Author Topic: Alea Iacta Est (IC)  (Read 2580 times)

Tecumseh

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Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« on: (02:35:54/03-15-17) »
00:01 Sunday, January 31st, 2075 - Over the UCAS / Sioux Nation border

You're strapped into an Ares Dakota transport plane. The weather is nasty and the ride is violent. In a few minutes, the rear door will open and you'll voluntarily run out the ass-end of a perfectly good airplane. You will HALO jump across the UCAS border, the storm and your small profiles concealing your infiltration. In theory, you won't freeze to death in midair. In theory, communism works.

You go over the mission briefing one more time in your head.



"As you know, UCAS President Angela Colloton was re-elected to a third term last November at the head of the Republican ticket. She was previously a Major General in the UCAS Army, and is a competent military commander, capable of both strategic and tactical decision making.

"Many Republicans still feel the UCAS should reclaim everything that once belonged to the C and A portions of their name. This “re-expansionist” idea is especially popular around the borders where citizens are constantly reminded of what was once theirs. President Colloton won re-election in part due to her success in rebuilding the UCAS military.

"A lot of promises were made during the campaign, but for the most part we attributed it to election-year saber-rattling. This has reliably happened every four years for the last sixty years.

"This year it might not be bluster. After winning the election, Colloton and her allies in Congress greenlit a new prototype wash-phase-array radar installation near the Sioux border. The UCAS says it is merely experimental, but we don't like the fact that the installation has firetrack capabilities: it is designed to give precise terminal guidance to various nasty forms of munitions. It can also track rounds lobbed in its direction and coordinate immediate counterbattery fire before the first egg lands."


An AR map of the UCAS pops up. It zooms in on St. Francis, Kansas. In the very northwestern corner of the state, it is less than 20 klicks from the Sioux border. Satellite imagery shows a patch of broken ground several klicks to the west of town surrounded by snowy farm fields. Radar arrays are sprouting up out of the broken ground like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

"What's even more remarkable is that construction begun shortly after Colloton approved it. Most defense budget decisions are actually forecast two years out, which either means that this has been in the works for multiple years or that the President is reallocating resources on the fly. The Office of Military Intelligence assures us that this has not been in any UCAS budget - public or otherwise - which implies that the UCAS is intentionally introducing an element of randomness and chaos to keep us unsettled. The speed at which they are progressing suggests they are using powerful nanoforges and terraforming magics."

The imagery changes to news footage of a man in a suit touring the construction. It looks like PR.

"This is Senator Paul Hollensfeld of Kansas, another Republican who voted for this. Like Colloton, he was re-elected last November on a platform of strengthening the border, pointing to Colloton’s newly rebuilt military as a shining example. Since Kansas state borders on two different foreign powers, his constituents eat it up. Here he is, touring the installation. You might think that broadcasting video footage of your experimental radar array would be tactically unsound, but then you wouldn't be thinking like a Senator. Evidently this was too good to pass up, a campaign promise already being fulfilled."

The video shows Senator Hollensfeld pausing for a moment to deliver some impromptu comments to the cameras. "Peace isn't merely the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice. But how can there be justice when our homes and hearths are in the hands of foreigners? The dead remember, and will hold us accountable. I can no longer sit back and allow Indian infiltration, Indian indoctrination, Indian subversion and the international Indian conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. I say to our enemies: 'Your day is over.' We will not negotiate, we will not tolerate, and we will no longer be afraid. It is your turn to be afraid. This cutting-edge facility will make our homes safe once again for mom, maple syrup, and cinnamon toast. God bless the UCAS!"

There is some confused applause from the assembled soldiers and dignitaries as the Senator waves to the crowd. The briefing resumes.

"The best way to silence a bully is to punch them in the mouth. The Wildcats will deliver that blow.

"Your mission will be to infiltrate the base and place charges within. We will be using a blizzard blowing out of Algonkian-Manitou Council to mask your insertion, which will be done via a HALO jump in wingsuits. You will jump from a standard reconnaissance flight in Sioux Nation airspace and travel approximately 14 kilometers to the target. Captain Wapun will conjure an air spirit to mask your descent and to ensure your safety from the storm. Once you reach the ground, you will be on your own.

"As the facility is not yet operational, resistance is expected to be minimal. Given the storm, external defenses will be technological in nature. Expect sensors and drones, especially ground-based drones. Spirits and paracritters are a possibility as well. Current thermographic surveillance suggests that metahuman opposition will largely be indoors.

