|The Enemy Within: Guns of Ghost Chime Island|
|Summary:||The NLM attacks and destroys the PANL base under Fitzgerald’s command.|
|Cast:||Jantine Rukais Taeren Jack Norton Lucius Tullius Castus Hart Bremont Volouscheur Voliast Ruin Jeff Ryan Boomer McDowell Indira Freyssinet Dana LeBeau Dirionis Callot|
OOC Note: This enormous log took place over the course of three days, but is recorded as only taking place in a single night.
Landing Bay <Hancock Station>
- This incredible chamber sports almost a square mile of poured plascrete, all watched over by a high communications tower. Most of the ceiling of this chamber is of a lightly buzzing blue energy, allowing ships in and out with a minimum of atmosphere loss. Cheery lighting fixtures line the walls in stark contrast to the otherwise utilitarian nature of the bay. There is a set of double doors near the back of the bay, manned by half a dozen armed New Luna Militia members.
Hancock Station Intercom Broadcast ---------------------------- Taeren --
>>>> From the Command Center : Attention all hands. Engineering test underway in ten seconds. Please report any power drains or unusual electrical responses. This is Captain M'nammrann.
Jantine is standing over by the double doors, he looks up when the intercomm goes over, but then turns back to looking straight ahead.
Ruin pokes his head out of the Haste's airlock just after the announcement, looking a bit bleary and rumpled.
Volouscheur wanders out of the lobby, aura glowing matte green. She looks around, heading in the general direction of the Haste quietly.
Rukais heads out of the double doors slowly, making sure he's not fast enough to bump into anyone while he absent mindedly reads something from his PDA, not an unusual sight.
Jantine gives a nod to those coming through the door, but is silent as he stares off into space. Ruin comes out, his jacket around his shoulders rather than properly worn, cradling a cup of coffee as he sits on the Haste's ramp. He appears to be listening.
Volouscheur heads towards Ruin, waving to him and offering a feeling of greeting, ~'Light, Ruin. How are you, today?~ She looks around, strands of apricot winding around her.
Rukais makes his way towards the docking area for the Claymore Squadron, eyes raising to give the ships a careful stare.
Hancock Station Intercom Broadcast ---------------------------- Taeren --
>>>> From the Command Center : Corporal Osligoth, Sergeant Rukais, mission staff, muster in the landing bay for briefing. This is Captain M'nammrann. That is all.
Jantine doesn't seem to notice that the people who passed him ignored him. Instead, he stays where he is, staring straight ahead. The intercomm makes him jump slightly, but besides that, he doesn't move.
Ruin raises a hand from his coffee to wave at Scheur, but makes a face when the announcement comes. "...Guess that means it fired okay," he decides, getting to his feet again with a stretch. "Don't think I qualify as anybody's staff, though." And he turns to go back inside the ship.
Rukais clicks his hand and aims a finger at Jantine quickly, "Come on slugboy, snap out of it!" he yells, though he's but a few meters away.
Ruin is a bit nap-rumpled and cradling a mug of coffee, on his way into the Haste to get out of the way of everyone else. Jantine's with Rukais by the Claymores.
...and the two are silent, though Rukais is staring at Jantine in a way to suggest he's waiting for some introduction, to break the awkwardness.
Taeren tucking away a PDA, Taeren enters the landing bay at a brisk clip, flanked by a rather unimpressive man in a Sergeant's uniform.
Boomer comes in, Pulse Assault rifle hanging from a tactical sling, sucking his fingers clean from his last meal.
Ruin pauses as Tay enters. "They check out?" he asks. "Didn't see any issues here."
Jantine shrugs at Rukais "Yes sergeant?" he says eventually. His back is to the double doors, so he hasn't seen Tay enter yet.
"Are you prepped? Not drunk, stoned or dead.. are you?" Rukais asks, raising an eyebrow.
Boomer finishes his finger-lickin' good last traces of his last meal, checking his rifle with a frown and then a nod of satisfaction. It'll shoot in the right direction. "So, where we fuckin' goin?" It's an open question. Whoever wants to answer....?
Volouscheur exits the lobby with some other marines. Some, like Scheur, are wearing MCA, while others are wearing flak jackets. All of them are equipped with weapons, some having a Purifier attached to their pulse rifle - in this group is Scheur. They all head over to where Taeren and the rest are standing.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Taeren begins, approaching the knot. The Sergeant nods to Rukais and Jantine, joining them. "If I could have my spacers. Time for the final mission briefings. For those of you who may not know --" he turns to tilt his head at Boomer, "-- such as you soft-soles over there --" returning his attention to the spacers, "The PANL have been given an ultimatum: Turn themselves in by end of business today or face violent repercussions. It is now end of business."
Ruin looks a little sick at hearing that, and looks behind him at the Haste as if seriously considering a tactical retreat.
There's a sigh from Jan "No sergeant, never do that before a flight, just mentally prepping myself..." he spins around when he hears Tay, coming to a salute in a sudden burst of energy and stopping his sentence short.
Rukais nods after one.. no, two salutes. He faces Jeff and frowns, "I've taken the liberty of briefing Jantine on what was suggested to be his part of the mission, sir."
Volouscheur is just quiet, where she stands with the rest of the marines. Not that she has much choice, being mute and all. She's equipped in MCA, with a PAR at the ready - and a nifty new Purifier attachment. It's fairly evenly split between the marines in MCA and those in flak jackets.
The landing bay is clearly being used as a muster area. Third Company is idling about in mission kit, waiting for their CO. Taeren has pulled his spacer crew aside and is briefing them.
Ruin is somewhat bleary and sleep-rumpled, on the Haste's ramp - more or less watching until he's told to buzz off or join a group.
Boomer scratches his shaved head, then glances to Volouscheur. "So like, it smell like tuna in one of those fuckin' things I bet."
Ryan enters the landing bay with a tall elegant woman in tow. And /she/'s in her dress uniform. He doesn't waste much time and heads for a space midway between the two groups, assessing both. He gives a small nod of approval at what he sees, he glances at the woman, "Command picked a hell of a day for your transfer."
Taeren returns the salutes offered to him. "Good, Sarge. Corporal, I don't know what the Sergeant told you, but if it involves you running combat air patrol and making a lot of stuff explode, then you were briefed correctly. Our civilian partner in the air attack is a no-show so far, so I will be the rabbit, as we discussed earlier -- trying to draw fire. When you see flak coming my way, find the sources and take them out. After that, you'll be CAP. Which, to my understanding, means you wait for the Marines to tell you they're in deep shit and blow up whatever it is that's pulling them deeper. Sarge, you're Ryan's pilot aboard the Franklin." "Well, at least my last post was on the station," the woman following Jeff replies, her hands folded behind her back. She follows Jeff's gaze around. "Better than starting from scratch."
"The hell is wrong with you?" asks Norton as he grins and walks up to the marines. He's wearing a flak jacket and has a pulse assault rifle which is kitted out with a Purification type plasma cannon slung over his shoulder in addition to the energy pistols and psi blocker on his belt. The psi blocker is off. "Hasn't anyone instilled in you the importance of uniformity? If you're wearing a suit of combat armor, you're wrong. Fix yourself or force me to fix you. It's all the same to me, cowboys and cowgirls."
Jantine nods and drops his salute "Yes sir, I assume the Hobart has already been loaded with air-to-ground rockets?" he asks, glancing over towards the craft mentioned.
Boomer is wearing Flak Jack. He's all for uniformity. Even manages a half-hearted at attention stance.
"Well, now you get to get your hands dirty dealing with the troops," nods Jeff. "You want to call them to attention or shall I?"
Ruin gives Norton a somewhat flat look, and then looks to Jeff, getting to his feet. "Sir?" he asks. "Am I needed?"
Volouscheur looks over at Boomer, offering a feeling of confusion and curiosity, ~Tuna?~ Norton's statement....well, she says nothing in reply to that. Nor does she seem about to go and get changed out of it, however.
"I'll take it, sir," Indira says, nodding a little bit. She comes to a stop and puts her arms to the side. Then, in a textbook drill sergeant voice, booms, "Atten-tion!"
Taeren nods to Jantine. "Yes, Corporal. New intelligence from our eye on the ground says we shouldn't have to deal with too much anti-air. If I start shooting at something on my way in, follow up -- I'll be painting enemy entrenchments, and if we level those, we make the Marines' jobs easier. After we've taken care of any threats to our vessels, we've got to clear a landing zone for the Franklin so Ryan can land the Marines, and stick around for air support." He frowns. "There's going to -" Taeren stops, turns, and salutes Ryan at the order from Indira.
Rukais salutes quickly and without regard to Jantine as he almost lobs off the pilots head with his hand, looking past Taeren to Indira with a lack of recognition.
"All right, all right," says Norton as he grins widely at the marines. "If you're not moving, you're wrong. If you're wrong, you're stupid. If you're stupid, you're staying right here to guard the bay doors in case a Martian delegation shows up and needs to be saluted. Either way, you're moving out of my formation whether you fix yourselves or not." He rolls his eyes as Indira calls everyone to attention and barks, "Compah-nee! Ah-ten-SHUN!" With a perfectly blank look on his face, he performs an about face and turns to Indira and Ryan.
Jantine nods along to Tay's briefing, saluting Ryan as the Captain does. He remains silent, even after getting conked on the back of the head, fairly hard, by Rukais.
"A fuckin' fish. That things gotta be gamey." Boomer mutters sideways at the Vollistan, before turning his body to face the CO's as well, his stance stiffening.
Volouscheur doesn't give Boomer an answer, nor does she reply to Norton. The only sort of response she gives is in turning to face Indira and Ryan and pulling herself to her full height of 7'6" - well, 8'6" in the armour.
This isn't the Royal Naval Service, we're dirtier, we're grungier, we're more down to earth than that. There's no big assembly hall, no podium. And in keeping with that the Brigadier General glances at one of the crates next to him, reads the marking and makes sure it's contents aren't explosive. He simply nods to Ruin in answer to his question before stepping up onto one crate, then another before running his eye over the assembled troops. The benefits of /that/ voice is that it carries. "Ladies and gentlemen. I'll keep this short. You've been briefed, you know the mission. You know our objectives. You know what we have to do. This rats-ass bunch of rebels have done a damned good job making us look like idiots on the news." There's a small smile playing on his lips, "But today, we show them, we show New Luna, we the Orion Arm. The joke is on Them." He raises the voice a notch, "Third Company, Attack Squad." And another notch. "The order's in. MOVE OUT."
Indira folds her hands behind her back, and looks out over the soldiers as Jeff speaks.
Taeren turns to Ruk, Jantine, and the small collection of spacers he's been speaking to. "We may have to clear a path by fire for the Marines," he says. "So after we clear our landing zone near the hostile camp, keep an ear out for orders to that effect. There should already be smoke and fire to identify the two points in question. And that's really all you need to know. Spacers, get to your ships and start preflight." Taeren's order is common-sense and without bravado, although the lines around his eyes become more defined as he says, sternly, "Let's end this once and for all."
Norton turns back to face the marines. "You heard the general, and you will strip out of the unauthorized equipment before boarding the birds, or I will shoot you on the ramp for insubordination and generally pissing into the win to save you the trouble of running through the jungle in a hundred pounds worth of bullet magnet." He's grinning when he says all this but he does unsling the pulse assault rifle with the plasma cannon mounted on it and take up a position beside the Franklin's boarding ramp. "All aboard, maggots. This is your ride to your last breath. Wouldn't want to keep anyone waiting."
Ruin simply nods, stepping back inside the Haste. He comes out remarkably soon afterward, given the degree of change. He's awake, and dressed in what looks to be a rather blue-dominated uniform. With a neutral expression he steps down to the end of the Haste's ramp and looks at Jeff, waiting.
"Captain." Rukais fields, with a question hanging on the end, "What do you want me to do once I've emptied?" Rukais looks at the swathe of marines.
"If it's my last fuckin' breath, why would I want to go?" Boomer asks sourly as he climbs aboard. He's in regulation stuffses.
Jantine nods to Tay, and runs over to the storage locker near the ships, he pulls out a flight suit and puts it on quickly. He then gets up, still attaching a few pieces of the suit, and begins heading to the Hobart. The marines in the MCAs give Norton a long, long look. However, to a man, they all head over to the quartermaster's to go turn in the MCAs and change.
"What Brigadier General Ryan tells you to, Sergeant," Taeren replies with a smirk. "Now go get his ship warmed up, or he'll be pissed." As the spacers begin to file to their positions, Taeren turns towards the Franklin and pauses perhaps ten feet away from Norton, the Riposte being not very far from that. "Captain Norton," he begins. "I've heard from the ground that our potential-friendlies in the giving-up side of PANL will be wearing white bands on their arms. And there will be a lot of booby traps down there between you and the hostiles. We'll be in the air to blow them up; just call us down." The Timonae turns for the Riposte at a jog, adding only, "Lady smile, dirt-sucker," over his shoulder, before joining the crew of his ship in boarding up the ramp.
"Given half a brain, you wouldn't. That's the pure joy of being a marine. Doing stuff you know you shouldn't and maybe even not dying in the process," says Norton as he just grins at the marines forced to go change by his rational or not orders. He tells Taeren, "That's the plan, Stan."
Jeff Ryan steps down off the crates and as Ruin arrives there's a small smile. The badge on Ruin's jacket matches the one of Jeff's right arm. He glances at both Indira and Ruin, "You can both join me on the bridge of the Franklin." And with that he starts to make his way through Third Company. To the boarding ramp, the marines who've jogged off to change make that somewhat easier.
Rukais rolls his eyes, "Great. The angel on my shoulder." he heads towards the Franklin quickly, heading to cut in before more marines get on in his way.
The IND Riposte rises off the ground and noses towards the bay doors, leading the charge. As usual, Riposte just glides out and picks an empty trajectory without requesting clearance.
Soon enough, the marines who went off to change return, jogging to catch up and get on board the Franklin.
Norton stands on the boarding ramp, counting marines as they board the Franklin.
A number of the Franklin's lights turn on before the ship starts to hum gently.
The NLM Hobart powers up after a moment, lifting off, it follows the Riposte out through the blue energy field above.
New Hope Emplacement <Ghost Chime Isle>
- The swamp seems to continue onwards, in all directions. The surface of this swamp seems to be thicker than most areas. The only aspect of dry land is a large patch of dry land, either man made or artificial. Hard to see emplacements seem to be on the shore of what could only be described as hill in the middle of a desolate waist. Every now, here and there, there appears to be emplaced gun emplacements that are dug into the side of the hill, with camouflage netting hanging across the front of them. A single weapon rests on the top of the hill, a quad .50cal HMG that appears to be ready to be used in anti-air and anti-personnel operations.
- Several platforms lead from the hill, and into buildings on stilts, that could only be assumed to be dwellings. They appear to be decently constructed, though still a little bit ramshackle in appearance.
Freyssinet nods to Bree, "thanks." she hands one to Hart, puts one on herself, and hands them out to the soldiers around them.
Freyssinet speaks up, "I was told the NLM is inbound."
At first, nothing. Then, a low roar, still with no discernible source from the ground.
Armbands in one hand and a shotgun in the other, Bremont easily makes her way down hill to the gun emplacement. The sudden noise makes Bremont quicken her pace and she soon dissapears into the camouflaged gun emplacement.
Freyssinet tenses, readying, her hand to her gun.
<COMM Taeren> This is the Riposte. Hobart, keep back. Let me draw fire. If I take any, take out the source.
<COMM Taeren> This is Riposte. Coming in weapons hot.
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir.
Freyssinet tenses, watching around, "Where are they coming from?!"
The 'good' part of the PANL, those that have holed up in the New Hope emplacement, are essentially doing that. Holding up and hiding. There's no attempt to conceal the position from the air, rather that big ol' quad .50 cal sits there.
Hart continues to remain on the up most of the emplacement, before the noise coming distracts her. "These are you people, correct doctor?"
Inside the gun emplacement, Bremont passes out the armbands before heading back out. She breaks into a jog as she heads back up the hill to where she left Hart and Frey.
Somewhere not far off the coast, IND Riposte abruptly gains altitude. Anyone watching a radar screen would suddenly see a blip where previously there was none -- a vessel flying so low as to be hidden in the sensor signature of the planet itself. Then, perhaps 7500 feet off sea level, a black dot approaching: a Kestrel-class destroyer escort, her engines clearly the source of the roaring sound. The sound grows louder as the source comes into view for the clear of vision, approaching from the south.
<COMM Taeren> Riposte over the hot zone now. Here goes nothing ...
A ways behind the Kestrel, maybe ten or so seconds distance, a Defiant is flying, still low, and under sensors.
Freyssinet frowns for Hart, "No way to know from that far, but as I was just told they're approching..."
"Ma'am, orders?!" Bremont yells up as she finally arrives at the top of the hill. All the armbands are gone, and only a shotgun remains in Bremont's hands as she turns expectantly to Hart.
<COMM Jantine> Roger sir, rockets primed...good luck.
As the two seems streak in from the south, high above the island a loud sonic boom reverberates and echo across the surrounding area as a heavily modified an one of a kinda looking ship lights up the sky like a comet as it barrels downward in what could be considered a suicide dive from orbit heading towards the island.
