The City IX

Story by Khopesh on SoFurry

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#9 of The City

He sat in the office, sighing lightly. The view in front of him was to die for, for anyone average: A grand view of Belle, the Eternal City, stretched out from one of the many hills dotting the landscape. Perpetuum - or rather, Khopesh - was staring down at his paws. The sun was barely rising from the East, illuminating the city in a grand manner, as Khopesh chuckled to himself, his dirty and bloodstained suit still mostly on except for the helmet, a testament to the swiftness with which they abandoned the region. The fox slowly slid his gaze up the desk and spotted a can of Equino Rosso sitting on the desk. He smirked, thinking, Beer... If only I could justify it... Maybe... Because of where I am? I can justify it.

The fox grabbed the can from the desk. revealing the letters on the nameplate: M. Zotz. Khopesh grimaced slightly, inhaling and opening the can, the scent of beer filling the room as he shook his head in bemusement. This isn't a beer to celebrate, it's one to forget... He took a long drag of the can, coughing and wiping his muzzle and placing the can down on an appropriately-placed piece of travertine stone, acting as a coaster. He stood and walked to the window, arms folded behind his back as he scanned the city and smiled, naming the monuments. The Arena... The Mainstreet... Palace Hill... Now where's the Eye of the Gods?

As he looked along the cityscape for a familiar concrete dome, the door behind him opened. He focused a bit longer on the city before turning his head, hearing the clearing of a throat. "Khopesh, mind sitting down with Lux? We're going to go over the off-mission objectives."

Khopesh nodded, slowly making his way back to his seat and grabbing the can of beer, sipping it lightly, his eyes flicking on that familiar silver feline named Lux. Virta - or rather, Maya Zotz - took her chair, smiling softly and nodding towards the can in Khopesh's paws. "I know that's irregular, but the job is irregular and that mission was irregular, so why not help a bit?" The tan bat organized a few papers on her desk before nodding. "Yes, well... Miss Gracci, do you mind?"

Amber stood up with her clipboard, the light shining on her sabertooth, fit form and illuminating her. "Amber Gracci, codename Lux, overseeing intelligence on the mission. Mission went bad with the introduction of a new Coalition weapon, which we named Daeva, after regional demons. Group of Four was given the option to pull out, but Perpetuum's previous mental tests showed that this would be perceived as more of a challenge than a restriction, as intended. Perpetuum led Group of Four to the nearby Daeva Control and Production Center, where they destroyed the centralized mainframe, This sent the Daeva into a fury. It seems that in the future, the Daeva will prove a problem, as they can reproduce quickly. They..."

Khopesh huffed a bit. "It's an AI force. Without a central hivemind, they're like feral beasts. However, they're still being produced, and they will not fight each other. It's impressive, there seems to have been a failsafe installed to prevent them from..."

Amber nodded. "From tearing each other apart. Funny how that works. Astra was captured on attempted evacuation of the facility, where he was interrogated by Imperus, also known as Target One.Near the end of the interrogation, Group of Four - minus Astra - took out Imperus. However, Astra was... Er..."

Khopesh took a long drag of beer and nodded. "Secured in place by detonation cord. He told us to evacuate. We did. Grabbed his suit, which held the data."

Maya sights, folding her arms over her desk and looking at Khopesh. "You regret that."

Khopesh looked up and nodded slowly. "I hate leaving anyone behind. Should have been me."

Maya nodded subtly. "Good leadership. THAT , fox, is why you're in a leadership position."

Khopesh looked down at the beer in his paws, thinking for a long moment before he felt Amber pat his shoulder and smile. "Keep this up and we'll always follow you. Always."


Khopesh roused himself from slumber, slumped in a hospital chair. He looked around and heard the soft, steady beeping from the heart monitor on Strella. Strella was looking to the ceiling - Awake, rare but a good sign - and humming out a soft tune. Khopesh remembered it as a song from nearly fifty years ago as he softly sung along, challenging nobody in particular to accept him before he leaves in a day or so. He saw the red deer smile and turn to him. "Hey, sir. I must look pretty shitty."