"In the best tradition of counting coup, your orders are to remain non-lethal to the greatest extent possible. An enemy that knows you allowed them to live will respect us and fear us more than survivors wishing to avenge their fallen friends. Let them hate, so long as they fear.

"Exfil will be on foot or via commandeered vehicles. We will be staffing the Highway 36 and State Route 27 border crossings all night if you need it; just let us know you're coming."

Jayde Moon

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #1 on: (12:27:13/03-15-17) »
Chante went over the OPORD again.  She didn't want to miss anything.  It seemed straightforward enough.  Get in, knock shit down, get out.  More to the point was Appendix B, OMI's IPB.  The area was relatively flat, though just around the site were trees that might provide some cover.  The weather was going to be their friend for this one.

She checked over their imagery of the site.



Two 'dishes' made up the radar, one for transmitting and one for receiving, roughly 300 meters apart.  The set-up itself wasn't anything new, but it required that they ensure that both parts of the system went down, preferably simultaneously.  Buildings nearby housed both construction crews as well as UCAS Soldiers assigned to guard the location.  If they stayed inside, then it would be easy.  The team could approach from the north through the treeline and  retreat the same way.  Just a matter of neutralizing the threat posed by any static or mechanical defenses.  Chante didn't think Ité would have any issues spoofing their defenses to ensure quiet infiltration.  That was their biggest risk, moving this way.

If the team could just move quietly enough through the woodline, this mission would be done and they could be home before the next Arrows match against the Screamers.
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Pap Renvela

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #2 on: (17:35:03/03-15-17) »
Sgt  Ité YeyΆ studied the Captain out of the corner of his eye. In the old days,  the roles of men and women were clearly defined. While the men were expected to provide for and defend the family by hunting and making war, the women were the matriarchs, ruling the family life and the domestic life of the tepee.  There were still some who felt women had no place in a war party. Defending the village if needed, yes, but not in a war party.  Of course, there were those who thought every troll was a big dumb oaf.  And Ité YeyΆ was no big dumb oaf. While both were Lakota, she was of the Hunka Papa band and he from Sans Arcs band, so he had never met  her prior to joining the unit. This would be their first active mission together.

The scuttle butt around cap was that she was descended from Tatanka Iyotake (the great Medicine Man, Sitting Bull).  Ité YeyΆ  had not asked her for he was ashamed that his ancestor was one of the Indian Police sent to arrest Sitting Bull when he was skilled. Still, he was curious if she is as strong in Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka as he was.

There ain't no point in wondering- she is or she isn't. What we do know is she got a bunch of commendations. The Wildcats aren't the UCAS National Guard- you don't get commendations on a whim; you earn them. Face it you big dummy, you're wondering about her to keep you fro thinking about the jump. Whose bright idea was it to have a big ol' troll like me jump out with just a wingsuit between me and splat. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm the one that thought the HQ's cyber-warfare platoon wasn't exciting enough. Silly me. At least I'll have a chance to blow up things. Assuming I don't go splat. 

 Ité YeyΆ  closes his eyes, and begins listening in AR to the music of Indigenous- a Nakota rock band from the previous century. Nothing like turn of the century rock to clear the mind.

MDMann

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #3 on: (09:42:13/03-16-17) »
Danyes looked up from the briefing, frowning. The job was simple enough and if all went well he should have little to do beyond bring another knife and rifle. Of course, that was optimistic in the extreme. At the least he expected to have to deal with the effects of the HALO insertion, frostbite, altitude sickness, recompression or what have you. Perhaps impact injuries from a botched landing. He carried out his last minute checks on his gear and himself, it would be embarrassing if the first casualty was himself.

He looked at the captain. Pretty enough and certainly personable but not the sharpest scalpel in the kit. He gave her a thumbs up and smile but thought he'd pass. A veteran of course, which helped a bit.

The troll came across as a dumb lump, which most trolls did well at. A meat hammer. But, Danyes wasn't so sure. He might look stupid but his specialty didn't suggest it and Daniel thought he looked introspective. He could appreciate that. Of course, it could have been nerves at the insertion or just wind. It was hard to tell.

Dan spoke up on the close circuit com channel.

"Just a quick reminder to make sure you've all taken your shots and checked your kit. I know we've all heard it before but I'll say it again. If anyone has any medical concerns I'm here to help. Other than that let's blow these idiots up."

