UFO FanFic - Chapter 2

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#161 The Veteran

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 11:42 AM

The night was beginning to turn into day again and Trigger felt like he'd been in the air forever. He always thought time seemed to go slower without food...

"Tactical Command this is Interceptor One, I have no visuals, scans or any other kind of contact with the target. What now?"

The dreariness and vague frustration in the pilots voice was echoed in the thoughts of every person hearing it back at base but the show must go on. Especially in such dire situations.

*Trigger, this is Genega, according to our sentries at Lima post you're shadowing the chopper to perfection... There's no way that thing can outrun you, just keep to it.*

"That's all well and good for you to say sir, you have a toilet next door..."

Possibly not the wisest comment to make to a garrison commander but Trigger was beyond comprehension of such things...

*I know you've been up there a long time but there's simply noone left here to relieve you. Gia's out in the other Hurricane, the Skyranger is chasing you and God only knows where the osprey is but even that's gone somewhere!*

"I know sir, this is what I signed up for after all... It just seems like a bit of a fruitless mission is all..."

*Well the chopper wasn't far ahead of you when we got its position, judging your speeds you should be within 15 miles of each other. If you close the gap and don't find him then we're plain out of luck, he could be anywhere then.*

"Sounds like a deadline to me, I'm crossing Finke Gorge now, its the first bit of scenery I've passed all day..."

Genega pondered for a second, *Finke Gorge? That's where the last position report was made and I apparently can't count. You should be literally miles away from their projected location...*

"I should? The low level radar isn't getting anything... And we know there's nothing higher than me or the base radar would have it..."

Trigger scanned the console before him hoping for a quick fix but he found none. The scanners were set up to look exactly what he wanted. Helicopter noise and movement below the Pine Gap radar...

"General? When did the boys at Lima hear this thing? It's just, I wonder if I'm looking in the wrong place..."

Genega was wondering that too but he couldn't bring himself to tell Trigger that. *It was only about ten minutes ago I think. They reported helicopter noises approaching from the southwest.*

"What happened to the noises?"

Genega was puzzled by this question, obviously they weren't still there... *They stopped...*

"Stopped? They didn't disappear, they stopped"

*Good God... Trigger, find them! I'm going to get onto the Skyranger right away. Out!*

Trigger suddenly regained what he'd lost of his consciousness and adrenaline kicked in again. They were here somewhere so why couldn't he find them?

He checked his readouts again... Of course! It was obvious now... He was scanning below the radar but he wa only scanning airspace below the radar.

He switched to scan for surface targets and suddenly one appeared. Not more than half a mile away...
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#162 Snikers



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Posted 15 December 2005 - 08:12 PM

Keller ran her fingers down the length of her rifle. Though she had heard of the new laser weapons that had come out - though she knew the word laser just had to be a misnomer, probably from some hyperactive fellow like Ghost who was embracing the prospect of aliens just a bit too tightly - but wasn't all to interested in picking them up. She was used to this rifle. Whatever the new weapons would turn out to be, they would definitely take a whole new design and, probably, technique. She happened to be quite fond of the rifle in her hands right now and, to discard modesty, figured the rifles were quite fond of her - to judge by her shooting prowress. She wasn't built for close-quarters combat, but she was a hell of a shot with a longarm. If they threw some new design at her, though...

Whatever. No use worrying about it now. Keller nudged Green, sitting next to her. He looked over.

"Hey," asked Keller, "you know what time it is outside? I'm all messed up nowadays, I don't know if I've seen so much as a window since my last mission. Day or night?"

"Oh, day, definitely," said Green, then checked his watch. "Just fourteen minutes past noon, in fact."

"And we're landing in desert, right?"

"Depends on where in Australia we're going, I guess," replied Green, rubbing his hands toughtfully.

"They said we'd be close to the base, right?" asked Dujardin, sitting on the other side of Keller. His sleeves were rolled up past his elbows, possibly in expectation of warm weather.

"Yes, they did, now that I think of it. Desert then, definitely. It's going to be hot." Green rubbed at his stubble and his face returned to its original expression.

Keller chewed on her lower lip sourly. "Oooh-kaay..." she sighed, and donned her black goggles.

* * *


The shout was directed at a video camera, situated near the ceiling in a corner of the secure room. The room, guarded by two soldiers right outside the locked door, contained this camera, one bed, bathroom facilities, and a pacing, red-faced Bernard.

"Are you even listening to me?! I want out of this damned cell, you knuckle-dragging grunts! I am a diplomat! An ambassador! I have rights! My government will be looking for me, and by god, when they find out what you've done..."

Bernard hit the edge of his humble quarters and turned to make, unbeknownst to him, his one hundredth trip exactly from one wall to another. He tore his eyes away from the camera, fuming, before returning his gaze and cotinuing his rant.

"My country will not hesitate to extract me! They'll smash through your front doors with guns blazing! Do you understand?! You are going to be in big, big trouble if you do not get me out of here RIGHT NOW." He stared furiously at the camera, while it gazed back with its expressionless single glass eye. "Get - me - the - HELL - OUT - OF - HERE"

Bernard stood stock still, quivering with rage, and then furiously tore off his suit jacket. Storming toward the camera, he threw it up and covered the surveillance device. Stepping back, he admired his handiwork. At least the bastards aren't watching me now.

He has just finished that thought when the door opened and a large framed man stepped inside. Bernard swiveled and spotted him. Spittle flew from his mouth as he spoke.

"Finally! What the hell took you so lon--" he started as he took towards the man, but the soldier's hand immediately dropped to a pistol on his belt. Bernard's eyes widened and he froze, then slowly took several steps backward.

The soldier stepped forward a pace and kept his eyes locked on Bernard, as a second soldier stepped inside and carefully removed the jacket from the camera. Taking the jacket with them, the soldiers exited the room and the door closed.

Bernard's spectacled gaze went from the closed door, to the camera, and back to the door before he started to shout. "PUS-SUCKING NEANDERTHAL MOTHER-F--"

* * *

"Ukk..." gargled Terrick, head rolling in the stretcher, eyelids fluttering. "Ucch-ker..."

"Can't you shut him up?" asked the pilot of the helicopter, kneading his hands. "Give him a shot of something to knock him out?"

"I won't do that," said one of the other men, the medical kit sitting on his lap. "He knows things. I want him conscious as soon as possible, and anyway - he's too badly hurt for me to give him a shot. It could kill him in this state."

"Wouldn't that be a shame," muttered the pilot darkly, peering out the cockpit window. The camoflague tarp covered the glass, but the bright light outside allowed shadows to be seen through the fabric.

At that moment, there was a roar of engines, and in a matter of seconds it had passed over their heads. The shadow of something airborne and close to the ground appeared through the fabric and sped off in front of them. As the pilot watched, the object slowed.
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#163 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 01:10 AM

"Hundred and ninteen.... Hundred and twenty.... Hundred and twenty-one... Hundre-"

"Will you stop that?"

Bob Jennings glared at Rubenstein, the demolitions expert. They'd been assigned as guards for the two prisoners. Normally, the security team would take care of it, but they were all rostered in other positions - no one had expected to be taking human prisoners, so the 'cells' were simply a couple of unused sleeping facs. Isaac sat in front of the video displays with his legs up, and Jennings was now going through the jacket they'd taken.

There had been some more screaming from the one calling himself a diplomat - the man seemed to have an unlimited supply of indignation. He'd eventually gone back to his pacing, which Isaac had taken to counting.

He turned a bored expression back at Jennings, and shrugged. Moving his gaze back to the monitors, his lips continued to move silently.

The mercenary had gone to sleep on his bed soon after he'd arrived in his cell.

Redshirt finished pulling cards out of pockets, and let the jacket fall beside him. He flipped open a wallet and started to read.

"Says here his name is Bernard Maple."

Isaac shrugged again, while the smaller man unfolded some papers. Eventually he found what he was looking for. Most of the terminology was gibberish to him, but the big red "confidential" mark on it was bound to mean something.

"Looks like they had some sort of meeting planned."

He shortly gave up, and pushed Bernards' stuff off the table onto his jacket. They'd already searched the merc, who hadn't even been wearing a dogtag. His lack of identification was made up for with an assortment of hidden knives, which now lay on the other side of Redshirt's table. His feet took the vacated position.

He could leave off handing the stuff in for quite some time. Most of the leaders were more concerned with the hunt for Terrick.

Both men yawned. On the screen, Bernard kicked the wall.


TJ was starting to get frustrated... again. The radar had, with some accuracy, helped him pinpoint several large rocks. While it was good at finding large deviations in the terrain, it wasn't good at discribing them.

The one he was looking at now was mostly buried in dead branches, lodged in a dip of the terrain. The radar hadn't picked it up, but he'd spotted it during a trip to another blob of radar fuzz. The covering of mould looked a bit odd. It was probably due to the only half covered metalic fan, sticking out one end.

He grinned.

"Interceptor One to Command... I got a visual"


Howitz nearly hit the ceiling as the alarm went off for the second time within twenty four hours. He'd been in the land cruser team, which had arrived back well before the Skyranger had, but even so he hadn't got as much sleep as he would have liked.

He blinked away the morning fuzz until he could see his watch. Afternoon fuzz, then. As the loudspeaker continued to blare (right outside his door), he rolled off the top bunk onto the ground in an attempt to wake up, resisted to urge to go back to sleep on the floor, and started to pull on his armor. The alarm stopped, and a voice requested squad 2 to make their way to the Osprey bay.

Why call an all hands alert and then...?

Oh, well. Back to sleep, then.


Genega was smiling for the first time in a while. It was a grim smile, but nevertheless, he'd finally got some good news. The chopper was trapped - it couldn't take off with Munt in the air above it.

With a definite location, he could send out just a small strike team to capture whoever was manning it, and presumably Terrick. Bringing the chopper itself in would be a nuisance - They really needed a chopper of their own to haul craft like that, but for some reason the delivery agent always had an excuse prepared. It wasn't like he didn't have the hanger space for one.

No matter. It was the personal who mattered. Someone had managed to plant a spy in X-Com - Pickering had told him all about the occasional radio traffic going out of the base, along with everything else - and this was the first step towards finding out who.
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#164 The Veteran

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 11:55 PM

Trigger was overflowing with adrenaline as he made another pass at the chopper hoping to see some of its former occupants. He passed over the vehicle low and fast, tearing the tarpaulin off most of the vehicle in the process.

"Base, this is Interceptor One. I'm going to immobilise the craft. These guys aren't getting away from me again. Confirm please..."

*Trigger this is General Genega. Just... Try not to kill anyone we need to question ok?*

TJ grinned, the Commander knew him far too well. Even now his finger hovered over the Avalanche controls. He could end it all right there, no Terrick, no laser, no chopper... It would be another nice tidy little coverup...

But he knew what had to be done, much as he longed for an explosion... With the flick of a switch, the HUD displayed a lock on the choppers main rotor, another switch engaged the Hurricane's cannon.

