Shattered World

Discussion in 'Shattered World' started by Rosgwak, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    “Son of a b*tch!”

    Ethan heard Jared yelling as the damned Blood Scythe’s plasma gun shot a hole into Redemption. Ayumi and Shiori were killing off another mech with bright flares of mage-fire, and Ethan swung his gun around to shoot at Xenocide.

    Joey was working in tandem with Jared to pull down the other three mechs; several shots rang out and one of them collapsed upon the deck. Alex struck out with a pole and the Blood Scythe toppled backwards off Redemption and fell down, down into the sky. He hid a wince as he thought about what the unforgiving ground would do to the body, then decided that he really didn’t care.

    Ethan and Lilah made quick work of the remaining mechs, and he saw Sabrina racing about with knives, trying to cut the grapple hooks, when he saw the other soldiers on the enemy ship.

    SaProds.

    He heard his warning echo as Joey shouted an acknowledgement and pulled out his nasty pistols. OK, this is so not fair, Ethan thought. We have sixteen; they outnumber us two to one, and the only thing working in our advantage is Redemption’s ability to Shift. Erica and Kat had better be almost finished with their calculations. Once they Shifted out of this place, Xenocide could no longer follow them, but they had to hold off the SaProds first. They were preparing to board, and Ethan was getting just a little nervous.

    When he looked back at Joey, he saw the explosives in the boy’s hand as he smiled and prepared to throw them.
     
  2. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    *It is now 0600.*

    Tex winced as the implant chimed, and she rolled out of bed. Hurriedly tonguing the volume down, she acknowledged the alarm. Beside her, Tucker was yawning and stretching himself out. But before she could head to the shower, the implant chimed again.

    *Special Ops Staff Sergeant Brenda Derr here.* The voice was an unfamiliar one, but the name was not; Staff Sergeant Brenda Derr was a good sergeant and got her people out alive.

    *Forsaken Special Ops Private-Independent Tex Lansing Steele.*

    *Why don’t those governmental bastards ever tell you anything important?* Brenda complained through the implant. Damned fools tell me to run you and your partner through the sims, but don’t bother telling me that you’re Forsaken Private-Independents. The Forsaken, unlike the Special Ops, did not have the same military system, and Private-Independents were in charge of everything on their missions but the actual nature of the mission itself, which the government handed down to them. They bowed to no authority, and kept up their own training after they graduated; no wonder the sergeant sounded unhappy.

    Taking pity on Brenda, she subvocalized, *Well, extra practice can’t hurt, sir.* The ‘sir’ was more for Brenda’s sake, but the staff sergeant seemed to appreciate it. *We’ll be down there by 0715.

    *Bring your own suits, yadi yada, I’m sure you know the drill. Derr out.*

    The connection clicked off and she twisted her head to look at Tucker, who was shaving in the basin. “You heard?” She walked to the shower and started up the water.

    “Well, duh. Implant connections, remember?”

    “Yeah. Thought you might not have turned them on.”

    “I’m not that stupid, thanks.”

    “You sure about that?” She stuck a toe under the running water and jumped in, ignoring Tucker’s snort.

    A few minutes later, she said, “God, but if we have to run the simulations with anyone but Marines or other Spec Ops, I’m going to f***ing kill them.” Drying herself, she began pulling on her clothes, and then started her stretches, as Tucker also showered.

    *It is now 0615.*

    “Hey, Tucker, hurry up there – you do want to get something to eat, right?”

    “Stupidest question I’ve heard in the past three weeks.” She heard him turn the spigot off and five minutes later, both of them were in combat suits as they headed to the mess hall.

    At precisely 0715, they reported to the sim rooms. There were ten other people wandering around, and two were examining the sim settings. Eight were just talking, and the other two were NCOs. “Forsaken Special Ops Private-Independents Tucker and Tex Lansing Steele, sir,” she announced to the nearest NCO. She thought that it might be Brenda Derr, but wasn’t certain; although the NCO was a female in Spec Ops blacks, there were plenty of those around.

    “Pleased to meet you. Staff Brenda Derr.”

    Tex examined the other woman closely, and had to grin. Brenda Derr looked like a typical sergeant, which was to say tough and competent. All other features were irrelevant.

    “If you don’t mind me asking, Lansing Steele, why do you have two last names?”

    Tucker said, “Lansing’s her last name, and Steele’s mine. We combined the two.”

    “Ah.” Another NCO, dressed in Marine blues, wandered over.

    “Marine Staff Sergeant William Godwin,” he said, introducing himself. He had the exact same air as Brenda Derr. “You’ll be running the sims today with two squads – one Spec Ops and one Marine. Sibley! Goodman!”

    Sibley and Goodman turned out to be the two examining the settings. “Spec Ops Corporal Karen Sibley,” the tall woman said. “This is Marine Corporal Howard Goodman.”

    “Privates First Class Regina Merinski, James Morrison, and Danny Nord are Spec Ops.” The three named waved, and Tex noted that this meant that the female-male population was split evenly among both squads. “PFCs Taylor Harvey, Claire Swyft, and Sarah Roseberg are Marines.”

    “Private-Independents Tucker and Tex Lansing Steele,” Tex said with a brief nod. “Mission objectives?”

    “Since both of you are PIs,” Derr said, “we won’t give you time to get to know each other; you can do that on the run. Mission objective is to raid a machine stronghold and pull out some mysterious object. You may or may not get a wounded comrade to take out. Good luck, people.”

    Three hours later, Derr and Godwin were clapping in admiration. “Good run, especially the PIs. However,” and here Derr glared, “Nord, you need to work on sharpshooting.”

    “But – ”

    “Nord!”

    “Yes sir.”

    Tex caught the towel that Tucker tossed her, and yanked off her combat suit. Wiping away the sweat, she said, “So, how’d we do, sir?”

    “Courting compliments isn’t going to get you any. You know you did good, and I honestly have no idea why the Mayor wanted you to do this. Anyway, let’s watch this little rerun.”

    Tex grinned as she watched both her and Tucker move as a seamless whole, but ten minutes later, the implant chimed, *It is 0930. The Mayor will see you now.*

    “Idiots,” Tucker said under his breath. “We’ll be back tomorrow, Staff, unless Mayor says otherwise.”

    “Why? You don’t need it.”

    Tex shrugged. “Nothing better to do, and it keeps us in shape. You should crank it up a few more levels, though – these squads can handle it.”

    “Not a bad idea.” Godwin raised an eyebrow as Swyft groaned. “No complaining, children.”

    They left Swyft and Harvey bickering about what the next sim would consist of, and turned around as one as they heard footsteps behind them.

    “Private-Independents, I’m Captain Ruthmore of the Spec Ops. You can call me Ruthless, though, they all do.” The Captain grinned a little. “The Mayor’s been wanting to buck me over to the Forsaken, but I’ve been resisting.”

    “And you had a reason to talk to us?” Tex asked coolly without a ‘sir’. She respected sergeants, all right, but high-rankers were a pain in the ass to deal with.

    Ruthmore didn’t take any offense, though. “We both know that I have no authority over you and all that, but the Mayor wanted me to give you a quick briefing about this next mission of yours. You know of the airship Redemption, right?”

    Redemption was to airships what they were to the Forsaken. “Yeah.”

    “The Mayor wants you two to become part of its crew. They’re heading into some rough times, and they could use some Spec Ops. But before that, the Mayor’s wanting you both to patrol the buildings, at least until Redemption lands. They’re afraid that someone from the media might infiltrate and try to steal information.”

    She exchanged a glance with Tucker, who shrugged. They didn’t have to take this job, but it was better than nothing. “You’ll be providing us with everything we need, including information.” It was a statement rather than a question, but Ruthmore nodded anyway.

    “I’m here as your liaison to the government. Pretty much, what I do, is listen to what you want and deliver it to you after wrapping your requests in extra bull.”

    “All right.” *The Mayor is waiting for you,* the implant chimed, and Tex winced. “Gotta go now, duty calls.”

    “Ask around for me at Spec Ops headquarters, and they’ll get you in to see me.” Ruthmore disappeared as the two of them rounded a corner, boarded an elevator, and five minutes later, stood in front of the Mayor’s office door.

    Opening it without knocking, they also sat down without invitation. The Mayor looked annoyed at this flouting of his authority, but he didn’t dare chastise them either. Nonetheless, his lips thinned as he began, “Ah, Privates Tucker and Tex.” She winced; clearly, the Mayor had absolutely no idea what the difference between a private and a private-independent was. “I have something for you to do.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2006
  3. Lord_Croanan

    Lord_Croanan King and Conquerer

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    Lights flashed everywhere as the ship Xenocide shuttered from another blast. Kargan took it with a calm air, like a coach watching one of his players get beaten. Kargan bided his time, yes, he was angry, the crew had proved that they were more than a match by completly destryoing his mech devision, but Kargan still outnumbered them, and he planned to use that to his advantage. Besides, it was only a matter of time, he had them hooked, how were they going to escape? Sometimes while he sat in his mansion, he wondered if he ever got to cocky, usally though he shrugged it off and got a vodka.

