The Den Games Network Forum RPG
Page 15

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds


(Nyerguds)

The 'runners looked at the huge fireball that had been their bus, and the dead Troll that was blown away with it.

Silvia was speechless when she saw the remains of the dead troll. They blew him up... just like that! No... Crystal blew him op.
"How could you..." she started, completely astonished.
Crystal just sighed, and threw a look in Iceman's direction as answer.

"Come on, we gotta go!" Iceman boomed. "This place wil start attracting unwanted attention pretty soon!"

Silvia sighed, and went to the van.
"Where's that other Ork woman?" she asked the rest.
"No idea." Chance answered. "No time either, we gotta go."


A few minutes later, the van was on the move. Silvia sat quietly in a corner of the van, not knowing how to feel. She took the black feather out of her pocket, and looked at it again. The feather felt cold in her warm hand.

He's dead, Sil. Nothing you can do...

Then she noticed the feather warming up. It became warmer and warmer, until it was so hot she shifted the skin of her hand.
What...?

Then, the feather started to burn. Small flames appeared. Flames that didn't burn her hand, or even the feather. Magic. Silvia realized immediately.

"Don't mourn for the living." she heard Benedict's voice in her head. "Try to stay alive, and don't trust Iceman... for he is the real leak."

Silvia looked through one of the van's small windows to the raging fire they had left behind. "Benedict?" she asked, hoping he would hear her.

Look up. the voice replied.
Silvia saw a black shadow in the air, disappearing quickly into the city.

She looked back to the feather. The flames had disappeared, but it was still warm.

"Don't lose that feather." she heard Ben's voice again. "It's a valuable treasure."

Silvia looked back at the feather. She could still see the flames, but no one else in the van seemed to notice them.

An illusion to get my attention...

Silvia smiled.

Clever.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Numb, Crystal tried not to think much as the van trundled smoothly along the dirty grey FDC streets.

The blazing wreckage faded back into the distance, another burnt out vehicle littering that dead part of a dying city. As they'd left, a small figure had run up to it and started jumping for joy, throwing things on the fire. They paid him no heed, just wanting to get on with the job once more.

Iceman looked pretty damn pleased with himself. In fact, he was grinning ear to ear. It was a Wolf's grin, and it made Crystal and the others wonder what exaclty brought it on. There was the demise of the Troll, of course. It was no secret Iceman didn't like him. It wasn't like he was part of the team or anything - Just some oddly familiar enemy who had switched sides.

A wolf's grin...

Automatically, Crystal thought of Wolf, dead quite a while now. But still part of him remained, deep in Crystals head. Metal wires and shapes erupted in Crystal's head in a vision from cold metal hell...

She shook her head abruptly, clearing it.

Alex... need to meet him up...

She punched a number into her wristphone.

"What are you doing?" Iceman barked immediately.

Calling Alex Crystal typed. Iceman went pale a bit, then his stony military face set in.

"Good. We need all our team members together now. Call that Ork decker bitch while your at it."

Crystal told them both the address of a ShopScraper complex that Sasha, driving the van, was heading towards, and told them to meet in Car parking bay 3Z. Sasha seemed to know the place already.

Chance was inspecting the weapons that Tyme's men had delivered.

"We can use these." He said approvingly of a short-barrelled Browning Smartrifle. "There are flashbangs and frag grenades for those of us who know how to use them."

There were silenced SMGs too, and two slightly-worn looking Cyberdecks, which Tyme informed them were fitted with top-of-the-range chips. Plugin jacked in and fell unconsious, adn everyone took that to be a good sign.

"I got ya da good stuff my man!" Tyme grinned. Iceman looked at Tyme, too, and grinned. Then he grinned at the Blindfolded, gagged Rent-a-Cop, too.

He's planning something... The others realised. He has a use for them... Otherwise he'd have killed them as surplus to requirements..

"Need... replacement for Troll..." Iceman muttered. He seemed to be thinking out loud.

