-heroes who think it’s safer to just kill the lot, and you have the dastardly diabolical Charon Est Nihilo Industries spearheaded by a very pretentious nutcase who wants to use their magic to unleash the apocalypse.

Did I mention that the girl who would become my wife used to work for them? Yeah, I mean, she wouldn’t have if she knew the whole “ending the world” deal, but the benefits were lucrative as hell, and the opportunities for killing people, even more so. And if there was one thing we’ve always had in common, it’s that we love to slaughter.

Oh come on, did you honestly thing I was gonna be some sort of good guy here? Well, okay, in my defense I wasn’t all bad.

See, I never liked bothering myself with this crazy conflict of “Spirit Maidens” who got all jacked up and frakked with the weather fifty times over in a single day. No, they were none of my concern; all I cared about was getting in, doing my job, and getting out. And until then, I’d been very lucky to avoid getting into any of their crosshairs.

Unfortunately, this mission, a seemingly routine  excavation op for some buried diamonds, ended up going to absolute shit when the tropical rain I was slogging under vanished in an instant. And I heard a woman scream.

I did not want her to be a Maiden, I really didn’t, that would really suck, but yeah I turned around and there she was being tortured by Charon’s elite hunter squad, known as the CEN Harvesters.

Y’know, because they were harvesting this magical energy of hers in order to weaponize it later. Real subtle, folks.

I’d never really seen these CEN Harvesters up close, but as my eyes shifted to them, I could help but notice that…they were a bunch of really attractive girls!

Well, there were plenty of creepy mechanical robots with them too, but still, plenty of attractive girls in skintight uniforms that were really easy on the eyes.

 I guess even the deranged head of Charon Industries had his redeeming qualities.

Honestly, a greener, more weak-willed version of me would’ve blown his cover just staring at them, but I managed to get a hold of myself to find a place to hide. Nonetheless, I could not resist the urge to spy on these attractive gun-toting women, who had just shot the not-too-shabby maiden herself square in the head.

“That should do it.” Said the one I recognized as their squad leader. “Move out, let’s get the package back to base.”

“Okay.” I whispered to myself, darting from cover to cover “Just let these people go on their merry way, and then I can get back to work looking for those oh frak is that a gun pressed to my head?”

“Turn around, very slowly.” Said the soon-to-be-love of my life.

I did as she asked.

“This is Echo. Found an intruder.” She spoke into her…something. I couldn’t make out their comm devices, okay? Their uniforms were plenty distracting enough as it is.

My future soulmate Echo pushed me over to the rest of the squad, and so I was faced with their hostile stares. Though, if I may interject, the androids were much colder with their glares, you know. I mean, I knew I could never get along with those creepy mechanical things.

The girls on the other hand…okay, yeah their stares were cold too, it was just my male instinct that biased me towards seeing this as a possible harem waiting to happen. Which, of course, it wasn’t. Unfortu-ow, okay, I’m sorry Emma, jeez!

Okay, so now you know her real name’s Emma, but I wouldn’t find that out until after this encounter ended. So, you see, there I was, gun to my head, all these girls and robots sizing up the frak out of me, when the squad leader opened her mouth.

“So who did the frak did they send this time to sabotage our op?” the squad leader, or Captain, said.

On cue, Emma slammed the butt of her rifle in my face. That was a painful experience that she has since more than made up for using another kind of butt.

“Answer!” she yelled.

“Was it the Exterminators? Or are Mallister and his associates trying to find another Spirit Maiden to seduce? Just who do you work for?”

“You’ve…got it all wrong…” I panted.

“Then help me understand. Just who are you?”

“Concerned…third party?” I said, and began to chuckle. Okay, I’ll admit, that was a dick move. Kids, when you’re held up at gunpoint, please don’t try to mock your captors like I did. Doing so just leads to-

“GAAAH!”

-another rifle butt to the face.

“Why are we bothering with this?” said a member I recognized as Delta.

“Yeah, let’s just kill him and be on our way back.” Said another one I recognized as Charlie.

“I need to be sure he’s not leaking anything to our enemies. And once we discover the truth, we can trace his employers and take care of them for good.”

