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The Wrecking Belles

Discussion in 'FanFic' started by Danger Rose, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    I joined Wiscohorndog (Rodge)'s Mission Critical Narrative Event and I'm making the trip up to Waupaca, Wisconsin tomorrow. Since it's a Narrative Event, I'll do my best to log each game so I can make Narrative Baterps of them. And to justify my Sand Cats' (and Wrecking Belles) participation, I made a small intro to this small Interlude:


    Mission Critical: Porlogue
    Raita Returns

    Ever since the beginning of the B4ackd00r Crisis, Sireen Barakat has had her hands full. However, compared to coordinating Haqqislam’s Forces during the Wotan Campaign, working in Human Edge, in command of just her ship, the Desert Duchess, and doing mostly Search and Destroy Operations, felt like a well-earned vacation.

    But trouble was brewing in Dawn, not only because the Japanese had finally seceded from the Yu Jing State-Empire, but also because her father had somehow been Resurrected by his partners and was up to his old scheme of Human Trafficking. On top of that, not being directly linked to Haqquislam High Command in a Potential War Zone, meant most of her expenses would come from her own pocket; and the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agency, of which her Wrecking Belles were a part of, was not known to be a generous Patron, or pay on time.

    So, when Apple Pie came with the News that Chief Isler had joined the girls' Unit and reopened their Investigation concerning her fathers' Cube Smuggling Ring; Sireen lost no time in opening up the Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC Schedule for Contracts that would take them closer to more civilized places in the Human Sphere, and be able to restock her now depleted Turkish Coffee supplies.

    Sireen felt extremely satisfied when the first Request came in just seconds after she opened un her Company's Schedule. She even decided to answer herself, as a courtesy to her first costumer in almost a year. She opened up an AR Session with the Bridge of the Desert Duchess with her in the Captain's Chair, wearing her Commander Parade Uniform with the first three buttons of her shirt open, giving her interlocutor a clear view of her ample cleavage.

    The woman who materialized was wearing ankle-high Combat Heels, a light-green mini-skirt with a matching top and a dark-green coat that gave her a regal look; all complemented with a dark-turquoise hijab that accentuated her ginger hair.

    "Raita, darling!" said Sireen mentally cursing herself for being so spontaneous, and not checkin who was calling before answering.

    "Don't you dare 'Raita darling' me, Sireen Barakat!" said Raita Salik, War Correspondent of Nebula News Network (3N), flaring from her nostrils. "You left me down in Paradiso, while you went smack in the middle of the Wotan Gate Crisis! And adding insult to injury, you go hunting Backdoor Files and don't even bother to give me a heads up?! I thought we were FRIENDS!!!" finished Raita red as a tomato.

    Sireen couldn't supress a grin. 'Friends' was, in her opinion, a gross inaccuracy; but she had known not to get on the bad side of The Press. "Raita, you kow how it is," she said in a pleading tone. "I wanted to tell you, but you know how the Bureau Aegis gets where Paradiso is concerned..."

    Raita crossed her arms and stamped her foot. "Yeah, yeah, I know." she said taking Sireen's bait hook, line and sinker; and mumbling a not so complimentary string of adjectives for the unsuspecting Bureau Aegis.

    Sireen closed her eyes, knowing that she would regret her next sentence. "You have a job for us?"

    Raita sighed and took a deep breath. Immediately, the AR Room took a red tint as hundreds of red hexagons surrounded both women. Sireen recognized it as a Civillian Level 5 Encryption. Nothing a competent Military Hacker couldn't breach, but secure enough to give them time to notice the attempt.

    "I'm doing a piece on a Research Facility. I can't say much about it-"

    Sireen gave Raita a stern look and lifted her index finger.

    "All right, all right," said Raita raising her hands. "It's a PanOceanian Reseach Facility. They had a breach in one of their Laboratories and are hiring Mercenaries to round up some of the Test Subjects."

    Sireen Barakat narrowed her eyes.

    "I swear I don't know anything else!" continued Raita trying to sound truthful. "My contact said that they were researching something to do with Symbio-Weapons, nothing else."

    "So you want us to be YOUR Mercenary Force." said Sireen unenthusiastically.

    "I get to do some digging, you get paid by them, Win-Win."

    "Goodbye, Raita."

    "Ok, ok, wait!!!"

    Raita opened a holoscreen and swiftly made a Credit Transfer to the Sand Cats Tactical Security Main Account. Sireen waited for the information to reach Aleph's Central Banking System in Concillium, reach Bourak's First National Bank and finally make its way to Sireen's Invoice.

    Sireen opened a holoscreen on her Comlog and nearly fainted on the exorbitant amount of money that had been transfered.

    "That's... How... Wha..."

    Now it was Raita's turn to sport a big grin. "My source was right about Wotan, and then right again with the Backdoor Crisis. 3N doesn't want anyone else beating me to this scoop."

    "You got your Mercs." said Sireen heaving. "Where do you want us to pick you up?"

    "Circular Eight. In three Cycles?"

    "We'll be there."

    The Encryption Protocol disolved, then Raita Salik's Geist and finally the AR Room. Sireen was left alone and feeling weak in the knees. With that money she could give juicy Bonuses to her Sand Cats, while also being able to get High-Quality LHosts for them, just in case. She could even order enough replacement Subdermal Armor to compensate the Wrecking Belles' Death Rate. She pressed the intercom in her office to reach her assistant, Ravenna Rowe.

    "Ravenna, get the word out, three days until Deployment."

    *Ma'am, we're in the red.* came Ravenna's reply on the comm. *I don't think it's advisable...*

    Sireen sent a copy of the recent transfer and was rewarded with absolute silence.

    *Sending the word out, Ma’am. * replied Ravenna when she finally recovered from the shock.


    ---000---


    The Common Room was bustling with activity, as women moved in groups of two and three carrying their belongings into their Quarters, and then back into another part of the ship. Eren Isler felt he had joined a PanOceanian Sorority instead of a Mercenary Company. All of the women were very young, and as they came out of the Quarters' Hall, they came out wearing Nighties and comfortable, but skimpy clothes.

    "It's like being in Heaven. Call." sighed Ouroboros, the Yuan-Yuan, while taking a swig of a Pulpi Beer can. He had joined Apple Pie, Battle Charmer, Agent Valentine and Eren Isler in a game of Poker by offering Pulpi Beer to all the participants.

    "I'm glad it's not an All-Female force, that would have made my Transfer request a tad uncomfortable. Raise." replied Eren drinking Pulpi Beer for the first time and finding the taste to his liking.

    Ouroboros roared with laughter, while the Wrecking Belles deliberately averted Eren's eyes.

    "It IS an All-Female Force!" said Ouroboros when he could finally talk again. "We're the only two male troopers, well four if you count our Pilot and First Mate Rattlesnake; but they rarely hit the field. All-In."

    "Funny, I didn't know that. Call." replied Eren with an accusatory stare at his three new team members. "How did you get accepted?"

    "Oh, it was all thanks to the Bombshell, here." said Ouroboros winking at Apple Pie; and getting a kick in the shin and a stink stare from the brunette Odalisque.

    "Apple Pie wrongly asumed Ouroboro's Gender, based on his File Name. Call." said Battle Charmer unfazed by Apple Pie's expression of shock.

    "And the man has proved too competent and resourceful to let him go. Fold." finished Agent Valentine giving Ouroboros a respectful toast.

    "Yeap, yeap, yeap, yeap, ahh! Trading my days of pillaging for this has been the best decision of my life."

    "So, about the new assignment..." began Eren to give a break to the mortified Apple Pie.

    Ouroboros shuddered. "That Raita Salik is a Storm Crow."

    "She does seem to be a Trouble Magnet. Granted, she's a Warcor, so it comes with the territory. Read 'em and weep." said Apple Pie revealing a Straight Flush.

    "Savage." said Ouroboros getting up. "That will teach me not to underestimate you." he said to Apple Pie, who gave him a toothy grin while picking all her winnings.

    "I find it awfully convenient that her gig is close to the general area of our boy Pyotr’s last known location." said Eren giving Agent Valentine a conspiratorial look.

    "Her source seems to be well informed." replied Agent Valentine with her natural Poker Face.

    "I suspect she's also smart, resourceful and very good at Poker." said Eren noticing with satisfaction the smile he drew out of the corner of Agent Valentine's mouth.
     
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  2. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Mission Critical: 01
    Coming in Hot


    "Apple, we have a problem."

