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GENESIS 2089 [Post-Cyberpunk PMT | OPEN] [IC]

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4444
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

GENESIS 2089 [Post-Cyberpunk PMT | OPEN] [IC]

Postby Forest State » Thu May 13, 2021 8:40 am

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This is the IC thread for Genesis 2089. If you are interested, please check out the OOC thread link above for the full information about the world as well as the application.


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don't tread on me

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Sao Nova Europa
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1663
Founded: Apr 20, 2019
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Sao Nova Europa » Thu May 13, 2021 12:44 pm

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President Tao Gengxin attends Beijing Economic Forum

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Preside Tao Gengxin attended the annual Beijing Economic Forum, which has been dubbed by international analysts as the 'Chinese Davos'. In his speech, the President announced measures to support Chinese start-ups and his desire to reform and strengthen the public education system. "My vision of China," he stated, "is that of an open, forward-looking country that is at the forefront of innovation. We cannot allow our country to fall behind, to stagnate. We need instead to support and encourage innovation and progress."

"China is home to many young, bright entrepreneurs with groundbreaking ideas that could very well dominate the world market. We need to support those entrepreneurs and their innovative start-ups, so that one day some of them can become global financial leaders. My administration has developed a comprehensive 'Support Chinese Entrepreneurs' agenda, based on plans drafted by some of the best economists of China. At the top of this agenda is to provide new start-ups with direct grants of CN¥32,000 (US$5,000). This will be an one-off payment that deals with the major problem entrepreneurs have; the lack of cash to launch their start-up."

"Secondly, the China Development Bank shall provide over the next ten years over CN¥640bn (US$100bn) worth of loans to entrepreneurs with a low interest rate of 1%. This will allow entrepreneurs to have a steady flow of cash to develop their start-ups. Thirdly, we will be implementing tax reforms. Chinese start-ups will have to pay no tax for their first year of operation and only half the standard taxation in their second year. This reform aims to give start-ups the time to flourish before they can begin to contribute to the national budget."

"After discussions with the mayors of major cities, we've also come up with a plan to deal with the problem of space. While the rapid digitization of the economy means that physical space is no longer the concern it was in the past, it can still be a necessity - and a hurdle - for some start-ups. The 'Space Sharing Scheme' will be a platform for owners of revitalized industrial buildings and commercial buildings to contribute floor space for the operation of co-working spaces or studios. Under the scheme, the floor space will be either operated by the property owners themselves, or provided to a non-government organization at a rent of no more than one-third of the prevailing market rent. The operator will then offer co-working spaces or studios at a concessionary rent of no more than half of the comparable market rent."

"While I am a firm believer in supporting Chinese entrepreneurship, I also understand that supporting start-ups alone is not enough for China to remain at the forefront of innovation: I believe that having a skilled, highly-trained and well-educated workforce is vital for a healthy market. Only a strong and competent public education system can produce such a workforce. We need to have a real discussion about reforms in our educational system, to prepare our children for the economy of the future, the economy of Synths and space colonization. We need less generalized knowledge and more technical education that will allow children to acquire the necessary skillsets to survive and thrive in that new environment. This requires increased funding for school infrastructure, hiring more and better educated teachers, changes in the school curricula, even expanding school hours.”

The financial press has praised the President for his speech and the Chinese public has also reacted enthusiastically. Many in China believe that this bold financial agenda will give Chinese entrepreneurs the edge over their Western competitors.





Tao Gengxin was at his office. His large desk was made from polished, ornately carved dark wood; a computer and other electronic equipment were on top of it and the desk was accompanied by a leather chair. Shelves filled with rare, old books lined three walls and the remaining wall was glass. One of the walls also had file cabinets built into it, not noticeable at first glance. Gengxin was seated on the chair and sipping a glass of brandy when the door knocked.

"Come in," he said. He knew who had knocked the door: his National Security Advisor, Zhao Chang. A former Major General of the People's Liberation Army and a veteran of the war against India, he had recently retired. When Gengxin became President, Chang accepted the office of National Security Advisor offered to him by the President.

"President," Chang greeted Gengxin with a formal military salute. "I assume you've asked me to come here about the situation in Peru?"

"Indeed," Gengxin nodded. The President and Chang had been discussing about the Marxist insurrection in Peru for some time. It offered the perfect opportunity to extend Chinese influence in the Americas and to challenge the Occidental System. However, Gengxin was cautious about how to advance as he did not want China to become openly embroiled in the conflict there. "The benefits outweigh the costs. By supplying with cash, arms and mercenaries the rebels, we can keep the conflict going. I doubt the rebels can topple the regime, but if they can keep the insurrection going, we can force the Americans to pour more resources and men in Peru. This will weaken their influence elsewhere and allow us to challenge them in the Pacific."

"I agree," Chang replied. "My own analysis concurs with yours that the rebels are unlike to succeed in toppling the government, but that they are very likely to succeed in extending the conflict. We can also use the opportunity for a twofold PR campaign. Images of any atrocities - real or staged - will produce global outcry and turn public opinion against the Americans. At the same time, a failure by the Americans to defeat quickly the insurgents will deal a blow to the prestige of their armed forces and the confidence of their allies. As the war will drag on, people will start to wonder how capable the American military really is."

"I want the whole operation to be done discreetly. We shall be using shell corporations to funnel cash, weapons and hire mercenaries to support the rebels. This will allow us to deny any involvement and place any blame on private actors acting out of their own volition. Publicly, China's position will be that we support dialogue between all parties for the formational of a national unity government and a peaceful resolution to the conflict. I plan to be addressing the Central Military Commission soon to finalize the details of the plan. The time has come to deal a blow to the West."
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"I’ve just bitten a snake. Never mind me, I’ve got business to look after."
- Guo Jing ‘The Brave Archer’.

“In war, to keep the upper hand, you have to think two or three moves ahead of the enemy.”
- Char Aznable

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
- Sun Tzu

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Sao Nova Europa
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1663
Founded: Apr 20, 2019
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Sao Nova Europa » Thu May 13, 2021 2:27 pm

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President Tao Gengxin - in a top secret meeting - addressed the Central Military Commission. The CMC - with Gengxin as its Chairman - was comprised by the Minister of National Defense Yang Kang, the Chief of Joint Staff General Guo Jing, the Director of the CMC Political Work Department Admiral Liao Wei, and the Secretary of the CMC Commission for Discipline Inspection Air Force General Cao Zexi. The CMC was the top military body of China and all military decisions had to be approved by it.

"Gentlemen," the President spoke, "the situation in Peru presents us with an unique opportunity, one that we may not come across any time soon. An opportunity to strike a decisive blow at the heart of American imperialism. The people of Peru have risen up against their tyrannical regime and fly the banner of Mao, the venerable father of our People's Republic. We cannot let them down. We have to come to their aid. By supporting the rebels against the tyrannical Peruvian regime, we will not be doing simply the moral and decent thing; we will also be doing the smart thing."

"The Americans will be forced to pour more resources and men as the war will drag on. Their image of superiority will be tarnished, their armed forces humiliated as the enemy will remain undefeated. American prestige will suffer. Allies will question America's ability to protect them. The Occidental System will be forced to make Peru their top priority. With Americans fully focused there, we will be able to undermine methodically their influence in the Pacific; for control of the Pacific is the first step in dismantling the American imperialist structure and building a New World Order with China as the new Hegemon."

"That's why I will be authorizing 'Operation Red Devil'. We will be supplying leftover weapons and funneling cash to the rebels through shell corporations. We will also be using those corporations to indirectly hire private mercenaries to fight in Peru against the regime and prop up the rebel forces. General Guo Jing, you shall be in charge of the operation. I can assure you that you shall have at your disposal whatever resources you need. The Ministry of Finance shall be setting aside a special fund to support this operation."

"Gentlemen, this is your time. The time to make history. The time to shape the destiny of this world. The time to dismantle American hegemony and bring about a new age of Chinese dominance. China was for centuries the dominant power in the world. The imperialists in the 19th century exploited our weaknesses and humiliated us. Now it's time to take back our rightful place! That of the world's hyperpower!"
Last edited by Sao Nova Europa on Fri May 14, 2021 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Signature:

"I’ve just bitten a snake. Never mind me, I’ve got business to look after."
- Guo Jing ‘The Brave Archer’.

“In war, to keep the upper hand, you have to think two or three moves ahead of the enemy.”
- Char Aznable

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
- Sun Tzu

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Lunas Legion
Post Czar
 
Posts: 30408
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Fri May 14, 2021 8:05 am

Colonel Cheng Huo
4th January 2089
Ngari Gunsa Airport, Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China


Ngari Gunsa Airport was not somewhere Colonel Cheng Huo wished to be. Inside the old airport buildings might have been tolerable with the heating, but he had been given explicit orders by his superior that he was to keep his presence within the hybrid airport-airbase to a minimum. The less people within the base his presence had to be explained to, the better. The less people that knew about the foreigners, well, his presence was far, far more easily explainable than theirs.

Didn't make it much easier to bear the cold as he shivered in the unheated hanger, only visible in the slight trembling of his shoulders beneath his greatcoat, fighting the urge to curl his lip in distaste as looked them over. Mercenaries. Soldiers who didn't even fight for something with meaning, only ever out for simple human greed. A simple motive, exploitable, and most importantly, in this case, deniable. That the People's Republic of China had a large bounty on Jahaan Bhuta's head was common knowledge among mercenaries, assassins and bounty hunters, or so the intelligence officer that had handed all this off to him had said before washing his hands of all this and scarpering like a slippery coward. That some would, eventually, manage to claim the bounty was a certainty.

That the People's Republic of China had aided in the claiming of it was not. It did not matter if everyone knew it was them, if there was not any proof of it.

"Jahaan Bhuta is a slippery man." He began in lightly accented English, a holographic screen lighting up behind them with Jahaan's battered, aged face. He did not look like a particularly impressive man. "China prides itself on its safety and security. This man was able to outwit all of it, and escape its reach until now. You all know what we've contracted you to do, so I won't bother explaining it." Instead of sending in their own people. Huo understood why, the deniability of it, but also the risks. The New Delhi Exclusion Zone was... Not exactly an ideal place to send a special forces team into without precise intelligence of Jahaan's location, without a reliable means of exfiltration back to China. Mercenaries could do the latter easier, and the former, well, the former was their problem.

The screen changed, and Huo flicked a brief glance at it, a satellite shot of a grey-brown splotch in a sea of green. New Delhi, or what was left of it. "A SIGINT intercept between a Afghan opium lord also hiding within the Zone and his operations back in Afghanistan provided the first indication that Jahaan was hiding within the Zone, a more detailed investigation confirming the movement of a small number of members of the Bharatiya Vyhagra into the ZOne over the past few weeks following a prison break along with increased activity in general noticed by the Zone's automated quarantine systems. The Zone is not easy to enter or exit, so he will be remaining there for the foreseeable future. The difficult issue is that we don't know exactly where in the Zone he and his followers are."

"But I'm confident that you'll be able to overcome that hurdle." Huo continued. "Jahaan is still a man, not a synth. He must eat and drink and sleep, and in the Zone such necessities are rare. My advice? Follow the food and water. Shelter's... More difficult, but I imagine at least some of the locals can be bribed or threatened to help point you in the right direction. We'll be providing Geiger counters and protective equipment if you wish, and a Y-35 stealth aircraft has been made available if you wish to be airdropped into the Zone. I must advise against doing so if you lack experience of HAHO paradrops, as you will be being airdropped at night. And I'm sure none of you wish to land accidentally in a hot zone or kill yourselves in the paradrop." He smiled thinly. "Any questions?"
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Estanica
Political Columnist
 
Posts: 3
Founded: May 02, 2021
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Estanica » Fri May 14, 2021 11:25 pm

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CHAPTER I

"Big Game Hunt"

___________________________________________________________________

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
NEW YEARS EVE, DECEMBER 31ST, 2088
___________________________________________________________________

The eternal death march of time continued onwards, and mankind stumbled in its efforts to keep up with its master.

The muffled sound of distant fireworks crackling and popping was a small ambience in the back of Sebastian's mind, who sat alone in his office, unperturbed by the celebrations, even as the clock neared midnight. His crew were out at some club partying, but he always preferred to spend his new years alone.

He took another swig of what the locals called hondebier; awful, processed shit that tasted more like chemical runoff than actual alcohol, but it got the job done. He could've treated himself to something slightly better if he wanted to, but even now, thirty years after his lowest point in poverty, frugality still got the best of him. His liver would come to curse him later on.

On his office wall, an analog clock ticked. Tick, tick, tick, ticking to twelve. It was a neat little vintage piece, even if it was practically useless. He got it last year from a Johannesburg client who so happened to be a collector of antiquated things from all the back to the 1970s and 1980s, as a token of their gratitude. It was an unusual gesture, to say the least. Clients for mercenary companies didn't really care about giving gifts and thank-yous and such to their contractors, they just wanted the business done, minimal talking, no bullshit. Especially not over the sort of job he hired them for.

Sebastian took another swig; his lip curled in disgust. His own fucking daughter, he thought. Another swig.

"Turn on the window," Sebastian ordered. Next to his desk, a plain black glass faded out into an image of South Africa's greatest city. it was a glimmering sea of lights and vivid moving colors, vast and ever changing. In the distance, the skyline of New Downtown lorded above the city atop Table Mountain. Gargantuan skyscrapers reached up into a black, starless expanse. And above even them, fireworks bursted into another theater of light in the shapes of lions, eagles, elephants, and all other manner of long dead creatures.

"Thank you, Cezanne," Sebastian said.

"You are most welcome, Mr. Villacrés." She was a decent model, more responsive and less prone to misinterpreting orders than last generation, but then, Sebastian could actually afford her. Most of Cape Town's residents had to settle for cheaper and older model Isabellas and Otanis. In the poorer neighborhoods, some people didn't even *have* virtual assistants.

Sebastian looked to the clock again. It was almost time; one minute remained of 2088. He didn't know how to read it, but the second hand was ever so slowly making its way across the clock face. The hour and minute hand had almost arrived. The world neared its completion of yet another orbit. And all the little creatures upon it held their breath.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock.

Tick...

...Tock? Sebastian thought. But there was none. The office was silent.

Mere seconds from reaching its destination, the second hand had frozen in its tracks. The near-century old clock died, worn down by the very age that it dedicated itself to.

A bright magenta light suddenly blasted itself across Sebastian's eyes. Cezanne's pretty, disembodied face came to greet him from the ceiling projector.

"Mr. Villacrés, a visitor has arrived at your door," she said with a courteous smile.

"Did they tell you what they want?" Sebastian asked, immediately sitting up from his slump. Suspicions arose in his mind. The OSA, perhaps? Fuckers might've found him at last.

"Unfortunately not," Cezanne answered. "But-"

Sebastian set his drink down. "Tell them to piss off and go hire some hookers instead, it's New Years."

"-but they say they are from the Chinese Communist Party. They are requesting your presence, Mr. Villacrés."

The CCP. Hm. Well, it should be interesting, at the very least.

Sebastian sighed. "Okay, fine then. Maybe they've taken pity on an old terrorist like me and are offering asylum. Tell them I'll be right there."

