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"The days of toil for no reward are coming to an end."

That thought was independantly passing through the mind of each member of Eagle Squadron's command staff. Eagle Squadron was the back bone of The Executioners Against Meyhem (TEAM), and their staff the support of that unit. TEAM's CO, Neutralizer, being content with his position delegated responsibility to his staff, all the responsibility, none of the perks. The seeds of discontent were sowed. At the parade grounds the latest batch of recruits were being taught the basics of combat and the TEAM way, their instructor was a man well qualified for the job, but a man who was qualified for much more. Captain Shyrk was tired of being responsible for the newbloods. He thought, "Here I am teaching all these green bastards everything they know, while our "Fearless Leader" sits behind a cushy desk, growing fat jabbing with other units' Brass... These recruits know only what I teach them. Why am I still here working for someone else? Hmm Speaking of working I wonder if those new manuals are ready yet?" Colonel Darkstar was busy putting the final touches on the latest training manual when there was a knock at his door. "Enter!", said he barely taking his eyes off his work. Shryk walked in and saluted smartly. "Colonel, I'm wondering if that new manual is finished." Darkstar sighed, "Yes Shyrk its done. Its just now done. Do you need it right away?" "No Sir. The recruits are at mess and I thought you'd probably have it finished by now." Darkstar laughed lightly, "I am quite the industrious one eh? Here. Let me print you a copy for review." Once the manual had finished printing Shyrk picked it up. The header was new, a screaming eagle circled in gold, blue letters beside the eagle reading "Eagle Squadron". Shryk whistled in surprise, "Nice logo. Who's work?" "Thats Leutenant McGrude's work. He's quite the artistic one." "Yeah he is.. so how do you like your Apoc's new paint job?" "I don't know.", chuckled the colonel, "When I dropped it off with the leutenant he was stacked up with vehicles all needing something in paint!" They both smiled, recognizing the plight of yet another friend in the Eagles. Turning towards the door, Shryk said "Well then, lets go see how it is going." Darkstar rose from his desk, grabbed his service coat, and headed to the paintshop with the captain. McGrude was washing up to head to the mess when Darkstar and Shryk came in. "Lieutenant." McGrude turned, wiping the water from his face, to see his captain and Colonel Darkstar standing in the doorway to the head. McGrude dropped his towel while snapping to attention and a smart salute. "Sirs!" "At ease Lieutenant.", said Darkstar. "We just came over after I finished ANOTHER update, to see how its going with my the new paintjob." "Well sir, it's coming. Its next actually. I figured I'd head to evening mess then finish a couple more vehicles tonight before lights out." "You mean that you've done all the other vehicles that were here when I brought it to you yesterday?" "Yes sir. Ive been working quite hard...", McGrude's voice trailed off a bit with the exhaustion, the reason he had gotten so far with out much help was that he had been working since the colonel brought him his Apoc the previous morning. Neutralizer had paid him a visit and stated his displeasure with the backup. "Well I am hungry now that you mention it.", said Darkstar, "Why don't you come with us to the officers' mess?" "Certainly sir." Lieutenants didn't get invited to the upper brass's mess that often, McGrude couldn't possibly refuse. That night over dinner the three men found that they all had had it with the way things were. It was time to go.

The next day McGrude, Shryk, and Darkstar, all seperately left their rank and titles on Neutralizers desk. That night they met in the desert in their apocs and walked away together, screaming eagles on their shoulders and in their hearts. No longer would they be oppressed. No longer ordered. They were commerades in arms. They were equals.

They were free.

They were Birds of Prey.





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