He looks around to see how his reminder has been taken and briefly went over their medical records in his head.

rednblack

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #4 on: (13:32:04/03-16-17) »
Shiriki spit on his thumb and polished his "Make an angel of Colloton '69" pin while the pipsqueak colonel gave a rundown of the OPORD.  It wasn't that Howling Bear was inept or anything like that.  Quite the opposite in fact.  He was thorough, and by the book, but in true brass fashion, he spent about twice the time detailing the political motivations for the operation over the how to's of the operation itself.  Who ya trying to convince? Shiriki thought while doodling over-sized phalluses across his personal copy of the map, detailing their infil route.  any excuse is a good enough one for me to go fraggin' up the anglos.

When Howling Bear finally got to the specifics of their jump, Shiriki started in on the math, opening a few spare tabs in his AR display, and running some simulations based on his RCC programming.  Strange to think that when Shiriki was growing up, wingsuit jumpers would be lucky to cover half of the 14km to their drop site, but now they'd have to be careful not to overshoot it, especially if the expected headwinds were going to be as strong as promised.  How did we ever do things before the wireless matrix, he wonders absently, closing down a few tabs.

The bit about commandeering vehicles catches his attention, and he's back with the group while Howling Bear tells them that they're basically on their own for getting home.  Maybe they'll have a Dodge Goliath or something out there to drive back home in.  Or a VTOL.  One thing he had to give the anglos, they had good tech. 

Captain Wapun stayed largely silent during the briefing, and Shiriki did his best to keep his tongue firmly in place and do likewise.  He liked his new CO, and hoped to make a good impression.  The fact that she was awakened, and confident, did a lot, and she ended up reminding him a lot more of his mother than of his particular inadequacy when it came to magic.  Still, kinda weird to have a mommy complex toward someone who wasn't even alive when he enlisted.

But then Howling Bear had to go and mention paracritters, and Shiriki's hoop clenched up like he'd taken a pneumatic drill to it, and when the call came for questions it was all he could to to chew on his lip while he flipped through tabs on barhests and hell hounds, and basilisks, and that wasn't even considering techno-critters and all the nasty stuff they could do. 

In fact, later, firmly strapped into his seat in the Ares Dakota, Shiriki is still contemplating all the nasty things a barghest could do to his immobile body while he's hot simming his roto-drone, and trying to take his mind off of that inevitable fate by constantly inundating their pilot with suggestions on their course and drop point. 

<<@Shirki [Froggy 1] We will not be deviating from the established flight plan.>>

<<@Froggy 1 [Shiriki] Look at the front map.  You can take 27 seconds off our drop time by holding out for another 10km to the east.>>
<<Attachment: SNWeather.currentconditions.trd>>


Ah, fraggit.  This is what's wrong with this post-Crash2.0 generation to begin with.  No initiative.
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GloriousRuse

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #5 on: (17:35:38/03-16-17) »
Swoopy checked his wingsuit again, one more time. Not the first time he'd used one. Probably wouldn't be the last. As for jumping into a blizzard, well that was hopefully the first and last time he would ever do that. Maybe. His mind on that one wasn't made up.

On one hand, it seemed perfectly suicidal, completely unnecessary,  and like someone had wanted to brief the tribal council on just how awesome the 'cats would be when they did this. Probably cause someone needed the approval of the right people for this to go to begin with - hard to sell "and we drove 3 miles away in a clean automated ride share, got out away from eyes, then walked in." Nope, just didn't have the ring of bad-assery a proud council member would want associated with his name. On the other hand....it WAAAASSS pretty bad ass. And Dave was 24 and male. It sort of made its own argument there. 

Speaking of being 24 and male, did you see the CPT?  Oh, yeah. Minus the web gear. And presumably the magic death spirits. Though, you know, there was that one back in...know what? Never mind.  On a slightly more professional note, when was she going to start talking? It seemed like every officer always wanted to read every damn annex, every damn appendix, and then construct something with a name like Operation Palladium and about seventy steps too many. Getting away from that is why he went CSAR in the first place - well, actually, they still had the massive slide shows, but all the team guys knew those were for other people, and that the team did its own real planning however the hell it wanted. He was hoping the 'cats worked in a similar way. Actually, if they did, it would be pretty shitty not to know his part when the planning started.

