The Den Games Network Forum RPG
Page 20

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce, Nyerguds


(Wesforce)

Drawn by the sound of the voice, the first UCAS Delta Trooper singled out Alex easily: His thermographic eyes picking the shape out starkly, and his ears protected from the rining shockwave of the blast by special dampener implants: Delta Force had among the best equipment available, after all.

9mm SMG ammo thudded heavily into Alex's stolen UCAS armour jacket, knocking the breath out of him and unbalancing him. His arm went dead as a bullet tore through and he felt his rifle clatter to the floor. He was screaming something when a round tore across his face, bursting an eye and blowing out his left cheek. He fell to his knees.

"FRAG! ALEX IS DOWN!" Yelled Rusty over the comm-link, just in case anyone hadn't seen or heard. It was pitch dark, after all..

The muzzle flare from the soldier's gun from the doorway dazzled Crystal's therm-goggles and she threw her flashbang wild. It landed behind the sofa in the room and the blast put two of the Delta troops on the defensive.

Not everyone had been taken by surprise by the counter-attack - Ash picked out the firing man by the flare and put a thermo-round right into the middle of his chest. Body armour, webbing, clothing and skin all went up in a conflagration, melting and burning together. The screaming unnerved the Delta Man behind him, who dragged his comrade out of the doorway, to see if there was anything he could do.

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(Master Chris)

The Urban Combat Vehicle, having obviously dealt with whatever had caught it's attention, turned it's turrets back towards the compound. The marine in the cupola pumped his fist into the air and mocked the recently deceased, whomever or whatever they were;

"Oh yeah! We got you good! Stay down mongrel!"

An angry voiced boomed out in reply;

"Private Davenport! You will report to me immediately!"

Jessica Hayes saw the shocked marine disappear from veiw as he exited the cupola. The marine came back into view when the UCV's rear ramp opened and the soldier marched out of it. Jessica watched as the soldier slowly made his way towards the source of the voice, a burly sargeant;

"Davenport, we are in a real combat zone, if you do not act in a professional manner I will throw your sorry ass in the brig so fast your head will spin!"

The sargeant paused, no doubt rallying more spittle to rain down upon his insubordinate.

"Do you read me soldier?!"

Davenport swallowed nervously and nodded. The sargeant wasn't satisfied;

"The correct reply is 'Sir! Yes, sir!' Now, do you read me soldier?!"

"Sir! Yes, sir!"

During this exchange Jessica had crawled forward, to the edge of her trash-haven and readied herself for action. As soon as she had heard the second 'sir' issued from Pvt. Davenport's mouth she lunged forward, low to the ground, and picked up the discarded assault rifle that had been left there. Tightly gripping her rifle, Jessica quickly checked the safety was off and fired a long burst over the heads of the soldiers. They both hit the deck, both uninjured, however.

The rigger within the UCV noticed the sudden burst of activity behind him and trained his mini-gun turrets upon the pile of rubbish Hayes had emerged from. With a noise not unlike a rusty chainsaw the mini-guns threw buckets of hot lead into the garbage heap before tracing a pock-marked trail that chased Jessica Hayes as she ran towards the UCV. However, the element of suprise had proved decisive in this case, the turrets weren't able to track Hayes as she got right up to the UCV. Realising what the intruder intended, the vehicle's rigger tried to shut the rear ramp before Hayes got in. All the rigger succeeded in was cutting himself off from the soldiers outside of the craft, Hayes was in!

Ripping the rigger-cables from his jack the Urban Combat Vehicle's pilot threw himself onto the floor and begged for mercy. Jessica, adrenaline pumping through her system, didn't care to listen and just pointed her rifle at the rigger and held down the trigger. Only three or so bullets were fired before the weapon jammed. Hayes dropped the useless weapon and dropped into the chair the rigger had been sitting in. Snatching the rigger-cables Jessica slotted them into her rigger jack without a second thought. The shock of unfamiliar system architecture caused Jessica to spasm, throw up on herself before finally connecting with the Urban Combat Vehicle.

