Hazmat: The Delta Contagion, Role Play
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The journey was long as silent, we met at an unnamed Air Force base and were transferred into trucks and were under guard the entire way. We each came from different lines of duty, marines, Rangers, heck some of us even came from the Navy, all chose because we had volenteered and had been trained at some point in the Tactical Hazmat field Division.
Technically part of the United States military though clearly part of the so call Black Book projects. We all signed confidentiality agreements before being trained, and the technology we used right down to the Hazard suits was bleedingly cutting edge. I had never seen anything like it.
We had been rounded up in the middle of what ever it was we were doing (sleeping, eating, working) and were being shipped like prisoners to where ever it was we were going.
Worst of all we were told nothing.
There were three trucks at the airfield, but they were very specific as to who got in which truck. Maybe they were taking us to different locations. Who knows.
All I knew, I was in a truck with strangers who I hardly knew or if I did know them, I didn't recognise anyone. But I had a feeling that by the end of all this, I would know them very well.
* * *
Lieutenant Loran Mirez wiped a hand through his hair, and looked around the back of the truck as he felt the suspension of said truck bounce along the road, the creaking of the joints holding the canvass over them, and sound of the engine.
He made a guess that they were travelling at roughly thirty to forty miles an hour.
The truck held seven other people, two stone faced and silent soldiers guarding them, and the 'volunteers'. The guards were seated either side of the zipped-up back end, and the only light came from a dim light bulb someone had fixed into the roof.
There was a monitor at the cab end of the compartment, but it was black.
They had all been in the truck for an hour by this point.
Chris didn't mind the silence. It was familiar to him, as was the rumbling and bouncing of the truck. He wasn't told what was going on, and he didn't ask. In a lot of ways, he didn't care. His job wasn't to ask questions, though he'd certainly voice his opinion when the time came. No...he was here because there were five people in the truck with him that would need his attention at some point. Lives are saved everyday, in many ways. Some of these folks, they probably saved lives by taking lives. Chris....he was more traditional.
An hour in, and he knew every detail, physically, of his passengers, studying their faces, making mental notes. The mental would probably come later. Spiritual...eh, he wasn't much for the spirit, but if it helped he'd use it. In the meantime, he double checked his supplies, opening up his medpack and three-checking is inventory. The suspensions on the truck weren't a problem, not for him.
Ethan sat still, or tried to, in the bouncing truck. Always moving, that was his experience. There was always a bridge to build, always fortification to set up, always something to fix or clean up. And it was always, always in the middle of nowhere. Ethan had figured his job was to turn nowhere into somewhere, whether or not anyone was expecting combat. Though normally he always had at least a little information on where he was going, this time was different. Advanced Tactical Hazard Team, huh?
The suits were new, that was for sure. Ethan had worn Hazmat suits before, done a few cleanups of his own, but the suit he was wearing now blew them all away. From what he could tell, it had superior protection from a wider variety of threats, as if the suits were designed to stand up to anything it was possible to encounter. The only thing that worried Ethan was that it seemed built to last. Whoever designed this suit, it seemed, expected it to be worn for a long, long time.
"Okay people, most of you have probably figured why you are here. I am only going to tell you what I know, and I know for some of you that won't be enough. But I assure you that I am in the dark as much as you all," Loran finally spoke, with a crisp military tone of an officer, "there has obviously been some kind of incident, and it is obviously again, very secretive in nature, or we would not have been rounded up in this fashion. I recognise some of you from training, and most of you I do not know, but I am sure where ever it is we are being taken we will be serving our country."
The soldiers guarding the sealed canvass flap; whose faces were covered by a gas-mask,that was sealed into their flack-vests, and up into their kevlar helmets, did not respond.
Rek realised quite quickly that these men were wearing Hazmat suits oriented for combat, he had worn one in the past. They offered higher protection in a combat situation, but lowered visibility due to the angle of the eye-slots (though these looked more high-tech).
The truck bumped and the suspension creaked, as the truck made a sharp right turn, and he allowed the momentum of the truck to propel him into a standing position, and he grabbed an over head rail once he reached the desired position, and glanced across the occupants of the truck.
"I am Lieutenant Loran Mirez, U.S Rangers, seventy-fifth regiment, first battalion. I don't seen anyone ranked above me, but we aren't all wearing uniform I see. So that being the case," he turned and pointed at the nearest person to him who was going through medical supplies, "you."
Chris continued to look through his kit as someone began speaking, though he kept an ear open to what was being said. Something else he could begrudgingly attribute to his father, learning to listen without looking. His arm shot up, catching the opened top of the kit during the turn as he finished counting out the supplies. He was nodding in satisfaction to himself when he heard the speaker belt out his name and rank, then say a familiar word.
Without missing a beat, he closed his kit and let it slide beside him as he stood up to face the Lieutenant with a hand whipping up in salute.
"Sir, Private First Class Christine Waller, United States Marines, Sir!" Chris belts out in classic form, his hand staying rigid against his brow as he waited further orders from his superior.
David smirked, idly pulling apart and putting together his pistol as he waited for them to reach their destination. Carlos was sat beside him, snoozing silently. David yawned, examining the rest of the passengers in the truck.
The Lieutenant returned the salute casually, and he lowered himself back into his seat. "No need to hold the salute, we are not being so formal, son. I guess they call you Chris," Rek said, his voice friendly, "else boot-camp was likely hell for you." He smiled and then motioned for the rest of the people in the truck, encouraging them to introduce themselves. "Well c'mon people, we are all in this together now."
* * *
High up above the earth, orbiting steadily, a satellite received the video and audio-stream that was coming from each of the trucks, and piped it through to it's destination.
* * *
((YOUR CHARACTERS WOULD NOT BE AWARE OF SPOILER, avoid if you do not feel you can play like you don't know anything has happened.))
With the feed being received, a man shrouded in shadow, backlit by a flood-light, stared at the screen showing views of the interiors of each of the trucks. Three of them were empty , but of the three, one seemed to have been shredded with small-arms gunfire, and several bloodied corpses littered the truck. This had no effect on the man at all. It was part of the plan.
The man shifted through the two remaining views, and noticed an officer in one of the trucks was striking up a conversation with his crew.
He placed the headset which had been resting on what could be the desk, and without properly wearing the device, he listened to what was being said. He smiled, and switched between various views from different angles within the truck, bringing them all up on the screen.
The blue LED lights of the webcam positioned opposite his face reflected in his eyes.
His fingers hovered over the enter key, and he waited ready to transmit.
Chris let his hand slip down at the informal at ease. He was grateful that the Lieutenant didn't dwell too long on his moniker, though what everyone else thought he still had to wait on.
"Aye, right in one, sir," he mumbled in short reply as he sat, his natural accent slipping through now that formalities were done with. He then waited to hear from the rest of the truck.
David yawned, slipping his handgun into it's holster before standing. "Seargent David Fenta, Marine Corp. 1st Expeditionary, 1st Division, 5th regiment. This man beside me," He turned, kicking Carlos boot and raising his voice, "Is Corporal Sanchez!"
Carlos snorted, shooting up in his seat. "Gah!" He looked around, confused. "The hell, man? What'd you do that for?" He sat back, grumbling. After a moment he paused, looking up. "Drinkin' a vanilla milkshake... Does that mean somethin'?"
David shook his head dismissively, rolling his eyes. "Anyway, we're your resident sniper team. Give us a rifle and a target and we'll be your best friend forever." He lowered himself back into his seat, smirking. "That is, if Carlos can get his head out of the clouds."
Sarah had been silent through out the truck ride and hadn't wanted to draw any attention to herself but it seemed it was time for introductions so she readied herself for the usual looks and stares. "Private First Class Sarah McKnight, US Marines," Sarah says then continues to braid her red hair so it did not get in the way. Sarah was pulled away while she was sleeping so she had pink pajamas and if any of these guys gave her grief about it she would show them exactly why she was allowed to roll with the boys.
Carlos was already out of it again, snoring lightly as he lay back against the truck. David smirked, turning to Sarah as she spoke. "They didn't even give you time to get properly dressed?"
"Different time zones, I'd say," Chris replied coolly, "that and not all of us seem to sleep in full gear." He raised his medkit briefly to contrast the equipment to his attire, denim shorts, a wrinkled t-shirt, and blue slippers. He'd had to choose between clothes and equipment, and for him it was no question which took priority.
Sarah chucked, "Yeah right they just stormed in my roomand grabbed me, I almost filled them with holes if my father had not been present...I was on leave too for a little R&R." The red hair said rolling her eyes at the situation, she was still mad at her dad for letting them in her room without warning her first but for all she knew it was probably his idea.
"I am sure they'll have us in uniform soon, fortunately," Loran said in response to the Medic, as looked her deftly up and down, "they grabbed me as I was on an early morning training exercise at Hunter Airfield." Indeed, Loran was wearing a standard BDU, and light tactical vest, and had a cap hanging from it. There was a pistol is his holster, but lacking quite a lot of the equipment one would expect and could probably assume, he had been told to leave it behind, or just hadn't needed it for the exercise.