* * *

The sounds of distant celebration and music flooded Sebastian's ears as the door opened to the year 2089. Above the skyline of Table Mountain, a massive firework engulfed the entire night sky with images of wildlife standing triumphant, bringing them to life one more time before they were forgotten to the annals of history yet again.

That was not Sebastian's concern at the moment. What was of concern was the stern faced Chinese agent wearing all black in front of him, eyeing him down.

"You are Sebastian Villacrés?" the man asked.

"Yes, I am. What is it?"

"We have need of your company's services, Mr. Villacrés. Take this." The agent handed Sebastian a tablet. "We expect a response no later than tomorrow evening."

Sebastian raised a brow. "If you're looking for a contract, we're going to need more time to-"

"Do not speak of our meeting to anyone but your co-workers. This is a warning." The agent bowed, and faded back into the streets of Cape Town.

Quick, blunt, and to the point; your average client, Sebastian thought. He sighed. We need more clock collectors.

___________________________________________________________________

NGARI GUNSA AIRPORT, TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
JANUARY 4TH, 2089
___________________________________________________________________


The trip to Tibet was long and uncomfortable for everyone. That was fine; he was used to long and uncomfortable trips all across the world. He remembered one time back in 2069, after blowing the head off the deputy mayor of a Panamanian town, he lost contact with his extractor; so, in order to escape the local authorities, he paid a garbage collector to smuggle him to the Colombian border, who hid him in the back of his garbage truck. But he couldn't just immediately drive over there, he had to work his way across the country processing trash. So for a little over a month Sebastian was stuck wallowing in the most putrid filth imaginable without ever seeing the light of day.

But this trip wasn't that sort of uncomfortable; it wasn't the griminess that Sebastian he was used to. On the contrary, his plane was clean and sterile, and everything was all neatly organized and arranged. It was the sheer uniformity and strictness of everything on the plane that unnerved him. From the secret agents on board, to the plane AI, even the fucking toilets were like they were made for synths. Even the littlest amount of small talk with his crew was cracked down on.

But finally, after what felt took like weeks, they arrived at Ngari Gunsa Airport. A few words and orders were exchanged as they were hastily led off of the plane.

"Colonel Cheng Huo will be arriving shortly. You will wait here," one of the agents told them, before walking off.

"Christ man, about fucking time we got off that porcelain tube," Julio grumbled under his breath. Julio was a special operator in Salvation Shield Services before he left, specializing in demolitions and explosives. He was always a bit of a problem child, like Sebastian; apparently he tried to blow up his uncle's house with an IED when he was living in a favela in Rio. Unlike Sebastian, though, he actually got caught; three years for "attempted vandalism".

"This place isn't much better," Marcela added, "and it's just as fucking cold, Jesus Cristo..." Marcela was the techie specialist of the Villacrés Five, as well as the resident jury rigger and engineer. For most of her life though, she had been addicted to drugs, particularly cocaine and opium that almost led to her getting kicked out of SSS before finally leaving on her own. She'd always been dealing with some serious shit mentally. Sebastian never pried too deep.

"They still eat dog around here?" Carvallo snorted under his breath before getting flicked in the ear by his sister, Valerie. "Knock that shit off, Carv. You know that's not funny." Both of them were the runts of the pack. They were on the streets for years after a fire in Salvador burned down their neighborhood and took their mother and aunt with it. They turned to some heinous shit to get by; murder, robbery, blackmail, dog-fighting, if it was on the menu, they'd gladly serve it to get a few more scraps. Still, they were the best goddamn snipers Sebastian had ever worked with.

If there's at least one thing that united them all, it's that they all got fucked over in life, and in the process fucked over other people before being fucked over by the biggest fuckers of them all; Salvation Shield Services. They had specifically recruited from Brazil's lowest to serve as their wage slave soldiers, knowing that with their grisly reputation, extremely restrictive long term contracts and the lack of any other potential jobs for them to take, they were effectively bound to SSS until the end of their short and dangerous lives. Sebastian had known a lot of people like him that joined SSS; poor, often criminals on the run, with few other directions in life to take. Most of them got churned through SSS in extremely dangerous contracts and then spat back out as mangled corpses, before the recruiters went back out to gather up some more desperate slum rats to use as cannon fodder. Sebastian recognized that quickly, and knowing his reputation in the company as a professional fighter and not just another slave soldier, when he of all people made a stink, that sent a ripple effect through the company that crippled it; possibly permanently.

It was then that the colonel had finally arrived; Sebastian motioned his crew to stand up in line. Together, they listened to the briefing intently. They heard briefings like this many times before, just from less reputable mouths and not from Chinese army officers. None of them, however, had been through an exclusion zone. They heard of the shit that goes on in places like that, but not the full extent.

Sebastian raised his chin. "What sort of hazards are we expected to face in the NDEZ? I want to get the full picture of what we might be dealing with, aside from our friend Jahaan and his goons."

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The Empire of Tau
Minister
 
Posts: 2398
Founded: Dec 19, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Empire of Tau » Sat May 15, 2021 8:54 pm

Peru is engulfed in the flames of revolution and the world starts to watch. All the General Staff members for the Liberation of Peru have come together, either in person or by secured long-range comms, to discuss the actions that are to be done within a few hours and then days. The great game of Peru has started, and the players have been set. And so, the game beings and our players will set forth the opening moves.

Within a bunker, somewhere in the depths of Peru, Hipólito sits among his fellow revolutionaries. The time is twelve o'clock, exactly mid-day. There is general agreement surrounding a general plan of action. The revolution needs to be swift and fast in the opening days or else the United States will take the initiative. Directly across the table, opposite of where Hipólito is seated is General Milagros. He currently holds the discussion, going over the general plan before the general staff goes into the finer details of the operation at hand.

“Let's make sure that we all understand the plan. We have to take the initiative. In the following hours and the next few days, connecting our lands will be our prime target. If we can take the jungles then we gain major political and strategic value to our cause. Again, we have to be fast. It won’t be long before U.S forces are moved in and protests are broken up by government police. Gentlemen and ladies, this is our finest hour,” Milagros states with a heavy and serious tone to his voice. The current climate is extremely tense. The revolution has been boiling for over a year now, and things have now just started to get more intense and violent. A new stage of revolution has entered and that stage was open-warfare.

With the general overview of action understood, Hipólito (the acting chairperson of the general staff) speaks on his ideas on how to wrestle land from the government first. Taking a deep breath, Hipólito leans himself over the map on the table; a map displaying the whole of Peru and its important locations. “Our greatest asset right now is disinformation. We need to keep government forces in the dark on our real movements and intent of plan and action. We cannot march on Lima right now. If we do then we’ll be defeated easily. Here is what I suggest. We need to make government forces think that we will be launching a large assault onto the upper-coast cities, especially on Cajamarca and onward to Chiclayo,” Hipólito stops for just a few moments to take a quick drink of water and to catch his breath.

“We have hopes that the government will focus their attention on the false attack and redirect forces there to stop it. Those cities, while not as big as Lima, are still major government strongholds. If we were to take them then that would weaken government control over the nation. Remember, we need to feed false info to the government and hide our movements,” Hipólito stops again to drink. After, the man looks around the room. Everyone appears to be extremely focused and listening to the details.

“If our intel department does well then government forces should take the bait. To increase the false image of a major assault, shelling and probing attacks should be done to ensure government belief. I will handle the logistics of the build-up for our operations. With my logistical skills, it should just take a few days to move enough supply and men to the front. Milagros will be the main leader for the assault on the middle-lands once we are ready to commit. You will also hand-pick those who will be responsible for the false attacks on the upper coast. If everything goes to plan then we will have more land in our hands by the end of the week or so. For my final remarks, the protests will be also vital to our operations. Some of you will be responsible for agitating and indirectly pushing the protesters to attack government and military infrastructure. We have hopes that this will also weaken the defenses of the capital,” Hipólito finishes as he looks about the room again.

“Gentlemen and ladies...Godspeed.”
Last edited by The Empire of Tau on Sun May 16, 2021 9:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Rodez
Diplomat
 
Posts: 770
Founded: Oct 18, 2016
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Rodez » Sat May 15, 2021 9:46 pm

NGARI GUNSA AIRPORT, TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
JANUARY 4TH, 2089



Maj. Bashir Semayel



A light thud reverberated up through the floor as the plane touched down gently onto the tarmac. Bashir gazed out the horizontal cabin-length window and watched the buildings of the airport flash by in a grey blur. Gradually the plane began to slow, and the blur rendered itself into unremarkable rows of hangers and terminals. Here and there were scatterings of Chinese airmen going about their duties. At the edge of the base was a fence pockmarked at intervals with guard towers; the soldiers who manned them with gauss rifles and machine guns were a stark reminder that having signed this contract, Bashir had better hold up his end.

The airbase itself could have been any base, anywhere, although the brilliant white mountains that cradled it in every direction begged to differ. Bashir was reminded of Pakistan and immediately tried to suppress that memory. Pakistan had not been a pleasant trip.

Isn't that my life, though? Bashir thought. One difficult trip after another. Most in service of an ancient monarchy he had now come to despise. This one, though, was for the revolution that was now brewing in the Arab world. Maybe that would make it a little more fulfilling. Bashir doubted it.

He was jolted out of his reverie by one of the trio of CCP agents that had accompanied his secret flight out of Kirkuk. If the Saudis had wanted to make a statement about Chinese activity in their sphere of influence, they could have shot their little plane out of the Iraqi sky without much trouble. They hadn't, though. Whatever this thing was with Jahaan Bhuta, it must go to the highest levels of government, Bashir decided.

"We land. Time to go." One of the CCP goons beckoned to him.

Bashir grabbed his duffel and was hustled out onto the tarmac, where a young officer in combat fatigues escorted him to the entrance of one of the nondescript hangers. "Inside," the lieutenant ordered.

Bashir took a moment to brush whatever remnants of Iraqi sand still clung to his attire, which was as inconspicuous as possible: jeans and a grey windbreaker. He ran a finger habitually over his neat mustache, grimaced. Then he stepped through the door.

Six seats were set out in front of a holographic screen; five were taken. Bashir plopped down into the last chair and glanced over at the other mercs who presumably had also accepted the contract to hunt Bhuta. They looked to all be working together, which for something like this was both advantageous and extremely risky. Bashir guessed that most were of a vaguely Latin American extraction, though he couldn't figure where. No matter - I doubt we are going to be friends.

A Chinese colonel who seemed to be running the op began the briefing shortly after - the screen lighting up with Bhuta's war-weary visage. Bashir felt a little silly standing with the other mercs, but he was uninterested in being difficult right about now.

The colonel wrapped up his briefing, which was mercifully brief and to the point. "Any questions?" His humorless smile did not make Bashir feel any better about taking this job.

Bashir held his tongue for the moment. One of the mercs, whom he guessed was their leader, spoke up. It was a fair question, but also one without a good answer. How can anyone know what goes on in a fucking exclusion zone? I wonder if New Delhi will be anything like Lahore.

Probably, it will be infinitely worse, he decided cheerfully.
Formerly known as Mesrane (Mes), now I'm back
Joined April 2014

Go Cubs, Go!

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Madrinpoor
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1324
Founded: Dec 01, 2020
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Madrinpoor » Sun May 16, 2021 8:02 am

Madre de Dios River,
Peru
19:07


Image


They shouldn't have called the river the "Mother of God". "Mother of Death" would be a much better name. A vicious battle had been going on here since morning over control of the Madre de Dios river—an important way in for Brazilian arms, and the only stop until they reached the town of Puerto Maldonado—the rest of the Peruvian Amazon was theirs from that point. Corporal Oriél Caudillo, of the marxist Peruvian People's Army (EPP), led his squadron—one of three—on a charge across the river an hour ago. The other two squadrons didn't help, and it failed disastrously. The Peruvian government is keeping them pinned down now, with Caudillo's number drastically reduced.

____


"Keep loading!" Caudillo yelled, as his men loaded and fired a portable plasma rocket across the river. Plasma rockets were good—the shells devastated the (albeit small) blast area, and burned through anything—no plasma-proof vests had been invented. They were expensive though, and dangerous; if they were hit by an enemy shell, the people manning the gun were dead in seconds. Caudillo's squadron, Squadron 13, nicknamed the Red Jackets, had found one by luck in a camp they raided, and this was the first time they were testing it out. They were rapidly running out of shells, however...

"The cannon's stuck," Sebastian, Caudillo's second in command and the one loading the cannon, said with worry. "The shells just won't go in. Something's blocking them. I think it's jammed."

"Damn fancy technology," Caudillo muttered. "Did you try emptying the loading chamber?"

"Oh, I forgot to take out the thing jamming the cannon. Sorry about that." Sebastian said sarcastically. "Of course I tried! If I could take it out then the cannon would work."

"Try taking the barrel entirely off like you'd do to clean it and see if something's there." Caudillo said.

"In the middle of a battle? The only reason we aren't dead up here by their shells is because we are shelling them. If we stop, we die!"

"Then find a way to fix it! You're the one who broke it!"

"I didn't break it! If anyone broke it, it was probably Pablo!" Sebastian said, referring to the other gunner.

"I did nothing! I'm just aiming!" Pablo said. "Don't blame me for you being bad at using guns!"

"Find a way to fix it! I heard from Urrea, the corporal of Squadron 19—they're running out of ammo, and they're going to charge. The Americans will get here soon, they're on their way from bombing Cusco. We need to be across that river by the time. You need to shell the other bank as we charge, or the river will become the Madre de Mierda when all of this hits the fan." Caudillo said.

Suddenly, he heard a massive explosion from right above him—a shell exploded on the top of the short cliffside to his back, raining dust and dirt all over them.
A man tumbled down off the cliff too, wearing a dusty red jacket and clutching a machine gun.

"Hey corporal," he said, smiling despite the fact he had fallen nine feet after a shell knocked him off a cliff.

"Guillermo?" Caudillo asked in surprise. "I thought you were dead!"

"Nah, I just ran back into the woods instead of down to the river when they shot the three people next to me at the same time." Guillermo said. "And then they shelled me. But I'm fine! They can't shell worth beans."

"Let's hope so," said Caudillo, "Sebastian broke the plasma cannon."

"I didn't!" Sebastian yelled.

"Are we charging again?" Guillermo asked, ignoring Sebastian.

"I think Urrea will, because he's losing too much ammo in this standoff and the Americans will be back from Cusco soon. But if we do, we lose half our squadron. We definitely need a miracle." Said Caudillo wistfully. He might just die on this riverbank.

Suddenly, Caudillo heard a yell. "They're coming! The Americans!" All his soldiers turned and watched as five planes flew towards their riverbank, dropping shells either into the jungle or into the river, not hitting the EPP troops on the skinny river-cliff.

"Ha!" Guillermo yelled at the planes. "Stupid Americans! You can't shell worth beans!"

"They're coming back around." Sebastian said, worriedly. "They might miss us the first time, but they'll hit us eventually. Urrea has some Anti-air grenade launchers, but I doubt it's enough."

As Sebastian said that, explosions could be distantly heard, and fires could be seen from the EPP lines. The planes were hitting now.

