Flight of the Polunochnaya [IC; Closed]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]


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New Frenco Empire
Posts: 7787
Founded: Mar 14, 2013

Postby New Frenco Empire » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:50 pm

There we were. We were all saved by Siri and Darcy. The two unlikely heroes of the day. We lost a lot of people to the marines' cruelty. They couldn't even spare a bullet. I think now was when I first realized the barbarity our foe was capable of.

Regardless, we had work to do. It was up to me to salvage the situation...


September 19th, 2152

The group proceeded down the hallway until they found a supply closet - the locker room storing all their gear that Siri spoke of. The Spetsnaz were about to barge in, but Olhon halted them, apparently smelling something.
The blast door wasn't completely closed, a small crack revealing the interior. Rollins decided to peek through it, seeing two of Alain's marines peruse through the captured weaponry.
"Did you hear all that nonsense?" One of them asked. "Sounded kinda iffy. They're just feeding the fucks to the raptor and the wolves..."
Nevermind that. I'm sure the rest of the boys have it under control. Anyway...these weapons aren't particularly advanced, but...their exotic nature might fetch a fair price, don't you think? I know folks who would pay top dollar for a proper functioning ion weapon with this antiquated aesthetic."
"What about the Enforcer?" One of the marines asked.
"Don't fucking touch that, you idiot!" The other yelled. "It might explode! Besides, I'm sure the Decurion might take it as his own trophy once the techs disarm it...
Rollins peered through the open crack of the door, seeing two marines fiddling about with the Chernydrakonan weapons. One of them had a RIP-25, the other was toying with the slide on Rollins' own Tiran.
"I don't know...for something as primitive as a plasma delivery system, this gun just screams 'badass'. Think I might keep it..." The marine said, in reference to the Tiran.

Oh no you don't. That's mine, you goddamn space nazi son of a bitch...

Olhon moved up with Rollins, his stolen boltgun drawn. The two nodded at one another, and as Olhon opened the door, Rollins ran in, striking at the closest marine. Within a couple of seconds, Rollins had snapped his neck before he even knew what was going on. A bolt from Olhon's weapon silenced the other one before he could react accordingly.
Jon secured his weapon and slipped it back into his holster.
"Siri, get the door!" He ordered, taking note of the stock before them. As Siri hacked into the panel and began closing the door, Jon immediately noticed Olhon's enforcer haphazardly lying inside an open locker. He grabbed it (by the barrel, just to be safe) and tossed it towards it's rightful owner, who immediately discarded his boltgun afterwards.
"Uh...Rollins? Olhon?" Siri timidly spoke up. "Something's coming through the door!"
Rollins unholstered and pointed his pistol at the opening blast door, half-expecting marine reinforcements to come pouring through. However, they were instead greeted with an eight-foot-tall mass of red and indigo.
"Vasya?" Siri asked, shocked.
"What Vasya tell tank lady? Vasya stronges' an' braves' of all Black Dragon!" The ork chuckled, seeming no worse for the wear despite missing an arm, sporting heavy plasma burn damage along half of his face, and being covered head-to-toe in blood (though Siri and Darcy knew that not all of it was probably his). "Tank people no match fer Vasya!"
"It's good to see you're alright, Vasya..." Darcy said. Neither of them thought Vasya would survive, but it was somewhat comforting that he managed to make it out. After all, they would have never have gotten this far without him. "How did you find us?"
"Vasya follow teh sounds a' dah battle!" The Ork proudly announced. "Vasya see friends run here, so that where I come! Where Sarge?"
"Apologies, Vasya, he did not make it..." Olhon grimly replied, remembering the NCO's unfortunate demise.
"Bah. Then I guess I listen to chocolate man 'til tiger lady gets back. Maybe Vasya could be teh new Sarge?"

Chocolate man? Where have I heard that one before...

"You don't look too good, my murderous blue friend..." Rollins said. "It'd probably be best if you sat down for a bit until we can get a medic to look over you..."
"Vasya no coward! Vasya kill all da tank people firs', chocolate man!" The ork growled.
"So you think you're fit to fight, big guy?" Rollins asked.
"Find Vasya gun, chocolate man!" The ork responded. "An' I'll fight all a' dem!"
"Good man." Rollins nodded, looking around for a gun that was suitably big enough.
All it took was a short glance to find a GShGM leaning against one of the lockers. Rollins hauled it up (using both hands) and handed it over to the Ork, who grabbed it with his one functional hand, supporting it with his stump.
"Follow our Ork friend's example. Everyone grab a rifle. We're going to tear this Goddess-be-damned place apart!" Rollins commanded to whatever remained of Molot, who were standing off to the side.
"Rollins, even with the local wildlife running lose, we can't possibly hope to take this entire station by ourselves." Olhon protested. "Judging by the manpower needed to secure a station such as this, there's probably several decuries still running about..."
"Who said anything about taking it by ourselves?" Rollins replied, locating his datapal on a table and slipping it onto his arm, opening up a comm frequency.
"Green, this is Blue. Come in Green. The research post was a trap. The local scientific staff poisoned us all, and Alain's boys were waitin' to strike. We estimate multiple enemy platoons still active. We've lost our gunship, and most of Molot has been wiped out. Repeat, gunship is down, Molot is dead. Need reinforcements ASAP! Authorization code 'Peaches'!" Rollins barked as he found a RIP-25 of his own.

"Authorization confirmed, Blue team." Lieutenant Kameneva responded. "Reinforcements warping on your location in ninety seconds!"
"Hear that? Ninety seconds to play-time, boys and girls!" Rollins yelled out. "These bastards were about to feed us all to wolves! You hear? Wolves! Let's move!"
With that, Rollins and the remnants of Blue headed out of the supply closet, and back to the chaos of the main room.
As Olhon opened the door leading into it, they were greeted with a marine standing right in the doorway. His rifle was on the floor, and he didn't seem to be paying attention to those in front of him.
As Rollins aimed at him, about to investigate, he fell to the ground with a thud. Rollins looked to his back and saw multiple wounds that could have only been made with high-velocity shotgun slugs. They looked up to see a Frenk in a nanosuit, the barrel on their NFAS shotgun still smoking. Rachel.
"You are a sight for sore eyes, girlie!" Rollins chuckled. "Has the assault began?"
"Yep." Rachel nodded, raising the visor on her helmet. "Green's warping in all over the place. I think they still outnumber us, but those...creatures have devastated them, and they'll have a bit of trouble reacting to teleporting troops in either case."
"Good." Rollins nodded. "Let's get out there and join the party!"

Sure enough, the main room was plunged into complete chaos. The pantheraptor and the viperwolves were running about, fighting with one another and only stopping to pounce upon any Sidh marine foolish enough to expose himself. The marines themselves struggled to keep order, the occasional blasts from their energy rifles being drowned out with the sounds of explosions and animal screams.
This was only further complicated with the arrival of Green, who were periodically warping small groups of soldiers in seemingly random locations, effectively getting the jump on the isolated pockets of marines. Highly-disciplined judicatorial marines they may have been, even they were not immune to falling victim to a hopeless situation, and some attempted to run, only to be eviscerated by the raptor or shot by a Chernydrakony marksman.
The rest of Blue split up to join the fighting. Olhon and Siri took one side, Rachel ran off to rejoin the group she was assigned to, and Rollins led what was left of Molot.
After a few seconds of fighting (Rollins claiming one kill, Vasya two), Rollins spotted more warpers entering. He noticed one appear within meters of the pantheraptor. Harper.

The beast noticed her immediately, and unleashed a mighty screech.
"You're not a very nice raptor, are you?" Harper tutted. "You know, I don't think people should get pets if they're not going to take up the responsibility of proper training..."
Harper stepped back from the pantheraptor, slowly but confidently as it screeched again.
"Nice raptor...very good raptor..." She said, her fingers floating towards her temple. In an instant, before the raptor could even think of striking, the Commonwealther let out an intense burst of psi-energy.
Instead of a threatening screech, the raptor let out a pained one as the contents of it's mind was scrambled. Unlike Darcy, Harper's psionics were much more destructive. Whereas Darcy could use her talents to gather intel and engage in covert missions, Harper's did well in combat situations. She could never read a mind without destroying it, but in certain contexts, this was much more preferable...
The pantheraptor seemingly lost interest in Harper, instead deciding to run amok, screeching in pain and confusion. It toppled into a blast door where marine reinforcements were pouring through, killing several in it's mindless rampage. The immediate threat the raptor posed to the forces forced the marines to turn their guns on the beast, making them that much more vulnerable to the invading Mecharussians.
The raptor had eventually keeled over, but it was clear that there were too few of them to continue the fight here. Whatever remained retreated through another blast door, leaving the chamber in control of the Polu's crew.
"Kinzahl squad, go after them!" The leader of Green, Lieutenant Kameneva, commanded as one of the Black Dragon squads pursued the retreaters.

