Can't Catch a Break
rating: +26+x

The man looked around the back of the van at his assembled team. Three agents, a driver, and himself. He quietly checked his equipment once more. They were going after something that definitely didn't belong in this world. Some days it was good to be a team leader. It was even better to have a wonderful, glorious team.

"This is Team Alpha. We've got a Cart in sight and we are in pursuit. Do you copy? Over."

"Team Alpha, this is your SAC, we copy. What do you have a cart of? Over."

Agent Aaron Jay, team leader of Team Alpha of the FBI's Unusual Incident Unit sighed. Sometimes, it seemed like he was the only competent person in the agency. Or at least his branch of the agency.

"A Cart, a confirmed artifact, Sally! At least try to remember the…you know what, fuck it. Sally we've got something funny here, we can see it, and we're going after it now. I'll report in when we finish. Over."

"Roger Team Alpha. And don't call me Sally, this shit is recorded. I mean, over."

Jay tossed the radio into the back of the van, where it clattered at the feet of the rest of his team. His wonderful, glorious, bumbling, absolutely incompetent team.

Some…no, most days, I hate this job, he thought.

Looking over at the driver, he said, "Charlie, keep the artifact in sight. And keep your eyes on the damn road this time, please. We don't need another wrecked vehicle and I don't need more paperwork."

"Right, sure thing boss."

Some days I'd kill for just one "yes sir," he thought.

He turned to address the rest of the team.

"Everyone, after a month of searching we have finally found a Ca — artifact. For now, this is observation only. As soon as we can get that thing alone and in our custody, we are to do so. Agent Callahan, you are to — Agent Calla — KEVIN."


"Kevin, just…stay with the group and don't shoot anything until I say so, okay?"

"Don't shoot until you say so. Got it."

Other teams…well, not UIU teams, but other teams…have snipers with nicknames like "Sharpshooter," "Ace," "Singleshot," and I get stuck with Kevin "Spray and Pray" Callahan. What did I do to deserve this?

He looked over to the team's resident explosive "expert" DiMaggio, who was slightly overequipped with standard issue flashbags, a few tear gas grenades, a couple smoke grenades and…

Shit, are those frags? Not again…third time he's smuggled them from the weapons locker this week…

"Agent Di — you know what? Forget it. Don. Don't blow shit up when we're within ten feet of it okay? Gina is still in the hospital after the last one. Let's get this over with. Charlie, just…gun it. Ram the damn thing. We'll knock it out, drag it in the back, take it back to HQ and maybe, just maybe, for ONCE get a little bit of respect. And maybe I'll finally get transferred OUT of this shithole and back into a halfway decent job!"

"…Sooo…ram it?"

"Just do it Charlie."

"Yes sir. Let's see how fast this thing can go!"

You've got to be fucking kidding me. Now he "yes sirs?"

"Everybody hold on! We're about to hit!"

The three men in the back of the van held tight to the seats, ready for the bone-jarring crash that was sure to follow. Charlie was driving. The results could be no less than catastrophic.


The rest of the team looked around expectantly before turning to stare at Charlie.

"What the…we just went right through that fuckin' thing! It's behind us! And it looks pissed!"

"Shit, Kevin, open the back doors, Don grab the rifles and pass me one. No, don't throw it, that thing's loaded!"

Kevin opened the doors, revealing the artifact in full. It appeared to be a large dog until it opened its mouth. Teeth the size of knives burst from slavering jaws as a hungry growl rolled from the depths of its chest.


Most of the team took one look at the thing and let loose, firing every round they had into the artifact. Most missing wildly. The woman who had screamed was the worst of all, hitting the van more frequently than the open air.

Jay looked curiously over at the one member of the team he had thought wouldn't fuck it up.

Can't I have one person that can do this job? Just one?

"It's a dog! Problem Agent Rona?"

"I don't do dogs!"

"Karen, we knew from the start that intel said it looked like a wolf!"

"I'm fine with wolves! I don't do dogs!"

Jay blinked twice and rubbed his eyes. "…I think I'm getting a headache."

The Cart took a leap forward and easily bit through the van's bumper, leaving a jagged hole behind.

"Whoa, shit, shoot it! That is an order from your superior Agent Rona! SHOOT THE DAMN DOG!"

Three of the four agents in the back opened fire on the artifact, while Kevin stared mutely at it.

"Kevin, what the hell! Shoot the damn thing!"

"But…you said…"

"SHOOT IT! Don, do something, blow it up, I don't care! Charlie, get us out of here!"

"Sir, this old thing can only go so fast!"

"Then make it go faster! That thing is gaining!"

The Cart got closer still, panting heavily but gaining with each step. It lunged again, snapping at the members of the team.

"Shit! Keep shooting!"

Don started pulling pins and throwing grenades randomly, hoping to hit something, anything that would slow the Cart down. The street quickly became pocked with craters from his seemingly endless supply of explosives.

"Uh…oops. Flashbang! Look away!" he yelled a moment too late.

Jay, partially blinded by the intense light, turned towards the front of the vehicle to try and recover.

"Shit Charlie, watch the bridge!" Their driver had apparently fared little better than the rest of them, having seen some of the flash in the van's rearview mirror.

"Bridge? Shit, BRIDGE!"

The van broke through the guard rail and plummeted thirty feet into the water below, the group in the back saved only by death grips on the nearest solid objects.

The last thing Jay saw through the open doors was a metallic net cover the Cart and men in full gear swarm it, quickly subduing it.

Ten minutes later, Jay, along with the rest of his team, washed up on the opposite bank of the river.

From across the river, a different van could be seen pulling away. The words Safely Capturing lost Pets could be faintly seen stenciled on the van's side.

"Everybody okay? Report in!" Jay spluttered.

"We lost the dog, so I'm good."

"Lost the van, but I'm good."

"Lost the grenades, but I'm good."

"Saved the gun, but I think I broke my leg."

"Oh good. We're all alive. Anyone have a working radio?"

Charlie reached into a waterproof pouch around his waist, pulled out a slightly smashed radio, and handed it to Jay.

"SAC come in, this is J- Team Alpha reporting on the status of the op. Do you copy? Over."

"Team Alpha, this is SAC. We copy. What is your status? Over."

"We need an extract. We lost the van and most of the equipment. But we almost had it. We were literally right on top of it. Over."

"Sure you were. We'll have an extraction team to your location ASAP. Over. SAC out."

Aaron Jay sighed again, looking at his bruised and battered team.

Well, at least I got a "yes sir," he thought ruefully.

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