The Last Bastion: Bunker Chicago

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  1. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” -Plato.

    Chapter 1:
    Whispers within the Cold.​

    The road from the Bunker to the ruins of Chicago seemed long and were slowly being overgrown by surrounding plant life. Long, winding cracks raced through the black asphalt mixture, telling of a society now long since passed from the memories of those that were treading upon it. Though the road had long since been cleared of abandoned vehicles, one could still spot the occasional human bone here and there, even some recently deceased scavengers that weren’t lucky enough to escape the predations of the raiders in southern Chicago.

    Still. One couldn’t shake the feeling of the many untold dead here, never to be missed or even known.

    Carolyn took a deep breath as she peered around her cockpit. This wasn’t the first time she travelled down this road, but it was still unsettling to see the decrepit city’s skyline ahead of a dead road. Her mech walked in the middle of a small battalion, beside an APC. The battalion comprised of a half a dozen tanks, a half a dozen mechs, several foot-soldiers, and Carolyn’s squad. Within the APC was an auspicious guest: Devin Antoinette. The general had chosen to take direct command of the mission just prior to Carolyn’s squad departing from Bunker Chicago, much to her surprise.

    On the ground, Morai Lee was walking close to the rest of the squad. They supposedly had a private radio channel all to themselves, but it was just as likely that their every whisper on those radios was recorded by a bureaucrat’s automated machine somewhere. He shakes his head as he looks around at the rest of the squad, then looks up at the sky. It was grey and overcast, but that’s how it looked most days, as the planet still hadn’t fully recovered from nuclear winter. Morai starts speaking into the squad-only channel, his foreign accent though understandable, was noticeable apparent. ”We’re being led by a General for a simple revenge mission. This doesn’t feel right.” Morai spoke into his radio as he eyed the APC at the centre of the convoy suspiciously. Carolyn responds, though uncertainty was clear in her voice. “This is odd to me as well, but it’s just as likely that he’s in it for the personal motivation of killing the bastards who threatened my life, Morai.” The mercenary shakes his head, patting his shotgun gently. ”If that’s what you believe, then I envy your naivety.”

    ”Look, can you run the mission objectives by me one more time Carolyn?” Morai asked. The squad would easily hear an audible sigh as Carolyn reiterated the objectives in a monotonous tone. ”We enter the city ruins and head immediately to the western section. There, we’ll infiltrate a skyscraper we know as a local headquarters of U-ARM while he diverts course and causes a distraction elsewhere. On the tenth floor, we hit the server room, the main office, and liberate a prisoner of war into our custody. We then return home as fast as possible, being covered by my father’s group who will have set up satellite-guided mortars to cover our retreat. We are not to approach the Shadow Zone for any reason, unless otherwise ordered directly to do so by a member of ADAM.” Morai scratches the back of his head. ”Liberate into our custody... So, we’re freeing a man, to arrest him? This man is so valuable, that your General is just... Casually willing to risk his life for this?” Carolyn hesitates before responding, uncertainty in her tone once again. ”I know. There’s more to it than that, but if my father thinks it’s worth risking his life, I’m willing to trust him.”

    There was a few more moments of silence between them before Morai finally spoke up, clearing his throat. ”Alright. So, Brucey’s BBQ was interrupted. I only got to introduce myself to some of you, so let me more formally introduce myself: I am Morai Lee. I was a mercenary before I joined this little family, and as you can tell, I’ve done this more than a few times. I hope to get to know all of you better in the coming days, assuming we survive.” Carolyn doesn’t seem to introduce herself immediately, instead waiting on others. Still, Morai’s eyes hadn’t left the APC at the centre of the convoy, and neither had his distrusting look.
     
    #1 Brovo, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
  2. Chapter 1:
    Whispers within the Cold.
    Bruce McFoster

    The thunderous steps of the Ignis Dei hammered into the ground as the Ignis Dei played the 1812 Overture through it's external (and internal) speakers as Brucey moved it at low stride. The meat on the ground were hardly the fastest bodies in the world. Jacko was in his little compartment safe and sound making appreciative noises as Brucey keyed his comms.

    "Systems check." He said as he began running system checks.

    Weapon Articulation... he said mentally. Check.
    Power to stride... check.
    Torso Twist... check.
    Fuckit. He went through the rest of the checklist as if on automatic as he moved through the systems without pause before turning his attention back to the convoy.

    "Systems check complete. Ignis Dei ready to burn and churn." Brucey said in a cheerful voice. It was no BBQ, but battle was his first love.


    Whispers within the Cold.
    Viper

    Viper moved with quick lithe movements across the uneven terrain her XM8 held in prepared hands. These reminded her of her old stomping grounds, she could almost taste the despair in the air from the dedicated bunker babies so far out of their comfort zone. Brown eyes taking in everything they passed over, from the cleared ground to, another recitation of their orders.

    Viper didn't much care, service was a price she had to pay, her only real marketable skill anyway. Her body wasn't something she cared to market anymore and being underhanded at card tables wasn't something she could put on a 'resume'.

    So now she found herself in the Chicago streets, assault rifle pressed to her shoulder as she waited for the action she could almost sense coming.

    The problem was.

    Would they start it? Or was the enemy clever enough to ambush them first?
     
    #2 Kadaeux, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  3. It was a dreary day. It was always dreary. It made her miss the fluorescent lights of BC. To herself, Georgia breathes out a child's rhyme, hopping over the cracks in the asphalt. On her chest, in a baby harness, a ragged old teddy bear, missing one eye and balding in several areas with fluff daring to poke through at the seams flops up and down as her rifle thunks against her hip with each bounce. A few of the ground troops not a part of their squadron point and mutter to each other, looks of uncertainty on their faces. Georgia, however, fails to even notice it as she continues her game. Finally, though, one of them meanders closer, "Alright, girl, I just have to ask... What are you doing?"

    Georgia stumbles in mid-hop and falls upon a crack, gasping out in horror, "What did you do?!" She looks at the grunt with wide eyes, "Don't you know anything?"

    The soldier stumbles back a step and looks at her with uncertainty, "I just asked you a question..."

    Georgia whimpers and points down at the line, "Look! Look what you made me do. Jerk, now my mom's back is gonna be broke!" The soldier was already well on his way to retreating. The looks she was getting were only intensifying. The girl with silver-white hair just glares after the soldier, lip quivering as she borders on tears.

    She stops though as confusion passes over her face and she crooks her head, raising her teddy bear from its harness and raising it to her ears. She screws up her face, listening intently before nodding slowly. "Thomas says I should apologize, and that you didn't do anything wrong. He says stepping on the cracks won't actually hurt mom." She frowns and kicks at a rock, sending it skipping over the road, dejected over the end of her game.

    The ongoing conversation between Morai and Carolyn, crooking her head to try and listen. The clatter of the mechs and rumbling tanks was making it hard. She presses a hand to her ear, pressing the earpiece a bit further in. She wrinkles her nose at the conversation as it tugs on her heartstrings. The incident that would even call for a revenge strike against U-ARM had been perhaps one of the worst things she could have ever imagined. She could hardly stand remembering, but still, they had brought her to that train of thought. Now, she was reliving the absolute terror she had experienced at the thought that her best friend, perhaps the only person in this world that could even come close to rivaling her care for her mother or brother, could be dead.

    She closes her eyes, brow scrunched as she tries to beat away the memory of having to dig through the rubble, unsure what she would find. To her relief, though, they had found Carolyn, albeit a little worse for wear. It was rough. Not too long ago, she was still doing physical therapy after the injuries from the mutant. Then, Carolyn's accident. It was like the world was a vicious monster just trying to make them suffer these days. Still, though, she shakes her head and perks up as Morai makes his greeting.