That was it. For now, they were victorious. Aside from a small band or two, the station was theirs.

Rollins dismissed Molot and decided to walk the battlefield himself. The Chernydrakony and Cazadores looted the corpses of the slain Sidhae. He even spotted one of the Cazadores skinning a viperwolf, intent on taking the pelt home.
Personally, Rollins wondered what had happened to the leader of the marines about to feed him to the wolves. Maybe he was still alive and kicking. He certainly wouldn't have objected to showing the bastard what a "nigger" could do...
As though the Goddess herself sought to answer his question, Rollins looked over to see the Decurion in question on the ground, underneath the black-suited Rachel. She seemed to be busy, pummeling what was left of his skull with her strength-enhanced fists. Rollins couldn't be sure how long he'd been dead, but it must have been long enough. Poor Rachel probably didn't even notice...
"Alright, settle down." Rollins said, nonchalantly pulling Rachel off the corpse. "I think ya got him..."
His bloodlust wasn't particularly strong, but when a score needed to be settled, he would certainly do so. He would have liked to have seen this one meet his end by the wolves, at least. It would have been poetic, but he wasn't going to pretend being thrown to an enraged Rachel Enns was any more merciful.

Hell. Girl is a "viperwolf"...

Rollins walked around the chamber, Rachel in-tow. Looking off to the side, Rollins noted the Chernydrakony rounding up all the white-suited scientific staff. Among them, Reven. Siri stood off to the side, apparently mortified at what the Russians might do to them.
Kameneva, strolled among the prisoners brandishing a traditional spetsnaz machete, finally stopping behind Reven.
"Ah, the leader of the facility. The ones who sold out my comrades to Alain and watched as they were slaughtered?" She asked with a bloodthirsty grin. "Any last words, tankie?"
Reven however, merely sat with a frown, seemingly content to meet his end without pause nor protest.
"Huh, bein' quiet? Trying to look dignified? Whatever. Ready?" The spetsnaz officer cackled, readying her machete for a swing.
"Rollins, you have to stop them!" Siri protested in horror.
"Meh. Normally, I'd be inclined to show a bit of mercy. But I'm sure you'll forgive me if the memories of smelling a wolf's breath as it was about to bite into me kinda kills my sympathy vibe..." Rollins waved her off, clearly content to let Reven receive the quick death that he would have been denied at the hands of Alain's marines.
"Rollins, you-you don't understand!" Siri whined. "He-he helped me find you! Helped me free you! He's the only reason any of us are alive right now! Please, Rollins! Stop her! He doesn't deserve to die for wanting to preserve his life's work!"
Rollins merely sighed at Siri's pleas. He was angry at the minute, for sure, but it still wasn't enough to impede on his (more or less) logical judgement.
"Fine..." Rollins said, approaching Kameneva and Reven.
Not seeing Rollins walking towards her, Kameneva readied her blade for a swing. "Get ready to die, you tankie shit!"
However, before the edge could connect with the doctor's neck, it was halted with a loud, piercing clank.
"Not so fast!" Rollins chuckled.
Kameneva looked down to see a curved Kukri had halted her blade just inches from it's mark. She looked up to see Rollins was the one responsible for the block, nonchalantly holding the blade out.
"This 'tankie' may not be innocent, but he's also the one who saved what was left of Blue." Rollins said, slowly reeling his kukri back. "Least we can do is...not behead him while he's helpless. I think he might deserve a word or two in his defense..."
"Look at that, the Frenks are defending the tankies!" Kameneva laughed. "No. I don't care if Molot's sergeant was that much of an amatuer, this worm dies!"
"Let him go." Rollins spoke plainly. "Or Trots' will hear about this. Reven falls under Blue''s authority. And who did she give command of Blue over to?"
The Lieutenant hesitated, but still clearly wanted to proceed with the execution. Eventually, she began seething, and angrily sheathed her blade.
"Why the General seems to trust you, I'll never understand! Frenks, tankies...they're all the same breed!" Kameneva spat. "Fine! Take your tankie friend and shove him up your ass!"
Kameneva angrily stormed off, her troops following her.
When the Black Dragons were gone, Rollins moved to Reven and cut his binds.
"That wasn't a favor I just did ya. Once I make sure this shitshow is cleaned up and I get in touch with my temporary boss, you're gonna talk. Else you're gonna be begging for the end you woulda got from little miss buzzcut. Understand?" He threatened the Sidhae doctor.

"Jon! JonJonJonJonJon!" Darcy interrupted him. "Jonnnn!"
"What is it?" Rollins asked, annoyed. "Can't you see I'm trynna look big and intimidating?"
"You have to gather everyone! Right now!" She yelped. "This place isn't safe!"
"What do you see?" He asked.
"Explosions. Fire." She warned. "I don't know why, but we have to leave!"
"Uh...Lieutenant? Rollins?" A Chernydrakony technician called out. "I'm picking up something big on the radar..."


Transferring information from disorganized notes into presentable factbooks is way too time consuming for a procrastinator. Just ask if you have questions.
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Imperium Sidhicum
Posts: 4324
Founded: May 28, 2013

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:34 pm

Research Outpost 5

"Judicator," Rollins beckoned to Olhon, "Do these signatures look familiar to you?"

"This is from real-time orbital scans, correct?" Olhon came over and examined the image on the Russian technician's datapad, "The resolution seems low..."

"Whatever it is, it wasn't there before and it's moving fast," the tech stated, "Enhancing image..."

Moments passed as the imaging system aboard the Polunochnaya in low orbit adjusted, pixels gradually forming into more coherent images.

"The cloud cover is interfering with image," Olhon instructed, "Switch to IR!"


"There... Looks like..."

An instant later, the blurry signature suddenly disappeared from the image. Before the tech could remark anything, Olhon's paling face told all that needed to be told.

"Darcy's right, we need to get the fuck out of here ASAP!" he barked, "They're gonna level this place to the ground! Everybody get to the elevators now, use emergency descent mode! Siri, Darcy, agent Rollins, on me!"

"Mind telling what's going on, Judicator?!" Rollins objected, following the Judicator in tow as Olhon began to run down the hallway, following a colour-line signed "Control Tower".

"Gunships," Olhon explained, "The Avenger has several of them along with fighter escorts stored aboard, and they are about to hit this place hard!"

"But why did they just disappear?" Darcy shouted from behind.

"It's a Shadowhawk and at least two Wraiths," Olhon explained, gesturing impatiently for everyone to get in the elevator before hitting "up" key, "All of them have advanced stealth suites including broad-spectrum cloaking. It's standard practice to cloak when approaching a target."

"I gather that a Shadowhawk and a pair of Wraiths isn't exactly good," Rollins stated, unfamiliar with the Sidh ship designs, "What are their capabilities?"

"To put it shortly - if this is the mother of all trees to be found in the galaxy, Alain just sent the mother of all lumberjack crews to chop it down!" Olhon chuckled, "Thankfully, this base isn't exactly defenseless either, and our psyker friend here might just help out with evening out the odds a bit."

"The AA guns..." Siri nodded, realizing her mentor's plan.

"But I don't know first thing about operating AA guns, let alone Sidh-made AA guns," Darcy objected weakly.

"You won't have to," Olhon explained, "Since the regular radar and IR sensors won't pick the enemy up while they are cloaked, you will be our sensor suite instead. Can you do that?"

"I don't know..." Darcy didn't seem very confident, when the Judicator grabbed her by the shoulders and looked the weedy girl tightly in the eyes.

