The Baroness descends from the ramp of a sleek black private jet with red lines dashing the fuselage, a pair on the rear of the fuselage and another thicker line dashing the tail, bearing the Cobra insignia, on a rural landing strip surrounded by thick Eastern European forest. She is not wearing her usual form-fitting Cobra jumpsuit, instead a pair of designer jeans, black urban leather boots with no heel, and a zipped leather jacket, the neck of a turtle neck beige sweater poking above the collar of the jacket. Strangely, she is wearing also surgical gloves, and a respirator with clear goggles. A trio of Cobra troops, their combat gear in forest camouflage but bearing the familiar Cobra insignia and helmet, dash to meet her as she takes the final step. The three stand to one side, out of her path in a line, fists raised to their heart in the Cobra salute, KH2002 Sama bull-pup rifles hanging from two of their shoulders by a rifle sling, the third, her feminine figure almost entirely obfuscated by the armor and uniform, but still evident about the shoulders and hip ratio, instead armed with a suppressed AK74u Soviet Era Submachinegun similarly hanging from her shoulder.
“At ease, warriors.” Confirms the Baroness, prompting them to lower their arms, as she halts in her path before the trio, before turning to face them, and beginning to strip herself of the mask, gloves, and goggles, to deposit them wordlessly into the outstretched hands of one of the two male Cobra Troopers, while she grumbles discontentedly, “Ugh, ungrateful jerks, those new boys.”
“Baroness, we were not informed we would be required for the ongoing operation, to what do we owe the pleasure?” Inquires the female trooper, voice tinted with a Polish accent, whose shoulder pad is revealed to bear the insignia of a Cobra regional sub-commander, as she begins to follow the Baroness on her path, but a step behind her shoulder.
“Special orders from Cobra High Command, information will be made available to you as it becomes relevant, oh, and this shall be a clandestine op. Scrub the jet of insignia, repaint the exterior. Hm..” The Baroness halts in her path, raising a finger to stroke her jaw in thought, to tug at the tight turtleneck hugging her neck. “Paint it silver, with a metallic finish. Decals a..” A small pursed smile curls her lips, “Decals a hot pink.”
“Ma’am, Cobra doctrine forbids the use of false flag attacks with assets directly affilia-” Chirps the regional commander.
“Shush, I’ve something much bigger in-mind,” retorts the Baroness, before reaching into her leather jacket for a small case containing her glasses, opening it, and donning them.
/Slide panel scene transition, show logo, what-have-you/
Scene is now a quaint Polish town, the Baroness is seated at a small square wooden table outside a local cafe, a white mug of coffee atop a small white plate on it besides her black laptop, a sticker depicting a red maple tree leaf recently added over the Cobra logo, teaspoon inside the steamy dark brew, and a small glass ash tray with a burning cigarette within on the other side of the laptop as she types rapidly.
The screen switches to an over the shoulder view of the screen, as she makes an encrypted video call. A red-haired, blue eyed woman wearing small clear spectacle glasses answers, her collar clearly a white laboratory smock, looking confusedly at the screen, ‘Katy?’ She timidly asks.
“Oh Addy, hey, how have you been?” Greets the Baroness, with a friendly elated tone.
“My name is Adele. And I can’t speak to you, you’re, you’re a terror-”
“Please, please, I don’t need another person judging me right now, please, just listen to me Addy, trust me, you’re going to like it.” Pleads the Baroness, clasping her hands together and shaking them at the screen.
Doctor Adele Burkhart looks over her shoulder suspiciously, before glancing back, and leaning into the screen till but her lips are displayed, “Sod off,” She simply whispers, before hanging up the call.
The Baroness frowns, and looks to the floor a moment, the laptop concealing her face for a moment as she removes her glasses with one hand, while the other rises to wipe an unseen tear from her eye, before placing the lenses back atop her nose, and making another call.
This time a tanned skinned brown eyed woman with wavy shoulder length black hair answers, atop her head an Army olive hat with a red star emblazoned on the center, wearing similarly colored combat fatigues with the sleeves torn off.
“Emmanuella, como estas hermoso, tan tiempo desde que vernos,” Greets the Baronness, with a thick European accent.