    Apple Pie had known Agent Valentine for nearly five years. They had been in hair-raising situations more times than she would have liked; and during all those times, Apple Pie just marveled at Agent Valentine's serenity through adversity. So, when Agent Valentine burst through Apple Pie's bunk with nostrils flaring, Apple Pie knew the weight of that simple statement.

    "We're off-course." said Agent Valentine on the way to the Desert Duchess' Bridge. "We're not going to Neoterra."

    "How do you know?" asked Apple Pie puzzled. In Space with no point of reference, noticing when a ship as big as the Desert Duchess changed course was usually hard, unless the ship was doing evasive maneuvers.

    "Comlog synced with the ship's Navi Computer." replied Agent Valentine in an unusually condescending tone that made Apple Pie blush in embarrassment.

    Being originally an Atek, Apple Pie still struggled with things that were intuitive to her Haqqislam-Born friends. But they were usually patient enough to walk her through all the incredible things being 'Connected' allowed. Apple Pie summarized Agent Valentine was in a really bad mood.

    As they entered the Bridge, a crestfallen Sireen Barakat was giving a sideways Death Glare to a horrified Raita Salik. The main Screen was dominated by a clean-shaven man in his late thirties with sandy hair and an aquiline nose. Immediately, Apple Pie recognized Hassassin Barid Shadow Fox; who had been the source of several of their misadventures during Operation Flamestrike, and the primary cause of Unit Foxglove's ill-gotten reputation.

    "Oh, Regina! Looking lovely as ever." said Shadow Fox looking straight at Apple Pie's chest.

    "Cut the crap, Karim! Why are we not going to Neoterra?" said Agent Valentine obstructing Shadow Fox's field of vision.

    "Nice to see you too, Teri." replied Shadow Fox with a roguish smile. "Like I was telling Sireen, the Laboratory we need you to inspect is on the Rowanoco," he said exchanging his face with the gigantic ship's frame.

    "A Generational Ship?!" replied Agent Valentine dropping her aggressive tone for a more curious one.

    "...that has a Sol-Neoterra Orbit of a ten-year half-cycle." finished Shadow Fox still in the background.

    Apple Pie couldn't suppress a grin. Agent Valentine was a Husam Spec-Op, but she had the dorkiest pastimes Apple Pie had ever seen. More than once she had stumbled upon Agent Valentine looking at ship schematics on Maya; and Apple Pie was sure Agent Valentine was two seconds away from geeking out.

    "Unfortunately, the ship has not done its scheduled One-Eighty turn and is still on a collision course with Neoterra."

    "Of course." replied Apple Pie, understanding Sireen and Raita's current moods.

    "Oh well, it can't be helped." said Agent Valentine in an ominously chirpy tone. "I suppose we will have to take control of the ship, as well as investigate the Lab."

    Shadow Fox's face reappeared on the main screen. "Thank you, Teri. I knew I could count on you!" he said clasping his hands together and cutting off the communication before Sireen or anyone else could protest.

    "I suggest we make a drop in Pods." said Agent Valentine not addressing anyone in particular. "We're going in hot and I doubt the Duchess will survive a landing at Interplanetary Cruiser speed." she said tapping Apple Pie on the shoulder and heading back to the Bridge's entrance.

    "Maybe this time we will get to save the world." replied Apple Pie influenced by Agent Valentine's good mood. "Well, not our world, but a world nevertheless." she said disappearing behind Agent Valentine.

    "They are insane!" said Raita Salik at the brink of tears.

    "I guess you will get your 'Exclusive' after all." replied Sireen Barakat not feeling any pity towards her 'friend.'

    ---000---​

    "Where's Ashley?" inquired Apple Pie when she couldn't see the Alguacil during her head count.

    "Still in the Pod out cold." replied Holly, who apart from the Odalisques, seemed to be the only one standing. "Her Crash-Webbing failed." she replied to Apple Pie's questioning look.

    The Sand Cats had been grouped with three other Mercenary Companies by Raita's Contractor and were ordered to secure Sector 375 of the ship to set their HQ. The had managed to land both Boarding Pods, despite the vertiginous speed of the Rowanoco. Unfortunately, the trip and landing had been so rocky, almost everyone left the Pods crawling.

    The first thing that hit Apple Pie was the cinnamon smell; followed by the wild like flora that covered the gigantic hangar. For some reason, it reminded her of the jungles of Paradiso, which put her on edge. Soft ankle-high grass brushed her Combat Heels, while bushes of assorted colors and leaf shapes and sizes moved softly to the soft breeze of the Climate Control System which seemed to be working perfectly. Something that looked like a Symbiomorph scurried into the bushes.

    "I see wildlife." she stated while slowly advancing. "This place doesn't seem ideal to set up an HQ. Too many open spaces."

    "I'll let Commander Poeschl know." replied Holly. "Siri, Selma, be good dears and scout ahead."

    "Right on, Knight Lady!" said Siri, the redhead, jumping as one with her robin's egg blue-haired twin sister. As they landed, a pair of Crazy Koalas zoomed out of a nearby structure and ran into Siri.

    "Fuck!"

    With practiced expertise, the young Yuan-Yuan unbuckled her Jump Pack and launched it in the direction of one of the Koalas, while simultaneously throwing her Chain Rifle to the other. A technique Ouroboros called the 'Screw This, I'm Out!' maneuver.

    The blast put everyone on alert, but it also allowed an Intruder to unleash his Heavy Machine Gun on an unsuspecting Selma and Raita Salik, who had decided to use that moment to take a picture.

    "HMG!" said Eren Isler coming out of his Holo State and shooting a rocket at the Intruder, but miraculously unable to even dent his armor. "As tough as ever..." he mused to himself, remembering old scuffles with those deadly Commandos.

    "I'll deal with him." said Sand Wasp adjusting her Multi-Spectral Visor and looking for a better position. Without warning, a Panzerfaust Warhead exploded at her feet and catapulted her several meters back.

    "Sand Wasp is down." said Holly keeping track on her Comlog. Sand Wasp's vitals were critical, but her regeneration seemed to be working hard to keep her alive.

    "Target locked." said Doc Starlight, who unloaded her Spitfire on the offending Nomad Trooper without waiting for a confirmation. "Aaaaand neutralized." she said as the hapless woman hit the floor.

    Agent Valentine activated her Cybermask Protocol and for all intents and purposes, looked like an Alguacil. She advanced closely followed by Holly, but stopped when a smoke bomb took over the other flank.

    When the smoke settled, the Sand Cats collectively gasped at the appearance of a Taskmaster.

    "Oh great." said Apple Pie unloading the hollow-point rounds magazine of her Submachine Gun and inserting the Armor-Piercing one.

    "I'll take him out on one condition." said Eren Isler dead serious, while training his Heavy Rocket Launcher at the Heavy Armored Behemoth.

    "Name your price, Probie." said Obliterette, immediately getting whacked by a disapproving Apple Pie.

    "You did the same with Ouroboros, to whom you still owe a date, you Little Miss Self-Righteous." hissed Obliterette nursing the back of her head.

    "And I got into a world of trouble for it." replied a flustered Apple Pie.

    “Sorry.” replied Obliterette meekly.

    Eren shot several rockets in quick succession, engulfing the Taskmaster in a column of fire. After a few tense seconds that seemed like an eternity, the Taskmaster lurched and fell forward with a resounding clank.

    "I want a real Call Sign." said Eren sitting snuggly on his high position.

    "Oh, way to go, Blit!" said Doc Starlight upset. "We finally get a Probie and you just let him chose his terms."

    "It was fun while it lasted." replied Battle Charmer in her melodious tone, getting an angry stare from Doc Starlight.

    "Well done, 'Purple Tanager'." said Apple Pie with finality.

    An Alguacil tried to move sideways but was quickly brought down by Apple Pie and Obliterette at the same time.

    "Yeah, a deal is a deal." finished Obliterette shrugging.

    "We need to head west." interrupted Holly unapologetically. "Command found a better spot for our HQ, and we're now assigned to hunt Symbiomorphs."

    "Hunt Symbiomorphs?" replied the Wrecking Belles in unison.
     
    #22 Danger Rose, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  3. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

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    Your writing style has improved considerably recent. That's great! I'm a tad upset about how the SandCats keep running into adversary nomad forces though :P

    What's next, enemy Morats? D:

    Jokes aside, awesome work. It might be a good idea to review the first paragraphs of their landing in ship, as that felt slightly confusing, clashing hard with the earlier text and the fairly good flowing action once the koalas came out.
     
