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The View Past the Threshold is Up for Debate

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After seven hours in his sniper's nest with not a thing in his scope to show for it his comm finally crackled to life. "Coming your way, Cougar." It was barely more than a whisper, but it came with enough of a nudge that Cougar grumbled to himself under his breath. Despite having worked under Clay for eleven months now, the man still hadn't gotten it through his head that Cougar was a professional and would never let his attention drift or fall asleep or whatever it was that Clay's previous snipers had done that caused Clay to automatically, perhaps unconsciously, use his Power to alert subordinates to make sure they were on the job.

"Got it," Cougar announced when he spotted the dust the caravan kicked up through his scope.

"The target's in the second jeep, front seat, passenger side. According to intel, the cargo's in the ZIL behind him." Cougar appreciated that Jensen didn't bother to add any admonishments, just gave a simple statement of fact. Jensen's trust that Cougar would be able to take out the rebel leader without risking the cargo or the Company-supported second in command was absolute.

Lining up the shot Cougar brought up enough of a gentle breeze to move the dust out of the way without causing any suspicion. "Target acquired."

"Take the shot," Clay ordered.

Exhaling slowly, Cougar fired, urging the bullet along with just a hint of Power to fight against the wind shear. He had disassembled his rifle and nearly broken down his nest by the time Roque radioed to give him confirmation of the kill before mentioning that if Cougar was not at the rendezvous in an hour they'd leave without him. The slight warmth of camaraderie that accompanied the transmission belied its threatening nature so Cougar didn't bother to comment on it, just clicked the earpiece once to acknowledge receiving it before clearing the immediate area of any trace he'd ever been there and heading on his way.

Despite Roque's deadline, when Cougar met up with the team just under fifty seven minutes later they weren't anywhere close to being ready to leave. Outside the dilapidated Company safehouse they had been using as a base for the op, Pooch was elbows deep into their truck's engine. Between the electricity in the air and the way Pooch was cursing up a storm in at least six different languages it was pretty obvious that whatever had gone wrong with their transport, it wasn't going to be an easy fix.

"Can I help?" he asked as he approached, despite knowing what the answer would most likely be.

Pooch pushed himself up and, in the general direction of the open door, loudly replied, "You can tell Clay that if he doesn't stop nudging me I'm going to push some sparks where the sun don't shine!"

They might not have been able to make out Clay's resulting mutterings in response, but they did hear the indignant huff that preceded them and that was enough to know that the warning had been overheard and that Pooch wasn't going to have to worry about Clay using his Power on him again any time soon. Cougar patted Pooch on the back as he passed although Pooch barely noticed, all his attention already back on the engine.

The house's main room was small and ill lit, but it didn't take long for Cougar's eyes to adjust to it. Clay was sitting with is chair tipped up on two legs, leaning against the wall glaring at Roque who was stretched out the ratty couch, either napping or doing a good job of pretending to be anyway. Jensen, as Cougar expected, was in front of his computer. Less expected was the odd look of intent on Jensen's face or the way he was typing away madly and seemed completely unaware Cougar had returned.

"Jensen?" Cougar asked.

Startled, Jensen looked up. "Oh hey Cougs, when did you get back?" he asked, still typing frantically, but before Cougar could reply, he turned to Clay. "I think we got a problem, boss."

Clay's chair came down with a thump, the room shaking slightly along with the impact. "Problem? What do you mean, problem?"

"So you know how the plan was we take out Anisimov and then Koryavin takes over, plays nice with the big boys and the Company's little problem of all those munitions going missing, getting upgraded and then being sold to the quote unquote wrong people goes away?"

"Yes," Clay ground out. And waited. And waited. Cougar was pretty sure the only reason Jensen wasn't getting the mother of all nudges right then was because physical Powers had a tendency to play havoc with electronics and Jensen was practically melded with his laptop, hunched around it the way he was. "And?"

