Shadowrun

Shadowrun Play => Play-by-Post => Topic started by: Tecumseh on (02:35:54/03-15-17)

Title: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh 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."
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (12:27:13/03-15-17)
Chante went over the OPORD (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operations_order) 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 (http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/army/fm/34-130/ch1.htm).  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.

(http://i.imgur.com/ry2Ezkw.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Pap Renvela 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse 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 (http://orokos.com/roll/497069).
Navigation roll:  http://orokos.com/roll/497079  (http://orokos.com/roll/497079)






Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon 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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parachute_landing_fall) 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Pap Renvela 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh 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.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse 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?"
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse 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.


Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh 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
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (14:06:48/03-20-17)
As Chante approached the ramshackle hut, she slowed, hearing a commotion from within. 

What in the spirits is making so much noise you can hear it over the storm?

She readied her Ares Alpha and moved to the door.  Looking back, she could faintly make out forms trudge-running their way to the farm house.  She waited several moments.  The quickest way to suicide was thinking you were a one-man army.  Bursting alone into the building without confirming it was empty wasn't the brightest idea.

Swoopy caught up and she held up her closed fist.  Swoopy stopped immediately.  She cupped a hand to her ear and then pointed at the door.  swoopy nodded, turning an ear to the door and then looking at her with another nod.  Shiriki came up just then and, having caught the exchange waited.

She turned to the door in a half crouch and Swoopy immediately crouched behind her, leaving no space between their bodies.  Shiriki got behind Swoopy and waited.  Chante wanted Ite to join them but they needed to secure the building.  She removed her right hand from the pistol grip and quickly tapped Swoopy's leg twice.  He followed by tapping Shiriki's leg.  The decker was ready and passed the message back up, squeezing Swoopy's shoulder.  the message finished with Swoopy tapping Chante and she immediately burst forward.

Throwing the door open she swung left, Swoopy turning right.  Under normal circumstances, any threats would have been quickly neutralized.

"Aw, hell, maw-maw, they're multahplyin'!" said a whiny, nasally voice.

"Like cockaroaches," a woman's voice agreed.

Chante stared, wide-eyed at the scene.  An old man and a woman were standing side by side, waving a shotgun and a... was that a bible?... respectively.  Dan-Dan stood in front of them, unbalanced.  One foot was stuck in an old wooden bucket, his boot sticking through the bottom.  His other foot was sunk mid-calf through the floor.  He had managed to get a hold of the only fabric in the room, tattered wisps of the curtain, probably, and wrapped it around his face.  His rifle swung from his sling and he was trying to bring it to bear, but the sling had twisted, making it awkward to maneuver.  In front of him, a hound was standing, stiff-legged, and barking.

Swoopy broke the silence, "Hey, why wasn't I invited to this party?"

Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (15:53:32/03-20-17)
5 KM east.  That's all it would take, and it would make all the difference in the world.  Instead, the few moments Shiriki gets in free fall before entering the blizzard are comparatively peaceful compared to the chaos that follows.  The clouds close up above him, and he's falling in the dark, buffeted by the wind, and left with nothing to navigate by but the compass display in his cyber eyes.  A gale-forced wind hits and knocks him end-over-end and what must be about 150 meters straight sideways.  Shiriki knows he needs to get lower before he can effectively navigate himself, and so he closes his legs and brings his arms to his sides, falling like a stone.  Well, like a stone weighed down with plastic explosives, a couple surveillance drones, another combat drone fitted with enough stick-and-shock to make the first UCAS battalion twitchy, and his regular combat kit.

Two hundred meters more or less straight down, and Shiriki opens his wingsuit and heads toward the UCAS border.  He's still tossed about like spare detritus, but the course is easier to maintain.  He hits a momentary break in the clouds, orients himself, and sees that at this pace he will indeed overshoot the farm house.  Dipping his right hand, he tries for a turn, but another gust pulls his feet out and to the side, and he's falling again woefully off course.  For a moment he doesn't fight it, and lets the wind have its way, while he rubs some ice from his goggles.  He recalculates his approach, uses his arm wings to stabilize himself, and then spreads his legs again to push his body forward.  His speed catches, then accelerates, and he's on the right track, if barely.  He holds off on opening his shoot, probably no more than three seconds, but he knows it's three seconds that he's going to feel.  When the shoot opens, he detaches the rotodrone, and hot-sims it down among the trees while his body breezes about limp and alone.

Now, this is more like it.  Due to the ice, the propellers protest for a moment, but once they're going, he dives the rotodrone straight down and pulls up hard just above the tree line.  After setting the autopilot to their rendezvous point, he rejoins his meat body just in time to tuck before impact.  If it wasn't for the snow, he's sure he would've broken something, but instead he only wrenches his ankle against a fallen tree, and then he's cutting himself loose and limping toward the farm house, while checking the feed on his combat drone.

"Ah, frag me," he says to no one in particular, as he spots some fading thermal impressions leading up to the farmhouse.  When he makes it to the porch, he kicks off his boots against the railing, which gives out unexpectedly.  He tries to right himself, but Shiriki does so by grabbing a shutter which tears off in his hand and sends him stumbling off the porch and into what was once probably a blackberry patch.  He stands, rights himself, and carefully approaches the cabin a second time, boisterously proclaiming, "Well, that'll wake ya up in the mornings, chumps," before seeing that the mood inside is much more somber than he predicted.  He does a quick head-count.  Yeah, all here, so what's the. . . oh great.  The apparitions of two anglo farmers and their trusty pooch stand staring down Dan-Dan.  He's stopped dead in his tracks, and waits for orders from the CPT.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (16:16:29/03-20-17)
Hooting and a hollering was the technical term for what happened next. Somewhere in there references to Injuns, the gov'ment, not stealing homes, and the decency of common folk were swirling in a proud demonstration of at least fifteen cliche ideologies. Pa advanced on Swoopy and Itty, his ephemeral shotgun being used as an extension of wildly gesticulating hands. Ite probably should have been doing something to intervene, but that is hard when every time you turn there seems to be a sharp edged piece of furniture at groin height. The dog barked because it was a dog and what the hell else was it going to do?

Ma, as only befitting a matron who preserved the last vestiges of morality in this sinful world, immediately went to work on informing Chante of her various trespasses against the Lord. Being young and hot has ever been a great ethical offense to those who are not and Ma had crossed that line before the Awakening. She used only the choicest epithets garnered over long years of experience in this matter.Did she even know what a Whore of Babylon was? Did it matter?

Then Pa made a stunning discovery:

"Boy, you're not an Injun? What t'hell are you doing with these savages?"

Swoopy, busy trying to close a grenade pouch that kept popping open while he eyed Pa, froze. Touchy subject that - mom had just enough blood to guarantee a Right of Return when Chicago went to hell - but as many a pre-growth spurt bully had let Swoopy know, he still looked as Polish as his name. Ma's applied ethics lesson rapidly shifted pupils. 20 years of death gives you a lot of time to keep the right biblical quote at hand apparently.

Dave had a hard time getting a word in edgewise against the wisdom of Isiah as revealed by Ma, but finally:

[color=red ]"The gov'ment is stealing a bunch of Kansans land! These Injuns are gonna go fight the gov'ment, stop them from stealing the land, and probably get their asses killed in the process! All they need to is drop some stuff here before they go. Everybody wins - you turned evil against evil and your Lord would be pleased on how you handled the devil's minions! Now, o course I'm a white man. You think the Injuns are smart enough to do this on their own?[/color]

Swoops finished his short speech to a silent room. He sincerely hope, with all his night, that the four other "Injun" death machines in the room knew he was acting.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:08:22/03-20-17)
"Yes, ma'am, sir," Dan-Dan chokes out between breaths as the tattered lace curtails wrap around his neck. "Surely you've noticed the installation over yonder popping up in the middle of your cornfields." The 'yonder' is a nice touch that seems to resonate with Ma and Pa. "You don't recall giving permission for them to build that, do you?"

"Well, I don't know," says Pa, lowering the shotgun and rubbing a hand over his balding head. "I don't recall, but the government generally does what it has a mind to do."

"You boys are the first visitors we've had," Ma says, softening visibly. "Very kind of you to call on us. It wouldn't surprise me that a dragon would take over our land. Why else would he want to get elected anyway?"

Shiriki notes the historical anachronism and jumps on it. "President Dunkelzahn is deceased, ma'am."

Ma and Pa brighten considerably.

"Why, that's fine news!" Pa declares.

"The Lord delivers!" Ma weeps, holding her hands to Heaven.

Their resistance caves. Dan-Dan is freed from his constraints and the party finds itself the recipients of Ma and Pa's full hospitality.

"Please, make yourselves comfortable!" Pa insists. "There are blankets there to ward away a chill." He points to some moth-eaten tea towels.

"Come now," Ma says, doting on the Captain. "Would you care for some tea and cookies? I baked them just last night." She seems to be referring to something that looks suspiciously like frozen, desiccated rat poop. "Don't be shy!"
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (14:19:54/03-21-17)
Ma and Pa Kettle start celebrating revival style on the untimely demise of Dunkelzahn, and Shiriki can't help but smile.  "I feel the same way," he says, taking a cold corner of floor and sitting cross-legged.  He avails himself of one of the "blankets," but passes on the food.  Funny, for anglos, they certainly keep with the Pawnee mores he grew up with.  Or were those mores Pawnee to begin with? he wonders absently.  Can't go insulting ma's cooking, now can he, so he settle for a simple, "Thank you, ma'am, but while we're on duty, it's forbidden."

He's a little self-conscious sitting as he is in front of the anglos, specters or not.  A few old jokes about sitting like an Indian come to mind, jokes that would be faux pas even in the early 20s, but he grew up thinking they were widespread, if not ubiquitous, in the tribal lands he grew up in.  "Don't think for a moment they don't hate us," his dad had warned, often, when he was growing up, referencing his complexion much more than his pointy ears, though old dad never candy-coated that one either.  And, those spirits sure made that much known when they'd entered.  It was strange that they softened so quickly.  Funny what loneliness will do to a person, or a whatever. . . given a couple decades. 

Leaning back against the wall, Shiriki pulls out his pair of Fly Spys, and puts them in flight.  The first exits the front door, and he sets it on a perimeter watch.  He has to keep it much lower than usual, only about twenty meters or so, but he taps Ité YeyΆ in on the feed, and takes the full VR plunge to his second, which he sends out a broken window and into the woods growing up and around the farmhouse.  The canopy breaks the worst of the wind, and the ultrasound does an adequate job of keeping him from plowing into any errant branches.  That holds well enough for a half-klick or so, and after that he's exposed again to the worst of the blizzard in the snow-capped great plains.  He alternates between low-light and thermo, and runs the little golf-ball-sized drone through broad sweeps at varying altitudes to give him a fuller picture of their approach.

<<@Team [Shiriki] If you'll look out the right side of the cabin you'll see the Great Plains in all their geographic glory.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is flat, flat, oh, and a little more flat off there on the horizon.  Approach looks clear.>>

A few minutes later, and the western-most satellite dish appears on the horizon. 

<<@Team [Shiriki] Target 1 acquired>>

He doesn't dare pull any closer without meat bodies and his own heavy artillery on the scene, so he holds still for the moment, zooms in as far as he can with the drone's sensor array, and pulls back a couple klicks toward the farmhouse, staying in thermo to catch any would be critters that he missed on his first pass.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (15:03:59/03-21-17)
Dan-Dan sits calmly against a wall on the balls of his feet as surveys the situation now that he's free of the curtains. Embarrassing that. No real harm done,  beyond a few scrapes and bruises. He knows it's a spiritual  manifestation that made him clumsy. Probably the captain knows too, he's not sure of the others. Still, embarrassing.

He agrees with Shiriki.

"No ma'm we can't whilst on duty".

Upon her disappointed look, he smiles wryly.

"But, we sure can take some for later". As he reaches for the pile with his glove.

"Son of a!"

"Now, a won't have language young man" Ma says sternly "mind they're fresh out of the oven".

The 'cookies' are freezing cold, colder than they should be, even through the thinsulate gloves. Burning cold and frozen hard.

"I think it's time we were off, but thank you for your hospitality." It's probably time to move on the installation, scouting in detail. It's a comfort to know there's some overwatch from Shiriki, though night is his element and sneaking his game.

"Heh, I reckon he likes you." Says Pa, as the dog goes over to the captain wagging it's tail. A large glob of saliva gathers at the cormer of its mouth and slowly drips to splat on her outstretched hand.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Pap Renvela on (20:34:33/03-21-17)
Ité YeyΆ  sat in the corner and kept his mouth shut. He wasn't a great speaker at the best of times and heck did he know what to say to a revenant. It was eerie. Kinda of like that day the Hatali woman was on the crate preaching to the passerbys:

"You have got no private properties. Perhaps one or two of you may own the homes you live in, or have a nuyen or two set aside. But you own nothing that does not contribute directly towards keeping you alive. All that you own is your bodies. And you sell your bodies every day you live. You sell them when you go out in the morning to your jobs and when you labor all day. You are forced to sell at any price, at any time, for any purpose. You are forced to sell your bodies so that you can eat nutrisoy and live. And the price which is given you for this is only enough so that you will have the strength to labor longer for the profits of the Corp. Today you are not put up on platforms and sold at the courthouse square.  But you are forced to sell your strength, your time, your souls during almost every hour that you live. You have been freed from one kind of slavery only to be delivered into another.
Is this freedom? Are you yet free men? Be Shaikujin if you wish. Me? I want to be free."


Maybe it was just hot or she really was Awakened or maybe too little sleep and too much soycaf. But whatever it was, from that day forward Ité YeyΆ  had decided to make his life mean something. And so he had made the military his permanent home.

Damn Ité, your mind really wanders- must be what the shrink said. Probably should turn on some more Rock until we get ready to roll. That's a pun, son. I made a funny- don't you get it. Now what was the name of that stupid cartoon... 

And finally he hears, "I think it's time we were off, but thank you for your hospitality." Not waiting for anything further, Ité heads to the door. He has to lower his torso halfway towards the floor and twist sideways to get out as the door frame must have been built prior to trolls being around. Still, he manages to bump his head on the frame while going out into the cold.


Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (23:02:07/03-21-17)
Swoopy patted down the last of the dirt in the storm cellar, then gave it a few stamps to look natural. Inside was a pile of the trams wingsuits, chutes, and various bits and pieces that wouldn't be needed anymore. Wouldn't stay hidden forever if someone came a calling, but should be more than sufficient to keep the stuff out of casually prying hands. And hopefully the mission would be long done by the time anyone thought to search this direction. After that, it was on the support guys to make sure the gear didn't point to directly back to the Sioux.

This bit of manual labor kept swoops busy while the drone and magic specialists did their thing. Still, his mind kept wandering over what all was allegedly on the site, assuming the intel crew was right.

-An engineering officer and some civilian architects. Supposedly didn't stay on site, but late nights weren't unheard of.

-An Ares Technician and Installation team. Supposedly kept a couple techs with the site 24/7 to train UCAS guys on the new features and provide initial maintenance support. Could be what it said on the label. Probably was. You never knew though.

-Two major automated earth movers, setting base for the long term living and control buildings. Probably working through the night.

-"About a platoon". Thanks Intel guys. Real helpful. That could be a zone guardsmen with a jumped up rank structure, or it could be a New Model (Or, in UCAS, Total Domain Dominance 75, in policy circles Colloton Reform) platoon with squad level drone support, network defense from higher, and reach back to company for magical call forward. Plus a section from the BN hey drone section attached. Those guys would be the primary physical space threat.

-On call network defense and support relationship with the blah blah blah. CPT could tell you all about it. Meant some security deckers by remote, maybe even one on site, and no doubt the ability to pull eyes in the sky and a reaction force. Plus mage support. In short, things could get nasty if they got loud and slow.

-Magic stuff. Swoops figured the mages could think on that. The only bit that really hit him was "watchers for certain, possible Class III paranormal animals".

Looked like a couple air and artillery defense vehicles were slated, but hadn't arrived yet.

-Basic chain link fence. C wire. Pretty standard. Strongpoint Automated Engagement Systems (aka, turrets) covering it. Less standard. "95% probability of manned decision required before firing" Great...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:25:23/03-22-17)
Shiriki expertly pilots his Fly Spy through the woods and into into position. It's damnably difficult due to the wind, but Shiriki skillfully uses the trees as windbreaks to ease his approach.

The Fly Spy gets a distant look at the radar installation. <<Zoom. Enhance. Zoom. Enhance.>> Shiriki commands; the Fly Spy obeys.

The drones can see the automated earth-movers working through the storm. There also appears to be a multitude of construction vehicles not currently in use at this time of night: cement mixers, bulldozers, scrapers, steamrollers, front loaders, excavators, cranes, and so on. There also appear to be two large earth spirits which are plodding about, perhaps assisting with the frozen ground.

Shiriki doesn't pick up any heat signatures at the installation other than the buildings and the earth movers. Nobody's outside on patrol, for the moment at least.

Suddenly his other Fly Spy triggers a warning. Shiriki quickly switches feeds and notices four thermographic forms moving at inhuman speeds through the grasslands toward the house. They are on four legs but are running faster than any mundane animal. When they see Ité stop outside, they pause to howl. Shiriki's butthole puckers tighter than a snare drum.

