Jade Imperium - Everyone Wants to Party

Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-05 22:52:32
Local Time 0400 Hours

A battalion of black Suburbans, federal agents, NEST, and CDC swarm Redfield's power plant in the next few hours. Hugh and his team take the recovered Turai equipment and the large chrome keg back to Mesas Negras aboard a Medevac. The scene at the research facility is even more chaotic, as personnel from the Corps of Engineers mingle with NSA agents and Army brass. You're all glad you don't have epilepsy; the flashing lights could induce a seizure in even a healthy person.

Sturgis and his men, who turn out to be part of the CIA's Special Activities Division, oversee the myriad trips into the facility to recover bodies, records, and technology. They do Max one better than Detroit diesel; they fill the Gateway with sand and then park a dump truck on it. The Gate is left in sublevel 8. In case of emergency, those demolition charges the CIA-SAD guys planted can always be triggered. It's safer than trying to move the Gate somewhere else... for now.

You don't see Hethna Varos and She-Ra after they go up the freight elevator. Nor do you see Cleveland or anyone from the upper levels. That's no surprise - the prisoners are undoubtedly in some CIA hole, and the wounded were evaced before the Delta team made it back from Redfield.

As for the Turai keg-artifact, Semo's tasked with lugging it back to Mesas Negras so it talks to him first. Well, not so much "talks" as "invades his mind and pieces together some form of psychic instruction manual". It's a template replicator, a molecular forge. It's on the same technological level as the Gateway and the frisbees. It "tells" Semo that it requires massive power, but it can then break ANY matter down and reform those atomic particles into predetermined objects - in this case, Gateways.
fanchergw 2007-07-06 17:14:22
Looking at the big-ass metal drum, Semo offloads his Mk 48 and accompanying ammo belts on some poor bastard before hefting the alien keg. He can only wish it was full of beer, though he's not likely to get that wish.

It's a long trek back to the base, but the alien artifact makes it interesting by... speaking to him.

"Whoa, shit!" he exclaims as knowledge fills his head. Yet still he staggers forward under the load. *I've gotta tell Kigore about this,* he thinks to himself.

When they reach the base, Semo sets down his load in the first convenient place and searches out the doc. "Hey, doc. We found this thing that the aliens were taking to the nuclear plant. Doc, doc, the damn thing spoke to me. It's some kind of weird device for making those Gateways!"
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-06 18:15:30
Local Time 0830 Hours

The sun rises on your first morning back on Earth. You've gotten what sleep you could - maybe interrupted by nightmares, maybe tossing and turning on the workmanlike cots, maybe racked with worry about Greene and what's happening to him. You're in fresh fatigues now, fueled by a brief breakfast of Army chow, and sitting in a large tent they're using as a CiC. 42 people died in Mesas Negras, many of them directly involved with the Gateway Research Project, and that leaves you as the resident experts on the situation. Right now, you're staring down more stars than the Big Dipper. Brigadier General James Underwood, a white-haired barrel of a man, and Major General Omar Hogue, a tall, fit, almost gaunt officer, sit across from you. They've been listening to your accounts of the away mission, with Colonel Paxton filling in what he knows from Earthside.

"We have two major problems facing us, gentlemen," General Hogue says. "One: How do we exfiltrate our man from this... Imperium, and two: How do we prevent them from attacking us?"

"Let's also not forget that artifact, which, if I'm understanding this correctly, has the ability to make more of these gates?" asks Underwood.

"In a more advisorial capacity, we'd also like to hear each of your thoughts on public knowledge concerning this discovery. Those decisions will be made on a policy level, of course, but as I said at the beginning of this debrief, you are our foremost experts now."
e of pi 2007-07-06 18:41:02
Luis is the first to speak up at Hogue's prompts. He thinks for a second, then starts talking, "Well, I'm not the captain, and he'll probably know more about the tactics of Green's situation, but as long as that Gate is covered and we have somebody do a double-check for an orbital Gate, all they have is the long way. Still, that's not so great, we know they have interstellar spaceships, we saw one that had crashed and somebody on one tried to open a link when the prisoners got loose and tried to clear the Gate."

