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 Nietzche's Soldiers 2, finally, another Darwins Soldiers story!
LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Jun 30 2010, 05:07 PM


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After way too long, I've finally decided to start posting this story. It takes place before Disruptive Selection, and, like Nietzsche's Soldiers 1, stars Dragonstorm personnel.

For those who aren't privvy to the Darwin's Soldiers universe but still want to read, all you really need to know is that Dragonstorm is an illegal organization holed out in the forests of Oregon, with branches extending throughout the country. And that Darwin's Soldiers is a mixed anthro-human world.

This story will be updated every other day, alternating with Ship of State.


Hope you enjoy!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

<If we have to wait five more minutes, I’m leaving.>

<Protes,> Amphinomus sighed, <this is not a combat situation, and we’re right here. You can just talk.>

<I mean, this is their stupid meeting, and here we’ve had to sit for like ten minutes waiting on them.>

<Is someone thought-speaking to someone else? Why wasn’t I invited?>

<Achates, don’t encourage him.>

<Will the three of ye just be quiet? Ah’m trying to relax here and I cannae do it with yer yappin’!>

Four men and a woman were sitting in an otherwise empty office. All were dressed in identical black uniforms. Amphinomus, the leader, also wore a black wingband. To an outside observer, nothing appeared to be happening, certainly not a full-fledged conversation.

But an outside observer wouldn’t know about the Dragonstorm thought network, a radio connection which worked with cranial chips that could broadcast electronic “thoughts” to one or more people, allowing silent communication.

These five were among the first members of the Dragonstorm organization to receive the chips. Officially the First Dragonstorm Reconnaissance Team, but known better as DS-1, these five were often sent out on missions for Dragonstorm. And, despite what someone listening in on their thought conversation would think, they were a close-knit team who trusted each other completely.

<All right,> said Achates finally, <someone break the ice. Who’s going to speak first?>

<Sounds to me like Achates just volunteered,> Protesilaus, a platypus, cackled.

<Both of you,> Amphinomus sighed again, <please stop thought-conversing.>

<Okay, then, Ampy, you say something,> challenged Achates.

<Yeah,> nodded Protesilaus.

Amphinomus rolled his eyes. <If it’ll get you to shut up.>

A few moments of silence.

<We’re waiting.>

“All right, fine!” snapped Amphinomus, just as Drs. Branston and Zenarchis walked into the room.

“Did you have something to say, commander?” asked Dr. Branston.

“No, sir.” Amphinomus ignored the two stifling laughter next to him.

“All right, then.” The doctors had been followed by a younger Siamese cat, who looked nervously at the other men. “This is your new recruit to DS-1. He was assistant to Dr. Winters and proved himself at scouting. He has been given the codename Dolon.”

The team looked less than thrilled.

“We’ve got another teammate?” complained Protesilaus. “I thought we were pushing it with five!”

“In Cmdr. Amphinomus’ report on your failed mission at the Zzyzyx Desert Studies Center, it was made abundantly clear that none of you are adequately specialized in stealth and surveillance! I speak mainly of Camilla knocking over an entire rack of cooking equipment, and you setting off a round of explosives in the middle of the solar panel array you were supposed to be stealing!”

Camilla, a lean jaguar, averted her eyes, but Protesilaus defiantly crossed his arms and glared at Amphinomus.

“For that reason,” Dr. Branston continued, Dolon is now on your team.” He motioned for Dolon to take a seat with the others. “Feel free to introduce yourselves.”

Dolon looked at the short African-American man. “You must be the leader, Amphinomus. I recognize you from the briefing pamphlet.”

Amphinomus nodded.

“We call him Ampy,” offered Achates.

“Like ‘Ell we do, it’s what you call him!” Hippolytes, a burly Snowshoe Hare, interjected.

“You’re just jealous because your nickname is Hippo.”

Amphinomus introduced the others.

“Camilla is second in command. She’s our medic, and provides backup to whoever needs it.”

The jaguar raised her eyebrows, but otherwise coolly ignored Dolon.

“Achates is the team hacker and technician.”

Achates grinned.

“Protesilaus is the demolitions expert.”

The platypus’ expression registered neither positive nor negative feelings towards Dolon.

“And Hippolytes is the sniper.”

“Ah do more’n that!” grunted Hippolytes in protest.

“Yes, well, back to the assignment at hand.” Dr. Branston shuffled some papers. “Since you and several other DS teams have failed to acquire alternate power sources, we are getting desperate for power. The lesser projects have been put on energy rations starting five hours ago, and the most important ones will be likewise in a matter of weeks. As you can tell, this is a serious issue.”

He looked up. “Our current problem deals with SORA Gas & Electric. Are any of you familiar with it?”

“I am,” said Camilla. “It’s an Alaskan-based energy provider and Dragonstorm-controlled affiliate. I’ve been there once.”

“A month ago SORA stopped sending its weekly deliveries, so we sent DS-4 to investigate. That was two weeks ago, and they haven’t checked in yet.”

“Could they be delayed?” asked Amphinomus.

“For two weeks? Commander Turnus has never taken so long. We fear something has happened to the factory, and we can’t afford to lose it, so we’re sending you, our best team. Finds out what has happened to SORA, try to reestablish contact with DS-4, and above all, guarantee our energy supply. Can you do this?”

Amphinomus nodded, then looked at his team. “Yes, sir.”


This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Aug 11 2010, 01:05 PM
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Jul 1 2010, 03:12 PM


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“I thought they said they only sent us on important missions,” grumbled Protesilaus, as the team hiked to the newly paved lot where the vans were kept.

“One team has already gone missing, and energy is currently Priority Number One,” reminded Camilla, offhand. “Sounds pretty important to me.”

“Corporate sabotage is important. A mutiny is important. This is a glorified fetch quest.”

They stood outside the lead car, a polished black van.

“Who’s driving?” asked Dolon, glancing at the front seat.

Protesilaus patted him on the back. “You are,” he smiled, getting into the back seat. The others were getting into the van.

Dolon checked the dashboard. There was an embedded GPS with an electronic map that showed the car’s location and the direction needed to travel to reach the nearest recognized road. Currently, the GPS was requesting an address. “Hey,” asked Dolon, turning around, “What’s the address of the place where-?”

He broke off. Amphinomus and Camilla were locked in a passionate kiss on the back seat.

Camilla caught him staring. “What are you, in high school? Get back to driving!” she snapped, eyes flashing.

Dolon quickly turned around.

Achates, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, leaned over. “Yeah, it’s kinda awkward, we just ignore them.”

Dolon nodded. Achates typed the address into the GPS.

“Ah coulda done it!” piped up Hippolytes. He was wedged between Achates and Dolon, but couldn’t see over the dashboard.

Dolon decided to hazard a question. “Hippolytes, are you a MacLee?”

“Aye, that I am!” bounced Hippolytes proudly. “Stetson MacLee, and a damn good one, too!”

“What’s special about being a MacLee?” asked Achates.