Crystal had an idea.

I know someone... She typed, quietly showing the words to Iceman.

"Yes?" He asked, interested.

***

Shadow pulled up behind the club, sweating.

He'd barely missed being clipped off his heavy bike just now by a Rent-a-cop patroller. The 6-wheel Nuovo Inzio Cop-variant had U-turned around after him, and now he heard the heavy engine close behind him. Then there was a new vehicle.

Shadow drove up a ramp that went onto the roof a nearby six-storey building. This area served as the parking space for the club. He looked ut onto the street below.

The rent-a-cop roared past, oblivious.

Then a large 8-wheeled van, so quiet it had to be an electric engine, hummed up the ramp after him.

He'd received the message from Crystal, and stood to meet it.

It parked, side door facing him on his bike. The door slid open.

Expecting to see Crystal's appealing face, old friends and colleagues again, Shadow was relatively quite shocked as a hulking scarred Russian maniac loomed from the interior gloom and rested a DD44 Dostoyevski at his forehead.
Shaodw remained expressionless, of course.

"Well well punk! You can work for us now or you can die where you stand. Get in!" Iceman snarled.

Shadow glimpsed Crystal in the van behind Iceman. She looked somewhat apologetic.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Shadow was hauled into the van unceremoniously, before he even had the chance to speak a word of protest.

Not that he was iclined to speak that much anyway.

"The fraggers want you good, Shadow..." Iceman mumurmed

Shadow said nothing.

"Guy we pick up... He after you." Iceman told him, smiling as he remembered. The others had presented the haples rent-a-cop to him, thinking he was after them. He wasn't, he was after Shadow, and only Iceman knew how much they knew about their quarry.

The undercover officer had told him without much questioning... But Iceman couldn't finish one of his interrogations so soon. Not because he was sadistic or anything... It was just embarrassing to be told all by someone he hadn't really worked on.

Anyway, that incident, and the stiffening corpse, was well behind them now.

The Electrivan rolled off down the ramp and into evening traffic. It was getting dark, but the traffic showed no sign of stopping. Exhausted 'runners tried to rest, with the gentle swish swish of the wipers, the slap of the acid rain on the canopy and the traffic sounds: Horns honking, old-style petrol engines revving, occasional gunshots.

Iceman carried on.

"We...lost... a couple of bodies. You'll do. If you do well, we'll do well for you. We got the money, as these fraggers can testify..." At that, a thumb jerked at the tired figures of Sil, Crystal, Chance, Ash, Rusty, Alanya and Jessica slumped by the van's sides in a cramped fashion.

"So, are you in?"

Iceman waited for Shadow's answer.

Later the Van arrived at the destination. The building was tall, but not really noticebale in a big city like this. If they had been awake enough to be looking, the 'runners that had been to Transys Arcology may have had visions - The building was a scaled-down near copy of Robot the Bruce tower.

Sasha rolled through the security autogates, the van's ID plates having been scanned and found matching. Neon arrows directed her to the vehicle down elevator - Down into the darkness.

The Corporation that owned the building didn't seem to mind turning a blind eye to a short stay from some employees of the esteemed Mr Johnson. Which was good.

***

"Alright, settle down fragnuts. This has been a long time coming, so I'd appreciate a little fragging attention!" Growled the Russian, flicking a beercan at Rusty, half-asleep in his sling seat. It hurt. He got the point.

Sasha switched on the 3DTV set she'd set in the middle of the room, on a round table painted to look like a yin-yang symbol.

Crystal noted how cool the table was. Maybe she'd get one, later.

But she should have noticed the 3Dimensional image that flickered into smoky neon life in the gloom, A building, Octahedral in shape. It was the -

"UCAS Office of Naval Intelligence."

It was Chance who'd spoken, making Iceman smile.

"Yes. Well done. Now a cookie to who can tell me what we're going to do here..."

