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Chapter 12: Operation Black Snow

Meanwhile, the eleven winded through the crowd, dodging waiters offering drinks, street venders selling their wares, and a plethora of other things as they neared the Capitol Square.

“Drust, your plan’s taken us this far,” Mch said when they reached the Capitol Square. “Cas, you’ve gotta take us from here.”

“Very well. Radio in, code: snake.”

“This is Omega,”

“It’s Cas. We’ve reached the Capitol Square. Status?”

“All systems are operational at C.O.B.R.A. Flo has been sweeping the area and has found only a small amount of bombs surrounding the Capitol Square that can be activated through the Presidential Mansion, but are not currently operational.”

“That makes sense,” Blue said. “If a citizen got blown up by one during the festival, that wouldn’t sit well on Commando’s track record.”

“Exactly,” Omega confirmed, “So unless you’re stupid enough to get yourselves spotted, you should be alright as far as bombs go. The Presidential Mansion also has its fair share of security cameras, so not getting yourself noticed will be quite a picnic. If, and that’s a big if, you can get into the building, you should be well off from there.”

“10-4,” Cas said, “Imperator out.”

“Cart, report.” Blue said.

Cart looked through a pair of high-tech binoculars Flo had invented. “Commando and Sergie are off the balcony from where we had them pinned on their previous location.”

“Damnit,” Cas said, “Radio in, code: snake.”

“Yes, I thought I was done with you?”

“You’re kidding right?” Cas said. “Commando and Sergie are off the balcony, you need to tell us where the bloody hell the are!”

“Working on it,” Omega said. “I’m switching you over to Capn.”

“Cas,” Capn began, “Although we can’t pin anyone for sure without public eyes on them, since most penguins are outside for the Festival of Power, we can tell you there are five people still in the Presidential Mansion. Three in what intel suggests in the garden, and two in what intel suggests is a private office of one of the staff. The garden is the largest area in the mansion, coordinates A6-10, and the office is on floor E-”

“The top floor?” Splashy asked.

“Yes, what we believe is the top floor. It’s section E5-6, the center office complex on that floor. I’m screening a digital map to Blue.”

Blue tapped a button on his watch and a digital map projected in the air, showing the mansion complex with red dots representing each figure.

“Thanks, Capn. We’re moving out. If we don’t call, we’re dead.” Cas said, smirking.

“Easy enough,” Capn signed off.

“Now,” Drust began, “If we take the main route, we can go through the garden and eliminate the people there before traveling to E5-6, which sounds like where Commando is.”

“The only thing,” Splashy began, “Is that if one of those first three gets away and notifies Commando. It is dark, you know. They may be able to get away.”

“True,” Cart said, “But we’ll have to take our chances.”

“We can’t waste any more time,” Cas cut them all off. “We need to get in there, now.”

“And how do you suggest we do that?” Chrisi asked.

“Follow me,” Cas beckoned. He led them down an alley to the right of the mansion, until reaching a building. He beckoned for them to enter.

“This is where we met,” Ganger observed.

“Correct,” Cas said. “This is where I brought you on the night after Commando’s party, when the plotting began. It’s my own private quarters, which is also where Commando, Sergie and I would be planned to be evacuated to in case of an emergency.”

“So why go in?” Splashy asked. “Why not just alert them, and wait it out here and kill them then?”

“Because,” Cas said, “I think we all want to take Commando and Sergie out ourselves.”

Everyone agreed.

“Besides, if they were to be evacuated, chances are they would be accompanied by a squad by that time. We need to catch them off guard if this operation is going to be successful. Now, let’s move.”

Cas led them into the living room where a hatchway was covered by a bookshelf. He unlatched the hatchway and beckoned for them to follow him. Mchappy switched on a flashlight and they moved quickly through the underground passageway.

“This shouldn’t take long,” Ganger observed, “The building wasn’t too far from the mansion, was it?”

“No,” Cas agreed. “As a matter of fact, we’re here.” He unlatched a trapdoor that was painted to blend in perfectly with the stone above, so that no one who didn’t already know of its existence could find it.

The eleven climbed through the trapdoor and found themselves in the study on the first floor.

“Now,” Cas instructed, “The corridor out from here leads into the main foyer. From there, to the right, we can get to the garden. Through the garden, through the courtyard, and you’ll come to the right side spiral staircase, which leads all the way up to the top floor, in which intel suggests Commando and Sergie are.

“Ready to move?” Cart asked. “Go.”

They went out of the study and through a winding corridor, until they reached the garden. Three penguins: Fiasco, Karakoran, and Dragon stood in the garden talking, something about how the Festival of Power was overplayed and unnecessary.

“Blue, Drust, with me.” Cas ordered, and the three moved out. They ducked behind the courtyard wall and aimed into the garden.

“Blue, on Fias, Drust, on Karakoran.”

In a few moments Karakorn and Fias were down, and before Dragon could realize what was happening, he was shot down also.

“Omega, the three targets in the garden are out, identified as Fiasco, Karakoran, and Dragon. We’re now moving up to E5-6 for the other two targets.”

“10-4 Blue, glad you’re not dead yet.”

“Your humor is always appreciated,” Ganger remarked.

“Wonderful, wonderful, let’s all hold hands and sing.” Cas remarked with equal annoyance. “Now can we please just get on with things?”