    Georgia keys in with her radio and beams at those around her, "I don't know all of you, home is a big place, after all, but I at least know Cara." She settles Thomas back in his seat before adjusting her roughly worn BC R&D hat on her head. "I'm Georgia Rhettland," she starts and pats the teddy bear on his head, "And this here is Thomas Rhettland..." She pauses and snaps, "Yeah, you can call me George, if you want. But you have to call Thomas Thomas." She itches her nose before raising her head, looking at the towering monoliths that were the mechs in awe. What she wouldn't give to be able to look over the other ones in her unit. Carolyn's was nice, but it would be exciting to gut these other ones and see what made them tick.

    The mutant girl, so taken in by the other mechs, had found herself accidentally drifting closer to the ex-raider. It was only when she bumped into her, then looked at her and the scary visage she presented, that Georgia took note of her. In response, she looses a squeak of surprise, and just a little fright, and scuttles away muttering a babbling torrent of apologies.
     
  4. Aiden never liked being outside the bunker, It was too open, too quiet in both the physical and psychic senses. Not only that but he had only been outside the bunker a few times and so everything was unfamiliar to him. The only thing he found comforting was that the people around him were well armed and that he would sense the enemy, even if he couldn't see them. He kept his expression neutral, he liked to read people but he hated people reading him.

    As he moved up the road, staying behind the APC for both cover and direction, he began to mentally look around to get a sense of the mood of his now fellow soldiers. Some seemed confident others were wary of the situation, it seemed odd to them and Aiden agreed. There were a few standouts, however, and they interested him. One woman felt at home out here, a mech pilot seemed happy to be headed into a fight and one young woman baffled him with her childish thoughts and apparent insanity causing him to wonder why the hell she was out here being trusted in a combat situation. Granted he didn't have much training himself, but he was effectively a human radar and could hold his own well enough. The most concerning though, was the thoughts of one of their leaders. He was constantly replaying the death of a woman in his head, not something he wanted a leader to be focused on before a battle.

    His thoughts traveled inward as he looked over his new gear. He had managed to keep most of his usual attire but over his leather jacket he had a combat jacket on, absolutely covered in throwing knives, with even more inside his regular jacket, inside sheathes. Aside from the knives the only other thing he carried was a flashbang grenade and a frag grenade, not usually his kind of thing but with his power he could get them exactly where they needed to be. Even with all this he wondered just what his odds of survival were and why he had chosen to join the military. He had a comfortable enough life on the inside, just being a consultant. Was it his desire to help people or something else? he would have to figure it out later, he needed to keep aware of his surroundings.
     
  5. Walking. Oh, how he despised walking. Others took the ability for granted, of course, but fate had seen fit to give Omar a proper appreciation for the act. Where others simple put one foot in front of the other to move forward, walking with the simple repetition of left right left right left right with no problem, he had to go through a whole process that he still had to think about even after years of doing it. Brace weight on the right leg, move crippled excuse for a left leg forward with the accompanying stabs of pain in the hip and knee, move cane forward with right hand at about the same time, brace weight on the cane as much as possible to minimize additional pain in left left that comes with putting weight on it, step forward with right leg and hope the back doesn't take offense to an incautious movement and add its voice to the symphony of agony, start process again. Where others simply had to move their legs a bit quicker to walk faster, Omar's speed was moderated by how much pain he could tolerate. He could hobble up to the speed of a quick walk, but it would mean dealing with sharp pains throughout his left leg and back with each step, and they would leave behind some lovely residual agony for hours, perhaps even days if he pushed it too far. Omar had heard that people could get used to anything given enough time, but he figured that pain might be the exception to the rule. He hadn't noticed any pain tolerance building up over the years, despite his intimate familiarity with the feeling.

    Nobody had thought to offer the cripple a spot in one of the vehicles, so he walked without voicing any complaint. Omar had learned long ago that showing weakness was far worse than actually being weak. No matter how pitiful of a wretch one is, as long as the rest of the world sees a confident veneer it will usually go off in search of other prey. Usually, but not always. Some people were damnably perceptive and knew that certain types, such as pain-wracked cripples, were vulnerable no matter the mask they wore to hide it. Even so, the mask was useful, and Omar wore it today. He didn't have to push himself much to keep pace with the others, so the regular shocks of pain in his leg and back weren't too awful. He kept his eyes forward, face blank, and breathed steadily in and out through his nose, ignoring the pain and listening in as the others spoke on the radio.

    Omar had to fight off a cackle as Morai and Carolyn danced around what needed to be said. A general tagging along on a simple act of vengeance was strange? No fucking shit. It was more than strange, it was flat out suspicious. It was the kind of thing that set off alarm bells in Omar's head, and that wasn't even the whole of it. They were going to "liberate" a prisoner of war but keep him a prisoner? That was almost too hilarious to laugh at. The revenge bullshit was obviously a cover. They were being kept in the dark about the real mission, about who the mysterious prisoner was and why he was so important. Omar figured the fucker had something to do with high level secrets, because nobody would bother playing this game of Three-card Monte with something like an assault on the base of a pack of insane terrorists as the con unless it was extremely important. He only hoped the bastards in charge of the operation didn't end up deciding to take a no witnesses, no risks approach. Those satellite mortars sounded like a perfect way to get rid of people who might have inconvenient questions.

    The introductions were less amusing and less interesting than the conversation that preceded it. Morai's was brief, and Georgia's was slightly insane. Omar was far enough back in the column to see the woman acting like a child before she had spoken up over the radio, and he'd already decided she was probably unstable and potentially dangerous. Her introduction confirmed the former and hinted at the latter. There was a stretch of silence after she finished, so Omar decided to fill it. He fumbled with the unfamiliar radio device but managed to press the right thing to speak to the others. "I'm Omar. Freelance operator, human lie detector, and unwilling master of the cane. No use getting more familiar than that just before we jump in the lion's den. Wouldn't want any of you feeling too badly after the poor crippled bastard takes a bullet to the brain." He managed to turn the last into half a sneering jibe at the others, half a joke at his own expense.

    Omar considered sharing his thoughts on this confidence game of a mission, but he stayed quiet after his little introductory speech. Morai and Carolyn seemed cautious enough, but there was no telling how Georgia or any of the so far silent others would react to the news that they were being used. One of them going off half-cocked and demanding answers from the general would probably mean bad things for Omar, so he chose not to take that risk. He just kept on walking, silently cursing his damned ruined body and hoping there would be no need for him to use stairs once they got to the U-ARM base. The only thing worse than normal walking was fucking stairs. If he had to climb up ten damned flights of stairs and then hobble back down them, he'd probably regret not going through with his seditious take on the mission at hand. Getting detained or summarily executed sounded like a walk in the park compared to the agony that ten flights of stairs promised. There was nothing for it but to walk and brood on the possibility, and what he lacked in walking skills he more than made up for with his aptitude for brooding, so Omar walked and brooded.
     
  6. She could feel every step that EISKALT took across the dry ground rattling in the marrow of her bones. Piloting a mech for pleasure or for work was one thing, but it took on an entirely different weight when she was a part of this band of soldiers. Thebault was always the only one among the four of them who had ever discussed an inclination to be a fighter, or more accurately to the situation back home, a war monger. Sure, the current arrangement hadn't exactly been her first choice, but it was paying, and it was work she knew she could do, and having been drifting for so long, she could use a little fixed income. She grasped the joystick and steered the hulking mass of metal back onto the straight and narrow, her hand acting in accordance with her wandering thoughts had apparently caused EISKALT to veer ever so slightly off course.

    What snapped her back to attention was the sound flowing from Bruce's speakers. It was muffled, thanks to the layers of thick steel comprising her cockpit, but nevertheless, it set her eye to twitching, as it was hard to block out both her thoughts that bordered on trepidation and the Australian's infernal racket. She flipped the switch on their private communications channel, not caring about the dubious nature of the military and its promises of privacy, and barked, "Can't you play anything else? Or, better yet, use your mech like it was meant to be used, and not like a fucking jukebox?" Her words still bore an accent, as little as she'd like to admit it, but now was not the time to worry about that.

