Machina: Death of the Galaxy

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Original poster
The sun was just rising upon Kenston Prime and already the city was as busy as it would be until it set. Vehicles filled the skies and streets as the populous awoke. One section of the city was still clear however, a small area around Titan Avenue under investigation following the bombing of the previous day. Various police vehicles block off the scene as civilians try and get a peak. However a crowd is starting to form outside the Military Research Facility as the news plays it's latest bulletin.

"Our latest report on the alien ship that crash landed last night has revealed to belong to none other than Garluk Glumont wanted in this quadrant for piracy and murder. While his own race calls for expediation he is due for execution later today for his crimes. He is currently awaiting transfer from the Kenston Military Research Facility."

Tsukabasa set down his coffee as he watched the news broadcast from inside an abandoned warehouse. He looked over to his Machina,still damaged from the previous day's fight, and then back at the holoscreen before shutting it off.

"Garluk eh? Can't believe he showed up here...let alone got captured. He should prove useful however." Tsukabasa mused to himself.

He began pulling on his fatigues before his thoughts drifted to that girl from yesterday. Strange that she would be the target of this entire fiasco...Perhaps there was more to her than met the eye. Hanako Nagare, 17 and a student. Her father has been dealing in a shady business and had made a deal with the wrong person. Tsukabasa finished tying his boots as he stood.

"I don't know what you have planned brother...but I need to stop it before you get any further."

Walking out of the warehouse the morning light was a bit hard on his eyes. He began heading towards the Military Research facility. He need more allies and some spare parts if he was going to stop this thing...and he would need them fast.


Outside of the Research Facility was hectic as media and civilian alike gathered to get a look at the infamous Pirate. As Tsukabasa arrived he felt chills go down his spine. If they didn't disperse quickly things might get messier than he thought. He considered firing some shots in the air but that would only get him taken out by the guards. No he need something more...He spotted a familiar head amongst the crowd before heading towards it.

"Hanako? Hankao Nagare? What are you doing here?" Tsukabasa said as he mental scowled. Things were not going to end well today, He could feel it.
It had NOT been a good day. Hell, it had not been a good month. And now they had him on display like a prize and calling him 'Pirate' and 'Murderer' he had no guilty conscience. He had done what he needed to to survive after being exiled would have continued if the corvette hadn't been damaged so badly fleeing from whatever had attacked the base. And now he had hours to live, minuets maybe. That could become days if the ambassador succeeded in betting him transferred over to his own races custody. Seems everyone was arguing over who got to kill him, he thought brought on a snort of amusement, which got him a glare from the guard.

"They're arguing over who gets to kill me." he explained trying not to let the amusement take over him.

"Quiet in there." the guard said knocking on the glass. As Garluk lay his head on the table trying laughing. It was the laugh of a dead man, nothing he did mattered so he kept laughing until it ran out of steam and he sat quietly in the room.
Things were getting strange.

Yesterday had been the first time Hanako had to use Odin in actual combat. It slaughtered that monster that came after her, but what worried her more was the events leading up to the fight. Clearly there was something going on in town. And her little joyride hadn't ended up all over the media-handy, but suspiscious.

The man who chased after her was disturbing, too. As if to top off all of her friends acting weirdly for no reason. Still, if there were something trying to take over everyone, it would have started with authorities first...the only person she really could trust would be the man who saved her..Tsukabasa, that was it.

The cell on her bedside table rang, disturbing her early-morning brooding.
"What are you calling me for so early in the morning?"
She paused as her caller talked.

"...It's morning by my standards!"

"Well, fine. What was it you called about?"

"Huh, no, I didn't hear about that...sure, I'll meet you there."

An alien, huh...that was news.


She joined the crowd after getting dressed and cleaned up a bit. This was interesting...besides, she needed a bit of a distraction from worrying about parasitic aliens. If that meant watching something cool with her friends, so be it.

"Hanako? Hankao Nagare? What are you doing here?"
"Huh?" She turned around, looking at the voice. "Oh, it's you.." One of her friends noticed the newcomer.
"Hanako, who's he?"
"Oh, just some guy I met...Tsukabasa, this is Emi." She motioned to her friend as best she could in the cramped crowd.

"She wanted me to get out of bed and come see this with her..what are you doing here?"
Tsukabasa looked over the crowd nervously though his aging face hid it well. If he was right then the remains of it were here. If he was wrong then his problem was about to get much worse. He looked down to Hanako and her friend with a smile before looking back to the base.