He pauses, blinks, then continues. "As for the Gate-builder, do with it what we ought to do with all the rest: lock it up someplace safe, and figure out how it works. If we can figure out the Frisbees, and what their side-effects are, that's a big thing. It'd change medicine as we know it, save hundreds of soldier's lives. Thousands of civillians back here on the home front, too- and I'm not just talking in warfare. Car accidents, gang shootings, industrial accidents." The part of him that always wanted to make the world better can be seen in his eyes as he talks, but it fades as he returns to the problems at hand.

"Now the public, that there's tricky. If we tell them, we're telling everybody, the whole world. Ther'll be unknown fallout on the world stage, all kinds of other stuff. Europe'll want in, UN will want control, Russia will want their own Gate, and it'll only go from there." He holds out a hand, "On the other hand, this is a world problem, they want this whole planet, not just the US of A. We need to face it as a planet, handle it on the magnitude of the problem. And, as I mentioned, this kind of technology could revolutionize so many levels of society. Imagine a commuter train through a Gate running from London to DC to Paris to Moscow to anywhere else every three hours, travel time of minutes, if that. Imagine gunshot victims and accident victims walking out of the ER an hour later good as new. Imagine the good it could do."
Gatac 2007-07-06 18:49:59
"Actually, I've given our prisoner exchange problem some thought, General," Hugh says. "They will want their man through the gate first, and at that point we essentially have no leverage whatsoever to demand that they return our man. I propose that we fit their man with an explosive device designed to arm when it stops receiving a radio signal we provide. We make it clear that any attempt to remove the device while it is armed will lead to detonation. We give them their man, they now have a walking bomb. The only way to get it off of him would be to dial our gate, thus reestablishing the radio link. Then we demand that they return our man. If they do, we tell them they can take it off. If they're pricks about it - we trigger it from here.

It's not perfect, but it should catch them off-guard."

"Regarding attacks, much of their strike capacity seems to dependant on gateway use, but I don't think that will keep them at bay forever. We didn't see any of their big ships, and I would like to recommend that this be made a priority for recon missions."

"The invasion was contained as well as could be expected, Sir. I don't think we should reveal anything yet. Honestly, we have no idea of the scope of the threat. We need more information before we make hasty calls."
Dieter 2007-07-06 19:09:07
Max's report to the Brass is a stream of consciousness, first elaborating on what Angel had said.

"The Turai will not negotiate a reasonable prisoner exchange. I have every reason to believe that they are treacherous lot and will only use negotiations to their advantage. It's a fair guess that they are no doubt in similar talks to these with their own designated officials. The prisoners we have, as I stated earlier to Agent Sturgis, should be watched 24/7 and placed in Supermax containment. You saw what they could do in such a short amount of time. Dare I say it's lucky Mesa Negras is so far off the beaten path. Who knows what a handful of them would do in a heavily populated area...."

"....As for the Gate itself. I recommend a full platoon of America's finest guard it any given time. I'm talking full assault gear, Dragonskin armor, and sentry guns positioned ready to mow down anything that might come through the Gate. There's also the fact that if the Gate is activated and merely fractionally unobscured, we could be facing untold casualties and unwelcomed guests from the other side. The Gate currently has a two-fold security measure in place, but I would like to pursue a more permanent solution...some sort of subgate that requires access codes/IDs to open..."

"....Regarding the Turai-Keg and its Gate-making possibilities, it would stand to reason that hooking up their our power source (i.e. the Lozenge) could accelerate the process. Though at this point, I would not recommend such a plan beyond verbal discussion. We only have a limited understanding of the Gate we have. I wouldn't even try to comprehend the theoretical physics of creating something so complex from raw energy."
fanchergw 2007-07-06 21:26:20
Semo listens to the questions and the various answers from his team, his back straight as an iron bar. After a few minutes, it grows quiet, so Semo tosses his one-and-a-half cents into the opening.

"If I may, Generals? I don't know much about most of this stuff, so I won't offer any opinions on what I don't know. What I do know is that this... whaddayacallit... artifact... can make Gateways, and it happily teaches ya to do so. Why not make one and let the Doc over there and his nerd herd make one and use it to figure out other valid gate combinations. Eventually, they'll get one that takes us back to a different place in this alien empire. Then, we can proceed from there as we see fit - rescuing Greene or whatever else needs doing.

"Also, I do respectfully ask that you let me be one of those who goes, when the time comes."
CrazyIvan 2007-07-06 22:54:40
Angel sits in his chair, staying quiet for the most part, just looking stiff and tired. He does however, eventually speak up.

