So this is the standard setup. SFA happened as per usual. The team took a vacation for about two weeks and have since been trying to train Krystal. Since they're trying to make a, more or less, new team it's called pathfinder because they need to figure out how their dynamics work as a team now. It'll have an episodic style, kind of like Metal Gear Solid 5 or an old 2000s DC cartoon. Lightly linked together sometimes but mostly episodic. I hope you all enjoy.
"ROB, have we got any work?"
Fox leaned up from his chair in the main room of the Great Fox.
"Search shows multiple C rank missions available."
"Great. We can make some money today if we dispatch onto those."
"NO!" There was a loud objection from the most expected team member. "I am sick and tired of these C rank missions. They're boring, they're clutter, and they don't pay enough."
Fox looked over at Falco with an annoyed expression, but he knew the bird was right. "Fox, he's right. I've done some financing and the workload of C rank missions has hardly been breaking us even after our vacation." Fox exhaled after Peppy confirmed his theory on the team's finances. He knew this would be the result of C rank missions, but he didn't want to take too many risks with his newly formed team.
Falco had just re-joined the team after years of absence, and of course they had a new member. Krystal's training had been going well, but she's only been training for about a month. Concerns for safety aside, Fox was also getting bored of these C rank missions.
"Well, ROB can you search again? For higher ranked missions?" The robot turned around and typed on the computer.
"Search shows multiple B rank missions available." Fox breathed a sigh of relief while Falco was more vocal in his response.
"Yes! Finally some excitement."
"ROB, can you display the missions on the projector here in the center?"
"Affirmative, changing display." ROB punched a few keys and the projector in the center of the room came to life, showing multiple B rank missions as well as their descriptions. Fox's eyes went up and down, up and down.
"Scroll down. Scroll down. Scroll do-"
"Come on man just pick one!"
Fox's concentration was disturbed as he shot a glare at Falco. "Fine, here's one. Katina, small hostage situation. Some local athletes had their bus ambushed and now the criminals want a ransom."
"Easy stuff, we get in and we get out. It's that easy." Falco always had his way of demeaning difficulty and danger. Fox looked over at Peppy for silent affirmation on his decision. The rabbit nodded to him without a word. Fox's decision was affirmed even more when he saw the payment. It was the same as three C rank missions. He had a hard time arguing with that kind of payment.
"ROB, notify the contract holder and chart a course for Katina. We've got some athletes to save." Falco jumped up out of his seat.
"Yeah baby! Woohoo we got some real work!". The bird ran off towards his room to suit up as Fox let out a small groan. Fox stood up out of his chair as he saw a green figure poke around the corner.
"So, what's real work?"
"We're headed to Katina to resolve a hostage situation."
"Isn't that a little…dangerous?"
"Yeah a little bit more dangerous than the C rank missions, but this one B rank pays the same as three C ranks."
"Oh. Then I guess it really is real work after all."
"Hey ROB! How long until we reach Katina?" The robot was typing on the keyboard looking back and forth between two screens.
"Estimated time of arrival is four hours and twelve minutes."
Fox turned back to Slippy, "Looks like we have plenty of time." Slippy turned around and went back to his own quarters. Fox decided to do the same, either get a four hour nap for preparation or to make sure absolutely everything is in order for the team's first real mission since Sauria.
"Don't be too concerned Fox, remember that you have a trained team. A mostly trained team." Fox's ears fluttered a little bit when Peppy made this more particular mention.
"Right, I guess I should let her know." Fox trotted down the hallway to Krystal's room and knocked on the metal door. A moment later the door was opened and she stood in the doorway.
"Hey Fox, what's going on?"
"We just accepted a mission"
"Oh great, I was hoping that we would have some work soon. I was getting a little cramped in here and really would like some more field training." Fox gulped a little bit at the mention of training.
"Yeah well this missions a bit more dangerous. It's a B rank where we'll be busting up a hostage situation."
"Oh wow that sounds exciting! What will I be doing?" He paused for a moment. He paused because he didn't have an answer for her. Certainly not a good one.
"I don't know yet, ETA for our destination is about four hours so in three hours we're going to have a briefing in the main room about it okay?"
"Okay, that sounds great. I'm looking forward to it." She smiled at him as he walked away and the door shut. Fox walked back to his own room and plopped down on the bed, looking up at the ceiling with a hand on his forehead.
'Our first B rank mission as a new team, and one of us isn't fully trained. What was I thinking? No, we'll be fine. Even if Krystal can't go on the mission, I'm sure that me, Slippy and Falco can handle it just fine.' He looked into his closet for a clean uniform, pulling one out and laying it on his chair. He looked for his combat boots and sat them next to the chair and fetched a pair of half finger gloves from a dresser, sitting them on his desk.
'Time to suit up'
He grinned as he looked at his apparel. The three hours passed and the team assembled in the main room of the Great Fox. "Okay ROB, what information have you gotten for us?"