Everyone in the house is filled with a magical sense of dread. The sound vibrates through your skull and feels like death and disaster drowning your brain.

You see visions of UCAS soldiers laughing over your broken bodies as they take pictures of you in demeaning positions. Perhaps this will earn them a court-martial, or perhaps it will make Senator Hollensfeld's next PR release. Your friends and family members are disgraced by association, and the Wildcats forsake you. Your names are never mentioned again, except in the context of legendary fuck-ups who were probably spies anyway. Your remains are tossed to the cockatrices, and - after you are pushed through the digestive tracts of giant chickens - your final earthly form is manure.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (12:49:25/03-22-17)
The Captain stiffens at the mournful baying and shakes her head.  Magic at work, for certain.  A number of paracritters could elicit that effect.  Unfortunately, knowing didn't make it feel any easier to push through.  She got to her feet.

"The hell was that?  Shiriki, you got eyes?  Barghests?"

She looked to the others.  The team was solid.  No one was a quivering mess in the corner.  She expected no less, but would not have held it against anyone.  Magic was feared because it could reduce the most solid performers to non-functioning and there was often no way around it.

She looks at the Ares Alpha for a moment, then shakes her head.  They are far enough away that she doesn't think the site will hear the report of a rifle, especially through the storm, but she'd rather not take chances.  She quickly unbuttons the loops on either side of her belt, holding her tomahawks.  The Urban Tribe combat hatchets felt good in her hands.  She gave them a quick whirl with the flick of her wrists and moved to the door.

"Dan-Dan, Swoopy, windows.  Cover me." and then she steps outside.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (18:30:58/03-22-17)
Shivers ripped down Dan-Dans spine from the mournful howling. Dogs. Parcritters certainly but dogs. The energy generated by their baying wails electrified him and he quickly moved to a window unlimbering his weapons. The captain called for cover as she ran into the snowstorm her hair flying wildly behind her as she dashed into the driving snow. Lightning illuminated her like a strobe. The jagged light briefly illuminated one of the combat drones loosing off a shot and giving the range.

Dan-Dan took his rifle and fired off 2 quick shots, calling back to Ma and Pa.

"They've set Hellbeasts upon us. We'll defend this God fearing stead. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!".

He could see commotion through the window as the beasts charged in. Unable to get another clear shot at the remaining curs, he swore and clicked through his mic that he was going out to support the captain. He preferred it close and intimate anyway. The pure kiss as his knife slid into the ribs of the foe and purred...

Dropping his rifle and dashing into the howling wind after the captain, he pulled his quivering knife from its sheath. Time to skin dome puppies. Cat be with him...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (23:20:27/03-22-17)
Swoopy raced from the basement up to the ground floor at the CPT's call. The door is already swinging open by the time he arrives. Uh-oh. He threw the shutters open and leveled his rifle. Dan Dan was already banging away, and it looked like some sort of giant presumably magical, dogs were closing on the CPT. The snow kept vis to under 100m and the 4 dogs were nearly in crunch time as it was.

Weird choice that. Knife work, to Swoopy's mind, meant you had done it wrong. A last gasp option when tactics failed. Clearly the rest of the cats had different opinions. Oh well. At 100m Swoopy didn't even bother with the smartgun auto-zero.

He aimed, fired, once...twice...

The blizzard raged. The night was dark. At 75 meters it didn't really matter. The trail dog thing went down hard.  Suffice to say rounds that were meant for killing 100 kilo metas in armor were more than sufficient to handle the magical version of a huskie. Swoopy shifted his rifle to find another target - make this nice and clean, no need for anything to get dangerous. Too late. Looked like the CPT had ridden her white horse, as officers were wont to due, into glorious fair man to man, or in this case canine to woman, combat. No way to get a shot off now...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Pap Renvela on (15:54:19/03-23-17)
Damn these things are moving fast. Too bad I can't lob a grenade right now.

As the critters ran towards him, Ité YeyΆ aimed his arrow at the lead canine which was hit by so much gunfire it seemed to explode. Quickly switching targets, he manages to graze a different target. He then half blocks, half dodges the lunge of a third as he reaches behind himself to unsheathe his katana.

"We're Indians you crazy mutts! We live with nature. Why don't you go pick on the pale faces?" 

Unless,of course, they're pale faced Indians.

"No offense, Swoopy."

Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (17:04:47/03-23-17)
As Chante steps out, she can hear the chattering of gunfire from behind.  She quickly makes calculations in her head.  Which of the beasts is closer, which is a threat, which is... well, that one's dead...

The storm is still blowing hard, but the warrior keeps her footing, dashing into the snow.  One of the beasts lunges forward, snarling.  It stumbles and Chante can make out the contact points of the stick and shock that have disoriented.  She sidesteps and brings one tomahawk down it's neck, beheading it and ending any suffering.  Beasts, even awakened, were simply beasts and didn't deserve any level of cruelty.

Looking about, she notes that the threat is cleared nearly as quickly as it appeared.  None of the critters is near enough to her for action, so she wipes the blade of the tomahawk in the snow and reholsters both blades at her hips and turns back to the house to wait for the others.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (17:12:32/03-23-17)
Doctor Dakota Daniel Dan-Dan "Dancer" Danyes dashed into the driving snow, drawing his deadly dirk to dispatch the dangerous doggies afore they devoured the dainty captain.

The stinging snow swirled and swept into his eyes as the eerie howls sounded, sending shocking shivers down his spine. Suddenly silence.

A slobbering beast leapt from the murky gloom, springing at the running medic whilst it's companion ran leaping at Ite. Keyed up, adrenaline sizzling painfully through his veins, Daniel jumped to meet the leaping dog, nimbly dodging out of the way. Impossibly the fell creature twisted midair to snap its jaws at the twisting doctor. Its maw gaped wide around Danyes' head, improbably wide. Saliva whipped around the mans neck as the cur encompassed his head...

Grabbing a tuft of Fur on its flank, Dan hauled himself out of its grasp, its lips kissing his face as he rolled along its side, spinning to face it on its other side. Amazingly, the agile mutt again twisted to meet the moving threat only for the adept to slide under its belly. Completely wrong footed, the creature was completely at his blades mercy,  a gift to cat,  when rounds tore the night and ripped into it.

Dan shrugged and seeing no other threats started to harvest it for telesma.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (19:57:47/03-23-17)
With that taken care of, Swoopy changed his mags and waited for the "braves" to return. Still seemed a fool way to fight a war, getting all close and seeing who could stab who, but he allowed that the others seemed to be very, very good at it. He would still take "stuff the muzzle in their belly and pull the trigger" any day of the week if fighting got that close. Pretty freakin amazing to watch though.

BOOOM!

 "And don't come back hell beasts! The Lord protects his own!"

Pa seemed inordinately pleased. Swoopy was also inordinately pleased, mostly that the spiritual shotgun hadn't been leveled at anything wildcat looking. He made sure to give Pa a big grin, trying to infuse it with manful camaraderie. He thought about radioing, looked like the others had figured it out though and we're headed back in. 
--------
In a quick circle with the others, Swoopy listened to the updates from Shiriki and the changes to the plan. He interjected to be sure he was tracking

"So I get that the point team, self included, are coming down through the woods until we're about 150m out with the rest in trail, drones in front of us until Shiriki says it's not safe, Ite on the trix, and the CPT watching magic side. At that point we're waiting for the all clear on matrix and magic, cutting the fence here after Ite opens a hole in the turret coverage, and passing the assault team through. We follow them or stay back for overwatch based on the CPT's call. Is that right? Also, are the assignments still the same?"
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (15:27:59/03-24-17)
"Ite, pull up the map and toss those ARO's on it.  Add the info Shiriki gathered."

Ite nods and shoots the image over their PI-Tac.

(http://i.imgur.com/De1kyQG.png)

"So, of import are the spirits there.  We can't be sure what they are going to do if they catch one of our auras.  That's going to be impossible to hide, once we clear the trees, unless we literally keep something between us and them.  Happily, most spirits don't have eyes in the backs of their heads and we can assume that their direction of movement is forward.."

Chante looks to the group.  "So it's as we discussed.  Swoopy and I will head one each to the base of the dish and plant our charges.  Technical overwatch is provided to make sure the guards in those shacks stay in those shacks and that no one comes out of housing there.  If they do, we need to know.  Dan-Dan holds back, ready to move in the direction that requires a hand, if it comes to that.  Hopefully it won't, we'll be in and out, ghosts."

She looks at the team and receives their determined silence as acquiescence.  She doesn't say anything else as she rises and grabs her pack.  She replaces her helmet and lowers the visor.  The HUD pops over.  With that, she steps out and shuffles forward through the deepening snow, south towards the site.  The others fall in behind.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (14:05:02/03-27-17)
Shiriki catches sight of the bogies just as they ease into a sprint toward the farmhouse.  In the meat world, he can feel his body spasm, and his heart rate monitor kicks up considerably. 

"The hell was that?  Shiriki, you got eyes?  Barghests?" the Captain's voice comes through his comm system.  For a moment, he's glad that he's got his ear buds patched into his feed -- otherwise the droning snow would be overwhelming as it buffets the fly spy, but then the howling starts, and Shiriki wishes he had some of those old 20s tunes keyed up instead.

<<@Team [Shiriki] 4 incoming.  Too small to be barghests.  Bogies, maybe.>>

His vision goes black as he jumps into his roto-drone, and when he gathers his new senses, he's already rising up from the roof of the farmhouse, and facing the threat.  In thermo, they look a little less otherworldly, just pockets of reds and oranges against the icy black earth.  He marks his targets quickly, keys in with his Alpha, and lets loose with two bursts at the leading hound.  It whimpers once, as the stick-and-shock seizes up its muscles, and it falls flat.  He moves the reticle over, and drifts forward at a hard incline to target the second.  As the captain and Ité YeyΆ rush from the farmhouse, Shiriki pops another one, which seizes just long enough for Chante to finish it off with her tomahawk.

Next, he trains his feed on a third, but Dan-Dan is on top of it, then below it, and then finishing it off with a deep cut down the beast's middle.  Shiriki watches as the bogie's insides become its outsides, and cool quickly in the blizzard, turning orange and then fading into the snow-covered ground. 

And then it's over.  While the good doctor goes about the grisly practice of salvaging what he can from the paracritters -- nasty business, that -- and the team resumes their positions in the mostly wind-broke house, Shiriki puts his fly spies on patrol, and does one last loop before leaving his drones and rejoining his body.  His mouth and eyes are parched, and he reaches for his canteen.  The captain pulls up an updated map, relates the information Shiriki was able to gather, and lays out the plan.  Looking forward toward their objective gets his hands to stop shaking and he gulps down a little water before they had back out into the night.

Their approach is silent, and uneventful, each team member spread out, and Shiriki's drones on overwatch.  He keeps the fly spies up in front and behind, watching their approach and rear, while the roto-drone stays just over his shoulder, keeping its imprint minimal.  From a quarter-klick out, Chante halts, and they take a moment to put human eyes on the scene.  The earth spirits are where Shiriki left them, still working through the night, and Chante points out some watcher spirits.  Unsurprisingly, it doesn't look like any human patrols are out.  They wouldn't be able to see much anyway, and one thing about the anglos: they're fine wasting people, but they'd rather use 'em on something worthwhile if they're gonna do it.

Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (23:20:25/03-27-17)
Swoopy nodded at Chante, breaking east from the last rally point while the specialty support team went to work. This was it, this was that moment of keyed up awesome where you couldn't quite decide if what you were doing should terrify you or let you know that you were the baddest mother-fucker in the valley. If Swoopy lived to be one of the old men, maybe he would have the reps and the life savy to reconcile the two. As it was, he couldn't help but grinning. Yeah, definitely number two. Not that it seemed to help back in the bars; not like you could talk about it, and the fact that you were quiet enough and deadly enough to say, sneak into a UCAS radar site with your only support hundreds of meters away at least didn't seem to to work as well as being a sniveling supply clerk in a shiny uniform.  He was a good looking man if he said so himself, and he could tell you his tales of seduction were only mild exaggerations - well, maybe moderate exaggerations - but it still didn't seem fair that the chicks all wanted to drag home the most clearly shined up "brave" they could find, even if that douche worked  as a glorified janitor in the base gym. Here he was, sneaking through a forest...

..speaking of which, he was nearly at his plotted turn south, where the trees were thickest and north of the eastern dish. He approached to about 15 meters from the fence and deployed his secret weapon:

The gray blanket. With stick.

At all of an 1/8th of an inch of wool, so long as you stood still, for half an hour it was some of the best camo you could have. Too far off the body to heat up quickly, a physical barrier that really helped dull out his already bioware damped aura, and guaranteed to look mostly like another patch of colorless ground and snow under monochromatic low light enhancement.  At night verus the mark one eyeball let alone some poor bastard looking through a camera lense, a dull and formless grey patch on the ground wouldn't look like much at all; maybe a rock if you looked hard. It was truly a triumph of low tech over high tech, the sort of thing that made Swoopy glad he wouldn't be replaced by a drone anytime soon.

It had another very  important characteristic; it helped keep the wind off while you waited for the call that the turrets were off.

Swoopy sent a single click over FM.

Set
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (10:43:08/03-28-17)
Chante's movement was similarly quiet.  She moved with great care, taking time to check her astral senses as well.  Watcher spirits were their biggest threat here.  A camera, even monitored, could be taken down and spoofed, leaving the technician monitoring them non-the-wiser.  They were physical objects that anyone could see and avoid.

Watchers were invisible to normal vision.  Living things were lit up like beacons to them, due to their auras.  And if you caught one unawares and dispatched it, their creator would know.  They were especially tricky.  Luckily, they were simple spirits without much imagination.

Chante found her own spot to dig in while she waited on the others.  Her time wasn't spent idly.  She scanned beyond the fence, noting the auras of the watchers and adding AROs to the PI-Tac and recording their watch-path.  Once the tracks were input, the team would know where the watchers were and which way they were facing to within a few seconds.  Once that was complete, the rest was up to the others.

<<Set>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Pap Renvela on (15:27:36/03-30-17)
Ité YeyΆ  and Shiriki Looney were buried under foliage by the rest of the group. While the rest of the squad would be going with their meat into the compound, they were only going with their minds. Shiriki's three drones would protect the camouflaged bodies while the were unconscious in VR.

Ité YeyΆ  and Shiriki Looney worked in unison to spot the hidden host, which looked very much like a  Quonset hut. But what would you expect from the non-imaginative minds of military command...no matter which nation it worked for. They easily were able to fool the host into giving them three MARKs apiece. Now- they would split up- Ité would prepare to fool the sensors while Shiriki would jump into one of the automated turrets if the alarm sounded.

First thing Ité noticed was a single persona hidden- most likely a security spider. The persona itself seemed to be standing still. The tell-tale sign that the person was deep in thought or (more likely) so bored that they're half asleep while in the Matrix.

Ité began recording the data from the sensor suites. He could go with as little as a few seconds worth but decided not to be lazy a continued recording continuously. As soon as he got the confirmation that the team was moving in, he'd spoof the sensor suite to show the recorded data in place of the live one. With just a little bit of luck- no one will suspect they're getting fed the same info again.

Ité's secondary job would be to take out the spider if the alarm did go off before the towers were destroyed. He always felt bad about that part of the job. But all's fair in love and all that.



Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (23:28:45/03-30-17)
Swoopy waited under that blanket for what seemed like an eternity. Everything was snapped into sharp adrenal focus. A doberman went by, turned south along the perimeter. Some of the marked watchers completed a similiar route, and Swoopy saw his opening. If only the support guys could make this happen right....

<<Trojan>>

...now. Yeah, that had been a fine piece of work. Guess the cats were the cats for a reason. Swoopy crawled forward, shedding his blanket and popping one of his crickets just in case. He carefully probed the fence, touching metal link to metal link. His own hands were safely on the insulated side of the cutters. No sparks, and the turret five meters away wasn't slewing to murder him. Guess the trix guys really had done their jobs. A few quick cuts and he was through; a few quick applications of glue and the fence looked casually uncut. He slapped a small shaped charge on the back of the nearby turret as an insurance policy in case he needed to blow his way out, then it was onwards to the dish.

Swoopy had the easy job, really; after coming out of that wonderfully uncut treeline and passing the turret line, the dish was only 60 meters away. Sixty pretty open meters, but a blizzard and a bunch of ground chewed up by heavy construction gear gave enough cover when no one was looking too hard. About halfway in, Swoopy realized he had moved himself into a position with no good way forward but a rush over the last half, hopefully with no one watching. Too hyped up man. First job with the cats and you go and play rookie ball like this.... He curled up and prepared to dash from his rut..and promptly snak/collapsed right in forzen mud. Into another set of vehicle tracks he hadn't even noticed, just a foot away. After getting a good if slightly unexpected mouth-in-mud level view, he realized this particular rut would actually let him move a good chunk of the way forward on his belly with nothing sticking out. Well, they say you know luck is woman because she is drawn to those who deserve her the least....

