Segen Bashar Jonathan ‘Reaper’ Morrick looked out into the barren landscape of the Siberian wasteland. A dead land.

And there would be more death coming to it tonight.

Reaper looked away from the window to check on his men in the dimly lit Black Hawk. At full capacity, the reliable craft carried eleven troops with equipment and could be fitted with external fuel tanks for long ranged missions. Like him, the occupants of the helicopter were experienced Ghosts, though not all of them were from the same unit. He already knew two of them, as being part of Fox Division, Reaper’s reputable operations group, and was close friends with fellow Segen Bashar ‘Sheep’ and his squad of four. However, there was only one real stranger assigned to the mission, even if his encounters with Jim ‘Mackerel’ Macking from the Rear Guard and Bob ‘Joey’ Wilson of the Australian Unit were brief. Reaper picked a seat next to the Red-Tail Detachment’s Maksym ‘Thunder’ Alexandrov with the intention of teasing information from him.

Much to Reaper’s surprise, Thunder had divulged so much that even a trained interrogator would struggle to keep up. Reaper somehow managed to hang onto Thunder’s machine gun jabbering. “So we find bar a bit off Madrid and I meet most beautiful Spanish girl! Have you been to Spain yet?”

Reaper shook his head, wondering how the conversation - well, monologue - had moved so quickly from a military operation in Turkey to chatting up girls in Spain in the several seconds he had spent looking out the window.

“The vibrant energy of city matches its women! As for what we did that night” - the Russian grinned - “I shall not say because I am gentleman.”

“So, you finally found something that keeps you quiet?” Reaper replied, taking an apple out of his bag and biting it.

“What? Er…” Thunder realized he was being ribbed and stopped talking. The other passengers of the Black Hawk looked strangely relieved.

“Ahem,” Segen Bashar ‘Sheep’ called from the other side of the heli. “Morrick, accusing our friend Max here for talking too much is a definite case of the pot," Sheep paused, gesturing, “calling the kettle black.”

When amused coughs started to erupt in the helicopter (even the pilot suppressed a laugh), Reaper replied, “Sod off, Sheep! At least I have better things to talk about instead of flanking tactics and guerilla warfare!”

Still proud of his crippling blow, Sheep returned to cleaning his Tec-9, which was unusually fed by a drum magazine for today. Reaper looked at it suspiciously, but before he had time to comment, the pilot’s voice cracked from the loudspeaker, announcing: “Ten minutes!”

Faces in the helicopter turned from relaxed to serious as the soldiers prepared their kit.

“Alright, since we were dispatched pretty hastily,” Sheep spoke. “let’s review the new information that was just sent to us in-flight.”

Reaper panned the touch-screen device and announced, “Right, now listen. Some Phantoms have holed out in an abandoned factory town in the fucking Taymyr Peninsula. A satellite pass has revealed that they’ve used amphibious landing craft to set up nuclear missile systems to target our production facilities by circumventing ICBM defense networks. We’re to take ‘em out and destroy or capture the nuclear material. Mission orders prefer that we destroy the WMD’s but let’s say we get a nice bonus if the warheads are taken home.

“Anyways, security is pretty tight. Nine landing craft deployed three HML vehicles for launching fucking modified MGM-134 Midgetman missiles and a couple of armored vehicles to defend the launchers. Intelligence hears that they’ve got a Hercules en route to reinforce their guys and I also hear that Sheep knows how to fly those things. Any questions?”

“Reinforcements?” the serviceman to the far left of Reaper called. Known as Donald ‘Penguin’ Oswald, he was Fox Division’s engineer and sapper. Reaper would trust Penguin’s abilities to manage the logistics of the squad, and additional resources in the battlefield had to be accounted for. 

“If it gets hairy, we’ll have marines come in on patrol boats we’ve stationed to watch for any of the enemy’s reinforcements,” Sheep replied. “However, I’d rather not have to call them in and get an early warning on incoming forces.” The expressions on the faces of the Black Hawk’s passengers all showed their agreement.

“Any word on air support?” the commando next to Reaper called. Men like Fitzgerald ‘Fitz’ Cunningham were hard to come by. As Reaper’s designated marksman, he was well-suited for his role and appreciated for his usefulness on the battlefield and tactical thinking even while in stressful conditions.

“All of our units are preoccupied with Phantom forces that have attacked a crane site in the area,” Reaper said. “The aircraft are currently reinforcing our position there and providing close air support. However, if the battle goes well we may be able to divert some support if necessary.”

“Any more questions?” Sheep inquired. The soldiers signalled that they had none and resumed preparing for the operation.