"Make some fragging soy-cookies." Offered Alex

The map was basic, however. Only showing Doors, windows, walls and the like. Sasha pressed a button on her control, and a new layer of detail emerged: Power, water and air conduits. Another showing telecom lines, and that was it. The map-chip had been murder to find - Literally.

The building was built like a fortress. Chance knew for a fact that It was in open country with at least 50 meters of fenced-off killing ground between the building and the electrified monowire-topped fence that surrounded it. This ground was patrolled by armed FMC Weasels - Small, maneuverable drones on wheels, built for this very job. Above the building patrolled several Balloon-type drones, equipped with IR and Microvave Radar sensors: Their primary role was surveillance, but for their secondary role as snipers, they were fitted with light 5.56mm calibre rifles in smartgun-linked hardpoints.

"Our contact is in there, right?" Remembered Chance.

"Correct." Agreed Iceman. "And we're to bust him out. Also, if YOU and YOU-" He said, indicating Alanya and Plugin "Would pull your fingers out of your fat arses, we might also be able to nose around in their nets for the info we need."

Now Iceman sat down, spinning a chair around so he was sitiing on it the wrong way, and facing the 'runners.

"Now then. How we're going to do this..."

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"Maybe we can use an spoon to dig a tunnel or something..."

Alex joked. He was still a bit bruised from the confrontation with the vampires. However, he was a bit better thanks to Rei. But where she was.
Cookies. Frag it. She had not understand the joke, so she was going to the kitchen.

Iceman was going to have a quick reply, when he noticed the smile.

"Hmm..., what is your Colonel brain cooking up, Alex?"

"Obviously, they rely on machines. Tech is deadly, effective, and does have no complaints about the job. However, we could use it as an advantage."

"Explain yourself."

"If somehow we could black out the entire base by shutting down their power supply, they would not be able to use machines anymore, and they would have to use meta human patrols."

Iceman smiled... Yes... It looked like old times infiltration.

"Our Spec Ops training might get us an extra advantage there. You remember how to sneak on patrols, right?" Continued Alex.

"However, we should need to be really near to syncronize the strike. So..." Iceman was taking also that in consideration... He was still the boss anyway. And in no way Alex would be BETTER than him at anything.

"We could infiltrate inside a freezer van. We might be cold, but freezer compartment walls will provide us shielding from Infrared and microwave scans." Finally replied the man with the wolf paw scar.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Pity we don't have an EMP Iceman sneered.

EMP bombs were almost impossible to get hold of these days, being classified as Weapons of Mass Destruction. Whereas Nukes Destroyed People, and Bukes destroyed Magic and people, EMPs destroyed Data, and therefore money. And what do Corporations care about?

So, the result was that EMPing was a definite 'out-of-the-question'.

"Good idea about the Freezer van, though. We might want to get onto that right away." Iceman turned to Plugin and Alanya. "You fraggers. One of you make yourself useful, get onto the 'trix and get the location of someone with a freezer van from the registry."

I could wire a car with explosives, in case we need a distraction. Crystal offered. Ram the fragger into the walls if we have to.

"Maybe, but that might just alert them that we're coming." Chance pondered.

Tell the fragging apes you're forgetting one MAJOR aspect, manling. Lupus growled.

Chance stood up, looked at Silvia.

"When was the last time you went for a stroll in the astral, Sil?" He said, Albino eyes twinkling brightly, even in the gloom...

Of course...The building would be magically patrolled and warded... But how much? Chance thought, tactician's mind going at a rate of knots. If we could take out whoever controlled the magical defenses, we magic-users may be able to slip in and take out the rigger controlling the Drones...

---------------------------------------------
(Nyerguds)

"Eh..."

Silvia looked pale. The last time she went Astral wasn't exactly something she wanted to be reminded of... It was back in Orkistonia, where her magical focus was suddenly blown sky-high by a mana-wave from the comet. It had caused her to be torn out of her body and into Polt's mind.
She still got a headache when thinking about it.
"Not long enough ago, actually..."