Arriving at the dish, everything went pretty much text book. Three target points on the north side, three charges, three packages counting down on a timer - both he and Chante had primary detonators as well, but you never knew what might happen to a signal after you got out of safe blast radius. Swoopy offered  a quick thank you to the chameleon suit gods for making that all easier. There were times for high tech too it seemed. Plus, it was always fun to know you beat the others metas, what with everyone talking up how special they were. Swoopy wasn't a Humanis type by any imagination, but it pleased him to know that basic human eyeballs were harder to fool than those oh so special thermal eyes everyone crooned about in the movies. Once you could make IR emissivity adjustments to a material, it was actually way easier to spoof thermals than do 360 camouflage across a broad spectrum of colors because you only had to account for two variables. Basically, if you were a troll, a chameleon suit meant you were blind. Not so special now, huh?

Having proven that humans were still definitely competitive in his own mind, Swoopy popped another cricket and made his way back to the fence with almost no events. Almost is a tragic word...much as he hated to, he keyed his link:

<<Six, Two. East demo set. I'm outbound at fence. Break>>

<<3 man patrol just came out, doing close walk on the dish. Might see demo in a few minutes. Break>>

<<If they see it, I'm blowing charges unless you say otherwise. Over.>>







 
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (12:21:42/04-03-17)
Inside the host, Ité transfers a collection of MARKs to Shiriki through an under-turned palm.  What the frag I need these for? Shiriki wonders and then sighs and accepts them, runs his own hand up his virtual sleeve, and is then sporting a brand new pair of wings and epaulet on his olive green jacket.  Fraggin' anglos.  While Ité heads off to loop the sensors, with a quick and silent jerk of his thumb toward the spider, Shiriki heads to the hangar in the back to examine their exfil options.  Two choppers: one a troop transport vehicle -- Slot, that's a lot of seats for a skeleton crew -- and the other a battlefield hoop-dropper.  That's more like it.

Let's see, he begins thumbing through the specs.  Twin 202 machine guns up front, another on the side port, and a Vigorous.  Enough fuel, seating.  Yeah, this'll do.  Shiriki looks over his shoulder at the turrets that line the quonset hut, and checks his feeds before progressing.  Outside, hovering in a copse of cedars maybe thirty meters from the fence, his fly spy reconnoiters over their soft blue thermal imprints.  By the edge of its perimeter, the blizzard masks them entirely.  He switches to the second fly spy, keeping an eye on Chante's six, while she waits with the others for Swoopy and Dan Dan.  The roto-drone is high up in the clouds, too high to be able to spot anything but the blizzard it nested in, but far enough forward to issue a hawk's dive for whatever trouble may befall the sappers. 

Shiriki turns his attention back to the Dragon, and his persona takes a deep breath.  A part of him doesn't want to leave even a utilitarian made Host like this.  For one thing it's warmer.  Even as he's aware of his core temperature dropping, albeit slowly, from the lack of movement and snow bed and blankets, here everything feels just fine and pregnant with possibility.  He casts the feeling aside, and walks into the dragon, a pixelated first mate standing at the ready. 

<<We have no flight plan for this vehicle>>  the program says at his approach.

Shiriki enters a request for ammo counts and instructs the program to begin its pre-flight checklist, flashing his epaulets and hoping that some of the tricks still worked in these new systems.

<<Of course, captain, right away, sir.>>

The controls open up to him, and Shiriki can feel the power of the dragon in his belly, and his fingers twitch in meat space, ready to take flight.

<<Shall I start the engines, captain?>>

<<Negative.  Hold on my ready.>>

Another hurdle cleared, Shiriki sees a set of comms come in from Swoopy.

<<3 man patrol just came out, doing close walk on the dish. Might see demo in a few minutes. Break>>

<<If they see it, I'm blowing charges unless you say otherwise. Over.>>

Fraggit, where's Dan Dan?  Shiriki pulls up the feed from his forward-most fly spy, and watches sheets of snow, and a thermal figure approaching.  He double-checks on the PI-TAC that it's Swoopy, and leaves the roto-drone on its perch.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Taxi's called.  En route on your order.>>

Settling in, Shiriki orders a diagnostics report, and looks at the readout.

<<Pilot Interface: Online>>
<<Fuel: 12%>>
<<Ares Vigorous Assault Canon: 0/100>>
<<(1) Stoner Ares M202: 0/200>>
<<(2) Stoner Ares M202 0/200>>

Well frag me sideways.  I guess if you plant ice you're gonna harvest wind.

<<@Team [Shiriki] We've got 0 ammo and about 80km of fuel.  I can fix both, but it might catch a watchful eye.  Orders?>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (16:57:22/04-03-17)
Chante took a breath and broke forward with the charges.  Dan-Dan seemed to be moving, but something must have caught this attention, because the PI-TAC indicated he had stopped.

She reached into her satchel and removed the charge.  She wasn't the best at wiring these right, but the guidance of the spirits, she should be able to at least get them to go boom... one way or another.  She places the first charge and sets it before scampering quickly to the next point.  That charge goes up easily and she moves to the third spot.

<<3 man patrol just came out, doing close walk on the dish. Might see demo in a few minutes. Break>>

<<If they see it, I'm blowing charges unless you say otherwise. Over.>>

Chante hissed between her teeth.  This wasn't good, what were these guys doing on patrol?  The charges weren't exactly made to blend in with the flat surfaces they had been magnetized to.  The timers were meant to give them team leeway to exfil, which meant discovery offered enough time to defuse.

Allowing the charges to be defused was not anywhere in the OPORD.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Taxi's called.  En route on your order.>>

Wait... what?

<<Dan Dan, reroute to Swoopy, quietly.  Swoopy, stay low til they get close, then see if between you and Dan-Dan they go down without a sound.  If the do make too much noise, Shiriki I'll need a louder noise opposite.  I assume your 'taxi' is loud enough?  Route it away, then circle it back around to pick us up... by then we should be safely away and the charges do their work.  Any comments, suggestions, frag off that's stupids?>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (22:35:57/04-03-17)
<<Six, Two. I'm at fence. Patrol is moving east along dish, at the northwest corner of the buildings now. Break>>

<<Don't think I can close un-noticed. Three might if he comes in from the southwest. Over>>

<<Three, Two. I'll fire twice to pull eyes north if you need it, let you bend em over in close. On your mark. Over>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (02:12:01/04-04-17)
Dan-Dan crept through the snow, climbing out of the shallow pit he'd dug near tge base of the trees and flexing each muscle to ease the tension.

He climbed slowly. There was a time for pace and a time for care. Sometimes they could be the same time. He was taking his whilst he could. He settled into the canopy of the trees, needlepines pricking his bare hands. He waited as he paced the watcher spirits routines, taking careful note of their movements and overlaying the new data onto the pitac and the captains report.

There were many kinds of stillness. Complete immobility drew the eye. The trick was to be a part of the environment, joining the wind as part of the tree or whatever. It took patience, practice and skill. Old Fagan would be proud from whichever Hell he was in now. Shamans talked of the dreaming time and the Ghost Plains.  Stillness. Without. Within.

He took some handfuls of snow from the tree and carefully eased it over his chakras. Of course, this was because the blood supply was heavy there and it rapidly dropped his temperature. Centering and concentration (together with more practice) allowed him to draw in the heat to his core, keeping him warm. Anyone could do it. To a degree. He liked low tech solutions. It would reduce his thermographic signature some and help mask him from sensors and any lurking trolls or gimlet eyed dwarfs. It wasn't perfect, but it it helped. Of course all their clothes were designed to limit signature too. He preferred low tech but didn't ignore more modern solutions.

Completely useless with the watchers and other spirits looking in the astral. There was no peep outside the perimeter and the slumbering trees likely helped too. That would change. He centered himself. Dan-Dan drew in cold lungfulls of air and studied a nearby leaf, clearing his mind and emptying it. Meditation, oneness, Stillness. It helped hide from the spirits. Again it wasn't perfect. But it helped. So did them being very litteral and pretty dumb. Stillness. He waited for the signal that the tapes were looped, the kill hounds subverted and the matrix reloaded, or whatever. That's why they were a unit. You hand to trust the other members of the team. No way to tell. No way to control. Stillness. The signal came. Stillness.

Like a leaf on the breeze.

Dan-Dan leapt.

He landed cat-like on the snow. Soft indents pressing into the drifting snow, he quickly made his way to the target, position C. Dashing he froze as he passed the barracks. Drifting voices passed out as a soldier stumbled out and Dan hunkered in the snow. A hot stream arced out landing next to his eye as the soldier relieved himself and stumbled back in laughing. He'd noticed nothing. Dan rose and continued on.

At the target site, Dan quickly lay down, digging a shallow foxhole in a depresion where he could respond quickly to events from. The charges were placed by the team following the spec's as revised by Swoopy and Ite. He  quickly changed his icon on the pitac to active to show his being active then slowly made his way towards the RV point avoiding the watchers as he moved. About halfway there he heard of the patrol approaching site A. He paused. The Cap wanted him to make his way over to the fence. He slowly set off, taking the long route to avoid the watchers. Sending a quick acknowledgement he prepared to run like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Studying the pitac and the land he called it in.

"Confirm. I can take one quietly. Or all three of I'm noticed. I can try for 2 quietly, probability is 0.6 of silent success. For nonlethal damage. Can not take third quietly. Can coordinate for all three. Success indicates at about 0.4. Loud option will remain. Or I can kill both at 0.8 probability silently. Please advise."

Fair odds. But now it was crunch time. Time to cross the Rubicon?
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (10:39:35/04-04-17)
Chante waits for the others to move, biding her time.  If she makes her way from the base of the dish now, she'll be seen for certain.

Then, one man, facing her, holds up a hand.  the others stop.  frag it, I'm made.  She doesn't move, let them take a few moments to consider if they see what they think they're seeing.  Still, she tightens her grip on the Ares Alpha.  It's loaded with stik and shock, getting through this without killing anyone is important... it makes a statement to the UCAS and it makes a statement to their highers about this team's capabilities.

<<Pretty sure they see me, they'll be coming to check me out in a moment and you'll have your chance... if you can move on the rear guard first-->>  She stops as the trio slowly move her direction in a low crouch.  <<Never mind, leave 'em breathing but take em now!>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (15:44:32/04-04-17)
Dan-Dan nods and draws his knife at the instructions. He didn't really expect different, mores the pity. He reverses the grip to use the pommel. He was a poor shot anyway.

The three figures halt and spread out, moving cautiously towards Chantes position. They seemed focused, peering into the snow. It was possible they weren't certain of the target, but they were cautious enough to take care. He could appreciate the professionalism. It was nice to see. The targets peeled away to make a wide spread. That was bad, it made targeting several harder. That was also good. It made separating them and counting coup in detail easier. Such was life.

As he approached, Daniel selected the further target, approaching cautiously. He extracted a small rag from his pocket, soaked in tranquilliser from his medkit. They shouldn't smell it in this weather. Probably.

The far figure was tall though and bulky with it. A troll. Someone else's problem. It shifted it's smooth head, sniffing in the cold. It's smooth head. That wasn't just a troll. It was a fomori! It carried a brutal looking hatchet rather than standard armaments, though it had some sort of longarm strapped to its back. Probably of celtic extraction. He'd only ever seen them on the trid, though they seemed to be everywhere. Far too many appeared as mages too, though that cpuld be Horizon spin. At least it was the furthest away, though whether that was a good thing was debatable.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:11:28/04-05-17)
Somewhere above the clouds there's a full moon, but down on the ground it's pretty damn dark. The buildings have lights, and the construction drones are illuminated - mostly so that patrols know to give them appropriate distance  - but otherwise it's a big, empty base still under construction. Swirling snow further impairs visibility, providing plenty of shadows to work with.

The catch is when it comes time to plant explosives. Doing so is a stationary process that demands attention, robbing the saboteur of their situational awareness. Chante is wiring the charges when the call comes in from Swoopy that there's an unexpected patrol. Chante is exposed, with little room for cover or concealment. To make matters worse, the officer leading the patrol is a fomori, whose thermographic vision easily pick outs Chante's silhouette against the cold background of the radar dish.

The officer raises his rifle - a Colt Inception from the looks of it, likely the result of Colloton playing hard-to-get with Ares - and bellows, "Freeze!" at Chante, which may or may not be a weather-based pun. It is very cold.

"On your knees, hands in the air! On your knees or be shot!"

The officer is huge - the size of a troll - but doesn't have any horns. The soldiers all wear armor jackets insulated for the weather.

The officer comms while aiming: "Perimeter breech! Intruder at transmitter array." 

The message doesn't go through. The cold has increased the internal resistance of his commlink's battery. With the higher resistance, the small amount of discharge current going out of the battery results in a larger-than-usual voltage drop. The protector circuit attached to the battery freaks out and announces that the battery is dying, and triggers the commlink to shut off. 

"... Perimeter breech! ... Damnit! ... Hands in the air!"
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (14:35:12/04-06-17)
"On your knees, hands in the air! On your knees or be shot!"

Chante grins.  "Don't shoot, I'm just gonna--"

She suddenly shifts her weight to the right while wrapping herself in mana.  She quickly fades from sight and reverses direction, rolling left instead.  As she hoped, the big guy pulls the trigger, firing wildly where he thought she was going.  Bullets sent up a spray of snow and powder.  It was just going to be a matter of time before the entire hive began to swarm.

She came up from her roll, weapon at the ready and pulled the trigger, firing in controlled bursts.  Not a single round of 10 sent racing towards the formori misses it's mark and he goes flying backwards, landing in a spasming heap.

<<That's our cue, boys.>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (04:08:36/04-09-17)
"On your knees, hands in the air! On your knees or be shot!"

Dan-Dan quickly steps up to the rear soldier, who is distracted by the drama unfolding before him, and snaps his hands around his face , quickly smothering him with a tranquilliser soaked rag and a quick jab to the kidneys to get him to inhale.

The soldier victim struggles some, lashing out into Danyes face, his cries muffled by the rag as he inhales more fumes from his struggling, the neurotoxins firing off his synapses randomly as his eyelids flutter.

Dan again strikes him with the butt of his knife, in the temple this time attempting to dizzy him further, though his temple gets in the way some before pressing the rag further down his throat as he holds it in place also cutting off his air some.

Dan quickly dumped the body in the snow, rolling him into a depression. He was about the same size and build and it was possible he could assume his position in the formation at least briefly. Then reality reasserted itself and Dan went to ground, considering hiding the more sensible option. Time would tell if he were noticed.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (19:07:23/04-10-17)
Chante darted forward, crossing left towards the fence that they came from.  The fomori recovered enough to fire a few rounds towards her position from a seated posture, not bothering to get off his hoop.  Snow puffed up in a spray of silvery dust to her right.

<<Ite, you got control of the charges?  you're the one that's gonna detonate when it's time.  The rest of you, pull back.  Shiriki, that taxi online yet?>>

Her movement took her closer to the three man patrol.  She raised her rifle and sent a few more controlled bursts towards the fomori, meaning to put him down.  She'd be in close for the last guy, if the others didn't handle him first.

The bullets hit the fomori, blue light arcing from the contacts and along his flesh, creating a lattice of electricity for just a moment.  The big guy spasmed again and then shook his head.  He tried to push himself back into a sitting position.

Stay down!, Chante demanded...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (22:44:29/04-10-17)
Swoopy watched the drama unfold in what seemed like slow motion. Chantes invisibility trick, and the subsequent set of full automatic announcements to the world that something was very wrong. Dan dan wrestling with the one trooper, the two of them flailing at each other as Doc held something to the guy's mouth. That particular piece of drama was in front of the target Swoopy had originally picked, causing him to shift rapidly to the last little guy. In grand tradition, it looked like the smallest guy - was it a girl? - was carrying the light machinegun, because of course that's who would be carrying the light machinegun. Who else would you give the heaviest weapon to?

He fired rapidly, hoping to get a shot off before the gunner could react to the chaos. The problem with quick shots is you often miss them...but it turns out with enough of them weight of lead tells, and the soldier pitched forward into the snow. Swoopy's feeling of success was short lived as the soldier flipped over prone and began scanning the night with that long muzzled weapon searching towards him. No doubt the soldier was also yelling something about contact, and a rough direction, and equally no doubt whatever overwatching TAC AI the Anglos had was translating that into all sorts of nasty heads up messages to everyone else tied in to the the net. It was a race now, to see if the cats could get everything done before the defenders could react fast enough to bring their overwhelming firepower to bear. Or, in a worst case to get out before the deckers turned the turret grid on and leaving meant going out through a hail of fire and the proposed "taxi" was skewered by 76 automatic weapons once it hopped above ground level.

That, of course, was for later. Right now Swoopy was worried primarily with presenting as little of himself as possible, lining up the next shot, and doing it all before the machinegunner realized that just twenty meters away Dan Dan was an unmissable target...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (12:53:42/04-11-17)
Shiriki enters a command for take-off procedures to come online, and an air control program comes up in his field of view.  It's another cursory, utilitarian design, with a squared jaw that wouldn't have sated the kids back when he was a kid on any matrix games.  Shiriki flashes his epaulets again, and attempts to write-in their takeoff as the program tries to decipher the long threads of script he's feeding it.

You don't have to be good.  You just need a moment or two to. . .

Moments he doesn't have.

His comms are awash with noise, the impending struggle struggle with the guards outside. 

