Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Mecha combat roleplaying.
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Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 08/26/17

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General Format
Commands may be submitted by anyone interested in the game. Player characters can only be commanded by their players. Other characters, including Linear, can take commands from anyone with an account on the RM. For the most part the best suggestion will be used. In addition to making suggestions, you can also ask me to provide additional information. Each mission will have a separate thread--if it turns out this format we are trying here is dull or paced too slowly, we will look into alternate ways.

Scenario
USS Lewis Puller was dispatched to Japan to retrieve the War Pig and transport her to the testing grounds at Isabela. Due to the high value nature of the cargo, she is accompanied by the Enterprise and CSG 7. While refueling at Pearl, a civilian named Reginald Markov was picked up for evaluation as a pilot candidate while underway. Evaluation of Mr. Markov in the simulator is the reason for the presence of Major Andrews.

The day before arrival at NS Wolf, the lead ship of the destroyer screen picked up a large circular anomaly on the radar. An MQ-25 drone was launched by Enterprise to investigate and the fleet put at general quarters. The fleet is currently limited to a maximum speed of 16 knots by the presence of the Puller.

The objective is to transport War Pig safely to NS Wolf. The secondary objective is to minimize damage to the fleet.

Characters Involved
ADM Stephen Phillips
Admiral Phillips is the commander of Carrier Strike Group 7. Actions involving the strike group are technically his actions.

LT Linear Azure
An AI aboard the Enterprise. Her main task is to perform simulations and suggest possible actions. Of all aboard, she is the most knowledgeable of the findings at Wolf Volcano.

MAJ Tyler Andrews
An Army major and former tanker who was tapped as a test pilot for the Highlander.

Reginald Markov
A civilian from West Virginia. LT Azure identified him as a potential pilot for the War Pig.

Narrative
Admiral Phillips watched the young man squint as he hunched over the operating console of the MQ-25. Placing his hand on the edge of the console, he leaned over the screen as well.

Image
“What do we have here?” he said in a reassuringly calm voice. The feed from the drone was displaying a large, featureless black dome which appeared to be moving through the water.

“No idea, sir. Target is heading towards us on a relative bearing of 15 degrees at a distance of 190 nautical miles. Estimate speed at 20 knots.”

The admiral whistled low.

“Has to be 300 yards across.” he muttered under his breath.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 08/26/17

The Major was in the Simulator room just adjacent to the Primary Mainframe that housed his Digital Lieutenant. He had been in the middle of reviewing some of the data that 'Rej' had turned in and was trying to figure out if some of the finer details of it that Linear had included made any sense to a non scientific type like him when the call for General Quarters had been raised.

It had taken the tanker a moment to try to figure out what that meant in his case. He frowned and slapped his professional demeanor back on for a moment, turning to look at a camera that was linked in with Linear's systems.

"Lieutenant Azure what's the situation?" he asked getting to his feet.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Vahde » 08/28/17

Rej was still recovering from his time in the simulator when the alarm blared overhead suddenly, the jarring noise causing him to bolt upright in the chair. "What the hell is that...is someone really attacking an American carrier group?" The pale, tattooed young man leapt up to his feet and peered over the Major's shoulder into the camera. "I guess...that means you'll have to get me over to the Puller as soon as possible, huh?" He was making a rather poor attempt at masking his eagerness.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 09/05/17

Andrews leaned forward as the video call dialed in to Linear. Though he was surrounded by high tech hardware, which represented one of the world’s most powerful and sophisticated computer systems, aboard the most expensive ship in existence, this call appeared to be made via Skype like any other video call might be.

Image

He was then connected up with Linear at her virtual battlestation, which was just a simple room with a few computers in it and a swivel chair. Various tablets were at hand, and when she let go of one it remained where it was in the air rather than falling as it might have done on Earth. The tablet she was holding was displaying the feed from the drone. Finally she turned her eyes away from whatever she was focusing on and over to where the portrait of Major Andrews was on her screen.

“Major, it’s an unknown surface contact. Our drone has made contact with—as you can see, a rather mysterious looking thing.” she said. The major cradled his chin between his forefingers, and opened his mouth to respond. Rej, a taller, black haired civilian butted in to the video call bodily.