    Below her, Morai had finished making an introduction that she simply hadn't cared to listen to intently, but as more and more of her comrades spoke up, including a peculiar introduction by a girl who ended up sounding like she should be in kindergarten, not on a mission, she decided to clear her throat and try her hand at something, particularly after the wry joke Omar had ended with. "I'm Meike Althaus. I am... not as familiar with this line of work as some of you are, but I know my way around a mech, and if anyone ends up a little worse for the wear after this encounter, I can gladly do my best to patch them up," going with painting herself as the support role seemed to be best. Throw in a dash of lighthearted understatement, and nothing could go wrong. If anything, she had noticed some... extreme personalities on the ground below, and did not want to clash during their first mission. She allowed herself an outburst at Bruce, but wanted everything else to be... pleasant, if at all possible, until their lives were really thrown on the lines.
     
  7. Chapter 1:
    Whispers within the Cold.
    Peter Táo



    Survival. Survival ensured freedom. Every entity fought. Every citizen, every soldier, every civilian, every creature, both mutant and carbon alike. Freedom ensured survival. Who was death's next victim? That was the definition for survival of the fittest. The barren North American wastelands were a mutated shit hole where death claimed even the best of fighters. It was enough to allow many to rest, be it in life or death.

    F.A.S.T. never slept. The Council of Adam and Bunker Colonial authorities knew all too well the stakes involving the existing threats outside Bunker walls and as such, several F.A.S. companies were mandated to stand ready twenty four-seven at any given part of the day. As the Bunker Colonies' finest battle-hardened warriors, they understood the risks and deployed where ever the Council needed them most. Where ever Bunker Security required Tier One assistance, one could bet their asses on immediate F.A.S. Deployment.

    As an F.A.S.T. Operator, Peter was obligated to fulfill his duties above and beyond expectations and deploy where ever the Council demanded. He wasn't there to fark around or pull that boo-hoo barbie shit like other Bunker civies. He had a job to do and was beyond for allowing personal losses to inspire in-field negligence. St. Louis was bad enough, but Battle-Zone Chicago and the Northern Theaters had seen considerable losses. The other week, he'd had the pleasure of enjoying a beer with several Bunker Chicago Grunt crowds. In the last two days, most had been declared either killed or missing-in-action. F.A.S.T. wasn't without its own casualties. Several other F.A.S.T. squadrons, most notably those commanded under operators he knew had gone dark and reports of the Shadow Zone's expansion had proven more than a little mind-numbing. Without question, the fears regarding Kelsey and Jimmy's well-being seemed enough to provoke the Washington Native towards defensively cast aside all other doubts until he'd safely returned to within Bunker Chicago's reinforced walls.

    The carcass that once resembled a mighty America lay before them in shattered, debris riddled ruins. Once the smoke cleared, the ashes of war still lingered that left a straddling mutant riddled frontier. What little else civilization's surviving successors could salvage, the mutations and Shadow Zone left no little to no room for carelessness. Deep within Bunker perimeters, Bunker Security kept the peace behind the walls, however, even the most impregnable compound fortifications could not entirely blunt a massive, mutant colossi assault or a properly coordinated U-ARM operation to cripple Bunker Logistics. The Council of Adam's OGAs did what they could before the hard lined Forward Recon Teams and CAG Tier Ones entered the field alongside Mech, Armored, and Mutant Elements to neutralize whatever threats loomed over the horizon. In retrospect, this mission's initial objectives were clear cut and displayed sound tactical judgment in the respect that the guidelines were loose fitting and openly flexible.

    Ever vigilant, the F.A.S.T Operator calmly maneuvered across the terrain as his eyes swept the surrounding debris for possible threats, enemy vantage points, and sniper nests. Prior to deployment, he'd surveyed the initial maps and reserved mental notes to discerned certain geographical features along the loose gridlined coordinates. Elsewhere, Peter sustained a strict step count whilst surveying the terrain for possible irregularities, boot prints, or anything unusual. During the many occassions that involved venturing across the wastelands, one notable survival trait was to expect an attack at any moment. As the others clogged the radio channel, Peter's fingers remained fixed along his XM8 as his smart vision periodically displayed informational updates regarding their locations. His location shifted as he maneuvered towards the brown eyed, wazikashi/XM8 armed raider and the mutant lie-detecting specialist.

    Following the rather colorful mentions involving his companions' life stories or biased feelings, Peter cleared his throat before activating his radio dials, “If we make it out alive, I'll gladly share a beer with all y'all, but for now, let's just try to keep tight radio discipline. Any of you need an extra gun or pair of eyes, just say the word and I'll cover your six. Noodle-Snatcher, over and out.
     
    #7 GourmetItalia, Feb 15, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  8. "Look! Look what you made me do. Jerk, now my mom's back is gonna be broke!" -Georgia Rhettland, Page 1.

    It didn't take long for everyone to introduce themselves, which left Carolyn with a smile as she replied with a bemused tone of voice. "Noodle-Snatcher? That's your code name?" With a giggle she shakes her head inside her cockpit as Morai stares up at the sky. The grey, morose sky. "And so it begins." The convoy continues forward, and for another hour or so, it's peaceful. Entering the city ruins however left them all with a feeling of anxiousness, and it didn't take much longer after that to reach the skyscrapers in question, despite occasional piles of rubble having to be cleared by the mechs for the APC.

    When they arrive at the skyscrapers, everyone is left surprised by the sight of bodies: The recently deceased, still not in rigor mortis. Their chest armour had been pierced with several rounds by high calibre firearms, and their blood was still seeping across the pavement. After about a minute of radio silence, General Devin finally issues orders from within his APC. "We've intercepted long range transmissions coming from incoming U-ARM reinforcements. Carolyn, leave your mechs outside on defense mode and enter the Skyscraper. You know what to do." Carolyn sighs audible in her radio. "Yes sir." Putting her mech beside the entrance, the APC moves out with the rest of the convoy to intercept the supposed incoming reinforcements. Setting her mech into an automatic defensive mode, she opens the cockpit and gets out. Immediately noticeable was that her jumpsuit had duct tape around her elbows, knees, and waist, for indiscernible reasons beyond that the jump suit was a size too large for her frame.

    Looking up at the building, the mutants in the squad would find themselves locking up, hearing something in their heads as they lost touch with reality for a minute or so...

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

    "They're coming." The Feminine voice stated.
    "Finally. It's about time." The Masculine voice replied.
    "You realize they might just shoot you when they realize what you are, right? You should hide, like me." The Feminine voice replied gently.
    "No, it will all be fine... Trust me." The Masculine voice whispered.
    "I do. I... Always do." The Feminine voice murmurs.

    The mutants listening to the conversation would each feel a chill down their spines, as though someone was staring at them from the abyss.

    "They... Can hear us?" The Masculine voice says with slight surprise.
    "Yes. It's advancing throughout the Children of Sodom. It's as inevitable as the Earth's rotation... Now... Stay calm. I'm coming for you." The Feminine voice states softly.
    "I know. Good luck... Even to the misguided children below us." The Masculine voice replies.

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

    With that last remark, the conversation ends, and the mutants find themselves refocusing on reality. Within the Skyscraper was something distinctly not human, and yet, conscious. They could feel that, but on the other hand, their presence could likely be felt as well.

    Morai looks around at the mutants in the group, somewhat perturbed by the sight of them. Georgia especially seemed out of it, perhaps due to her lack of stability, perhaps due to something else entirely. Morai reaches out and grasps her shoulder. "You alright there?" Carolyn on the other hand looked with great concern, realizing this wasn't the first time Georgia had conked out of reality, but this was certainly the first time it happened in a battlefield. Yet, Omar had as well. Opening the door to the Skyscraper, she looked across the dark main lobby to a lit up elevator. Electricity was running through the building. That was... Remarkable. There was also a set of stairs, wide and without cover.

    Georgia and Omar would hear another message from the Feminine voice: "Take the elevator..."

    Aiden, on the other hand, heard another message from the Masculine voice: "Take the stairs..."