The Lieutenant kept his eyes on Sarah's face when he spoke. "So if you want to borrow my jacket," he held up a combat jacket that he had grabbed before being hauled into a chopper.
Ethan had been silent, waiting his turn for introductions. He looked up when each member spoke, building an understanding of them as best he could figure. Two of them he picked to be troublemakers, but you that kind of behavior didn't make snipers. Had to be good, then. Christine, the name alone told a story, while Private McKnight looked to be out to prove herself. With Lieutenant Mirez at the helm it seemed a fine team. If only the higher up were so forthcoming with information.
"Corporal Ethan Hayes," he stayed seated, enjoying the informality of it all. "United States Marine Corps."
David chuckled. "Looks like you're outnumbered LT. Lord knows why they would put a Ranger in charge of a bunch of Marines. No offense."
Rek cracked a grin, as he turned his head slightly, his eyes catching David's. "Rangers lead the way. Thats the Ranger motto, so what ever it is we are heading to," the lieutenant slowly lowered the jacket and slacked his grip slightly, then deliberately tossed it towards the private wearing the pink pajamas without even looking, "maybe they need a Ranger to lead you hot-headed Marines, who knows. I can tell you this though, I saw a few Navy guys get in one of the other trucks and I am pretty sure I saw at least one Air Force guy before we were shoved in here."
He glanced back to Sarah to make sure the jacket had either reached her, or the floor by her feet, before his eyes darted back to the sargeant. "I do know the Air Force guy," Rek continued, "didn't look happy to be there."
The lieutenant felt the truck slow down and could hear the sounds of the vehicle's engine bouncing back at them, as the truck turned and slowly crept forward into a definate echo.
Loran glanced around the rest of the people in the truck with him. "Last chance to say hello before the sharks get us..." it was half a joke, but given conditions the Ranger understood it wouldn't go down well.
He half paused wondering to himself, Sarah said it had probably been 'her fathers idea', her father wouldn't happen to be- he eyed her somewhat wearily.
David chuckled, leaning back at the lieutenants excellent demonstration of a corny joke. Still, anything that lightened the mood.
The way the guards by the back of the truck sat silently, holding their guns as if they might need them at a moments notice. He recognized the body language. Something had them on edge. He sighed, turning away from them and keeping it from his mind. No need to get paranoid.
He field stripped his gun one last time, making sure it was all there before he put it back together, sliding it into it's place at his hip.
The screen at on end of the cab finally lit up with the image of a silhouetted man, back lit by a flood light. Hell of a mood setter.
The light was close enough to take out much of the detail from the man's face, Rek knew how it was done.
In an almost gravelly voice the man welcomed them to no-where, "and for purposes of this conversation, you may refer to me as General Nowan (pronounced No-One)." He cleared his throat, and seemed to stare at everyone in the truck, which was quite impossible when he must have simply been looking directly at the lens of what ever camera was recording him.
"I am afraid that Lieutenant Mirez has summed up the situation perfectly, minus a few specifics of course."
Rek started at the mention of his name, and studied the man on the LCD display. "Where are we?"
"All in good time my dear fellow." General 'Nowan' replied.
Ethan glanced at the monitor lighting up the inside of the truck, looking for any amount of detail, or any scrap of information. No such luck for the screen, but the way things were going told him a few things. The man had been listening to them, probably long before the screen lit up, and unless Ethan missed his guess, he'd probably been watching, too. General "No-One" probably wasn't going to be very helpful. Still, there didn't seem to be any other way to find out.
"Sir, if I may ask, when will it be a good time?"
The mans face shifted giving the impression he was smiling. "Where you are, is on a need to know basis. And right now, you do not need to know, Corporal, not your location within the country. However while your location is secret, the truck you are in is now sitting a warehouse which is part of an abandoned goods train depot. From here supplies can be transferred via freightlift to an underground rail tunnel that will take you to the facility." General Nowan paused, awaiting further pointless queries. "Now," he began, "the facility is a research and development site working on gene altering viruses for use in the medical field."
Rek caught the half lie, medical research perhaps, but military viruses- he shuddered, continuing to watch the General.
"At eleven hundred hours, central standard time, containment breach alarms in one of the labs, in lab section 'D-7', indicated that a viral contagion had somehow been released, and the facility's central computer system placed the area in lock down. The the facility went dark a few hours later."
David leaned forward, facing the screen. "So what does this have to do with us? Why can't a civilian team handle this?"
"Because of the delicate matter of the situation a military response was deemed necessary. This is what you have all be trained for." The man looked at something off the screen for a moment and then back to the screen after giving a short nod. "Once inside, you will find your equipment and your mission orders. Do you understand?"
At that question, the truck's engine switched off, and someone exited the cab. The guards too unzipped the canvass flap, and without a word, departed. The truck shuddered several seconds later, and began lowering into an initially dimly lit lift shaft.
The screen went dark, leaving Rek staring at it blankly, wondering what it was he had signed up for. "Underground research facilities, clandestine activities, the way they gathered us. I don't like it."
David smirked, stretching slightly and grunting as he heard his back pop. He stood, glad to at least be able to do so now. "This reeks of black op, if you ask me..." He turned, giving Carlos a good shove on the shoulder to wake him up.
Ethan shrugged and stood up. "Orders are orders. We'll sort this thing out eventually." He threw the tent flap aside and glanced out before moving back to his former position. He hooked a thumb outward.
"We'll know what's going on when we get there."
"Aye, no point in gettin' worked up about things as they are now," Chris agrees with a grunt, opening his pack one more time and re-examining his supplies, "a job needs doin', an' we're the ones gotta do it. Ain't the time to be talking 'bout shadows an' dust." He wished he were half as confident as he sounded. In truth, the shady nature of their apparent superior left a bad taste in his mouth.
Freight Arrival Area
Two minutes later, the lift ground to a halt with a screech and they found themselves in a large strobe-lit concrete hallway that was large enough to easily encompass the truck. In fact it was large enough for two way traffic.
Rek hopped out of the back of the truck and onto the steel-grated floor of the elevator, which rung under contact with his boots.
The light seemed to shift at his presence, and the overhead lamps illuminated. The light fixtures brightened the hallway, and made apparent that is was deserted. At the opposite end from where they were was a bright exit. The Lieutenant couldn't make it out what the room beyond was, only that it was very white.
The strobe-like scanner seemed to finish, satisfied having not found what ever it was looking for. "I'm gonna' see if the keys are still in the cab. Sargent, do what you need to do." He glanced over slightly towards David, then disappeared beyond the canvass flap.
When he reached the cab and checked the ignition, he found it bare. He then gave the cab a once over for anything useful, and found a flash-light under the seat, along with a small portable plasma torch.
He double checked for keys, and then scooped up the two thing he did find.
David nodded, turning to the group. "Alright folks. Get your gear and get ready for a walk. Looks like we're hoofing it from here."
Carlos let out a yawn, rubbing at his eyes. He stood, collecting his things and heading for the back of the truck silently. David went through the motions as well, pulling his own duffle bag from under the seat, as well as a rifle case.
Alright folks. Get your gear and get ready for a walk. Looks like we're hoofing it from here."
Chris rises up as he hears the order, having clasped shut his kit just a moment before. Without hesitation, he hops down out of the back end of the truck and hustles to the side to let the others come out. He was glad that he'd had some easy to slip on sneakers. Trudging that tunnel would probably aggravate bare feet.
Malconin exited the truck with a graceful leap and stood up straight and tall, his hat tucked under his left arm, as it had been for the entire trip. The others who had already exited turned to gaze at him as if seeing him for the first time.
He knew better though, knowing full well that some, if not all of them had taken stock of him during the ride to their location. Maybe it was his unique ability to blend in with the shadows that made them dismiss him during the introductions in the truck, or maybe they just sensed his cold nature and had already taken a dislike to him, like most of the military plebs he had worked with in the past had done. Either way, it mattered little Malconin.
No, what mattered to him was why he had been kidnapped from outside his headquarters as he had been heading home for the night and, more importantly, how on earth they had managed to get the jump on him in the first place.
He rubbed at the back of his neck, feeling what seemed like a small insect bite, but was in fact the result of a tranquilizer dart. I guess that'd do it , he mused. He wondered which of his military 'friends' had wished him along on this job...whatever it was. It was unlike any that he could think of to acquire his services in such an abrupt manner.
He hadn't even had a chance to change out of his uniform and gear, though, in hindsight, it would appear that was going to be for the better. He absentmindedly rubbed the LP53 Air Pistol tucked into his belt behind his right hip. It was his good luck charm, and for some reason he had the feeling he might just need it.
The others continued to stare at him, and it was making him just uncomfortable enough to finally break his silence and introduce himself.
"Malconin, no rank. My friends call me Orion...you can call me Malconin."
Chris gave a grunt and a nod to Malconin as he finally introduced himself. The medic had noticed the man during his initial scan of the truck, and let his silence go without note. The man was in decent physical shape, and that was Chris's primary concern. Whether they'd be able to hit a pub for a pint when it was all said and done...eh, that could be figured a later time.
"Fun name," was all else he said before looking back out towards the tunnel.
