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"Independent defense contractors" operating inside Argentina have reached out in hopes of bartering for a shipment of the alien-visual-spectrum flashbang grenades that Dr. Shen designed and that we have not had the funds to put together. If we provide the equipment they've asked for, they're willing to make a significant donation to the XCOM Academy. And all of a sudden, the Grey Market brokers are invited over again, more stuff disappears from our emptying warehouse as "collateral" for the construction, and funds are released to build the damn grenades -- not that the armory ever sees them for more than five minutes, according to what little I can see while stuck here.

Great, we're officially arms dealers now. When an even less savory group of people than the Grey Market folks show up to pick up the flashbangs, I can't be sure of my lip-reading, but I think they called Bradford "El Director".

I've had just about enough of this. With the toenail clipper to use as a wire cutter and PC case as a frame, I quickly hook up the drainage tube fan and what I think is a temporary pacemaker to the car battery, and slowly nip through the netting holding me in place -- a couple of knots and it becomes a way to carry the case on my back. I feel a bit like Tony Stark, so I got that going for me. This should keep me breathing until the car battery craps out, which I expect should give me between four and twelve hours -- I don't have a voltmeter. This whole operation would take me about an hour if I was in decent shape, but between having to not make noise and passing out every fifteen minutes, it takes me the better part of two days.

Reports coming from Argentina indicate hostile aliens repelled by private security forces. I guess at least the damn grenades got used for their intended purpose.

In the meantime, Dr. Vahlen managed to wrangle some of the optics from the weapon fragments we've recovered into an adaptive sight for the rails of our assault rifles -- you mean that the aliens are as bad as we are as shooting? Maybe there's hope. I get up. Goddamn it hurts. I can't even double down to cough, and just end up making a noise that'd probably attract frisky rodents. Okay. Foot, other foot, shoulder improvised life-support backpack, take a step away from the bed. Good.

I push the tent around my bed back. "I need a glass of water" I tell the guard. The guy says "Sure", then sees that I'm standing up, and calls his buddy. They aren't sure whether to aim their guns at me or what. "Look guys, I don't want to fight you. Because right now I'm pretty much dead as soon as you touch me. Then you'll have someone who is still technically your commanding officer on your conscience. I am going to go talk to Officer Bradford." My voice sounds warbly due to the fan. Yay, I'm Discount Darth Vader. "If you come with me, great. If not, stay here. You can take the rest of the day off."

They guards share a couple of curt words in Japanese, then one of them calls for Bradford-sama to get to sickbay on the radio. I wave at Lily, who is sitting up with a bandaged shoulder, talking to one of the nurses. She stares, then smiles.

I was sitting in bed, chatting up the cutest male nurse this side of an ER re-run, hoping that burn scars wouldn't bring out the wilting violet in him, when I heard the most god-awful racket this side of demolition derby. I could only stare on in mute confusion as what appeared to be the human host of a steel and silicone jellyfish staggered across the floor of the sickbay. My amazement only deepened when she began to talk like a Peter Frampton b-side, and it's wasn't until she turned to wave that i realized it was Kay! The guards seemed to have everything clamped down tighter than a nun's thighs, so i could only manage a smile at the whole reason i'd signed up to be a "savior of mankind" in the first place.

I'd been getting antsier as this placed seemed to be going the way of West Point since I'd arrived, with not a word about Kay from any of my higher-ups. Seeing her up to her usual antics at least did the trick of putting my mind at ease, and easing the itching in my knuckles-and my feet. I decided that maybe it was worth sticking around a bit longer, after all.

(As written by Lily Foxboro)

I arks around a bit in town, which goes as well as you might imagine with my few mangled words of Japanese and their lack of cosmopolitan experience. Eventually I discover the local bar has a waitress who done some high school English before her family moved all the way out here and even better knows Chisato.

Yeah she was here, the girl says, although not for long. The island is sucking up everyone who can do something useful, whoever is sponsoring what they're doing out there has been hiring chefs, nurses, electrical engineers. All the locals get in return are low level flyovers by those grey X Men planes and a bit of a kickback from the supply runs.

I put 2 and 2 together from this and make about 17, which is why when the next supply boat ties up at a crumbling concrete dock they find me aboard trying to keep a low profile behind some crates of machinery.

This place is pretty off the beaten tourist track. It has it's own charm in a grey, wave lashed urbex kind of way. But let me tell you, as something to do here getting slammed in the side of the head with a rifle butt is not going to make the pages of the Lonely Planet guide.

(As written by Jonny Flames)

"I'm against killing him."

When having snuck into a paramilitary base, that is something of a comforting thing to hear on waking up.

"After all, to get away with it, we'd need to fridge the stiff, load him on the ranger for the next mission, hold him up in front of the aliens like a rigormortified helmet-on-a-stick, and hope they shoot him but not us, and only THEN ditch the body. Way too much hassle."

That, less so.