    This time, the rest of the squad would hear their radios momentarily light up with static, and the hints of inhuman voices. Carolyn hesitates, and looks at her squad. "Right... There are some stairs we could take though they lack any cover and would take longer... Or the elevator, which has cover but is a confined space. I'm looking for suggestions, as this situation is unusual." She looks with great concern to Georgia, then glances at Meike Althaus. There was already a plan forming in her mind.
     
  9. Brucey


    Brucey chuckled as he keyed his comms. "How about you get a real taste in music Meike. Or look up the concept of psychological warfare." He replied though was displeased as, later on, they arrived at their destination and were instructed to leave their mechs in defence mode. For one. His mech was larger than the others and he had further to reach the ground. The head of the Ignis Dei serving as his cockpit. But still he did as requested, the autocannons and incinerators set to defense mode as he clambered down the ladder.

    He left Jacko in the cockpit in his little armoured section with food, water and cooling. Brucey unshouldered the M240 flamethrower from his shoulder and checked his Lupara shotgun was in the pistol holster and loaded. He looked up at the dilapidated structure with some disdain.

    Entering he felt nothing and saw the mutants acting a little oddly, but didn't they all by definition? He wondered to himself as he lit the pilot light on his flamethrower. He hated being on foot.

    "Right... There are some stairs we could take though they lack any cover and would take longer... Or the elevator, which has cover but is a confined space. I'm looking for suggestions, as this situation is unusual." Carolyn remarked and Brucey shook his head before the Raider woman spoke.

    "Screw that..." She remarked. "An elevator is a coffin just waiting for the cables to be cut."

    Brucey chuckled. "I have to agree with then sentiment. Plummeting to ones death is not high on my list of 'ways to die'. It's higher than being eaten alive by a cannibal raider woman with more teeth on member contact than any man would be comfortable with."



    Viper


    Viper had to resist the urge to snarl at the childish bitch when she bumped into her. She had to resist the urge to just backhand her into the dirt. Didn't the brainless little nitwit realise where they were, and what the stakes were? She however was supposed to be 'civilised' now so when said bumbling fool asked for people to share their names, she answered. "Viper. Don't touch me."

    As they approached the skyscraper she felt the hairs on her arms raise. This place was an opportunity to move like she could truly move. And as they entered the lobby of the building Viper's feelings weren't going away...

    "Right... There are some stairs we could take though they lack any cover and would take longer... Or the elevator, which has cover but is a confined space. I'm looking for suggestions, as this situation is unusual." The Carolyn woman said as she appraised the situation.

    "Screw that..." She remarked. "An elevator is a coffin just waiting for the cables to be cut." The depth of feeling she felt on the matter couldn't be expressed with simple words, or complex ones for that matter.

    The loud-mouthed Australian chuckled. "I have to agree with then sentiment. Plummeting to ones death is not high on my list of 'ways to die'. It's higher than being eaten alive by a cannibal raider woman with more teeth on member contact than any man would be comfortable with." Viper turned and hissed at him more than a little tickled by the humorous remark. So it was true that Aussies didn't give a shit about correctness, political or otherwise...

    "Well I guess you're not as dumb as you look then." She replied. "Seriously Carolyn, an elevator is a death-trap that makes the stairs look like a bunker. I..." She paused. You couldn't afford to look weak. "I can't use it. Not won't. Can't."
     
  10. Omar could only grit his teeth and wait for the strange conversation to fade. That one was odd, far more coherent than most of the whispers that his mutant mind usually picked up, but it felt the same: a quick stab of pain right in the center of his forehead, accompanied by spasms that made his limbs twitch. He managed to stay standing, and the pain wasn't all that bad in comparison to the ache that was already settling into his left leg and his back from the walking, but he cursed the damned intrusive whispers anyway. Omar also couldn't help cursing his foolish choice in the past, the pursuit of the mutation that the doctors said was like telepathy instead of getting something done to lessen his pain. All he'd gotten out of the shit decision was a lighter wallet and a new source of pain.

    As the extra pain passed, Omar thought about what he'd heard. It didn't take a genius to put two and two together, but being exceptionally cynical probably helped. Once hope and optimism are cut out of the picture, thinking clearly gets pretty easy. They were there on a bullshit assault mission that was really an excuse to capture some prisoner; the male voice was apparently waiting for them, and, given the timing of the whispers and the fact that all the other mutants seemed to hear it, that meant he was almost certainly in this building. Two and two make four; the "prisoner" was the source of the masculine voice. Omar figured that getting involved with something going on between mysterious mutants and the leadership of Bunker Chicago was the worst thing that could come of this mess, aside from death of course, so that meant it pretty much had to be what the future held. He hadn't made up the rule of how the world worked, that the worst outcome was the most likely, he'd just recognized the pattern and learned to apply it elsewhere.

    His musing was interrupted by another whisper, from the feminine voice, saying to take the elevator. That was fine by Omar. A couple of the others spoke up first, but he got his turn soon enough. "Funny you should say 'can't' there, Sharkmouth." Omar gave the ex-raider woman a sneering smile to make it perfectly clear who the nickname was aimed at. "I don't know what your particular inability to use elevators is about, but I've got my own ability issues, typically called a disability." Omar gestured down toward his crippled left leg. "I can't do stairs, especially not if speed or stealth are things we want to use here."

    He looked around at the others in the group, lingering on the other mutants. "Now, I'm a suspicious bastard, and a handy elevator powered up in a ruined building would be bad enough. Can't say I like the idea of taking the elevator after some mystery bitch suggested it directly into my damned head, which just happened a moment ago, for those of you who are fully human and not tuned into mutant radio. Oh, and before that there was a conversation between mystery bitch and her mystery boyfriend, and Mr. Mystery is probably here in the building waiting for us, likely as the prisoner we're here to grab, and Mrs. Mystery said she's on her way here." Omar flapped his left hand dismissively, as if that revelation was of no importance at all. "Anyway, we're obviously expected here by the mystery mutants, so if they wanted to ambush us and kill us all I figure they could've gotten it done without going through the hassle of fucking with an elevator. Explosives set through this room would've done the job with less work, after all."

    After letting that and the other bits sink in for a second, Omar turned his attention to Carolyn. "How about we split up? Half one way, half the other. If there are any fun surprises planned, maybe we can split their focus and take 'em from two sides."

    Carolyn's eyebrows raise as pleasant surprise fills her eyes. "That's exactly what I had planned already, I just wanted to know which way each person was more comfortable going with."

    Omar nodded, glad that she was sensible. He'd heard that some idiots thought everyone sticking together made for a great plan at all times, particularly military-minded idiots who thought that you could win a fight just by staying in formation, and he hadn't seen enough of the woman in action to know how she'd operate. "Good, that makes this easy. I'll take the elevator." Omar made his way to it as he spoke, determined to be in the back of the thing. Talking confidently about there being little danger of an ambush here was one thing, but he'd make damn sure that others would pay for it if he was wrong. He hadn't survived this long by taking stupid risks, after all.
     
  11. -Angels and Mutants-
    A Tempest And Ozferatu Colab




    Aiden was thrown completely off guard by the sight of the corpses around him.Who the hell had done this? Raiders? If it was raiders, why the hell hadn't they heard the gunfire? The bodies were fresh so they should have heard the battle. All of these thoughts stopped dead when the voices started. He stood their, zoned out until they had finished. As soon as the voices stopped, he shook his head, trying to snap himself back to reality completely. He looked around to the other mutants to see if they had heard what he had, and from the looks on their faces it was clear they had. He was stil lrecovering a little when Omar spoke, and informed everyone of what they had just heard. He wasn't sure if he should be angry or relieved,but he would have to deal with it later. He immediately reached out to the rather odd girl, georgia he thought her name was, and her mind confirmed it. Don't respond verbally, but tell me exactly what you just heard and if they told you to go somewhere.

