Author's Note:

This was a challenge done between Darkfire7881 and myself. The challenge was to take a random and unrelated image, and make a one off story based on it. The image used is the cover photo for this story (for mobile users, go here: knowyourmeme. com photos/1468806-animals). Darkfire7881 has done one for Halo and I (obviously) have done one for Command and Conquer. The rules are simple, make a story loosely based off the image. Could be short or long, serious or silly.

To see Darkfire's story, see my favorites for the link or alternatively, search up title: "Last Picture of Man."

Full Disclaimer: I have actually never played the Command and Conquer games.


Of Airplanes, Wolves, and Kane

GDI Central Command
Washington, DC
Blue Zone B-2

Lieutenant General Jack Granger steadfastly marched in the direction of his control room located at the very top level of the base's intelligence enter. Granger's face was calm, and he walked at a steady, brisk pace, giving no sign or even a hint of the sense of urgency that threatened to overwhelm his every thought, yet somehow everyone was able to pick up on his air of determination, and quickly scrambled to get out of his way. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the crowded corridor separated, allowed Granger clear and unimpeded access, only to quickly fill in once more as soon as he passed. Granger, distracted as he was, barely even noticed.

Coming down from the opposite end of the corridor was his aide, Lieutenant Sandra Telfair. She was hurriedly walking in his direction while hastily attempting to button up the rest of her uniform, indicating that, like Granger, she had been rather abruptly woken only a few minutes ago. However, upon laying eyes on Granger, she abandoned all her attempts at fixing her uniform, leaving the last two top buttons unfastened.

"General Granger, sir -" she started to say, but Granger immediately cut her off by lifting a single index finger.

"Walk and talk with me Lieutenant," Granger demanded and Telfair gave a single nod of acknowledgement as he moved out of his way. As soon as Granger marched past her though, she spun around smartly on one heel and quickly fell in line behind Granger.

"What's the situation Lieutenant?" Granger barked. "Why are we at full alert? Is it because of Nod? It's got to be Nod. If I've told General Harkin once, I've told him a hundred times: he might think that because Kane is dead, the Brotherhood is no longer a threat, but twenty-eight years of fighting Nod, there's one thing I can say with absolute certainty: as long as there's Tiberium on Earth, Nod is a serious threat."

"We're not sure sir," Telfair admitted. "During a routine sweep, Sky Sentry managed to pick up something odd over the skies of northern Siberia. At this point in time sir, InOps is not entirely sure what that 'something' is, but given that that the entirety of Siberia is a Yellow Zone, InOps thinks that it this has something to do with the Maniacs."

Granger couldn't help but snort.

"'They're not sure.' 'They think,'" he growled as he approached the main entrance to the control room, barely noticing the two commando guards standing outside snapping to attention. "That is just typical of Intelligence Operations."

Swiping he keycard through the reader, Granger waited until the door buzzed open, but just before he walked through, his frustration ended up getting the better of him and he whirled around to face Telfair. "How is it that InOps has the highest budget of all government departments, yet on a good day, the best they can do is tell me Tiberium is green!? Does that make any sense to you Lieutenant?"

Belatedly, Granger remembered that Telfair was a part of InOps but fortunately, ever the consummate professional, all she did was nod and say, "No sir. It doesn't."

Granger resisted the urge to snort in disgust once again. It was a bad day when even InOps agents couldn't justifying their own department's incompetency.

"Well, let's see what they have to say for themselves," Granger growled, then walked into the room.

Inside the control room, the area was abuzz with activity. Soldiers, technicians, and operatives moved from station to station, checking computers, marking maps, and calling out orders over the radio. Standing in the midst of all the chaos was a single GDI lieutenant, staring up at a large screen with her arms folded behind her back. Even with her back turned to Granger, he could tell who it was.

"Lieutenant James!"

Lieutenant Kirce James automatically turned at the sound of her name being called, and she immediately snapped to attention upon laying eyes on Granger.

"General Granger sir," she barked. "My apologies for waking you up so abruptly."

Granger immediately waved his hand in dismissal. "Spare me the pleasantries Lieutenant, I know you wouldn't have done it unless you had a good reason. What's the situation?"

James hesitated, and that alone told Granger just about everything he needed to know about this situation. Lieutenant James was the foremost expert on all of the Brotherhood's tactics and weapons; if she couldn't figure out what was going on, then the situation MUST be bad.

"We're not... sure sir," James hesitantly said. "It just might be easier to show you."

"Put it on the screen then," Granger commanded.

"Yes sir."

The center screen lit up as a video began playing. By the looks of it, it was a video feed from one of the Sky Sentry satellites in orbit.

"Sky Sentry was going a routine sweep over northern Siberia when they noticed this," James explained, hitting a button. Granger watched as the video began to zoom in, showing a twisted and blasted landscape. Very few vegetation remained and what few trees were still standing were all embedded with green crystals: Tiberium.

Emerging from the trees was a single heat signature. It was hard to tell what it was at first, but it quickly became clear a moment later: it was a moose.