Hart makes rushes across to on of the lockers that are concealed in the open. She bends down and starts to rummage through it, cases of large bored ammunition are discarded onto the ground. Until she finds what she's after. A flare gun. "Get to a position and expect the worse until we know their intentions! Both of you" Hart yells to Bremont and Frey, as she busies herself with the signaling device. She's too distracted to really pay attention to the incoming ships
The IND Riposte roars past overhead, a dark shape against a dark sky, gaining altitude over the island's northwestern shore before banking sharply and zooming east, towards the location of Fitzgerald's camp.
The NLM Hobart continues to follow in the Riposte's path, although making sure to keep low.
Freyssinet nods, throwing more armbands to Bree, and making sure everyone around her as one. At the boom, she smiles widely, "Now, that can only be the Wolfsbane - my husband!"
Bremont tosses the armbands back down on the ground as she gives her head a firm shake. "No time!" She turns away from Frey and heads back down the hill in a near run towards the gun emplacement, shotgun jostling in her hands as she runs.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> "Good luck gentlemen." Which is followed by after a small pause, "Contendo, Quaero, Compero, Incessum. Never give up."
"Get those heavies loaded and cocked!" Hart yells out to the concealed blinds in the hill, not seeming the least phased by the fly overs. "If they fire, I want the air screaming with tracers!" As in accordance with the safety instructions on the flare gun, she looks away and aims it directly up. With a hiss of burning ignition, the flare goes straight up before erupting in a bright green flash, which slowly starts to drift towards the surface of the swamp.
<COMM Taeren>No anti-air fire after first pass. I see Fitzgerald's camp. Weapons hot, everybody. Corporal, LeBeau, I just lit up your nail. Now bring the hammer down. Don't blow the three buildings in under dirt towards the edge -- there's a field hospital there. Marines can ID the ones that we need to raze later.
As if on cue, angry red beams lance out from the Riposte ... raining down on the location of Fitzgerald's camp. Four at first, and then the vessel zips past, banks straight up on its burly starship's engines, and turns for another pass.
Charging in from the jungle, a white armband tied just above her elbow, hands empty and held up as she runs in. "Do not fire! Friendly! Friendly!!"
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir, opening fire, following your lead.
The Hobart follows suit, ten seconds after the Riposte's run, the Hobart's rocket systems work, firing off an air-to-ground rocket at one of the locations shot by the Riposte.
Freyssinet waves to Dana, "That way!" she looks up and growls. "What the heck are they playing at?" she fumbles with her PDA
The UKT Wolfsbane scream to a halt probably no more then 100 meters from the surface of the island itself. Reentry plates on the bottom the ship still a bright red and giving off that wavy heat illusion. Then 6 pin points of deep green begin to glow along the wings and wedge portion of the ship as it spins on its axis to fare locations seemingly being targets by the ships computers....then the pin points turn into lances of green energy that crackles as it supper heats the air as they fly towards pre picked out targets. The engines then begin to growl loudly before the ship starts to move off towards the far end of the island.
<COMM Taeren> Good hunting -- burn that whole base to ash, just leave the buildings under earthworks. Intel from down below -- power's out down there. LeBeau, you got enough boom in that hot rod to clear a frigate-sized LZ near the target?
Bremont bunkers down inside the gun emplacement. She tosses her shotgun down on the ground as she helps the crew prepare the weapon for firing.
The camp of Fitzgerald, well there comes a couple of light bangs, followed by an explosion of something. The rockets strike, plums of smoke and fire being visible in the distance, followed by a grey smoke. the sound of small arms fire is heard, being fired in return to the runs from the Hobart. Tracers arc up in to the sky, before fading out.
Hart quickly rushes out of the camp, grabbing the Doctor by a sleeve. "Come on doctor, best take cover, don't know what's going to happen here." She does, however, spare a moment to glance up towards the Wolfsbane. Then it's to the field medic. "I told you to stay with your bloody gun position, now get inside!"
The IND Riposte rolls, juking and jiving through layers of tracer fire, and paints another area of firm ground perhaps two hundred yards away from Fitzgerald's camp with pulse cannon fire before banking to approach the hostile camp a second time.
<COMM LeBeau> I should, you all just tell me where you want me to clear the space and then stay out of my way.
<COMM LeBeau> I should, you all just tell me where you want me to clear the space and then stay out of my way.
<COMM Taeren>: LeBeau, I just painted your target. Franklin -- Riposte. Door should be open by the time you get here.
<COMM Rukais> Roger, roger. Moving in now.
The NLM Hobart screams over the camp, banking, it comes in suddenly for another run. The ship rolls to one side, then to the other, avoiding tracer fire. Finally, it levels out for a brief second, launching another rocket at the area of ground painted by the Riposte.
The Franklin, having been waiting on the sidelines, suddenly pushes forward in a boost of acceleration, heading towards the Riposte's last target with a flashy trail of white cloud erupting behind it silently.
Freyssinet follows Hart to whatever hideout. She throws her pulse pistol to Dana, "there. but wait that they finish the sky fire, all right?"
<COMM Taeren> Mission team, Riposte. Comm check.
The UKT Wolfsbane surges towards other encampment across the island, the green pinpoints glowly hotly on the hull of the ship again before it banks to one side and fires towards a patch of swam covered with underbrush. But this time the fire is continuous and streamed and not a sudden burst as before. Like the pilot is deliberately burning away specific areas.
The gunner at Bremont's position positions himself as the weapon is ready to go live if need be. Bremont herself is crouched nearby, waiting to help feed the weapon more ammunition. The other gunnery crew position themselves accordingly, scanning the nearby swamp.
The tracer fire continues to arc through the air, several rounds coming dangerously close to the Hobart. The Riposte, well, it's still a target, but not as much of one as the ship with missiles. The Wolfsbane has a close call. As more shot rain down into the camp, different weapons fire up. The unmistakable burst from plasma rifles. Though, the rounds don't make it far before it loses coherhsion. With the sustained fire, and as well as the rockets coming into Fitzgerald's camp, the guns soon go silent. The shots from the Wolfsbane are certainly true, all strike the desired area.
Hart stares at Dana for a moment, and then shakes her head. "Fine," she comments, before slipping inside to join Bremont's crew. She crouches down, immediately going towards the ammunition, passing it across to the loader of the weapon. "Right... I want these ready to be moved and located at the drop of a hat. Two person carry the weapon, the third carries the ammunition!"
The IND Riposte banks, having painted another target for destruction, and starts strafing through the forest between the Wolfsbane's target and Fitzgerald's smoking camp.
<COMM Taeren> Hobart, keep on fire suppression. Wolfsbane, you're the new Militia Corps of Engineers - Marines need a path from that LZ to the base, and you might as well clear it. Franklin, how's it looking?
Dana catches the thrown pistol and follows for the moment, taking cover with the rest as she watches the ships overhead, "I took out the generators in Fitz's camp before headin' out. Didn't get a chance at Fitz, tho', and I ain't leavin' till I do."
The NLM Hobart continues screaming over the camp. The pilot continues to fire off the occasional rocket at the remains of the camp.
Freyssinet tries to stay out of the way of Hart's men carrying the weapon. to Dana, "Don't risk getting yourself killed over that psycho. A tribunal will take care of him." she says reasonably.
<COMM Taeren> Comm check.
Front thrusters on the Franklin fire forwards to slow the ship down as it nears the newly designed landing zone, the ship spins slightly in the air as it makes to come in at a slightly easier angle.
Bremont nods her head quickly towards Hart as she assists with the loading of the weapon. "Yes, ma'am!" Bremont responds crisply. The other members of the gunnery crew respond in similar fashion before turning their attention on what may come next.
The rocket fired from the Hobart seems to strike something that explodes rather pleasantly. The ground, even at the New Hope itself, seems to twist and buckle as debris is thrown up into the air. A plume of thick black smoke wafts up into the air, and no more gun fire starts.
"I want that ship covered!" Hart bellows at the top of her lungs. "No one approaches it, we let them come to us. They're either friendly or they're not. Let them take the initiative." She glances back towards Dana and arches a brow. "I am not going to let you run off to get killed because of some personal vendetta."
<COMM LeBeau> test
<COMM Taeren> received.
"Old business, Frey," Dana says, shaking her head, "Pre-dates any of this New Luna mess." She looks to Hart, "Just keep them white bands on your arms and everythin' is gonna be just fine. As to me and Fitzgerald, that's between him and me, ma'am."
<COMM Jantine> Any specific targets once the buildings are destroyed sir?
The NLM Hobart continues making runs on the base with it's rockets.
Freyssinet sighs for Dana, "if it is that old, is it really worth getting you killed over? Don't think so. Cool down and wait a bit... please."
The undergrowth still continues to be cleared away by the Wolfsbane. Smoke idlely drifts from Fitzgerald's base. The explosions continue to flow from the base, but no fire is returned. Just silence, punctuated by the occasional shell cooking off.
"Hold fire," Hart says, stress starting to creep into her voice. "Let them make the first move." Ace is ignored.
<COMM Taeren> Negative.
As the Franklin slowly pulls lower to the ground, the landing ramp edges open slowly and the ship's turrets begin to fire shots into the surrounding bush.
Bremont holds tight and waits for the next round of development. She wipes a bead of sweat from her forehead as she waits to assist the gunnery crew in repositioning the gun if need be.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> Confirmed Hobart. I want you to run recon, see if you can find that damned cavern. And keep an eye out for surprises.
"I got my priorities right," Dana replies, "Generator first, gettin' you outta here second. Fitz can wait a little longer."
<COMM Taeren> Wolfsbane, I expect you'd be welcome at the camp to the northwest. We'll call you back if we need more close air support.
<COMM LeBeau> This is the Wolfsbane. Landing area clear, gonna fly cover and more back to the other encampment incase they need help. Call me back if you need me.
<COMM Taeren> LeBeau, your wife's in that camp to the northwest. Go say hi. Hobart, let's stick around in case the Marines need support.
<COMM LeBeau> Copy that, Wolf out.
The UKT Wolfsbane turns and under full thrust burns back towards the Hart encampment.
The IND Riposte continues to circle, watchfully, not far overhead.
The NLM Hobart breaks off it's attack course briefly, heading slightly west. It holds that course for a bit, as if the pilot is looking for something, then pulls back over the main camp.
<COMM Jantine> Sir, I think I may have found something, but I’m not sure. Thought I saw something in an outcrop to the west, sending you the coordinates.
Freyssinet 's lower lip trembles. "Thanks. I will be fine. For Remy." she looks at the wolfsbane." watching Dana, "You all right? You got some blood..."
<COMM Taeren> Hear you, Corporal. Report from the ground is that their railgun was in the cliffs up there, but Fitzgerald blew it rather than let us do it for him. I'll check it out; stay awake.
Amid all the action, Bremont and the gunnery crew attempt to remain rather calm from their concealed location. They continue to wait, eyes open and ready to move the weapon itself or themselves if need be.
The Franklin lands, still blowing shots into it's surroundings as the boarding ramp fully opens.
"Is not mine," Dana assures Frey, "Was an accident and someone got hurt."
No shots are fired at the Franklin or anything else. Still a strange silence rests over the tropical island
"Enough of the tea party talk," Hart mutters, before reaching down for the binos at are hanging around her neck. She edges closer to the edge of the blind, carefully moving one of the crew to the side so that she may get a better view. She raises them up and watches the landed ship closely.
The UKT Wolfsbane :settles into a hover above an open area in the Hart camp, just sitting there for a moment as if to hint to everyone who might be underneath to get out of the way. Then the landing struts start to lower as does the ship itself.
The IND Riposte banks and roars towards the cliffs, making a close pass as if to check out the same area the Hobart had passed earlier.
The NLM Hobart continues it's flights over base, occasionally firing seemingly random pulse shots into the smoldering remains and underbrush.
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir.
Freyssinet watches Dana, and nods. "Good." she raises a brow, "They starting the land part, or what?"
Bremont turns her attention towards the landing craft and so does most of the gunnery crew. She looks towards Hart to wait for an order with a hand placed on the weapon.
Nothing moves, silence. Like the silence before a storm.
Hart continues to remain perched at the edge of the concealed hide, binos up to her eyes. "I want position four brought up to the fifty up top. Just set up, don't fire. We need a better vantage point."
The UKT Wolfsbane lands in the Hart encampment and shortly after the hatch on the rear of the ship slides open and LeBeau appears. A nasty looking pistol held tightly in one hand.
Freyssinet peeks out of her hideout, trying to see, "Why that silence?" then she beams, "Remy, and NLM people!" Though she waits for Hart's authorization to get out.
The IND Riposte banks upward and moves back into its holding pattern along the island.
<COMM Taeren> Corporal, I don't see anything in that outcrop. What was it you thought you saw?
<COMM Jantine> Thought I saw the entrance to a cavern sir...(there's a pause) requesting permission to make a run fifty meters in front of the Franklins ramp sir, I don’t like this, its too quiet.
Bremont and the gunnery crew obey Hart's order and quickly dismantle the weapon from its fixed position. Bremont rests her shotgun on top of the weapon and she and the gunner handle carrying the weapon itself while the other crew member grabs the ammo box. The entire crew trudges up the hill as quick as they can with the gun in tow.
<COMM Taeren> Granted.
With Remy's appearance, a voice of a young man pipes up in a rather uneducated drawl from Position three. "Well... Yer better not be star'in' an'thing 'ere.... I mean..." Well, someone's certainly nervous. The unique sound of a .30 cal being actioned can be heard from the dug out. "Just approach peacefully and give us a name."
Position Four, the one that Hart's currently teamed up with. She slowly and quietly slides out of the mouth of the dug out, offering a hand to those behind. "Go on," she absently replies to Frey, before reaching back in for a box of magazines.
Narrator: Meanwhile, inside the Franklin;
Lower Corridor <NLM Franklin>
- A long corridor running the lower length of the ship. The floor is made from a non-skid substance which provides excellent traction for those moving at high speeds, and the area is lit by lighting strips inset into the roof. Towards the aft an airlock is set into the port wall, further back is a door marked 'Sickbay'. Two more doors are set into the port and starboard walls, just forward of a ladder that leads up and down.
Grinning, Norton follows the last marine into the corridor. He says, "Smoke them if you got them and pop a squat. We're not going unassing this tub until things get squared away to my satisfaction." He points out two marines. Boomer and Scheur. "You two are going to be my runners. Let's go and watch the show from the best view we got. IE the bridge."
"Can I smoke on the bridge?" Boomer asks as he starts to head that way, adjusting his grip on his rifle. Checking to make sure safety's are on. Can't be havin' no accidental discharges.
Volouscheur glances over at Norton, but doesn't say anything. However, she does head in the direction that will take her to the bridge. She shrugs to Boomer, absently checking the safety on her rifle, too. ~Probably best to check when you get there.~
"I am," says Norton as he slings his rifle to climb the ladder. He waves the two ahead of him as he pauses to light a cigarette. "See how much flak I take before you light up, though. I can give you some dip if they nix it."
"Fuck." Boomer grunts as he heads bridgewards, hand already dipping to his pack. Volouscheur gets a frown. "You got a mouth, right? Use it."
Norton climbs up the ladder with the cancer stick dangling out of the corner of his mouth and heads for the bridge. "Let's go see how much money has been wasted on training pilots."
Bridge <NLM Franklin>
- This room is the brains of the ship, to the fore a large viewscreen occupies most of the forward wall, giving a grand and impressive view of computer rendered space. Directly before this are two seats, one for the pilot, and one for the co-pilot, both equipped with heads-up holographic displays to aid in flying the craft. Set slightly behind and between the two is a single black chair, presumably for the captain of the vessel. Set around the edges of the room are various subsidiary control systems and their attendant seats. Space is fairly reasonable if you are a human, however, when all the consoles are occupied, it is still a squeeze to move, to the aft, a door leads out to the main corridor.
Jeff Ryan just nods absently at Ruin for now distracted. "Mr. Rukais, put comms onto external. I want to hear what's happening." And then, "Bring us down, but not in. Not until we get the all-clear." (repose). Jeff's in the command chair, Rukais is at navigation and Indira is at gunnery. Ruin is standing near the door.
"Roger captain." Rukais says, leaning across and pressing a square green button which lights up at once. Almost as soon as Rukais is back at the controls, Taeren’s voice emerges from the speakers: "Riposte over the hot zone now. Here goes nothing ..."
After sitting down at the weapons panel, Indira pulls her jacket off, leaving her in the standard duty uniform. She straps herself in and watches the console.
Again from the speakers, Jantine’s voice: "Roger sir, rockets primed...good luck."
Ruin simply nods, not moving from his place. His attention's on the viewscreen, it seems.
Looking over his shoulder as he enters the bridge, Norton asks around the lit cigarette dangling out of his mouth, "Do you two understand what the douchebags - I mean valiant heroes of the air are trying to do during the little debacle? Actually, scratch that. Do you two understand what _we'll_ be doing during this little health hazard of an exercise? Don't worry. Be happy. I'll tell you. We'll move from wherever it is we end up getting set down to the nearest known concentration of enemy survivors, and we will kill them. The problems will be them trying to kill us by means of direct and indirect fire as well as booby traps. Simple, huh?"
"Thank you for explaining that sir." says Rukais, bordering on sarcasm, though it doubles as an idle mutter as the Sergeant frowns in concentration, one hand on the controls the other resting next to a set of buttons, ready to press whatever is needed.
Volouscheur follows Norton in onto the bridge, saying nothing. There's a flicker of orchid in the matte green that surrounds her, however. She looks around and heads in Ruin's direction, unless ordered to do otherwise.