A sense of power permeated through Jessica Hayes. It was a nearly forgotten sensation. The Red Dawn had also imparted a feeling of invincibility when one was jacked into it. Testing out her extended body, Jessica had the vehicle move forwards. Underestimating the acceleration, Jessica screamed forwards and rammed a nearby out-of-date telegraph pole. Still experimenting with the UCV, Jessica turned her turrets onto nearby UCAS forces and fired. The hail of bullets made the soldiers duck behind cover, whether it was behind another combat vehicle or a pile of refuse. As suddenly as she had started firing she stopped. Jessica span the UCV around and sped silently away. She planned to draw off some of the heavy UCAS firepower and double back to pick up her fellow runners.

As she lured the dangerous UCAS tanks away from the compound, little did she realise the greatest danger to her was lying nearby, bleeding but not quite dead yet....

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

It was supposed to be a clean "Breach, Bang and Clear" routine... but somehow Alex had delayed the stack-the two sided arrangment of breachers that lined up on either side of the door-by talking to Crystal. The demowoman had dived aside the moment her charges were blown, clearing the doorway, but Alex had been a bit too slow... he went down with a grunt as bullets rippled through him.

Ash was on the other side of the door and went in cleanly, firing at targets on Alex's side of the room, ignoring those on her side.

Those soldiers that she had ignored were supposed to be Alex's responsibility, but now that he was down, Chance was the next assaulter in line. Chance couldn't hear Silvia over the turmoil of gunfire, and his concern for Ash overrode any other considerations. He pushed past the falling Russian and dived in immediately after, engaging the soldiers who were now on Ash's blind side. His Browning automatic rifle thundered... a line of slugs cratering armour and flesh as they chopped down his first target from groin to chin. The next Delta soldier tried to switch targets from Ash to Chance, realizing too late that it was the latter that was the more immediate threat to him. He fired a wild 2 round-burst at the fleeting figure of Ash, but his next volley went into the roof as Chance got him through throat and face.

Ash felt the hammering blow of a round punching into magazine of her thermo-rifle... suddenly thankful for its bulk that had acted as a shield. The gun burst into flames, causing the sole remaining Delta in the room to assume that she was down, immolated by her own destroyed weapon. He sought out Chance, the other threat.

But Ash wasn't down of course... Dropping the gun in a smooth movement, she drew one of the blades from her waist and brought it in a devastating horizontal slice at the Delta man's head level. The dark shape separated into two, the top portion tumbling from its perch to thump onto the floor as the headless corpse fell backwards.

"Clear!" Chance snarled... wincing at the ringing in his ears from the firefight in the enclosed space. "You OK?!"

"Clear! I'm good to go... Thermo-rifle's trashed though, and Alex is down bad."

"Clear!" A third voice sounded from the door, Chance snapping around in alarm and nearly firing. Silvia walked through, blade in her hands.
"Was another one hiding behind the sofa with the suitcase... I went astral and popped up at the other side of the room after you went in like a enraged caveman. That surviving Delta was reaching for a nade... at least until I manifested behind him and introduced him to this." Silvia indicated her blade, which she had discovered as capable of manifesting in astral together with her.

"Astral, buddy. You've got to start thinking with your head instead of your gun."


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

Crystal and Rei knelt over Alex. His face was a mess: One eye gone, a cheek blown out, an exit wound in his muscular arm you could almost fit a cricket ball into...

Crystal ripped a field-dressing off her webbing and padded out the wound as best she could, picking out torn and burnt bits of clothing with tweezers as Alex moaned in shock. She paused, gave him a stimm-shot to keep him quiet and with it, before going back to her work. The soldiers had been firing frag-rounds too. Nasty, but she managed to hunt down most of the shards.

She covered the wound with synthi-skin to prevent infection. Rei had been working on his face. She;d stopped the bleeding, but there wasn;t much she could do about the eye right now.

