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After the Battle of Shanghai Delta squad kind of fell apart. Jordan and the rest of them were promoted and started doing their own seperate things while Jake was still feeling a little grief after finding out who his father really was and what he had planned for the world. To him his father died long ago and he knew that the only way for him to get over it was just to move on. He still wanted to fight on the front lines but Jesse had a better idea and made him the leader of a new Delta Squad.

 

Tu Chang was one of Jake's closest friends besides Jesse and knew what he was going through would be hard but as long as he kept fighting he would eventually find a sense of peace once again but with all that fighting peace would still be hard to find sometimes.

 

Su Lin was the team's new medical expert and was experienced with healing soldiers in the field during missions. She is also somewhat of a genius and was known for always trying to get into certain conversations even when she didn't need to at all.

 

And Cheng Kun was the team's sniper and technical expert. He was probably one of, if not the best hackers in all of Asia and was the expert in getting into secure and hard to reach places. He loved going on stealth and sniping missions and could probably take out an entire enemy Division by himself if the situation was right. He liked to keep to himself and although he also knew the truth about Jake he didn't say a word about it.

 

Together this new Delta Squad would continue the original mission of the old Delta Squad to help with not only keeping Shanghai but to help other nations with any supernatural problems or anything else that might pose a security threat to the Empire of Shanghai. However before they could do anything they first needed a mission to come to them from either Emperor Jesse or someone else.

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As they waited around for a new mission to come up for them Jake would meet with Emperor Jesse to talk about the events that had taken place during the Battle of Shanghai. "Tu tells me you have not been doing so well since the end of the war against your father Henry. He says that you are questioning just about everything about yourself and who you are and it worries him."

 

"Well I would be lying if I said he was wrong but unfortunately he is not. Yes Jesse I have been questioning everything about myself since I found who and what Henry really was and I am trying to figure out if there was something I could have done differently to stop him from going down that evil path."

 

"Do you want me to apologize for letting Maelstrom kill him?"

 

"No! In fact if I were you I would have done the exact same thing. My father died long ago and what makes me angry is..."

 

"Is the fact that you never knew who and what he really was."

 

"Out of everyone I should have been the one to figure it out first but I was stupid. I didn't see the signs when they were right in front of me and because of that he was able to kill thousands before you finally stopped him. If anyone here is to blame for those that died during the battle it is me."

 

"No Jake. Henry and his forces were the ones that killed them, not you. Honestly I don't know if there even was anything you could do differently. Henry chose that path long ago and in doing so he sealed his own fate. It is not your fault Jake, it was Henry's and now he is dead. What we all need to do now is move on and get ready for whatever threat might come next."

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As the Uriankhai Confederacy became stable under the leadership of Khün Kuzevin the desires of her people became manifest through her speeches. Appearing on screens across the Mongol steppe she inspired many to continue holding the Turkic/Mongolian revolution in their hearts. For people ruled over by foreigners for hundreds of years, many saw this as a golden age for their people. Not only the ethnic Turks and Mongolians found pride in Khün's speeches, but women too found strength in her courage to bring the scattered peoples of Asia under one banner. She appeared like a new Khan and for a young herdess named Khatun, she wanted to serve the new president by bringing all of Asia under the benevolent rule of this new Khaness.

 

Khatun lived in a small village of semi-nomadic herders north of Ulanbaatar. Years ago, she had served with Taraa Kuzevin during the Revolutionary struggles, but those days had since passed. Now, the young woman lived tending her yak, living on dried meat and the milk of her animals as her people had done for centuries. But the speeches, the sight of a woman she had been close to years before appealed to her deepest senses and she could not remain in her village any longer. Khatun traveled to the Confederate capital and there attempted to rejoin the expanding military, but the recruiters passed up her application for other hopeful soldiers who had a more successful past in the revolution. Khatun saw little action and spent most of her time as a reserve soldier, fending off attack to rebel trade lines.

 

She planned to leave back to the north when a woman recruiter dropped her a name written on a piece of paper. Khatun looked at the scrap and read out the single word, "Ao."

 

"You have dreams of serving your Khaness? Go find, Ao, she is responsible for transforming this country into a true horde."

 

Then the recruiter left and Khatun wandered the streets of the capital looking for the woman named Ao, the entire time being unknowingly followed by two men in warm fur skins.