“The MacLee family is famous for producing some of the finest bodyguards in the world,” said Dolon. “Dr. Winters was always complaining that he couldn’t afford to hire one to protect him.”

Achates looked at Hippolytes. “Why aren’t you a bodyguard?”

“Ah was, bu’ I got fired.”

“Why?”

“Master insult’d my height, so I killed ‘im,” Hippolytes said, with a completely straight face. “Nobody would hire me aftar that.”

Achates looked surprised. “I didn’t know any of that.”

“There’s a lot ye don’t know about me!” Hippolytes rounded on Achates. “Wha’ about you, eh? Feel like telling me every li’l thing about your?”

“Let’s change the subject,” said Achates. “Dolon, how did you impress Branston with your scouting abilities that he promoted you to DS-1? That’s really hard to do.”

“Dr. Winters has been working on building defense turrets to protect Lab 101’s perimeter, and he’d use me to test them. I’d have to try and get past his turrets into the perimeter, but if they saw me, they’d shoot me with electrified rounds.”

“Ouch.”

“Yeah.”

Many hours later, they pulled up at SORA Gas & Electric. It was a small network of warehouses, on an icy shore next to the ocean.

“We’re here,” announced Dolon, looking behind him. The rest of the team had fallen asleep during the long drive.

They piled out of the car and viewed the solemn factory.

This is Dragonstorm’s primary energy provider?” asked Protesilaus incredulously.

“What were you expecting, Pacific Bell?” shot back Camilla. “There aren’t many places that will do business with an illegal organization.”

“Camilla, you’re the only one of us that has been here before,” said Amphinomus. “Does anything seem out of the ordinary?”

Camilla cocked her head. “Well, it is quieter, and less crowded than I expected. That might just be due to the early morning.”

“Nevertheless, weapons on standby. We’re going to try and keep this diplomatic, and on good terms.”

They walked toward the first warehouse. Two armed guards were standing beside the entrance.

<Okay, there were not armed guards last time,> Camilla told the group.

The first guard held up his hand. “Relinquish your weapons,” he ordered.

“We are representatives from Dragonstorm, we just want to speak to the CEO,” explained Amphinomus.

“Relinquish your weapons.”

“We’re on the same side,” protested Amphinomus. “We wouldn’t cause an ally any harm.”

The guard stared silently back.

Amphinomus sighed. <Relinquish your weapons.>

<What? No!> Protesilaus objected. <Screw that!>

<Protes, just do it. I’m the leader here.>

Protesilaus attempted to object, but once everyone else had complied he grudgingly followed suit.

The guards began patting everyone down nevertheless.

“I didn’t have any weapons to begin with!” protested Achates, who was chosen to go first.

The guard withdrew a micropistol from a pouch on his belt.

“I still had that?” said, Achates, amazed, as the guard pocketed it. “I didn’t know I still…how long has that thing been in there?”

Camilla was purring as the other guard started on her. The guard didn’t react, but Dolon looked away.

Two grenades and a knife were confiscated from Protesilaus, who was scowling the entire time.

When they finally were let through, Amphinomus asked, <Did anyone manage to sneak anything through?>

<Are you kidding me?> burst out Protesilaus. <Between Achates acting like a moron and Camilla getting off on it like it was a massage, I’m surprised they didn’t strip-search us.>

<In my defense,> noted Achates, <I completely forgot I had that thing.>

<They got me primary rifle, but Ah still have the disassembled secondary in various pockets,> reported Hippolytes.

<Good,> said Amphinomus. They’d reached the CEO’s door. The name on the door was Gilead Conch. <Hippo, you go in first.>

Hippolytes pushed the door open and looked around cautiously. <No immediate threats.>

The team filed into Conch’s office.
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Serris
Posted: Jul 1 2010, 03:19 PM


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Mmm. I am starting to like this. A slow start but I can see action heating up real soon.

One question, none of DS-1 are Humans, right?

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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Jul 1 2010, 03:23 PM


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Achates and Amphinomus are human.

Amphinomus: human (I had him as a duck for a while, but he kept doing things a duck couldn't really do, like hold stuff)
Camilla: jaguar
Protesilaus: platypus
Achates: human
Hippolytus: Snowshoe Hare
Dolon: Siamese cat
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Jul 3 2010, 08:40 PM


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The only piece of furniture was a large wooden desk, with a dim lamp that didn’t illuminate the corners of the room. A giant block of coral sat behind it.

The team stood silently for several minutes, trading glances.

Finally, Amphinomus asked tentatively, “Mr. Conch?”

The coral sat there.

“Is that him?” whispered Achates.

“I…guess so.” Amphinomus looked around. He didn’t see anything else.

“Uhhh…how does he…?”

“He doesn’t,” a voice echoed from the shadows of the far corner. A lean dragon in a crisp gray suit appeared. “All dealing and day-to-day transactions go through me.”

The dragon paced coolly around the room, coming to stop beside the block of coral. He struck an imposing glance at the visitors. “You may call me Sir Beys.”

Amphinomus hesitantly made eye contact. “My name is Commander Amphinomus. I’m the leader of DS-1.”

“Go home. We don’t want you here.”

Amphinomus stood his ground. “SORA used to be very cooperative with Dragonstorm, and our relationship has profited both parties. We were curious why you suddenly wanted nothing to do with us.”

“We do not have to rationalize our business decisions,” Sir Beys said simply. “This is your last chance to leave, before I have you escorted from the premises.”

<Can I just shoot him?> asked Protesilaus.

<No! We’re going for peaceful and diplomatic!>

Amphinomus put on a friendly smile to Sir Beys. “Where is DS-4? They visited two weeks ago.”

“They never arrived. Something must have happened en route.”

<You’ve got ten seconds before I shoot him,> informed Protesilaus.

<I thought you were unarmed! And I’m in charge here!> Amphinomus rubbed his temples.

Sir Beys cocked his head to one side. “Something wrong, commander?”

<Three…two…one…>

Suddenly someone knocked Amphinomus to the ground. “Look out!” Hippolytes yelled.

An autoturret bolt shot from the darkened corner, obliterating the spot where Amphinomus was just standing.

Hippolytes rolled for cover so that Conch’s desk was between him and the turret. He quickly began piecing together his rifle.

Dolon broke for the exit. Amphinomus saw Sir Beys retreat back into the shadows.

Achates made to follow Dolon, but a burst of fire forced him to retreat back into the room. “Dammit!” he yelled.

Hippolytes was halfway done with his rifle when the turret fired through Mr. Conch and his desk, shattering both to splinters and sending Hippolytes sprawling with a cry.

Camilla rolled and came up beside him, checking his pulse.

Amphinomus glanced at the door. <It’s too late, Camilla! Run!>

The team burst out into the hallway, auto fire on their heels.

“That bastard!” Protesilaus exclaimed. “I knew I shoulda shot him!” He had a pistol out.

“How did you sneak that past the guards?” asked Amphinomus.