    "Sargent Danials, board the Redemption now, kill all in your path."

    The SaProd Sergant nodded in achnowlagement and charged in fireing. Kargan was just about to smile when an explosion rocked the boarding plank. The fire from 20 Laz-Rifles immediatly stopped and Kargan could now see several soldier carrying back the wounded through the smoke. He let out a string of curses that would have frozen a cats blood. He had gotten to cocky.

    "Casualty report?" He asked a Soldier with a comrad thrown over his back.

    "Over half suffering from critical injury, and the rest are slightly stunned." The Lt. paced for three feet and than looked up,

    "Get everone back on board the ship, wounded to the med bays, take five who are not badly injured and man the Tri Cannons, I want that ship blown out of the sky!"

    As the gunners went to thier posts, Kargan ran an amory bay and pulled out a specialized rile. He than pulled out from his pack a container with his little piece of heavan, small pox. He loaded the rifle and went to the docking bay. Time to take matter into his own hands. Once Kargan was comfortably laying down, he raised the scope of the rifle to his eye and pulled the trigger. As the empty shells clattered to the floor, three dozen bullets containing the strains of the virus flew into the hole they had recently blown in the Redemption. The Lt. Stood up, he was confident that the silent killer would get somebody, he just hoped that their medical technology wasn't the best, who knows, maybe project Spread the Lover would get a head start on the humans.

    **********************************************************************
    Khorne Bloodletter had to stoop to get into the cave. At seven ft, it was hard for him to to go much of anywhere in the demon shanty town, since it used to be a human city. Assembled in the cave were plenty of other demons, all waiting surrounding a box with color. Khorne snorted, more of the lesser race tricks, technology, how he hated it. One of the demons turned around.

    "Ah, Khorne Bloodletter, we have waited, the Prince of the Earthen Ones is wanting to speak."

    Khorne took his place and waited. Soon, the box sprang to life and an image of ALEX the super computer appeared.

    "Greetings Newflame comrades, you have waited long for your arments, and now, i can finally give them to you."

    The group began murmering. Khorne just shook his head in disgust. Demons had no need of the weapons of the lesser race, nor did they need the boxes that burst into flames. But if Newflame wanted it, Khorne would have to go along. The demon got up and was about to leave when one of the leaders spoke up.

    "Khorne Bloodletter, do not think you are not part of this pact." The others nodded in agreement. "In fact, i think this would be a good chance for you to further best your chance at becoming the Blood Prince. "

    Khorne snarled. "Alright than Dejican, if you think I should be the one to get the supplies, than I will, and I'll do it alone too." The others were obviously smirking. Khorne got up caught the map one of the demons threw at him, and stepped outside to prepare.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2006
  4. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Joey smiled in satisfaction as the grenades blew several more holes into Xenocide. Then swore as he saw the treacherous human standing there with a sniper rifle. “Ayumi! Shiori! Shields!”

    The two mage-scientists deflected the first few bullets, and Joey said into his microphone, “Hey, Kat, any chance of getting a Shift done?”

    All resentment had disappeared in the face of their situation. “Give me five minutes and I’ll get it done.”

    “We don’t have five minutes, Kat.” He clicked off the speaker and yelled for Alex and Kevin to repair the ship as best they could.

    “Joey!”

    His sister ran towards him, carrying Natasha on her back. Natasha’s face was white with pain, and no wonder; her right leg had been blown off to the knee. “Get her to Leah and a regeneration tank,” he snapped. “Jared! I want you to organize the defense to hold them off.”

    “You don’t want us to destroy their ship, sir?”

    “Just hold them off until Kat and Erica get our Shift working. Killing isn’t our main objective – getting that plague bomb back Home so they can investigate it is.”

    “Yes sir.”

    Before Joey could engage with a boarding SaProd, a sharp stab of pain drove him to his knees. He could feel the filthy plague running through his body, responding to the presence of something else…

    He found his gaze drawn to the sniper again, and swore. That was where it was coming from; was he infected with the plague as well?

    No…

    Something told him to look at the gun itself.

    Plague-infected bullets! Joey felt his blood running cold and pulled out his pistol. Still on his knees, he sighted and pulled the trigger, but another wave of agony made him jerk the gun a little to the side, and he missed his target.

    The man locked gazes with him, and Joey shuddered as he stared back at the human who had chosen to side with the machines.
     
  5. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    “Hey! Steele!” Regina Merinski ran towards them, and Tucker raised an eyebrow as she grinned at them. “Want to go drinking with us? There’s a bar in Marine grounds that Spec Ops visit too.”

    “No army or airforce?”

    “Not usually.”

    “Thank God. I’m not in the mood for insanity tonight.”

    “Yeah, I know how you feel. Anyway, us two teams that you ran the sims with hang out most of the time – Mayor sends us out on missions a lot.”

    “Mayor mixes Spec Ops and Marines together?” Tucker asked in disbelief. Although Marines and Spec Ops got along fairly well, most high-rankers knew better than to mix interdisciplinary forces.

    “That isn’t the stupidest thing he’s done either. He built a platoon – three squads, three teams per squad – of mixed Marines and Spec Ops.”

    “You gotta be f***ing kidding,” Tex said, speaking up for the first time. “Even Mayor can’t be that stupid.”

    “Welcome to the world of civilians,” Regina said dryly. “Trust me, they can be that stupid.”

    “Still, Marines and Spec Ops get along fairly well, at least. Mayor wants to add us to an airship crew.”

    “Whoo, am I so sorry for you. Spec Ops and airforce?”

    “Airforce I could deal with. Or maybe not,” Tucker said with a grin. “But most of them are civilians; there are only four soldiers on the ship – ”

    “And two are normal army grunts, one’s a pro-trained sniper army elite, and the other one’s a Forsaken.”

    “Hey, just like you.”

    “We’re in the same year, too.”

    “Mayor’s considering adding a squad to the airship too,” Tex interjected.

    “An entire squad of twelve? How many people can an airship hold, anyway?”

    “Most can only hold a dozen, but Redemption holds sixty.”

    Redemption? Looks like you’re going to be having fun, then. Posh airship.”

    “They’re still airforce.”

    Regina smirked. “Have fun surviving.”

    “Oh, I don’t know, Staff Derr wanted us to recommend your team and Goodman’s.”

    “F*** it, I’m not working with civilians.”

    “Yeah, well, Mayor doesn’t seem to understand anything about military life.” Bickering, the three of them chattered as Regina led them through Spec Ops grounds and to the walkway connecting Spec Ops and Marines. The rest of Regina’s team and Goodman’s team joined them, bringing their company to ten, and Karen Sibley said, “You heard? Mayor’s bucking us over to airforce.”

    There were general groans at this, and Tucker exchanged a glance with Tex. At least we won’t be completely alone among civilians if we’re having a squad with us, he thought. And he liked the two teams they had worked with in the sims, and he knew Tex felt the same way.

    “Our team’s going too,” Goodman said. “So’s Austin’s team.”

    “Wow, looks like Mayor pulled his head from his a** and picked teams that have worked together before,” Taylor Harvey muttered. No one was inclined to disagree with him.

    “Jane Austin’s team is one of the mixed Spec Ops and Marines I was telling you about,” Regina explained. “Two each, and Corporal Austin’s a Spec Ops.”

    “Good, solid people you want in a fight, but they can be f***-ups on leave,” Danny Nord said. “Dunno if you know much about how normal troops work – ”

    “Not really. Forsaken operate alone or in partners most of the time.”

    “Well, we usually put people with similar characteristics in teams. It helps them to operate as a cohesive whole.”

    “Oooh, cohesive, big word.”

    “Shut up, Claire. Anyway, then you get three similar-but-slightly-different teams in a squad.”

    “Our three teams operate as a squad a lot of the time. One of Mayor’s stupid ideas – ”

    “Is there any other kind?” Tucker asked, and everyone else chuckled.

    “Fine, stupider ideas,” Nord corrected, “but to our surprise, it seems to work.”

    “Only because it’s our three teams, though,” Corporal Sibley said in response. “Try it with someone like McGovern, and you’re going to have a big mess. It worked with us because we’re fairly friendly and most of us are the rowdier kind when we’re on leave.”

    “You’ll like Austin and her team, though,” Sarah Roseberg assured them as they opened the door to Marine Bar. “They should be in here now.”

    “Hey, Sibley,” someone called shapes in the farthest corner stirred. “Staff Derr told me that you ran the sims with two Forsaken today.”

    “Yeah, they’re right here. Tucker and Tex Lansing Steele.” Tex gave a curt nod, and Tucker waved. “Austin, come on in and introduce yourself!”