 

Finally they stopped her and raised their hands in greeting. "Come with us, if you wish to meet Ao."

 

Khatun nodded and she finally arrived at a shoddily constructed European-style tower several miles on the steppe to the west.

 

The Dominion of Ao.

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"Dr. Ao--"

"Silence, cretin!" Manjagir Ao snarled furiously at the assistant who had taken it upon herself to intrude upon the good doctor's work-- from which Ao did not bother glancing up as she dismissed the assistant. "Don't you see I'm in the midst of some important business that will soon revolutionise the scientific world?"

 

"Dr. Ao, you're stacking ferrets on top of your head."

At last, Dr. Ao turned from the little box of ferrets on her desk to rest her scathing glare upon the assistant, swiveling around in her chair, the ferrets already piled atop the wiry shocks of her hair scrambling upon one another to avoid tumbling to the floor. "Do the words 'important business that will soon revolutionise the scientific world' mean nothing to you?"

"I-- I'm sorry, doctor," the assistant excused in exasperation, holding her hands up as if in surrender. "I'm just not sure I understand how exactly this is supposed to revolutionise anything."

 

Ao scowled indignantly. "I cannot be held responsible," she declared stiffly. "For the fact that lesser minds cannot comprehend the gravity of the current situation." And as she turned around in her chair to resume her business of changing the world of science in ways that even Curie and Einstein themselves could only have been in envy of, the assistant scrambled to add, "Uh, but-- Dr. Ao, I came up to tell you that somebody's been brought here by some Directorate agents! Somebody by the name of... Khatun?"

The name had clearly struck a chord with Ao; she froze stiller than death itself, before slowly, almost mechanically turning to face the assistant again, the solemnity of her expression rather at odds with the still frantically scrambling ferrets perched atop her head. "Did you say..." Her eyes narrowed, and there was a certain sharpness to her voice as she finished, "Khatun?"

 

The assistant scratched the back of her head. "Should I tell them not to let her in?"

"You kiddin'?" Ao's face split into a hearty grin as she took to vibrantly spinning around in her chair, sending the poor ferrets on her head hurtling about in all directions. The assistant stood by for about five minutes, watching the doctor spin and wondering if she was actually going to say anything more than that, before at long last Ao came to an abrupt stop. It was another thirty seconds of blinking and dizziness before she finally concluded, "Naw, send her up. She's here for a reason."

 

The assistant left, and proceeded down the many flights of steps that led to the ground floor (she'd suggested time and time again that they install an elevator, and Ao had damn near fired her for having the audacity-- apparently the stairs were 'instrumental' to the laboratory's 'ambiance'). Once she arrived, still breathing heavily, at the entry room in which the woman named Khatun stood waiting, she ground out, "The doctor will see you now." She turned and glanced back up the flights of stairs she was gonna have to go clambering up again, and then amended, "... in a minute."

 

Eventually, they did trek up the stairs once again, and the assistant led Khatun to Ao's office, rapping her knuckles against the door. "Dr. Ao? Khatun is here."

"Show her in," came the ominous reply, in a voice that was distinctly not Dr. Ao's: at a guess, the assistant would have estimated the doctor had run her voice through some sort of distorter. The fuck does she think she is, Darth Vader? she groused silently, before stopping short and realising that sometimes, she really couldn't say with certainty that that wasn't the case.

 

Either way, she sighed and shook her head briefly before opening the door to let Khatun in, and shutting it behind her. Whatever was about to happen... well, the less she knew of it, the better.

 

At the other end of her (suddenly menacingly dark) office, Dr. Manjagir Ao sat at her desk facing Khatun, her hands clasped before the shadowed features of her face, surreptitiously holding something in front of her lips. "Welcome to my dominion, civilian," she greeted in that low, distorted voice. "To the lair of modern science's greatest mind, the domain in which the very boundaries of human thought are torn apart and reassembled, to the kingdom-- nay, the queendom-- of none other than--" There was a quiet click, and then the rest of the sentence emerged in a high-pitched whine. "Dr. Manjagir Ao!"

Ao frowned. "Shit, sorry," she grumbled in her own natural voice as she glared down at the little toy in her hand and flicked the switch back. "This thing's got like three different settings, but only one of them doesn't sound buttfuck retarded. I mean, I'm not surprised, since it's the kinda thing you find in a children's store, but shit, that one mode totally sounds like Darth Vader, so I just had to have it, y'know?"

