The unmarked train moved at a steady pace across ever-changing landscapes. It moved through plains, deserts, small communities, etc. To anyone who happened to glance at the train, with it's reddish, rusted iron sides, roof, and floor, it looked like a mere cattle car. Simply transporting cows to either be slaughtered as soon as they got to their destination or not very long after...
In a way though...they weren't that far off from the truth.
In fact, the only real difference was that the occupants were humans.
Eighteen humans, divided into teams of nine, all knowingly heading to their death...er...deaths. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your view on life, death was hardly ever permanent. In fact, it seemed almost another mundane part of life.
It felt like they'd been on the train for years, when in fact it had been only thirty-six hours. It had been a hassle, gathering nine people into one train car, only to later have to stop and pick up nine more occupants. For some reason they weren't allowed out of their train car to stretch their legs, and that only made the ride seem longer and more monotonous.
The occupants in the first train car seemed to be an ocean, most of their clothing different shades of blue. The color could have attributed to the sleepy, quiet atmosphere the train car seemed to eminate, or it could have been the long haul they had been on. Most of the occupants in the car were asleep, leaning against the side of the car, resting their head against the back of the metal benchlike seats, or even using one another as a softer, warmer pillow. Those who were still awake were silent, staring at something ahead of them blankly, whether it be the seat just ahead, the ceiling, floor, or something else it didn't seem to matter. They were lost in their own world, what they thought of was known only to them.
One of the blue clad figures shifted, blinking a few times to clear their thoughts. The figure was male, one of the larger, bulkier occupants. He removed a dark grey helmet, turning it over to where he could see the inside. It wasn't exactly something one would kill to see, a small layer of gray cotton covered the very top, making it more comfortable for the wearer, and a small picture taped securely to the inside. He carefully pulled the picture out, making sure not to rip it. The photo was already wrinkled enough, having to share space with his head most of the time. He didn't dare wear it on the outside of the helmet, or in a pocket where it could easily fall to the ground and be lost forever on the unforgiving battlefield.
He sighed quietly, his brown eyes settling on one of the figures on the picture. It was stupid to keep the picture around, he knew it, the figures had changed so much. He barely recognized himself in the picture, let alone the other figure.
"Oi...who's that?" The male sitting next to him asked, leaning closer to get a better view of the picture.
The picture was shoved back into the helmet roughly and the helmet placed back on the first male's head. "None of your business." He growled, crossing his arms and glancing over at the nosy male.
The man was the poster child for the stereotypical Irishman. Bright red locks covered his head in a messy, bed head sort of way. Large, kind green eyes looked him over, while skin so pale you could practically see through it into the muscles and arteries below battled for dominance against a huge mass of freckles that covered every inch of exposed skin. He didn't have to ask for nationality, the accent gave it away. A neon sign that flashed 'I'm Irish' would be less obvious than his voice. "Oh, where are me manners? I'm sorry. Name's 'arvey."
"What kind of name is Arvey?"
"Harvey." The man had to enunciate, his accent so alien to the brown eyed male that he couldn't pick up on the more subtle pronunciations.
The male nodded, "Zedekiah Auerbach." He told him
"...I'm jus' gon' call you Edek..." He murmured, " 's that okay?"
Edek frowned, mulling it over for a second. Either say no and have to deal with the Irishman bastardizing his name until they'd managed to defeat the REDs or say yes and allow this stranger to give him a 'pet name' of sorts.
"...it's fine.' He grumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose. He could already feel a headache coming on because of this man. He regretted ever taking his helmet off in the first place. "Oy vez mear..." He murmured, resting his elbows on his knees, then resting his head on his hands.
"What's that mean?" Harvey asked quietly, his tone curious. He apparently either had no clue he was aggravating Edek or simply did not care.
"Oy vez mear," Edek sat up and looked at Harvey, his voice a low growl, "means Oh woe is me, meaning that I am annoyed by something. This something just so happens to be you."
Harvey paused, his green eyes widening in surprise at Edek's comment. "Oh..." He fell silent for a few moments, "I didn' know I was botherin' y'...I'm sorry."
Edek didn't respond verbally, instead just nodding slightly. A few moments later he spoke softly, "...is that medic of ours a boy or girl?" He nodded in the direction of the red-head in the seat diagonally to the right of them.
