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The thunder of Magelocks echoed over walls of the near vertical mountain face. The twin moons appeared as two thin crescents hovered over the tall peaks of Sawtooth Mountain, as a single dark shape loomed over peaks, narrowing missing the jagged rocks, kicking up loose rocks and dirt. The twin turboprop duct fans screamed as maximum power was applied to them, barely allowed the modified space shuttle to clear the peaks barely with a meter or two below its belly.

Several figures were strapped onto crash seats facing each other in the pressurized cabin of the Valkyrie, renamed by the two pilots who redesigned the space shuttles into a helicopter. All the radiation plating were removed from the ship and redundant systems stripped away to lighten the ship as much as possible. The cargo attachment at the rear was also stripped away, and the tail boom of the shuttle shortened. After the new modifications, the old space shuttle no longer looked like the original, becoming a stub looking predatory flier.

Dozens of weight reducing runes were carved into the main hull of the flier, giving a further 25% reduction in the total weight of the heavy and pig-like copter. The copter flew like a sports car despite it having no aerodynamic surfaces except for the stubby wings welded on the middle of the hull to provide weapon hardpoints, each offering three weapon stations, in addition to providing lift. A large blue-grey mana stone was set in the nose, under a 10 mm thick armored steel plating, the mystic runes carved in the stone, glowed dimly as an electric current was run through it, causing the stone to project a bubble of wind resistance, similar to the Giant Wind Wolves' innate ability. This ability allowed the copter to fly like on greased tracks against all weather but a hurricane.

"This is your flight captain speaking, please put your trays up and ensure your seatbelts are buckled," A chippy voice came over the speakers in the red-lit cabin. "If you feel the need to puke, please do so in the inside of your helmets, as Air Valkyrie does not permit vomiting in its flight cabin."

Specialist Sargeant Tyrier rolled his eyes at the antics of the pilot. He glanced out of the armored glass window, seeing nothing but darkness before checking his team out. Some of them were nodding off in their crash seats, catching as much sleep as possible, while Specialist Private Hitsu sat the other side of the bird, stared out into the darkness.

After a short while, the pilot voice broke the engine hum of the cabin, "Alright, boys, we are approaching the LZ (landing zone) in five minutes, please ensure you have left no belongings behind as you depart from the bird. And thank you for flying Air Valkyrie and have a pleasant day!"

"Wake up, wake up!" Tyrier yelled over the whine of the engines, "Five minutes!" He raised his hand out, displaying five fingers, waking everyone up. The team started checking their gear for the last time and braced themselves for the insertion.

-----

Flight Lieutenant Peter grinned as he cut the comms off to the cabin. He leaned forward and smacked on his co-pilot, Flight Lieutenant Tommy's dark grey helmet, decored with lightning strikes on the side, only to receive a middle finger as a response.

"You are really enjoying this, eh?" Tommy's voice came into Peter's helmet.

"Hell yeah! We are flying!" Peter answered back cheerfully. "Always knew that if anyone can make this bucket of bolts to fly, is you."

Tommy snorted, "And no thanks to you, bro."

"Come on, cheer up! How's the scope looking?" Peter asked.

"All's clear, no radar contacts," Tommy replied, "One minute to target LZ."

"Roger that," Peter replied, "Thunder Chief, Thunder Chief, Valkyrie One on direct approach to LZ in one minute, over."

"Thunder Chief, copy that, make sure the cargo is properly delivered, over"

"Wilco, Valkyrie One out." Peter ended the comms, "Alright, boys hold on tight! Here we go!" And yanked the joystick sharply, tilting the bird on its side, nearly vertical to the ground, before nose-diving down and pulling up just before hitting the ground.

-----

The whine of the turboprops changed pitch and the buckles holding Tyrier bit hard against his armor as Tyrier gripped the handrails in time just as the pilot yelled a warning, "Alright, boys hold on tight! Here we go!" The copter suddenly took a hard right turn before the floor of the copter dropped, as the pilot took a hard dive downwards, sharply reducing airspeed and slammed the men hard against the crash seats and hover the bird about a meter above the terrain, as a precaution against land mines. Despite knowing the enemy has no such technology, it honed the pilots' skills as they kept the bird steady.

The crew chief stood braced against the rear of the exit like a statue, the sudden turns, and dives seemingly unable to a fazed him at all. He punched the rear exit ramp down as the lights turned from red to green and stood on the side, yelling, "GO GO GO!"

The elves of 101st ATI, team Claymore One, buckled their safety harness and rapidly exited the bird, hopping off the rear ramp and spreading out in a circle, crouching in the clearing, their M2s with the fat silencers pointing into the darkness of forest around them. As the bird lifted off, and the ground effects and whine of the turboprops vanished, Tyrier whistled into his comms, "Move out," and headed towards the north of the forest, straight for their objective.

The team donned their night vision gear, advanced equipment taken from the limited stores of the ship, same as with their comms systems they were using, and headed into the forest in a diamond-shaped formation, keeping a distance of roughly five meters away from each other. The elves trekked quietly and skillfully, not leaving behind any traces of their passage as they head northwards towards their objective.