There, that oughta do it.  He flashes a recently spoofed passcode, and the air controller recedes from view, giving him clear eyes through the Dragon on the tarmac. 

<<I'll take care of the ammo>> Ité comms, and in the next moment, Shiriki is hovering in the blizzard, making a run across the fence and descending like a bird of prey.  Through the thermo, there's nothing but black around him as his altimeter ticks down into the red.  A cross breeze catches him and swoops the roto-drone sideways, flipping it on its top.  He cuts his back two propellers and issues full force on the front ones to gain control, and the roto-drone whines in protest.  His fast and quick entry to the battlefield, the strafing maneuver to catch the guards unaware are both cast about like so much snow as he enters instead too low, too wide, and unstable. 

<<Ite, you got control of the charges?  you're the one that's gonna detonate when it's time.  The rest of you, pull back.  Shiriki, that taxi online yet?>>

As the comm came in, Shiriki could see a flash of white heat against the snowy background, and then picked up Chante, outlined in a friendly green, facing off against a troll, by the size of him.  Her rounds put his hoop in the dirt, but he raises his gun again, and Shiriki cuts him down with a burst from the drone.  He picks up a second unfriendly, and levels a more sustained burst, tattooing him across the back before he turns, and then hitting him in the front before he can move away.  The man convulses violently before dropping his weapon, and collapsing himself.

Drek, I hope I didn't do the no-no there.  Guess that's why they call it 'less than lethal.'

<<Taxi is warming up now.  Exfil rendezvous north of the fence.  It's gonna take me a minute to get it air bound.>>

Shiriki careens the roto-drone up into the storm once more, and hopes he can manage the drone, the Dragon, and the turrets.  Ahh, what the frag am I doing?
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:27:55/04-12-17)
The soldiers are rendered senseless by milliamps and kilovolts. They spasm in the snow, tweaking and freaking to the Wildcats' tune. Then they are still, their subtle sizzling lost in the howling of the wind.

Ité comes in over the comms as everyone breaks into action. <<@Team [Ité] We kicked the hornet nest. I count about thirty in their boxers, plus a half-dozen fully clothed who are grabbing their rifles. I'm trying to keep a lid on things - locking doors and hitting the fire suppression system. Anyone that makes it outside will be freezing within seconds.>>

<<Speaking of seconds, you have maybe thirty before the ones with clothes on make it outside, then another thirty after that before the tight-whitey platoon appears. I'll stay on the spider and will try to stamp out the outbound alarms to McConnell AFB.>>

There are no audible alarms outside, but there are subtle shifts. The earthmovers seem to slow. The two huge spirits of earth turn and start rumbling in the direction of the gunfire. The two Dobermen drones shift directions and begin to converge too.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (04:46:52/04-12-17)
Dan-Dan rises from his hole in the snow and quickly helps Chantes bind and gag the patrol. The damage is done now anyway, the alarm raised. The time for speed was now. Still, he took the time to scalp the three of them using his knife, just a lock of hair and some skin. The troll was difficult but he persevered. He could pass the trophies to the others later when it was calmer.

He looked quickly around. The faeces was about to hit the fan and scattered in the howling wind, spraying matter liberally.

He then covered the captain as she finished setting the charges before preparing to hightail it to the exfil site.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (20:43:37/04-12-17)
Swoopy watched as Shiriki's drone swooped in and finished the patrol with a feeling of relief and that pulse of sheer joy that comes from doing violence and winning. A more empathetic man might have reflected that it could have been him. A wiser man, or maybe even a man with 30 seconds to spare for thought, would have considered that it very likely would be him in the near future - all the Anglos had to do was throw the full autonomous-contested switch and their no doubt significant drone support would be hack proof and hunting for things without the correct IFF. Not very creative, maybe, on account of no instructions coming in, but more than sufficient for murdering anything running in an open field towards a fence. Fortunately for Swoopy's mental state, he was too busy bailing out to worry about such things.

What he did worry about was the turrets; no way to know if they were still spoofed post alarm. 30 seconds was a long time in the matrix world. Running in front of them seemed liek the least preferable way to find out

What the hell, they already know we're here...besides this will pull eyes away from the other two while they finish up...

It had nothing to do with wanting to blow something up. Really. Absolutely not. And that's what would go in the debrief.

He pressed his secondary det and watched the turret near his initial cut have its little electronic guts blown out the far side in a furry of molten metal. Good thing he had placed that shape charge after all.

The fence was a bigger issue. A quick metal to metal test showed sparks. Figured they would turn that on now - Swoopy got out the (grip insulated) cutting bar and listened to it scream as it tore a man size hole in the links...     
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (12:12:38/04-13-17)
Chante quickly moved to double check the charges.  Everything appeared in order still.  Back to the fence, then...

She moved in that direction, changing her perspective to the astral.  She noted the approaching earth spirits and sighed.  Please harass those spirits, she requested of the spirit of air that had been with them since the jump.  Probably blind them with flurries of snow.

<<Moving out.  Charges are ready on my end.  Are we ready to move or what?  Shiriki, what's the extraction point?
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (14:26:33/04-14-17)
Back in the unnerving black of the blizzard, Shiriki uses an overlay of his topo maps to navigate.  The blizzard knocks the light craft to and fro, something that Shiriki feels in the pit of his stomach, even though he can't see much difference, but he finds a jet stream heading north, and the flying smooths out over the fence, and to a small depression about a quarter klick north of the fence.  He descends in a slow spiral, sets the drone on guard duty, and jumps directly in the Ares Dragon.

Yes, sir, this is more like it, he thinks, feeling the heft of the thing under his control.  Heavier will be good here; the winds won't be able to knock him around as much, the ordnance is more impressive, and he'd be lying if he didn't feel better because this is one step closer to getting back to the SN.  He sees the ammo count ticking up on both machine guns, and he fires up the engines.  When the ticking stops as the drones go back for another load, he hits the vertical thrust and prepares to feel nothing but the clean and smooth night sky beneath him.  Instead, the helicopter pitches starboard.  Before the realization dawns on him that one of the loaders is still hooked into the machine gun he eases off the engine, and as the drone loader comes crashing down it brings the aft down with it, crushing the bay doors before the drone pops off with a hollow thud.

Error and warning messages cloud his vision, as if he needed anything to tell him how badly he'd fragged up.  The impact takes his breath away as if the dragon had come down directly on top of him.  His synapses scream, and his vision cuts out.

His vid feed clicks back on, and he takes a moment to center himself.  You're still alive, you old fucker.  Now get this thing up before Chante and the rest of the team have to walk home. 

He sees one of the loading drones turn to face the craft and hold its position, probably the spider or another aeronautics officer taking interest in what in Dunkelzahn's hoop is happening out on "his" airfield.  Or "hers."  You gotta stop this fifth world thinking, chummer.  He hits the thrusters again, and the Dragon whines in his ears,

<<WARNING: Vehicle damaged.  Bay doors inoperable.  Return vehicle for repairs>>

Nah, I got places to be.  The dragon rises, rights itself, and Shiriki pitches forward, fighting the damaged vehicles port propeller, the blizzard, and his own body, which is threatening to pass out from pain.  He eases forward at first, seeing if the engines will hold, and once he's found his bearings he opens up the engine and crosses the threshold of the fence.  Checking the feed from his roto-drone he sees that the team hasn't crossed over yet, just as a text comes in from Chante.

<<Moving out.  Charges are ready on my end.  Are we ready to move or what?  Shiriki, what's the extraction point?>>

Shiriki drops a pin on the depression, and comms back.

<<Quarter klick north of the fence.  Turrets should be down, and you've got a clear approach north.  Advise current status if you need covering fire or a closer pick up>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (18:21:00/04-14-17)
As Chante ran towards the fence, the Spirit of Air turned towards the Earth Spirits.  Noting it's approach, each of them reared their arms back and pitched forward chunks of frozen earth at it.  The Air Spirit ducked under one, but another tagged it, sending it slightly spinning off to the side.  The Air Spirit answered with a bolt of crackling electricity, pounding into one of the Earth Spirits.

Just keep them busy...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (09:14:10/04-15-17)
Dan-Dan ran crouching after Chante, keeping a weather eye on the dueling spirits. The air spirit at least seemed to be enjoying itself.

On the upside the tight whites reported were nowhere to be seen. On the downside the dobermans were fast approaching. He didn't spot the dressed guards but they were somewhere about surely.

Keeping a wary watch, the good doctor took a quick look at his erstwhile victim's (they appeared OK) and ran after the captain towards the rendezvous.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (11:21:39/04-15-17)
Swoopy finished demolishing his hole in the fence and ran north, sprinting madly up the small rise that meant safety, every ounce of muscle and bioware exerting maximum effort to move his not inconsiderable weight of gear and flesh uphill through shin deep snow. If he could get to the other side he'd be home free, with a short jog to the the pick up. Until then, he was a man sized target upright and moving not-all-that-fast on a slope rising away from the target. He reached the top and dropped over the lip, synthcardium and lungs pulsing in unison.

Just in time too. Bullets tore through the trees and the south side of the hill to piece, red tracers arcing through the night and skipping skyward in crazy ricochets. Just above Swoopy a round tore a thumb sized stick off a pine tree.

Guess they weren't going non-lethal then.

Whoever "they" were. Contrary to many a trid, when sucking dirt out of line of sight, it is actually very hard to answer the question of "who/what is shooting at me?"

Well, this should give them something else to focus on. Swoopy checked that the Dragon was outside the blast radius and thumbed his detonator...

Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:52:01/04-17-17)
The thirty seconds must be up because the guard huts burst open all at once. Six more guards pour out. Swoopy hears shouts and calling behind him. The voices are higher-pitched, suggesting humans or elves. They seem to have found Swoopy's footprints and hole in the fence, if not Swoopy himself. He double-checks that his chameleon suit is working as intended (it is) and relies on his Synthacardium to double-time it into the woods.

<<@Team [Ité] First wave it out! Watch your six! I'll try to clear a path! Catch a ride if you can!>>

A Bulldozer and a dump truck roar to life and start rumbling toward the fence. They'll crash when they hit the woods but they'll flatten the fence on their way out... unless the electric fence fries their circuits and kills their engines.

At the western dish, the Dragon's rotor is spinning rapidly as it starts to blow snow everywhere and lift off the ground. Sudden it pitches to the side, slamming the ground roughly and damaging the rear loading ramp, which refuses to open. The crash jars Shiriki's senses but the damage is largely to his pride rather than his brain. The Dragon lurches up just in time for two guards to exit the guard shack to the west of the dish. They point and shout and are largely blinded by the incredible plume of snow being pushed directly in their faces by the Dragon's downwash.

<<@Team [Ité] Call has gone out to McConnell! With this storm we'll need to be within half a klick to detonate the charges. Any further than that and we'll lose signal. I'm trying to overload the nanoforges as a contingency plan!>>

Chante looks up and sees Dan-Dan moving to jump onto the Dragon. It's about all she can see, as the conditions are basically a white-out where she's standing. She wonders if the downwash will nullify the effect of her invisibility as the Dragon gets further away and the downwash makes her into a silhouette.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Rear ramp is jammed! Either grab a wheel or one of Ité's rides!>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (00:36:09/04-18-17)
Swoopy grinned in a mixture of relief and excitement on the other side of the hill, sure that he was safe. He, after all, had very obvious hill between him and whoever was shooting. Plus, you know, the giant blinding glare of things exploding in a blizzard, at night, as people tried to look into a woodline. You couldn't be safer. Unless you counted situations where people didn't shoot at you, but that was both outside the current frame of reference and a pretty boring life. 

Murphy, as he is wont to, completely disagreed with Swoopy. A round corkscrewed off of a pine tree above him, executed the type ballistic change that makes people write training safety standards with lots of room for error, and knocked him straight on his ass. Ceramic plates cracked, and there is admittedly something disorienting about finding yourself staring at the night sky without warning, but Swoopy was pretty sure he wasn't hurt. Or, if he was, he was bleeding to death through a nerve dead hole. Both made a strong case for heading to the pick up.

He considered firing back, but that was absurd. What was he going to do, lob rounds over the hill and pray for a gust of wind to arc them down? Time to keep running...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (03:51:57/04-18-17)
Dan-Dan ran towards the rendezvous as the dragon wobbled its way into the sky. Not the greatest flying he'd ever seen but that wasn't his department and it would do. Perhaps he should suggest some extra time in the simulator later.

It seemed to be hovering over beyond the tree line. Ropes (or possibly rope ladders, it was hard to tell in the whiteout) spooled down from front doors as something came over the radio about an issue with the rear doors.

Boom! Secondary explosions tore through one of the turrets as it went up, possibly ammo cooking off. A merry Hell lit up the night sky, adding it's own brand of chaos to the scene. It was quite pretty really. Then a 'dozer and some sort of utility vehicle crashed into the fence, sparks flashing everywhere and adding to the actinic show.

Dan started and began jog trotting towards the extraction.

Swoopy's signals briefly went haywire on the pitac as Dan-Dan glanced at the feed. Then he was up and moving again, somewhat more slowly than before. It was likely he'd been hit somehow and was running wounded. He was still making a fair pace mind. Daniel changed course slightly to intercept him as they approached the target zone, leaving the Captain to her own devices for the moment. He quickly took extra care with his own cover, regulating his breathing and focusing to moderate his aura as he sought to ghost through the night. There was no point adding another casualty to the team.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (16:37:58/04-18-17)
Maintaining her invisibility, Chante sprinted full bore towards the bulldozer, leaping up to grab a hold of it.  It wasn't the most graceful maneuver, but she got on board.  Then she scrambled to put as much bulldozer between herself and any bullets while maintaining a safe space in the front to crash through the fence.  Once she got to the woodline, she'd be able to scramble on and release the Spirit of Air from it's own fight.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (12:41:56/04-19-17)
The extensive sensor suite on the Dragon gives Shiriki a full view of the airfield beneath him as one of the Doberman drones looks on.  And that's about as close to confused as a dog brain ever gets, Shiriki thinks, waiting for the command to be issued to fire.  He crosses over its field of vision, and approaches the battlefield wondering how long it's going to take the spider to realize just how thoroughly Ité was able to frag up their systems something fierce before he's -- again, chummer, you got a female SO.  Knock that backward drek off -- able to launch an effective defense.

The resident magicians are much more on the ball.  Shiriki sees two earth spirits, as large as the mechanical equipment they're replacing, turn and head north toward the fence, sees his green friendlies tags right in their path of approach.  He keys up his armaments, so in tune with his machine it's like breathing it to life, and simultaneously moves three reticles, a darker red one indicating the assault canon.  Before he fires the blizzard below warps and solidifies, a crackle of lightning emanates below and spiderwebs its way across the back of the earth elemental, who in turn hurls a boulder straight through it.

Shiriki clicks off the assault canon reticle and focuses a quick burst of fire with one down on top of the first elemental and swings it to join the second, which he tears to inert chunks of Kansas clay with a sustained burst from both barrels.

Checking his six, Shiriki sees the soldiers pouring forth from the barracks, getting closer by the second, and sees one of the dobermans from the airfield wheeling its way toward his position at full speed.  He'd like to send a barrage of warning fire at the feet of the approaching soldiers, but he doesn't have the ammo to spare.  Instead, he wheels in a slow arc around, and reactivates the reticle for his assault canon.

Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (17:33:16/04-19-17)
SFC Benson was watching the night turn to shit, and in a hurry. The el-tee, like most new LTs, had decided he was going to go muck around with a simple guard shift because he wanted to prove he was sharing the burdens. That's what they always said. Benson knew they really just wanted a chance to play soldier while they still could. He'd been ok with it, course. A few months in and he seemed competent enough, as officers went, and did a decent job keeping the CO and therefore the 1SG happy. Besides, this static guard was really NCO business...wouldn't hurt anyone if the LT was out in the snow for a few minutes. It wasn't like he had anything better to do, right?

The problem with that line of thinking became instantly apparent now that the LT was probably dying, the night was being torn apart with explosions, and the goddam gunship that was supposed to be on their side was tearing up the earth spirits that were on their side, and bluntly, half his boys were shooting just to shoot. Which wasn't actually a bad reaction.

SFC Benson was struck with the sudden  realization that it is always easy  to critique the decisions of the  guy above  you, advise in your own field, often for training events you had already practiced a dozen times, and then view the results in hindsight.

Turned out those decisions could be a bit harder when you were the one making them. He vaguely understood that he probably had the mental focus to either direct the local fight or try to coordinate with all the support that should be out there, but probably not both at once. Trust the basic reactions of his platoon for half a minute while he brought down the wrath from on high and get a drilled response, or try to execute a hasty plan with what he had at the cost of waiting a bit to call in support?
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (10:39:01/04-20-17)
Decisions, decisions...

The dump truck had smashed through the fence and shorted everything, so the bulldozer was able to bring her right up to the woodline.  Chante leapt from the Bulldozer and into the trees.  She was moving towards the helicopter and reflected that it may be best to send the bird one way while the team made off in a different direction.  Let the UCAS chase the wrong thing.  If they launched a missile and took down the bird with all of them on it, that would be horrible.

If they took it down without them on it, then the team would have the time of the chase and the time it took UCAS to get to the crash site and realize there weren't any bodies.

Decisions...

