Chapter 1: Arrival
It was the early afternoon of the second day of the New Year, 1969, when the BLU Sniper parked his van in its usual place at the BLU base of 2Fort. The almost factory looking BLU base was just opposite the more rustic RED base, separated by a small stretch of water and connected by a covered bridge. It had been the scene of many battles, fought over suitcases filled with secrets, where he had killed nine different men countless times and had died more than a few times himself. However a professional doesn’t complain about his job and this job paid better than any other he could possibly have.
Still returning to this place was bittersweet after ten days of vacation for the holidays but then again Sniper had spent most of it in his van alone with his thoughts and a good cup of coffee, exactly how he wanted to. Sure Sniper had called up his parents two days before Christmas from a payphone but like usual the call consisted mostly of his dad arguing with him about his job and very little time with his mum, who had asked him if he was going to visit…He had lied and said he didn’t have Christmas off… Sniper loved his parents but he wasn’t the kind of guy who cared for company, let alone company that would have relentlessly harassed him the whole time either by calling him a “crazed gunman” or trying to hook him up with some sheila that was the daughter or niece of someone he didn’t even like. Plus Sniper didn’t need a wife and any woman that might catch his eye would never be able to handle him or what he did. It wasn’t until he entered the bathroom that he noticed something was different about the old base.
“What the…”began Sniper, moving his sunglasses down his nose to make sure he was seeing the scene before him correctly…
There were no open urinals, where they had been were new stall walls and that wasn’t the only thing, it looked like someone had actually cleaned the entire bathroom…Sniper stood there dumbfounded for a moment till he heard the familiar sound of a toilet flushing and the BLU Engineer walked out of a nearby stall.
“Howdy Stretch…You okay?” asked the Engineer, realizing Sniper was still glancing around at the improved bathroom.
“Yeh, what happened to the bathroom?” returned Sniper, gesturing to the new stalls.
“Oh that, they are still there, just closed off, see?” replied Engineer as he opened the nearest of the new stalls to reveal a urinal, which also looked like it had been cleaned.
“I see mate but why? And why has this whole placed been cleaned?” asked Sniper as he motioned his hand in an arc.
“ We’re gettin’ a new teammate remember? Solider mentioned it…Oh that’s right, you had already gotten in your van…” replied Engineer and he rubbed his chin, not sure how much to tell Sniper because he was privy to information known only to him, Medic and Solider.
“Bloody hell…What can ya tells me about the bloke?” asked Sniper only to cock a brow when Engineer didn’t answer right away.
“ Not much, Solider just said it would be a class we hadn’t seen before and that they would arrive later today…I gotta go help Heavy clear out that extra supply closet to make room for their living quarters. “said Engineer, leaving before Sniper could ask any more questions.
As Sniper relieved himself he couldn’t help but be filled with questions, the main one being-‘Why did Engineer say they when he meant one?’
Making his way back to his van he passed the rooms meant for the BLU team and noted that most of them look occupied expect his, which was normal as he always slept in his van, and the extra supply room which was now furnished with a bed and…what was that in the corner by the bed? It looked soft and made of blankets… Just as Sniper poked his head into the refurnished room he heard rushed footsteps that could only be-
“Yo Snipah! Soldier wants us all in the mess hall, says he wants to brief us on dat new teammate…Well c’mon man he says he won’t say any more about it till everyone is there. “called the BLU Scout in his obnoxious voice, running in place as he waited for Sniper, clearly impatient.
“Fine ankle-biter. “replied Sniper as he followed Scout to the mess hall where the rest of the BLU team was assembled with Soldier standing at the head of the main table with his whip in hand and behind his back. Sniper could almost feel the glare he knew was hidden by that helmet. He sat in his usual spot and looked around at his teammates…
Scout was already seated and looking cocky as always while Pyro was messing around with a lighter, ignoring Demoman who looked like he was fighting off a hangover which was more common than most of the team would like. Heavy was talking quietly to the Medic, who was across from him, either about health issues or small talk it didn’t really interest Sniper at the moment. Engineer was scribbling on the notepad he always kept with him, probably some new invention or that higher learning gibberish. Spy was next to Sniper, enjoying the occasional inhale of his cigarette and looking quite amused.
“What’s goin on with ya?” asked Sniper, facing Spy.
The two weren’t exactly friends but shared a mutual understanding of isolation and its necessity as a mercenary. While Spy wore a mask to keep his true identity hidden, so did Sniper. He might engage with the other teammates better then Spy but he had plans on how to kill each one of them if he had too and he was pretty sure Spy did too.
“ You’ll see soon enough mon amie” replied Spy.
There was little Spy loved more than successfully discovering information that was supposed to be hidden from him. From the renovations in the bathrooms to the new medicines Medic had had delivered only pointed to one thing…
“Well boys, listen up! I don’t want to hear any complaints about that bullshit excuse called allergies because our new teammate is actually an honest-to-goodness American duo called the K-9 Unit, composed of Handler and Hound and you will address each respectively as such. Any questions?” said Solider, his voice his usual loud tone.
The room was quiet for a moment before Scout raised his hand and began to talk before Soldier motioned to him.