"I reckon it had to do with shootin' some fuckers." Boomer mutters lowly, perhaps just audible, adjusting his flak vest irritably. "Dip?"
Jeff Ryan hits the comms button and sends to both ships, "Good luck gentlemen." There's a small smile, "Contendo, Quaero, Compero, Incessum. Never give up." He glances back at Norton, "I understand the plan, I understand what we're here to do. We're here to kill people as quickly and efficiently as possible whilst keeping our losses to a minimum." He shakes his head, "We can hide behind numbers and casualty figures all we wish, but it's a dirty job." He glances at the viewscreen, "Sadly a necessary one." He shakes his head clearing his thoughts, "Mr. Rukais, how soon can we get to the objective?"
"I wasn't explaining nothing to you, sergeant," says Norton as he grins at Rukais and passes Boomer a can of fine cut dipping tobacco. He just grins at Ryan, "Well, I'd hope you understood the plan, sir, but I was more worried about briefing my privates than back briefing you right now, sir. Although, I do need to know what comm channel air is running on."
"We're about 20 seconds away from the hot zone, but finding a good spot might delay us - along with any crossfire.. well, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes." Rukais looks back to Ryan for a quick moment to give him an apologetic look before it's back to concentrating for the moment.
"Weapons are hot, sir," Indira reports. "No readings on my sensors yet."
Ruin looks at Scheur, but only briefly; his attention is largely held by the viewscreen - though his eyebrow quirks at Jeff's broadcast.
Jeff Ryan nods at Norton, "Mission Channel is: Agamemnon3. Decryption code six." He glances over Indira, "When we reach the combat zone fire on whatever targets us." There's a pause, "I hate waiting." Ryan strokes his chin as though thinking.
Boomer tucks the dip against one cheek, staring out the viewscreen, hands tightening on the grip of his rifle.
Volouscheur glances over at Ruin and nods slightly, but doesn't say anything aloud. Instead, she settles back into her chair and watches the viewscreen. "Has it been prepped yet? Have alternate LZs been sited? Has our route clearance package been delivered?" asks Norton as he takes out his commlink. "Have the alternate routes been decoyed? Are we still landing on the beach or has the LZ changed? Or are we just going in and hoping that on the spot air support will remedy any problems that lack of prepping is going to cause? How long are we going to have all these birds in the air, anyway, with the ammo to give us support? What's our designated hitter? The Franklin?"
"Roger that." Rukais concurs with Jeff before comms say:
No anti-air fire after first pass. I see Fitzgerald's camp. Weapons hot, everybody. Corporal, LeBeau, I just lit up your nail. Now bring the hammer down. Don't blow the three buildings in under dirt towards the edge -- there's a field hospital there. Marines can ID the ones that we need to raze later.
"Roger, roger. Moving in now." Rukais says into the comms before his hand throws down the throttle dramatically and the ship begins to pick up speed.
"Landing zone's been prepped," says Jeff after a squawk. "No change if there was I'd have informed you. The birds stay in the air as long as the can and the Franklin will be covering you after drop-off." He glances at Rukais, "Sergeant. Take us into the fire." He glances back at Norton and nods.
NLM Franklin Intercom Broadcast ---------------------------- Jeff Ryan --
>>>> From the Bridge : All hands to Battle Stations.
As the dive begins, Indira turns the weapons forward, ready to open up if needed.
Norton nods, "All right, sir." He turns to Boomer and the Vollistan. "We're going to squat hold here until the last minute. Then, it'll be butts over elbows down the ladder to clear the bird when we land. Don't hurt yourselves." He keys his commlink.
Boomer nods, adjusting himself down below. Gotta make sure the boys are protected. A small handheld unit, made of black plastic. The top side has a speaker and microphone, as well as a touch-sensitive display. Jacks at either end allow for external input and output, such as for headphones. It has a built in clip and is relatively unobtrusive to carry and use.
"Sergeant," begins Ryan. "Confirm the landing zone is clear. And bring us in." Volouscheur is just...quiet, remaining where she sits, eyes on the viewscreen. She looks down now and again to check the safety on her rifle.
"All right, boy and other," says Norton as he grins and turns for the back of the bridge. "Let's get this slaughter started off right by not falling down the ladder."
"Landing now sir." Rukais says as he does so, watching for any potential combat related problems.
Jeff Ryan glances at Indira, "Fire for the hell of it Colonel."
"Yes, sir," Indira replies. She starts firing en masse into brush surrounding their landing area.
Volouscheur gets to her feet, following after Norton silently.
Boomer gets to his feet as well, muttering darkly as he follows the captain into the suicide mission.
Volouscheur climbs down the ladder quickly, unslinging her rifle once she's down. She regularly checks the safety, silent as always. She glows matte green, aura kept close in towards her.
Lower Corridor <NLM Franklin>
- A long corridor running the lower length of the ship. The floor is made from a non-skid substance which provides excellent traction for those moving at high speeds, and the area is lit by lighting strips inset into the roof. Towards the aft an airlock is set into the port wall, further back is a door marked 'Sickbay'. Two more doors are set into the port and starboard walls, just forward of a ladder that leads up and down.
"All right, breathers and soon to be nots," says Norton as he takes up a place in the center of the corridor. "We're going to go out in two lines. The two lines will break apart thirty meters outside the airlock. The right line will turn right. The left line will turn left. They will form a perimeter outside the ship. Understand where I'm coming from on this? Not a three sixty perimeter mind, you, just a single line, and if we make contact feel free to adjust as necessary to face the enemy. 1st platoon on the right. 2nd platoon on the left. I'll be the first out since I know how far thirty meters is. Tracking?"
Lucius nods, standing among 2nd Squad of 1st Platoon, tapping his rifle on the side. He is ready, his face bereft of any emotion. "Y'hear that, 1st Platoon? Follow me and the Cap and you'll be alright. Rules of Engagement are shoot on sight."
Boomer is silent, assault rifle with the nasty plasma attachment at the ready. Safety? It's switched off.
Volouscheur moves over to 2nd Squad, with the rest of her comrades-in-arms. She looks strained, but doesn't say anything; her aura is as close-in to her body as she can get it. Her safety, too, has been turned off now and she also has a Purifier attached to her rifle.
"Leave the idiots in the armbands alone. If they surrender by the hordes, well, we'll work that out when it happens," says Norton as he unslings his own pulse assault rifle which has also been kitted out with the plasma cannon device. "I'm not sure if we're setting down where I want or not, so we might not see the sea when we leave this little flying coffin. Terrain may dictate we don't go the full thirty meters, but that's why I'm first in the shoot."
Lucius doesn't say very much from this point on. In fact, he seems to simply be going over something in his head, rifle held forward so that its butt rests on his shoulder. He closes his eyes for a brief moment and then reopens them, evidently refreshed.
NLM Franklin Intercom Broadcast ------------------------------- Norton --
>>>> From the Lower Corridor : We got the green light, sir?
Boomer reaches up to adjust his commlink. "I never got to take my last shit, sir."
"That's fine. You won't be the only one who needs to change their pants by the time these hijinks are over," says Norton as he grins and holds a finger over the iCOM button.
Lucius quips off handedly, "Guess you're going to be haulin' around a mighty big brown package in your shorts then, Private. Noise and radio discipline when we get on the ground unless /absolutely/ necessary."
~You had plenty of time before,~ Scheur notes. Beyond that, she's silent, shifting from one foot to the other as she waits for the order to disembark. She chews on her lip quietly, seeming tense.
Boomer glares at the Vollistan, then scratches at his square jaw. But he refrains from talking.
"You got to be kidding me," Norton says as he speaks to the iCOM, but he doesn't depress the button again quite yet.
Lucius arches an eyebrow towards Nort but says nothing.
Volouscheur glances over at Norton but, likewise, is silent.
"You really want to open the airlock three hundred feet up?" asks Norton. "We work for the idiots on the bridge, anyway, and I don't want to walk out into a hail of our own fire from the turrets or the backblast of our engines or anything else that can go wrong for jumping the gun and not waiting for the OK for the people outside the coffin of doom."
NLM Franklin Intercom Broadcast ------------------------------- Indira --
>>>> From the Bridge : Move out.
Ruin comes down the ladder, giving Lucius a nod. "I am to serve as your engineer," he says. "If you need one. Otherwise, another gun."
Norton is standing around with a finger poised above the iCOM button, ignoring Ruin as he heads out the airlock.
Narrator: Back outside;
Norton is wearing a wide grin as he moves down the Franklin's boarding ramp and continues moving for about thirty meters before taking a knee. He says, "Hmm, ocean front real estate just like I'm the Centauran from Pluto. Oh well, at least we're not taking fire." He starts speaking in his commlink. "The hell you do! You shoot danger close when we're not in danger, and I will personally go set up the quad fifty and blow your ass out of the sky!"
<COMM Norton> The hell you do! You shoot danger close when we're not in danger, and I will personally go and set up the quad fifty and blow your ass out of the sky!"
<COMM Taeren> Flyover only, Corporal. No guns.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> Permission granted. And I agree too quiet.
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir.
The NLM Hobart continues flying overhead, it makes a quick, diving run over the area close to the Franklin, and relatively low, rolling once over, but not firing.
Lucius moves off the ramp of the Franklin, banking left with the rest of the troops and dropping down onto one knee. His rifle is lifted to the shoulder, left hand briefly raising and motioning in a line before he grabs his fore grip again.
Dana holds her position, not watching Remy or any of Hart's crew but instead focusing on the surrounding swamp and jungle.
Freyssinet doesn't need to be told repeatedly, she litteraly runs out of their hole, and calls out to position three, "Friend of us, back down!" , before running to her husband, "Remy!" She is in PANL uniform, with a white armband nice and visible, her hair done into a braid. From afar, she looks pretty normal.
Volouscheur banks left with the others, getting into the line and taking a knee. She lifts her rifle to her shoulder as well, aura matte green and kept close in to herself.
Ruin follows after Scheur, near but not quite part of the formation. He takes out a pistol and readies it, frowning as he gets down.
Boomer moves left as well, dropping down to a kneeling position, rifle aimed down but shouldered. He spots the motion from Lucius, and nods.
LeBeau is turning to face the direction of the voice with the gun. "The name is Remy and I'm here for my wife, but if you want to compare guns...give me a minute to get back on my ship and then we can compare." Its then that Frey's voice reaches his ears and he turns to see the woman running at him. He quickly holsters the pistol and takes off across the pad in full sprint to get to her.
Bremont and the gunnery crew ignore the newcomer for now and simply fulfill Hart's order. They arrive at the top of the hill and begin to set up the weapon there before moving to begin prepping the weapon for action.
Position Three's gunner continues to track LeBeau, before the gunner obviously grows tired and the crew goes back to running over the usual search routine.
As Position Four starts to set up, Hart uses this as a chance to survey the local area, and perhaps even try to get some idea of the damage from the camp.
The IND Riposte banks and makes a low pass over the forest behind the Franklin.
<COMM Taeren> Marines, when you get to the base. We left a series of buildings built into earthworks intact because there's a field hospital among them and we didn't know which one. If you can get a visual ID on the hospital, we can take out the rest and save you the trouble.
<COMM Taeren> Hobart, check out that cavern entrance again. See if you were right or not, I couldn't see a damn thing there.
The NLM Hobart continues flying overhead, but banks off suddenly towards the outcrop to the west, flying in close again.
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir.
Volouscheur settles into formation, just listening and waiting quietly for any further orders. She aims at the ground, silent.
"All right," says Norton as he surveys the situation. "Christ on a cracker. All right. It looks like we're near the friendly camp. All right, Castus, you're with me. You've met these id - people before. I want the other PLs and XO to organize a perimeter here." He points at Boomer and Scheur, "You two come with us as personality."
<COMM Jantine> Negative sir, whatever it was, I've lost it, let me try and find the coordinates again sir.
Freyssinet hugs Remy very very close as they are at least reunited, and gestures him toward the hideout, "Missed you so.... Ace's there" from closer, he can remark she looks definitely worn out and grey, even if unhurt.
"We've cleared a path, sir. We go through the swamp down there," Lucius motions to the smoke in the distance, "and we'll arrive at their camp." He rises upwards, quickly doing a left to right sweep with his eyes. "Shall we?"
Boomer's eyes roam his surroundings, then he scratches at his crotch. Subtly, of course. Just checking spare ammunition. Of course, when Lucius stands up, the private is quick to follow.
Bremont and the crew keep up their work and finish setting up the gun. They now load up the ammunition and retake their positions around the gun. Bremont holds her shotgun close as she crouches near the rest of the crew.
Ruin blows out a long, quiet breath as he hears that. Murmuring faintly in mierznykovy, he gets to his feet and moves to obey the perimeter order.
LeBeau grips Frey tightly to him. "Missed you to my love." He then pulls his head back to look at her. "Now if you don't have any objections lets get you on the ship so you can contact our daughter. I left her on the Faux and told her you have been working at the hospital these past few weeks and that I was going out to bring you home."
Volouscheur stands with Lucius and the rest as well, glancing around and remaining silent.
Dana trots out and over towards Lucius, raising a hand, "Got room for one more?"
<COMM Taeren> Go for it, Jan. I'm going to remain on lookout up here.
"Yeah, yeah," says Norton to Lucius. "I heard the same comm message. We'll leave this little snafu in someone else's lap. Lead out towards the aforementioned smoke trail. Squads in wedge, traveling overwatch. I'll be hanging around in the middle of the two platoons. Your platoon has point." He looks at Dana, "We can always fit one more. You know the area? You'll walk and talk with me."
Freyssinet nods Remy, seeming content to stay as close to him as she can. "Think I have done my work there." to Hart, a nod. "good luck. You know how to contact me, for... later." to Dana, a wave, "Be careful." And she lets her husband whisk her away.
"Hold position," Hart orders the crew. Apart from that, she continues to survey the smoking camp in the distance. Pretty much everyone else is ignored. "Take care Doctor Freyssinet."
The jungle continues to remain silent, no bird life or anything making a noise.
LeBeau takes Frey by the hand and moves her quickly back towards the safety of the inner bowels of teh Wolf.
Fun, first platoon in the lead. Lucius can't but smirk at that, raising his gloved hand into the air and making what looks like a circular motion. The soldiers draw up around and he speaks, saying, "Alright, we're moving out in overwatch, which means that 1st squad is going to be in front, weapons behind them and then second and third squad. I'll be up in front. Keep your eyes peeled for traps and for ambush, they could be anywhere. Be ready to take cover if we encounter any resistance, and watch the flanks." His pep talk done, Lucius turns around and starts to move in a low crouch jog. The soldiers follow.
Bremont keeps low to the ground with weapon in hand. The rest of crew stays is position as well. The gunner shifts the gun in a slow scan as the rest keep a level gaze headed towards the swamp.
Dana nods, "Yessir...I can lead you back to Fitz's main camp," Dana nods, "Gotta keep a sharp eye out on the trails, tho', they got traps everywhere."
Volouscheur moves with the rest of the squad, silent and keeping an eye on the area around her.
Boomer hangs near the back, listening to Lucius, then glances to Volouscheur. He brings up the rear, more people to run into booby traps and crossfire before it hits him this way. "Cute ass, Vollistan." That too, though.
Ruin looks at Lucius, back to the Hobart, and then follows behind Norton and Lucius, eyes open mouth shut.
Hart remains where she is, but leans down to whisper something quietly to the other woman. Her expression is unreadable.
The UKT Wolfsbane lifts off after a few minutes and moves back towards the other ships, but rather then landing it takes up a defensive and patrolling sort of orbit. Making scans of the area as the ground troops move in.
Lucius doesn't stop for a moment when Boomer talks up. Instead, he waves up. "Rayner, up front. Boomer, shut the fuck up and go back with 2nd Platoon." Despite this he continues to move up, eyes scanning the area ahead and then looking left and right briefly. He says something into his comm.
"Preaching to the choir. What else you got to tell me besides traps?" says Norton to Dana as he waits for first platoon to move out. The 2nd platoon PL and SFC are giving similar chats to their marines. He grins and calls over his commlink to Lucius, "No big hurry, hero, the graveyard will find the lucky ones all in the end but slow is smooth and smooth is fast. We ain't taking fire yet. No rush to start it started early."
<COMM Taeren> Jantine, any luck with those coordinates?
"Secret passages, generators, remains of railguns?" Dana offers, "Location of the hidden gun emplacement on the beach?
The IND Riposte continues to orbit above.
<COMM Lucius> This is lead element one, requesting loitering air support and a quick scout ahead by the Riposte.
Volouscheur continues to trot along with the rest of her squad, silent and keeping an eye out - mentally and physically - for anyone approaching.
Bremont nods her head towards Hart before leaning in towards the rest of the crew to say a few words. The other crew members look at her blankly for a moment before nodding slightly and moving to different points around the heavy weapon.
<COMM LeBeau>This is the Wolfsbane. I've picked up my wife and she is safe here, moving into fill in as air support.
Boomer snorts, but does as commanded, heading back to ordered position.
<COMM Janite> Sorry sir, just found the coordinates, going in for another run.
Taeren pages Lucius, Keller, Norton, Jeff Ryan, LeBeau, Rukais, Jantine, Boomer, Volouscheur, Ruin, and Dana: I hear you, Sarge. Coming around.