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  4. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Thanks! I'll fix that ASAP
     
  5. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Mission Critical 02:
    In Space...


    The Hab-Dome was intended to be a City in Space. Living quarters, entertainment venues and businesses were supposed to populate the structures that now had been claimed by the alien jungle. Several Mercenary Companies had signed in to investigate the Rowanoco and were now dispersed all over the Hab-Dome.

    The Sand Cats had been subcontracted by FlaxCo. Their Contractor's orders were to collect samples of the Symbio-Weapons and leave before the Rowanoco crashed into Neoterra; a plan that did not sit well with Apple Pie, who had to be physically restrained, and her Comlog blocked for internal communications only, when she heard her orders.

    "A woman of action to the core, huh?" said Purple Tanager amidst Apple Pie's protestations.

    *Sigh* "More like a superheroine complex." replied Obliterette. "She'll calm down when CHARM assesses her command." she finished looking straight at Battle Charmer; who was clearly enjoying seeing Leticia, in full Azra'il Heavy Armor, sitting on top of Apple Pie; while the Amazonian brunette flailed her free arm and legs futilely.

    "Aww, all right." said Battle Charmer in her melodious tone. "Apple, honey, StarCo. is here."

    As if a switch was turned off, Apple Pie stopped moving her limbs. "And why didn't you say so before?" she said looking up at Battle Charmer and giving her a death glare.

    "Because it's good to see you being you." replied the sliver-maned Odalisque with a motherly smile. "Now, let's go hunt bugs and let the Pros save the world this time."

    Apple Pie pushed herself upward rolling the much heavier Leticia to one side with seemingly no effort. "Turret Spider, is there an Auxiliary Access to the ship's Command Center nearby?"

    The Hawwa Hacker deactivated her Basic Camo Cloak and opened her Assault Smartphone. "Hmm. There's a terminal, twelve klicks South-Southwest- Wait, you're not planning to..."

    But Apple Pie was already sprinting in the direction Turret Spider had mentioned; closely followed by the rest of the Wrecking Belles.

    "Do they do that frequently?" asked Purple Tanager looking at the Odalisques disappear into the forest.

    "All the time." replied Turret Spider in exasperation.

    When Purple Tanager finally caught up with the Wrecking Belles, they were stalking what seemed like a Symbiomorph. Tanager had seen several of those in Paradiso, but always close to Tohaa soldiers.

    "You took your time, old man." said Doc Starlight unapologetically.

    "I know your real age, Helena." replied Tanager making Doc Starlight blush and pout.

    "You're adapting quite well." said Obliterette giving Tanager a thumbs-up.

    "Perks of being a Hafza. What have we got?"

    Apple Pie wiggled closer to Purple Tanager not to raise her voice. "Two marks, possibly three. One at Ten o’clock, one at One o’clock and a possible third one at Three o’clock."

    "Is the one at One o’clock the green one that Jaguar is poaching?"

    "Yeah, that's the one- HEY!!!"

    Apple Pie leapt brandishing her submachine gun, but the Jaguar bagged the stunned Symbiomorph and hurled smoke bombs in her general direction.

    "They are taking away our Symbiomates!" said Apple Pie huddling behind a tree to avoid being shot. An Intruder had moved forward as if appearing out of thin air and was spraying bullets from his heavy machine gun. "Intruder. Perfect!" she said in frustration.

    "Aww, don't sweat it 'Pechugona'. We just want the Pokemons; and your phone number, maybe?"

    Apple Pie blushed furiously while hyperventilating. The unmistakable voice of Sr. Massacre was followed by the man himself, edging closer to the Wrecking Belles position with catlike stealth.

    "Is she all right?" asked Purple Tanager with concern, while trying to get a better position.

    "Star struct." sighed Obliterette pinching the bridge of her nose. "Apple is a huge fan of Sr. Massacre, and really gets affected every time he's around. It's annoying as hell."

    "Well, she has three seconds to say goodbye to him." said Purple Tanager going for his Heavy Rocket Launcher. The Heavy Rocket Launcher he apparently had left back at the Drop Pod, since his back Mag-Clamp was empty.

    "Fuck."


    *BLAM*


    "Stay down Grandpa," said Sr. Massacre controlling the area. "I'm glad we're past the PG-13 shit, so don't make me Shish kebab you. My good friend Sergio Velho will just bag the other Pokemon and we're out of here."

    An Alguacil redhead passed right in front of Sr. Massacre and started to climb a parapet.

    "Whoa, whoa, whoa, who are you?" asked Massacre in confusion.

    "Alice, from Accounting." replied the Alguacil not looking back at him.

    "Huh."

    "Hey, Massacre!" called Tanager on the floor, trying to stem the bleeding from his shoulder's wound. "You already have two Symbiomorphs. Give the ladies a chance and let them have the last one."

    "Sure thing, Pops. Yo, reprobates, wrap it up!"

    As Sr. Massacre and his me were leaving, Alice from Accounting raised her Shock Marksman Rifle.

    "Wait a minute, there's no Alice from Accounting in our crew..."

    *BLAM*

    Sr. Massacre looked to the dead symbiomorph to the revealed Agent Valentine, back to the symbiomorph, and then back to Agent Valentine. "You are a heartless bitch." he said with a smile.

    "I'll take that as a compliment." replied Agent Valentine jumping down from the paraphet to avoid the hail of bullets coming her way.

    Apple Pie moved closer to the area where the last symbiomorph was located; but instead of a questionably adorable alien pet, she went face to face with a nest of dog-sized rats!



    "Aaaaaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
     
  6. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Kurage Crisis: 00
    Dawn of Opportunities


    In other News, Legacy Ship and Mobile Laboratory of RajCorp, Rowanoco crashed into Neoterra killing thousands. While the official report concluded that the event was the consequence of mechanical malfunction due to a rat infestation; we do have reports of Mercenary Activity on the ship before it crash-landed. Raita Salik has more details-


    Sireen Barakat turned off the News Feed and dropped her head on her desk, burying her face in her crossed arms.

    Apple Pie shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Their mission aboard the Rowanoco had been a monumental catastrophe. When they thought they had stopped the ship's thrusters, they got ambushed by ninjas. A ninja to be precise, but the Wrecking Belles agreed that such a detail was trivial. Hurting their pride, as much as their bodies, the Ninja sabotaged the Auxiliary Terminal, bringing the chances to avoid a disaster down to zero.

    To prevent an Interplanetary incident involving Sand Cats Tactical Security, and the ill-reputed Wrecking Belles, Sireen Barakat reached an out-of-court settlement in which no mention of her Company would be made, for a very large fee. And while her company and the Wrecking Belles' names were safe; the Sand Cats' finances were once again in the red.

    “So, is this a bad time to report that the Amberwitch was spotted in Svalarheima?” said Agent Valentine referring to the Black Lab Ship of Equinox Cell ‘Cinder.’

    “We don’t have enough money to dock locally in Neoterra,” said Sireen Barakat not lifting her head.

    “I’m sure we couldn’t dock in Neoterra even if we wanted to-“ began Doc Starlight but was swiftly cut short by a kick to the shin from Obliterette.

    “Our situation is dire,” said Alguacil Ashley standing next to Sireen and rubbing her back supportively. “We’re out of money and out of clients. That last Charlie-Foxtrot with RajCorp put us in a very bad position.”

    “Especially with PanO clients, I presume.” complimented Purple Tanager realizing the bad position they were in. Without enough money to pay the Circular Transport Fee, they would have to rely on local Neoterran costumers. But while their involvement in the Rowanoco Disaster was not public knowledge, the Hexaedron knew, and already sent a warning barring Sand Cats Tactical Security from working anywhere near Neoterra. They were, as USariadnans would say, ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place.’

    “I did something,” said Apple Pie sitting straight with fists on her lap and not daring to look up.

    Obliterette knew that look and gasped audibly. “You didn’t!”

    “Do what?” asked Sireen and Tanager in unison.

    “I called my husband…”

    And as if on cue, a Virtual Data Pack with the Daghercore logo materialized in front of Sireen Barakat. “When?” she asked dumbfounded.

    “Just right now, while you were all commiserating,” replied Apple Pie blushing furiously.

    “Oh? Our little Atek made her fist Geist call!” said Doc Starlight cheerfully.

    Apple Pie blushed even more than was thought possible. Despite having a Cube and being able to connect to the Augmented Reality Network, she had so far relied on the most basic functions. It was not until recently that she learned that each of her friends had an AR Avatar, which they called Geists, and that she had unwittingly configured hers to block all visual AR feed from her.