Which involved, as far as he could tell,  knowing about radar. He did not actually know about radar. He knew enough about radar to pass a matrix exam on it two years ago. Still, its not like he needed to build one, just kill it. And killing it was.......not actually as easy as it sounded. With a sufficiently big and weaponeered choice, you could find various creative waves to blow the dish to hell, fuse it's electronics, or do any one of a number things with incredibly inventive war machines to turn the thing into a pile of slag with variable charring.

The problem of course was that those many ingenious war machines were not going to be present, and unless some was carrying a couple hundred kilos of plastique - which that giant frickin troll might be - any attack on the dishes was ultimately only going to deadline them for a period. A long kill was going to require hitting the infrastructure that physically and electronically supported their operation...points like that one...right...there...they probably had enough to do a number on the key points. really. Just getting to them all was going to be a bit tougher.

Dave's default mind heard Doc Dan saying something about verifying his shots. He had so much immuno-ware pumped into him when they bio'd him up that he didn't even need to think about that one. If it came to anything short of a gene engineered weapon, he'd outlive the cockroaches. He absent mindedly ran his hands over the atropine injector they'd given him - what, were they really expecting nerve gas? - and tossed a casual thumbs up to the Doc while he waited for the CPT to start. She'd better get down to it, cause the link as going to FM receive only the moment he left the bird. No sense in jumping suicidal into a blizzard to avoid detection if you were going to leave a mysterious floating electronic signature in the sky.
« Last Edit: (21:15:03/03-16-17) by GloriousRuse »

Tecumseh

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #6 on: (01:53:56/03-17-17) »
00:05 Sunday, January 31st, 2075 - Near the UCAS / Sioux Nation border

Inside the Dakota, the orange standby light goes on. Or maybe it's yellow; who can tell after you've been staring at the red light for so long. You stand in unison and turn toward the rear of the aircraft, keeping a firm grip on the railing above to steady yourself in the turbulence. Luckily the Dakota is roomy enough that Sgt Ité YeyΆ doesn't have to stoop to avoid having his head smashed into the fuselage repeatedly. The Dakota is large enough to transport an armored personnel carrier, and Sgt Ité is smaller than a battle bus, if only just.

In the wingsuits, you waddle like penguins, slip slide swoop. The rear ramp begins descending slowly. Outside, all you can see is snow racing by at several hundred kilometers an hour. The wind speed at this altitude is nuts to begin with, and the slipstream of the Dakota just makes things that much faster. The blizzard will provide a strong tailwind for the jump.

The light goes green. Maybe there's a double-horn exit signal, but you sure as hell can't hear it. The airman at the rear gives the hand signal to jump. His expression is stony as you march past him one-by-one to the end of the ramp. You step off the edge into the dark abyss.

GloriousRuse

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #7 on: (04:39:45/03-17-17) »
Swoopy was HEAVY.

Rifle. Ammo. Pistol. More Ammo. Entry tools. Link. Link accessories. Water - lots of water. Goggles. Bangs and Frags. Batteries for everything. Helmet. Basic survival kit. FAB camo. Basic aid kit.
Armor. AGI Kit. Hide site bag.
Wingsuit. Main chute. Reserve chute. AAD kit to pop the chute if you pass out. Manual altimeter/directional gyro. Just in case the fancy stuff doesn't work. Oxygen. Extra polypro.
His share of the team demo. The other goodies assigned by Chante and her second. A lot of other stuff that didn't make the mental list because that ramp was getting closer.

And that blizzard meant not one damn ounce of it was going to be in a follow on bag. If anything went wrong, burning in like a meteor would be an understatement. Hell, maybe even if everything went right.With that pleasant mental image in mind, Swoopy thanked the powers that be that at least he wasn't Itty Yay-Ya and followed the CPT out into the "breeze."

The jump actually began above the blizzard, which was nice. It was still 30 degrees below freezing, which wasn't, but adrenaline will do a lot for that. What started as a merely ungainly fall soon turned into a barely controlled terminal velocity plummet towards the storm raging below. Thank whichever God(s) you believe in the AR overlay was on, the wire between the googles and link hadn't been torn away (well, thank about five rounds of inspection and adjustment for that),  and hadn' the descentt triggered any fault warnings on the inertial guidance. Thank them again that the manual gear all told the same story as the link.

It was a lot to be thankful for. And in the middle of all that thanks Swoopy hit the blizzard. The only good thing to say about it was that he was already moving at suit adjusted terminal velocity. The only bad thing to say about it was Literally. Every. Single. Thing. Else.