"Well, I'm looking at a lot of chatter coming out of certain circles that makes it looks like Koryavin's just picking things up where his old boss left off. There's mention of a new auction here and it was confirmed just over ninety minutes ago which is some fucked up timing since Anisimov was on the road then and close to the coordinates we'd been given to take him out, but, hey, stranger things could happen, right? Except, when I dig into it, the auction's being held on Koryavin's orders, not Anisimov's. And if I'm reading this right – which I am because I'm me – his group will be selling even more shit than before, some of which I've never even heard of and none of the typical invitees have changed, if anything there's even more from the 'take these crazy fuckers out on sight' list.

"Now considering that Anisimov's not even in the ground yet I'm pretty sure it means Koryavin played the Company like a finely tuned organ, you know one of those fancy huge ones that take up a whole wall in a church? That are all foreboding and shit? Because when you think about it, Koryavin might have been second in command but he really was just a lackey, a yes man with no power of his own except for a skill in weapons design. I don't think he could've gotten rid of Anisimov by himself not without a lot of risk anyway, coups like that aren't easy to pull off. But by pretending he's going to play the Company's game he tricked them, and therefore us, into doing his dirty work for him. Not that taking out that bastard wasn't a good thing, Cougs," Jensen added quickly. "After what that fucker pulled with those kids in that village outside Khodzhasoat? If there's anyone who deserved a dirt nap it's him. But Colonel, I think you better get on the horn with whichever idiot is behind our orders for this little excursion because something tells me we're not done with this one yet."

Clay sighed, scrubbing his hand over his face. "Roque!" he barked, nudging hard enough as he did so that Roque noticeably shuddered.

"What?" Roque sat up and glared at Clay.

"It looks like we might be staying a while. See how Pooch is coming with the transpo and then check on the perimeter."

Grumbling something very uncomplimentary under his breath that they all heard but chose to ignore, Roque got to his feet, tucking the two knives he'd put on the arm of the couch away as he headed out.

Cougar looked to Clay, raising an eyebrow and tilting his head to the door. Should he follow Roque?

"Grab yourself something to eat while I figure out what our next move is." Clay's attention had already shifted to the laptop screen that Jensen had abandoned, reading the information there while Jensen focused on unpacking and setting up their long range communication gear, so Cougar didn't bother to acknowledge the order and just headed to the back of the house.

As far as useful kitchens went, the one at this safehouse fell far short. The sink worked, which was something at least, and Cougar took the opportunity to wash his hands well to rid himself of the gunshot residue, but other than that the room was pretty useless. There were no cooking implements, no microwave, two bent spoons, and other than some beers and truly questionable condiments the refrigerator was empty.

Poking around the cabinets, trying to find something other than MREs, Cougar could vaguely hear Clay's half of conversation with their current handler, but pretty much he ignored it. Clay had proven himself a decent commander overall and Cougar mostly trusted him to tell the team what they needed to know to complete the mission successfully so he didn't feel the need to eavesdrop. There was also the fact that Jensen was there, listening in, and it was guaranteed that he'd let tell Cougar anything that Clay didn't mention that was even the slightest bit important or significant.

Eventually unearthing a can of peaches, Cougar ate them quickly before setting his rifle on the table and settling in to clean it. The simple, mindless work was perfect for clearing his thoughts after the day's mission and kept him busy while Clay worked out what was going on with their mission. He could sense Jensen brushing against his mind, checking in like he always did, but unlike most Voices he'd worked with Jensen had never felt invasive. Sure, like all communications specialists Jensen was a telepath, but unless it was particularly necessary, Jensen rarely used his Power to communicate much more than brief interactions. Cougar wasn't sure, but he assumed it was that Jensen just liked actually talking too much to bother with mental communication on a regular basis, not that Jensen's Power wasn't strong enough.

Cougar, like a lot of Special Forces, was a level six. While there wasn't anything in the regs that forbid talking about one's level, no one ever did, but everyone knew that no one who tested lower than a five could get selected and make it past the first phase of the Q and that anyone an eight or higher was sent to Special Forces Elite Powers Training School and wouldn't end up on a mixed Powers ODA like the Losers. So, while he couldn't pinpoint Jensen's exact level, or any of his teammates' for that matter, he could make an estimated guess and knew that with all likelihood Jensen could speak to him anytime he wanted to, he just chose not to.