"I'm not sure about the engineering, but if that thing can make gates, they could be tactually useful. We fought our way away from the Gate once, back to it, through it and then shut it down. We're not going to get much recon past that ever again, if these...Turai...are half as clever as they think they are."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-08 15:27:04
"I think Stanhill's ideas have some merit, sirs," Paxton says, "but they need to be tempered with what we know currently. I'd like a world like that, but we don't understand this technology - no offense, Doctor - at a level where we can open it up to the world."

"On the recovery of Specialist Greene, we shouldn't tip this Imperium off that we have more than one Gateway if we have a plan to get Greene back using the Gate we have. We need to get our man back sooner rather than later."

"Thank you for your input, gentlemen," General Hogue says. "Captain, work out a plan to evac Specialist Greene that allows us to keep our two foreign intelligence assets. Assume the enemy will be doing the same or will be looking to launch another attack."

Underwood speaks up. "We are facing a war with a technologically superior enemy. We need to deny them that advantage. We need to figure out how and why their equipment works and counter it. Sergeant Stanhill, you're right that this is a problem faced by the world, but right now we are not capable of facing it as such. For the moment, that burden falls to us... and you. Dismissed."

You overhear Hogue telling Underwood "I'll see you when I see you, Jim. I have to fly back to Washington to brief the President on..." and he gives a heavy sigh, like he still doesn't quite believe it - "an alien invasion."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-11 19:37:55
The day progresses in a whirlwind of briefings and planning scenarios. Three of you are the eye of the storm - Max and Luis end up in charge of a remote probe/wheelchair/bomb, while Hugh ends up as the Man in the Room with the Button. Nothing's getting put into place before it's picture-perfect, as evidenced by a string of custom inflatable Gate-blocker designs that blow early, not fast enough, or in the wrong shape. The rover's electric drive system has to be replaced with a gas engine, since the electric engine keeps triggering the bomb safeguards.

More shit to blow up, thinks Max as he puts the final tweaks on the rover, hooking up the lawnmower-sized gas tank.

Stanhill's demo work is the best he's ever done. Quick, precise, and foolproof. All the dry runs work perfectly.

Semo and Angel aren't allowed the leave the base, but they do get some time to rest, eat, and recuperate. As the two Delta operators without any glaringly obvious wounds healed by alien technology beyond the ken of mortal man, they have a fairly ordinary day. Dietrich, Taylor, and Mellish are carted off to God knows where - Kitty and Andy too.

2000 Hours

Sturgis and Max watch the Pit from the security nexus on sublevel 4. Colonel Paxton hasn't been around since the early afternoon. Two fireteams of heavily-armed Delta, each led by Semo and Angel, stand ready behind the blast doors into the Gate room. The Gateway is once again upright, this time with a "foot" ready to topple it with some explosive bolts and a remote-activated plunger poised over the abort nodule. Hugh crouches to the side of the alien artifact. Hethna Varos sits in his mobile bomb like a Babylonian king on a palanquin. He's conscious but quiet.

Agent Sturgis paces in the security nexus. "For what it's worth, Doc, I liked your nuke idea."

Max dials the Gate. The glyphs flash and then hold a steady amber - a sign that the far side is blocked. Hugh keys his radio, hoping that the same frequencies that allowed them to communicate earlier are still valid.

*Homeworlders. We stand ready with Greene.* The voice is a deep bass, distorted by the radio's tiny speaker.

A pause, then Greene's voice: *I'm here. There's t-*

*We require confirmation of Seeker Varos' health. We will unblock our Gateway. You will send Varos through. We will send Greene through.*
Gatac 2007-07-11 19:53:00
Good thing I went over the language files again...

*Seeker Varos is too injured to walk; we have provided him with a vehicle. However, we have also attached a safeguard. We are in constant radio contact with the vehicle. Should it lose radio contact for more than 30 of our seconds or be tampered with, it will explode.

In the interest of a quick and painless exchange, we will send Seeker Varos through the gate and close it. You will need to establish a new link from your side quickly, so make sure your gate is fully charged before we begin. After we receive Greene, we will send an all-clear signal to the vehicle. You may then close the gate and remove Seeker Varos from it. After that, we both block up our gates.