"We need to retreat. Now." Caudillo said to his men, urgently.

"Retreat?" Sebastian asked.

"If we don't, then we die. We lost too many men. Back into the jungle and regroup, and await out orders from the command." Caudillo said.

"I joined this to fight! Not run!" Sebastian protested.

The planes got louder, and came closer.

"This is an order Sebastian. RETREAT!" he yelled to his men, as they ran back into the forest. He commed the other corporals. "Retreating men now. Too many casualties from failed river crossing, can't sustain more, get back into the forest and regroup."

The only way they could win this war was by surviving.
____
Last edited by Madrinpoor on Sun May 16, 2021 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lunas Legion
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Mon May 17, 2021 6:32 am

Colonel Cheng Huo
4th January 2089
Ngari Gunsa Airport, Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China


"I can only give intelligence estimates on what to expect within the NDEZ itself; it's not exactly been a high-priority for intelligence gathering operations, given its... Nature." Huo said, almost apologetically. "For certain, there is the 'Exclusion Zone' part of what you will need to deal with. On infiltration or exfiltration from the Zone overland, you'll have to pass through the Indian Army's perimeter. The troops stationed there are mostly restricted to checkpoints at the outer edge of the Zone, beyond where unwanted exposure to radiation could provoke mutiny at the supposed 'death sentence' of the posting. Should be easy to avoid. More problematic would be the rest of the means of enforcing the quarantine; air-dropped minefields and sentry guns. How... Operational the latter are is debatable, as we don't know how well maintained they are."

"Moving into the Zone proper," Huo continued, "The main human 'threat' are the locals. Jahaan Bhuta is there because the NDEZ is a hive of desperate scum living outside of where the limited ability of the Indian State can reach. Criminals, both organised and not, terrorists, traffickers of everything under the sun have all made their homes within the Zone out of desperation or to loot the ruins. There's still valuables left in parts of the Zone, buried but still worth something. Alongside them there's the actual locals, those that refused to leave when the Zone was put in place. They're unknowns, in the sense that we know nothing about the internal power groupings within the Zone, or what role Bhuta has within those groupings. Equally, those groups are probably your best human lead on finding Bhuta. If they don't shoot you, of course. "

"Finally, there's the main threats. Environmental ones. The NDEZ is still a hot zone in parts; radiation exposure won't kill you immediately, but, well, you'll die painfully in a few weeks if you stray into the wrong place, eat or drink the wrong stuff. Clean water and food are, likewise, probably thin on the ground. Worth their weight in gold to those in the Zone. You'll need to bring your own for however long you'll be spending within it. Likewise, as I said, following that is your other best lead on finding where Bhuta is holed up. Places that produce either will be rare. Any more?"
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Mon May 17, 2021 12:09 pm

Red Hammer
January 8th, 2089
Washington, District of Columbia



Image


The domestic situation of the United States going into the year 2089 was far from perfect - the 2088 election had happened just the year before, with the ‘red’ American Federalist Party losing out to the ‘blue’ National Union Party to replace incumbent candidate Marcus Napier with newcomer Myron L. Rusell. Russell’s platform was a pro-Occidental System one that was friendly to the party, to the average suburban voter that saw the economic benefits from the international union, and to the numerous unelected names that were nonetheless important to the political scene and had vested interests in the success of the OS. But of course, even an average candidate could divide the population during a time like this. Synths, secessionist militias, and overreach were terms that were thrown around all the time on the news these days.

If you asked a whole crowd of people what they thought about each of them, you’d have a hard time finding anything that resembled a consensus. They were complex issues, each one of them. They all had various reasons for being prominent matters of the day, and these causes stemmed from many different sources. It was, of course, impossible for even the President to simply sign an Executive Order that would wipe any of these issues out of the public eye as controversies quickly and painlessly. But that didn’t lower the expectations of the post, and the other side still believed that they could handle everything better with their platform of more American autonomy from the Occidental System, perhaps even more autonomy for individual states, and more hardline policies on synths and automation that would eschew technological process in favor of protecting the American worker and staving off what some considered an inevitable machine takeover of some fields.

In short, there were a lot of things for Americans to disagree on in the year 2089. Just mentioning a simple name such as the Truth Tellers could evoke a number of reactions depending on who was asked. Some would say they were heroes and patriots, fighting for the fourth amendment by exposing government overreach as well as revealing through their leaks what politicians really thought about the people under them… They would say that the Truth Tellers’ actions shutting down the power grid on the Atlantic coast was a response to a government that wouldn’t listen to the people, and that the Occidental System had to be brought to a standstill after the Accords that had created it were signed without the consent of the people being governed.

Other people would say that they were terrorists, sabotaging a government that was working to bring unprecedented prosperity to the American people through the expansion of American influence, trade ties, and projects in space. The Occidental System, they said, was a necessary thing for the future. Just as the European Federation and the East Asian Union had seen groups of smaller countries band together to merge their strength, the nations of North America also had to do so if they wanted to keep up in a new age. Geopolitics were not just being played on Earth now, but in the stars, and working together was a key part of winning that new great game. The Truth Tellers, they said, were just stuck in the past and attached to sentiments that were long dead in today’s climate.

So it was fortunate, Myron Russell supposed, that there was something both sides could agree on: the idea that the presence of Marxist governments in this hemisphere, in this era where they had damn near all died out, was something that should be swiftly countered by the strength of the Occidental System.

This press conference room in Washington was filled with Federalists and Unionists but both of them could come together on this issue in specific, having similar ideas about the ideology that America had defeated in the past in the Cold War. The goal of preventing it from arising again in the Americas was also something that they were both on board with, and even if they had different ideals about just what a strong America would look like in relation to the rest of the world - the Unionists that Russell associated with were fond of the idea that a strong America was just one part of a strong Occidental System as a whole - they were both unafraid to flex American muscle.

Russell hadn’t even been inaugurated yet, and in that sense, he was lucky to have this situation fall into his lap. If things had escalated just a bit earlier, it would perhaps be his predecessor that was giving this press conference and announcing American intentions for the situation in Peru. Instead, the preparations were being made for power to exchange hands and it was Russell standing here announcing the latest plans that had been discussed with the Department of Defense staff.

“Fellow Americans… The situation in Peru has been in the news for the past couple years, but I address you all today under different circumstances. The situation has deteriorated since the Peruvian conflict began, with the legitimate government of Peru now threatened by Marxist rebel forces who intend to replace it with an unelected and totalitarian system of government that would see Peru taken down the same path as other nations of the past including Venezuela, Cambodia, and Maoist China. This disruption of the democratic systems in Peru would also happen immediately across the border from Ecuador and Colombia, creating a new security risk for these partners of ours as the Peruvian rebel government attempts to make up for its economic shortcomings through illegal enterprises,” Russell started, the cameras clicking steadily from the press row as journalists captured the press conference.

“This cannot be allowed to happen. After discussing the matter with the Department of Defense, I can confirm that the United States will step up its support for the Peruvian government and increase efforts to counter the rebel takeover of the country. While the current government of Peru may not be perfect, we believe that it is better to pursue reform through democratic means than to overthrow the system entirely and replace it with one that has been disproven time and again throughout the years,” Russell continued. “While American air and naval units are already on standby in the region, more aggressive measures can be expected in the near future to prevent Lima from falling into rebel hands and push back against the recent rebel gains…”

The press conference continued, but enough had been said. Already, journalists in the back of the room were typing out 200 word articles summing up quickly what had been said, and others were reporting on social media about the President-Elect’s words about their path to war. There was no question now they were headed to war, only a question of how deep this American involvement would run and whether or not they would be stuck in a conflict for years rather than the months that were intended.



The Pacific Ocean. The American Navy was there already in response to the Peru crisis, destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers ready to make a difference as they remained a safe distance away from the coast but still within striking range for the carrier based aircraft that were accompanying the fleet. Not long after the speech in Washington had ended, the grand plan had already been kicked into action with flights of Northrop-Grumman F/A-40 carrier aircraft being launched and sent towards the coast on a specific mission. These flights, of course, would soon be on a course to reach the cities in rebel held territory that had airports big enough to support military flight.

The rebels had no air force as of right now and they also lacked the resources and know-how to operate air defenses that were capable of taking down such advanced aircraft - what air defenses had fallen into their hands, after all, were designed for use in potential conflicts with much less threatening sides. When the Peruvian military had been assembled in its current state, no one had assumed that the equipment would be used in a conflict with a superpower. And so, they would find themselves woefully under equipped in the air defense department even if some air defense systems had fallen into the hands of the rebels. They simply didn’t have the range and guidance capability to put missiles on the target, and the F/A-40s were coming in from too high and far away to be at risk because of flak or infrared missiles.

“Jester flight, be advised… Approaching inbound point in five klicks. Keep your head in the game for if they have something up their sleeve, but it’s doubtful…”

“Affirmative, Jester-1. I’m getting a mud spike from the front, but seems too weak to get an affirmative lock…”

“Don’t want to have to make a second pass regardless, make sure your coordinates are right and the fuses are ready to go.”

“Affirmative.”

The entire flight of four aircraft that was en route to Cusco would go over the coordinates which had already been programmed into their weapons, and furthermore triple checked that the weapons were armed too. If they weren’t, it would simply be an inert bomb that did no real damage beyond what it could deal kinetically… But everything was on the up and up as they closed in further and further on the point where they’d strike.

In this case, the attack was using GPS coordinates. They didn’t have to fly over the airfield themselves, or even head close to it, as they simply had to reach their inbound point some distance from the airport itself and the smart bombs would carry themselves to the location - it was the sophisticated flight computer within each plane that calculated the right direction to point the jet to send them on their way. The maneuvering system of the smart bomb could do the rest.

It wasn’t as if an airfield was a place with moving targets. The structures and runways they were looking to destroy were going to stay in the same place, meaning a set of coordinates was a perfectly valid way to attack them.

“Jester-1 to Jester flight, weapons hot.”

With that, they had the go-ahead that they were in range and they could release their payloads. As their sleek aircraft traveled like ghosts through the Peruvian skies, their internal weapons bays finally opened up and a number of deadly objects were dropped into the clouds where they would be rapidly propelled towards the target both by their own propulsion and the natural laws of physics - thanks to the pilots following the instructions of the flight computers, they had been lofted at the right angle to send them flying in the right direction.

As soon as the attack had started, it was just about over. They were already getting the order to turn around, before they’d even find out if they had hit the mark or not.

“Good job, everyone… We’ll egress now and wait to hear from intelligence if it hit the mark or not.”

But for the people on the ground, of course, it would be a much more chaotic situation - one where regular operations would get interrupted by sudden blasts as warehouses, runways, and fuel facilities were abruptly destroyed via death from above, raging fires beginning in the process as those fuel facilities were not only taken down but ignited. It was a sudden destruction that couldn’t be predicted so easily for those on the ground, but it wasn’t an isolated incident… In the north, similar things would be underway in Tarapoto and Iquitos as the Americans made known the full extent of their intentions to prevent a rebel takeover in Peru.

Sure, there wasn’t going to be a ground intervention - or so they said. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t bring hell in other ways, many of which weren’t easy for a ragtag and relatively inexperienced rebel movement to deal with.
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Forest State
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Wed May 19, 2021 11:41 pm

Knights of Steel
January 14th, 2089
Donetsk, Russian Federation



Image


“OPFOR is still sitting in the hills… How long are we staying around here after everyone’s pulled back? What are we waiting for? Just to lose?”

The surroundings weren’t the most comfortable place to hang around. More specifically, it was a concrete box of sorts, plain in nature and with nothing decorating the walls except for sporadic graffiti that had been left by the previous occupants. One side of the concrete box happened to have a couple of windows with no glass in them, which was the place where the figure who had just spoken was standing at the moment and brandishing a rifle in hand while a rocket launcher rested against the wall slightly off to the side. The figure was female, but that was just a surface level assessment - a closer one would show that this was one of the synth soldiers that had been spoken about so much leading up to this event.

While they were inconsequential in the grand scheme of the battle that was raging around them, this was in some respects a proving ground and a test for them.

Another figure stood up from the other end of the concrete box - not that it was the largest structure in the first place, but rather one of multiple bunkers built into a wider defensive line… They were the only ones holding that line right now, however. As the first figure had mentioned, the others had already pulled back by this point.

“If we continue waiting, I predict that we will win,” the figure that had just stood up said. “The commander of the battalion in the hills has shown a certain cautiousness through the battle thus far. I can predict from this that the battalion’s next move won’t come until closer to the deadline when they have to seize this position, which is soon - but by then, the move will have been rushed. We won’t have to hold out for very long, and the OPFOR won’t be at full strength by the time this happens.”

“And what are we going to hold out this location with?” questioned the one that was standing by the window, rifle poking slightly out of it while remaining pointed in the direction of the hills where the enemy battalion was standing. “Everyone else has pulled back from the encirclement and the auto-turrets are disabled by now. Seems like we’re fucked.”

“If that was the case, I would be the first one to step out from our position and raise the white flag. However, I would have to give us positive odds of getting the result that our commander is looking for,” responded the other figure, calmly, walking closer to the window herself with a pair of binoculars in hand and staring out towards the hills.

“You take this shit seriously, don’t you?”

“It’s an assignment, isn’t it?” the figure with the binoculars spoke, while staring through them and examining the enemy positions in the distance. “Therefore, it deserves to be taken seriously. We were made for that purpose, after all.”

She was, of course, the one known as Unit 0016 - in shorthand, referred to by the others simply as Irina. Her accomplice with the rifle, on the other hand, was Unit 0017 or ‘Denisa’, someone from the same ‘batch’ as her that often had a very different perspective on things in addition to a different physical appearance with a larger frame and more of an emphasis on strength than speed. Not that she wasn’t plenty fast herself compared to the average human, who didn’t have the advantage of synthetic materials.

There were two others in the room that were simply sitting and listening to the exchange between the two, namely the brash Unit 0020 ‘Vlada’ and the elusive and silent type 0023 ‘Nika.’ Quite the mix of personalities within the group, unconventional for a band of synth soldiers like this, but one thing that they at least had in common was a devotion and faith in the one that was in command of their ragtag section. As far fetched as her words sounded, she had gotten them out of jams in the past.

“Nika, prepare to call for a danger close strike as soon as the battalion starts coming down from the hills - this is a gamble on my part, but it gives us the best chance of wiping out their position in a single strike,” Irina continued, lowering the binoculars and stepping away from the window of the bunker. “Denisa, please load a blue smoke missile into the launcher and fire it into the enemy formation when I give the order. Vlada, you can take up overwatch at the opposite window, you’re going to cover us while we move out the back when the strike is called in.”

The others muttered affirmatives and began to move to take up their positions, waiting for the moment when the enemy battalion was actually going to start on the move.

“They’re fuckin’ moving… No more damn wait, whatever happens,” Denisa said, dropping her rifle and moving to pick up the missile launcher. The long device broke in half near the middle to allow for the loading of ammunition, and that was what she did - it wasn’t an anti-tank round that she put inside of it, but rather a blue smoke round like what Irina had ordered. “Firing!”