"Mission involves extraction from a small facility twenty miles away from a nearby town of Katina. Security on the facility grounds is of moderate level. Floor plan downloading to communication visors now." As the download finished everyone extended their visors and saw a small map on the scouter of their collapsible visors. The facility was a small office complex that was overtaken by the criminals, holding the athletes as well as the business workers hostage. It was a two floor building, likely so they wouldn't have to take up quite as much square feet.
As the floor plan was pulled up on the main projector Fox scratched his chin. "So, guns ablazin' right?" Fox rolled his eyes at Falco's joke.
"It being a smaller facility makes this a more difficult operation, getting inside won't be so easy. These guys must be a step above competent." Fox tried to formulate a plan on how to get inside, it was fairly easy to guard since it was a small and simple building.
"Is there any data on how many criminals there are on guard?" Slippy tried to bring some assistance in formulating this plan.
"How about we fake a pizza delivery?" Fox rolled his eyes in response, he expected as much from Falco.
"No I'm serious. If they're holding up some plain work space then who's to say a pizza couldn't be delivered there? Plus who'd say no?"
"You know, as slapstick as that sounds it would make a good distraction." Slippy voiced his surprising approval of Falco's idea.
"Hmm, you're onto something. Alright so here's the plan. We'll have Falco deliver the decoy. In the pizza box we'll have a jammer to interfere with communication and surveillance systems in the building. Once the decoy is inside we'll have two doing a skydive onto the roof and two from the ground. Once we're inside we'll locate the hostages and take control of the surveillance. Once those two are taken care of we'll have the local authorities contacted and hope that the pizza is still hot." Everyone nodded in agreement of Fox's plan.
"Then it's settled, Krystal and I will be the jumpers and Falco and Slippy will be on the ground." As the ship neared the planet, the team headed for the docking bay.
"Okay, is everyone in position? Communications are still green connection." Fox was hovering high in the air in his Arwing, Krystal's not far away.
"I'm driving up to the place now." Falco relayed his message while fastening the hat of his pizza uniform disguise.
"I'm cloaked nearby." Slippy said as he stayed as still as possible so his cloaking device would stay active.
"Okay, let's get this operation started. Falco, give the word." The bird nodded although no one saw it. He swung recklessly into a parking spot of the facility and picked up the pizza box, leaving the car door open. Walking up to the door he was making sure to look around, ensuring that he won't be shot at. Coming up to the front door he was confronted by a disgruntled looking fox.
"Whadda ya want?" The fox pointed a small handgun at Falco, just what he was expecting.
The bird took a small pause with his mouth open, "Look, man, I'm just here to deliver a pizza. I don't know what's going on, I'm just trying to pay rent."
"Yeah well if you wanna keep payin' rent you better keep that beak'a yours shut. I'll take that, and thanks for it bein' on the house." The fox opened the door wide enough so the box would fit through and quickly shut it back.
"Now get outta here and you better not tell nobody bout nothin'."
"Yeah dude, not a word." Falco raise his hands defensively as he headed back to his car and floored it out of the parking lot. "Decoy delivered, I'm going around the corner to re-engage."
"That's our cue, ready Krystal."
"Ready." The two Arwings picked up a little speed to move closer to the target, and when they were close enough they flipped and the canopies opened. The Arwings circled back on auto pilot as the two mercenaries flew straight down towards the roof of the building. After a quick drop they pulled their parachutes and safely and softly landed on the roof of the building.
Slippy and Falco had moved up towards the sides of the building, looking for any possible opening. "I'm not seeing a way in, you, Slip?"
"Nothing, not even a window and I don't think breaking one will guarantee anyone's safety."
Fox pulled off his last harness and keyed up to talk, "That's okay, we'll split up. Krystal you go downstairs and try to find an opening for them, I'll look for the hostages on the second floor."
"By yourself? That's too dangerous."
"I'll be fine, our priority right now is to have the team together in case of an emergency. So please can you find some kind of entry point on the first floor?" Krystal nodded, protest still evident on her face.
"As Falco would say, if all else fails it'll be time to kick butt." Fox grinned as he popped the grate off of an air duct and pointed inside it, signaling Krystal to hop in. As they descended down the duct there was a fork and they split up.
Krystal's map led her down to a more vertical path, slowly easing her way down the duct. The duct was hotter as she eased her way down and her hands became a bit sweaty. Close to the bottom of the duct her hand slipped a little and she landed on a flat part of the duct louder than intended. She held her breath for a moment and let it out, crawling up to a vent and looking down into the room below her. Seeing no one in the room she crawled to the other side of the vent and turned around, still no sight of anyone in the room.
Flipping out a multi-tipped screwdriver she unscrewed two screws and the vent flipped downward. She lowered her head and scanned the room one more time before diving down and flipping over to land on her feet.
"Falco, Slippy, I'm on the first floor on the Southwest side, I'm opening a window."
"Copy that, I'm on my way." The bird went prone on the ground and started crawling towards the destination. Krystal stood next to the slightly open door, in case of an encounter.