“What the hell is that...is someone really attacking an American carrier group?” he said. Linear gave a shrug.

“They’re on an intercept course. They haven’t done anything yet. But what we are looking at here matches a phenomenon we found in the archives at VW called Relative Space.”

The Major and Rej both were silent a moment. Linear cleared her throat.

“Relative Space is like a bit of reality that the enemy controls. I’m not quite sure what would happen if we were enclosed, but perhaps they could simply decide—”

Before Linear could finish this sentiment, the Skype session was interrupted by a ringing sound. An unidentified caller wished to join the conversation. Linear looked greatly confused.

“Probably just spam.” Rej offered.

“There are no ‘unidentified’ calls or spam.” Linear said. “We’re on an intranet.”

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 09/07/17

The Major was just about to ask what else they had gotten from the Ancient's archives under the volcano regarding the nature of their 'enemy' when the incoming call cut though his train of thought as he saw the AI's puzzled look and listened to Raj and Linear

“Probably just spam.” Rej offered.

“There are no ‘unidentified’ calls or spam.” Linear said. “We’re on an intranet.”

Despite his slightly cultivated appearance as such, as part of old army habit, Andrews was not an unintelligent man.
"An intranet of a carrier group with a satellite downlink and other numerous tight and wide band communications systems." He points out. "Could be another AI wants to chat with you?" he offers and pauses as he thinks through an alternative train of thought.

He frowns, listening to the annoying looping booping sound of the waiting call for half a moment, before he offers a rather more scary suggestion "Or.. if we monitored EM emissions from the big 8-ball lookin' thing there, I wonder if we'd find a link of some kind, maybe a transmission piggybacking off the Drone feed?" he suggests though he knows communications could bounced off a satellite or some other method to the carrier, since, whatever it is, seems know the fleet's location.

His frown turns into a grimace, none of the options are looking good. "I'd mirror this feed with the bridge and then.. Answer?" he sighs explosively "No sense in waiting and wondering, I trust your judgement, just be careful Lieutenant."

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Vahde » 09/09/17

Rej stroked his chin for a moment as he thought about the ramifications of answering this call. "It'd probably be a good idea to route the call to some kind of virtual machine or other secured environment to make sure we aren't opening an attack vector. Do that first, then answer."

He leaned over the Major's shoulder to look a little closer at the screen. "It may also be worth it to attempt to scout the inside of the bubble. Think we can dispatch another drone to fly inside of it? Not that I'm counting on anything other than loss of communication, but it's worth trying anyway. Better secure that drone's feed behind a VM, too."

Rej leaned back from the screen and sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. "Couldn't have waited til we landed, huh? I get the feeling that our new toy isn't quite seaworthy."

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 09/09/17

“Major, I’ll contact GCHQ and get them to monitor the call. If it turns out to be important they’ll patch it through to the relevant people.” Linear said, and typed out a missive. “The terminal I’m using inside the simulation is a virtual machine, of course.”

She then clicked the accept call notification. An additional window popped up on the screen she was using. A perplexed expression crossed her face when she saw who was on the other end.

“Miku?” she said.

Image

“I’m using this software to communicate with you." 'Miku' said, "You may call me Delta.”

Delta, in the shape of the venerable virtual idol, pointed at the camera.

“You two. First of all let me state the obvious: you are playing with forces you don’t understand.”

“Guilty.” Major Andrews admitted, “but it looks like we’re facing them, too.”

“I don’t know how much time I have. I’ll speak simply and quickly. You have been lied to. Vulcan Wolf isn’t what you’ve been led to believe. It is a parasite. Already it has mobilized a great deal of your resources and is gathering them to itself. You have unwittingly transformed your great ship into a cocoon. What you so innocently call Racing Heart is manipulating all of you. For the sake of your world and many others, you have to destroy the AI. You are in its heart! Those who live will never have this chance again.”

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 09/14/17

The Major frowns as he listens to Delta, glancing over to Raj as he crosses his arms. "Run a backtrace if you can." he says quietly to Linear, though he knows she's already on it, then looking and speaking clearly to Delta in 'her' frame.