Ao set the little trinket down on her desk before bouncing up to her feet, the lights dawning back into bloom as she bounded over to Khatun enthusiastically. "So, you must be Khatun!" she exclaimed, all grins. "How was your trip down here? No no, don't tell me: I'm just going to assume it was wonderful and you're going to recommend all your friends make the trip as well. That's not important. Here, sit down." With surprising strength for a woman of such little (evident) muscle, Ao seized the woman's arm and tugged her over to her desk, where another chair was placed on the other side of it. She pushed Khatun down into it, and then perched herself on top of the desk itself, smiling down at her visitor.

"I'm told you're eager to serve Uriankhai and the cause of the Turkic and Mongolic peoples, but have been denied the opportunity." Ao's smile took on a certain devious undertone. "But I have a means of equipping you not only to serve Uriankhai, but to be its champion. What do you say?"

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For Khatun, the entire experience of arriving at Dr. Ao's laboratory felt confusing. She sat there looking at a woman who seemed to be on the precipice of insanity and madness, yet the shepherdess could only smile. On some level the two connected, they both seemed to be fervently attached to the idea of Mongolian and Turkic pride and Ao seemed to be the only one to give credence to the prayers of the young nomad.

 

"Yes," Khatun said, nodding, "It would be a dream. I knew Taraa Kuzevin back during the revolutionary days and I watched her sister fight on the front lines. I would give my life for the chance to repay the debt that all Mongols and Turks owe to those two sisters and I would take that entire debt upon myself. But what do you mean, it's champion?"

 

Khatun said with her eyes wide, full of desire and hope. 

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Ao's smile widened, and her legs, dangling off the precipice of her desk, swung about in brewing enthusiasm. "I'm sure you know all there is to know of Genghis Khan, and his conquests throughout the Asian continent. But perhaps you don't know-- many people don't-- that Genghis Khan's empire was not the fruits of his sole efforts. He had at his disposal four soldiers, four generals, whom he trusted so implicitly that he awarded them the title of his four 'Dogs of War'. Khubilai, Jebe, Jelme, and Subutai: four warriors so notoriously skilled in the ways of war, as formidable on the front lines as they were back in the commander's tent, that the general populace believed them to be more than human-- to be, in essence, superhuman."

The biophysicist shrugged her shoulders, and added, "But of course, they weren't: they were just ordinary mortals, ordinary men, whose reputation exceeded them-- as reputations often do. In the end, they were just that: human."

That wry twist at the corners of Ao's lips grew all the more impish, the heels of her swinging feet tapping an almost warlike beat against the surface of her desk. "But that was a long time ago. And today, Uriankhai no longer needs mere humans to champion its cause. You, young Khatun... you can be made into the first true Dog of War-- a warrior truly beyond the scope and might of even the most notorious of mortal soldiers, whose name is whispered in hushed tones across every corner of the globe, who has earned her reputation for exceeding humanity. You can be made into the champion Uriankhai deserves-- and you will at last serve the cause you so desperately wish to serve."

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"Yes," said Khatun with a shiver in her voice, "I would like that very much." Her grin curled up along with Ao's, both of them feeling the pulsing energy in the room their desires being manifest in the storm that began to form outside. "What would you need to do to make me into this champion? When can we start? I have no life back on the steppe aside from tending my herds and I would give that up for the chance to be something greater, to be a symbol of power and fear for all of Uriankhai."

 

The phrase 'Dog of War' made the girl's black hair stand on end. She clenched her fists and looked out the window at the passing clouds. "Yes, Ao, I want to be the symbol of Khün's power. A symbol of the rising power of the Uriankhai in Asia and the world." She stood up from the chair, her fist beating on the animal skins that clothed her body. "Make me into that champion, Ao, I beg of you! Let me serve the people who I love so dearly and who require the hope and dreams of a conqueror!" 

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"Make me into that champion, Ao, I beg of you!" the woman cried. "Let me serve the people who I love so dearly and who require the hope and dreams of a conqueror!"

 

Ao smiled. And said, "No."

