July 5, 2019 at 5:37 pm #20373
Al had so many powerful forces on his side, he often didn’t know to whom he should give credit for his good fortunes – there were the voodoo gods, ever-faithful; there was Her, ever lurking in the shadows, tongue lolling out with the shit-eating grin on her face; and always of course the Good Lord Himself, ever eager to repay Al’s good works – so not knowing which to thank, he generally attributed all of his luck to his own superb and excellent personal qualities.
So when a hail of minigun fire swept through the space his body had occupied the split second before his clever little plastique pratfall, he had only himself to congratulate.
Noting the cadence of the weapon’s sweep, he chose the perfect moment to regain his feet and high-tail it over the ridgecrest, trailing the pull cord and instructing Preston as he went.
Once on the other side, he squatted behind the intervening wall of earth and waited for his companions to join him, hand gripping the detonator….July 6, 2019 at 10:09 am #20392
Becky managed to fire her bow while laying in the mud and still got a hit on the spider drone.
The suppressive fire stopped.
And then the Juggernaut launched a grenade at her position, detonating it directly at her position and only a short way away from Al’s readied charge…July 6, 2019 at 2:18 pm #20401
Rebbeca had a brief second to mentally wonder her “avoid getting hit strategy”, but Lilly did it as well – she would not leave her in the field.
The grenade surged toward her and getting hit was unavoidable, “clever little bugger” she thought. Surrpised that the big drone had such a flexibility in weapon selection.
She braced for impact and in the brief second she had before the grenade reaches her she activated her magical tattoos. They gave her clarity of mind, and the world seemed to go on slow motion. As the grenade was approaching, the added clarity from her QI gave her another brief moment to act, which may prevent her from experiencing getting blown up again.
July 6, 2019 at 5:32 pm #20411
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Gilga.
Becky realized she was still alive, despite the grenade throwing her a good three meters from her previous position. The juggernaut drone was still advancing but kept it’s shield between it and her.
The ridge was only two meters above her now and the suppressive fire had stopped for good.
Debris and dirt rained all around her combining with smoke, steam and rain to very bad visibility – although the drone didn’t seem to have any trouble keeping its target on her.July 6, 2019 at 6:22 pm #20413
Sitting in relative safety on the other side of the ridge, Al leaned back a lit a cigarette.
Then he heard the thump of a grenade launcher and winced in sympathy at the sound of the blast – that had to hurt.
<<Assumin’ y’all are still in one piece, then quit yer lollygaggin’ an’ crest that ridgetop. Ya think ol’ Al really fell? Was plantin’ a charge ta bring a coupla metric tons o’ mud down on them drones….Ya git yerself blowed up again, might be a much bigger blast than yer countin’ on….>>July 6, 2019 at 11:33 pm #20416
Rebbeca rolls and tumbles, then she stands up and runs toward Al, when she gets her message her impossible to miss pulse armor is clearly visible, but she does not stop near Al but continue to move past him, hoping that the drone is somehow locked at her and ignores other threats. She would have texted something, but Kit seemed very chatty and without hurting lungs and ringing ears. >> I am okay… but Rebbeca is pissed off. Nice of you to care.July 7, 2019 at 3:13 am #20419
Thanks to Becky’s attention getting diversion, Lily was able to make it over the crest without incedent. Al could feel the vibrations of the drone coming closer. Another grenade came over the ridge, following Becky, forcing the team to dispers or eating grenade shrapnellSpoiler:July 8, 2019 at 1:40 am #20426
Al moved the moment the brightly-pulsing Becky cleared the ridgetop.
A moment thereafter, he heard the distinctive sound of the grenade launcher again. Still gripping his end of the pull-cord, he skipped to where the rain had caused a strong stream of mudflow to course down a natural channel it had found in the slope. He dropped his ass onto the flow and leaned back, letting the slippery silt carry him rapidly down to the approaching truck, it’s sophisticated autopiilot guiding its offroad suspension meter by meter up the treacherous slope.
He had only slid a few meters before the pull-cord reached its limit and the far side of the ridge was shaken by an incredible blast, which coincided with the incoming grenade blast to make Al very glad for his sound dampers.July 8, 2019 at 3:09 pm #20438
After the explosion, dirt and stones rained down and a huge chunk of the crater wall had just stopped to exist. From the juggernaut there was no sign.
Finally they reached the van – mostly intact.July 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm #20452
Seeing the team approach the Gaz, Preston pulled the switch to trigger the manual override, then pulled open doors while messaging <<Al, it is in manual, probably going to start rolling backwards in a moment>>
Then he blissfully went back into hot sim, leaving behind the mud and ash and explosions.
Oleg: Just because VR didn’t have those things ten seconds ago doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have them now.
Gamma: To do it out here, away from hosts, that would require a huge number of AR objects. It wouldn’t make sense.
Oleg: Probably there will be no AROs of mud and ash. But things could hit me that I interpret as explosions.