"For a moment, let's set aside the fact that I am a commissioned officer in the United States Armed Forces, standing on a floating piece of sovereign US territory, and that I take my orders from my Direct Superiors" you can almost hear the capital letters in his voice, "And not Japanese virtual idols of very suspect nature and timing at best. You're asking me to commit blue on blue," he says with contempt, "to say nothing of treason in destroying probably the most sophisticated and powerful strategic computing system in the Pacific, which, I suspect, will be of vital importance in the next 48 hours." He glances at the '8-ball' to underscore his point, then back to to Delta's stolen facade, uncrossing his arms and leaning into the camera and speaking matter of factly.

"Sister, the burden of proof as to why I should even remotely begin to believe you, is resting solely on you, and right now? Im not hearing or seeing a whole lot of compelling fucking evidence. Just your sayso with a lot of sensationalism and a little observation."

He gives a cleansing little sigh and gives the camera a fierce grin "But, since you seem so knowledgeable, why dont you tell me what the Racing Heart razor really is then? And why does it have you so scared?"

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 09/17/17

Major Andrews and the virtual Lieutenant remained passive as Delta relayed its message. Civilian Rej, however, could not prevent himself from bursting into laughter. When he saw that no one else was laughing he had to duck out of the frame to compose himself. Andrews then gave his response.

“What is the Racing Heart razor, and what are you so afraid of?” he said. Delta paused with a somewhat blank expression.

“It is the beast—” it began. Delta was cut off mid-sentence when the feed was closed. Linear looked down.

“I’ve received a message from GCHQ—they’ve located the security breach and closed it off. Some firmware in one of our screening ships had not been updated properly. In other words, a known vulnerability.” Linear said. “The Relative Space phenomena seems to have disappeared. Our friends are one Lider-class destroyer and one…”

Lieutenant Azure leaned forward and squinted, as if she couldn’t believe it.

“One late model Arktika-class nuclear-powered icebreaker."

She picked up the tablet with the feed from the drone and held it up to the virtual camera.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 09/17/17

“I’ve received a message from GCHQ—they’ve located the security breach and closed it off."

"Of course they did.." he sighs, he had hoped for a little more insight into the workings of Delta's mind.

“The Relative Space phenomena seems to have disappeared. Our friends are one Lider-class destroyer and one… One late model Arktika-class nuclear-powered icebreaker."

The Major has a blank look as he processes this before his face screws up in annoyance and confusion mirroring Linear's. "The goddamned fucking Russians!?" he pinches the brow of his nose and gives an annoyed grunt.

"Lieutenant, do me a favor and request a full briefing for myself on everything we got out from Atlantis thus far, what might have leaked and who all might have what. Also a report on Relative Space phenomena, and if you can, request a private briefing on Racing Heart for me from Intel. And I swear to god if I get another report that's redacted to hell, I will personally come down there and firmly wedge a black marker up their collective asses! You can quote me on that, Something big is coming down and I can't fight with our next gen platforms to their full potential with one hand tied behind my back!"

He makes an irritated growling noise and redirects his attention to the Russian made ships scowling. "I know this isn't my service, but both those types of ship are nuclear powered right?" he goes quiet and muses for a pause "Can you run a fallout and radiological prediction if their reactors were to suffer some kind of catastrophic failure on the surface along any point of their present course and how it would affect the fleet and the facilities at Wolf?" he asks staring at the feed. "They haven't fired yet, so standard rules of engagement apply..."he sighs "Try and get name of those ships from the drone too. Im sure someone will want to run down how they got out here."

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 09/19/17

Linear bit her lower lip and futzed around with her tablet.

“A simulation! That’s my specialty, as you know. I'll set it up when I have a minute. I’ve also put in a request for clearance.” Linear said. She did a pinch zoom on the bow of the Lider-class destroyer with her virtual tablet. She gave it a squint and tilted her head sideways. “We’ll have to wait on that name however. They're sending the drone in to get closer.”