Even the tightest equipment was chattering against his body like some giant jackhammer, the winds blew him meters in a direction at a time, reorinted him wildly, caused him to burn in for meters as air dissapeared under his suit, then to drift upwards with sudden gusts. Other than the manual tools and AR, there was absolutely zero way to tell where he was, how high up he was, or little things like "is there a tree in the place I am cruising into at about ten times too fast?". Oh, and the snow stung like a hornet. And that was WITH the spirit watching over him. The earlier argument between "What dumb ass brass decided we just had to HALO" and "But it'll be AWESOME" was firmly resolved in under six seconds.

Chute time couldn't come soon enough. The audible snap could be heard over the blizzard; it was only canvas - well, whatever the wiz kids had designed the chute out of -, but at this speed and with this weight pulling down while the blizzard dragged the chute up and out, the uninformed could be forgiven for thinking it was bone. It certainly hurt like a bitch.

Hitting the ground was a relief, almost. It wasn't Swoopy's worst landing. It wasn't his best. Which meant it only felt like getting hit by a freight train. Swoopy coughed his oxygen out and sucked blessed nitrated air for the first time since 45 minutes before take off. The things you do for fun. And/or to avoid passing out from the bends when the cabin depressurizes. It seemed strange that those two had a higher venn overlap than you might think, particularly as he was laying there in the snow  letting those ten seconds of post jump FML wash over him.

Then it was time for the moment of truth. He knelt up, wrestled his chute under control, and tried to determine the answer to two very important questions:

Am I where I'm supposed to be?

Where the hell is everyone else?



Jump roll: http://orokos.com/roll/497069.
Navigation roll: http://orokos.com/roll/497079






« Last Edit: (04:44:20/03-17-17) by GloriousRuse »

MDMann

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #8 on: (08:21:16/03-17-17) »
Danyes went to the ramp after the troll and steeled himself for the plummet into the unknown. Or known really, wind whipping about the open door and sending loose objects smashing behind him. Not. His. Problem.

He leapt, the troll might actually act as a windbreak.

What fool idea was that. It didn't.

Knives of sandpaper whipped around his suit, lashing into him. That was with protection. Cats were NOT meant to fly.

Then the spirit enveloped him and brought some comfort. Not to mention safety, if little warmth. Until, he hit the blizzard of course. Dan started to giggle, t hen laugh, then howl as the wind buffeted him. What a rush. Taking his bearings on the blinking light of the troll beneath, Danyes angled the awkward suit towards the beacon, fingers stiff with the cold.

Plummeting, a huge troll slammed him in the guts as his chute opened. Struggling,  he briefly lost consciousness. Comming around he saw the ground alarmingly close  kn his altimeter and quickly angled his descent and braced for impact as trained.

Whump! The breath left him as his eyelids fluttered. He'd landed on all fours catlike (and badly). It felt like the troll had landed with him. On top. Nothing seemed broken, but wow would he be bruised. Shaking himself off he quickly checked himself, his gear and his surroundings and cautiously made his way to the troll, entering combat awareness.
« Last Edit: (08:32:22/03-17-17) by MDMann »

Jayde Moon

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #9 on: (15:29:53/03-17-17) »
Chante rolled on her back to watch the others jump from the aircraft.  Immediately upon leaping, she had been violently buffeted by the raging storm.  The blessing that would allow them unnoticed entry was also a curse.  The even the sky eagle, a spirit of air, that she had called was reluctant to enter and it took great cajoling on her part before it agreed to the task of assisting their descent.

Swoopy had been first behind her, she wasn't surprised.  His time in the CSAR gave him plenty of experience leaping from the sky and she didn't think a storm would hold him back.  With two out the door, nerves would steel up and it would be easier for the next man to jump.

She saw the L-T jump next and smiled an approval.  An enlisted man's respect for an Officer often depended on his perception that they were in it together.  It's why she took the front.  If she wasn't willing to brave the dangers first, she could never expect anyone to follow her.  The others leapt but by now they were far enough away in the blizzard that she couldn't tell which was whom.  She rolled to face forward and checked the altimeter on the Head's Up Display in her helmet.  They'd jumped right at 10Km.  Wingsuit opening would be at 8Km with the suspected 2:1 glide ratio giving them some  leeway at the end of 14Km.  By the time she made those calculations again in her head, the altimeter shot past 8000 and she engaged.

