Hedion 04

skullandscythe 2010-12-18 23:47:40
Zaef curses silently. Ten's quite a bit for some sentries. Somebody's sinking lats into this.

He triggers his helmet vox. "Angel, we have a problem under the tramway several blocks to your left, you should see the scope's glint. Find an angle to cover him. Don't shoot unless he tries anything, but don't aim to kill. Confirm when you're in position. Verrill, I need either you or Quis to bring the skimmer ASAP and make a lot of noise. I'm sending you the coordinates now. Confirm with an ETA."

Zaef cuts the vox off with a sigh. "I'm getting too used to this army-lingua crap."
Gatac 2010-12-19 08:57:07
Hugh chuckles to himself before activating his vox. "Copy you five by five, Ghost Rider, I'm Oscar Mike."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-12-21 17:23:57
Kesh estate

"I am not the orator my brother was," Gorlan begins. "But today I take on his role as Rav-Kesh and begin the arduous process of mending his burnt bridges while simultaneously hunting down the honorless scum that assassinated him." Gorlan's eyes burn at Segal, who takes his opponent's tone and the extra attention in stride, returning the look with a smile.

"This day sees a new Kesh dynasty rise up, a dynasty of extraordinary magnitude, a dynasty unfettered by threats and treachery, one that will forge new opportunities and seek out new allies. We do this guided by the traditions of our ancestors. For those that would embrace these changes, you have my gratitude."

Some of the assembled lords nod as they realize Gorlan's not interested in pursuing the reams of blackmail material Reno must have kept on them. Segal and Gorlan stare each other down. Segal is convinced his fortunate hire of Swao's team resulted in Kesh's ruin but has to act like Gorlan usurped his new position through violence, while Gorlan knows the ugly truth but has to play it up like he suspects Segal. At the same time, neither can outright blame the other, not in front of the audience. Gorlan would seem too defensive, possibly guilty of fratricide, while Segal throwing accusations around would be the mark of a guilty man, not to mention terribly goache.

Hugh excuses himself during Gorlan's prattling and makes his way to the rental skimmer. Not only does it keep up appearances with Segal, it also allows him to actually confirm that yes, there is a small pouch of gemstones lying under the passenger seat. Hugh takes to the air, which interrupts Gorlan's speech and draws a fair number of looks from the crowd. Hugh dips down to break eye contact and loops around the back of the estate, planning to come in perpendicular to the skywalk so there's no confusion among the Tube-Spinks that there's a skimmer on the way.



Angel slings his rifle and goes out the window. The first leg of his journey is easy - after all, he'd planned that part out when he cased Reno's place. Getting to a spot where he could still cover the service as well as get a bead on the suspect would be a fair bit trickier. Angel takes it slow across a gantry but forces himself to freeze when passing air traffic backlights his position against the crisscrossing metal. He hopes the mystery guest hasn't spotted him - the gantry's comparatively exposed and the nearest cover is a painfully long crawl away.


Zaef and Robin

Zaef hears Hugh coming around with the skimmer. The Spinks hear it too, but right now they're only curious. Zaef will have to make his move fast - if the gangers figure out it's just a rental skimmer and not the Kansat model, the jig will be up. Hopefully he can run off the posse of thugs before that happens. If he can, the Spinks won't return. Zaef and Robin'll have the person who (conceivably) hired them, and the thugs won't return to fight for a lost cause like that.
skullandscythe 2010-12-21 22:43:41
"Robin, we're going in. Watch them closely and if you see any of them try to warn the boss, light 'em up."

Blades in hand, Zaef strides confidently around the corner, the swagger of an Imperial Turai. "You Spinks are a little far from home, so I'll cut you a deal. I'll give you a head start before my partner and I gut the lot of you. You have twenty seconds before the reinforcements arrive. Run fast."

Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-12-21 23:46:13
Hugh's skimmer's impeller whine grows from "background noise" to "incoming" in time with Zaef's threats. The three Tube-Spinks closest to the alley entrance show their true gang colors: piss yellow. They bolt past Zaef on their way to greener pastures.

