It was the longest trip Wendy’s ever taken in her life and frankly, the biggest and most important trip she’s ever taken in her life. She had traveled all the way from London, England to New Mexico, USA and the truth is: she isn’t even supposed to be there in the first place. Her older brother who had passed away months ago was supposed to be here, but in order to receive the great pay that this job was going to supply her with, Wendy decided to take his place in order to support her retired, widowed father.
“Alright, we’re here!” Miss Pauling announced as she pulled the black car over by the entrance to the RED base. “Now, I can’t give you the whole tour myself since I have a lot of other important things I need to handle, but I made sure one of the mercenaries inside would show you the ropes and help you get acquainted with everyone.”
Wendy, who was now going to be known as “Hunter”, gave a nervous smile as she pulled her luggage out of the car’s trunk. She tried her best to put on a brave face, but inside she was nervous as hell. Sure, she was excellent at archery, even her own brother said she was as good as he was, but she wasn’t a fully trained mercenary like the rest of these men that she was supposed to meet. She wondered what these men even looked like. Most of them were probably big buff guys who fought in World War II and had scars and big hairy chests. The type of guys who don’t take shit and will kick anyone’s ass if you look at them the wrong way. Hunter gulped at the thought of getting her ass handed to her by one these guys.
Miss Pauling looked up from her clipboard and straight at Hunter who looked like she was about to be sick. She had not only caught on to the fact that she was a female earlier on in their travels, but now she could tell that Hunter was extremely nervous. She smiled and gently placed her hand on Hunter’s shoulder.
“Hey, don’t worry. These guys are harmless...for the most part. You’re gonna be fine.” Miss Pauling reassured her with a genuine smile. Hunter took a deep breath then smiled at Miss Pauling.
Suddenly, Miss Pauling’s phone started to go off. She looked at it before cursing under her breath. “I gotta go! You can go ahead inside, one of the mercenaries should be able to help you. Good luck!” Miss Pauling quickly told her as she hopped back into the car and drove off.
Hunter took yet another deep breath to calm her nerves then entered the base. She looked around and only saw empty hallways. Not a big buff guy in sight. She decided to make her way down the hallway even though she had no idea where she was going, hoping to find one of the mercenaries Miss Pauling was talking about.
Then out of nowhere, Hunter crashed into something, or someone, so it would seem. It was a tall strong looking man with a red military outfit and a helmet that seemed too big for his head. He stood straight and tall, like a proud soldier.
“Halt! You are trespassing on private property! State your name and business! That is an order!” The man shouted. He sounded American. Figures, since they were working in America after all. Hunter then remembered that she had to remain incognito while working at this place, so she mustered her best male voice she could and stood up straight.
“Ahem, I’m the new recruit, sir. The Hunter. Miss Pauling informed me that a mercenary will be showing me around the base.”
The man then rubbed his chin as he muttered to himself. “Oh, right. Miss Pauling said a new recruit was supposed to be here today. Well, you’re in luck cadet-“ The man then exclaimed while grabbing Hunter and pulling her to his side to wrap his arm around her shoulders.
“-because you’ve just joined the best damn American mercenary team this country has ever seen! You will refer to me as Soldier because that is my job! I will now show you around the base! Follow me, cadet!” Soldier explained before marching off.
Hunter was hesitant, but she followed Soldier anyways. “Is everybody like this around here? Good lord, I hope not. I didn’t think this was a military base. I thought it was like a hitman sort of job.” She thought to herself as Soldier led her to the kitchen of the base.
“This is our kitchen! We eat food here! Over there is Pyro and Demoman! They are your fellow mercenaries! Pyro, Demoman, this is the new recruit Hunter!” Soldier explained loudly as he pointed to two mercenaries sitting at the dining table.
One was a mysterious fellow wearing a full-on hazmat suit. He...or they made happy mumbling as they gave a friendly wave to Hunter. However, she wasn’t quite sure what they were saying since the mask hindered their speech. The other mercenary, Demoman, seemed to be passed out next to Pyro. A bottle of alcohol in his hand as he drunkenly mumbled something about grass.