    Georgia was shaking as the presences seemed to distance themselves from her mind. She blinked and rubbed her eyes, coming back into reality and her gaze drifted back down to Thomas, questioning and wondering if these were some of his friends. Morai grasps her shoulders and she looses a small squeak of surprise before nodding quickly, only for another voice to erupt in her mind. Her eyes widen and her bottom lip quivers as she begins to look up and scan the heavens, wondering if perhaps there were now angels talking to her. Her mother always spoke so much about guardian angels protecting them all. Yet, how could they when Tho-- her thoughts stop abruptly from that train of thought as she closes her eyes and clutches Thomas tighter to her chest, beginning to think back to what the first of the angels had said, and what the woman angel had said in specific, 'Take the elevator...' Georgia licks her lips, her fingers fidgeting about Thomas, 'That would be a good idea, wouldn't it, Mr. Angel? I have some pretty decent tricks with the sparkly plugs and wiry things... Anywhere we go by elevator, I could use my specialties.'

    Aiden took a moment to consider her words before speaking again. It would. But I'm not an angel, my name is Aiden, I'm the silent guy with all the knives behind the APC and I was told to take the stairs. I wonder if they told us to go where our abilities would help us the most... Aiden unslung his rifle from his shoulder and looked it over. He wasn't an expert in any sense of the word but it looked fine. The guy who had given it to him had called it an XM8 and it seemed quite popular with the people around him. He flicked the safety off and made eye contact with Georgia. I should be able to say in contact with you for a while mentally, if you find whatever was talking to us let me know before you tell the others, if i don't respond, use the radio. He then moved up towards the angry looking woman and stood beside her. "So it's you and me on the stairs, sharkface." he said aloud. Good luck, Gerogia.

    Flickering doubt passes over Georgia's face at the knowledge that he was not an angel. A chill runs down her spine, it was far easier to think of these voices as angels of some sort than that people were just singing into her head whenever they wishes. She takes a deep, calming breath and thinks back, 'Alright... Aiden. Be safe and break a leg... Or a lot of them. They can't chase you if you do that.' A goofy smile was beginning to spread across her face once more as she hops and skips over to the elevator, a soft hum of electricity comes from her fingers and static crackle comes with her movements as her excitement builds with wonder of what things she would find and tinker with here in a place with active electrical currents.
     
  12. Peter Táo

    Mission objectives involved locating said person of interest, then hauling the fark out of there. He would've preferred more F.A.S.T Operatives or seasoned New York Grunts like James Wolfe and Jenive Rousseau, the later of whom brought jetpack warfare to a whole another level. The two were not present and cast a shadow upon the F.A.S.T Operative's heart, however, the responsibilities still lingered and as such, Peter continually operated within his occupational sphere to preserve humanity's survival. To his dismay, the strike force's mutants all seemed thoroughly rattled for what he could only predict was psychic - mutant warfare. It was his job as a dis-affected operative to pick up the slack to ensure the mission's success.

    Several recognizable faces included seasoned soldiers like Brucey McFoster, Carolyn Antoinette, Morai Lee, Georgia Rhettland, and several others. The newer faces were entirely unrecognizable, but in this day and age, any hand-picked Bunker ground elements had to mean something. Few could understand the implications of what would happen should they fail. The success and failure of operations could inspire victories and defeats that could make or break Bunker survival.

    Peter knew all to well the failures of Bunker St. Louis and Memphis' Forward Operating Teams and Bunker Security Forces. Training could only do so much to prepare a soldier against the unforgivable wastelands before well earned experience, raw survival instincts, and an assload o'lucky streaks decided who lived or died. On mission, any soldier who didn't at least fear for his life was either bat-shit crazy, a farking lunatic, or just plain moronic. Peter had long ago learned to channeled his fear through his suspicious anger that the enemy nearly killed his whole family in St. Louis.

    "Right," he heard Carolyn There are some stairs we could take though they lack any cover and would take longer... Or the elevator, which has cover but is a confined space. I'm looking for suggestions, as this situation is unusual."

    "We got fifty odds of making or breaking either path so whichever way we're going, it don't matter where," Peter began as he surveyed the lobby's entrance points. For a moment, Peter's smart vision blinked as updates brushed through his eye piece lens receptors, "Then again, if you ask me; I'm more of a fan of those stairs and if we're scaling staircases, I think leap frogging's our best bet. Might take forever, but if we stack up on every staircase; we should move up without everyone getting fragged or shot up."
     
    #12 GourmetItalia, Mar 2, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
  13. “If we make it out alive, I'll gladly share a beer with all y'all, but for now, let's just try to keep tight radio discipline. Any of you need an extra gun or pair of eyes, just say the word and I'll cover your six. Noodle-Snatcher, over and out.” -Peter Táo, Page 1.

    Carolyn looks over the group and takes in each of their suggestions, one at a time. Looking to Omar once more, she nods and looks at Georgia. Frowning a little, she finally issues orders to the entire squad. "Brucey, Viper, Aiden, Peter, and myself will form up as Alpha Squad and take the stairs. Georgia, Omar, and Morai will form up as Beta Squad and take the elevator." She wanted to go with Georgia to protect her, but Morai was a close quarters combat specialist, which was far more advantageous for the elevator than a pilot with a rifle. Looking momentarily to Georgia with care and concern, she motions for everyone to follow her up the stairs. Morai is the last one in the elevator, and he looks at the keys. Tapping the tenth floor, which was the floor their objective was located on, he held his shotgun close, ready to engage in immediate combat if necessary.

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

    "They've split up."
    "Yes, they have."
    "Strange. Still, the children of Sodom's most astute listeners did hear us."
    "Good. Then, knowing they do as we ask, we should probably warn them that their allies will not buy them much time. Washington is leading the charge against them. I met him. A tactical genius, if but a violent fellow."
    "Well, worry not. They heard your warning. I made sure of it. Now, hold tight. If we speak too much, the beast will hear you. I can only distract it for so long..."

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

    Once again, the radios of each of the squad members reacted with the ghastly voices from before, though only momentarily. The mutants would each manage to avoid being locked up by the voices this time, now being somewhat more accustomed to them and expecting them, though it would still be difficult to hide having heard such voices for Omar, who would naturally react in pain.

    At the staircase, Carolyn quietly but quickly lead the way, motioning for the squad to take positions around each corner before turning herself. Floor after floor passed: Second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh--nothing in particular was to be found on these floors aside from the occasional piece of degraded concrete from battles long since past. Reaching the eighth floor however, Carolyn turned the corner and stepped into a puddle of blood. Looking along the staircase, blood seeped down each step from the ninth floor. Ascending cautiously, she turns on the ninth floor to spot half a dozen horrible mutilated bodies. Carolyn grimaces, but having seen such disturbing sights before, she didn't flinch. Still, she looks back to her squad. "Search the bodies quickly. Try to find an audio recording of the event." She motions to the helmets of the soldiers. "We might learn more if one of the helmet's auto-recording devices survived." Looking back to Brucey and Peter, she motions to the tenth floor. Up the flight of stairs was a door which led to the tenth floor. It would only be a couple hallways away from the elevator, assuming there was no debris blocking the path. "Take positions on each side of the door, then bust through and secure the hallway. We'll follow shortly."

    Meanwhile, Morai watched the elevator ascend multiple floors. The controls reacted to Georgia's static electrical discharges, and the elevator moved a little slower as a result. Motioning to each side of the elevator's doors as they neared the top, Morai kneeled down and leveled his shotgun to the centre of the door as it opened. Intrigued, yet with an ever cautious mind, Morai slowly rose to his feet and moved out of the elevator into the T-intersection. Outside the elevator's doors, there were hallways leading left and right. Heading left would quickly reunite them with the staircase squad and put them in the direction of the prisoner, assuming there were no obstacles in the way. Heading right would lead them to the server-security room, where they could ascertain all the data necessary. Going straight from the elevator would lead down the main hall, where the main office was located. The door on the main office had its lock shot off, and thought it was closed, the trio could hear someone pleading for their life inside.