 

She hopped on off of her desk, hands clasped behind her back as she took to pacing around Khatun, speaking steadily as she did. "I lied when I said I would make you into a champion-- I will not. I cannot make you a champion any more than being handed a blade makes one a warrior." She stopped, and turned on her heel to face Khatun once more. "To be a champion demands something nobody can be given-- something they must find within themselves. Do you feel you've found that within yourself?"

Ao gave the woman no time to answer, for she merely dismissed the very question with a wave of her hand. "Let me answer it for you: you were a champion from the very first moment you became determined to give yourself wholly, mind, body, and spirit, to the cause of our people. Your dedication, your charisma, your ability to lead-- these are things you already have at your disposal, things neither I nor anybody else can provide you. I can equip you only with the weapons-- tools that no mere human can command."

She turned, and stepped towards one of the many worktables that lined the walls of the laboratory, piled high with clutter, with instruments, with data, with records. She reached a hand down to the drawer of the work table, and pulled it back, revealing a small rectangular metal object that at first glance betrayed no opening or seal. However, when Ao slid a finger gently, almost lovingly, along the spine of the object, it split open down one of the narrow faces, and cracked open to reveal a syringe, full to the brim with an oddly viscous-looking
sanguine substance.

 

Ao took it tenderly into her hands, all but cradled it as one might a beloved child, and turned to walk back to Khatun. "This is the fruits of my research," she explained. "A chemical means of turning a mere human into something more-- a being that thinks in dimensions humans cannot comprehend, thought processes so swift mortal senses cannot keep up, a being that commands with her own two hands the might of an army. This, champion, will be your weapon-- the lance with which you direct your armies and crush our adversaries."

She smiled. "Pretty fuckin' cool, eh?"

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"It seems more like dark magic than science," said Khatun as she followed Ao over to the opened metal case, looking at the crimson liquid inside the glass vial. "The people in these lands must fear you Ao, for you must command the strangest authority over their heads, playing the games of the gods and of the devils all at once."

 

She held out her hand, "Well then, if this is my lance, my quiver, my sword, I accept it. Give it to me so that I may begin to make all of the continent shake with the thundering of our hooves and let our enemies cry in terror." Their eyes meeting again, wide and pulsing with the wetness of desire making it hard to see. Khatun felt her heart race and beads of sweat form on the back of her neck as she stood toe to toe with Ao. 

 

"I will be a Beast of War for my Khaness!"

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"Aw, stop it you, will ya? I'm blushin'." In point of fact, Ao was not, indeed, blushing; she was much too preoccupied with preparing the syringe for injection-- the typical process of swabbing the injection site with alcohol was simply not a concern. After all, soon enough, Khatun would reign supreme over all other forms of life on Earth; a petty infection? That was hardly cause for worry.

 

Once the syringe had been properly readied, Ao turned back to Khatun, unable to help a deviously eager smirk upon her lips as she held the syringe out to her test subject. "Take your destiny, champion of our people," she whispered. "And conquer." And with that, deciding waiting around for Khatun to take the syringe was pointless, Ao simply reached over, grabbed her arm, pulled it towards herself, and with a bizarre combination of precision and unbridled energy, rammed it to the hilt into Khatun's arm.

 

The effect was immediate-- the chemical was bonding directly into Khatun's blood even as the needle was pulled away and the syringe discarded-- changing her, enhancing her, rending to pieces that which was human and reconstructing in its place something so much more than that. The animal skins that clothed Khatun's body burgeoned and stretched taut to contain the musculature swelling at her arms, at her chest, her abdomen and her legs, at every part of her-- shoulders broadening with muscle, biceps and triceps alike expanding and hardening, until what was left was what could have appeared to be merely a testament to the might of a human being, lithe, sinewy musculature outlining the champion's frame.

 

And yet, Khatun could feel it-- could feel that the mere flesh and mortal muscle the chemical had lend her body did not even begin to belie the might that she now commanded. She could feel it in her knuckles, in her hands, in every fibre of her body, could feel that with a single motion, she could crush the pathetic form of a human being like a pomegranate seed-- effortlessly, callously, with the ease of a superior being extinguishing a lesser light. And she could feel along with it the urge-- in that moment, as the chemical bonded to the cells of her blood, the aching need, like a twisting, writhing spectre of violence wrenching at her very guts-- to use that might to destroy, to crush, to conquer and leave nothing in her wake but the broken, battered carcasses of her adversaries and the triumph of those whom she fought for. Visions of the slaughter-- of the slaughter to come, and of slaughters conducted in years past by conquerors who would soon pale before the visceral brutality of her rampage-- flickered across a mind newly rendered superhuman, a mind that processed more in that single second than a mere mortal mind could have in its entire lifetime-- the mind of a conqueror. The mind of a Dog of War.