After a good deal of time, the Hobart heads back to the outcrop, seeming to focus on one area as it sweeps by.
Ruin is also keeping alert - but as he's a long way from psychic, and not really a soldier, he's watching and listening for the signs of machines. Nevertheless, at word from LeBeau there's a soft relieved sigh.
"Thanks," says Norton to Dana as he grins. "Are you done stroking your ego now and ready to give me some useful information? Useful information is specifics not generalizations and time pertinent, too. So, if you were to say, 'Duck, there's a log coming to splatter your head,' that'd be useful. Telling me there is a secret passage without details is meaningless. The location of the gun location on the beach would help because I could call air in on it if you described it well enough. Generators don't worry me unless they are powering something besides lamps, stoves, or whatever. Remains of a railgun don't matter to me unless there are people there with working weapons. A hidden boat would be useful or any escape routes off the island."
Edge of the swamp <Ghost Chime Isle>
- The edge of the swamp, it could be a relief for some or a hindrance, especially with the slick and muddy bank at the edge that make getting a decent grip hard. The sounds of the jungle return to their normal, violent sounds. The plentiful Palmbirch trees make it hard to navigate through the area, but there is a faint dirt path leading towards something in the east.
As per what Norton had ordered, 1st Platoon slows down its movements to be more calculating, more careful and generally, more smooth. As he moves, Lucius's fingers tap tap tap on the fore grip of his assault rifle. If one was to look carefully at the armoured marine, they'd notice that the blue of his eyes are almost invisible - his pupils are so heavily dilated that they drown out the irises, and it's apparent that he's extremely concentrated and alert for both traps and for enemy. Too far ahead from Norton's 2nd Platoon, the soldier doesn't care to notice banter.
<COMM Jantine> Found it sir, resending you the coordinates, it's defiantly a cavern entrance.
Norton just grins as he not so idly scans his surroundings while moving between two platoon sized elements in squad wedge formation. Things that seem to interest him are where he's putting his feet and where the nearest cover is, but he keeps talking, "I make no claims to being a badass. Just a smartass. Describe the gun emplacement so I can call for fire on it if there's nothing in particular I need to know about our route to the main camp or where ever it is we're going to. We are heading in the right direction to get to the camp, right?"
Ruin doesn't bother with banter. He just reaches out to tap Norton on the arm and point to where he saw movement. "Company," he says flatly.
"FREEZE MOTHER FUCKERS!" Boomer yells from his point position in second platoon, plasma rifle swinging to a fellow crouching in some convenient bush/whatever they're hiding in, and lets loose with his assault rifle. So much for freezing, right?
<COMM Taeren> Belay that. If you cave in the entrance our boys may not be able to go in and flush 'em out. See any activity around it though, Corporal?
~There's someone out there, sir,~ Scheur murmurs to both Lucius and Norton, backing up Ruin's statement. She doesn't disconnect from Lucius quite before Boomer fires, so there's leakage when that happens; surprise, and a bit of pain.
The Franklin begins to raise into the air once again, boarding ramp once again closing for flight.
In an eyeblink, the overeager field medic vanishes and a sharp, well trained combatant takes her place. A pistol suddenly appears in Dana's hand, properly braced with her other as she drops low and moves, staying on the path but making herself a not-so-easy target as she searches for the enemy.
Well, the man who had the had the plasma rifle, he's currently in a world of hurt as Boomer looses off three rounds into him. With a flail of limbs, he strikes the ground and ceases to move. Certainly freezes.
His other three oppos, or stooges as they could be called, attempt the die or try technique. The first one a gent armed with a pipe rifle, takes aim at Lucius and squeezes off a shot. The second man, another with a plasma rifle, makes his presence known by opening fire at the biggest target of them all, Volouscheur. Finally, for Dana, a guy with shotgun makes his way into view. Weapon shouldered, but not yet fired.
<COMM Jantine> Nothing sir, I don't see anything going on, requesting permission to fire on anyone leaving the cave entrance sir, keep them pinned inside.
<COMM Taeren> Granted. Be the monster outside the cave, Corporal.
<COMM Taeren> Marines, Riposte. I'm seeing pretty lights, you guys copacetic down there?
Lucius raises up his hand in the air then motions towards the side of the road, crouch-jogging on over there to drop down in a crouch. He raises his rifle, apparently taking no chances, at whatever shadows he saw. "2nd and 3rd squad, base of fire on our flanks." Comms Lucius, before motioning forward. He says something more quietly into the comm and makes sure that his squad is far enough away from where he sees the pipe rifle wielding man, bullet whizzing by as he sidesteps out of the way. "Cap, suggest we level from the air." Then he too opens up with a *CRACK* of assault rifle fire, causing more guns in 1st squad to follow their leader, not in any coordinated fashion but more in a suppressive manner. A frown appears on his face; must've been the emotional wave that passed from the Vollistan, but he mostly ignores it.
<COMM Taeren> Marines, Riposte. Looks nasty down there. I'm just a phone call away.
IND Riposte banks and loops around, as if preparing to make a strafing run coming from over the Marines' heads.
The NLM Hobart turns around, and begins flying in circles around a point at the outcrop. If anyone were to, leave from this point, perhaps a cave? The Hobart would be on top of them in mere seconds, if not less than that
Volouscheur may be agile. However, she is also, as mentioned, a great big target; however agile she is...it's not quite agile enough. The plasma shot hits her in the gut, and Scheur goes down. There's a mental shriek of pain and anger, and her aura flares an eyewatering white (thus making her an even /bigger/ target); the shriek is attempted to be directed at those firing on her and the platoon, but it's only a very general attempt.
Ruin doesn't...quite...react. He gets down low, but it's almost more of a semi-controlled collapse. Face white, eyes wide, he seems to have all he can do in getting a basic grip.
"I knew I kept you around for a reason," Norton tells Boomer once he's thrown himself on the ground and is moving towards a bit of cover. He has his weapon, the pulse assault rifle decked out with the plasma cannon, out but, he shows no real inclination to use the device until the guy with the shotgun shows up nearby. He gets shot at while Norton yells, "Look, you pacifists, if you see someone don't tell me about it. Shoot at them. If they're really nice people with homes and families, they shouldn't be on this god forsaken island. Copy?" He talks on his commlink next, "Eyes in the sky guys, shoot up our flanks and front. Don't get in too close. If you don't have a positive fix on our location, I can pop smoke at the front and rear." He stops talking on the commlink to yell up the line, "Get a medic to knock that damn Vollistan out if she can't pull herself together. If you can't find a medic, shoot her."
The Franklin strafes over the swampland for a moment before it changes course slightly, heading towards where the marines are held in combat, guns hot.
Dana doesn't hesitate, whirling as the man steps out into view and calmly leveling her pistol in his direction. Her only wish as she fires before he draws a bead is that she had something better than this borrowed pop-gun. She says nothing, ignoring the soldiers and holding her ground as she coldly pulls the trigger. She couldn't care less if he had a home or a family. She had one and she was getting back to it.
"Shit." Boomer growls as his eardrums start throbbing and the pounding behind his eyes began. Psionic waves. What can ya do? As the Vollistan drops, he continues up his firing, barrel glowing hot as he turns his burst-capable rifle too the fellow that downed Volouscheur, even as Dana's own peashooter goes off.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> "Franklin, Riposte. I see you coming, but next time you better announce what you're doing or I'll shoot you down myself. Marines, you guys are in the safety zone. You're gonna lose your eyebrows if I come down there. Still requesting air support?"
Riposte has to make only a minor course correction to arrange itself facing between the two lines of muzzle flashes and pulse blasts, approaching rapidly.
<COMM Taeren> "Franklin, line up for shots at their front flank. We hear the call come again, start blazing."
The NLM Hobart continues circling around the cave entrance.
<Comm Rukais> Copy Riposte, sorry about that.
The who once had a pipe rifle, he's just kinda perforated by three new holes across his abdomen from the automatic projectile rifle. While his other friend, the one with the shotgun, keeps his cool, even as his friend with the plasma rifle is gunned down. Then it's the dude with the shotgun's turn. Bang! The first shot strikes him dead in the chest. His face has a look of disbelief on it, before the other two strike home and seal the deal.
There's no time to turn back and see if the Vollistan is okay or anything like that. Sergeant First Class Castus is purely in the moment right now, going on reaction and training which has imbedded itself into his mind. He swings his rifle around now at the plasma wielding man, but the lad goes down in a hail of fire.
Meanwhile, Pfc. Hariharan, 1st Squad's medic rushes up to Volouscheur, quickly pulling out a syrette of high potency synthetic painkiller from his aide kit. He jams it in the Light Singer's thigh; this should keep her under for at least a good hour if not more.
Lucius rises up and waves his hands forward, speaking into his comms. "Riposte, give us a clearance of a hundred yards so we can go." He doesn't turn to the rest of the soldiers but waves forward again. "We've gotta move out, we're getting bogged down, let's go, move, move, keep moving!"
<COMM Norton> Riposte, this is marine-6, what the hell is the safety zone? Something akin to the danger zone? If you're trying to say we're too close for you to engage the enemy, don't engage the ones we're shooting at because if were shooting at three or four people, we can probably kill them eventually. Shoot up the flanks outside of where were engaging hostiles. You're not here to engage individuals we see. You shoot up what we can't see but assume that might be there. Shoot up forest to our left and right before coming in closer to do the same farther ahead of us. If you see stuff, feel free to shoot it as long as it is not us.
After talking into his commlink some more, Norton waits a bit and doesn't have anyone shooting at him, so he gets up. "Let's get a move on, boys, girls, and others. 3rd Squad, not Martian the Maniac Sergeant's platoon, go and set up a casualty collection point at the quasi-friendly base. If anyone needs to be seen to. Castus, shut the hell up. We've got the initiative. We don't got to do nothing, and we're certainly not going to rush."
"Anyone have somethin' better than this pea shooter I can borrow?" Dana asks, grumbling at the pulse pistol in her hand, "Think I couldn't kill myself with this if I tried."
Ruin takes a few moments to get himself together after the shooting stops. It makes little difference; once he does, one thing he *is* pretty good at is running, and he makes up the lost ground fairly quickly, tagging after Norton.
At the call for help, the Riposte slowly arcs around, coming down towards the targets outside of the safety area. Once more, the guns glow red as they fire into the foliage of the jungle near by.
The NLM Hobart continues circling around the cavern entrance in the rocky outcrop, if anyone tries to get out, the Defiant would be on them in seconds.
The Franklin follows the lead of the Hobart, keeping a noted different to account for strafing, dodging, bumping - any possible user error. As the ship hovers past it takes pot shots into the forest.
Volouscheur goes down for the count as the drug takes effect. Her glow pretty much dies down and she's probably going to have to be carried out of here - or at least helped. The odds of her being able to walk a straight line are pretty much nil.
Dirionis takes a glance back at Scheur, before wiping the sweat starting to bead on his forehead. His eyes look up at the ships a moment before reverting to ground level.
"Anyone have somethin' better than this pea shooter I can borrow?" Dana asks, grumbling at the pulse pistol in her hand, "Think I couldn't kill myself with this if I tried."
"C'mon Corporal Callot, that means /you/!" Says Lucius, pointing a gloved finger at Dirionis as he squats on the ground. Into his comm, he says, "Give us one hundred meters of clearance Riposte in front." He begins to move forward, eyes carefully surveying, but yells, "Let's go, move, move, move, no bogging down!"
"We can't have multiple people trying to guide our guys in the sky to victory, right? They'll start making a more of a mess of things than can be avoided, so shut the hell up Castus," says Norton on his commlink to Castus. "So, I'll cover that. You cover not leading us into an ambush." He tells Dana, "Just be happy you have the cap gun or loot a dead guy. Scratch that, take the glowbulbs PAR if you want it. Now, that I've been friendly, though, can you describe the gun emplacement or whatever it is we're likely to encounter on the rest of this death march?" He speaks on his commlink again, "Riposte, fly our route and shoot at stuff. Franklin, hang around above us for immediate support of anything the Riposte didn't get and we don't feel like handling.
The squad Norton picked to assist the wounded break out a collapsible stretcher, load (most of) the Vollistan on it and start hoofing it back towards the sort of friendly camp. Two marines carry the stretcher while the rest pull security around it. The squad leader stays near the side of the stretcher to check the Vollistan's status as best she's able during the movement. They offer the pulse assault rifle to Dana after Norton gives them the word from on high.
Ruin turns back as Scheur drops. He looks first to the marines, to see if any have noticed. When it's clear that's being handled, he falls back into place, his face a neutral mask.
Following the last order passed up to her, The Riposte dips down for another strafing run. Guns arc out towards the designated area, leveling more of the trees.
The NLM Hobart continues circling the cavern entrance "Hobart to Franklin, any orders sir? No one seems to be coming outside" crackles over the comms.
The Franklin, wavering overhead of the marines, continues it's path on top of them, guns firing sporadically at key locations, still careful to keep its shots away from the people it's protecting. "Keep the Riposte and me covered, Hobart."
Well, the squad leader can probably tell that Scheur's not dead, nor does she seem likely to shuffle off this mortal coil any time in the near future. The sedative she was pumped full of seems to be /very/ effective, though, since she doesn't look like she's about to wake up any time soon, either. As for her wound...well, it's a gut wound. The plasma cauterized most of it, but there's still a bit of magenta blood oozing out. There may be bits of Scheur's insides showing that really shouldn't be. Anything more is going to have to wait on Voliast - or someone else qualified in Vollistan medicine - being able to get a good look at things.
Dirionis hears the shout from Lucius, and starts moving as ordered. When the order starts to conflict, he slows some, eyes still scanning with focus, a small glance to Lucius as he speaks, " Sir?" before looking ahead again.
Dana frowns worriedly as she looks at Scheur, nodding to the offered rifle as she reaches for it. "Don't worry, ma'am," she says as the Vollistan fades under the tranquilizer, "I'll take good care of it. Rest well."
Lucius doesn't stop like Dirionis. No, his boots are carefully padding against the packed dirt of the path as he continues to move forward in his crouched stature, rifle held at the ready. "Keep moving Callot, I'm just not organizing the air war."
"Useful, lady, useful. Talking to the past out Vollistan doesn't fall into the category," says Norton as he moves along with the rest of the marines. He asks on his commlink, "Since my intel source is lacking in intel, how far out are we from the camp, sky guys?"
Ruin sighs. "Don't mind his manners, miss," Ruin notes quietly to Dana. "He can either be an ass or the king of smarm - hasn't quite got a middle gear, and generally speaking it's better when he's being an ass." He looks around, paying more attention to his surroundings. "Far to go?"
The Riposte breaks away from the are it was orbiting, before heading off towards the encampment. There comes no reply from the comms as of yet.
"Roger that sir, moving to support" comms the Hobart as it breaks off from it's circular path, taking it over the forests near the Franklin and Riposte.
The Franklin raises higher off the ground for the moment, turret going silent for a few seconds as another target is sighted, then the ship lowers again and barrages what could be cover for hiding soldiers.
Seeing as Scheur is rather out of it, there's nothing really keeping Dana from taking and using the rifle if she really wants to. She doesn't open her eyes, but Dana gets a faint feeling of acknowledgement and agreement at the 'request' to use her rifle and her grip on it relaxes. Like several others' in the squad, Scheur's rifle sports a nice new plasma cannon attachment.
"Yes sir!" Comes the response from Corporal Callot, keeping low as he moves forward, catching up. His eyes look about intently for any sign of PANL.
"About five clicks through the swamp to the beach, then north about a click, then back into the jungle after you pass the gun emplacement on the shoreline," Dana says dryly. "Can't just go straight from here to there...whole lotta unpassable terrain between the two camps, not to mention they're trap happy. It's another two clicks back into the jungle off the beach. That good enough for you?" she says as the ships peel off, checking over the rifle and slinging it before reaching for the cannon. "And even a full shot of your standard tranquilizers take a few moments to take full effect...she heard me just fine," the medic replies.
Deeper Into The Swamp <Ghost Chime Isle>
- The occasional stray beam of light breaks through the canopy of the trees that have thrived in the swamp. The sound of buzzing insects is a constant drone. The water is almost completely still, and like the other part, filled with an interesting smell and a rather strange colour. The only way to continue onwards, is either going back, or pushing onwards.
As the soldiers edge forward, Lucius motions with a wave of his fingers at Pfc. Lloyd, who moves on up to take a place at the Sergeant's side. "You see anything, fire a grenade from that handy 'lil launcher of yours." Remarks the Martian, continuing his edge forward.
"So, we're going to have to pass the gun emplacement. Thanks for clearing that up," says Norton as he walks along and doesn't sing anyone's song but his own. "The traps have been mentioned. What's the gun emplacement look like and what sort of guns manned by what sort of people are set up there?" He speaks on the old trusty commlink before giving Dana a chance to answer, "Eyes in the sky, have you seen a gun emplacement on the beach? Got a status on it if you have?"
Ruin evidently has nothing further to say, simply looking and listening as he follows in case more Interesting Shadows turn up.
Something bobs in the waters of the swamp, though due to the restricted light in the area, it's hard to see what exactly it is.
<COMM Taeren> Marines, Riposte. Didn't see it coming in. I'll peel off and take another look.
IND Riposte banks up and peels away towards the beach, taking a low pass along the coast.
