This took me way too long. I apologize.
"Well then, are we sure?"
Positive. We've tasked a recon sat to the site as well for the last six hours but I'm not particularly eager to play whack-a-mole much more. We have no idea how easily they could move base.
"Da. EXALT has been trouble long enough by now."
All right. Ignatyeva, assemble a team. Bradford, have the Skyranger prepped and announce training exercises for the Asian Firestorms. We're going to India.
Operation Fading Mist, Bangalore, India, 9:23pm, October 24thGortef is channeling ODST's Rookie here.
Deployed: Admiral Ralwood "Maraduer" (MEC-3), Irina Ignatyeva "Casino"(heavy, mission commander), The E "Psycho" (assault), Enioch "Chops" (assault), Annette Durand (sniper, psy-ops), Gortef "Fire Magnet" (support)
Strike, Sky, at drop point.
"Dark and stormy night."
"Quiet, Snoopy. Nice rugs, nice wallpaper, nice books...CONTACT!"
"Take this you bastards!"
"How do we score that one?"
"I've got more than enough kills, let Annette have it."Check out the whole ancient weapons and armor.
"Target is terminated."
"That furniture looks antique. The books look antique. I'm pretty sure I see a first folio edition of Marlowe over there, maybe the Bronte girls too. How much money did they spend on this place?"
"Wrong question. How long has EXALT existed?"
"Are you saying this is a raid on the ****ing Illuminati
, E, I did not need to laugh right now!"
"More of them, opposite side!"
"Sound off, damage and injuries!"
"Marauder here, MEC is still good to go."
"Gortef, no breach."
"Durand, no breach."
"Ralwood! GET DOWN! Target dead!"
"Armor is breached, ****!"
"Dammit, stop living up to your name!"
"They must have missed me, they even have a pinup. Firing. Two down." Seriously, check out Annette's picture on the wall there in most of these shots.
"I've got more of them and...son of a *****, they even stole our hologlobe?"
"And you, die too."
"No, way more than one!"Told you they stole the hologlobe.
"Target hit. Target down."
"I'm all right, I'm all right."
"More on the far side!"
"Target terminated. Also, jesus man, the internet is not for porn in that way. Firing on second target-no hit!"
"Patching you up, Gortef."
"Firing! Merde, no hit. Resighting...target is down!"
"Okay. Police the bodies and weapons, then the computer gear, then the art stuff. If it's actually worth money, we might as well save it."
"Forget money, some of this stuff is cultural-treasure-priceless."
Strike, this is the Commander. I'm authorizing anyone who wants a tigerskin rug to pick one up, just this once. Save one for me.
"...did he really just say that?"
"I think he did."
"I think I'm in love."
"One, the Commander's married. Two, you're not actually that crazy. Start packing, Durand."
"Command, we're done here. Placing charges. Alert local fire-rescue on my mark."
Awaiting your confirmation, Strike.
And that's it. We win. EXALT loses. We recovered a huge amount of expensive art and literature from the EXALT base. They weren't quite The Illuminati like was suggested, but they clearly predated the alien invasion by a century or two. We have no idea quite how deep their influence actually ran, yet, but we have their computer systems so we can probably start guessing.
Their problem seems to have been that they represented no one of governmental authority. Rich folks, corporations, I'm sure the Occupy movement would have loved this, but unfortunately when you back the government against the wall and force it to fight for its life, the whole corporatist state analogy falls apart. Everybody wants to live. We are the means and the mechanism by which humanity will do so, and so HLPX-COM can deputize every intelligence agency in the world on a whim and get results that even the richest couldn't hope for.
They still hid themselves remarkably well for all that. Just not well enough. The covert operations division of HLPX-COM was formally shut down the day after the mission. We're back to fighting aliens alone.
Was nice of them to donate all that stuff to our rec room on base, though. I gather the Commander is quietly arranging for museums to take possession of some of the more significant bits of cultural heritage, and putting the stuff that can actually be valued, as opposed to being beyond price, in a vault against the day we might need the cash.