"Oh I'm just here to pick up a few things for my workplace back at home. I left them here yesterday and had no clue things would get this busy. Hey I have an idea. You and your fiends wanted a better look at the alien right? I think I could pull some strings so you could see him." Tsukabasa lied through his teeth.

He needed someone to keep the guards busy while he stole the parts he needed for his machina. He also needed to make sure they were too busy while he attempted to bail Garluk out and clean up this mess he started before it got out of hand.


Inside the base things were starting to get a bit tense as a large container was shuffled into a room with various equipment. Armed and armored guards stood around the exits and entrances of the room as a glass observation box in a corner began to fill up with various scientist.

"Do we have any idea what this is?"

"No sir...It appears to be alive but also eminates electricity."

"What about where it came from?"

"We haven't been able to get a sample of it yet. The surface is just too hard."

"Well then...Doctor Ilargi shall we get started?"


Tsukabasa lead the group of students up one of the gates of the facility away from the crowd. Thoughts were flying through his head as he caught hints of the conversation behind him.

"Did you hear about what happened at Titan Avenue?"

"Yeah! To think that someone would blow up a warehouse there...Do you think it was part of the aliens idea?"

Tsukabasa and Hanako both knew what had really happened there. The truth was that it was not a bombing but an invasion. The explosion was a result of missing with one of his own weapons and the remains the result of his failure to stop it. However what disturbed him more was it's attraction to Hanako. His attention snapped forward as he saw the two guards moving forward.

"Stop right there. This base is currently not allowing any visitors."

"Do you have any idea who I am? What is your rank?"

"Sergeant? Why do you ask?"

"Well Corporal, next time you decide to stop a Commander from carrying out an order from the base commander perhaps your payroll will look better. Now, move aside."

"I'm sorry sir but I'm going to need some ID"

"Commander Tsukabasa Korincho, recently re-enlisted. Now stand aside. I'm sorry about that kid, You know how things are these days."

Tsukabasa shot a glance at the man to make his point and pushed him aside as he led the group into the base. He probably had a few hours before they found out that the entry was fake and he was actually just hear to cause one hell of a ruckus. Less if someone who was good at logistics was working today.
Raven stopped tapping the face of her watch to look up, flashing a cat grin. She was in sssoooo much trouble if they discovered she'd gone behind their backs--after they'd expressly given their "no"--to manufacture PRISS. But life was all about breaking a few rules. No risk, no reward. And she did love being rewarded.

She adjusted her glasses, pushing it further up her nose. "As ready as I'll ever be." She turned to the scientists gathered in the room and couldn't help but muse about the fact she was the only female and probably the youngest there. She could think of at least several places off the top of her head she'd rather be, except the object they'd recovered had given them enough reason to surmise an engineer would be helpful.

Ah well. If she wanted to get paid--and keep PRISS a secret--she'd need to endure this little eh, "dissection session" and verify whether it was a machine or some kind of life form. After that, they'd figure out what to do with it and if it wasn't a machine, she'd be home free.
Some of the girls made faces at the guards as they walked in the base, but Hanako just followed after Tsukabasa.

The halls of the military base were clean and fairly empty, aside from the occasional cleaning bot.
"..I wish you hadn't brought them...I still need to talk to you sometime. Who are you, anyways? What's going on around here? I'd rather not let them know-"

"ooh?" Hanako's speech was interrupted by Emi coming up behind her and wrapping her arms around Hanako's chest. "You're not cheating on Charles already, are you?"
"Wha-no! Let go of me you pervert!" Her cheeks flushed red as she squirmed in her friend's grip. Emi let go after one more squeeze and leaned back, still smiling.
"Well, if you say so. How'd you two meet, anyways?"
"Uh...Tsukabasa, why don't you tell them? It'll just sound weird if I try to describe it.."


The group kept walking as they talked, until they could see more guards up ahead with assault rifles and body armor in front of a armored door.
"Ah, the alien must be that way. Come on, I wanna see if he has extra eyes!"
"Emi, wait up!" Hanako had to run after her friend, only reaching her just in front of the guards.
The laughter had ceased as the alien raised his head and looked out of the window into the room opposite. They had pulled something from the Machine that had been chasing him. Whatever it was it was not human, in fact it didn't seen to be any race he had ever seen, the tech seemed to be cobbled together from scrap, which made Glukar think scavenger or rival pirates. He wondered it he might be able to watch the full autopsy before he went to his own death. Sitting on the table now for a better view to watched, when a group of children showed up to watch.... so this was a game for the humans? did they really take such things so lightly?
"Lieutenant, an ECP Sergeant had an inquiry." an Army Master Sergeant said to Lieutenant Archanos as she pored over data pertaining to the prisoner.