"Darcy - can you, or can you not do this?" he said calmly and firmly, "Because if you can't, we are about to get fucked harder than the Skargh by the great Emperor within the next few minutes!"

"I... I... Yes, I... I think I can!" the girl mustered her resolve and announced firmly.

"There, better!" the Judicator grinned lightly, releasing her as the elevator stopped.

"The main defense controls should be somewhere in here!" Olhon spoke as the group entered the deserted control tower, "Siri, get to it!"

"Right... Syncing..." the blonde disciple engaged her tacticom, syncing it up with the main console and starting to look for defense protocols frantically.

"What do I do?" Rollins asked.

"We both get the fun part of shooting the bastards out of the sky," Olhon explained, also syncing his tacticom to one of the workstations and looking for something. Moments later, a holographic image suddenly popped up on the holojector in the center of the room, displaying the tree-lab and the surrounding countryside, encased in several transparent domes indicating range.

"They will exit cloak briefly upon firing their weapons on attack runs, so you will see them on this display," Olhon instructed Darcy, "You should also see where our guns are pointing and their shells are flying, and if the display don't help, just look out the window! Try to use your senses and predict where they will be flying for the next attack run, and direct our fire!"

"Use senses... direct fire... right..." Darcy mumbled, hastily examining the image to get a grasp of how to proceed from there on.

"What if they hit the control tower first?" Rollins suddenly inquired uncomfortably.

"Well, that's a possibility we'll just have to deal with," the Judicator shrugged, "Remember, Darcy - these guns don't shoot much further than six clicks, which means these six domes away. The ammo is limited, so don't call in shots unless you're confident we're going to hit something!"

"Done, we're online!" Siri announced, two holographic consoles popping up on both sides of the control tower. Olhon hastily assumed position, gesturing Rollins to take the other.

"What do I do?" the agent inquired, unfamiliar with this type of interface.

"Just grab on those circular things at the ends of the arm-rests! Left hand is elevation, right hand is traverse, index finger is fire!" the Judicator quickly explained, "What's our status?!"

"Turret 100% operational, base structure integrity 100%, turrets A and B at 60% ammo!" Siri reported, "The first two evacuation groups are on their way down!"

"Good," Olhon nodded, "A and B are on your side, Rollins, so place your shots with care!"

That instant, Darcy's eyes suddenly rolled up white.

"BRAAAACE!" she screeched, hitting the floor.

An instant later, the entire tree-lab shook violently from a thunderous explosion, master alarm and numerous fire alarms going off in the control tower. Moments later, the tree was again shaken by a sonic boom as a Shadowhawk gunship and a pair of Wraith fighters thundered past it less than a hundred meteres away. Three red dots on the holographic display indicated their position and path before disappearing as the ships cloaked again.

"They're turning for another attack run!" Olhon shouted, "Darcy, get to it!"

"Right...right..." the shaken girl closed her eyes and raised her finger to her temple in an effort to concentrate, "Rollins, aim hard left... slightly up... more... right... no, left... no, right..."

"Left or right?! Make up your damn mind, girl!" Rollins shouted impatiently.

"It would be faster if you just used Left and Right instead of names," Olhon added.

"You want to do this yourself or shall I?!" Darcy snapped back angrily, "Left, hard up and fire!"

The pair of AA guns to the left of the tower that covered the blackened landing pad with the burnt-out wreck of Blue Team's gunship turned in sync with Rollins's hands and roared to life, spewing streams of brilliant-white tracers into the darkening evening sky. Explosive flashes and black clouds of smoke indicated where the shells burst in the distance.

"Right, hard left, slightly up... more... more... hold... fire!" Darcy continued her direction. Olhon joined in with his pair of turrets, shells again lighting up the sky but not hitting anything thus far. An instant later, the flight of attackers emerged from nowhere, unleashing several missiles and a brilliant blue particle beam into the lab structure, again shaking it violently. Olhon used the brief window when the fighters were visible to target them visually, narrowly missing the Shadowhawk before it cloaked again.

"Right, up and left... more... little right... lower... more... steady... fire!"

Olhon unleashed another burst, and this time the shots scored their mark, bright electric flicker in the distance indicating a disrupted cloaking field. Moments later, the enemy retaliated by unleashing a barrage of fire on the undamaged landing platform, taking out one of Olhon's turrets while Rollins kept firing furiously at the fighters that soared overhead.

"Turret C is down, D at 50% ammo!" Siri reported, "Multiple fires, base integrity at 73% and falling!"

"Left and right, up... right... right and up... steady... steady... left down... good... steady... fire!"

The remaining turrets roared again, and the hits made their mark just as the invisible flight of fighters entered view again. Crackling with electricity from the disrupted cloaking field, the damaged fighter broke away from the formation and attempted to escape, a trail of black smoke clearly marking it's path against the sky illuminated by the last rays of the setting sun. Olhon and Rollins needed no further cues however, now that the fighter was visible to ordinary sensors and naked eye. Another burst of shells enveloped the damaged fighter in a cloud of fire and shrapnel, the craft lighting up brightly and leaving a streak of fire as it crashed down towards the jungle, disintegrating as it fell.

"One down! Take that, you tankie bastard!" Rollins cheerfully exclaimed before adding: "No offense."

"None taken," Olhon chuckled, neither of them actually sure who made the actual killing shot.

The remaining two aircraft, however, retaliated with a vengeance, the defenders falling to the floor as the tree shook with yet-unseen violence, sparks and smoke bursting out from damaged connections and consoles on the control tower all around.

"Lab integrity at 40%!" Siri shouted upon getting back up to her station, "Elevators One and Two disabled... Oh, sweet Emperor..."

The girl covered her mouth, her eyes widening in horror as she saw in the surveillance cameras what transpired in the elevator shafts, the wooden walls of the shafts carved into the tree exploding in clouds of splinters and engulfing the passengers of the crowded cars in a cloud of flame and debris, maimed bodies on fire still writhing and moving amidst the carnage in the last shots recorded by the cams before they went offline.

"We're really taking a beating here!" Rollins exclaimed, "I take that this flashing red warning here means I'm low on ammo?"

"A and B down to 15%!" Siri confirmed, "Make'em count, Agent Rollins!"

"They're gonna be hitting the tower this time..." Darcy uttered with no small sense of dread in her voice, "Aim for maximum range and hold until my mark!"

The two men followed Darcy's direction, their fire cones crossing neatly at the six-kilometer line on the holo-display. Seconds seemed to pass like minutes.

"Hold... hold... hold..." Darcy spoke, sweat trickling down her forehead as her entire being concentrated for the single task of predicting the enemy approach.

"You sure about this?!" Olhon began to doubt her.

"YES! HOLD!" the girl barked, "No, wait... They're breaking up! I... I can't direct the two of you at once!"

Indeed, the pilots had apparently noticed that whatever was directing anti-air fire at them while they were cloaked was apparently basing his efforts on educated guesswork rather than hard data from sensor input, and adjusted their tactics accordingly, no longer flying in a close formation and breaking up to strike from different directions.

"Then just go for the biggest!" Olhon barked.

"I... I'm not sure..." Darcy stuttered.

"For the love of the Emperor, PICK ONE!" the Judicator lost his patience.

"Yes, of course... Left and right, straight ahead! Lower... lower... hold... NOW!"

The turrets roared to life once again, the volume of flak poured forth being massive, when the intensity of fire suddenly dropped.

"I'm out!" Rollins shouted.

"Come on..." Olhon snarled, continuing to blast away even as his ammo count was dropping alarmingly quickly.

An instant later, his efforts were rewarded, his shells striking true on the Shadowhawk just as it decloaked and opened fire, speeding straight for the control tower. As the shells tore into it's left engine, the ship twisted and careened down, the shot from it's dorsal particle cannon missing it's mark. The gunship plowed into the tree some hundreds of meters below almost simultaneously with the remaining fighter decloaking and hitting the tower with all it's might.

A deafening explosion ravaged the control room, shattering the armored glass windows and tossing everyone inside around like rag dolls. The tree shook like about to fall as the fireball from below reached the canopy height, shrouding everything in black choking smoke.


