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Saints Fanfic collection

Discussion in 'FanFic' started by saint, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. saint

    saint Charming, but irrational

    Joined:
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    A collection of my old works from the previous forum


    The Insanity of Dawn
    This planet was going to drive him crazy or kill him or maybe both; he really hoped it wasn't both. If it wasn't the miserable weather or the damned corporate guys, being the frustrating combination of ambitious insistent and utterly clueless, it was the brass trying to bend over backwards to meet their stupid and or terrible ideas, and they weren't trying to kill you. The locals well they where a different story; if its not some Caledonian running at with a sword big as he is (which is big!) that can cut the best armor like a ration pack, its a Merovingian ambush that happens fast and leaves everyone asking very bad questions like "where are they shooting from?" and "why isn't that APC stopping?" or you're fighting Kazaks who use enough firepower to make a Yuan Hao blush or the Americans who use enough fire that you wonder how the whole planet isn't just a scorched ember. Then toss in mines everywhere, quite literally everywhere; Then there are the real natives, Cristo Santo, he'd be having nightmares for the rest of his life about those things, and they where enough to make sure he'd only ever own cats for the rest of his life.



    but honestly the part that he never got used to was the damned noise every damned gun they used made it, this high pitched annoying ping and clack that you could some times here even when they where shooting them. Apparently that how all guns worked before combi rifles where made. How they all didn't go crazy before then, he'd never know. Urban fighting was the worst. The casing would litter the ground and make that same damned high pitched pings and clanks, around even when they were brushed aside. It was such a ... messy way to fight. they'd also shout what where rather vulgar insults at you if they got close enough, which he just considered rude; doubly so if they didn't speak a language he could understand, which was all of them. their English was terrible.



    An absurdly loud report brought him back to his sense, and there standing over him wearing an archaic gasmask, firing an archaic a machinegun and speaking archaic Russian was a Spetsnaz. Then he remembered he was bleeding, stabbed while he was pulling guard duty. Now he remembered what he really hated about this planet; all the Ariadnans where sneaky bastards who never fought fair. oddly enough even while this thought flitted through his mind he had to smile a little as everything went dark, 'at least it wasn't to one of those damned noisy guns of their's.'

    Hardcase
    Brief view of a woman’s face, black hair brown eyes before turning and being strapped to some form of head or shoulder mount. The image quickly moves over to an average height but muscular man with a quiver and rifle strapped to his back with a bow in hand other weapons and survival gear adorn his person. His hair and eyes is obscured by an old fashioned front brimmed hat and dark plastic sunglasses. They both appear to be standing in a heavily wooded area with the sun beginning its descent towards sunset.



    “So what’s the local term for people like you again?”



    “Hard-cases ma’am, and why are you recording this? Thought you were some type of biologist?”



    “I am, this is for an anthropologist colleague of mine, she’s attempting to get a grant to study on Dawn and she thinks USAriadna might be where she’d like to study; and I have time while my equipment collects samples.”



    “hrrm”



    A look between disapproval and amusement flicker across his face



    “You don’t approve?”



    “This isn’t exactly territory where you ivory tower folks should be running around just as likely to end up missing as return home.”



    “Now listen here, just because we’re PanOceanian doesn’t mean we can’t handle ourselves, we’ve both spent time in South America, Acontecimento, and Paradisio before the conflict.”



    “eerrhrm, sure those places all seem plenty dangerous but they ain’t Dawn, check your machines, seems like they’re windin down.”



    The man pulls an arrow from its quiver and begins to walk away; stopping and half turning back to the woman.



    “And stay here I’m gonna check something”



    The woman walks over to a variety of small machines collecting various data muttering about ‘primitive machismo’. Though she begins collecting up the machines indicating they are done.



    The man comes crashing back through the woods several arrows missing from the quiver and with his rifle now in hand.



    “Run to the truck now”



    “Why wha-”



    “Run NOW!”



    She breaks into a run, howls begin to erupt behind her, and she appears to pick up speed. The sound of gunfire can be heard and she turns pack briefly to see the man firing controlled but random bursts into the treeline. Turing to run himself he sees that she’s stopped.



    “I said run woman”



    Even as she continues to run the man catches her put her on his shoulder and places a shotgun in her hands.



    “See anything move, shoot it”



    The man reaches for a radio at his shoulder



    “Maddy start the truck and wake up Alex we’ve got Antipodes”



    The treeline begins to thin ahead the man slows down enough to but the woman on her own feet again.



    “Keep going”



    More rifle fire as a truck appears in the distance inside a man sits at the steering wheel, while a woman stands out of the roof hatch with a machinegun.



    The woman clambers into the back of the vehicle, with the man jumping into the bed moments behind, without a seconds delay the vehicle is thrown into motion, gunfire continues briefly, followed only by

    the sounds of the engine and the camerawoman hyperventilating at the point of hysterics.



    A tap on the window behind the camera reveals the man staring at her with mirth filled green eyes.



    “So you still think you can handle yourself out here?”



    Recording ends.

    Metal up
    You’ve never been to a live concert before?” The man asked her; incredulity practically dripping off of his tongue.



    “Of course not with all the services and channels Maya offers I can experience a concert for barely any cost at all”



    “But it’s not just about seeing and hearing it’s about the smell the sense of excitement and community… ” Aaloka Misra started to fad out of the conversation with the man across the table from her. He was Ariadnan or as he and his fellows preferred to be called ‘American’ part of one of their Ranger Regiments with which her unit would apparently be working with once they both rotated out of R&R so some genius in command had decided they need to spend more time together to ‘improve unit cohesion’ or some such bureaucratic buffoonery. To the surprise of everyone it worked fairly well, the Americans where actually quite friendly; so long as no one challenged them to any physical contests, these Rangers tended to have enough muscle for at least one other person and only admitted defeat when the medics had them on a stretcher (which was rare as it was usually their opponent that needed the attention).



    “…so what do you say?” Hector Williams asked her as she snapped back to the conversation.



    “I’m sorry I was lost in thought.” She replied truthfully enough, hoping he’d politely move on to another topic, perhaps something to do with the little spare time they had before leave ended and how they could make the best use of it. She had joined the military to meet new people and he was terribly attractive, a swarthy complexion with dark hair, grey eyes, and all that muscle…



    “I said ‘the diplomatic core has a few morale bands that travel around the expeditions would you like to join some of my buddies and I tomorrow night for the show ’ you can bring some friends as well it’d probably be a good bonding experience ”



    “Aren’t those sorts of things rather dull jingoistic affairs?”



    A wide if somewhat crooked grin split the man’s face “darlin’ we’re from Dawn nobodies got time for that sort of crap, this is good red blooded cross national entertainment”



    Maybe it was the way he said entertainment, maybe she was sincerely interested, Aaloka couldn’t really tell but she felt herself returning the grin “so where do you want to meet?”



    They met outside a rather large, rather secure looking warehouse, while not knowing what to really expect she doubted most concerts where lined with Bureau Aegis riot troops, Merovingian Loup-Garou, and the main doors flanked by what looked like four dog-faces somehow looking surlier and more scarred than their usual brethren. She was beginning to regret only bringing three companions with her, all fellow Guarda de Assalto but even these dauntless souls balked a little at the security for a mere ‘morale concert’



    But before anyone could turn around Hector sauntered up leading a half dozen companions of various Ranger units. “Aaloka, glad you could make it, and these must be your friends nice to meet you all we’ll make introductions once we’re inside, right now stick with us and we’ll make sure none of you kiddies get lost in the crowd ” he gave a jesting wink at all of them.



    Once inside Aaloka gave the scanned the crowed and was surprised by what she saw. There were the expected contingents of Ariadna, Caledonians, Merovingian’s, Americans, and Kazak’s all mingling; but their where also more Pan-Oceanian soldiers, clusters of Haqqislamites, a rather large Nomad contingent, mostly from Corregidor, though some Tunguskans, and a few members of Bakunin who never could resist a party, even a few Lhosts of the Subsections where visible and consciously being kept away from the Nomads by a not entirely off duty group of Spetnaz and Bureau Aegis troops, their even appeared to be a few clusters of Tohaa troops sprinkled throughout the crowd. Then Aalokas eyes alighted on the stage just a she heard one of Hectors companions mutter “someone let the Dozers into the scrapyard?” and she had to concur. The stage had been ‘decorated’ with crude metal sculptures which upon inspection turned out to be crude, if effective, caricatures of TAGs locked into hand to hand combat.



    Then the lights dimmed and music started to play, first electronic then gradually building into heavy drums, guitar, and bass; then the singing started and with a burst of flame so hot she could feel it in the middle of the crowd the band appeared accompanied by the screams and cheers of the crowd. The entire warehouse instantly became an energized mass with many people starting to pulse and bob in time with various beats of the music. Looking over at Hector she could see he wasn’t immune either bobbing his head in a curious simultaneous up and down side to side motion, and a few of his female companions where whipping their unbound long hair rhythmically to the music as well; it seemed miracle that their necks hadn’t snapped already. (song)



    Then the first song stopped. And before the crowd could start to cheer the bassist started whistling, a much slower tune but with the same kind of heavy energy as the first and Aaloka was able to get a good look at the performers. The bassist was Caledonian, long blond hair and a thick beard and wearing a ridiculous kilt, the drummer was an American woman short and broad shouldered with dark brown hair severely pulled back into a tail, the singer/keyboardist was Kazak man, with a neatly trimmed red beard being the only thing that really distinguished him from his comrades in arms, and the guitarist was a Merovingian woman black hair falling freely down her back and a fire in her smile as she played.(song)



    As the second song ended cheers and roars rang out through the building and the singer smiled for a second before speaking addressing the crowd. “Guys and ladies it’s good to see you all tonight, I hope everyone’s enjoying themselves” even more cheers accompanied this statement, “now I don’t want to ruin your evenings already but we thought we’d get our little expeditionary anthem out of the way and then back on with the rest of show” in Aaloka’s opinion the roar of approval from the Ariadnans that greeted this statement was the most enthusiastic response to a national anthem that she’d ever heard; until the band started playing again.



    The slow piano/guitar quickly gave way to a more methodical and heavy style of play, then the lyrics started and noticeable change went over everyone the song seemed to stiffen all of them. They no longer moved with the music but stood at near parade attention stamping to the beat with the drums and nearly universally they sang along with the chorus “when the war has been won, and our march home begins what awaits has not yet been revealed. What was won, what was lost, will our deeds be remembered? Are they written in stone or in sand?” a grim determination settled over the singers face twisting into a malicious grin with the utterance of one line “…protecting civilians while fired upon, rules of engagement our restrictions are gone”. She nearly jolted out of her skin when she felt a heavy hand lock on her shoulder turning she could see Hector sing out with tears in his eyes “leaving home, set to sea, was this really meant to be, see the shores of our home fade away, facing blood facing pain have our brothers died in vain? Many lives have been lost on the way!” (song)

    She could see in that moment she saw into the very soul of these people why they were here and the determination the showed in all things and then in a blink the song was over his hand released her shoulder and she turned back to the stage as a throaty chuckle emanated from the guitarist “I believe it’s time we give poor Vasily a break; how about we make it my turn now?”



