Posted 17 March 2004 - 06:49 PM
<< Pvt. McBannok >>
The VTOL had begun it's descent quite some time ago, but while the altitude was decreasing, McBannok's adrenaline was increasing, and rather wildly.
Most people were re-checking their equipment, he noticed, and so did he. He reviewed the mission briefing in his head as he checked all possible fixable malfunctions his laser rifle could have. When he moved on to the fusion pistol, he was shaken up by a clunk and his attention dragged back to reality, and not the meeting, in the safe room, away from all the aliens.
The door opened faster than he would've wanted, and he rushed along with the team outside, with members in front of him and on his sides. He sent a hand to the backpack and found the DDU just where he'd put it.
You could never be wary enough, so he looked permanently, always imagining an alien popping up out of behind a rock. They could be anywhere, this was their place!
But his efforts and the team's proved worthless, and they began moving at the Lieutenant's orders, toward the gully just in front of them.
He felt much, much safer now that he couldn't be attacked from all sides... there was the air to look at, but he could just stare upward and see both of the outcrops from the gully. He lept to the left of the gully as everyone moved forward, passing rock after rock, and wishing they would stop more often so that he could take cover.
They reached the end of the gully, and there was something up front. A little shack. He ran for a rather large boulder near the left side, and knelt behind it after he saw Private Ryan dropping to the ground, and that assured him that he wasn't going to do anything silly if he hid.
The lieutenant barely even reacted. He checked the Motion Detector and nothing was moving.
Lieutenant Scott: "Alright, everybody keep down and silent... Hoz, Ryan... Get into a stealth position and get a good look at it with your binocs... The rest of you with me..."
He saw the other two crawl away, and only then realized he should be following the Lieutenant. He had to sprint AND stoop, and almost lost his balance. Besides, the aliens would probably be bursting through the door and shooting them down any moment now, but he had to keep on.
When he finally reached his superior, he noticed something on the ground. Marks, tracks, something. It could've just been the wind, there surely wasn't anything here that could stir the ground. Albeit this, he checked his surroundings again. When they finally reached the shack, it looked like it had been there for years without use.
For some reason McBannok wouldn't ever find out, he circled around the shack, looking for the entrance, and back to the starting point. The Lieutenant checked for motion again, shutting everyone's movements.
McBannok's hands trembled from the anticipation. It would barely have been noticeable, if he had not a rifle in his hands. He looked at the shaking rifle and took a deep breath and goes to one knee for better support.
He just chanced to look up at the officer's face that moment, and he barely collapsed as he noticed his expression. "Oh, great. They're everywhere.... They're EVERYWHERE!", he thought as he regained his balance with a hand on the ground.
He sent a "They're here..." pale nod to the others, who whispered something to one another and moved to the shack, at the same time as Yorke appeared through the gully and walked to them. Where the heck he had been, McBannok didn't know, but he could've put a hole through his knees. If anything had happened noone knew what to do with serious injuries.
It was too much. "Sir...?", he whispered toward his superior, hoping for confirmation of his fears, or better, he dared wish.
Lieutenant Scott: "Very good Doctor.", he said with a small smirk and a pause, " Alright, I'll be moving in first, followed closely by Howardson, Hoz, and Ryan. Everyone else move in after we're in. Got it?"
He moved inside, followed by the others. The shots would be coming any moment now, McBannok knew. Only they didn't. He was happy he hadn't gone first, but he wasn't happy he was outside alone with the doctor...
His eye began twitching again, he noticed. He really couldn't help it, and when he lifted a hand to try to stop it, he nearly punched himself. That was enough of being outside, he went inside, rifle in hand. Nothing had happened... there were just a few old dusty crates in the middle of the room. He moved next to Ryan, who seemed rather awake.
The lieutenant takes Howardson aside for a few words, and McBannok is surprised by Ryan.
Private Ryan: "I don't think Colonel Dogget's information would have included the internal layout of the basis. If only it were so easy... Gael, start looking at those crates while I check the bloody walls...or baseboard, or something. There's got to be a way."
They both started working, Ryan along the walls and McBannok to the crates. He clicked the security pin on his rifle and let it hang by the harness. He unholdstered his pistol, and pointed it at a crate. He moved slowly, trying not to make any noise for no particular reason, an slid a hand towards the top of the first crate. With only two fingers, he opened it, pointing the fusion pistol inside, aiming at... buttons. There were buttons inside, one with arrows, up and down, and the other with 'a weird circle emiting something'.
He didn't recognize it. And there wasn't much logic to it. One single button for up and down, and one for nothing he knew about.
He let everyone know that he had found something with a whispery 'Sir!...', and Yorke approached him, as well as a few of the others.
Yorke: "What you got?"
McBannok was still pointing the gun at the buttons as if they were dangerous. He decided that they weren't much of an enemy, and put the gun back by his side, with the safety pin on.
There was a bit of discussion that McBannok wasn't really sure he would be able to contribute to, and finally, Yorke decided to press the button... They all went against the walls as the floor moved, some faster, some slower. The floor had moved, but the dust remained there, hovering. McBannok snatches his rifle up and points at it.
'Eh... gravlift.', he remembered thinking, before an echoing syren went up down below, and the Lieutenant looked to his motion sensor, which was emmiting MUCH more light than usual.
"Winter is coming."
--- Stark family saying
Private Gael McBannok - Official Mission Screwer
X-Com Alliance Sim