“Yeah, how is a dirty dog supposed to help us in combat? Hell I could kill a dog with one swing before it could bit-OOOWW!” Scout’s clutched his left hand with his right as the sting of Soldier’s whip cut his boasting off short.
“ I will not tolerate such talk! I could say pretty much the same about you city boy! Also do not talk before I point to you, do you understand!?!” snarled Soldier. Scout just nodded which only earned him another whack on his left knee.
“Yes sir!” replied Scout, cringing in expectation of being hit again but only received a disgusted huff from Soldier as the rest of the team watched in silence. Soldier had a short fuse but normally he didn’t hit Scout till after a few more remarks, so what had him on edge?
Solider went more into depth about what the role of the K-9 unit, it was support and the Hound’s primary job was detection of enemy combatants, including spies, both cloaked and disguised. As well as guarding the Handler and being used for ambush attacks. Little was said about the Handler, other than controlling the Hound the Handler was armed pretty much like the Engineer expect for a some kind of sword knife, a Tanto, as a melee instead of a wrench. All and all, not very imposing sounding without the Hound. After the speech the team was dismissed for lunch to eat and discuss the vacation with Sniper finding himself playing poker with Spy, Demoman and Engineer.
It wasn’t till near dinner time that there was the sound of a car pulling up to the base with rock music blaring… Engineer got up from the card game and went to direct the car to the parking area. At once the rest of the team got up and made their way to the door only for Engineer to walk in first, followed by a figure that was a little short at around five foot six inches and was of a medium build with a slightly curvy silhouette dressed in a blue tunic with bell bottom jeans and black boots…
“You gotta be kidding me! Is dat a woman!?!” exclaimed Scout, summing up everyone’s thoughts exactly expect for Engineer, Medic, Soldier and Spy who all knew beforehand, the first three because they had to make preparations, the last knew from snooping.
Handler removed her black trilby hat from in front of her face, revealing a angular facial structure framed with long brown hair. Her thin upper lip was curled in a snarl above her larger lower lip, her green eyes narrowed at Scout. She then smiled and snapped her fingers, making Scout raise a brow only to scream in horror as a large black German Shepherd with tan markings rushed inside the building snarling as it lunged at him, knocking him backwards onto the ground. Scout kept screaming as the dog’s jaws snapped mere inches from his face.
“Get it off me! Get if off me!” screamed Scout as most of the team stood still, dumbstruck by the dog’s ferocity.
Soldier looked towards Handler and she whistled which immediately made Hound release Scout and return to her side.
“Now listen here, I agreed to you joining BLU despite you being a lady but I will not tolerate such displays against one’s own teammates. Do you understand!?!”yelled Soldier.
“Yes sir, I understand. “replied Handler with a nod, she didn’t need to do such a display more than once.
She was here to earn a paycheck, not make friends and would rather her first impression be fierce and let their view of her soften then be thought incapable from the begining of fighting. Her eyes scanned the rest of the team, most were still shocked and some were clearly put off by what she had done. However none of them looked at her with skepticism though she was sure that would become evident after the shock of Hound’s attack wore off…
Then she locked eyes with Sniper who had been hanging back from the rest of the team, he almost looked amused by Scout’s fright but that vanished when he looked into her eyes…It wasn’t love at first sight but physical attraction…The pull was broken as Spy approached Handler and gave a slight bow with a smile on his face.
“ Bonjour Handler, on behalf of the BLU team I welcome you to 2Fort and look forward to battling alongside you.” said Spy after he had straightened up and looked into her eyes, extending his hand.
Handler took his hand and shook it firmly but not to where it would be uncomfortable. The rest of the team then took their turns greeting Handler, all wary of Hound, especially Scout. Sniper hung back, observing like he usually did but did exchange a handshake with Handler, it was tense and awkward because both were aware of their mutual attraction but Handler smiled before speaking:
“Mind showing me where I can get some grub in this place? I have been on the road for the past few days and haven’t had a decent meal for a while.”
“ Well we are in the mess hall, I’m sure Truckie told ya that. As for a decent meal I’m afraid you’re going to have keep lookin but I can show ya how to get to the tucker here.” replied Sniper as he began to lead her to the trays of food arranged on the far side of the mess hall.
As for what was in the trays it was hard to tell as most of it was burnt being that Pyro had cooked that night’s dinner. Handler scooped up onto her tray what looked like green beans, mashed potatoes and some kind of burnt meat paste. She then followed Sniper to his usual table only for him to cock a brow at her when she sat next to him, the rest of the team looking rather unsure about what to do. Before Sniper could say a word the rest of the team made of their minds and sat down beginning small talk amongst themselves and Handler. Not wanting to seem colder than Spy, Sniper joined in and soon the entire team was having a good time which lasted until it was time for lights out, which Soldier strictly enforced as there would be a battle tomorrow at Dustbowl. The K-9 Unit would not be participating as the duo had a week of training that needed to be completed before they were completely battle ready. So the team said their good nights and went to their rooms, Sniper to his van, to prepare themselves for the upcoming bloodbath tomorrow would bring.