"Weird..." Silvia queried. "This case has an astral signature."

"Thats because I'm alive, ya dumb bitch!" Said the case.

Silvia almost dropped it.

"What the sleg? What is this, night of the talking inanimate objects?"

"Long fragging story. Tell your decker I got what she needs. Now where's the Russian guy?"

"He didn;t make it." Groaned Alex.

"Too bad. Well, lets bug out." Said the case.

First Alex... Then Iceman... Now a fragging CASE is telling us what to do? Crystal shook her head - Then helped Rei get Alex up. He could walk, but was dizzy for the moment.

The group made their way quickly back to the control room, Crystal on point, where Alanya and the Case started a quick conversation.

Do we have time for this? Crystal wondered, sitting Alex down in a chair. The proud ex-spetznatz was loathe to accept help from anyone.

"I got a look at the outside. Fragging whole army out there at the main gate. How are we gonna get out?"

Crystal still had one card left to play.

She flipped up her wristphone screen -And dialled into the autopilot of the car she'd aquired earlier.

By a stroke of luck, it hadn;t been hit by the mortar bombing and machine-gunning of the building she'd parked it behind. She gave it's autonav a few instructions, and hung up.

Lets move to the main gate shall we? She told Chance to say with her ePad.

***

The car rolled around the corner - Crystal had told it to drive straight at the main gate of the ONI building. UCAS Delta Force men fired at it intermittently with submachineguns and then lightmachineguns.

It's dark-plastiglass canopy was pitted and cracked in dozens of places, one tyre was shredded, but the autonav compensated. One of the battery cells was holed, and leaked profusely, but the car still had more than enough power to last the rest of its short 'life'.

The vehicle was normally unable to move at more than 30mph on autonav - Suddenly coming under threat, it's built-in safety systems kicked it up to 60mph and it blasted past the UCAS troops who didn't want to be mown down.

An UCV was right between the battery-fluid-leaking, speeding death-car and the entranceway, and one way or another the large amounts of c-12 Crystal had rigged the car with were going to make *quite* a bang...

---------------------------------------------
(Desolator12)

Plugin's headache was now increased by the sound of gunfire... his pistol was nearby, so he grabbed it, and hid it in a napoleon-esque way... his head was throbing... he couldn't think strait... the neuro-stun was slowly disipating in his body, but nonetheless, he was pretty useless at this point... more gunfire... this time it was close... it was too much, and Plugin went unconcious from the pain...

...in his unconcious state, he saw that they were walking down a corridor... all of a sudden, the door blew up and crystal got shreaded by shrapnel... UCAS troops marched in, and a gunfight ensued... alex was still wounded, so he was useless pretty much, and got mowed down... Chance was next...several bulletts to the heart... one by one, they all fell... to surprised by the explosion and too flat-footed to do anything....

".....Plugin... wake up...."

Plugin was jarred out of his "sleep", and immediately felt sick...

"guys, I seriously think there is something with these dreams.. *URP!!* "

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(Nyerguds)

Silvia looked at Iceman's astral form. He was still unconscious.

Hmm... I gotta get him out of here...

She looked at the others, who were about to leave.

Then, she noticed the woman sitting quietly in a corner of the control room, completely ignored by the 'runners... and realized she was far too dangerous to be ignored.

She walked towards Lieutenant Commander Forbeson.
"Well well... there's out mage..." Silvia said, and smiled.

"Well well, there's our half-dragon." Forbeson replied dryly. She still had a horrible headache from the stun gas, and had decided it would be better not to try anything until she felt good enough to do magic again. But now it didn't look like she was going to get any chance to do anything at all.

Silvia looked at Forbeson's uniform and frowned. "Hmm... looks like you're not just 'the third security mage'..."