The change in velocity hit hard and for a split second, she wondered if she'd be able to keep it together.  The thought raced by as she course corrected and began her controlled descent.  Nothing on the ground could prepare you for something like this and it would be a story to tell at the watering hole... but she'd have to get through it first.

Her HUD kept her on track and she was faintly aware of the team trailing behind her.  The altitude ticked lower and distance rushed by.  4 minutes to travel 14 Km in high winds, even with the sky eagle mitigating... suddenly she was over the drop zone.  She tucked her limbs in and her forward momentum left, dropping like a rock.  Another thousand meters put her just above her last chance to open the chute.

500.... 450... 500... 350... 300-- OPEN

If the primary failed, the team would be picking her up with a spatula...

The chute jerked at her innards and she swung forward, falling the final hundred meters easily.  Chante expertly rolled into a PLF and let her momentum carry her fully forward and back onto her feet.  She didn't wait around for the others, discipline forcing her to stow her kit lest she get blown around.

It took a few seconds and she saw at least one of the others land hear her... once she had her chute packed away, she bolted for the agreed upon rendezvous, just half a klick away.  A farmhouse, abandoned according to reports, and falling apart.  It would barely provide enough shelter for the team to collect themselves before driving on with the mission.
« Last Edit: (17:51:56/03-17-17) by Jayde Moon »
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Pap Renvela

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #10 on: (17:13:38/03-17-17) »
Danyes was already out. Ité YeyΆ made a last second check to make sure his direct connection to the wingsuit was still functioning and jumped.

With limbs tucked in and his head pointed straight down he achieved a speed of 45 meters per second after 3 seconds; 81 meters per second after 8; 90 meters per second after 15. The cyberdeck flashed the deploy signal in his HUD  and Ité YeyΆ extended his limbs and the wingsuit violently slowed him down while providing lift.

Well, chance one to go splat come and gone- the wing suit held despite my mass at terminal velocity. Well- of course it held-. The wonders of nanotechnological fabrics. Wish everyone was lit up in my HUD so I knew where they were. Of course, if they were broadcasting, someone might pick that up-  so there is that.


Finally the HUD flashes the warning- 500.... 450... 500... 350... 300-- the cyberdeck automatically opens the chute as Ité YeyΆ programmed it to. And suddenly the proximity alert form the passive sensors lights up across the HUD. Ité YeyΆ doesn't know what he hits but it felt like a sledge hammer  to his stomach. As he hits the ground, it's as if he landed on a boulder or tree stump and rolls off.

Fin'-A man. What's the odd of hitting a flying object in the middle of a blizzard. Damn this hurts.

As he is lying on his back, winded, Ité YeyΆ realizes that someone is moving towards him. Hopefully, it's one of his guys- otherwise he's a dead man because moving at this second wasn't possible.

Tecumseh

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #11 on: (00:56:44/03-18-17) »
00:12 Sunday, January 31st, 2075 - Abandoned farm house outside St. Francis, KS, UCAS

After his mid-air collision, SSG Dan-Dan recollects himself and skillfully navigates to the target: an abandoned farmhouse. The landing isn't graceful - and Lynx lets him know it - but it's on the front lawn, mere steps away from the front porch. Dan-Dan quickly bundles his chute up and drags it inside to avoid detection.

The house is older than the UCAS and looks like a casualty of farming automation. Corporate stiffs could now farm these fields remotely with drones, meaning there was no one interested in the homestead when Ma and Pa passed away in 2057. The Awakening and the Treaty of Denver were bad enough, but seeing a Great Dragon elected was the final straw. They registered their opposition by dying of heart attacks. slipping into the afterlife shortly before Dunkelzahn did the same.

Dan-Dan bangs his head on the doorframe on his way in. His helmet takes the blow, leaving him merely confused as he turns around and sees that he should have had plenty of room to enter. Ité is going to have some issues, but everyone else should be fine.

The front door is hanging off the hinges and the windows are missing their glass. It's just as cold inside as outside, but at least the walls still act as a windbreak. Dan-Dan deposits his parachute and wing suit in the living room, then raises his Ares Predator V to ensure that the house is empty.

With uncharacteristic clumsiness, he steps on a pot in the middle of the kitchen, which clangs loudly. He jumps back, bumping into a cutting board in the process. A rusted knife falls off the counter, embedding itself in the rotten floorboards and wobbling like a metronome. Dan-Dan feels an unpleasant twist in the air. Lynx hisses is his ear as his Cougar Fineblade hums.