Trigger moved his finger to the suitably named 'kill' button just as he saw a character appear as if from nowhere.

Terrick moved away from the helicopter and produced a staff-like item which he drove into the ground before him.

TJ hesitated as his target grew ever closer and pulled the trigger at exactly the same moment as Terrick leapt back to cover.

The gun jammed, a mere click eminating from the depressed button. Console lights failed and interior illuminations were extinguised all in a flash. As Trigger listened to the engines behind him they began to detonate wildly out of sequence and then ceased to detonate completely...

The Hurricane was a dead weight and Trigger already knew what was happening. He punched madly at master switches while he heaved the joystick towards him. The nose lifted and the plane slowed rapidly, failing miserably to defy gravity. Still there was no power, the ship had been completely disabled by Terricks Electro-magnetic pulse...

As the Hurricane slowed to a virtual stop, Trigger pushed the stick away from him again leaving the craft's remaining momentum to carry it to it's inevitable end. Too late to eject, the doomed pilot simply braced himself as best he could. Gia had survived a similar incident, and that was only a prototype... He'd be ok, wouldn't he?...

Back on base, interest in the chase was slowly being lost by everyone involved. Tactical Command had no idea of the latest developments above Australia's deserts and most of the base was desperately attempting to regain lost sleep.

Rick was a special case, he'd been contacted by the doctor who had taken his last 'pshyche evaluation' or whatever it was. Turns out the boffins had something in the laboratory that he thought Rick should have a look at.

The scientists being completely uninterrupted by the military goings on, work continued as normal. And Rick being as exhausted as he was, he figured now would be a good time to do something nice and easy. He strolled into the labs and was immediately met by Dana's glare.

Not one to tolerate soldiers incursions into scientific matters lightly, Dana's guard was quick to go up. "Can I help you?" she asked Rick sharply.

"I was sent down hereby one of the doctors to take a look at some sort of sphere?" replied Rick uncertainly. The woman seemed rather agitated and he didn't want to make an enemy of a complete stranger.

"I'm sorry, you can't come in here. It's strictly research and development personnel..."

As she spoke Daniel appeared beside her wielding some strangly distorted piece of... something stragly distorted. "What's up Dana?" he said calmly.

"This grunt wants to come and play with our artefacts. He was sent by one of the doctors."

Now, Rick wasn't the best judge of character but he got the feeling this person didn't like him much...

Dana and Daniel spoke for a while, about him Rick figured, then Dana left and Daniel approached him.

"Hi there, sorry about that. She's been working hard lately and we've recently taken a few items that, quite frankly baffle us! What was it you were here to look at?"

"I honestly don't know," replied Rick. "I was just told to come and see a sphere?"

Daniel raised an eyebrow inquisitively but could think of very few responses that would get him anywhere fast. He knew of Terrick and the laser pistol, but he also knew Rick so the last thing on his mind was a repeat performance.

He turned into the lab and gestured for Rick to follow him. He did so, walking past a rather irate and sulking Dana. He kept his distance... When Daniel stopped he was standing next to the sphere. Rick stared at it, the surface glimmered as though it were alive... A hundred hues of silver and blued danced together, occasionally resembling pictures and words.

"What is it?" said Daniel percieving Rick's amazement.

"It's, incredible..." he stammered.

Daniel stared at the sphere, motionless and dull. It was, a sphere... Wasn't it?

"What exactly can you see?..." he asked Rick inquisitively.

"What can I see? It's, like 3D-TV or something... You ever read The Illustrated Man? It's kind of like that..."

Much as Daniel liked to read he hadn't a clue what Rick was talking about. But his scientific mind had got the better of him now. He could ask questions later, but now he was way too excited for that...

"Pick it up," he told Rick.

"What? Do you even know what it is? It could burn my hands off or something"

"It won't, people have touched it before, it gave them headaches but nothing more."

Headaches, thought Rick. He was beginning to place this with the Doctors appointment. He was checking out Rick's head, seemed to think he was something a bit special... But wasn't this the sort of stuff he was apparently immune too? It was all way too confusing for a soldiers mind but Rick was intrigued too and he found himself reaching for it despite his doubts.

His fingers came within an inch of the sphere's surface, the pictures became clearer where his hand was closer to them... He brushed it with his fingertips, and felt nothing... Reaching with both hands now he placed one either side, and grasped the sphere, lifting it from the worktop.

Daniel stared at Rick, Rick stared into the sphere. He could almost hear Dana's frustration in the quiet that followed. Rick was motionless, unblinking, unmoving...

The pictures were racing over the spheres surface now, but they were becoming something real. He could see something, people... There was smoke, and sand... There was Trigger, and Terrick...

Daniel continued to watch as Rick began to breathe heavily, still motionless. As he watched, his temples began to ache. He saw Dana at her desk rubbing her lobes.

Rick could see clearly now, as if watching events first hand... Trigger was being supported by two other men, being held on his knees and in clear pain... There was another man in front of him in a similarly poor state of health. It was Terrick, and he had the pistol...

Terrick was virtually lying down but he was conscious and he was smirking. He was speaking but Rick didn't know what he was saying. He saw Terrick arm the weapon he held... He saw him point it at a barely conscious Trigger... Then all he saw was a flash.

Dana and Daniel winced in pain and Rick wailed in agony as he tore his hands away from the sphere. Clutching his temples, Daniel watched the sphere fall as if in slow motion. Rick's legs failed beneath his weight and he blacked out instantly.

Rick fell to the floor with a heavy thud and the sphere fell beside him, shattering like a fish bowl...

Daniel fell to his knees and stared and the broken artefact and Dana stared at him in bewiderment. Both still clutching their throbbing heads the two scientists tried to make sense of what had just happened, but neither could...

All in all, the day was not going well for anyone.
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#165 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 01:20 PM

As the sphere had hit the ground, the shock wave had started. The first mind it had hit was Ricks, who was in no state to feel it; the psionic waves changed state as it spread out, hitting Daniel at full force and continuing out past Dana and on throughout the base...

The effects were random. As the waves spread, they weaved in and out of focus, perhaps hitting a receptive mind with little force, or a closed one with the full brunt.

Few minds felt it. Only those who had seen the spheare shatter knew what it was.

Rick quickly awoke, his head feeling like it had been used as a spring board. What the...?

He realised he was lying on something, and muzzily raised himself up on his arms. He stared at the shards of shattered glass - was it glass? - and the crushed wires lying beneath him. Stains of an unknown liquid dripped off his chest, mixing back into the mess he had been lying on.


He looked up, eyes feeling like they were rolling in sockets of steel wool, and saw the two white coats staring under him at the ex-spheare. A third figure appeared at the door.

"Hey," said David Brown. "Don't suppose you've seen that big ball thing, Dana?"

Her face turned to look at him, but her gaze remained on the remnants on the floor. Realisation fell as Rick rose.

"What happened?" he said, at the same time as David. Daniel leant against the wall as Dana started her tirade, ignoring the engineer to shout at the soldier.

"You're asking ME what happened?! You're the one who dropped the thing! Do you have any idea how much that was worth!? I don't! I not even sure what the wretched thing was! And now we've got one less to experiment on, you hulking idi-"

She was interupted as he barged out of the room, his memory having returned. He left a trail of purple slime in his wake, having stomped right in the middle of the stricken artifact in his haste to get moving. Dana continued spluttering while the other two stared on in bewilderment.

"Well, I guess we know how to open them now", murmered Daniel, half under his breath.


The final crew member was boarding the Osprey by the time Rick arrived in the shuttle bay. He half climbed, half jumped onto the edge of the ramp, and moved towards the nearest seat.

"Hey, I don't think you're in our squad..."

He turned to see Wexford sitting next to him. "Is that what you think? Well, I think I'm a squad leader who's coming anyway. That's what I think."

He went back to strapping his armor on. There was no time to go back and ask for permission to hitch a ride - the ramp was already rising - and he wasn't sure anyone was going to believe him if he tried to explain -

"What are you doing here?"

His head jerked up again, but he glare faded. This time one of his counterparts was speaking to him, the leader of the second squad, Hero Escalante.

"Sorry, Crispy, but I gotta come. I heard TJ was shot down out there."

It was a lie, but it was close enough. Hero merely shrugged and went back to checking his own equipment. It was no skin off his nose if he had an extra squad member.

The Osprey launched.


"Why don't we just kill him?"

Terrick turned to grunt beside him, propping himself up on an elbow. "Stupid question. Hostages are more useful alive."

He was nearly in a good mood. His head swam with the various drugs swimming around his system, but his body was no longer stressing his pain at him so that was ok. Lying down didn't hurt either, and under the sun's warmth he could nearly forget that he nearly had a hole right through him. At the very least he was thinking straight again.

Better yet, the laser gun still worked. He was no expert on the device - heck, it had barely been invented before he'd taken it - but he was fairly sure water would have rendered the device useless. He'd fired the thing at the jet pilot more out of curiosity then anything. By the time he'd come to, his head had cleared enough for him to realise that blowing his cover and escaping would do him no good if he had nothing to show for it, and so he'd fired a test shot - if only so he could confirm his despair. Perhaps all the important components were shielded? He was the only one surprised when the thing had cut right through the trunk of a small tree, despite the massive amount of flaring coming from the barrel.

Except perhaps for Trigger, who'd been expecting the beam to take his head off.

It'd passed right over his shoulder, leaving nothing but the sound of barbecue fading in his ear. He was currently tied up and hanging off a handy tree branch, glaring at anyone's eye that he could catch.

The chopper pilot was wandering around the Hurricane. The thing hadn't so much crashed as fallen, taking out some of the scarce greenary and burying its nose in the sandy dirt. It was probably worth more then Terrick and his laser gun put together... He wandered over to the solider group.

"I reckon that thing'd still fly."

"You reckon you could pilot it?"

"Maybe. It's not a conventional jet. But I don't think we're gonna make it very far if we take the chopper. They know where we are now."

Terrick stared at the craft. "How many seats?"


Terrick paused, but came to the quick conclusion that he was in no state to 'convince' his two guards that they were to stay behind. "No good. We'll need to take the chopper."

The pilot shrugged, moved to start ripping off the netting with the help of the other two men, and then froze. A huge drop ship had just appeared a couple of hundred meters away, on the edge of the hill.
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#166 Zager



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Posted 05 February 2006 - 03:56 PM

"Of course" Dr Zager shouted, bursting out of his office, less than a moment after the artifact had broken. "It makes so much sense now"

He strode over to Daniel and shook his hand. "Thank you. Whatever wave that was released from that artifact has suddenly made everything clear to me. We now have the potential to fully unlock our minds. You have just helped humanity prepare for its next step in our evolution as a species."

"What are you talking about," Daniel asked, a little discomfited. A cheerful Zager was something nobody on the base had ever seen before.