“Your Spanish still sucks, my English is better, let’s use that. Adjectives describing feminine nouns are generally ending with A, just like the feminine noun,” Answers the latin American woman dryly. “What do you want?”
It is clear the background on the screens view is a forward operating bases tent, men rushing to and fro visible through the open flap behind her, the sounds of far off gunshots and explosions breaking through the Baronesses speakers like a grumble.
“You remember those mines we took ba-?” Begins the Baroness, before being sharply interrupted.
“You mean the mines supplying Cobra subsidiaries with our lands meats, our metals, for their operations, ‘for the cause,’ those mines you helped us give them, that they also use to sell to Joe subsidiary companies, right?” Declares the female militant smugly.
“Y-Yes, those,” Replies the Baroness, a sudden timid unease entering her voice, before suddenly she raises her sleeve to conceal a gurgle cough.
“Yeah, we’re fighting to get those back, and enjoy that tobacco, I had to pick some myself thanks to you.” Answers Emmanuella with a wink and a grin, as she raises a fat Cuban cigar to be visible on the screen as she lights it and takes a quick puff. Suddenly a black feminine hand, golden wedding band on ring finger, is placed on her shoulder. “Mani, con quien hablas?” Asks a more gravely feminine voice.
“Con la loca guera engañada,” Answers Emmanuella, looking up to the unseen companion.
“No que, como decian los Americanos, ‘Once you go black, you never go back?’, chula?” Answers the afroamerican womans voice, as her other hand gently wraps about Emmanuellas neck for a caress. “Solo le estaba aventando la madre,” she replies, before rising to embrace her companion, the screen dominated by their clothed waists, arms draped about each others hips, visible up to the elbows, as they share an unseen kiss.
“Y si mejor un poco de amor en la trinchera, por suerte?” Murmurs the afroamerican woman, before the video feed suddenly cuts off.
The encrypted video-chat app is closed, and behind that tab, is revealed to be a digital blueprint for what appears to be a battle robot of humanoid proportions and limbs.
-Cut to commercial.-
The scene is now a Western European historical city center, the Baroness is leaned against the railing of a monolithic ornate museum wearing a formfitting knee-length black dress, the top hem reaching to her collar, a fundraising event within alight with neon lights, and a Nordic DJ closing his particular set of electronic music, as a man approaches the Baroness from behind, the electric drone coming to be replaced by vivid Latin American-inspired tunes with hints of salsa, and flamenco mixed with less prominent electronic beats.
The view suddenly switches from the exterior of the building looking in through windows, to the view of the Baroness spectacles from first person, a small panel in the lower left, acting similarly to a rear-view mirror, reflecting the man as he approaches, a horizontal line tracing his figure from top to bottom, before along the bottom of her sight the word ‘UNARMED, NOT INTOXICATED.“ Scroll in bright red letters. She decides to relax, and let him believe he snuck up on her with a witty comment, as she flicks the butt of a cigarette unto the city street below.
“Come to Paris for the stargazing? Quite fresh, usually it’s the catacombs, the museums, or the Eiffel Tower herself,” Claims the tanned green eyed man, who comes to rest his own hands on the balcony a step besides the Baroness, wearing a sleek ashen grey tuxedo, white dress shirt, and red bowtie, voice thick with a feigned Latin American accent.
The Baroness twirls about in-place to face him, “No, just waiting for someone to man up and ask me to dance,” She shoots back, with a small grin and a slight turning of her head to the side as she looks to the man, with the gleaming eyes of an enamored school girl.
“My, it’s rare for a woman to make the first move,” Replies the man, with a similar grin, before taking her hand to lead her into a small slow circle step, with opposite hand on her side, before guiding her into a small twirl before returning to a tighter embrace. She sharply places her hand in the midst of his chest, keeping him at a distance.
“Rare unless she’s been spurned by another man,” Suddenly adds the man, as the two stare intently into each others eyes. “This place is getting droll. Shall I drive you to your hotel, hostel, what-have-you, cariño?” Asks the man softly.