“That’s a good plan.” Emma said, this time pointing the muzzle of her rifle to my head. “So, are you going to talk the easy way, or the hard way?”

“Okay, frak, I’ll talk.” I took a deep breath. “I honestly have nothing to do with any of this. I’m just a private merc looking for some hidden diamonds, alright?”

“Are you serious?” Charlie said, pointing her gun at me too. “Even for a liar, you don’t tell a very convincing story.”

“I’m not lying. I genuinely have no connection to any of you. So please, just let me go, alright?”

“Then why were you tailing us?” Emma said, and at that time I was infuriated beyond measure at her probing nature. Our time together since then has made me rather grateful for it though, if you know what I mean.

“Frak! Okay, thing is, I am actually aware of the nature of Spirit Maidens, and I did recognize you all as CEN agents. That’s just me being aware about current events.”

Emma cocked her gun at that.

“Which, I’ll concede, are not things the general public is privy to, but my intel gathering on you people was for strictly professional reasons, I swear!”

“Do we really have to keep listening to this babbling?” Delta said.

“Let him finish.” The Captain replied.

“So when I saw you all here, I was just surprised to see one of your ops so up close and personal, and if we’re being totally frank here, you’re all just so stunning. It really was a struggle keeping my eyes off you. But I needed to keep my presence hidden, of course, because, well, I didn’t want this to happen.”

“Have you heard enough, Captain?” Emma said.

“Yes. Take him away. We’ll torture the real truth out of him, and then send his body back to his bosses to tell them we’re coming. Of course he wasn’t going to be forthcoming with us. I just needed to see if he truly appreciated the situation he was in.”

“Hey, hey wait!” I yelled as they began tying me up. “Look, I’ve got nothing against you people. Heck, I’d even ask you out if I could, but if you try to torture and kill me, I will defend myself as fiercely as I need to.”

“Yeah, right.” Charlie said, snapping the cuffs on my arm. “You’ve whipped up one hell of a cock-and-bull story to weasel your way out, but this is the end of the road for you.”

“Should I notify the pickup team that we’re bringing in a prisoner?” Emma said, taking out what looked to be a datapad.

“Yes, do it. We’ll also…”

In that instant, a blinding flash enveloped the room, and all the girls screamed in shock and agony as my drone-operated smoke bombs detonated, and my other drone-operated stun guns electrocuted them. They were a couple of handy voice-activated gadgets that I’d triggered simply by whispering under my breath to “attack”. And so I took this opportunity to get up, activate the strength booster on my arms to break away from the cuffs, and knock out anyone who got in the way of my escape.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you! I’ll be leaving now, so don’t come after me!” I yelled as I broke away. While all the girls were still reeling from the shock, the androids did manage to fire a few shots in my direction, which thankfully missed.

I ran as far as my feet would take me, looking for a place to hide where I could get a bead on the squad should they decide to chase me. And to my disappointment, but not surprise, they did.

“Find him and bring him in, dead or alive!” the Captain yelled as she ran forward towards my hiding place. “Fan out! We need to take care of this loose end at all costs!”

“Frak!” I whispered, as I tried to find my way around their patrols. I was hiding behind a truck, and as I saw Charlie approaching it, I decided to hide underneath the truck to improve my chances of evasion. Unfortunately for me, those drone weapons were single-use, so I couldn’t afford to get captured again.

She approached the truck, and took a walk around it, not bothering to look underneath. The frakking android with her, unfortunately, was another story.

“What?” she said, apparently understanding what all the beeping I was hearing meant. “Under there? Alright, I’ll take a look.”

I supposed it was finally time to get dangerous.

“Sorry!” I said as soon as Charlie ducked under to look. That’s because I fired my handgun right as she did so, which narrowly missed her face and hit her shoulder instead.

“GYAAH!” she yelled, and I took that opportunity to scamper out and ready a flashbang grenade.

Yes, other squad members were converging on her location, just in time for me to target the sweet spot. Before they knew what was happening, my grenade disoriented the lot of them, even the robots.