    “Welcome to the Future.” said Purple Tanager with a pat on the brunette’s back. He had been the one to notice that Apple Pie was not reacting to Doc Starlight’s Nurse Geist jokes, and took it upon himself to teach Apple Pie a bit more about Human Sphere Technology.

    “NOVYY CIMMERIA!!??” exclaimed Sireen Barakat, making everyone jump.

    “He’s offering a Tactical Consultant job post at the Duban Prospecting Site in Novyy Cimmeria, Dawn.” she said in an angry tone. “Where, coincidentally, the Japanese have recently discovered a rich Nessium vein. Did you share Classified Information with your husband?” she asked giving Apple Pie an inquisitive look.

    “No!” replied Apple Pie wounded by such accusation. “He has his own sources, and I only asked him for a loan. I didn’t know he was going to offer us a job.”

    “It’s a good paying job,” said Ashley reading the contract over Sireen’s shoulder. “Oh, and he’s even covering our expenses to reach Dawn! I’ll get the crew ready.”

    Ashley left the room swiftly, leaving Sireen alone with the Wrecking Belles.

    “Well, we don’t have much of a choice.” said Sireen in a defeated tone. “I guess we’ll go to your home planet, Apple Pie.”


    --- 000 ---


    As they reached Dawn space, Sireen realized her fears were not unfounded. She recognized several Admiralty ships from the Wotan Blockade, and was greeted by old comrades-in-arms welcoming her back to the fray. It seemed Novyy Cimmeria, was going to be Flamia all over again.

    When they finally met planetfall, Sireen and her Sand Cats were greeted by the imposing figure of Tarik Mansuri, Amir of the Kawarij. “Welcome, Young Lady Sireen,” he said with a broad smile that melted glaciers. “You arrive just in time. I have the need of some Rems, an Infiltrator and maybe one of your lovely Odalisques?”

    Sireen could feel the giddiness of the Wrecking Belles behind her, and their superhuman effort to keep their cool. “While certainly, Sir. I’d be honored.”

    “I heard Young Lady Regina, Miss Apple Pie, is Ariadnan of birth?”

    “Yes sir!” replied Apple Pie feeling weak in the knees.

    “Excellent, a local is always a good help when in a new environment.” He said giving her a sagely nod that, Purple Tanager noticed, ended with his face aligned with Apple Pie’s chest. “Meet me at Docking Station 3 with the Remotes and Young Lady Fanny, Turret Spider. I have heard great thing of her.” he said turning and heading to another group of disembarking troops.

    Behind the Wrecking Belles, Sand Wasp the Djanbazan had to hold her twin sister, Turret Spider, to prevent her from falling on the floor fainted.
     
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  7. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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  8. jherazob

    jherazob Well-Known Member

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    I really gotta reread these from the beginning
     
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  9. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

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    I find it quite funny that we both have recurring opponents that are Nomads/Haqq and that colored our perception of the factions
     
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  10. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Yeah. I'm a very lucky player to have such wonderful opponents. Our best player plays PanO and now Yu Jing, so most of my stories that involve the Hyperpower or the Sate-Empire paints them as unbeatable beasts (as they should be, per fluff); meanwhile, the Nomad palyer (Nomad Reaper) loves to always try new things, making him unpredictable, and giving the Nomads this chaotic and dangerous feel. And since our winning streak is close to 50/50, the friendly rivalry with his Army came organically.
     
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  11. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

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    That's funny. While the guys I know that play ALEPH are basically the two best players of Brazil (One of the bastards beat me in this year's National Open by mere 2 points *shakes fist*), I actually have a good track record beating them when they play ALEPH. However, the moment they pick up Haqq or Tohaa, things turn tense.

    In fact, I only beat the Tohaa guy three times that I can remember. And him playing Haqq was what made me step up my game. I literally learned how to use martial arts and coordinated orders because of this one guy.
     
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  12. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Asteroid Blues Prologue: Ok, 3, 2, 1, let's jam!

    After a most successful endeavor on Planet Mars, the women of Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC were enjoying a well-earned R&R at Mystic Spring Spa, a luxurious turkish bath and spa located in Circular 2. Sireen Barakat, Commander of the Sand Cats, seized the opportunity the minute she planned their trip back to Bourak; and at the moment, sharing a relaxing massage with the Odalisque Apple Pie, she was feeling quite pleased with her decision.

    “I think we should do this more often.” she said drooling, as the masseur eased the knots on her aching shoulders.

    Apple Pie barely acknowledged with a moan and a thumbs up, while her own masseur applied pressure on her lower back.

    Suddenly, a Geist materialized next to her, making her growl in exasperation. And while no one else could see it, Apple Pie was savvy enough to know what that growl meant.

    “I’ll go with you,” she said getting up and going straight to the dressing room.

    Sireen sighed. Apple Pie had been captured and torture by three deranged Reverend Custodiers working for Sireen’s father; and after that ordeal, she hadn’t been comfortable in pools, tubs or similar bodies of water. She got dressed as fast as she could and started walking to the exit, where a tall, bald and muscular black man was waiting for her at the door of a hovercraft.

    “Sorry to cut your fun short, Ma’am,” said Tyrone accelerating the hovercraft.

    “Don’t sweat it,” replied Sireen in resignation. “The only way you’d send your Geist is if was something important.”

    ---000---

    Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC was, for all intents and purposes, an all-female force; however, four men were part of the crew: Alguacil Tyrone, the pilot of the 'Desert Duchess'; Rattlesnake, a Janissary who helped bring down Sireen’s father and now serves as her First Mate; Purple Tanager, a Hafza they had picked up on Human Edge and who had joined the Wrecking Belles for their latest adventures; and Ouroboros the Yuan-Yuan, whose file name was mistaken as female by Apple Pie when recruiting, and who had proven to be a valuable yet barely tolerable asset. The four men were democratically voted to stay guarding the ship by a landslide, much to Ouroboro’s chagrin. Ouroboros was waiting at the entrance of the ship with a wide grin and escorting a rather dazzling redhead.

    “What is she doing here?!” said Sireen at the sight of Raita Salik, War Correspondent of Nebula News Network, and cause of half the troubles the Sand Cats have faced.

    “I’m not here by choice, Tariqa of Flamia,” replied Raita tossing a document at Sireen. “The Hachib has recommended that all Haqqislam Military Operations cooperate with O12’s Peacekeeping policy and tightly monitor the use of weaponry banned by the Concilium Convention.” she said commanding her aerocam to rest on top of her luggage. “So, the Haqqislam Government has decided to attach Warcors to their high-profile Task Forces."

    “But I don’t get it, I’m not a Haqqislam Military Task Force, I’m a private contractor, with a Letter of Marque form the Funduq Sultanate to be part of the Qapu Khalqi Navy.”

    “Flamia Island. Do you deny your involvement, Tariqa of Flamia?”

    “No, but-“

    “Wotan Gate Blockade, were you not part of Haqqislam High Command there and then?”

    “Yeah, but-“

    “And didn’t you leave me behind to freeze my ass in Novvy Cimeria? Or was that your long-lost twin sister?”

    Sireen Barakat pinched the bridge of her aquiline nose. “Why you?”

    “Because I have connections and have worked with you before.” replied Raita with a wicked smile. “Besides, it’s not like you have a good standing with the Warcor community, with your reputation of being trigger happy.”

    “That just happened once! ONCE!” countered Sireen flustered.

    “Whatever.” said Raita shrugging. “I’ve been assigned to you, which means you’re going to be called into action again.”

    “Ma’am, incoming call from the Sultanate” came the voice of Purple Tanager on Sireen’s comlog.

    “Son of a camel.”

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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  14. Skullmar ENG

    Skullmar ENG Well-Known Member

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    Your Reports are so good!! And also your stories.

    I love your Comic characters. It would be awesome if someoene with sculpting skills could modify some miniatures to make them look like your characters.

    Keep it up!
     
  15. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Last Stand

    One rather interesting downside of repeatedly being brought back from the dead is the inevitable deterioration of self-preservation. For instance, while a more prudent boarding party would hold position, and wait for the delayed reinforcements to catch up; the Wrecking Belles simply stormed the starboard hangar of the Black Lab Ship the Amberwitch, and were now fighting for their lives with a Lizard TAG.

    “You Haqqislamite whores!” roared Sarcophaga, swinging the TAG’s massive arm and nearly missing Apple Pie’s head. “I did not survive the Hassassins and Aleph to be brought down by you desert cows!”