They moved through the garden and the courtyard and through another few corridors until reaching the right wing of the mansion.

“That’s the staircase, eh?” Splashy asked.

“Yep.”

“Spectacular.”

“Can we just go?” Drust offered, and soon enough, the eleven of them were ascending the staircase, up, up, and up until they reached the final floor.

“Capn,” Blue radioed in, “We’re on the top floor. One final sweep before we move in?”

“Targets have changed,” Capn responded. “One is has now moved to complex E7-8, while the other has remained.”

“The center office on the top floor? Sounds like Commando to me.” Drust suggested.

“Right,” Cas agreed, “So let’s keep things simple. Blue, Drust, Cart and I will go in to E5-6, while Mchappy, Splashy, Ganger and Chrisi will go in to E7-8. Whoever you find in said rooms, whether it be Commando, Sergie, or someone not suggested by intel, you are to dispose of them immediately. Once they are dead, you are to radio the other team with simply the name of the person. Everyone understand?”

“Yes,” the chorus echoed.

“Very well then. Good luck to all of you, and let the Black Snow fall.”

The two teams moved down the corridor and paused at the doorway of both rooms. Beta team moved off to complex E7-8, while Cas, Blue, Cart and Drust remained at E5-6.

“Breach,” both Cart and Mchappy said at once, and both teams rushed in.

Alpha team stopped in their tracks as the saw Commando sitting peacefully at his desk, a smile creasing his lips.

“What the hell?!” Sergie shouted in the other room, drawing a pistol. Mchappy knocked Sergie backward, and Ganger rushed behind Sergie and handcuffed him while Splashy drew a pistol and loaded it. He aimed it at Sergie’s heart.

And fired.

Sergie slumped to the ground, blood staining his white shirt. Chrisi leaned against the door calmly, smirking.

Meanwhile, Alpha team remained stunned.

“I knew you were coming.” Commando said calmly. “You were spotted hours ago.”

“On the contrary,” Cas responded quickly, “If you knew, you would be far away from here.”

“Oh, but my dear Cas, Blue, and the rest. I realized my death was imminent long, long ago. I was simply the mastermind of starting The Empire, but am a pawn in the long run of ruling. Sergie, the bastard, didn’t know of this attack. It was well to let him die.”

Drust drew a pistol, and Blue glanced at her anxiously, to Cas, and then back to Commando, where his eyes stayed.

“My dear, let me finish before you kill me.” Commando smiled, knowing they would oblige.

Drust held the pistol tighter.

“However, I stayed behind in hopes you will heed my warning. Why did you come here? Many of you will say to kill me, to slaughter me off and make all my ways go with me. But you are mistaken. You do not want me out for good; you want me out for power. The unavoidable lure of complete and unchallenged power. And I will promise you will fall into the very same pit. So do it. Shoot me. But I am nothing but a pawn in the ruling of this empire, for you will soon fall to the lure of power.”

Cas didn’t speak, nor did Blue, or Drust, or Cart. Cas simply handed Blue a gun, and Blue loaded it.

And fired.

Commando was finally dead.

A smile creased Cas’s lips as Commando’s body fell to the ground.

“Commando,” Cas spoke slowly, not remembering if Mchappy had already pronounced Sergie dead, as he had been listening to Commando intently.

“We’ll rendezvous on the balcony.” Cas spoke even more slowly this time.

“Cas, what are we doing?” Drust asked as the seven of them followed Cas down the hall.

“Blue, notify Omega, Capn and Flo back at C.O.B.R.A.”

“Omega, it’s Blue. They’re dead.”

“They’re dead!” Omega shouted, and shouts erupted from Capn and Flo.

“We’ll send a chopper in.” Flo responded.

“No,” Cas cut him off, “We have business to attend to. I’ll radio you when we’re ready.”

“Very well.” Flo signed off.

As the team rounded the corner and approached the door to the balcony, Drust asked again.

“Cas, why are we-”

“Drust, shut up.” Cas pushed open the wide wood doors, and the other seven followed. The crowd cheer, thinking it was Commando, but as the lights flickered on the realized it was something more.

The eight of them had put their masks back on since assassinating Commando, and Cas held something else in his hold, and the glittering gold gave it completely away.

“He is dead!” Cas shouted, and all hell broke loose.

It became utterly apparent that the citizens of the Capitol wanted Commando dead, even more than the team had expected.

“What the hell is that?!” Flo screamed into Cas’s Bluetooth, as the noise was so loud he can hear it also.

“Victory,” Cas responded simply.

“A toast!” a very loud voice rose up from the crowd. “To the rebellion!”

Thousands of citizens raised their glasses and cheered, as Commando’s golden mask, tainted with blood, glittered in the moonlight.

“And who am I?” Cas began. “Who are these fine penguins?”

He threw off his mask, and the others did the same.

“I am Casiusbrutus, your emperor!”

Cheers rose up from the crowd, louder than any cheers of any speech ever given by Commando.

“And these are the fine penguins that, with me, vanquished the tyrant Commando and all his ways!”

And snow began to fall, ironic as to the name of the operation itself.

And then it became clear to Blue2, where he stood looking through a shattered window in the CPAC building. It coursed through his veins and he was in complete and utter shock at what was now imminent:

Casiusbrutus was now emperor.

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