@Team: What are your thoughts on sending the bird northwest while we hoof it direct to the border?  We might find a ride on the way, we might not... but good chance they just shoot that bird down rather than let it cross.  I'd rather not be on it.>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (16:04:41/04-20-17)
All Hell is breaking loose. The good news is that generally matches your job description and usually indicates that you're doing what you are paid to do. The trick is to keep Hell targeted and direct, and pointed away from you at all times.

Swoopy is doing a pretty good job of this until he zigs when he should have zagged. Some PFCs behind him are hosing down the forest on full-auto when a lucky (or unlucky) round finds Swoopy's back. The technical ceramics shatter as they are designed to do, turning into a very hard powder that effectively serves as a personal sand bag for Swoopy. He spills into the snow, rounds continuing to rip the air overhead, before the inevitable change of magazine gives him a few seconds to get on his feet and put a tree in between himself and the base.

After confirming that the Dragon is outside the blast radius, Swoopy thumbs his detonator. There is a sharp CRACK representing the front of compressed gases, followed by a deeply-satisfying subsonic ROAR of the blast wind's negative pressure. Swoopy hears cries of alarm and perhaps injury; the suppressive fire does not resume. Swoopy puts his synthcardium back to work as he dashes through the snow.

On the other side of the base, the dump truck and bulldozer start racing for the fence at Ité's command. Under the cover of invisibility, Chante runs to intercept them. Either because it's moving slower or because it's easier to jump aboard, she chooses the bulldozer for her steed. It turns out to be a prudent choice when the dump truck hits the fence first. There is an electrical explosion and a massive shower of sparks as the fence shorts out and the dump truck's internal electronics are fried. By the time the bulldozer connects, the fence has as much current as cold glass. Chante keeps her eyes up, lest the monowire running across the top of the fence drop onto her like a guillotine, but second later she's at the treeline and running like mad.

<<@Team [Chante] What are your thoughts on sending the bird northwest while we hoof it direct to the border?  We might find a ride on the way, we might not... but good chance they just shoot that bird down rather than let it cross.  I'd rather not be on it.>>

<<@Team [Ité] No automated SAMs in the area. The base has an Onotari Interceptor and a Panther assault cannon in its inventory. 400 klicks to McConnell. Give them three minutes to scramble, one minute to accelerate, sixteen minutes to cover. That gives us twenty minutes to not be here. Alternatives: passing cars on Highway 36, the municipal airport in St. Francis. The local rail line comes in from the east and terminates in St. Francis so that's no good.>>

Behind Chante, the first wave of guards is breaking out of their guard shacks and turning their weapons on the one thing they can see: the Dragon gunship that Shiriki is piloting. Except they can't really see it: the down-draft is kicking up snow like mad, which mixes with the blizzard and basically turns conditions into a total white-out. The soldiers can hear it though, especially with Dragon's Stoner-Ares M202s opening up on the earth elementals. The soldiers and the Dobermen point their assault rifles at the sky and wave them around like Jackson Pollock paintbrushs, but all they hit is empty sky. Shiriki bobs and weaves and makes the Dragon's engines scream, but remains unharmed.

The Stoner-Ares M202s turn one of the earth elementals into kibble and tear out generous chunks of the other before it decides enough is enough and takes the battle to the Dragon. The elemental dematerializes and zips into the Dragon on the astral before rematerializing. The shift in weight is enough to make Shirki feel like he swallowed a rock, which is not far from the truth. The earth elemental raises its fist to punch a hole through the Dragon's electronics but is arrested mid-swing by Chante's sky eagle arriving in the nick of time. The elemental roars and spins on the spirit, which dives directly into the elemental's face and discharges 1.21 gigawatts. The elemental cries out in agony as it tries to tear the eagle off its face, but the eagle simply dives under the clumsy swing and plunges its beak into the elemental's back. The elemental collapses under its Promethean fate, shedding its physical coil to return to its home plane.

<<@Team [Ité] Here comes the wet t-shirt contest!>>

The barrack doors fly open and half-naked men and women begin to pour out. They are sopping wet and instantly frigid, but they are also armed and represent a potential wall of lead that might be more than even Shiriki can avoid. They stagger out into the snow, waving their weapons around in search of a valid target.

<<@Ité [Shiriki] Ité, can you drop into AR and haul my hoop to the extraction point?>>

Instead of an affirmative response, there's a foreboding moment of silence.

<<@Team [Ité] I'm link locked! Something has its fangs in deep!>>

An unnerving rumble begins to shake the ground. It's perceptible even through the snow and over the gunfire and explosions. The soldiers seem to feel it too, as there are even more shouts of alarm than there were before. The ground shakes like an earthquake as one of the buildings on the base begins to implode, seemingly of its own accord.

Edit: removed reference to there being a rail line to the south, because if you go south you'll cross the Sioux border anyway. There are Sioux borders in every direction except east.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (11:54:18/04-22-17)
Swoopy reached the edge of the woodline, looking out into the snow for the field where the mal-appropriated gunship was supposed to land. It was, perhaps not surprisingly, very absent. That gave a certain new weight to both the questions Chante was throwing about on the net, as well as the increasing roar of gunfire to the south. Combined, these three independent and not all that alarming things were slowly coalescing to reveal a problem.

There were plenty of good, solid, rational reasons for opting in favor of a quick dash in the helicopter or a nice and short 20 klick E&E. Seemed reasonably even - both were essentially betting that the group could get across the border before the Anglos could get the appropriate shit together to come find and kill them. Then Ite started freaking out about something with teeth. Maybe riding around in a very clearly networked helicopter when the other side was brain smoking your deckers wasn't what most people would think of as a good idea.

He pulled out an actual, no shit, honest to god physical map and started plotting options...

...which weren't bad, but weren't great.

North and west stood out as the most obvious ones. The distances were short, real short. 25 klicks to the north, 20 to the west. Good roads in each direction..two lane highways that hadn't been improved - too much border tension and not enough economic incentive - but had been maintained on both sides just in case they needed to move stuff up fast.. The north road was actually closer to 30 km when you figured in the dog legs, but the west was a straight shot. If you had transport with wheels, twenty minutes max. Probably fast enough to get to the border before someone could spin up all the really nasty stuff. Not that that stuff wasn't fast, but the humans behind it were slow, sleepy, and hopefully still trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

If they did spin up in time, anything hauling ass for the sioux border on the highway was likely to be throw a lot of red flags. Specially as it wasn't like the Joneses just needed to nip out at 3 am in a blizzard to check on their long lost injun friends.  Still, the UCAS probably wouldn't just light up a civilian vehicle inside their own border without some confirmation. Right? The whole "dialogue" phase of that would buy you a last chance if it came down to it.  Or maybe the last kilometer to get across the border.

On foot things looked a bit different. it'd be 3 hours west and 4 to the north on a good day - today wasn't a good day. The weather and night alone might double it, and an enemy interfering could make it into a multi day excursion, moving painfully slowly across the barren Kansas plains. No people, no cover, just moving irrigation ditch to irrigation ditch with your electronics off and air gapped clothes/blankets to beat the astral as best you could. Which was probably a losing proposition up close, but each hour would give the enemy more search area to cover and a better chance that a spirit just didn't come close enough to pick up the radiant life. If one landed right on top of you...well...problems. And if the enemy found a merry band of wanderers on the kansas plain, they had all the time in the world to solve that problem..Swoopy had no doubts that the first drones would be arriving before he could go three klicks, or someone would just vaporize him from 6,000m up. The old "eye in the sky which fires missiles" ,despite the medias portrayal of hollywood machines which were just hard enough to give your protagonist a "fair fight" in close,  remained an incredibly effective and completely unanswerable way to murder some isolated dudes on the dirt.

Of the cut and run options, looked like a fast way out by car - send another as a decoy the other way if you could - was best. The terrain just didn't support modern E&E against a committed opponent. 

Or there was a third way. Smash and grab a few vehicles, send them out to draw off eyes, and go to ground. Wait for the stink to blow over, find a way out in a few days.

Swoopy hand't heard anything on the net the for a good long while now, and that becmae the real decision point. If the CPT and some matrix support were still alive, a hell ofr leather race for the border could probably work. If not...well...without the matrix and astral covered, Swoopy didn't figure it'd end well for him. Then it would be time to drop the tactical gear, pop out the fake SIN, and be a pale face for a few days...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (09:18:41/04-25-17)
Konrad Kurtz was having the best night of his life.

This morning he'd gotten a letter from home. His sister Chelsea was getting married, even better her intended had a job as security for one of the corps back home. He wouldn't be the only one in the family to escape the barrens. He'd probably get special leave to attend the wedding too, which was nice.

After chow he got called into the commandants office. He'd looked even meaner than usual. He'd thought of half a dozen misdemeanours he could have been caught for and was about to be chewed out over. And, he'd been so careful too. Then he'd noticed the first sergeant in the corner glowering and started thinking of a whole lot more serious things he could have been caught in. So, time to play dumb and admit nothing or beg for mercy? He'd gone with dumb in the end. It was the right call, after grilling him about life in general they'd handed him his papers. As of next week he'd be posted as sergeant. Then they'd both laughed and offered him smiles. It looked positively unnatural on the top sarges face. The officer was more natural. It freaked him more than anything. They couldn't say if he'd be reassigned or not. Who knew? The bustard had then given him the afternoon off, the fragger.

Naturally, he'd gone and gotten drunk. His mates from the other squads had joined him. In time honoured fashion they'd proceeded to get him blotoed. Little Catty Ramirez mad made eyes at him all night too. A hellion that one and a social climber. Wouldn't trust her at all. Certainly he wouldn't sleep with her. No matter how cute she was. Still it massaged his ego nicely.

Then the top had come and found them and balled them all out dragging (litteraly dragging, that sonofabitch was one mean orc) him away before slamming him into a wall and inviting him to the sergeants poker game that evening. From about three inches away and screaming.

He'd gone later to discover the old man had been called up to DC about something or other, leaving his aides in charge. Or the sergeants who ran things anyway. Never had he met such a bunch of cheating, depraved, lowdown lying scum. Still, he'd come away from the night up 50 credits. And very drunk. Apparently they'd suspected him of all sorts (only most of which he was guilty of) but couldn't prove it. Which was why he'd gotten his step. They stories they told. He couldn't believe any of them.

He almost thought his Dick had grown three inches last night.

Then he'd crawled off to bed. Later pans were bashing, people were jumping and squaddies were screaming. No, that was the alarm. He looked at his chrono. Under 3 hours sleep. Of course, the bustard had called a drill! Catty was shaking his arm urgently, stark naked (he hadn't had he? He had). Blearilly he looked around, his head pounding, hair throbbing. That was an explosion! Naked he grabbed his weapons and stumbled into the snow. Milling around him were the company, in various states of dress. If he was lucky something would kill him before the gorilla stopped jumping inside his eyeballs and the snakes were done eating his guts. Throwing up, he started to organise the men and move off towards the sound of gunfire...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (13:12:00/04-25-17)
Chante's air spirit sends the hulk of Kansas clay back to the ether, and the Dragon jumps again, sending Shiriki's guts back into his throat from half a klick away, which is impressive in its own right.  Through the feed on his roto-drone, Shiriki can see the team starting to assemble near the rendezvous point, and he contemplates Chante's suggestion about an alternate mode of travel.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Taxi is almost there.  I think we have enough lead to get Sioux-side.>>

He guns flies north, leaving the soldiers and dobermans behind him near the fence, gaining enough altitude to render their small arms ineffective, and descends sharply.  He picks up the rotors shortly before impact, but it still jars him, temporarily scrambling the vid feeds.  He pops the pilot's doors, and sends his roto-drone south to delay the oncoming UCAS boys and girls, which dutifully whirs itself off.  Shortly, he can see the ammo counts ticking down.  Fly straight and true, and maybe even make your way back home, there.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Cargo door is down.  You'll need to use the pilot's to get in.  Advise if cargo door can be repaired midflight>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (14:12:36/04-27-17)
Kurtz was having a day for the ages, but that was yesterday. His luck expired at midnight it looks like his Edge didn't refresh.

His head is pounding, his tongue is thick, and there's SO MUCH NOISE! All he wants is a shower and one of those Typhoon shakes that Ares makes; the "Ronin" or "Kakyū" flavors were fine, but "Gaijin" was his favorite.

He gets his first wish when the sprinkler systems go off and he is hit with a torrential downpour from the ceiling.

"Get those turned off!" he shouts to nobody in particular in his first, ineffectual display of authority as sergeant.

There's heavy gunfire outside. Kurtz reaches out and grabs the first thing he sees, a Cavalier Deputy revolver. He pulls on some boxers out of habit, even though they are drenched, and slings on an armor vest while his wet feet slap the floor as he runs to the door. There's a big jam-up there as a half-dozen similarly wet, similarly ill-equipped soldiers try to break down the doors from the inside out.

There's an override switch somewhere but the facility is new, Kurtz is still drunk, and he can't remember where exactly it is. "Stand back!" he says, then steps forward and pumps four rounds into the door locks. As a classic example of government contracting, the doors were designed to be bulletproof from the outside but not the inside. The lock shatter and the doors burst open.

Kurtz immediately regrets his decision. Frozen winds blast in through the open doors and connect with his wet skin. There's a icy feeling in his gut that feels like he's being shivved in the abs by Mother Nature. Aware that the others are looking to him for leadership, he runs outside, his bare feet immediately cold against the powdery snow.

The base is in chaos. The construction equipment is driving itself around; a dump truck hits the electric fence and sends up a giant fountain of white sparks. A bulldozer connects a moment later and slices through the fence before plowing into the forest. One of the Ares Dragons is flying off, but in the confusion Kurtz isn't sure who is flying it or why. He hopes that it's in pursuit of whatever goddamn miserable sonuvabitch is responsible for him being outside in a blizzard in little more than wet boxers. Unfortunately, that hope is somewhat undermined by the fact that several soldiers and Dobermen are blindly firing in the direction of the Dragon as it retreats.

"Set up a perimeter!" Kurtz shouts over the mayhem, grabbing a couple soldiers and pushing them toward the fence. "You, cover the holes in the fence! You, cover the treeline! You, go get the night-vision goggles from the - !"

Kurtz's orders are interrupted by a burst of automatic fire from an unseen rotodrone. A round of stick-n-shock connects with hits nuts, sending him spilling face-first into the snow with his hands stuffed between his legs. For good measure, another round connects with his upturned hoop. He groans in agony, the convulsions of his muscles intermixing with the violent shivering triggered by the screaming wind.

The soldiers' training kicks in and they hit the snow to avoid the covering fire. Then they respond with blind fire of their own, riddling the dark forest with bullets, their imaginations running wild with legions of advancing Sioux soldiers sweeping out of the blackness. The storm was almost certainly the Great Ghost Dance, oh frag.

"Where's our magical support?!" Kurtz bellows into his comms, or at least he thinks he does. He might be slurring most of his words. "We need backup assistance now! Now, goddamn it, NOW!!"

With the Dragon gone as an obvious target, the soldiers generally shoot the shit out of the trees. Dan-Dan continues sprinting, his magic keeping him on top of the snow and moving quickly. The occasional shot cuts through a nearby tree but for the most part there's no real need to duck. Chante, however, does feel the need to drop and crawl at regular intervals. She knows they can't see her, but that doesn't mean that one of them can't get lucky.

<<@Team [Ité] Spiders starting to pour in! I'm losing control one-by-one. They'll have their drones back soon, and turrets not long after that! It won't be long before the remote magicians start dumping spirits in all over the place, or start tracking us on the astral! We have to get out now! Shiriki, yank the damn wire out of my head if you have to!>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (14:18:18/04-27-17)
Scrambling best she can, half on all fours, Chante moves quickly.  Snow bursts up near her as several bullets blindly seek her flesh.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Taxi is almost there.  I think we have enough lead to get Sioux-side.>>

Alright, if Shiriki thinks we can do it...

She trusted her men, more than she trusted herself, even.  In the end, every frag up was hers and every success was theirs, so she made the calls, but she made them based on the experience of the guys.

"GET TO THA CHOPPA!" she cried as she continued to scramble through a hailstorm of bullets.  She could make it out ahead, just needed to not be shot for a few more seconds...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (00:34:56/04-29-17)
Swoopy watched as the chopper touched down. Sort of. Looked like it had definitely seen better days, and that wasn't the prettiest landing - but Ares built'em tough, had to say that.  It looked like Shiriki was keeping the blades at near max RPM for a touch and go. Which works just fine when you're getting off the bird. Getting on, there are reasons why this might not be considered "safe."

Like the fact you were running semi-blind through rotor wash blown snow towards a pair of engines kicking off unpleasant exhaust while the blades dipped down to just above average human head height at certain parts of the rotation. Not really an issue with a crew chief or even a TAC AI highlight on where you were supposed to go, done at a walking pace. Based solely on eyeball, experience, and done at a jog through a nighttime blizzard...chicks dig scars, right?

 
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (12:52:33/05-03-17)
Dan ran through the woods as the chopper touched down in the clearing ahead, the back draft of its rotators kicking the snow into a local blizzard, complete with leaves, twigs and other lethal debris. It settled with a heavy crunch,  as its local storm died down. Daniel wasn't sure he could hear tortured metal screaming, or ominous clangs and crunches but watching the landing as he drifted over the snow towards it, he thought he should have.