The transport copter had airlifted Claymore One down to the south, over the mountain tops, 15 km away from their objective to avoid detection. From there, they were to trek their way upwards and sneak their way into the enemy's camp, taking out the target and if needed, search and destroy the anchor.

The team was mostly armed with silenced M2s and each other member carried a pump action shotgun with experimental arcane ammunition. While the other members carried the M3 Magekiller, to be used to take out the target from a distance if possible. Each pair of soldier will have two M2s, a shotgun and a M3 between themselves. Using spells to enhance their speed and agility, the team made quick time, reaching the borders of the Orc encampment in roughly an hour.

They could hear the calls and yells from the distance in the direction of the Orc camp. Tyrier nodded to one of his teammate who, stopped and silently moved his lips, where a dim glow of a bluish magical circle appeared under each of Claymore One's feet. When the spell was completed, everyone glowed slightly bluish before everyone's body appeared to blend into the darkness. "Done," The caster whispered as he finished the minor invisibility spell.

"Go," Tyrier whispered in the team's comms, "Turn on your infra probe lights. And keep everyone in sight! Don't get lost!" He peered around in a circle, trying very hard to spot his teammates in the dark forest. He reached over the back of his shoulder and flipped on a switch on a cylindrical device strapped over the back of his vest.

Pulling his night vision goggles down, several pulsing lights started in his vision, highlighting the location of his team. After ensuring everyone could pinpoint each other's position and their pieces of equipment are working fine, they set off quietly, weapons at the ready as they sneaked past groups of drunken partying Orcs.

One of the Claymore One team members started to map out locations and positions of the Orc encampment as they sneak through, identifying guard towers, stores, barracks, sentry locations etc. Finally, after an hour of infiltrating into the camp, the team spread out over three marked locations, Area A, B and C, each with two members overwatching the area where the suspected Necromancer would appear except for Specialist Sergeant Tyrier who camped somewhat in the middle of all three locations, acting as the command and control point.

Tyrier had slowly and quietly climbed up onto an ancient everblue, settling down on a thick branch, three stories high and securing his position by tying a rope and a carabiner around the branch and clipping it on to his harness. After which he removed a smart camo netting and covered himself, lying prone on the branch, and keeping watch around him. The minor invisibility spell will remain active for a couple of hours before fading, more than enough time for the team to dig in and hide.

High Command has not given any dateline for the mission except that it is highly critical that the mission must succeed, thus Tyrier decided to ensure everything works out perfectly. His team had planted multiple mines on each location, resembling the claymore mines of the twentieth century, a simple curved plate with hundreds of ball bearings on one side and shaped explosives at the other.

The mines were daisy-chained together for maximum effect on the trap area, remotely detonated by a clanking device with creates an electronic charge down the hidden electric wire, cleverly camouflaged among the forest floor. It will be used as the last option should the team snipers failed to make a kill shot with the M3 Magekiller, as the target most likely be protected by magical defensive spells. The huge mass of ball bearings will be more than enough to shred what magical shields and bodies to pieces.

The special operations soldiers hidden in the forest waited for hours, ignoring the crawling and stings of insects on their exposed skin and waited for the Necromancer to appear. But Lady Luck was not smiling to them as night turned to day and it was until late afternoon that something happened.

Specialist Private Hitsu slowly chewed the dried fruit bar in his mouth, slowly savoring the sweetness of the mixture of fruits and nuts. He and his partner mentally tuned out the boredom of having nothing happening for hours, even taking turns to take a power nap to recharge themselves. He watched the sloppily patroling gangs of Orcs, crashing through the undergrowth, loud enough to alert anybody hundreds of meters away and shook his head.

He used to fear these Orcs, thinking back to the childhood stories that his mother used to scare him with, saying if you don't sleep now, or you don't listen and be a good boy, the Oerkins will come and snatch you away and eat you at night. Now looking at the way the Orcs move and carry themselves, he smiled at how foolish he was when younger.

"Pssh," Specialist Loke hissed from his hide, a tree away from him. He signals Hitsu with hand signs, indicating some unusual movement approaching from their East. Loke handled the massive M3 anti-material rifle, lying on a tree branch, covered with the smart camo net that blended the special operations sniper perfectly together with the tree, it was only Hitsu knew where to look at that he could spot where and what Loke was signing with.

Hitsu, very very slowly turned his head to look at the direction of where Loke said something was happening. His face painted with dark blue and strips of black camo paint, slowly peeked out of the netting, avoiding any sudden movements which could attract any attention and saw a large troop of Orcs storming their way across them at a distance of 50 meters away.

Hitsu cursed inwardly as he noticed a small contingent of robed individuals among the Orcs, but one of them clearly stood out among them, as that individual extruded an aura of pure evilness to Hitsu's senses. He double tapped his comms, signaling to his other teammates that his area of operations which is Area B, has spotted the target.

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neo Koh

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