"And that is the nature of freedom in summary. Now..."
And then, blessedly, the world came rushing back.
"Anyone else spend about a month in the teleporter?"
BRC seemed a bit disturbed.
"No.... Teleporter was quick. Why?"
"Nothing. Never mind."
Alright. Seemed we were in two groups. Teleporter split us up. No big deal.
"Alright men, check inventory, then get ready to roll."
Kane called in from group 2.
"Uh... my Heavy Plasma went missing."
Trazoi's follow up comment was worse.
Seems the Blaster Bombs had gone inert. Great.
I decided to do a quick check of my laser rifle.
Also great. Batteries not charging. I had one, maybe two shots before the thing would be useless except as a club. And I'm not Knight, and therefore I have sense enough to see that's not a viable combat tactic. Further inventory indicated that the whole of the man portable supplies was:
20 laser rifles, with between five and one rounds each.
10 psi amps.
Seemed the security systems noted the alien plasma reactors easily, and removed those, and managed to do something to the lasers due to the Sectopod research. There was, however, one bright spot.
Lopez, Sheila, and the Avenger's tank had very well shielded reactor cores. Which meant they had over 200 shots apiece. Ho. Ho. Ho.
At least that's what I thought. Before I noticed the radio quality in here was awful, and that any attempts to scan with the psi amps was... unreliable at best. Something here was interfering. All we could do was sit, wait, and hope Lopez could manage on his own.
Of course, we were able to make some things out. Help a little.
It is amazing how easily a twitchy Ethereal is to convince that he really needs to shoot that Chryssalid down the corridor. And if he has a blaster bomb...
Results are impressive.
Of course, the overall view we got of the area was interesting. Two new species of alien down here. Not too powerful, mind, but odd. Floating kidneys, and some kind of Horta. They died to fire fairly quickly, for the most part.
With the unreliability of coms with the tanks, and Durandal (as the Avenger AI had taken to calling himself) apparently keeping busy dealing with automated turrets, security cameras, and other such security measures, we spent most of the time just sitting around waiting.
Murska spoke up first this time.
"So. This is it, huh?"
Of course, I couldn't reply. Tengu and I were the only ones who could do anything given the whole mental static bit, and even then we had to be careful. The thing was blocking most attempts even now, when it hadn't noticed us. What it'd do when it knew where we were, and what we were doing...
Let's just say we didn't want that to happen.
Fortunately, Trazoi got the radio in well enough to cover for me.
"Yeah. Funny. They always say in those old war movies, at the start, 'It'll all be over by Christmas.' Had to be right at least once."
BRC interrupted with an enthusiastic "Got one!"
Better than I expected the kid to do.
"Alright. Sending it down a corridor. Place is pretty much clean. Lopez knows his work, all I can say."
"Found an elevator. Oh. This isn't good. The bourgeoisie oppressors have sunk to a new low. They... they mounted the bodies of Sgt. Ninja and Sgt. Butterfly on the wall. And they have heavy plasmas, so it looks like this scout's going to be useless in a matter of seconds."
I had to respond to that, somehow.
"Huh. Well, sorry to hear about that. Kane, Jimor, Murska, Rapture, if you need a break to cry... STOP BEING PANSIES! WE HAVE A GORRAM WAR TO WIN AND IF YOU AREN'T READY TO FIGHT DUE TO EMOTIONAL STRESS I WILL ENSURE WE ARE NOT HUMILIATED IN FRONT OF THE ENEMY IF I HAVE TO KILL YOU MYSELF. Wait. Where is Rapture?
Crap. Crap. Crap. The idiot was going down to avenge himself on the aliens.
I ran after him.
Unfortunately, he got to the lifts first.
And promptly got pinned down by enemy fire. I could ignore it, of course. Come in later, terribly sorry...
No. Sadly, I couldn't. He was under my command. And you don't leave a man behind.
Five plasma bursts to the gut made me regret my little rescue attempt.
Fortunately, the psi amp took out three of them.
And the last snapshot in my laser rifle dropped the last of them.
Well, last one of them still able to move. I grabbed the Heavy Plasma one of our guests had dropped.
"Rapture? Morphine. Got a bit of a scratch from a blast saving your worthless life, and I'd like to be sure I can finish off this brain... thing."
"Look, if you can't work a simple medikit, try to call Trazoi. I mean, theoretically that's his job."
I had Trazoi on the line soon enough.
"Remember your injuries in Casablanca?"
"These are worse. By a lot. As in you have less of a torso than a place to store the holes made by heavy plasma."
"Ah. Well, I might not make it, then. Execute operation sendoff."
I then heard the blessed sounds of laser autofire. Sounded like the battery went dead.
And then I heard the less nice sound of the lasers bouncing off.
"Hey, Trazoi. I heard something just now. Did an alien get into this room?"
Great. I was dying. Copper wasn't. Life isn't fair. Well, I had a job to do.
I walked up to the brain. Which began to stir.
Rapture wasn't moving. The radio went dead. Couldn't even feel the mildly irritating hum of Tengu trying to take over my brain.
But somehow, it wasn't hitting me. Well, it might be. Hard to tell through the pain of 5 rapidly expanding heavy plasma holes in my torso. Thing seemed almost shocked.
Started begging for its life.
Not likely. I'd seen what it was doing from day one. Well, I pretty much started our side in this war. Only fair I finish it.
Pulling the trigger took more out of me than I thought. Going to catch my breath for a seco
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