Are you ready?*
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-11 20:37:35
*We understand your... seconds. Our Gate is charged. Will this vehicle prevent Varos from donning breathing apparatus?*

Hugh glances back at the copper birdcage attached to Varos' head and shoulders. It might...
Gatac 2007-07-11 21:05:07
*We cannot allow anyone to touch the Seeker until we release him. We will provide him with one of our breathing devices, should you deem it necessary. Inform us of his needs.*
Gatac 2007-07-11 21:11:22

*Stand by, I need to check our equipment stockpile.*

Hugh switches the radio to the gateway room frequency.

"Uh...Doc? Do we have a guy at NASA who can hook us up?"
Dieter 2007-07-11 21:25:36
Gatac wrote:


*Stand by, I need to check our equipment stockpile.*

Hugh switches the radio to the gateway room frequency.

"Uh...Doc? Do we have a guy at NASA who can hook us up?"

Fucking told you so.


"I'll have to check into that. Stand by."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-11 21:54:44
*We have apparatus for Varos. There need be no trickery. Send him through the Gate naked if you wish, we shall see to him.*

The amber glyphs flash blue as the Imperium unblocks their side. Video feeds blank for a moment as the Gateflash courses through the Pit, clearing to show an immense cargo bay, its ceiling open to space. Greene stands 20 feet in front of the portal, grasped firmly by the scruff of the neck by an 8 foot tall golden humanoid. Its proportions are not quite that of a human, giving it an uncanny countenance. Greene's wearing nothing but his boxers, and is covered in a loose-fitting spacesuit of clear material. It's like somebody shrink-wrapped him. Two drones float six feet off the deck with what looks like some sort of medical capsule between them.

The rest of the expansive cargo bay/hangar is clear. Just steel berths and gray deckplates for hundreds of meters.

*Send Varos through now,* transmits the golden man-thing. It rips a tiny hole into Greene's protection, and a thin white geyser of rapidly-freezing air starts silently hissing from Greene's shoulder.
Gatac 2007-07-11 22:03:32
Fuck fuck fuck fuck...

Hugh wrestles with his conscience, but after a painful second of deliberation, the choice is clear.

Moving as quickly as he can manage, Hugh spins to face the gate, brings his SCAR up and opens fire on Greene, hoping to grant the soldier a quick death.

"ABORT ABORT ABORT!" he screams into his radio.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2007-07-11 22:42:59
Semo and Angel hear the staccato hammer of Hugh's SCAR from the other side of the Pit blast doors. For Hugh, it's all in slow motion. Greene's face has barely registered that his suit's breached when Hugh brings his rifle up. The kid from Baltimore shouts something silenced by the vacuum, the gulf between worlds, and Hugh's gunfire.

Greene's clear plastic spacesuit spatters arterial red from chest to head. The air escapes in a puff of crystallized moisture. Greene hits the deckplates and doesn't even have enough time to twitch.

Hugh keeps firing. The Pit strobes in time with the muzzleflashes. The golden humanoid staggers back as the rounds hit home and ricochet. More blood, this time seeping and spurting from under the golden feathers. Black hydraulics and silver mercurial fluid spray through ragged holes. The regal golden man-thing falls as Hugh's SCAR runs dry. He turns as the footing charges blow and the Gateway slams into the deck. The abort nodule shuts down the portal and the inflatable blocking tube inflates with a bang and a prolonged angry hiss.
Gatac 2007-07-12 07:35:35
The camera slowly flies around Hugh as he rises out of his crouched position clear of the gate. His freshly-cleaned SCAR spews smoke from the ejection port. His hands automatically release the translucent magazine, and for the longest time, the *clink!* of that magazine hitting the floor is the only thing he hears. Finally upright, he clicks the safety on his rifle back on - a futile gesture, but that doesn't register right now -, lets the gun dangle from its assault sling and keys the radio.

His voice is still shaking, but he takes a deep breath and says his line.

"Command, this is Verrill. We have abort, I repeat, we have abort. Specialist Greene is dead. Secure the gateway and return Varos to his cell. This is...this is Captain Hubert Verrill, I'm standing down...now."

He staggers to the next bulkhead, leans against it, then draws his sidearm - and unloads it. He has the sinking feeling he'll have to turn his guns over in a minute.