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0352 Hours, January 20th, 2552

Hill 132

Sigma Octanus IV

"Major Ulan."

"Yes?"

Overlooking the carnage that covered the western side of Hill 132, Ulan looked back at the camouflage-clad Victorian Naval Infantry officer who had just interrupted his reflection. "What's going on?" he asked.

"We got one, a live one."

"Use your words Lieutenant. Live what?"

"A Freelancer. Apparently some of the local militiamen managed to hit her with some grenades, she's alive, but bleeding out. Your orders?"

"I'll deal with this personally. Take me to her."

"Yes sir."

As the young lieutenant turned around and began walking down the hill, Ulan followed after him. As he walked, he found his hand moving to unfasten the velcro on the holster containing his M6C/SOCOM. Breathing deeply, he tried to put the images of his men, maimed and bent in ways that no human body should ever be on the forest floor of the Victorian frontier, out of his head. He couldn't afford to think so rashly, not with such a rare type of captive. He had to follow the advice his instructors had given him as a young Victorian Airborne Forces candidate class leader.

As they approached a group of rebels, Ulan saw several were huddled over the prone armor-clad form of what Ulan could only assume was the Freelancer, and a squad of fighters dressed in mismatched uniforms and equipment positioned in a circular perimeter with rifles at the ready. Once they drew within earshot, one of the former group, a VNI enlistedman with a subdued medic armband, broke from his work and made a beeline Ulan and the VNI lieutenant. "Captain Stanap, Major Ulan." he said, his medical gloves and fatigue trousers covered in filth and blood. "The Freelancer's in bad shape." he continued. "We've restrained her and we're getting ready to-"

Ulan put up his hand. "I want to see which one this is first."

"Yes sir." the medic said, leading Ulan through the perimeter to the huddle of medical personnel, who quickly made way for the rebel officer.

Ulan looked down at the gray armor-clad Freelancer, illuminated by the light of the medic's helmet flashlight. Out of the corner of his eye, Ulan spotted her helmet, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the MJOLNIR Rogue-class armor, was tossed aside nearby. Suddenly, the memories of the longest day of his life washed over him again, this time more vivid than the last. The image of this same agent killing his men with ease filled his mind, and he found himself struggling to speak. "W-what's her agent name?" he sputtered out.

"Montana." one of the medics responded. "Sir, unfortunately we need you to leave so we can further stabilize her and prepare her for inte-"

As the medic spoke, Ulan quickly drew his pistol, and before he could finish his request for him to leave so they could further treat her, he cut him off, firing the pistol at the chest and head of the Freelancer until it was out of ammunition. He had finally killed the one responsible for so much bad in his life. Twelve bullet holes in the agent's chest, neck, and head and a blank stare on her face confirmed his hopes. She was dead. Looking up, Ulan saw the rebel medics and fighters were looking at him with blank stares much like that of the Freelancer he had just shot dead.

"Sir..." Captain Stanap stammered out. "You...you just killed a valuable source of intelligence." he continued. "Why?"

"Because she is the enemy, and we shouldn't be wasting our medical supplies on the enemy. All it would have caused would be more issues, and imagine if she escaped? We would only have more men dead. Medics, attend to the other rebel fighters. Rest of you, strip the technical components and dispose of the body." Ulan responded.

"Yes sir." some responded, and others, still in shock of the execution Ulan had just carried out, instead went about their business with no verbal response whatsoever.

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