Soldier then led Hunter to a few other areas like the showers, the bathroom, the storage closet, the other storage closet, and the surveillance room. She wasn’t sure why Soldier was showing her some of the odd places, but she figured he thought she ought to know for future reference.
The two then reached the recreation room where they found a bunch of other men sitting around. One wore a hardhat and was working on some sort of machine while another younger looking man sat on a sofa watching television. There was another man with sunglasses and a hat sitting in the corner sharping a large knife of some sort.
“This is our recreation room! We do stuff in here when we are not killing people who look exactly like us!” Soldier exclaimed.
Hunter then gave the Soldier a confused look. “Wait what?” She asked, suddenly realizing that she was using her real voice and giving away her identity. She coughed to give the impression that she just had something in her throat, but the others didn’t seem to notice because Soldier began speaking again.
“Listen up, maggots! This is our new recruit: Hunter! He will be working with us now!” Soldier announced to the other men in the room.
The three men looked up and studied Hunter. She prayed to God that they wouldn’t see through her disguise like Miss Pauling did. The hardhat mercenary then got up and walked over to Hunter with a warm smile.
“It’s nice to meet ya there, partner! I’m the Engineer. I look forward to workin’ with ya. If you need help with anything or you got any questions, you just let me know. I’m more than happy to help.” He greeted with a charming American southern accent as his gloved hand shook Hunter’s. She secretly wondered why he only wore one glove on his hand, but she didn’t want to be rude by asking such a personal question to a new coworker, so she decided not to say anything. However, the Engineer seemed very warm and friendly, so she figured that they may get along well.
The two other mercenaries then went over to greet her. The younger one spoke up first with a smug smirk on his face.
“Ayy, what’s up? I’m the Scout. I’m like, the best guy on this team and I’m the fastest too so, y’know, just pace yourself because not everyone can keep up with me. I’m like lightning! I mean, I’m just super fast, dude! I’m so-“ The northern American continued to ramble and brag as the other spoke up.
“Don’t mind him, he likes to listen to his own voice. I’m Sniper, mate. Nice to meet a fellow huntsman. It’s just what this team needs. You good with the bow and arrow then?” The Australian man asked, genuinely interested in talking about their similar roles.
“Erm, yeah! I got myself a custom bow and some arrows I made myself back home. Got plenty awards for growing up for range shooting and whatnot, so I’d say I’m pretty good, heh!” Hunter tried to explain confidently as she pulled out her bow and arrow from the leather quiver on her back.
“Wow, that’s some pretty nice gear ya got there, mate! Look forward to seein’ ya use it on the field.” Sniper replied with a smile and a tip of his hat before going back to his little corner to sharpen his large, odd shaped knife.
“Let’s get a move on, cadet! We still have a lot more to see!” Soldier told Hunter before dragging her off to their next location.
The next room they went to was closed, but Soldier had decided to show Hunter anyways. “This is Spy’s smoking room!” He explained as he pointed towards the closed door. Hunter gave him yet another confused look. “Spy? Is he another mercenary?” She asked. “Yes, he’s a French crouton with a mask and a fancy suit! Don’t go in there or he’ll yell at you in gibberish and then try to stab you with his knife!” Soldier explained.
“That ‘gibberish’ you speak of happens to be my native language, you sluggish simpleton.”
Hunter turned around to see the one and only Spy standing in the hall smoking a cigarette. Soldier was right, he really did have a fancy suit. He seemed more well put together than the other mercenaries Hunter’s seen so far.
“Don’t you back sass me, Frenchie! You won’t outsmart me with your crazy talk!” Soldier retorted as he pointed an accused finger towards the Spy.
Spy simply rolled his eyes before they landed on Hunter. He seemed to be studying her as if he were trying to get all of her personal information just by looking at her. It made her feel very uncomfortable and anxious.
“I am to assume you are the new recruit. The Hunter is it?” Spy asked before taking another puff of his cigarette.
Hunter silently nodded in response, worried that if she even spoke that this man could figure out her true identity.
“I see, well then, I look forward to seeing you in battle. Hopefully, you have better aim with a bow and arrow than that idiot bushman with his gun.”