    The shapes in the corner resolved themselves into humans. Jane Austin was a tall redhead, in contrast to the three other shapes beside her. One broad-shouldered man was several inches taller than Tucker, but his perpetual grin took away any intimidation his height might have caused. Another woman, who only came to the big man’s elbow, looked like the shortest soldier in the room. And the last man was darkhaired, and was scowling. He could tell that redhead and the scowling man were both Spec Ops, and that the other two were Marines; it had to do with how they carried themselves.

    “Anne Veres,” the short woman said, introducing herself. “The mean-looking one is Juan Chesya, and the big bear here is Chris Daniels.” As everyone stared at her, Tucker included, Anne frowned. “What did I say?”

    “What the f*** is a bear?” Juan asked at last.
     
  6. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Tex settled in with a glass next to Jane Austin and Juan Chesya. She also took note of who was hanging out with who; it would give her a chance to evaluate their personalities, and she would need that if she was going to work with them.

    Her choice of seatmates had been deliberate as well. She had already worked with the other two teams, and they were easy enough to get along with. Chris and Anne seemed to be as friendly as Tucker was, but Jane and Juan were her sort of people.

    Which is to say bad-tempered.

    Her mouth twitched into a smile, but neither Jane nor Juan commented as they watched the ball game on the big screen near the barkeep. Airforce Division Three was giving Army Division Fifteen a royal a**-kicking, and the game wasn’t so enthralling that she found it difficult to watch the other people – although the few airforce and army men here had their eyes glued to the screen.

    Surprisingly, none of the others were talking with different teams. Tucker had joined Chris Daniels, Anne Veres, Regina Merinski, and Taylor Harvey. Sibley and Goodman were chatting together with James Morrison, and Danny Nord, Claire Swyft, and Sarah Roseberg formed the last group. Observation done, she turned to Austin and Chesya, and saw that they were studying her.

    “Yeah, we’re kinda the bad-tempered ones here,” Chesya said.

    “Looks like I’m right at home then.”

    Austin grinned just a little, more a baring of teeth than anything else. “Oh, we get along fine with everyone else, especially in battle, but we prefer not to spend time with the other ones – at least in bars. Daniels, Veres, Merinski, and Harvey usually end up getting drunk and singing.”

    “Wait until you see Tucker,” Tex said with a grimace. Although the issue was a minor one, it was still a matter of argument between the two of them – Tucker liked getting drunk occasionally, at least on leave, and Tex never did.

    “At least he isn’t as big as the hugs-and-kisses-boy,” Juan said, jerking his chin towards Chris. “Should be easier to carry when he passes out.”

    “Sibley, Goodman, and Morrison are probably discussing what sims they’ll have to run through for our next mission prep,” Jane noted, “and when they’re done, Morrison’s going to join Nord’s group. Bets that two of them are going to end up visiting private bunks. That’ll leave Sibley and Goodman to come over to our group.”

    “Yeah, we corporals hang out a lot.”

    “You’re not a corporal yet. But you’re f***ing paranoid enough to be one,” Jane said.

    “Yeah, says the one who’s close enough to getting her sergeant exams.”

    “Oh yeah, before I forget, Ruthmore said that either you or Tucker will be acting staff sergeants – rank equal to Staffs Derr and Godwin – for our squad. You got any ideas?”

    “Hey, wait for us before you start discussing business,” Sibley called over. “Give us a minute, ok?”

    “Juan, you’ll be staying for the discussion as well?”

    “Yeah, why not, I’m Austin’s assistant anyway.”

    “Hey, I heard a good joke the other day,” Nord was saying, swaying on his feet. “There’s three generals, see, one from army, another from airforce, and another from marine.”

    “Not this again,” Jane muttered under her breath. “I swear to God, I have to listen to at least one repetition of this joke whenever one of them gets drunk.”

    “And they’re arguing about who’s the bravest,” Nord continued. “So to prove his point, army general calls over a private. ‘Go to the computer command factory without support and bring me back a report.’ And he says, ‘Yes sir,’ and does, but gets killed barely five miles in. Then airforce general tells his private, ‘Go to the computer command factory without support and bring me back a report.’ ‘How long do you want the report to be, sir?’ private asks, and general says, ‘Oh, not much, just three hundred pages.’ So off he goes, and five miles in, gets himself killed.”

    “He speaks pretty well for someone who’s drunk,” Sibley commented as she slid into the seat across Tex, and Goodman joined her.

    “Then marine general says, ‘Private, go to the computer command factory without support and bring me back a report.’ Private snaps off a salute and says, ‘F*** you, sir.’ Marine general turns to his fellows and says, ‘Now that is what I call real courage.’ ”

    “Yeah, well, if we had f***ing Stryker as our general, we’d tell him that too,” one of the airforce men called to general laughter.

    Tex exchanged glances with the other three Spec Ops at her table. “Have to admit that he’s right,” she said. “But let’s get on with business. Ruthmore said that me and my partner will be acting sergeants?”

    “Yup, and no offense, but you’ll have to work out plans with us. We know our crew; you don’t,” Sibley said.

    “Not yet, anyway,” Tex said. *Tucker, they need either you or me to act as sergeant.*

    *You. And no, I’m not drunk or anything. I know that I’m just not very good at getting respect.*

    *Well liked, though.*

    *Sergeants aren’t supposed to be liked.*

    The other four waited until she finished her conversation. “He agrees that we’ll be better off if I’m acting sergeant. But if all twelve of you have worked together before, we should try forming different squads for specialty missions.”

    “Like what?”

    “Recon. Yes, we’ll be keeping you in your original squads for the most part, but…”

    “I like that idea,” Goodman said. After hearing their general agreement, Tex asked her next question.

    “Corporal Austin.”

    “Yes sir.” Good. She doesn’t resent me for being her superior, and will obey my orders.

    “Would you judge that Private Juan is ready to be acting corporal?”

    Jane chewed on her lip, then said, “Yes. One of those temporary rotating squads you mentioned?”

    “There might be a time when we need four groups instead of three. Tucker and I will be working together for the most part, pretty much because we’ve been trained to operate as a single unit. This means that we’ll be getting our hands as dirty as yours, so don’t fear that we’ll be like one of those high-rankers.”

    “We didn’t think you’d be that bad,” Juan said, spitting to the side of the table, “but most of you Forsaken are elitist b***ards. Begging your pardon, sir.”

    “Have to agree with you there.” Military people said that they always had to call superior officers “sir” to maintain respect, but… “Hey, Corporals – and acting Corporal Juan – I’m pretty sure you four can maintain respect for me whether you call me ‘sir’ or not. As long as we’re in private, call me Tex or Steele. Or ‘Staff’ if you’re in the mood for formality.”

    Four pairs of shoulders relaxed, and Juan even smiled a little. “Knew that Staff Derr made a good choice,” was all he said.

    “Anyway, back to the elitist b***ard thing. You won’t have problems from either of us, if for different reasons. Tucker’s impossible to aggravate, and people get along well with him. I’ve worked with others on different missions before, so I know how to not being evil – beyond the normal sergeant evilness, that is.” Karen and Howard both grinned, and Jane laughed. “Don’t mind as long as I have Marines and Spec Ops.”

    “All right, then, I guess it’s settled,” Goodman said, speaking a little louder to drown out Chris’s increasingly-off-key singing. “You might want to hold off on decisions until you’ve seen all of us working in the sims – and this time, you should observe with Staff Godwin and Staff Derr. Don’t know about your partner though.”

    “We should have him run the sims so that your troops can get used to having him in there as a wild card, and without me. And besides, he needs more experience working with others without me.”

    “Oh?”

    “Yeah, my weakness was working with others, and his was working alone, so there was a period of time when they threw me in with Marines and Spec Ops, and made him work alone.” Tex shuddered at the memories; she had worked with Tucker for seventeen years, and even six months of separation had been near-agonizing.

    “OK, it’s what, 2300 right now? Tell your troops to get down to the sims at 0800 sharp. Mayor wanted us to do some stuff for him tomorrow, but I’ll make sure to get the morning free, at least. Four hours is enough to run a long sim and watch a rerun.”

    “Got it, staff. Hey!” Sibley bellowed “Merinski! Morrison! Nord! Get off your a**, we’re running full sims at 0800 tomorrow!”

    Goodman and Austin were yelling similar orders at their squads, and Tex made her way to Tucker. He wasn’t as drunk as usual, but his eyes were a little glassy. “Get up,” she said. “I don’t particularly feel like carrying you back to our rooms.”

    Tucker blinked, then staggered to his feet. How the hell did he get drunk in under half an hour? she wondered, then decided she didn’t want to know. “We’re running sims at 0800 tomorrow, so let’s go to sleep.”

    “All right,” he agreed.

    It still took her half an hour to get him to bed, and she wondered, God, why me?

    Then she grinned. If she was going to be acting staff, that big guy Chris Daniels could help her carry Tucker to bed next time.
     