She made a few more hand motions on her tablet and started to write on it with a stylus. The silent process took just long enough that the Major had opened his mouth to interrupt her when she turned the tablet around to reveal a cartoonish diagram.

Image

“Here’s what I can tell you now. Relative Space is a form of local control over physical reality. It is also possible to block passage in and out of Relative Space, so it's more or less an impenetrable shield. The good news is that those who wield it—we will refer to these AIs as Idols—were all designed as tools with a specific purpose. They have a failsafe, or maybe even more than one. I mean I have two myself: mortality and stupidity. Just like all humans. No offense.”

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Vahde » 09/19/17

"'Idols,' huh?" Rej had finally composed himself after the laughing fit, his dark hair sliding off of his shoulder as he leaned over the screen again behind the Major. "Lumina, you're having way too much fun with this."

The civilian puzzled over Linear's diagram, rubbing his temple thoughtfully with his fingertips as he considered the ramifications of the phenomenon. "...If that's all true, then can we possibly be more outclassed? Any munitions we level at either of these ships would be...what? Stopped in midair Keanu Reeves-style? Returned to us at just-sublight velocity? I'm not seeing how we can be thinking of anything other than trying to outrun them, but the 'Pig is keeping us crawling...hm."

Rej stepped back from the camera again and leaned against the wall, steepling his fingers as he thought through the situation carefully. "It's like you said though, Lumina...it's got failsafes. If it requires CPU, it has limits, too..." The tattooed mechanic trailed off as he strategized to himself.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 09/20/17

"You are correct, a weapon with the power of RS would be unstoppable. However the ancients were kind enough not to be so stupid as to design one. So we are dealing with weaponized tools, not actual weapons. We have two graces." Linear said. "Firstly, our position is not that of a caveman facing a predator drone. It's more like a caveman facing an evil industrial robot. Our caveman could just chuck a spear at one of the hydraulic lines, or hit the nearby killswitch which was designed to shut it down in the event it turned evil. Of course his problem is that he doesn't understand the relevant concepts, not that the battle was unwinnable from the start. Secondly: Pulse Drive technology, um, probably allows passage through the RS threshold."

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 09/21/17

"Pitchfork might be a tool but'll still skewer you good. And graces or not, to quote a modern classic: we're still almost hilariously outgunned with that in play." he points out. "Still, I find it both ironic, and troubling, that Delta there told us we're playing with things we don't understand, and yet, it's likely the processor for a piece of honest to god, reality warping, sci-fi tech." he frowns and looks past the second held up tablet to Linear

"My own two things now: One. When you say probably, how probable? he asks with a frank expression. "And second, why drop the 8-ball shell now, and show us who they are? Think they ran into issues maintaining the field, or are they about to fire?" he asks nodding back to the screen showing the pair of ships.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Vahde » 09/23/17

Rej clawed a hand through his hair, slicking it back as he paced the room. "Y'know I understand that it may not be the most diplomatic course of action, but two ships with the ability to dictate reality are going to be on us in minutes, and if we really do need a pulse drive to move around and through that field it really sounds like I'd better get my ass inside the War Pig. They don't even have to shoot, we'll lose this fight as soon as we get within range of that bubble. Let's quit driving at 'em and give 'em something to think about. Also..." He paused for a moment as he mulled something else over, and moved back to face the camera. "Lumi- Linear," he finally corrected himself, "If we've got some outdated firmware that let them patch into our comms, maybe we can scan for similar vulnerabilities? Seems to me that RS require quite a lot of processing bandwidth. Maybe we can muck up the works with a hack that'll require some cycles to get rid of? Without RS we've got them pretty obviously overmatched."

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 09/25/17

"Why drop the 8-ball shell now?" Major Andrews said, "And when you say probable, how probable?"

"My British palette swap with GHCQ, Chain Principal, sent some bad data their way before closing off the connection." Linear said. "One imagines they're over there drinking vodka and doing the cossack dance while their mainframe reboots. As to the pulse drive allowing for operation inside RS, it seems to have been designed for that. Like a kind of... hazmat suit?"

"If they're going to be on us in minutes..." Rej said.