"Go now," Ao smiled. "And win."

Edited by dotCom
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"Well now, the world is about to get quite interesting." A voice seemed to come from nowhere and to no one in particular. And that was all it said.

"Hey, dickbrain, fuck off and shove your random observations up your scaly dragon ass," a voice seemed to come from nowhere and to someone in particular. And that was all it said.

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Khatun could not explain the rush. It felt as though her mind shut down and yet expanded with more feeling than she ever could imagine. Her body boiled with power, with heat, with strength as her animal skins stretched and tore. She fell back against the wall, roaring out with wicked glee as might and power flooded her body. She clenched her fist and brought it down against one of the tables, shattering the metal in one great sweep. Her memories of the steppe swam in a whirlpool of chaos as the endless fields once cluttered with yak and camels became crowded with the thundering of horses of a horde, a horde that she led for the glory of all Uriankhai!

 

"What is this?!" Khatun growled out, her voice deep with passion. "This is incredible!" She jumped forward, making the floor shake as the effects of the initial metamorphosis began to subside. Her raven hair flowed down her back, wild and thick, her tanned skin still pulsing from the growth in her stature and muscularity. Khatun laughed after the world seemed to stabilize.

 

"Absolutely incredible, I feel amazing, like a warrior, like a goddess!" She turned back to the window of the tower and looked out upon the steppe where the storm had begun to drop a gentle rain on the arid ground. "I need weapons, Ao, I need riders." Her hands gripped the sides of the window and breathed in the fresh air of the steppe, "Do not tell Khun of my doings, nor Taraa, I shall give them my loyalty myself when I ride at the vanguard of a new horde of riders, to spread our power across Asia and across the world." 

 

Turning back she grabbed the doctor and held her shoulders. "Thank you, my friend, thank you for giving me this chance! I will go, and I will win, for all of Uriankhai!"

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Khatun left cities for the steppe and went among the villages. She did not trust the cosmopolitan bankers and office workers to make good riders and warriors for her campaign. She also needed to move in secret, for what she planned for Uriankhai would be illegal once she left the borders of her country. Khatun knew enough about politics that when she crossed from Mongolia into the territories of the south, she came as a Dog of War, an irresponsible being, only held accountable to herself.

 

In the south, the village of Kaipang stood overlooking a small brook that flowed from the mountains. Khatun came here first. The herders eyed the woman suspiciously as she rode into their lands. She rode, wearing animal skins and a great cloak of fur, sleeveless, to show off the power she commanded in her arms and body. Dismounting near the center of the village, Khatun walked up to the largest yurt that served as the great hall of the Elders. Inside, the Mongols sat around a blazing fire, women and men turning their heads to gaze at the intruder. She came armed, a rifle on her back along with two hatchets at her side.

 

"Who are you, who disturbs the peace of Kaipang?" said one of the Elders rising to his feet.

 

"I am Khatun, Dog of War, I come to speak of a new Horde that rises as I speak and that seeks to reaffirm the glory of our people to the world."

 

"Are you an agent sent by the President?"

 

"No," she said smirking, "I come of my own volition. My service is to myself, by my loyalty is to my Khanness, Khun Kuzevin. May I sit and speak freely?"

 

The Elders turned to each other, but Khatun saw that the eyes of the women in the tent opened with joyful surprise and the men nodded with their own smiles of approval. Finally the Elders spoken, "Yes, speak, and drink with us, we have fermented yak's milk, good for the body, and the spirit."

 

So Khatun sat and she drank."In the south," she spoke, "There are many people than simply Mongols and Turks. There are Han Chinese and Uyghurs. There are men and women owned by the rumors spoken in the winds that echo on the steppe." She turned her eyes up to the Elders, "You know of what I speak - Chotgor - Demonspawn. The Shamans of the tribes speak of them often, they  have seen them in their meditations. I have seen them too. Tengri came to me, he turned me from one of you," she said pointing at one of the women, "Into a warrior, into a champion of our people. But you are all champions and we men and women of the steppe have never listened to those men who tell us to stay upon the dry and barren lands of our ancestors. We rode and we conquered!"