“You don’t want to know.”

“Ampy,” Camilla interrupted. “It’s about Hippo. He’s alive. I got a pulse; it’s faint, but there.”

Amphinomus looked back at the closed door. <Hippolytes, can you hear me?>

<…>

He received…something. Not actual speech. But it was enough.

“We have to get back in there and rescue Hippo.”

“That auto turret is looking right at the door,” interrupted Achates. “If we so much as turn the handle, it’ll gun as all down.”

“And there are autoturrets in every corner,” mentioned Dolon. “I saw them when gunfire lit up the room.”

Amphinomus thought. “There must be more than one way into the room. Sir Beys needed a way to get in and out without being seen.”

“Even if we find another way in, we can’t take four autoturrets with only one pistol,” reminded Camilla.

“We need technical backup,” agreed Achates.

“No, we need our weapons back so we can kill everybody,” countered Protesilaus.

“You’re all right,” Amphinomus cut in. “Achates, Dolon, attempt to locate the security feed room for this base. Protes, cover them. Camilla and I will attempt to get our weapons back.”

“Why can’t I get our guns back?” whined Protesilaus.

“Because you’re the only one armed right now, and the security feeds are currently our top priority. If we can turn the turrets off rather than fighting them, it’ll make things a lot easier.”

“The security room is in the next building over, top floor,” said Camilla. “I visited it last time.”

“Shouldn’t Camilla cover us?” asked Dolon. “Since she knows where it is?”

Everybody stared at him.

<Camilla always goes with Ampy,> Achates told Dolon privately.

<Oh.> “Uh, never mind then.”

The team split up and went their separate ways.


This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Jul 3 2010, 09:11 PM
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Serris
Posted: Jul 3 2010, 08:56 PM


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Nice, action's heating up!

Wait, is that block of coral an actual character? Because coral in the DS'verse is non-anthro.
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Jul 5 2010, 05:37 PM


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The coral will be explained later in the story, but for the time being, yes, that block of coral is named Gilead Conch, and officially holds the position of CEO.

---------------------------------

Amphinomus and Camilla crept back into the first room. It was a lofty hangar, with several trucks parked in rows.

The guards were facing the other direction, looking out into the barren landscape. A chilling wind wafted through the wind.

<You take the left one, I’ve got the right,> sent Camilla.

Amphinomus nodded. Both crept closer.

Suddenly both guard’s radios beeped. “The Dragonstorm team has escaped. Be on the lookout and shoot on sight.”

Both guards turned around. Amphinomus and Camilla darted for cover, but Camilla tripped over a tool kit on the ground.

The guards opened fire. Camilla rolled for cover.

<Distract them!> she hissed.

<How?>

<Just do it!>

With his elbow, Amphinomus smashed the side window of the truck he was behind. There was no real reason for him to do this, but it caught their attention.

Gunfire ricocheted past his truck. The antenna was severed, and clattered to the ground next to him. He snatched it up.

He heard the guards split up to circle the car. Leaping up for a second, he stabbed the face of the guard circling around the hood. The guard cried out, clutching his hands to his face.

Amphinomus darted back down, reached his hand through the shattered window, unlocked the door and slipped into the truck. Scrambling to the other side, he flung the door open and caught the wounded guard in the back. He then rolled under the truck. <That long enough for you?>

<Yep.> A truck some ways away suddenly flared to life, and came roaring in his direction. Amphinomus scrambled out of the way just in time as Camilla barreled both trucks into the hapless guards.

Amphinomus got to his feet. “Camilla! Are you okay?”

The door to the less damaged truck swung open, and Camilla smiled out at him. “ ‘Okay’?” She extricated herself from the twisted metal. “It makes me sad we can’t do this more often.” She looked at the smoking wreck. “You know, usually we…celebrate…particularly daring stunts like that.” She flashed her eyes coyly. “There’s no one around…”

He shook his head. “There will be soon.” He checked the corpses. “And unfortunately none of the equipment is salvageable. Except…” He dug Achates’ minipistol out. “Forty shots. No reloads. But that’s something.”

“If you say so.” She seemed a little miffed that he had rebuked her.

“We’ve got to keep moving; Hippo is dying, remember?” He cocked the minipistol. “I hope the others were more successful then we were.”

* * *

“I told you she should have come with us! We have no clue where we’re going!” Achates griped.

“Technically, I was the one who said that,” reminded Dolon.

“Oh yeah. Well, I was thinking it!”

Achates, Dolon, and Protesilaus were running down the umpteenth hallway, and there was still no sign of a security feed room. There also, thankfully, had not been any personnel.

“All right,” panted Achates finally, coming to a stop once yet another hallway proved to be a dead end. “I say at this point, we break into a room and see if I can find something in the computer database. There must be a map or something in there.”

“What if there’s somebody in the room we pick?”

“We shoot them,” said Protesilaus.

Or, we pretend we’re totally supposed to be here and ask for directions,” stressed Achates.

Protesilaus nodded. “And then we shoot them.”

Achates walked to the nearest door and tried it. “Locked.” He turned around. “There was an office door propped open a few hallways back. Let’s head in that direction, so we can guarantee that eventually—”

Protesilaus kicked the door down.

“You idiot!” snapped Achates. “What if someone heard that?”

Protesilaus cocked his ear. None of the other doors opened. “Guess they didn’t.” He led the way into the room.

It was a generic office. A nice desk with a slightly out-of-date computer. Achates sat down and powered it up. “Give me five minutes.”

Ten minutes later, Protesilaus got impatient. “Hurry up, Achates!”

“Hey, I didn’t ask you to just sit there and do nothing!” Achates snapped back. “Why don’t you check the file cabinets or something?”

Protesilaus grunted and walked out of the room.

Dolon slid the cabinet open and rifled through the papers. After a moment, he noticed something really odd. “These papers are all dated from a couple months ago. There’s nothing recent at all.”

Achates finally found some blue prints. “Here’s something.” He printed the document, and scanned through it. “Hm. Looks like we went too far before ducking into hallways. It actually wasn’t far from our original location.”

“Let’s not tell Camilla about this.” Dolon crossed back into the hallway. “Protes, we’re moving out—“ He broke off. “Where’s Protes?”


This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Jul 8 2010, 03:34 AM
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Serris
Posted: Jul 7 2010, 11:23 PM


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Nice! I have to admit you have a knack for writing rather...unconventional battle scenes.

I happen to like Camilla, the classic femme fatale. Hippolytes (Stetson MacLee) is well, interesting (sociopathic is more like it).
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Jul 16 2010, 05:56 PM


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I like unusual fight scenes. They add variety to what could otherwise become repetitive shootouts. (side note: Pavlov's Checkmate was written entirely because I thought, "I wonder what it would happen if two people have a knife fight in a wormhole?")
__________________________________
Amphinomus and Camilla were continuing onward. They’d found a locker room and changed into SORA uniforms. “The security room is up ahead,” said Camilla.