The NLM Hobart flies in low over the marines, appearing to be scanning for anything suspicious. It fires a few pot shots into the foliage, /away/ from the marines.
UKT Wolfsbane arrives from Edge of the swamp <Ghost Chime Isle>.
<COMM Rukais> Are we picking anything up?
Volouscheur just rests in her stretcher as she gets carried along. She's not doing much of anything else, since she is unconscious and wounded.
The Franklin swerves in the opposite direction to the Hobart, scanning the area behind the marines with sporadic shots towards dark patches.
Dirionis continues hauling himself forward, keeping low, shrugging his shoulder to repel a stray insect, boots padding on across the ground.
"They keep it under IR camo," Dana shakes her head, "Never got a good look at it, but there's just the one. Usually a team of four mans the gun and the regulars each carry what they can scrounge. Some are just a step above a zip gun, others are carryin' some state of the art assault rifles. Varies from man to man."
The thing continues to bob in the swampy water, not moving or doing anything else.
To continue onwards, then the soldiers are going to have to get dirty and muddy, as dry ground runs out and descends into swamp and dirty water.
Lucius holds a hand up as he spots some movement in the swamp, dropping to a knee and lifting his commlink to his mouth. "Cap, we got some movement in the swamp about twenty five meters at the formation's two. Probably a trap of some sort. Gonna probe." He stops transmitting and says to the immediate soldiers around him, "Watch our flanks. We move to cover." Backing away a few meters, Lucius moves to what would be considered cover.. this is a slightly lower ridge in the ground. Not really cover, and is followed by the troops. He then fires a trio of shots at whatever is bobbing.
"Yeah, yeah," says Norton somewhat impatiently. "Describe the area around it. Ship weapon platforms have the ability to blast large areas of terrain. A good ship can clear a whole grid square if it's set up to support ground based operations, so you don't have to give me a twelve digit grid. What's outside the IR net? Is it in the middle of the beach? Closer to the woodline? Give me a known point like a stream or something and a distance and direction, and I can give it to the pilots, and they can shoot it up or at least try and scare the beejesus out of them." At the word from Lucius, Norton holds up a fist in the air and takes a knee. The marines who see him do the same and it travels up and down the formation as they all kneel down and pull perimeter security.
Ruin sighs at the trigger-happy nature of his companions, but moves back in case Lucius just shot something that would ordinarily be breathing. Back and behind something, or someone.
<COMM Taeren> Found it!
Brilliant streaks of yellow light chase the angular Riposte up into the evening sky as the ship rolls and weaves, tracers streaking above and below its sharp wings. Reaching a deliberate stall, Riposte nosedives towards the source of the fire, pulse cannon blazing, and pulls up again only at the very last moment.
The NLM Hobart continues patrolling around the marines, making sure to keep a bit of a distance between itself and the treetops. It continues to fire at random points in the foliage and swamp water. "Hobart to Franklin, need me to look for anything in particular sir?" crackles over the comms.
"We're just guardian angels up here, Hobart, just take out anything posing a risk to our marines." comes the reply as the Franklin turns around and heads past the marines.
Dirionis moves into the 'cover', watching one of the flanks, after looking at Lucius firing at the bobbing object. He remains quiet.
"I just narrowed it down to a one klick stretch of beach," Dana replies dryly, "If you're three ships can't...there ya go." As Lucius opens fire, she instinctively crouches low, stepping back away from the potential boom to follow.
The object doesn't move as the bullets strike it, well except for bobbing up and down after the shots are finished. There's no thrashing around, no nothing. It just remains still.
"It's fine, lady. Our air is better than I like to give them credit or good liars," says Norton. "Are there any safe trails through this mess, or did you all get around by trial and error? Is what he's shooting at a marker for a safe path, maybe? A buoy of hope in a dark, dismal swamp as I wax poetic?"
Ruin gives Norton a *very* odd look, as if Norton might start doing the Submissive Chicken dance at any moment, but says nothing. He quickly returns his attention outward again, in case there's something bobbing around that might bite back. Or fight back. Or just attack.
The IND Riposte barrel-rolls away from the beach and a billowing plume of smoke, a gunmetal-gray blur that roars straight over the Marines' heads. A last trickle of tracers whip past its ventral surface before the plume of smoke turns into a large fireball, visible --and audible -- from the swamp.
<COMM Taeren> Marines, Riposte. Beach emplacement's down.
The voice on the other end -- unquestionably Taeren M'nammrann -- sounds pretty pleased with himself, even through the static.
<COMM Taeren> Any other requests?
"Roger that sir" comms the Hobart as it continues patrolling, still firing shots into the water.
The Franklin slows down to a near halt for a moment as it concentrates a short burst of fire into a line of foliage, setting it all on fire.
Lucius looks back to Norton, lowering his rifle. "Orders, sir?" He asks on the comm.
"There /were/ safe paths," Dana replies, "But Fitz's men have probably made 'em a bit unsafe since they isolated Hart and her group out here. Can tell you where you could have gone, but I ain't vouchin' for it anymore."
<COMM Norton> Riposte, this is marine-six, do some figure eights out in front of us as we cross this freaking swamp and hope not to die or suffer pee hole invasions.
After speaking on his commlink, Norton says, "Let's trust to whatever gods you heathens profess to worship and get to moving. This is where I'd set up traps if I were Mr. Bad Guy. Won't be able to see your feet in this mess and won't know if it's a stick or a tripwire you're yanking on. Let's go." He speaks on the comm to the sergeant first class in the lead, "The nice lady we met at the LZ will go up front and show you the old safe paths which are probably more hazardous than random murky crossings at this point."
Ruin simply moves to follow, eyeing the murk with a critical eye, as if considering what sort of materials you'd need to make a trap that would work within it.
<COMM Taeren> Wilco, marine-six.
True to his word, Riposte's pilot loops around and streaks over the Marine formation again, zigging and zagging low to the swamp.
The NLM Hobart keeps up it's patrol.
"Fun," Dana says, "Always wanted to get my legs blown of leadin' a blowhard through the swamp." She winks at Ruin as she passes him on the way up, "Thanks for the kind words before. Hopefully ain't gonna take 'em to my grave," she grins. "Okay...last time I came through here, it was that way," she points, "Between the two big cedars." You paged Taeren with 'Do you suggest we change Eileen then? You'd have to clear it with Ruk, he created her.'.
The object continues to pop in the swamp. When the soldiers get within a view distance of it, they'll notice that it's a badly burnt body. His left arm rests across his body, a gold watch on his wrist on display, while a gold chain rests around his neck.
Lucius appears ready to move out when Dana moves up to the front. He's not particularly pleased that they have to probe a trap ridden swamp, but there's really nothing he can do about the fact since the VTOL support is non-existent and they can't be transported by air to the other side. So, in the end, he toughs it out and moves behind the field medic, with a few meters distance. "Alright. Let's move. Keep it slow."
The Franklin hovers over the marines a moment, guns going dead while a message is relayed down, "Are there any marines in need of medical evac, down there?" comes across a certain sergeants voice. No. Not Lucius's.
Ruin moves to follow Dana and the others into the murk, watching carefully to follow the path exactly.
The IND Riposte continues making figure-eights, a loud hazy streak against the setting sun.
The NLM Hobart continues its patrolling of the skies.
Dana sighs and shakes her head as she checks out the body, "Gleeson," she says quietly, "Ain't gonna graduate high school now..." She looks between the trees, looking for any sign of markers or tripwires, anything that might show Fitzgerald's men had left a rockier road for them to follow.
The corpse continues to bob where it is, moving with the motion of the disturbed water. One of the Privates who pass it, breaks off from the line, ignoring all orders to go and check out the wares on offer.
"Don't touch the body!" Another calls out.
The private with money on his mind ignores all orders and goes to start looting. An explosion follows, throwing up a column of water, and was well as killing the badly injuring the corpse looter.
Lucky for Lucky that he and the other soldiers are wearing their customary jungle gear.. waterproof boots and BDUs. This means that when his feet sink into the swamp, he luckily doesn't get any of the nasty liquid down on his feet. Then, there is an explosion, and a column of water. Lucius ducks down, eyes growing wide as the man's mangled body flies through the air. "Iuppiter! Fucking idiot!" He does a quick sweep of the area before shaking his head. "Fucking classic trap. Gods." On his comm to the Franklin, "Private Volouscheur needs evac at the end of the swamp.. Private Kim's needs immediate medevac, right now. Get the doctor down, NOW." He betrays no emotion on his face, but waves the rest of them forward. "We need to keep moving." He starts to move forward.
Ruin is *not* in waterproof gear, probably because he a) doesn't own any and b) wasn't issued any, but seems to be having more trouble with his allergies than muck in his boots. The non-gun-holding hand is continually muffling sneezes.
<COMM Taeren> Marines, Riposte. Franklin, I've got you covered. Do we need to clear another LZ?
IND Riposte banks at the far end of its looping forward scout routes and starts to approach the Marines' location again.
"Anything I can do sir?" the Hobart comms, still patrolling around.
Dana sees the man heading towards the corpse and hears the shout for him not to touch it, but she sees almost immediately it's going to be too late. Turning away, she covers her face with her arm, shielding her eyes just in case ay shrapnel made it this far. "That's one way to find the traps," she murmurs, looking at Lucius, "The way down there looks clear, though," she gestures between the trees.
"Roger. Hobart, give me cover, performing evac." comes the reply from the Franklin and in haste the ship suddenly drops down towards the ground, the loading ramp is halfway towards opening as the ship hovers about 5 meters off the ground, lowering to allow passage on and off without the need to land fully.
"Right. Move ahead then, ma'am. Got a busy schedule and I'm following orders. We'll be right behind you, don't worry." Lucius doesn't smile, but motions forward with his rifle and starts to move again, evidently expecting Dana to catch up in front.
Meanwhile Hariharan, 1st Squad's medic, gets Kim's still breathing body and starts to maneuver it towards a dryer area, while 1st platoon is moving into the swamp and 2nd platoon follows.
Ruin simply follows Lucius, trying not to sneeze too loudly or inhale anything he shouldn't.
Private Kim's screamin in pain, his guts hanging unceremoniously from his stomach. He's missing an arm and there's a good chance he's going to bleed out. The water around him is tinged with crimson as his blood mingles with the stagnant water.
The IND Riposte peels off.
<COMM Taeren> Hobart, Riposte. Giving you room to work. Call me in if you need me.
The NLM Hobart circles in around the Franklin, still peppering the surrounding area with pulse fire "Roger that sir" comes across the comms as the Hobart scans the area around the landing zone.
Volouscheur is maneuvered over to the same area where Kim is being taken, still unconscious. If it weren't for the lack of vocal chords, she might well be snoring. As it is, she's probably blissfully silent, compared to Private Kim.
Ok, so the Franklin comes through a good canopy or two and part of a tree seems to disappear into one of the intake valves, making a nasty whine for a moment, but the Franklin get's to the marines in a fairly direct manner. It hovers just off the ground for the moment, wavering slightly as it waits for the wounded to be boarded.
Dana grits her teeth and continues on, "Let's get this the hell over with," she says, "So why the hell am I takin' point again? I ain't gettin' paid like the rest of you grunts, and if I get blown up, there goes any useful information I might have."
As the troops continue to slog through the swamp and then through the trees, Lucius cautions on his comm to them, "Alright boys, we're moving in for the push. Expect heavy contact. Remember your cover. We're going to be bounding overwatch the moment we get out of this mudhole, which means fire and movement in squads." There is a pause as he frees himself from a rather sticky area. "2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon I want you guys to get your medic onto Pfc. Scheur and Pfc. Kim. Stabilize him, get him some painkillers, then provide security for them. Hariharan, get your ass back up here with us." He evidently expects Pfc. Hariharan to run up through the swamp.
Lucius says to Dana, "Because as long as we're in the swamp.. that's what the Captain ordered. After that you can get back in the rear if you like."
Ruin seems to have no mercy to spare for the covetous private; he looks over only once at all the screams - possibly to see if the idiot will be rescued, possibly just because he's screaming - but there's nothing in his eyes or face to hint that the other man's pain even registers. When the brief moment passes he's back to navigating his way behind Dana and Lucius, and trying not to let the mold and pollen counts overwhelm his sinuses. "Not all of us could be paid to do this, miss," he says flatly.
The screaming continues from Private Kim even as he continues to try and scoop his stomach contents up with his good hand. The silence follows as morphine is administer to the dying man.
Voliast stands at an exit to the ship in his formal medical robes, medical kit slung over his shoulder. Dashing quickly down the ramp and gazing around in quite a state, his aura glows with red spirals on a blue-white background. Feeling the ramp withdraw behind him, the doctor gazes around, apparently oblivious to the mud other than the concession of raising his robes so he can move around. Eyes darting through the swamp...
"I hope my Aura's a good enough signal flare..." He mutters, almost to himself, one hand holding the reassuring weight of his medkit close to him, the other holding the robes he is trying to keep from being sucked down into the swamp.
The IND Riposte returns to forward air support, warily flying low to the swamp ahead of the Marines.
The NLM Hobart continues circling around Franklin and the surrounding area, still scanning for threats and firing the occasional random pulse shot.
To somewhat dampen any success the Vollistan might have with his aura, twin lamps flash on either side of the ship, scanning around carefully with dual intentions.
"And if I said no?" Dana asks, still moving forward cautiously, "I'm just a volunteer 'round here...I don't like bein' used as the human mine sweeper."
Private Kim, the man who showed all to the world, starts to go into a series of spasms, even as he's loaded up onto a stretcher. His stomach hangs over the edge, and he's no help to anyone. The spasms finish and he stops. Eyes staring up at the canopy... Dead.
"I don't have time to debate this shit with you. If you're going to be a pussy, then get behind us and we'll go first. If not then shut the fuck up and do your job." Lucius replies, coldly. "One of my troops just got his guts spilled out and his arm blown off. NOW LET'S MOVE." His pace quickens a little bit.
"He got greedy," is Ruin's equally cold reply. "If he'd been doing his own job he'd be fine." He muffles another sneeze, and tries to keep an eye out for traps as he goes.
The Doctor nods grimly at the sleepy Scheur, and responds telepathically: ~You, I'm not as worried about. You'll be fine. So will he... so... yes...~ Rising, the doctor whistles and says: "I can hardly treat either of them out here. Get Scheur inside RIGHT NOW, someone." The doctor whistles and gestures to her, first leaning down to take a needle-pack from inside his kit, slamming it against her neck, and then nodding. "Someone get her inside... mister... Kim someone said? I'll have to work on here. Drop her in the medbay." He has eyes only for the extremely wounded soldier with his innards coming out, right now. Of course, all this is fruitless. Death hits, and he's not about to waste time trying to deny it. Any doctor could spot there was no chance. As Scheur is moved, he carefully interposes himself between her and the now-dead man. Following in their wake as stretchers are hopefully shifted onto the Franklin, Voliast gazes back for a second.
One hand rests on the injured fellow Vollistan's shoulder, as the doctor begins to move, carefully keeping one hand on the other glowy.
The IND Riposte remains ahead, close but out of the way.
The NLM Hobart keeps circling around, keeping up the pattern.
Dana stops, turning to look at Lucius, "No, one of your men just got himself dead and I'm not exactly all eager to follow, but I'm goin'." As she starts to move out, she calls back over her shoulder, "Just remember that your chickenshit captain sent a volunteer civilian out in front to do your fuckin' job."
Swamp <Ghost Chime Isle>
- The stream either starts or finishes here, depending how one looks at it. The water here is somewhat stagnant, having a rather unique smell of rotting vegetation and possess a rather interesting brown colour. The mud on the bottom of the swamp is rather thick and threatens to suck the footware from one's feet.
Lucius shakes his head. "Good for him. I'm not interested in talking anymore. Keep your eyes peeled." Despite his assurances that he doesn't want to talk, he seems all sorts of happy to comm something, "Alright, spread out into squad sized elements. I want you to split up into rough checkerboard formations so we can support each other." That said, first squad begins to peel off from the main force and move ahead a little bit, while second and third stay staggered back to cover the flanks and the rear. 2nd Platoon is following a similar strategy - the other two platoons are still held in reserve up on the ships.
Ruin doesn't seem interested in talking either, though that might well just be because jungles play merry hell with his allergies. He doesn't move away from Lucius, though - reasonably enough, as he belongs to no squad or company.
<COMM Taeren> Marines, Riposte. Nothing of interest from up here.
The Kestrel continues its vigilance overhead.
The NLM Hobart keeps circling over the Franklin.
The Franklin hovers in the air, as still as it can - lurking side to side with the ebb and flow of wind.
"You do know that spreadin' 'em out really defeats the entire purpose of my takin' point and pickin' out a safe path for all of us to be walkin'?" Dana comments, shaking her head and continues on, following the path she'd been shown and looking for anything from footprints in the mud to patterns of stones or sticks or any other kind of markers.
Now see ya'll, Jimmy Bobs gots himself a tree and set up a lil' ol' hide. He's done a pretty dang good job of hidin' himself, too. From afar he slowly surveys the tracking of the jungle, a lookout perhaps? Well, that little barrel of his gun is currently tracking the NLM medic of the first platoon.
A rifle crack rings out, echoing from the forest, hiding its exactly location. He's pretty well out of the way and hard to spot. The medic? He just slumps under into the waters of the swamp and doesn't come up, his equipment weighting him down. The only marker is where the water grows darker. The red cross symbol he sports and the extra gear appears to be a bullet magnet.
