Recent Changes - Search:

Emlia RPG Main Directory:


Very Different Places RPG

Iron Legion

Tripocalypse

Left Beyond

Waylights

Photon Knights

Discs! Brethren! Pie! (Under construction)

Paint It Green (Under construction)


Board Games

What Goes Up

Dolly Wars

Spirit Plumbers


Hosted Work by Riley

Monster Hunter Boardgame

The Kingdom Of Muscletonia

Streets of 2040

Hosted Work by Dee

Dee's RPG Wiki


Finished Campaigns

Enemy Unsure

Antaeus Rising

Rise of the Uncertainity Lich

Space Princess Quest

XCom Academy

Left Beyond Quest


Legalese: All content on this wiki is licensed Creative Commons 3.0 Noncommercial Sharealike, Attribution to https://www.robots-everywhere.com. Please click here to contact us for information.

Brought to you ad-free by Robots Everywhere LLC.

Mission16

GEOSCAPE

Brigitte's debriefing does not tell us as much as we hoped about EXALT -- the metadata shows that it's unlikely that this is an Asian operation, largely because their internal IT doesn't mesh well with Unicode. What little we do know is... odd.

For example, all EXALT weapons that we have recovered have a solenoid-operated trigger lock tied to a small cellphone modem that's built into the weapon -- their guns have DRM. We are trying to figure out who the manufacturer would be, since the machining is excellent, but this will have to be handled by the covert operations group, over which I have authority but little control. Furthermore, there are three worrying things about the bodies.

One, Dr. Vahlen found traces of Meld. It seems EXALT has begun experimenting on their own operatives. Where are they getting the stuff, besides? My guess is that they're combing UFO crash sites after we've left, or after local troops have dealt with them. Dr. Vahlen tells me in no uncertain terms that we better start on our own genetic modification program, lest we have to fight superhumans in addition to aliens.

Two, each and every one of their agents had fast-acting curare syringes on them. We have to assume that they were for self-termination. Even so, we'll try to catch one of these people alive next time.

Three, this is literally as far as we went: a curt note from the Council informed Bradford and me -- in that order -- that EXALT agent autopsy is outside of our mandate, and the bodies were urgently reclaimed by member countries. I suppose that makes sense, these are human beings with an identity and the FBI or Carabinieri are better suited to follow up on leads than we are, but why the order to stop and pack everything up in body bags? Bradford says that he doesn't like it any more than I do, but we can't do much about it.

What we cannot figure out is whether these people are working for or with the aliens, or have their own agenda. EXALT. X-ALT. We exist as a contingenty plan for the world's governments, maybe so do they? But for who, in that case?

I start to put that on the "conspiracy theories" whiteboard, but Dr. Shen cautions me against it. "There are plenty of shadows, and monsters lurking within, as it is. Let's not make room in our heads for more."

We have a brief conversation about it while taking THOR apart for repairs, and he talks me into it. I am very sure that this is something Riley and his friends have built; there are a few of my hardware tricks in this thing, even. Dr. Shen patiently tells me that he thinks I am a gifted engineer, but should have trained more rigorously -- he sees a lot of talent but little system in the bits inspired by my older work. The software engineering is interesting; we may try to do something with it for our own SHIVs eventually. Fortunately, the source code is included.

"As a platform, it's too different from our SHIVs to allow for any meaningful system integration. Unfortunate, because the aiming routines..."

Eventually, we decide to keep using the thing. It takes up slightly less space than a standard SHIV, has significantly less armor -- not unusual, given that it was probably made on a tight budget -- and we'll study the aiming system on downtime; as it is, THOR makes for a good substitute sniper -- the only one of us who's any good at that is Kite, so we can definitely use the backup.

I wonder what has happened with Riley and Stephen; I expected the source code to contain a message, but no such luck. Hopefully they were debriefed politely. Heh, come to think of it, weren't they supposed to have elections in a couple of weeks?

We finish patching up THOR, and leave it in what will probably be officially be called a SHIV bay if and when we make more. In truth, part of why I don't want to just take it apart is that it reminds me of working with Riley -- it was arguably the serenest time in my life. I didn't find a personal note on the physical parts, either; don't plan to obsess over it, but as soon as there's time, I'm going to give a better look without Dr. Shen looking over my shoulder.

(OOC NOTE: I'm assuming there aren't any notes from Riley or Stephen in in the code or engraved on the robot, but if there are, post them here!)


There is a thud and some profanity as a sleep deprived figure falls out of the bunk in the barraks.

“What do you mean I'm being transfered to Japan?!?!” moaned Corporal Kipton Hawley from the floor

Before the aid could respond a voice from one of the other bunks called out “Maybe the brass heard about that little incident with the sewer line and the drill rig?”