  7. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Victor paced around near the gate waiting for the others to arrive. He pulled a cigar out of a case in his pocket. These weren't like the ones back in the old days, they weren't nearly as potent as those things, but they were just as addictive. He lit the thing when one of the guards opened his mouth, "Those things will kill you ya know." Victor glared at him with his one eye. "So will a bullet, if you get my drift," he said twirling his pistol out of and then back into his holster. The guard chuckled and turned back to the gate. "Somebody with a personality get here please...." Victor muttered beneath his breath, knowing if someone didn't arrive he'd wind up trying to befriend that damn guard.
     
  8. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Tex watched them run the simulation, Brenda Derr and William Godwin beside her. “Nord’s doing better on this one,” she noted.

    “He does better when he knows it’s hard,” Brenda said. “Which can be a disadvantage, because he’ll get over-confident on a mission, and next thing you know, bam. Hopefully on a simulation.”

    Glancing over at the screen that allowed her to keep an eye on them, she saw that nothing was happening and that she could risk a quick conversation. “I’ll keep that in mind. Anything else about the others?”

    “Sibley and Goodman are both good corporals. That being said, both Goodman and Sibley can get their teams into stupidities sometimes. We chose two teams alike in temperament, and those two are hotheads. Only on leave, though.”

    “Oh?”

    “Getting drunk and getting into fights, disobeying orders, that sort of thing.”

    “Harvey can be sullen at times, but Swyft and Roseberg more than make up for it,” Godwin said. “I have to yell when they talk too much. Again, not a problem on real missions.”

    “As for Sibley’s team,” Derr continued, “Merinski will probably make it to corporal by the end of the next year. Morrison and Nord are content being privates, Morrison because he hates telling people what to do, and Nord because he’s lazy.”

    “And Austin’s squad?”

    “Austin and Chesya are very good soldiers. Wouldn’t be surprised if both of them made it at least to gunnery sergeant. But they don’t get along with other people much, which is why they’re in the same team as Veres and Daniels.”

    “Daniels and Veres get along with people a little too well,” Godwin said a little sourly. “Friendly types. Funny thing is that Chesya and Austin’s a working pair, and so are those two.”

    “Pairs as in boyfriend-girlfriend?” Tex’s eyebrows shot up at Godwin’s nod. “You’ve got two pairs in a team? Doesn’t that lead to problems?”

    “Not with those four. They manage to keep private lives separate from the military.”

    “Uh-oh, Roseberg’s about to get herself killed – ” Derr began, then said, “Bit late. She’s down.”

    *That sucker was vicious, staffs,* Roseberg said. *Permission to come out of the room?*

    *Permission granted.* Now that the simulation – for Roseberg, at least – was over, the way to the safe exit would be clear and the path there marked with blinking lights. In a few minutes, Sarah Roseberg joined them in front of the screen.

    “You really upped the levels on this thing, didn’t you,” she complained in a good-natured way. “Last time was what, a 76.23? And judging by the difficulty levels, this has to be at least 85.”

    “86.79,” Godwin said.

    No two sims were ever the same, even in one practice room; sixty different mission types, along with hundreds of thousands of shifting variables, allowed for unpredictability, and a hundred different levels – with another hundred sublevels – allowed to suit a sim to skill and ability. Spec Ops and Marines ran high-level sims, at least 60 upwards, but few ran above an 85. Forsaken had their own sims with different levels, and Spec Ops and Marines sometimes ran the lower levels.

    Intrigued by the thought, she said, “We’ll start running Forsaken sims tomorrow. If only one of you have died so far, it’s getting easy.”

    “Aww, Staff, you can’t let us bask in our victory?”

    “Not if you’re still getting killed,” Godwin said.

    Her implant chimed. *Allow incoming message?* Before she had come to the sim rooms, she had turned off the messaging system. *Allow,* she decided at last. If it was important, she needed to hear it, and if it was unimportant, it gave her the excuse to verbally flay someone.

    *Tex?*

    Recognizing Ruthmore’s voice, she subvocalized, *I’m a little busy right now working in the sims.*

    *Mayor wanted you to come down, but…* He sighed a little. *I’ll do my best to allow you and your new squad to finish, staff sergeant.* Her estimation of the captain went up a little; at least he wasn’t a complete toady. *But while you’re there, I’d like you to inform your squad and Staffs Derr and Godwin that General Endar has been killed.*

    *Good news to go with bad, eh?*

    *Much as I hate to admit this, I agree. Endar was an a**.

    *Wonder how he made it to general then?*

    *Politics. But Chester Avik’s up for a promotion. Only God knows how much I hope he makes it.*

    Tex herself liked Chester Avik, and she sincerely hoped that he would become Endar’s replacement. *Amen to that, sir,* she said, deciding that Ruthmore warranted that ‘sir.’ *I’ll try to wrap up this simulation as fast as I can.*

    *Thank you, Staff. Ruthmore out.*

    The connection clicked off, and she saw that Derr and Godwin were watching her with raised eyebrows. “I’ll tell you when the sims are done, but let’s throw in a wild card by telling them that the sim is now running an hour and a half, not two hours. Make them sweat a little.”

    “Good idea,” Derr said. “Real mission variables, eh?”

    “I’ll message them,” Godwin said. He typed in the message, *Mission termination in half an hour.*

    “What?” Sibley’s voice issued from the speakers. “Staff, is the sim malfunctioning?”

    Godwin did a typical evil sergeant grin. It was a pity that the squad couldn’t see it. “Get moving, corporal.”

    It only took her a second to realize. “Begging your pardon, sir, but you’re a sadistic b*tch.”

    “Credits go to Staff Sergeant Steele for this one,” he said.

    “I thought you were the nice sort, sir,” Sibley said in a wounded voice.

    “There are no nice sergeants, corporal. Now get moving before I decide to take a more personal interest in the situation. Staff Sergeant Godwin, close the connection.”

    He did so, and Derr grinned. “You’ve got the staff sergeant impersonation down pat, Staff Sergeant Steele.”

    “I don’t think that it’s precisely an impersonation anymore, Staff Sergeant Derr.” In spite of herself, Tex was grinning. She rarely got along with anyone but Tucker, but she liked Derr, Godwin, and her new squad. “I’ll admit that much of my inspiration came from you, however.”

    “Derr’s a classic,” Godwin said. “When I was a corporal under her, I used to get now-Gunnery-Sergeant Masha Osdrin to do an imitation of her when we caught privates gambling. Made them wet themselves every time.”

    “Good times,” Derr said, also grinning. “Pity Osdrin can’t be with us now, she’s training new recruits, isn’t she? Fresh from high school without any prior training whatsoever?”

    “Uh-huh,” Roseberg said. “My younger brother’s helping her out, I think.”

    “Poor soul. The poor, lost, soul.” Godwin shook his head in a mournful manner. “A sad end to one of the greatest sergeants who ever lived.”

    “Oh, come on, it can’t be that bad, can it?” Tex wondered aloud.

    Derr gave her a flat look. “Trust me, Steele, it can. It’s a sergeant’s worst nightmare.”

    “Bar the one where a high-ranker decides to take a personal interest in you,” Godwin amended.

    “Yeah, that excluded. Hey, looks like Morrison’s going down – nope, Veres saved him.”

    “Twenty-five minutes, left, though, and they’re only halfway through,” Brenda said, checking the screen. “Roseberg, go get us some beers to drink for when it’s over.”

    Grumbling, she left.

    “So the Marines favor chemically-operated projectile weapons that shoot bullets?” Tex asked, watching Swyft use her gun to good effect. “No energy packs or anything?”

    “That and molecular disrupter guns combined with lasers,” Godwin said. “COP-8’s and MDL-3’s. Sometimes machine guns, but that rarely.”

    “Spec Ops are trained to use those weapons,” Derr added, “but our weapons of choice are ion assault rifles, IAR-6’s, and for close combat, we use ion blades. Might want to keep that in mind while you’re in command.”

    “Yes sir.”

    They spent the rest of the time watching the screen and chatting. The group managed to make it out in time, but they lost Goodman, Veres, Morrison, and Nord along the way. Only Tucker and Jane Austin managed to make it out of there uninjured.

    “Not bad considering the levels and the unexpected factors, but you still need more work,” Derr said. “Which is why we’ll be practicing on Forsaken sims next.”

    “F***,” Tex heard Taylor Harvey growl as Sarah Roseberg handed out the bottles.

    After letting them moan for a few minutes, she clapped her hands for silence. “All right, children, I’ve got some news for you. General Endar is dead.”

    While they were babbling, she subvocalized to Tucker, *You got any ideas? I’ve got several candidates.*

    *Right. But… you thinking what I’m thinking?*

    *Uh-huh. Six years back. Phelps.* The Leobhann Phelps debacle had been big news six years ago, at least in the Spec Ops. The Forsaken grounds had been buzzing with rumors, and they had joined in the speculation.

    The two of them had been eleven with Sergeant Leobhann Phelps had attempted to murder then-Major Stryker. Phelps had been dismissed from the Spec Ops, and most people had no doubt thought that it was good riddance; Stryker had been popular back then. Since Tex and Tucker weren’t so sure that Stryker hadn’t deserved it, they had withheld judgement on Phelps.