Khopesh smiled back at her and shrugged. "No more than anyone in the old Lapillus squad. Could grow on you. What happened?"

Strella sighed through the breathing mask. "That asshole, Wilems? Had Haka covering a flank that was gonna get heavy fire. We knew it. We were trained, but... We have worse equipment. We're there for extraction, not battle. Any one of their troops could have taken the bullet and deflected it. I just lost a lottery..."

Khopesh nodded, patting her arm. "You did good. I'm gonna raise you up, if Haka thinks you'd make a good Sarge."

Strella chuckled lightly, leaning her head back. "Let me get recovered first, ok?"

Khopesh nodded, giving her arm a squeeze before leaving the room.


Khopesh made his way into Haka's room. He knocked at the door halfheartedly as he entered, sitting down on her couch as she grunted, doing pull-ups. "Yeah, boss? Just finishing my workout..."

Khopesh chuckled, watching Haka's back flex as she pulled herself up. "Strella. Sargent. Yes?"

Haka chuckled, finishing one more pull-up before dropping to the floor, wiping herself off with a towel. "Yeah! She did good, and the guy she serves under is pretty damn incompetent." She put her hands on her hips, towel draped on her shoulders as she looked at him, scanning his body and smirking, deciding to tease some. "So... Wanna go for a round?"

Khopesh blushed slightly, raising an eyebrow. "Ah... Is that professional?"

She walked over, placing her hands on his thighs and pushing them apart, resting her head on his lap and looking up. "Probably not. Who cares?"

Khopesh blushed a bit more and shook his head, clearing it of old thoughts. "N-no, come on Haka. You know..."

She pouted teasingly, slipping away and sliding her hands over her body. "Guess I'll have to take care... Wonder if I still have the knotty toy..."

Lhopesh chuckled nervously, slowly making his way out of the room and heading down the hall towards Copp and Sill.


The two cats sat in the basement, faces lit by their monitors. As Khopesh entered, they perked up slightly. Copp raised his can of energy drink - a highly prized luxury that no doubt had cost him several weeks of rations. "Yo, bossman, we got it."

Sill turned her head and nodded, pulling some paper from a printer and thrusting them towards Khopesh. "Data we needed. Just what we needed."

Khopesh took the file and looked over it, gasping a bit. "This is a layout, with weaknesses, to Penn. To the old base!"

Copp nodded and let out an inadvertent belch. "Yup! We almost got it. But that isn't the juiciest. Wanna know who betrayed us?"

Khopesh raised an eyebrow and sighed. "I assumed Tek and Lyle. They were whispering pretty intently before we left."

Sill shook her head. "Tek didn't have anything to do with it. Lyle may have been trying to strongarm her. It was all Lyle."

Khopesh read over the dossier, slowly nodding. "It's all LW, LW, LW. No mention of TA. Just... LW, LW, LW. Lyle..."

Sill and Copp stood up, sliding a map towards him. "Look, we've got a plan. It's approved by Premis. Lapillus is gonna execute it."

Khopesh tilted his head. "What are we doing?"

Copp smiled. "We're gonna kidnap the president."

Sill slapped the back of Copp's head. "We're gonna save our people."

The City VIII

Perpetuum climbed into the helicopter, panting softly. They had gotten the data from Astra's suit and were heading home. Their objectives, even the new one, had been completed to satisfaction. Perp took off his helmet and looked at the floor, breathing...


The City VII

The group of three reached the cave entrance and peered in. Their thermal sights lit up a trail of fresh blood from Astra leading into the system. They turned towards each other with a nod and made their way in, following the blood trail. As they went...


The City VI

The three hurried their way to the requisitioned truck. Perp held onto the rifle, letting Scripta keep the RPK for now. He slid into the back of the truck, facing Nihilo as the pickup lurched forwards, towards the compound they had just liquidated....

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