 

The men and women sitting around the fire began to smirk and laugh as Khatun told the story, the story that united all Mongolians, the story of Genghis Khan. "And the Khan rode south, to dismantle those comfortable in their palaces and to engorge on the wealth of their cities. We will do the same. We will raid and our fame will grow. Join me brothers. Join me sisters. Together we can make a new Horde and a new Khanate!"

 

Such was the scene at many other villages along the southern regions in Uriankhai as riders joined with Khatun before a force of several hundred strong wheeled south and entered the borders of the Empire of Shanghai...

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Emperor Jesse was already seeing the reports of the horserider army that was heading towards Beijing. To him it did not look like much of a threat at all. "Are the Uriankhai officially invading us?"

 

"Well... Yes and No."

 

"Explain."

 

"There is an army of horseriders heading towards Beijing but they are definately not a part of the official Uriankhai military."

 

"How well armed are they? The Uriankhai were supposed to be mostly peaceful and I doubt their President would really be stupid enough to send something like this at us instead of their main army."

 

"That is just it. They are not really affiliated with their government at all and seem more like an organized horse riding militia more than anything else. From what we can tell they don't seem to be armed as well as their main army. If anything they could be categorized more as a terrorist group more than anything else."

 

"Our forces will hold them. Henry's army was 10 times bigger than this one and we managed to defeat them. This will be no different."

 

"Yea but that was only after you faced him and killed him in one on one combat."

 

"Either way we will defeat these "horse riders" just like we defeated Henry and his forces. Do you have any official reports on their numbers yet?"

 

"Not yet but we will soon. Our forces in Beijing should be enough to hold them off until you decide how many reinforcements they will need."

 

"Good job Lee. Let me know when you have the official numbers on how many horse riders they have and what weapons they are using."

 

"Yes sir."

Edited by jesbro
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The cold wooden grips of his Dan Coonan .357 M1911 Model pistols calmed him. In times of stress he found that placing a gentle hand upon them was some sort of bizarre means of relieving that stress. Perhaps it was the coldness of the wood, more likely it was the familiar comfort of the massive grips and the power they represented. The twin cannons contained in the leather hand tooled holsters that rode high on his hips had faded and creased the gun belt that held them. This magnified the roughness of his sun worn face and the tiredness of his ancient stetson. A .450 Marlin lever action with a ported barrel and a customized peep site was cradled in a similarly worn leather holster strapped to the side of his saddle just in front of his right leg. As he waited quietly, on his horse, he mused about this change of events.

 

"Well, here I am, and damn it, just last week I was next to the poor enjoying one of those fruity drinks," he grumbled. Still, despite his disinclination to enjoy the orders he had been given, he did have to admit the prospect of tagging along with a horse mounted army had some fascination for him. Sure his butt hurt, his joints creaked, and he'd rather be sipping more of those fruity drinks, yet there was something to be savored about the smell of good horse flesh. The feel of a gun metal and the whiff of breakfree clp lubricant had its own tantalizing qualities. 

 

Most young men and women these days had some sort of experience with firearms. He was a bit different, you could say he was born on one, which was the sad literal truth. His mother had given birth in a spur of the moment sort of thing that ended up with him being delivered on top of a display case of pistols in a gun shop. Riding, roping, shooting, and hunting had been his life till he signed up for the Army. Another twenty years of serving here and there passed before he resigned and took his pension and started a guide business. Business had not been good due to the prime hunting area he set up in being obliterated in WW8. That led him to contract work with various agencies for different sorts of jobs, he had discovered a talent for being highly flexible. 

 

Sometimes he led photographers into the mountains to get pictures of hard to find predators, sometimes he took men into the mountains to shoot those predators. Sometimes he shot those predators himself and more often than not they had two legs instead of four. Other times he was asked to follow someone and watch them, he did that sort of work quite well due to his patience. His work had been varied yet there came a time when he felt it would be wiser to retire and find a swimming pool with some fruity drinks to savor. That was exactly what he had been doing when the man wearing a grey suit with sunglasses walked up and handed him his orders. 