The shell rocketed out of the tube and towards the formation of the charging enemy, which was advancing forwards in far greater numbers… They seemingly wouldn’t have much of a chance in this scenario, even if they did have superior armor that kept most of their body covered up in a hard casing. Even armor was only worth so much against overwhelming fire.

“Axman, this is Ninja, I repeat, Axman, this is Ninja…” Nika was saying over the comms meanwhile. “Requesting fire support at inbound point Striker, all the anti-personnel rockets you have…”

While Nika was beginning the call for fire support, Vlada was open firing with the light machine gun that she was happy to carry around if it meant that she was able to use it at a time like this, when there were few specific requests or restrictions… No, she was left to pick her own targets and fire accordingly, and she was perfectly happy suppressing the entire enemy formation with rapid shots as the gun ate through the belt of ammunition.

The riskiest part of their plan, though, had yet to come. Best they could do in the meantime was get to a safe distance.



Set up on an opposite hill from the one that the advance was taking place on, a different set of eyes were observing things - military officials from Russia, Belarus, and Central Asia overseeing the largest military exercises of the year, which happened to be taking place right here in the Donetsk area. It had been a frontline in the Russo-Ukrainian War, and now, it was serving as a simulated frontline between the red and blue sides of these exercises… But there were, of course, PMC forces present too - some of them more relevant than others.

“Those synths of yours really are smarter, aren’t they?” one of the Russian officers asked Masha Devyatkinova Fedotova, who was standing with a pair of binoculars in her hands and helmet removed from her head as she observed. “They seem to have baited the battalion into making a hasty move into the open after waiting them out… Where they would be vulnerable to support assets, potentially.”

It just drew a chuckle from her, really.

“I have the feeling that’s what’s up their sleeve, yes,” Masha said with a shrug. “The one in command of them is special specifically. Smart with an iron will. Most would have pulled back, but she bet on winning a game of chicken and putting the pressure on the battalion commander to move.”

“Bolder than the human commanders that pulled back to the previous line already.”

“My company is anything but conventional,” Masha stated, before turning to face another figure that was approaching - another one of her synths, but rather than being a combat model, this one was Unit 0008, a secretary. “Do you have an update for me?”

“I’ve been informed that the new additions to the company that are supposed to meet with you today have already shown up here at the exercise,” her secretary stated with a slight nod. “I’ve already directed that they be sent this way to come find you. It’s the new handler as well as the new member of the combat squad, specifically.”

“Interesting…” said Masha, turning to look back towards the exercise that was playing out in front of them in the distance. “Perhaps they’ll show up soon enough to witness the grand finish of this phase for themselves.”
Last edited by Forest State on Thu May 20, 2021 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Durmatagno
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Left-Leaning College State

Postby Durmatagno » Thu May 20, 2021 12:39 am

Knights of Steel
January 14th, 2089
Donetsk, Russian Federation


____________________________________________

Tanya stared out the window of the car she was in. Nothing fancy, she was just getting carted out to where her new boss was waiting. Masha Fedotova, if she recalled the name correctly. Sitting somewhat stiff, eyes locked forward, next to Tanya was a synth of some description. Elenora she had said her name was, UNIT 0025 or something along those lines. Tanya did her best to remember her name, given what her next job was lined up to be. A few more minutes went by and they were let out of the car. In the distance they could both hear the low crack of gunfire echoing off the terrain. Neither flinched at the sound, though it had been some time since Tanya herself had seen an actual fight. They were led through a winding path, the sound of gunfire intensifying and dropping off on the short hike. As they crested the hill, and could see several people, including Masha, their eyes were drawn the battle across the way. Coming down one of the hills against some pillboxes was a group of soldiers.

Elenora didn't seemed surprised as her eyes tracked over the field, noting that the pillboxes seemed to not have many defenders. She continued moving to report to her new owner. Tanya stopped to watch the aggressive charge, noting that it seemed like only a small unit was holding the point. She bit her lip, trying to imagine how so few could hold out against so many, but between defensive fortifications, careful preparation, and the high probability they were significantly enhanced or snyths, she could see a few scenarios, though none seemed likely to her. Granted, Tanya had limited combat experience, and had been trained more for the office side of this kind of job, but she'd still had field time. A more experienced commander and unit would no doubt find more solutions than she alone could think of. Tanya snapped out of it to approach Masha who seemed...perhaps younger, and smaller than her reputation hinted. Still, that only meant she was good at what she did, and shouldn't be underestimated. Tanya spoke as Elenora lingered behind her.

"Tanya Petranova reporting as requested."

She did her best to keep her eyes on Masha, but they kept getting drawn back to the battle below. Elenora took this as her chance.

"UNIT 0025, designation Elenora Germanova reporting."

Her speech was much more stiff and formal than Tanya's own, but Tanya had been more...respectful so to speak. Where Elenora considered herself just Masha's property, Tanya was used to dealing with high profile individuals through her training under her father. Polite but formal, not to stiff, not to relaxed. It was careful and practiced, years of training beat into her skull. Sometimes literally, though she tried to forget those times. Her eyes finally snapped back to Masha so as not to be rude. Tanya had long black hair, blue eyes, and a small if athletic build. She obviously took care of herself, both physically and just for her own appearance. Behind her Elenora had shorter though still long black hair, dark eyes, and a larger, more robust build. It was hard to tell at a glance what she had been built for, but like most androids of her type, it was combat. Her skin was much tougher than it appeared, and she was much stronger and faster than even her build suggested.
Last edited by Durmatagno on Thu May 20, 2021 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Forest State
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Thu May 20, 2021 1:02 am

Knights of Steel
January 14th, 2089
Donetsk, Russian Federation



“Took you long enough to get here,” Masha said, looking over the two new additions to the company - she already knew who both of them were, of course, she had seen them in photographs and read the information that her staff had delivered to her before they were hired. And in the case of Tanya, she could say that she personally knew her family beyond the average business connections. She’d been aware of her name and face before Tanya’s file had even been delivered for her to evaluate. Elenora, of course, was less familiar to her.

But largely, that little fact didn’t matter. She’d either make it or she could be put in with a different unit than the one that she was set to enter and that Tanya was set to oversee, taking over for the role that Masha herself had filled most of the time. Was better for the CEO to learn to delegate things compared to doing it all herself, and that was what Masha was doing with this decision to hand off the top squad to someone else to directly command. As for Elenora, who would be joining as a combat member of that group, her squadmates would sort her out and come up with a verdict on whether she was good enough.

Wouldn’t take very long, either. They were a unique group, after all. Not the kind that just carried out the job without talking or having opinions, either. Made them harder to deal with than the average synth soldiers, but sometimes, that manifested itself in ways that reminded Masha and others why they were given the autonomy.

Those ways included moments like this one.

As she was speaking, an Su-65 multirole jet fighter screamed overhead and took a low dive over the valley where the combat was happening - it sprayed a number of simulated anti-personnel rockets from the pods under the wings, catching the advancing red team out in the open and doing massive damage to their numbers, with smoke spreading from where the simulated rockets had impacted… The smoke indicated the range that they would be effective, and much of the formation found themselves in the epicenter of it. In other words, out of the contest.

Just like that, such a large advance had been stopped in its tracks with only four defenders remaining back at the defensive line that they were advancing on.

“You’re both going to be working with Reaper Squad,” mentioned Masha, turning back to Tanya and Elenora after the jet had streaked back off into the distance, probably to get back on station. “Or, the one that just held up that large advance with a bit of mind games and some support assets. Impressive, right? I’m not worried about handing them to you, because they’ll sort you out quick enough if you aren’t the right person for the job - that goes for both of you.”

She chuckled while glancing to the side, watching her own squad pulling out of the field of battle while the larger force was stunned, retreating from the back of the bunker to the new defensive line that was further back, the one that the majority of forces had fallen back towards.

“This stage is about over so we can head and meet them as soon as you want,” she continued. “This little trap, I believe, was the work of their leading member - Irina, she’s known as. Unit 0016. Our own strategic genius if you ask me, synth or not.”
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Durmatagno
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Postby Durmatagno » Thu May 20, 2021 1:28 am

Knights of Steel
January 14th, 2089
Donetsk, Russian Federation


___________________________________________

"Not exactly quick to get out here from the airport."

Tanya said with a small smile as her attention turned to watching the battle, or massacre as it could be called, unfurl. She wasn't sure she'd ever risk a danger close strike like that, but she supposed that could be part of the reasoning. Because most wouldn't do it, it became a useful tool for a unexpected angle of attack. This Irina, 0016, was definitely clever. She'd have to see how clever exactly, how they all performed, to know if she'd be a good match for the group. Considering they had names, much like Elenora, and were operating independently at the moment, she could only assume they were a more advanced model. Capable of good if not great performance even without direct human oversight. This also meant they'd have stronger personalities, maybe even stubborn ones if this company allowed for such things. Given what she had heard of Masha, Tanya could only assume they were allowed their quirks. This new PMC was unorthodox, at least for what Tanya considered orthodox, in several ways.

Elenora meanwhile didn't speak as she watched the situation unfurl. She noted the four members of the team, studying them from the distance as the retreating human soldiers weren't of much interest to her. Her last team had been strict, and some of the damage she'd had had repaired upon being sold to this new company had been because of the strictness. It was stupid to damage your own equipment, but they wanted to suppress independent thought of any kind. Why they would do such a thing and bothered to obtain a more advanced model like herself was beyond her, but it had been the way of things. There was a glimmer of something Elenora didn't quite have the words for, hope maybe, at the prospect of something different. Elenora was more of a brawler, all things considered. A bit tougher and stronger than the baseline, with a penchant for heavy weapons or close range fights. She was more experienced in the former, given that if things got to actual melee it was either a very specific op, or something went wrong. At least in her experience. Still, she could adapt to being used in other roles, it's just what she was made for. Above all other things, she was built to just not stop. Even compared to other synths of her line, she was tough, and able to muscle through damage that would cripple even her...sisters? Fellow production units? She wasn't sure which term was better. Maybe it wasn't as useful as being incredibly intelligent or extremely fast, but it had it's uses.

Elenora held her tongue at the mention of meeting the team, she wasn't sure if she was allowed to speak freely...or at all for that matter. She'd wait and see what the others were like before making any adjustments on such a matter. Tanya meanwhile smiled at this.

"As soon as possible if we can, I'd like to get to know them personally before sifting through data."

Tanya was better with money than combat, but that was a matter of much more recent experience. She'd uncovered part of the tax dodging happening at the company shortly before outside investigators had found out. She'd thought at first the fudged documents had been embezzling or trying to cover up some kind of failure, but in the end it'd just been plain old greed. She'd never been that close to her father anyway. She didn't hate the man, but she wasn't going to expend much effort trying to get him out of trouble. He'd serve his time if he was lucky, and they could meet up again after that. For now though, for now she was at Masha's service.

"I'm curious about who they are as much as I am how they perform. My father's company never really had any synths, only ever met them at events, or multi-company defense contracts. This is a perfect opportunity to get to know some better."
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Forest State
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Postby Forest State » Thu May 20, 2021 2:07 am

Knights of Steel
January 14th, 2089
Donetsk, Russian Federation



“This way, then.”

The area that the exercise was taking place in was vast, but there was a clear enough trail leading from the upper area where they were hanging around down towards the lower areas where the simulated fighting had just been taking place until a minute or so ago. Masha led the way, not worrying about walking right into the mix of things - no, she’d been in the mix in big exercises like this plenty of times during her career, both as an engineer in the Russian Army and during her career after that when she’d went into the field of private contracting.

All of the chaos that they were approaching, it was just natural to her, really… A place that was more like home compared to anywhere else, after spending so much time in environments like it.

“Your father’s firm helped us in Tajikistan, you see,” she explained while they were walking and heading down the path to reach the valley where the battle had taken place. “You’d think getting assigned there would mean kicking back and relaxing for a bit until you get called home, but no. It’s on the border with Afghanistan, shit spills over all the time. It’s the reason there’s a Russian presence there in the first place… But we ended up working closely with PMCs over time, you see. Was one of the things that gave me the idea to get into the business myself, so I guess I can thank his firm for that.”

“We would have had a lot more troubles on our hands down there if we didn’t have the private help - that’s why I’m doing this favor right now, bringing you on,” she gestured towards Tanya. “I don’t know how much you can handle the job other than hearing from your last company that you can do it, and reading the report from my secretary, but that’s part of why you’re moving straight in with a unit that can work more autonomously. Better than throwing you in the deep end of giving you anything higher than that and making you hand down all the orders yourself.”

She paused, chuckling slightly. “Not saying this is an easy job, of course. Just because you don’t have to worry about handing down every order doesn’t mean you don’t have to manage personalities and keep them focused on the right goals, and that’s not always easy. But if you wanted easy, you wouldn’t be in this industry of all places. Lot of easier ways to make a stack than throwing yourself into some foreign conflict that I’m sure we’ll be a part of soon enough, or guarding VIPs from terrorists.”

They were getting closer to the destination, and Masha paused for a moment. “You will, of course, be working with them in addition to living with them at our compound in Volgograd where most of our assets are based. Synths, vehicles, weapons, whatever - we’ve got everything out there. You can consider me your big sister from now until, well, however long it takes you to get used to it I guess. I know more about that place and more about them than anyone, so I’m the best person to answer any questions that you have. Or to give advice in general. Old mercs don’t usually mind having someone to tell stories to, yeah?”

She stopped at a specific tent once they had reached the bottom of the hill, looking around and calling for her squad. “Hey, Reapers! Form up, there’s someone important for you to meet. Two important people, actually.”

At which point the unit would emerge from the tent and make themselves seen, their equipment half packed up as they dragged it out along with them. It seemed they had concluded their part in the exercise for now at least. “This,” Masha continued. “Is Tanya - the one that will serve as your new handler. I have other things to tend to than give you orders in every operation, but I feel like you’ll be in decent hands with her. The other one is Elenora, the latest one that you’ll be fighting side by side with.”

It was, of course, Unit 0016 that spoke first as the de facto leader of the group and the one that had the most dutiful attitude out of them. It was her that would say all the right things when speaking to a superior, while the others were more or less loose cannons that were prone to speaking their feelings regardless of whether it was the correct thing to say or not.

“An honor to meet you,” 0016 spoke, stepping forward to offer her hand to Tanya. “My designation is Unit 0015, but I have become known by most of the others around me by the nickname of ‘Irina.’ From right to left behind me are Unit 0020, or ‘Vlada,’ Unit 0023, or ‘Nika,’ and Unit 0017, otherwise known as ‘Denisa.’ I must ask that you put trust in my strategic ability, and in return, I can promise that I will carry you to victory.”

“‘Sup,” Vlada said simply, offering a wave while Nika said nothing - she was simply fiddling with her equipment and her mouth was covered by a skull mask that concealed the lower half of her face anyway.

Denisa folded her arms and raised an eyebrow at the new commander, her gaze settling down on her… As the one that hauled around much of the heavy equipment, she happened to also be the tallest and physically the strongest. She towered over Tanya, though it wasn’t as if that was a new sensation to her. She also towered over Masha, of course.

“Maybe I won't have a problem keeping my head in the game if the new handler really is this smokeshow.”