(As written by Kite Winters. About Jonny Flames)

Bradford comes down into sickbay with a security detail of four base guards; some salutes happen, but sickbay is a bit too busy a place for that. In the meantime, I've managed about a dozen steps; next time I'm putting my improvised life support system on a trolley rather than trying to carry it on my backpack.

"Officer Bradford" vader noise "I think I need" vader noise "a full report from you."

"Is this another attempt to kill yourself, or are you just wanting attention, Kay? Get back to bed. Whatever you think you are doing, you're not helping."

"I am trying -- to make sure -- this project -- stays true -- to its aim."

"That's for the Council to decide. Look... You've done your part. Get back to bed, we'll patch your lung up, and when you're doing better there's a nice flying boat ride home for you. Some of your friends have already left. Thank you for your service, but now you're overextending yourself. You know that ends badly." The four guards have stood back just enough to block the door.

"Then let's -- go talk -- to them."

"You know it doesn't work like that; the next Council report is in twelve days! Listen, you can even count yourself as having graduated, if you want. Go back home to Italy and teach our methods there. Your methods. Or to the US, if you like."

"Nobody -- would listen. Not -- ready yet."

"Or... Hey, if you want to stay here and help, just let me handle the military matter and work with Doctor Shen! I've read your file, it's probably what you'd rather be doing anyway, right? It's safer, and you'd make a much more meaningful contribution...."

"I think -- you are -- stalling."

The lights come off. So does the surveillance system. I wonder about the analog stuff. "Not anymore."

Bradford takes a step forward, and -- hits himself in the face. Not faking it; hard, I can see the black eye starting to happen. He spits a bit of blood. "Let the record show that Principal Kay had another psychotic episode at my expense, and had to be restrained." I try to take a step sideways. "Thanks for volunteering for testing the Arc Thrower, by the way, Dr. Vahlen says it'll be ready in ten days. This is the alpha version. Guaranteed to knock you out but -- and that's important -- not kill you." In his other hand there's a grey box that looks like it has been heavily modded from a soldering gun. A blue electrical arc comes from it, and hits me in the face.

I dreamed that I was in this little town with a golf course, where we'd occasionally go on weekend because it was a nicely bikeable place. Only, someone built this big indoor mall like they have in Dubai there. And I got my jacket ripped off me (and my wallet stolen) while looking for a cell phone to buy. And then I went home and helped my grandma set up the projector for a tea party in which she wanted to show Zardoz to her friends, because they're all a bit nuts about Sean Connery. I had not dreamed in a long time. That was fun. I wake up to the low-pitch whine of my ventilator complaining about the ripply DC.

I'm in the aboveground storehouse, the one building that sees the sky -- guess the lighthouse minder lived here, the place is small, and only used as a temporary unloading area to bring deliveries in. There's a man in front of me, lightly tied up. Bradford is a control freak, but not a murderer -- the ventilator has been brought up here and connected to a wall socket, with a very short wire. My hands and feet are tied, but I can move around a lot -- notably, to prevent further injury to my lungs my hands have been tied in front of me. By the look of it, by someone who didn't pay attention in sailing school; it'd be a good permanent knot if they'd soaked it before tightening it, but as it is, a bit of fingernail action takes care of it. Why didn't they use handcuffs? Someone must be helping me.

"Hello. I'm Jonny. Bit of a stowaway I suppose. They locked me up here, waiting for the big airplane to come back, I hope. What's your story, then?"

"I'm Kay. Probably -- doesn't look like -- it, but I run -- the place. Listen, if -- I untie you, will -- you help me with -- that forklift battery?"

Who knows what Lily, Vee and Kite were told, if anything; officially I may still be in sickbay. I know Riley and Stephen already went home; at least they won't have to deal with this.

Before I can tell Jonny to wriggle towards me so I can try to untie him, the red lights come on and the klaxon starts. From the half-open rolling door we see the Skyranger take off for parts unknown.


(OOC NOTE: I kinda lost the log for this one, which works narratively I guess.)

I don't really know what happened on this one; apparently, Lena took out a group of squaddies and rookies to Johannesburg, where alien abductions took place -- the Skyranger gets there fast enough to interrupt the grisly work, so there's that. The fight takes place in some sort of small observatory built in an industrial area. Weird... I guess there's a District 9 joke in there.

The team faced a combined force of sectoids, danglies and yarnalls, the latter oddly showing up last rather than first. Due to the yarnalls not joining the fight until the end, the mission happens quickly and both Meld canisters are retrieved, to Bradford's satisfaction -- Lena, leading from the front, is the only wounded. It appears that the yarnalls were trying to mess with the observatory's data analysis systems; maybe the aliens are trying to figure out what we know of their movements.

Nobu Sato joins Lily in heavy weapons training under Sgt. Diaz after demonstrating that the standard-issue assault rifles make a decent suppression weapons; despite having no kills to his name, he's done an excellent job at pinning danglies down and letting someone else finish them.

The people operating the observatory take the opportunity to share their data and sign up to help Dr. Vahlen.

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Page last modified on January 02, 2015, at 05:06 AM