In front of the fireplace, two apparitions appear. They look straight out of American Gothic: a bald-pated man in overalls and a dour-looking woman in a black dress.

Your kind is not welcome here, the old man tells Dan-Dan, leaning forward menacingly. He has a Winchester shotgun in his ethereal hands.

You already stole our home once, the woman says without moving her lips. She clutches her Bible tightly. I won't let you steal another!

A growling dog appears at their feet, a black Australian Cattle Dog. It's posture is defensive, and Dan-Dan is sure it will intercede should he strike at its masters.

GloriousRuse

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #12 on: (13:33:54/03-18-17) »
The answer to the first question was "yes, and that outline in the snow is probably the farmhouse we're supposed to rally at." Ideally, Swoopy would have confirmed that by dialing up the mag on his googles and switching to low light or thermals. Trying to keep the lens clear during this blizzard was an exercise in futility though, so he went with what the meta-performance people called Rapid Intuitive Judgement. Which sounds a lot better than guessing with a strong side of hope.

The answer to the second question came in the form of a bus plowing into the ground 50 meters away. Which, contextually, meant Itty had just landed.it looked...rough. Swoops walked  his way over to the landing spot/impact point to see if the mission had gone FUBAR at the first step.  Walked was a generous term. With each jumper carrying above their body weight in the snow,, it might be more accurate to say Swoopy staggered that way while managing to stay upright. Not exactly how the cats usually got portrayed in the trids.

Fortunately, Itty seemed more or less alive. Testimony to just how tough he was it seemed, cause Swoopy was pretty sure they'd be dragging him off the DZ. He offered the troll his hand and narrowly avoided being pulled into the snow. He nodded off to the building in the distance.

"Boss lady is waiting, yeah?"

GloriousRuse

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #13 on: (15:07:52/03-19-17) »
INTERLUDE


"...madam president, you know this is going to cause blowback. We're building these things so fast, completely uannounced, and on the border with every single one of the NAN, the Salish, the CAS - and just after the election rhetoric. You're destabilizing the entire continent and you know it."

"General, State has assured me that all of the other sovereign powers have been informed and dealt with,  and that we aren't in violation of any treaties. This is a purely defensive measure, and I am not going to turn my back on the American people, roll over, and play dead  any time one of these poor oppressed great powers screams "imperialism". It was that self neutering attitude that got us to where we are today."

"...Angie...you used to be one of us. No cameras here, and the principals meeting isn't for fifteen minutes. Why do we need to build these things so fast? Maybe we could get away with this over four years, but four months? They're going to react exactly like we would if someone told us in four months they were going to be able to deny airspace 100 miles in to the UCAS border.They're going to push back, and there's going to be someone who thinks that pushing involves more than a sanction and a strong public front while we work it all out in the back! At least let us slow the builds down, give everyone some time to stop panicking. Let them think they have options."

"George, you know I can't do that. This is a great opportunity George, one we have to take. You and I both know we've got maybe thirty years before the Azzies start looking north. They're all tied up in South America right now, cleaning up their backyard, but when they're done there's only one way for them to go George; when they do we need to be ready to stop'em. So, no, we're not slowing down. We're taking every shot we get."

"BULLSHIT ANGIE! A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR ARES MAYBE! SINCE WHEN -"

"GENERAL, I AM THE PRESIDENT. Don't forget it again. And yes, of course part of this is Ares. They want these things done, and done fast, cause they're just as scared of those next 30 years as we are! And, hell they probably have motivations I don't know about. But guess what George? How do you think we get all these new tanks? Where all those new rifles come from? The discounted credit maintenance contracts that leave your OR above 75% for the first time in decades? The technician and training deals that are too good to be true? You think it's from taxes? The ruins of Detroit maybe? How about my "republican" congress that talks big about spending cuts, but if they're welfare queens supply of Gucci is threatened, then good luck getting a dime in the budget for procurement! Who am I going to tax? Who can I even borrow from with our debt being what it is? Yeah, we made our bed with Ares 12 years ago because it's what the American people need. So, yeah, if they want to build these things fast and it helps us, that's what we're going to damn well do!

...but George? You're right about one thing. Someone is going to push back. And when they do, we can't look weak.