    Endar had been the judge that presided at Phelps’ trial. Since then, Stryker had pulled some strings and managed to get him to general, although Tex had no idea how that was possible. Endar was now the army’s face to the media; he certainly did no real work.

    Although if he really did murder Endar, more power to him. *How much do you want to bet that Mayor’s gonna ask us to track down the killer?* she asked.

    *That’s a stupid question. Endar’s the darling of the media; of course Mayor’s going to want us to track him down.* Seventeen years of working with Tucker allowed her to guess what he was thinking, and right now, she felt that he was sympathizing more with the murderer. Much like I am.

    “Squad!” Her yell brought instant silence. “I’ve got to run up to Mayor’s office, but Staffs Derr and Godwin will be going over the rerun with you. You’ll also start individual simulations catered to your weaknesses.”

    “F***,” Harvey said again.

    But evidently, the Mayor had gotten tired of waiting for them to finish the sims. *Mayor wants to know if you and your partner are willing to track down Endar’s killer,* Ruthmore said through her implant.

    *No.*

    *No? Why’s that?*

    *Number one, Redemption is scheduled to arrive in the next two or three days, and I need to work with my squad. Number two, the man deserved it.*

    *Good answers, Staff Sergeant, but you’ll have to forgive me if I mention only the first one. I’ll explain to the Mayor; keep on with your sims.*

    *Thank you, sir.*

    “Never mind that,” she said aloud. “I’ll be staying here with you guys, so let’s get going to the Forsaken sim room. We can run about three or four at the same time.”

    Several hours later, the squad dismissed, Tex peered at the computer screen with her partner. …Sergeant Phelps was later dishonorably discharged for the seemingly-senseless attempted murder of now-General Stryker. Judge Endar presided at the trial; he is now known as General Endar and is the face of the army to the media.

    Pushing away from the desk, she rubbed her eyes. “Useless info that we already knew.”

    “So? Do we honestly care?”

    Tex thought about it, then shook her head. “Nah. Endar’s not worth it.” Typing in some commands, the screen showed the current flight schedule for Redemption. “They’re overdue,” she said aloud. “They should have been here two days ago.”

    “Well, they’re not here.”

    “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”

    Tucker flipped her off in a good-natured way as he unfolded himself from his chair. “I’m going to sleep, this stuff bores me.”

    Tex stayed at the computer for another half hour to no avail. Even if she wasn’t going to turn in the killer, she wanted to know, mostly out of curiosity. And besides, if it hadn’t been Leobhann Phelps, it could have been anyone.

    Including an assassin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2006
  9. Lord_Croanan

    Lord_Croanan King and Conquerer

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    The tri cannons blazed a crimson death as they tried to blow the Redemption out of the sky. Kargan stood in the bay doors and than stepped back. No use in remaing an open target, especially after that....that boy had tried to shot him. He shook his head, Kargan simply didn't get it, what was the military thinking? He walked back into the control room and sat down. Rubbing his temples, he reflected back on why he was doing this. He often did this, what was his motivation? On the rare moments he talked philosiphy with ALEX, they often talked about human motivtation, what drives them to do what they do?

    Several men walked down the halway untill they came to the re-enforced door. Motioning to the guards, the leader, a man in a suit, opened up the door and stepped through. The inside was a cell, and on the far wall, an 8 year old Kargan, than Louis Darny sat on a bunk.

    "Hello Louis," the man in the buissness suite spoke. Louis regarded him with a spiteful glare. He hated this man, he always wore glasses that relfected light even if there wasn't any. "These men are here to meet you, your a very different person you know"

    Louis sniffed back the tears, that was it, that was always it. Different, special, not normal, it made the men in the suites wisper and the people in the lab coats wring thier hands in anticiapation. "Why do you hate me.....? I never did anything."

    "Oh Louis, you did a very bad thing, very bad indeed. You see, we're at war, and differerent means dangerous, we all do our part, and yours is to be a normal little boy." The other men now stepped foward. Suites, that ment fear, either that or straight forward cruelty. "Louis, your in luck though, these men will fix you, or thier scientist will. You see, you're very lucky in that your problem can be.....removed."

    Louis shook his head. "No, I don't want to" The man with the glasses smiled, he glasses gleaming.

    "Oh Mr. Darny, you poor, misguided little boy."


    An explosion flashed and brought Kargan out of his trance. A sob maded him turn to the corner. There was the space pirates son, strapped to a table, cannon fodder. Inner demons swelled around in Kargan, he knew why he did what he did. He stepped over to the child.
    Kargan pulled out his most valuble poccession, a capsual of SARS. He poured just a little onto a thin pice a shraple and placed it on the boy's chest.
    "Don't sneeze," he simply said. He than walked back out into the battle.
     
  10. Rosgwak

    Rosgwak The Masked Warrior

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    D tore down the streets, his bike’s engine roaring as he sped along side-alleys and other various short-cuts he knew of. He knew they had three hours, and it would only take five, maybe ten minutes, to get to the right gate from his place, but he wanted to try and get some decent preparation for the coming trip in before he left. Driving into the open warehouse doors, D pulled his bike to a sudden stop, and pressed a button on the handlebars, watching as the large doors closed behind him. He then climbed off of his bike, a satisfied smile on his face. Good to see the gear was still working… it made him confident about leaving the warehouse’s security systems activated while he was gone.

    Walking over to the gun-rack, D pulled down some heavy weaponry, and began attaching it to his back. Assault rifles, shotguns, rifles… it all went on, preparing for any eventualities. When going outside Home’s shield, he knew a person couldn’t be too careful, especially when they were heading directly towards the demons and machines. It was going to be a tricky operation, to be sure, but at least he was guaranteed a hefty paycheck when he returned. Then, sliding his ion blades into the sheaths on his back, D looked at the clock on the wall. After all the preparation he went to… finding the weapons, checking they were in working order, getting the necessary ammunition… after all the preparation he was ready to go, but looking at the clock, he saw he still had a few minutes to spare. Just enough time to take his ‘medicine’, he thought with a wry grin. Grabbing the nearest syringe, D grimaced, as he plunged the needle deep into the flesh around his eyes, and pushed it home. It always stung slightly when he did that, but… it was the price he had to pay for his little advantages, he thought, as he put the syringe away and climbed back onto his bike. Then, checking his serum pack was still firmly attached behind his seat, D started the engine, spun the bike, and tore out of the warehouse.

    --------

    A few minutes later D had arrived at the gate along with everyone else. Looking out over the assembled group, the captain nodded, then briefly leaned down to have a whispered discussion with the corporal. Straightening up, the captain then turned to the people gathered around him, while Corporal Peters climbed into the ATV’s driver seat.
    “Okay guys, listen up. We’re heading out, as quickly as possible. No single file, we don’t want to leave this gate open any longer than we have to. Security is tight, but not perfect, so let’s leave nothing to chance. Once we’re out there the corporal and myself will take point vehicle, follow behinds us in an arrow-head formation, and any difficulty we run into we play by ear, ok?” the major yelled, looking around at the small group, nodding agreement and understanding. A handful of soldiers and the rest of the strange characters from the meeting, D registered as he looked around. Well, the soldiers he wasn’t too sure about, but at least the rest of them looked like they could be handy in a tightspot.
    “Ok then, let’s move!” the captain shouted, ducking his head back into his vehicle. As soon as everyone was ready, the shield suddenly opened before them, allowing them exit out of the gate, and as they all sped off out of the shield as fast as they could, D looked back as the gate closed behind them. It looked like he was now officially part of the group.

    --------

    After driving for a few uneventful hours, the captain’s vehicle slowed down, and then came to a complete stop. Climbing out, the corporal went to stand by the captain’s door. Meanwhile, Captain Millers had already gotten out, and begun looking at the surrounding landscape, with a well-trained eye. Quickly deciding there were no threats, however, he turned back to the group and raised a hand.
    “Ok. We camp here for the night.” He said, turning back to the ATV and reaching up to remove his tent. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning zipped past his head, narrowly missing him, and instead striking the ground very close to Corporal Peters. Immediately, everyone ducked behind some cover, and readied their weapons. Crouching behind his bike, D reached down and drew his pistols, watching the ravine from which the lightning bolt had come. The area was still, and silent, as no-one moved, waiting for the attack which had yet to come. Suddenly, a horde of demons appeared from behind the group, running towards them, readying their spells. Quickly recovering from this surprise attack, D spun around, bringing his pistols up, and locking onto a particularly nasty demon with his eyes.
    “Time to dance, ugly.” He growled, pulling the triggers and jumping into the fray.
     
  11. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    Jennifer’s voice sounded in his ear. “Joey, Kat says that they’ve worked out the variables for a Shift.”

    “All right. Tell the others to prepare themselves.” He spoke into his mic, knowing that Kat would hear. “Anything special we need to do?”