Chance frowned. "What?"
Silvia sighed. "Nevermind. Bad memories." She looked at Chance. "I guess I can do it."
"Good." Chance smiled, before realizing he hadn't told her what they would do.
"Wait a sec.." he started, but was interrupted by Silvia.
"I didn't read your mind, Chance." she explained. "You're broadcasting your thoughts far too loudly. I just picked them up. Try not to do that in the Astral."
She looked at the others.
"But how are we going to take out the security mages?"

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

"Silvia, Rusty, Ash and I will infiltrate using the freezer van, using Sil to locate the Mages, while Iceman, Crystal Chance and Alanya go after te power p,ants and-"

"NEGATIVE!" Came the furious leader's roar. Iceman was determined he should be calling the shots.

"You'll go in the van with Choak, Comrade Tyme, Shadow, your friend Rei and Hayes. Sil will be with me, Plugin and Crystal, while Alanya, Chance, Ash and Rusty for team 3. You'll notice each of the last 2 teams will have a decker and a magic-user." He added smugly.

"Team 2 will wait across the road from the building, to provide cover while team one in the van reaches the gates. Team 3 will wait by the fence for team one to...er... Eliminate the security Mages. Then Chance and Sil can go astral and find the decker, manifest on the physical plane and neutralise him... Then while the drones revert to autopilot control, we'll all go in, and go to ground - There's no hope of killing all the fraggers... Much as I'd like to. Instead our deckers will find what we're after, then we'll blow the power plant - " He indicated the well-guarded very centre of the building "And leave in the confusion. Are we all clear? Think you're up to that, little Sil?" He leaned close, with genuine concern in his eyes.

"You don't go into much detail on my part of the mission." Alex stated. Tyme growled in agreement.

"That's because I know I can trust you to come up with something... Colonel." Iceman turned the rank into a source of mockery which Alex shrugged off automatically.

"What kind of oppos are we watching for, mate?" Piped Rusty.

"Guards... Goons... Few drones. Easy meat."

"That's a UCAS military building." Chance pointed out. "They'll have soldiers there. Maybe even UCAS Special Forces."

"Beh." Iceman grunted. "Easy meat." He repeated. He took out his sharpened Spetznatz entrenching tool. "Why, I meet them back in my Spetznatz days. I introduce them to 'Comrade Shovel.'"

He mimed poking someone's eyes out with the tool, then bellowed laughter that filled the room, but didn't serve to calm anyone's fears...

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Performing a quick Matrix search, Plugin glided through the 'trix to the UCAS DMV. Finding local Registered Freezer-Vans was easy. Hell, it was even almost legal.

"Goblob's Wholesale Meat Products," intoned the decker, "1417 East 33rd Street. Not far from here. Small Ork-run Mum and Pop meat outfit."

"Believe this could do." Iceman winked.

---------------------------------------------
(Master Chris)

Jessica Hayes wasn't entirely eager to spend any length of time in a freezing box in the back of a van but she spoke up anyway;

"I assume that myself and the rest of team one will go acquire transportation now?"

Iceman nodded.

"Do it but don't make a noisy mess. You've got a few hours till you're needed. Make sure the van is hidden from any street patrols, also ensure that it's not kept too close to our position, we shouldn't keep all of our chickens in one bucket, nyet? Any questions, comments?"

Silvia interjected;

"It's eggs and basket. Don't keep your eggs in one basket."

Iceman brushed off the correction with a lethargic wave of his hand;

"It matters not. Now go and make me proud, my pretties."

The emphasis on the *my* disturbed more than one person within earshot.

Jessica Hayes looked around and eyeballed her team mates.There was Alexiev, the Russian with a history with Iceman. Choak, an mysterious enigma of a man. Tyme4Cryme, the annoying dwarven rapper. Shadow, another enigmatic figure, recently recruited. Rei, some broad who was picked up around the same time as Shadow was, yet another unknown. Jessica wasn't pleased, she didn't know how good these runners would prove to be in combat. Afterall, team one was assigned the hazardous duty of infiltrating the compound and taking out whatever astral defences existed. Jessica, yearning for a more structured chain of command, inquired;

"Who shall command team one, Sir?"