"The human brain is not just a computer. I now understand that it has the potential to include a modem as well" Zager explained, grinning widely.

He slumped down in a chair suddenly frowning. "This explains so much, but we have so little to prepare with. We have to learn more. Bring me the biopsy and genetic reports of all the dead aliens we've acquired so far. I have to find the link."

#167 JellyfishGreen


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Posted 18 February 2006 - 11:56 PM

Squad Two leaped from the Skyranger as its engine ducts flared for landing. Within seconds the squad was moving through the low scrub and rock outcrops towards the helicopter.

The one guard at the helicopter was hiding behind the tree where Trigger was tied up. He started firing bursts from his AK47 at the figures advancing on his position. One of the shots hit Kilam, who dropped, but then managed to wave from his prone position indicating he was OK - the ceramic insert in his Kevlar vest had saved him.

Green had dropped to a kneeling position as soon as he saw the muzzle flash. He caught the mercenary in his sights and dropped him with a single shot from the G36. Grim-faced, he waved the scouts forward.

Their opposition was down to Terrick, the pilot, and the remaining guard, all three of whom were watching nervously from behind the nose of the downed Hurricane.


"Zager's obviously happy," said Dana to Daniel, "but now *our* research is so much purple soup. My best guess says it's some kind of remote viewer or mind reader, but I don't think we'll get anywhere until we get another one, now." They wandered into the second workshop where Dave Brown had been photographing and documenting his plasma weapon test setup. "At least Dave's having more luck, eh Dave?"
The big, spiky-haired engineer stretched, digital camera in one farflung hand, and said, "Yeah, I duct-taped a couple of weapons for the soldiers to test, including one of those purple-ball-throwers..." He waved at an empty bench, then did a double-take. "Where'd it go?" Purple footprints led away.


Squad Two closed in from three sides.  Terrick leveled the laser pistol over the Hurricane's nosecone. The remaining guard didn't know whether to cover the left or right flank with his AK47. The pilot, eyes darting, suddenly threw his free arm around Terrick's neck and pressed his SMG to Terrick's temple. "Any closer and I'll shoot this guy! Don't move" The squad stopped in surprise, confused, but none more so than Terrick.
But Terrick was the guy who we were chasing in the first place - thought Hiro.
From behind Hiro, Rick fired the stunball at the feet of the three men, enveloping them in a cloud of purple paralysis agent and dropping all three at once as if their strings had been cut. "I never was much good at negotiations."

They untied Trigger, who sagged against Rick in the wash of fatigue and relief. "Nice of you to drop by, mate. You know, I really thought I was done for there." Rick grimaced. "Believe me, I know."


"The laser pistol is secure."
Pickering blinked at the unexpected statement from Genega.  His gaze wandered over the control panel of his secure satellite phone while Genega filled him in. Apparently Terrick had also been carrying stolen research data on all their projects. A cold draft gusted through the open doors of the Osprey, which had only landed in Washington minutes ago.
"Right," he finally answered. "I'll interrogate Terrick and the other prisoners when I get back, but whatever Tim can get out of them, forward the intel to Valerie. I'll get her settled in an office here so she can start coordinating info on our fugitives."
"What about the Potomac UFO?"
"That's gone. The aliens sent in their own cleanup crew and turned it into scrap metal. There was some kind of cloaking field, too - the best picture anyone got is still as blurry as hell, and anything using magnetic or electronic storage was wiped."
Genega grunted, acknowledging the loss of crucial war materiel. "I guess that makes your life easier, anyway."
"Yes, sir. I'll do the site sweep here while we still have daylight, then that should release Squad Three to go home. Then we'll get a night's sleep and set Deacon and Jasper up in the morning. Then, I don't know, I have some XINV agents in Britain I need to talk to, so I might pop back home for a day or two." He looked out of the Osprey at his two agents, still uncramping from the long flight as they talked to the site security team who were equally bored of standing around in the snow.
"Sounds good to me," said Genega. "Let Gia know she's clear to RTB."
Pickering leaned out of the Osprey and looked across the snowy field to where Gia was waiting by her plane. He waved to catch her attention and gave her the thumbs up.

Gia saluted back, swung her arms and got as much circulation as she could into her cold stiff muscles before settling into the cockpit. (Heated, thank heaven for small mercies.) She couldn't believe she had missed the second - no, third - UFO, but she supposed they were all still learning. That reminded her of her "training flight" that had ended in a crash. She put the thought out of her mind and hoped Trigger hadn't gotten into any trouble while she was away. The pre-flight checks were over in minutes, so she tucked her hair into the flight helmet, lifted herself on her VTOL wings and flew home.


The newly minted Sergeant Rick addressed his troops the next morning, still reeling from the promotion when he had fully been expecting to report for more medical tests.
"Good news mostly today, chaps. We've the first fittings of the personal armor this week, there's been a breakthrough in the plasma weapons research, and a few more laser weapons should be available for missions this week as well. Two people from each squad are to make themselves available for laser rifle training, and two more for plasma weapon training."
"We've a couple of new recruits, Duc Van Vinh, Vladimir Uli...Ulyinov, and Jason Bass. Someone make sure they see a real alien before we take them on a mission."
"Also in today's news, Zager wants Sectoids alive, and we've a new environmentally-sealed brig to keep them in, so we're issuing a stun launcher to each squad. Should be a damn sight handier than the shock-sticks."
"We've limited ammo for the stun launcher so we can only issue a few rounds with each. On that note, capturing more stun ammunition from the aliens has also been given a high priority."
Warlord grinned. He thought Rick was doing a good job. And he personally couldn't wait to get his hands on one of the plasma weapons - give those Sectoids a taste of their own medicine!

A day later, a very strange report came in from Buenos Aires. Just as the story broke on the international news wires about the military taking control of part of the city in an unexpected coup, the real story came in from XINV. A "terror ship" had discharged its cargo into the city and the military were attempting to contain the spread. "But these aren't the same kind of aliens. We have reports of horned demons flying through the air, and huge beasts swallowing people whole. This is a Catholic country, and they're convinced it's the end of the world"
The deadly Lobsterman threat was finally countered by melee combat with power tools. -ufopaedia.org

#168 The Veteran

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 11:04 AM

Unlike his aircraft, Trigger had by now been recovered to Pine Gap. He was holed up in sickbay and feeling very sorry for himself. If the crash hadn't been enough for him to go through, Terrick and his minions weren't the most gentle of creatures either...

As he laid there now, everything ached and he was convinced that several of those things were about ready to fall off. The only saving grace of the day had just walked through the door and on seeing Gia Trigger had the strangest sense of dejavu...

Gia had only just got back to base herself and of course the hangar crew had told her straight away what had happened. She'd rushed to the sick bay to find a large pile of mess waiting patiently for her.

Trigger half groaned, half exclaimed in pain but didn't actually manage to say anything while Gia squeezed the remaining life out of his limp body.

"What happened to you, I've only just heard" said Gia not letting go, or realising how much pain she was putting Trigger in.

"If you just heard... Do you really need me to tell you what happened?"

The pilot sounded so exhausted it just made Gia want to squeeze him tighter, for some unknown and slightly sadistic reason...

"Oh my God, I couldn't believe it. I never thought I'd see the day when you went down," said Gia releasing Trigger from her kung fu death grip.

"Why not? It happened to you in your first week here! Man wasn't meant to fly, every so often God reminds us of that"

Trigger smiled as much as he could and Gia smiled back. "I guess we're even now huh?"

"Well I guess we are but... Dammit." Trigger's smile disappeared and he frowned with painful ease.

"What's wrong?" asked Gia.

"Well you've had one, I've had one..."

"And we've both been fine, that's good isn't it?"

"Well yeah but..."

Trigger looked up at Gia and shook his head.

"Davies," she said laughing at the pilots competitive streak. "You have to give that guy a break hun... I mean we both know you're better than he is. That's why he keeps getting sent out with the Osprey and Skyranger and we always get the Hurricane...s." She wasn't too sure whether there was still need for the plural.

Trigger pulled a face and looked away.

"Oh come here you big baby" said Gia, advancing on the downed pilot once more. Trigger just sighed and braced his aching bones.
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#169 storm turmoil

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:28 PM

Instructing the troopers in using the new toys was a damn site easier than David had expected. Of course, it helped that they wanted to learn. Competition for the new gear had been fierce, and eventually, the officers had had to take charge.

Rank had it's priveleges, of course, and the Squad leaders had call on what gear they took - within reason.

Squad one was being rushed through the basics, and had taken it up pretty fast, since they'd already used the weapons or at least seen them used- Rick had doubled up as instructor for the stun launchers and Lasers. The speed was important since Buenos Aires was crying panic, and Genega wanted the team ready to go as soon as possible - but not without maximum firepower, given the last disastrous terror raid intervention.

" Right, Plasma weapon safety tips. Don't load it until you're ready to engage, and unload the moment it isn't needed. With the grip safety fudged to get these things to work, they'll go off at the slightest provocation, so don't clip 'em up till you're under fire or out of the 'Ranger" David instructed of the Plasma weapon handlers.

There were two types so far, one a fairly conventionally shaped pistol, the other a more esoterically shaped rifle. The pistol was easy enough, but the rifle was somewhat awkward for the human hand to grip, particularly when doing it wrong would put flesh up against the heat sink radiators. As a precaustion, all plasma weapon gunners had been issued with the same asbestos glove that old M60 machine gunners used to use to prevent burns when changing overheating barrels.

" Ok. Clip. slot. This way round, orange crystals at the top, Slam it home. Aim. Fire." David loaded, aimed, and fired a single shot from the plasma pistol he held, before slipping the clip out with his other hand. Unlike on a human pistol, the magazine catch was at the front of the grip. Which wasn't a problem for sectoids with their gangly fingers, but awkward for a human trooper.

" Now, when the crystals at the top of the clip are glowing, the clip still has charge. Once the glow goes out, the charge is out. A pistol clip seems to hold anything up to 15 shots. So far A rifle clip will hold up to 20 shots. Unfortunately, some of these clips are part used, and we haven't been able to open them up yet, so the only guide is whether the crystals are glowing. Just watch out for dry firing." David slotted a clearly discharged clip, the crystals gloomy and dull. he pulled the trigger, and the pistol wheezed feebly.

Warlord followed suit, drilling a neat bullseye with his pistol, before unloading it, and replacing it and the clip in the belt rig they'd run up for them.

" Nice to be able to return to sender" Warlord growled.

He hefted the plasma Rifle. To get enough troops trained on the new weapons, the weapons were in matched sets- Plasma Gunners got a plasma rifle and plasma pistol, Laser troops took a Laser rifle and Laser pistol. Since the weapons needed drastically different skills to operate, it had been decided that it was best to limit their use this way till all the troops had a better grasp of their use. Unfortunately, while the laser troops could blast away at the range for practise, the plasma gunners could only squeeze off a couple of shot's because of the limited ammo situation, and thus plasma clips had been added to the shopping list of retrievable items.