    “Gee, Helena, your boss is pissed!” said Obliterette placing a pair of pistol rounds ineffectively on Sarcophaga’s side.

    “Former boss!” countered Doc Starlight barely dodging the behemoth’s clawed hand. “And yeah, angry has always been her default mode.”

    “So, we’re just going to ignore her calling us cows?” retorted Apple Pie putting a shot on Sarcophaga’s Optics, momentarily blinding the TAG.

    “Really? She calls us whores, but ‘cows’ is what offends you?”

    Before Apple Pie had time to answer, all three Odalisques were swept off their feet and hurled several meters into a batch of pressurized gas tanks, tumbling them like pins and having several loudly empty their content.

    On the other side of the hangar, Shadow Tanager and Battle Charmer were having trouble apprehending Sireen’s father, Captain Barakat.

    “Wait, our bodies are in their twenties, and he’s pushing sixty,” said Tanager, who had died once in a mission and, like his Odalisque partners, had been resurrected in a younger body. “How come we’re the ones getting our asses kicked?”

    “He’s a natural born warrior.” replied Battle Charmer matter-of-factly. “And his job is stalling us, not killing us.”

    “Perceptive as always, Battle Charmer.” said Captain Barakat giving her an appreciative nod. “I wouldn’t expect any less from the person that killed me. Indeed, I’m only here to assist Sarcophaga. As you can hear, she’s a little crossed with your meddling in her affairs.”

    Suddenly, alarms started blaring, and the hangar’s blast doors were closed shut. At the same time every single combatant received a warning on their Augmented Reality feed. The Amberwitch’s sensors had detected a biotech leak and was recommending everyone to seek medical attention.

    “Nooo!”

    Sarcophaga extended her left arm and spread her fingers. As the pilot of her built-in flamethrower lit, Apple Pie emptied the Armor-Piercing rounds magazine of her sub-machine gun. The Tag dropped to its knees, and ceased all movement.

    “Guess the game is up.” said Captain Barakat strolling and sitting on an adjacent crate. “We’re in lock-down, so there’s no opening those doors until the nanites disperse.”

    “Nanites?” inquired Apple Pie in surprise.

    “One of CINDER’s bio-weapons.” continued Captain Barakat taking out and lighting a cigar. “Nanites with fast-acting mutagenic capabilities.”

    “Mutagenic…?” asked Apple Pie not liking one bit what she had just heard.

    “You seem awfully calm, for someone sharing our predicament.” said Battle Charmer giving Captain Barakat a hard stare.

    “I’m an awfully pragmatic man. I was most likely going to be executed by your Hussam as soon as I reached pistol range anyway. At least I get to see you die with me.”

    “But why?” asked Doc Starlight in disbelief. “Sarcophaga was, if anything, careful. Why in the name of everything holy would she keep a bio-weapon in such precarious containers?”

    “They were going to release it on the boarding party.” stated Obliterette giving a hard, condemning look at Captain Barakat who simply smiled in acknowledgement.

    “Command, this is Apple Pie…”

    “No use, we’re sealed shut and isolated.” replied Tanager looking ashen. “Right after the warning was sent, my comlog went offline. I figure the same happened to everyone else.”

    Apple Pie grabbed Captain Barakat from the scruff of his shirt and slammed him against the wall. “A Biotechvore?” she asked indignantly. “Is there no limit to your depravity?”

    Captain Barakat landed a powerful knee on Apple Pie’s abdomen, forcing her to let go of him and bend down winded. As he tried to move away from the wall, Apple Pie’s leg went up and connected with is temple. The other Odalisques moved back, with Obliterette placing an arm on Tanager’s chest, preventing him from aiding Apple Pie.

    Captain Barakat went for a second knee attack, but Apple Pie was waiting for it, and countered with a leg sweep, knocking down Captain Barakat. As he reached the floor, he went for his combat knife, but was gunned down by Shadow Tanager.

    “Sorry to steal your kill, but I refuse to give that bastard any more time. What’s the plan now?”

    “To contact the outside, I guess.” replied Apple Pie a little shaken. She then moved towards the blast door and started banging S-O-S in Morse Code with the butt of her own combat knife. It wasn’t long before an answer came from the other side. Gamila and her Ghulam Link Team had made it to the hangar. Apple Pie explained their predicament and Gamila assured her she was relaying the info to the Desert Duchess and to please hang in there.

    “In hindsight, I should have let Sarcophaga burn the tanks.” stated Apple Pie with remorse.

    “And risk making matters worse?” replied Battle Charmer starting to cough.

    “I don’t know about you, but immolation is not one of my fondest way to die.” said Obliterette stifling a cough herself.

    “It’s a lot faster than being slowly riddled with arrows.” replied Doc Starlight helping Tanager take off his helmet and body armor.

    “Arrows?” asked Tanager as his curiosity beat his tact. Working with the Wrecking Belles for the last three years has taught him that these resilient women would not mind him asking about personal issues, although they would rarely give a full answer.

    “I had a run in with a Ninja once.” replied Doc Starlight whipping out her Medikit and giving Tanager a shot of varied meds to keep him comfortable. “The bitch favored the bow and arrow to more conventional weapons.”

    “A Ninja?”

    “Hey, they’re real and very nasty, no matter what the Yu-Jing propaganda says.”

    Doc Starlight then proceeded to inoculate her other teammates, who were all sweating profusely despite being in a cold room. “I don’t know how these will interact with the Nanites, but I’m hoping they will at least stem the symptoms while we wait.”

    Apple Pie took off her thigh-high boots and tactical opera gloves. “For once, I’m glad for these skimpy outfits.” she said noticing how her exposed skin was actually steaming. The rest of the Odalisques started undressing as well, and like Apple Pie, they were also steaming.

    “That’s not normal.” said Tanager between bouts of whooping cough.

    “Wild guess, the Nanites are interacting with our subdermal armor.” said Doc Starlight unbuttoning her top and letting a small ball of steam rise from her chest.

    “Is it painful.”

    “We’ve been through worse, Regina once tanked two Nomad heavy rockets with her boobs!”

    “I thought we agreed never to speak of that again!” said a mortified Apple Pie amidst her friends’ laughter.

    A rhythmic tap on the other side announced to the Wrecking Belles that help was on the way. Sireen had pulled some strings with Ramah Task Force; and they were working on a rescue operation.

    Apple Pie took the opportunity to inquire about the rest of the boarding party; and let out a sigh of relief when she learned that most of them had made it with minor injuries. Gamila also informed them that two of the three Reverend Custodiers that had kidnapped and tortured Apple Pie were now in custody; and that Agent Valentine had Redrumed Reverend Verity.

    Apple Pie smiled. The Wrecking Belles had spent nearly a decade with Agent Valentine, the Hussam Spec-Op assigned by the Hassassin Barham to investigate the same case. Knowing how much Agent Valentine cared for them, frying Reverend Verity’s brain was the most restrained thing Agent Valentine would have done.

    “Ladies… I don’t want to… upset you… but I’m not going to make it.” said Tanager coughing a lot of blood.

    “Don’t say that.” started Doc Starlight, but was forestalled by Tanager’s hand.

    “I’m happy… I was able to help… Thank you… for the greatest adventure of my life…”

    “Eren!” screamed Apple Pie in horror as Shadow Tanager simply tumbled back.

    With lightning speed, Doc Starlight checked Tanager for pulse. “Chest compressions, now!”

    Obliterette didn’t need to be told twice. Meanwhile, Doc Starlight loaded her Medikit and injected the first dose of epinephrine in Tanager’s neck. At two-minute intervals, the Odalisques rotated compression duty. While the Universal Protocols recommended not extending cardio-pulmonary reanimation beyond 20 minutes, Doc Starlight never called it off, and Apple Pie was still giving chest compressions when the Ramah Task Force Response Team boarded the hangar from the spaceside airlock.

    “I’m sorry for your loss.” said the Kawarij Doctor after giving each Odalisque a quick check-up. “We’re going to need you to enter these cryopods, to try and stem the cell degeneration process.” he said pointing to five pods the rest of the team had unloaded from their own boarding vessel. “After that, we will take you back to Bourak for treatment.”

    “For how long?” asked Apple Pie who had just noticed she was actually crying tears of blood.

    “For as long as it’s necessary. We won’t know the extension of the damage until we conduct proper testing.”

    “Spoken like a true doctor.” replied Doc Starlight climbing into one of the cryopods.