No matter it was down.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Cargo door is down.  You'll need to use the pilot's to get in.  Advise if cargo door can be repaired midflight>>

All good then.

Dan ran on, lightly sprinting over the morning snows. Running, he dashed Catlike up a tree at the edge of the clearing, his medical supplies thumping reassuringly on his back. Running he leapt off an outstretched branch. It couldn't support his weight, but it didn't need to as he danced nimbly along it, using it as a springboard into the night.

It was far too far to get aboard of course. He tucked and rolled with his landing, the momentum propelling him forwards and against the edge of the pinging metal. He rolled up the side of the craft and grasping, pulled himself over the lip of the side door. Grinning and gasping he took a breath before pointing his riffle out the door and starting the laborious process of unwinding a rope ladders down the side of the craft. Hopefully, the team would come to this side of the bird. They only had a choice of two. He pinged it on the tacnet.

<<@Team [Ité] Spiders starting to pour in! I'm losing control one-by-one. They'll have their drones back soon, and turrets not long after that! It won't be long before the remote magicians start dumping spirits in all over the place, or start tracking us on the astral! We have to get out now! Shiriki, yank the damn wire out of my head if you have to!>>

Looking at the readouts for the team Dan could see the trouble on Ite's vitals. Elevated stress levels, cortisone and adrenaline. With his high fitness levels he risked a coronary embolism. Was that a flutter on the electrocardiogram?

《No! Don't pull the cord, 》he screamed into the mic.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (16:33:19/05-03-17)
After the dragon touched down, Shiriki jumped out and back to his meat body.  One second, he's coming down rough in the middle of a blizzard, 15,000 kg of pure force, tuned to his every desire, and the next he's back in his shallow wintry grave, shivering and wondering if frostbite is already starting to set in on his fingers.  He rolls over, kicking snow off himself as his eyes begin to focus, bleary from disuse even in the blackness of the night.  He checks his feeds, cues his flashlight and crawls over to Ité. 

He smacks him once across the face for good measure.  "Come on, you dumb hoop.  Get out of there."

Shiriki knows what he'll have to do.

Ité's comm is still fresh in his mind, and he pulls off Ité's ballistic mask and opens the front of his jacket, then pulls the medkit out from his ruck.  His fingers are numb, and he loses precious seconds fighting with the adhesive pads and getting them in place.  The injection port is easier, and once everything's in place, Shiriki grabs the cord to Ité's deck.  He takes a deep breath.  And as he pulls --

"No! Don't pull the cord," Dan Dan screams into the mic.

Ité's vitals plummet.  The medkit kicks on immediately, filling the dumpshocked decker with anti-coagulates, which will minimize the damage of the stroke now, but could cause major issues should the way out turn rough.  There isn't much Shiriki can do now, except hope that the meds do their job and keep Ité this side of breathing.  He waits two seconds, then three, then five, and when Ité doesn't crash on him, Shiriki jumps back into the dragon, his body falling limp into the soft embrace of the snow.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Everybody loaded up?  Good.  Now strap in, shut up, and hold on.>>

The Dragon lifts off into the night sky, and Shiriki plots a leapfrog trajectory to his and Ité's meat body.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Ité is stable but unresponsive.  That bay door operational yet?  I'm parking the bird north of the treeline, and we should be 20 meters due south.  I can get my own hoop out, but we'll need a two-man carry team for Ité.>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (00:10:57/05-04-17)
Swoopy hooked just in time as the bird jumped up and started its path to Shiriki and a few hundred kilos of flesh that used to be Itty. It might still be, but the odds on that were, in Swoopy's opinion, getting lower by the minute. still, had to try. Swoopy scanned the troop compartment for anything that would help.

Looked like the UCAS spending spree hadn't extended to one of those auto-stretchers, whihc was more the pity. Carrying a dying troll was exactly the sort of job you wanted a specialized robotic mule with stabilization board and basic med-kit functions for. They did look like that had a basic first aid and recovery kit in back though, including an Ares SledSaver. This was an incredibly overpriced piece of fsemi-rigi, one side slippery one side sticky polymer with some restraints on it and holes for poles or rope if you wanted. You generally just wrapped up the poor SOB in it and dragged them across the ground if you weren't strong enough for carrying them. As the name implied, like a sled.

Swoopy decided that would have to do, trying to figure out how to detach it while the bird remained in flight. A quick glance through the instructions..."Not reccommended for spinal injuries." Thanks.

"Pull here to release" Promising.

"Look in art B of the diagrm for the optional carbon fiber poles for above ground carry" Ol, what fecking diagram? Oh, that one there. And there were the poles.

"Attach the poles through points 1 and 2..." Christ, like assmebling a toy on Christmas morning. Or anyhow, dad would say that. Swoopy had successfully avoided being held accountable for anyone who might need a toy assembled on Christmas morning. Not that many of the Sioux did Christmas. But the point was still valid.

The SledSaver was in ad-hoc stretcher mode by the time the bird started to descend and Swoopy waited for the touchdown...

Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:18:19/05-04-17)
At the base, there's a flurry of activity. Or so you presume, because you can't see it, or hear it over the storm. It's reasonable to assume that something is happening in that general direction, but you don't know what.

Are there drones rolling out as an advance force, racing through the forest to your exact location? Perhaps. Are there kill squads being assembled and armed to the teeth, led by angry trolls with thermographic vision and gratuitous amounts of body armor? Most likely so. Is there a magician summoning a spirit who will pop out of the astral at any moment? Why not.

Shiriki yanks out the wire out of Ité's datajack and is rewarded for his efforts by a massive wave of unavoidable vomit. It splashes Shiriki's hands but the elf is nimble enough to avoid the rest of it. He quickly paws off the worst of it in the snow while fumbling through his bag for the things that will keep Ité on this side of Wakan Tanka.

Swoopy, ever resourceful, finds a sled of sorts, although even rolling Ité onto it seemed like a Sisyphean task. How the hell was this going to work?
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (11:48:16/05-04-17)
Two-man carry? Chante thought to herself.  Got one better.

With a thought, she dismisses the air spirit with a wave of gratitude and then takes a moment to summon a small, but sturdy Spirit of Earth.  She manages to do so while still moving rapidly towards the extraction point.  As it forms in the ether beside her she welcomes it before requesting that it aid in carrying their fallen comrade onto the helicopter.

<<@Team: Earth Spirit inbound to assist with the carry, I'm right behind you.>>

Chante scrambles forward, sneaking a glance behind to see if she can make out anything in the darkness.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (16:14:01/05-08-17)
The Spirit of Earth manifests next to the fallen Ite and quickly hauls him up.  Moving slowly, but steadily, it makes its way to the helicopter.

Now to just hold these guys off long enough...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (13:45:37/05-09-17)
Submachineguns .Most of them were carrying submachineguns. That was NOT a standard UCAS infantry squad weapon set. That could just mean they were a military police unit that did site security a lot. It could mean that the UCAS had decided to save some money by kitting out its rear area staff, logisticians, and tech heads with cheap weapons. But those guys probably wouldn't be hunting down saboteurs in a blizzard. There were other types of UCAS units that used submachineguns though - and those units were scary, the premier infighters and close quarters killers. The type of people who really benefited from a short barrel and a quick swing, and got past that pesky "might not go through armor" problem by putting the vast majority of their shots into their target's head.

Swoopy really hoped it was one of the first two options. He gave the situation a quick glance; if he opened up, there was no way that he could get all of them before they turned Ite - and frankly, Swoopy - into hamburger. Might be able to make it so no one could shoot well though. He decided to toss an EMP grenade and a smoke grenade. Just the thing to buy enough time for Ite to get on the bird.

His fingers went to the grenade pouches he had so meticulously checked before jumping. Never went on a mission without grenades, and they were always in the exact same place on his kit. He could throw a grenade by reflex in...well...in a blizzard, at night, come to think of it. or, rather he could if the pouch wasn't empty. That was a problem. When did that happen? Probably during the jump.

Swoopy actually tapped the pouches again, and no shit looked down, just to be sure. Not having them there was like finding out you didn't have your link on you. Nope, definitely not there. Some Kansas farm field would no doubt have an unhappy accident years from now.

He looked up..they weren't shooting yet, that was good. Every second without shooting meant a few meters Ite got closer to the bird. No need to kick things off early if it was going to be a suicide by firing squad type of choice. Still, he found a nice tree to get behind and picked out an orc who looked like he was in charge of things. That guy would be his target if things went pear shaped.

Com'on..just keep things copacetic..don't need to eviscerate that very clearly downed troll...a few more meters..

The rip of a drone rifle tore the night and tossed chunks of ice and snow up around the squad. Soldiers scattered, barrels swung. Ite's life expectancy looked like it was going way down.

Firefight after all.

Bad luck for the orc. Swoopy fired. The first rounds caught the orc in the chest plate. Tough SOB didn't go down. Would've been better for him if he did. Instead he was kneeling coughing in the snow. Swoopy barely had to adjust his point of aim to put the next burst into the orc's face.






Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (13:36:36/05-10-17)
Shiriki pulls himself into the cockpit as the firefight begins anew.  With the forceful winds, any auditory promise of the new arrivals had been lost on him, and in his singular focus to get Ité on board while he's still breathing Shiriki had neglected to see just how close his harassing roto-drone had come to their present location.

Frag, they must have been right on top of us.

Shiriki keys off the wireless connectivity toggle on the Dragon, and slumps into his chair, feeling the comforting controls of his roto-drone flood his consciousness.  The drone is still in a leeward pitch, most likely dodging the likely direction of an incoming attack, and the rigger identifies and places pins on a number of attackers. 

2, 3. . . 4, 5, 6, frag there's a lot of 'em.

Below, Swoopy pops into view and lets loose with two short bursts of gunfire, barely a breath between them, point blank on the leading soldier.  Shiriki swings his reticle to the left, catches another ork-sized soldier in his crosshairs and lets loose with two bursts of his own.  The first harmlessly dimples the snow at the figure's feet, while the second catches him in the shins.  Flying past the first target, Shiriki acquires another.  He's staring down the barrels of both Dobermans, but can't see which one he'd hit previous through the snow.  Picking at random, he rushes himself and fires between the two before climbing into the blizzard and turning back east for a second approach.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (11:25:20/05-11-17)
Chante continued moving through the snow towards the helicopter.  The rush of Soldiers and their drones was worrying, but she'd seen worse odds than a single squad of legs and a couple dog brains.  The bullets pinging off the Earth Spirit she had summoned made her cringe.  The Ice Spirit was a bit more concerning.  Hey, that's a medical non-combatant! she thought to herself with a mental shrug.  She'd have to keep it from getting shot to drek.

On the plus side, leave it to a bunch of legs to clump.  She grinned as she brought the Ares Alpha to her shoulder and pulled the trigger on the underbarrel grenade launcher.

<<@Team: Flash out :D >>

Maybe the old school emoji was over the top, but if she could keep things light, she hoped the team would respond.

The flash landed right in the midst of the squad.  Two of the soldiers managed to dive behind cover, but two others were caught squarely in the blast and were knocked off their feet, one of them now laying still.  The drones kept rolling through, of course.

"THANKS FOR CLUMPING!" she yelled towards them, maybe they'd hear her over the storm, but they wouldn't over the ringing in their ears.  She saw it as a teaching point, really.  Those four would never ignore spacing in their tactics again.  It would probably save their life when the enemy was using frags instead.

Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (20:19:00/05-12-17)
Chante waves her hand and dismisses her eagle. With a snap of her fingers she brings forth a spirit of earth while running. She points to Ité, then to the waiting chopper. The spirit materializes and obeys.

Chante turns to check her six and finds a squad hot on her heels. There's a half-dozen soldiers who glow brightly on the astral, a spirit of ice, and two drones. A watcher trails behind, potentially to keep track of the targets. The captain quickly updates the map on the tac HUD shared by the team.

Swoopy comes running from the chopper with a comically undersized stretcher for Ité. Swoopy's chameleon suit renders him almost invisible in the storm, but his aura makes him obvious.

The pursuers continue to pursue. Shiriki's rotodrone opens up and the soldiers dive for cover in the snow. Swoopy follows suit as the soldiers return fire, blasting chunks out of the spirit of earth and Ité's armor.

Chante, invisible and untargeted, has an opportunity to flank the soldiers and nail four with a single mini-grenade from her Alpha. Two have their faces down and ears covered in time, but the other two are left dazed and confused. "THANKS FOR CLUMPING!" she yells, just in case they couldn't hear over their new cases of tinnitus.

Dan-Dan rushes to check on Ité but the conditions are wretched. Not only is Ité a moving target because the spirit of earth refuses to stop, but the only exposed skin on the troll is his face where Shiriki removed his ballistics mask. Between the dark and the wind and the swirly snow and the cold, there's nothing Dan-Dan can do for his comrade at the moment. The troll's best chance for survival will be to get to the Dragon before being riddled with bullets.

A quick scan of the battlefield shows that one of the soldiers has been KO'd. Despite the furious cascades of automatic fire back and forth, none of the Wildcats' biomonitors indicate any new damage. Ité icon flashes red but that's due to an intracranial hemorrhage, not bullets.

Shiriki feels a jolt as the wind suddenly shifts directions. Warm, wet, rising air from the Gulf of Aztlan mixes with the arctic blast descending out of Algonkian-Manitoo Council. The swirling wind moves out of the north and shifts to blowing from the south. A blessing in disguise? The wind had been pushing you toward the base and the GMC Thunderhawks and Gryphons racing in your direction, but now Wakan Tanka seems to be urging you toward home.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (21:00:57/05-15-17)
Swoopy watched as the group scattered and went to cover after Chante's grenade went off. They were still all visible from his position, but most had at least found a dip in the ground or something solid to put between themselves and the wall of fire coming out from the cats. Good news was they were no longer advancing on Ite. Bad new was they were actually already plenty close to perforate him and would now be harder to hit.

The machinegunner up until now had been firing tight little aimed bursts. Just the thing for a target range. Any moment he was going to come to the realization that he had hundreds of rounds in his belt, this wasn't the target range, and a great way to stop the cats from pounding the shit out of the squad was to fill the air with enough lead that even invisible ghost grenadiers and men behind trees that were barely perceptible wouldn't want to stick their heads out. The the rest of the squad could get on with the business of murdering everyone else in relative peace. 

Swoopy figured he should stop that from happening. His first shot was a great shot; everything felt right. The machinegunner had picked a great rock; the shot splattered harmlessly off. Swoopy adjusted tactics to "keep the sights roughly in the target area and put the bitch on full auto". Quantity, apparently, has a quality all its own.





Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (14:00:18/05-17-17)
Dan-Dan ghosted through the trees, Ite fixed in his metaphorical target reticule. The squad had engaged and seconds counted. Worse, the dog brain on Swoopys medkit had administered anticoagulants, a synthetic diapridomol mix. Which had caused Ite's feeds to plummet. It had simply played the odds. It read a massive stroke and applied the 80% effective treatment. It lacked the diagnostics to determine more. Cheap, effective and great if you were in that 80% and suffered a intercranial infarction. Of course it was lethal if you had had an haemorrhage. Like Ite. The only thing worse would have been thrombolysis. Thankfully, that was too expensive.

No doubt, the blood was now bleeding freely into Ite's brain, with nowhere to go, crushing his grey matter and making it a squishy pink mess (when exposed to air). The treatment of course was simple and very effective. Drill a small hole in his head to relieve the pressure. A few problems with that of course. One, he was a troll, getting through that thick skull was going to be no easy matter. Only last week he'd been hammering nails into a board for a bet. With his head. They were pretty drunk at the time. It could need an industrial drill. Two,  it needed absolute precision. Miss the spot and compound the damage. That meant a good scanner, MRI, CT or Gooseegg. Three. Just the little matter of a firefight...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (08:21:07/05-18-17)
Right. Simple threat assessment. Bunch of soldiers with a mix of small arms (and some heavier stuff but nacht). Check. Couple of drones closing fast. Check. Ice elemental. Check.

Ice elemental it was. The others would have to deal with the rest. They'd struggle to hurt the elemental. If it went invisible they might not even see it. Which made it Dan's.

Slight problem in getting to it without being seen. Dan was happy he could slip by all the meat concerned. However, that elemental would be watching on the astral. Which made things tricky.

So it was time  to be tricksy himself. Dan-Dan revered Cat (in her aspect of the Mountain Lion or Lynx), so he liked sneaking, grooming and deceit. There was no way he could get to that Ice Maiden (whoever summoned it had strange ideas) unseen. So, he'd go unnoticed. This would look really strange to the unawakened.

Danyes screwed up his aura and was the cat. He couldn't mask it properly so didn't try. He just became.

<<@Team: Flash out :D >>

Perfect. Dan jumped straight at the Ice ruin. Just like a startled cat, scrambling from the flashback.

"MRWOWWWWGRRW!"

Battlecry screaming he leapt on the elemental,  knife hacking deep into its scaly hide. Bullets had spanned off it and his knife looked puny by comparison. It made a few slight cracks into its back as it turned to face him. In the astral it glowed as a bright raging fire, painful to look upon. It carved away great crashing chunks of its aura, sloughing off its the ether.