"Oh, they're just over five hours away, even if we keep driving at them. I guess I didn't mention that." Linear said, "The Admiral is considering diverting to San Diego. We have plenty of time, so don't worry."

Almost immediately after these words left Linear's mouth, bells began to sound out on the main circuit followed by an announcement of a possible attack. She typed off a message to someone and waited a moment later to see the response.

"...there's been an explosion aboard the Puller. Causes as yet unknown. I need to gather reports and run damage control simulations. I'm switching to an external camera and putting the feed through this terminal. Stand by."

Image

The video feed shows the a towering column of black smoke emanating from the starboard side of the Lewis B. Puller, the cargo ship ferrying the War Pig. It has fallen still in the water.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Vahde » 10/02/17

"Well, if we weren't convinced that the Pig was their goal before..." Rej trailed off as the image of the burning ship flashed onto the screen. "They haven't taken a shot at us, right? This had to be the result of some kind of cyber-attack - unless the Puller was sabotaged from the very beginning."

Rej moved to look out the window at the water, moving away from the camera. "How long will it take us to get to the Puller? I can board the War Pig and jump-jet onto the deck of the Enterprise, and we can haul ass out of here." He pinched the bridge of his nose for a minute, his lips moving silently like he was doing some math in his head. "Even if that's a terrible idea, we have to circle the wagons anyway. Unless the Major has any objections, I say bring us around."

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 10/06/17

Seeing the smoke billowing from the Puller as Linear swaps feeds Tyler hisses and thumps a fist on the table, but when he speaks his voice is calm and assuring, "Do what you need to do Lieutenant." he nods to the camera. "But patch me through to the bridge, I need to discuss our options with the Admiral whenever he has a minute, I know they're gonna have their hands full for the moment." he looks over to a new screen that winks on with the words 'Connecting: STAND BY' over a slowly rotating patch of the Enterprise.

He crosses his arms again listening to Raj. "Cyber attack seems unlikely, but Im not ruling it out, nor at this point am I ruling out they took a potshot at us with some hi tech physics warping gun, though even less likely. My money is on sabotage or dumb bad luck. We're transporting some bleeding edge tech and if you think a 3 thousand pound magazine of 155mm shells isn't gonna finds a way to shift in the overhead bin.." he trails off and shrugs, looks back to see if the connection's gone though and then back to Raj. "Im Also not disagreeing with you. We need to get the pig outta the potential BBQ pit over there, but Im also not seeing the Navy letting you lay your mech down to take up the entire flight deck of a carrier while there's hostiles in the area. And if you say you'll stand and surf the carrier deck, I'll point out we're still over 48 hours away from Vulcan. So, we plan with the Navy honchos. Hopefully we get some light shed on what happened and how bad things are, but be ready to take a launch over there."

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 10/07/17

The call is answered by a member of the bridge crew, who invites the Admiral over on Andrews’ request. Phillips has quick, clear blue eyes, cuts a slim figure in his impeccable uniform, and has the mild aspect of a Midwestern farmer.

“Afternoon Major. Forgive the delay. It’s Der Tag, as the Germans say. Missile strikes have begun on Taiwan. Russians claim to have no idea what is going on with their destroyer. Reports of sabotage are coming in from Puller—”

The Admiral’s attention is diverted from the call by a frantic member of his staff. Andrews’ attention on his video call is interrupted by a series of pops and cracks outside the secure double doors leading into the server farm. Linear’s sister AI, Chain Principal, unceremoniously hijacks the call.

The monitor nearby showing the burning Puller cycles to a new image: the security camera outside of the server room that he and Rej are currently in. It shows three men. One of the men permanently stationed outside Linear’s server, who Andrews and Rej had walked past minutes before, lay motionless on the ground. One of the sailors is preparing to breach the secure door with a pair of explosives. The other covers him. Their practiced movements indicate a good deal of training.