    She quickly set aside her own guitar as another man stepped on stage with his own, another Merovingian by the looks of him. As she stepped up Aaloka noticed just how tall she was, easily closing in on two meters before she put on her heeled boots, her long hair blowing behind her, lending an ethereal appearance to this statuesque figure.



    Then she started to sing,(song) and it was in no way what Aaloka expected. Her voice managed to soar over the heavy cords, like an angel over the sounds of battle. The singers’ eyes sparkled with life and joy contrasting the previous singer, Vasily apparently, and his aggressive growling. The crowd became energized anew as well not only was the head-banging back but she could see some individuals , being lifted and carried across the crowd bodily in varying directions and apparently reveling in the experience.



    “Well you all seemed to enjoy that, now if Vasily’s up to it what do you say we all take a short trip together?” She gave a meaningful glance to the drummer who immediately started started a very deep, resonant refrain, “For you my dear Elise, I’m always ready for a little travel” Vasily responded giving a grin more often associated with madmen then performers. The two of them together formed such a wondrous cacophony, heaven and hell meeting in such beautiful violence it was something so wondrous Aaloka hoped it would never end.



    The passage of time was soon lost on Aaloka, the performance was so fast, provided so many stories and so much energy. More duets where preformed sending chills down her spine and fire through the assembled throng, eventually she, and her compatriots, began to pick up the mannerisms of their Ariadnan hosts losing themselves in the moment, one of her friends got carried along the top of the crowd smiling like a child, she sat on Hectors shoulders, screaming out her lungs over the top of the crowd.



    “Guys and ladies, I hope you’ve had even half as much fun as we have” Elise began, “but I’m afraid for tonight this beautiful ride must come to an end…” a universal chorus of groans greeted that proclamation “However I hope everyone is prepared for the last ride of the day” and with an with that the band threw themselves into the last performance with perhaps even more energy than they had displayed previously. There was so much fire shooting out from the stage that several of the Tohaa groups actually began to back away from the stage. And it all ended with an blinding blast of flame obscuring the entire stage.



    And with that it was over, she looked up at Hector “so what do we do now?” he paused to think for a moment “well first we should probably track your friend down, but after that… the nights still young I’m sure we can figure something out.”


    Meet the Band

    Elise:

    “How many soldiers are left in those woods?”



    sergent-chef Elise Lefevre troisome regiment des chasseurs…



    *wham*



    Spots danced in front of her eyes as her head was slammed into the table she was seated near. She was getting very tired of this, it was as if they didn’t expect someone to resist an interrogation, barely an hour in and they’d already started trying to beat information out of her and she could tell that if the little connardbehind her wasn’t wearing that fancy powered armor of theirs he’d probably be hitting softer then she had when she was in secondary school. “They want to start playing rough” Elise thought “fine, I’ve always liked games”. Straightening herself up and craning backwards, doing her best to stare straight into his eyes “If your wife ever wants to meet a real man I’ll happily meet her once this little conference is over.” She made certain to put on her most seductive accent, and give a sly, if bloody, smile just to twist the knife in a little further, he reacted perfectly as she ducked his next swing Elise swiftly brought her head back up smashing into his nose while his fist collided harmlessly with the table.



    “Please do call off your cabot, he’s annoying me.” Elise stared at the woman across from her, of indeterminate ethnicity, but sporting several unit markings of the Pan-Oceania Shock Army of Acontcemento one of those what where they called, ah yes Bagh-Mari.



    “And why pray tell, would I do that when you’ve been so uncooperative?”



    Smiling again, but this time with something more feral leaking into her features, “because I think his already delicately bruised ego won’t like what I’m about to tell you.” She heard the delightful sound of someone speaking with a freshly broken nose behind her “I’ll show you bruised…” whirling around Elise stood up, a full head taller than the man who had hit. While she hadn’t been able to pick the damned cuffs they had put her in the chain they’d attached them to had practically been child’s play to remove. “And because,” she said with deliberate slowness “as much as I’d like to kick both of your asses, it currently serves no purpose.”



    The officer thought about it for a moment “corporal, please reattach the Sergeants restraints and leave the room.”



    “But lieutenant…”



    “That was not a request, call in some backup if you want, but leave. This. Room. ”



    Glaring at Elise while she smiled benignly as he did as he was ordered her jailer left the room.



    “Now before I give you my answer a question of my own, how many of my soldiers did you recover from that last sortie? Dead or alive.”



    The lieutenant consulted a small screen in front of her “all told, nearly two dozen, about two thirds of them dead, the rest too injured to continue fighting when they were captured”



    Processing this information Elise allowed herself a small, sad smile. “Then I congratulate you lieutenant, the woods are yours, you have killed or captured my entire platoon, bravo.”



    “You mean to tell me that a platoon was able to hold up this battalion for nearly a day and a half?” disbelief was coming off of the woman so thickly that Elise could almost smell it. “And that with most of your unit dead or captured you’d be smiling about it”



    “Tell me lieutenant, I’m assuming you did a search of my comrades’ bodies, and probably checked everyone while they were unconscious in surgery so that they didn’t die under your care. Did you try and run a translation on the tattoos that many of us have? ” here Elise pointedly offered her bicep for inspection “no don’t bother looking at you notes, I’ll tell you, it means ‘resist and bite’ and if we managed to hold your advance for so long then yes; I can smile a little knowing that we lived and died following our creed.”



    “’resist and bite’, how very civilized, why resist at this entire planet is our by ri…”



    “If you finish that sentence little girl” a very dangerous look was creeping into Elise’s eyes “you will see what happens when you piss off someone who can win a bar fight against a very drunk, very horny, dog-face. Any ‘rights’ you or anyone else on Earth had to Dawn died the day the Aurora never showed up. You’re just another offworlder” and this invective was said with more venom then any insult she had thrown in years “who is trying to take our home, the Antipode’s couldn’t do it when we first arrived or in the generations since, and you soft sots most certainly will not take our home from us without a fight, and even if you do win” a very dark chuckle rose from her throat, “it will be a very long time before you finish burying the bodies after you plant your victory flag, presuming of course you have anyone left fit enough to plant it.” Elise stood again, leaving the chain trailing to the floor, “now if you have any more questions for me I’ll be in my cell” and as she passed the stunned looking lieutenant, Elise bent down and looked her interrogator in the eyes “oh Cheri don’t look so disturbed, this planet is your right after all, isn’t it?” Elise gave her a quick peck on a cheek before heading out the door, turning one last time she threw a final piece of advice for the little girl “and while you might hold those woods now I’d keep in mind that there are a lot more hunters, more Chasseurs out there and if this is what forty did, well just imagine what more can do; I'd tell your superiors to enjoy those woods while they lasts.”

    Vasiliy:

    Vasily always enjoyed a good ambush, whether he was a child playing in the snow, a fresh out of training rookie at a stansi, or a veteran tankhunter the thrill of the first unexpected barrage always filled him with joy. This occasion was doubly joyful as these where some offworld imbeciles who thought they could stroll around looking for Tesium deposits like they owned the damned planet.



    “Scouts, what are we dealing with?” the Captains voice came through the headsets with a chorus of scouts gave varying pieces of information in answer. “We count nearly fifty foot mobile infantry and two APC’s plus civilian trucks and equipment”, “no official military markings, fatigues and equipment appear to be standard Yu Jing issue, probably corporate goons.” “Good, we’ll catch less diplomatic flak when these idiots go missing. Everyone wait for Vasily to signal, then get to work and make it quick can’t risk them getting a message out.”



    Vasily couldn't help but smile at that, he always like firing the first shot, being one of the few people in the unit who enjoyed lugging around a missile launcher probably helped, most others preferred the more accurate fire of rifles HMG’s or the autocannons . but so far as opening salvo’s go, so far no one had found anything better than a pair of missiles streaking at the densest clump of unprepared invaders. “Alright guys and ladies, let’s give these offworlders a nice, warm, welcome” before he’d even finished the sentence he’d launched both rounds within seconds of each other and took off sprinting to his next location where some spare rockets awaited.



    The Yu-Jing goons where professionals the second they saw the first fireball streaking towards them they attempted to reach cover, unfortunately for them Vasily was also a professional and had aimed at the two closest pieces of cover, knocking several off their feet when each rocket impacted and depriving them of easy cover. And that was all the opening his companions needed, bursting from concealed positions spitting fiery death the scouts and tankhunters dropped nearly a third of the security contingent before they started to receive return fire, and by that point all but the most brave or foolish had vacated their original firing positions running to a second, more fortified position to finish the fight. The second APC was lowering its ramp revealing a line of bulky figures with glowing eyes “Heavy infantry in the APC concentrate fire, don’t let them get out!”



    Vasily allowed himself another tight smile at this, he’d just started to aim his rockets again and moved smoothly to the lowering ramp another pair of rockets went streaking downrange. He was getting slow, the first one had actually managed to get their feet touching the soil before the rockets made everything around the armored figure a world of fire. “Tarasov, are you trying to get yourself another commendation?” Vasily turned in time to see one of the scouts, Ilya Nikitin, slid into the foxhole next to him and crawl up the dirt rampart he’d dug earlier that day “Because if you are maybe next time you should get all of them with those big rockets of yours”. Ilya then planted two armor penetrating rounds into one of the few heavy infantry soldiers that had actually managed to stumble out of the burning wreck of their transport. Whatever affect they had been hoping for with those suites wasn’t happening as they were down to nearly a dozen combat effective soldiers and a handful of very dazed and damaged suits of heavy armor. Shaking his head Vasily fired off another rocket at a pair of heavies one of which was beginning to aim a machinegun in his direction, quickly ducking down and dragging the talkative scout with him, Vasily braced for the return volley, but it never came, over the sound of his latest explosion Vasily heard the command to stand down and move in.



    There where ten of the standard security goons still left standing from the ambush along only three of the heavy infantry, who all looked to be in very rough shape, the two Vasily had shot at before the cease fire order where both a crumpled mess near the first destroyed APC, which was filled mainly with supplies and equipment that Vasily couldn’t immediately recognize but would be brought back for the Dozers and intelligence to look over at their leisure. Those of the ambush that had made themselves visible where either headed to the small knot of offworlders or policing up the fallen bodies , giving those still breathing medical aid, or arranging the dead neatly in the shell of the second destroyed APC.



    “Good evening ladies and gentleman” the captain began in a booming overly friendly voice “welcome to our fine country I trust your travels have been pleasant da?”



    A middle aged man stepped to the front of the group “you certainly have a strange manner of welcoming guest, what’s next taking us hostage and asking for ransom?”



    “Ransom?” the captain gave an incredulous start “my good man you misunderstand, we are soldiers of the Matr government, we don’t do ransom, we are simply here to escort you out of our lands, and it is very fortunate for you that command has been generous recently, where it up to me I would just have Vasily up there ” here he gestured to Vasily who had climbed up on top of an APC to gain an intimidating vantage on the survivors “just blow you all away. Instead you will come with us to the nearest settlement where arrangements will be made with whatever entity you represent for your safe return. Vasily if you would give the signal please.” Reaching down to his thigh Vasily drew a flare gun and checking that the appropriate color was loaded pointed it in the air fired, reloaded and fired again. A single flare answered in the distance Vasily put an ear to his comms “ten minutes till the choppers arrive” and then leveling his launcher at the group and giving his most deranged smile “please sit down, make yourselves comfortable, and keep your hands where I can see them our ride will be along shortly.” Yes indeed Vasily thought to himself, I do love a good ambush.