They reached it, and peered in. A moose guard was on duty.

<Bathroom ploy?> Eurylochus asked.

Amphinomus nodded. The bathroom ploy was something Camilla and Protesilaus liked to do. He only tolerated it because of its success rate.

Rather than being sneaky, Camilla opened the door and walked right towards the guard. “Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?”

The guard started to turn around, but before he did Camilla snapped his neck. She grinned happily as the body hit the floor. “I love doing that. The last thing ever hear is my sweet, sweet voice.”

Amphinomus walked in and sat down. “I wonder why Achates and the others aren’t here yet.”

Camilla sighed. “They’re men. They can never follow directions. I had hoped the new kid at least would have some navigational sense.”

Amphinomus viewed the security cameras. He spotted Conch’s office on one of the monitors. “There it is. Dolon was right; there are two autoturrets guarding both entrances. Once Achates gets here, he can turn them off.”

“Do you see that Sir Beys guy?”

Amphinomus scanned the monitors. “No. He must be avoiding the cameras in case we get a hold of them.”

“Which we did,” Camilla sniffled. “I really want to kill that guy. He seems to be the person responsible for everything that’s happened here. He’s caused much more trouble than he’s worth.”

Amphinomus opened the personnel file. “I’m curious what position Sir Beys actually holds.” He found the first page, and skimmed it quickly. “Not this page. Odd, they’re ranked hierarchically; I assumed he’d be near the top.” He tried to click to the next page, and found that there wasn’t one. “There’s only one page of employees!”

Camilla leaned over. “That’s only about twenty people. What happened to the hundreds of workers that were here when I last visited?”

“And Sir Beys’ name isn’t on the roster,” Amphinomus murmured, repeatedly hitting “tab” to guarantee he didn’t miss a link to further pages. “One thing’s for sure; with only 17 workers, SORA Gas & Electric is definitely not providing gas or electricity.”

He suddenly heard a noise behind him. “ ‘Scuse me, where’s the bathroom?”

Camilla replied with a spinning kick which knocked the pistol out of Protesilaus’ hand, followed by a judo chop to the forehead. “Don’t attack!” she hissed, “It’s us!”

Protesilaus cradled his head. “Was the second bit necessary?” he groaned, staying on the ground.

“Where are Achates and Dolon?” asked Amphinomus, turning around.

“Ditched ‘em. They were wasting time.”

“Where? We need Achates here.”

“Dunno. Some hallway. That way.” Protesilaus pointed his thumb in the direction he came from.

Amphinomus swiveled his head to the monitors. “There they are.”

The pair were walking down a hallway. Achates had a printout in his hand, and was leading.

“Where are they going?” asked Camilla. “This security room is the other way.”

“Dunno, but they aren’t alone.” Protesilaus pointed at the adjacent camera. “Look.”

Sir Beys was a hallway behind, creeping silently after the two. He was armed.


This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Jul 16 2010, 06:08 PM
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Jul 20 2010, 12:57 PM


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“Where are we going? The security room is the other way,” asked Dolon.

“I recognize this name,” said Achates. “Kenneth Palin. He was at Lab 101 for a while, so he should be Dragonstorm. Maybe he can explain what was going on.”

They reached Kenneth’s room. Dolon peeked through the door. “Hello? Mr. Palin? Are you here?”

A young wiry man looked up in surprise. “Hello?”

Dolon and Achates walked in. “Hi,” said Achates. “We need some help. You don’t know us, but we’re Dragonstorm—”

“Keep your voice down!” hissed Kenneth. He looked frightened at the door. “I’m not Dragonstorm any more! I’ve given up my old ways.”

“So you’d rather be tortured for information rather than give it willingly?” Achates asked coldly. He grabbed a stapler off the desk and brandished it menacingly.

Kenneth put his hands defensively in front of his face. “Wait, don’t! You don’t understand! This is not a Dragonstorm base anymore. He got rid of all that?”

Achates lowered the stapler. “Who?”

“Beys.” Kenneth shuddered. “When the Dragonstorm-sympathizing CEO disappeared, he was replaced by an invalid, whom Sir Beys was personal assistant of. He quickly started firing everyone with Dragonstorm ties and running the company into the ground. I convinced him to let me stay because he needed an accountant and I hadn’t really done anything for Dragonstorm yet—” Kenneth looked past them and paled.

Sir Beys was standing in the doorway, brandishing a long, slender rifle Dolon didn’t recognize.

<What is that?> he asked Achates, as he retreated to the far wall.

<An experimental electric rifle! They made that at the Pelvanida Research Base!> exclaimed Acahtes, doing likewise.

Sir Beys let loose a crackling beam of lightning from the rifle barrel, which bore into Kenneth’s chest. The man convulsed, eyes wide, and fell backwards in his chair.

Dolon and Achates barreled out the back entrance of the office. “What are we going to do?” cried Dolon.

“I’m okay with what we’re doing right now!” replied Achates. They darted around another corner. Behind them, they heard Sir Beys kick the back door to Kenneth’s office open. An arc of electricity hit Dolon as he turned the corner, sending him skidding with a cry.

<Dolon!>

Achates came to a stop, but Dolon staggered to his feet. <I’m all right! Keep moving!>

<That was a lethal dose of electricity!> expressed Achates disbelievingly as they kept running. <You saw what it did to Kenneth! Why aren’t you dead, much less moving?>

<Remind me to thank Dr. Winters for testing all those security turrets on me!>

They darted through a few more hallways, but Sir Beys couldn’t be far behind.

<Wait!> yelled Dolon suddenly, coming to a screeching halt. Achates crashed into him. Dolon pointed at an open maintenance hatch in the ceiling. “Get up there!”

Achates hoisted Dolon up, and with effort Dolon found himself in the storage floor of the building. Below him, Achates was trying to get up, but he was too heavy.

“Sorry, but I’ve got to go!” Achates continued running down the hallway.

Dolon looked around the storage floor. There were no hallways or offices on this floor, just one very large dusty room full of debris. He could see a window near his position. <Achates! Take a left, then a right!>

After a few seconds, <I did! What?>

<A window! Get out of there!>

<We’re on the second floor!>

<Aim for a snow bank!> Crawling to the window, Dolon peered down, and saw that this side of the factory looked out on a snowy beach.

Suddenly a stapler shattered through the window below, followed shortly after by Achates himself, who hit the downward-sloping snow tumbling, and rolled until he was buried in snow and sand.

<That’s it, now stay under the snow!> Dolon urged.

Sir Beys appeared at the window below, peering inquisitively at the cold Alaskan beach. Luckily, it wasn’t immediately clear where Achates had gone.

Achates was thinking off an unrelenting stream of obscenities, all of which seemed to revolve around how cold the snow was. Dolon rubbed his forehead.