"Get your asses over here, Losers," Clay called from the other room, "we got ourselves a new assignment."

Not bothering to reply, Cougar swiped the rag one last time over the barrel before stowing his cleaning kit and heading back into the main room.

Unsurprisingly, the Losers had been tasked with taking out Koryavin and destroying whatever munitions he'd been planning to sell. As Pooch commented, the Company really does not appreciate being tricked into doing someone else's dirty work, although getting someone to do theirs, of course, was perfectly acceptable.

They immediately began an intense informational gathering/scouting/hacking session. The timeline was tight; the auction was scheduled to take place in less than three days and, according to their handler, couldn't be allowed to happen. Anisimov's stockpile had been significant and with Koryavin now in charge but not acting as expected it was now considered far too big and far too dangerous to fall into unknown (aka unapproved) hands so the Losers had been tasked with taking care of both the man and the munitions.

Since their focus was on the weapons and not on any other extracurricular activities, they chose to discount Anisimov's holdings in Denau since the city was too populous to be able to move or store the kind of weapons listed for sale and Uchkula since it was too remote and that kind of activity would have brought too much attention to gunrunners trying to stay under the radar. Ramazanchim, on the other hand, was just the right size and was easily accessible from Tajikistan as well. Jensen, being Jensen, had not only managed to track down detailed blueprints for the three buildings that had previously been linked to Anisimov and his men outside city limits, but also topographical maps of the immediate area as well. Between them and the details Pooch and Cougar obtained when they did a little reconnaissance the team was able to cobble together a plan that, despite being hampered by so many unknowns (and there were a quite a lot of unknowns), everyone was mostly happy with.

The majority of the weapons appeared to be stored in a large warehouse on the eastern edge of town. Roque and Pooch, being not only demo and heavy weps specialists but also a Burner and a Spark, were tasked with destroying them. Their skills, combined with their Powers, would make up for the fact that the original op had been a simple elimination so they hadn't brought with them the supplies needed for large scale demolition. Since heat and electricity were the basics of nearly all kind of explosives and weapons those Powers could be used to either destroy all the munitions they expected to find or, at the least, sabotage them to the point of ineffectiveness.

According to everything they found, all signs pointed to Koryavin following his typical routine, probably so he wouldn't arouse suspicion among his men since if he appeared to have slipped into Anisimov's position too quickly or easily they might have (rightly) assumed he'd have planned the move and that kind of distrust led to further coups and takeovers of the hostile sorts. Luckily, the briefing for their original mission had included a report summarizing nearly an entire month of observed behavior of the man so Cougar was tasked with setting up in an empty, half-finished building with sight access to when Koryavin would be so he'd be prepared to take him down when the time came for it.

Jensen, meanwhile, would be making a surgical strike on the computer system that Anisimov used to maintain. The man had been known for his meticulous record keeping so there was presumed to be years of useful data containing the names of movers and shakers in the gun manufacturing, upgrading, and smuggling world stored to his servers. All Jensen had to do was install his RAT program into their system and then he'd be able access the servers, and all their data, remotely and then he could supply the Company with all the information greedy little hearts could ever desire about Anisimov's former business.

The timing to the installation of the program was where Clay came in. He would be taking over for Jensen in coordinating comms during the mission from their transport, ensuring that Pooch and Roque's attack on the warehouse was timed just right so that Cougar could take out Koryavin exactly when he and his men became distracted by the news and freeing Jensen to be able to use the mayhem that followed to slip into the offices to gain access to the intranet there and plant his program without being noticed.

"No one will have eyes on Jensen," Cougar pointed out during the final stages of hashing out their plan.

"Aww, Cougs, you do care," Jensen teased without looking up from his coding.