Her emphasis on the honourific was noted by all, she wanted the job and wasn't afraid to let everyone know it. Iceman looked over the six runners who were Team One, he made a point of staring at Alexiev, before replying;

"You, precious one."

He hissed.

"You shall command Team One because you are the only member of the team who was recruited by my employer in the first place, except for Alexiev.....and I don't trust Alexiev. Anyone got a problem with that?"

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

(Hmm, MC, don't you forget someone?)

Alex coughed. He was obviously getting more and more touchy with each decision Iceman was having. Those plans were like a death trap- In fact... Tyme... That shaman... Hayes, probably had not experienced some real life combat. Even Rei seemed too green for the mission. Yet that crazy arms comrade demanded Hayes to be the leader. Alex was more than sure who sent the vampires towards him now. But he could nothing but wait till Iceman's fašade dropped.

Iceman realized what Alex was trying to point out.

"Alex, I know you are the most experienced guy in these kind of missions. So, you will be the tactician... I have set it out so you won't worry to assume command and get distracted of thinking."

The ex-colonel raised an eyebrown... Since when tactical leadership and team leadership were separated? Another ditch effort... to make team one's mission a suicide.

"Listen up. I know what happens if you screw around with crap political-focused things and personal estimations. White Raven went down the shitter for these petty matters. I had to walk accross the bodies of my teammates, civilians and terrorists alike just to save the few hostages that were left...
I could only save a little girl. Hope you KNOW what you are doing..."

With these words he sat down.
"Anyway. If that's your final decision, i would obey it."
He faced hayes and sighed.
"Colonel Alexander Alexeiv at your orders. Sir!"

---------------------------------------------
(LeFire)

"Right. I'll take command of Team 3 if there are no objections." Chance said.

"Oh great... Wonder if my life insurance policy is up to date." Rusty snorted good-naturedly in reply.

"Don't worry Rusty... You aren't worth too much anyway!" Chance retorted as he examined the action of his Browning smartrifle. The ex-soldier was at ease once again, dressed in his low-visibility black civilian attire rather than that garish get-up that just screamed 'Shoot me' to anyone in eyeshot. In fact, he was feeling almost happy... they had a plan once more, with leaders and proper teams. It almost felt like the old days.

The Browning was set in its quad-burst mode... a 4-round burst unique to the weapon. An 80-round magazine provided a generous ammo supply, while a short barrel gave the weapon an edge in close-in fighting. Setting aside the gun, Chance struggled into a light armour vest provided by Time4Crime... At least that moron had the sense to see the value of body armour. The vest was nothing like his ceramic composite body armour back home, but it would have to do.

Turning to Ash, he helped secure the straps on her body armour, Rusty beside her mumbling something about 'these bloody straps' as he fiddled with his equipment. Rusty was a pilot, not exactly a dirt-eating grunt like Chance and thus not quite as soldier-savvy... Still, Chance trusted him almost as much as he trusted himself and Ash. Chance looked over at Alanya to make sure that she was good to go. The ex-soldier wasn't so familiar with the decker, but she seemed able to handle herself. Sides' he never really understood deckers.

Turning his mind inwards, he found Lupus grinning from vulpine ear to ear.
I always liked strolling around in astral... especially if you can't manifest on the physical plane, its the only entertainment a wolf can get around here. Especially when locked into this sorry excuse for a mind. By the way, you don't do much mental spring-cleaning, do you? Why yesterday, I found..."

Chance pointedly ignored Lupus' ribbing... the wolf sometimes could have a really sarcastic brand of humour.

Chance brought his thumb up to Iceman to indicate that his team was ready, running over the plan once more in his head.