Loran slowly walked back along the opposite side of the truck, looking for the radio-receiver for the obvious satellite feel they'd received from the good 'General'. Not seeing anything too obvious in the diffused lighting, he rounded the corner of the back-end of the truck and came to a decided halt, watching the 'team' gather.
He took note of the guy dressed in the all-black kit for a second time. Now that they had more light he could see the uniform clearly, including the logo on the shoulder, which he recognised as an Orion security patch. The U.S. Rangers' lieutenant had heard the man speak before rounding the truck, and half smiled at the mans back. He knew of Orion security, they held some major bids with the military and civilian operations globally, and were one of the most sought after private security firms in the world.
He waved David over while, still staring at the Orion man. "Your name is familiar, you wouldn't be the Malconin?"
Malconin looked the Lieutenant up and down as one corner of his mouth twitched upwards, the closest he ever came to smiling, something that only happened when he was about to be sarcastic.
"No," he replied with a snort. "Someone else named Malconin just happens to be wearing my company's attire and likes to dabble in black ops missions every now and then!"
He could see the Lieutenant was about to respond and interjected quickly, "Ask a stupid question, my friend, then expect to receive a stupid answer."
He began to turn away, but stopped as something registered in his mind. "But enough about me. Tell me Lieutenant, how does a Pom end up a US Ranger?" He paused, "That is a Pommy accent I detect in there somewhere, yes?"
"Well you clearly aren't here of your own choice, so you can't be much of a black ops operative." Rek shot back after the 'stupid answer' quip, aware Malconin dabbled in light mercenary work; in particular, the shady natured kind. He quickly followed with a query, almost disinterestedly; "Pommy?"
He had an idea about what it meant but had never heard anyone referred to them being one, but the lieutenant practically waved the answer away before it had been given turning to David.
"Sargent," he said quietly, "I want two volenteers to take point. If they don't volenteer, you volenteer them." He finished the order, then added, "I am going to be relying on you, Dave. Make it happen."
After a time had passed, the girl finally moved to her feet and turned from the truck. As she reached the edge to exit, her opened right palm slapped the side as she leaped from it as if an acknowledgment of it being there. The girl had turned back to face the truck as she smiled. "Thank you for talking to me... It's nice to know that someone here agrees with me." The girls hand pets up the inside wall of the truck before she turns from it. "Don't worry, I'll make sure I talk to them about their maintenance on you. Goodbye friend. I hope we'll see each other again, soon." Finally, away from the truck, the girl began a light jog.
The girl seems to sport parts of a whole uniform. She wears camouflage cargo pants, desert camo. Her boots are dirtied, a brown appearing to have dust and dirt ground into them. Her pants hold many things. On her right hip, a cleaned USP .45 Pistol... Loaded. A laptop is strapped to the back left side of her hip. It is smaller then most, meant for compact space. There are a few straps containing what appears to be vials of some liquid. On the other side, her left thigh, a combat knife with a firm grip is sheathed. Over her torso, she wore a black top, sleeveless and lightly torn. The messy manner at which she wears it reveals a bit about her personality. There are several distinct cuts along her left shoulder. Her knuckles are bruised and cut, indicating excessive use of them for physical means; unacknowledged between punishment and training. Her uneven dark hair is pulled back into a ponytail which gives off the appearance of a dark flame. Intentional or not, a bit of style thrown in.
She quickly runs to catch up with the male, Chris. Coming to a quick walk as she steps next to him. She does not wait to hear him, should he wish words with her. "You are a medic, someone who deals in medicine and its distribution to a person?" The girl stares him down, her eyes appear to be opened as far as her skull can allow them without releasing. This gives her a look... as if she is not all there. She awaits his acknowledgment of his station. While she does, her left hand trembles a little. Fidgeting, her fingers stroke the grip over her combat knife tucked away on her left hip.
This one, Chris thought as he suddenly finds himself in company with another female soldier, standing closer than necessary and clearly giving off a vibe of "Lights on, screaming psycho home", I was hoping she wasn't as crazy as she looked. His grip tightened around the pack in his right hand as he notices her hand going to the combat knife at her hip.
Settle, Chris, the medic thinks to himself, taking a breath, No sudden movements about folks like this.
"Aye," he finally replies to the girl, "that'd be about the textbook definition of the job. Didn't catch your name during roll call," he adds, unsure how comfortable he is about discussing medicine with the crazy lady, "so what'm I callin' ya?"
The girls eyes remain opened wide as they glance back from him, toward the wall, then toward the ground. The full weight of her glance digs deep into whatever she stares at, as if piercing each glance into the very depths of her target. Her eyes quickly shoot back to he who is talking.
"I imagine you would call me Alea, that is my name." She stops for a second in her words as she thinks, her eyes tremble as they continue staring harshly at him. "Or Staff Sergeant." After she finishes wording her rank, her right hand grasps onto one of the vials which is suited in with a needle and a pressurized button on the opposing side, a strange style of syringe. Her hand pulls the needle equipped object up and she points it toward him closely-- easily invading his personal space as if having meant to stab him.
"They told me to talk to you. That I couldn't do this myself." Alea takes step by step in an even motion, as if having told herself to walk in a straight line constantly. Her lips move as each thought enters her mind, words of another coming from her mouth. "You need to shoot me so I don't stab you. That's what they told me to say." Her eyes finally close and the feeling of her piercing glare would fade with it. "It makes the voices go away."
Loran turned to the group that for the most part, had all assembled and were beginning to head towards the bight end of the tunnel. He was instep a short distance behind Alea, and heard the majority of what was said. The way she trembled when her hand brushed against her combat blade- why had command assigned a phychopath to the unit, he wondered.
He came up behind her and placed his hand almost lightly on her shoulder as she 'offered' the injection device to the Irish-man, and he spoke stating her rank in a low, almost threatening manner, "staff sargent?"
David nodded, tugging his rifle bag a bit higher on his shoulder. "Sure thing LT. I've got you covered." He turned, facing the assembled group behind the truck. He gave one last glance over them, taking in all their faces.
"Alright boys and girls, check your gear and make sure you aren't forgetting anything. I need two people on point. Any volunteers?"
Alea's arm hid her mouth from Loran and instead only the sight of her eyes opening fully again as they quickly glare at him with a sudden sight of danger. Her pupils seemed to shrink as her eyes remain enlarged. Quickly, her left hand grabs onto her combat knifes grip and she turns her body more to face him as the blade of the knife slides out far enough to be seen. Because of her step, his hand would be pulled down from her shoulder and more toward her elbow as the needle becomes directed at him inadvertantly because of his positioning. Her eyes glare and her teeth slightly parted as a light growl escapes her mouth. Her eyes tremble with the sounds going through her...
He's trying to tie you down!
He's like the others!
I'll kill you!
Suddenly she lets out a slight gasping scream as she tries to pull back away from him, desperately. All of this out of a sudden reacting fear to being grabbed.
Chris stifles a groan as the situation seems to spiral out of control. He runs through any number of options, but all seem to end badly.
Let's see how much the Lady likes me today, the marine thinks with a bad feeling in his gut. His grip on his medpack slackens as he lets it drop, giving him both arms to use. With Alea's odd angle to him, he reaches out, fingers closing around the syringe and pulling it out of the girl's grip, his right hand gripping her own around her knife and pushing it back into the cover. Readjusting the needle in his grip, Chris grimaces as he sticks it into Alea's neck, pushing the plunger of the syringe to inject the girl with whatever was inside it. With the Lieutenant's arm at her elbow, it gave him the leverage to pull that arm around behind her, where he locked both arms up and held her.
"For the record, LT," Chris growled as he struggled with Alea, "coming up behind crazies is a bad thing."
At the feeling of the struggle beginning to become more harsh, she pulls at her limbs and tries to break free. Fear runs through her veins as she does not know what to expect, the voices screaming into her ears.
The thought ran harsh through her, she gasps as she feels the needle pierce her flesh. As the fluid runs into her, the movements in Alea's body become less feral and she seems to slowly calm in her movements at least. A few seconds pass between this before her body becomes calmed under their grip. Her eyes seem to shrink a little while her pupils grow, centering themselves at a more reasonable size remaining in direct relation with her sanity. No words are spoken from her, but she seems to have calmed down a considerable amount.
Rek was glad the medic had been as fast as he was, and helped to restrain her as the fluid went to work within Alea's body. Upon reflection, he would have probably twisted her arm, and given her a face full of concrete before he'd injected her, so he was glad the doc had acted. He half grimaced, and nodded. "Thanks, doc."
After having calmed down, Alea took a step forward. Her arms pulled free of the grip, slipping out from them. Her free and closest hand had risen to her neck and grasped the needle, pulling it out harshly and dropping it to the ground before turning back around and facing the lieutenant. Now, rather then having the insane look in her eyes she had a strong feeling of emptiness in them. She stared at the lieutenant for a moment with her hands calmly at her sides.
"Where am I needed, sir?" She questions him with a sense of ease. The medication is still setting in, though it has easily nullified the voices in her head. Instead of the constant sounds of paranoia, she now hears nothing. Her mind is empty of all thoughts-- including her own. She simply stares off as an obedient puppet, waiting for the master to pull her strings and tell her how to act.