Clay shrugged. "That can't be helped. All signs point to there never being more than a skeleton crew at the building that houses their real estate office." Which made sense since it was one of the most obvious business fronts that Cougar had ever seen; it didn't even make any kind real attempt of pretending to be a working business, rather laboring under the assumption that a sign in the window and a secretary out front was all that was needed to be a legitimate organization. Still though, Pooch and Roque would be able to watch each other's back, Cougar out of retaliatory range unless Koryavin had a counter-sniper, and Clay hidden away organizing things from their transpo a few blocks down from Jensen's location. If anything went wrong it would only take Clay a few minutes to reach him, but Jensen would be on his own until then and a lot could happen in a few minutes.

Jensen then sent Cougar a gentle feeling of confidence followed by clearly speaking, "I got this," at him so, because he could be something other than an unreasonable bastard when he really tried to be, Cougar dropped the issue.

Five hours, a quick nap, and light meal later everyone took their places. After determining sight lines, Cougar decided to set up on the seventh floor on the southwest corner of a building about four hundred yards away from Koryavin's residency. As far as locations for sniper nests went it was fairly ideal, if a bit drafty. The building had been being built as part of a business complex whose construction had halted after being about eighty percent completed. As a result the basics he needed were done: the stairs up to the floor he wanted to use were sound, the floors were sturdy, the walls complete if unfinished, and the windows blocked out but empty.

There had been an attempt made to keep people out; there was a chain link fence that ran around the entire complex and the doors and windows on the lowest levels had plywood nailed over them but it had been child's play for Cougar to get past them. A bit of a run and jump and a hint of Power and he was launching himself off a dumpster, planting a foot on an edge of exposed rebar, grabbing onto the windowsill and hefting himself up, over and through the first of the unblocked windows. Once he jogged up the stairs and into the chosen room all he had to do was slip his rifle case off his shoulder, set it up and peer through the scope.

Despite the late hour Koryavin was, as expected, sitting at his desk, poking away diligently at a laptop. Whether he was finalizing details about the auction, reading Anisimov's files or, for that matter, looking at porn, Cougar didn’t know and didn't care. "In position," he whispered into his comm.

There was the small, annoying, high pitched click of Clay switching into Cougar's channel (Cougar hated the closed channel for numerous reasons and that damn click was one of them) before Clay replied with a brusque, "Roger."

And then Cougar waited. And waited. And waited some more.

As a sniper he was good at waiting, he had to be. It was basically impossible to be any decent kind of sniper if you were the impatient sort. You had to be able to wait for too many things to come together- the subject in your sights, the order to take the shot, the environmental conditions, even your own breathing and heartbeat. But, just because he was good at it, didn’t mean he always liked it.

When working with a specific target instead of supplying general backup using closed channel comms made sense since there was no need to listen to and filter out all the normal comm communications if all he was waiting for was one specific command. The problem was that after being with the Losers, and more importantly Jensen, for almost a year Cougar had gotten used to a certain level of background chatter and the silence wasn't as comfortable as it once had been. But still, the fact he wasn't able to hear the others' reports meant they couldn't distract him, which was a good thing. It was.

Koryavin made things easy for him by staying in his sights and never moving from his desk. The man spent most of the time reading something on the screen, but there was a little typing, two calls made and seven times that he removed a flask from the bottom desk drawer and sipped from it before returning to its place.

The comm clicked in his ear, followed immediately by Clay giving the order he'd been waiting for. "Cougar, you're up."

Cougar watched as Koryavin turned, reaching for his phone, the same moment someone burst into the office. It was such an easy shot Cougar didn't even bother putting any Power behind it. He simply took a breath, steadied himself, exhaled and fired, hitting his target without a problem. "Done," he announced to Clay and began packing up.

"Roger," Clay replied and Cougar grimaced slightly at the following click.

Halfway down the stairs his comm surprised him, squawking back into life as he was dropped into an open channel. "Trouble at the tertiary target. Losers, converge there ASAP!"