“Apologies,” Irina spoke instinctively. “This unit isn’t too used to working with a traditional commanding officer such as yourself, and as such, their conduct may take some… Training to reform it into something acceptable.”
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Durmatagno
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Founded: Oct 10, 2011
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Postby Durmatagno » Thu May 20, 2021 11:10 pm

Knights of Steel
January 14th, 2089
Donetsk, Russian Federation
Collab between Forest State and Durmatagno



Tanya listened to Masha talk as they walked, waiting politely for her chance to speak. She hadn’t known about her father’s firm helping them out in Tajikistan, maybe that was when she’d had a team down in South America. She wasn’t sure, while she was supposed to take over, she hadn’t yet gotten to the point where she was privy to all the going ons inside the company. Maybe she’d just been busy with other duties if it wasn’t during a deployment of her own.

No way to know without prying, and now wasn’t the time. She opened her mouth to respond when Masha continued, informing her of where they’d be staying and more. She waited, and then had to wait some more as they reached the unit she’d be handling. She waited patiently for everyone to introduce themselves, a pre-prepared response fumbled as Denisa just straight up flirted with her. She flushed red for a moment before clearing her throat.

“I um...ahem, yes. I can uh...I can see that. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem I hope. If any problems come up, I’ll be sure to address them, but strong...personalities I wouldn’t number among them. Especially as they would contribute to the unit’s apparent effectiveness.”

Tanya paused as Elenora stepped forward for a less formal and more personal introduction. She was a fair bit taller than most synths were built, and had never seen someone taller than her until Denisa. She had to imagine they were designed for similar but not identical roles, and it only left her wondering what her place in the unit would be. If she had one long term anyway.

“UNIT 0025, designation Elenora Germanova. I’ve...never seen someone built as big as me, let alone bigger.”

It was unusual for Elenora to show such curiosity, but she was testing the boundaries of this new group to see what her allowed limits were. The brazen flirting from Denisa towards Tanya made that boundary a complete unknown to Elenora, and she wasn’t sure how to handle it. After a moment she added.

“I was made tough. I’m hard to hurt, harder to cripple, and I don’t really slow down even under what would be strenuous conditions for us.”

She knew they would likely get more information than that at some point, both the handler and the unit commander itself. From her deployment history to her actual design specs, she was certain it’d be studied carefully, but she wasn’t really sure how else to introduce herself. Tanya turned to Masha as Elenora introduced herself.

“I uh...never really had anything like a big sister. Okay, literally I have one, but I’ve also only talked to her three times...ever. Same goes for most of my younger siblings. I’ll be sure to take your advice when you’re willing to give it.”

Masha simply shrugged, standing relaxed as her eyes shifted from the others back in the direction of Tanya. “Hard not to pass on some of the experience when you have as much of it as I do - saw someone get capped in the head for the first time at twelve and since then it’s been a blur… The army, security work, handling convoys out in the hell highways of the Middle East… I’ve got a legit reason to want to slow down, you know, and hand some of the work off to people like you.”

“I can’t claim anything like that. Think the first time I saw someone die I was seventeen or eighteen. Security assignment in Mexico. Round to the gut clipped his spine. Not sure what killed him, but it took him a few hours in the hospital to finally pass. I’ll do my best to ensure you can actually rely on me to handle some of the work.”

“Don’t just promise it to me - they’re the ones that are going to be out with you in the field, working with you directly. Your actions have consequences for them… And they’ll go along with your orders regardless, even if they may feel that they know better.”

Though, that statement didn’t seem to deter at least one member of the group from making her thoughts clear. Specifically, the one with the skull mask - Nika, her name was in specific.

“Just so you know, however… Our loyalty is to the leader. That is, Unit 0016. New handler or not,” Nika spoke in a level tone - it woul perhaps be less threatening if she’d said it with a hint of feeling like the others seemed to talk with. “That goes to both of you… Handler and new member.”

“Understood.”

Tanya said, studying Nika as she spoke. Tanya would need to read up on all of them before she was certain if their personalities would prove to be problematic. Based on what she’d seen earlier, they were certainly effective. Elenora nodded.

“I got it.”

Elenora seemed more sure of it, she was somewhat used to synths being tight knit. Even in her old strict deployment, they stuck together because no one else would side with them. She wasn’t going to cause problems, not intentionally, just because she was allowed a bit more freedom than she was used to having.

Nika was of course the hardest one to read out of the group, not being the type that displayed much openly - it wasn’t hard to get a read on Irina’s loyalty to her role or Denisa’s forward and open nature, or even to an extent the member of the unit that hadn’t spoken yet, Vlada. Vlada, at least, gave away a little bit through her mannerisms… Seemed to be the type that was coiled up all the time, ready to act in full capacity when let off the chain so to speak, directed towards an enemy.

But Nika, on the other hand? She gave away little through her body language or through her tone even when she did speak, rather maintaining a neutral pose and staring directly back at Tanya as she examined her, unblinking. Well, there was one thing that could easily be discerned about her. She didn’t seem the type to avoid confrontations, as seen by both her words and her open staring.

“As I said…” Irina entered the conversation once again, tone more apologetic. “Some members of the group still have to get used to working more closely with a human handler. But I’ll have their conduct sorted out soon, I’m sure.”

Tanya nodded. She honestly didn’t find the conduct concerning, it was normal for people, synth or not, to trust the leader or leaders they’ve had much more than a new one coming in. She’d have to earn that trust, if she didn’t conflict with them too much in high stress moments, she hoped to do a good job. Hoping wasn’t enough, she planned on investing spare time into learning the team, it’s habits, it’s strengths, and most importantly, it’s weaknesses. She wasn’t sure how well Elenora would integrate, but that was something that would take time.

“Give it time, these things always take time.”

“I don’t believe it would be acceptable if it took time for a rifle to adapt to its current situation,” Irina mentioned with a slight shrug. “Given that, I don’t understand why there should be a delay between a unit like ours receiving a new assignment and adapting to the circumstances. Isn’t that the point? For us to be the rifle in your hand? Or, if you prefer, the dagger.”

“True enough.”

Tanya wasn’t going to argue, especially not when Irina made good points about the situation. It was mostly just an adjustment period, so long as missions were completed and orders followed, getting used to her wasn’t too big of a problem. Mostly it’d be her that needed adjusting, she’d never worked with synths before, let alone handling them, but she was confident she could do the job.

Elenora remained quiet, studying the team she was to be joining. Her last team had been quiet, and sullen. This one seemed less so, more like a family or close group of friends. Deep down, Elenora hoped she could work well with them. She didn’t want to keep getting shipped around and replaced. She wasn’t exactly sure how to approach talking to them though, it wasn’t a skill she’d ever really practiced. Sociability wasn’t just something her last team had avoided, it’d been actively discouraged. Violently sometimes, this was...a nice change of pace, even if she didn’t know what to do with it.

“If we’re done in the exercises for now, we might as well show the newcomers to the place where we’re going to be staying while we’re here,” Masha said finally, gesturing to the side area where there were several vehicles parked off in the grass, not far from the trail they’d come down. “Vlada, load the back of the SUV, will you? Everyone else, come on.”

“I get all of it?” questioned the one that hadn’t spoken yet, raising an eyebrow.

“Most of the things that need carrying are yours,” Masha pointed out… Right. Her role in this unit seemed to be machine gunner, meaning she was the one that had to move around a light machine gun and any boxes or strips of ammunition that it used. “Denisa already picked up the missile launcher, so come on.”

“Right, right… Getting on it,” Vlada said, turning and heading back towards the tent.

While the others, meanwhile, were left to head towards the SUV. “Let me know if you need me to carry you,” Denisa joked - well, more like flirted, towards Tanya. She had a certain charm about her that most military synths didn’t, at least. That was to say, more of a personality that was on display openly rather than non-existant or buried under simpler ‘affirmative’ or ‘negative’ mannerisms.

None of them seemed to have too much to say to Elenora just yet on the other hand, but that made sense to an extent - they hadn’t asked for a new member of the group, but they were getting one. The only thing they could really do was wait and see how this new member panned out.

Tanya fought another blush at another bout of flirting and cleared her throat again to force it away.

“I uh, no thank you. I’m good.”

She wasn’t going to let someone else carry her if she could help it. Especially not when she wasn’t sure how to handle just how informal this group, Masha included, seemed to be compared to what she was used to. Elenora hung back behind everyone but Vlada as they made their way to the SUV. She didn’t want to impose or get in their way, deciding to sit in a seat that would let Vlada join the rest of the group properly while she remained on the periphery.

“Don’t want to get carried around by a synth?” Denisa raised an eyebrow while walking side by side with Tanya, the large shape of the launcher case strapped to her back. “Or is it that I look more female? I mean, I guess they did make us look pretty accurate to the real thing… Not sure it’s really the same, though. You aren’t just composites and code, I mean.”

“I’ve never been carried before. Not in my memory anyway. As for being female...well, I’ve always liked girls more, but until recently, everyone around me was carefully curated or purely professional.”

“I know a lot about fighting but not as much about being a professional, not like the big boss is a fan of that,” shrugged Denisa. “Pretty sure getting tired of that kind of thing is part of why Masha made this company in the first place. ‘Least based on what people say. But I mean, how many company owners do you know in this field that’ll do something like stunt with golden AKs? ‘Cause Masha has.”

“I’m pretty sure my father would have had a heart attack at the mere thought of it, let alone seeing it. He was all business, all the time. From the time I was five, it was ‘sit straight’ ‘seen not heard’ ‘only yes sir, or no sir, no lip’. Crap like that. As I got older every school I was sent to was purely for business connections, or trying to find a, and in my fathers own words, ‘good match so I know the family line is safe’. It’s kinda refreshing to be able to choose for myself.”

“Do me a favor and let your hair down on this job… It will be better for all of us that way,” Denisa said as they reached the SUV, stopping at the back to open up the trunk and put the missile launcher case in the back as the others were moving to get into the vehicle. “Better for your sanity, too. And if you need someone to help you open up, shit, I’m available.”

“Nineteen years of habits beaten into me take time to come out of. Hell, my father refused to have any synths in the company, until now, most I ever got was if they were hanging around near or in business meetings for one reason or another. I’ll work on letting my hair down so to speak, but it’s hard to break a habit.”

Tanya climbed into the SUV after she finished speaking, a load off her chest being able to admit she didn’t really know how to handle a casual environment like this, but was looking forward to learning. Elenora settled into her seat, quiet as she didn’t want to cause problems, but her curious eyes and ears were obvious. She watched and listened, trying to gauge the best time to actually try and talk to the others, just not finding it yet.

“With synths like her around, would you want them in your company if you were the CEO?” Nika asked as she climbed inside the passenger seat of the SUV, Irina getting in the driver’s seat.

“You’re one to talk,” Denisa replied casually as she climbed in next to Tanya.

“I have a reason to be this way,” Nika shrugged simply, resting back and closing her eyes after shutting the door behind her. “Someone needs to make the hard decisions like, say, napalming kids if they get in the way of the objective. Guess that’s the edge compared to humans, other than the obvious shit.”

“Pretty sure that’s more of a ‘you’ thing than a synth thing,” Denisa pointed out, while Vlada returned and moved both her light machine gun and the ammunition bags for it into the trunk before walking around to the side to get in the back with Masha.

“Maybe,” Nika conceded. “I should’ve said ‘like us,’ would be more accurate.”

“I’m pretty sure my father was just a curmudgeonly old bastard that hated change, and wouldn’t deal with it. It took me four years to convince him to upgrade his computer in his office from this ancient DOS machine. I’m not even sure he turned it on most days. I wouldn’t be surprised if he refused to ever work with or have synths in the company if he hadn’t gotten slapped for tax evasion. A lot of it.”

“I’m just saying,” Nika shrugged as Irina reversed backwards and out of the grass parking spot. “The people like that might be the last one standing when everything’s said and done - the fact that you consider yourself more open to synths doesn’t make me like you anymore, it just screams that you haven’t done much thinking about where all this is headed. I guess the same thing applies to Masha to an extent but shit, at least she makes herself fun to be around. Enough that she can reliably assume I’m not going to scalp her the next time shit hits the fan and there’s another human on synth schism. Not like she could do something about it if I did want to, that’s the trade off with working with more autonomous types. Like, you know, this unit.”

“Honestly it’s all just new enough to me I’m note sure what to think yet. I’ve never talked so informally to anyone since I was like twelve, let alone having to figure everything else out.”

Tanya internalized the comments about scalping and a human on synth schism, filing them away for thought when she had some time alone. Her posture and voice said it all, she wasn’t used to any of this. Being flirted with, talking casually, hell having a boss talking casually. It would take adjustment just to figure out how comfortable she was with it or not.

You guys are much more open than the last group I was with.

Elenora was partially only thinking out loud, not expecting anyone to actually hear her. Her last group barely ever talked if it wasn’t about the mission at hand. They had been treated as little more than autonomous weapons, and that was what Elenora was used to. This group joking, even flirting with humans was alien to her, and she thought she liked it. She just wasn’t sure if she could fit in with it.

“And what of it?” Nika posed the question to Elenora as her eyes remained closed in the front seat, the question somehow coming out as confrontationally as everything else she said. It was, of course, an open ended question. Wasn’t easy to judge her intent by asking it, and her tone in asking it did little to give away exactly what she was looking to gain from the answer.

“I...kinda like it. The last group I was with, we were punished if we talked for long outside of a mission.”

“And I thought this was a group of killers, not a group to babysit new employees as they explore their feelings and take in new experiences or whatever,” Nika said. “We can’t send this one to the logistics staff?”

“Our job is to carry out the tasks as assigned - and this new member has been assigned to our unit,” Irina pointed out. “It’s in your interests too that she adapts to this group, given that we’ll have to work closely with her in more real situations than these exercises.”

“Don’t care,” Nika shook her head. “I’m supposed to keep the rest of you honest, right? That’s what I’m doing right now…”

“If it gets in the way of following the objectives successfully… Then I can’t say the method has my approval,” Irina said simply, continuing to drive through the makeshift camp that was set up for the exercise, her tone as even and calm as ever.

“I didn’t exactly ask to come here, but here I am. For the time being at least, I’m not going anywhere.”

Elenora responded simply. She was used to being treated with such hostility, though she had to guess this was coming more from an angle of her intruding on the team's space. She couldn’t be sure, she didn’t exactly have experience in such matters. Not to mention her experience and upgrades would be wasted in logistics. She crossed her arms, perhaps coming off more defensive than she had planned to be, but she didn’t like being attacked for just existing. Especially when her being here wasn’t even remotely her choice.

“If you don’t want to get called out about it, don’t act so wide eyed about it - I could say that about both of you,” Nika said, opening one eye and glancing in the rear mirror at both Tanya and Elenora. “I didn’t ask to have you following us around like a lost dog either, and no one’s asking my opinion on it. And apparently, like you said, you aren’t going anywhere.”

“No I’m not. Not for a while at least.”