"...you know...'m really not quite sure meself." Harvey murmured, his green eyes narrowing into slits as he stared at the medic. "...scrawny thin' for a male...not ver' curvy li' a female tho'." Harvey stood up and approached the medic, pausing when he saw the red-haired member was a male. "Hey, I'm 'arvey, nice t' meet 'ou." He smiled and extended his hand to shake the medic's.
The medic looked up at him, a neutral expression on his face. He took Harvey's hand and shook it gently, in his line of work it would best to skip a tighter grip for fear of possibly harming his fingers or hand. "Blake." His voice was soft and calm, and had a hint of a calculating tone to it, as if trying to figure out Harvey just by appearance.
Harvey looked over the medic, his green eyes settling on the scars on Blake's mouth. He surpressed the urge to ask Blake how he'd received them, and if they still hurt from time to time being on such a sensitive part of the face. Instead, he just smiled as warmly as he could and glanced back at Edek for a moment, seeing that the soldier had busied himself with retying his boots.
Harvey stood there for a moment longer, the silence that had followed the short introduction now becoming awkward. "It's nice t' meet 'ou, Blake, 'll leave 'ou alon' now." He smiled once more, then moved away from the medic, taking his seat beside Edek. " 'is name is Blake. Go' some scars on 'im...wonder 'ow 'e got 'em."
Edek glanced over at Blake, who was looking down at the floor, probably staring at the blur that was the tracks through the large cracks and chips in the wooden floor.
"I'm going to go ahead and assume this isn't exactly his first team."
"Oh? 'onder why 'e got transferred wit' us then." The demoman murmured, stretching his arms and smiling as he heard a few satisfying pops.
"I'm hoping it's not because he allowed all of his previous team to die permanently." Edek muttered, "Elohim help us if he did."
Harvey glanced around, noting silently that everyone else was asleep. "I 'onder 'ow much longer it'll be before we get there..."
Edek peered out at the surrounding area between the metal slits in the side of the train, "...wherever it is, I have the feeling that even Elohim himself will not be able to help us..."
The other train car held a myriad of red colored clothing. In contrast to the car before it, with it's ocean-like blues, this car looked like it was on fire.
The bright, almost cheerful colors were an opposite to the gloomy, rainy weather outside of the train car. Rain dripped in from between the slits on the sides of the train and through cracks on the rusted, metal ceiling.
"You'd think with all the money they're giving us they'd have enough cash to fix this fucking train!" A male exclaimed, wiping water from his cheek furiously. "I mean, look at this POS!" He threw out his arms and looked from person to person, trying to see if he had at least one other mercenary that agreed with him.
"What's a POS?" Another male spoke up, his voice thickly laced with an Indian accent, his brown eyes rested on the first male.
The first male rolled his eyes, "It means 'piece of shit'. Though you fuckers probably think that's high quality." It was obvious that the male was just letting his frustration get the better of him, his Middle Eastern accent and anger making him hard for the other in the train car to understand. He scowled as more rain splashed on top of his head. He ran his fingers through his thick, black locks and tussled it frustratedly. "Fucking rain..."
The other male merely fell silent, marking the other male as childish and no where near the land of maturity. He crossed his arms, the small twitch of his upper lip the only outward sign of irritation. He didn't sign up to fight so he could deal with young adult males who couldn't take a few harmless raindrops.
In all honesty it wasn't that the first male couldn't deal with the rain, it was just an outlet for frustrations that had built up silently as the train ride dragged on at a staggering pace. There was no room for much movement, no where to run, or even walk around the car. He couldn't stand due the the constant shifting and sudden side to side jolting of the car as they drove from on part of the country to another. He drummed his fingers on his knee, a large scowl on his tan face. He had to get out of the train car soon or else he'd go insane.
He scanned the other mercenaries with a critical eye, deciding to distract himself by trying to figure out the personality of the others based on looks alone.
There were two women in the same car as him, both sitting in the same row.
Both were tan and his guess was that they were both Mexican.
They seemed similar, both with brown hair that was tied up in a bun, and of course they both wore red clothing.
One sat with a mask in her lap, darkly tinted glass covered where the eyes would be if she had it on, a pink bow made out of some shiny material sat on the back of it, making it appear more feminine and unique.
The other woman was wearing a red beret, more in a militaristic style than just for fashion sense. Her red shirt sleeves were rolled up the the elbows, he guessed so she'd have a larger range of motion with her arms without the constricting sleeves getting in the way, and a belt in the middle held little pouches. He idly wondered what she had in them. His mind went wild for a few moments, thoughts from maybe small rodents to grenades, to even another beret flitted through his guesses.