    “Not really, besides the usual drill. Tie a line to one of the hooks – you’ve seen them before – and clip the other end to you. The reason why it takes so long to calculate everything is that we have to take into account your weight and relative position, etc.”

    All around him, people were breaking off private fights to secure the safety lines. “Everyone secure?” he asked as he did the same.

    He counted off fifteen yes’s, paused only to kill another SaProd, then said, “Take us out of here, Kat.”

    In reply, she set the Shift working, and for either a second or an eternity – he wasn’t sure which – the world was nothing but a blur. Redemption hung in the absolute silence of netherwhere as it Shifted from their battle with Xenocide to an area only five miles from Home.

    They had made it to safety.

    “Tell the Mayor that we’re on our way home,” Joey ordered Jennifer, “and that our mission was successful.”

    And he’d better give us two months’ leave after this little mission.

    Somehow, though, Joey thought that they wouldn’t get it.
     
  12. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Victor smiled while the demons began to pour over the ridge. He readied his shotgun and then vaulted out into the crossfire. He'd never been a range man, not much of a dead eye, but a shotgun took care of that, especially an automatic one. He Made sure to get to the demons before they could start railing off spells and began blasting into the things. His strait foreward assault startled them for a second, but they quickly recovered and began to mount a counter attack. For a second he lowered his gun and racked off a shot with his eye, killing the nearest demon to him. This further startled the ones looking at him, giving him time to put another clip into his shotgun and began firing again.
     
  13. Lord_Croanan

    Lord_Croanan King and Conquerer

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    Angry shouts were heard throughout the ship. Kargan stood at a large bay window in utter disbelife, the ship, gone. He unclenched his fist and motioned to the trigunners, who shut down the guns and leaped off. The SaProd Lt. shook his head and than stepped into the conferance room. Several hours later he re-emeraged. He hated talking to ALEX about missions, it was, degrading. He had failed. Kagarn snarled, this was not going to happen, not while he still lived. He gave orders to the remainder of his crew to go back to base, and than briskly walked over to the skycaptain and his son. He lifted the SARS on the boys chest and repoceted it. He eyed the two.

    "I suppose its only fair to tell you that your going to be taken to the machine city, mostly likely youll be brainwashed and than sent back as agents."

    The pirate looked up. "Havn't you done enoguh to my family?"

    Kargan simply smiled. He than went to the docking bay and mounted a hover bike. Several minutes later, he was traversing the dunes alone, heading toward HOME. This mission was not going to be a total lose.
     
  14. Dead Dutchman

    Dead Dutchman Regressive

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    (I hope you dont mind me joining :) )

    Walking into usual seedy bar used for their business, Brigger always hated it here, he always stood out in his classy all black suit, freshly ironed and cleaned, but Brigger had his principals, he believed a man should always dress with class. He looked over the poor wretchs that frequented the bar, the usual hideous, disgusting deformites looking at him, he slide his hand into his right pocket and grabbed the hilt of his combat knife, it always calmed him, his knife was his eternal partner.

    Brigger eye sight catch hold of his contact, Brigger walked over, so scum reached out and grabbed his clean jacket.

    " excuse me sir, i can see your a man of wealth would you mind sparing me a dollar to buy myself a drink?

    Brigger didnt even hear him, he was staring enraged at his jacket cover in filth from the man's hand, Brigger reached into his jacket, the man smilied thinking he was reaching for money, he smile disappeared quickly as he saw Brigger pull out his Desert Eagle, Brigger rested the barrel on the man's temple and pulled the trigger "BANG!" the whole right side of the bar was covered in brain matter and bone, Brigger holstered his gun and continued to walk over to his contact.

    Brigger sat down at the table, the entire bar staring at him.

    "Very subtle Brigger.....you do know unoffical assassinations are illegal! we dont want to bring the authourites around here" Whispered his contact

    Brigger was looking at his jacket and brushing the filth from it.

    "Darious shut up before i kill you too....Furitous is dead...where my money?" Said Birgger still looking at his jacket, not even trying to keep his voice down

    "Kill me? you forget who your employer is!" Said Darious threatingly

    "You forget that i have completed the assignment, our deal is done and i doubt your boss would care if i kill you, he could always find a new son" Said Brigger gently putting his jacket down and looking at his contact.

    "Now the money" Said Brigger with menace, Darious shifted uneasily under Brigger's stare.

    "Here" Said Darious and threw a thick evelope of cash to him, Brigger caught it mid-air and quickly pockted it, Brigger stood up and put his jacket back on and pulled out his Desert Eagle again.

    "Oh and Darious?" Said Brigger, Darious looked up right into the barrel. "BANG!", Brigger holstered the gun and walked out of the shitty bar.

    Brigger looked up and down the street checking for thugs, seeing the ways was clear he started walking up the street.

    "Mr. Dangi won't be happy I killed his son, Baaaagh screw him, there are better ways to make money" Thought Brigger walking up the street, his hand still in his right pocket hold his knife.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2006
  15. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    Idiots, the pair of them.

    when the fighting had begun no sooner than the group began to start firing, two of the members had already gone forward into combat. Obviously D was one, but the other cowboy type went in too. Plain stupidity, with them in there it made picking target harder unless he felt like shooting at their own men, which Leo couldnt say he hadnt considered. So they had to shoot wide, meaning those in the frey had to deal with more demons than necessary while the others had to shoot at ones between them.

    It made things harder. If theyd stayed together, formed a perimter and kept firing then this would be over quick, close quarters was always only in last defence, a lesson some people would do well to learn.

    But ignoring that, when the fighting had begun, Leo shouldered his assault rifle as a reflex action and brought the barrel up, clipping off the safety with a satisfying snap. As soon as he found a target he let off three shots at each, all into the central and upper body, that way it took out major organs and the recoil brought the barrel up towards the neck and head, and simple practiced manouvre. Most demons were down within the three shots, the rest were sooner.

    One after another he found a target and brought it down untill most of the ones near him were gone. He turned his attention back to one of the morons in the frey, he could either leave them to fend for themselves or die, or fire a few shots to help them out, but their movement was erratic and would mean possible freidnly fire.

    Leo pulled up the gun, hoping it was D and not caring if he caught one stray bullet. He fired three shots, all landed itno a demon about to slash the kid's back. A second burst brought down one right in front of him. Leo decided that was enough and moved on to something else, regretting the fact he was too good a shot.
     
  16. AcrobaticHippo

    AcrobaticHippo Determined

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    Lorelei stifled a yawn and settled back in her chair as she dialled the number for the umpteenth time. She had been trying to get to this Leobahn person or whoever he was and ended up listening to a gruff voice ending off with "Call back if it's something urgent; don't bother if it's not." each time. This is exactly my idea of spending a nice, balmy day...stuck with my phone trying to contact some ex-convict military person...yes, today has been very exciting so far.

    Here goes nothing,Lorelei thought as she held her cellphone to her ear, waiting for Leo to pick up, and hoping against hope that she would not have to hear that infernal voice message again.

    "I'm busy now..."

    Damn.

    Lorelei gritted her teeth slightly as she pressed the "End" button. Why is this dude taking so long...She didn't care if he was on a mission or whatever; she just wanted him to get it over with and help her with the assignment. She just wanted to get this done as soon as possible; Mr Stevenson had an annoying habit of calling her every other day and check on her progress, and she did not want to embarrass herself by telling him that she had nothing useful so far.

    Thinkk of that paycheck, girl, that big, fat paycheck.

    The cellphone suddenly rang, nearly jolting Lorelei out of her chair. She stared at the cellphone for a split second before grabbing at it and pressing the "Answer" button. Ignoring the stares from a couple nearby, she hurriedly pressed it to her ear and began speaking.

    "Good afternoon Sergeant Phelps..."

    "Lorelei?"

    "How did you-" Lorelei began, then stopped. That voice...it sounded very much like her mother...

    Well, she's so old her voice sounds like a man's anyway.

    "Haven't called here in a long time, have you, Mother? What do you want?" Lorelei asked.

    There was a short pause at the other end of the line before Mrs Danker replied. "I just thought I'd tell you this...it's your father. He's dying, and he wants to see you."

    Dying?! Her dad was a prominent figure in her life...not one she wanted all the time, but he still hung around nevertheless. Throughout her teenage years...he was nagging at her to do her homework, come back early, stop hosting wild parties and getting drunk...she always saw him as a man who moved around and chatted with others, not someone who's lying on a bed breathing the last few minutes of his life--

    "W-what is he dying of?"

    Another pause before her mother replied. "Pneumonia. It has already spread to the bloodstream and the organs...he can hardly speak now..." .

    "Which hospital is it?" Why didn't you tell me this earlier!?

    "King's Hill Hospital...ICU unit...Lorelei, please come now..." she broke down

    Lorelei wordlessly snapped her cellphone shut, grabbed her bag and ran out of the coffeeshop, heading towards the bus-stop. Thankfully, the bus came soon enough. She ran up the steps and past the startled driver, dropping some change in the box. The bus resumed moving, rumbling along at a slow, steady pace.