---------------------------------------------
(Master Chris)

Jessica listened to the Russian's submissive acceptance of the chain of command. Seemed Iceman didn't want Alexiev leading Team One, those two seemed to have a deep loathing for one another. Hayes recalled what Alexiev had idly mentioned; White Raven. Hostages. A single little girl rescued. It was all so familar. Jessica took herself back to an event in her life that had occured many years ago. She had been caught in the middle of a terrorist attack and had been held hostage. She could still smell the awful musk of the sweaty man who had used her as a body sheild. Hayes closed her eyes and continued to recall that incident. How a single soldier, with a scarred face, had burst into the room and expertly gunned down the remaining terrorists with pinpoint accuracy. How that man had carried her, kicking and screaming, to safety even sporting a serious wound. It had been this man's selfless act of heroism that had inspired Jessica Hayes to join N'Zar's security forces and eventually become a lieutenant upon the Red_Dawn airbourne carrier. That man had been the reason Jessica was the woman she was today. A single inspiring and selfless act in a cruel, cold hearted world.

Jessica gasped. Him! Alexiev! She opened her eyes again and looked at the Russian. He was still crestfallen over Iceman's decision to put Hayes in command of Team One. He had that very same scar upon his face, it must be! Jessica wanted to talk to him, alone, so she grabbed the first gun she could and ushered Team One out of the door while hurriedly explaining;

"Better get a move on, we'll be in position in time don't worry, Iceman."

***

Rusty wriggled into his vest, still mumbling incomprehensibly. As the vest slipped around his chest and into place Rusty brought his head up in time to see Chance give Iceman a thumbs up.

"We good to go, mate?"

Ash nodded, Rusty was always amazed at how 'in tune' those two could be, it was never anything as tacky as finishing each others sentences but any fool could see they were really close. Rusty looked over the team decker, Alanya. She looked capable enough, confident of her own skills. Rusty liked that in a person, confidence bred competence in most cases. The Australian thought about what he should take into battle. Chance is taking his good old Browning, a nice weapon for any situation. Ash, I gather, is our specialist and will be carrying the heaviest weapon she can. What's Alanya gonna pack? A textbook field technician wouldn't carry anything heavier than a pistol but those rules don't apply on the streets. Rusty's ponderings were interrupted by Chance;

"Don't take all day, fly boy."

Rusty spotted what he wanted. It was an antique by most standards but the humble Pump Action shotgun was a classic. Rusty grabbed the shotgun, pocketed a handful of cartridges and also scooped up a Glock 17 9mm pistol and a few 9mm magazines. Chance laughed at Rusty's choice of weaponry.

"You looking to sell them to a museum after this operation, Rusty?"

---------------------------------------------
(Nyerguds)

Silvia tapped Crystal on the shoulder. "We need to talk." she said softly.

'We'? Crystal thought bitterly. More like 'her'...

"Not at all, Crys."

Crystal frowned, and looked at Sil.
You're reading my mind, aren't you? Crystal thought explicitly.
"Nope. Just receiving the thoughts of what you want to say. The actual words in your mind."
With Chance... that was a demonstration, right?
"Kind of." Silvia glanced back to Chance. "But he really does need to be more careful."
She smiled at Crystal. "Anyway... I just wanted to say that you won't need that epad to talk to me... should improve the team's efficiency, don't you agree?"
Crystal looked a bit unsure, but no specific words formed in her mind. Siliva knew what was troubling her, though. She sighed.
"If it's of any comfort to you... this is totally different from actual mind-reading. No chances of... accidents whatsoever... this way I only pick up what you actually want people to hear."

Crystal looked at Silvia.
You practiced this... Why do you do all this effort just for me?
Silvia stared at her feet. "Well...."
she looked up to Crystal. "The troll. Jolly. I knew I had to find some way of letting you communicate in an easier way. But I don't read your mind. I never will, either. You're a friend."
She looked at the other people around her, and smiled at Crystal. "Come on, I'll help you pack your stuff... if you don't mind."