David glanced over to where the stun grunts were practicing with sponge balls. The launchers used a gravitic charge to launch their stun bombs- or anything else vaguely spherical dropped in the feed hopper, he'd discovered, and also incorporated the detonation mechanism- when the bomb was fired, a self replicating bio-organic acid was released onto the casing, the concentration determined by some kind of onboard computer to allow the stun bomb to be weakened just enough to crack open at the desired point of impact. It explained why David had found no sign of a fuse or detonater on the stun bombs- the launcher handled it. All the Stun grunts also carried one of the unpopular but necessary shock batons as well- so that anything that went down stayed down, as well as a sidearm.

For Buenos Aires, these new weapons were going into action alongside all manner of conventional- and not-so-conventional- human weapons that the squad had requested. Following the last terror missions, someone had asked for- and got- both an anti tank missile launcher for dealing with discs, and a flamethrower and incendiary Autocannon and 40mm grenade ammo for close quarter building clearance. grenades and demolition packs were also on the list, and someone had made the case for claymore mines, only for it to be refused because of the civilians that could be present.

After last time, no one was looking forward to another intervention. They were all aiming to carry as much as they could in terms of weapons and armour.

#170 Alitorious


    A snowstorm in space... who'da thunk it?

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 01:26 AM

"Just a second" yelled Patricia Keynes as she untangled herself from the mess of equipment that was her work station. To say she was in a bad mood was an understatement. Most of the video was wiped blank, except for the end - which looked like a blurry film of a street lamp.
The door bell rang again.
"I said just a minute! Just hold on for Pete's sake! God"
She yanked her apartment door open to find a timid-looking man in a trench coat and fedora. The man constantly glanced at the hallways as he talked. He seemed startled by Patricia's appearance. Her hair was a mess, and there were sags under teary eyes.
"Are-are you Patricia K-keynes?"
She narrowed her eyes and nodded, now cool and alert now that her "weirdo" instincts have kicked in.
"I heard you got some pictures of a real UFO. The one that the military crashed into the river last night."
Patricia frowned. She didn't like where this was heading.
"Oh, name's J-Jack. McCormick," said Paul Jasper, glancing up and down the hallway paranoidedly again. "I know the truth."
Patricia started to close the door.
"No! Wait! P-please? I just want to see what you have. That's all. I know it's good. Please? I know what you have is r-real.
Although her instincts were on full alert, that last sentence the man said was exactly what she wanted to hear. She wanted to know that she wasn't crazy. She needed to know that what she saw last night actually happened.
Her purse was beside the door. Without taking her eyes off the man, she reached over and put it on, plunging her hand inside and clutching the pepper spray. She slowly opened the door and motioned the man in. Yet again, he looked down the hallway before slipping surreptitiously inside. She closed the door behind him and led him to the VCR.
"It isn't much," she said as she pressed the rewind button for a few seconds. The only good bit was at the end. She pressed play.
It was fuzzy, washed out, and greyed out. For a few seconds, one could see a faint spot of light. Then the tape went to snow again before it came back, clear and fully focused, on a streetlight. Patricia rewound and paused on the faint spot of light.
"Wow. I mean, w-wow," said so-called 'Jack.' "That's real, right there. 'You sent this in, yet?"
Patricia shook her head, looking at this guy incredulously.
"You should. I have some pictures, myself. I took them m-myself. That's how I-I know they're real, right?" From inside his trench coat he produced a few black-and-white photographs. Most of them were just fuzzy white spots on black background. One looked suspiciously like a photo of car headlights. It actually was.
"But what you have is loads better" Jack pressed eject on the VCR without warning and grabbed the tape, hinting at running away with it.
"Do you have any copies?"
Patricia snatched the out of his hands, which probably meant no copies of the tape itself. She glanced at her computer screen. 'Jack' could see the image going through some photo editing process. The program was labelled "untitled," which meant she hadn't saved it to hard disk.
"Can I please have it?"
Patricia stepped away, clutching the tape to herself. She was not going to give up her last hope so easily. Her other hand gripped the pepper spray more tightly.
"Then you should send it in. I'm sure any paper will take it in. E-especially the National Inquirer--"
Patricia screamed and threw the tape at him. As desperate as she was, she wasn't that desperate so as to submit to that trash-infested steaming pile of pulp they called a news paper. If she sent to them her credibility as a reporter would vanish completely. The very suggestion was an insult.
Jasper dropped the photos and grabbed the tape, then started running to the door as soon as he was able. He ducked in time to miss the next flying object the crazy lady found - her computer mouse.
As soon as he was out the door, Jasper mumbled into the microphone planted on him. "Cut the power. She never saved the thing to hard disk." Only a few seconds later, all the lights in the apartment complex went out.
Behind him, Paul Jasper heard Patricia scream again.
He was no expert, but Jasper suspected that if this woman never heard the words "alien," "UFO," or "saucer" again, it would be too soon.


"Hey, Dane, could you check this out for a bit?" Dana looked over to see Daniel clutching yet another blue sphere, now dubbed "Mind Probes" after everything they've seen them do. He was wearing a pair of very thick gloves, and because of that he didn't feel any headache. Dana seemed a bit calmer now.
"Where did you get that?" she snapped. Calm was relative.
"There's been three recoveries, so far. This is the last one."
"Just don't drop it," she said icily.
"Actually, that's just what I'm going to do. Watch."
Dana gave the most interesting look of mixed shock and horror as she watched Daniel deliberately remove his hands and allow the last mind probe to fall. She stared as the thing, worth who-knows-what and was the last one on base, accelerated towards the floor in slow motion.
It bounced.
Daniel barely caught it as it rose back to the exact height he let it go at. He gave her a few seconds for it to sink in.
"I was lifting it off from a table with these gloves when it slipped from my hands. I don't think it would have broken - it only fell a little bit onto the table - but I was surprised when it bounced the few centimetres back up to my hands. Then I remember that we couldn't get that other one open before that other soldier dropped it. Remember, we just couldn't get through the casing? That's how I knew it would survive a bounce to the floor. But watch this."
Daniel moved over to the nearest clear counter, then dropped it merely a palm's width to the counter. As before, it bounced to the exact height it was before.
"Now, I do wish we knew where the first one was, 'would make these tests a bit less risky. Look what happens when I take the gloves off." Daniel did so, and held the sphere just above the counter again, doing his best to ignore the headache that comes with these things. He dropped it again. This time, however, the sphere didn't bounce at all. It just started rolling, instead, but Daniel picked it up before it had any danger of falling off the counter. He turned back to Dana, who seemed to be avoiding his eyes now for some reason.
"But it seems to have different properties... when people hold it or are near to it... Just like Zager... said... it has something to do... something with mental... something." Daniel tried to ignore flashes of images of Dana carrying him back to her room that were materializing in his head. The two long ago agreed that they didn't think of each other that way, so why was he thinking like this right now?
Wait a second... Dana wasn't carrying him in these visions... Daniel looked down at the mind probe in his hands.
"It was you who took that first one" Daniel exclaimed. Dana shifted guiltily, looking like a little girl caught in her mom's make-up supplies.
"I was going to bring it back..."


Donald Ramson tried his best not to look directly at the woman glaring at him from across the desk. On either side of her were two men who seemed to be there for the sole purpose of intimidating him. At least in the case of the guy on the left with the scarred face, it worked. He quickly tore his gaze away from him and back to the woman.
The girl was asking him questions about the UFO, mainly. Ramson answered truthfully, considering there was no point denying what happened.
It felt rather eerie to Ramson, having his wing mate shot down by god damn aliens. Aliens! It felt like a dream, but some rational part of him knew it had to be true. There was no explaining away the empty bunk that belonged to Ryan.

Standing behind Valerie, John Pickering carefully studied the man in front of him. It hadn't been too hard to find out who was in the air when the Terror Ship came. After figuring out what had happened, Genega decided that the man would be a valuable asset to have, but it would ultimately be up to Pickering's discretion whether or not to pick him up. So far, Pickering liked what he saw. Ramson had a good head and good instincts, proven by how he evaded the alien weapons. He looked at his watch, the predetermined signal for "keep him."
"Well, Mr. Ramson. I've made my decision," said Valerie Deacon. They still had to keep up the pretence that she was the head honcho here. "We're not from the CIA, as we first said. We're from X-INV, the extraterrestrial investigations unit, which is a part of X-COM, the extraterrestrial combat unit, which, in turn, is a United Nations program. We have been investigating the recent increase in alien activity, yet only recently changed our charter to include the combative aspect. Part of this aspect includes aerial interception of the alien intruders.
"That is where you come in. You're a top pilot, and already have experience against these aliens. In short, we would like you to come on board."
Pickering could see the man mull it over in his head. He knew what the man would decide. The chance to avenge his wing mate would be too much for this man.
"Yeah," Ramson nodded. "I'm in."
Valerie smiled. "Good." The two stood up and shook hands. Outside waiting for you is a man called Davies. We'll sort out the details with your commanding officer.


"Twenty seven" Dana called out triumphantly. Daniel nodded glumly. Yet another score for Dana - seven versus his three.
"I think that's enough," Zager said, writing something more down on his clipboard. "You can give it a rest for now." Synchronised, Daniel and Dana both put down their mind probes and started massaging their sore temples. Under the supervision of Dr. Zager, the two were playing a little 'mind game.' Each one would try to think of a number whilst simultaneously trying to pry the other person's number out from their heads. Whoever first shouted out the number the other person was thinking.
"Hey, don't feel too bad, Dan. Women are just better at these kinds of things," Dana smiled smugly. It was gratifying to see Dana actually happy for once - a rare sight after the new year.
Daniel was just about to voice a complaint when Zager interrupted.
"Do keep in mind, Ms. Farber, that you have had much more experience with the mind probes than Daniel here, and you two have been close friends for quite a long time."
"Well, maybe I should try against you, Pat," Dana smirked, using a shortened form of his first name to try to get under his skin.
"Absolutely not. I'm the observer. It's out of the question." Dana was sure he just didn't want to touch the things. Maybe she should find out if that was true, actually...
"Hey, hands off, Dane" Daniel warned her. Even without using one of those things he knew what she was thinking. She gave him back a playful look, but there was something in it that Daniel didn't recognize.
It worried him a little.
Warning messages on a blaster launcher: "Warning, not responsible for loss of limbs, life, or familiy members through use of this device. Not to be taken orally. Some assembly required. Elerium not included. Do not operate without parental supervision. Do not use as a hairdryer. Not to be used as a toothpick. Blaster bombs sold seperately. Do not use while under the influence of alchohol or other drugs. Do not launch without setting waypoints. Not to be used as a flotation device. Do not dismantle Blaster Bombs. Hazard can be resulted from inproper use. Warning: Do not drop Blaster Bombs. Spontaneous detonation of Blaster Bombs can occur as a result of, but not limited to, the following: Impact, dissasembly, random bad luck, radiation, plasma fire, laser fire, and improper use or misuse. Blaster Bombs not to be used as a football. Not to be used on random animals including, but not limited to, gophers, pidgeons, hippopotami, stray dogs or cats, cockroaches, forum posters, forum admins, or lone unarmed sectoid soldiers."
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#171 storm turmoil

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 03:56 AM

David Brown had just doled out the last of the meagre ration of Plasma Clips to the Buenos Aires squads two Plasma Gunners. The two Laser gunners had retrieved their fully charged Rifles and Pistols and were ready to board the 'Ranger.