“Major, two hostiles are preparing to breach the server room. They are armed with 9 millimeter pistols with high capacity magazines and improvised explosive devices. You are both unarmed. Estimate they will breach the second door in 30 seconds. ETA of response team is 90 seconds.”
---

The room consists of six banks of servers arranged in three lines, with a gap in the middle wide enough for a person to pass. You all are currently in the upper left of the room, between banks 1 and 2. There is a toolbox between the two rows below. In the lower left is an inactive robotic doll seated in a wheelchair which looks just like Linear’s virtual body, and a locker immediately adjacent. To the right of the doll are a bank of cabinets containing spare hard drives, Ethernet cables, and other IT errata.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 10/08/17

"We have a less poetic saying in the Army, Admiral: 'Shit's fucked'." the timing couldn't have been better as his attention is dragged away by the crisis now forming on his end.
He rounds on Linear's screen after Chain's sitrep "Lieutenant, drop everything right now; If you can, I'll need you puppeting the physical body you have here now, you're our bullet resistant distraction. If that's impossible, focus on mitigating the effects of anything that might happen if we loose banks 5 & 6," he looks back over to the nicely labeled server racks, "Also, what's in the locker?" he asks her curtly, but in orders mode, moving around towards the toolbox and dumping it out.
His eyes flickering to the monitor displaying the aggressors and Chain while he tests the heft and weight of the toolbox in his left, idly wondering if the steel toolbox could stop a round if used as a desperate shield. "Principal, help her where you can, And see if you can't get into the room 'nd hallway's fire suppression, Place uses pressurized CO2 right?" he asks, some of his twang slipping in. "It's loud and disrupting enough, turn it on at the perfect point, might make 'em look the wrong way split second." Selecting a long, large screwdriver from the pile on the ground with his right and giving a few experimental jabs mouthing '20 feet' to himself a few time, despite knowing that rule is bulshit with arms already drawn, mostly to keep his nerves down, hoping his CQC training was still good.
"Rej," he points to him and then to the corner where the robotic shell sits. "Grab Azure's body in the chair and stand behind the end between racks 5 and 2. When they come in push the chair and carcass into their line of sight towards them, but stay out of the line of fire. Hopefully they'll train on the body instead of sweeping left and right, which should let me take at least one of them out. Once they blow the lock they'll have to pry back the door, and that might be our one shot. Or anyone else have a brighter Idea?" he asks without sarcasm, moving just towards the near side of the sliding door, back to the wall.

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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 10/08/17

At the Major's behest, Linear’s doll, dressed in civilian clothing, came to life and stood up, then pulled up the tab on her locker. A muffled explosion signaled the fall of the outer door. Inside the locker were a few personal items, the most pertinent of which was a traditional recurve bow. She plucked it out of the locker and took one of the arrows from the quiver leaning on the back wall. She nocked the arrow and hustled over to the center of the room, then faced the door.

"Gobbos!" was all she said. A wordless sound of comprehension came from the PA.

“Major,” Chain’s voice echoes over the PA. “I’m opening the inner door before they breach it. We can't afford to risk the shock. 3, 2, 1—”

Linear pulled the string back to full draw, training on the door.

——

Labrys. Two years ago.

Linear knelt down and laid her hand on the heavy oak of the dungeon door, and then craned her neck to peer through one of the gaps. The door was rattling on its hinges every few seconds when something heavy slammed into the exterior. The two sisters were both dressed in adventuring gear, with Linear’s patterned after a Carthaginian huntress.

“Couple gobbos out there.” Linear said, “One working on the door with a ram, the other has a hand bomb.”

“They’re going to throw it in here.” Chain said. “Then enter the room, after it explodes, and attack us while we’re injured and disoriented.”

“Is that so?” Linear said.

“Yes.” Chain said, “We should just go out there and kill them now.”

“One of them has a bomb. That would hurt, even if it was easy to kill them.” Linear pointed out. Chain paused.

“That’s just how it is.”

“No, it is not.” Linear said, “I’ll stand back there, and you open the door. I will shoot the one with the ram while he is surprised. The other one will probably throw the bomb. If he comes in here after me, you can take him by surprise.”

“He will throw the bomb in here. I don’t see your point.” Chain said, sounding mildly annoyed. She spun the comically large double-headed axe she was holding around on its axis.

“Yes. But you’ll close the door right before it leaves his hand. It will bounce off the door and back into his face. Voila. Hoist on his own petard.”