Rek stepped back, satisfied the medication was working. He would have to speak to Chris shortly, and see what the medic thought, but until then he needed to figure out why command had assigned her, why they'd even release someone who could kill them all. Heck he still had no idea why any of them were there in the fashion they were.
His blue eyes took Alea in, and then he settled his gaze on her own, and he held it for several seconds. "I want you on point, then after the room has been cleared," he began after a moment, his voice low, "I want you to stay close to me." Rek knew what he just said sounded like an innuendo, but he felt it was the safest option to protect the rest of the team. He knew Chris was fully capable of keeping an eye on her, but the medics duty was to everyone. Besides, how much of that medication did she have with her besides that one? Never mind. If she is here, there must be a reason, he told himself.
The lieutenant then unclipped the holster and removed the pistol embedded within, and handed it to her. "I'm trusting you to keep us and yourself alive."
Alea's left hand rises and she takes hold of the G17 as her eyes rise up and she stares a moment with curiosity toward the Lieutenant. An odd thing to do, putting a gun into the hands of a woman with so little sanity. These thoughts were not on her mind, instead she stared at his face with wonder of his weapon as he seems to be sacrificing his weapon to her.
Without another second of thought, Alea steps back from the Lieutenant with the gun in her left hand. Her right hand hovers lightly over it and her fingertips grasp the slide, pulling it back as she checks to be sure the gun is loaded and the bullet chambered. She releases the slide and turns back around, moving her index finger near the trigger. The G17C is a very safe gun, having this chosen weapon tells a lot about the one who chooses to wield it. Alea brings the gun forward with her left hand as her right hand rests beneath the magazine with it to cup it in her hand, keeping the barrel directed toward the ground. She steps ahead of the group to take point as her eyes glance from left to right, checking ahead forward. Her eye lids lightly close over her eyes for a second and she reopens them... she can hear her heartbeat. The voices in her head have been silenced, even the thoughts in her mind were silenced. Everything is quiet. Her quick steps ahead of the group keep her at point as she makes her way toward their destination, step by step, being sure to keep a close hold to her teammates without giving up the lead.
David grunted. "Alright, Carlos, you're on point with her. The rest of you, fall in." Carlos grunted, moving up to walk beside Alea, though he made it a point to keep his distance from her.
David turned, facing Rek and speaking a bit less loudly. "You have any Idea why they would assign a headcase to this? I mean, I've seen command do some really unorthodox things, but this..."
Malconin had watched the whole exchange, shaking his head as he slowly walked up next to David and Rek.
"Is a danger to us all," Malconin finished for him. "Which also makes her a danger to...what?"
He looked Rek and then in turn David, in the eye. "Just what the hell is waiting for us down here?"
Rek's eyes seemed to stare through and passed Malconin, back towards the truck, as they gained a distant perspective. His voice was matching in tone and level with Davids. "I don't know. If this is their way of tellling us we have seven hours..." his eyes snapped back to the immediate. "I'm gonna have a quick word with our, Doc. We'd better keep moving. Malconin, you okay to bring up the rear." There was no sense of question to the 'request', which implied statement. Rek nodded to them both before he had finished speaking, and had turned and began walking away.
He caught up with Chris. When he was finally close enough to speak quietly, and fell into step beside the man. "Doc, I need your professional opinion on Alea, and what you think that stuff was, I've never seen anything like it."
(at the moment everyone knows Rek as Lieutenant, LT, Ranger, Mirez, so don't start calling him Rek verbally, yet. Our names, nicknames or even a code name will be printed on all the Hazmat suits specific to us, Rek's will say Rek etc. Command was quite clever is what they chose. We will shortly be entering the cargo transfer area in a posts time roughly, that is where our equipment has been set up and will be waiting for us.)
Chris had been keeping a close eye on Alea, watching the effects of the injection on the girl's body. Once she'd been ordered to point, he racked his brain, leafing mentally through an expansive list of medicine. She had a distinct variety of symptoms, and the injection seemed to quell them, but do something more at the same time.
"Doc, I need your professional opinion on Alea, and what you think that stuff was, I've never seen anything like it."
"That's 'cause there ain't anything like it, LT," he replies, "not from one drug. S'a cocktail, treatin' her schizophrenic tendencies along with settling her hyperactivity." He stoops down, pulling his pack back up and giving it a tap. "Might not know the exact mixture, but I should be able to mix up something to mimic the effect if'n she runs outta those needles."
"Good to know, doc," the lieutenant smiled, as he took the head of the group.
Merely five seconds later the group had emerged into a large well lit cargo-checking and transfer area. While not as big as one might expect, it was larger than Rek would had though. Large enough that the eight people that had just entered the area would feel lonely.
There were neatly stacked wooden and metal crates filling the area casting dark shadows, and a crane system overhead that when operational would carry boxes along the ceiling. As Rek glance around, he noticed that there was a kind-of rail tunnel decorating the far right wall of the underground warehouse, where a flat-bed cart lay stationed with a personnel cab behind it.
The room appeared to be empty, and there were several officer and crew areas off to the left, and in the centre was a large metal crate with 'HAZMAT' written on the side.
Rek guessed there may be an armoury here too, if this was a military operation.
Alea's eyes remained calm but became suspicious. She pushed the glock to her left hand and aimed it at her 11 o'clock. Her right hand had lowered to her waist and unlocked the holster on her right hip. Alea's fingers wrap around the grip of her USP. Notably, as she pulled the gun from its holster, her right foot slid back and the gun came out more smooth-- at the end of the pull, the gun was pointed at her 5 o'clock before rotating to her 1 o'clock position. She now has both guns directed forward at an angle as she walks at point. Her eyes glance from crate to crate, checking the shadows carefully yet with a quick stride. Her fingers rest over the triggers, rather then above them... anything that might attempt to take them by surprise would be shot the second it stepped out.
"Clearing.." Alea whispers, loud enough for the lieutenant to hear yet with enough silence to keep it from echoing in the room.
"Clear.." As they pass the definite area of danger through the crates, Alea holsters her USP and locks it in place. She then moves her hands back together to balance the G17. She aims it at her 12 o'clock, straight, with only slight wavers to the 11 and 1 o'clock positions.
"Stand down," Rek said lightly, letting the acoustics of the room carry his voice. "Looks like this crate is ours." He said as he approached the man and a half tall crate. It was gun-metal grey, with chrome trimmed doors and edges. There was a keypad and card-slot on the side panel, and there were visible but thin gaps about half a meter up from the bottom. These gaps ran around the entire bottom portion of the crate.
He examined the lettering on the side which read 'HAZMAT D/04' followed by the crates serial code, which he glanced at but paid it no mind. The crate itself was about the same size as two pick up trucks parked one behind the other, and about a third wider.
"Everyone feel free to look around, but be careful."
He gave a cautious glance to David and Malconin, before approaching the keypad. He hadn't been given a code, or a keycard to his knowledge. There was a small opaque plate underneath the panel. "Thumb scanner?" He asked himself quietly.
David watched the Lieutenant from a short distance away, leaning against a stack of crates idly. Carlos, meanwhile, was pacing around the room, more so to dispel what grogginess was left in him than to ease the boredom of standing in a room full of boxes with a bunch of strangers.
With a deep breath he activated the keypad, and after the screen lit-up and declared that it currently required a thumb-print he press his right thumb to the gray-ish scanner-plate. "Here goes..." He muttered, mostly to himself.
Alea takes a few steps back with her back to the Lieutenants. "He's warm." the thought was present, but not heard to herself. Without the ability to hear her own thoughts, Alea could not react to them. Instead, she remained at his back with her gun held low but firmly as if to ensure that he is kept safe.
Her eyes shift. Left. Right. Up. Down. She checks each of the other members of the squad to ensure that nobody attempts anything. Pushed into a combat situation, people have often revolted against the head of command. In their current position if anyone had any disagreements with being here, the one to voice them to would be the Lieutenant.
"Sir. What are we waiting for? If there are hostiles about, it's not wise to stay in one area for too long." Alea keeps her eyes pressed forward. She glares with intensity at everyone, as if a deep distrust of them all is present. Instead, this is just a normal habit for her. She's growing anxious, ready to press forward.
David raised an eyebrow at this, looking over at Alea. "Nobody said anything about hostiles..."
"There are always hostiles about..." Alea's eyes now lock onto David. "Don't be so foolish as to believe that everyone is your friend. You won't live long." with a cold glare passed, Alea's eyes remain focused on Davis as if suspicion has been aroused toward him. Alea knew that with every large squad of more then five people, the chances of there being a traitor become active. One in every six people of a squad are likely to be a traitor. Two of every twelve. When the number is higher then six, but less then twelve, there is a chance of an unknown secondary hostile but not always guaranteed. For that reason, there is never time to drop her guard. With the nine people present, that means it is possible that there are two traitors-- with David having been the first to call attention to her comment, he became the first suspect as a traitor. Should he make any suspicious moves from that point on-- Alea would not hesitate to putting him down. She does however, keep her gun lowered, as not to worry the Lieutenant of her actions.