    Faster, faster, FASTER!!!

    As if responding to her thoughts, the bus started picking up speed. Lorelei sat back in her seat, her heart hammering wildly against her ribcage. Beads of sweat were trickling down her face and neck, though for once she did not pay attention.

    She exited the bus as soon as it stopped outside the hospital and walked as fast as she could to the reception. "ICU Unit?" she asked.

    "2nd Floor, next to the Operation Theatre," The receptionist replied in a bored voice. Lorelei nodded and walked briskly over to the lift, entering it and pressing a few buttons.

    Her mother was waiting outside the ICU, her head buried in her hands. She looked up as soon as Lorelei approached. Lorelei saw her red eyes and realised that she had been crying badly for quite some time.

    I'll save the lecture for later, Lorelei thought as her mother gestured wordlessly towards the gowns and masks she had draped on her arm. Lorelei took one set and put it on, grimacing slightly at its colour and feel. It looks and feels so ic- she stopped herself. Her father was DYING; she had to do it just once, for his sake.

    Her mother gripped her arm tightly as they entered the room together, leaving her father's relatives outside looking in through the glass screen. Her father was lying on the bed. There were machines all around him beeping and making other weird sounds, but Lorelei was most shocked when she looked at his face. He looked so calm, so strangely peaceful...as if he did not notice all the unfriendly-looking objects around him.

    Is this how people look like before they die?

    "He can't speak...his lungs are all congested...oh God, Lorelei..." her mother whispered.

    Lorelei gave a slight start as one of the machines beeped. She turned and saw that the life line had become poker-straight...

    Her father was gone.

    She stood there, stunned as her mother started weeping loudly beside her. Her father was dead, gone, never to come back again...she suddenly felt this great void in her life, like something was missing...why had she not felt it much earlier, when she left her parents' roost to be independent and start a new life Why had she not felt it much earlier when she sat through those lone nights fiddling with her cellphone? She wanted her father back...to hold her, to hug and kiss her, to love her, to help her survive all those problems like he used to...he was her hero when she was a kid, always chasing the scary monster under her bed away...how she wished he was still here and lively as before, so that he could chase all the demons she was facing now...

    Slowly, but surely, the tears came. And for the first time in ages, Lorelei did not care about how her face looked. Her weeping soon joined her mother's harmoniously, carrying on for a long, long time.
     
  17. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    *Redemption has landed. The Mayor wishes to see you, Forsaken Tucker Lansing-Steele, and Corporals Austin, Sibley, and Goodman.*

    Tex tongued in a response and she clapped her hands together, bringing instant silence. The squads were watching another Forsaken, Martha, run through the sims for learning experience, and so far, Martha was doing pretty good. Although it was interesting to watch, the team turned to her expectantly.

    “All right, team, Redemption’s landed. Tucker, Corporals Austin, Sibley and Goodman, the Mayor wants us in his office. The rest of you keep watching Martha until I come down here and say otherwise.”

    Wheeling around, she strode out the door, the other four close behind her. After making their way through the military barracks and into bureaucratic areas, they cleared security and walked into the Mayor’s office.

    “You wanted us?” Tex asked. This time, she remained standing up; her corporals were probably unwilling to go against the government by sitting down without permission – after all, unlike Tucker and herself, they would get in trouble if they annoyed the Mayor. And it was important to look unified in front of clerk-type people; they seemed to get intimidated when faced with a wall of united armed resistance.

    Redemption has landed, and after the necessary repairs, you and your team will be accompanying them. At this time, I have no special missions for you, but you will occasionally be given other missions. I’ve ordered a special slate for you that not only allows you to communicate with the rest of your team but with those of us at Home as well.” The Mayor handed over the slate – humans disliked calling them computers these days, which was what they basically were – and Tex accepted it. “Captain Ruthmore will be your contact during this time.”

    Thank God. I’ll be dealing with someone who knows what common sense means besides in the abstract.

    “Good luck, Sergeant, and I’ll be contacting you later.” At this clear dismissal, she gestured for the others to lead the way out.

    “All right, Mayor might be an idiot, but we’re not,” she said as soon as they were back in the simulation rooms. “Let’s go find Redemption, find out what kind of airship and crew we’ll be working with. Bring the rest of the squad as well.”

    “Yes sir,” her corporals said in unison, and five minutes later, they were on their way to airforce barracks.

    “We’re looking for Redemption’s crew,” Tex said, stopping a nearby pilot.

    “Keep going down this hallway, last door to the left, and ask the clerk in the office there,” he replied.

    “Thanks.”

    After following the directions of the clerk, they stood in a large landing field. Engineers swarmed over the airship Redemption, making the necessary repairs, and the crew was looking more than a little sour as Tex approached. “Government bastards,” the youngest one said to her ‘good morning.’ “We just got back from a battle and a mission, and the first thing they tell us is that we’re late, and we need to get back on the lines immediately. Thank God that Captain Diana’s better. Anyway, I’m Joey, and I’ve been appointed as your guide for the day.”

    “Acting Staff Sergeant Tex Lansing Steele. I assume that Mayor’s told you that we’re your reinforcements?”

    “And that we’ll be having two missions – acting as bus service for this specialist group he put together, and our own missions too. What fun.” Joey somehow managed to make ‘fun’ sound like a profanity. “We’ll be leaving in about six hours, around 3:00 PM, so you’d better get your gear together.”

    Tex decided that she liked this Joey, if only because he hated the government. “I’ll dismiss my team, then, and I’ll stay here to talk with you. Tucker and I already put our packs together, so he only has to go fetch them. Team, go get your gear together, you heard him.”

    All of them scattered, leaving her alone with Joey. “I want to check out this airship of yours,” she said without preamble. “See how much room there is to maneuver, that sort of thing.”

    “Sure. I can show you where you and your troops will be sleeping too.”

    Joey led the way up the ramp, calling cheerful greetings out to other people as they passed. Two small Oriental women joined them, dark eyes placid as they greeted Joey. Somehow, she sensed that these two were worthy of her respect. “And who might you be?” one of them asked.

    “Acting Staff Sergeant Tex Lansing Steele, ma’am,” she answered.

    “I’m Ayumi of the Redemption, mage-scientist. This is my partner Shiori.”

    “Ma’am.” She nodded to Shiori. “Pleased to meet you both.”

    “Call us Ayumi and Shiori,” Shiori said. “Anyway, you’ll be working with us when defending the ship, so you’ll be needing to coordinate with us.”

    “And in case the Mayor didn’t tell you, you’re in charge of Redemption’s defense,” Joey added.

    “Of course he didn’t tell me – civilian, remember? But how many real soldiers are there on Redemption?”

    “Four. Me, Lilah, Ethan, and Jared.”

    “You’ve got twenty civilians and four soldiers? That’s just screwed up.”

    “We’re not precisely civilians,” Ayumi said. “We’re quite capable of defending ourselves, and Samantha and Erica are good shots.”

    “Nonetheless, ma’am, you have no formal training in working as a unit to defend other people, and at this point, you’re more of a liability to my troops than an asset. Meaning no offense.”

    “Ayumi,” she reminded. “And no offense taken. Would drills help?”

    “Yes, but we don’t have time to do drills, since we’re leaving in six hours. Let’s have this as compromise, then – I’ll check your crew and see which ones can defend themselves and man the guns in emergencies. My people will work with the four soldiers most of the time, but if it comes to ship-to-ship battle, my team will be doing hand-to-hand combat with the rest of you at the guns.”

    “Good idea, although two of us are disabled at this point – Natasha has a regeneration tank on her leg, and Kevin can’t exert himself physically that much.”

    Tex nodded, looking around the ship. “All right, good enough for now. We’ll talk later, I trust.” The two mage-scientists took the hint and left as Joey began to conduct his tour of the ship.

    These people had better be good, Tex thought several hours later, ensconced in her room with Tucker. But she supposed they were; Redemption had been in the field for five years now and there were no recorded deaths. And even the civilians knew the basics of self-defense.

    As she mulled this over in her mind, she slipped into sleep and dreamed…

    … as she moved through a hallway that she knew and recognized, and didn’t want to. Had this been memory, Tucker would have been beside her, but this was real.

    No longer a dream.

    As she approached the end of the corridor, her footsteps slowed as she saw her, the calm, treacherous rogue. No longed garbed in the standard combat gear that all Forsaken used, a shimmering robe wrapped about her instead, she stood at the end of the hallway, arrogant in her strength, yet lovely despite it, as she watched Tex draw closer.

    Joanna.

    “You must be pleased,” Joanna said, “to have made rank so early. Your parents would have been proud.”

    Tex stiffened at the barb, but refused to react. For one, she had learned how futile it was to contest Joanna’s authority in the dreamworld, no matter how much she longed to wrap her hands around the rogue’s throat.