Heck, it was thanks to their presence that some of those girls died. One of them wildly flailed about and started firing its weapons at friendlies, causing Charlie and Bravo to bite the dust.

I wasted no time in making my getaway, only to run across the Captain, who I promptly shanked in the back.

“First aid, or me. Make your choice!” I said, pulling the shiv out and running on.

 I set off again, looking for a vantage point to hole up in, should someone continue to chase me. By now, the CEN squad must have suffered enough losses to know I wasn’t to be taken lightly. I hoped that this demonstration of my abilities would be enough to dissuade them from their chase.

I was wrong.

“In here!” I heard Emma storm in, along with a teammate who I recognized as Foxtrot. “I saw him! That bastard’s gonna pay!”

“Alright, you take the left side, and I’ll take the right.” Foxtrot said.

It was only a matter of time before Foxtrot discovered my position. I looked around for a weapon that could serve me in close-quarters combat. Sure, I already had my knives, but I wanted something bigger, with more weight.

And fortunately, I found something just like that. A baseball bat lying by the side. I did not question my providence, and just grabbed hold of it and swung it at Foxtrot’s head the second it popped into view.

“Gah!” she yelled as I swiftly pulled out a knife and jammed it in her knee. That should slow her down.

“Fox?” Emma said, turning around, only to meet the receiving end of my bat herself. Unlike Foxtrot, however, she held her ground and struck back, knocking away the bat from yours truly. Yeah, it really was impressive, babe.

Anyway, Emma took another swing at me before pulling out a knife of her own.

“Your friend’s gonna bleed out if you waste your time with me. You sure about this?”

“Frak you. I’m going to take you down, no matter what.”

“Very well.” I said, lunging at her with my knife.

She swung back, falling for my feint, as I stepped over to her back and nearly plunged the knife into her neck. Fortunately for her, and the future me writing this, she dodged in the nick of time.

Her counterattack missed me, however, and that gave me the opening to finally subdue her. I kicked her in the face, as hard as I could. That sent her spiraling back. In my next move, I grabbed her and twisted her rifle out of her holster, and smacked her with its butt.

And so I’d emerged victorious, with both my pursuers down for the count, and me holding Emma at gunpoint.

I could’ve taken this opportunity to flee and leave them to their fates. In fact, from a pragmatic standpoint, I should have. But I did genuinely feel bad about hurting these girls, even though it was likely my own male instinct giving me a soft spot for these battered women before me.

Nonetheless, I acted on it. I searched my satchel for an emergency first-aid kit, and threw it Emma’s way.

She looked at it with a bewildered expression on her face.

“Your friend’s in trouble.” I said. “Patch her up. And check on the rest of the squad while you’re at it. Some of them might have made it out alive too.”

“Grrrh…” Emma muttered. “What are you…?”

“You heard me.” I said, raising my voice. “Patch up your squad and get the hell out of here. I told you I had no beef with you.”

After all, I knew I was no one to be getting in their way. I was just a merc doing his job, not some savior destined to protect the maidens these folks had defiled. And yet, even though it was none of my business to try and save them after they’d tried to kill me, that’s exactly what I did. It was my own irrational and illogical impulse to protect these women simply because I was fond of them, an impulse that I decided to indulge.

I, of course, decided to finish my mission and head back out, not expecting to see them again. And for a full month since then, I didn’t.

But one fateful day, when on vacation, while lounging at a beachside bar, I saw a familiar face approach me.

“You’re a tough man to track down.” Emma said, facing me with an expression that looked…unexpectedly friendly.

“Oh, er, hello.” I stuttered, wondering whether I was under threat.

“Relax, I came alone.” She said, extending her hand. “But I’m glad you recognize me. My real name’s Emma. Emma Gale. Nice to meet you, Ryder Eckhart.”

“Nice to meet you, too.” I said, shaking her hand.

“Mind if I have a seat?”

“Uh, sure, no problem.”

“You’re still not sure of why I’m here, are you?”

“Well, to be frank, no, because you haven’t explained it to me.” I said, trying to lighten the mood with a chuckle.