The Lieutenant does in fact notice Alea's subtle actions, but for now he went ahead and pressed his thumb to the plate. After the panel gave a hesitant beep, green laser lights crossed his thumb, and a few moments later, the panel double beeped attracting his attention to the small LED display which gave him code to enter.
He tried to memorise the code quickly as it scrolled off the display, and then re-entered it into the keypad and pressed enter. He waited for the keypad to confirm or deny that was what they were supposed to do. The Light Emitting Diode based display popped up three short words. 'HAVE A NICE DAY'
The Lieutenant frowned and slowly took a step backwards as explosive bolts blow around the top edge of the crate, and the sides clanged down, and Rek quickly dodged out of the way by an inch, to the floor, echoing loudly across the enclosed warehouse, and down into the train tunnel. The interior was initially cloudy, and dark, but several lights flickered on.
"Well I think we're in the right place. Gentlemen, ladies," he glanced around the room at the squad. "This is us."
Within the huge rectangle was a bunch human sized 'lockers'. Most notable or at the very least most obvious to the lieutenant was the one with his nickname and sometimes code-name; 'Rek' and Malconin's which was 'Orion'.
"What is the plan, Lieutenant?" Alea steps around the Lieutenant and rotates the glock in her hand so the barrel is gripped. She holds the butt of the gun toward the lieutenant to return it to him. "What do we do from here?"
David stepped up beside them, looking over each of the suits. "Looks pretty obvious to me..." He found his own, suit, the tag on the chest plate printed with "ESKIMO" in big, bold letters.
The rank' of each member were dotted on their shoulder plates and arm plates in addition to their helmets, and half the team seemed to have either 'D-1' or 'D-2' printed in bold lettering. There were at least three variations of the suits. Most notable was Chris's which seemed to have a lot of delicate medical equipment built into the suits themselves.
Rek stepped up to his own suit, and gave it a look over. "Looks like they have improved it's long term wear-ability, and decreased the bult slightly to make it easier to move with."
The other two varients seemed to only defer in how the re-breather looked and probably subtle ways the suit could do things. Could be one was combat oriented and the other was more scientific. He didn't know. For all he knew each suit had been designed with the specific skills of the person in mind.
Alea kept away from the group as a whole. She felt that she was still on defense, but knew that she shouldn't be. waiting... That's all she was doing now. Waiting for the next set of orders to be given. She didn't care what the situation, there were always more orders waiting her. What was she good for? click The sound of Alea's holster being released is heard to those nearby. click It is closed again. She seems to keep change it. Impatient. Alea waits for the Lieutenant to give his next set of orders. Do we armor up? Ignored. The thought passes through her mind without even a notice to it. Silenced. I hate this... Alea's body trembles a little. Can she feel it? She can. She can feel the pain of waiting. Silence of the air. Dried blood in the dirt. Waiting.
*Bang!* Alea's head raises from the ground. She lays on her stomach. m40 Sniper Rifle held comfortably in her arms. The scope, variable zoom. Great distance. The gun, not so much. It was heavy. Damn it...
"Calm down, Corporal." A man lays next to Alea. His words cause her eyes to widen and a curious look to take her lips from her. Alea's head lowers again and she lines up the scope with her eye.
*Bang!* Alea trembles again. "Not yet Corporal", the voice calls to her again.
"But--" Alea speaks up but is cut off by the voice again.
"If we move now... It is for nothing." His voice calms her. She closes both of her eyes and takes a deep breath. Silence fills the wind around them again. The wind picks up. The rough, stained ground beneath them is raised by the wind. The sand brushes over her face and through her nose. Alea brings a hand back and raises her scarf. It now covers her mouth and nose.
They wait there. The man with his orders laying beside Alea. She holds onto her sniper as the sandstorm picks up. Her eyes-- they blink. But they do not leave the scope. Goggles. Why didn't she wear goggles? She looked through the scope of her rifle, her bare eyes exposed to the sand. It burned her. She could feel it, yet...
"Corporal..." The skies are black. Sand felt against her face. The sound of a light mechanical hum approaching. A vehicle...? Alea's Sniper-- the bolt pulled back. The bullet chambered. Readied. "now.."
Alea's body reacts without her thought. She flinches. Alea looks around her. She see's the crates that they passed. She see's the Lieutenant, standing with the insubordinate members. She does not know these people. She does-- know her orders. Just another routine mission. Get in, Complete, Get out. And so she remained, standing still.... waiting.
A low whistle escaped the Irishman's mouth as his superior revealed the suits. He'd spent the remaining time keeping a close eye and a far distance from Alea, while taking in the room. His gaze focused quickly on the gear presented to them all.
"Pullin' out all the stops," he murmurs to himself as he runs his hands over the material, noting a hardened transparent plating and giving it a tap. A display flashed briefly underneath, drawing another soft whistle from Chris, "not bad at all." He took his time strapping into the suit, slipping the helmet over his head. As it meshes against the neckline, a soft hiss is heard as it locks into the place, the entire suit sealing him in. Chris stands there for a moment, looking around at the others while feeling the oxygen being sucked away with each breath of his. Another moment passes, and he begins to feel the sensation of panic as he realizes that he's still not getting oxygen.
Taking a deep breath and holding it, he moves to take the helmet off so he doesn't stupidly suffocate, but as he does so, a rush of cool passes over his skin and an inner heads-up display flashes to life. Taking the cue, the medic exhales, feeling the warm carbon dioxide pass through a filter and his next breath being replaced with a fresh oxygen mixture, diluted so as not to be taken in by the body with no adverse effects. A quick glance at the HUD tells Chris that there are nine sections, which slowly brighten as the crew equip, showing a real-time health display, a steady rhythm marking each person's heart rate.
"Fancy fancy," he says aloud, his voice coming out with in a slightly muffled, distorted tinge from a camouflaged mouthpiece. Chris gives a thumbs up to Rek.
David nodded, his own suit already half on. "Looks like some pretty high tier equipment... Maybe even experimental. Looks like you could take on a small army in one of these." He examined each piece as he pulled it on, memorizing every feature he could see on the surface. "These things are definitely built for heavy combat..." He pulled on his helmet, going through the same process as Chris, but being greeted by a slightly different display. A small circle in the bottom left corner showed a crude representation of the room they were in, as though from an architectural blueprint. After a few seconds it seemed to grow in response to his view, expanding to take in the entire screen, showing an expanded view of the facility. He whistled loudly, though it came out sounding distorted through the helmet transmitter. "This is some pretty sci-fi type stuff we're getting. I'd really like to know what's going on..."
As if on cue, the HUD on David's suit lit up with a file that read as simply 'confidential' and contained his objectives, mission parameters, and a short detail on the suits and their use.
For most of the team except for certain individuals the mission objectives and parameters were the same, with the most unifying objective being the retrieval of data and samples.
Loran pulled on the suit and each piece sealed into one another without fault. He hesitated before picking up his helmet, and placed it under his arm momentarily, as he glanced around at each team member while they equipped themselves. "Staff Sargent. Time to get your suit on."
"Suit on." The sound had boomed in her ears. What surprises had awaited her? Alea wanted to think about what her suit would be like. Wanted... but knew she could not.
She hesitated at first. Alea did not like the thought of being stuck in a suit that she did not know with surprises that she could not avoid. Eventually of course, she accepted the situation and stepped into the suit to fit it to her. It cannot be helped. As the suit sealed around her body, exposing no part but her head... a task that the helmet had been given... she had looked over the suit itself in great detail. All of them were unique. Built for a medic, built for a specialist. No doubt they even made it special for the princess of the team who shouldn't have even been there. Alea had no choice but to question what counted for "unique" among her own. She had guessed there would be an interface for her to connect with locks and systems. There would need to be, in case something locked up. She even feels the threat of one of her most hated things. She felt it even before it happened, that it would also be there waiting for her. Regardless, as the suit completed its sealing process, Alea had picked up the helmet and took a step back.
She counted and memorized the differing factors. She saw an attachment to the right shoulder; a combat knife fastened to her arm for quick access fitting her usual positioning. Despite it's position which is relative to her preference, this is not unique. It's basic for any soldier. A holster on her right hip, where her USP had been placed upon merging herself with the suit. Another mass produced factor. She wanted to question it. Was my suit the only one without unique factors?. Her eyes had suddenly caught a glimpse of something on her left arm. A data-pad attached to her left arm. It seems to have had an exposed wire that can be extended out and inserted into a variety of different systems. Is it necessary to make it so small?. Alea had sighed. Though she questioned and studied much of her suits detail, she knew that she was only procrastinating to delay the inevitable. She's delayed it long enough.
Alea raised the helmet up and with both hands and a deep breath she pulled it down over her head. She turned it once slightly left then right, as if questioning it's locking system. As the sound of the sealing air pressure was made, she becomes quickly aware of it that the helmet has sealed onto her suit. Like being trapped in a submarine. Alea's eyes had closed while she waited. After a few seconds had pass, a flashing display lit up and she felt cold air suddenly brush against her face. She exhaled lightly. Alea's eyes had opened to explore the detail of her HUD-- but her look grew cold quickly. She noticed it. Damn it!