Preston did make sure to have his defenses up as he jumped in.July 8, 2019 at 4:40 pm #20455
Al tossed his gear in and hopped his mud-soaked body into the driver’s seat and slapped Preston on the shoulder. Feeling the shifting ground beneath the truck’s tires like a blind man caressing Braille, he found just the right moment and fishtailed the truck around in a rough but serviceable one-eighty. Making sure that Becky and Lily were on board, he wasted no time in heading away from the camp and out of the ash wastes – they needed as much distance between them and the Martians before the rain let up and they sent their air assets after them.
“Heh heh. Now that were some fireworks.”July 9, 2019 at 1:57 am #20477
Rebbeca enters the car, takes off her helmet and takes a deep breath – the chemical seal air is just not as satisfying. ”Nice fireworks indeed. You are definitely on the naughty list this year.”July 9, 2019 at 5:44 am #20493
“Heh heh. Precious, ol’ Al lives on that list.”
The rain was still pouring down, and Al was conscious of the fact that some aspects of the route they’d driven in on may have shifted. He made the best speed he safely could in low-gear.
Noticing that Preston had gone back under, he voice-to-texted: <<So Presto baby, what say ya fill us all in on yer new friend?>>July 9, 2019 at 8:18 am #20502
”As long as you are alive chummer ” she responds, and feels a bit sad about all the mud and dirt her armor brings to the Gaz. Rebbeca stays alert, and carefully observe the surrounding through the windows to make sure that there is no pursuit. She shuts down all her electronic equipment, despite Kit’s protests. He is still an agent software, even if he aspires to be a person, and marks, deckers and matrix tracking are real to her now that she studies them.
July 9, 2019 at 11:21 am #20514
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Gilga.
* Eliza: I should leave VR and talk to them in person
* Monkey: Noooo! Al’s driving is going to be scary, and things are better here.
* Coleman: keeping matrix overwatch is worth doing for at least a while, anyway
Preston took a bit of time to check yet again for anything running silent that he couldn’t attribute to the team, then messaged back
<<The A.I. calls itself Demeter. Seems to be involved in the protection of the colony. It might believe that they are actually on Mars? Not sure on that. It was willing to work with me to minimize damage to the colony. I basically told it that you were all extremely dangerous and that any confrontation was apt to damage people and property, so that the best way to minimize damage was to minimize the risk of confrontations. But they have a second A.I., I’m guessing more of a defender? And it eventually caught on that something was going on.>>July 9, 2019 at 12:12 pm #20523
<<Heh heh. So it’s like a girl fake intelligence? And it’s the one tipped ya about Panama? Whaddaya reckon’s the chances they bases is all networked, an’ we’ll run into it down there as well?>>July 9, 2019 at 1:56 pm #20525
Preston replied to Al but copied Becky and Lilly too <<I didn’t get a ton of sense of gender off of it. I’m guessing the connection with the greek goddess may not have been programmed in. The aggressive one was called “Hades” so at least we know their general naming scheme. Here, I’ll attach the full transcript of our conversations — but Al please hold off doing much reading until we are further away.>>July 9, 2019 at 2:29 pm #20530
Despite the bad weather, the team made good progress getting away through the inhospital environment. For one thing, they were moving downhill and only had to follow their previous tracks, for another, this time all their improvised bridges and cleared passages were already waiting for them.
When the rain stopped, they were far enough away not to have to worry about drones.July 9, 2019 at 5:55 pm #20577
Back on the highway headed north, Al muttered, “Chase is on.”
It wasn’t the chase he would have liked, in a highjacked plane only ten minutes behind their quarry.
But big as Panama was, it was smaller than, say, the whole world. Or, in the case of this job, the solar system.
A quick calculation told him it would be just as fast to drive up to Hat Island and pick the Snakehandler up there, provided Flannery had her fuelled and ready to go.
Otherwise they’d still have to wait for her to be prepped, then it would fly down to meet them, sure, but they’d also have to make for the Salish coast and then get out to an open-water landing, not to mention he’d have to trust someone else to fly her down.
“Reckon I got a plane up in the ‘Plex, git us ta Panama jist fine. Who’s up ta see if ol’ Al flies as well as he drives?”July 10, 2019 at 7:52 am #20580
[Saturday September 10, 2078; Ash wastes high tailing it away from the ‘Mars Base’, Mt St Helens]
Lily had been pretty quiet since the mad scramble from the ridge… she’d been thinking about her actions and the emotions that had been behind them. She’d been scared, but more than that it had been exciting and the adrenalin rush had felt amazing, even now as it began to recede and she felt tired but exhilarated.
Eventually she came back to her earlier question…
“Can we get a flight plan for that plane? Knowing which air field it’s going to would help narrow down where we need to hunt next wouldn’t it? Can we buy the info from Silk? Or someone else?
Oh, and I like flying, and it can’t be worse than your driving” she grinned at Al…
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