“Look” The tired NCO shouted back as he shimmied into uniform “That wasn't my fau-”

“Or maybe it was the thing with that hole in the maintenance shed” another voice hooted

“-Hey, how was I to know that the wall was THAT thin-”

“The Formal Dance, what was her name again?”

“I slipped in some punch alright!”

another voice chimed in “Maybe it's the Jeep thing, how much flight time did you log there?”

“IT WAS JUST THE ONE TIME!”

“What about the-”

Kip groans, and grabs his kit bag in one hand and the aid's arm with the other “You know what? I don't care. Anyway what's the worst thing that can happen to me in Japan?”

Silence Falls on the room as he and the aid head for the door, boots scuffing the floor.

As he opens the barrak door he's followed by one last voice...

“....$50 bucks says he gets stepped on by Godzilla...”

As written by Kip Hawley


All that got out about the EXALT raid is something about cell phone coverage loss in that area -- Riley tells me that it's basically what happens every other day, so I guess our covert operation managed to stay covert. It makes sense that the Canadian government would bury this so as to not tip off other EXALT cells, but -- heh. I just approved of a government coverup, because it happens to make my life easier. Power does corrupt.

We finish the next satellite uplink, with more satellites in the pipeline -- the plan is to set up satellite coverage just before the Council report, in case any emergencies pop up and we have to show support for one of the many countries that are unsure about our performance. This is, by general agreement, stupid -- we would all rather see coverage sooner than later, but politics will have to trump operational doctrine in this case. I ask Bradford, and he tells me that this is basically the norm in any paragovernmental organization, or most any organization at all -- he asks me where I've been living. I answer. He says that he meant if I lived under a rock. "Well, no, but I am now, so are you." I wink, but Bradford facepalms anyway.

Research on the alien NAVCOM continues; the hope is to be able to snoop in on their communications. So far, their computers seem another example of schizo-tech; it's actually oddly comprehensible, digital system with very little in common with the plasma weapon control logic (full analog, if we ever figure out how to make plasma weapons we'll have to subcontract Mesa Boogie for tube valves), or the yarnall (micromechanical, and on that note I'd like to know what happened to the wrecks; they always get disassembled first, and I've seen bodies around as trophies or even as garbage bins or urinals, but have no idea where the tentacles go -- I'm sure Vahlen and Kite did something clever, but either they're not sharing, or...). Interestingly, it uses a version of global positioning system that latches on our own satellites -- the aliens reverse-engineered Iridium and Globalstar protocols and use it for triangulations, but left GPS and Glonass alone. We send a note of this to NMEA: if they aren't using those, it's possible that they may want to knock them out of the sky without warning.

Before we can wrap that up and focus on the crystal drone's remains, another round of abductions slips past our satellite coverage. Damn it! Just what I was afraid of. We make for Mumbai; the South Africans and Russians are more likely to be able to handle the situation by themselves, and yarnalls loose in Mumbai could kill hundreds. Lovecraft Bugs... I don't even want to think about it; we'd have a zombie apocalypse on our hands. Huh. Maybe we should call those Herbies.

I'm going with Dee, and we are taking Kelly, Petrov and Webb with us. Lily is just done recuperating, and Kite frankly needs a break -- plus, she has a class to teach; she was operative who kept her head most level during the EXALT operation, and I want her to brief everybody on the new threat. Dee spends the entire trip asking me stuff about Meld, and in minutes so does everyone else -- the truth is, we have this shiny new toy and we haven't done anything with it yet... I'm just uneasy about it; those who play with the Devil’s toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.


Kite paced back and forth, absolutely hating that there was absolutely no way this could possibly look other than a drill sergeant addressing troops before an exercise. In deference to that she was going to try anyway, she was wearing instead of the official xcom issued 'we want to be reminiscent of green berets/SAS' floppy cap, a white felt beanie with cat ears on it and a cluster of killmark pips arrayed on the left ear like stud piercings.

"Every single one of you has more military training than I do. Every single one of you has passed combat certifications that I have not." Aboutface, continue pacing. "And all of you know it. So at least some of you are asking why I'm the one teaching this class. And that is because you are not here to be soldiers. You are not here as part of a vase, well-oiled machine with the power of a nation's economy behind you to make sure you have the Right Tools in the Right Place at the Right Time, and yes I am well aware of how often even with that machine and that power they fail to do so."

"You are here because right now all of humanity is the Zulus waving spears at British machineguns, and we are the tip of that spear! And as we cannot afford to win by exorbitant loss of life, we are going to have to learn to be infinitely more vicious, savage, and effective killers than both the alien invaders and the motherless scum who have decided to throw in with them. And I do mean motherless! As we have seen the benefactors of EXALT have already begun twisting their operatives into mockeries of what it is to be human with only traces of meld, and I do not like to think what they will do should they acquire a larger supply!"