Rockets for the 84mm Anti-tank launcher were already on board, and a trooper dashed past with a trolley loaded with  orange labeled incendiary ammo for Autocannon and 40mm heavy launcher.

There was an acrid smell in the Hangar as the requested Flamethrower was adjusted for pressure. it was hardly a subtle weapon, but for clearing buildings, it would do the trick just fine. Rifles were slung, sidearms holstered.

This Time, X-com wasn't going in blind. They knew what to expect, and it wasn't going to be pretty.

For the Aliens, that is.

Rick stepped out into the hangar, feeling somewhat self concious in his new suit of Personal armour. He hadn't wanted to take it, but he'd been bullied into it. He'd rather have given the armour to one of the squaddies, but command were adamant that as squad sergeant, he got the first-and so far only, barring the badly scarred prototype- suit. He felt a little ridiculous in the bright blue plates.

" OK. listen up. Unlike the last mission, this time we have clearly hostile targets. There's some confusion about exactly what these critters are, but make no mistake, they are definately not of this Earth. But they definately are not welcome here, be they Aliens or Devils, they're going to regret getting X-com mad at them, Am I right?" Rick asked of the bolstered 'brick' of troopers.

" Damn right" Warlord Growled.

" Now mount up, and lets go show these 'devils' that Hell is a picnic compared to our kind of playtime" Rick ordered. he felt unusally amped. At the moment everything seemed to be going right. They had new weapons, they had new armour, and they knew, now, what they were getting into. They were prepared so much better than last time.

#172 The Veteran

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 01:50 AM

Buenos Aires was less than an hour away and Frank Cheeseman was feeling much more relaxed than probably he should have been... It was the first time that he'd actually flown one of the squads out to a hostile encounter... For the last two UFOs and the disastrous terror mission Doc had been on shift or Cheese had been away on other business. Out in the Osprey combing fields, out with Grizzly picking up planes...

To be fair to Cheese though, he'd only been back on base a few hours this time before flying out again to this UFO. The flight deck wanted Doc to go again but Cheese managed to finally wangle the exhausted pilot a well earned timeout!

Now as they got closer, he was beginning to wonder what it would actually be like out ther... Unlike the interceptor pilots, Doc and Cheese never flew together and were always on opposing shifts. On the rare occasions they were both awake together it was because they were both busy flying to or from some farflung corner of the world!

This time while Cheese and Grizzly had been away picking up a new plane and a new pilot, they'd both missed a lot! In fact Cheese had been going over exactly how much can happen in such a short time since the ground crew had brought him down, filled him in and sent him back out again.

He chuckled to himself. It was kind of ironic really he thought. It probably wasn't but Cheese thought it was... He'd taken Grizzly to pick up a new Hurricane Interceptor and another interceptor pilot. Now it was strange how the base always seemed to have one more pilot than they did planes but what he found more amusing was that if not for Trigger's incident with Terrick then they would also have had one more aircraft than they did hangars... He couldn't help but think someone was either planning things very badly, or eerily well!

In the rear of the craft, the soldiers weren't thinking about exactly the same things as Cheese but some things never change...

"Got any nines?" said Warlord nonchalantly.

"Go fish..."

Rick itched his neck where the new armour irritated his skin and tried to shrug some of the plates into more comfortable positions. He still wasn't mad keen on the idea of being painted blue and parading through the streets of an alien filled town but at least R&D were starting to get the weapons right again. That said, Rick had already swapped his once...

The kit on board this time was much more diverse than it had been last time Squad 1 had flown out. Then it had been mostly rifles, then when they met the 'diplomats' they'd been given a few lasers.

This time everyone felt safer behind their new arsenal... The squad now had two laser pistols, one laser rifle, a heavy cannon and an autocannon, two rifles, a sidearm for the medic, a flamethrower by special request and a newly bodged plasma pistol that surprise surprise had been given to Rick...

That had been his first trade. He'd seen how Ki-tat's eyes lit up when he saw the plasma pistol in the weapons demonstration. He'd never said as much but Ki-tat was quite the whizz when it came to 'cutting-edge'. And it didn't get much sharper than plasma right now!

That left Rick with the flamethrower which, in all honesty, would make most red-blooded soldiers feel rather good about themselves. He'd only give that up when he realised his new armour couldn't actually accomodate the tanks...

Well Ki-tat didn't want it back, Howitz was happy with the biggest baddest explodiest gun in the arsenal and Rick wasn't subtle enough to handle the heavy cannon anyway... Warlord hhad the auto and loved it like a child, Tammy had her own personal sidearm, 'less fighting more healing' as she would often say... Who really has time to fight when you're already busy getting bled on?

Tim was a pistol scout so along with Ed Dodge he was fronting the new laser pistol guinea pig duo... Donovan and Ibsen, Rick suddenly realised that he'd never really noticed either of them before. Same went for Ghost but after all you don't just take on any old callsign! No these two had suddenly become interesting though, they both had rifles, Rick's weapon of choice...

Warlord prodded Rick. "You calling or what?"

Rick snapped back to reality, "Oh sorry... Err, got any... nines?"

"Nines? Are you even playing this game? I just asked you for nines"

"Oh, what did I say?" asked a slightly baffled Rick.

"You said you didn't have any nines..."

"Oh yeah...," Rick looked at his cards and pulled a few out. "I lied, I have lots of nines." he passed three cards over to Warlord and smiled an innocent grin.

Just as Jack was about to comment, Rick stood up and took a stroll down the Skyranger to his two promising looking riflemen. He was about to kick up some innocent 'weapon-stealing' chat but he caught the glimpse of a fruitier target sat right by the deployment ramp.

Jennings was just sitting minding his own business, twiddling his thumbs and all the other stuff one does whilst minding their own business... He was also babysitting a nice shiny looking laser rifle. Just like a rifle but without the reload, or so the techies said. They'd had no overheats, it was fully submersible, frozen, burnt. According to one rather excitable youth in the workshop it was 'unbe-friggin-lievable man!' Rick wanted one, that one...

"Now what's a medically downgraded trooper like you doing on a specialist transport like this hey?" Rick looked down at Jennings and grinned.

"Good behaviour I guess" smiled Jennings. "Besides, the doctors were quite impressed with the healing. Apparently I'm made of tougher stuff"

"What did I tell you, the bigger the better! How is the old shoulder now?"

"It's getting there yeah," Jennings pulled his jacket off one shoulder to reveal the scar from his last encounter with plasma weaponry. "Kinda wish they hadn't given me this hokey thing though... Not sure I trust technology anymore... Ki-tat should have it really, all he was going on about in medical was how great those plasma things are..." Jennings shook his head and gestured to Ki-tat.

"He probably would but he's got his own plasma thing now so I don't think he'd swap for love nor money! If you think your shoulder's up to it though I wouldn't mind taking your rifle for this mission. I know how superstitious you get..."

"It's not superstition as such," replied Jennings.

"No sorry that's not what I meant. What did I mean to say... Oh yeah, I know how you get an overwhelming felling of dread and fear when you wake up in the morning," Rick grinned broadly, he got on well with Jennings. Lucky that really, he could have laid Rick out with virtually no effort at all!

"So how about it, fancy a swap?"

Jennings looked at his scar briefly then back at the harness on Rick's flamethrower. He couldn't even pretend to not want it... He poked the scarring under his uniform. It wasn't nearly as tender as it had been a few days ago...

"Done, I'll take yours, you can have mine. Thanks boss, appreciate it."

"No worries Robbo, you'd do the same for me"

Rick took the rifle off him and sat back down opposite Warlord. He admired the shiny piece of 'magical death-ray' technology in his lap, like a child with a new toy.

"I wondered what you were up to..." said Warlord shaking his head. "Are you happy now?"

"I have infinite ammunition, what kind of a question is that? Hell yes I'm happy"

"Good so, are we playing?"

"Sorry one minute..."

Rick only remembered when he was talking to Jennings that he should still have been in the med-lab. Then he'd only remembered when Ki-tat was mentioned that he should be ther as well...

"Ki-tat..." he called to him across a few seats.

"What's up doc?" called back Ki-tat leaning forward slightly to see.

Rick smiled, he was still playing with that plasma pistol! Then he realised he was playing with the laser rifle he'd just relieved Jennings of too, so he stopped smiling...

"Why aren't you still laid up? Are you healing up too? Do I have an invincible squad or what?"

Ki-tat laughed. "I wish, it still hurts like hell! Just couldn't stand waking up to those sour looking nurses anymore! I'll be fine, don't worry about it..." He leant back against the Skyranger and continued to play with his new pistol.

Rick sighed, grinned and shook his head all at once. The guy would most likely get himself killed, but Rick had a feeling Ki-tat was just lucky...

"Rick shall I just finish up with someone else here?" Warlord waved his cards at the squad leader in an attempt to extract a response.

"Yeah yeah ok I'm here now, I'm done... Is it my go?"


"Do you have any nines?"
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#173 Ego Terrorist

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 10:23 PM

From what John knew, if the US government wanted to spend anything, it had to go through the an appropriations committee. The one that interested John was the US Select Senate Oversight and Appropriations Committee it was the one that decided on the amount of funding US 'black' operations and programmes received, all of those on the committee had been given clearance to view top-secret information, and because of this they were also responsible for deciding on how much they should put forward to X-Coms budget. So when it came to maintaining favour with the U.S Government, it was this committee and its members that they had to deal with.

"Senator Moore, Senator Newman" Valerie shook the hand of each senator, both had risen out of their seats when she and her two 'bodyguards' entered the room. Both of them eyed her up. She was young and pretty. They were politicians, and influential members of the committee.

"Who are the two suits?" Asked Moore.

"They're my close protection officers." Valerie smiled pleasantly at the two men and went over what John had told her in the car. "As you both know I'm here representing X-Com, and as the two of you gentlemen will be aware there was a recent incident."

It was Newman who spoke first. "Yes, the killing of civilians on United States soil, funded by the US taxpayer. Then there was the whole incident on the Potomac, where a UFO crashes on US soil and is then destroyed by another UFO, no X-Com fighters were seen, and it was left to the pilots of the United States Air Force to oppose this alien aggression."

"And the Air Force pilots did an excellent job at engaging the UFO, and although regrettably one fighter and pilot was lost we have decided to recruit the other pilot into the X-Com Programme. He's a credit to the Air Force."