Forbeson didn't reply, hoping Silvia wouldn't realize how high-ranked she was. She didn't feel like being used as a hostage.
"What's with the big guy being invisible?"
"The others think he's dead. They're more comfortable that way."
"Oh. So if I'd just dispell that invisibility spell right now..."
"... you'd meet Mr. Trocimar less than a second later." Silvia replied, grabbing the hilt of the sword strapped to her back and smoothly pulling it out of the scabbard. From the moment the sword was out, the scabbard dissolved in green sparks.

She glanced at the runes on the sword, frowned, and took a better look at them. She had expexted them to change to her name... but this was plain weird.

Silvia Ulane~Trocimar

"...Trocimar? My name isn't Trocimar..."
She looked at Forbeson, and quickly put the sword back on her back. Not many people could read Draconian runes, but she didn't want to risk this woman knowing her full name.

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

Forbeson whipped out her gun while Silvia was distracted with the sword. A heavy 10mm Colt Mankiller with laser sight (as Mages didn't cope well with the cyber-circuitry of a smartlink). She hadn't used it anywhere except on the firing ranges - But she carried it for a reason.

"DIE BITCH!"

Silvia's small, frail body was jerked and tossed around by the heavy impacts - Percussive detonations from the Heavy Pistol echoed around the control room. Though Forbeson's head swam, the range was just too short for her to miss. In times like these, a gun was just so much easier than concentrating for a spell.

The girl was bleeding heavily, from the abdomen and both legs. Forbeson wasn't sure as to her full capabilities - Backing towards the exit, she fired a few more times at her prone figure.

Then she whipped around, unloading her weapon at the corner she'd seen Iceman slumped astrally, but she couldn't concentrate her vision to make him out.

"Time to go!" The Navy Officer grinned, imagining the Commendations she'd be receiving for avenging the death of so many UCAS personnel - That is, if she didn't get the firing squad for being in control of this whole bloodbath.

Rushing through the door that lead to the elevator up to the helipad, she heard more firing from the front, but there was nothing she could do about that now. She reloaded her pistol and reaffirmed that her Protection spell-locks were still working. They were. She thanked them.

The elevator was down - She punched the glass emergency button on the door, and an escape ladder whipped down. She clambered up it quickly, ignoring her bleeding hand.

Moments later she popped the roof hatch - A helo stood ready, two UCAS Marines messily dead next to it.

Spotlights hovered in the air.

"Thank the Goddess!" She breathed. Salvation. "OVER HERE!" She waved her arms in broad gestures frantically.

One of the UCAS Navy SeaDrake choppers came over to drop her its ropeladder, while a FireDrake Attack Helicopter covered her with its 30mm cannon.

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

"Not again!" Silvia yelled. She was angry. Angry at herself for not having checked whether the woman was armed, and angry at the mage-bitch for surprising her like that. She barely felt the pain... all she felt was anger.

She looked at her hands. As she expected, the skin shifted when she got hit.
"You're DEAD! you hear me? DEAD!" she yelled through the Astral plane, while shifting to Dragon form. The pain prevented her from shifting completely, but she didn't care. At least the wound in her belly was force-healed. She lifted the invisibility spell as she noticed one of the bullets had hit Iceman and woken him from her spell.

"Get up. We got a bitch to kill."

Iceman frowned when seeing her like that... shifted to Dragon form (but still wearing her clothes), wounded, and angry. He had never seen her angry before.

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

It was a deadly game of cat and mouse. (*Tch* So cliched)

Jessica Hayes, in her stolen Urban Combat Vehicle, had fought for her life on the streets of Washington FDC. Her silent UCV had lured some of the mobile UCAS forces away from the compound and had engaged them in a furious game of hide and seek. Jumping out from behind a building Jessica screamed past a pair of APCs, wildly firing her mini-guns at them, and then was gone again.

Keep moving, girl. Mobility is your only defence. Keep them on their to-Eek!

Hayes, still not yet familiar with the UCVs capabilities, had taken a corner sharply and the vehicle tipped itself onto three wheels (being a six wheeled vehicle normally) and it wriggled precariously as Jessica fought for control. With a loud thump and a slight bounce the UCV regained it's footing and Jessica continued her one-woman guerilla war upon the UCAS.