When Olhon regained consciousness, for the second time today much to his chagrin, what remained of the control room was a complete mess. The ceiling and much of the walls were entirely gone, exposing the place to open air. Fed by the oxygen-rich Sedekeen atmosphere, roaring fires raged in the blasted structures and the tree branches above, raining down ash and embers. The heat was intense and it was difficult to breathe.

"Everyone alright?!" the Judicator shouted, rushing towards Siri who laid by her destroyed console unconscious with a bloodied face.

"Still kickin', Judicator," he was relieved to hear Rollins answer weakly from the left as the agent pushed off some metal plates and debris that had fallen on him. Olhon noticed a twisted piece of armature bar sticking through his shoulder.

"How's your disciple?" the agent grunted, groaning as he pulled out the bar from the wound, his self-sealing nanosuit immediately sealing up and preventing further blood loss.

"Alive, thankfully," Olhon spoke, tending to Siri's injuries consisting mainly of cuts to her face by flying glass and debris, "With some make-up and time, she'll even be as handsome as she used to."

"Are we dead yet...?" the girl weakly mumbled much to her mentor's relief.

"You ain't getting out of the Order that easily, girl," Olhon grinned, lifting her up on his arms, "Where's Darcy?"

"Here..." another weak female voice indicated that their fourth companion was still alive, "My leg... It's stuck and I think it's broken!"

The men rushed over to her location, Siri who could now limp on her own slowly following close in tow. The weedy psyker in her present condition looked even more puny and weak than usually. Her hair was singed to half their original length, her face covered in dirt, ash, blood and burn blisters, her clothes torn and armor shredded, numerous pieces of glass and metal sticking out from various wounds, which thankfully appeared superficial. For her present miserable condition, Darcy was holding up very admirably. Examining her, Olhon only now noticed a shard of metal stuck deep into his right cheek, wincing as he pulled it out.

"I'm stuck!" Darcy complained weakly as Rollins put his flask of water to her mouth, the girl drinking eagerly. Olhon in the meantime struggled to remove the heavy computer rack that pinned Darcy's right leg to the floor. Siri joined his efforts, and with their combined augmented strength the heavy machine was lifted off with relative ease. Darcy's leg beneath it didn't look so good, however.

"Looks like a compound fracture," Siri, being the most qualified in medicine, stated as she examined the wound, "We have to get her to the ship's infirmary fast if we want to save her leg. Darcy, I will give you a shot of painkillers and antibiotics, and apply some medigel to keep you stable. Master, agent Rollins, you could fashion her some splint to keep her leg fixated!"

"On it," the men responded. It didn't take them long to craft a makeshift splint from the abundant debris to be found around. Siri in the meanwhile applied the said treatments to Darcy.

"This tree isn't going to hold for long..." the psyker girl stated, "We have to get off of it now!"

"You think...?" Olhon was about to say, when the floor beneath shook, a deep rumbling cracking sound that sent a chill down one's spine coming down from below. It reminded the Judicator of massive icebergs cracking and calving that he had witnessed on some arctic worlds.

"Right... This tree ain't gonna hold up much longer!" the Judicator agreed, "Siri, get Darcy! Rollins, you'll be jumping with me!"

"Wait a minute, JUMPING?! Are you serious?!" his companions expressed shock.

"The elevator is out, there ain't no stairs, I trust that nobody has a 600+ meters of rope that would do Darcy no good in her present condition anyway, and this tree is coming apart - of course I'm fucking serious!" Olhon barked impatiently and winked reassuredly, "Trust me!"

"I sure hope you know what you're doing Judicator," Rollins shook his head, but firmed his gaze in determination when the tree began to crack and snap again, starting to lean sideways slowly.

"Siri, remember what we did in training for high-altitude jumps!" Olhon reminded his disciple, his Enforcer popping out into his hand. Removing one of several grenades tucked into loops on his gauntlet, Olhon loaded the Enforcer's grenade launcher, Siri following the suit and the Frenks observing the Judicators in bewilderment.

"Master, I... I must say we only did this from a 20-meter height at most, and I was scared already at five..." the young Judicatrix whined nervously.

"You can do it," Olhon reassured her, "Remember that you can't go any faster than terminal velocity, and these things are designed to arrest drops way faster than that!"

"Whatever you two are about to do, better do it fast!" Rollins barked as the tree's declination from vertical was picking up in pace.

"Right... Hop on my back and hold on tight, agent Rollins!" Olhon instructed. Still unsure what would now happen, Rollins piggy-backed the Judicator, Siri picking up Darcy. An instant later, both Judicators broke into sprint towards the edge.

"NononononowaitWAAAITOOOOOHFUUUUUUUCK!!!" Rollins screamed, not quite having expected things to happen this fast as Olhon leapt over the edge, spreading his hands to control his fall.

In the following seconds, the veteran Frenkish agent had ample time to consider what exactly makes sailors so happy about seeing land approaching, because from a pilot's perspective it certainly didn't seem tempting. Although he wasn't afraid of heights or acrobatic maneuvers, the idea of jumping from over 600 meters without a parachute, bungee cord, jetpack or anything else obvious to arrest the fall certainly didn't seem like a good one. With the corner of his eye, Rollins saw the tree behind them give way, crashing thunderously into the forest, engulfed in a raging firestorm that brightly illuminated the night.

Moments later, his face was slapped violently by leaves as they began to smash through the tree canopy.

"NOW!" he heard Olhon shout, followed by two distinct thumps of Enforcer grenade launchers.

An instant later, violent G-forces almost caused him to black out. It was anything but a soft landing - yet it somehow did feel soft.
Rollins came back to his senses on what appeared like a giant round pillow of translucent green jelly-like material that quietly disintegrated into inert dust under him. Siri and Darcy rested on a similar object nearby before it crumbled to dust as well.

"Flash-forged aerogel pads," Olhon explained with a smug grin, dusting his surcoat off and helping Rollins up, "Tend to come handy when you find yourself falling from a great height without a parachute."

"What now?" Siri asked.

"We have to get back to the others," Rollins stated, "Surely at least some made it out. I'm calling in the cavalry and getting us outta here!"

"Couldn't agree more," Olhon stated, nervously looking around in the dark jungle illuminated only by the nearby fire reflecting from the sky and various bioluminiscent plants and bugs, "Every hungry critter within earshot of this ruckus will now be coming to investigate, and the fact that we're bleeding ain't helping! Agent, you're in no shape to fight - carry Darcy instead, and we will cover you both! Siri, watch the rear, I'll be taking point! Darcy, if you still can, any tips about incoming danger would be much appreciated!"

Although Rollins was about to protest, the Judicator was right - his wounded arm began to feel mighty sore about now, and carrying the immobilized girl required two hands anyway, leaving him with little choice. Darcy weakly grunted in affirmative response as the agent lifted her over his shoulder, dizzy from the potent painkillers Siri had given her to numb the pain in her shattered leg.

"What would I give for a couple combat servo-skulls right now..." Olhon muttered, activating the tactical flashlight attached to his handgun.

The group began to make it's way towards the blaze where the felled tree burned. Although the distance was only about 100-something meters, even this distance could prove fatal for a small group of wounded people making way through the thick undergrowth of Sedekeen jungle at night.

Olhon was certainly right about one thing - every hungry carnivore within earshot of the assault on the tree-lab was now in all probability converging on the place to investigate and prey on whatever was to be found there along with other like-intentioned creatures found along the way.
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Blakullar » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:11 am


A razor-sharp sensation jolted Rachel from her unconscious stupor. This physical occurrence, a unique miasma of Sedekeen ozone and burning meat, the lashing tongues of flames in the forests and the tonitruant orchestra of crackling wood afire joined forces to assault her mind from every flank. She weathered the sensory bombardment long enough to gather her thoughts together and ponder her situation. Was she dead? What fate had befallen the others?

The sting in her right arm demanding Rachel's attention with another jolt finally received it in the form of a glance. The firestorm must have burned away her nanosuit when the appendage got caught in it. Despite the damage sustained and the seared skin, it was the nanosuit that she had to thank that she still had an arm to begin with, and one so minimally damaged at that.

"You're awake!" an excited feminine voice called out with excitement. "You had me so worried!"

Rachel had to rub out soot and other detritus blurring her eyes to determine the source of the voice to be Harper. A wave of relief washed over her to see her beloved alive and unharmed.