It lashed out with a claw ligtning quick in repost, which Dan ducked under as it telegraphed it's move in the astral. Dan scored his knife deep along its exposed flank, great cracks spreading from the impact. In the meat a few chips pinged away into the night.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (10:43:27/05-18-17)
"Drek!"

Watching the Spirit of Earth go down was infuriating.  These guys were being very annoying.  Chante didn't doubt her odds of getting out, but every setback was increasing the odds against Ite.

She took a deep, steadying breath and then worked her will to call out to another spirit.  She put more into the effort, reaching for something larger, stronger.

A moment later, the earth ruptured before her, though it was only visible on the astral.  The Spirit of Earth towered before her.

My companion is injured.  Assist in putting him into the helicopter, then join us in our battle so that we can escape.

Particulars weren't necessary, the link between spirit and summoner insured that the spirit had an idea of what she wanted.  She had never had issues with spirits like others claimed, spirits that were capricious or malicious, following the letter of the request but not the intent.  She presumed they had treated their spirits poorly.

Snow began to spit plumes in the air just behind her, walking her way fast.  She dove back and avoided the spray.

Head in the game, Chante!
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (22:07:46/05-18-17)
There was a definite increase in fire coming his way now. And any moment  Swoopy figured someone was going to come up with something more creative than blasting away ineffectually. Or the blasting would become effectual. Or someone would figure out all the rounds zipping were just gel, and figure what the hell, a few bruises might be worth it to stuff the muzzle right up the ass of their unknown attackers. 

Either way, time to move.

Fresh mag in, real bullets this time. Gotta keep them honest. For three seconds the colt spit sound and fury, rounds ripping across the UCAS squad positions. Probably wouldn't hit much, but it would force some heads down for the next part. 

Swoopy rolled down the backside of a local dip and started crawling hard towards a new firing position, trusting that the suit and a low profile in a blizzard would make up for those few moments when the terrain exposed him.

   
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (15:59:36/05-19-17)
The firefight was fast turning into a battle of attrition.  Someone, maybe Chante based on the location, had tried to eek out an edge with the proper placement of a flashbang, but getting bullets to stick to anything other than snow was proving to be a fool's errand on both sides.  And a fighting stand is not a tactic they have time for.  Not with Ité stroking out and the full weight of the UCAS military no doubt on their way to avoid any PR embarrassment -- not to mention the liberal use of explosives and depleted uranium rounds they would no doubt be bringing with them.

Frying pan, meet fire.

Which meant what, exactly?  In for a penny, in for a pound, I guess, chumps, Shiriki thinks, wondering just how many people alive today know what the frag a penny is.  He jumps out of the roto-drone, adjusting its standing orders to focus fire on the soft targets, leaving the opposing drones to the Dragon's machine guns and its APDS jacketed 7.62 X 51 miniguns, and into the Dragon.  He focuses in on one of the dobermans immediately, its assault rifle firing rather haphazardly as potential targets enter and exit its sphere of control with no discernible pattern.  Dodge this, he thinks, letting loose a long burst, but the dogbrain does just that.  Or does it?  Without tracer rounds and the general chaos, Shiriki can't see exactly where his rounds end up. 

He notes a quick change in the wind, now coming out strong from the south.  With limited matrix access, he's sure the smartlink systems haven't had time to adjust, and Shiriki places his reticle downwind of the doberman.  It flashes red, <<No target acquired>> but Shiriki fires again, his ammo counter dropping dangerously low.

The doberman rocks in place as at least three rounds puncture its "breastplate" and blow chunks of circuitry and oil in its wake. 

Closer to the action, Shiriki's roto-drone continues its strafing runs.  It rains down stick-and-shock rounds on one of the female combatants, catching her once in the thigh and forcing her to take a knee.  On its way out, the un-maimed roto-drone fires its assault rifle at the aerial drone, but a flurry of snow confuses its sensors and the rounds peel off harmlessly into the night.  The process is repeated on its next approach, leaving the drone untouched and the shooters nonplussed.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (20:35:43/05-19-17)
Dan-Dan moved aside as the elemental struck at him, vicious shards of ice lancing the frigid air where he'd been moments before. Again it left itself open to attack and Danyes quickly took it the pommel of his knife striking it hard again it's mountainous chest.

CRACK! 

The icemaiden exploded, shards and splinters flying through the air as lethal hail, Dan diving through the space where it had briefly stood. It's howl as it was wrenched back into the ether sounding like nails scraped down a chalkboard.

Dan exploded through its heart, icy tears spinning into the void of its passage and collecting along his outstretched blade.

A cracking rent the air as one of the soldiers took a potshot at him, Dan swaying to one side as the round sailed harmlessly past to dig a furrow into the frozen dirt. A hail of lead then split the air as a doberman barked a hail of bullets at doctor Danyes. Tumbling, he hit the dirt rolling under the spinning rounds coming up charging at his assailant!

MRWOWWWWGRRW! Dancer charged, lashing out with a flurry of blows towards his assaulter. It was cats v. dogs.

As he ran towards the metal mutt, it's packmate slung a torrent of fire directly at Dan, turning the air black with spitting death. No way could Dan avoid the sheer weight of metal filling the air. And yet, somehow he did. Twisting, slipping, using the bullets own momentum to move through them. He slammed into the tincan canine, landing a solid blow against its gnashing jaw.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (15:37:14/05-20-17)
Interlude.

Holensfield looked out of his office window. It looked set to snow. The gangly man with his shock of unruly hair looked deeply unmilitary. He was musing on his sister Raditha, whom he loved dearly. He was also intensely competitive with her. As was she with him. Both were ambitious. And neither looked it. Often course, unlike his sister he was awakened.

The major turned off the tridset where his father had been pontificating. The wellspring of the family. Or at least the source of its ambitions. The senator had been reelected of course, but it was a safe Republican seat. No his eye was on a bigger prize. And this announcement might just tip it for him in his bid for the gubernatorship when old man Cousins finally retired. It was bound to remain Republican but who got through the primary was very much at question.

First of course he had to deal with the repercussions of his dear old da's machinations. The major put on his stiff cap and went in to face the meeting. No way could they prove he'd leaked details of the radar installation to his father, despite being assigned their to head awakened operations. It could easily have come from TerraFirm (not a policlub), the building company his father held controlling interest in, one of several awarded contracts to build the base (fulfilling another campaign promise to source local providers). Of course, they didn't either. No, that was down to his sister, who wasn't even in the military. Of course, he wouldn't tell the leak inquiry that.

Afterwards he was exonerated of course. Good since he hadn't done it (not that he wouldn't have). Of course to make example they concocted a punishment anyway. He was confined to quarters for 'administrative leave'. In other words unofficial, thus political. It didn't really matter that he wasn't guilty as long as some sort of punishment was seen to be melted out, setting his father's campaign back again. Which is all it was really intended to do.

Solitary confinement was no sort of punishment for a mage. The major doubted the colonel cared even if he knew. That wasn't the point.

As he walked to his confinement, Major Reagan Holensfield passed the Earth Elementals he'd summoned to speed the construction. His deputy Captain Crook would have to mind them during his confinement. He'd passed the old orc control of them for while they stuck around. He'd had few prospects that orc, until he'd awakened but that was a valuable resource and he'd made officer despite his background. Of course, because of it he'd progress no farther than he already had, no matter his skill. So the major made him about offer. When he took his stipend in a could of years he'd join the family business. In the meantime, he had a reliable subordinate.

A mage in a plain box with nothing but water has only himself for company. Naturally, he spent his time meditating, reflecting. He consecrated the cell as a spirit lodge,  because what else was he to do and concentrated his power within himself.

When the raiders struck, the major returned to the active duty list as his earth spirits were cruelly dismissed. Connor Crook released him and appraised him, so he set the old Crook to binding a watcher whilst he summoned an ice elemental to hunt them down. Like most of his sevants it looked like his sister or her essence. It's banishment was wrenching.

Sod this, though what an opportunity. Carefully he mustered his power in his new lodge and pushed.....

A small flicker came into being. In the astral it was intense, the burning flame, it still looked like his sister.

From its depths stepped Efreetiti, Greater Spirit of Fire...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (17:42:32/05-21-17)
INTERLUDE

"Angie, are you INSANE??" he said as he slammed his palms on the President's desk. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was wild-eyed, practically frothing as the mouth.

"No, he's crazy," she responded calmly, ignoring the major breech of decorum.

"I agree that he's a real nut job and that you're under a lot of pressure, buy you can't just fire him like you can a US Attorney or a -!"

"I'm not firing him; I'm arresting him," President Colloton corrected.

"He's a sitting Senator from your own party!"

"He's one of them. He's a national security risk."

"Everyone is going to have a field day with this! The Democrats, the Technocrats, the Liberarians, the New Century, the Archconservatives!"

"Yes, George, and even our own Republicans too. But for the national good, yours and mine included, it has to be done."

"What about his daughter? Or his son for that matter!"

"That's why I'm telling you now, so that you can get ahead of this."

The General couldn't believe what he was hearing. He grasped at straws. "At least let me get someone to do it off-the-books. We can frame it so the Sioux take the blame and so there's not a giant flashing arrow pointing directly at -"

"Shadowrunners? No, tsk tsk tsk," the President tutted. "We're going to do this out in the open, right where everyone can see it. And in the end, they'll thank us. The Deputy Press Secretary is lining up news stories from The Hub to help provide cover so we can weather the storm."

The General paced about the Oval Office, his hands on his head as if it would keep it from exploding. He spun back to the President. "Did you think of the parallels that they're going to draw with the knock on the door in the middle of the night? The NAN, the megas, the Corporate Court?!"

President Colloton rocked back gently in her chair, the barest wisp of a smile on her face. "They're not going to knock."

END INTERLUDE
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (18:19:01/05-23-17)
Breaking their standstill, one of the UCAS soldiers takes point, advances under some supporting fire, and practically steps on Swoopy before he sees him.  Swoopy can see that look in his eyes, even through the balaclava, even through the blizzard, even through his aching and bruised sides.  The look says, naughty, naughty, it says I see you, it says, Got you now, motherfucker.

Swoopy rolls, but before the soldier can fire, the roto-drone descends, kicking up enough snow to blind the shooter, and whining like a hellhound in heat.  It's probably the sound that does it, as the soldier abandons his original -- and mostly stationary, and prone -- target and fires off a long burst skyward.  Unfazed, the roto-drone climbs again, firing as it strafes.  One burst goes wide, but the other is directed at the ork who's been flash-banged and beat to hell and back already.  The last round catches him under the arm as he raises his light machine gun, and he falls in a swirl of white.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (02:50:41/06-12-17)
Swoopy watched as the dolier levled the SMG at his face, and started raising his rifle, knowing he would never make it. Then something loud and buzzing and full of snow dragged the guy's attention up with a good long burst. The rifle completed it's arc. Swoopy squeezed the trigger.

CLICK.

SHIT.

The SMG began to come down again. Swoopy had one option. He leapt forward from his half prone half crouched position and took the guy down around his knees. Everyone went  down into the snow, primary weapons lost in the ruckus. Soon it became a panting, struggling match, all finesse gone, as each man struggled to pin the other in place long enough to pull a different weapon and murder his opponent. Less than lethal was off the table as they scrabbled , bit, and clawed. Swoopy though he had the upper edge for a moment, and took a hand off to grab his knife, ready to sink it to the hilt. Instead he caught a headbutt.

A headbutt is never pleasant to receive. With 6 pounds of kevlar mix and the assorted pointy bits used for hardware mounting...well, its a bad day. Swoopy rocked back for a second, his nose probably broken and seeing stars. Then he felt a sharp stabbing pain in his ribs and saw that this fucker had put a knife in him.The soldier's knife came out for another quick stab...

Swoopy screamed in rage, and pain, and desperation.grinding his helmet up and under the soldier's, buying enough time to catch the incoming hand. He pulled his own knife, and the soldier grabbed the potentially fatal writst. The two entered a simple struggle of bodily strenght and endurance, each side turned utterly feral as they tried to plunge their blade into the other man...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (03:18:13/06-14-17)
Danyes swooped and dived in his combat with the metal dog. One benefit of the swirling melee of close combat was that you weren't getting shot at, what with the high risk of hitting your mates.

Suddenly there was a rustling in the undergrowth. No way Dan could hear it. Yet he did. Low to the ground and pair of lambent eyes stared silently at him, reflecting the firelight dancing in the night. Danyes twisted for a closer look, his opponents dog brain of scant concern.

Rounds twisted the air where he'd been moments before, punching through his clothing buy miraculously missing him completely! The hail of fire continued as the other dog shot rapidly into the combatants. Of course, not shooting into melee ignored such things as machine targeting and the fact his opponent was plastic and wires. He spun through the night furiously dodging the rest of the fire. Thanking cat for his close escape Daniel turned to finish his mechanical opposition. When more gunfire tore into it, sparks spitting and ripping it to shreds. The rotodrone tearing the dog appart. Not firing into melee applied to ones own machines too it appeared...

Taking stock, Dan looked around but the animal was now nowhere to be seen. What was to be seen however was the other dog and a furious tussle ongoing on the ground. As he watched Swoopy seemed to take a knife to the gut. Decision made. Dogs were a good target but he was still a medical.  He charged, diving into the mad ground scramble to aid his squaddie.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (12:39:37/06-14-17)
Improbability after improbability: a fire spirit joins the fray just in front of the dragon, blocking the Captain's route.  Shiriki briefly considers flipping on the assault cannon and making quick work of the spirit in the way that only spells, foci, and explosive ordnance can, but with the payload, the ethereal nature of spirits, and his SO on the far-side of the target, he thinks better of it, training his sights further downrange, where the melee is still very much at a standstill. 

It's beautiful, this interlocking grace between man and machine.  Shirki commands the port gun to lock onto unauthorized drones, while he targets with the starboard, aims upwind, and issues the command to fire.  Then he's overriding the targeting software to push the reticle upwind on the port gun before firing a second burst.  The gun winds down as it delivers the last of its payload, but Shiriki can't help but smirk in his meat body at the two twisted doberman silhouettes before him.

<<Warning: Ammunition Low: Port Vindicator: 0/5,000>>
Warning: Ammunition Low: Starboard Vindicator: 10/5,000>>
<<Warning: Ammunition Low: AVAC: 5/500>>

Things are not looking good on the ammo front, with something like a sixteenth of a second's worth of chambered ammunition, and only a handful of assault cannon rounds. 

The second doberman begins to stir, and Shiriki swings the remaining active vindicator to its position.  Ghost I hope they hurry.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (01:24:45/06-16-17)
She had moved toward the helicopter, hoping to clear a space for Ité when the Spirit of Fire appeared before her.  The Earth Spirit was still a few meters away, dutifully dragging the fallen troll.  The others were occupied as well.  The fiery being was immense, snow around it skipping the liquid phase and going straight to vapor.  Whoever summoned this had powerful mojo.

Besides being a barrier between her men and their flying carriage, the spirit threatened the vehicle itself.  It was too close for the dragon to properly engage and it could match speeds with the helicopter.  This one threat could end their chance at escape.  Chante couldn't let that happen.  Time to add another tale to the Wildcat legends...

She tossed the Ares Alpha into the snow.  The stick-n-shock rounds would be completely useless.  She didn't feel bad about leaving the weapon behind, there was nothing on it of particular use to any UCAS R&D, a large portion of their Troops used the same assault rifle after all.  The literal monetary value was a paltry sum against the success of the mission.

With her hands free of the bulky firearm, she drew her two tomahawks from the loops at her belt.  Some derided her insistence on carrying the archaic weapon, but to her it represented the Warrior Spirit of the tribes.  She was well versed in their use and George had blessed them in a ritual meant to prepare them to receive a greater enchantment.  The Bear Shaman's wakȟáŋȟʼaŋ was strong and Chante believed in it.

In all of it, her stride hadn't slowed.  She charged headlong towards the Greater Fire Spirit, her voice raised in a shrill ululation.  The Spirit  set itself to receive her charge.  She feinted right, then dove left, rolling in a somersault before catching her feet, spinning with the tomahawks aimed at the spirit's torso.  The spirit tried to match her movements, but had been fooled by the maneuver.  It rolled into the wicked blades and they bit deep into its being.  The fire flickered and leapt along the hafts towards her hands, but she pulled them back, gouts of flame spraying forth like blood from a mortal wound.  The spirit's head pulled back and it roared in agony.

Chante drummed the tomahawks back and forth, up the side of the spirit, smaller cuts that it felt.  Before she could continue her assault, the spirit faded from sight, back into the safety of the astral plane.  Chante swung slightly off balance as the tomahawks found no purchase in empty air.

She had shocked it from the material, but only for the moment.  They had to act fast, position themselves for its return.  It was weakened, if they were ready, they could end it.  She doubted the summoner would have the strength to gather another so quickly enough to stop them.

<<@Team: Fire Spirit is re-positioning, be ready for it to come back.  We can bring it down... wrap it up and get on the bird.>>

She exuded confidence, adrenaline coursing.  We've got this..
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (08:00:26/06-17-17)
Dan-Dan jumped headlong into the melee. He looked for an elegant sophisticated way to end the fight quickly as he traded blows with his opponent and coordinated with Swoopy, taking advantage of his opponent's prone position. Gripping his knife tightly he focussed. He stamped them in the head with a brutal stomp. That would do it. Elegant.

