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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