"Who ... who else made it out?" Rachel enquired, surveying her surroundings.

"Kameneva's team, a handful of Cazadores, that ork from Molot ... and most of the Sidh scientists," Harper recalled. "As far as I can tell, everyone else was caught in the tree when it went up in flames..."

A rising tide of trepidation started to grip Rachel from deep within as she looked around.

"What about ... Jon?" her head snapped around and her pupils tightened. "Darcy?"

The initial joy on Harper's face started to slip into a solemn expression, and she set loose a sigh.

"Rachel, I'm ... so sorry. As far as anyone can tell, they went down with the tree with our Sidh companions."

A frown dragged Rachel's brow down to earth, and she swallowed a knot in her throat.

"No..." she whispered. "They can't really be dead..."

"If it's any solace, we never found their bodies, so despite Kameneva's assumptions there's a possibility they might still be alive," Harper moved to console. "I'm afraid that possibility is, however, grim."

Rachel's countenance immediately turned businesslike. Despite her personal objections, she decided that there was nothing more that she could do at present. There would be time to mourn later. For now though, there was the task at hand. Another glance at her scorched arm revealed that the black of her nanosuit was starting to build back up, repairing itself. There was an obvious need for proper maintenance later on, but for the time being, this ad-hoc reconstruction would have to suffice.

Harper led the way back to the staging area, where some of the Chernodrakony and surviving Cazadores could be seen posted as sentries around the trees. Further ahead, an angry interrogation could be heard from a gruff Russian feminine.

"That was the deal, eh? That was the deal? That was the fucking deal?!"

It was Lieutenant Kameneva, along with two other heavies, having formed a circle before a sodden mud patch. At the centre was a scientist caked in mud, almost puny compared to the trio of hulking Chernodrakony, struggling to get up. Harper and Rachel recognised the scientist from his metal arm as one Sallustus Reven as he stood. The instant that he got to his feet, however, he was shoved forward by one of Kameneva's troops to another, who would promptly push him back down to the ground. The other Sidh scientists, held down with Chernodrakon guns to the back of their heads, shouted abuse at Kameneva, while some of the other Chernodrakony responded with jeers and taunts.

"Come on, tankie – what's your loyalty worth, eh?!" Kameneva continued to shout at Reven. "Tell me what your little deal was!"

She then delivered a painful kick to the Sidh's gut as he stood to a crawl, causing him to land on his back.

"I bet it was for money!" one of her comrades spat venomously, folding his arms.

"I bet it was for fucking money!" Kameneva agreed with a snarl, reaching down to Reven and lifting him up by the scruff. "I bet that sick fuck of a Judicator slammed a great big briefcase full of aurons to betray your compatriots on your table, and you fucking took it! Your kind of scum makes my blood boil!"

The lieutenant punctuated by shoving Reven into the circle once more, the soldier ahead of her uncrossing his arms and giving the Sidh a hefty punch to the stomach, causing him to fall once again. Reven, however, seemed utterly unfazed by the affair, his expression devoid of emotion as he simply made another attempt to rise to his feet.

"Stoic and strong, but does fuck all," the Chernodrakon who commented about money remarked. "You remind me of that Abbess woman!"

"Hey boys, what are the odds that Sleeping Beauty's found another place to nap?" the third asked. "Like she did on that scrapheap?!"

The mocking comment about Serena drew peals of laughter from the other Chernodrakony around him.

"That's a bit rude..." Harper chimed in. The comment succeeded in drawing the attention of the Mecharussian soldiers towards the Frenks, away from Reven for the time being.

"And who the hell asked for your opinion?" the same Chernodrakon asked with a suspicious tone.

"Give the scientists weapons," Rachel stepped forward and enunciated. "Those animals or ... mutants we saw in there were tough. If they decide to come at us, we don't have much of a chance, I think."

"Weapons?" Kameneva blew with a disdainful, almost pitying chuckle. "You want us to give these prisoners of war weapons? And here I was, thinking this whole 'Sidhness' thing would be the funniest joke I'd hear on this mission..."

"Besides, if those beasties want to try their luck, we've got more than enough guns already!" one of her comrades stated, raising one of his arms – bearing a TBP plasma blaster.

"To be fair, those scientists are under the authority of Blue," Harper pointed out. "And technically, Rachel is a part of Blue. The highest-ranking member of Blue left, in fact..."

"Oh for Lenin's sake..." Kameneva growled, burying her helmet into her massive palm. "Does spending your life in an Antarctic bunker fuck with your hearing or something? As far as I'm concerned, these tankies are all POWs!"

"Hell, with the darkie, the psyker, the geek and the bimbo out of the way, I'm not even sure why we're even letting these idiots live..." one of the Chernodrakony watching over the other scientists remarked.

"Give them weapons," Rachel enunciated once more, her voice crisp and authoritative.

"Your nigger friend already walked Blue into a trap, and he got himself AND our comrades killed for it!" Kameneva growled back, getting right into Rachel's face. "If you think I'm giving you two rug-munching ass-clowns the chance to lead the General into a trap, you've got-"


The force of the sudden blow sent Kameneva reeling in shock, stumbling backward into the mud patch where she and her comrades had been shoving Reven around before. The heavy metal sabatons gave way, and the lieutenant promptly found herself on her backside in the middle of the sodden mud with an almighty splash.

Rachel stood her ground, blood running from her unshielded knuckle, even as the other Chernodrakony moved to protect their downed commander. Some of them readied their weapons at the Frenks, and for a moment Rachel and Harper considered the possibility that they would have to defend themselves with physical force.

"Augh ... stand down, men!" Kameneva shouted, pushing aside an extended hand to help her up. As she stood to her feet, she turned to Rachel: "I may not hold much love for you Frenks, but I can respect anyone who's willing to back up their mouth with substance!"

With that, the lieutenant unsheathed her sidearm, gripped the PP-1S by the barrel and thrust it toward Reven.

"You got lucky this time, alien..." Kameneva addressed the scientist. "But any funny business, and your last experience will be the sensation of shitting out your own heart!"

With that, she nodded to one of her men, who threw a handful of spare RIP-25 ion repeaters to the other scientists.

As she did, however, a distant, reptilian rumble sounded from the trees to the rear, followed by the shuffling of foliage and the oxygen-amplified crack of the occasional branch. A louder hiss hastily seared the air afterward, compounded by a longer growl closer than before. Whoever was watching would be greeted by the sight of two mean-looking, bestial eyes, glittering orange in the nearby fire.

"That doesn't look friendly," Harper remarked.


Back with Red Team at camp, Adonis awoke from a bed in the medical tent with a groan. The last time she took a hit like that was when she was still in the Navy, during the vicious battle to liberate Helion Prime from the Skargh. Being struck by a mortar round hurt no less then than it did now. So for that matter did almost losing one's arm in a less than friendly encounter with an axe-swinging berserker. The differentiation between the bottom of a cliff and a war-painted alien roaring at the top of its lungs like a hell-born monstrosity failed to even register in Adonis' anaesthesia-numbed mind.

"How you feeling, boss?" the familiar voice of her squad's number-two enquired from her right.

"How do you think I feel, Nero?" Adonis grumbled before softening her irate tone. "The mornings after shore leave come to mind..."

The decurion's irritation was compounded by the knowledge of her weakened state. She certainly wanted to give that Judicator Alain his comeuppance, having lost a few good buddies to his thugs after they refused to take the same bribe as her and the other surviving Miramar camp guards. Since the Mecharussians' medical equipment was tailored for humans and not Sidhae, however, the medics had informed her that they would have to see what they could do before morning before deciding whether to allow her to carry on or return to the Polunochnaya.

Meanwhile, the black-armoured troops in Trotskaya's unit were being repaired with ease, and some of those with lesser wounds were already out of the tent and on duty as if nothing had happened. That Medveditsa woman, for instance, was having her crocodile-arm examined by Mikhailov on the next bed over, having apparently been struck by shrapnel during the bombardment. The peculiarity of seeing a human being detaching her forearm with such casualty baffled Adonis to a profuse degree, especially when that forearm happened to be a crocodile-claw with a shotgun built into its snout. Then again, she had heard rumours about the sorts of Lovecraftian augmentations in use by certain agents of the Imperial Guard, some of which laughed in the face of ordinary comprehension. There was practically no limit to tenth-tier augments, it would seem.