    Alex:

    Weapons fire was exploding the canyon through which a contingent of Rangers was struggling to retreat. It had to be understood that Rangers hated to run for two reasons; the first being that they were told since training that they were the dividing line between their enemies, whoever they might be, and the people back home; and that a retreat was a good way to endanger those they had sworn to protect. The second reason was more practical, the sheer amount of gear and armor that this mindset engendered was really heavy and made running, in any direction, very difficult.



    The Rangers Navajo outpost had been set up about seven months prior to monitor offworld mining interests and to attempt to, dissuade, those who did not have a permit signed by representatives of the government from staying around for very long. Things had been pretty quiet for a while until some hotshot corporation decided the rules didn’t apply to them and ignored the delicate, by Ranger standards, warnings that the patrol sent in their direction gave them. They had apparently taken poorly what they felt where increased Maverick patrols and Desperado bands that had taken to making themselves known in ‘their’ territory. Word had started to trickle down that they were going to in no uncertain terms show these pretentious offworlders the door. They must’ve heard that too, and they must’ve had some major clout back home too as the next thing everyone knows is the Foxtrots are frantically telling everyone that Pan-Oceanian soldiers where coming down on them and they’d brought a couple of TAGS to the party. They’d held onto the outpost for as long as possible, sending a number of distress signals, last word they’d gotten was that a Merovingian response team was headed their way along with more Rangers and they should destroy any valuable equipment and intel and head towards the relief force.



    Which led to Corporal Alexandra “Alex” Muis and her squad of Minutemen being where they always ended up, right where everything was FUBAR , with too many targets and not nearly as much ammunition as she would have preferred. Fortunately they’d managed to destroy or damage two of the TAGs that had accompanied the incursion before they’d abandoned the outpost the three had attempted to take to the top of the canyon to rain fire on the retreating Rangers from on high, fortunately between the Foxtrots, Mavericks, and Desperadoes they and their escorts seemed too busy dying to carry that plan out. Unfortunately that still left two chasing everyone through the canyon along with an uncomfortable number of heavy Pan-Oceanian heavy Infantry and not nearly enough armor penetrating rounds for the squads’ machine gun to deal with all of them.



    “Hey Alex,” shouted one of her Rangers, Duran it sounded like, “explain to me again why we didn’t have Blackjack support?”



    “Because Pendejo this was supposed to be a low intensity deployment, we were should have been more than enough to deal with the heaviest things a civilian corporation could get a hold of.”



    “Yeah? well someone tell Intel they fucked up, again!”



    “I will take the suggestion under advisement, until then shut up unless you’ve got anything useful.” Swinging out from the rock she’d been sheltering behind Alex triggered both of her handheld flamethrowers straight into an oncoming band of ORC troops, the ones still standing after the cones of fire stopped pouring on them where too busy getting hit by Duran and Stone’s covering fire to try and shoot back at the audacious corporal. “Sarge, how’re we holding up?”



    “The rear element’s reached the RZ, and the FRRM is deploying now, should only be a... TAG INCOMING!”



    Apparently sensing that the sergeant was about to deliver good new, the TAG pilot started a blitz towards the retreating Ranger line. The Minutemen were running low on ammo, a lot of them had minor wounds and they were all tired from the running battle they’d been engaged in all day. The ORC troops joined in, hoping to get in close and break the line open, while lighter elements stayed in cover adding more fire to the beleaguered Americans.



    “That things gonna tear us apart, on three we bring it down. Three, two, one” “this is such a stupid idea” she heard Stone mutter before “NOW!” what affect the rifle fire had Muis had no idea, but the AP rounds tore chunks into the already abused armor of the offworld monstrosity, it faltered, then one last burst from Bell’s toy tore its head off and it crumpled to the ground. Muis had a brief second of elation before she caught a full burst into her torso, knocked off her feet she reflexively pulled out a flamethrower and fired it at the offending offworlder. Before she could trigger it her assailant went down to a new chorus of gunfire that inserted itself into the din. Looking backwards Muis saw a force of Zouaves and Moblots practically racing down the canyon towards them, with airborne rangers appearing on the canyon edge pinning the soldiers into whatever cover they could find. The sudden appearance of reinforcements and the loss of their last toy seemed to take it out of the Pan-Oceanian brats though, mostly quickly dropped their weapons, those that didn’t were dropped hard.



    “Muis, Are you still with me” Sarge asked over comms, looking down at her chest Muis could tell her armor hadn’t been penetrated “yes sir, Think I broke some ribs though.” “That’s a shame, looks like you’ll be sitting out our walk back to base, stay put till a medic sees to you.”



    “Sir, yes sir” she turned to her squad “alright stop lounging and get to the sergeant , you’ve all got a hike to go on.”

    Caelan:

    “How’s the evacuation coming along lieutenant?”



    “Slow, they don’t want to leave their homes, and most of them are loath to trust the Guard over any of their own…”



    “Yeah well after their performance in the surrounding marshes they don’t have too many clan warriors left standing.” the captain paused and rubbed the bridge of his nose, considering how best to handle the Caledonian stubbornness they all knew too well. “Alright pass the word along, anyone who wants to stay can but they need to retreat from the edges of town, bring them into the Clan hall and any other secure building we can get our hands on. Once you’ve done that lieutenant Grieves I want you to take your men and dig in and wait for those damned Druze to pop their heads over the hills, after that, well I think you know the plan well enough by now.”



    Lieutenant Caelan Grieves of the Sixth Scots Guard, First battalion couldn’t help but smiled underneath his shemagh. “sir” was the only acknowledgement of the task before him that he gave as he walked out of the hurried command center they Guard where operating out of.



    “Macleod, Reid, round everyone up time to earn our pay.” They platoon waded through the streets towards the outskirts of town, it appeared that the captains orders had been enough to appease the more stubborn residents into seeking some modicum of safety, at least until that word started to compare just how many bullets where being fired in a given area. Caelan had thought he’d grown used to the looks that his people gave him once he’d abandoned clan loyalties and adopted the uniform of the Guard, scorn was the most common especially amongst the elderly and the clan hierarchy, aggression from the young and brash who wanted to make a name for themselves within their own clans and pity more than a few times from those who saw them as outcasts abandoned by traditional bonds of family and security. He saw a more than a few of those faces as they made their way, but he saw another look that he’d honestly never expected to see, hope, hope that the Guard could succeed where the old ways had failed, and that shook him in a way Caelan couldn’t explain.



    Making their way down to the edge of the settlement Caelan saw the improvements that had been made to the towns’ normal defenses against Antipode raids, namely that a battery of Muls had been dug in watching the approaches over the mountains. Another platoon of the Guard was dug in as well and while he couldn’t see them Caelan know more than a few SAS and Caterans and even some of the Second battalion where dug into the surrounding area as well, waiting to make these mercenaries pay for abusing their people and plundering their countries resources. After conferring briefly with the other platoons Lieutenant and the commander of the Mul battery Caelan’s platoons dug and waited.



    “Do ya think their expecting a fight sir?” one of his soldiers an old veteran by the name of Murray asked “or do ya think their expecting to waltz in after the thrashing they gave the local boys?” pausing to consider Caelan replied “I don’t rightly know, but by all accounts these Druze are bullies and even if they didn’t expect a fight they’d bring all their fancy toys just to cow the locals.” Putting a finger to his ear he heard an advanced scout report incoming, helicopters or some form of VTOL craft and they looked to be packing a number of the old models TAGs that Druze seemed to favor. “But it seems like we’ll be getting an answer shortly. Look lively my bonnie boys and girls companies on the way, and it seems like they might want to dance.”



    Nearly a dozen aircraft appeared over the crest of the mountains probably seeing the soldiers dug in on their approach, not that it mattered as the moment they entered weapons range of the Muls rockets started streaking through the sky. It wasn’t what they were designed for but the rudimentary guidance on the rockets made certain that that the VTOL’s couldn’t loiter very long to drop off their cargo and that their advanced ECM where virtually lost on the old warheads. Caelan saw one go up in flames as a particularly lucky volley from an Uragan caught a transport right on the nose. Several others looked roughed up by the close proximity bursts and of the eight or so underslung TAGs one had a crater where the chest used to be and a few others where already missing limbs. That was where the good news ended as the aircraft overshot the outskirts of town continued inward, stopping quickly and lowering ropes where mercenaries began to repel down quickly. “Captain there’s been a complication, they bypassed us and are dropping in throughout the town, my platoon is moving to engage, Dunn’s will stay behind and watch the Muls. Be warned two squads of TAGs are in play.”



    Without bothering to wait for the captain’s response the platoons quickly made their way through the now deserted streets. Gunfights broke out almost immediately and Caelan heard overlapping reports of contact, and while the Druze weren’t getting everything their own way their TAGs where making things difficult, fortunately the hell storm they’d had to endure getting in had paid dividends in terms of reducing their combat effectiveness. And cheers broke out on several channels following the destruction of a few.



    “COVER!” Murray barely had time to scream before two TAGs and what looked like the better part of a Druze platoon rounded the corner. Caelan saw several members of the platoon dive through shop windows or hastily open doors into sturdy stone buildings, while others found what little cover could be found in the streets. Murray the stubborn bastard that he was hastily fired off his D.E.P. and began blazing away with his SMGs, he managed to knock several Druze off their feet from the blast and scored several hits on the nearest TAG, then the return fire sent him reeling onto the ground where he didn’t move. Several more rockets screeched in both directions knocking out buildings and men with abandon. Fortunately for the Scots teseuim was cheap in Caledonia and it armor piercing capabilities made even this firefight horribly unfair for the Druze, both TAGs were quickly got brought down and the remainder of the platoon attempted to withdraw.



    “C’mon men after them don’t let up!” Caelan called, running after the mercenaries. As they rushed after them he saw one rush into a nearby building to hide or to ambush his men as they passed he didn’t know or care but Caelan charged in after him. Leaving anyone who followed him to check the downstairs Caelan let his rifle drop and pulled out his knife and pistol, he cleared one room upstairs and had just backed out into the hallway when he instinctually backed up narrowly avoiding the short Machete the Druze had swung at him. Firing a quick burst into the man’s chest, Caelan dropped the gun and grabbed his opponents arm and jammed the knife into the meat of his arm. Caelan heard his muffled scream through the helmet as the Druze reflexively dropped his weapon. Using this moment Caelan grabbed the front of the Druze’s helmet and smashed it backwards repeatedly into the stone wall, whatever protection it was designed for but blunt trauma from a burly Caledonian was not one of them, and Caelan heard some very satisfying cracking noises on his last two hits. Grabbing his dazed opponent by the neck and belt Caelan bodily lifted the smaller man off his feet and running to the end of the hallway tossed him out the top window to the street below where he narrowly avoided landing on one of Caelan’s men and twitched feebly from the beating and two story fall.