"This is what the emergency is all about?" Granger demanded. "A moose? We knew some animals could survive for extended periods in Tiberium zones, even though our best scientists still can't explain how. Still, I don't see how this warrants a full scale alert."

"Just wait sir."

Granger waited. Almost a full minute later, Sky Sentry began picking up movement in the air and soon, a small plane began flying through the screen.

Granger frowned, and looked closer. "Is that... is that a civilian owned Cessna? Civilians haven't yet been cleared to enter that yellow zone! That must be a Nod operative!"

"Not exactly sir," James hesitantly said. "It gets... weird. I recommend you keep watching."

Granger chose to do exactly that. He watched as the plane started to fly over the lands until it reached the spot directly over the moose. As soon as it did, the plane began making circles and automatically, Sky Sentry zoomed in just in time to see one of the doors to the Cessna open. Emerging from the shadows was a -

"Is that... is that a wolf?"

Sure enough, an honest to god gray wolf, wearing a parachute emerged from the doorway. The wolf calmly jumped out of the plane and as the creature descended, it somehow pulled out a knife from nowhere, and began angling for the moose on the ground.

Granger was stunned.

"My god," he said. "I know Tiberium was causing mutations in the local wildlife, but this is on a whole new level!"

"No no no sir, don't you see sir?" James retorted. "This isn't just the wildlife acting up, this is Nod's newest operatives: wolf men! Men who look like men in the daylight, but when exposed to radiation from the Tiberium, they become wolves! It's the perfect disguise!"

Granger stared closely at James. He wasn't one to immediately dismiss his subordinates concerns, especially after all the warnings he himself had given to the Director about Nod, but this seemed rather farfetched, even for the Brotherhood.

"Lieutenant," Granger began, "how on god's green Earth did you come up with that conclusion?"

"Oh... Kane told me."

"Excuse me?"

"Yes sir. Kane, sir. Oh Kane!"

"Heyyy guys!" Kane said in one of the most flamboyant voices Granger had ever heard the man use as he emerged from behind the screen.

"Kane!?" Granger blurted out, astonished by what he was seeing. Even more astonishing to him was the fact that no one else seemed bothered by Kane's sudden appearance. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Oh, you know, I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd just swing by and say hi," Kane slyly said.

Granger blinked as something suddenly occurred to him. "Aren't you supposed to be dead!?"

"Oh, you knowww, Kane lives in death and all that," Kane said with a girlish wave of his hand. "But enough about me: I want to talk about you! I mean, look at what you're wearing!"

Granger glanced at his uniform. "What's wrong with my uniform?" he demanded to know, before catching himself. What was he doing?

"Well, it's just so blue and that makes me feel so sad. Doesn't that make you feel sad?" Kane asked James who, to Granger's astonishment, nodded her head in agreement. "There's just so much sadness in the world already, why should we add more? Can't you add some more color? Like me?"

Without warning, Kane was suddenly wearing a pink shirt, one so bright, it physically hurt Granger's eyes to look at. He stared at Kane, wondering what the hell was going on.

"Is... is this some sort of joke?" Granger couldn't help but ask as he turned to Telfair, only to see her running around the room with her arms extended out like she was airplane. "Lieutenant, what the hell are you doing!?"

"Sorry sir, can't hear you!" Telfair replied. "I'm an airplane now. Arrrrrnnnnn!"

"And why are we called the Brotherhood anyways?" Kane was saying in background to an enthralled James. "That's soooooo misogynistic. We need to be more inclusive. It should be the Brother and Sisterhood of Nod!"

Granger stared around the room, not sure what the hell was going on. Was this some sort of Nod trick? Maybe some sort of psychosis or hallucinogenic drug in the water? Whatever it was, Granger clearly needed reinforcements, fast.

Shoving his way past Telfair, Granger grabbed a nearby phone.

"Get me the Philadelphia!" Granger demanded. "I'm calling an emergency D9 brief! I need Director Kinsburg and General Harkin and... is that the can-can?"

The doors to the control room abruptly burst open, and to his immense surprise, Director Kinsburg, followed by Deputy Director Boyle, and General Harkin came dancing, yes, dancing into the room, singing, "Oh, can you do the can-can, if you can then I can, I can Can Can if you Can Can!"

Granger just stared. "What...the hell...is going on!?"

Then suddenly, from the back of the room where he had been steadily working, an unseen janitor, with the name "Otter" written on his name tag, spoke up.

"You're dreaming dummy," was all he said, and with a start -

- Granger abruptly woke up.

Breathing quite heavily, he tore the sheets off him and frantically looked around the room, only to find himself in his rather Spartan-looking quarters. Aside from a small cot, a cabinet holding his uniforms, and a bed stand holding a telephone, the room was completely bare, save the massive Eagle insignia of the GDI painted on the wall. There was no sign of James, airplane Telfair, dancing directors, and definitely no sign of flamboyant Kane.

"That's it Jack," Granger muttered to himself as he laid back down. "No more chimichangas before bed time."