Nevertheless, despite her envy of the Mecharussians and their easily replaceable cybernetic augmentations, Adonis' stay in the medical tent had given her ample time to ponder...

"You look thoughtful," Mikhailov stated in English after glancing up at her. "Anything on your mind?"

"What's pregnancy like?" Adonis enquired at once. "I mean, I see humans breeding like rabbits and I'm like, why don't they just create a proper eugenics programme like us? What's so great about motherhood?"

"Oh Lenin's beard, how the hell do I explain this..." Medveditsa pondered, before arriving to a conclusion and proceeding. "I suppose the nearest equivalent I know you'll be familiar with is being a drill instructor who knows he's training the absolute greatest war hero the Imperium will ever know."

"If you carry the kid through to birth, even if you didn't mean to create it, you suddenly realise you're responsible for this person," she continued. "You and the father, presuming he's not an asshole, are jointly responsible for nurturing this person and making damn sure he'll be the very best kind of person he can be. The pride you'll enjoy once you succeed in doing this is just indescribable..."

"Mikhailov!" a Russian voice suddenly called from outside. "Could I borrow you really really quickly?"

It was Dmitriyeva, with a portable power generator in one hand, her armour-plated laptop under her arm and the handle for a bulky-looking suitcase in the other hand.
"Eh, sure, what for?" Mikhailov asked, eyeing the equipment with interest.

"I just need a hand carrying the antenna and fixing up the wiring," Dmitriyeva stated, pointing somewhere behind her. "It's over there."

Mikhailov shrugged with a grunt and got up from his seat, proceeding towards the requested item out of sight. Moments later, he returned with an antenna, and followed Dmitriyeva to her destination.

"So it's a pride thing?" Adonis returned to the prior conversation.

"More a responsibility thing," Medveditsa continued. "Like I said, it's like being the guy who trains the greatest warrior ever seen. Kinda like whoever drilled that Drax guy. You gotta put a hell of a lot of effort into this kid, because he looks up to you and needs you to survive and thrive, and with any luck he'll go on to do great things. That's why Trots is so bitter about this whole sordid affair with Alain – she hates herself enough as it is. She doesn't need any of this shit, and neither do a pair of kids who've just entered this world and haven't even had time to do anything to deserve this. Believe me, as a mother myself, I'm in a better position to sympathise than most."

"Might go some way towards explaining why she kept talking about 'punishing' the Imperium..." Adonis smirked. "I'm not gonna lie, I really do want to see what you Mecharussians would actually do when faced with us in wartime..."

"Give it time and the outcome of such a war could be radically different," Medveditsa warned. "The Great Patriotic War shows that a lot can happen in just a few years. That's why this Remember Zina thing back home scares the shit out of me. Kaffarov might be a crackpot, but all it takes is for some kid to get the idea that The Enemy needs to be destroyed, and for that idea to stick to adulthood. If I could take one lesson from all my years of service, it's to never, ever underestimate a stupid idea. Anyway, what makes you so curious about pregnancy?"

"All this talk and this mission reminds me of my life back on Lithore," Adonis explained. "Used to live next to a couple who had kids of their own, and-"

"Huh?!" Medveditsa erupted with shock. "Since when do Sidhae have CHILDREN?!!"

"They were HUMANS!" Adonis barked back, before continuing: "Anyway, as I was saying, I used to live next to a couple who had their own kids. Sometimes I'd take care of 'em when the parents were out. Real nice bunch, for humans anyway – they looked out for each other as well as their friends and allies. Me among 'em. That said, they were mostly the reason I ditched Lithore to join the Navy."

"What, you had a falling-out or something?"

"Not so much that as it was they were all cut down when a bunch of punks decided to go on a zerk run in the ghetto I lived next to," Adonis' voice turned bitter.

"A what-now?"

"Zerk is a kinda combat stim that sets the user into a long-lasting state of berserk rage, hence the name," Nero explained. "A quick fix will turn even the wimpiest fruitcake into a dangerous killing machine. And a 'zerk run' is what happens when said fruitcake gets their Emperor-damned dickbeaters on a machine gun and wanders into a human ghetto..."

"I see..." Medveditsa pondered the given information.

Before she could ask her next question, everyone's attention was diverted to a loud cheer from where Dmitriyeva had just gone.

"YEEEESSSS!!! I didn't even think it could be done, but I went and outdid myself yet again! Ohohoho, Alain's cronies are in for such a nasty surprise now... Hahahahahaaaa!"

"Oh boy, she's got a bloody idea..." Medveditsa spoke out with a hint of concern.

"Is that a bad thing?" Nero enquired.

"For the enemy? You bet," the voice of Mikhailov stated as the gunner returned from the clearing. "She might not be a good shot or a good fist-fighter, but she's a hell of a hacker. I've seen her subdue augmented men twice her size with those skills of hers alone..."

"Damn, didn't know she had it in her," Adonis stated with surprise. "I always thought hackers were a fair bit bigger. And male."

"Yeah- wait, what?" Mikhailov made an immediate double-take to her.

"You said she was a hacker, right?" Adonis asked with an unsure look.

There was a short pause of silence.

"I get the feeling that 'hacker' means something different in the Imperium," Medveditsa stated prior to taking a swig of water from her canteen.

"The word yer looking for is spiker," Nero explained the mix-up. "Hacking is another name for prison rape."

At that point Medveditsa almost choked on her water, spluttering to her side with surprise.

"You're fucking kidding, right?!" she chuckled afterward. "Dmitriyeva – a PRISON RAPIST!!!"

And with that, she erupted into a fit of laughter, clutching her side with her left hand as the others watched.

"Anyway, as I was saying, you don't ever want to underestimate a hacker, and especially not someone with Dmitriyeva's level of skill," Mikhailov continued the previous conversation amidst the racket. "There's a reason the Colonel took her under his wing despite her profound lack of fighting ability; I once saw her turn a smart toaster into an improvised explosive device with a power surge."

A thunderous clang resounded throughout the tent as the still mirthful Medveditsa fell off of the bed, now literally writhing with laughter on the floor.

"Oh, what a mental image..." she continued: "Watch out – there's a new brand of predator on the loose! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!"

"Wait a minute – she killed someone with a toaster?" Adonis' expression bore a blend of surprise and trepidation.

"Four someones, actually," Mikhailov corrected her. "During the Singaporean conflict."

At that moment Dmitriyeva and her panoply of equipment returned from the clearing where she had been, a huge grin on her face and a spring in her step.
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Imperium Sidhicum
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Founded: May 28, 2013

Postby Imperium Sidhicum » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:51 am

Sedek II
Outside Research Outpost 5

"Stay frosty, watch your step and don't shoot if you can help it," Olhon instructed the group as they were inching their way through the thick undergrowth, "But if you must, make damn sure the bastard's dead!"

"No need to tell me that twice," Rollins grumbled, rather unfondly remembering almost being fed to the viperwolves a mere hour ago and understandably being none too keen on repeating the experience out in the jungle.

"Darcy, your psionic input would be much appreciated about any approaching danger," the Judicator stated, using his holoblade to hack through the jungle.

"I... uhh..." the girl groaned from over Rollins's shoulder, drowsy and disoriented by the heavy dose of painkillers Siri had given her. Although Siri had taken her unaugmented human physiology into account and adjusted the dose accordingly, the medication was still designed for augmented physiology and was hitting the weedy girl rather hard.

"She's done enough already," Rollins protested, "She needs to rest."

"Each of us will have done enough when we are back on the ship safe and in one piece, Agent Rollins," Olhon stated sternly, "I know it's tough, but none of us can relax now."

"I...uh...will try..." Darcy stated weakly.

"Right... At least try. You've really been doing a great job today, and we need you!" Olhon softened his previous statement, tapping Darcy on the shoulder before Rollins could further object to his protegee being pushed too hard.

Finding the direction to where any survivors might assemble was easy enough, the group simply having to head towards the roar of fire and glare of flames. Because of the thick undergrowth, however, it was much easier said than done, and the scurrying in the shrubs and all sorts of roars and howls in the jungle behind indicated that they better pick up pace.