Finally, Sir Beys left the window, and Dolon burst out, <Achates! You can come out!>

Achates staggered out of the snow, brushing furiously. <Jeesus that was cold,> he griped. <Can you stutter in thought-speak? I’m stuttering right now!>

<Are you okay?>

<I don’t think ‘okay,’ is the right word for what I am right now.>

<But you aren’t injured?>

<Still trying to determine.> Achates was stumbling towards the factory. <Right now getting out of the snow is my first priority.>

<Hang on, I’ll reach the first floor and get you back inside!> Dolon crawled around, looking for another maintenance hatch to climb down.

He was startled when Amphinomus cut in. <What in the world was all that swearing about? Who was that?>
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Serris
Posted: Jul 21 2010, 12:33 AM


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Oh this looks interesting. I noticed that the plot is slightly reminescent of Fools Gold but reversed.
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Serris
Posted: Aug 17 2010, 11:12 AM


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So any updates coming on this story?

And I just noticed that "Sir Beys" is an anagram of "Siberys"! Was that intentional or just a coincidence?

In any case, a rather cool sidenote.
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Sep 9 2010, 01:51 AM


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Actually, they are intended to be the same character in-yes.gif. In the third RP, Siberys made mention to temporarily working for a power plant in Alaska. I wanted to show Siberys fighting Dragonstorm, since he was the only main character who (I thought) was going to miss out on the RP.

________________________________

After filling Amphinomus on the situation, Dolon switched back to Achates. <Still okay?>

Achates had stumbled back to the base, and was leaning on the back entrance to the base. <It’s still freezing. Get down here and let me back in!>

Dolon suddenly cocked his ear. He heard Sir Beys’ heavy footsteps stop somewhere further down.

<Achates, hold on. I’m going to check something.>

Dolon crept over to where Sir Beys had stopped walking. Quietly and carefully, he lifted the floor up and peeked into the room.

It was an office, very Spartan, with little more than a desk. There wasn’t even a computer. Sir Beys crossed to one of the walls and pressed various patches of felt. The wall clicked, revealing a secret closet, and Sir Beys put the electric rifle away. Dolon saw other items in the closet, none of them normal-looking.

<What is it?> Achates snapped angrily.

<Shh!> Dolon watched as Sir Beys crossed to his desk, and sat down. Dolon was right above him.

Sir Beys opened a drawer, and took out a personnel roster for a military base. He started flipping through it.

<Sir Beys is in his office>, reported Dolon, <looking at some personnel files.>

<Who cares? Let’s get out of this area!>

<Hold on, I’ve got to try something.> Silently putting the ceiling panel back, Dolon crept with catlike tread over to the spot where the closet had been. He removed another floor panel. A dark recess stared back at him.

Good thing cats have good night vision, Dolon thought, dropping down delicately onto the closet floor.

He saw the rifle on the wall and hefted it. It was surprisingly heavy. He pushed it onto the top floor to retrieve later. He glanced at the other items to see if anything else was worth carrying.

<Achates, I’m in Sir Beys’ secret closet, and there are some things in here I don’t recognize.>

<Describe them.>

Dolon squinted at a thin pad on a pedestal. <Handheld screen of some sort. Yellow or blue tinted. Don’t see any buttons or anything.>

<Beats me. That description isn’t ringing any bells.>

<Okay, a reflective donut-shaped thing with a handle, lever, and trigger?>

<I’m having a hard time even picturing that one.>

<How about a large metal backpack with a pull cord?>

<Hmmm. Are there openings on all sides? And is it circular?>

<Yeah.>

Achates inhaled excitedly. <I know what that is! Take that! Take that!>

Dolon tried to lift it, and unwittingly groaned. <It weighs a ton.>

<It’s no heavier than a basic military backpack,> Achates corrected.

<Yeah, and those are pretty damn heavy!> Dolon put the backpack on and tried to heave himself out of the closet. <I’m sorry Achates, but I can’t take this with me. It’s too weighted; I can’t get back up to the roof.>

Suddenly he heard movement in the office. He froze.

<That device is a Portable Layered-Plating Dome Shield, or PLPDS. It’s more colloquial name is Thor’s Iris. Pulling the cord will extend a ring of overlapping plates that curve into a dense hemisphere, like the iris of an eye. It can deflect bullets, flames, missiles, and withstand terminal velocity impact. It even blocks radio waves.>

Dolon peeked out of the closet. <Well, I don’t need it now; Sir Beys has left his office.>

<Who cares if we need it; bring it back to Dragonstorm! There are only a few of those in existence; they cost a fortune to make.>

<Alright…fine,> Dolon sighed, resolving to ask Amphinomus about the Iris. Tucking the pad and the donut thing into his belt, Dolon crept into the office and escaped into the hallway.

<Amphinomus, come in.>

<I read you, Dolon.>

<Sir, I’ve located Sir Berys’ office. I found an electric rifle, but I pushed it into the space above the office and was unable to retrieve it because I put on a Thor’s Iris.>

<You found a Thor’s Iris? Hold onto it! Those things are worth more than a mint Stradivarius!>

<I know, Achates already told me.>

<What are you doing now?>

<Going to let Achates back into the building. We barely escaped Sir Beys alive.>

<We know; we saw on the security cameras. We need Achates here to shut down the auto turrets in Mr. Conch’s office.>

<I’ll pick him up and head for the security room.>

<Try to actually find it this time!> Camilla interjected acidly.

Amphinomus continued. <We’ll head for the floor above Sir Beys’ office and retrieve the rifle. Camilla has an idea what to do with it.>

* * *


“I do?” asked Camilla.

Ampy glanced over. “Sure you do. I saw your eyes light up when he mentioned it.”

Camilla smiled coyly. “Well, I did have a vague notion…”

“I hate your ideas,” groaned Protesilaus. “They never work—”

“It involves blowing up the base,” finished Camilla.

“…but that’s not reason not to try!” Protesilaus quickly amended. “Let’s go get that rifle!”

Amphinomus printed out a map from the computer. The path to Sir Beys’ office was highlighted. Before he left, he used some string and set a trap so the next person to open the door will get a knife to the chest. <Achates, when Dolon gets you, head for the security room Don’t stand directly in front of the door when you open it.>

With that, the three headed for Sir Beys’ office.


This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Sep 14 2010, 07:36 PM
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Sep 12 2010, 06:55 PM


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Dolon continued down the hallway. <Achates, are you near the entrance?>

<Yes, right outside. Hurry up! It’s cold!>

<It’s not much better in here,> Dolon noted, starting to lightly walk down the hallway.

<There’s no wind in there!> Achates complained. <And easy for you to say, you’ve got a fur coat and->

<Shh!> Dolon stopped. He had been about to turn a corner, but he thought he heard a noise.

He froze at the area right before the next hallway, a T-junction. If someone was in the next hallway, Dolon didn’t want to continue. Can he risk peeking around the corner? If a guard saw him, he wouldn’t put up much of a fight alone and unarmed.

With no other options, he checked the items tucked into his belt. It’s possible the donut thing was a weapon of sorts. If he turns the corner, he’ll find out.

