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Tales of Bravery Issue 1

Terror at Underground Mountain

Tales of Bravery Issue 1: Terror at Underground Mountain

Greetings, true patriots and Dome Ball lovers. Welcome to the inaugural first issue of Tales of Bravery, the sensational light novel chronicling the top ace Joint Task Force squadron, Bravo Team. All issues include true depictions of real people and profile the heroes and villains of July. Learn how the thrilling adventures shape our beloved world and bring everlasting peace to society.

Remember to do your part in the war effort: recycle all unused biomatter and report crimes in your neighborhood. Excelsior!

-Roll Fizzlebeef de July vas Argosy III

Starring

Roll Fizzlebeef de July vas Argosy III
Malcom McCloud
AmSalja Estia Uisa

Featuring

Silbe Marble
Wing Mercantile
Jax Three
Hyleia
The Dolphin People from Beyond Sovereign

Chapter 1: A Mission Most Foul

The Joint Task Force is made up of the brave men and women from different organizations with a common goal of bringing order and peace to the growing Julian population. Two members of Bravo Team, special agents Roll Fizzlebeef and Malcom McCloud arrive together at the JTF headquarters. Roll and Malcom attended the Argosian Military Academy together and have been inseparable ever since. They are soon met by Deputy Ambassador Silbe Marble and a representative of the Thenian Corporation, AmSalja Estia Uisa.

“Thank you for all coming today.”, Silbe greets the officers, “I know the brave soldiers of the Argosian Brave Team are very busy with many civic duties. May I introduce you to Ms. Uisa”, she motions to AmSalja, “She’s an expert in medicine, which your unit is unfortunately lacking.”

“It will be a pleasure working alongside you”, Malcom expresses.

AmSalja looks the Bravo Team members up and down before giving out a sigh, “I guess you’ll do. Deputy Ambassador, brief us on the mission.”

“My, yes. There have been a series of heinous murders in the downtown district. Several bodies were found several blocks from the Sovereign nightclub.”, she hands over a pad containing the mission info, “They were recovered and are being stored in the morgue, the coroner will have additional details.”

“Let’s head there and see the Doc, Doc.”, Roll motions with gusto.

The three officers make their way to the morgue and examine the victims. The bodies are human, of both male and female. Several of them are missing limbs, while all are slightly discolored and have a strange number of toes and fingers.

“They were found near Sovereign?”, Roll inquires.

“The crime scene is still fresh. We should head there before the trail goes cold.”, AmSalja comments.

The JTF agents head to the transport hanger. Roll flags down a requisitioned taxi, “Sovereign’s at ground level. We can blend in by taking a public vehicle.”

Roll and AmSalja climb into the taxi, but Malcom is nowhere to be seen. “Where is Malcom?”, AmSalja asks.

“He does things off the book sometimes”, Roll states, “But for me the book is sacred! Driver, take us to the downtown district.”

The driver complies and takes the two agents to their destination.

Chapter 2: Mysterious Murders in Murder Alley

The taxi arrives in the downtown district, near the crime scene just blocks away from Sovereign. The agents emerge and the taxi leave for another customer. AmSalja begins examining the crime scene, taking note of any evidence the investigators missed.

“This might take some time. Secure the area while I get to work.”, AmSalja states to Roll.

“Already ahead of you”, Roll exclaims. He deploys his highly specialized and top of the line JTF quick action sentry gun. Using his skilled programming knowledge, he sets the sentry to eliminate any threat that should arrive at the scene.

Meanwhile, AmSalja is able to uncover a nearby duct. Traces of blood indicate that the bodies were moved out of there and into the back alley where they were initially found.

“OOOOH GAAUD! No!”, a scream cries from a nearby alley. Roll immediately recognizes the voice, “Those are the pained whimpers of Malcom! We have to help him!”

“We can’t leave this area undefended. If the sentry is set, make sure it guards our rear”, AmSalja demands.

“Understood, luckily I come prepared and fully armed”, Roll touts as he brandishes his Siberien heavy duty plasma sword.

The two agents rush through the alleyway, and soon spot Malcom on the ground, tears rolling down his face. A giant cybernetic enhanced man towers over his meek body. Three average size thugs stand mere feet from him. They soon spot Roll and draw knives and blades of their own. Roll chargers forward and swiftly slays one of the bandits, slicing him in two with the sheer might of his plasma sword. Unfortunately, this leaves him open and the second criminal is able to slash out a chunk of Roll’s JTF combat armor. AmSalja is able to spot a fifth infidel in the corner, hiding behind a dumpster like the trash he is. He takes aim with a rifle, but she is quick to toss one of her EMP grenades.