    “Lieutenant Grieves!” the captain’s voice called over the radio.



    “Sir”



    “we’ve got trucks inbound, looks like they’re carrying twice as many men and more TAGs and we can’t discount more units coming in by air. We’ve convinced everyone to evacuate get your men on the transports and get out of here. ” fighting down his pride Caelan acknowledged and made his way down to back to his milling platoon, flipping over opponent and peered into his cracked mask. “This isn’t over; we’ll be back for this town and everything you’ve taken.” Taking out his pistol again Caelan fired a round millimeters from the man’s head and hurriedly pulled his platoon back towards evacuation. “You can’t always protect your home “he thought as they headed out, looking at transports filled with civilians and injured soldiers “but some things are more important than buildings”.

     
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  2. saint

    saint Charming, but irrational

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    Unorthodox Solutions
    “The Stavka knows we’re not exactly ‘low profile’ right?” Alex asked as she and her companions made their way along a busy sidewalk in one of Svaranola’s few nightlife areas, they drew less stares than normal, this being a bastion of O-12’s influence they people here were used to motley assortments of international groups roaming the streets, but this was still a group that drew some attention to themselves. Alexandra Muis was a small dark haired but heavily built woman whose features where marred by looking perpetually cross. Walking beside her, taller though more wiry the Kazak Vasily Tarasov was enjoying this little excursion much more than herself and his ridiculously goateed face split into a wide grin, which, as it tended to happened with someone born and raised in a Stanzi made him look positively deranged. Behind the pair of them stalked the imposing Caledonian Caelan Grieves, his slightly longer than shoulder length blond hair and not quite neatly trimmed beard hiding a smirk as he surveyed every passerby as a possible threat and by his assessments finding them comically unprepared. Standing only slightly shorter than Caelan Elise Lefevre casually strolled along as if this was any other night on the town her black hair flowing freely behind her and her statuesque figure probably drawing more attention by herself than the other three put together.



    “What are you talking about? Most of us have extensive training in moving stealthily and remaining unseen.” Vasily commented



    “Until we burst from cover unleashing fire and death. The corporal is implying that we’re a not exactly known for subtle solutions should we encounter a problem.” Caelan interjected from the back “and besides have you seen what we’re wearing compared to these people? Forget physical appearance I’m sure anyone we spends any amount of time looking at us will remember our clothes more than anything.”



    It was true, most of the denizens of this location seemed to be wearing either what they could all only assume was office attire, based both upon general style and the look of those wearing it. Or they wore what quite frankly amounted to very little at all, with men and women wearing impractically tight pants and ‘shirts’ that featured large gaps in the fabric tantalizingly close to certain sections of the wearers anatomy, and some skirts of lengths that, well let’s just hope no one had to sneeze. The four Ariadnans by comparison where dressed in varying forms of what would pass as casual attire back home. Caelan, scion of minor clan nobility, was dressed in plain slacks a buttoned shirt with an old style vest over a knee length raincoat of indeterminate neutral color, give him some glasses and he’d look almost scholarly. Vasily on the other hand looked like he was about to start a brawl, combat boots, a tight black shirt, baggy fatigue style pants, a thoroughly worn leather jacket and sunglasses, despite it being well past dark. Elise almost blended in with the more rowdy crowds they passed, leather pants and a sleeveless blouse, with a collarless leather jacket and knee high boots she looked every inch the rock star she could have been. Alex wore a pair of denim jeans that the where still very popular in USAriadna, over a pair of less threatening boots than Vasiliy’s and a canvas jacket reminiscent of the one worn by Ranger Mavericks gave her the look of a soldier who doesn’t quite understand how to blend in with civilian society.



    “So what if they remember us? Or if our method of handling problems are inelegant, we’re here to pick up information, nothing terribly covert ’”Elise interjected “and besides they know who they’re sending the Stavka must figure that our manner of solutions are acceptable should things go wrong. I can see the reports now ‘Ariadnan band instigate barroom brawl’ hmm, sounds fun actually.”



    “Well too late for worrying, because we’re here” Caelan said as they saw their destination ahead “alright everyone look out for our contact, then Alexandra …”



    “Alex” she interjected automatically



    “Alex and I make contact exchange pleasantries get the information and leave, you two are on lookout so Vasiliy minimal drinking and Elise save the brawl for a night when we’re not working.”



    “Spoilsport…” the two muttered under



    “And Elise” he continued ignoring the two of them “If you two could get us past the bouncer without me having to bribe the man I’d be most appreciative.”



    “For you moi cher? of course” she said breaking out of the Caledonian Gaelic they’d been conversing to English and sliding between Vasiliy and Alex and up to the man staring at his comlog next to the front door. No one quite caught what she said but a few whispered words and a predatory smile got them all in no questions asked.



    “Well I hope everything goes that easy” Elise said as they passed through the entrance way.



    Alex let out a resigned sigh and shook her head “you just had to say that out loud didn’t you?”



    No time for worrying now ladies” Vasily broke in “come, I need a drink.”





    +

    Glancing about the place it wasn’t quite what they expected, remove the neon lights from everywhere, the holograms floating over the tables and dance floor, and the small drones scurrying around with drink trays you could almost mistakes this for a normal bar. They even had an actual person as a DJ, his choices where terrible but still, a flesh and blood human in this over technified day and age, that’s not nothing. The bartenders looked human too, except for a pair that looked like they’d spent some time on Bakunin, what with their upright ears, over pronounced canines, and mottled skin making them look like hyenas, all modification just the right side of legal.



    Finding themselves a table Caelan and Alex sat, ordered drinks, and waited, Elise and Vasiliy rotated watching positions, namely near the bar and dance floor though occasionally sitting with their cohorts at their table. The pair proved to be surprisingly popular, their comparatively outlandish clothing and manners attracting some of the more rowdy denizens of the bar, though they deflected anything more than the basics of their personal stories, or offers to follow the others to more lively parties at other locations. Despite their lack of formal training in spy craft the four managed to keep good pretty good eyes on the room.



    “I may have bad news” Elise began sliding into the seat next to Alex after extricating herself from a round of observation on the dance floor “I’ve spotted an old ‘friend’ from the Commercial Conflict.” She indicated a quite spot between the bar and restrooms where a short man with an previously broken nose was rather obviously scanning the room.



    “Has he spotted you?” Caelan asked



    “I don’t believe so and after what I did to his face he probably remembers me. I could try and take him out before he makes a scene.”



    “No, he’s probably got friends” Caelan paused to think “I don’t like this, Alex get Vasiliy, the pair of you stay close by, Elise stay with me and we’ll hope your friend doesn’t notice us, our contact should be here soon.”



    A few tense minutes later a pair of men walked up to the table, the where dressed in a way that made them blend in more readily with the crowd but still didn’t quite manage to lose themselves in it.



    “Pardon us but everywhere else appears to be full.” One of the men began, his eyes, upon closer inspection where obviously artificial they had a slight glow that had been part of their design, not necessarily good for spy work but then neither where they so who could judge who here.



    “My mother always said it was rude to refuse those in need, please sit.” Caelan replied using the phrase the Stavka had given him to verify themselves to the contact.



    Sitting down on opposite sides of the table they instantly dropped the preamble while eyeing Elise and Caelan “well you certainly weren’t what we were expecting”



    “We never are darling” Elise replied “now as much as I’ve enjoyed playing these little spy games can we get a move on I think it would be best for us to split soon.”



    Before either of them could reply Caelan interjected “we don’t know what you’re giving us or where you got it and we don’t care, but whatever it is we think the Big Blue Bully is interested and they know what was going down here.”



    “To the point then” the second man said resting his hands on the table “when I remove my hands there will be a small physical drive that has everything we’ve promised and maybe more but first I hope you have a way of getting it without being seen.”



    “Of course we do” Caelan told the man, turning to Elise, a grin began to tug on his face “do you feel like reintroducing yourself to you old acquaintance, see if he really does have friends with him?”



    Elise didn’t even try to hide her smile as she stood up and removed her jacket “And here I thought I wouldn’t get any fun tonight after what you said earlier.” Straightening to her full height and pulling her hair back she flexed her shoulders, letting her muscles ripple visibly. Elise then turned, made eye contact with the man they’d spotted earlier and strutted her way over. The poor fellow recognized her instantly and was visibly taken aback by this but briefly attempted to play everything off , none of the others heard what was said but they could see Elise throw her head back in laughter before her elbow drove into the man’s nose. Chaos erupted after that, the bar proper went into lockdown instantly preventing the bottles from being destroyed in the melee and the bartenders all went into a small safe room in the back, while the other patrons milled about confused or ran for the exits. A man and a woman jumped at Vasiliy as he started for Elise, Vasiliy was a veteran of at least as many barroom brawls as actual combat missions if not more and reacted instinctively, he threw an empty glass at the woman, it hit her center mass and staggered her for just a moment, he met the man head on, the Stanzi’s built them tough and what blows the man was able to land he took like they were gentle taps while the wiry Russian weaved around him hitting with a variety of low blows that where taking a toll. Alex was also in a fight of her own, though it was only one man he was taller and intent on using his reach to his advantage but she was using a par of broken bottles like combat knives and kept him off his balance. Caelan quickly darted his hand to the table palming the drive as the two men paused in surprise at their method of ‘distraction’ and depositing it in an interior pocket of his vest.



    “Gentlemen I believe that concludes business, we’ll handle things from here you might want to leave” as he said this Caelan was rolling his shirt sleeves up past his elbows, he heard the other two scuttle for the exit. He himself was faced by a pair of women who were blocking his way towards his friends; with a surprising amount of speed he was able to shoulder check one of them, sending her sprawling across the floor the other was able to hit him several times in the limbs and torso but unable to land anything on his head, he drove her backwards until she retreated into a table, once she was stuck Caelan was able to get a hand around her neck and lift her off her feet, grabbing one hand as she struggled to find a weapon on the table he quickly turned and threw her halfway across the dancefloor. By this point Alex had managed to put her opponent out of the fight and was evening things up with Vasiliy, Elise having finished with her original partner was now dealing with the bouncer who was more used intimidating people with his bulk than actually fighting, she danced around slow blows with a mirthless grin, quickly growing bored she threw a punch into the man’s voice box and as he doubled over kicked a booted foot into his head knocking him to the ground. Vasiliy and Alex finished things off by dragging their opponent across the bar and kneeing them in the face respectively, as the four briefly accounted for their injuries, cuts bruises and possibly a few fractures on Alex they heard sirens outside. Seconds later armed law enforcement units burst through the door. As the four got raised their hands Elise let out a chuckle and brushing some stray hairs back and asked:



    “How do you say immunité diplomatique?

