The SUV skidded to a halt and the couple climbed out. The man was carrying a big lever action rifle while the woman was carrying a shotgun. They were in their 60s and dressed in casual rancher chic.
"What's going on here?" the woman asked. While the man scanned the woods. As I walked over I started picking up an ozony smell.
I decided to get official, "USFW, we're here on reports of a pack of rabid wolves. When we went into the forest to track them down we stumbled on to a forest fire."
The man gave me a 'Who do you think your kidding?' look, then nodded at Baby, "So Soviet heavy machineguns are Department of the Interior issue? Or has Wyoming been invaded by Russian musclewomen, Agent...?"
"Summers," when I said that the pair looked startled.
"With an 'O'?" the woman asked.
"Huh? No with a 'U'. Why do you ask?"
"Hey Buff! Fawkes here says they're moving up on us!" Boyer's bellow was clear.
" 'They', would be the rabid wolves, right?" the man asked.
"Uh yeah...rabid wolves. Look get in your truck and get out of here. it's going to get violent in a second," as I said that I could have sworn I saw a grin cross both their faces.
"Sounds like old times sweetheart," the woman said.
The man nodded and worked the action of his rifle, "Anything 'special' we should know about these 'wolves'?"
"They're really sneaky and hard to see?" I tried to sound apologetic.
"How hard?" the woman asked.
"Like you would swear they were invisible," I mumbled.
"Do they shoot back?" the man asked
"Alien or Terran?"
"Are they aliens?" the man sounded amused.
"Not really...more like big game hunters."
Buffy was talking to the new arrivals while Boyer and Bobby finished stuffing the body into our van. I kept watch on the wood line with Alex (both of us Quicksilvered up), and Claire had started rummaging through her gear for something or other.
After a few minutes I saw the tell-tale red glows and tapped Alex on the shoulder, before letting the others know what was up.
"We have more guests..."
Buffy was still talking so I gave the pair a quick once over. Their thermal signatures were odd, with their legs and one arm having a significantly hotter reading than the rest of their bodies. Something about the guy looked really familiar too...I remembered seeing a picture of him somewhere in a book or on television...
The man stiffened, "These wolves, they like the trees don't they?"
"Uh yeah why?"
As he said that I noticed three little red dots on my chest and went flat on my belly. The plasma bolt sailed overhead and tore up the road.
"Plasma?" the woman commented.
"Yup!" I replied as I gator crawled behind the truck. "And they have a really slick targeting system apparently.
"Jaime, can you hear them?" the man asked before popping up over the truck bed and rapid firing three shots into a tree. There was a roar, which meant he had probably hit one.
The woman pulled back the hair from her right ear, "Three more Steve. That weapon has a noisy charging cycle."
"Who are you guys?"
"I'm Jaime and that's my husband Steve, Agent Summers. We both used to do odd jobs much like yours before we retired."
"Retired from where?"
"Used to be the OSI, I'm not really sure what it's called now," Steve answered in between shooting at the wood line.
Another 'blonk' carried through the air as Boyer lobbed his second XM1060. This time the blast was screened by the closer edge of the treeline, so I saw four more hunters outlined by flame as their camouflage failed spectacularly.
"Are you military?" Jaime asked.
"Pretty much, the incidental damage give it away?" The woodline was a roiling wall of fire now.
She gave me a strange look and nodded. "Steve sometimes has that technique too."
"Agent Summers," Steve called out after surveying the damage, "Was that all of them?"
"I honestly don't know and could you please call me Buffy. We've never really encountered more than four or five in a group at once before. This time we've killed at least eight or so and wounded a bunch of others."
"So active camouflage, plasma weapons...any other tricks?"
"Enhanced optics, excellent body armor, they are really strong and don't feel pain the way we do."
"Steve, if there are more, we better stop them," Jaime sounded determined.
"As if I would stay out of this...Alright Buffy, it sounds like you've fought them before, what's next?"
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