    Morai motions to the main office, and takes a position at the door, kneeling down and leveling his shotgun once more. He whispers to his two compatriots, who he hoped followed him. "Do you sense anything past the doorway? Are either of our friends who let us use the elevator safely inside? I don't want to open fire on potential allies."

    [Aiden] feels the presence of something malevolent nearby. He can't pinpoint where, merely that it has a bestial nature.

    [Omar & Georgia] feel the feminine voice's presence beyond the doorway to the main office. They also feel the malevolent presence Aiden feels, though they're equally unable to pinpoint where, and can't discern its nature beyond "foreboding malevolence".

    [Brucey & Peter] should they travel to the doorway, they'll spot a pair of dead guards through a window embedded in the top half of the door.

    [Viper] will note that the corpses' wounds appear to be made after their deaths, and that their blood should not have run all the way down an entire floor of stairs.
     


  14. Brucey and Viper

    Neither the australian or the ex-bandit found anything discomforting about the bodies beyond the fact they were there, both quite used to bloodshed. Brucey nodded and moved up to the 10th floor doorway and stood in it's shadow his flamer held facing them, "We're knee deep in the dead now." Brucey remarked kicking the nearest body to make sure it didn't move while he covered the doorway. It wasn't a good situation, while he wasn't fazed by the dead, finding these corpsicles here, bleeding all over the place wasn't a good sign. It almost looked like they'd been mauled by a Gigadingo, but that couldn't be right, wrong part of the world. He looked at Peter, "Ready to breach when you are... but something tells me to make it a quiet breach, don't just go kicking in the door."

    Viper meanwhile studied the bodies closely up to and including tasting the blood with one finger. "These poor bastards were dead when ... whatever it was mauled the crap out of their corpses, it's also unnatural for the blood to spread anything like this far. This poor asshole took a bullet to the heart, this one a double-tap to the head, some are too fucked up to say but it's a fair guess they met the same fate." She moved amongst the corpses checking them for anything salvageable, but all she found was a few ruined items and a small handful of currency as well as a photograph of a woman and child which she discarded into the pool of blood. Sentimental garbage. "Whatever did this... it has claws like razors, big fucking teeth and strong enough to shred ballistic armour. Hopefully it's just a scavenger... but these don't look nearly eaten enough for that."

    She looked around. This didn't add up. With a slight pause she flicked her fire selector to full auto.
     
  15. Omar suffered through another wave of heightened pain as the voices spoke in his head once more. "Fuck me," he murmured to himself as he rubbed his bum leg. The point of taking the elevator had been to avoid extra pain, but of course fate saw fit to mock him in that. He'd read something once about forces of the world having personified forms that could communicate with people, some kind of mythology bullshit. If fate had some kind of personification, he figured it'd be female, and that she'd be one massive cunt of a woman, given his experience with life so far.

    He followed after Morai once it became apparent that there was no immediate threat to jump out at them, moving carefully with the aid of his cane to minimize the use of his left leg. Once Omar felt the presences behind the door, he connected some mental dots and reassessed the situation: the prisoner they were after may not have been the source of the male voice after all. Perhaps instead it was the female voice herself since she was clearly there in the building, or even the thing the feminine voice called 'the beast,' which was also probably the source of the disquieting presence in the building. There was no telling what the fuck they were after now. He'd liked the whole situation better when it looked more or less straightforward, just a bait and switch con job, rather than this uncertain mess it was rapidly becoming.

    On hearing the questions asked, Omar nodded to Morai and spoke quietly. "Yeah. Feels like the source of the female voice is in there." He almost left it at that, but then he figured it was probably a good idea for the guy with the shotgun to know the full story. "There's something else here though, feels.. bad. Monstrous even. Not sure where it is. They had another little conversation in my head on the way up, and lady voice referred to some kind of beast and said she's distracting it, so that's probably the same thing I'm feeling now. Oh, and guy voice said Washington is leading the charge against our allies, which I'm guessing means U-ARM is gonna be up our asses real soon. We should hurry."

    Morai reacts to the name and, with a grave look, momentarily glances at Omar. "Washington? Here? Now?" He was whispering to prevent his voice from carrying over into the main office. "Bunker Chicago's topmost military officer, and the military leader of U-ARM?... We're in over our heads."

    "Well color me fucking surprised," Omar responded quietly, voice dripping with sarcasm. "No use complaining about it now though. Think we should pull back, or should we go see what mystery bitch is up to?"

    "She's powerful enough to talk in your head, and left the elevator clear for us... It would be impolite to decline the invitation now." Morai says, his grim expression being broken with a brief grin. "Besides. If we leave now, we'll be executed as deserters. Lovely thought, that."

    Omar snorted out a little laugh. "You know, you're a regular bucket of sunshine. I think we're gonna be good pals if we make it out of here alive." Rather than wasting further time, because he didn't relish the idea of trying to run away from crazy U-ARM fuckwits on top of dealing with freaky mutant shit today, Omar limped on down the hall and opened the door. He had enough presence of mind to do it as quietly as he could manage, and to stand off to the side so anything jumping out at him wouldn't have a direct and easy target.
     
  16. “Wait Mr. Omar! I got this!” Georgia blurts out as she rushes forward past the hobbled man and darts forward, skipping in her own bounding way down the hall and grabs the door before he even had a chance to get halfway down the hall. Morai had been hot on her heels, fast to keep up, whatever Omar had done in light of her brash actions, she was unsure, but she had been taught manner to always open the door for the disabled and elderly and all that and be nice.

    As Georgia enters the room in her own fashion, she would hear a gunshot and see the muzzle flash before seeing the desk and the corpse in its decrepit leather seat. A middle aged female, shot in the head by another woman who stood over her as the dead woman's body slumped from the old seat onto the floor. Managing a quick glance around the room, Georgia would be able to discern the clean glass wall that overlooked downtown Chicago, though the view was obscured by other, larger skyscrapers. The rest of the room was plain, with a long since dead pot plant in one corner, and a large wooden desk sitting in the middle of the room. On the desk was a file folder with several papers, which the mystery woman picked up.

    It was immediately clear as Georgia's eyes followed the hand now holding the file folder, that the woman who had been speaking to her in her mind was this woman. Though neither she or Omar could put a finger on it, this woman seemed to exude compassion, calm, and warmth, from her mere presence. Wearing a large blue robe, with leather gauntlets, her soft and feminine features were quickly apparent from the way it draped around her figure: The idea that this was the person who cleared the building of U-ARM's men seemed laughable, yet, evidently apparent with her two pistols, which were high calibre and which had Latin names etched on their sides. Her long, black hair flowed over to her shoulders and a little further down her back, with her bangs swept off to each side, over her ears.

    A pair of strange, orange-coloured eyes greeted the trio who entered, though she didn't speak. Her nature to them was ultimately unclear, though she appeared to be unconcerned with the man pointing a shotgun in her direction.

    And as she stands there jaw agape, her senses start to run through the situation and just what might happen, she begins to fidget before what possibly could happen dawns on her. She jerks and knocks the shotgun up and towards the heavens with the butt of her hand, saying, “Don’t shoot her, Mr. Morai, she’s our friend!”
     
  17. = Peter and Aizen =

    The stairs came quickly in Alpha Squad's methodical floor sweeping operations. The bullet holes and debris strewn floors had certainly spoke of both recent and distant battles of what Peter could only ascertain to have involved U-ARM, Scavengers, or Raiders. Regular Bunker Security and Forward Recon were supposedly only deployed on critical assignments and although the Skyscraper stood well outside Bunker Chicago's jurisdiction, he could certainly see reasons for how the odd and stranded patrol or certain daring recon elements could have taken cover within these ruins.