With that, Spy retreated into his smoking room, closing the door behind him and leaving the other two mercenaries alone once again.
“Hm, we should get moving before his French-ness rubs off on you! Let’s move out!” Soldier told Hunter before moving on to another part of the base.
A few rooms (and storage closets) later, Soldier and Hunter ended up at the base’s training gym to find yet another mercenary. He was a very, very large man with a very, very large hands that were punching a punching back to smithereens. Hunter was surprised the thing hadn’t ripped open with the amount of brute strength that guy seemed to have.
“This is our training gym! We will train you on the art of war here until your bones ache and your face bleeds! Whichever comes first and that large man over there, that is Heavy! He is our heavy weapons guy!” Soldier explained aggressively before casually pointing to the large man before them.
Soldier then leaned in towards Hunter and whispered to her...well, more like used his inside voice, really.
“Be careful of him. He’s a commie. If he tries to play his Russian mind games then you ignore him. He might turn you into one of them and we can’t have that.”
Hunter nodded in confused agreement as the Heavy came towards them. She was very intimated by the man’s size. His hand was almost as big as her head. He could probably crush it like a grape if he wanted to. She made a mental note to herself not to make this guy angry. Ever.
“Soldier, who is dis person?” He asked with a thick Russian accent.
“This is our new recruit: the Hunter! He’s gonna be working with us on the field now, so I don’t want any of that Russian voodoo going on! This is an American man!” Soldier answered.
“Erm, actually I’m from England.” Hunter corrected him.
“See?! A New Englander! A true born American!” The Soldier exclaimed as he slapped Hunter on the back.
Hunter simply sighed in defeat, she had a feeling this guy wouldn’t get it even if she explained for hours. Meanwhile, the Heavy looked down at the Hunter with a blank expression, ignoring the Soldier’s blabbering about America and freedom.
“I am Heavy Weapons Guy. My only rule: do not touch Sasha. You are understanding this?”
Hunter gulped, feeling as small as a mouse with this large mountain of a man looming over her. “E-Erm, who’s Sasha?” She nervously asked.
“Sasha is my gun. She is a very expensive gun. Nobody touches her except Heavy. If you touch her, you will die. Da?” Heavy explained as he crossed his arms.
Hunter nodded her head, completely understanding the consequences of what will happen if she ever dares to touch that man’s gun.
“Good.” Heavy simply said before going back to punch the daylights out of the punching bag from before.
“-and that’s how George Washington became president of the United States of America! Anyways, let’s get back to the tour! We still have lots to see! Move out, cadet!” Soldier rambled on before grabbing Hunter and once again dragging her across the base.
After showing Hunter almost all of the base at this point, Soldier made one last stop at a hallway filled with chairs. There were double doors leading to another area with a red, unlit “NEXT” sign above them. Hunter was hoping this would be the end of the tour. She was exhausted and really tired of carrying her luggage all around the base.
“Finally, we have Medic’s lab! This is where the Medic fixes us up after battle! There’s usually a long line though, so we have to take numbers!” Soldier explained as he pointed to the number ticket dispenser on the wall by the chairs.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, the lab doors opened to reveal the Medic, himself in his lab coat and bright red gloves. He wore a smile like a mad scientist on the brink of insanity and frankly it kinda scared Hunter a bit.
“Ah! You must be zhe new mercenary! Zhe Hunter I presume?” Medic asked as he went over to the Hunter and rubbed his gloves hands together like some kind of villain.
“Y-Yeah. That’s me.” Hunter answered nervously. Medic laughed manically as he clasped his hands together with glee. He then looked straight at Hunter with the same somewhat crazed sort of look.
“Excellent! You’re just in time for your examination!” He grinned psychotically and it made Hunter shiver with fear.
“Well, good luck, cadet! I’ll see you on the other side!” With a shove to Hunter and a solute, Soldier then left the scene, leaving the poor new recruit with the mad doctor.
The only thoughts running through Hunter’s head as she entered the medbay were: “Oh dear lord, what did I get myself into?”