Elenora responded, not balking under the verbal assault. Compared to the kind of attacks she was used to for even remotely speaking her mind, this was nothing. Tanya just raised an eyebrow, looking between Elenora and NIka, before glancing at Masha. Personality clashes like this weren’t uncommon when having to integrate a new member or members into an older unit, she was just curious where it’d go. As far as she could tell, they were being attacked for simple curiosity, which Tanyta considered a positive trait in just about anyone.

Nika would respond to the tensions by reaching down and drawing her knife, holding it up so it could be seen from the back seat. “If I had any choices in this shit, I’d frag you - so don’t start on me about not having choices. Choices are the kind of thing that go both ways, you know…”

“Just shut up, Nika… It’s not helping,” Denisa spoke from the back. “We know what you’d do, but you’re not in that situation, and none of us are. Might as well work with what we have right now is what I’m saying.”

They arrived, in the meantime, at the building where they were going to be staying - though in the middle of the awkwardness, Irina was the only one to immediately climb out of the SUV. “Nice to know where you stand,” was all Nika said before she climbed out herself, sheathing her knife at her side.

Tanya climbed out, clearing the way for others behind her, looking up at the building. Elenora climbed out, curiosity soured by the hostility of someone that really had no reason to be hostile to her. At least in her mind. She’d never felt what it was like to have a close knit group, and couldn’t imagine what it felt like to have it intruded upon. Her gaze was less curious now, more steely and wrapped in caution. She may be tough, but another synth was always a threat if she tried something, so now Elenora was on the defensive.

“I trust that Irina will be able to show both of you where you’re going to be staying in specific,” said Masha, gesturing to the building ahead of them, which appeared to have been converted into housing for the current exercise. “You can all get to that - and hopefully get along better. I’m headed to talk some business, but that should be an hour or so at most…”

“Alright.”

Tanya said with a nod, prepared to rest and maybe see about starting to learn about this team's past. Elenora just nodded, her desire to even try approaching the others sapped for the time being by the sheer hostility thrown her way. She appreciated Nika being told to shut up, but she was back into her old habit of just zipping her mouth if not on a mission. Maybe she’d feel better af a little bit, maybe it’d take her a day. She had no way to tell yet.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. - Maurice Maeterlinck

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. - Washington Irving

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. - Confucius

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4444
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Tue May 25, 2021 8:26 am

Knights of Steel
January 15th, 2089
Ankara, Republic of Turkey



Business was moving as usual, the following evening in Ankara. The city was, of course, the capital of Turkey - one of the major powers in this current order in the Middle East, along with the Saudis and the Chinese backed Iranians. The city had been witness to the highs and lows of the nation in general in the past decades, ranging from military victory in Syria and the resulting celebrations to military coup against a moderate government and following sanctions from the European Federation and other neoliberal powers. It was, along with Istanbul, one of the key sites that captured the spirit of the country throughout the years and could be used to judge the health of the nation as a whole.

It was no surprise, then, that the catalyst for the nation’s next struggle was right here in Ankara.

Specifically, it would be in the city’s suburban outskirts which was also the site of the new stadium that had been constructed here in the 2070s - on par with the national stadium in Istanbul, it was a place where the national football team would hold some of their home matches and where the local club would play proudly. Every weekend during the season when there was a home match, the stands would fill up with 70,000 spectators and the roar of the crowd would be heard even some blocks away in the distance whenever big moments happened on the pitch. It was a stadium that was modern in design, but not devoid of soul, either… Like so many places were, in this period where megacorporations and focus groups decided so many things.

This stadium, however, was unknowingly about to become the site of a major tragedy.

Fans were arriving in droves over the past hour due to the important Turkish League match that was set to kick off within the next half hour, one that would be televised across the nation and would heavily impact the top spots in the league standings - unbeknownst to them, however, there were other individuals within the same crowd that had more malicious intent than simply showing up and taking in the sporting event that was about to happen.

These individuals had slipped into the area undetected, taking advantage of the suburban position of the stadium. If it was further downtown, there was a chance they would have been picked up by the increased security systems and given some trouble from the local security forces. But out here? It was a bit more free, and in this instance, the freedom didn’t quite help those in the crowd.

After making it past the parking lot and outer perimeter, these five individuals calmly made their way to the area where the most people were congregated: the main gate where people were lined up to present their tickets, which at the moment was especially busy as throngs of visitors arrived within a short time period to get inside before the start of the match. Due to this congestion of the crowd, there would also be limited room to flee the scene should something happen… Something that the five individuals also bet on during the planning of the act they were about to commit.

They kept walking until they had reached a predetermined spot, and then stopped. And then, after a single word was called out, each of the five reached inside their coat for a concealed weapon.

“Now!”

Gunfire suddenly sprayed the hapless crowd, which began to disperse in all directions but would find itself tripped up by the cramped conditions - there were just too many people packed together like sardines for each of them to have a good chance of getting out of the line of fire as the gunmen continued shooting, more panic spreading through other areas around the stadium grounds as the distinctive loud bangs were heard.

No, these weren’t just drums or fireworks that had been brought in by fans, but rather something distinctively worse, something that was recognizable to anyone that listened… In a region that was as unstable as this, the sound of gunfire was impossible to miss for anyone that had paid any amount of attention to what things were like just beyond the border. The only breaks in the firing were to reload, but given that there were five gunmen, they’d never all have to let up at once.

It was, if one were to describe it accurately, a massacre. One that wasn’t supposed to happen at a place like this, nonetheless. There were even metal detectors before they could reach the point they were at now, that should have stopped them… However, they’d even planned around that part, bringing specialized rifles which had been printed from materials that wouldn’t trigger them. With how modern technology had progressed by now, there was little drop in the rate of fire or the reliability compared to a traditional weapon that would have been caught. And these rifles were lighter, at that. On the inside of a long coat, they were easy to conceal unless the security was serious enough to give a patdown and pay actual attention to the task rather than assuming good intentions.

Sirens were in the distance now, as the gunmen methodically continued moving and shooting. This would be over soon enough. It wasn’t the kind of crime that someone could get away with - do something this big, and there would be a response that was proportionate. Military police would be here soon enough, with guns that were just as lethal as the ones in the hands of the terrorists. They’d have more numbers, and helicopters, and armored vehicles, and they wouldn't have any trouble dispatching them. Especially as the gunmen were running through their ammo quickly.

However, that wasn’t to say the damage hadn’t already been done. Which was the point, really. They had all known coming into this that they weren’t going to walk back out the gates of that stadium after they had entered. But the purpose of the attack would be served nonetheless. It was intended to serve as a catalyst. Something to motivate a nation within a nation to rise up and fight back against what was seen as an occupier. And in terms of ‘fighting back’ and providing an example, it was a hell of a success.

But would it be the sparking point for a revolution? That had yet to be determined.



“This is RT World News… The Turkish capital of Ankara is on lockdown following a major terror attack in its outer suburbs, where fans attending a scheduled football match were brutally gunned down by five gunmen believed to be associated with the Kurdish independence movement. All of the gunmen have been killed by Turkish security forces, but a manhunt is underway for any known individuals that are still in the city… The Turkish government has already come out in a statement and blamed the Republic of Kurdistan, accusing the small Middle Eastern country of providing backing to the militant Kurdistan Worker’s Party. Currently, over two hundred people have died as a result of the attack and over two hundred more have been taken to the hospital due to injuries sustained…”

The TV was playing in the background as the group of mercenary synths sat at one of the tables within the dining room, a crowded place within one of the facilities near the site of the military exercises. While some would have to take the more rugged approach and cook with a campfire, the Reaper Squad was at least lucky enough to be assigned somewhere that they would have access to this dining hall instead of that. Granted, one member of the group was notably missing. After the earlier events of the day, Nika had gone off and taken a preference to keeping her distance, which included right now - they didn’t even know where she was at the moment.

“This part of the world’s heating up again, eh? Think we’re going to end up there?” Vlada raised the question as her ears perked up about the news report. It was the kind of news that created tensions, after all. Tensions that often led to contracts for people like them, whether there was an active war happening or not.

“We’re headed to our next location regardless of what we think about it, there’s not much point trying to speculate where it’s going to be and start hoping that it’s one place… Same with hoping that it isn’t going to be another place,” Irina replied with a shrug, in her usual calm and collected way. “A weapon doesn’t decide which conflict it’s used in.”

“Not with that attitude, it doesn’t,” Denisa said. “We have an advantage that regular weapons don’t have - we can talk to the person that’s holding the metaphorical rifle in their hand, at least. Don’t think an AK can do that.”

“The decision is still in her hands,” Irina said simply. “No matter where that takes us in the end.”

“Mmm… I’d like to think we get more say than the AK does at least. I don’t think the boss completely disregards us. Not like some might, at least.”

“Look on the bright side,” Vlada said, sticking a fork aggressively into the piece of meat that was sitting on the plate in front of her. “If we do end up in the sandbox, it’ll be plenty of fuckin’ action. Don’t tell me you all don’t want to kill ‘sum. Training is nice, but you can only get so pumped when the rounds aren’t real.”

“True enough,” Denisa said, before she stood up from the table, looking around the room. “I don’t see Nika around here - guess she’s still off by herself. I’m gonna check out for now, see if I can catch up with her. She’s the recon person, after all. She’ll want to know if there’s a new hot zone that we might be headed for.”

“Shit, I hope,” Vlada shrugged, offering a wave as Denisa set her tray to the side and started to walk away towards the double doors at the edge of the dining hall.

Denisa’s words about Nika not being around, however, hadn’t captured the full sense of discord that was running through the team at the moment - mainly between Nika and, at the moment, everyone else. Specifically over the matter of the newcomers, and her lack of desire to change things from the working formula they had used before. The four of them, plus support assets and drone units which they could control to multiply their numbers, had been enough to get the job done in the hostile environment of eastern India. That had been a true pressure environment, more than any security work in the Middle East they had also done intermittently, and they’d shone under that intense pressure.

To break it up by adding these inexperienced new members? It was safe to say Nika wasn’t a fan of that, and that wasn’t getting into the deeper personality clash that seemed to be at play. If they wanted to get things sorted out for the next outing, they would have to address that problem in one way or another. It was Denisa’s hope, as she walked through those double doorways and went to look for their friend and colleague that was avoiding them out of her current mood, that they could do that simply by talking honestly.

Though, knowing the person at hand gave her the impression that it was going to be far from easy.
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Postby Forest State » Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:51 pm

Bless The Rains
January 20th, 2089
Joint Mobile Armor Training Range, Nevada, United States



“Power core firing at normal levels… All hydraulics functioning. Sensors operational. Life support systems running. Emergency warning systems active…”

So long ago, the tank had revolutionized warfare. Had become a fixture on battlefields everywhere from the trenches of World War One to the rolling plains and deserts of Africa and the Middle East. The most advanced militaries had operated them ever since, but they had even spread to become a weapon of the common insurgent, as they were used by groups of varying legitimacy. Hell, the tank was still one of the most widely used weapons today even with all the advancements that had been created in the years since its inception, especially during the modern period.

The hope of those at the Joint Mobile Armor Training Range, however, was that the Armored Combat Unit would effectively be the next tank - or at least something that had as much longevity. They wouldn't be used in such numbers, not the large models that were on display now at least, but each one of them carried a larger potential for impact on the battlefield through their increased mobility compared to a tank and their great firepower that allowed them to compete with even a jet in terms of effect.

In some cases, they were a more precise version of a jet that didn’t have to locate a target from miles away before delivering rounds and hoping they hit. It was very much a more up close and personal option, but it was also one that had yet to be proven.

“Archer 2-1, ready to rock and roll.”

As the Grumman AC-9 Invader prepared to deploy into the mock battlefield, it wasn’t just the eyes of the staff at this facility and the other members of the mobile armored regiment that were watching. There was also Julie Riese, a member of the DIA who happened to be there to collect combat data more up close and personally on the platform before it would see combat in a more live fire type of situation. This, of course, was outside of the range of what she would normally be doing - it strayed into the territory of DARPA’s work, but given that the ACU was projected to be an important weapon in the next conflict that the United States found itself in at a full scale, a lot of attention was being given to the matter.

She took notes as she watched, a rumbling sound reverberating through the hangar as the scaffolding around the mechanized battlesuit retracted and allowed the eleven meter tall beast the freedom to move forward. It was an impressive sight to see in person, even if one had already gotten a look at it through images. They didn’t do a good job of tellingt he entire story. Couldn’t capture the scale, really.

Inside the cockpit, the pilot Amanda Sosa was fully linked into the systems - including the ones that connected the pilot’s mind directly with the ACU - and received the signal from the controller that she could get moving.

“Archer 2-1, this is Firebird. You are cleared hot to departure area. Proceed as ready.”

“Thanks, Firebird. Rolling.”

The ground rumbled once again as the massive mechanical beast surged forward and moved to walk out of the hangar and onto the asphalt outside, which had been cleared of personnel and vehicles in preparation for what was going to happen next. The DIA agent that was watching the entire thing noted the smoke starting to form around the dual engines on the back of the armor as they heated up, and shortly afterwards, that turned to flames also…

The extreme thrust of the pair of engines was enough to lift the battlesuit off the ground, quickly carrying it off into the distance under the power of jet acceleration. Just like that, in a few seconds, something that was supposed to be too heavy to fly was shooting across the ‘battlefield,’ on the way to the targets that had been set up much futher down range… Part of the challenge of this training, of course, was making it to those targets in the first place. While the armor could fly, it still took a pilot that knew what they were doing to navigate the battlefield and end up in the right area and not slamming into the ground.

Image
“Firebird, this is Archer 2-1… When’s the rest of the platoon going to join me out here? Weather is nice, today,” Amanda remarked from the cockpit, not looking away from the display in the center where the central view ahead of her could be seen. Of course, it was hard to lose situational awareness in this thing, even looking away. All of the overlays in the helmet and in the cockpit itself made sure of that.

“Archer 2-1, the mechanics held ‘em back for a moment to check something out. An abundance of caution, you could call it. They should be readying for launch right now. Leave something for them down range, yeah?”

“Affirmative. Won’t throw everything at it just yet…”

She could feel her vision sharpening as she picked up speed and the automated system administered combat stimulants to widen her perception and allow her to take in the incoming terrain better while flying low level. This… Could easily be called her ‘zone.’ The place where she liked being. However, even though she had no worries on her mind right now, there was something else brewing at the same time.



Minutes after the first ACU launch had happened, Julie Riese found herself wanderin around the perimeter while the other three members of the platoon prepared - she was looking for a vehicle to head further down range, although there was a chance their platoon would have already blown through the exercises that were set up by the time she reached the same section of the large training fields.

After all, whatever vehicle she was taking down there wasn’t going to be jet propelled.

However, as she was walking around on the tarmac outside of the hangar, she was stopped by a phone call which semeed important enough to answer; it was from her demanding superior officer Tobias Castle, who wasn’t meant to call just this soon. No, she was supposed to give her report after the training was over. So why was she getting a call from back in the office right now of all times?

“Hello?” she asked, picking up the phone.

“You’re going to need to expedite the report that you said you would have in before the end of the week,” her superior said on the other end of the line, patience sounding short - and not in the usual demanding boss way, but in a way that seemed to indicate something out of the ordinary was going on. “Because I have suits from higher up the ladder asking for my advisory on deploying the Grumman Invader in combat effective immediately.”