"And what of this report of an incident between involving X-Com and a force of unidentified people?" Asked Moore from his seat. John had been studying him, Moore was smart, and not as prone to sounding off like his fellow Senator.

"We're looking into that, the implications of a hostile force that isn't alien engaging our forces in the field are very serious." Valerie considered the brief report she'd been given regarding the prisoners they'd taken that day. One was a mercenary the other was a diplomat. So far no one had asked for whom, but the meeting was taking place on U.S. soil...
Dammit I just misspelled on my christmas present list...now I've asked satan for an inflatable Buffy.

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#174 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 12:25 PM

The card game (and several after) had finished up well before the 'Ranger reached it's destination. Howitz had moved up with Jennings towards the exit, ready to provide a smoke screen when the ramp dropped. Like the other soldiers, he'd picked up one of the new, unconventional weapons, but had been quite prepared to go with one of the oldest pieces - a laser pistol. "The cutting edge is the bleeding edge" was a saying he'd long since taken to heart, and besides, the thing had no kickback at all - a great advantage for a man who considered a gun to be a secondary weapon.

That wasn't to say it was tried and tested technology - The laser weapons had only been used once in the field, and because at the time it had being snowing, they'd most made pretty lights and burnt out. This model had a mass-produced design look to it however, and was probably trustworthy enough for his purposes. His ears pricked as the engines changed their roar to indicate they were arriving. A few team members twisted around on their side seats to get a view of the combat zone, looking for a sign of the reported "demons".

By now command had set up a semi-decent plan of action for local authorities to take when X-Com was to be called in. They'd wouldn't know who was giving the orders, and they might not like them, but they were passed through enough departments to make them look valid, and so they were followed. Basically, the entire area was cordoned off in a circle, with a radius of about a kilometer. Civilians were allowed out but no one was allowed in. The idea was that aliens so far hadn't ventured too far from where their ship dropped them off (presumably to allow for easy pickup), and probably wouldn't spread as far as the barrier... This also meant that city forces wouldn't be able to attempt a strike against the aliens (which they hopefully wouldn't even see, making the exact identity of the attackers unconfirmed), and those people who were within the area would have their names noted down before they could leave it (which loudspeakers would encourage them to do). Explaining incedents away was still tricky, but this would make things a lot easier, and also reduce fatalities. The aim was to have only a few of the natives in the area by the time X-Com forces arrived.

Cheese lowered his craft down to the tarmac of a decent sized carpark, neatly filling a large number of parking spaces. He hadn't yet seen anything that could rattle his nerves, but he was still glad the windshield he was sitting behind had been re-inforced with an ultra-thin layering of alien alloys. In order for him to see through it, it was really only a spray on solution containing the same compounds as Rick wore, and while no one had actually fired a plasma weapon at it to find out, there was a chance it'd be more protective that way. The teches spoke of the alloys like they were the classic immovable object, and the plasma weapons as if they were the unstoppable force, but both definitions couldn't be right. He was only vagually relieved that he wasn't the main guinea pig in that experiment, while trying to remind himself that he'd asked to be there...

The ramp lowered fairly quickly, but there was already a thick cloud of smoke around the rear exit of the craft before it hit the ground. Howitz flicked the pins out after the smoke bombs, and rolled out and to the side of the craft besides the wheel on his right. There wasn't any tank loaded for this mission - although Slice was fairly competitant at steering the things by now, they tended to take a shot somewhere vital early on, taking them out of combat before they could be any use. Hence they were to have an extra layer of armor slapped on before the costly beasts were to be deployed again.

He rolled around the to the other side of the wheel as the next soldier came down his way. He'd attached his positioning tablet to his left arm, and could keep half an eye on it as he swept his gaze around the area. He couldn't see anything, and neither could anybody else - the smoke had thinned out enough that they could see out of it, whilst still being practical for cover.

Well, a clear LZ. That was a change-

His instincts kicked his body into action before he knew what he was doing, and he'd twisted his aim 180° mere fractions of a second after the roar began. He felt his mouth begin to drop open as a car - a freakin' car - took off from the other side of the 'Ranger and slammed into it, nearly falling onto a stunned Jennings who'd taken position there. The man darted behind it with surprising speed considering the tanks on his back, and sat there under the ship white faced, while his mouth silently tried to speak without benefit of words coming from his brain.

As the radio line started to fill up with exclamations and various swear words, Jack crawled to the front wheel of the ship, and stared out in time to see the massive orange beast ram into the vehicle it had somehow thrown, the force enough to knock Ripper - who was coming down the SkyRangers' ramp - off his feet.

Ok, maybe not a clear LZ...
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#175 Tammy


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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:05 PM

Within a few seconds of the impact, Tammy was at the open door of the Ranger looking for wounded. She spotted Ripper at the bottom of the ramp, but he was already getting back to his feet, so there didn't seem to be any emergency--yet. Considering that her weaponry consisted of a laser pistol and medical equipment, she ducked back inside the door to let the big guns through.  Ed Dodge ran past her, firing at the creature as he moved. Two or three bullets found their way into the creature's hide, but it seemed near unstoppable. The creature roared in annoyance at this new irritant and swatted Ed against the side of the craft. Tammy watched in horror as he was crushed beyond recognition. She didn't need a medikit to know that he was beyond her help.  Warlord stepped up beside her, levelled his autocannon at the monster and fired three times. Three gaping holes opened in its hide as it crumpled to the pavement.

Warlord turned to Tammy and winked, "Who's next"
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#176 The Veteran

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 12:50 AM

After a brief moment of confusion, what with cars leaving the ground and small dinosaurs crushing people, things suddenly stopped. The only noises were the remaining nine troopers calling to each other and the slightly slower amongst them calling a medic for poor old Ed.

Tammy had made her way over to the dead creature, still very close to Ed's crushed remains. God knows Tammy had been in some grizzly situations before but she still didn't like the look of what the monster had left of him so she took the best cover she could and checked out the creature instead.

As the last few soldiers emerged from the Skyranger there was absolute silence. The troopers were all attempting to take cover, some behind the Skyranger's Landing gear, Jennings behind the world's first flying car and several others dotted about the car park behind various hatchbacks and estates.

Tim Day was whizzing from cover to cover circling out from the Skyranger. The car park seemed to be fairly peaceful now that Rex had been disposed of, although he did notice that one very lucky ford driver was only inches away from having a troop transporter on top of his people carrier...

Ki-tat was currently squatting next to a rather expensive looking BMW, peering cautiously through the window... Warlord appeared behind him and attempted to conceal his bulk behind the same vehicle, almost successfully!

"What's up soldier?" he he asked following his gaze.

"I used to have one of these," replied Ki-tat nonchalantly. "Walnut dash, air conditioning, it even has electric seats in the back, heated ones... Real nice car."

"Ah its all hype and compensation, I had a BMW once, traded it for a pickup. It just wasn't big enough..."

Warlord disappeared towards another vehicle also being used as cover. Watching him go, Ki-tat knew it was true. To be honest he was wondering what kind of pickup he'd found to take his frame...

Back by the Skyranger Jennings was still in the same place trying to conceal his suicide backpack. It didn't occur to anyone at the time but it was a really terrible idea to bring something so flammable into a warzone. Still as long as he got to use it on someone and didn't explode he would go back to base happy. For now he was following Rick's 'stay put until we can move you into more cover' order more than happily. Of course there was that ever growing puddle of interesting smelling liquid by the sideways parked car he was stood behind... Maybe he'd just move a little.

"Everyone's in good positions for now but we don't have any contacts anywhere," Rick told Warlord who had decided to visit his Toyota after commenting on Ki-tat's BMW. "The center of town is right over there but there are some big industrial estates and a lot of offices behind us, not to mention the housing to the west and docks to the east..."

As Warlord attempted to solve Rick's problem for him Tim suddenly reappeared and joined the two troopers behind the truck.

"I've scouted out all around the landing zone about fifty meters in every direction. It's not pretty, lots of open ground..."

"Did you see any more of them out there?" asked Rick hopefully

"Three maybe four but the last one could have been anything to be honest it was a long way off..."

"Three maybe four? Where are you looking, I haven't seen a thing" replied Rick poking his head out for a cursory 360 glance.

"That's why I'm the scout and you're the boss" said Tim winking. "We need to get on though, I'm not sure if they're leaving or simply moving but I think they're moving away from us."

"They're moving away?" said Warlord curiously. "Why the hell would they move away?"

"Maybe they recognise the craft, maybe they're scared, or maybe their ship's just here to pick them up, who knows. But if we want to be sure they leave, we need to move out now"

"Hey look at you, now you're the scout and the boss," said Rick smiling slyly. "So what kind of cover do we have and where are they?"

"The three I'm sure I spotted are over towards the marina, one of them was in amongst the boats but I lost that one. Another is heading away from the water into the dockside buildings there and I think I saw a third go into that warehouse over there with the red roof. It looks like the only cover we have between us and them is going to be cars, this parking lot ends where the water begins."

"Ok Tim that's great work, I'll remember this when we get back to base." The confidence in Rick's voice almost surprised him. Maybe this shiny new rifle and goofy blue armour were worth having after all. Just as a bit of a morale boost.

"Orders Rick?" suggested Warlord

"Yeah Warlord you're on your own, just be careful with that cannon in close quarters. Tim I want you to pair off with Tammy, wherever she needs to go you go too and keep her covered at all times so she can do her job."

"Sure thing, just call me if you need anything else." Tim disappeared back to the skyranger where he could still see Tammy kneeling by the alien monstrosity that had taken out Ed. He also saw Jennings dash out from behind the car he'd been using as cover. He'd finally decided that the flamethrower was dangerous enough without standing in a pool of petrol.

"Looks like I'm with you doc," said Tim kneeling by Tammy.

"Ooh lucky me," said Tammy smiling up at Tim. "I'm just checking this thing over, I think there's a chance we could take it back alive..."

"Really you think so? I could fit my thumb in any one of those holes..."

"Well there's certainly still a heartbeat, an erratic one, very erratic, but a heartbeat means life..."

As he watched Tammy inject the creature with something he heard her commlink buzz into life. It was Rick with the rest of the squads orders...

*Ok squad One listen up. We've located several hostiles North of our location by the marina, possibly also in and around the warehouses and waterside buildings. Several of you already have your orders, those of you who don't listen good. Tammy, go wherever you need to and do the magic you do, use Tim as cover but don't take unnecessary risks, either of you. Donovan and Ibsen, move to the warehouse with the red roof but keep your eyes open and stay alert, there may be more of these things than we've seen already. Howitz you're a free agent but that leaves you without cover. Proceed as you wish but be careful, again no unnecessary risks. Jennings, shadow the rest of the squad and stay in cover as best as you can. That blowtorch of yours is going to help us clear out the warehouses, piss off a few contractors... If anything changes for any one of you get on the comm. And inform the rest of the team. Also notify any hostile sightings and update the info on your Heads Up Display. Ok lets go team, good luck and be careful. I'm not leaving anyone else behind this time...*

Rick checked his weapon, thumbed the safety off and broke cover for the marina. He was going for the boats...
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#177 Tammy


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Posted 07 June 2006 - 06:15 PM

"Well, Tim, looks like until somebody needs patching, we get to stay here and play scientist," Tammy grinned.