"I wanted to apologize, Agent Rollins," Olhon spoke as they made their way forward.

"For what?" the Frenk asked, walking some five paces behind and scanning the surroundings for any threats.

"For choosing the raptor over the wolves back in the holding pens," the Judicator said, "When that marine asked me to choose my form of death, I selfishly chose the pantheraptor because it would have killed me quickly, without considering that you would have to suffer being mauled slowly."

"For that?" Rollins chuckled, "No harm, no foul. Don't beat yourself up over it, Judicator. I cannot honestly claim I would necessarily have done otherwise."

"Nonetheless, I want you to know that in hindsight it doesn't sit well with me," Olhon said, "If there is one thing I have learned during my time in the Order under Serena's tutorship, it's the importance of self-sacrifice, even if it's just to buy a brother in arms an easier death."

"Heh, makes me wish all of the Abbess's disciples had taken that lesson to heart..." Rollins remarked.

"If you mean Alain, he did, perhaps more than any of us," Olhon sighed, "On a job, he would readily throw himself in the harm's way if it meant buying one of us an extra second, another little chance to succeed. But I guess every man, even a Judicator, can only endure so much before breaking, and what happened to Mildred Boughton was apparently the proverbial last straw for Alain."

"It sure seems very... over-the-top to go to such lengths to avenge a woman you have only known for what, a month?" Rollins remarked, "To put it mildly, no less."

"The way I see it, it's not about her nor ever was," Olhon explained, "This job, it fucks you up, slowly but steadily and certainly - you of all people should know that. When you come back after another day at work dealing with the worst that the universe can throw at you, all you really crave is some sense of normalcy, however temporary, and you really don't get picky about what or who provides that comfort. It allows you to keep your senses and sanity, keeps your world from collapsing entirely. But when some random asshole takes that away, however unintentionally - that's when you truly break down. Add the title of Judicator with all the accompanying skills included under that title, and a lifetime's worth of proper Sidh mindset that demands you take shit from nobody, and you get someone both able and willing to cause a clusterfuck of an interdimensional scale simply to get back."

"It sounds almost as if you are defending Alain's actions," Rollins noted.

"Alain's deeds and motives are not mine to judge. And you need not worry, Agent," Olhon stated sombrely, "If it falls upon me, I will do my duty as a Judicator even while Alain is still like a brother to me."

"Excuse my interruption, master, but I think we better step on it," Siri announced herself from behind, "There's something big headed our way!"

Indeed, the ruffling of leaves in the forest behind signified something large and most probably unpleasant approaching. Moments later, barks and yelps betrayed the identity of the pursuers.

"LEG IT!" Olhon shouted, dashing forwards as fast as the undergrowth would allow it, his holobladed hand almost disappearing in a bright flurry as he hacked through the twigs and vines at his best speed.

"We won't outrun them at this pace!" Rollins grumbled.

"Can't fight them in this undergrowth either," Olhon growled, struggling forwards.

"Master, they're here!" Siri cried out as the bushes on the forest floor began to shake, betraying the location of the approaching viperwolves.

"Fuck," Olhon cursed, turning back, "Get together back to back, put Darcy in the middle! The wolves will have to earn their dinner first!"

The four did as instructed, Siri and Olhon holding their Enforcers and holoblades up and ready, Rollins replacing his sidearm with a combat knife in his good arm, hardening his nanosuit for extra protection. Moments later, the wolves appeared.

Strangely enough, however, the viperwolf pack seemed entirely disinterested in attacking the group, even the wolf running straight for them dashing aside as it eluded a holoblade swipe by Olhon and disappearing into the undergrowth without even looking back, let alone making any effort to retaliate. All as one, the viperwolves disappeared in the forest ahead, towards the burning fallen tree where sporadic gunfire indicated at least some of the Blue Team and their reinforcements were still alive, leaving the Judicators and Frenks standing surprised.

"What the hell just happened?" Rollins was the first to speak out, having expected a fight for his life.

"Beats me," Olhon shrugged, "It looked almost as if they were..."

"...running from something," Siri came to the same conclusion.

"Hunger... sense trail... tracking..." Darcy suddenly started to mutter from below before suddenly snapping to a state of keen awareness, "We must move now, that thing is coming for us!"

"What did you sense?" Rollins questioned, lifting her back over his shoulder.

"I don't know... But it's big and definitely hungry!" the girl whined. An eerie roar some two hundred paces into the jungle confirmed that something much larger was indeed present close by.

"Well, I'm not staying around to find out!" Olhon said, returning to hacking the undergrowth with redoubled effort, "We're almost there!"


Moments later, the group exited the jungle into the clearing that surrounded what used to be the home-tree of Research Outpost 5. The place was surrounded by a tall fence with thick coils of oversized razor wire, apparently made especially to deter Sedekeen wildlife, with each of it's blades being the size of a knife. A stretch of land was kept clean of vegetation by herbicide sprinklers, a few towers with automated gun turrets apparently intended to keep away larger wildlife. Unfortunately, the towers seemed powered down after the destruction of the control center in the tree-lab. Further inside the perimeter stood a number of prefab garages and utility buildings. The tree itself had snapped off around 50 meters from the ground, the huge flaming stump towering over the compound, the burning trunk having fallen into the jungle towards the far end. All about the place was scattered the wreckage of the crashed Shadowhawk, a part of it conveniently having taken out a stretch of the perimeter fence on this side. Gunfire inside the compound near the tree indicated the survivors were already in contact with hostile wildlife.

The group made it's way inside, and indeed found about two dozen survivors fighting off a growing number of viperwolves, more arriving through breaches in the fence, members of different packs attackign each other at times as if battling over who was to have the lion's share of the coming feast.

"Keep going and don't stop for anything!" Olhon shouted, picking up pace and firing off his Enforcer, taking out a viperwolf that turned towards them, snarling viciously. Other nearby wolves from its pack reacted immediately, turning to attack the slayers of their pack-mate.

Rollins narrowly dodged a wolf jumping for his throat before another latched on to his hand, only his hardened nanosuit protecting him from the beast's crushing jaws. Moments later, the wolf's head was severed with a well-placed hew by Siri, who dispatched the other wolf by an Enforcer blast. Rollins in turn took out two more wolves in quick succession before Darcy fell from his shoulders and started to scream in horror, a wolf having grabbed her by the foot and now dragging her away. Before other beasts could join it and tear the girl apart, however, Olhon intervened, gunning down the audacious wolf and two others, the rest running off out of sight, yelping and growling angrily.

Before the wolves could regroup and return, the group finally met up with the survivors, who were entrenched behind stacks of crates and construction materials. A number of them were injured, both from this and the previous fight, and some 30 dead wolves on the ground before them indicated they had been busy for some time now.

"Jon!" Rachel cried out upon the sight of Rollins, running over to embrace him in relief, "You sure are a sight for sore eyes!"

"What's the status here?" Rollins inquired.

"There's 38 of us, you four included, some badly wounded," Rachel explained the situation, "I ordered the Russians to give the Sidh scientists weapons to fight off the beasts. These "viperwolves", as they call them, sure are relentless bastards!"

"Well, there's more where they came from," Olhon grinned, "I would strongly suggest calling for an evac now."

"Green Actual, this is Blue One, requesting immediate evac to transmission coordinates," Rollins finally took to the radio, "LZ is hot and we have multiple casualties! How copy?"

For now there was only static. While Rollins attempted to establish comms, gunfire renewed briefly as some wolves tried their luck to rush the improvised fortification again. For now, the viperwolves had withdrawn into a hemicircle around the encampment, staying in the shadows, but the growing numbers of glowing pairs of eyes in the dark indicated that they would muster enough courage for an all-out rush any time now.

Finally, the response came much to everybody's relief.

"Blue One, this is Green Actual, roger that. Deploying an evac shuttle to your location, ETA 15 minutes, stand by."

"15 MINUTES?! Excuse me, lady, but we will be wolf chow in five!" Rollins shouted angrily, "You get the craziest pilot you've got, get him now and make sure he gets here in less than that!"

