2034-03-03 1100LT Alone with the Enemy
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|Event: 2034-03-03 1100LT Alone with the Enemy|
|Dale Young||Jade Rabbit Warren|
|Caused By||Cause Of|
|On This Day|
"Shit!" Dale launched himself to his left, narrowly avoiding an enormous boulder. The floor of the hanger sized room was getting pummelled by the collapsing ceiling. He skidded along the floor for several metres, bouncing a bit in the low G. His targeting system showed the Royal Guard disengaging from the hoards of Chinese Drone Warriors and heading for corridors leading deeper into the Warren. The CDWs were getting smushed. Suited him fine.
°°HE-AP fire will cause more collapses.°° His armour’s voice was straight-up Mary Poppins – stern and calm. °°Interior rooms are not reinforced.°° His AR showed that all the RGA AIs had delivered the same message.
Dale sighed. The Guard had used up a lot of ammunition from their arm-mounted KR1 machine guns up in the spaceport. The Drones could soak up an enormous amount of damage and keep coming. The MARG404 high explosive rounds were much more effective than bullets. A HE-AP antipersonnel air-burst could turn a hundred of the creatures into paste with one pull of the trigger. It spread the shells out over a wide area and set them off to create a shockwave that could kill almost anything without armour. Dale smiled at that memory. So much splat… He shook his head. And take down buildings, he thought. Splat won’t do much if we can’t get out.
He glanced at the ‘General Alert’ icon in his AR and nodded. It turned green. The audio environment in his suit became spacious. He could hear his people breathing and grunting as they fled the collapsing room and regrouped. “Listen up, Marines. HE-AP fire will take down our escape route before we get to use it. Work with HE-F and KR1 whenever possible. Save AP and HE-AP for the exit.” Their MARG404 grenade guns were amazingly versatile. The shoulder mounted gun could twitch as if fired, sending the rounds toward the enemy in specific patterns. HE-F used the same High Explosive rounds as HE-AP, but put them in a tight ring around a target. They popped like a focused shaped charge, doing a lot of damage to the centre of the circle, but limited damage further out. The third HE option was HE-AM – good for blowing large holes in buildings, taking down bridges, and the like.
The icons surrounding his soldiers shifted colours to show his order added to the instruction set of the grenade launching machine guns on each shoulder of each Guard. He did love having a MARG on each shoulder.
“Colour Sergeant, we’re going to run out of bullets pretty damn quick.” It was Mouthy – the smallest person in the guard, and the ringleader of the ‘Other Seven Dwarves’. “These things are deadly hand to hand and eat KR1 fire like popcorn.”
She was right. Dale had watched good soldiers convulsing as their bodies melted inside their armour after being swarmed by the Drones. Lusty had fallen under a dozen of the things. Well, a dozen halves of the things. Lusty had cut them down with his battlesword – 20kg and 2.5m of metal behind a monofilament edge does a lot of damage – but the things just dragged themselves forward, trailing guts and gore.
“Options?” Dale was devastating in a fight and solid following through on a plan. Clever shifts in strategy were not his strong suit. He knew how to make use of his people though.
“Soften a room with one HE-AP, and follow up with KR1 and hand to hand.” Mouthy sounded grim, but sure. “Careful use of CH-EEF and CH-I when needed to cover retreat or kill Drones.”
CH-EEF was a chemical armour foam that could reinforce a collapsing building or encase a lot of enemy combatants. CH-I rounds threw a lot of hard to quench fire all over the target. They'd both be effective. “You heard her,” Dale said.
He had surveyed the locations of everyone while Mouthy spoke. There were seven straggler including himself, cut off from the three main groups of Guards. “Stay together or in small teams depending on how effective the pop and cut strategy works. Regroup when you can. Keep an eye on ammo and heat.” The Royal Guard armour was incredibly effective power armour, but it was made for sprints, not marathons. At any time about a quarter of the guard would need to hang back to shed heat. With some coordination that worked out fine: you pulled back when you needed a reload and a cool down. A Royal Guard alone though? Deep trouble. “Leave teams in defensible positions along the escape route to give us a head start.”
His AR filled up with potential routes his people would take to meet the mission objective. A ghostly image of Mycroft faded in an away, smiling.
“You’ll be updating, yes?” Dale asked.
Dale was pretty sure that snark had been for him alone. He did not like or trust Mycroft but didn’t see any other options. He opened a private channel with the Luna Alpha AI. “I’m here to kill one shitty AI. You fuck us up and I’ll make it two.” He closed the channel without waiting for a reply.
According to his AR there was a path from his current position to the Breeding Pits at the bottom of the Warren, but he’d be on his own getting there. His marines were already making progress through the maze toward their goal. He hefted his shield, readied his KR1 and checked his sword. His MARG404s loaded HE-AP on the left and HE-F on the right. Here we go, he thought. At some level he knew he was likely about to die, but he was in the middle of an honest to goodness good fight. Those were hard to come by nowadays. He didn't know his face was split by a massive grin.
The pressure seal hatch that was supposed to separate the collapsing chamber from the large corridor was a mess of twisted metal. Dale slashed through the hinges with his massive monofilament sword. Butter, he thought. He pushed the door aside with his large kite shield, then marched into the corridor.