As if lost to a sight of horror, Alea glared upon the sight before her. Up toward the edge of her HUD was a small display that they couldn't hide from her. Is it to mock me!? A timer. Beneath the timer was a syringe icon. It had a number on it. She put together the obvious and understood that this was how many she had left built into her suit. The timer was to tell her when it would inject. Her injection was awaiting her, built into this thing. To her, it was like the obvious ambush at the end of a torn path. It awaited her patiently. Ready to snatch away her thoughts and memories at the moment that she regained them. Those bastards. Her thoughts, couldn't be processed. They were ignored by her, because of these injections. Some how though, she felt the anger. Her fist had tightened. I want to kill them all....
Alea turned toward Rek and acknowledges the Lieutenant. "Sir, I am ready to move." Her eyes glanced aside. Why..... The thought echoes empty in her mind. Alea had turned from them and prepared to move forward with whatever directions she was given. Tears had slipped from her eyes and run down her cheeks. Because she was turned, she could hide this.
The lieutenant watched her carry out the order and tilted his head down slightly, looking at the floor, a half smile creeping onto his face. "For England, James." He whispered and with a sigh he looked back up, and placed the helmet onto his suit, settling the re-breather over his mouth, carefully setting it into place for it to seal with a click-hiss.
It was a moment before the suit come online, the holographic-looking Heads-Up-Display suddenly springing to life showing what he assumed was start-up diagnostics and a logo that proclaimed Sys-tech defense contractors.
It seemed they had made some changes to the initial start-up since he had used the suit during training, most notably a voice began speaking in his ear. Female in nature, and almost almost attractive, but metallic and informative.
"Welcome to Sys-tech's ADVANCED TACTILE INTELLIGENCE INTERFACE system, "At-ti", part of the Mark-two Tactical Hazard suit-" as Rek listened, he turned to the room at large, seeing the personnel cart at the opposite side of the room. At that moment he felt the cooled air flow over him, and he took in an almost icy breath.
"The following functions will now be enabled for your use in this operation;" it continued, "Tactile interface, enabled. Internal air-filtration system, enabled. Visual targeting system," he continued listening, as he ran quickly through the start-up procedure.
He spoke and his voice was recognised and came through the suits speaker almost metallic. "David, get over to that personnel cart, and see if we you can get it running," he pointed over towards the far end of the storage area where the rail-line was, "take who-ever you'll need."
Rek paid attention to the final few sentences about the suits being sealed until unlocked by authorised personnel without much enthusiasm and froze at the last sentence; "the mark-two Tactical Hazard suit will self-destruct immediately. Please, have a very safe day."
"Oh boy." He said to himself slowly, and took another deep breath. He heard Alea's voice and turned to face her, as she stepped out in her suit. "You okay?" He asked, ignoring her question for 'orders'.
Chris watched Alea carefully as she put on her suit, his eyes drifting to the meter which blinked to life upon activation. He couldn't help but marvel at the ease of interface in these suits. Glancing at a tag gave an immediate readout, and keeping focused on it expanded the readout into a full medical report with brief history and active real-time updates. It did nothing to assuage his concerns about his superior as he watched her reaction to what he assumed to be her noticing the meter running for her next injection.
Atii's start up pulls his attention away, however, and leaves him with a few choice words as "she" goes over procedure. "Self-destruct," he mutters at the end of it, "mighty paranoid over what we'll be comin' across, eh?" He looks at Alea again, noting that she seemed to be composed for the moment. Least I should be able to give her a dose if'n something stops the suit from doin' it.
"David, get over to that personnel cart, and see if we you can get it running, take who-ever you'll need."
Chris looked over to see where Rek was talking about, then stepped forward saying, "I'll give 'im a hand, LT." He walked past the CO, and put a hand on his shoulder while adding, "She'll be just fine."
David grunted, nodding. "You got it, sir." He turned and started over for the cart, pulling himself up onto it and glancing over the vehicle. He moved to the front, scanning over the forward control panel. His heads up display suddenly sprung to life, bringing up information and status of the cart. After a few moments of reading he closed the windows and looked over the control panel again. Besides the basic controls for speed and direction, there was a small keyhole, which was obviously necessary for using it. He turned, opening the comm channels and taking a moment to learn how to use them before calling out on the team comm. "Anybody here know how to hot wire a rail cart?"
Alea's ears tingled at the sound of a voice. Her eyes had quickly paced from left to right as if to search for the signal of the voice. The sound was doubled-- she searched for the more silenced one. The one from the person rather then from the comm.
"Anybody here know how to hot wire a rail cart?"
Alea's body turned from the Lieutenant and she headed for the cart. Her armed hand reached back and slid her pistol back into the holster. She had taken a step back and then forward using both a jump and a grab to pull herself onto the cart. She took a quick breath before she turned toward David and approached him. She hesitantly took up position next to him. Alea had touched her left arm, on her wrist there was the device. Her eyes had turned to David with a look of question.
"May I attempt something?" Alea's eyes look blank as she stares at David.
Rek nodded to the Doc, and then watched them get to work. It took him a few minutes to get the rest of the team organised, and on their way over towards the rail-cart. He followed carefully behind the group, watching each member as they worked.
He took three quickening steps when he was a few meters from the platform edge and on the last step bounded upwards at the same time as reaching and grabbing the handrail, and pulling himself up. He noticed that the suit seemed to somewhat enhance physical ability, his mobility was just as high as without the suit. Clever A.I. functionality was probably at work here. The A.I. He thought to himself for a moment.
"Atii?" He asked aloud.
The suit responded a moment later with a beep that indicated it was listening, seemingly only he could currently hear his own voice as the suit had switched off his voice-speaker.
"What are the requirements for emergancy release?" He asked after some careful thought, He guessed that he and possobly everyone in the team could still currently remove their helmets, but likely the moment they entered the facility that was the final destination of this cart, then at that point the suits may seal permanently. He needed to know more about this function, at the same time as test to see how intelligent the artificial intelligence really was.
The suit began responding after a second of so, giving Rek enough time to walk aft and help the others up onto the cart, and secure the equipment bags some had with them. "I am sorry, Lieutenant Mirez. That information is currently classified and locked out."
Rek was almost shocked at how human the inflection was. While the voice did not really sound sorry, there was a feigned politeness in the way it had said it that indicated it was indeed holding the information back. "Very well. What are you?"
"I am the Advanced Tactile Intelligence Interface system developed for use in the Mark-two tac' suits. I am the first of my kind to be used in the field by the United States military, and have been developed with the purpose to aid soldiers with tasks they would otherwise not be able to complete." It responded at length.
"I can provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to dismantle an activated Nuclear explosive after I have scanned and detirmined which device it is."
Rek turned and walked back to the head of the cab, where the three were trying to get it going, with better luck now that Alea was there. "Very well." He saw the Atii symbol disappear after he had dismissed her- he was hesitent to call her as such., Rek requested an update as he rounded into the cab; "Okay guys what are we looking at?"
David grunted, raising an eyebrow at Alea's request. He thought for a moment, glancing at her arm to see what she was fiddling with. "That depends. What is it you're planning on attempting with that?"
After calibrating her mounted hard-net, Alea had pulled a device attached to her hip. A wireless connecting signal to her hard-net. She placed it carefully over a chosen section of the vehicle and it had seemed to latch onto the object.
"Give me access to the basic networking system of the vehicle.." Alea's visor system shifted to show her an outline of complex systems within the vehicle. She had continued to make contact with the device on her wrist while she stepped back away from the controls.
Chris stood back, visibly relaxing now that Alea had stepped away from the controls. Well, assuming she's not flippin' out, she's clearly got skills we need, he thought to himself. As they waited for her to finish working her magic, Chris on a whim turned his attention to his own monitor. To his surprise, this one did not widen out to profile as he expected, but instead constructed a rendered image of his body in three dimensions, which circled once before stopping with a full frontal view. He realized he was looking a fully replicated image of his own body.
"Now, why does it only work with me," he mused to himself, unaware that the suit actively kept others from hearing what he was muttering, "don't suppose the lady'd be kind enough to tell me." What happened next made him visibly jump, the suit visor masking his wide eyes of surprise.
"Optimal health of leading medical officer is of priority to the squad," Atii said politely, "should serious harm befall you, Private Waller, Delta's effective survivability rate would fall below acceptable parameters."
Fancy tech for sure. Guess I'll have to watch what I say from now on. Chris watches the render spin once again before saying, "er, thanks Atii, would ya mind openin' the com lines again?"
"Of course, Private Waller."
Shaking his head for a moment, Chris looks at Alea. "Any luck, sir?"
After a minute of tweaking Alea's suit had confirmation, and the tram sprung to life, the console lighting up and casting odd shadows across their visors. The lieutenant smiled and gave Alea a pat on the back. "Well done."
With everyone secure and equipment ready, they were prepared to set off. "Chris you are the designated driver, get to it." Loran ordered, taking a hand rail standing position. "Atii, any idea how long it will take us to get to our entry point."
Atii was a little slow to respond on the open channel but eventually did. "Sir, based on speed estimation and tech information gathered from the link, I extrapolate that it will take approximately twenty minutes at the trams safe speed."
Rek shook his head and turned to David, and Carlos who was standing a short way behind him. "Last chance to hit the toilets, guys..." At the blank response he initially got he turned back to Chris. "Punch-it."