    The Observant

    When most citizens of the sphere imagine the rituals involved around the Sin-Eaters they tend to imagine a lot of screaming, in pure agony on the part of the Sin-Eaters as the cruel sisters inflict unspeakable tortures on these poor souls hurl abuses at them as they purge the sins of the corrupted, misogynistic world that surrounds them. The majority of the spheres citizens would be wrong; these ceremonies are largely silent and solemn, as the actions that are carried out have both significant spiritual purpose and a great deal of physical danger involved that is never fully absent from the minds those participating. The Sin-Eaters whose existence is predicated solely on the idea of sacrifice and suffering on behalf of the faithful take punishment far in excess of what most people would or could with barely breaking a sweat. While some may take masochistic pleasure in their suffering or believe the more punishment they take the more worthy they are in the eyes of the Reverend Mothers and all of humanity in the eyes of God, they know that should they willingly take more punishment than they knew they could handle the individual would become useless to the faith and in the eyes of God. And as such they make noise only once during the ceremonies, it might be an enraged yell or a quite whisper but when they break their silence that particular Sin-Eater has for the time being done his duty. Of what they endure little is known aside from when they Seven Nails are driven into their bodies, whispers of direct cerebral implants and exotic nerve tortures abound in Bakunin, while ritual scarification on the part of longer serving members seems possible given the asceticism of their order and their ancient influences. As for the Reverends whose duty it is to inflict whatever pain these men endure again little is known but that they must first experience each torture themselves before they can inflict it upon others, so that they know the solemnity and seriousness of these occasions and of the Sin-Eaters signal when the have taken all that their flesh can bear for the sins of all. Sadists are not welcome in these positions as it is again seen as dangerous for the faith should someone take pleasure in the solemn duty of purging the sins from other individuals. Should these mysteries and ceremonies ever be made public it would probably do a surprising amount to soften the image of the Church or Our Lady of the Sacred Knife as it would give the public greater perception of the agency of a Sin-Eater and do much to humanize the often cold Reverends that the public sees portrayed so often.







    Excerpt from an internal O-12 report regarding public perception of the Nomad Nation.

    Red Rose
    “I always loved the Loch at sunset; I’d bring my family for evening drives during the summer when I had the day off. Have you taken any time to enjoy the view or have you been too busy with profit margins to take a look? ” The woman asked as she looked out the office window turning to face the room and the person in it surveying everything as she did.



    It was tastefully appointed, she supposed, minimal decorations and plants, all clean lines and curves soothing colors, nothing to stroke passions only passivity. They’d changed the décor a little with their unannounced visit.



    Bodies now lay scattered about the room and spilling in from the hallway outside, some wearing suits, others security uniforms and a small number with heavier body armor. They all were either holding weapons or had them lying nearby, blood spatter gave color to the dull walls and furniture and pools where making small rivulets in the flooring. Her gaze finally alighted on the trio that knelt scared but alive in a relatively untouched corner of the room, the woman was a secretary poor thing had no idea what she had gotten herself into and was scared to death and trying not to hyperventilate, one of the men was the last survivor of the security team his with a nonthreatening wound in his shoulder and left arm and a mighty bruise across his temple, the third, his suit rumpled and ego deflated was the entire reason for this break in, representative from a Magna-Orba subsidiary made head of the mining operations in this little section of Dawn and the person who had ordered a massacre of the former mine workers and residents of the nearby towns; and had managed to cover his tracks well enough for charges to not be able to stick.



    “You probably don’t remember me I was just a grease monkey when you came to talk about taking over the mine, but we turned you down and you couldn’t go back to the higher ups with that, oh no, so you decided to burn everything then set up your own operation, killed innocent men, women, and children all for a fucking profit margin. I will never understand how you wriggled out of it all.”



    As she was talking she was wending a path through the bodies coming to stand behind the man who’d caused her so much pain. “All those people gone, including my husband and children, dead and gone and you sit here and preside over everything like it never happened.” She paused for a moment changing her monologue “you’re probably not all that afraid of death are you? Rumor is you’ve got those fancy cubes store all your memories, your very soul as it were, so that you can be born again in a new body, better than the original ever could be.” She made it quite obvious as she relased the catch on her pistol holster “but what happens if that fancy little device is destroyed? I bet you die like everyone else and face whatever judgment there is in the next life.” she places the barrel right on top of where his cube was implanted and before the man has a chance to protest pulls the trigger, once, twice, thrice, and watches him fall to the ground before quickly turning to the bodyguard and putting a precise round into his temple. The secretary started to sob uncontrollably thinking she was next and traumatized by witnessing a true death with her own eyes. But a man knelt in front of her and clasped her hand, his eyes not unkind. “Hush little one it’s alright, we aren’t going to hurt you.” He gestured and one of the other individuals who had taken part in the incursion stepped forward and handed him something out of a pocket in their armor. “Now we need you to deliver something for us can you do that?” she nodded, not trusting herself to speak “good now give these” he pressed several external storage devices into her hands “to anyone who questions you and be sure to tell them to make certain the message is passed on” she nodded again. He rubbed the back of her hands in a reassuring manner “Everything will be fine little one just be sure to stay in the building, alright?” she nodded again as he stood up.



    As they left she heard something, something that would haunt her in during lonely nights for the rest of her life. It was the woman singing, as she walked away.



    A storm is loosed upon the sea

    Whose eye is stained with tears.

    A wretch Hell-bound and bent on blood,

    the makings of the fearful's fears.

    The tide it stole away her grace,

    the depths, they wouldn't claim her.
    ”...

    Fight Night
    "So how did Elise manage to get herself in a sparring match with four Caledonians?" Vasily leaned over to ask Caelan as they sat watching everyone go through their warm up routines and a crowd slowly started to build as word of the impromptu bout got around, mostly Ariadnan but the Nomads seemed to be particularly intrigued by the match up and everyone else just couldn’t resist watching what would either be an impressive fight or quick beat down.



    “well, my little brother” Caelan begain, pointing at one of the quartet of Highlanders in the far corner “decided to be incredibly chauvinistic around our dear Elise, she took offense and a rather one sided war of words began and ended when she flat out said she could beat him and as many of his cronies as he wanted to bring and now here we sit and I’m wondering what kind of letters I’ll be needing to write back to our parents.”



    “you think she might kill him?”



    Caelan nodded “or worse beats him and lets him live, he’ll whine like when we were kids, our older sister used to pick on him endlessly, I think that’s where the chip on his shoulder comes from.”



    “Oh good it hasn’t started, snacks?” Alex sat behind them and handed the pair some dried strips of jerky and a rather large flask that smelled like pure alcohol, wherever they went the Americans seemed to set up at least one illicit still that the MPs could never seem to locate.



    After taking a pull where even the hearty Kazak let out a slight, hurriedly stifled, cough Vasily put it in his pocket. “Elise’ll probably need this when she’s done” was his only explanation.



    Elise was the first to enter the ring standing lightly on her feet, an impassive look on her face. Calean’s brother and his friends by contrast swaggered in, looking like they were about to play some carnival games. A USAriadnan Marine stood to the side waiting to pull anyone out of the ring who couldn’t keep fighting.



    Everything died down to a murmur, Elise’s lips twitched at the corner; then the bell rang and hell broke loose. To negate the numerical superiority Elise became a dark haired cruise missile, with a short run up she jumped and drove an elbow into the temple, followed by a kick to the side of the knee, wheeling and ramming one of her own knees into the kidneys of the collapsing man, with the largest of the younger Grieves accomplices dazed she turned to face the rest of her attackers.



    Merovingian Savate had evolved a little since its namesake in old France, namely it had made some changes to attempt to give its practitioners a fighting chance should they ever go knife to claw with an Antipode or Dog-warrior. This often involved getting very close and driving hard body points into the soft areas like the stomach with as much force as possible, then rapidly changing position to minimize the chance of a debilitating hit from a much stronger opponent.



    Capitalizing on Caledonian aggression Elise began to tire them out, leading them around the ring striking exposed areas; she knocked out the downed highlander with a kick to the temple and bodily threw another, of equal stature to herself, outside of the sparring ring. Down to two things weren’t going her way quite so much, taking a number of strong blows to the torso she managed to protect her head before she drove an elbow straight into the throat of last of the cronies, as he was pulled out gasping for air they opponents took a second to take measure of each other again.



    “If you apologize right now little man I promise I won’t break anything.”



    Growing bright red in the face he bull rushed her, slamming a shoulder into her stomach and lifting her off the ground. Elise managed knock his legs out from under him and pulled of a truly impressive spin while they both fell and knelt over him most of her weight on his back with a foot on his elbow and an arm on his hand.



    “Last chance, Mo Cher.”



    The string of Gaelic was interrupted by a howl as the arm went ninety degrees in the wrong direction.



    Cheers erupted throughout the crowd, with the Merovingians being the loudest for their champion. Her friends made their way through the crowd hearing a few people mutter about “Mayanet gold” as they looked at their comlogs.



    Elise was surrounded by a few comrades from the Chasseurs while a medic looked her over, Vasily let out a ear splitting whistle to get her attention and then deftly threw Alex’s flask at her, she just managed to catch it with both hands and took a swig before the smell could hit her. She coughed a few times and gave a confused look back at her friends and shouted in French “ce que le baiser est-ce? de l'essence

    Choose your ending
    “When you joined up with the Rangers you swore an oath. An oath to protect with your lives should it be necessary your homes, your neighbors, and your country, we’re a long way from all of those things, farther than we ever expected to be, but even this far away we can still protect them if we do our job here and now they’ll never know the horrors we’ve seen. I wish I could say we’re going to make it out of this but I don’t think this is the time to lie to you all, so get ready to do your job better than you’ve ever done it before and let’s show these sons of bitches how Rangers die.”

    “We have our legacy, our duty, we are warriors we are samurai we do not fear death so long as we live up to our code until the end. We shall meet their fury with calm and their hail of fire with precision and an implacable advance ending our lives with shining blades in hand. It has been my honor to lead you all into battle, may we meet again on the other side.”

    “Fire! Fire! Fire! Pour it on, you only have two modes right now ‘firing and ‘reloading’ anyone doing different better hope the enemy gets to you before I do”

    “Close in fast as you can, Oshiro swing right they’re faltering break through and hit their support elements. Everyone else keep pushing, we’re nearly there.”

    “RUIZ! Jostens down pick up that MG and keep hammering the right, those damned Samurai are looking to break through. If they get through they can knock the hell out of those fucking rockets.”

    “Blades out, you’ve trained your whole lives for this no hesitation. Cut them down and keep moving if you stop you die.”

    “HAHA! You beautiful Japanese bastards! Alright boys and girls most of the rockets are down and they’re in the thick of it, fire and advance, let’s give’em Hell.”

    “RAICHOS! RAICHOS! Regroup and attack, buy the Americans time or they’ll be torn to pieces.”

    “Well fuck me, TAGS. KNUCKLE UP PEOPLE, BRING’EM DOWN NOW!”

    “Pull back to the ridgeline, meet up with what’s left of the Rangers, this looks like the last stand.”

    “On me everyone, make these monkeys pay till the last bullet.”

    “Fight until you blades are broken and only then do you have permission to die, that’s an order.”

    “More artillery? Now that’s just cheating.”

    “Cowards”



    Recordings recovered by Pan-Oceanian Bagh Mari units from the remains of a joint USAriadnan, JSA incursion into Combined territory, Gayatri Paradisio.