"I'm in position, Slippy's here too." Krystal strafed around the edges of the room towards the window, opening it with ease as the bird and frog climbed in.
"Fox, we're all in, what do you want to do now?"
"Can one of you find a way upstairs? We can split up two per floor."
"Got it, I'm on my way. Can we try a rendezvous near the Southwest portion of the building?"
"We can, I'm on my way Krystal." The communication was closed as Krystal poked her head out of the door to leave.
"Don't move sweetheart."
Krystal's eyes closed and her lips curled because she knew what that meant. "Come on out sweet thing. And your friend." Krystal stepped out of the room with her hands up.
Falco looked back at Slippy as Slippy nodded and tapped Falco's ankle ahead while hiding underneath a desk.
"Alright tough guy shut your trap. You found me." Falco stepped out of the door with his hands up.
"Shoulda guessed. The so called pizza delivery boy. Looks like you're the one who's gonna be delivered soon."
"Yeah whatever. You're pretty brave when you've got that gun pointed at me with my hands in the air."
"What did you say!?" The disgruntled cat shoved the barrel of his rifle into Falco's chest.
"You deaf? Or you just like the sound of my voice?" The cat growled just a bit as Krystal kicked Falco in his leg.
"Agh, fine. Just get us outta here so I don't have to listen to you run your mouth any more." The cat huffed as he directed them towards the nearest staircase.
"Fox, we've got trouble."
Fox lost some of his breath at that word.
"Yeah, there was someone waiting outside the door where we came in, so they got Falco and Krystal."
"Great, as if this operation wasn't hard enough as is. I knew we shouldn't have-"
"It's okay. Look at your map."
Fox deployed the scouter on his visor and grinned. "Come up the Southwest staircase. I'll be waiting near the Southeast side. We'll go from there once you're in position."
"Copy that." The frog grinned as he, more carefully, peeked the corner of the door and dove down the hallway moving towards the stairs.
"Now you two just sit here with the rest of our guests." The cat shoved Falco and Krystal down onto the floor.
"Guess it's a good thing you ain't running a hotel or restaurant if this is how you treat guests. Speaking of you got anything to eat?" The cat and the guard already posted in the so called guest room glared at him. "I was only asking. Sheesh. Not like I handed you a free pizza or anything." Falco grinned, knowing that every word he spoke was doing exactly what he needed it to.
"We have tape and gags if you need them. And it looks like you're going to." The cat glared at Falco one more time before leaving. The guard continued to walk around the room looking at all the other hostages, as well as grabbing a gag.
Her attention was directed towards the bird when he spoke her name. "I need you to close your eyes when I give the signal."
"You'll know it when you see it." Krystal nodded her head, whatever plan Falco had she trusted it.
"They stopped moving. This must be the room." Fox collapsed the scouter on his visor as he inched closer to a closed door. He ducked into a small closet a few feet away from the desired door. "Are you in position?"
"I'm ready Fox."
Fox peeked out of his closet and saw Slippy on the other end of the hallway and smiled.
"Hey, bozo, you got anything to eat?" Falco yelled to the guard as he rolled his eyes. "Come on you got that pizza on the table a few feet away and I can't even get a slice because you tied up my hands. Just get me one piece of it. Come on dude I gave it to you."
The guard groaned as he picked up one of the gags. "I got something right here for ya to eat." The guard squatted down and tried shoving the gag into Falco's mouth but the bird headbutted his hand and gave the guard a kick. And then another, and then swept his leg.
"So we got a kicker huh?" The guard grabbed Falco's leg and pulled at his boot as Falco tried to resist. He pulled back but the guard managed to steal Falco's boot and laugh. "Gonna kick me again or have you got something else you wanna say about losing your boot this time?"
"Yeah I got something to say. Boom."
A bright flashed came off of Falco's boot that illuminated the room as the guard dropped the boot and both Falco and Krystal looked away with their eyes closed. When they came to the guard was on the ground face first and Fox had his knee on top of the guard's hands.
"Worked like a charm, I knew that big mouth of yours would come in handy one day, Falco." Fox smiled at his teammates. Fox tied up, and successfully gagged the guard in a corner. He cut the binds off of all the hostages as well as his teammates. "That communication you and Slippy had was great."
"Yeah, I figured he would come prepared with some tech."
Krystal looked over and saw a black, charred spot on Falco's boot and then she realized what the plan was.
"Krystal, can you contact the local authorities and tell them that we've secured the hostages?" She nodded her head as she opened up a communication to the local department.
"I've found the surveillance room. As expected we've jammed communications and all they're getting is static. The authorities are fine to come in." Fox pumped his fist and let out a sigh of relief at the news from Slippy.
"Looks like we were ready for it after all huh Fox?" Falco was right, perhaps Fox underestimated his team a little bit.
As the authorities showed up the criminals surrendered, knowing that they were surrounded, inside and out. Fox shook hands with the local authorities and even were compensated with a sizable bonus for no casualties and quick completion.
"Thanks for everything officer. Now the important question, what's a good place in town to get something to eat?"