The tram schreeched to a hault having travelled for almost fifteen minutes down a rather poorly lit service tunnel, up ahead two huge metal blast doors began to part, adn a red light began flashing. There was no alarm, but as soon as the doors had opened, the tram rolled forwards and entered the pitch black chamvber beyond.
Rek could make out small features of the rather large room as the red light flashed but even that light was gone when the blast doors cosed and the tram had come to a halt again. A mere second later the rooms overhead lights came on it sets, beginning with the far area and doorway, through to a seating area for those waitin for the tram, up close to the cargo lift. Rek glanced about, scannign the area for lifesigns, but the room was decidedly deserted. "Saddle up, guys. This is our stop."
Rek helped the team of Soldiers and Specialists off, before jumping down with a resounding thud himself. The waiting area was clearly for transferring personell and further along was where the cargo would have been removed from the flatbed-cart, at the rear of the tram. "Fan out, and head towards the entrance." Rek said to the room and it's occupants at large, as the suit re-transmitted the order to everyone. He also made a hand motion that signified the same order, and he began to press forward. Most of the group were armed with pistols, and a couple didn't seem to be armed at all, or they had not accessed their weaponry. As the group marched their foot-steps made echoing clomps through-out the room. The door ahead looked like it was probably code locked.
Chris nodded without looking at the LT, running the tram up to speed. He had remained quiet since as he studied his HUD during the trip. On top of the consoles of the tram, there a running feed of the tram's logistics and speed, including a marker denoting how fast he'd have to push before the brakes became unreliable. That's handy to know, he thought to himself, wondering just what else Atii's software had in store for him, and the rest of the squad. An alert flashed next to the speedometer in his HUD as they closed in on their destination, signaling him from slow the tram down. He waited patiently for the blast doors to open, but when they did, he felt the tram move forward of its own volition, as he had left his hands resting on either side of the console.
"Saddle up, guys. This is our stop."
"Kinda freaky," he said before taking a breath after the lights came on. His training kicked in quickly as he moved his hands from the tram controls, leaning to one side as he hefted up his medpac. He looked at the familiar casing and had a sudden thought. "Atii," he muttered, a brief flashing icon on his HUD indicating the AI had closed communication while he spoke to her, "You wouldn't happen t'have a way for me to carry this easier built into this suit, would you?"
"Yes, Private Waller. Accessing Medical Supply Containment and Distribution."
His suit hissed and came alive, various pieces of the armor popping or sliding out to reveal compartments of varying sizes. As this happened, his image render came up on the screen, marking each compartment as intended for specific medical supplies. Chris's eyes widened as the image then layered with a tubing network, showing each compartment linked to the miniature tunnels.
"Stocked medical supplies can be accessed and delivered ready-to-use stat, Private Waller."
So it was that Chris was the last one off the tram, Beretta resting in his hands as they advanced to the door slowly.
Entering the Hotzone
Loran was first at the door, boots clacking on the steel plate decking, and while he waited for the other team members to catch up he examined teh door.
There was a key-pad and a palm lock on the left side of the plexi-glass sliding doors, which seemed to be made themselves of steel and a glass composite that probably could resist anything but explosives. The darkness beyond caught Loran's attention. Inside the large entrance hall beyond, the Lieutenant could see red flashing lights, and the suit enhanced the contrast enough to make out three forms on the ground. "Bodies?"
He took a deep breath, and noticed the suit hadn't responded to his whisper, as he'd expected she... it would have. He shook off the chill that shivered down his spine, and turned as the group approached. "Guys, I think we've got casualties in there." he paused for a moment, and the pointed to Chris, "Irish, thats you. Soon as we get in and it's clear, you'll check 'em out. Alea, you get his back." He ordered. With a nod he turned back to the keypad and door, and he accessed the door controls with his suit, which brought up the keypad and palm display on his HUD.
He swiped over to the palm print using his wrist touch pad, and scanned the surface of the panel for the previous imprint. "Atii, can you apply that imprint to the bio-metric glove's palm?"
There was a short delay before the AI merely beeped an affirmative, indicating the right hand with a flashing symbol on the HUD. "Thanks." Loran said quietly, and glanced around left to right to be sure the team had arrived. "Set?" He asked as he pressed his suit gloved hand to the sensor plate, and after an initial scan, a green LED light popped up above the panel, and the door rolled open, with the sound of servo-motors puling the door open into it's crevice between the wall.
A disant alarm could be heard pulsing in unison with the red flashes beyond, which disturbed, and made an almost stark difference to the quietness of the tram station, Rek soaked it in for a moment before making a hand motion. "Lets move."
"Roger" Alea said in a monotone voice. Her right hand rose to hold up her sidearm and her left hand revealed a knife clenched tightly and held horizontally beneath her right arm. The suit made her feel a bit off balance but it wasn't like she never wore heavier gear before. Her eyes scanned the area in front of them then to her right. She glanced back to look for Chris. Finally, she was given an order that exploited one of the few reasons she was here. She hated sitting still and doing nothing.
Alea stepped off toward the left side to ensure that nobody, including the team leader, was in her way should she be required to fire. She cleared the way behind her to ensure they're not ambushed either. Her eyes never even paid the smallest hint of attention to the figures on the ground. Her orders were to cover Chris. The bodies had nothing to do with that order as far as she was concerned.
"Guys, I think we've got casualties in there. Irish, thats you. Soon as we get in and it's clear, you'll check 'em out. Alea, you get his back."
Chris only nodded at his new callsign, noticing the HUD reflecting the designation on his biometrics.
Chris waited in turn, watching Alea take position and waiting for her signal. Once clear, he steps in quickly to examine the bodies, and has to bite his tongue to keep from shouting out. The rhythmic red flashing didn't do much to illuminate the bodies, so he'd flipped on the flashlight attached to his gun. It revealed the first body he'd set it on was mutilated almost beyond recognition, facedown on the floor. Large chunks of flesh and muscle had been ripped away, spilling blood on the floor, which had become congealed pools across the walkway.
Hoping to fight down the bile surging at the back of his throat, he quickly swung the flashlight over to the next body, laid out on its back. This one was largely intact, except for missing a hand and having a twisted shin, but its throat had been torn open and skull cracked. An eyeball was pulled partially out of its socket, still attached by the optic nerve and dangling across what used to be the man's face.
Chris took a deep breath before moving the flashlight over the final body, and almost wished he hadn't. The body was female, and looked almost pristine with her arm covering her face, as if she were only sleeping where she laid on her side. As the medic circled around it, however, he saw that back was nothing but ground meat. He was handling it pretty well, when she suddenly slunk back and her arm flopped aside to reveal her face...or half of it, at least.
"Ho shite," Chris muttered after the initial scan, taking a stumbling step back and bringing his hand to his face, despite the helmet already there, "Gimme a sec, LT...sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph..."
Alea took a few glances off the bodies while the light jumped between them. Nice, she thought. A curious sight to behold, mangled bodies. Alea approached with her arms still raised. She turned to aim her weapon, looking around to secure the area, making sure nothing got the jump on them. Better safe then sorry.
Chris was near the end of his inspection by the time that Alea had advanced on their location.
Though she wouldn't admit it, not that she could, she wanted to get a closer look at the bodies. Things like this were like art to her. When she got a closer look; she turned her head and looked away from them. They were indeed like art... sadly, they were done by a sloppy artist.
"Are you okay, doc?" Alea checked Chris to ensure he was fine, confirming only with a glance off her right shoulder at him.
Loran had the team assemble along the wall, in a defensive line, and watched as the medic and Alea moved from the group to check out the forms on the floor, their forms barely silhouetted by the beam of Chris's flash-light, and the pulsing red light further onwards to the right of the door they'd came through. He turned and leaned against the wall, looking away from the medic and his protection towards the left into darkness.
As they'd came through, he'd noticed on the wall they'd formed up on, directional arrows pointing to locations of the facility and he double checked their objectives on his HUD. "David," he motioned the Sargent over, quietly, "looks like we have to find a secure then coms room on this floor, and then descend one three levels, and secure two objectives. Looks like once we leave this level we'll have to split into two Squads, seems the main-"
Rek heard Chris exclaim as the Irish-mans voice echoed from his suits filter, and the lieutenant swung around, going down to one knee, to cover the hallway where Alea and Chris were, pistol ready. "What is it, Irish?"
David checked over his gun, nodding in acknowledgement. When they were interrupted by the loud curse he leaned over, peeking over Rek's shoulder into the lobby. His HUD flashed and green hue flowed over everything in view, leaving faint outlines of every object in the room, and brighter, green outlines around his teammates. The corpses on the floor had dull yellow outline. "Woah... Low light mode has built in IFF... But if green is friendly, and red is hostile, what is yellow?"
Carlos grunted beside him, "Biohazard, maybe? They are hazmat suits, after all..."
"Are you okay, doc?"
"What is it, Irish?"