    Dancing Lessons
    They had burned her world, her parents, her relatives, every childhood sweetheart and former triad-mate, all gone in the fires of an endless war; she had been sent away to fight to defend someone else’s home and while they had died she lived and rage at that injustice of the cosmos consumed her. That same rage still burned inside her nearly a decade later; she was too impatient for the Igao, too wild for the Sakiel, but a childhood learning to use a glaive as an extension of her own body meant she was very handy when fighting got personal, so she had become a Makaul and a very good one. And that was why she sat there seething, she and a handful of others, Makaul, Sakiel, Igao, Ectros, even some Gao-Rael sparring against their newfound allies. She hadn’t really paid attention in the briefing, something about getting a better understanding of how this fractured species operated; she wasn’t a psychologist she didn’t care. They were so close to her hated enemies just a short jump into the atmosphere and back down and she could be in the thick of it again, instead she sat watching as one by one opponents would get up and fight. Sometimes her comrades would win sometimes it would be the humans, they came in so many varieties, some covered their skin with pigmentation and metal piercings, some had undergone enough genetic modification so that they barely resembled their parent species, some wore light fatigues of black or tan, many wore heavy armor of varying hues proclaiming their allegiance to one faction or another. It was her turn to participate in this foolishness, she moved into the center of the little arena they all sat in patting a bruised Sakiel as he limped off and released pheromones indicating “good job”, and “I’m single”, he looked back poorly masking his bewilderment behind more polite pheromones.



    She stood there momentarily alone, idly moving her body through some warming motions, feeling the glaive cut through the air moving it as naturally as her feet and arms. Her opponent was dressed in light armor a featureless mask, he carried small sword and had a knife nearly as big as its forearm sheathed to his leg, and she could have sworn he wasn’t there a moment before, she caught a word go repeating through the humans “Hassasin” though she couldn’t understand the emotional subtleties carried by their voices. It brought the sword up, across its body and gave a half bow before adopting what appeared to be a defensive stance. She surged forward with a swipe at the humans’ legs with the lower end of the haft and a downward stroke from the blade hoping for a quick finish, it dodged gracefully, effortlessly. Frustrated she went for more attacks each one more complicated than the last and each time she was dodged without any seeming worry on the part of her opponent and her anger grew. Then the real reason she stayed in the Makaul came; during the fighting when everything was reduced to a challenge between her and the opponent in front of her the anger faded and life became clear once again the fighting turned into a dance, and how she had loved to dance. Her movements became more fluid her feet played across the ground to a rhythm only she heard and the glaive spun and twirled creating ever more intricate feints and lethal jabs. Her opponent had stopped dodging, he too now attacked adding a new dynamic to the dance he moved like her like he too heard her songs and knew the movements to the dance. She was exhilarated rarely did she get a partner who could make the dance last as long as this human did, but the exhilaration brought distraction and that brought mistakes. She took a one-handed swing with the glaive, sliding it across her back to grip the haft closer to the blade but she swung too wide and gripped too firm; The hassasin rolled under the blade and in an enviably smooth motion drew the knife from its boot and with the same arm collided with the back of her knee knocking her unto her backside. She was stunned just long enough for momentum from the roll to send her opponent right next to her, one foot planted on the arm that grasped the glaive, the hand with the knife pinning her other arm to the floor and the short sword stopping just above her throat.



    She stared into her own reflection in the mask, it did nothing for a second then the head cocked to one side, gave a brief nod and got off her with the only sound being the return of the knife to its sheath. She got up quickly using the haft as a support, her opponent had gone back to the edge near his own kind. He had sheathed his sword and gave another half bow brought his hand up, open palmed, to his heart and spoke one phrase she didn’t understand “Alhamdulillah” before taking two steps back into the crowd and disappeared. She walked back towards her comrades, radiating a mixture of excitement and exhaustion she made her way to members of the diplomatic delegation, “what do I have to do to fight someone like that again?”

    Making it out

    "Communications are still down, we can't get through to anybody and they can't get through to us. add on to this we haven't seen any reinforcements since the blackout started we have to assume this is big and that we're on our own."

    Major Tomlin leaned against a kiosk in the abandoned subway he'd had set up as a command post on the western edges of Kaphri staring at the localized holotable in front of him. Around him where all the company commanders or senior platoon personal that could be spared. as well as a trio of members from the Nomad commercial missions security detail, one from each mothership, and a commissioner of the Kaphri police department, the highest ranking member they could find who was still breathing or able to walk. they where all under his nominal command since this nightmare started. they'd been caught by surprise and casualties had been high, he had the better part of two battalions of Pan-Oceanian regular troops with him even if most of them hadn't started out that way, about a battalions worth of police officers, and about a companies worth of the expectedly ragtag Nomad security division, though they had a surprisingly large amount of combat remotes with them. The communications blackout meant things could't get much further than a few dozen kilometers Tomlin new he didn't have everybody that was left in the city, the perimeter forces still heard fighting from around the city center but that was either dying off or heading in their direction far too rapidly for anyone's liking.

    "we need to get out as many civilians as we can, anyone thinking of another course of action is letting their cajones think for them." This came rather quietly from the Corregidor Wildcat tensely facing the stairway leading up to the streets "we don't have the numbers or the intelligence to try anything audacious, we'd all die for nothing".

    "we have two of the major roads and a railways leading eastward secured, we're already filtering them out that way" the commissioner spoke up "it would take a few days to take the entire population out that way but we don't have either of those things do we?" he looked visibly crestfallen with that question. "I'm sending some of my people and whatever medical personal we can scrounge up every half hour or so, that'll help keep everyone in line but if these aliens catch up with us they won't do much good and every crisis team in the cities either dead or still out there." he gestured broadly indicating the city around them.

    "You'll have backup" Tomlin said he looked at the Nomads "get your people and REMs off the line and organized within the hour, take the highways they'll have more traffic and be a juicier target, I've seen your people in action a company and your REMs should be enough until you link up with the next garrison" he looked over at a flashburned Lieutenant in partially scorched armor "I'm sending whats left of Ninth and Eleventh company down the railway off the line and organized in an hour as well" he turned to the rest of his people and began reorganizing the distribution of his forces on the holomap " everyone else is going to start falling back to these locations, we're going to shrink our perimeter and increase overlap, I want to reduce the chances of something slipping through."

    he looked around at everyone, they where still reeling from everything that was going on, he knew he sure was, but they had all fallen back on their most basic of training instructions, protect the people, right now those where the only orders they had and he knew Pan-Oceanian soldier under his command would carrier those out until their last dying breath. Unfortunately that was more than pretty words right now, it was an almost certain reality. "the name of the game is time, we need to buy as much of it as we can, even if the flow of refugees stops we need to hold our ground, once we dig in that's our best chance for survival. Not knowing what these things have at their disposal we can't be sure they won't be able to run us down if we retreat. Now everyone to your units, make sure they remember Kaphri."



    "I had heard there was a Sin-Eater who refused to fall back, I should have known it was you Kokinos." The gaggle of resting Bagh-Mari scattered at the sight of the approaching Reverend Moira; whether it was the tone of her voice, the look on her face or the simple fact of her existence none of them could really say, the just knew it was better to be somewhere else at the moment. all that was left after the brief scramble to leave as quickly as possible without going anywhere near the woman was one man, unmistakable in his long coat and and bisected helmet a Sin-Eater Observant stared out at he smoking sections of Kaphri cradling a MK. 12 in his arms, his head constantly twitching and moving his ears to every sound of gunfire, his eyes to each creeping explosion scanning for potential targets, like some sort of overlarge owl on Nitrocaine. "Sister Pernaska, did the Sister Superior send you or did you volunteer to try and reign in this old guard dog?" the voice was weary but showed a hint of levity; odd given both the situation and his profession. "Neither" came the equally weary reply "she said that it must be a veterans prerogative and whatever reason you have in that head of yours are between you and God." Kokinos turned then; abandoning his view of the city, he swinging his weapon over his back letting the strap keep it out of the way and removed his helmet. His face was a mess, what wasn't lined from a long hard life had either a battle, surgical, or ritual scar on it, his right eye was an obvious cybernetic replacement, its glowing green contrasting his natural gray one and a tattoo wound its way from one cheek down his neck disappearing into his suit; and yet for all that he still managed to look kind, he stopped, half a step from her. "Then why are you here Driada?" "Because" there was a halting pause, she looked up at him, her brown eyes hard and youthful face determined "I need to know why".

    "You should have been a scientist or a cop Dri, not a Sister, always needing to know the answer" a parental smile flickered across his lips for the briefest moment before he became serious. "I'm staying because I knew the moment I set foot in this city that i was going to die here, it was like how everyone felt right after the Violent Intermission when we where all taking stock of what we lost; only it was just me this time." he reached down and took one of her hands, wrapping both of his around it and staring earnestly into her eyes "I have spent my adult life absolving the sins of others, its time for me to answer for all of my own now." he drew her into a firm hug,it held no warmth however, this was the hug you give the dying, the kind where you just want to remember their presence because you know it will be gone when you let go. "Now go Sister Driada Pernaska I'll tell your mothers what you've become, and may God watch over you." "And you as well Observant Kokinos" he gave her one last wry smile before he put his helmet back on "I'm buying time for my goddaughter to escape an alien invasion, God needs to watch over them." he unslung his rifle and returned to his watch. Pernaska hurried down the stairs; He was right it felt like the Violent Intermission and she was going to be left all alone again.

    The situation had gotten worse extremely rapidly; a fusilier company had engaged roughly a platoon of the large red skinned aliens who had despite horrendous casualties had refused to retreat until they were reduced to a handful of effective combatants. By the time he received reports of the withdrawal, only a few minutes after contact, Tomlin knew they were running on borrowed time they were going to be back with more bodies and bigger guns than his two depleted battalions could handle. The last batch of civilians where rushed through along with them went all the nonmilitary medical personal they had collected as well as whatever walking wounded could be spared to try and keep them safe. All that was left at the command center was a small group of Trauma-docs, Machinists, and other logistics personnel. A mixed group of Machinists, Bagh-Mari, and Guarda had been rigging the access ramps to the highway system with explosives and blowing them one by one to limit if not flat out deny access for when they got overrun, last report was that they were almost done and would be back to finish off the entrance tunnels to the subway system shortly. That was the closest to good news Tomlin had, that and the fact that he still had enough short-ranged AA REMs to keep enemy gunships from making passes on his people but those wouldn’t last forever. The rest of his defensive cordon was shrinking far faster than he’d have liked. He was down to less than a battalion of combat effectives and an ever-dwindling number of REMs they had about a block left to go before all that was left to defend was the immediate area around the station. Then it would be a race to see just how many they could get out before they had to blow the tunnel; he hoped someone would.