"Franklin returning to combat patrol." announces the ship before it spins around on it's axis and slowly hovers over in the same direction as the marines.
"We're spreading out enough that we can give each other cover fire, medic, and..." Lucius's voice trails off as Pfc. Hariharan, still tired out from his sprint up to the front of the line slumps down facefirst into the swamp. "SNIPER! MOVE!" He now leads the way, sprinting forward through the marshy area and yelling into his comm, "Franklin, clear the treelines, don't know where he is! Riposte, make sure there's no surprises ahead!"
Ruin may not understand about half of that, but 'sniper' got through clear enough. Ruin tries quickly to get under cover, whatever cover (besides water) might offer. He doesn't try looking, not in this light - he tries to listen, instead.
<COMM Taeren> Riposte wilco. I'll do this the proactive way. Franklin, I'll take the high road.
Banking and sweeping in high, Riposte yaws a little bit forward of the Marines' position to set up a safety zone before strafing across the T of the Marines' forward progress with its cannons.
The NLM Hobart continues patrolling, but comms "Anything I can do sir?"
And so the Franklin is back into action once again, weapons aiming at one end of the suggested treeline and firing into them unrelentlessly, strafing across as it does so, "Work on the other end if you have spare silos."
Dana is moving even before Lucius' shout, ducking low and putting her back to a tree which she is trying to keep between hear and the direction of the shot. Crouching low she peers around, searching the forest for any sign of the sniper.
Silence follows, no more shots ring out. Perhaps one of the ships managed to find him, he's changing location or perhaps he's still watching and waiting.
The area of swamp that is targeted hisses and steams as the bolts hit the water, throwing up a mist that remains laying low across the swamp.
"Hit the fucking TREELINE, not the WATER!" Hisses Lucius into his commlink, sprinting from his current position in the swamp to move quickly forward of his position in a surge. Expectedly, 1st squad follows suite while the other two squads move forward quickly as well. "Let's go, move, move, move, move!" He yells.
Listen, listen. Ruin moves quickly to catch up and keep up with the others, but apparently is not about to take an unseen corpse on faith. Gun in hand, on the offchance he might be able to use it, but he's listening for a hint of a gunman.
The IND Riposte banks sharply and strafes the treeline forward of the Marine's position a second time.
"Roger that sir" comms the Hobart as it takes off towards the treeline, it fires off two missiles, and some pulse shots at the treeline before comming "Silos dry sir"
The Franklin has no reply to Lucius, if not to fire more shots at the hidden target, aiming for an area still left unhit.
Under the cover of ships firing overhead, Dana keeps low and follows after Lucius, rifle held close to her body as she moves.
Shots and general hell break loose as trees are flattened by explosions and laser fire from the ships. Another crack rings out from the concealed position, certainly not in the area that was being shot up yet.
De Boer, first squad, he slips into the water, hand dropping the LMG to be caught by the strap, as his hands dart down to hold at the gapping wound on his hip. "God damn it!" he yells out, "I'm hit... Fucker hit me!" He struggles and then slips under the water, his equipment dragging him down.
"Leb, cut his fucking gun away and drag him out!" Orders Lucius, looking back only briefly. Out in the open, under sniper fire with no cover or concealment in sight. Not even a hint on where the sniper's shooting from. What to do then? The only way to go is forward, and that's where the soldiers continue to move. Forward, closer to the base.
Ruin doesn't hesitate this time. He aims his own gun as accurately as he can at the source he heard, and says into his comm, "Where *I* am aiming - fire at *those* trees!" as he fires, hoping the blast will help indicate the right direction if nothing else.
The weapon goes to kick into action... Then promptly fails. Dead, not working. Not doing anything, completely damaged by water getting into the circuits somehow.
<COMM Taeren> Pia, Riposte. Shoot where? I'm not seeing any pulse fire.
Riposte banks out and away as if waiting for direction.
The NLM Hobart continues strafing the tree line "Where does he want us to fire sir?"
Dana stops and pivots as she hears Ruin's shout, looking where he's aiming as his gun fails to function. Raising her rifle to her shoulder, she looks for any sign of the sniper, following Ruin's direction and firing the moment she sees so much as a twitch.
From the sniper's hide, the barrel slowly tracks towards the next target. The Squad leader appears to be the second target. Lt. Lachance appears to have run out of chances, as he turns himself to look towards the sound of the shoots and where everyone else is looking. The rifle cracks out once more, before he falls silent back into the water.
Lebedev however, manages to cut the offending equipment away from De Boer and hold his head above the water. Crimson red water haunts the area.
And with that last shot, Lachance's brain seems to have exploded all into the water, the junior officer dropping face first into it. Lucius pauses, his ear having caught wind of the sound of the crack, finally. He squares his gaze to the treeline, dropping onto a knee. "Thirty five meters northeast. Waste him." He comms, but isn't about to take any chances. He raises his rifle and takes careful aim. Then, he fires a solitary shot.
Ruin seems quite surprised about the lack of functionality of his weapon, and a low stream of angry Ungstiri is audible as he gets under cover to take a look at it while the better shots blast the allergen-bearing environment.
Whether or not the rest of their comrades are being successful, 2nd and 3rd squad are now pushing up much closer to the paused, depleted 1st squad. Meanwhile 2nd Platoon, behind these soldiers have picked up their pace and are moving closer to the end of the swamp; still, they remain in the rear.
With the Jimmy Bob having been located, he then starts to target those who are shooting at him. Bullets wizz past his head and pulse shots impact onto the tree. Do or die, last attempt before he's most likely just a red stain across the country side. The rifle tracks across towards Lucius and the trigger is softly squeezed before it's fired.
<COMM Taeren> Sarge, Riposte. Wilco, with extreme prejudice. Hobart, Franklin, request you hold back -- thirty five meters is skirting the safety zone but my gunner's hot today.
IND Riposte banks and angles in along a line thirty-five meters from the Marines' location and approaches rapidly.
"Roger that sir, pulling back" comms the Hobart as it does so.
Each shot he fires without moving makes the sniper that much easier to draw a bead on, and Dana continues to shoot, standing calmly as she sites down the barrel, trying to end this insanity.
"Roger, pulling back." comms the Franklin, spinning around quickly before putting on a push of speed away from the target.
One of the pulse rounds from Dana's weapon manages to find the sniper's hide, knocking the wind out of him. With determination, he returns to his hide. Do or die. >> Outside the Ship: Not only knocking the wind out of him, but causing a decent wound on his shoulder.
As soon as Jimmy Bob is felled from his tree perch, Lucius pumps his legs forward to move for the dry land out of the swamp. "We gotta move, keep moving, keep moving, we're getting bogged down!" The Martian continues to repeat his mantra for the operation, pointing forward. He doesn't pause to take a shot at the sniper, but he does yell into the comm, "OPEN UP!"
<COMM Taeren> Crackling into existence, Taeren's voice offers only, "You got it."
For pulse cannon designed to rend hullsteel from ship keels, tearing through trees and brush is child's play. IND Riposte's cannon open up with a distinctive whine that goes unheard in the vacuum of space, angry red beams of light splintering treetrunks and igniting brush in a straight line that rapidly approaches the sniper's position.
The NLM Hobart pulls back to a further back position, but then takes to patrolling around to the rear of the marine's position again.
Ruin scoots after Lucius as quick as may be, holding together unusually well. "Got a pistol I can use?" he asks. "Must've dunked mine during an allergy attack." And he's still a bit sneezy, but at least he's not in water anymore.
Jimmy Bob only has time to turn his head, before the shot hits home. His life's snuffed out easily as he took the medics life. No coming back for this fellow.
Stream <Ghost Chime Isle>
- This gentle flowing stream leads further into the jungle. The calls of the jungle come from the deep, almost impassable jungle nearby. The occasional fish swims lazily in the waters, feeding off alge that has grown on the bottom. In some places, the water reaches waist depth, while other sections are only ankle deep.
Dana tosses Ruin a pulse pistol as he runs past, moving after the men's headlong charge towards the beach. She wasn't about to rush into a trap or an ambush, moving warily as she ends up in the rear position.
Well, it's nice to be out of the bloody swamp, that's for sure, even if 1st Squad is heavily depleted. "1st Squad, move back into the middle of the formation. 2nd squad move up to take lead position and send a squad from 2nd platoon to take theirs. We move out in bounding overwatch.." Explains Lucius, walking through. "Which means each team pauses as one moves up and provides cover. Let's move. The troops swap positions and continue their way through.
Ruin catches the pistol Dana tosses, checking it to see if this one'll make the nice zappy lights when he pulls the trigger, and follows after them. Evidently he's decided that God enjoys a good Evil Joke as much as the next deity, and is feeling clever today. Eyes and ears open, waiting for the next bit of trouble as he strides alongside.
<COMM Taeren> "Colonel, I recommend you call in to Greenville and have them put Marines on the Deepcrest coastline to capture the ones who retreat. Maybe tap their VTOL for air support ... the Marines are taking fire down there and I bet they could use some reinforcement," Taeren's voice comes through.
Above, IND Riposte arcs upwards and rolls to level out for a patrol of the beach, the maneuvers creating contrails along its wings.
The NLM Hobart moves into a patrol pattern over the marines as well "Any orders sir?" questions the Hobart.
Dana remains quiet, letting the marines move out in front of her as she keeps an eye on each footstep, making her way towards the beach.
"We've still got two platoons of marines from 3rd company, sir, ready to land." Reminds Lucius with a rather annoyed tone in his commlink. Still, he is extra attentive on his surroundings. No point in taking a chance since they've lost enough today. 2nd Squad rolls up and surrounds Lucius, Ruin and Dana, bounding forward, finding cover, and then waiting for the next squad to do the same before they move. Before long, the group has passed by the stream.
<COMM Taeren> "That'll teach me to try and talk about how Marines should do their job. Keep it up down there, Sarge. From the air it still looks like you're winning."
Riposte banks and streaks along the beach again.
Down the Beach <Ghost Chime Isle>
- The shores of this white sanded beach reach up to the jungle's edge. The calls from various animals from the jungle beyond often sounds violent and the underbrush near the edge of the jungle. A small, yet wadable fresh water stream flows out from the jungle and meets with the sea.
Dana trudges up next to Lucius as the marines spread out, talking quietly to him for a moment.
A look of understanding dawns on Lucius's face, boots slogging through the low foliage and eyes darting from object to object. He briefly turns around and says to the woman something equally as quiet, before pumping his legs forward in a squad bound. The group stops at a bunch of trees, setting up to cover the next squad which darts up. Rinse, repeat.
Ruin simply looks happy to be out of muck and pollen season again as they emerge onto the beach. Hey, ya take your good things where ya find 'em.
The NLM Hobart continues on it's patrol course over the marines, still firing pot shots into the foliage.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> Negative Hobart, keep up the patrol route.
Which is what the Franklin does, also patrolling over the marines.
Dana nods, "Beach ain't so far now, and if that gun emplacement is down, shouldn't be much in the way of goin' about a click north then back into the jungle."
Lucius nods at Dana. "Riposte, need you to dart ahead and make some scans for us, try to see if the jungle is empty or not." As the previous units' bound is finished, 2nd Squad (having taken over from the depleted 1st which was sent back into the middle of the line) darts up.
Ruin doesn't spend too long in private joy at the sea breezes. He checks over his borrowed gun and then goes back to what he does most often - keep an eye and an ear out for someone wanting to put holes in him.
The Riposte follows order exactly, heading off to survey the area ahead. Silence comes from the craft for the time being.
The NLM Hobart continues it's patrol course, along with the Franklin, both flying in over the marines, still firing randomly.
Sandy Shore <Ghost Chime Isle>
- Covered in golden sand and relatively peaceful, this short beach stretches about a hundred yards onto the island before being swallowed up in thick, dark jungle. The sounds from the jungle are loud, intense and often violent-sounding, and the underbrush seems to rustle every few moments. Off in the distance, one can hear what gives this island its name: an ethereal, almost otherworldly chiming noise.
Dana steps cautiously out onto the beach, eyes scanning the sand for signs of recent activity or booby traps. Her rifle is held at the ready, muscles tensed and ready to dive for cover if need be.
"When we get to the encampment, I want to have the Franklin and Riposte perform what's called a creeping barrage.. normally it's something you do with arty but it'll have to do." Comms Lucius, moving on through the jungle and coming to the edge of the sandy shore. "Basically, you give us about fifty yards of clearance and fire on everything ahead of that. As we move up, the barrage moves up." Surveying the are for a brief moment, Lucius turns to the rest of the troops. "Keep on the edge of the jungle. By NO means go on the beach, it's a completely open area. We keep bounding and our eyes open." That said, 1st squad moves up while the other two cover.
Smoke slowly rolls down the beach, cutting down the distance that the soldiers and civilians can see. A thick oily smoke that stinks of cordite. Apart from the crackling of burning off ammunition, no other noise is visible.
In the distance, the distant sound of rumbling can be heard. If one could see through the black smoke, then they'd notice green tinted storm clouds... A sign of hail.
Ruin watches Dana most of all for cues as to where to step or what to avoid. He doesn't look thrilled about keeping under the trees, but who argues with an order like that when such smoke is in the air?
<COMM Jantine> Need me anywhere sir?
The Hobart keeps circling, while the Franklin moves into position to begin the creeping barrage when requested.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> Continue patrolling Hobart, keep their backs and flanks covered.
Dana gestures up the beach as she, too, keeps to the tree line as much as possible, "That's where the emplacement was," she explains, "The path back into the jungle, it is right past it. That's also where they land their boats...not sure if there's anything out at sea. Could be possible trouble from that direction."
Lucius drops into a little ridge at the end of the jungle, waving up the rest of the soldiers. "Yeah, could be. But the way it smells is rocket explosions. Not sure exactly what our boys used on the emplacement." He keys his comm. "Riposte, report." Says the Martian, moving out once the others have bounded behind. This is a simple act, so far - move, cover and wait, then move..
The smoke continues to roll past, no tracers or anything else sing out. Silence.
<COMM Taeren> Completely quiet, can't see anything down here.
The Riposte continues to figure eights above her assigned area, keeping an eye in the sky for those below.
Ruin takes as deep a breath as is safe under the circumstances, looking somewhat blank as his focus narrows to keeping up with the others in the proper manner. It appears to be something he's picking up as he goes along.
The NLM Hobart and the Franklin continue on their current paths.
Dana creeps along and points again, "There's the way to the main camp," she says, moving up to continue her search for trouble, starting to head into the jungle.
"Wait. I want to see if the emplacement's been fully nuked. You can wait here, Miss. I'm going to take 2nd Squad for a closer look-see." Lucius doesn't wait for an answer, holding his hand up so that the rest of the troops will wait in this area. Meanwhile, he continues to move up the side of the jungle to get a better glance of the former gun.
Ruin shakes his head at himself and moves to follow Lucius. "In case there's something besides guns there," he says quietly.
The pit of the former weapon, will a bent up gun marks the area. But the corpses have been burned beyond recognition. One gent's insides now spill across the ground, while his two other companions are burnt crisps with blood seeping out of wounds. The smell is putrid and smells like a mixture of burnt flesh, faeces and god knows what else.
The NLM Hobart and the Franklin keep on their current courses.
Dana doesn't follow as the others go to check out the pit, instead crouching and keeping watch down the path into the jungle, waiting for them to finish. >> Outside the Ship: As there's really nothing much to see, Lucius and the marines are quick to return. "Let's move on." He says. And that he does.
Jungle Path <Ghost Chime Isle>
- A faint trail leads from the beach, twisting through the trees. A short distance in, the canopy of the forest reduces the beams of light to a few beams of light that have managed to penetrate it. Waist high underscrub is present on both sides of the track, hiding all kinds of threats.
Ah, back into the dark jungle, with it's variety of different dangers... Though what they are, are yet to be determined.
Ruin had nothing to say at the smoking pit, and has nothing to say now. He simply follows after Lucius with blank eyes, the pistol ready in one hand. Pity the grim effect is ruined by the occasional sneeze.
Through the cracks in the canopy, the Hobart and Franklin can still be seen overhead. The canopy rustles as each craft speeds over the marines, their engines a constant, dull roar.
Dana crouches down at where the path forks, searching the ground for markers left by Fitz's men. "The camp's that way," she gestures to the northeast, "Cliffs are that way," she nods down the other fork.
"Alright. We're going to the camp as we're not scaling any bloody cliffs." Lucius raises his hand to his comm, keying it once more. "Hobart, Franklin, start to bombard the camp again. Riposte on us. Franklin, also be on standby to drop off the others on the opposite side, but not until I give the word." He motions forward, again. Warfare might be exciting, but in the gaps it can be monotonous. Then again, this is better than deadly. He grasps his rifle closely and starts to slowly move through the jungle. "Keep your eyes peeled."
Deep Jungle <Ghost Chime Isle>
- The air fails to circulate properly in this area, leaving it rather humid with the faint, but natural smell of decomposing foliage around. The insects native to this area chirk, almost in harmony with each other, while the violent sounds of the forest seem to have died off. During the day, this area is in almost perpetual twilight, with a very rare beam of light breaking through the canopy. The faint smell of cooking food wafts down from the north, where the trees seem to thin out.
"This way," Dana says, nodding to where the path continues, "It widens out at the fence up ahead...most likely place for an ambush if there's any of 'em left."