 

With a practiced movement he dismounted his horse, held the reins in one hand, and settled down onto his haunches. His grey eyes tracked the horse riders in the distance, say what you want about the effectiveness of mounted riders, they still kicked up a considerable footprint of dust and noise. His orders had not specified exactly how he was supposed to join this group, neither had they specified his mission, and more irritatingly they had not been overly generous with the details necessary to completely understand the bigger picture. If anything, it appeared to him that he had been left in the dark on a great many things with vague orders to join, follow, and report in when possible. 

 

"Well, damn me to hell if my name ain't Jebbidiah, well it is Jebbidiah, but damn me to hell anyway," he grumbled again as he waited.

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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  • 2 weeks later...

The border of the Empire of Shanghai stretched open upon the northern steppes where the ancient realm of the Manchus once stood. A legion of horsemen appeared over the horizon, their hooves making thunder as they advanced across the border towards the villages scattered over the plains. Khatun smiled at the small villages, smoke rising from the hearths as the distant sound of baying sheep and goats crossed the open air.

 

"A fine day for a raid." She smiled looking at the lieutenants riding by her side. "Ride into the villages, demand their submission and kill the local leaders. If they resist, raze the villages to the ground. This is the example for defying my will." 

 

The lieutenants returned smiles more fit for animals than men and raised their hands as the horde set off in a great gallop toward the first farming community.

 

---

 

It was a glorious slaughter. 

 

The first villages attempted to resist Khatun and her steppe devils as they rode in. Village elders would grant no submission and thus their bodies were pulled apart before molten iron, taken from the tools of the villages were poured into their open eyes and mouths. Those who continued to resist had their villages burnt to the ground. The men killed, the women and children taken upon horseback. Such was the example Khatun set for the government of Shanghai. A few men were allowed to live as messengers and tasked with bringing the mutilated skulls of the Elders to Shanghai and thrown at the feet of the Emperor with the Western name.

 

Khatun's threat was simple.

 

Surrender or be annihilated. 

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When the messanger appeared before the Imperial Palace in Shanghai with the heads it almost looked like Jesse was angry enough to kill him but he didn't. He simply motioned for Lee to meet him in the war bunker once again. "What exactly do we know about these Barbarians?!"

 

"Their leader's threat may seem genuine but unless she has access to a lot of advanced weapons there is no way they are a threat to any of the major cities. Luckily we have managed to get to the other small villages and evacuate them to major cities such as Beijing before the horde got to them. Once they are out in the open our air forces will be able to pick them off before they even get into the city. Once they try to attack our defenses at one of the major cities they will be annihilated!"

 

Jake was standing there listening to them just waiting for Jesse to give the word and wasn't surprised at how soon it came. "Jake I need you and your squad to meet up with General Chang who is leading the defense of Beijing from the Imperial City there. Once you do your mission will be to help them defend the city and take out the enemy leader. Once their leader is dead the horde will scatter and this "petty invasion" will have been dealt with."

 

Jake simply smiled and said "Yes sir."

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Her name was Phaidor and she appeared at the gates of Beijing under a white flag. At the gates she prostrated herself to the guards and asked for mercy.

 

"To the rulers of Beijing, I bring you tidings. I have escaped from the clutches of the wicked warlord Khatun and wish for entrance into your city to meet with your commander. I bring him news of the horde's next movements and can assist him in destroying the barbarians before they arrive in Beijing. Please let me in, it will not be long before the Warlord realizes I have left and hunts me down for disloyalty, her horde approaches within the day!"

 

Phaidor looked up at the guards over her and cried out. The rogue pleaded on her hands and knees.

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Jake had arrived in Beijing the day before with the rest of his new Delta Squad and were helping General Chang set up the city defenses for a possible attack by the barbarians at any of the entrences to the city.

 

The guards would let Phaidor in after a thorough check for weapons or bombs. After she was cleared she would be taken to the Imperial City at the heart of Beijing where Jake and General Chang's base was set up. She was still closely guarded as a necessary precaution while Jake asked for what intel she had. "If you know something that can help us destroy the barbarians before they kill anyone else than please tell us."

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The taste of vomit tinged his mouth. He took another swing of water out of his canteen as he watched the village being smashed under the fire and sword of a legion of horsemen. War wasn't a stranger to him but this had a quality to it that made him uncomfortably nauseated. Having a great capacity for violence, a joy of living with one finger on the trigger, and the hesitation to do harm ground out of him decades ago still hadn't made him a fan of wanton murder. Still, a job was a job, and he wasn't here to protect sheep who couldn't or wouldn't protect themselves. 