Ba-Boom!

The external sensors of the UCV picked up a moderately loud explosion which, when triangulated, seemed to come from the UCAS compound. Hayes couldn't have known that is was Crystal's remotely detonated car exploding in an impromptu fireworks display but she took it as a sign that she should slip away from the UCAS troops chasing her and return to pick up her runner comrades.

I'm coming, Alex.

***

"Bloody Hell! Fragged up beyond all recognition. FUBAR, bloody FUBAR!"

Rusty wailed from the 'Building Rigger's Seat', dried blood forming a copper coloured mustache above his lips. He threw himself out of the chair and stumbled towards his shotgun. It took several attempts to grab the weapon, Rusty still disorientated from the strain of trying to 'rig' an entire building. Shotgun in hand, Rusty hastily slurred at those around him;

"We gotta get those guys patched up and evac ASAP, people. There's an abandoned chopper on the roof, I can fly it, no problem. Let's move, move, move!"

With that Rusty ran out of the rigger control station.

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

The runners made it to the main entrance hall moments before the bomb car hit the barricades outside.

The shockwave of the detonation was felt through the ONI building's passageways and corridors, a rumbling thunder that rolled past the runners as they hugged pillars and various other solid objects for dear life.

The two Urban-Panzers that the UCAS had managed to scrounge up happened to be the road-blocks that the bomb car had aimed for... but not anymore after the C-12 went off. One went tumbling end over end like a somersaulting toy, plowing through a line of parked Marine APC's, scattering armour pieces and bodies in every direction. The other was blown twenty feet into the sky and ended up burning and crumpled on its roof. Pieces of barricade and various body parts rained down... the remains of a Marine breaching team that had been a little too close to the blast zone, while a cloud of dust and smoke roiled into the ONI building and its surrounding areas, obscuring everything in a dark haze.

Ok... maybe that was too much C-12. Crystal mouthed to Ash as the latter looked at her with incredulous eyes, her ears ringing. As if to confirm that, a section of wall toppled over with another resounding crash.

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(Nyerguds)

"Come on! What are you waiting for? She's getting away!"

Iceman grabbed Silvia's hand, and she brusquely pulled him him up.
"Sil? Is that... really you?" Iceman frowned, even though he realized Silvia was the only one that could ever pull him up with such ease. "Is this your... true form?"
"Both forms are equally 'true', so stop worrying about the flat chest on this one, OK?"
She grabbed the machinegun that was still lying on the ground and pushed it in Iceman's hands. "Let's go."

She ran towards the door she'd seen Forbeson disappear into, and saw the emergency ladder.
She glanced behind her to see if Iceman was following, and climbed up.

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

By now Forbeson had gotten herself onto the rope ladder lowered by the troop chopper, and it was being winched up, as the chopper itself drew up.

When the explosion came, it juddered as the rigger controlling it gritted his teeth against the sudden thermals from the blast. Forbeson was thrown about wildly, by stayed on the ladder by the skin of her teeth, and renewed her purchase.

Soon the firm hands of a UCAS Navy crewman pulled her into the chopper's body. A crewman with red crosses on his helmet gave her the once over.

"Not now, nit now... What the frag's happening?" She yelled, pulling on an intercom headset.

"Big fragging bomb out front... Whole place is a fragging warzone, Ma'am!"

She considered her options. The helo pulled away from the area, not fast enough for her liking. Clearing her head, she prepared to astrally survey the area...

***

As the haze washed over them, Crystal clicked her IR goggles off and pushed them up - They were useless in this haze, which contained hot particles from the blast.

Where's Silvia? She could lead us through this haze, with Astral perception - To safety! A bit of invisibility wouldn't go amiss either - Now's our chance, with the UCAS men disorganised.

She called out, in her mind.

SILVIA!

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

Silvia crawled on the platform, and saw the helicopter leave.
"SLEG!" she yelled. She was just about to Store her clothes and unfold her wings when she heard Crystal's call for help.