    As the radios abnormally display anomalistic frequencies, Peter quietly activated his scope's night vision and quickly maneuvered through the stairwells, clearing each floor, whilst repositioning to maintain a cohesive, close knit formation. He could still feel the adrenaline rushing through his muscle as he pumped his legs to glide across the steps in his effort to maintain Alpha Squad's momentum and it stood a testament that the ascent displayed conditioning well within the required physique demanded from Bunker Security Personnel. Every cleared floor paved way for new and unexpected disasters awaiting their touch. Then again, that always came with the job and aside from dying a thousand ways, maybe triggering a massive booby trap was a blessing in disguise.

    Somehow they cleared seven floors without incident and eventually, Carolyn's orders paired Peter alongside their Aussie point man, Brucie; granted the man did wield a big farking, giant arsed flamethrower. Not that he was complaining. As a newly emerging Bunker Security saying went, the more soldiers merrier. That and maybe accelerated Bunker R&D for the so-called User Performance Modifications or Heavy Armor, Exo Suits. Cybernetic Implants were also slowly appearing for enhanced battlefield efficiency, however, the possibilities for EMPs and malfunctions kept the F.A.S.T. Operator away due to fears he'd lose more than his humanity.

    "Take positions on each side of the door, then bust through and secure the hallway. We'll follow shortly."

    "Roger that, Captain."

    Whatever mutilated the once living corpses said otherwise and confronting any sort of freak mutants was never a good sign. From the mutilations and Viper's remarks, Peter could only assume the said aggressors resembled something enormous that redefined the definitions mutated and target dummies. Over half a dozen armed soldiers, gunned down, then turned to sugar coated human happy meals almost single-handedly threatened to upend his earlier MRE pack. Before vomiting his favorite chicken with noodles lunch became a reality, the Washington Native quickly reshaped his attentions towards carefully moving up the stairwell. Following the Aussie's directives, Peter offered an acknowledging nod in Brucie's direction before switching his rifle to full auto as he quietly prepared to move towards the doorway.

    "You want quick and quiet?" he hissed, "I can try to do that, but no guarantees."

    Turning, Peter's attention redirected towards their psychic interrogator before voicing, "Aiden, you're our ace in the hole. What do you have for us? I mean ... have you got a read on our buddies anywhere or is there something waiting around the corner?"

    When the voices his Aiden this time he didn't completely zone out but he still took a full minute to recover from the disorientation it caused. If that happened to him in combat, he knew he was a dead man. As he refocused on the world around him he realized he couldn't shake the feeling of the pure malice around them. More disturbing however, was that he couldn't place it, it had no point of origin it was just ambient and unceasing. He'd been reading minds for years and this was almost entirely new to him, combined with the conversations he'd been hearing so clearly, this was an interesting and slightly terrifying day.

    Upon hearing Peters request he mentally probed the are around him and got... nothing, absolutely nothing. It was just them, the two voices and whatever terrible beasty that was the source of the malice he was feeling. His only comfort was that there weren't any people around that wanted to kill them.


    As he took position behind the Australian, Brucey, he thought his name was, he checked his rifle again. He didn't know why it just seemed to comfort him a little. Upon hearing peter he shook his head.

    "No, there's no one on this floor, but I keep feeling this presence... I can't pinpoint it but I do know it's not friendly in any way. I'm pretty sure one of the voices called it the beast, which seems appropriate and that someone called Washington is on his way, if that means anything to you guys."

    Following several beats, Peter's heart almost stopped as the dots began to connect. Close quarters encounters against mutants usually never ended well and most of their firepower resided ten stories below. The previous incidents against mutant gargantii and chainsaw freaks almost made the term bad news bears seem like honey salsa picante lathered over Brucie's authentic Australian barbeque dishes. Not that salsa picante on Brucie's meats were a walk in the park, but still ... even under substantial air cover and infantry support, it took every stroke of good luck, grenades, and heavy caliber rounds to bale out their sorry asses. On the one hand, he could certainly improvise tools and maximize weapon efficiency to the point where he could stretch said tools beyond normal life expectancies. On the other hand, strong-arming mutant duels wasn't his forte and best left to either the flamethrower Aussie or the Wakazashi ex-Raider turned Bunker Warrioress.

    "Well ... okay then! Thanks for the early warning, Aiden! Before we worry about Washington, whoever the hell he is, I think we should focus on dealing with those Psychic voices, whoever plugged those poor sods over there, and that big, hungry arsed, mutated fark-face nearby. There's a reason for why we've got guns!"

    Before inching any further, the F.A.S.T. Operator directed a finger towards the helmet wearing corpses. "By the way ... see if you can't sort through one of those helmets," he quipped, "We're gonna need one of those data recorders ... if you can find any. Worst cast scenario, you get your own helmet, free of charge." Winking, the specialist offered a shouldered clap before moving towards Brucey's location along the body strewn doorway.

    Aiden nodded and eyed the nearest corpse before extending his left arm and giving a psychic pull on the corpses helmet. It flew through the air and into his hand with a little more force than he intended, causing him to wonder if proximity to these voices was making him more powerful or just causing his focus to be a little shaky as either could be very bad for him. He spent a moment looking over the helmet both to check if the recorder was intact,which it was, and to see if it fit. Luckily for him, it did with no real issue. As he retook his position against the wall he wondered why he hadn't been given a helmet in the first place. Was it a simple logistical goof or did they just not care? He pushed the thought aside and refocused on the situation at hand before nodding at the rest of his team.

    "Ready when you are."

    Nodding, Peter turned before hissing, "Alright Brucie! We'll move on three without breaking the door down."

    Shortly afterwards, the F.A.S.T. Operative quietly prepared his maneuver to stack along the vacant doorway position to reinforce the Aussie. IEDs, booby-trapped bombs, or whatever awaited Alpha Squad on floor ten, their goals were to relink with Bravo Squad, adapt as each situation unfolded, and apply lethal force to apprehend prisoner of war and then ex filtrate the hell out. Easier said than done given that hostile mutants and terrorists always arrived to hurl everything, including the kitchen sink; but ... as a long forgotten, former American General once said in answer towards an Iranshah adversary's authoritarian provocations during a long forgotten, pre-cataclysm conflict; "tell Sulaimani that he can "pound sand." The same applied to their current predicament and in answer to the Council of Adam hating, Bunker loathing chumps and the prowling, renegade mutant fiend ...

    ... they could go and pound sand ...
     
    #17 GourmetItalia, Mar 21, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  18. "An elevator is a coffin just waiting for the cables to be cut." -Viper, Page 1.

    As Brucey and Peter turn their respective corners, they find themselves in a hallway with several office doors. The office doors had names on them: Workers' names, from a long dead era. Beyond that, there were no traps, and no enemies to be found. By the time Aiden had ceased chatting with Peter, a somewhat annoyed looking Carolyn had already retrieved one of the helmets and obtained the audio recording herself. Pulling the audio recording out of the helmet, she looks at the small USB key with a smile. There were certain things she could appreciate: The obsessive need by U-ARM to log the activities of its own soldiers was one of those things. She pockets it, knowing that they didn't have time to go through several hours of audio logs themselves: It would just have to wait until they got back to Bunker Chicago.

    She quickly double checks her rifle, then sets it to burst mode, before motioning for everyone in the staircase to follow her up into the hallway. Pulling out her radio, Carolyn attempts to contact Beta Squad. "This is Carolyn, anyone in Beta Squad want to tell me what's going on?"

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

    Morai felt his shotgun jerk upward and took a step back, wrangling it back easily from Georgia's grasp before resisting every temptation to slam the back of his shotgun against her. The look of anger, however, was not hidden whatsoever as he looked back to the woman with orange eyes: One of her pistols was already trained on him. That is when his radio crackled to life, though there was a noticeable small amount of static. Carolyn was looking for them. Morai glares at the mystery woman, eye to eye, as he remains frozen in place: His shotgun was no longer trained on her thanks to Georgia, and there was no way he would able to retrain it on her without getting a bullet in his spleen.