Breaking into a run, Cougar didn't bother to get down to his entry point where the lowest of the empty windows were, instead he simply shot out of the stairwell at the next level, quickened his pace to a sprint and jumped out the nearest window, using his Power to blow himself forward. The result was a barely controlled combination of parkour and long jump but by continuing to pump his legs as propelled away from the building he had time to turn his fall into a crash-and-roll that distributed his weight enough to leave himself bruised and scraped, but without anything broken.

With the background noise of cursing (Roque), labored breathing of someone running (probably Pooch but might also be Clay) and a firefight (definitely Jensen) in his ear Cougar stole a car – thank fuck for old junkers and Pooch's insistence in teaching the team how to hot-wire them – and took off toward the office building Jensen had been tasked with infiltrating.

"Jensen, sitrep! Sitrep!" The fact that Clay was still demanding a report close to seven minutes after the initial backup request went out was not a good thing. Even more worrying was the fact that Jensen wasn't sending them anything to go on. He was a Voice for fuck's sake, even if his comm was busted (which definitely wasn't the case since they'd all heard the gunfire coming from it) he should be able to let them know what was going on in nauseatingly exacting detail. That he wasn't doing so was… worrying.

Cougar pressed the pedal down further. Not much further now.

Arriving just behind Pooch and Roque's vehicle, Cougar slammed on the breaks, grabbed his case and jogged over to Clay.

"Here's what we know." Clay, all business as expected, didn't wait for any kind of greeting from the team. "Jensen reported that he slipped in undetected. What I heard from his comms seemed to confirm that- basic ambient noise, nothing unusual. He went down into the lower level and located the servers room, reported that he gained access and then there was sounds of a struggle and he stopped talking mid-word. There was immediate gunfire, which continued for five minutes, but he's been without either direct or Voice contact for eleven minutes."

They armed themselves, grabbing what they needed from the bags in the back of their truck as Clay updated them. As always the case when tension was high, the air was thick with barely contained Powers. Cougar always found that comforting, it was like he could taste the intensity, the focus of the team.

"How you want to do this?" Pooch asked, shoving spare mags in his vest pockets.

"We go in, we get him, we get out," Clay replied simply. The 'and shoot everything in our way' was, as always, unspoken, but implied.

"Works for me," Roque grumbled.

Following Jensen's planned route they enter the building through the side door. It opened into a typical office hallway with its beige walls and cheap carpeting. There was no movement and the only sound came from a struggling HVAC system.

Clay led them down the hall and around the corner, clearing as they went but they found nothing. Finally they came to the heavy metal fire door that led downstairs. Once they opened it the smell the cordite wafted up at them, but there was no current gunfire. Roque took the lead down the stairs with Pooch on their flank.

In a matter of moments they located the door to the lowest level once there they saw the first signs of a firefight. They passed three dead mercenaries, all of whom had fired their weapons before being killed with clean, military precision, obviously by Jensen. Roque paused at the end of the hall in front of a door with a large, blown out electronic lock on it. The entire wall and door had been strafed with bullets and he jutted with his chin to draw attention to the slight blood splatter where at least one bullet had hit its mark.

Clay took the lead, gesturing for Roque to remain in the hall and keep an eye out while the rest of them would enter. He'd just started the countdown, holding up three fingers when Cougar noticed something out of the corner of his eye and halted it.

"Comm," he mouthed, scooping it up. It didn't appear to be broken which explained why it had continued to transmit after Jensen had stopped reporting in, although just by examining it he couldn't figure out why Jensen was no longer wearing it.

Clay nodded as Cougar pocketed the comm and began his countdown again. Three. Two. One. Guns at the ready, he flung open the door. It smacked into a body on the floor just inside the room.

"Oh good, you found me."

The room was much larger than expected, taking up maybe half the square footage of the entire building. Computers and other electronic devices in various stages of completion lined two of the walls and covered the tables around the room. Jensen sat on the floor, leaning against a file cabinet, bleeding from his head and a bullet wound in his right thigh. Oddly, he appeared to have a hostage, holding a gun on man who was lying face down on the floor with legs bound and his hands tied behind his back.