"We are not fighting a war bound by the United Nations or the Geneva Convention! Until such time that we have some manner of proof that the aliens have signed such an agreement with earth, we cannot afford the risk of extending to them this courtesy! We are interested in live captures solely as specimens to interrogate or vivisect, and this applies to humans who work for them as well! Shoot To Kill at all damned times unless explicitly instructed otherwise!"

"You may now commence thanking the deity of your choice that the helmets you will be wearing into actual combat will not have the bulk and weight of whatever Oculus Rift derivative we've managed to convince one of the Council nations to give us, and as such will not be anywhere near as much of a pain in the neck! The augmented reality exercise you are about to begin in our training grounds has been designed by the most sadistic mind currently available on our facility, being yours truly, and programmed by those with this capacity while on very strong anti-nausea medication. You are not about to see the worst things you can imagine this war throwing at you, but the worst I can imagine!"

"You will see Yarnalls strangling children! You will see the feet of Orks crush the chest cavities of up until that point still living abduction victims you interrupted them in taking! You will see distraught civillians throwing themselves in front of your weapon to stop you shooting the Bug-infested loved one they don't realize is already dead! And that's all the spoilers you're getting kids, I expect you to kill each and every last piece of xeno or sympathizer scum you see, and if you hesitate you'll feel the back of my hand! That hand will be wearing the heaviest armoured gauntlet I can arrange, and speaking as someone familiar with basic metalwork that is a very heavy gauntlet indeed, and it will be only whether or not the Headmaster is looking that will control whether or not it's wrapped in barbed wire! Get to it!" (As written by Kite Winters)


OPERATION

We land in some new exurb -- given the city's size, that's like saying that Austin is an exurb of Houston, but still. The aliens have been corraled into a development which reminds me a little of Palo Alto, of all places -- probably to the taste of programmers and IT workers; there's certainly more of those here than there by now anyway.

The Indian Air Force has done an excellent job of corraling the aliens; the main concern are Yarnalls and Slendermen, as it's safe to assume anything more conspicuous would just get mobbed if present in small numbers. Some countries have set up anti-alien rapid response teams within the military, others within police forces -- in truth, we're all waiting for the "serious" invasion to begin. Right now, there's work to do. Dee quickly sees a Meld canister planted smack in the middle of what looks like a restaurant's outdoor dining area, but we quickly determine to be a parking lot. Oddly, I see no evidence of the chaotic traffic I remember from Vadodara or Bangalore; the quick-evacuation procedures that we have estabilished must be working.

I and Kelly follow Dee into the parking lot, while Petrov and Webb get on the roof -- we don't have a dedicated sniper for this mission, and well, they can certainly aim better than me, so -- Yarnalls! Petrov spots the tentacled robots cloaking as he climbs on a drainpipe. He calls it, and everyone pauses -- Petrov's likely to be attacked first, given the robots' simple search algorithm; everyone else will have to lase the things off him. Dee tells Kelly to watch our back while we wait for the things to reappear.

The first yarnall appears right in Petrov's face and is quickly melted by red light -- I think Dee got it, for what it's worth. She surges ahead, telling us to cover her. Webb goes up the roof with Petrov -- the buddy system works very well when there's just one yarnall. The Russian takes cover behind a ledge after spotting a trio of danglies; Kelly and I will play beaters and try to get the cyborgs to boost upwards into their line of fire, while Dee deal with anything unforeseen. Kelly takes a shot and drops one; the best I can do from my position is make noise and look scary, spraying coherent light into a window and hoping the reflections spook them off. While our two ersatz snipers take aim, Dee slides under a table and starts shooting wildly in the danglies' general direction.

It worked! One of the danglies boosts up, and I manage to drop it, to my own surprise; one left. So far so good, we haven't been shot at yet... there's still one yarnall on the loose, which leads us to cluster up, two above and three below. The plan is to sweep around the diner-and-general-store before entering it; if we find Meld, great, if not, I'm more interested in getting everyone home without any structurally superfluous holes for once.

Dee advances, taking cover behind a tow truck; I follow, staying low. My weapon's capacitors are dry, so I have to give it time to reload; I still haven't gotten use to the lack of the flashbulb whine of the prototypes. Inductors made with alien alloys are basically ideal parts, and don't even have that issue.

I motion for Kelly to go for the Meld canister, hopefully there won't be an ambush - we are in no hurry, so there's time to look behind corners. Dee seems strangely aggressive; maybe she's just letting me lead, although she should have tactical command on this one. She shoots the remaining dangly and misses, blowing up a boiler behind a wall and taking out a big chunk of it -- Slendermen in the building! One of the alien infiltrators returns fire, hitting Dee in the arm. "I'm fine!" she calls out even as another slenderman fires on her position.

The remaining dangly boosts up to the roof and is quickly taken out by Webb and Petrov; it looks like we've developed a system as far as danglies are concerned -- when they are boosting upwards, skeet them. We'll add it to the doctrine file later.