It was only a few dozen meters before he saw movement. A cluster of 14 CDWs rounded a bend in the annoyingly twisty shaft 103m away. His suit zoomed in and identified a mix of the two types – eight converters and six consumers. Dale knew he couldn't let them close with him. The corridor was almost 4m wide and tall. They would swarm over him and chew through his armour.
He toggled a HE-AP burst and fired. A wordless yearning that the tunnel didn't collapse filled him. The burst was devastating. All that was left was rubble and gooey red soup.
°°Structural damage,°° his suit said. Parts of the ceiling and walls were collapsing around the Drones-gooing blast. °°Another HE-AP will trap you.°°
“Yeah, yeah.” Dale stepped over the oozing smear that had been the Drones and continued down the hall. Another 40m past them he could see an exit. It was clouded by the slowly falling dust from his last shot. He thought there was movement past the dust, but his sensors were having trouble. He moved quickly to the end of the corridor, then paused under cover of dust.
It was another big irregularly shaped room about 100m across and 30m at the tallest. Dale counted five other corridors leaving the place. It appeared to be a manufacturing facility of some kind, filled with desks, work tables, and a variety of machines he didn’t recognize. His suit pointed out two exits as options for rejoining the other Royal Guard relatively quickly.
He was sure he saw something moving in one of those corridors, but his armour was not reporting the motion. Dale kept his faceplate transparent unless forced to go opaque, preferring to use his own eyes whenever he could. With an AR overlay, of course. He knew the sensors in the armour were better than his eyes most of the time, but… “Mary, can you lock the target?”
°°No targets identified.°°
Something lurked just past the opening of the corridor he needed to get to.
Now what? Whatever it was, the thing had some stealth tech blocking his target lock.
The room coughed. The hall he stood in became a howling gale as the atmosphere hammered past him, back down the corridor. The mass of his armour kept him steady, but only just. °°The previous collapse reached the surface,°° Mary said. °°This section will be in vacuum in about 45 seconds.°° The wind was hurricane force – easily powerful enough to pick up tables and loose equipment. He hunkered down. The MARGs were encased in a streamlined protective shell so flying equipment bounced off them instead of getting caught and damaging the guns. His suit still boomed and rattled with all the impacts at 200km/h. Many lights were smashed, or ripped off the ceiling and walls.
By the time the dust and debris started to clear about thirty seconds after the air pressure dropped, the room was a mess, with patches of inky darkness and pools of bright light. The icons for his high explosive air burst rounds greyed out. No air, no burst. He stood and marched into the room. His armour was designed to draw attention so there was no point trying to sneak around. “Lamps,” he said. The area around him flashed into sharp relief. KR1 and sword ready in his right hand, kite shield attached firmly to his left forearm, he followed the wide, clear path around the perimeter of the room. He turned so his back was toward the wall and lead with the shield. Good thing, too. It caught two of the four guided missiles that shot silently out of one of the corridors. They were moving fast enough that even the armour’s AI didn’t have time to react, just taking the hits. The explosions were powerful enough to send the entire suit smashing into the wall. Everything held up fine – it was combat power armour, after all – but Dale himself was a little shaken from the impact. As he bounced off the concrete wall something as big as him and with far too many legs dropped off the ceiling and slammed him to the ground.
°°Error. Undetected attacker.°°
“Really?” Dale struggled with the writhing thing. Even with his floodlights on it all he could see was a flat blackness where something was tearing at him. He got a grip on some appendage and heaved, throwing the thing away from him. His armour caught a good silhouette as it tumbled through the air: it was a 4m long scorpion. Made of darkness. “Great.”
The scorpion armour slammed into the ground, smashing through equipment. Something it crushed spilled something like toner over part of the thing, and he suddenly had something to see. It wasn’t much – just a half metre blotch in the air - but at least he wasn’t completely blind. While it scrambled to its many feet Dale ordered armour piercing “Digger” rounds to queue up in the MARG, aimed manually, and dropped a HE-AP burst into it. One of the seven grenades tagged a leg and blew it off. “That didn’t slow it down at all,” Dale muttered.
Machine-gun fire poured out of the scorpion’s tail, pinging off his shield and armour without doing any real damage while it charged toward him. Between the paint and the gunfire, Dale was ready for it this time. He caught its attempt to tackle him on his shield and sprang forward, launching it upward with stunning force. It smashed into the ceiling, but instead of falling, Dale watched its legs bend the wrong way around to grab on to the roof. It skittered around to face him again, now marching along the ceiling.
“Great.” Even Dale couldn’t tell if he meant it genuinely or sarcastically. He really did love a challenge. Living through it was always a nice bonus.
The Scorpion's tail-gun shut down and sealed up, making it harder to see again. He fired at it with both MARGs, but the thing was quick and targeting wasn't working well enough. A small part of the roof fell in, but the limited area of effect of the blasts meant that the room wasn't in danger of collapse. Dale kept moving toward the nearest passage. It wasn't the fastest way back to the Royal Guard, but it was better than staying out in the open.
A second scorpion launched itself into him, completely evading his sensors and his own senses. This one got a pincher around his leg, mid thigh, and squeezed.
More to come.
Data stored in Special:CargoTables/EVENT with the Form:Events and Template:Events. Pages are in the Events Category.
- Machine Gun (KR1): 2000r/200burst, +3PS. Mounts to dominant arm with integrated belt feed.
- Dale: 12x.4567.8888888888PS, 246Con, DR+3 Kinetic