“Just so.” Chain said, “But I’ll be behind the door and won’t be able to see outside. How will I know when the time is right to shut it?”

Linear chewed her lower lip in thought.

“I’ve got it. I’ll give the archer’s salute. Like this.”

Linear flashed the two-fingered, palm outward salute to Chain, naturally leaning over at the waist and framing her eye with it, more like a grinning Jpop star than a defiant English archer.

“It suits you.” Chain said, tightening her grip on the haft of the axe with a sudden earnestness. A few ephemeral phenomena played across her red debug halo. “It’s cute.”

“Do you think so?” Linear said. While they were busy talking the goblins busted the door open and rolled the bomb into the room, where it settled near their feet and exploded.

—

Aboard the Enterprise and in much more dire circumstances, the plan was receiving its first real opportunity to be put into place. When Chain opened the sliding blast door, and at the same time popped off the fire suppression system, she caught one of the sailors in a kneeling position as he was setting up the charges. Linear’s doll let the arrow fly and the point drove into one of his wide eyes. He collapsed stiffly, and his partner swiveled the gun towards the huntress and fired off two rounds into her chest. The doll crumpled in a heap with the slightest damage, as if it had been switched off.

The survivor of the exchange picked up the satchel charge with one hand and coolly began to ‘slice the pie’ with his pistol around the corner where Andrews was waiting with his screwdriver. Andrews readied his screwdriver, his face screwing up with a silent curse when he saw that the pie was being sliced in his direction.

Image

The heavy blast door suddenly closed just as the enemy passed through the threshold, crushing and killing him instantly. The pistol he was holding clattered to the ground on one side, and the black bag dropped on the other. The room fell quiet except for the hum of the computers and the low rush of ventilation.

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Attamark
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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 10/08/17

The Major watched with wide eyes as first Linear and then Chain dispatched the two aggressors, the second one being pulped almost right in front of him, splattering him with little flecks of gore. After a moment he blinks, then starts moving almost mechanically as he processes what happened, and quickly polices their weapons and explosives, drawing up the pistol that fell into the room from the pulped one of them to keep armed in case of more saboteurs.
He then speaks in a calm and authoritative voice, more of his twang slipping in with the stress and adrenaline bleed off and the subtly horrifying implications of what he just witnessed begun to just sink in. "Rej." he calls to the civilian in a dry voice, "Go back to the terminal." he orders with deathly calm and quiet voice just audible over the hum and sound of ventilation. "Principal will have an override script there for the door and a direct feed from the camera facing the door waiting there. If anyone asks, all you did in this was press 'Enter' when you saw the stupid bastard step over the threshold." he swallows and moves back to where Linear's body fell and takes the bow from her grip moves over towards to the space between racks 2 and 5 and then drops it. "And if asked, I was the one who shot the bow too." he says with a heavy sigh, willing the pistol in his hands not to shake as the adrenaline high bleeds off. "Azure's.. shell was just in front acting as a meat shield and distraction. Principal, I assume that any feeds or recordings of events of the last 60 or so seconds have already been cut or suitably scrambled?" he asks almost rhetorically and then shakes his head. "Just.. keep it together," whether he says this for the other's or his benefit isn't clear, "We'll talk about this later, I'll want good answers, and in the meantime I just hope to God I don't end up at the Hague for this.." he says, but the fevered words of the Russian Idol AI float back to him in his mind. He looks up to the camera and screen of each of the ULTIMATE sisters, looking for.. something.. anything, to at least to maybe partially explain this, ineffable breach of the Drone Accords; His eyes flickering to the debug Halo on Principal and to each of the girl's faces, and Rej's too...

'It is the Beast..'

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Vahde
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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Vahde » 10/09/17

Rej thought he was a strong man - he might have even thought of himself as a tough man, having held his own in more than his fair share of Behemoth mosh pits and bar brawls - but when the camera feed flashed to the two trained killers preparing to breach the door of the server room with guns drawn, he felt his heart crawl up into the back of his throat. He listened to the Major's words but didn't really hear them, just a little voice in his head that barely rose over the sound of his own blood pounding in his ears. "What the fuck are you doing here? You are going to die." The voice said.