    Apple Pie climbed into the cryopod, which she found actually quite comfortable, albeit a bit claustrophobic. Her whole body felt ablaze, her muscles ached and she was bleeding without having any serious wounds; yet as she lay in the cryopod, she felt the weight of this ten-year ordeal starting to lift. The cryopod’s lid closed, and Apple Pie lost consciousness as the hyper fast-acting sedative kicked in.

    Her last thought being that the Cube Smuggling Ring case was finally over.
     
    #35 Danger Rose, Aug 7, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
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  16. Golem2God

    Golem2God Just a Kooky Kumotail serving others.

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    @Danger Rose Happy to see you continue these tales of your characters. I wonder what will happen next for the girls & their comrades? Whatever it is and where-ever they go I'm sure it shall be a grand read. Looking forward to next time.
     
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  17. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Job Offer

    While coming back from the dead was a rather mundane experience for Apple Pie, she always preferred that to waking up from a drug induced coma. The bright lights stinging her eyes and the room spinning around were a hundred times more annoying than the brief after-feeling of the bullet that killed her. A case could be made for waking up without relieving your previous last seconds alive, but having your movement slowed down and your cognitive functions scrambled was far less than ideal.

    Once her eyes adjusted to the light, and her head cleared a bit, she could see that she was inside some sort of pod. The last thing she remembered was being locked inside the hangar of the Amberwitch awaiting rescue. She tentatively tried to sit up, regretting it instantly, as her head felt like it would split in half.

    “The headache is normal,” said a husky voice from the other side of the room. “Can you see?”

    “Yeah,” replied Apple Pie getting a better look at the blonde woman in front of her. She was immaculately dressed with a shirt and khakis under a lab coat.

    "Where am I and where are my friends?”

    “Garden Grove Medical Center, and right next to you.” replied the woman who seemed to be writing in mid-air.

    Apple Pie looked at her left and saw Obliterette sleeping in an open pod. To her right Doc Starlight and Battle Charmer were equally fast asleep; Doc Starlight snoring softly like a baby Antipode. They were all dressed in white skintight body suits.

    “Who are you?”

    “Dr. Sam, Chief of Staff of Metabolic Enhancement R&D, and currently your Attending Physician.” said the woman without stopping her scribbling.

    “Can you tell me your name?”

    “Regina Berger.”

    “Age?”

    “Forty-one.”

    Dr. Sam stopped for a second, gave the twenty-something looking Apple Pie a hard look, then continued scribbling. She then lifted her left hand with her fingers spread.

    “Please, read the third line.”

    “I can’t see Augmented Reality without my mask.” replied Apple Pie apologetically. “I’m an Atek.”

    “Wait, are you all Ateks?” inquired Dr. Sam puzzled. “You all had masks when they brought you in.”

    “Just me" chuckled Apple Pie. “My mask is a holographic projector. I don’t like contact lenses and I can’t have retinal implants, so the mask is a better alternative to glasses. My friends wear masks too so I don’t feel out of place.”

    “Those are good friends.”

    “The very best.” replied Apple Pie with pride.

    “Aww, we love you too.” said Obliterette sitting up and regretting it immediately. Her headache became less than an afterthought when she tried to see the AR feed Dr. Sam had projected.

    “Doctor, I can’t see the feed either.” she said with a hint of apprehension.

    “Don’t worry, that’s quite expected.” replied Dr. Sam scribbling a bit faster now. “The nanites have altered several of your quantronic interfaces, including your retinal implants. They may or may not work as intended anymore.”

    Doc Starlight and Battle Charmer both sat up in their respective pods, rather looking worse for wear. And after confirming that neither of them could see Dr Sam’s AR feed, Dr. Sam prepared to explain things the old-fashioned kind of way.

    “Right, like I told Regina before everyone else woke up, I’m Shajar Sam, Chief of Staff of Metabolic Enhancement R&D here at Garden Grove.”

    “Garden Grove Medical Center.” said Doc Starlight familiar with the name. More than a Medical Center, the gargantuan compound was one of the many advanced biological enhancement research and development laboratories in Medina; and it was closely attached to Ramah Task Force. “I know Sireen’s filthy rich, but I don’t think she can afford this place.”

    “Very few Private Individuals can.” replied Dr. Sam with a nod. “Fortunately for you, the bill has been already taken care of by Ramah Task Force. Also, Tarik Mansuri worked with you before and asked me, as a personal favor, to personally oversee your case. And you don’t say no to Tarik Mansuri.” she ended with a dreamy look in her eyes; a sentiment shared by the four Odalisques who would kill to do anything for the Amir of the Khawarij.

    “Anyway,” said Dr. Sam breaking everyone out of their trance. “You came here afflicted not by a Biotechvore, but a corrupted techno-enhancer. Its original function was to increase the host’s physical prowess via Nanites. CINDER accelerated this particular strain’s rate of work, causing damage to susceptible organs, instead of enhancing the target tissues.”

    “Similar to MetaChemistry.” pitched in Doc Starlight.

    “Quite like it, although a bit more permanent.” Dr. Sam waved her hand to close her now useless AR presentation, and sat down in an empty chair close to the door of the Odalisque’s room.

    “We were unable to neutralize the Nanites; but we did manage to slow their rate.”

    “So, are we going to grow horns and tails?” asked Apple Pie with concern.

    “Nothing so dramatic. The extent of the modifications’ benefits is still unknown to us, and I’d really appreciate it if you would volunteer to run some tests now that you’re awake.”

    “Of course we will!” replied Doc Starlight a little too enthusiastically. “We have foreign Nanites inside our bodies and the least we should do is learn how they changed us.” she said sagely. “And also, I always wanted to see this place from the inside.”

    “Much appreciated.” said Dr. Sam with a small bow. “And now the bad news.”

    “The what now?” asked Apple Pie really concerned.

    “To avoid any more damage beyond what you had already suffered, we kept you in cryo-hibernation until we knew we could safely help you.”

    “That doesn’t sound bad.” said Apple Pie reassuringly.

    “You were in hibernation for seven and a half months.”

    The Odalisques froze.

    “And it took us another sixteen and a half months to repair the damage and reconfigure the Nanites.”

    “Two years…” said Apple Pie in a meek voice. “We were in a coma for two years?”

    “Allah be merciful!” uttered Obliterette still unable to believe it.

    “There’s more.” said Dr. Sam in a somber tone. “The Nanites vaporized your Subdermal Armor and corrupted your Cubes, which had to replaced.”

    “What?” cried all four Odalisques in unison.

    “While we run the tests, you will also undergo Cognitive Therapy.” continued Dr. Sam dispassionately.

    “The more therapy you do, the more memories you will retain, but effectively today is the first day of your lives, should you ever get Resurrected.” Dr. Sam stood up and allowed the Wrecking Belles some time to digest the news.

    “Inside the right-side compartment of your pods there’s a card key with a room number. As long as you’re with us, that will be your personal space.” she said with a hand movement over her Comlog and typing on the AR dial that none of the Wrecking Belles could see.

    “Your belongings will be waiting for you there.”

    “Our belongings?”

    “The Sand Cats had to return to Paradiso not long after you were brought here. Commander Barakat saw it prudent to pack all your belongings for storage here.”

    “What about Tanager?” asked Apple Pie, her voice cracking. “We had a fifth member…”

    “His Cube was just as damaged. I’m terribly sorry.”

    The blow hit Apple Pie just as hard as when she saw Tanager die. For her it had been just a few minutes. She turned when she heard Obliterette sob, a rare occurrence even in the direst of situations. Seeing her best friend so distraught, just felt out of place; but the penny dropped when Apple Pie saw Doc Starlight wailing, and Battle Charmer burying her face in her hands. Eren Isler, Shadow Tanager had suffered Real-Death.

    The Odalisques were offered shared rooms, which was a blessing in their current state. Doc Starlight shared a room with Battle Charmer and Apple Pie shared hers with Obliterette.

    Apple Pie took a long hot shower and slipped into one of her Odalsique uniforms. She donned her mask and activated her AR feed.

    “Son of an Antipode!”

    “What happened?” inquired Obliterette from the shower.

    “Duman divorced me in absentia!” replied Apple Pie horrified.

    “That’s impossible.”

    “He… he signed the divorce papers.”

    “Oh.”

    As an USAriadnan, Apple Pie had had a rough time adjusting to the fact that, for Haqqislamites, polygamy is perfectly normal. Her first reaction to the news of her husband’s second marriage was to attempt to charter a flight to Bourak and shoot him in the groin; but she was stopped by her friends. She then filed for divorce.