“Incoming!”, AmSalja yells as the grenade takes flight. The blast stuns those with cybernetic enhancements, including the gunmen, Roll’s opponent, Malcom and the giant. The latter topples on top of Malcom, crushing him underneath.

“Thanks for the assistance!”, Roll complements. He strikes down the stunned foe who cracked his armor, then turns his sword on the last standing unharmed opponent, who whisks around on a pair of skates. Roll expertly slices at his right leg, severing it. The assailant drops his blade and dashes from the scene on his remaining skate.

Roll peels the large brute off of Malcom, “Are you hurt, chum?”

“I’ve had worse”, Malcom retorts as Roll lifts him up, “These thugs were skulking around when they got the jump on me. They might know something about the murders.”

“The blast will knock them out for a few minutes.”, AmSalja states, ”Restrain the perpetrators and we can interrogate them.”

The JFT agents tie up the two remaining criminals and wake them. The larger one identifies himself as Jaxx Three, the smaller shooter as Wing Mercantile.

“What do you know about the recent murders in this district?”, Malcom questions.

“Nothing. I’m just a hired hand. Hyleia controls this turf.”, Jaxx says, “I just need to make enough credits to help me mum. Wing is the real brains of our group.”

“Is that so?”, Roll says as he detaches Wing’s cybernetic eye scanner, “We found a blood stained duct near the crime scene. Where does it lead?”

“That’s to Sovereign. We found the bodies underground the club, but we didn’t kill anyone”, Wing exclaims, “Better to get them out of there so they don’t stink up the place.”

“If you’re innocent in the murders, can you get us to where you found the bodies?”, Malcom asks.

“What’s in it for me?”, Wing snaps.

“Reduced sentence for assaulting an officer.”, Malcom replies, “If things go smoothly, you might be off the hook completely.”

Just then a Destroyer class avian spy drone swoops down. With quick snap reaction, Roll is able to shoot it down, “This city is dangerous. Those robotic menaces might have a hand in the murders. Wing, if you are willing to help we might be able to clear the good name of you and miss Hyleia of any wrongdoing.”

“What about me?”, Jaxx interrupts, “Like I said, I got no loyalties to Sovereign or Hyleia.”

“Fine, you can go crying back to mommy, but we are confiscating your goods.”, AmSalja concludes.

The proud JTF Agents release the suspects and take the rest of their gear. Jaxx is allowed to depart, while Wing escorts the team to Sovereign.

Chapter 3: Dolphin Scum Rises

The nefarious mustache twirler, Wing Mercantile, leads our heroes to Sovereign, seedy underground nightclub owned by the famous and elusive Hyleia. Wing is able to get JTF Bravo Team through the bouncers and into the dark club below. Neon lights shine through as techno beats pulse through the distance. In the center sits Hyleia upon a throne of diamond encrusted skulls. Scantily clad strippers sit on either side with giant fans, feeding her grapes from a bowl. She rises to greet the agents.

“Welcome to my domain, Bravo Team!”, Hyleia boasts as fireworks shoot from behind her, “You’re here about the crimes falsely reported to be at my establishments?”

“But how did you know we are from the Joint Task Force Bravo Team?, aks Malcom.

“How could I not? My spy network is all over the city. Adventures like you are well known to me, Malcom McCloud”, Hyleia states as she looks about the team, “Even your associates, Dome Ball champion Ser Roll Fizzlebeef de July vas Argosy III and Thenian Corporation’s Dr. AmSalja Estia Uisa, MD. However, one thing stills remains: why should I assist you? I’m already powerful in July. The public loves me. What can the JTF do for my benefit?”

“You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours”, Malcom says while licking his lips seductively, “My highly illegal cyberbrain made by the Dr Blaze can do most anything. Even get you munitions and secrets outside your vast network.”

“Intriguing. The Dr Blaze? There are many things I’d love to learn about the JTF, or even my competitors throughout July.”, Hyleia smirks, “Very well, Malcom Mcloud. Your brain will be at my disposal in the future. But for now, Wing, show them to the service lift.”

“As you command”, Wing declares before taking Bravo Team to Sovereign’s garbage waste lift. He operates the controls, descending the platform, “This will take us underground. The bodies were found below during maintenance clean up. Ready Richie saw them while rolling elbow deep in feces.”, a few minutes later the platform lands at the bottom service tunnel, “This is far I’m going. You’ve got my gun and my eye. Keep ‘em, I’ll get new ones with the credits I’ll be rolliing in. The path leads further, but I’ve never gone down it.”