"Colonel, meet a Russian counterpart of yours. He's refused to give me his name but going by his insignia I've been calling him Podpolkóvnik Poopy Pants."

That got Clay's instant attention. "What's a Russian lieutenant colonel doing on Uzebeckistani soil?"

"I could ask the same thing of you," the man in question replied, his English accented but serviceable. "Running into an American special forces team. Here. How interesting."

While the two colonels faced off, Cougar slipped past them to access Jensen's condition. "Why did you not tell us you were injured," he chided as he tilted Jensen's head to the side to get a better look at the damage before pulling out supplies to treat him.

"Yeah, about that." Jensen looked over Cougar's shoulder to the rest of the team. "You know that upgraded, specialty shit Koryavin was selling? How we didn't know what it was or what it could do? Welllllll, that thing there anyway," he pointed to a small, hand grenade looking device lying spent on the floor, "emits a burst not unlike an EMP, except instead of frying electronics it temporarily fries, uh, other things."

"Vash spetsial'nost. Your specialty. Power. It lessens it," the colonel said, unlike Jensen not bothering to try to hide what he knew.

"Yeah. That." Jensen hissed at Cougar's ministrations. "Lost my comm somewhere in the fight with our now dead friend there and then he set that thing off and my Power went pfft. I got the upper hand anyway, killed him and took Poopy Pants here out, but, well, after that all things considered couldn't do anything other than stay here until you guys tracked me down."

Jensen's injuries weren't bad, a couple of cracked ribs, a minor concussion and a through and through to the thigh, but they were enough that he couldn't be mobile, guard a prisoner and defend himself against anyone they came across on their way out so his decision to hole up in a defendable space and wait for backup made sense.

"But its effects are temporary?" Clay asked, keeping his gun on the colonel, but nodding at the device.

Jensen nodded. "I don't know its range or how it configured its intensity level or anything but yeah, it's definitely temporary. Biology being what it is, permanent effects would be impossible without turning everyone nearby into gibbering idiots and melting all their higher brain functions and I think I would've noticed that. Besides, things," the way Jensen emphasized the word and waggled his eyebrows made it obvious be meant his Voice Powers, "are already coming back."

"So what are we going to do with it?" Roque asked from the doorway. "And him. We could take them both with us but it'd be easier to kill him and torch the place."

Jensen laughed roughly. "Not that I'm all happy and friendly toward this asshole, but he is a Russian national and probably has orders to be here and there's no way we can scrub all our activity here so if we kill him there's a good chance it'll get traced back to us and I, for one, am against starting international incidents if I can avoid it."

Clay offered a noncommittal grunt on the subject and gestured for Pooch and Cougar to put Jensen's arms over their shoulders and help him to his feet.

"Seriously though," Jensen continued once he'd steadied himself between them, "whatever we decide we better do it quick since with Anisimov and Koryavin dead there's no one in charge and when there's no one in charge things tend to get pretty bloody pretty fucking quickly."

Bending down, Clay looked the Russian colonel in the eye. "What do you know about this device?"

"Anisimov and Koryavin are both dead?" He tilted his head so he could see the teams' faces better, staring at them for a moment before nodding to himself. "Koryavin was the one who designed and built their specialty weapons. As he was known for making no notes on his work I had been tasked with bringing him in so he could personally share his designs with the people I work for or, if he was not willing, preventing his knowledge from being used against us. That would be acceptable to my superiors as well. Now, if I may get up?"

"Slowly," Clay ordered, keeping his gun on him.

Despite the ties on his wrists he was able to roll over and then push himself up into a seated position. "My fight is not with you, I only attacked your man because I thought he was one of Anisimov's mercenaries. My mission objective has been fulfilled. Ideally I would return with his prototype but as long as it is destroyed I have not failed. And you wish it destroyed as well, yes? We need not be enemies here, not when we desire the same result."

Jensen, Cougar and Pooch had made their way across the room and paused next to Clay. They all looked at one another, gathering closer together to talk without being overheard. "Jensen?" Clay asked.