    Due to her work around Human Sphere and some reassurance from her friends, she began to accept the situation. Apparently, her husband had kept the divorce papers around. And ‘spouse being afflicted by a Biotechvore’ seemed to be a good excuse to sign.

    “So much for in sickness and in health.” she said ruefully.

    “This is a catastrophe!” cried Doc Starlight barging into the room unannounced.

    “It’s just a divorce.” replied Apple Pie in resignation.

    “You got divorced?” asked Doc Starlight alarmed by the news.

    “Yes, but more importantly, what else is a catastrophe?”

    “And could you please shut the door!” said Obliterette wrapped in a towel.

    Battle Charmer pushed Doc Starlight forward and closed the door behind them. They were both wearing their Odalisque uniform as well.

    “Director Eda.” she said motioning Obliterette to get dressed.

    Eda Al Basher was the Deputy Director of Qapu Khalqi’s Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agency. She was the one who assigned the Wrecking Belles to the Cube Smuggling Ring case; and had tried to get them fired in more than one occasion.

    “Director…” repeated Apple Pie quick on the uptake.

    “Tried to pin Tanager’s death on us.”

    “That harpy!”

    “She wanted to send us to prison…”

    “Of course.” “But we were cleared by the investigators. So, she had to settle with firing us.” finished Battle Charmer in the most sober tone her friends have ever heard her use.

    “Can this day get any worse?” said Apple Pie dropping on top of her bed.

    On cue, a knock on the door made Doc Starlight give Apple Pie the stink eye.

    “You had to say it out loud.” she said opening the door.

    A young Ghulam apologized and informed the Odalisques that their presence was required at Meeting Room Three. After giving them directions, he apologized again and quickly dashed away.

    “We might as well get used to that reaction.” said Obliterette. “We’re plague carriers now.”

    “Couldn’t it be that he’s never been around Odalisques before?” countered Apple Pie. “I mean, not all units have as many as Qapu Khalqi.”

    “With our current luck streak?”

    “Come now,” interrupted Battle Charmer with a hand-clap. “We’re still Odalisques, we move with grace.”

    The four Odalisques headed for Meeting Room Three with all the grace and confidence their training allowed. The clacking of their combat heels announcing their presence in every turn. They made it to the meeting room without any incidents, but did noticed that heads had turned and conversations had hushed wherever they passed by. Once they entered the room it was their turn to look shocked.

    “O-12 Liaison Officer Saladin!” exclaimed Battle Charmer astonished.

    While they had heard the stories of his amazing tactical prowess, the Wrecking Belles had never met the Aleph Recreation in person.

    “As-salaam ‘alaykum” he said signaling them to take seats. “I hope you found your accommodations acceptable?”

    “Yes sir.” replied Battle Charmer taking a seat.

    “First of all, my condolences for the loss of your teammate.” said Saladin in a soothing tone. “And congratulations on your successful mission. Haqqislam and the Human Sphere thank you for your efforts.”

    “Thank you sir.” answered all four Odalisques.

    “Please forgive me being so forward, but I seem to be in a bit of a pickle.” he said leaning on the table behind him. “The Customs security at Port Rigel in Concilium Prima has become, let’s say a bit too lax for my liking in the past few years.” he said activating his comlog and projecting an overview of the port.

    “And with the presence of the Combined Army in Dawn and Human Edge, well, let’s just say I’m looking for agents that have experience on the matter.” he said giving them a smile that said more than his words did.

    “I came to Medina to request assistance from Ramah Task Force, but they are not too keen of parting with a squad of super-soldiers for some reason.”

    Apple Pie noticed the subtle use of theatricality, the soothing tone, the confident posture, and thought that Liaison Officer Saladin could be an extraordinary Odalisque.

    “So, you’re offering us a job?” she asked with interest.

    “Well, you are currently unemployed and listed as super-soldiers, so you can understand how lucky I was to find you.” Saladin finished with a roguish smile.

    “You paid for our treatment!” said Obliterette in realization.

    “O-12 did, actually, but don’t feel obligated to say yes.” countered Saladin playfully raising his hands. “If anyone is going to work with me, they must do it by their own free will.”

    Hardly accurate in the military settings he dwelled in and his rank in it, but Apple Pie appreciated the gesture anyway.

    “But we still don’t know if we’re super-human at all.” said Doc Starlight. “For all we know, we may just have the power to make metal detectors bleep.”

    “Even if you weren’t super-human, your extensive experience in the Anti-Contraband and Anti-Counterfeit Agency; not to mention, your Tours of Duty in Flamia, Ilik al Fundaq, Novvi Cimeria and Novvi Bangkog would be a good enough resume in my book.”

    “We accept.” said Battle Charmer looking back at her eager friends.

    “That was fast.”

    “Like you said, sir, we’re unemployed.”

    “Very well.” said Saladin standing up and bowing to the Wrecking Belles.

    “There is a catch, though.”

    “A catch?” asked Apple Pie with a wicked smile.

    “This is a Ramah Task Force training facility. You will be working closely with them for the next six months; under the condition that, should they need you in the future, they have preference of your services.”

    “That’s fair enough.” replied Apple Pie unable to believe their luck; but then remembering that the man standing in front of them was the Master Strategist Saladin, and that he must have made all these arrangements to make sure he got the super-soldiers he had set out to get.
     
  18. Golem2God

    Golem2God Just a Kooky Kumotail serving others.

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    @Danger Rose Reading this and seeing your post in the Conversion Thread it seems that an interesting future is in store for the remaining Odalisques. I guess this means that your Qapu Khadi is being retired and Ramah & O-12 are going to be your main forces going forward?
     
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  19. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Precisely. I had finished my Ramah Task Force early during the Pandemic with new minis for the Wrecking Belles, which is where I came up with the idea of having them not be a Link Team, but separate units (Apple Pie would be a Namurr, Obliterette a Mukhtar, Doc Starlight a Hakim and Battle Charmer a Nahab). Storywise, this would allow them to be a bit more independent and give a more leading role to any of the four, depending on the mission.

    Then, my best friend had asked me to play Code One with him, and have a force ready to start doing demos once the quarantine restrictions are lifted in my country. I had Wildfire and Kaldstrom, so I could chose any of the four armies; but the O-12 profiles allowed me to do the same thing I was planning with Ramah Task Force, with the added bonus that it was a Space Police Force and I could paint them as such.

    I also like to have them work under Saladin, because to me he feels like "the Outsider", a man who has to save the universe despite his allies having assassins ready to kill him at any moment's notice. And the Wrecking Belles will be a tad more clandestine when working with O-12 (hence, why I'm going Vanilla O-12 and not Starmada, no Link Teams with O-12 for them).
     
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  20. Danger Rose

    Danger Rose Sand Cats Tactical Security LLC

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    Wrecking Belles: Concilium Capers

    Prologue: Uncovering Quantronic Life

    While the six months that included Dr Sam’s prodding, and the training with Ramah Task Force’s Armored Response Unit, had been rather enjoyable for Apple Pie, it was nothing compared to the roller coaster that was last week. It started with the second meeting the Wrecking Belles had with Saladin, in which he explained his conundrum.

    “Our main problem is an increased smuggling activity around Precinct 21 in Maeda Basha.” said Saladin while pointing out the Precinct’s position in the holographic city map. “Rumors claim that a crime boss known only as ‘Ereshkigal’ is the mastermind behind it. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to confirm even if this Ereshkigal person is real.” He finished with an exasperated sigh.

    The Wrecking Belles sat studying the layout of Precinct 21. It was large enough to hide any smuggling operation. Qapu Khalqi would have sent more than just four Odalisques. A Task Force composed of Al Hawwas, Hafzas and Druzes came to mind. Saladin roared with laughter when Apple Pie expressed that thought.

    “Very similar to my original plan, but with the Qapu Khalqi Fleet’s loses during the offensive that caused the collapse of the Daedalus Gate, I’m afraid I have to resort to a more unorthodox strategy.” Saladin said in a concerned tone. “The other problem is the Captain of Precinct 21 in the district of Novvi Granada.”

    A picture of a severe-looking, raven-haired man in his fifties appeared on the holo-display.

    “Captain Keegan Conor.” said Saladin with a rather respectful tone. “A man with an unbending will, and an equally strict sense of justice. What bothers me is that things are happening under his nose, yet he doesn’t seem to be compromised in any way.”