Achates was waiting for him. Dolon gripped the donut tightly and swung around the corner.

A guard had been standing, facing Dolon. When he saw him, he gave a shout and came running. Dolon pointed the donut at him and fired.

The donut pulsed in his hand, and the guard stumbled as if hit with an invisible force, but came running. Dolon realized that the device had some sort of repelling/attracting ability, but it wasn’t strong enough.

With seconds to go, he cast his eyes around and pointed at the only other notable thing in the hallway; the light switch, about ten feet away. Focusing the donut on the switch, Dolon flicked the light off.

The guard cried out in surprise. Dolon flattened himself against the wall as the guard raced by. Sticking his foot out, he sent the guard somersaulting into the far wall, which he hit headfirst with a thud and crumbled to the ground.

Dolon paused for a moment to catch his breath. He couldn’t risk everything like that again. He needed to know for sure what each of his tools did.

After stumbling down the hall and flicking the light back on, Dolon took out the handheld pad and looked at it. Like Achates said, there didn’t seem to be any speakers, so it probably didn’t make noise. He cautiously turned it on.

The pad showed the area just ahead of him. Dolon rolled an embedded scroll ball under the screen, and to his surprise saw the view on the screen move around the hallway.

After some experimentation, Dolon figured out that the device was designed to show the user things coming from their peripherals and blind spots. This allowed it to see around corners without exposing the user.

Well, that would have been nice to know five minutes ago, he thought derisively to himself.

From then on out, he used the device to peek around corners as he moved on. Several times, the device warned him of a guard around the next corner, forcing him to backtrack and find a new route around.

<Where the hell are you?> Achates angrily asked him once, causing him to jump.

<There are a bunch of guards. I keep having to backtrack.>

<There can’t be that many! Go faster!>

<There are! I’ve seen like fifteen-> Dolon broke off. Now that he thought about it, he’d only seen around three guards, but they kept appearing in different hallways.

He thought back on his movements from Sir Beys’ office to where he was now. They’re hemming me in, he realized. They know where I am, and they’re trapping me on the far side of this building.

He ducked into the first room and looked around for anything that might help him. He wished he’d thought to grab the weapon from the first guard, but he wasn’t sure he could beat three guards in hand-to-hand combat.

<Achates, I’ve been cornered by three guards. I’m in a lab on the far side of the building, and I have a pad that lets me see around corners and the tractor/repulsor, which is essentially a gravity gun. Do you have any advice?>

<No…wait, you’re on the far side of the building? How the hell did you wind up over there?>

Dolon ignored him. Looking around the room, he made a mental note of the heavy objects in vulnerable places. A globe sat on top of a tall file cabinet near the far wall, and a large analog clock hung from a nail behind the desk. If he were lucky, he could get two guards that way. But there were three.

Opening the desk, Dolon rifled around until he found a letter opener, which gave him an idea. Sprinting to the door, he hastily cut free the square of carpet in front of the door, and put it back in place. As he did this, he heard footsteps approaching his position.

He dove behind the desk and positioned his pad so that he could watch the door.

Two guards pushed the door open and walked in. They were followed a few seconds later by the third.

Once the last guard had a single foot on the loose square of carpet, Dolon fired his repulsor and pulled the carpet out from under the guard, sending him tumbling. Both of the other guards looked around the room, but Dolon was safe behind the desk.

Then he turned the pad to focus on the globe, and used the repulsor to send it crashing into the second guard’s head.

The fallen guard got back to his feet as the first guard took cover behind a desk. Dolon pulled the clock off the wall and spent it frisbeeing at the third guard. It glanced off his shoulder and sent his rifle skittering out of his grasp. Dolon pulled the rifle to him and started shooting. He succeeded only in hitting the guard who was already down, but he forced the others to duck for cover as he barreled out of the room.

He reached the hallway and kept running. Two more guards were turning the corner, and fired at him.

He burst through the next door, and found himself in a long, circular room with no exits. He recalled Camilla mentioning that SORA used to be an automobile testing site. This had been the wind tunnel.

There were more guards at the other end. They saw him and snapped their rifles up.

<Amphinomus, Achates, anyone on DS-1, I’m trapped in a wind tunnel, under heavy fire. Please help!>

With seconds to go, Dolon pulled the tab on the Iris and hit the ground. A series of plates shot out from behind him, covering him in a large semi-circular dome, and almost immediately bullets began pinging off both sides.


***
Amphinomus, Camilla, and Protesilaus had reached the storage floor and had retrieved the rifle when they received the message.

“I guess we can safely assume that Dolon failed in reaching either Achates or the security room,” Camilla grumbled.

Amphinomus thought. “We have the electric rifle, now we just have to get to the primary generator.”

“Achates is already safe outside the base,” Camilla noted.

“Yeah, who cares about the new guy?” Protesilaus shrugged. “It’s his own damn fault, the trouble he’s in right now. Ignore him, let’s blow this base up, and we’ll get a new FNG when we return to base.”

Amphinomus shook his head. “No. We’re not just going to abandon one of our teammates. We’re rescuing Dolon, then moving on to the primary generator.”

“You don’t know him nothing!” protested Protesilaus. “We’re short on time, you said so yourself!”

Camilla said nothing, but it was clear she sided with Protesilaus.

“Protes, you’re coming with me just because I don’t want you running off and doing something stupid. Camilla, get to Achates’ position, let him back in the building, and try to link up with us.”

Both of them nodded unwillingly. Camilla darted down one hallway, and Amphinomus led Protesilaus toward the last registered location of Dolon.


This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Sep 14 2010, 07:39 PM
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Serris
Posted: Sep 14 2010, 12:20 AM


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I like this. Like I said, the fight scenes here are unconventional.

Also, repulsor device reminds me of Half-Life's gravity gun.
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Sep 14 2010, 08:06 PM


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That was my inspiration for creating the device. I originally thought it was too cliche to just mimic a gun that I liked from a video game, but then I thought, if Neku gets lightsabers, I can have a gravity gun.

In other news, this story will conclude with the next post!

-------------------------------------------

<Dolon, this is Ampy. Please be more specific as to your location; we never encountered a wind tunnel.>

Dolon didn’t respond.

<Dolon?>

“Guess the guards got him,” said Protesilaus. He made to go back.

Amphinomus stopped him. “If Dolon is hiding under the Iris, he wouldn’t be able to contact us by thought-speak. The Iris blocks all out-going signals. We need another way to get directions.”

As they walked, they ran into a guard, who raised his rifle.

<Incapacitate him, don’t kill him!>

Protesilaus moved his gun barrel down a fraction of a degree and blasted the guard’s rifle instead of his chest.

Amphinomus held his knife to the man’s throat. “Which way to the wind tunnel?” he demanded.

The guard looked nervous, but he bravely held his tongue.

“Is it up ahead? To the left? To the right?”

Amphinomus noticed the guard break eye contact and his eyelid flickered for a split second after Amphinomus said ‘left.’