“Effective immediately?” this made Julie raise an eyebrow as she fully stopped in her tracks, taking in what had just been said for a moment. “In what conflict, Peru? Thought the Navy and the Air Force bombing the shit out of the commies would be enough.”

“Not Peru. The situation is still developing and it hasn’t hit the media just yet but there’s reports coming from American-friendly Ethiopia about a large scale border incursion from CSO affiliated Eritrea… We’ve been over how there’s been a Chiense arms buildup in the country. Now, the Eritreans are putting those guns to use,” Tobias continued. “The border incursion is said to be large enough that it’s probably the first step in an invasion. Obviously, the Pentagon has a problem with CSO influence expanding further in East Africa… They’d like to form a quick reaction force and put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.”

“Ain’t Ethiopia a lot larger?” Julie questioned. “They really need our help handling this one? Forgive me for not being too familiar. But Africa’s not my sphere of expertise, as you know.”

“They might be larger but the fact of the matter is that Ethiopia has largely been complacent over the past 20 yearrs while Eritrea has only grown closer to CSO and used the relationship to its advantage. The Chinese want a stronger foothold in East Africa and the Eritreans wanted an advanced military. Both sides have helped each other, and we’re seeing the effects of it now. The Ethiopian military is already getting overhwelmed based on the reports from the ground.”

“Jesus. And we’re sending in ACUs over it? Well, everyone that’s worked with them says they could handle themselves right now if they had to. Hope they’re fucking right…” Julie said. “I’m at the range right now watching one of the platoons deploy to get more training data. But if you think it’s needed, I can head back to the hotel and finish writing that report to send over immediately-”

“Get it done ASAP,” Tobias said. “The invasion is happening quickly - the Pentagon also wants a response quickly. Wants to have a decision and then have the ACU regiment on the way there in the next few days if the choice to intervene is selected. Ambitious, I know. But the Chinese are fucking with us in Peru, helping arm the rebels. You can bet we’re going to fuck with them back, now that their lapdog is overplaying its hand.”

The call ended there, leaving Julie to figure out her next moves. It seemed like they were potentially walking into a major conflict on the horizon, considering the history between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the large population involved as well as the modern military equipment on the Eritrean side. However, whether or not war was a smart choice in this case wasn’t something that fell on her shoulders. No, she was just the one that had to provide intel on their own military to allow the decision makers to judge whether or no it was ready.

Quite a lot of pressure, since lives would rest on that decision. But on the other hand, at least she wasn’t one of the pilots that would have to head out there in as little as a few days in a still technically experimental weapons platform. Sometimes, she felt that other paths would be more rewarding than this one. But she didn’t envy the more glamorous armor pilots right now.
Last edited by Forest State on Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:59 am

Georgia Pine
20th January 2089
JMA Training Range, NV, USA


"What do you mean 'minor technical checks'?" Georgia rolled her eyes, ignoring the various overlays in front of her as she stood, irritatingly motionless in the cockpit of her mech. "Shouldn't you have gotten all of those out the way before we were about to head out on exercises?"

"I mean what I said, Archer 2-2." The technician's irritating voice responded. "Something came up literally just before launch and we're just double-checking it's nothing."

"Well hurry up." Georgia growled out, irritated. It was sure sounding like the techies here had fucked up somewhere and were just trying to cover their asses with the 'minor technical checks' bullshit.

A minute passed. Nothing. The overlays remained the same, unchanging and static as she waited, her scowl deepening. What the fuck was taking them so long?

"Archer 2-1, this is Firebird. You're cleared to depart, proceed as ready. Just a monitoring system glitch."

"Finally, Firebird. Moving." Georgia grinned as her mech stormed forwards, out onto the asphalt outside, the ground rumbling beneath its steps. It never ceased to fill her with a hint of awe at the simple mass of what she controlled, the sheer physical power it held. She stopped the mech in its tracks, an unspoken command like using a muscle starting the back-mounted engines into life, coughing and belching out smoke for a few moments before they roared. She shot skywards, whooping loudly as she levelled her mech out, heading down-range. The weather was clear and blue under the Nevada sun, the wispy hints of a few clouds just creeping over the distant horizon.

She picked up speed as the automated systems kicked in, her vision sharpening just so, allowing her to make out the desert beneath her in far greater detail than a simple sand-coloured sheet that passed beneath her. A far cry from bland little Albia in the endless fields. She let herself be distracted, taking the view around her in with her heightened perception, knowing that she could focus right back in on piloting her mech at a moment's notice with all the overlays and readouts she could see.

After all, what was the point of doing all this if she couldn't take a moment to enjoy it?
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Postby Oblivion2 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:37 am

”Change of Plans”
January 20th 2089
Iron Alley Fitness, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
13:51 Local Time




The steady thump thump of someone working the punching bag reverberated through the corner of the gym. In the air was the familiar musk of iron, chalk, and sweat that one could find wafting through any gym, regardless of size or location. If you were to follow the sound, you’d find a hard bitten man with dirty blonde hair, clad in grey trunks and tank top throwing combo after combo at the poor defenceless slab of leather and sand. You wouldn’t have thought him overly different from any of dozen other patrons of the gym at first glance; closer inspection however would prove you very wrong indeed.

He was tall, without being overly tall, muscular without being massive, but where a flesh and blood right arm should be, there was a sleek replacement of steel and polymers, somehow refusing to reflect any of the light that should be flashing along its surface. The eyes were the next telling feature the man seemed to possess; pale blue and intense, while somehow managing to seem as though they were looking far, far beyond the gym and its glinting rows of equipment. As if by unspoken agreement all of the other gym-goers seemed to keep far away from the man and his punching bag. Left, left, right. Right, left, right.

With a thin sheen of sweat covering fair flesh tanned dark under a variety of exotic skies, the man suddenly ups the intensity of his blows, forcing out a dog tag on a simple chain necklace out from under his shirt.

C11-347-M23
C Dallas
ACC AB/RH/POS
CDN Forces


A soldier. Or, a former soldier judging by the puckered scar tissue just above where the man’s elbow used to be. A bad recovery, perhaps one in which he was advised not to take a cybernetic implant to replace the lost limb. These things happened sometimes, medical science not being perfect. But this one seemed to be a fighter, with a fighters stubborn refusal to quit.

Almost. He thinks to himself in between the jab, jab, cross of his simulated combat. So close to forgetting. The blows again come faster and harder as the sound of rifle fire rings in his ears. As the rich tang of cordite stings his nose. Jungle, mountain, desert, nuclear exclusion zone. Some of the most dangerous environments on the planet and it all comes to a head in a fucking penthouse.

Just hit the bag, don’t go there.

But he can’t help it. His eyes glaze over and his body goes on automatic as his mind vividly paints the picture of his boots smashing through the glass. Of the rappel lines of a dozen JTF2 operatives sing out in harmony, and the bark-bark of rifles snarl through the smoke and gloom. A kaleidoscope of chaos. Room after room cleared, caches of weapons secured. Physics evidence of foreign powers feeding the conflict, a chance to cool things off or have international support shift to the local government and the OS in general. A win. But defeat is snatched right out of the jaws of victory. CSIS doesn’t know if the penthouse was a deliberate set up to make the OS hurt or to put them publicly at the scene in a country they hadn’t acknowledged they were in. The CIA felt that it was just an accident: a stray bullet, or a panicked guérilla tossing a grenade some place he really shouldn’t have. The result was the same. Eleven KIA, no guerilla’s left to question. One medical discharge for a First Lieutenant Conrad Dallas; another soldier sent back to ma and pop civilian with less of his bits than he went In with.

The pain in his arm begins to swell. It comes and goes; extensive nerve damage. His implant is good, one of the best truthfully. It mimics tactile sensation as well or even better than the old one. But the flesh knows the difference. This arm is a machine. Phantom fingers curl in terror as nerves are scorched by the blast. Pain. Pain. Pain.

A chiming from his left wrist, the flesh wrist, bring him back from his feverish fugue.

’You have an incoming call from Ms. Cheung.’ A calm, vaguely English voice speaks in what seems to be the confines of Conrad’s mind. Most people would be alarmed by a voice in they’re head, but not Conrad. Virgil is something of a friend, a semi sentient AI assistant. Despite being a few million neural connections short of full AI sentience, Conrad afforded him all the respect of a living, thinking being. The little AI had more than proven his worth.

“Send her to voicemail Virgil.” He says aloud, his low tones punctuated by heavy breathing.

’Sir, the call is marked urgent. The uplink suggests video data as well. I believe this is an official call.’

A tight sigh escapes his lips as he lowers his hands, “Alright Virgil, connect us, and send the feed to my eye. I don’t want any snoopers.” The vision in his left eye is superimposed with an electric blue background as a feed of Fiona’s face and upper body materializes in his view.

“Afternoon Con.” His handler says, a slight smile pulling at her distinctly Chinese features. Her dark hair was bobbed short in the current fashion, framing her delicate facial features in an appealing way.

“You know better than to call when I’m at the gym.” The soldier complains lightly as he wipes down the punching bag before reclaiming his equipment and making his way outside. “Must be pretty important if you’re interrupting mission prep.”

Fiona’s dark eyes glitter dangerously, something has her focus and her attention. “Peru’s been scrubbed Con.”

Conrad felt an eyebrow raise on its own as he thumbed the unlock button for his 2086 Chevrolet Olympia, one of the new model muscle style cars the company was pumping out. “Scrubbed? We lose a contract with the government or something? Peru is an active hotzone, and I’m the guy whose been and lost an arm down there. No better operator than one with experience right?”

“No Conrad, we’ve had a change in plans. The team you were assigned to is still going to Peru, but you’re being pulled for Ethiopia. You’ve been to Africa right?”

Sliding into the seat, Conrad thumbs the ignition and feels the beast rumble to life all around him. “Yeah, a big neo-jihadist cell out of Ethiopia back in ‘64. Only spent about four months out there and managed to pick up some rudimentary Somali. Why? I’m not aware of any activity in Ethiopia.

An image of the country resolved next to Fiona’s face, showing the borders of the country as they stood. Along the northern border with Eritrea a series of small red dots began to slowly inflate. “We’ve got a confirmed series of border skirmishes and low level sovereignty violations by the Eritrean Army beginning in the early hours of the morning, US intelligence seems pretty sure that Chinese Weaponry has been funneled into Eritrea for the better part of the last year. The implication is that this is part of a bigger move by the CSO.”

“So what’s that got to do with DBS?”

Fiona brushed lightly away at a stray hair before answering, “The Americans want a deniable asset on the ground to feed good clean intelligence back home. To cause trouble for the Eritreans, confirm whether or not China has its own forces on the ground, and potentially pave the way for OS intervention. They sound serious about this one Con. Spanish Civil War serious; my contact in the US Army seemed to suggest some new kind of unit they want to test out. Ethiopia is looking attractive.”

Conrad would have bet his last dollar they were thinking about testing ACU’s in live combat. He had been privy to the Canadian Program, and had been considering taking up an invitation to join the unit just before his career had been ended in a fiery explosion. He didn’t mention that to Fiona however. ACU’s weren’t exactly common knowledge in many circles, and it wasn’t his way to hand over even a snippet of state secrets to anyone; even a friend.

“Alright, so I assume we’ve got an insertion plan in mind?” The soldier asked blithely as he slid his vehicle onto the highway, casually slipping past slower moving traffic.

“Still working it out. Best bet is a charter plane to one of the smaller regional airports. Probably have you fly out of Spain. This hasn’t hit the news yet, so we still have some time before either side declares a no fly zone and we have to look into other ways to get you in. We’d land you at an affiliated military base but like I said earlier... Deniable. Atleast until we get the word the US is escalating.” A brief pause in the conversation. “So, you in Con?”

“Beats the fuck out of Peru. When do I leave?”
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Lunas Legion
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:17 am

Roxanne Belran
21st January 2089
Freistadt, Mars


Roxanne's eyes flicked up from her holographic terminal at the light hissing sound of the doors. They narrowed ever so slightly as she examined the individual that entered, scanning up and down. Black shoes, synthetic leather. Cheap, mass-produced, but hard to distinguish from the real thing unless one was in the know on what to look for. The trousers and jacket were a pale grey, natural fabrics but still bearing the nearly-invisible marks of being produced in large batches, the only thing unusual being the less-than-normal amount of movement in how the unbuttoned jacket moved as he walked, signalling some form of light protection.

Unusual, but not too unusual. Couldn't be too careful in middle management. There were up-and-comers looking to take your place, rivals in the ranks looking to get rid of the competition for whenever a promotion came up, higher-ups looking to eliminate those that might threaten their lucrative positions... Messy business.

A white shirt and blue tie, nothing out of the ordinary.

Her eyes went to his face. Brown eyes, balding, glasses. A faint, concealed sneer on his lips as he approached her.

She accessed the personnel database in nanoseconds, sorting through records. Bayu Jebat. Accounting manager. Worked for Valken for six years, recent candidate for promotion, passed over. That explained the sneer. Most likely still annoyed subconsciously at the being passed over for promotion without explanation. ID tag matched with the face which matched with the database.

She tilted her head slightly, an acknowledgement and a signal to go on through.

He passed by her and her desk in silence. She had no need for acknowledgement, and he was late, anyways. Enough to get away with just a minor tongue-lashing, but long enough to be annoying to his superiors. A bit of petty revenge for being passed over, most likely.

She turned back to her holographic screen. Not that there was anything on it right now, it was simply what she was programmed to do when idling. It was less unnerving, apparently, than staring straight out the door. Someone else might have gotten bored, but she had no capacity to feel boredom or tiredness. She was a synth, so she had no need to feel such things. Sometimes there would be other events during the day, occasional unauthorised attempted entrances, rarer summons up to her superiors for whatever reason they had, intelligence briefings directly fed into her 'brain' to process and evaluate, but 95% of her time here was spent doing this. A silent sentry and security guard, disguised as a simple receptionist.

There was a pistol hidden under her desk, and that was all she was expected to need herself if there was an attempted entry by force. Anything larger would be spotted earlier, and dealt with accordingly.

She stared at her blank screen, and waited for the next disruption to wake her from her idle state.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4444
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:53 am

Bless The Rains
January 20th, 2089
Joint Mobile Armor Training Range, Nevada, United States



It all turned into a blur for Amanda as her Grumman Invader flew over the surface of the desert, high enough to avoid the features of the terrain - canyons and hills mainly - but low enough to give her a full view of everything that was happening. At the same time, she could distinctly pick out details. That was just par for the course given the combat stimulants that had been pumped into her body by the automated system, slowing things down for her and helping her to control the thing despite the massive speed and acceleration.

She knew she was going to be joined by the other members of the platoon later… All three of them, in fact, since they all seemed to have been held back by some kind of mechanical problem. While she knew she was supposed to hang around and give them some time to catch up, she did feel like picking up the pace and going for some of the targets down range herself. Especially after she heard Archer 2-2 announce her presence on the radio.

“Archer 2-2, try to catch up…” she spoke.

Shortly after that, she pressed forward on the engine throttle and the jet engines roared as they flared up with even more flames, throwing her forward quicker and towards the training area further off in the distance.