"SILVIA!"

She hesitated, and looked at the chopper. The Mage-bitch was in there... she could feel it.

Sleg. What now?

She also realized that she couldn't fly with the sword; it was too heavy. And she saw the chopper was aiming its guns at her. She had to think of something, and fast.

That's a lost battle, Sil...

Silvia sighed, summoned a bullet barrier and sat own on her knees. Then, she concentrated on the helicopter and closed her eyes. The words came into her mind as she spoke them, taken from the memory of the sword. They were linked to it, together with the entire new magic she had acquired. Her father's magic... the magic of the Medium Dragons. They didn't rely on fire...

Her eyes shot open, and green electric charges played around her pupils.

"Iceman! Stay down; it's over." she said when she heard him climb up the ladder behind him, without taking her eyes off the helicopter. "Join the rest. Just make sure they don't notice you; I made them think you're dead. Wait for me. I'll find you."

***

In the helicopter, the rigger spasmed as green charges appeared throughout the helicopter, looking for one specific target to hurt. At first, the rigger felt them go towards the officer they just hauled aboard, but when they were proved ineffective there, the electric anomalies came towards the other vital target in the chopper... himself.

***

"One way or another, bitch... you're going down." Silvia growled, while getting up.

Using the magic made her understand it all. It didn't feel like something strange... it felt the same as her father.
My dad... Vorug Serthedal... IS Arzurug Trocimar. A Medium dragon. But... why?

She looked at the huge cloud of dust down at the entrance of the complex.
...no time for that now. They're in there.
Well, this will make it easier to smuggle Iceman out.


She ran towards the edge of the helipad, shifted her clothes away and unfolded her wings. Then, she made the sword attach itself on her back between the wings, and dived into the dusty haze.

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

The UCAS Navy Rigger wasn't entirely sure what was happening - But he'd witnessed enough magic in his career to know this was a bad thing.

Magically-induced electrical-type attack he thought - And immediately went into the drileld procedure.

He unjacked himself from his machine, yelling at his un-riggerd co-pilot to take the controls. Green sparks flew around the cockpit, and from somewhere came the smell of burning. Someone was screaming from the back.

"Cut the fragging chatter dammit!" The pilot growled, disenganging all the electrical equipment. The control columns - Those bulky, anachronistic old-fashioned failsafes - Bucked and quivered in the co-pilots hands as the Helo went into autorotaion: The rotors being turned just enough by the wind rushing past to keep them inthe air, though they were dropping rapidly.

"How's she handling?" Screamed the pilot, unclipping a fire extinguisher to deal with a small fire behind his control panel.

"Like a fragging brick - Found somewhere to put her down though!"

***

The Attack helo on cover hadn't thought much of the small girl on the ONI's roof - But they'd seen what she'd done to the transport helo.

"Weapons free, Weapons free! FIRE!"

The pilot aimed her cannon naturally - it felt a part of her. She was just begging to 'reach out and touch' someone.

The 30mm chain gun reached it's full cyclic rate of 1200rpm in just under 3 seconds - By which time a good 6 feet around Silvia had been utterly devasated by the 3cm-wide shells pouring out at a stupendous rate. The Tarmac and Sheet metal of the floor wasn't so much as punctured but vapourised by the mix of Hi-Ex and Armour-Piercing Depleted Uranium shells. Silvia's Barrier lasted maybe 1 second against that onslaught - But by that time she'd literally no ground left to stand on, thrown by the multiple explosions.

She took stock, getting to her feet now, the helo having stopped firing. She was out of sight. They could still ripple her with area-effect rockets, but they would be hitting their own men.

That Silvia was sure of - She could see the familiar auras of Crystal, Ash and Chance, the Delusional Plugin, Fatigued Rusty, Wounded Alex and joyful Alanya - Who also carried a more uncertain individual within a case by her side.

They were just about to blunder into a group of three UCAS Reinforcements, in cover behind a half-wrecked Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

She wouldn't reach them in time...