"What is it? Another reporter asking questions?" Dani asked, swiveling in the chair to face the senior NCO.

"Apparently a Commander Tsukabasa Korincho passed through without any credentials. The guard said he was leading a bunch of schoolgirls." Dani minimized several windows on her monitor and opened a few more, picking up a headset as she did so.

"ARMPERSUP this is First Lieutenant Danielle Archanos with the 443RD Recon. I have an inquiry to make regarding a 'Commander Tsukabasa Korincho.' I need to know if he's still discharged. Yes, I'll wait." Dani was treated to elevator music as her request was processed.

"Hey, you hear about Major Schaffer? ArmsTek sent some techs to upgrade his Gunpuncher's FCS and WCS.* Apparently it's a division wide upgrade." the Master Sergeant said as Dani waited.

"That thing can already tear a battlecruiser apart without ordnance. What more do they want to do to the old mecha?" she asked.

"They just want to make the machines more accurate when they tear said battlecruisers apart with ordnance." Dani shook her head. The PDR-77 Gunpuncher was originally designed by CAT/Holt as a piece of mining equipment, intended to tear mountains, asteroids, or space platforms apart. An Army general felt that power could be used to tactical purpose in the anti-ship role.

Unfortunately the Gunpuncher was found to be strong enough to tear itself apart during operation, requiring numerous governor systems to dampen it's overall power and prevent the Department of Defense from having to justify replacing a 20 year old machine because it tore itself apart.

"Lieutenant Archanos, we're on hold with NAVPERSUP. They're having to dig through their own records." the operator on the line with Dani finally replied.

"Would it be safe to assume he's still discharged?" she asked. There was a chuckle from the other end of the line.

"After what he did, most likely. Any who, where can we reach you when we find out for sure?"

"My cell phone. All calls are being forwarded to my mecha. He'll contact me."

"Yes ma'am." Dani took the headset off and drew her pistol, ejecting the mag then slamming it home.

"Should we scramble SRF?***" the Master Sergeant asked.

"Have them stand by at the armories. We don't want to startle him, not yet at least." she replied with a smile.

"Ma'am, don't smile like that... You remind me of an MP dog that always saw fit to maul me when I was in MP school..."

*FCS and WCS: Fire Control System and Weapon Control System. The FCS is used in directing fire. The WCS actually controls onboard weapons in the selection.
**SRF: Security Reaction Force. This unit is supposed to be on station within five minutes. The BRF, Backup Reaction Force, has to be on station within ten minutes.
"Uh...Tsukabasa, why don't you tell them? It'll just sound weird if I try to describe it.."

Hanako turned to see Tsukabasa nowhere in sight. Before she could search she was dragged to the display with her friends. Past the viewing glass sat a metal crate with various instruments above it as if it were undergoing surgery. She watched as the lid of the crate to reveal a red mass that looked organic. She heard a growl from somewhere before a single silent voice echoed.

Originator...Many...Must obtain...


Inside the base's security center Danielle watched as Tsukabasa made his way towards one of the armory entrances. Just as he was about to arrive a comm chimed in the center.

First Lieutenant Archanos, This is NAVPERSUP. We just pulled up the file on Korincho and apparently he has been re-enlisted by the higher ups...and by higher ups I mean he has a comission from the House. He's pretty much clear to do whatever he wants."

Danielle sighed as she watched Tsukabasa approach the armory door, "Clearance granted."

"Ma'am...Nobody is here."


Tsukabasa pulled a storage device out of the computer with a grin. The second he had noticed a few security patrols following him he knew his cover was essentially blown.

"So much for parts...Now I just need to get Garluk out of here."

He began making his way down the corridors passing a few patrols with a nod. Arriving back in the holding area he made his towards the pirate's cell hopping the distraction would have the guard away. Rounding the corner he saw a single guard standing out side the cell but no group of highschoolers.

So much for the easy way...I wonder where they are.


The guard snapped to attention just in time to recieve a haymaker to his face. The man crumpled to the floor as Tsukabasa opened the door to Garluk's cell.

"Heh? Are you the one who's going to kill me?"

"Shut it Garluk, I'm busting yo-"

Tsukabasa looked thru the viewing glass of the room to see the red mass beginning to quiver.

"Oh shit."