    He was way too old for this shit, which was something he’d been saying since he was thirty, but it still held true. He’d completely used up the ammunition for his MK. 12, and the Pan-Oceanian HMG he’d picked up from the Bagh-Mari’s fallen specialist and used all of that as well until he’d gotten lucky and it took a sniper round for him, now he was down to a pair of Combi/light shotguns taken from some of his fallen comrades and his pistol; he’d taken a more serious hit to his leg and torso from a rocket explosion but the medics and decades of building a ludicrous pain tolerance meant he was still able to fight; which didn’t look like it would be lasting much longer as they had finally been forced back to the area immediately surrounding the station, all in all he’d had better days.



    As he lay there on an abandoned station bench resting for a moment before heading back into the fight a fresh layer of Hell revealed itself. There was an impressive staccato burst of high explosives, nearly thirty seconds long. And as his ears adjusted two the noise his veteran ears did their best to pick up relevant bits of communications chatter. Using an impressive amount of “man” portable and REM mounted heavy weapons they’d just taken out the structurally relevant parts of the last few buildings tall enough to provide a reasonable vantage point for their aircover. Meaning gunships where probably on their way right now and this was the closing chapter of his life. Groaning Kokinos rose from the bench, collected his weapons and glanced around at the dazed soldiers getting up around him “Prepare yourselves my brothers and sisters, for the Fates are nearing the end of our threads. But lets make certain they cut a few others shorter than our own before that time, one way or another I'll make sure to see you all on the other side."


    They were behind schedule, they should have cleared this area and been nearing the next settlement by now; instead they’d had to dig out a tenacious resistance and it had cost them most of the day. Questioning of the prisoners that had been captured also indicated that this had allowed a not insubstantial number of enemy forces and noncombatants to escape along the now blocked off mass transitways, though the Kurgat said it wouldn’t take them long to make most of them serviceable again. Colonel Gazrat walked around what had been the last pocket of resistance. It bright and efficient entryway had been taken quickly as their soldiers had stumbled in after the larger structures had been removed as an impediment. The narrower pathways had taken more time but they’d had little in the way of heavy firepower and the Sogarat had lead the way. They hadn’t fully collapsed the last tunnels leading out before resistance had collapsed and already scouts where working their way through probing for the next advance. Something caught Gazrat’s eye and he worked his way closer towards it, he and his Raktorak making certain none of the bodies moved in an untoward manner. This enemy was dressed differently than any other they’d encountered, it wore grey and orange while the rest wore blue and a faceless mask where the rest had visible eyes and faces. Reports had indicated that this area had been particularly hard to take, and he suspected this mysterious creature was the reason why. He turned to his Raktorak, “detail someone to take this body to the command center, I want to see if we can get anything useful out of that helmets visuals.” They both turned to walk away “and find out the name of this place, we need to know what to carve into the trophies we’ve taken”
     
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  3. saint

    saint Charming, but irrational

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    from my Boarding Action series

    They were angels of a sort, not the nice one’s your parent tell you about when you’re young and scared of monsters, nor the ones you pray to deliver you from trouble, saviors of the faithful; no these where angels of the Old Testament of flame and wrath, they were angels of death and retribution.



    First came the terrifying freakshow, the pupniks their handlers and the Morlocks, sowing terror and shocking their adversaries with their mindless aggression and unholy appearance. But that was just a the first act; then came the armored bulwark, the Taskmasters, hulking masses of armor wading through incoming fire like it was so much rain, and directing the remaining freaks of the first wave. Lither but no less protected figures dashing between them and cover, shouting obscenities and rude remarks in all manner of languages while laying down truly indiscriminate barrages of firepower, rebellious and rambunctious even in the heat of battle, the Riot Grrrls made themselves know and pushed their armor to its limit. But the most terrible of all followed behind, the witches of the Observance. The silence in which they fought still betrayed their wrath, every bullet fired a divine edict, every kill a judgment delivered. Their forms flickered from their technological shrouds but even that couldn’t hide the unerring precision of their movements, where their hatred not well known one might mistake them for Aspects of ALEPH. They were the nail in the coffin, they swept through the defenders of the orbital like a hurricane and within an hour they were gone, extracting their persons of interest and leaving only ruin in their wake.



    Teaser for a program on a Bakunin Jusrdictional command raid on an alleged secret ALEPH hub during the so called “Shadow Conflict” tomorrow night on SABOT!

    As always this is inspired by something that came to me while i was listening to a song, Anglezoom-Fairyland being the culprit this time.


    “Alright people listen up; this is a standard boarding action we’ve all done this before. But since something always goes wrong during these things I’m going to go over everything… again. Those corporate idiots will get a warning to surrender immediately or be boarded, which they will not, thirty seconds after that we go in guns blazing. Gecko’s and REM’s are in first the opposition shouldn’t be suicidal enough to deploy anything that’ll seriously impede their progress. Once the beachhead is secured Wildcats and Jaguars are in next, your job is to keep them off balance and deal with the first responders to intrusion, these aren’t top of the line security units but don’t get complacent, they can still pull a trigger. If you run into something you can’t handle avoid, bypass, or contain, in that order. The Brigada and Alguaciles will be coming in behind you, you run into a real problem don’t be a hero just call the Brigada or a Gecko; need a junction secured before moving up or light support call the Alguaciles. The Brigada and Wildcats will make their way to the contractor’s quarters where our people are holed up. We know they have a small intruder team with them and by then the Hellcats should have reached their positions as well so resistance shouldn’t be too much of an issue after this. For when things go wrong we’ll have Tomcats standing by near various exterior access points ready to provide assistance when and where necessary. Everybody set? We launch in three, let’s bring our people home. “



    Captain Stefan Baako, Jurisdictional command of Corregidor last minute briefing aboard the Nomad ship Bad for Business before the rescue of EVA prospectors from a Nurano-Turaza facility Human Edge following (alleged) abuse by corporate management.


    It was like someone turned off a switch whenever they got close. Our visors stopped working; heavy infantry suits froze mid motion, sometimes mid firefight and more than one REM turned on us, our own hackers couldn’t do a thing as they were all too busy trying not to have their own brains fried. Doors closed when they should have opened and opened when they should have closed, I don’t even want to know what the security footage looks like, if it even exists. Then we actually had to try and fight these guys with what amounts to one hand tied behind our back. It didn’t go well, these guys where all good, like they’ve done this in their sleep good. Their heavy infantry was good, top of the line stuff which I didn’t think they could afford, but the worst where the infiltrators, they were either ghosts who’d disappear as soon as you saw one or shifting boogeymen made up of holo-echos and with our visors down we couldn’t hit any of’em so we just aimed down the corridors and held the trigger down, fat lot of good it did us, never found a damned body of theirs once they pulled out I’ll say this for those bastards, they don’t like to leave evidence.



    Staff Sergeant Colleen Durmont, NeoTerran Capitoline Army, Bolts Regiment, The Bloody Angle pub, Darwin NeoTerra

    Its... surprisingly unnerving watching them work, we as a species used to noise when communicating and it takes a decent amount of training to make someone comfortable "speaking" using only nonverbal's. but the Tohaa can innately and prefer to "speak" this way, especially in combat situations where surprise and and coordination is the double edged sword to victory or defeat. They adapt and reform damaged fireteams without a word uttered, flanking attacks and ambush enemies without so much as a look at their comrades and all with hardly a sound, save cries of pain or screams of rage. But that's not the most unnerving part; I've seen Caledonian's in a fit of bloodlust, Haramaki charge heedlessly into enemy fire, and knights smash into enemy units while screaming the praises of the Almighty. They're different these aliens, they all have that determination, that anger, but it is focused unto a spears tip as if every bullet fired, ever stroke of a blade is a son, a mother, a family avenged, every death they have suffered in this long war is personal and the EI does not have nearly enough troops for the kind of retribution they want, they'll burn worlds just like they've had done to them far to many times.

    Frankly Ma'ams, sirs, if we didn't need them so bad i'd say we send them back where the came from and do our level best to close that wormhole behind them because they are a whole lot of trouble we do not need.

    They where a force of nature unleashed throughout the ship, that was inaccurate even a wildfire is slower and more forgiving than the creatures that now swarmed throughout the transport ship. every defense that the Exrah crew or Morat passengers could implement lay in ruins once the boarders caught the scent of blood. Intelligence said they where called the "Steel Phalanx" AI aspects recreating long lost hero's of myth and soldiers worthy enough for them to lead. the Colonel had discounted it as the intelligence service being over cautious as usual. then these creatures had boarded; they had looked human at first glance, then he'd seen one larger than a Sograt in armor smash through sealed blast door at a run and continue on to the vanguard waiting behind without breaking stride. The rest of these... warriors, they couldn't be considered proper soldiers, where making a mockery of his troops. They would never get locked into a firefight, nor would they bypass resistance but instead charge straight on firing as they went before finishing with short swords drawn, the craftier or more reckless ones would blast through bulkheads heedless of the damage to the ship, or the atmosphere that was being vented. In minutes these seasoned soldiers of the Morat Supremacy had been forced back to a small area surrounding the bridge. His Raktorak looked up at the bridge window and reached for his weapon; the colonel turned just in time to see three figures out in the standing on the window two males and a female, one of the males held some sort of rocket launcher he smiled and waved at them. the woman did not, she appeared to be even colder than the void around her if that was possible, the second male didn't look at them at all, he just turned his head and depressed a button he held in one clenched fist then the world was briefly bright and hot then very very cold.

    It starts with the wolves, it always starts with those fucking wolves; doesn't matter which group your fighting,American, Russian, Scottish, French they all have them. They can't aim for shit see so they arm'em to get up close and personal and brother you better believe you don't want them to get there. The Scots like to give theirs these big axes blades twice as thick as your thumb; the Americans, Russians, and French all just give'em these huge fuckoff knives big as your damned leg and half as thick, the Americans gives their's those damned Anitpodes like its some sort of fucking dog because they needed to be more goddamned terrifying. Why don't we just waste'em before they get close? Sweet mistress of the hearse why didn't we ever think of that! oh wait here's why fucknuts, the Russians and Americans are using so much firepower that you peak your head out for more'en a second for a quick burst your liable to get sent home in a thermos. The Scots, somethings wrong with those crazy fuckers, they're running up right with'em just itching to get you with their own stupidly huge swords and their throwing smoke so you can't see them till they there. The French are trickier, they don't have as many see so they try not to waste'em so your engaged with them at a distance right like a normal firefight 'cept they've skipped the damned foreplay and are right in your face from the word 'go' then alla the sudden BOOM they got one airdroppin' in behind you and there enough trouble head on them being sneaky is a pants shitting level of terror.

    So thats what you can expect on your first deployment to Dawn kiddos try to make it back in one piece.