***

"Mmmph Frmpgh gmmoph!" Growled the gun in Alanya's pocket, its LEDs winking frantically.

She chanced taking the cigarette from its barrel.

"You what?"

"I said there's three fecking army feckers roight in front of us ye spalpeen!" It whispered.

"Yoo shure?" She whispered back - The noise seemed deafeningly loud, here in this choking murky half-light of smoke, illuminated by powerful spotlights the UCAS troops had brought in, and shadowed by the occasional rotor blades from at least two choppers. Radios crackled and men and women shouted in the middle distance.

"Course the feck oi'm sure! Oi'm picking them up on ultrasound! Where's moi bullets? Oi can take 'em!"

Rei was near the front of the group, having practiced moving around in mist before. This was different - The terrifying prospect of chancing upon some trigger-happy UCAS marines at close range was pretty high. She was trying to make out if what the gun said was true, she she did hear someone - A big man. Behind them...

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

Rei tapped Alex on the shoulder.

She had heard someone behind them. She needed to check.

With barely audible footsteps,she headed for the back. The footsteps were erratic, so the guy wasn't in alert. That could give her enough time to sneak up on him...

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(Nyerguds)

Alanya looked more serious now. "Hm. Ya got a trigger smartlink?"
"Sure. All newer guns 'ave that." the Gun replied.
"Gud." She grabbed her own gun, unloaded the clip and plugged it in the AI gun.
"No speshul stuff... hope ya don't mind."
"It'll do."
Alanya ran forward hissing "Three ded ahead!" to the people around her.

***

Silvia noticed the change in Alanya's aura. She was more serious now... and she had a specific goal to strive for.
Thank the Goddess... she knows. Somehow, she knows...

She looked at the other people in the fog. There was no way she could reach Crystal in time, but there was one person she could reach... Iceman, blindly walking dangerously close to the others.

She ran towards him, grabbed his waist and pulled him down.
Iceman immediately rolled over to defend himself, but Silvia was slightly faster; she put her green claw on his mouth to keep him quiet.
"I told you to be careful!" she hissed at him, while putting away her wings. "You were way too close!"

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(Wesforce)

The gun bucked once, minimally, in Alanya's hand. She hardly felt it - The semi-smart recoil-absorbent incorporated in the weapon's body did that for her.

"Get d-" Began one of the UCAS marines, feeling something thud into his flak jacket with a metallic sound. Only a pistol round. never penetrate my armour he was thinking. The shot had hot his webbing, just where his grenades were -

CRACK!

The dull, flat grenade blast turned him into a bloody, flying rag doll. His comrades, unwisely close enough to be touching, felt enough of the blast to be deafened, stunned and badly wounded.

"Oi'd loike to see yer feckin' suitcase do that!" Said the smug gun.

Shouts of alarm and screamed orders rose from the UCAS forces anew, giving the 'runners a better idea of where they were in relation to them - And where they had to go.

"Hurry!" Urged Chance. Suddenly they heard gunfire - SMGs on burst-fire, the detonations of flashbangs. UCAS Delta Troops were re-taking the ONI building.

Now the 'runners were crouch-running across the mortar-blasted, dust enshrouded wasteland that had surrounded the ONI complex. Crystal added to the haze by dropping smoke cans at seemingly random intervals, using the prevailing wind so the smoke would cover the way for them to the building they'd started out from.

Ripping the pin from another can, Crystal's feet found something low and hard. She went down with embarrassing awkwardness, landing heavily and jarring her shoulder on the obstruction.

She looked at it - A four wheeled Perimeter drone, about the size of a child's electricar. In a compact turret it mounted a spotlight, IR lamp, cameras, several aerials and a light machine gun. All useless now.

Then the Earth started to shake. Crystal thought she was hallucinating - Maybe she'd banged her head.

Then. all she knew that something Big and threatening and painted in Urban Camo was on the way. Six wheels, supercharged engine, lots of guns...