“It’s to the left.” Amphinomus knocked the guard out with the flat end of the knife and stood up. “Let’s go.”

Protesilaus took a second to shoot the guard in the chest before following.

Before long they heard gunfire up ahead.

<Dolon must still be alive. Start on the ones closest to us,> ordered Amphinomus, <I’m doubling around to hit the ones further away.>

Amphinomus split up from Protesilaus and ran past the wind tunnel. He saw a number of guards inching carefully towards an extended Thor’s Iris. Abandoning his previous plan, he smashed the glass with the barrel of his electric rifle and blasted the nearest guard. The electricity transferred to the two guards nearest him, and all three fell with a cry. The remaining guards retreated out of the wind tunnel, but Amphinomus already heard Protesilaus’ pistol fire finishing of the guards to one side.

He finished his sprint and burst into the room leading into the tunnel. With a single blast, he shocked every guard in the room, and after a few seconds was the only man standing.

He advanced into the wind tunnel, and saw Protesilaus coming from the other direction, pistol out. “You done with your side?” Protesilaus called over.

“Yup.”

“Well so am I.” Protesilaus checked his cartridge angrily. “I’m also out of bullets.”

Amphinomus drew Achates’ micropistol and tossed it to him.

The Iris started collapsing in front of them, and Dolon got to his knees, gasping and covered with sweat. “Thanks guys,” he managed to say. “I thought I was dead there for a minute.”

Amphinomus started to help him recollapse the Iris. “We’re a team. We come back for our teammates.”

Dolon shook his head. “I can’t hear you right now,” he admitted. My ears are ringing.”

<Consider yourself lucky we went to so much trouble rescuing you,> Protesilaus grumbled. <We have a job to do.>

<This was a good thing, in a way,> mentioned Amphinomus. <The number of guards we just incapacitated, plus the kills from before, equals the number of personnel I counted on the roster. The base should be practically abandoned now, making our job that much easier.>

<What’s our job now?> asked Dolon.

<We need to get to the primary generator and use this electric rifle to overload it, and cause an explosion that will destroy the base.> Amphinomus told him. <If it’s fallen out of our hands, Dragonstorm won’t want it to remain standing.>

Dolon nodded. <To the primary generator, then.>

--------------------------------

Camilla trudged alone through the Alaskan wilderness. The tall metallic sides of the warehouse were to her left, the icy snow to her right.

She heard Achates over the thought channel. <So, apparently you’re rescuing me now? Any reason you’re taking as long as Dolon had?>

<Be quiet. I found the first open door and from there I’ve traced my way around the building. Thought it’d be more straightforward than winding my way through the maze inside.>

<If you say so, though I suppose that means I’ll have to hike through the snow longer.>

<Be glad you’re getting in at all. I could be killing guards and blowing things up right now.>

After another minute, Camilla found Achates shivering in the fetal position outside the door. “Get up. Let’s go. Any actual physical problems, other than being cold?”

“It doesn’t get more physical than cold!”

They’d reached Camilla’s exiting door. Camilla turned the handle. It didn’t budge.

“The door only opens from the inside‽!” exclaimed Achates incredulously. “You didn’t check for that before going through it‽”

“I did, you idiot! Somebody’s locked us out!”

“Why, praytell, would someone bother to do that?”

“You could ask him.”

“What?” Achates looked through the window. Sir Beys stared back at him. He nodded once.

Achates drew back. “What the hell is…?”

Camilla looked through the window. “He’s gone. And now we’re locked out here.”


This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Dec 7 2010, 03:45 PM
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Serris
Posted: Sep 14 2010, 09:38 PM


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Ah yeah! Cliffhanger!

Will this play into the RP or no?
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Sep 14 2010, 09:42 PM


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Well, I actually was going to talk to you about that, after the story concludes there was something I thought we could do with one of the items. Tomorrow, when I post the conclusion, I'll PM you with my idea.

This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Sep 14 2010, 09:51 PM
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LettuceBacon&Tomato
Posted: Sep 15 2010, 08:46 PM


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Aaaaaaaand...the conclusion!

-----------------

“How do we do this thing?” asked Protesilaus, cocking his head curiously at the control panel.

<Thought speak, please use thought speak,> Dolon asked, rubbing his ears.

The three were standing in front of the primary generator, staring at the control panel. The generator was tall enough to reach two floors, and they were on the rafters of the higher floor.

<This was Camilla’s idea, she should be here doing this,> Protesilaus complained. <Or Achates, the tech guy.>

<I’m just as qualified as either of them.> Amphinomus studied the panel, and pried a panel off. <There. We set off some sort of explosive device here, and it’ll expose the energy chamber. A strong burst of electricity will start to overload the generator, but give us enough time to reach the nearest exit.>

Suddenly, they heard the door to the lower floor room open, and saw Sir Beys pace into the room.

<Lemme take this shot,> thought Protesilaus, silently cocking his pistol and aiming.

Amphinomus nodded. <Kill him.>

Suddenly Sir Beys’ head shot up, and his eyes bore into them. <I can hear thought messages too.>

Suddenly the three of them were pulled off the rafter, falling to the lower floor. Dolon, with his catlike reflexes, successfully rolled out the shock, but Protesilaus cried out as his leg bent painfully. He tried to get up but couldn’t.

Amphinomus cast his arm out and grabbed the railing before getting pulled off the rafter, and barely pulled himself back up. Turning around, he saw Sir Beys float up to meet him, landing a meter away, unarmed.

Amphinomus fired with the electric rifle, but Sir Beys pulled it out of his hand and sent it scattering under the control panel. Amphinomus drew his knife and sent it pinwheeling through the air. Sir Beys sent it flying with a flick of his wrist.

“How are you doing this?” grunted Amphinomus, charging forward and taking a swipe.

Sir Beys blocked it with his forearm and smacked Amphinomus in the right cheek with his other. “I was a scientist at the original base where Dragonstorm started. I was experimented on, given powers, and later abandoned and left to fend for myself.”

Dodging a kick, Sir Beys jump-kicked Amphinomus in the chin, sending him tumbling down the stairs leading up the rafters. Backflipping off the rafter, he landed softly a few feet away from Protesilaus.

“I don’t appreciate what was done to me,” he sneered. “So I’m doing my part to end Dragonstorm once and for all.”

Protesilaus drew the micropistol and fired once, twice, three times. Sir Beys held his hand in the air, and the bullets stopped inches away from him, and clattered to the floor. Then he leapt forward, and put all his momentum behind a judo chop to the forehead. Protesilaus crumbled silently.

Dolon made a run for it. Sir Beys waved his hand, and sent Dolon tumbling back to him. Rearing down on him, Sir Beys sent his fist flying at Dolon’s face.

Dolon clicked the repulsor on, and forced the punch back. “Why did you wait until now to use these powers?” asked Dolon, blocking an attempted kick with the repulsor. “You’ve had several opportunities.”