“This place is covered in waste matter and other garbage. Better use the EVA suits in case of contamination or corrupted air.”, AmSalja suggestions. Malcom and Roll agree and don their JTF Bravo Team environmental suits.

The agents soon make their way through the dark underground tunnels. Strange slime seeps through the walls. The floor is covered in trash, mostly empty drink containers. Malcom exams one of them, noting that they are fluid bags with straws and a dolphin logo on the front. The team soon arrives at another lift, this one at the bottom of a large rock face.

Roll sets up his sentry, “What can we expect up there? Did those humanoid corpses come from here?”

“Set the gun to kill any approaching hostiles.”, Malcom suggests.

Roll finishes programing while AmSalja activates the lift’s controls. It ascends slowly upwards. Within minutes it arrives at the top, overlooking a sterile and metallic facility. With little warning, two naked humanoids rush forward, arms flailing in a frenzied madness.

“Stop or we’ll shoot”, Roll demands. The psychopaths ignore him. The sentry gun opens fire as they come into range, taking them down as the bullets rip through their unclothed flesh.

“Turn it off, I want to examine the bodies. They look similar to what we saw in the morgue.”, AmSalja requests”, Roll complies and turns off the sentry’s auto fire but AmSalja pauses for a moment, “Something isn’t right. No others are coming, it’s too quiet.”, she toss an EMP grenade a few feet away. It explodes and two wasp drones drop from the sky, “Check those out while I look at the bodies.

Roll and Maclom approach the wasp drones. They have large stingers attached to internal fluid sacks, “Some type of poison maybe?”, Malcom inquires.

“Likely a corrosive chemical.”, AmSalja adds as she walks over, “Those humanoids are exactly like what we saw before. I took a sample of DNA from them. Mostly human. But a bit of dolphin DNA spliced in.”

“Think they’ll pose a threat?”, Roll asks.

“Not while unarmed, they don’t seem much stronger than a normal person.”, AmSalja suggestions, “But those drones could be a problem. I’ll prep more EMPs.”

Roll packs up his sentry and the team moves further into the facility. They come to a large set of double doors which opens to a large movie theatre. On screen is a cartoon dolphin singing and dancing. The audience is filled with the humanoid-dolphin hybrids. Many are transfixed on the screen, while others are busy sipping from nutrient fluid bags or engaging in sexual activity with one another. With little warning, waves of wasp drones rain down from the rafters.

“Everyone get to cover!”, Roll commands as the agents get into formation. Roll sets up his sentry to target wasps before wielding his plasma sword, AmSalja readies her grenades, and Malcom arms himself with Wing’s old rifle. A hail of bullets fills the room as wasp after wasp is destroyed. Soon the crowd is disturbed from their enthrallment and turn to the JTF Bravo Team. As the last wasp is felled, The audience musters and frantically rushes towards our heroes.

“There are too many, fall back to the lift!”, Malcom screams in fear.

The agents retreat back to the service lift, Roll using his mighty strength to lift his sentry and run with ease. They make it to the platform, their combined firepower able to subdue a large swath of hostiles. AmSalja slams on the lift’s controls, starting its descent but not before five dolphin hybrids leap their way on. These ones are a bit more dangerous, holding makeshift weapons of broken swords and candelabras. Two approach Malcom and he is able to shoot one down, before the other pins him to the floor. Roll quickly slices through on of the two approaching him, but locks blades against the second. AmSalja injects a sedative at the last one near her and then tosses a sleep grenade, knocking out the one fighting Roll while keeping him out of the blast radius.

“Help Malcom. I’ll deal with any stragglers that get through, “AmSalja shouts as she rearms.

Malcom is straddled under a dolphin hybrid, that repeatedly slams into his soft body. As it lifts to make a killing blow, Roll’s plasm sword penetrates through its chest, saving Malcom’s life. The lift makes it to the bottom.

“We’re clear”, AmSalja says, “And looks like we’ll be able to take a few of them living back to JTF base.”

“That was close. Let’s go home, file a report and get some rest.”, Malcom puffs out as Roll helps him up.

With several of the dolphin hybrids in custody, Bravo Team makes their way safely back to JTF base. They are congratulated by Silbe Marble and receive top honors from central command.

And with that, our extraordinary heroes of the Joint Task Force Bravo Team solved the strange murders near the downtown district’s Sovereign nightclub. It appears these dolphin people have some kind of strange inhuman ritual at Underground Mountain. How do the Destroyers fit into all of this? And How will Hyleia use Malcom’s illegal cyberbrain? Stay tuned and find out in the next exciting issue of Tales of Bravery!

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James_E Kurtis

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