With a deafening screech, the UCV Drew up, inches from the wincing Crystal's head. Everyone in the small group prepared to die in the next few seconds.

***

Jessica grabbed a breath while she could - Momentary respite from the roving UCASsers that even now must be after her.

But these scrambling figures looming from the smoke didn't look anything like UCAS troops.

She saw the motley group of 'runners. They were a sorry state - Several injured, Crystal appeared to be floored, Alex badly wounded...

And Iceman missing.

***

Rusty pulled himself up onto the roof.

There! The SeaDrake helo, its pilots messily dead next to two UCAS marines.

A Firedrake attack helo was off searching for targets in the smoke below, having just devastated a large area with cannon-fire, while another SeaDrake trailing a rope ladder flickered with green lightning, and was in obvious difficulty. It was autorotating and about to land in the middle of the car park of the Stuff-U-Want two blocks away.

It was then Rusty noticed he was all alone.

The fraggers had left him... And in his state he hadn't even noticed.

The word 'FUBAR' came to mind once again.

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

FUBAR!

Rusty stamped his leg in utter frustration. After a moments pause he jogged over to the chopper and hopped inside the cockpit. Seeing the rigger port in front of him, Rusty reached forward and grabbed the cables.

"Let's see if this crate can fly!"

Rusty jacked himself into the craft and felt around the system. Seems the craft was ready for takeoff and the ID security wasn't re-engaged when the pilot got out. Rusty decided that it was better for both and the team that he get into the air. The helo's blades started rotating, slowly at first but they gathered speed quickly. The SeaDrake was soon ready to lift off, with a gut-wrenching movement the craft was hovering under its own power. Rusty, back in the comfort of a helicopter, tested the SeaDrake's capabilities by lifting off of the helipad and throwing the SeaDrake into the air. Almost immediately Rusty was hailed by the FireDrake that was aggressively nosing about the compound, looking for more prey;.

---------------------------------------------
(Desolator12)

Plugin heard the rumbling also, and then remembered his dream... sure, it wasn't accurate, but the situation seemed nonetheless the same...

"EVERYBODY GET THE FRAG OUTTA HERE!!!"

Plugin grabbed crystal and helped her up...

"WE'RE SITTING DUCKS OUT HERE! MOVE!!!! ANYWHERE!!!!"

Plugin started to run towards another crater... a plasteel wall... some scattered ceramite... anything that could offer him some cover from machine gun fire, or eyes...

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

"Any ideas?" Alanya said to the Gun, watching Plugin run into the fog.
"Shoot 'im in the leg so ye dun' have ta go after 'im?"
"Not that! The UFV!"
"Lady, Tis a fecking tank!" the Gun replied. "Oi can't do nuthin' 'gainst that!"
"... But it ain't firing..." the Gun added after a moment.
"Mebbe it doesn see us?" Alanya wondered.
"Not a fecking chance; it stopped fer us. And after the crap ye pulled they ain't gonna troi to capture you. Moi best guess is ain't one o' them."

"Team one." Chance said, after hearing the conversation. "Were there any survivors besides Alex and Rei?"


"I told you before, Chance... think Astrally." they heard a slightly familiar voice from behind.

The people turned around and saw Silvia walk up to the group, still in dragon form, pretty fragged up, and holding the heavy machinegun Iceman had used inside the ONI complex. Her voice sounded slightly different when she was shapeshifted.
"There are two astral signatures in that UCV. One is half-dead, the other one is in control, but fearing something that's in pursuit. That last one is Hayes."
She shifted back to Elvish form, and waved at the tank, holding the machinegun in the other hand. "Hey Jessica! Mind letting us in?"

She glanced back at the once again invisible Iceman. She knew it was dangerous to have him invisible when he was awake, even when he was unarmed, but she had no choice in the current situation. She just hoped he wouldn't attack anyone... that would seriously complicate her attempt to get him out. She had a Sleep spell ready, just in case.




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