He blinked and looked over at the seat across from his, his eyes resting a blond haired, blue eyed male who seemed to have an even bigger scowl than his own etched permanently into his features. He looked tired, with large, purplish-black bags under his eyes. He pulled at his dark red gloves, seeming to try and pull them as taut as he possibly could without tearing them.
Beside the blond sat a larger male, his eyes blue as well, though a shade or two lighter. His hair was dark, practically black in the dim lighting the train had to offer. He seemed to watch the smaller male beside him curiously, as if he wanted to know why he was doing what he was, but didn't feel like asking.
"Do you need something, or do people from where you hail from just not used to manners and accustomed to staring shamelessly?" He heard the blond ask, his attention shifting from his gloves to the larger, paler male.
The larger man blinked, most likely surprised by the insult and attitude in which it had been delivered for such a simple, innocent thing as being curious and watching.
"I was just curious as to why you pull on gloves constantly." He replied. If the man had been angered by the blond's response, it didn't show. Instead he seemed just as friendly as if the blond had just smiled at him and asked to be best friends.
The blond scowled, "Why does it matter why I pull on my gloves? Do you have nothing better to do than to stare at someone doing such a menial task?"
"Menial?" The brunette seemed to be trying to figure out the word, his brow furrowing in concentration.
The blond scoffed, as if he couldn't believe he was talking to someone so stupid, someone so...below him in intellect. "Menial means simple. Everyday. Common." He slid an inch or two away from the brunette, as if scared some of his stupidity would be transferred like a disease and make him less intelligent.
The brunette frowned slightly, but did not speak.
The jittery male that couldn't stand the rain any longer shifted in his seat, going to turn around to look at the seats and occupants behind him, but paused as he looked at the male beside him.
He was well dressed, a suit, tie, vest and everything needed to look like he was going to a wedding--or funeral. The red color made it look tacky though, more like he was going to put paint on his face, stick a cheesy, plastic flower on the vest and start making balloon animals for rabid seven year olds instead of kill others on a battlefield.
The man was tan, but not tan like the Latino ladies or like the Indian in the seats behind him, or himself, being an obvious Israeli, it was more like he liked to stay outside all day in the sun. To go along with his theory, freckles seemed to be taking over the tan skin, practically no centimeter uncovered by the Sun's warm kisses.
The Israeli did a double take when he noticed the male's shoes. Usually he didn't find himself caring about what another man wore--he wasn't a fag--but in this case it was so out there, so unusual that he found himself staring.
The man was wearing workboots with a suit.
"Did you spend all your money on that suit or just think fancy shoes were too girly or what?" The Israeli spoke up, staring at the boots like they were hypnotizing him into a deep trance.
"Wha-oh!" The male had to take a moment to register that the Israeli was indeed talking to him, the he was talking about his shoes, and that his shoes might not have been deemed 'fancy' enough to go with the rest of his attire. "They're more comfortable and easier to work in." He replied, his voice calm and kind. He didn't seem perturbed in the least by the Israeli's curiosity. "And they're a bit quieter than those fancier types of shoes. Figured it'd be better for my line of work." He explained, looking down at his shoes for a moment.
The Israeli nodded, satisfied with the answer. The guy didn't seem stupid, like he figured he would have been with those ugly boots of his, so he surmised it would be okay to get to know him a bit better. "What's your name?" He asked after a small pause, shifting to sit straight ahead again, though his attention was completely on the other male.
"Jeremy." The male responded, extending his hand to shake the Isreali's politely. "And your name?"
"Yitzhak." The Israeli responded, "But everyone that doesn't speak Yiddish just calls me Isaac." He added after a moment, shaking Jeremy's hand firmly, but not gripping it like he was trying to harm the other man.
Jeremy nodded, his hand moving to rest in his lap as he looked around.
"You a spy?" Yitzhak asked quietly, finding no obvious markings of class on the freckle covered male, but he was smart enough to put two and two together.
Jeremy nodded. "Yes. Trained to kill by choice, enlisted as a mercenary by circumstance."
Yitzhak quirked a brow in confusion, but did not ask for explanation, instead he looked towards the front of the train car as an older female's voice eminated from a hidden loudspeaker.
"Welcome, RED team, to your new home. To your new society. Welcome to Sawmill."