    Hamin "Ayman" Tarif, Druze mercenary for White Star Security; overheard on the Druze caravansary Jabal Tulib
     
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  4. saint

    saint Charming, but irrational

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    Holographic technologies become so common place everyone's used to it, they've become a staple of the entertainment industry from the divas who can't have any face on stage but there own to the solo artist who plays everything themselves and allow for all manner of mindblowing affects during shows, its safe to say people have gotten pretty jaded about the whole thing.
    every bar who gets decent entertainment from time to time has a good house set; so it wasn't all that surprising when the short brunette onstage was suddenly turned into an identical quadruplet wearing different clothes and playing all the instruments, that sort of trick's a favorite of the socially anxious who prefer there own company or the perfectionist who can't keep bandmates long enough to make a good set. What caused the entire venue to stop in its tracks for a moment was what happened when she started to sing. the entire room, floor, ceiling, bar, even the lonely corner booths where bathed in purple and blue light that rippled as though underwater in long slow coruscating bands that emanated from the stage so that walking around felt very much like swimming, only without any of the added weight, which honestly made it somewhat both more unsettling and peaceful. She only played a few more songs but as the last faded out so too did the lights, shrinking back into the stage lights the entire bar was staring at the stage.Her sisters disappearing the real brunette took a second to look around and give a shy smile before politely making a small curtsy, packing up her instrument and practically skipping off the stage into a booth where a few of her friends had drinks waiting for her.

    This is something i saw in my head very clearly awhile ago while listening to Hysteric and Maps finally found the time to put it into words.
     
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  5. saint

    saint Charming, but irrational

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    Noticed i hadn't finished uploading all my old stuff, better late than never i suppose:

    “You know those old clichés? The hard as nails NCO who makes the hard calls and then just shoulder the burden of everyone they’ve sent into combat and lost and act like it doesn’t affect them at all?”



    “Yeah, I know what you’re talking about.”



    “I’m fucking tired of being that guy. I’ve been in this green hell since the First Offensive, I’ve had my platoon mauled to pieces three times and I’ve made it out combat effective every time, keep passing the psych tests too, but I don’t think I can take it anymore everyone; looking at me like they can’t tell if I’m blessed or cursed, the new kids asking me what it was like when Ravensbrucke fell, the shrinks asking me how I’m coping, reporters asking me what this whole war is like, and the command I don’t even want to think about command anymore.”



    “You aren’t going to try and kill yourself are you? You know I have to report such behavior”



    “No Sybil I’m not going to kill myself, probably be more trouble than its worth, just… just schedule a meeting with the major in the morning, I want to see if I can finally get out of here.”



    “Very well, do try and get some rest”



    “Yeah, like tonight’ll be the first time in years that’ll happen...”

    We've known each other since forever, she saw me through everything and I was her rock, she'd always believe in me and I'd never give up on her, that was the deal...

    Joining up was my idea, figured it'd do give some aimless kids purpose while we figured the everything out, we managed to stick together through basic and afterwards, saw some action out in Human Edge we saw each other through everything, because no matter how bad it got we where together, so we knew we'd come out fine, just like when we where kids. Then came Paradisio, what we call the First Offensive now, we got hit pretty bad, but I wouldn't leave her when she fell behind, ended up getting hit pretty bad for it, but she ended up carrying me to the shuttle, what a sight that must have been little 'ole her carrying me, ended up taking some bullets herself trying to get me into that shuttle, ended up in recovery just down the hall from each other; just like old times. but our luck ran out after that she got stuck leading some wet behind the ears kids from Aconticemento, first few patrols went fine then one day they don't come back, my unit heads out to see what happens and we find her, alive but gone, her habit of not updating her cube must've caused some trouble with the sepesotrization code and ended up frying her brain, I carried her out of that jungle, couldn't bring myself to have anyone else do it. The doctors don't know what kind of function she'll have if...when, she wakes up, but whatever it is we'll get through it because I'm her rock and I'll see her through everything, that was the deal.



    inspired by Reclaimer and Friends to Foes by Miracle of Sound

    What was it like when humanity had found us again, that we hadn’t just been abandoned? Imagine you’ve been living away from your parents, you haven’t been in contact for a while and you decide to drop by unexpectedly. You’re expecting a warm welcome; you’re expecting them to be proud of what you’ve accomplished while you’ve been away. And Instead you find that they died and no one told you and you find all these people claiming to be your relatives pawing through all their things and then they insist on following coming over to your place and taking everything you’ve worked hard to get on your own because somehow they think they’re entitled to it, even though they didn’t even know you existed till you showed up at their door and they want to take you for everything you’ve got while your still dazed and confused.



    That’s what it feels like kid, put that in your story; see who really cares about us.



    Unknown USAriadnan citizen- Mount Zion “The wall

    You kids must not know what i am? Or just how rare one of me being this old is? So let me give you this one warning before I get real,real ugly; leave the pit, walk away and you'll live, because I've shed more blood than's in this entire crowd watching and you lot wouldn't be more than another bucket in that ocean. your friend over there should have known better than to keep pressing an Ariadnan, we deal with threats one way and that's permanently; but you're all Corregidor street toughs, think your damn balls'll drop off if you show one lick of sense. so get in here and lock the gate behind you, this is gonna get messy.

    Recording of an underground Ariestia! fight broadcast on Arachne between Anton Pajari an Adrianan citizen and "Dog-face" and the majority of the Misericordia de los ángeles gang following the brutal in ring death of one of its members at Anton's hands. Alguacile records note that the Misericordia de los ángelesvirtually ceased to exist after that night and that Anton left with a team of Bakunin scientists soon afterwards.

    Ah man that was a thing you know; we where like kids again going off on this great adventure veterans of dozens of combat missions vibrating with the same energy as my nieces at Christmas. No one could stop staring out the windows we where all just glued to them as we left the atmosphere and saw that little ball growing smaller yammering excitedly. As it was disappearing a sense of melancholy dropped, that might be the last time we ever see that little ball we grew up on, fought on, bled on. As the noise died down we all heard a voice singing, quietly to itself not necessarily meant to be heard but not caring if it was. This Amazon of a Chasseur had the most incredible voice and without acknowledging her growing audience she raised her voice, projecting so that everyone in the compartment could hear; we where enraptured and what she sang, none of us had heard it before but it was exactly what we needed to hear in that moment of uncertainty. I will never do justice to that voice, or the emotion behind it but i will always remember the words, or the chorus anyway; Entering the unknown, sending all the poets to the stars, daring to see beyond the man-made, woe to you who evade the horizon, listening to Sagan, dreaming Carl Sagan, unseen streams, with understand no poet is trapped, woe to all who stop at the horizon. If things ever got bad at night when all you have is whats in your head I'd remember that ride, that song, and it would all go away for awhile its the little things that see you through the worst, always is...

    Corporal Sabine Boucher, Zouave regiment, recalling the departure of the first Ariadnan Expeditionary Corp to Paradisio.


    We weren't prepared, simple as that, we'd had some experience on Dawn,and other places before, got some action in against the other three nations won some lost some, pretty standard fair really when you boil it down to the basics, they're all competent modern military's nothing terribly special about them. Then we got sent to the north, to Caledonia; we'd heard stories about the furious Highlanders with their claymores and numerous mixed breeds, figured the yokels where just trying to scare us; now i think they where actually showing pity on by giving a warning. First time we saw them we thought they where funny, in their bright tartans always bristling at one another but how big a threat could they be? they didn't even wear paints for Gods sake. Then they found out we didn't accurately inform them of them on the richness of the Teseum vein we found, and the local chieftain decided we could leave, breach of contract and all that. Corporate decided we could take them, or at least bloody them enough to reconsider 'such a rash and short-viewed decision' Assholes. so there we where on the ramparts we'd built to keep out Antipodes and bandits like it was the tenth century or something and waited.

    They started out like any other sensible opponent would, firing from a distance testing our defenses. That all disappeared quickly, they'd managed to hit the boss and we where temporarily disorganized and they must have smelled the blood in the water, all of the sudden this fury was let loose and the just came at us more smoke grenades than i've ever seen in one place. those Wulver things clambered over the walls and pulled men straight off the wall Dog-warriors leapt up in a single bound like the walls where no higher than a bar-stool then we where fighting close like most people don't want to be anymore. That probably could've finished us off by itself, then the rest of the asylum came in, pound for pound their heavy units might not be able to keep up with modern armor but against what we had it was more than enough. I'd give half of what i'll make in a lifetime for a suit like those Mormaers have; I saw a trio of them just stride through the camp, not a care in the world making their way into the main complex. Saw security footage of what happened once they got in, they ignored anyone who didn't get in their way, any one how did, well T2 rifles are a nasty weapon. They managed to crash their way through the main office one of them just walking, like it was on an evening stroll, while one of the security guys unloaded a pistol into his torso, and bashed most of her teeth out with the edge of its shield for her trouble. that was the time we got the order to stand down, not that many of us hadn't already surrendered by that point, no amount of hazard pays worth the shit we where going through. so morale of the stories kids, if someone walks around every day not wearing pants and they decide they want to fight you, just back away, no matter how the scenario turns out your not getting away unscathed.


    “Airaghardt”




    They burst out of the opening door like a flash, clambering over obstacles, up walls some even appearing to run parallel with them for a moment or two before another bound of feral strength propelled them into the next obstacle.


    Wulvers where a new addition to Aristiea! And they were making quite a splash, both literally and metaphorically. There was a noticeable uptick in viewers whenever a team that had acquired one was on; A new team made up of Caledonian bruisers that included several of these dangerous crossbreeds was approaching some of earliest matches of Wild Bill and Miyamoto Musashi after they’d made names for themselves.



    The match itself was simple, two teams enter one leaves under their own power. The other team was cocky, veterans of a number different competitions and placing highly in most of them the thought these rustics would be an amusing sideshow, a breather between more serious bouts. They were going to be sorely mistaken.



    The smoke grenades weren’t that large a hindrance, they’d done some research and knew their adversaries favored tactics so they’d kitted themselves with visors, but the grenades combined with their hyper mobility made them difficult targets, even for those with tracking assistance modules. While they had numerous firearms at their disposal the Wulvers weren’t interested in a firefight firing rifles and shotguns one handed they charged into their opposition just like in a hundred clan conflicts before. They were met by the close combat enforcers of their opponents. These Aristiea! Veterans where all martial artists who had been trained in and practiced various disciplines for decades. That counted for little amongst those who grew up in the most violent environs of the already hardscrabble life on Dawn. Well-honed skill and duelist weapons met instinctual violence and claymores and the audience was the winner. The last two Wulvers where gunned down along with the last of the melee specialists a panicked an inelegant reaction for a team of such experience and renown that would surely cost them some viewers and sponsors for a few months at least.



    The melee concluded as the opening the match needed to end quickly for the audience to not get bored; there was little chance of that though as the two remaining teams met moments after the fighting concluded. The Highlanders pressed forward, trusting their armor and aggression to carry the day and they cut a bloody toll, falling in behind their team leader, a Mormaer whose family was financing the endeavor, Teseum armor shrugged off more fire than was entirely reasonable. And while he did eventually fall to a withering crossfire he had allowed his comrades to teach the last few members of the opposition one of the truisms of Dawn ‘under no circumstances let a Highlander within arm’s reach.’ As the end buzzer sounded the last two Highlanders stood breathing heavily, bloodied, bruised, and grinning ear to ear as only maniacs do. One of them, a woman, looked down one of the groaning veterans.



    “That was a good scrap laddie, wadda’ya say we try that again sometime, we’ll bring a Dog-face, that’ll really give ye a run for yer money eh?”











    This came to me when I was reliving my moody teenager days and listening to some Linkin Park (Faint), they always did make me feel like hitting something.