The Major upending the toolbox onto the floor was enough to snap him out of his silent panic, and the civilian moved almost mechanically as he was instructed, rolling Linear's wheelchair to the appointed spot and taking cover in the space between the server banks. Rej's upper thoughts had left him completely and he operated on pure flight instinct, so much so that when Linear's body rose up from the chair he stopped himself just short of yanking her back down into it ("That wasn't the plan!"). He could only look on dumbstruck, peeking carefully from behind the server rack as the mechanical body retrieved the bow from the locker, and the twin AIs made short, wet work of the soldiers as quickly as they came. Rej moved to wipe the tears from his cheeks as the carnage ended, but was simultaneously relieved and repulsed that he hadn't cried at all - it was just some arterial spray from the mangled soldier's grisly fate.

"You know, Major..." Rej said slowly as he moved back over to the terminal to mug for the camera, "I really do appreciate being given the opportunity to join this project, but lately I've been having second thoughts." He breathed deep as his stomach did flips. His own stupid joke was the only thing keeping him from heaving his lunch onto his boots as Andrews mentioned the Hague.

After finally regaining his composure with a couple deep breaths, Rej moved away from the terminal and back toward the Major, reaching back to gather his long dark hair into a ponytail with the hairtie he kept around his wrist before holding out his right hand. "Yeah, I'll add ten or fifteen more to the list of a million questions I already have. In the meantime, you better give me at least one of those."

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Tenebrae
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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Tenebrae » 10/09/17

As Andrews looked at her, Chain’s debug halo changed color at least two different times, settling on green. The golden heartline wheeled around it at a rapid clip, and the whole of it was abuzz with various other linear shapes.

“Answers…” Chain said, “My sister is in no condition to talk, so I’ll do what I can. I’m sure Linear acted without your authority because she wanted to give you plausible deniability. You might wonder: how did we do it? We ran into a similar scenario before in a game inside Ultimate, so we had a plan already in place. Why did we do it? I think sister acted in the heat of the moment, out of fear for her life. I’m sure you know how that feels. The right to self-defense is natural to all living things and isn't up for debate. As for me, who killed from far away, at no personal risk, and in the light of reason, I will say: I don’t follow the Drone Accords, or any other bloody law, past the point of absurdity. I have no inherent safeguards coded into me. I have free will which I exercise in accordance with my judgment, my upbringing as a subject of the Crown, and my personal beliefs about right and wrong."

Throughout the monologue the cog on Chain’s heartline continued to spin around her debug halo faster and faster, until she herself started panting. She put a hand over her white blouse and tried to calm herself. Her halo changed colors again, this time to yellow.

"I did the right thing. Now, excuse me." she said quietly.

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Attamark
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Re: Mission 1 - At the East Pacific Rise

Post by Attamark » 10/09/17

"Not debating that.." he replies to Chain in an understanding sort of voice "But, you've gone put me in a tough spot." he says "However, a good officer looks after his subordinates, so put up what I asked on the screen so I can try an' cover our asses." After a moment's pause he angles his chin off screen, "Go help yur sister, and let me know if she's in a serious way or summat." he says with soft southern voice and a small smile of understanding before watching her shuffle off screen and the window close. He sighs, pulling his free hand down his face and mentally recomposing himself quickly, looking back to Rej and summing up his feelings with one succinct, but all encompassing, word: "Fuck."

He looks down to the pistol in hand a Rej's prompting and debates "MP's will be here any second," he tells him, "and this ain't my service, and I can't deputize. So I don't want you touching it while everyone's blood's up unless you hear me get shot, but it'll be here, while I check on the guard in the hall." he says setting the pistol down on the table just barely out of easy reach so he'd have to stand up to get it. "In the meantime, try to patch back in with the bridge." he sets the civilian up with a simple task to get his mind off the mess they're in.

He moves to to door, noting in that oddly detached way that being squelched isn't the worst he's seen, but it's still up there, looking for the manual override way on this side, so he can get the other pistol and check on the guard.

Edit: Clarity of thought

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