"Heads up!" Harper shouted from further down the defense line while Rollins was busy engaging in a shouting match with the flight dispatcher aboard the Polunochnaya, "Looks like those wolf-things are coming again!"

Indeed, the wolves had finally mustered their courage and rushed at the defenders, but were strangely reluctant to attack them, appearing more to make evasive maneuvers than attack. The reason soon became apparent as three pantheraptors emerged from the dark with a mighty roar.

"Oh, great..." Olhon groaned at the sight.


What transpired in the next minutes was nothing short of a two-way massacre. The defenders initially attempted to focus their fire on the raptors, but with most of the weapons being small arms, they only seemed to succed in irritating the beasts even more. Thankfully, the wolves provided some distraction, fighting with the raptors. Others, however, turned their attention to the defending troops and scientists, and amidst all the gunfire, roars, yelps and growls, a horrified scream also sounded out every now and then as a viperwolf successfuly managed to grab a hold of a defender and drag him or her off into the darkness, where more horrifying screams were soon silenced by the growling and gnashing of a wolf pack.

Weakened by sustained gunfire, one of the pantheraptors eventually dropped to the ground and was overwhelmed by the wolves. The other two, however, successfuly repelled their small adversaries and turned their attention to the defenders, a handful of opportunistic wolves joining them at a safe distance. A scientist and two Chernodrakony fell eviscerated by a swipe of a massive paw with claws the size of bayonets, and a swing of the raptor's heavy armored tail sent Lieutenant Kameneva flying several meters backward. Before the raptor could pounce on her, it was distracted by her remaining men firing at it for everything they had. A wolf who had made it's way through the defenses, however, did not turn away and was upon her before the Lieutenant could stand back up.

Kameneva struggled and screamed as the snarling beast gnashed at her face, holding it back desperately as she tried to reach for her sidearm. However, the creature used it's second pair of legs to pin down her free arm. The wolf's rabidly frothing maw was inching closer to her face, and Kameneva braced for the inevitable, when the wolf suddenly flew off her, the familiar crack of a laser pistol and a pained yelp indicating someone had dispatched the beast.

She looked up to see Dr. Reven. The Sidh gazed down back at her, his expression ever stoic and unreadable. Then his gaze suddenly became focused and his hand began to raise the pistol he had been given.

"You traitorous bastard..." Kameneva uttered and grabbed for her machete, but a stomp of Reven's foot on her hand stopped it half-way before a shot cracked out. An instant later, the still twitching head of a viperwolf slumped on her shoulder, a strand of smoke rising from a cauterized hole in its forehead.

"You are welcome," Dr. Reven remarked dryly, stepping off of Kameneva's hand.

"I suppose I owe you one, Sidh," she said hesitantly, retrieving her rifle.

"You don't, Lieutenant," Reven shrugged, "I did not do it for you."

Meanwhile, the Judicators, Rachel and several scientists and Cazadores were busy fighting the other raptor. Although hitting a beast that size at this close of a range took no skill, most of the shots produced little if any injury, the pantheraptor's tough hide and subdermal armor plates absorbing most hits with ease, and the pain only managing to enrage it even more. Furthermore, the creature was surprisingly agile for it's size, as two Cazadores found out the hard way. One of the men strayed too close to the beast and had his weapon torn away from him along with both hands, the other rushing to his aid and both being slammed into the nearby crate with lethal force by a bone-crushing swing of tail. The raptor then lashed out, snatching up a careless scientist, grabbing the screaming woman in it's jaws and thrashing her violently before throwing her overhead, where the wolves would proceed to devour her. Aware of the pantheraptor's weaknesses, Olhon and Siri managed to land a few injurious shots near the beast's breathing holes close to the first set of shoulders. However, the monstrous carnivore required a lot more than mere plasma burns to it's equivalent of nostrils to be taken down, and only grew more agitated. A swipe of the tail sent Olhon and Rollins reeling, although their powered armor suits absorbed the brunt of the blow. Rachel, wearing no heavy armor, was force to keep her distance. Siri, however, was knocked down before managing to dodge the return swipe. Triumphantly roaring, the raptor would press her to the ground, rising up for the killing bite, when a mighty force slammed in it's side.

"Hold on, tank lady, Vasya gonna save ya!" the familiar Ork roared as he shouldered the pantheraptor off of Siri, shoving it aside with all his might and swinging his machinegun like a club with his remaining arm into the beast's face. The raptor's reaction however prowed faster, the creature simply snatching the gun out of Vasya's grip with it's jaws and flinging it away before turning back to the ork with a vengeance, lifting the creature up and thrashing it violently before throwing Vasya aside. A human or even a lower-tier Sidh would likely have been killed instantly by such thrashing, but the ork with his robust physiology survived it, if only barely. That brought Siri enough time to get back on her feet and fall back out of the raptor's reach.

Just as the pantheraptor was about to turn its attention back to Siri, an unexpected aid arrived with a cat-like mewl, a six-legged figure the size of a large dog landing from above between Siri and the giant beast. It was the baby pantheraptor that had somehow survived the destruction of the laboratory, now challenging the much bigger adult raptor in her defense.

The adult pantheraptor seemed a bit confused, leaning towards the baby. The two beasts exchanged gazes and rubbed muzzles before the adult finally turned away and took off into the darkness, the baby following close in tow after giving one last gaze to dumbstruck Siri. Only now she noticed a wounded Harper collapse to the ground in exhaustion, her extended hand still pointing towards the retreating raptors, and realized the psyker had probably played one of her mind-tricks on the beasts.

That still left another raptor and an indeterminate number of viperwolves to deal with, however. Judging by how things were going, the odds were increasingly shifting in favour of the wildlife, the third raptor having in the meantime killed or maimed another four men despite being badly injured and bleeding, wolves having snatched and devoured another and two wounded. The survivors were pulling back ever closer to the tree, their backs already hot from the blaze behind - in the thick Sedekeen atmosphere, fires were started easily and burned more violently.

"And here I was, imagining that I'd die of old age in a nice cozy apartment somewhere in New Rome..." Rollins grumbled, exchanging looks with Olhon as he loaded the last mag in his pistol.

"Better now than when you're old enough to need help to reach the toilet in time," Olhon jested back, ceasing fire momentarily to let his Enforcer vent and cool down a bit.

"This is it..." Rachel uttered with no small amount of despair as another four pantheraptors emerged from the dark jungle.

An instant later, however, the encroaching beasts were startled by the roar of dropship engines before the report of a Gatling laser announced the arrival of rescue, a pulsating beam slicing into the first pantheraptor's side as it moved in on the cornered defenders. With a mighty roar, the mortally wounded beast fell while the laser beam continued probe the ground, targeting the wolves. Some of them were lasered in two while others were set on fire by near misses, burning brightly as they ran and howled in pain and terror.

"Peley!" Rachel cried out in joy as she noticed the Mechanomancer himself inside the descending shuttle, manning the door gun.

"Who else did you expect, fucking Santa Claus?!" Peley bellowed over the engine roar in his usual mood, "Will you bunch get your asses over here, or do I need to send a written invitation to each of you!? This damn shuttle is running on fumes as it is!"

The shuttle did not fully touch down, hovering about a meter off-ground, the survivors rushing to it with all due haste, Peley keeping the beasts at bay with his door gun. Even so, a few wolves managed to sneak their way around the craft and snatch a Cazador literally paces from safety, dragging the poor man away before anyone could rush to rescue, more wolves blocking the path of any who wanted to. Olhon was the last to get in, a viperwolf jumping and almost latching on his foot as the shuttle took off, the Judicator promptly sending the audacious beast back to its proper place with a hard kick to the snout.

"How many of you are there?" Peley inquired after the shuttle's doors were closed and it picked up speed.

After running a quick count, only 16 out of the initial 38 had made it out alive, most of them injured. The mission to Research Outpost 5 was a complete bust by any standard, and even if Alain had lost a good bunch of his marines, the casualties suffered by the Polunochnaya crew were very even to his losses. The survivors could only hope that Gold and Red teams would be having a better luck.
Freedom doesn't mean being able to do as one please, but rather not to do as one doesn't please.

A fool sees religion as the truth. A smart man sees religion as a lie. A ruler sees religion as a useful tool.

The more God in one's mouth, the less in one's heart.


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