***

Alanya took her gun. It was a light, pracical gun, and it was smartlinked with her datajack, through the metal implant on her finger, just like Wirecat.
She grabbed the backpack with her deck in it and opened it to check if she had all her programs. She smiled, closed the backpack and hung it over her shoulder.
"OK, ah'm ready ta go."

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

Crystal slipped out, dragging Plugin and Sil with her, taking advantage of their new-found closeness. Watched by Iceman, she dragged a sack from the van and walked out to the Car Parking area.

"Wh-what are we doing?" Stammered Plugin, half fright, half in wonder. Crystal closed the door on inquisitive eyes behind her. She waited until a fragged-up old Ork in a stained sports jacket stumblde past looking for a place to collapse, and then pointed an object in the ceiling out to Plugin: The silvered-up dome of a camera emplacement.

"Oh." Said Plugin with relief, then "Oh." again, with a sad look on his face. He'd thought he was going to get some 'private time' with Crystal.

In a way he was. Unsheathing his new deck, he wandered over to the nearest telecom line in the dirt-grey wall of the car park. Picking up on this, Crystal kept between him and the closest camera at all times.

Be a dear Sil. Watch for any meta-human guards or bystanders, will you? She thought to Sil.

"No problem." Sil grinned, already thinking of an interesting illusion to conjure up. Should anyone come along.

In the end, she was disappointed. No-one did, it being late at night.

Crash took out a craft knife and sliced the fibreoptic line out of the wall. Quickly he worked the ends into a small box he carried: Into this box he snapped the fibre--optice cable from his deck, and into his head went the deck's other cable. He was in.

The Car park Matrix was about as interested as one could possibly be: Blank, flat grey all around, with 1950's style cars representing the systems. He reached into an oldsmobile, which turned out to be camera control. A pathetic IC modelled like a guard dog tried to interrogate him for ID. He stepped on it, crashing it, no fuss, and set the cameras into an infinite loop.

That done, he went as Crystal selected a 2060 GM Outlander 6X6 RV, helped her crack the maglock, and Crystal went to work on the vehicle with her bag of tricks, Sil keeping an eye on things.

***

Goblob, an aging Ork with a fine line in non-decaying meat produce, rounded another corner whistling a jaunty tune. He had to whistle, because his clapped-out old freezer van lacked any kind of music system. Nevertheless, he was about to finish his delivery round.

About fragging time, too. Its getting late, and I got to see da DC Destroyers trounce da Pittsburgh Piledrivers on Combat Monobiker tonight...

Hanging a left onto the service ramp for his last shop, he was forced to stamp on the brakes. Some crazy fragger was standing in the middle of the ramp-road about to get crushed.

Swearing, he got out of his gab, furous, started yelling

"Hey you crazy fragger standing in da middle of da road ramp about ta get crunched! What the frag are ya doin?"

"Nyet, what are YOU doing?" Iceman grinned - He'd taken Alex and Rei along while Crystal was playing around. They'd found out where the van was from TrafficNet (tm)... Much to the owner's misfortune. As he was about to discover...

Only then did Goblob realize how big the fragger was. Another guy stepped out from behind him, and from the left came a young-loking Japanese girl with a fragging sword.

"Oh... shit."

***

Crystal had finished wiring the 6x6 with explosives, with enough left over for a breaching job and blowing the panel off a piece of machinery if she needed to, thinking of the power plant in the UCAS ONI building. She wished she'd been able to get the thing's details, but she worked best on the fly, anyway.

Going back into the meeting room with Sil and Plugin, she was informed that Chance was her team leader, and felt pretty good about that. He was experienced, and she could trust him.

But about Iceman...

She put this to Chance.

"Him? Oh, he went with Rei and Alex to get the Freezer van. They should be back pretty soon."