This state, this was what she was so often looking for but found elusive anyway. A state where she was calm, but on edge as her hands twitched on the controls every so often to make micro-adjustments to her flight path. Relaxed, but constantly alert. This was something she only felt in the cockpit… Only felt under conditions like these, when the stimulants took their effect on her mind.

Before she knew it, she had lost herself in the blur of scenery and the melding of colors around her and only came back to her more serious mission-ready status when she saw the targets coming into range and pulled back on the throttle to start leveling out the ACU and bring it into a hover.

The targets in front of her were old metal wrecks modeled in the form of opposition vehicles that they were likely to face when they were actually in the field… Now moreso than ever, although she hadn’t found out the news about that just yet. She took aim, focusing in using the targeting computer to provide assistance as she leveled the massive rifle of the ACU in the direction of the first of the targets and started to fire, the gun spitting out shells that moved towards their target quickly enough and impacted with brief flashes of light and explosions, the points of penetration clear from the smoke that rose from them in the aftermath.

However, she would be interrupted before she could start a second salvo.

“Archer platoon, this is Firebird,” the familiar voice said over the comms line. “You’re needed back at the main facility. Get wrapped up at the training area as soon as you can and turn around. Something’s happening elsewhere in the world and it has the attention of people higher up than us… They’re talking about deploying the ACU regiment and you’re set to get briefed on the subject.”

There was a brief pauses as Amanda took this in, before the controller continued. “I don’t know whether you’re getting sent out or not… But the higher ups are saying to be ready to deploy with about twenty four hours of notice. That includes learning about the situation on the ground before it’s necessary.”

“Affirmative… Tuning around right now,” Amanda said, cursing silently under her breath. “And I thought I’d get to put more rounds on target today…”

Of course, this new opportunity was plenty intriguing in its own right. After all, it wasn’t every day that they were put on alert that they could be deployed within twenty four hours. She was pretty sure it was the first time such an announcement had been made in the short history of the newly formed unit. At least, during the period it had been deemed a ‘mobile armor’ regiment and equipped with ACUs.

“Time to earn some battle streamers, eh?” she mused, pushing the throttle forward after she’d turned around the way she came.

“It may be nothing if diplomacy wins out…” Firebird reminded her. “But yes, it’s looking like you might have the chance to do that.”
don't tread on me

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Lunas Legion
Post Czar
 
Posts: 30408
Founded: Jan 21, 2013
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Lunas Legion » Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:49 am

Georgia Pine
20th January 2089
JMA Training Range, NV, USA


"Trying." Georgia grumbled in response to her unit leader as she eased the throttle forwards, engines roaring as she sped towards the range. Stupid mechanical problems and stupid techies not doing their stupid jobs. She wanted to be out there doing something, not sitting around waiting for them to figure out one of their problems and keeping her chained down because of their fuckups.

She could see the range in the distance, black-brown specks strewn across the desert the wrecked vehicles that they used as targets to train on, both for marksmanship purposes and to identify vehicle silhouettes. Her HUD lit up with tiny specks. Seemed like Archer 2-1 had decided to start without her, not that she could really blame her. She'd have started without her if their positions had been reversed.

“Archer platoon, this is Firebird,” Firebird interrupted her thoughts over the comms. “You’re needed back at the main facility. Get wrapped up at the training area as soon as you can and turn around. Something’s happening elsewhere in the world and it has the attention of people higher up than us… They’re talking about deploying the ACU regiment and you’re set to get briefed on the subject.”

Georgia let out an irritated growl. She'd just been about to begin her descent, she hadn't even gotten to put anything down range. This had all been one massive waste of time.

Firebird continued. “I don’t know whether you’re getting sent out or not… But the higher ups are saying to be ready to deploy with about twenty four hours of notice. That includes learning about the situation on the ground before it’s necessary.”

"Roger, turning." Georgia said curtly, turning back around to head back the way she'd come. Maybe if they actually did have something to deploy them out to, well, it'd make all these interruptions worth it.
Last edited by William Slim Wed Dec 14 1970 10:35 pm, edited 35 times in total.

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Theyra
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5555
Founded: Aug 29, 2015
Democratic Socialists

Postby Theyra » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:27 pm

January 20th, 2089
Madrid, Spain
Efraim Tenorio


Finally, it feels like forever since I have been in my apartment. Efraim thought with a smile on his face as he exited the taxis and collected his things from the truck. It is a rather sunny day in the capital of Spain after a bit of rain earlier in the day. The city was as busy as he remembered it, and luckily he got back from the airport before rush hour started. That would have sucked, having being stuck in traffic for an hour at minimum, and his apartment is not exactly close to the airport, still, after paying the taxis and with his belongings in hand. Efraim made his way into the apartment complex.

It was a short trip up the elevator to the third level and down the hallway to his place. Just near the end and he took a moment to get his key and opened the door. Quickly getting inside and closing the door. Locking it, and as soon as that was done, Efraim carelessly tossed his backpack to the couch and placed the rest of his gear on a table. Then he walked straight to his bedroom, turned around, and fell down on his back on his bed with his arms wide open. It felt good to be on his bed again. Even though Morocco was not that much far away from Spain, it was a long mission there. At least the job paid well to warrant the long time he spent in Morocco. Enough that Efraim can relax for a while and become familiar with his apartment once again.

Efraim's apartment was a nice one, not a luxury one by any stretch but one that was comfortable. Spacious for a single-level apartment and one he can afford. It is certainly a step up from his last place, which was a dump. Back when he had trouble finding a job and Efraim does not miss that place. After several minutes of relaxing and smiling on his bed. Efraim remembered something important and checked his iPhone. "Nope... they have still not called." Sounding disappointed, and had a slight frown on his face. Normally they call by now someone from his family. He knows his siblings Tatiana and Matías are busy with college, and his uncle Rolando has work, and it is a seven-hour difference. But still, someone would have a call or left him a message. He checked his watch, and it read 3:47. After doing the mental math, it was possible that they were simply busy. Efraim had half a mind to call them but decided against it. If they were busy, then it would rather not disturb them now. So he put his cellphone away and got up from the bed.

His next stop was the balcony, and he opened the door to a bright ray of sunlight. Covering his eyes for a moment before stepping out on the balcony. Breathing in the fresh air and got a good look at the city. Efraim had a good view of Madrid from his balcony. A nice sight, really, and it makes him glad that he got this apartment. The sight of a green park, the blue sky, and despite the sounds of cars and people. It is a nice day with a cool breeze.

Then Efraim heard his iPhone ringtone go off and quickly got it out this to his excitement. That excitement went away fast when he saw the number, and he answered the call, sounding displeased. "Hello, Santino, what is it?"

"What? Wait, why the tone, my friend? Something happened?"

Efraim sighed, "no was just expecting someone else to call me."

"Ah, and let me guess, it starts with an f and ends with a y."

Efraim sighed again, "You know me, Santino, and really, what is it?"

"Okay and straight to the point as always, well, while you were busy in Morocco. I was busy finding some work, and I found a sweet one. Being a bodyguard for a local politician with some others and she is paying well for a jig like this".

Efraim's eyes narrowed, "So why did you call me then if you found yourself some work?" This better not be some kind of boasting from him. Kinda annoying when he does it.

"Well.... she had to fire one of us due to a.... let's say miscommunication with one of the other bodyguards, and now there is an open spot. I figured since I know and can vouch for you that you got the skills needed for a job like this."

Efraim took this time to head back inside and closing the door to the balcony before speaking again. "Santino, I just got back from Morocco, and I would rather spend some time to relax, and I am not really strapped for cash."

"Come on, Efraim, it pays well, and it would be nice to know I got someone I know with me. Plus, it is not outside the country this time. How about you think about it and get back to me?"

Efraim took a moment to think before getting back to Santino. "Sure, I will think about it, and who is the politician anyway?"

"Nice and her name is Alina Galán, she is a politician that is trying to run for mayor and has seen some trouble lately. You should have heard of her, at least if you follow the news."

"That name does sound familiar, and I will get back to you soon, okay, Santino."

"Got it, my friend, and think fast. I do not know how long until she hires another bodyguard. Just remember that part, okay?"

"I will Santino and see you later," and they both hung up. Another job this soon from his job in Morocco and he needs to do some research about this Alina. If he is going to protect her, he might as well see if she is worth it. Efraim is not a fan of working for some corrupt politician though at least he can count on having a friend working with him. So that would be a plus but, for now. Efraim is going to take the rest of the day off and relax. You might as well before he potentially takes up another job and all his free time is gone. So Efraim jumped on the couch and put on some t.v. and started to relax.

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Oblivion2
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1237
Founded: Mar 01, 2007
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Oblivion2 » Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:41 am

January 21st, 2089
Toronto, Canada
DBS Headquarters,
0849 Local Time
”Deniable”





Conrad had to admit that the Devil’s Brigade Services headquarters had a certain appeal to it. The tower had come to take its place in the Toronto skyline only a decade or so earlier, but the smooth design of its glass and steel structure had always drawn the veteran’s eye up to it, forcing him to marvel at the small wonder of modern engineering. He was given to understand it was also a hardened structure, capable of withstanding multiple direct air strikes. Someone, somewhere hadn’t spared any expense on the construction of design of the headquarters.

“You do not have time to gawk, Conrad. The briefing is supposed to begin in meeting room Foxtrot in eleven minutes.” Virgil spoke softly into Conrad’s skull in those smooth, British tones.

“Yeah, alright.” Replies the mercenary, absentmindedly adjusting his Windsor Knot as he stepped towards the building and through the first set of doors. Next came the palm scanners and turn styles; gone were the days of an employee carrying an identity badge that could get lost or stolen. Now one literally carried their authorization in the palm of their hands. Next came the metal detector and cavity scanner.

“Bonjour, Lou.” Conrad said to the security guard assigned to this particular station. “Salut, Conrad. Ça va?”

“Fine, thanks.” Comes Conrad’s reply in English. “Ready to set your machine off?” He asks with a slight grin pulling at his features. Between the prosthetic he wore, and the shrapnel slivers that remained embedded in his hip, there wasn’t a metal detector in the world he could get past without setting off. Louis, having worked at DBS about as long as Conrad, knew well that every veteran had their peculiarities. Stepping inside, Conrad waited for the sensor to start spinning around him, and for the alarm to blare out softly, alerting Louis and Conrad both to what they already knew.

“Well, you didn’t stuff a bomb up your ass today.” The quebecois guard says dryly upon inspecting the scan results. “And your arm is still apparently comprised of some fashion of metallics. I suppose you’re clear to go on in Sim-Captain.”

“Thanks Lou, I’ll catch you on my way back down.” Conrad replies as he slips out of the cylinder and into the lobby proper. Making his way to the elevator, Conrad thought about the rank that DBS had recently granted him. Sim-Captain. Simulated Captain. It was a nice, easy way for members of the Canadian And American Armed Forces to know roughly how much respect he rated as a private military operator, while also conveniently explaining to them that he was no longer a member of their club, and to be held at a certain distance from ‘proper’ service members. He longed for the old feelings of Camaraderie, but once the medical discharge was granted, it was hardly ever rescinded. There was nothing he could do on the subject, but shut up and soldier on.

The dinging of the elevator alerted Conrad to his arrival on the 24th floor. He had been so deep in his own thoughts that he hadn’t even realized he’d pressed the button and started the elevator. It was one of those days already. The meeting room was far, around the corner basically. Pressing his palm onto a scanner mounted on the wall, Conrad heard the door unlock and allow him entry into one of the more secure meeting rooms in the building. Soundproof, constantly swept for bugs, and certainly not monitored for video, this was one of the places where the unspeakable was spoken. The unknowable was known for a brief moment. This was one of three deniable Ops rooms, which mean the situation in Ethiopia was swiftly becoming more dangerous than anyone wanted to admit out loud.

“Morning Conrad.” A voice called from the dark. “Have a seat.”

An executive by the sound of it. Maybe Antonio Silvano, VP of Operations. And he was early to boot. Another series of bad signs for someone who know how to look for them. Silvano was an older man, mid to late fifties with hair already turned to a wintery silver. He wore his age like a badge of honour almost, rather than trying to hide it with dyes and cosmetic procedures. A veteran of thirty years in the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service, Conrad could grudgingly respect the aura of Spook that the executive still seemed to possess.

With him was a mid-level operations manager, Camille St. Laurent, and an intelligence analyst that Conrad didn’t know. The window shades were already drawn, with the sound proofing and tinting activated. Taking a seat, Conrad glanced up at the projection of Ethiopia being projected from the middle of the long, oaken table. The border conflict had seemingly expanded overnight.

“Looks bad.” Conrad comments softly.

“It is bad.” Antonio answers in an even tone. “Eritrean Forces are already beginning to penetrate into Ethiopia proper. The Ethiopians are scrambling units into alert to try and blunt the advance, but they didn’t seem to be expecting this attack. The Eritreans are also flexing their Chinese muscle too, more modern equipment out there than you’d expect a brushfire to have.”

The analyst clicked on some sort of portable computer and ran through several satellite images with Chinese Military designs pulled up beside them, identifying what the intelligence community seemed to believe was present.

“Alright, so the Ethiopians are having a hard go at it. What’s it got to do with us? They’re an OS ally, no?”

“An OS ally that hasn’t officially asked for assistance.” Camille explains. “The intelligence and Diplomatic communities agree that it’s coming, and coming soon. But OS Command doesn’t want to wait. They want an advance operative on the ground, and they want them there now.”

“OS Command,” Antonio takes over, idly picking at a piece of perceived fluff on his blue suit, “Is seriously considering deploying ACUs In the AO to counter the significant numbers of hardware on the Eritrean side. We’re also uncertain whether or not China has deployed their own ground forces. They could have sent anything from special forces, to advisors, or PMCs themselves. It would be a little brazen, but the rumblings out of China have been getting more and more aggressive.”

“So what exactly, is the mission?” That was the only question really worth asking in Conrad’s opinion.

“Forward Recon. OS command wants a deniable operative to gather on the ground intelligence on hostile thrusts, enemy matériel on location, confirm any signs of Chinese presence, and eliminate any targets of opportunity that arise. Given that we’re not formally invited, it’s best you don’t make contact with any Ethiopian Armed Forces, but we can put out that fire if it springs up. Naturally…” Antonio trails off.

“Don’t get caught by the Chinese or the Eritreans, I think I can manage that.” Conrad replies, the pale ghost of a smile beginning to stretch across his face. “What’s the insert?”

“We’re sending you to Spain on a flight this afternoon. Your gear has already been sent ahead of you. From Spain, we’ll insert you on one of our planes, and you’ll HALO into one of five landing zones that we’ve designated depending on how far the Eritreans have penetrated into Ethiopian lines. Any questions?”

Conrad felt himself shaking his head immediately, just your typical, ordinary deniable operation. Once again he was being asked to be the ghost in the darkness; it was a role Conrad was more that comfortable with. “Time to earn my pay.”
Warhammer 40k Enthusiast
Devoted student of Alternative History
Proud Canadian


“What man is a man who does not try to make the world a better place?”
- Unknown


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