“Indeed I haven’t, so I’ll cut to the chase. I came here to thank you. Because of the first-aid kit you gave me before running off, I was able to save both my partner and the squad captain’s life. We then found our teammate who’d gotten lost carrying the Spirit Maiden’s essence, and were able to successfully rendezvous with the pickup team. We only sustained three casualties in our chase with you, even though you could’ve wiped us all out if you’d tried to.”

“Well, I mean, I was spying on you guys, so I don’t blame you for reacting the way you did.”

“Nonetheless, your story checks out. You really had no connection to Charon Industries’ enemies. And in hindsight, I can’t blame you for defending yourself when my squad explicitly said they’d torture and kill you. You have my sincerest apologies on their behalf.”

“Apology accepted. No hard feelings.” I said, with complete sincerity. Honestly, run-ins like these were always an occupational hazard in my line of work, so I wasn’t too bitter about it anyway.

“And likewise, I forgive you for killing off two of my teammates, and destroying one Mechazoid.” Emma said and smiled. Ah, so that’s what they called them.

“Okay, then. I’m glad we understand each other.”

“Well, I’m not quite done yet.”

I raised an eyebrow as she said that.

“Thing is, I chose to personally come here because, well, I’m interested in you.”

“Interested?”

“Well, you did say that I looked stunning that day.  And if I’m being honest, you weren’t too bad yourself. Of course, as a professional I’m supposed to just brush those feelings aside, but off-duty I have no such restrictions.”

I saw her hand slowly approach mine.

“So that’s why you came here, personally.”

“Indeed it is.”

“I appreciate the gesture.” I said. “I know I wouldn’t have tried to find you.”

“I’m aware. That’s why I took the initiative.”

“And your bosses will be okay with this?”

“Oh yeah, about that. We quit.”

“You what?”

“Yeah, me and the entire Harvester team, we quit. Charon Industries is a really messed up place when you consider the higher-ups, so we decided to take back our rightfully earned Spirit Energy and break away from them. Don’t worry though, we have the upper hand. CEN won’t last long without their Harvesters.”

“Oh, that’s interesting. So, will you be going after Spirit Maidens on your own, or…?”

“We will. Although you don’t have to tag along with me if you don’t want to. I’m a flexible woman.”

Her hand was brushing against mine now. I guess it was time to choose.

“Okay. I guess I’ll give this a go then.” I smiled and intertwined my hand with hers. From then on, we dated for about three days before we started kissing, and another two before we started banging.

And one year later, we’re happily married and going strong as ever. I love you so frakking much, Emma!

Even when you’re testing my patience by taking your time to come to this goddamn party.

Fortunately, you don’t take too much longer to arrive, and look as gorgeous as ever in your little black dress. Everyone’s heads are turning as they notice you make a beeline straight for me.

“Sorry I’m late.” You say with a sheepish grin. “The mission took a little longer than expected.”

“But you got what you wanted, right?”

“Yep, another Spirit Maiden in the bag.” You say with a proud smile.

And we know perfectly well that everyone’s listening. And now they’re murmuring.

I take this opportunity to kiss you, and after all our time together, I can tell how much you’re enjoying this.

“Let’s go.” You say, as we make our way to the dance floor, and do a slow waltz, our bodies firmly latched on to each other.

“This is so romantic. I’m glad you called me here.”

“I’m glad you came.”

We kiss again.

And then you whisper in my ear.

“I also cleaned up my squad uniform before rushing over. I’ll wear it for you back home.”

“I am so frakking glad to hear that.” I smile and kiss you again.

“And I’m so frakking glad all of them are staring.”

“Well, they know what they’re up against. They know who the top dogs are.”

“Yes they do.” You whisper and kiss me again. “And they should be terrified.”

P.S. Emma here. Ryder absolutely loved the lap dance I gave him in my CEN uniform, so that’s one thing I’m still thankful to my former employers for. And we had a rocking good time in bed. So yeah, I’m enjoying this just as much as he is, and life is frakking wonderful these days.

And hey, if you’re one of those righteous types shaking their fists at how a bunch of killers like us have it so good, too frakking bad!

Ciao! ;)


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