 

In his world, god gave every man and woman two trigger fingers for a reason, any person unwilling to use them to defend themselves or defend their people didn't deserve what they have. To live and die by the gun was a cliche that irritated him greatly as the world's greatest gunfighters from Wild Bill Hickok on up had nearly all fallen at the hands of some barely competent trigger puller who could barely figure out which end of their weapon the bullets came out. It irritated him because being skilled wasn't necessary to utilize the gift Samuel Colt had given mankind, you didn't have to be good, you just had to be willing. As he watched the villagers being harvested he felt disgust for the wanton slaughter and a sizable amount of disdain for those wouldn't fight for themselves. 

 

"So this is what hell looks like," he muttered as he watched. As of yet he had made no attempt to make formal contact with this motley band of horseman as an official representative of 'the firm'. For now, he watched, used his cameras to keep a photo-record of the events that play out as he followed along in the horde's wake. His orders were explicitly clear on that matter and even if he didn't enjoy watching a slaughter he was abundantly sure he'd enjoy spending his completion of contract bonus. Still, he had to wonder what his employers hoped to gain by having him watch and listen as this all played out. 

Edited by Tidy Bowl Man
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Jake had arrived in Beijing the day before with the rest of his new Delta Squad and were helping General Chang set up the city defenses for a possible attack by the barbarians at any of the entrences to the city.

 

The guards would let Phaidor in after a thorough check for weapons or bombs. After she was cleared she would be taken to the Imperial City at the heart of Beijing where Jake and General Chang's base was set up. She was still closely guarded as a necessary precaution while Jake asked for what intel she had. "If you know something that can help us destroy the barbarians before they kill anyone else than please tell us."

 

Phaidor sat with Jake and the General and spoke softly. "You will not win this war by hiding behind your walls. If you are to defeat these barbarians, before they lay waste to your land, you must meet them out on the field. Or Shanghai will be left a burning carcass of what once was."

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General Chang didn't like the plan. "You can't expect us to meet them on open ground like that?"

 

Jake however liked the plan a bit but understood why General Chang didn't. "It is not as bad of a plan as you might think. We have enough extra forces to possibly get that to work. Yes they may have guns and horses but if they were to go head to head with our T-90 tanks they would be crushed. The one that worries me the most though is their leader. We still do not know that much about her and one of the rules of war is that you need to know your enemy in order to defeat them. How are we supposed to face her like that when we don't know that much about her."

 

"I think the question you should be asking yourself Jake is how are you supposed to defeat her when you don't even know that much about yourself?" They all turned around and were a little surprised to see Lee.

 

"Jesse didn't tell me you were coming as well."

 

"I took a later flight. I came here to help you Jake because I know what you are going through." Jake and Lee would walk into a private area where they could better discuss things by themselves. "I know what you are going through Jake and if you are going to defeat the Barbarian leader than you will need to find your true potential. Your father was a dragon and by blood so are you. In order to defeat her you will need to learn how to control your dragon form."

 

"How? We do not have that much time until they get here. How am I supposed to learn how to control it so quickly?"

 

"There is a temple in the mountains not far from the city. It is a very peaceful place and has a lot of history to it as well. It is the perfect place for me to teach you how to control your dragon form just like how Mei taught Jesse the same thing." Lee then walked back over to General Chang. "I have brought with me a bunch of reinforcements and a good amount of tanks. My army will eventually meet them in open battle on the plains between the mountains and the city while your forces remain within the city just in case the barbarians ever got that far."

 

"Yes sir." Chang would say. "May I ask what you plan on doing with Commander Jake for the time being?"

 

"If we are going to beat these barbarians than we will need to fight their leader in open combat. Jake has much to learn and not a lot of time to learn it. Hopefully he will be ready when the time comes because either way this is gonna end up being one hell of a fight."

 

Meanwhile "The Firm's" mission for the mercenary Jebbidiah was very simple: "You are to observe and analyse how the Shanghai Military react to a "Bariarian Invasion" like the one you are about to join. You will get paid as long as you manage to give us a good amount of usable intel about them and you don't get yorself killed in the process. Once the job is done... you know where to find me." 

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