She patched a few of the thumb-sized holes that Tim had mentioned and continued to monitor the heartbeat. The creature stirred once, but rising was clearly not going to be an option for some time, especially once the injection took effect. They went over every visible inch of the creature, but it was so foreign, Tammy's medical skills were about as useful to her as a veterinarian's would be in human neurosurgery. In other words, she could figure out what most everything was for, but that was about it. No, they would have to wait until they got it back to the base to do any real study of the creature. Considering its size, Tim and Tammy didn't even have the option of moving it into the Skyranger until they had some help.

Tammy got out a rather sophisticated electronic device and a stylus and began writing on the screen with the stylus. Tim assumed she was taking notes until she handed it to him. On the screen was a tic-tac-toe board, center square occupied by an X.

"I hate waiting," she mumbled.
Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
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#178 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 02:42 PM

Ripper and Johann split up as they entered the storeroom, and performed a quick sweep through the building.

Finding it empty, they met up at the opposite side. Ibsen kicked through the locked door and ran through it, but turned as he heard Donovan cry out behind him.

"Under fire!"

Ibsen ducked back through the entrance, and knelt in a firing stance. "Where from?"

"No idea! The shot came from up high, but there's nothing on the cat walks"

Their rifle buts weaved around the room as they looked for the offending alien. "Must be under cover," commented Ibsen, "if there is any up there..."

A second shot came down. "Inaccurate bastard, isn't he... Wait a minute... What in the wor-"

But Donovan didn't hesitate to unload his ammo into the creature hoving nearly directly above them, supported by nothing but thin air...


This time around, Howitz was wearing the factory standard coloration of uniform. Although his last outing had come out better then anybody could have hoped for, he'd felt more then a tad edgy wearing a charcoal black jumpsuit in a snowfield.

He was vagually surprised that he'd been sent out alone again. Not having any cover wasn't really a draw back - just about any of the grenades he had on his various belts or webbing slings would serve that purpose well enough - but usually he'd be cover for someone else. In this case there were a few units he could follow about, the closest being Jennings... The image of the last person he'd seen with a flamethrower flashed into his mind, and he decided that following Jennings would be a bad idea for a man carrying as many explosives as he was.

The cries of the two riflemen in the warehouse came in over his radio as he headed in a direction away from the water. It seemed that some greys were here along with the meat tanks. Best to try and hunt some of those down - his pistol wouldn't be much use against the orange beasts.


The purple being groaned as the bullets ripped through it, alternatively punching through what might have been armor into it's flesh, or deflecting off the hovering metalic base it seemed to be standing on. Then it dropped - what must have been three stories - like a stone.

Donovan continued to scan the room for hostiles, this time paying a closer eye to the rafters. Ibsen approached the corpse.

"We've got another new alien here," he commented into his radio. "This one's bipedal, and can fly around somehow..." He nudged it over onto it's back. On closer inspection, the metalic base was attached to the creature (which was wearing some sort of cape), in place of it's legs... Well, mostly attached. The fall had done a lot towards changing that.

Donovan called impatiently from the door. "Well, is it dead?"

"Yeah, I'd say the hostile's down."

"Well, come on, then. And no more jokes."


Ki-tat kept under whatever cover he could find as he neared the edge of the carpark, it being on the fore-front of his mind after his stay in the med bay.

What he wasn't being overly careful with was his new weapon. Dispite Turmoil's warnings, he intended to leave it loaded until either the charge ran out or until the mission was over. He was currently considering taking the gloves off.

Although it was all very cool having the plasma pistol (or should that be hot?), it was slightly disconcerting not knowing how many shots it would give him. He'd been allowed to burn through a few of the clips in the training ground - just a few, there weren't many spare - so he had some idea as to what the intensity of the weapon's glow meant, but it'd be a while longer before he could make an expert estimate. Some of the techs were talking about making a training sim, which would be easy enough for the laser weapons, but would be a bit more difficult for the other weapons (which had varying amounts of recoil).

For now, he'd just have to be careful not to waste his ammo. The weapon would certainly provide enough power per shot, so long as he didn't miss...
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#179 The Veteran

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:11 AM

The team was slowly spreading out through the dockside, everyone doing much their own thing. Jack and Johann had left the red-roofed warehouse and moved on to the next building along. Tim had said he thought an alien had entered the first warehouse and he'd been right, he didn't mention any of the other buildings though, another one in the area but he couldn't be anymore specific than that...

Tim himself was with Tammy now and he had to admit tic-tac-toe wasn't really his thing. Still he'd been given his orders, and like Rick had said, no unnecesary risks... That meant stay here, and play noughts and crosses with Tammy as far as he could tell, so that was wht they were doing. He handed the palmtop back to Tammy and took a look around while she made her move.

"It's a bit quiet for a terror mission don't you think?" he said out load to noone in particular.

"Hmm?" responded Tammy looking up slightly from the screen.

"When squad 3 fought in China they got their arses kicked big style... They took 2 casualties, 5 fatalaties, Fitz got beaten to a pulp and the tank got near wasted. There were three of those saucers there and reports of at least 12 sectoids in the area of which only four were killed..."

"Ok," said Tammy lowering the game for a moment and looking at Tim. "They got hammered, we know that, everyone remembers the people we lost, I was getting to know Deet particularly well... Talking about how badly that went isn't going to help anyone here though, and besides we're doing ok so far, right?" She was going to say fine but then she caught a glimpse of Ed...

"That's what I mean," said Tim with a touch of concern. "We took a hit early on, it was a poor initial deployment and they hit us too quick. But where are the rest? If you think of it relatively we're looking to expect another three of these pig walker things and another eleven of those flying aliens... So where are they?"

Tammy twigged, it had been going too well so far, even with the loss of Ed. She couldn't think about it just yet, and she handed the palmtop back to Tim. "Try not to worry about it, we have a good squad here... And it's your move."

Tim took the tablet and half whispered "Fitz had a good squad..."

By now Rick had reached the marina, yaughts and boats were everywhere, it looked like a very wealthy area all of a sudden! Rechecking his safety was off he cautiously climbed down to the dock itself and stepped onto the system of piers and walkways that provided mooring for the numerous watergoing vessels before him.

Ki-tat was also near to the docks himself, by now having navigated the car park he was stood at the waterside looking down on Rick. He was moving slowly along the waterside, staying in cover as much as possible but moving as slowly as he safely could so as not to draw any unwanted attention. He was heading for the first of a range of waterfront shops, this one appeared to be a fisherman's paradise, rods and bait lining the street immediately outside the store.

On the opposite side of the water from Ki-tat, Warlord had been moving quickly. He'd heard Tim say the aliens may be leaving and he didn't want to see any of the little monsters make it out alive. He was now moving away from the waterside and had crossed a main road into more residential areas. He was now moving through a garage forecourt, four petrol pumps stood in front of him in one neat row and a shop and car wash stood on his left all under a large awning.

Warlord moved to the shop and pushed open the door, cautiously, slowly... He traced the aisles with his auto cannon but saw nothing unusual, no shopkeepers, no civilians, no aliens... He turned again towards the forecourt and observed the finer hints at desertion... Cars were still on the forecourt, one nozzle was still in a tank waiting to be filled, the pump itself still whirring.

A sudden noise caused Warlord to spin around and raise his gun instinctively. The automated car wash sprayed water onto a rover estate in need of serious cleaning. The motors kicked in again and brushes began to spin, moving backwards along the length of the car. Warlord moved to the carwash but it was clear, it had simply started up again due to the car still being present. It wasn't as if anyone was around to move it...

Rick was moving from boat to boat in the marina, now convinced that he'd chosen a very easy to clear location. There was no sign of anyone at all having been on the docks recenlty, let alone aliens. Ibsen had saiid they could fly though, what signs would a flying alien leave? That's when he saw something strange on a boat a little way ahead of him. There was movement on the deck but he couldn't actually see what it was. He lifted his rifle to aim and approached the deck, then he realised he was following a shadow...

He looked up quickly to the silver ball floating almost directly above him some ten meters up. He couldn't see the alien, just the base that Ibsen had described. Rick took aim with his new laser rifle but without thinking compensated for recoil. He squeezed off a shot and pushed the rifle forward as it fired, sending a red lance of shining light just under his target.

Ki-tat turned from the waterside in response to the silent but near blinding laser and took a kneeling stance, aiming his pistol at the newly spotted alien. He squeezed off a shot with the new piece of equipment and compensated almost perfectly for the surprising amount of recoil. A greenish coloured projectile flew towards the alien, almost like firing a ball of phleghm, but it flew just left of the creature as it moved away from the new threat from below.

Rick had seen the alien lean forward slightly after he'd shot and it had glided several meters away from the boats now towards the garage side of the water. It turned to Rick and brought it's own weapon to bear on him, spraying plasma into the dock and several surrounding boats.

Rick threw himself off the decking taking a glancing hit to his right shoulder. He aimed up at the alien again and braced himself not forward but simply as if standing... He squeezed off a burst of fire, emitting three shafts of red laser in under a second. One was two high but the first punched a hole through the alien's cape and the third hit the silver sphere itself opening up a small but impressive hole to one side of it's center.

The alien threw it's arms out to either side as if trying to steady itself and it wobbled slightly in mid air. It bought it's weapon to bear once more on the squad leader and Rick quickly rolled to the other side of the boat before aiming to the sky once more and hoping he could pull his trigger first.

Suddenly his prayers were answered and a bolt of plasma slapped into the aliens side, effectively melting a large portion of it's flank... The creature dropped it's weapon immediately and then fell to one side, temporarily falling below the sphere it was supported by before it apparently ceased functioning and the whole bizzarre creation fell into the water with a satisfying splash.

Rick looked up to the waterside where Ki-tat was still crouched in his firing position. He gave the squad leader a cheeky salute and recieved a grateful thumbs-up in return. Ki-tat turned away from the marina and entered the shop he was in front of, it reminded him of a bait and tackle shop he'd once lived nearby, quite homely...

Rick stood from the boat he was sprawled out in and brushed himself off, stepping again onto the splintered walkway. He glanced at his shoulder and suddenly realised that he hadn't recieved such a glancing blow as he had at first thought. His shoulder was slightly numb but at the time the adrenaline pumping through his body countered the feeling.

Now he put a hand to his new personal armour he felt an inch of thickness melted away and a burn right through his jumpsuit. The shot had caught him inside his shoulderblade near his collarbone, without the new armour he would have been lucky to have kept his arm! Suddenly he forgot how uncomfortable it was...

