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Freelancer Chronicles - A New Start

22nd September, 2282 | Petersham, Commonwealth

The sun was starting to set by the time that Iona had set off from the ambush. She moves slowly across the ground, blending into the dirt and rocks as she looks like little more than a shadow passing across the land at a glance. On her she has gathered whatever supplies the gunners hadn't looted, giving her enough food and water for a few days with strict rationing along with ammo for her service rifle, hunting rifle and her pistol. She managed to pick up the trail of the gunners easy enough as they didn't seem to be caring about hiding their tracks or couldn't be bothered as they had prisoners.

She has been tracking them for a few hours with night having fallen by now, she had dropped further back from the gunners as she slows down to make sure she stays quiet with the limited vision. Using the light from their torches to follow them through the dark. It takes her a moment to realise they have stopped moving as she starts gaining on them, Iona slowly creeps forward towards the stopped gunners to get into a better position to watch them begin to set up camp for the night. Once she is sure that they are setting up camp, she peels off from the rear of them to move to the small rise next to their camp that she passed as she moved closer.

Once she reaches the top of the rise, she slowly takes her rucksack off and lays it down next to her with her service rifle while she unslings her hunting rifle screwing the suppressor on while she does so. She places it down next to her while she pulls out two bits of fabric, that look like they came from a torn cloak or similar, she places one of the ground and rolls it out to extend in front of her before she lies on the end of it. With the other bit of fabric, she slowly wraps it around the barrel of her hunting rifle. Once she was done, she would slowly pick it up, pulling out the bipod as she does so, and place it down on the fabric she had rolled out so that the material was under the length of the rifle. Iona places her eye to the scope and slowly pans it across the Gunner camp counting how many she can see, there is six of them in the campsite, two gunners guarding the prisoners and the other four were setting up camp. The remaining four could just be seen on the edge of the light looking out into the dark as sentries. With all of the gunners spotted she moves her eye away from the scope and pulls out the magazine to check the ammo, once she had confirmed it was full she clips it back in and proceeds to pull the bolt back before she slams it forwards and chambers a .308 round.

Iona steadies her breathing as her eye goes back to her scope, and she picks her first target at the edge of the camp. She places the centre of the scope over his head before she closes her eyes for a moment and then opens them again to find where her aim has moved to. She shifts slightly before aiming again, Iona repeats this cycle until when she opens her eyes that her aim has not moved. Once her aim was true, she takes a breath and slowly lets it out as she squeezes the trigger with the sound of the round exiting the barrel and flying to its target. Due to the range, it starts to drop from where Iona was aiming and takes the Gunner through the neck instead. Causing him to fall to his knees with a hand scrabbling at his neck while he tries to breathe before he falls motionless into the dirt. Iona slowly moves her gaze over the rest of the camp, but they do not seem to have noticed, so she takes aim on the next Gunner, the sentry on the right of the camp repeating what she did before while she takes her time to aim.

Once she has her target, she breathes out slowly again and squeezes the trigger, this time having adjusted for the distance, and the round strikes true with the Gunner dropping to the ground right away, dead before his body has fallen to its knees. While she scans she notices one of the Gunners moving towards the Gunner she just killed while she pulls the bolt back and slams it forward with another round chambered. She tracks the Gunners movement with her scope hovering over them, waiting for them to stop moving. The Gunner stops and turns to look back into the camp a shout coming to her lips just when Iona squeezes the trigger and sends another round racing from the muzzle of her rifle. This round takes the Gunner square in the face with them crumpling into a heap while the other Gunners dive for cover.

Iona lets out a small sigh before she goes back to scanning for a shot while she chambers the next round. One of the gunners springs out from their cover to try and move forward to the next bit of cover, but Iona was on target before he had gotten far with the round taking him in the stomach before he collapses with a scream of pain. None of the six remaining Gunners moves to help him as they know that the sniper will be waiting for them to move. With the Gunners seeming intent on keeping their heads down, Iona decides to get the ball rolling again. She swings her rucksack back on, clipping her rifle on to her front as well so it is to hand for when she needs it before she starts slowly moving down towards the camp. One of the Gunners pops their head up and fires a few rounds towards the rise blindly as they didn't know exactly where the shots were coming from, while he is out of cover Iona stops moving and aims quickly before she fires again. This round flys straight due to the closer range and takes the Gunner right through the neck as it comes straight out the other side of it, he drops to his knees with his hands to his neck while he tries to breathe with a small gurgling sound coming from him before he falls to the dirt, dead. With her have covered most of the distance to the camp now, she slings her hunting rifle across her rucksack and brings her service rifle up and checks its ammo before she starts moving again. With her weapon now unsuppressed, when one of the Gunners dashes out from cover, and she fires a short burst into their chest, the gunshots crack out across the camp with only the moans of pain and fear of the prisoners to join it. The Gunner that moved out from cover drops in screams of pain while their weapon goes flying. With four Gunners left, Iona slowly makes her way around the side of their camp to try and flank them. Iona slowly crouch walks along the side of one of the tents and comes out behind the remaining Gunners who were still looking towards her last gunshots. She takes a moment to take aim before she fires short bursts into the Gunners, with them being taken by surprise and on the last one to go down starting to react before she has been taken out by Iona. With the Gunners down she reloads her rifle before she slings it over her shoulder and draws her pistol and makes her way over to the one she shot in the stomach with the hunting rifle. She rolls him onto his back to try and get information from him, but he was already dead, with a small sigh, she holsters her pistol and moves to free the prisoners.

Once their hands were free, the prisoners remove their blindfolds and gags while they look around the Gunner camp and then up at Iona.

"Tha...thank you, freelancer."

Iona looks down at the caravaner with a slight shrug before she moves to start going through the Gunners supplies.

"Just doing a job, plus wanted revenge, so it's a win-win. Anyway, get some gear together and let's move we will want to get some distance between us and this camp before we sleep."

The caravaners nod, after the months of travel with the freelancers and mercenaries they had gotten used to not arguing with them when it came to safety. Once Iona had resupplied her own gear, she moves out of the light to keep an eye out while the caravaners get gear together and take whatever they need from dead Gunners. After they had gotten everything they need together and weapons from the Gunners, they move over to Iona.

"Right people, we are still probably the good part of a day away from our destination so we will have to move hard in the morning, but for now, we need to get away from this camp and then we can rest."

The caravaners look at each other before the one who seems to have been appointed as the leader nods and looks at Iona.

"Ok, lead on freelancer. It is time to finish this long march and find a new start for all of us."

Iona nods slightly as adjusts her slouch hat before she sets off into the night with the remaining caravaners.

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