Reaching into his fatigues he pulled a small datapad before pressing it's single button.



"We will begin the autopsy."

One of the operating arms moved down an a small laser began to burn into the mass. There was no reaction as it carved a long line down it.. Two other arms began to move down to peel it open when the doors to the observation room opened. Heads turned and a few scientist smiled.

"Ahh Inspector Triello. We were expecting you. The proceedure has only just begun."

The two mechanical arms peeled the tough shell aside to reveal a different inside. It was red and sinewy, like enlarged living muscles. The entire thing lacked apparent organs or even fluids for that matter. From the interior mass a small green visor like shape emerged. Suddenly a group of sinew shot forth and latched onto the various operating arms.

"What's going on? What is that thing?"

"Sir it's rewriting the operating code. It's begining to link with the machine."

"Terminate the operation. Have the guards fire upon it!"

Inside the room the four armored guards brough down their assualt rifles in unison and unleashed a hail of fire upon the mass. The laser operating arm snapped finally and swung around meeting each of the soldiers with it's deadly beam. The being pulled itself from the shell before more tendrils shot out grabbing the dead men and pulling them forward holding them off the floor. It began forming into a human shape, skin of it's sinewy muscle and faceless accept for it's single green slit like eye.

Awoken...Originators nearby.

As rest of the arms snapped off of their robot the sinew holding the dead guards began to progress down their bodies wrapping them in it. Eventually they broke off as parts of their armor began to come to the front and similar eyes began to form. The single armorless figure had multiple tendrils lash out grabbing the case it had been in and forming it across it's body like makeshift armor. The operating arms formed into it's own arms for makeshift weapons.

Come Brothers, It spoke to the newly joined, We must capture the Originators nearby and take them to the Master.
This was odd and unexpected. Human soldier, the guard unconscious outside the cell. The human was obviously a bounty hunter, someone he insulted, or owed money too wanted him. Then again......

"Something....." he saw the monitor "Looks like our cue to get out of here... One hell of a distraction... just like at the base... yes we'd better go fast... your ship nearby?"
"Ah! Guys, shouldn't we be staying with our guide?"
"Oh stop worrying. It'll be fun!"
"Well, alright..." Hanako stayed with the rest of the group as they wandered away from Tsukabasa.

The operation was pretty interesting, if similarly mysterious. What was that red mass, anyways?

The growling was not so cool.
Then she heard a voice in her head. It was probably just her imagination, all the stuff recently getting to her.

But when the voice repeated, and the red thing started killing guards, and then the other voices joined those of the first one...One of the girls just screamed and ran away as the guards died, and Hanako was inclined to join her. But she couldn't leave the others entirely behind, even if they had something in them.

"Um, guys, we really should be leaving now..." She took a step back, away from her friends and the display of the monster.
Who are you?
Ansgar whistled idly astride his idling jetbike, his armor in "Assault" configuration. He was concealed from casual observation in the shadows of an alley barely a block from the Facility, waiting for a signal. This was a very important signal to him, since it would mean the tripling of his contract fee.

"The client hit his panic button, Ansgar. We're go."

"All righty, then. Let's kick this pig. Yippekayay, motherfuckers!"

Ansgar kicked his bike up to high thrust, screaming out of the alley and down the street at speeds far faster than anyone would consider "safe," the bike's speakers blasting an old Heavy Metal song.

As soon as he lined up on the doorway to the facility, he let loose with a volley of three micromissiles, neatly destroying it and most of the surrounding frame. The bike's landing skids deployed and he slammed to a halt inside the corridor, facing back the way he'd come. Bringing his assault rifle into position, he waited a heartbeat for the ECP guards to react. Then -


Both guards arched backwards, stone dead. Their pistols were barely out of their holsters. Ansgar dismounted and started moving further into the facility on foot, ventilating anyone in a uniform as he made his way quickly to his employer's beacon.
Raven tilted her head down and looked over the brim of her glasses. Now this ... this she hadn't seen coming. But then a silly thought occured to her and she turned to the group of stunned male scientists.

"So ... Who else thinks this is a bad hentai film come to life?"
Then again, no one else was prone to share her sense of humor. All they were missing was the cute high school teenage girl. She began stepping back from the window standing between them and the dissecting experiment gone horribly awry. She didn't know about them but there was no way in hell she was going to stay here and wait for the thing to break through that window. They just didn't make glass the way they used to.