    The mystery woman shakes her head slowly as she motions to his radio with her pistol. Morai pulls it out slowly and takes a sharp breath. "This is Morai Lee... We're in the main office. Nothing of significance to report..." He hesitates for a moment as the woman trains her pistol at his chest, where his heart was. Though his tone remained steady, his voice held strain in it. "... Over and out." He slowly puts his radio back in his pocket as the woman smiles politely. She picks up the file folder and tosses it to Georgia carefully, ensuring none of the files inside would fall out. Then, she lowers her pistol, no longer training it on anyone. Morai looks her over, a disturbed look in his eyes. "Who are you?" Morai asks with suspicion in the tone of his voice. The woman in blue merely smiles with a strangely empty look in her orange eyes, not responding to his question. "...Well. I hope you don't mind if we call you the woman in blue for now." She nods, whether with approval or with acknowledgement was difficult to discern.

    She looks at Omar and narrows her eyes slightly. There appeared to be a certain level of curiosity, though it wasn't anything human insofar as Omar could tell. Before they could communicate any further, they could hear a howl of rage beneath them: Something distinctly non-human, and with large enough lungs that the floor shook a little with the howl. The woman remained silent, as did her telepathic messages as she motions towards the doorway. Morai takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, quietly. Whispering, he motions to move back down the hallway towards the server room. "Not far. Just forty meters. Don't make any noise: I don't want to tip off whatever that was that we're up here." Taking the lead, Morai starts heading for the server room.

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

    Carolyn looks at her radio as Morai responds with suspicion. There was a little bit of static on the response, and his voice sounded strained. Before she could issue further orders, the howl rumbles through the building. It was difficult to discern precisely which direction the howl came from, leaving her openly concerned for Beta Squad, but unable to do anything about it. If they went to the right, they would reach the elevator after only a few seconds of running, but might run face first into the creature if it was on their floor. Moving to the left would bring them closer to an objective, and further away from the creature.

    Thus, they had only one logical choice before themselves, from her perspective. Even though it appeared to pain her to even suggest it.

    "We move down the left, past the offices... If Intel is right, we'll find our prisoner there. We'll then head back to the staircase, and radio for Beta Squad to meet up with us there. If they fail to respond, we... Leave without them." Her father wouldn't risk this much for a single prisoner unless it was the kind of thing that could make or break a war. Three lives were worth that, no matter who they were. Raising her rifle and leading the squad, she passes a dozen offices and reaches a corner that turned left. Around the left corner were two, still living guards, that were protecting a doorway. They were both on high alert, and the door they were protecting was made out of iron bars rather than the usual aged oak doors on the office rooms. Behind the iron bars, one could see an impromptu, small laboratory made out of what was likely once a conference room.

    Quickly and silently, Carolyn motions to Viper and Peter: Two guards, around the corner, short range. She then slides back along the wall to give them both room to set up around the corner, and whispers to Aiden. "I've been briefed on your abilities. There are two guards around the corner... Can you convince one to do something to distract his friend? Make him prematurely fire his weapon at the wall or something else along those lines? Anything to make them not ready for Viper and Peter's quick assault would be appreciated."

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

    [Aiden] would be able to feel the presence of the Masculine entity nearby, within the mini-laboratory. The howl would leave his heart racing, though he manages to barely resist its more debilitating effects.

    [Georgia] would find, at a brief glance, that the file folder contained copies of various user permissions and passwords. These files were new, likely for U-ARM command staff only. These would likely allow her to access the database in the server room.

    [Omar] Through his empathic connection, he can feel that the creature beneath them is not only a non-human, but non-life form. At least, not as they would define life: It was, simply, madness and rage given form. It was hunting something...

    [Georgia & Omar] would remember something about the woman stating that the creature could hear her telepathic messages, which might explain the silence. Both Georgia and Omar feel that the howl was intended to cause a fear effect, but both successfully resisted it. Once Morai leads them to the server room, they would be able to clearly see that the door's lock had been shot off in the same fashion as the office lock. They would also find a half a dozen corpses of U-ARM guards. Inside, rows of servers, with a main terminal that had a little bit of blood recently splattered across the keyboard...

    [Viper] Would feel the subtle rumble beneath the floor from the creature's howl, and would be able to pinpoint that it came from the direction of where Beta Squad would be.

    [Brucey & Peter] Nothing of special interest.
     
    #18 Brovo, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  19. Brucey and Viper


    Brucey felt his blood run cold at the inhuman, or perhaps too human, howl, he couldn't decide which. The way the very building rumbled gave it a terrifying quality, knowing it was large. But being an Australian he simply grinned. "I wonder what that beasty would be like on the barbie." He said quietly.

    Viper was much more analytical, and her blood ran cold for other reasons. As quietly as she could she walked over to Carolyn. "Lady, that... thing... that howled, it's near where Beta squad should be by now. And unless I miss my guess, it's big."

    Carolyn hesitates once more, momentarily, before looking at Viper and shaking her head. "There is nothing we can do right now. We should proceed with orders."

    "Good enough." Viper remarks as she moves up on the corner. She glanced momentarily around the corner trying to lock their positions in her mind as she prepared her XM-8 for partying hard, it had the standard 12.5 inch barrel, scope and underslung 40mm grenade launcher equipped, though she had shoved the adjustable stock as far to the 'closed' position as it was possible for maximum agility within the structure.

    She studied the dilapidated walls and ceiling trying to determine what areas could support her weight as she prepared. But ultimately there was little room for fancy movement to surprise her enemies and get a bead on them. Instead she'd have to simply rely on her weapons quality to put down the enemy. She flicked the shot selector to semi-automatic. The plan was simple and as old as sin. Two in the chest, one in the head. Now she just waited for the distraction, and Peter to be ready. As soon as it happened she'd slide across the short gap on her knees and put the bullets in their receptacles. Heart and Brain.

    Meanwhile Brucey was feeling like his skin was itching. This wasn't how he fought. He was Ignis Dei, he should be in his Mech eliminating enemies like a god of war, not standing here on actual feet with a flamethrower. But he held his check. Enemies were simply too close to vent. Instead he moved towards the back of the group and redirected his flamethrowers aim towards the stairwell. If that howling thing moved as quickly as it roared loudly it'd be a danger and maybe... just maybe... it'd be afraid of fire.
     
  20. Aiden tensed as he felt the roar but thankfully it didn't debilitate him. As he collected himself again he reached out trying to find where that thing was but once again got nothing. When Carolyn told him about the guards he nodded and probed their minds. They were nervous and the only things he could get from them was thoughts of a sister and a prayer to God. He would need time and sight on them to get anything else, which made suggestion almost impossible. He looked back at Carolyn and shook his head. "They're too spooked for me to have any real chance of making them do something and I can't get a deeper read on them to make my suggestion more likely. Frankly it would be best if I just threw this." he whispered as he pulled the flashbang he had off his vest and held it aloft with his mind. The guards has nothing to duck behind and would probably be so panicked they wouldn't think to throw it back. Plus, if he simply rolled it down the hall, they wouldn't have time to throw it back before it detonated, though if they recognized the danger they might duck inside the lab and avoid being stunned.

    He looked around the hall and noticed Brucey taking position by the stairs and felt little more secure. If that beast decided to come up those stairs it would either be scared of the flames or be incinerated. Now all he really had to worry about was the guards and whatever was in the lab for the time being. He was inching closer to the corner to make sure his mental range wouldn't be an issue when he threw it when a thrid option occurred to him, causing him to smile. If eh exposed his head briefly he could send the grenade flying into one of the guards chests with enough force to break a rib or two, which would leave only one guard capable of reacting to the flashbang.

    He looked back at the squad and nodded at Peter and Viper. "Plug your ears and don't look down the hall." he whispered as he held the grenade up beside his head and took a look around the corner, exposing as little of his head as he could and set his mental sighs on the guard on the left before pulling the pin out of the grenade and letting the safety handle fall and firing it with every bit of mental muscle he had straight at the unlucky guards chest and pulling his head back from the corner and back to relative safety.
     
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