Tecumseh

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Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
« Reply #14 on: (02:52:28/03-20-17) »
The General sits back, exhaling lightly. He is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but is in the unenviable position of reporting to the greatest military strategist to sit in the Oval Office for the last hundred years. There had been snide remarks that Colloton had chosen him expressly to be weak, someone who would be easy to dominate but still look smart in a uniform for a photo op.

"So the last eight years you spent distancing us from Ares...?" he begins.

"Played well at the polls," the President answers, a wry smile puncturing her professional demeanor. "We had to secure the third term, which was especially fraught during the tricentennial. We needed to to be strong and firm to make sure the CAS didn't do something emotional like seize St. Louis. Now that the South has failed to rise again - for the 211th consecutive year - we can turn our attention west."

The Chairman looks confused. "I don't know of any operation intelligence which suggested that -"

The President waves him off. She enjoyed explaining things to man who was nominally her chief military strategist. "The Puebs and the Confederates were looking cozy, what with their united front against the Azzies. Then the Azzies secured their northern border - so they could put their full weight on Amazonia - by donating a piece of Texas to the Puebs. The Confederates wanted their historical territory back, the Puebs declined, and now the marriage is in shambles. That pushes the Confederates back into our arms, which means we not only have a secure southern flank but also a neighbor whose westward ambitions match our own."

"The Steamroller,"
the Chairman summarizes.

"I believe that's what we called it in the war games, yes. And that gives us latitude to singe the beard of the Sioux."

"Can they even grow beards?" the Chairman asks, and they both laugh.

The President stands and the Chairman quickly follows suit. "Come on," she says. "We have a few extra minutes. Let's go surprise some school children on our way to the Cabinet Room."

The Chairman follows the President out of the Oval Office. The Chief of Staff joins them as they exit. Stepping into the hallway, the President freezes.

"Oh, Christ," she says. "It's Hollensfeld."

The Chief of Staff scowls. "What is he doing? Digging for brains?"

Senator Hollensfeld has his pinkie in his ear and is scratching vigorously. His hair is disheveled, he has the physique of a scarecrow, and his suit is at least two sizes too big.

The Chief of Staff clears his throat. "I'll have the protocol officer -"

"No, don't,"
the President interrupts. "It's part of his 'salt of the earth' persona. Plays well in Wichita. It's actually quite astute. Just don't fall for his 'bumbling goofball' persona."

"He's supporting your platform?" the Chairman asks.

The President frowns. "He's a son of a bitch, but he's a Republican son of a bitch. For now. Oh hell, he sees us. Here he comes."

"Madam President!" Senator Hollensfeld says jovially, gleefully swimming upstream into the collective contempt of the President and her staff.

"Senator," the President responds coolly, grudgingly shaking his hand. "How was your tour of the border?"

"Fucking brilliant!" he declares with glee. The Chairman and the Chief of Staff react physically to the obscenity; the President just blinks languidly.

"Those Sioux are in for a cold bowl of soup!" the Senator continues. "Just a few more weeks and it we'll have more fun than an easy-bake oven! Every Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota from here to Seattle will be eating sand."

"I believe the expression is 'bite the dust',"
the Chairman corrects distastefully.

"Ha ha ha!" the Senator laughs boisterously, even though no one else does. "Ha ha ha!"

"We must be going,"
the Chief of Staff says, running interference by physically standing in front of the Senator as the President walks away.

"Angie, I'll call you!" the Senator shouts as the President ducks into the Cabinet Room.

"What a prick," the Chief of Staff sighs. "What's with all the food metaphors?"

President Colloton seems put out by the encounter. She broods while waiting for the rest of the principals to arrive.

"What's the matter, Angie?" the Chairman asks.

She doesn't answer for a minute. Then: "Let me have men about me that are fat, bald, and sleep at night."

"Madame?"
the Chief of Staff asks, self-consciously rubbing his smooth head.

The President sighs. "Hollensfeld has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous."

"You still think he was a part of the New Revolutions coup?"
the Chairman asks.

The President taps her chin. "There was never any evidence. He loves being a senator, but his heart will never be at ease while he beholds someone greater than himself. Therefore he is very dangerous. Would that he were fatter!"

Colloton walks over to the windows to stare out at the Rose Garden silently for several minutes before turning back to the room. "I will tell you what is to be feared rather than what I fear myself, for always I am Colloton. Come, let us begin."

END INTERLUDE