Raven got to the door, slipped out, and then she was running down the hall--coincidentally past Garluk's cell and almost barreling into Hanako! She skidded to a halt. "Well, I guess we're not missing the cute high school teenage girl after all. Heh. Go figure," she said outside with a cat grin. "Listen, sweetie. Now would be a good time to run."

She heard glass breaking.

"We hope you've enjoyed this tour of our top secret military facility and now invite you to leave in an orderly and yet rushed manner." She grabbed Hanako's hand--she was the closest teenage girl and the cutest--and ran for it! "Everyone, follow your hot, scientist guide right this way!" She was headed for the nearest exit!
Now this was interesting. Dangerous, deadly even, but interesting. While his kind had evolved into machines mixed with a few bio components, this creature seemed to have evolved into a bio-organism with mechanical interface capabilities. Or, to be more accurate, seemed to be a perfect bio-mechanical being rather than one supplementing the other. This technology could be quite useful to his people. However, it could also pose a threat. If it could interface with any mechanical device as easily as it had the autopsy arms, then his entire race was in peril. He had to warn them. But first, he had to get out. Seeing the female scientist begin the evacuation, he pulled out one of his Desert Eagles and began shoving the rest of the scientists, most of whom were still in shock, out the door, covering the rear. As soon as he left the room, he slammed the door behind him and hit the emergency lockdown switch on the door, which also set off the evacuation protocols, including blaring warnings and flashing red lights. An instant later the sound of the window on the other side could be heard. Drawing his other Deagle, Lance backed away from the door, keeping his eyes on it just in case. Once he got to the first corridor, he turned and ran, glancing down each successive hallway to see if there were any stragglers. Upon reaching corridor in which Tsukabasa and company were down, he called down to them. "Hey, you down there, you need to get out of here! It isn't safe!" Turning back to the corridor behidn him, Lance watched for any signs of the creature as he waited for Tsukabasa and friends to evac.
Two move away Brother!

The four youngest of the creature had already broken through the doors and were beginning to convert the guards, still living, outside of the doors. Screams of the men through there helmets could be heard across the corridors. The originator, still taking in parts of the surgical robot was connected to the various cameras of the room by red tendrils viewing the entire base through it's eye.

It matters not...Originators already corrupted nearby...they shall not fight. Store the Sisters...We must have no harm come to them.


Tsukabasa swore as he watched the entire "disection" go down. He quickly began to unlock Garluk's restraints as he continuously darted his eyes at the screen. He had known for eggs to produce S-1's...but to have an S-2 fully developed straight out of one. They had to of known what he was going to do, but how?

"Alright Garluk. I know you don't give a shit about your race anymore but I'm pulling a tradition card. You watch my ass and I'll watch yours and we both might get out of this alive."

He walked over to the guard and pulled his pistol out of it's holster before handing it to the alien.

"If your going to betray me at least shoot me while I'm looking at you so I can laugh as I die."

He poked his head out into the corridor before pulling his pistol and checking the gurad. He was still out hard cold and was lacking any sort of kit with adrenaline. Giving a short sigh he put the gun against the unconcious mans head.

"You will thank me in hell one day." Crack! "May you never feel their pain, Requiescat in pace."

The sounds of assault rifles going off disrupted him as he rounded the corner and looked down the corridor to where the operation had taken place. He saw a group of four of the red bastards being fired upon by the guards. They lifted up their right arms in unison before the previous guards rifles protruded out of them and fired each one taking out another guard.

Tsukabasa pulled his head back before peaking again. He could make out a set of four feet apart from the red figures. He squinted to see them wearing uniform shoes. The high-schoolers? From earlier? But why were they not dead?

"Now join us Sisters..." a figure howled, it's voice as if it were made of many.

"Joi-...oh no...NO!"


The four beings each moved up to one of the girls before their chest cavities cracked open to reveal a space inside. With tears streaming down their faces the girls began to walk forward. It was about this time that one of them recieved a trio of .40 rounds in the chest as the rest of them began to clip small chunks of armor off the beings. Two of them turned around and hissed before retaliating with a volley of rifle fire.

Quickly...take two...I will take the psychic.

The final being finally emerged from the room as it shruged outside. Two of the smaller ones grabbed the girls before placing them into the cavity as they dived back into the room. Tsukabasa fired in fear at the large newcommer trying to stop the inevitable. The being grabbed Emi before plunging her into it's chest as she limply was absorbed into it's mass. It's visor-like eye began glowing before it turned around.

"You cannot stop us...We will not be contained...We will not let you have the Originators...Killing one has done nothing. You will join the family Half-Brother."