---------------------------------------------
(LeFire)

"Let's go over it again.... After they get back with the van, we move out and emplace ourselves in these buildings close to the fence. Then we hold position and cover until Team 1 gets through the gates and neutralises the mages." Chance pointed out the relevant spots on a hand-drawn map. "Next, me and Sil will go astral and remove the security rigger. Finally, we all go in and mop up. All ok?"

Everyone nodded.

Ash tapped her thermic rifle at the words 'mop-up', the weapon designed for close-range firefights against armoured targets. Instead of a conventional bullet, the thermic rifle fired rounds loaded with a thermite mixture that could melt its way through body armour. It had a low range and slow fire rate... but then Ash also had twin swords hanging from her waist.

"Right people... now we wait."

---------------------------------------------
(CKW)

"Get in."
The russian boomed, withdrawing his weapon to the ork's forehead.
"Do what I say, and you won't paint the van with your brains, tovarich."

Alex made a signal to rei. She putted back the katana.

"Great. We have a van and a driver. What's the next, sensei Iceman?"
She said.
"Hmm... sensei... It sounds so good when you little asian cutie face says it..."
Replied the psycho, in a disturbing way.

---------------------------------------------
(Wesforce)

The Ork driver got into his freezer van. The psycho and his two accomplices - Liable to be as maniacal as him, thought Goblob - piled in behind, te four of them crammed into the driver's compartment.

"I'll drive." Said Iceman, punching the old Ork's lights out. He slumped against the window, held there by the press of bodies, limp tongue hanging between his dirty yellow tusks.

***

By the time the freezer van appeared, everyone was ready and good to go. Iceman picked up one ofthe browning Rifles and tossed another to Alex. Crystal handed them both webbing-belts full of clips from Tyme's van, and light armour vest. She pulled on her own trusty armour jacket, and everyone piled into one of the vans, Tyme driving his 8-wheeler, Crystal and Sil travelling in the decked 6x6 off-roader.

***

The hop across town was a short one. It was now well after Midnight, with Darkness well and truly fallen.

The ONI building was on the outskirts of FDC, you could tell by the way concrete pavement gave way to dusty, cracked dirt ground by the sides of the road.

The low, squat octagon, built at huge taxpayer cost, appeared to be run-down and decrepit from the outside. That didn't mean it was going to be easy. Far from it.

The vehicles parked next to the closest building to the ONI, concealed from view.

Crystal left her 6x6, but left the engine running. The others got out and assembled into their teams, team 1 piling into the freezing back of the freezer van.

Iceman grabbed Goblob roughtly, slapping him until he woke up.

"Drive AT the gates. Drive AT the gates! Slowly. Understand?"

Goblob muttered something through his bruised face and swollen tongue. Iceman took it for a yes.

He took a look at the building they were standing against. An aging tenement building. The roof would offer a good LOS over the ONI compound, 150 metres away.

"Crystal..."

The Blue haired girl nodded, taking a small pre-prepared charge from her ever-present bag'o'tricks. She stuck it under the maglock pad on the back, service door.

"Wait!" Plugin said, stopping her. He exaimined the door looking for the signs of an alarm system. Everyone held their breath: An alarm here could be disaster for the whole job.

He pushed the door. It opened, left unlocked.

"In we go!"

And in they went, Crystal retrieving her unused dorr-charge first.

As they ran, Iceman tapped something into his wristphone, while below, Team 1's Freezer van trundled off up to the ONI gates. Crystal shot him a look.

"I'm letting our insider know we're coming, alright? Frag off!"

They carried on running.

***

Two UCAS Military ONI gate guards stopped the van, Colt M23s at port arms. Above twinkled the lights of the early-warning Airship drones, and Drones whirred through the dead grass in the 100metre perimeter zone around the building.

"Frag off you Trogg fragger. We didn't order any meat."

"Sorry mithtuh." Lisped Goblob. He went to turn the van around.

Suddenly, a Guard came out from the gate hut, rifle to his shoulder, screaming at the van.




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