Rick pulled out his radio and called a public comm. "Jennings, the waterfront looks to be clear, I want you to come over here and help Ki-tat check out these shops ok?"

*Got it,* he replied quickly.

"Everyone else continue as planned," he started unable to think of any further necessary orders. His stare fixed on the gently bobbing silver sphere, the rest of the alien submerged beneath it. The hole his laser had made in the base was sparking from time to time, erupting rather spectacularly when the water spilled in. "stay out of the water," he said to the squad in general, "Ki-tat's left a Floater..."

Warlord chuckled as he walked around the back of the garage he'd reached. There was a large tanker parked up there, filling the station's underground tanks by the looks of it. The driver was long gone though just like the rest of the city's inhabitants. He walked a little further round the buildings, skirted a tyre store and a small in house workshop, finally emerging behind the car wash he'd started out in front of.

Howitz had moved further into the industrial part of the docks, a few buildings away from the two riflemen... He'd seen an alien move into the building some time ago but apparently his radio had stopped working somewhere between the car park and the warehouse he was now staking out so he couldn't call it in. He tapped up his location on the positioning tablet on his arm and checked out the warehouses layout.

As he watched from the gantry he'd ascended, apparently unnoticed, he caught a glimpse of the alien he'd been following all along. But as he reached for a grenade he noticed another figure in the distance, not one of the floaters as Rick had seemed to call them, but something else...

It looked like another of the monsters that had killed Ed but it was just pacing the warehouse. Maybe one bang wouldn't be enough for this party, thought Jack reaching for another grenade but he froze mid stretch. Just as the first floater disappered into boxes again he caught a glimpse of another one moving up into the rafters maybe 20 yards from his position.

These guys were seriously at home here, that was three of them under one roof and Howitz was starting to wonder if maybe they were looking for something in particular. But what what Buenos Aires have that aliens would possibly want? In all honesty, Jack didn't care, he very gently slipped off his backpack and opened it up beside him, four high explosive charges looked back up at him...

Rick had proceeded to check the docks with his left shoulder deliberately forward, not difficult for a right-handed rifleman... The boats were all empty, the piers all untrodden. He'd learnt not to look down now however and the skies were getting a great deal more attention than they previously had done!

The search here was over, thought Rick. There was no reason for a flying alien to be anywhere near these boats and the one that they'd already taken out seemed to be the only one in the vicinity of the marina. He stepped off one of the larger boats in the marina and back onto the decking when suddenly a massive explosion tore through him. He snapped his head to the sound and saw a gigantic fireball rising from one of the nearby warehouses.

Tearing out his radio Rick called for a status check and very quickly got a responce from most of the team.

"Donovan? Ibsen? Where are you?"

*We're fine,* replied Ibsen immediately. *We're a couple of buildings down from the blast, we've not been anywhere near it yet.*

"Ok," replied a relieved Rick. But who was there? Then he realised. "Howitz? Howitz do you copy?" He waited a second and cursed, he should have guessed where the explosion had come from, but Howitz was one of the very best, his charges never went awry so why wasn't he answering? Something had happened thought Rick. He punched up his tactical display and checked his troops positions on the map.

Everyone was alive at any rate, save old Ed at least... Howitz was showing as inside the building that had just been brought down. There were also readings for the monster by the Skyranger and the corpse in the first warehouse Ibsen and Donovan had checked. There was another corpse showing up in the same building as Howitz life signs were coming from and a foreign lifesign also flashed there before disappearing.

Rick spoke into his radio again "Jack, Johann, finish clearing the building your in and move to the bomb site as quickly as you can get there, Bomber is still in there but it looks like he's ok. Tammy I'm going to need you to get there too, he'll need you if we can get him out of there ok. Everyone got that?"

*Sure thing Rick, we're on our way.* replied Tammy putting the finishing move on Tim as he lost his fourth game in a row to the medic.

"I'll lead," said Tim checking his weapon, "but you need to follow as closely as you can. Keep your sidearm handy too ok?"

Tammy nodded, "I just want to check on his condition quickly." She wiped the game off her tablet and brought up the medical readouts on the whole team. Three names down the list Ed Dodge was written in black on a dark red background, everyone else was fine. Rick had settled down after his too close encounter and his pulse and breathing were back to normal.

Howitz was reading as stable but she wasn't sure if she could trust the reading... Everything read blank, there were no specific lifesigns at all, not even a heart rate... It just read stable.

Tammy frowned in mild confusion then gathered her belongings and checked her medkit quickly before slinging it and retrieving her pistol from a hip holster. She made ready and nodded to Tim who headed for an alleyway that appeared to run behind all of the warehouses towards Howitz's displayed location.

On the other side of the water, Warlord was just leaving the garage compound when he heard something unnerving. Or perhaps it was not hearing something that was unnerving... The car wash was still whirring and water was still falling but as he'd turned to leave there had been a grinding sound and the motors had failed, stopping the brushes from turning.

There was a groan from behind him as he stopped in his tracks, another groan and the sound of stressed metal, like a submarine out of its depth... Warlord turned to the carwash, slowly bringing his autocannon to bear. He was barely meters away from the hygenically challenged vehicle and he clearly saw it when the rear end of the car dropped several inches.

He bought his cannon to bear on the vehicle and checked a round was in the chamber and the safety was off. By the time he'd noticed the orange muzzle poking through brushes it had already jumped...
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#180 storm turmoil

storm turmoil


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Posted 14 June 2006 - 05:33 AM

Warlord's reflexes reacted faster than his mind, the muscle memory instilled by his training and the instant reaction born of raw instinct pulled his legs out from under him before he could realise what was happening, and he collapsed to the tarmac like a puppet with his strings cut, feeling the displacement of air as the orange blur passed above him by mere inches, it's leap powering it far over him, and taking it far past him. Warlord realised that leap was actually supposed to have been a crushing charge, and as he rolled over, he saw the beast frantically trying to correct it's overshoot, skidding across the asphalt of the gas station forecourt, it's claws tearing hideous gouges into the black roadway in a frenzied attempt to slow it's momentum, before it lost it's precarious control of it's balance and went rolling end over end into the brick wall of the forecourt kiosk, causing a muffled thump and a slight wheezing gasp of powdered mortar to be scattered, such was the force of the impact.

Warlord regained his feet rapidly, bullying his cannon back round and into position, determined not to lose the opportunity. The beast was already climbing back to it's clawed feet, apparently non the worse for a direct collision with a solid brick wall at a speed that would have turned a human into a sticky red stain on said wall.

Warlord planned to change that, and soon. He glanced at the torn and rent tarmac that marked the passage of the hurtling beast's mad, out of control charge, and was gratified to see the faintest traces of crimson added to the dark black of the roadway, where one claw had dug too deep and broken off, spreading alien blood in a small slick puddle.
Warlord faintly remembered one of the ancient driver's ed video's he'd once been shown. The title seemed more than usually appropriate for this scene.

" Red Asphalt...one of my favourites" Warlord announced to himself over the clanking of his autocannon spinning up. Just as the Beast began a second charge, the deadly weapon hit firing rotation, and Warlord pulled the trigger.

The beast, already accelerating, suddenly began to lose speed as Warlord turned the cannon on it like a hose, spraying volleys of Armour piercing rounds at a speed sufficient to make a human look like he'd been caught in a blender, and with much the same effect. On the beast, the effect was more subdued, but definately still the same. Warlord Grinned. Some things always worked.

The beast slowed under the pressure of the incoming fire, the shells ripping into it with pulverising effect. Warlord kept the trigger held down, and the beast's mad rampage slowed. Ten yards from Warlord, it finally got the message that it was being hurt, and made the decision to leap sideways.

Warlord's reflexes once more reacted before his mind, his finely trained frame pivoting with the cannon, maintaining the volume of Armour piercing slugs being spayed at the beast.

Then Warlord's mind caught up with his reflexes, as did his sight. And what they told him was twofold. One, that the armour piercing slugs were overkill in this case, and were overpenetrating the incredibly tough but unarmoured beast badly. Two, that His shift in aim had now caused his badly overpenetrating fire to be directed at a target directly in front of a group of petrol pumps, most of which still had fuel, and one of which was even still inserted in the filler pipe of a car's gas tank.

Warlord Never saw the explosion. The moment he'd comprehended what was going on, he'd thrown himself backwards as hard as he could, still firing, and hoping against hope that he'd not hit a gas tank, and that the beast was either too far gone to continue it's attack, or too stupid to remember the same dodge and would again miss.

He didn't hear the explosion either, except as a sudden starnge abscence of all sound. He felt as much as heard the dull wet thump of the beast's corpse as the force of the blast threw it over his body and sent it arcing onto the asphalt a dozen or so feet away. He certainly felt the heat of the initial blast as it passed over him, and fortunately his reflexes reacted in time again for him to hold his breath to avoid inhaling flames or smoke. Still he felt the telltale itch of singed hair and eyebrows, and the too-warm grip of his cannon as it grew hot. Shuffling away as fast as he could, moving like a crab on his back, shoving with his legs, dragging his cannon by the end of it's sling, he slowly shuffled away from the now burning gas station. He let himself move for what he thought was a couple of dozen feet, and then risked opening his eyes. the sudden lack of flames burnin his eyes away told him he was far enough away from the fire, at least for now, and he painfully climbed to his feet.

He was a mess, that much was certain, his skin red and painful, like sunburn on steroids, and a tentative touch to his forehead told him that his eyebrows were indeed burned away.

" Funny things, eyebrows. You never miss 'em till they're gone..." He thought to himself.

He was lucky to have got away so lightly, he suspected. He was lucky his extra ammo hadn't cooked off, lucky he'd been as far from the blast as he was, lucky he'd reacted in time, throwing himself flat, and holding his breath, allowing the blast to pass over him.

And still he looked like hell, he thought, but then a smile came to his face.

" Yeah", he thought, glancing round, finding the sticky red mass that was all that was left of the beast he'd been fighting, the force of the blast having thrown it into the concrete hard enough to reduce it to nothing more than a mass of pulped tissue and shattered bones;
"but you should have seen the other guy".

It was then that Ki-Tat rounded the corner from the Tyre store, it's forefront now burning, but the building itself still not alight as yet. Warlord sighed with relief. Ki-Tat must have come to assist once he heard the Autocannon fire, but hadn't counted on the petrol station explosion. Luck, it seemed, was on Ki-Tat's side though, as Evidently, the solidly built tyre store had shielded Ki-Tat from the worst of petrol station blast. Ki-Tat moved up to warlord, and it was then that Warlord realised that Ki-Tat was flapping his mouth incessantly, but no sound was coming out...or...

Warlord Groaned...the blast must have done that much for him as well. He cupped a hand behind his ear, and manged to say " I can't hear you"

He saw Ki-Tat cup a hand behind his ear and realised he was in the same boat.

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