A cold seriousness replaces the Baroness soft gaze, “You know what Agent, your Latin American accent is downright deplorable, and the green contact lenses? A little tacky even for you, don’t you think, Pierre? I wonder if I can get Joe to gossip with me over this spicy rumor, merci and au revoir.” Before shoving free from his grip, to stride away out of sight, glancing briefly over her shoulder simply to tease blowing a small kiss, as he returns to the balcony. While lighting a cigarette of his own, he watches a sleek silver sports car drive away, a loud motor roaring within the small vehicle, windows tinted a rosy pink.
“L’enfer n’a pas de fureur comme une femme méprisée,” He grumbles to himself.
The silver sports car speeds down a highway lined on either side with forest, before one side opens into a grassy clearing before a dark lake, reflecting the unobstructed moon above in the waters. She slows the vehicle, to pull it offroad, the suspension automatically raising the body of the vehicle so that the bottom is not scraped or damaged by grass or rocks. She parks before the lake, to sit atop her hood, arms folder over her chest as she looks to the moon in thought. Abruptly, we are again seeing through her spectacles, the same panel as before on the lower left now a motion detector akin to the one prominent in both the Halo and Alien franchises, tracking an incoming dot moving slowly through the trees. The red letters from before, this time read, “ARMED, NOT HOSTILE, NOT INTOXICATED.” She turns to look in the direction of the treeline, as a tall blonde well-shaven man, with steely blue eyes, wearing a navy blue tracksuit emerges. His cold, stern expression molds into a warm toothy grin, his eyes glimmering with interest as the smile turns them small and beady.
“Баронесса Катрина, что привело тебя сюда?” Greets the man in proper Russian, extending a hand to shake the Baronnesses, she has by then risen, and formally she reaches to take the hand for a brisk shake.
“I had wondered when you’d show up, Oli,” She answers playfully, with a sly smile, “You know, it is rather foolish of you, to equip those Armata tanks with space for a whole crew with an AI controller, when you could have those same tanks support a squad of infantry drones requiring less metals of a nation that is half tundra, the tanks instead carrying the control module, and well armored Russian crew, maybe replace that cupola mounted machine gun, I know you like tradition, but maybe with a laser anti-aircraft and missile defense system?” She confidently declares.
The mans smile returns, somehow wider despite the pursed closed lips, before answering, leaning closer to her to whisper, “I always knew you were a true patriot, Katrina. Welcome back to the motherland.”
It would appear to be at least days later, Katrina, wearing a brown ushanka and a luxurious bear fur coat, is seated now at a similar cafe as the Polish one, but instead, at a small rural Russian town, a man pulling a wheelbarrow stacked with wheat, a stout woman with another bushel carried upon her shoulder, walk past the cafe exterior where again she is seated with her laptop, attempting to make an encrypted call to the United States.
Finally, a middle-aged, slender, grey haired, green eyed woman answers reaching up to adjust her glasses as she leans in towards the screen in disbelief. “Katrina?” She asks, astounded.
“Mama, mama! I found myself, well, in lands you never had the chance to show me yourself. Your hometown is as lovely as you claimed it was, the people here are so humble, and nice, and there really is an original Soviet T-34 in the center of the town park!” She declares giddily, with girlish excitement, with small claps of her hands.
The Baroness mothers face remains stern, and she simply asks, “What are you doing there? Joe and Cobra agents have been badgering us with questions about you, at the supermarket, ringing our doorbell, it’s got Rob so paranoid he keeps his gun out of the safe now, and you haven’t said a word to me in years. But I made you, and I gave you my perception, so, who are you there for? I know you are not working for Joe or Cobra. They can’t find you. Or why would they bother us?”
“I’m done with those obtuse immature boys still playing Cowboy and Indian, mama, I’m a powerful woman in your motherland, the president has made me, as they call it, an oligarch of the technological industry. I will make this a place, even Rob will want to come live in, to take you home to.”
Her mother gasps, and covers her mouth briefly, before ominously muttering:
“Chelovek – ul’tranatsionalisticheskoye rabstvo i opportunisticheskiy obmanshchik. Run.”
Suddenly, a hoarse, sluggish American voice booms through the speakers, “Who are you talking to Polina, I’ve had enough of unwanted solicitors, and half the dinner plates are still unwashed. Hang up that call now.”
“poka, udachi, Keti.” Adds the mother, in a rushed whisper, before the feed is closed.