Tsukabasa simply shudered at it's words as he reloaded his pistol and looked to Garluk.

"Listen up...We don't stand a chance against any of them with out current firepower...especially the big one. We need to get out of this place before they start thinking larger...How we are going to do that...I don-"

The sounds of armor clad foot steps was a warm welcome to his ears.

"How we are going to do that is with this man right here."

(Musical Ambience:)

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"Jesus fucking Christ!" Dani swore as all hell broke loose. She immediately grabbed a headset and keyed the base intercom.


Irving mecha charged from their subterranean hangars, heavy machine guns in hand. Main battle tanks and AFVs rolled out of their own hangars heading for the gates. Dani watched leg infantry shouting at the reporters at the gates. They were trying to get them to leave however the natural curiosity of the reporters pressed them to find out more. She changed frequencies and called up one of the gate guards.

"Attention all ECPs. You have perrmission to use warning shots. If anyone fires into the crowd you will be punished as per the UCMJ." She recieved affirmative replied from all ECPs. Looking at the screens she saw riflemen firing into the air, people running as the tanks and APCs rolled up, more soldiers shoring up the defenses. Dani changed the frequency again.

"Hangar control, release my machine's restraints. I'm going to need him airborne." she ordered, changing one of the screens. It showed the mecha hangar. There were maintenance crews loading out Irvings and Bradleys for security ops. Her own machine stood in the maintenance rack, the crews releasing its restraints. She watched Desolator step out of the rack and fall in with the next wave of defenders. Changing cameras again Dani saw her machina fold into itself and take to the sky. She changed frequencies yet again.

"Desolator, tell me what you see."

"Half the defense forces are in place." the machine replied circling over the base. "Flight deck presently fouled. Hornet Class Dropship evacuating nonessentials at present."

"Copy that... Keep me appraised of the evacuation."

"Lieutenant, shouldn't we report to station?" the Master Sergeant asked.

"This is Recon's station." she replied emotionlessly.

The voices continued to echo in Hanako's mind. Something about originators, a psychic, and was all so strange, but at least she was getting out of there. Still, her friends-

The glass shattered, and the thing from the room...

Well, ate wasn't quite the right word. Embraced? Absorbed? That was it, absorbed. It absorbed her friends, some of them crying, others simply not caring as they were enveloped in the fleshy mass. Someone shot one of them, and the already horrific scene was compounded as Hanako looked back to see Tsukabasa holding a smoking gun. Her legs wavered and tears came to her eyes, but she kept standing next to Raven for the moment. It wouldn't last long.
Few things could unsettle the pirate, but unarmed, watching those things consume those girls did the trick. "We need heavy weapons, plasma or flame based, they're organic so..... " he turned to face the newcomer, "Whats the plan? I assume they're keeping my vehicle around here somewhere."

He looked at the creatures again wishing he had something to shoot with.
And they were running and running and--where was she going again? Oh right, out!

Raven skidded to a stop at the sound of something coming up ahead. She hadn't noticed the schoolgirl witnessing her friends dying and she wasn't stupid enough to look behind her. Isn't that the reason you died in those sci-fi horror flicks? A half-grin crossed her face. Sci-fi horror flick meets old school hentai.

Raven blinked at the sight of Ansgar, fully armed and definitely not wearing a military uniform. She looked him up and down. "Hm, hello, handsome. Did you come for the fireworks, too?"
Ansgar swapped a new magazine into the K135 before whipping around a corner. After all, more bullets is always good and a half empty mag is Bad Juju. He was confronted by the sight of a smokin' scientist of the female persuasion and a distraught high school girl. The sight actually managed to jar him enough to break his concentration.

Then she opened her mouth and it was aaaaalll better.

"Hm, hello, handsome. Did you come for the fireworks, too?"

He chuckled. "Chickie," he responded, "I AM the fireworks."

He fired a fifteen-round burst at the first red monstrosity to enter his crosshairs, dropping it like a mangled marrionette, then advanced past the two females and dropped another before the bolt locked back. Rather than swap magazines, he simply drew his pistol. Each half-inch-and-change diameter bullet blew away basketball-sized chunks of flesh, ignoring the things' makeshift armor as though it wasn't there, and he didn't need to bother with a second shot. In short order all but one of the monstrosities were dead. The remaining...thing, unfortunately, seemed more resilient than its brethren; four slugs went through the thing but it just filled in the hole each time.

"I don't think that's going to work, Ansgar."