"Program's installed, boss. If there's anything about the TDP, the temporary depowering pulse that is, in the system at all I'll find it. I'm pretty sure the device itself is toast though. That way the whole room smells kind of burnt? That's because the wiring shorted out and flamed for a second right after detonating. We can take what's left of it with us of course, but it's probably not going to be too useful, but then again would we even want it to be?"

Jensen's gestures had become bigger and wilder the more he spoke. Pooch gave Cougar a 'You got him?' look, to which Cougar nodded because, of course he had Jensen. As Pooch stepped away he asked, "Why wouldn't we?"

"I've heard some whisperings of this kind of tech maybe being developed, but nothing concrete, you know? I gotta wonder though, did the brass know about all this? Was the plan we take out Anisimov and Koryavin gives us access to this kind of shit in exchange? 'Cause I can see them making a deal like that and not telling us the details. But then Koryavin reneges on it so they figure they'd just send us in to take him and his tech out because if we can't have him no one can. But say we bring back that device. How long before they reverse engineer it? And if they got it working then you know our allies would want it and then it'd only be a matter of time before someone stole or sold it and then it'd be everywhere. Do we want to be the cause of that?"

The thought of not being able to access his Powers, even temporarily, made Cougar uneasy. "I do not."

"Yeah, me neither." Pooch grimaced and shook his head.

"Roque?" Clay asked.

"Fuck, no."

"Here's what we're going to do. Cougar, you help Jensen. Roque, rig the room to blow once we're clear. Pooch, cut our friend's legs free, we'll take him with us and then remove the ties on his arms once we're outside." Clay turned to the Russian. "Are you going to report us to your superiors?"

"For what you did here? Meh. Uzbeks. Weapon sellers. There is no interest there. Koryavin's weapons have been destroyed. Once I confirm he is also dead?" He gave a half shrug. "That is all they need know."

Before long Cougar was helping Jensen into the truck, a little bit of smoke still wafting out from the building behind them. "Well, that happened," Jensen said wryly before looking up at Cougar, frowning, and sending him, Stop it with your murder face, Cougs, I'm fine. Cougar scowled even further then, since Jensen's speaking wasn't as loud or clear as it usually was.

Poking Cougar in the chest Jensen teased, "You, my hovering kitty cat friend are adorable, but seriously, quit worrying." Cougar raised an eyebrow at that. He was perfectly justified in being concerned that Jensen's Powers had been negated by some kind of weapon and appeared to be still affected.

Concussion, remember? Those always fuck with Powers. And Poopy Pants over there didn't give it to me so quit it with your death glare.

Cougar huffed and grumbled under his breath as he walked over to join the rest of the team.

"We were never here," Clay was saying to the Russian as Roque cut him free. "Got it?"

The man smiled. "Why would an American military team be in Uzbekistan?"

"Why would a podpolkóvnik?" Clay replied. He got a wry grin and nod in response before the Russian deliberately turned his back on them and walked off. "In the truck, Losers. No need to draw more attention to ourselves than necessary."

Once the weapons were back in their bags and everyone had taken their seats Pooch looked over the team in the rear view mirror. "Well, my world view is rocked. The Pooch does not like knowing his Spark can be fucked with at the whim of some weapons developer."

Cougar wasn't fond of the idea either. "Once someone has constructed such a thing it is only a matter of time before someone else does."

"Yeah, I guess the proverbial genie is out of the bottle on that one, isn't it? All we can do is do our best to delay the inevitable, I guess, and keep it out of our reports and hope our Ruskie friend decides not to screw us over and does the same." Jensen shuddered dramatically. "Well on that cheery thought I'm going to take a nap. Wake me when we get back to the safehouse." He immediately slouched into Cougar's space and, with his wounded leg stretched out in front of them, leaned his head against Cougar's shoulder and proceeded to fall instantly asleep.

Cougar shook his head and sighed when Jensen let out a loud snore. Their world may have changed, but at least Jensen was as ridiculous as ever.