"There most certainly are." Replies Lucius. "Riposte, thin out the jungle fourty meters to the north before we move onto it. Both sides of the path." He comms, then drops to a knee, waiting.
Ruin follows behind, gun at the ready, clearly expecting there to be shots fired. As he can't do jack about his allergies, he tries to keep a tree between himself and probable lines of fire from the camp and to muffle his sneezes as best he can.
The Hobart and Franklin begin moving off towards the camp once the Riposte has reached the marines. The Riposte begins doing as Lucius requested, making runs with it's pulse cannons on the forest, while the Hobart and Franklin move out.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> Hobart, come in from the west, we'll come in from the east, concentrate fire on the building remains and the surviving foliage around the base, and hit anything that moves.
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir.
Both craft move out and begin their runs on the base remains.
Dana creeps forward, staying sharp and keeping quiet.
P.A.N.L. Camp <Ghost Chime Isle>
- The trees from the surrounding jungle have been leveled, as if the fist of some omnipotent being had grown irate with them and knocked them asunder. The camouflage netting that once concealed this area, now shredded, burnt and torn and torn, lays across the dirt. A large crater sits towards the northern end of the compound, the remains of plascrete mixed with the soil around the lip of the zone. The explosion suggests that it come from underground, as opposed to above it. A blackened void, with a single door swinging upon its hinges, while its partner rests twenty or so meters away, is another marker of an attack. The door that would have once lead into the quarters is jammed shut, either through damage or deliberate.
- A single grave rests over one side of the compound, a single wooden cross marking it. It appears to have missed any damage, what so ever, when the attack happened.
A low level of smoke swirls around the ground at ankle level, the smell of scorched flesh smells the air.
The IR netting that once covered the camp, flaps in the wind of the storm that's approaching. Bodies are scattered around, though the exact number is hard to tell at the moment. Groans come from the injured and dying PANL troops that are here. Flames lick from the crate of the old magazine with the armoury next door smoking equally as much.
The medical camp that was once here, is damaged. Those that had been fortunate enough to get away have left.
The damage is fairly severe and obvious both in sight, smell and sound of burning materials. The area is fairly wide open, though. Lucius drops to a knee, raising a fist into the air. "Alright, we hit hard and fast. I want 3rd Squad to establish a base of fire here -" he points towards the lip of the area, "with machine guns and sharpshooters. 2nd Squad is going to move in with me towards the first bunker and we're going to clear it. 2nd Platoon will move on the Captain's orders. 3rd, move now, we'll cover you."
Ruin looks around with a flat, blank expression, and then with his free hand reaches back to free the cord of jade beads from his hair. Once it's not doing duty as a hair tie, those with any knowledge of such things would know it as a hundred-bead chotki. He murmurs words in mierznykovy that might be a prayer for the dying, even as he moves to follow Lucius.
"You're going in there with a squad?" asks a somewhat incredulous sounding Norton. "Without even having any where to go into? You just going to hang outside the door or something and wait for them to let you in? Blow the door before you expose yourself to fire. There's no point in going over there just to gaggle around looking like retards on a field trip. You need a point of access if you're planning on entering and clearing the building, heroes."
The marines are also receiving covering fire from the air, as the Hobart and Franklin continue to bombard the camp.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> Hobart, move your runs away from the marines, don't want to risk hitting our own.
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir.
Both craft comply with the Franklin's order, firing more at the brush on the opposite side of the base as the marines, while occasionally hitting buildings on that side.
"Assholes," Dana mutters as she surveys the damage, "Couldn't even manage to miss the fuckin' hospital."
Ruin stops, stepping back to let the military experts do their thing their way. He stands to one side, not far from Dana, and murmurs whatever it is he's saying under his breath, the cord of beads moving through the fingers of one hand.
The NLM Hobart and the Franklin continue their runs over the far end of the base.
A red flare floats up from the direction of Hart's camp, followed by the sound of sustained gunfire. .30 cals have fired up. As suddenly as the gun fire started, it stops.
Dana's head snaps up, her eyes following the red flare, "You /did/ leave some people back there I hope?"
"I don't know, that's above my paygrade." Lucius lifts his finger to his comm, coming to a stop in front of one of the bunkers. "Riposte, go check out what the status is at Hart's base and report back PRONTO. Franklin, ready yourselves to land here incase we need to move quick. 1st and 2nd Platoon will stay here and secure the camp if that's the case."
Ruin frowns at the flare, evidently unsure who fired it off. The beads get set around his neck as a necklace for the time being, so that he's got a hand free for whatever comes next.
<COMM Jeff Ryan> Hobart, move to take the Ripostes position and cover the marine's backs,
Both craft react, the Riposte speeds off to Hart's position, while the Hobart moves to cover the marines backs before the Riposte comms back
<COMM Taeren> Hart's troops have abandoned their position, and are moving into the swamp, no other PANL though.
"Well, now that we're here and now that it's empty, I've done my job," Dana says, looking at the smoking field hospital with disgust. "I'm outta here."
Several of the white sleeve marked PANL troops move up to the side. They've brought the heavy stuff with them, and appear to be slightly fatigued after that movement.
Hart has moved up herself, pair of bolt cutters in hand as she silent heads towards the fence. Four men escort her, plasma rifles held up against their shoulders their shoulders. Her Guard. "Friendlies! Hold your fire!" comes the call from the diminutive Lunite
The 'good' PANL obviously cheated somewhere and didn't take the long way like the NLM troops did.
"Thanks for the help." Comments Lucius to Dana, motioning for the two platoons of soldiers to take positions around the camp. "Set up your heavier equipment and find decent cover then hunker down. I'm taking first squad with me." As Hart rolls in, the troops are a bit wary, but begin to move out anyways as the Sergeant First Class ordered. He greets the woman with a nod. "President. So, where to now? They barricaded their barracks. I'd like to blow it open, but we may as well just let them starve to death, am I right?"
One of the PANL soldiers carrying the heavy equipment is none other than Bremont. She is currently assisting in carrying the .30 cal machine gun with another soldier while the rest of the gun crew is close by, carrying ammunition and other supplies.
Ruin seems more interested in eyeing the state of the white-banded allied troops. "...Ma'am?" he asks Hart, quietly polite. "Just curious, and probably not the best time, but - how'd you and they get here?"
The NLM Hobart continues doing strafing runs behind the marines positions in the forest, while the Riposte moves back to base and begins patrolling above the marines.
"Ain't likely they'll starve," Dana replies, "There's a tunnel that runs from there out to the cliffs where the railgun used to be."
"Crew one, two and three, set up along the base's gate... Set up at the old field hospital!" Hart barks, out after cutting a hole through the fence. "Crew four, render your weapon inert, divide the ammunition with the other three guns." All up, including Bremont and her four man guard, there would be about twenty men in the group. All irregulars. The group go about their designated tasks, crew four dropping the .30 cal and starting to strip.
The bolt cutters are discarded as Hart walks through the ruined base as if she was still in command of it, and there was no dead bodies around. Ruin gets the first reply. "Pixie dust," then onto Lucius. "Have you checked for structual strength first." Her attention shifts towards the jammed door. "You may blow the door, or you may simply cave in the roof the structure. Comes down to the structure and how bad the damage is." Her Guard continue on with her, plasma rifles to shoulders.
"Hobart, cease fire and take up a patrolling position. At this point you're wasting your energy banks and destroying forest needlessly." Comms Lucius, his voice bearing a slight tinge of annoyance. To Dana, "Has it not been sealed off by air strikes? That's what I was led to believe." He shakes his head at Hart. "No. I'm more for the - not going in there from this entrance - school of thought. It's a chokepoint and it'll get a lot of my men killed for absolutely no reason." Comm again. "Hobart, go check out the cliffs and see what's going on there with the side of the cliff."
Ruin shrugs, evidently not having expected a straight answer anyway. He simply steps back, to stay out of the way as he doesn't seem to be needed.
The NLM Franklin pulls up from a strafing run and starts looping around the camp. Over the comm comes a female voice, "Franklin to ground. Have any spot targets for us?"
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir.
The Hobart breaks off from it's course, heading over to the cliffs.
Dana stands off to one side, watching.
Bremont and the rest of the crew follow Hart's order the weapon is set up. She then assist with the division of the carried ammunition among all the other gun crews. With the rest of the crew taking care of that, Bremont slings her weapon off her arm and moves to fund Hart once more.
Hart goes down on one knee, reaching into one of the pouches. Instead of a paper map, it's one made out of leather and it appears to have a map of the island burnt onto it. "Right," she remarks, looking up to Lucius. "We're here, this is one entrance into the tunnel... Though the damage from the magazine going off, may have just sealed off the encampment." She clicks her tongue as she looks over the map. "If you think one of your fly boys can get low enough to launch a missle here," she points towards where the railcannon is located, it could cause a flash back to the Bertha's magazine, then you might be able to effectively seal the tunnels and destroy the weapon. They've chosen their camps, and as much as I hate to say it, they deserve what comes to them."
"No targets, Franklin." Lucius takes a knee as well, laying his rifle on the ground next to him as he too studies the map briefly, tracing a finger from the camp to the cliffs. "The only ship that could get that low'd be the Hobart, no doubt. It's heading there right now. We kind of wanted to get prisoners, but this is too late. You think Fitzgerald's still in there?"
"The weapon's already been destroyed, ma'am," Dana offers quietly, "Fitzgerald did it himself to make sure the NLM didn't get their hands on it."
Bremont rests her weapon, a pump action shotgun, against her shoulder as she makes her way over to where Hart is. Nearing the other woman, Bremont doesn't say anything outright as she does not want to barge in and interfere with the current going ons.
"The weapon's already been destroyed, ma'am," Dana offers quietly, "Fitzgerald did it himself to make sure the NLM didn't get their hands on it."
"Okay," Hart remarks, slowly nodding at Dana's words. "Then we seal them in. Fitzgerald wanted to be the sole power, then let him lord over the base which is buried." Her words are cold, though they still carrying a bit of sympathy in him. "He's killed enough people."
The NLM Hobart reaches the cliffs, dropping in low it fires, chipping off a fair amount of rock with it's pulse cannons, shots can be seen arcing in the air above it.
<COMM Jantine> There's some PANL members here sir, they're climbing up some sort of rope ladder here, taking fire and firing sir.
"Oh, Miss Bremont, nice of you to join us." Comments Lucius, shrugging. "Alright, Hobart, when you get to the beach destroy the entrance of the cavern. Pick off any stragglers and then move into loitering mode. Wolfsbane, if you'd come down from orbit and assist our good Corporal.." The Martian comms, looking around the base at the troops, who've set up into a variety of positions, facing both inward and, more especially, outward. "Franklin, I want you to clear an LZ half a click to our west for the reserves, incase we need to." Picking up his rifle and pushing off the ground, he asks Hart, "Where are the rest of them. I'm damn fucking sure that they didn't all crowd into the quarters. They're out here, we took fire from snipers. Where are they, President?"
The NLM Franklin The Franklin banks around and begins a shallow dive towards a spot of jungle. "Copy that, ground," the ship replies before the ship's guns open up on the trees. "Any urgent casualties?"
Dana nods to Hart, falling silent and continuing to watch.
"Language," Hart scolds Lucius, giving him a stern look. "I do not swear in front of you and your troops, I would expect the same." She shifts her position, looking down at the maps once more. "Not good... They'll make a last stand. Or we'll be making one... I suggest dropping down the ships firing safety zones to about Twenty meters, and bunker down. This could be messy if they charge." She glances up to Bremont, and then slowly stands, offering the map to Lucius. "And considering that this location isn't easily defendable, we could be facing an attack on all sides."
The muddied and weary Bremont gives a wordless look at Lucius in response to his comment. She looks away from the man as Lucius rises to his feet and instead looks to Hart, staying near her side.
It takes a couple minutes before the Wolfsbane moves to join the other ships in formation hovering over the blasted complex. "This is the Wolfsbane. You called?"
<COMM Jantine> Roger that sir, going back for a run on the cave entrance.
The Hobart does indeed go back for it's second run, guns blazing, a section of the cliff collapses as the Hobart skims by.
Lucius rolls his eyes. "My troops really don't care about language. They care about finishing this op up and getting these ratbags out of action. But, I'll oblige you." He shakes his head. "Keep at it, Hobart. Wolfsbane, join the Hobart at the cliffs and help pick off the stragglers, please." Next he switches his comm to the platoon level. "Alright, here's the scoop, boys. We're going to move out where there's better cover in the camp.. namely, the craters. 1st Platoon will move into the major crater and set up the heavy equipment, while 2nd is to be scattered around in the smaller craters, to act as defense in depth and allow us to outflank any possible enemies. Meanwhile, I want the Franklin to land third platoon a click and a half west of here. Make a clearing. Third platoon will move in to the forest and keep a watch as reserves."
Ruin puts a hand over his mouth at Hart's chiding, and it's definitely not to muffle a sneeze this time - though it sounds pretty similar. He calms down fairly quickly though. "Is there somewhere defensible nearby?" he asks curiously. "If it's occupied then it's a fight, and if it's not it's better than here to defend?"
Dana continues to stand by.
The Hobart goes in for a third run, and while none of the pulse cannon shots seem to do much damage to the rock formations, some screams can be heard as PANL soldiers are shot up, and a few are thrown off the cliffs by explosions, sending them screaming to their deaths down below.
The NLM Franklin is pounding the forest about as far away as Lucius wanted. It's already taken down a few trees, but still has a ways to go before it has room to land.
"If you fancy attempting to avoid traps," Hart replies to Ruin, before moving towards the tattered medical tent. "Right, let the NLM attract those shots, they're better armoured that us. When they approach to within hundred meters, open fire."
The medical tent has been crudely made into a bunker, boxes and what not brought up. Tables turned on their sides and the same as any cabinets that may be among the material.
Hart's words seem to be a harbringer, as a whistling fills the air.
Without a further word, Lucius is bounding through the camp as with the rest of the NLM members, who are busy taking up their positions. Some occupy large craters, others take small ones, while 2nd Squad and Lucius move to the medical bunker, taking up a position behind a large crate. Frantz with his MG sets up next to the man, cocking back the receiver and getting ready. "Riposte, keep your eyes open. Once they come out of the woods, start firing on 'em. 20 meter safe zone."
Bremont follows Hart towards the tattered medical tent, giving no more attention towards Lucius or any of the NLM troops. She lowers her weapon into her hands as continues to walk near the president.
"...Leave the tactics to the military minds, Ruin," he sighs to himself, and heads with some reluctance after Lucius. He readies his pistol, lips pressed shut as he takes position.
Dana takes up a position herself, dropping to one knee behind a crate so she can brace her rifle against it, waiting for targets to come into view.
On the Hobart’s next run, more people are sent screaming to their deaths, plunging over the side of the cliff.
It appears that even Hart has a position among the troops, moving up to act as the loader of one of the positions. She glances towards the soldier, eyeing his for a moment. "Just breath, you're not going to be of any help to anyone if you're not breathing. Deep breaths," she murmurs softly before barking out to her own PANL troops. "Two hundred rounds, then I want a barrel change out! Make these rounds count, we don't have all that much!"
The whistling from what ever it was, soon makes itself known with a series of thumps on the ground coughing up a series on new craters and disrupting already dead bodies... Mortars, and judging by the explosions, only two of them.
"If they zero in on you," Comms Lucius, "you move to the next crater over." Other than that, his rifle is held calmly over the crate, butt resting against his shoulder and his eye looking down the sight of the weapon. 2nd Squad is ready, and completely silent.
A few more trees down, and Franklin breaks its round to make a dive towards its hole. "Franklin to ground, we're coming down to try to land in our spot."
At the falling of the mortar rounds, Bremont takes off from the medical camp to rejoin her gunnery crew. The crew has already begun prepping the gun to fire with the rounds being fed into the weapon itself. The gunnery crew complies with Hart's order as a nervous crew member watches the rounds be quickly eaten up by the gun.
Ruin holds together well enough for now. The advice might not've been meant for him but he heeds it anyway, breathing steadily and murmuring something over and over in the ungstiri language, gun at the ready, waiting for a target to aim at.
On the Hobart's next pass, the cave entrance is sealed. Those PANL members who had been standing at the cave entrance are either crushed by the rubble, or thrown off to their doom by the explosion
<COMM Jantine> Cave entrance sealed sir, picking off remaining stragglers.
There comes a collective call from the jungle in the direction of the gates. About thirty PANL soldiers attempting to storm the position, throwing all caution to the wind. Do or die.
The mortars continue to thump down into the compound, finding part of Hart's PANL. An anguished scream follows from the trooper, who's now minus two legs.
"Three round burst people, no blasting away at the nothing!" Comes the stressed tone from Hart. "Like we've practiced, controlled three round bursts..." At the sound of Bremont's position firing, the other two of Hart's PANL weapons open fire, tracers spitting out and richocetting off the ground as they seek to find a fleshy body to call home.
Lucius comms, "Good, Franklin, drop 3rd platoon off and tell them to keep under noise discipline in the forest. I want them to be as quiet as possible, and keep an eye out for traps." This is sent to the Franklin. To the troops, "Open up!" Frantz opens fire with his MG. The crack of more continuous automatic weapon comes from each of the other squads; grenades are fired off from underslung launchers and pulse weaponry is sounded. Lucius himself opens fire with a three round burst at the form of a rebel.