Dee moves for the building when three more slendermen, having finished doing whatever they do with the driver's corpse, emerge from a delivery trucks's cabin! "They're repositioning on me!" Dee is between two groups of slendermen. I call out, "Explosives free!"

Dee turns around and throws one of the new grenades -- she was sliding the other way, and doesn't quite manage to hit the slendermen. The explosion sets a Tata that was next to the truck on fire; maybe it'll force the slendermen to move off...

Petrov and Webb do not have a clear shot, but position themselves to keep an eye out; Kelly gets to the Meld canister and taps it, then drops one of the slendermen that got behind Dee through the truck's window. "Congratulations, you've just graduated!" Bradford comments over wireless. I couldn't agree more, for once.

Now it's up to me. I make as much noise as possible and run to my meager best against what's left of the wall that Dee blew up, lining up a nice, easy shot against one of the slendermen... and missing as the beam refracts harmlessly into the steam. Dammit! How'd I manage to miss with a laser gun?

The yarnall appears behind Kelly -- Webb and Petrov shoot it down quickly from the roof; I think the Russian got the kill.

And that's when it all goes south.

The slenderman I shot at stands up, and before I react to it and tase it until it stops twitching, it manages to spits a glob of venom at Dee -- she doubles over in coughing fits, which gives the slenderman that was still in the truck time to get out and shoot her! She rolls on the floor, poisoned and burned. "DROP EVERYTHING YOU'RE DOING AND HELP DEE!" Kelly and Webb have medkits... She'd have to run a gauntlet to get to either of them even if Webb jumps off the roof. To everyone's surprise, Dee gets up and sprints behind the tow truck.

"Kelly, Petrov, cover! Webb, go help Dee!"

We managed to come up with a slenderman antivenin for our medikits, and Dee manages to catch her breath -- she'll need her lungs drained like I did, but she's still standing. "RAWR!"

Kelly goes behind the truck, but the alien infiltrator manages to use the door as cover just before the thing blows up from the tank overheating -- it's hurt, but not down. Petrov jumps off the roof and lands in front of the remaining slenderman, then calmly cuts it in half before mentioning that he sprained an ankle falling.

"There's another one!" Kelly calls. Too late. The slenderman gets off from under the truck wreck, regurgitates, and -- hits Dee with a poison cloud. Again.

Kelly also has a medkit -- she runs over to empty it into Dee's throat. Again. That's the last of the antivenin.

"RAAAWR!"

Dee runs at the two slendermen like a woman possessed, shooting wildly and dropping one. I don't know what got into her -- wait, I do, multiple doses of alien poison and barely-tested antivenom. Okay, she's gone berserk. I hope we can calm her later. I point at the back of the truck's wreck. "Everything in that general direction must die!"

We all run at the surviving slenderman and burn it to a crisp. I think Webb got it. I get to where the second Meld canister was just in time to catch Dee as she collapses; she protests and manages to stand up before falling forward. Petrov and I carry her to the Skyranger.

The mission was a success -- Bradford informs us that the second Meld canister was recovered intact, even -- but the trip back is spent watching Dee drift in and out of consciousness. She's got heavy plasma burns all over her body, and got enough Slenderman venom in her that her veins are turning black through the skin. We have to get her to Dr. Vahlen immediately. We can't do much more that keep an eye on her heartbeat, which fortunately is stable; the toxin is making her delirious, and she recounts a disjointed tale of reptilian girls and harpies in maid uniforms fighting dragons on a mountaintop when she's conscious. Kelly and I play along.

We practically land on top of a stretcher, and Dee is quickly whisked away to sickbay. Vahlen and Shen even broke kayfabe over this; the elderly man was waiting next to Dr. Vahlen and is given permission to follow the medical team along. He says something to Dee in a soothing tone that I don't catch. Petrov limps off to get his leg looked at -- it's obviously not an emergency -- and I have to update our doctrine on danglies before being able to go see how my friend is doing.

On the way to sickbay, I am stopped by Dr. Shen. He has a strange look on his face.

"Headmaster, we should talk."

My heart sinks until he looks at me and smiles. "No, she'll live. Don't worry. The problem is -- two shots of toxin and antivenom so close together, we're looking at widespread tissue damage, and..."

I recognize that smile; it's the sort I get when I came up with something clever.

"Dr. Shen, you've looked ten years younger since you got Dee to chip in for the design team. You're not devastated and you're not pissed off. You got something up your sleeve. Now, can we break tradition and actually let the person nominally in charge in on what's going on, for once?"

Shen pulls out an old-fashioned file. I recognize Dee's drawing amongst some schematics I can read and many I can't.

Edit - History - Print - Recent Changes - Search
Page last modified on January 02, 2015, at 05:08 AM