Suddenly, a mule kicked him in the back! He'd been shot! Quickly checking his reads, Dan decided his armour had fortunately absorbed the impact. His tacnet identified the shooter as one of the opposing soldiers. Apparently, they were more than happy to shoot into melee after all...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (19:41:49/06-17-17)
Swoopy watched as Doc came out of nowhere, ready to end this fight.

It is possible that someone somewhere would break this down into a teachable set of team moves. Communication. Coordination. The warrior spirit. A testimony the reverent magical arts of physical prowess.

They would be polishing the truth, which was that Swoopy screamed "KILL THIS FUCKER" and doc stomped on the Anglo's head. Which did not actually kill the fucker in question, but it might as well have. The opening let Swoopy shift his weight andjam his knife past the soft groin protector on his opponent. The snow very quickly turned red.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (00:45:04/06-18-17)
Private First Class Pollock was a bit of a fuck-up. Despite having loving, attentive parents, Pollock always managed to find the wrong crowd. In high school he bullied freshman and mouthed off to teachers. His friends laughed and encouraged him and provided the necessary social feedback to encourage Pollack to new levels of douchery. The principal finally expelled Pollack when he brought a butterfly knife to school and used it to impress girls.

With more free time on his hands than he was accustomed to, Pollack turned to various forms of larceny and amphetamines. He developed a taste for betameth and, during one particularly memorable bender, stole a car and wrapped it around a lamppost.

Pollack had the fortune or misfortune to draw a particularly patriotic judge, who sympathized with the plight of Pollack's upstanding parents. The judge gave Pollack a choice: four years in the UCAS Army or four years in a penitentiary. The food was better in the pen but Pollack guessed there was less shower sex in the Army. He enlisted.

In basic training, Pollack found his calling. The structure suited him, being removed from his bad influences did wonders for his behavior, and he found himself enjoying some of the more exotic labors. During one drill he found himself unexpectedly crawling around on a cold concrete floor in the middle of the night while his drill sergeant fired off magazine after magazine of blanks into the room. Despite the noise and the discomfort and a banging headache, Pollack actually found himself grinning at the absurdity of it all. Plus there was the prospect that if he got his GED, made E-5, and stayed squared away then he could qualify to be a drill sergeant and be a professional bully. That was something worth working toward.

For the first time in his life, PFC's parents were proud of him. Making it to E-3 had qualified him for aluminum bone lacing, which - he realized in an unguarded moment of self-reflection - made him proud of himself. The Army gave him a vision and the Army was showing him the way.

PFC Pollack's next step is to make it to E-4, and that's how he finds himself running around outside in a blizzard with an SMG and a growing sense that this isn't actually an elaborate drill. The point is brought home when Swoopy tackles him by the knees and starts pawing around for a knife.

Pollack doesn't have much experience sticking his knife in people, but his wayward youth and idle time with his butterfly knife pays off when he beats Swoopy to the stab by producing his own knife in record time and plunging it into the other man. Hey, this isn't too hard! I can do this! PFC Pollack thinks to himself as he envisions and medal and a promotion.

The first rule of knife fighting is, "Don't get into a knife fight with someone better than you." So far so good, as Pollack's training is fresh while Swoopy's is rusty. The second rule is, "Don't get into a knife fight with more than one person at a time." In Pollack's defense, it was Swoopy who attacked him, not the other way around, and Pollack certainly didn't expressly invite SSG Danyes over to stomp him in the head a few times, but that's what happens anyway. The helmet and the bone lacing keep the trauma to a minimum, but his brain bouncing around his aluminum skull does buy Swoopy a precious moment to stick his combat knife where the sun don't shine, and then to do it again for good measure.

The stabbing doesn't hurt, per se, which could be due to the freezing temperatures, or Pollack's adrenaline, or the sharpness of knife. Pollack feels a certain wetness, which is annoying given the weather, and strange sensation that he likeness to a hose losing pressure unexpectedly. Unfortunately the hoses in question are his internal iliac arteries. Pollack finds himself being unceremoniously flipped onto his back by Swoopy, who staggers to his feet with a hand pressed over his own wound.

It's so pretty, Pollack thinks, looking up at snow falling through the trees as the gunshots and fireworks slowly fade into the background. Pollack is so tired, which is normal because it's the middle of the night and he had a long day and struggling with another man for a knife is exhausting. He feels cold for a moment but the sensation dims and is replaced by a sense of his muscles relaxing. It would be so, so easy just to close his eyes and go to sleep, so he does. Pollack settles himself into the soft snow, lets his eyelids slowly drift down, and then says good night.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (11:59:10/06-19-17)
The volume of gunfire in the woods was definitely dropping off.  Likely most of the UCAS troops sent to stop them were down or otherwise out of the fight.  A few staccato bursts still echoed through the trees, but it felt like things were winding down.

Well, until that fiery bastard shows back up, any second now...

Chante dropped her invisibility and ran over to where her Spirit of Earth was dragging Ité towards the bird.  She had a vague idea of helping somehow, but the towering thing was managing just fine.  She chuffed in exasperation, then heard a sound behind her.  Turning, she noticed one of the remaining UCAS troops standing somewhat unsteadily, aiming a submachine gun at the Wildcat and her giant friend.

"Really?" she called out.  "Honestly, you're by yourself... you can pull the trigger.  Things might go right and maybe you'll get a medal or something... or maybe you'll get something else for your trouble..." She hefts her tomahawks pointedly.  She also pushed a little bit of mojo into her statement.

The Soldier stood for a split second more, then turned to 'tactically withdraw'.  Chante nodded and began to scan around for the Fire Spirit.  It would be back any moment...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (16:24:57/06-19-17)
Before Shiriki can issue the command to fire, he sees Chante's more than adequate feint and attack on the Fire Spirit.  Hulking as it is, the . . . thing howls once and disappears.  But not like disrupted disappears, more like folding into itself disappearing.  Shirki's seen this enough to know that it will be back, and most likely it'll time and place it to take advantage of its particularly destructive characteristics.  With the rest of the soldiers beating a hasty retreat -- except for one that looks like it might be beating an even hastier retreat out of this plane altogether, Shiriki orders the roto-drone to target the last active drone and jumps back into his meat body. 

The cabin is at once brighter and less clear than peering through the sensors of the Dragon.  So far no alerts.  He swivels in his chair, draws his Predator III -- practically an antique at this point -- and scans the back of the transport helicopter.  Just try it.

The roto-drone has just finished pumping half-a-dozen or so rounds into one of the UCAS soldiers from above, forcing her to take a twitchy knee, when the updated targeting commands come through.  The assault rifle swivels, and the drone holds its position as the low elevation makes for the most stable firing position available to the flier, and lets loose with two bursts of stick and shock.  The first connects, shorting the doberman out and the combat drone folds up into its easy-to-carry configuration, completely fragged.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (18:32:08/06-19-17)
Hails of plastic tore the night as the doberman again barked its worst. Dan shifted position slightly so that the bullets tore harmlessly past him into the undergrowth. Swirling death then tore through it as Shirikis drone laced into it, almost folding it in half. Dan paid it no mind.

Digging out a trauma patch from his supplies he roughly bound their assailants wounds together. It wasn't pretty but it was quick and should at least stop him from bleeding out. He was in his own  for the blizzard, but with medical care and some new intestine he should survive all right. As an afterthought he took a small cut from the scalp, with some hair to add to the collection. Counting coup.

Dan grinned, blood dripping from his hands as he turned to Swoopy.

[color=blue"]Hey Swoopy. What did you think of the game last night?"[/color]

With that he slapped the trauma patch onto his side and let the chemicals seal his flesh. Of course it felt like acid melting his skin, because it was acid eating his skin. Dan didn't feel a thing. It probably wasn't the time to mention the painkillers in his pack. No chance of being drowsy off of this treatment.

He could treat his patients when they were in exfil. Time to haul hoop.

Suddenly it went dim on the astral as the elemental retreated to it. It seemed poised...

As they jogged along warily towards the whirly gig, Dan again saw eyes in the undergrowth. Stooping he saw a small kitten shivering at its dead mothers side, milk from its teats freeing in the air as it mixed with the black blood torn through its side by a stray bullet. The rest of the litter was scattered, burnt and frozen by the elements. Dan scooped up the survivor as he made for the chopper, moved by its plight. Or cat. His knife purred in sympathy.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: GloriousRuse on (20:11:27/06-21-17)
Swoopy watched as Dan dropped one of the plates out of Swoopy's armor, cut away the clothing beneath, and  sprayed him down with a potent aerosol of local anesthetic and anti-septic. The biting cold of the blizzard on exposed skin died away. The QuicKlot bandage over his side barely registered as more than unpleasant pressure. It'd keep you moving for sure. Dangerous though. Man could tear a 4 inch hash clean back open and not even realize it till he got woozy. Best to move slow for now.

Swoopy picked up his rifle as Dan went to work on the rando who'd knifed him. Swoopy, in his his higher brain, realized that Dan treating this guy was in line with the mission, and no doubt the political intent of whatever councilmen had decided this rather violent and supposedly clandestine insertion had to happen. The part of him keyed up on the fight and mortally (irony!) offended at how close he'd just come to dying wanted nothing more than to watch that SOB bleed out. Honestly, it was probably best to start shuffling g to the chopper now rather than dwell on it...
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Jayde Moon on (02:19:35/06-22-17)
Chante shifted her perspective as she moved back to the helicopter with Ité.  The ground beneath her darkened, but the trees, even under a blanket of snow, came alive.  The Spirit of Earth shone brightly on the astral plane and it was that same trait that marked the Spirit of Fire, hanging back and biding its time.  Chante didn't sling lightning or fire so she didn't really have any direct tools to hurt it.  The ferocity of her earlier attack had been a sheer effort of will.

She'd have to pay George Shambling Bear a visit on her next trip back.  He'd need to lay the final enchantments on the tomahawks.  Had he already done so, she imagined the spirit would have been sent packing on a more permanent basis.

Ité's aura was dimmer, she could see the darkness in his brain where his machine had shorted.  Hopefully Dan could work his own brand of magic on the decker and save his life.  We owe it to him to get him back.  They reached the helicopter and the Spirit of Earth gently set the troll on the deck.  Task accomplished, it turned to Chante.

Guard us from the Spirit of Fire, but only if it attacks.  If it does not by the time we have reached our home then go freely with my gratitude.  The Spirit shifted as well, dematerializing from the world and becoming wholly Astral.  If it was do to battle with a Spirit, there was no need for physical form.  It placed itself between the helicopter and the Fire Spirit and waited.

<@Team: Let's get out of here.  I've got a Spirit watching our six in case that fire fellow tries anything.  Ité is looking bad, we'll need to radio in, I don't think Dan is going to be able to bring him all the way around, least not before we get home.>>  She moved away from Ité to give the medic room to work, leaning against the bulkhead and feeling suddenly weary, as the adrenaline rush began to ebb.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: MDMann on (05:35:37/06-22-17)
Dan finally settled into the chopper for the ride home. Of course he had no prospect of rest at all. As medic a good mission was one where he had nothing to do. This was, middling.

Priorities. Items was quiet whilst Swoopy was screaming profanities down the mic (or muttering them under his breath, he might have set the gain wrong) whilst Ite was quiet. Items it was then. Besides, Swoopy was still making his way up anyway.

The earth elemental had shuffled off to the astral and the cat seemed to have gone ... somewhere.

"Hey, Captain! Give me a hand clamping Ite's head will you? Thanks"

Dan-Dan hot to work strapping the troll down, taking the captains assistance as given. He wasn't too bothered about his body which was just laid in a cleared space on the floor. There was some harness for some vehicle they could vandalise to their use. Crucial was securing the head and especially the neck still. Dan put it in a vice, some sort of clamp for that same vehicle, padded with more of the harness.

It had been about 3 minutes or so since the haemorrhage. You had around an hour for a good prognosis following treatment normally and reasonable expectations within four hours. If it weren't for the clopidogrel the auto doc had flooded his systems with, Ite's chances would have been excellent. As it was, Dan would do what he could.

"Just keep his head still, he might wriggle some."

Dan-Dan looked through the astral, carefully moving his fingers over Ite's scalp. He looked over the readings from his own (much better and augmented) Medi kit to confirm,  but really he was looking for where the bleed originated. There! An intracerebral haemorrhage! He glanced up, the captain was looking through the astral at his fingers. He wasn't doing anything, just exploring. Voyeuristic, interested or fascinated it was academic really. He gingerly placed his knife point down over the spot, predictably close to Ite's headware....

CRACK! Dancer slammed down with a nearby spanner on the base of the knife with all his strength, lifting off the floor with effort. It was a troll after all. Ite spasmed wildly. Arcs of blood spurted out of the small hole under great pressure. Ah! Dan wiped his eyes where a smear of blood had hit him.

"Captain, if I could have my bag please, I need to wipe up before I continue. Captain?"

Dan-Dan looked up. The captain was frozen rigid. And drenched in blood, where Ite's arterial spurt had struck her full in the face. She was dripping blood.

"Never mind, I'll get it. You can release his head now."

He dabbed his eyes with wipes and resterilised his hands reaching for the tweezers. So far, so good...

Dan started whistling. A little off key.
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: rednblack on (13:16:06/06-22-17)
His Predator outstretched before him, Shiriki held his position until he could see Chante approaching the chopper through his PI-TAC.  With the wireless off in the Dragon, Shiriki leaned over and opened the cargo hold with his free hand, still waiting for the spirit of fire to make its appearance any moment.  In quick succession, Chante, the earth spirit carrying  Ité, and the rest of the team filtered in, and Shiriki spun in his seat and holstered his side arm.

<@Team: Let's get out of here.  I've got a Spirit watching our six in case that fire fellow tries anything.  Ité is looking bad, we'll need to radio in, I don't think Dan is going to be able to bring him all the way around, least not before we get home.>>  She moved away from Ité to give the medic room to work, leaning against the bulkhead and feeling suddenly weary, as the adrenaline rush began to ebb.

It was all Shiriki needed to hear.  He plugged in the universal adapter into his head, and went limp.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Strap in, shut up, and hold on.>>

For the moment, Ité would have to take the backseat to the rest of the team, and the Dragon screamed skyward, buffeted by the winds of the blizzard.  Shiriki tore off toward the sweet lands of home, and left the team's medic to the grisly work of keeping Ité stable during the transport home.

<<@HQ [Anonymous] This is XL213 inbound to the Sioux border.  Be advised we are a UCAS Dragon, call sign U571332.>>

<<@Anonymous [HQ] Roger that, XL213.  You are clear to enter Sioux airspace.>>

Despite the speeds, Shiriki is able to keep the Dragon fairly stable as he tears across the thin strip of land that separates them from home.

<<@Team [Shiriki] Fuel's looking low.  Swoopy, can you check on our parachute situation?>>
Title: Re: Alea Iacta Est (IC)
Post by: Tecumseh on (01:36:17/06-23-17)
Swoopy limps around the Dragon and confirms the complete and total absence of parachutes. Perhaps it's just as well, given the blizzard. It might be better just to stay low to snowy cornfields and jump out if the propellers fall off . Staying low might help you stay off radar too, which could buy you a few precious seconds in case those Thunderhawks and Gryphons coming out of McConnell AFB catch up with you. Home is only minutes away.

Ité had programmed his Fairlight Excalibur to send a signal to the detonators when they were half a klick away. Boosted by a pleasant tailwind, the Dragon quickly covers the half kilometer, breaking the tether. Suddenly the sky is lit up by dual orange plumes. They are bright enough that, looking back, you can see the savaged remains of the scarred base. There is an unnatural crater in the middle of the base, with the edges rapidly expanding. Ité had mentioned trying to overload the underground nanoforges as a contingency plan. It seems that he succeeded, perhaps so spectacularly that the radar installation would have been swallowed into the earth if they hadn't been blown up first. Still, better safe than sorry. The shattered dishes collapse, then implode their structural foundations in a fiery heap.

The mood should be celebratory, but instead it is dampened - literally - by a shower of blood from Ité. An improvised trepanning is unusual even for Wildcats, especially when it's your comrade-in-arms under the knife. The metal flooring of the Dragon shakes violently under Ité as Shiriki does his best to navigate the powerful winds. With little more that he can do for Ité, Dan-Dan turns his attention to Swoopy's wound. It is deep but it is clean, with no jagged tearing or scorching or broken bone fragments that would complicate matters. The treatment is straightforward, despite the wound's severity. Within minutes, Swoopy is being repaired from the inside out by modern medicine, no magic necessary.

Despite being less than 10km from home, Chante does not relax. She stands at the rear gun port, her hands on the Stoner-Ares M202, even if it only has 10 rounds remaining, because her Ares Alpha is somewhere behind them in the snow. No, what's concerning Chante isn't so much the GMC Thunderhawks and Gryphons, or the Panther assault canons that were in the base's inventory, or what her superiors might say about Ité's condition, but rather the rather large, rather angry fire spirit that's bobbing along behind them on the astral, just out of reach but not out of sight.

END CHAPTER ONE