Calm and still, Dana peers through the site, taking careful aim at the soldiers in the lead, spreading her small bursts of weapons fire across two targets at a time.
Ruin's approach is nearer Dana's than Lucius' at the moment - taking aim only at those forms he can see clearly, taking his time to do the best he can with what limited skill he has, but he fires just the same.
Bremont stays with her MG crew, helping point out targets while the soldier besides her continues to feed ammunition into the machine gun. The gunner in the crew does what Hart says, attempting to keep the rate of fire to three round bursts with here and there success.
The Hobart goes in for another run, as it flies it, it suddenly jerks to the side, shot missing wildly.
<COMM Jantine> Shit! I'm hit, I'm hit! Something hit me from inside the cockpit!
The Hobart jerks around wildly, and dangerously, near the cliffs as if the pilot's trying to fly one handed.
The front line of the 'bad' NLM troops are cut down as they run into the collective fire of four different weapons opening up, causing tripping hazards where they fall. One of the ones that Dana has shot at, gets winged in a shoulder while his collegue is gunned down.
The rounds from Hart's crew's .30 cal continue to leave the weapon as more rounds are fired. After the belt is spent, Hart's automatically up, sweeping and looking over the weapon's tray, before the next belt is loaded. A pat on the shoulder is the only indication that the gunner needs.
The shells from the mortars continue to chew up dirt, drawing closer to the medical emplacement.
The NLM Franklin comes down swiftly into the hole it made, getting down below the tree line quick. "Report, Hobart," the woman asks through the comm.
"Pour it on 'em, keep putting that fire on them!" Yells Lucius, intermittently, in between taking shots of his own. And again he does so, firing off another trio of shots, this time following Dana's lead and pulling it over two targets. The other NLM troops meanwhile continue to fire on the approaching PANL soldiers, slowing down their firing to be more precise and less spray and pray.
Ruin growls as the Hobart's transmission reaches his ears. No prayers, no swearing. He can't fire as quickly but he's a lot more interested in nailing someone than he was before. Aim, fire - pray. Not necessarily in that order.
Dana continues to focus on the task at hand, calmly picking off targets as they become visible, never uttering a sound as she shoots.
Bremont's gun crew lays on the fire on the advancing enemy. Three round bursts are still the ideal shot of day as the gunner swivels the gun to make a sweep of the advancing troops. Bremont herself raises her shotgun to launch a volley of her own, no longer satisfied with just pointing out targets.
The NLM Hobart manages to stabalize, away from the cliffs. It moves to a safer distance, although cautiously, still as if the pilot's flying one handed.
<COMM Jantine> Think I'm alright sir, can't stop the bleeding though, something hit me in the left arm, can't fly with it. I'm getting shot up bad over here.
At the end of the comm, the Hobart bucks slightly, a chunk of the armor falling off as a bullet strikes it.
More and more troops fall as they charge, the numbers quickly dwindling down from the variety of gun from the mixed forces. Shotgun's mixing with sustained weapon fire joining with PAR fire, a sympathy of chaos.
The mortars continue to fall, growing dangerously close to the medical tent, sending a shower of debris down onto those inside of the tattered tent.
The last man falls, dispatched by Lucius' AR. A blow to the chest, which results in him taking on a mouthful of dirt.
Apart from the mortars that keep on screaming down and the ominous crack of thunder in the distance, it's rather silent.
Hart's .30 cal continues on blazing rounds into the dead bodies, making sure that no one is playing possum.
The NLM Franklin is down on the ground just long enough for a platoon of soldiers to jump off, and then it's quickly back on the move in the air. "If you don't have another pilot, break off and return to Hancock, Hobart," its commander says over the comms, "That's an order, Corporal."
Lucius waves his hand in front of his face, and yells along with the hand signal, "Cease fire, cease fire!" Once the firing has died down to a light crack, his voice boils up to a yell again. "They've zeroed, let's MOVE!" True to his word, Lucius sprints out to the right of the probable path of the rounds. Time will see whether they follow said path as the rest of the troops turn to follow.
It's the mortar fire that's getting to Ruin, most likely. He ducks down, too shaky to aim anyway, and focuses on trying to breathe. He'll have to catch up with Lucius later, it seems.
Dana moves with the rest of the troops, calling over to Lucius, "Any chance you can get one of your ships to take out those mortars?"
"We gotta find 'em first!" Interjects Lucius as his feet move like wind.
Bremont ejects the spent shotgun cartridge with a pump of her shotgun before turning towards the rest of crew. The crew begins to gather up what remaining ammunition that is left. The weapon is soon hoisted up carefully by the remaining crew and the entire crew begins to head for cover, following Lucius' example. Bremont moves with the crew, keeping her shotgun ready in case the crew runs into any surprises.
<COMM Jantine> Sir, with all due respect, if I break off the troops over here will escape, there's only a few, I can take them.
The Hobart is still flying level over the trees.
"Move it people, we don't have all day," Hart yells at the PANL troops with her, before moving out of the make shift bunker. "Leave those weapons behind and move it!" She starts to move towards the nearest crater, keeping her head down and attempting to keep herself alive for just a little bit longer. The crews also start to fall out with her, heading towards nearby craters.
The mortars stop, the whistling stops. Silence creeps over the island. No gunfire, no shouts. Just the moans from the injured and dying.
"Somethin' tells me they ain't finished yet," Dana murmurs.
Lucius is first to jump into the crater, doing a fancy little roll move that has little practical value besides making sure he doesn't bruise his arm or something similar. "STAY IN YOUR HOLES!" He screams, once 'safe'. "They're pausing so that you check on the wounded! STAY!"
The NLM Franklin starts leading back towards the camp after gaining some altitude, its turret looking around for targets. "A few lost soldiers isn't worth a ship crashing because its pilot bled out," it replies over the comm. "Franklin to ground, any idea where those mortars are?"
Ruin gets something of a grip in the deafening silence. He doesn't seem inclined to move yet, though, peering out of his crater suspiciously. "Mortars stopped...who stopped them?" He blinks as Norton shouts. "...Oh."
The crew, already having dragged the weapon this far, simply take the weapon to the nearest crater and set up camp there. The team begins to do what they have done several times before. The weapon is set up in the direction of where the soldiers attacked from. Bremont rests in the crater near the rest of the crew, eyes peeled and shotgun ready.
Hart peers over the top of her crater. "The crews, they've most likely run out of rounds," she remarks, shaking her head. "Two man crews don't carry much. Perhaps ten each, how many new craters do we have?" She goes to reach for non-existent binoculars, and then shakes her head, before giving a slightly irrate sigh.
"So...that's it then?" Dana says, "Or do we go out there after 'em?
"No idea, Franklin. Switch to thermal scopes and look for unusual reading in the jungle other than where our troops are present, is my best." Lucius crawls up to the lip of the crater to survey the area. "We stay put for now. No point in having us ambushed in the middle of the jungle."
<COMM Jantine> (There’s a sigh) Roger that sir.
The Hobart begins to shakily pull up, heading towards the sky.
Ruin catches his breath, and then blinks. "...Hobart?" he says over the comm. "If you're wounded and you can't find the hole in your hull, go to Greenville. You try going into space and you'll kill yourself."
Bremont exchanges a few short words with the gun crew as they take the break in the action to check their machine gun's ammunition supply. A slight frown appears on Bremont's face before giving a short nod the gunner who turns his gaze out towards what remains of the attacking troops.
Dana nods to Hart, "Let the ships do the moppin' up then," she says, still keeping to cover.
The NLM Franklin suddenly goes into a dive towards the forest after circling around a few times. "Franklin to ground, we have two mortars being abandoned by three bogies. To the southwest, 200 meters in the forest." At that moment, the ship's guns open up into the forest and the ship arcs back up.
Hart slowly clambers out of the crater, allowing herself to be a target for any snipers. No shots are fired, but she does glare at the grave that remains untouched through all the exchanges of fire. The sweats beaded on her forehead, but she remains silent.
Lucius doesn't clamber out of the crater at all. Nope, ungloriously, the Sergeant First Class stays put. "We need to get rid of that fucking clown, Fitzgerald." He comments to no one in particular, keeping watch on the forest.
"I think he's already gone," Dana sighs, "He would have led that bloody charge."
The NLM Hobart hangs in the air momentarily.
<COMM Jantine>Greenville, sir?
Bremont's crew remains silent as they are all tired and simply hanging tough right now. Bremont sticks her head out of the crater for a moment before disappearing back into the crater proper.
A lone crow circles overhead, cawing.
Lucius shakes his head at Dana. "I don't think so. I think he's a big fucking pussy. Big words, little actions. He's hiding somewhere. And I bet he didn't get anywhere off this rock."
The NLM Franklin climbs back up to its original altitude before vectoring towards the Hobart. "Corporal, bring it down at the closet safe spot you can," comes the message through the comms. "Ground, you guys clear?"
"Yeah, we're clear, pick a spot in camp to land. 3rd and 4th platoons will act as sentries until 2nd Company." Lucius pushes himself up from the ground. "Hey Bremont, wanna go have a beer?" Lucius takes a grenade off of his belt; a smoke grenade, to be exact, and pulls out the ring, popping it into a large flat open area. The red smoke rises. "Land at the smoke, Franklin."
Ruin eyeballs the Hobart and its shaky flying. "...*That's* gonna be a repair job," he murmurs to himself. "They'd *better* have some decent engineers on it."
Dana tosses her gun to the nearest NLM soldier, "This is one of yours," she says, heading towards the Wolfsbane. "Make sure Scheur gets it back, eh?"
Bremont emerges from the crater and shoots another glance towards Lucius, not sure how to exactly proceed. She instead looks towards Hart. "Ma'am, do you need me here?" Bremont asks simply as she walks towards the president.
Hart drifts away from the group and her PANL members, looking at the grave. Her face is rather stoney, but she does deliver a swift kick at the cross. She shakes her head and then looks down at her feet. "No, Aurore... I'll stay here with my guard and help take care of the riff raff that remain on this island and help bury the dead."
Bremont raises a final salute towards President Hart. "Yes ma'am. Stay safe and...it was a pleasure fighting alongside you ma'am." With that, Bremont lowers her salute and turns away from the president to collect her weapon from the crater.
Lucius nods at Dana. "Thanks, Miss. You were a good shot." As she heads towards the Wolfsbane, a little smirk creeps up at the side of Lucius's lips. Frantz turns to the sarge, arching an eyebrow. "Know her?" The Martian shakes his head. "Naw." A shrug is given to Bremont. "Whatever, I'm trying to be peaceable and you're being a damned fucking bitch. That's not my problem. I'm not the one who deserted without so much as a discussion, in any case, but that's neither here nor there." He turns his back and walks towards the extraction zone, while 3rd platoon marches out of the woods to take a place in camp. They're armed with entrenching tools.. looks like they're going to start to set up some better fortifications.
After following the Hobart for a bit, the Franklin banks and comes back towards the smoke. It sets down gently in the open area and the ramp comes down.
Jack is standing on the landing pad by the Hard Eight. He's smoking a cigarette.
The NLM Hobart comes into view, the ship is flying fairly shakily, but manages to set down without an incident. A moment after the craft powers down, a man in a flight suit stumbles out, right hand clutching a severely bleeding left arm.
Landing Pad - Greenville
- Perched scenically on the edge of a cliff overlooking the choppy blue Independence Harbor, this solid-looking, plascrete landing pad is extremely expansive, larger than a small city. Neon green lines divide the pad into several landing strips, two capital ship landing sites, and hundreds of individual taxi spots. A tall control tower directs traffic onto and through the pad, and a wide, plascrete path leads into the city proper.
Uniform, face, and hair tousled and sweat-soaked, M'nammrann sways down the Riposte's ramp and hustles towards the Hobart. "Jan," he calls. "You all right over there?"
Jack looks toward the bleeding man stepping out of a shaky ship, jaw hanging slack, plucking the cigarette out. He was gonna throw some cautious questions the man's way, but Taeran seems to have it handled. "Folks always bleedin'..."
A brief moan escapes from the pilots flight suit, followed shortly by a "Sorry...sir..." before Jan drops to the ground in a faint, probably from bloodloss. His hand is still squeezed around his left arm, and the red liquid oozes out between the cracks in his fingers.
"You're all right, Corporal," Taeren insists, lunging forward in a not-quite-successful attempt to catch Jan. "You're all right." He attempts to at least prevent the younger man's head from hitting the tarmac and lower him to a normal prone position. "Medic!" He calls over his shoulder, towards the Franklin, tone indicating urgency.
Ruin steps out of the Franklin, looking around. It doesn't take him long to spot Jantine. And sigh, although possibly just out of habit. "Turnabout's fair play," he says quietly, and comes down to help. "Idiot almost flew into vacuum. Hello, Captain."
Jack rolls his sleeves up, and heads toward the folks, cigarette still dangling from one of his hands. "Maybe I can help. I know a few things about first aid."
Jantine just keeps laying there, bleeding.
Taeren looks over at Jack, and up. "Might want to put out your cig first," the Timonae replies, clamping his hand over the oozing wound at Jan's arm as the man's own grip relaxes. "He's leaking blood. His ship might be leaking fuel." Through gritted teeth, he adds, "but if you can stop the bleeding, I won't complain."
The security member of the Faux, makes his way out of the mentioned and remains silent on it's boarding ramp. Brandon's good eye locks onto the prostate man, but he doesn't make any effort to move or render assistance. He's just standing there, completely impartial to it all.
The La Terran looks to Jantine, kneeling down, and plucks at a sleeve. He hmmmms and hawwwws, then nods in a satisfied manner. "He's definatly bleedin'." Then the cigarette is tossed down, snuffs it out with a good stomp. Then he gets to work, not minding the blood at all, even as it stains fingers and hands.
"Shots through the hull into the cockpit, and I saw some of the armor plating take off," says Ruin in a tone that's more numb than calm. "Didn't see any signs of a fuel leak." He looks around - possibly to see if medics have materialized - and notes Brandon's presence. He nods slightly in greeting, but doesn't seem surprised at his distance. Looking back to Taeren, he says, "If he can be patched together enough, I'll help you haul him to the hospital."
Jantine just keeps on bleeding, spouting red liquid from his flight suit sleeve. He also still has his helmet on, if that makes any difference, as well as the rest of the flight suit.
"It would probably be better," the Timonae replies, looking to Jack before removing his hand from Jan's arm to unlatch the man's helmet, "If you called an ambulance from the hospital."
The familiar call of sirens echo in the distance, obviously the medical system is on the ball after the call came through.
Brandon continues to watch before heading down, his right shoulder grazing the strut on the Faux. "He's expendable," the man helpfully points out, looking down with a rather sedated interest at the injured pilot. Jack gets a nod, same as Ruin and Tay
"Eh, no communicator." Jack says simply, cocking his head at the wailing. "An' we're all expendable. Though I like to thin- OH sweet Lin, who fucked your eye?"
Jantine keeps bleeding.
"Everyone is," Ruin replies without looking up. "But expendable doesn't mean valueless." He fiddles with his commlink, and nods as he connects. "Winston emergency, this is Ruin Pia, we need an ambulance at Greenville landing pad please. Heavy bloodloss, gunshot wounds."
A gloved hand slips inside of his jacket. "I can cease his suffering," Brandon quietly answers Tay, his voice being just above a whisper as he continues to watch the blood flow from the down pilot. "Single round through the brain, this range, he'd have about point oh nought of a second to know what's going on." He offers a smile to both Tay and Jack. "How do you think the PANL treated me?" He turns his head to the side and spits, before his attention returns to Jantine.
Jantine just keeps on bleeding.
"I'm working, I'm working." Jack says, drawing out a shirt from his bag and stripping it. Then he goes to wrapping up the wound, hopefully to slow the bleeding. "Yes, yes, we know, Brandon, bullets kill people."
"...I think they showed you the truth, Brandon," Ruin replies quietly. "But Jan is, thankfully, thick as a brick and won't see or understand. He doesn't need a mercy shot; stop projecting." He lets Jack handle the emergency care, instead looking out for ambulances.
Rising slowly, blood on his hands, the Timonae shakes his head as he looks between Brandon and Ruin. "Maybe you two are a good fit for one another after all," he says, holding his scarlet-tainted fingers out in front of him and looking anxiously towards the growing sound of sirens. Only then are the shadows under his eyes evident, the sweat streaming from the tips of silver hair, the shortness of breath in the half-open hang of his jaw.
Taeren nods to Jantine, swallowing. "He's probably exhausted on top of losing blood," the Timonae explains. "We kept in the air under fire for hours, and those fucking terrorists figured he was a bigger target than me somehow." "I can kill him," Brandon remarks, still in that same whisper of a voice. He moves a shoe to nudge the done pilot, rather expirementally, as if he'd explode or something. "Don't need a bullet either." He then turns his head towards Tay. "We're all good for dying, even you. The king goes back in the same box as the pawn when the game is finished." He slowly nods at his own words.
Taeren turns to face Brandon, stepping between the man and the downed pilot perhaps subconsciously. Bloodied hands rest now at his sides. "Fates decide when we die," the Timonae replies. "Sisters willing, today is not his day or mine." The Timonae's silver eyebrows knit, shaking his head. "They really got to you, didn't they, Brandon."
And away they take him, loading him up. Tay and Jack are left with the blood on their hands and the helmet to the flight suit, which gets conviniently left behind.