Chris took a deep breath, turning his head and nodding at Alea before speaking up, "Seen my share of carnage, but this...this is something else." He stepped back up to the bodies, his medical instincts taking over now that the shock had worn off. He carefully examined the bodies, speaking aloud to inform the others. "Severe head trauma on this lady," he spoke the obvious as he indicated to the woman missing a lower jaw. "Her back, what's left of it anyway, looks like it suffered heavy contusions. Whatever tore into 'er, it didn't have any sort o' claws...they just ripped th' flesh right off."
He moved on to the next body, reaching down and plucking the eyeball off the floor. "This fella made a run fer it, but somethin' nabbed him. S'why his leg's all twisted up, and he didn't land lightly at all. His skull cracked on the walkway, knockin' him out. Whatever it was jumped up on him once he fell...th' throat's looking like something bit down, but the angle of th' teeth..." He reaches down, dropping the eyeball and running a finger along the edge of the throat damage. "Central...lateral...canine...this bite came from a human mouth. Never known a human t'have jaws enough for this, tho."
The medic swallowed hard before moving onto the last body, which incidentally was the first he'd looked at. "Got 'nother runner, but this'n looks like he got taken down when something landed on him. Contusions again, an'...yeah...clear indications of mastication here." He reaches down and grabs a chunk of tissue, rising up and holding it in front of the light of his gun. "These folks didn't just get killed, LT. They been eaten, by other folk." He turns his hand over, letting the chunk of meat hit the floor with a wet slap, then looked over at Rek.
Alea follows up with Chris, keeping on watch. "Isn't sending people like us in to deal with a few cannibals a bit overkill.." Alea lowered her gun so she could look at the bodies again, wanting to examine them a bit more. They were torn up, bitten, just ravaged. Realistically, this would call for a group of cannibals. Excitable, more dangerous, cannibals. While such a thing was easy to make some lick of sense from, Alea had to ponder on the idea of why they were sent in to deal with such a matter. Cannibals were usually left to people hired to kill. The group they have here have too much variety to them. They also weren't there to deal with cannibalism. Nothing was adding up. The whole situation seemed beyond sense.
"How would a couple of crazies get into this place? Gotta be easier ways to eat people than to break into secure underground labs..." Carlos grunted. "Someone definitely left something out of the briefing. I don't like it."
"Suck it up, Marines. We're here to do a job, and thats all we're concerned with." The lieutenant glanced at Carlos, and then walked over to where the bodies were, his steps echoing down the corridor.
He crouched beside one of the quietus forms, studying the wounds, and watching the blood trail across the ceramic floor. "Damn, what ever command hasn't told us, they may not even know." He placed his hands under him, and lifted himself up. "We'll need to come back and burn them. Until then, lets move. The armoury and personnel areas are this way," he pointed off towards the flashing red end of the corridor, "we need to secure our gear, and then get to the communications centre, and get it operational."
Loran made a hand motion to signal David to get the group moving again. "David, with me. Chrs, Alea you follow ten paces behind us. Carlos, watch the rear and make sure no-one gets lost."
With that said, he hopped over the bodies and pointed his flashlight towards the far end of the corridor- and froze. Something reflected the light of his torch, three small pinprick dots in the diffused light, that blurred up towards the right wall, about twenty-five meters ahead, and disappeared with a metal clang as something hit the floor. "Jesus... did anyone else see that?" He asked, his voice filled with a little disbelief, and a slight shake to it.
Carlos nodded, stepping into the lobby and taking a quick look around before turning and watching the doorway that led back out into the tunnels.
David stepped over the bodies, stepping to the opposite end of the hall from Rek and raising his weapon at the loud noise. "Didn't see anything. What was it?"
Alea helped Chris get up and moving with her left arm. She had him lead in front of her so she could continue to cover the flank. Alea's right hand held her sidearm still and she walked in almost a sideways angle, keeping her pistol aimed at their six o'clock while her eyes shifted from two o'clock, five o'clock, seven o'clock, then back again. Her shifts were different on each change. She jumped from two o'clock to five o'clock after a five second watch, then from five o'clock to seven o'clock slowly after three seconds. She shifted from seven o'clock back to two o'clock after a time period of about ten seconds. The difference came when attention was brought to something out in front of them.
At the sound of what may possibly be danger, Alea quickly stepped forward and placed a hand onto Chris' shoulder. She held it there to alert him that she was there and with her right hand took aim down the hall past Loran, Carlos, and David. Her eyes caught the attention of Carlos. She spoke angrily; "Keep your eyes on yourself, dog". Alea patted Chris' shoulder and turned back to their six o'clock. She raised her gun to aim at four o'clock high, lowering her aim as it slowly scrolls right.
"I've got nothing in my sights, Lieutenant." Alea spoke with a sturdy tone. Despite the strange going on, Alea didn't seem phased about the situation and instead continued watching her direction carefully. Her back was almost to Chris' back, but gave space between the two. She didn't like being near him, it was out of orders from her commanding officer that she stood where she did.
Carlos huffed, shaking his head and checking his weapon before looking back out into the tunnel, his flashlight burning through the darkness and emphasizing the scale of the underground structure they had just left. David, meanwhile, stepped forward, his gun raised as he turned his own tactical light on. "I'll take point..." He slowly crept up the corridor, carefully scanning left to right and looking briefly over the doors as he moved on. Under normal circumstances he would be keen on checking each and every room, but they had a very clear objective, and something didn't feel right about the situation. The torn up bodies by the door. The sketchy intel.
Frankly, he didn't want to stay here any longer than he had to.
He stopped at the corner near the end of the corridor, where it split off both to the right and left. He peeked first around the right, then turned and scanned the left, grunting and pulling back around the corner. "Looks clear."
Chris was still nauseated from the state of the bodies, but the lieutenant pushed everyone into formation helped him settle his nerves. At least, until Rek himself seemed to spotted something. What it was the medic couldn't tell, but he had caught the briefest flashes of movement. Alea's contact reminded him that he had comrades near him, which helped even if he was still unsure of the woman's mental stability.
"Saw movement, LT, but nothin' else," he spoke up in affirmation.
The Lieutenant was slightly behind David, his flashlight poised on the metal grating from a vent that had been ripped from the wall, and torn apart. the Lieutenant shone the torch up to where the vent was, noticing two sets of three jagged deep scratch marks etched into the wall where the vent had been ripped off and then some. "What ever it was, it tore through the vent like it was nothing. Lets keep moving."
David nodded, checking his map and then turning right, starting down the hall. He scanned the wide corridor, keeping his flashlight frontward at all times. As they moved further, they began to spot similar claw marks to those by the grate, as well as occasional splashes of blood along the hall. There was a soft splash as he stepped in a large puddle and he stopped, looking down. There were several sets of bloody tracks leading away from it, but the most disconcerting thing was the lack of bodies.
Rek placed a hand on David's shoulder, pulling the man back. "Thats a hell of a lot of blood for no bodies." He said, mostly to himself, as he shone the flashlight around the room they had entered. It was an apex. A room with three other exits that acted as a quasi-junction for the adjoining divisions on that level of the facility.
Rek didn't see anything in the room and blood trails lead off in each direction, he pointed to the left corridor. "Straight down that corridor twenty meters, we take a right passed the lounge area, take the service lift at the back of the kitchen and down one level to the cold storage.
"When we exit that, communications should be thirty meters from there. If we take that sides route," the Lieutenant pointed to the other corridor, "we will have to go down a two hundred meter corridor, and then doubles back into a ramp down to the what seems to be a sports hall and gym, and recreational facilities. Once through them, the communications room will be fifty meters up on the left." Rek crouched down and held his left arm in front of him, and activated a projector that displayed a basic map of this level onto the blood stained floor.
The route directly ahead lead to guest suites. "Looks like ever ever caused these blood trails when both ways. And it looks like the power is down, but I am only guessing, we'll know more when we get down there." The sounds of the teams footsteps still perturbed the room, but other than that it was too quiet.
"Suggestions?" He asked at last, waiting for everyone to enter the room, and the footsteps to finally stop.
Directly ahead of the assembled team was an accessable drop, with an abdomen high railing around it to prevent accidental falls, except for the side facing them, where there was a simple rolling gate, with a hand-print panel to call for what he assumed was an all-purpose elevator to other levels.
He deactivated the light projection from his wrist, and suddenly the map which had been lighting the room with a soft white glow, suddently plunged the room back into semi-darkness. His footsteps echoed as he walked over the dark, dried, bloodied floor to the shaft, and gazing over the edge, and pointing his hand-light down to what looked like a two level drop. Some of the blood seemed to give the impression of dragging, and ended at the drop edge.
"Great." He muttered. "Okay we've got objectives to complete on this level, we can come back here." He turned around, and let his weapon fall to the sling, facing the rest of the group now.
Alea approached Mirez with her weapon still unholstered, though she held it low and steady so as to keep it from being aimed at him. "What now Lieutenant?" She speaks with a stead fast tone, prepared to take whatever course of action her commanding officer gives. Her eyes began to wander while she waited for his response.
She viewed the light projection, investigating it in depth to gain a full understanding of its layout before it had disappeared. After it had, she reached down to take hold of a flashlight in her left hand, holding her left arm beneath her right. She raised both up, aiming the gun around the room while she utilized the light source to brighten up the directions that she looks.
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