Colonel Hotchkiss sat in his office in Fort Hood, listening to the commotion outside. Everyone was in a hurry; the enemy lines had suddenly bulged forward, snapping what was left of the Texas Defense Line in a matter of hours. Where they got the manpower, the Colonel had no idea. All he knew now was that Fort Hood was being abandoned, and Dallas itself was under direct attack already. He sighed deeply and stood, walking over to a file cabinet and withdrawing a few folders before sitting once more. Not much else was important in his office, and it wasn't like the enemy could even read, insane monsters that they were. The folders mostly contained dossiers and other files pertaining to Project Gunsuit, and as the aged man flipped through them, he couldn't help but feel dissatisfied. Thirty recruits had been selected for training, and only ten had succeeded. Even then, most of those ten weren't exactly stellar pilots. He would've liked to have given them more time before their first mission, but fate is a bitch. A few would probably die. In his mind, he recalled the briefing he'd given them... It was a few hours earlier, minutes after the Texas Defense Line had broken, and only five pilots had been called into a simple room and instructed to sit. The Colonel was already waiting for them and started the moment the last pilot had taken their seat, "Alright, listen. The Texas Defense Line is under serious strain and the higher-ups believe it's about to snap, so I got handed orders to send all of you greenhorns out into a shitstorm, only this shitstorm has something incredibly valuable in it. Your mission is simple. You'll be escorting two full Bradleys into southern Dallas, to a warehouse where the team will extract some valuable materials. "After that, get the fuck out of the city anyway you can and reach a clear area, without any fires or fucked up weather ideally. A chopper will fly in, land, and extract the materials. The rest of you will have to drive your Gunsuits and escort whatever is left of the infantry west towards DFW International Airport. A couple C-130s will be waiting to pick you up there. If the enemy starts getting too close to the airport, they will leave your asses and you'll be forced to hoof it further west to another airport. Meanwhile, Fort Hood will be abandoned and our forces evacuated west. "You will see civilians during this mission; you are not to assist them under any circumstances. If anything takes a shot at you or comes at you, I want you to blow it to Hell. Do not trust anything that is not the people you leave this base with. Complete the mission; get the fuck out of that city; catch your ride to safety. Ignore everything else. Team leaders will receive specific maps and routes. You move out immediately." There hadn't been much time for an in-depth briefing, unfortunately. The Colonel leaned back in his chair and sighed deeply as he absentmindedly thumbed the insignia imprinted on the folders; a flame itself surrounded by a ring of fire. Roughly a two-hour drive away from Fort Hood, the team rocketed forward as fast as they could in the dead of night, the moonlight lighting their path. The Bradleys rumbled along at a steady clip, the skyscrapers of Dallas not far from them. They were already burning. Fires were sprouting from windows across the city and bathing it in red. Sounds of explosions and gunfire filled the air. They moved along the highways, which had been cleared of civilian cars for months to facilitate military travel. Hardly anyone was allowed to use a vehicle these days if they weren't military. The team leader, Alex, was positioned as the pointman of the formation, with Markus directly behind her, followed by a Bradley, after which was Beatrice, then another Bradley, then Sam and finally Trent in the rear. They moved in a linear formation as quickly as they could with Alex carefully keeping tabs on where they were on her GPS, "About two minutes until we exit the highway. We'll be in close quarters with buildings all around us at that point, so stay alert. From there, it's roughly a straight shot west assuming nothing blocks our path, probably a five minute drive." Sam couldn't help but keep looking around in addition to checking her sector as she quietly said on the comms, "It's weird. I don't think we've seen a single civvie this entire time. Did they already leave or something... And I've got this feeling like we're being watched..." In truth, every single one of the pilots had the nagging feeling in the back of their mind whether they acknowledged it or not, like a sixth sense telling them something was in the buildings, staring at them, watching them as they passed. Waiting.