    And for another… Joanna was right.

    “I am only acting staff sergeant,” she said, fighting the words past her throat as she swallowed. “For only the duration of this mission.”

    “But you are only seventeen, my dear… but then, I an only a year older, and I have certainly made it much farther than you have.” Joanna smiled as her hand rose to the tiny locket at her throat.

    Tex knew all too well what it contained.

    “And unlike you, I have many more years in which to advance. Tell me, Tex,” and here her expression transformed from sleekly satisfied to compassionate, “what does the government owe you? All they have given you is
    death, both yours and others – ” Only Tex could have caught the subtle emphasis on that ‘others,’ “yet you still persist in blind loyalty to them.”

    “Not to the government,” she insisted. “To humankind.”

    “And what does that gain you?” Joanna leaned forward until their eyes were only inches apart. But while Tex’s were normal, Joanna’s swirled with the magic that was her heritage. Holding eye contact, she answered her own question. “Death. Whether they manage to find a counterspell to slow your death or not, death will come for you eventually. Seventy years or seven, you will die, and so too will your Tucker. Is that the fate you wish for him?”

    It was so hard to resist her blandishments, and it grew worse every time. But resist she did, shaking her head in denial as she stepped away, trying to put some distance between them.

    “I will ask again,” Joanna said, drawing back, “at a time of my choosing, and I will continue to ask. I have all the days of forever to do so, after all… but you do not, do you.” The way she phrased it, it almost sounded like an accident that Joanna had “forgotten” that Tex had perhaps seven or eight years left to live, not thousands. But Joanna would never forget anything, and this mistake had been deliberate.

    “You will continue to see me in the dreamworld. And perhaps in your dimension as well.”

    Tex stiffened at the threat, for threat it was. Three years ago, Joanna had gone rogue, and Tex and Tucker had been ordered to eliminate her. They had barely escaped with their lives. And as a reminder, Joanna had attacked them again a year ago, to drive the lesson home – Joanna could not be harmed even by them, the best team of Forsaken that the government had ever produced.

    “Walk carefully, Tex,” Joanna said with a certain amusement. “Nightmares
    do come alive, sometimes.”

    And with that, the dream shattered and Tex woke, her heart racing in the darkness as she felt the airship moving beneath her bunk.

    Unbidden, her hand crept up to her throat where a locket should have been and no longer was. Beside her, Tucker slept on, unknowing of her secret. Sometimes, Tex wished that she could tell Tucker the truth of it, the whole truth… but to do that would be to lose his love, and she didn’t think that she could bear that.

    With a sigh, she rose and walked out of the room, thinking that just for this one night, a drink was a good idea.
     
  18. Dead Dutchman

    Dead Dutchman Regressive

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    Brigger kicked his hotel door in, startling his subordinate Leslie Walker.

    "Wooah boss, you scared the hell out of me, whats wrong?"

    "I kill Darious!"

    Brigger took off his jacket and set it down carefully and layed down on the bed, Leslie was already resigned, Brigger had done this numerous times before.

    "So what now boss?"

    Brigger sat up and look at his right hand man, and smilied.

    "No more jobs leslie, we're going hunting!, problem i dont think there's anyone who can test my mettle!"

    Leslie cocked his eyebrow at the new turn of events, but was already on task and took out his laptop and began scrolling through names, Brigger turned his head and regarded leslie with curiousity.

    "Whatch ya doing?"

    "Finding someone to test your mettle, Ah-ha here we go!, this man looks the part"

    Leslie hands over the laptop to Brigger who looks at the name and picture, and wicked smile comes over Briggers face.

    "DDDDDDDDDDD"

    "Yep, a Daemon hunter, trained by the ledgendary A-bomb"

    Brigger looked over at the leslie with surprise.

    "A-Bomb!"

    Leslie nodded his head, Brigger put down the laptop and stood up and began pacing the room.

    "So D trained by A-Bomb, oooh he would be a trophy worthy to mount on my wall!"

    "So we begin immediately?"

    Brigger turned around and smilied at leslie

    "We?"

    "Yes, we sir"

    "Sorry Leslie, but for this to be a fair hunt it must be one-on-one between me and D, does this laptop contain his last known whereabouts?"

    "Yes sir, So I am Relieved of my duties?"

    "Yep, and as you know things I no longer need are........."

    Leslie was running for the door, but Brigger had already drawn his gun, BANG! BANG!, Brigger put two in Leslie's back. Brigger quickly packed only what he needed and left Leslie to die on the Hotel room floor.
     
  19. Lord_Croanan

    Lord_Croanan King and Conquerer

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    Home loomed before Kargan like an apple waiting to be plucked, its towers gleaming and protective shields shimmering. Kargan coughed once and headed down the hill. He was wearing a Kladish Trader outfit, one he had stolen from a rather unlucky strandee. He wasn't quite sure what he was going to do once he got in home, he figured he'd roam around until ALEX gave him instructions. Oh yeah, and how wonderful it was that ALEX wasn't speaking to him. Kargan had fallen out of favor when his ship had lost their prey, the Redemption, and he swore if he ever faced them again, thier sins would be repayed in blood. He finally made it to a citizen entrance door. Although it was for people on foot only, it was still gigantic, re-enforced steel upon re-enforced steel, with plasma locks and electric fencing.

    "So this is what has kept Demons and Mechs out for so many decades." he mumbled to himself. And yet he was going to get in with a fake ID and a quick DNA test to make sure he wasnt in disquise. Obviously they weren't prepares for a smart tr****r.

    The doors creaked open and Kargan slipped in. Home was abustle with hundreds of people doing ordiary things in their ordinary lives, and yet only 300 miles away there was a demon war party. But than of course, there always was. Kargan, or in this case, Josh, checked into a hotel and threw down his bag on the bed. Out fell a K-1 assault rifle and two combat knives, that, and shaving cream.

    Young Louis Darny sat crying again in his cell, the evil men gone and thier horrible question too. He didnt get it, people hated him for his differences, but others loved him so much they tried putting things in him that would supposedly make him "Better" although Louis wasnt sure if having a plasma gun for a left arm would do him much good besides opening food seals. The light from the moon streamed in, and Louis realized he was out of tears, and the anger set in now. But this time it was different. Something had snapped while he was being innterigated. Something big. Something dangerous. Louis sniffed and gritted his teeth. A nanosecound later a pulse of sound burst forth from his body, making an strange thuwmp sound. Louis got madder, another sound wave pulsed. The boy looked up at the moon, he had a chance now, however small, he had a chance
     
  20. Rosgwak

    Rosgwak The Masked Warrior

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    Moving among the demons with speed and unhesitating fluidity, D kept snapping his shots off, dropping demons almost as fast as they were pouring over the ridge. However, the numbers seemed to somehow keep swelling, despite the best efforts of the little alliance, and already soldiers were dropping under the onslaught. Their numbers were few enough as it was, and as D fired his pistols and fought up close, he couldn't help but wonder just how long their mission would last if this turned out to be a trend. Spinning around, D quickly raised his pistols and fired multiple shots into the torso of an attacking demon. This was getting annoying already.

    ----------------

    Corporal Paige Peters dodged and slashed her way around the field of battle, her ion blades flashing in the little light that remained out here. Slashing at a demon moving warily towards her, Paige managed to keep it at bay, while at the same time her well-trained eye moved over the field of battle. Already a few soldiers had fallen to the ground, and somehow the demonic opponents seemed to keep coming. She didn't even know this many demons grouped together into one group, but the evidence was quickly mounting before her eyes. As she glanced around, she noticed that all the "outsiders" as they were, non-military members of the group, were doing particularly well in the heat of a sudden attack. Clearly the mayor hadn't picked them based on their prestige alone. However, as she looked at D her eyes narrowed. She would have loved to believe he was just the typical cocky Hunter, sentenced to a horrible death as soon as the battle got intense. But as she watched she begrudgingly realised he was actually quite good at what he did. As reluctantly as she admitted it, the admittance of D's skill caused her a slight pang of anger, which she promptly took out by stabbing the nearby demon in the gut and then drawing her ion blade out through his head. Spinning around, she then went after the next opponent.

    ----------------

    Captain John Millers had his back to his vehicle, and was watching the battle progress before him. For the last few minutes, he had been trying to set up the distress beacon, and so was thankful for the lack of demons coming his way. Unfortunately, with fallen comrades and thus a break in the defensive line, a few tough looking demon-scum were walking straight towards him. Hurriedly erecting the antenna on the machine he spun around, quickly bringing Theresa's axe blades to bear and gutting an opponent that had gotten too close for his comfort. Seeing the others hesitate, John turned back to the distress beacon, taking advantage of their uncertainty. He really didn't feel comfortable leaving his group in the midst of this battle, and he knew the Mayor had mentioned sending a ship after them for some extra support. As he finished activating the beacon, and watched with satisfaction as it worked, sending their call for help, he hoped it wasn't far off.