    “So, not corruption.” said Obliterette. “And I assume you ruled out incompetence.”

    “Indeed. I’m betting on his rigid adherence to his tenant of ‘Absolute Justice,’ but I still haven’t figured out how can such a breach in security benefit him. His Second-in Command, Lt. Petra Leone is working with me," he said while displaying the picture of a determined looking redhead. "But there are places she can’t reach, and things she can’t do.”

    “And that’s where we come in, I suppose?” said Apple Pie with a smile.

    “That is correct.” replied Saladin with a nod. “As head of Stargem Shipping Company, you will have access to certain circles denied to local Law Enforcement.”

    “Is that our cover?” asked Apple Pie intrigued. With her experience as ex-wife of the owner of Daghercorp, playing the businesswoman would be a walk in the park for her.

    Saladin looked puzzled. “You are Regina Berger, right?”

    “As far as I know, yes.” Replied Apple Pie equally confused.

    “Then you are the registered owner of Stargem Shipping Company.”

    It was not a question.

    If I may interrupt! came an electronic voice from Apple Pie’s comlog.

    A tall, curvy holographic female figure appeared in the middle of the room.

    “What’s the matter Laiqa?” asked Battle Charmer addressing Apple Pie’s Geist. The Vizier Geist rarely made appearances, and when she did, it usually was as a colored clipart of an apple pie. For her to materialize in full form meant that something big was happening.

    “Please forgive me Master Saladin, but Lady Regina is unaware of most of her Estate, since I am the one who manages it for her.” said Geist Laiqa joining her palms and giving Saladin an apologetic smile.

    “My what now?” asked Apple Pie in surprise and suspecting she was about to be reminded how much of an Atek she still was.

    “While you were the wife of Master Dumar, you were assigned a very generous yearly allowance, which I was authorized to manage in your name.”

    “Authorized by…”

    “Master Dumar, of course.”

    “Of course.”

    “Among your assets, you are the owner of Stargem Shipping Company, with HQ in Concilium.” said Laiqa producing a company logo composed of the silhouette of a pink diamond with a four-pointed star glint and the words ‘Stargem Shipping’ next to it. “While it’s not as big as any of the main Human Sphere Shipping companies, its connection to Daghercorp has made it robust and extremely profitable.”

    “Well, this changes things.” Saladin stated crossing his arms. “If you are not familiar with the company’s clientele and inner workings-“

    “I’ll learn.” interrupted Apple Pie. “I may be an Atek, but I’m not a hopeless bimbo.”

    “My apologies,” said Saladin earnestly. “It was not my intention to imply such disrespect.”

    “If you came to us it’s because this is important.”

    “I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I fear it’s a threat to the Humans Sphere.”

    “You think it may be the Combined Army.” said Obliterette who had been having a similar suspicion since Saladin first met with them.

    “It’s a possibility.” replied Saladin with a nod. “The Shasvastii are proving to be a greater threat than we anticipated. Operation Backdoor made that very clear.”

    “Well, you can count on us.” said Apple Pie with resolve. “If we uncovered CINDER, we will find out what’s cooking in Precinct 21.”

    “How long before you can go to Concilium?” asked Saladin.

    “I’ll make the arrangements right away.” replied Laiqa. “If things go smoothly, they can be in Concilium by the end of the week.”

    “Excellent. I’m counting on all of you.”

    And now Apple Pie was travelling in The Rose Beryl, a personal luxury starship she didn’t know she owned, taking Circular C4 to reach Concilium; and visit for the first time a company she didn’t know she had. Right now, she was trying to relax in the ship’s jacuzzi with her three friends. while their Geists worked the details of their infrastructure-to-be.

    “We have three warehouses spread across Precinct 21.” stated Bella, Obliterette’s Geist, highlighting the three locations on the holo-display. “Is there a way we can adequate them as safehouses?”

    “An easy enough procedure.” replied Laiqa. “Maidan Basha is a Living City, after all. It can be done very discretely. Any special requirements?”

    “Basic Med Bay, for starters.” said Candy, Doc Starlight’s Geist. “With the amount of damage these psychopaths take, they are going to need that at least.”

    “I’m forwarding you the surveillance equipment quote.” said Oloth, Battle Charmer’s Geist.

    “A Yu-Jing provider?” inquired Laiqa astonished.

    “We are a private company, independent from Haqqislam and working with O-12’s Liaison Officer.” stated Oloth sanctimoniously. “If our girls will be using surveillance equipment, I want the very best for them.”

    “Can’t argue with that.”

    Apple Pie finished her fourth glass of Mimosa enthralled by the interaction of the four Geists. After Laiqa’s revelation of this until recently hidden aspect of her daily life, Apple Pie finally buckled and accepted to wear Neoterran-made glasses that allowed her to glimpse the Quantronic world she only accessed through her mask.

    “Are they always this lively?” she asked as a service bot filled her glass again.

    “Only when we let them take care of logistics.” said Doc Starlight getting her own glass refilled.

    “But I always take care of logistics.”

    Doc Starlight patted Apple Pie in the head. “We know.” she said very condescendingly.

    “You’re the boss now.” said Battle Charmer relaxing in the tub. “You’re going to have to learn to delegate, especially to your amazing Vizier Geist.”

    “And when we’re not on a mission, you will let us do our job.” finished Obliterette digging her big toe in Apple Pie’s ribs.

    Apple Pie wiggled out of Obliterette’s range and nodded. The arrangement had been that the three Odalisques were now Regina Berger’s Personal Assistants/Bodyguards; which was expected of any Haqqislamite businessperson of her status.

    “If I may, Lady Regina,” said Laiqa taking Apple Pie away from her thoughts. “I need you all to go over your new costume designs and make adjustments as necessary.”

    A set of holographic sets of clothing materialized in front of the Odalisques, who started to inspect them. Obliterette’s was a light blue and orange skin-tight jump suit with matching tactical boots and gloves. Doc Starlight’s was a yellow and purple suit and jacket coupled with a mini skirt and ankle-high boots. Battle Charmer and Apple Pie sported the more risqué sets, composed of sleeveless bodysuits with tactical opera gloves and thigh-high boots. All of them made of tri-weave Nano-Mesh fibers; form fitting, light and more importantly, fire and tear resistant.

    “It just doesn’t compute.” said Laiqa shaking her head.

    “What doesn’t?” inquired Apple Pie who really enjoyed her more frequent interactions with her Geist.

    “These costumes stand out, there is no tactical advantage to them.”

    “Would you believe me if I reported someone jumping off rooftops dressed like that?”

    “I’d request your Blood Alcohol Concentration.” replied Laiqa quick on the uptake.

    A bleeping light signaled that they had arrived at Concilium System. The Odalisques got out of the Jacuzzi and began to get presentable. They all favored severe-looking business suits with pencil skirts; unremarkable hairstyles and completed their disguises activating holoprojectors that would change only their hair color. Doc Starlight’s perma-dyed purple hair looked a mousy auburn, Battle Charmer’s silver hair was now jet-black, Obliterette now looked like a redhead and Apple Pie favored a strawberry blonde color.

    After a quick control check in the Asaheim Orbital, the Rose Beryl finally docked at the Bifrost Orbital above Maeda Basha. While Apple Pie had experienced expedient passage through spaceports, when travelling with her ex-husband or his family; for the rest of the Wrecking Belles it was a novel experience.

    “And we could have been travelling like this all the time!” said Oliterette playfully slapping Apple Pie on the shoulder.

    “We were undercover!” replied Apple Pie smiling. “But seriously now,” she said raising her index finger. “Apparently I’m sort of a minor celebrity down there, so please, don’t get overzealous in the bodyguard front.”

    “Us, overzealous?” replied Doc Starlight and Obliterette in a mock wounded tone, while Battle Charmer simply giggled.


    ***

    [Comlog status: Online]

    [Security/Firewalls: Active]

    [Automated News update: Searching…]

    Accessing Maya… Welcome to RedHot! The Hottest News straight to your Comlog!

    <Social> The ‘Angel of Novvi Granada’ made planet-fall for the first time ever this afternoon. Miss [Regina Berger], Ex-wife of Daghercorp magnate [Sheik Dumar Al Dagher] and longtime contributor to Atek Integration and other local Social Programs, decided to make a change of scene from the lavish palaces of Bourak to the more Metropolitan Concilium. A bold and very strategical move, especially if she’s on the market for a more monogamous relationship. Bachelors, stay sharp.
     
    #40 Danger Rose, Sep 10, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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