“I recognized one of you from before, and out of respect, waited until they were harm’s way. They are now currently safe outside the building.”

Dolon guessed he meant Camilla, who had been to the facility before. Switching to the offensive, he whipped the repulsor to the left, sending Sir Beys’ arm flailing, and smacking him with a left hook. Amphinomus came up from behind Sir Beys, forcing him into a headlock, and kneed him in the back.

Suddenly Sir Beys spun around, slashing Amphinomus in the face with the claws on his left foot. At the same time, as Amphinomus staggered backward, clutching his face, Beys pulled Protesilaus’ micropistol into his hand and shot him in the arm. Amphinomus fell backwards, landing on Protesilaus.

Sir Beys kept his pistol trained on Dolon. “Bow to me” he ordered, pushing his hand down. Dolon’s head smashed into the floor, and he felt his nose break. Suddenly he felt his head get snapped back up, to see the micropistol cocked, aimed at his head and about to fire.

“Any last words?” the dragon asked.

Suddenly the micropistol was blasted out of Sir Beys hand. Sir Beys and Dolon spun around to look at the rafters.

On the rafter holding his assembled sniper rifle was Hippolytes, wild-eyed and badly bleeding, but standing.

“It’ll take more’n tha’ to bring down a MacLee!”

With that he fired again, but Sir Beys blocked the bullet and sent it flying back at Hippolytes. It shattered the sniper rifle and sent Hippolytes sprawling.

<Hippolytes!> yelled Dolon. <Destroy that control panel!>

<No!> yelled Sir Beys, making a powerful leap that carried him towards the rafters. But it was too late. With the last of his effort, Hippolytes unclipped a grenade from his belt, pulled the pin, and jammed it into the open panel.

A massive electrified explosion burst from the generator, ripping the roof and sending tons of debris raining towards Dolon’s position. The whole building was falling apart.

With seconds to act, Dolon sprinted for Protesilaus’ and Amphinomus’ position, leapt on top of them, and pulled the pin on his backpack.

--------------

Achates and Camilla dug through the remains of SORA Gas & Electric, looking for their team mates. <Ampy, Protes, Dolon, do you hear me?>

<This is Camilla. Achates and I got out of the base in time. Anyone, please respond.>

<How about you, Hippo? Are you in there somewhere?>

“What exactly did they do?” asked Achates. “This place looks like it was hit by a bomb.”

Camilla didn’t answer. She seemed disappointed that she hadn’t partaken in the leveling of the base.

‘I hate to say it,” admitted Achates, struggling to push a massive hunk of drywall out of the way, “but I don’t think anyone could really survive this. I mean, the place is leveled.”

“Shut up,” groaned Camilla. She walked over and easily pushed the drywall aside.

“Actually on second thought, the new kid could have made it,” realized Achates. “Because he had that—“ He broke off. “Wait. I’ve got a radio signal. Very faint.”

“Something’s getting through?”

“Here. Dig.” They pried slabs of concrete and metal away, until finally uncovering the top of Thor’s Iris, dust covered, scratched, and still buried under several layers of debris, but undented.

***

“So even though the Iris normally blocks thought signals, it turns out multiple signals in close proximity can break through,” Amphinomus explained to Branston. They were in the Dragonstorm infirmary, getting checked up. Protesilaus’ leg and Amphinomus’ arm had been set, and the others were recovering from light wounds and getting a good rest.

Branston listened patiently. “So the base is destroyed.”

“There was no hope. Sir Beys had already eliminated all traces of Dragonstorm long before we arrived.”

“What ended up happening to Sir Beys?”

“We never found the body. But it’s unlikely he survived the destruction of the building, especially as he was so close to the epicenter.”

“And DS-4?”

“Dead, probably on arrival or shortly after.”

“And the Iris?”

“In good condition. Some people are working on cleaning it up, and then it’ll be available for use, either in battle or evacuation.”

“Excellent. Well done,” Branston shuffled his papers. “In other news, I’ve put in a request to replace your deceased teammate. One particular scientist caught my eye. He’s an aardvark. Good with firearms. Has been working on the biological enhancements, which I believe he’s been using on himself

Amphinomus held up his hand. “Wait. With your permission, the team has discussed this and we would prefer if Hippolytes’ codename continues to represent the 6th member of our team. As sort of a tribute to Mr. MacLee.”

Branston paused. He looked at Zenarchis.

“Agreed,” said Zenarchis.

Branston nodded assent. “I’ll organize a time for you to meet with him in the near future.” He stood up. “While I would have preferred that you would have reclaimed the electric company rather than destroy it, I guess it’s a step up from your performance at Zzyzyx. And the enemy has been vanquished. I’ll mark this as a successful mission for the logs. Good work, DS-1.” He and Zenarchis left the room.

Dolon had been about to say something, but when Branston left, he closed his mouth.

Amphinomus looked over. “Dolon. Are you all right?”

“Yeah.” Dolon turned to look the other way.

Amphinomus switched to a private thought channel. <You sound troubled.>

Dolon sighed. <I’m not sure what it is. I’m…I don’t feel like I’m cut out for this work.>

<Your performance at SORA was one of the most impressive on the team,> reminded Amphinomus. <You incapacitated several guards while you were unarmed and outnumbered. And you saved mine and Protesilaus’ lives at the end.>

Dolon didn’t say anything, but he seemed a bit more relaxed.

<Also,> added Amphinomus, <Notice that when I talked about the new Hippolytes, I called him the sixth member of our team. He’s a scientist, so he should technically outrank you and be number five, but I’ve petitioned to promote you to fifth rank over him. It’s only been two days, and you’re no longer the new kid on the team.>

Dolon turned back. He had smiled temporarily, but at word ‘team’ his mood darkened.

<I also keeo thinking about DS-4. How they died, just like that. That could easily be us one day.>

Amphinomus nodded. <It easily could. And that probably will be our fate someday. This is a dangerous line of work. But everybody dies, and when I die, I hope it’ll be defending my team.>

Dolon didn’t smile this time. But he did seem to understand. Rolling back, he seemed to lose himself in thought.

Amphinomus turned back to regard the rest of his team. This mission was the closest they’d come to a total team wipeout, but they’d pulled through, like they always do.

The doctor swabbed his arm and injected him with something from a syringe. “You need to rest,” she said. “Let your arm heal.”

She started for Protesilaus’ bed, who drew back in fright. “You stay away from me with that needle!” he exclaimed.

Amphinomus chuckled as sleep overtook him. His last thoughts were of the upcoming mission; a reconnaissance mission to locate a Dr. Zanasiu. Shouldn’t be too hard. There’ll always be another mission… he thought peacefully to himself. And the thought comforted him.



--------------

My idea was that Zenarchis could wear the Thor's Iris all the time, since as Dragonstorm leader he would want the best protection possible. This could introduce a plot point near the end of the RP, which I talked with Serris about.

This post has been edited by LettuceBacon&Tomato on Sep 15 2010, 08:48 PM
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