"Deal with them later," growls one of the middle-rank gangers, clearly taking offense to his recruits' lack of solidarity. "The rest of you! Twenty seconds to kill these fools!" He raises his handlancer as Robin sweeps her beamer over the man's torso.

It's clearly not the first time these guys have fought Turai. The man half-falls, half-dives to the side and Robin's blast tears a steaming, sparking crater from the shaft's far wall. The ganger's handgun snaps and Zaef's breastplate pops as carapace ablates and meat sizzles. (5 Shock) The opportunity for more gunplay's overwhelmed by a torrent of charging psychotic gangbangers. They swarm down the alley into Zaef and Robin. The first Tube-Spink meets Zaef's swords and falls past the nascent melee missing his head.

Everything past that is a blur, a scrabbling desperate fight to remain standing, let alone victorious.



The backlight fades and Angel moves on. A short climb up a ladder that clearly connects to a sewage system somewhere below leads Angel out to a side street. He goes for another alley almost directly opposite the observer's skywalk and clambers from a nearly-vertical tunnel into a cramped but dark outward-facing sconce that likely serves as a resting place for one of the arcology's countless utility drones. He's in no danger of being backlit and it's not anywhere near the first position he'd consider looking for a sniper were he in the mystery observer's place.


Kesh Estate

"Reno was... Reno was my brother," Gorlan falters as the weight of his loss slams into the arrogant facade he dares not let crack. He's canny enough to recognize the regret and mask it, countering with a tangent. "Perhaps Dropchief Arakuna, you could say a few words? You seemed to know my brother well during his last days."



Zakest grins, "Would you rather just hear from me the same thing you can get from any of your other sources, or the kinds of inside information you bought with my services?"

*Such as?* the mildly-incensed Lady Quorona asks in reply.

"Such as that Gorlan Kesh is not backing down, whatever the Iyuzo may have intended. You might ask our new partners to avoid such rash action in the future, by the way. However, neither does he plan on using any of what his brother left him, even on the Iyuzo." Zakest looks around conspiratorily. "In fact, I'd almost rather I could say he was, but Haralin's been bending Gorlan's ear about some plan. I don't know what they have going, but we may need to be prepared to act."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-12-22 22:47:13
Kesh Estate

Haralin nods and steps forward to the podium. His newly-purchased mourning outfit is striped with black and grey coated carbon, both sleek and somber but also more than capable of getting him to cover in one piece. "In these last few days, I worked closely with Reno and others here to deliver new opportunities for us and for Akis. He was a shrewd businessman, a masterful planner and had a sharp eye for opportunity, three things which constitute the highest compliment that I or anyone else here could possibly say for him."

Stifled laughter and sneers of agreement go up from the assembly.

"And while he is no longer with us, he would no doubt not want us to stop and let our opportunities, our lives pass us by." Haralin puts a hand on Gorlan's shoulder. "I have only just met Gorlan and Tora, may she rest in peace," Haralin nods his head in a genuine moment of sadness, "but Gorlan has already proposed something even more remarkable than what we are here to pursue. He has suggested that in order to fully pursue this partnership, that I leave the services of our Emperor Sun Shenmai and join him at Faxom-Io and Kesh Pharmaceutical. And while it's a bit early to make announcements, well..." Haralin smiles and pauses to let the announcement sink in.



*Prepared to act in case, say, your superior officer leaves the Emperor's service with a giant target on his back?* Tealni voxes dryly. *Well done, Mr. Nasa.*


Robin and Zaef

The initial wave of Tube-Spinks is almost an instinctual tactic; overwhelm the outnumbered target, bring them down, and finish the fight before it's started. They know Zaef and Robin are armored, and so they grab at limbs and jab at joints, and they know they've only got the one chance to take down the two Turai before they're penned into a killbox by the skimmer. What they don't know is that Zaef and Robin are possibly the most dangerous two people in Akis when you get within arm's reach. The Tube-Spinks hit Zaef and Robin fast and hard, throwing everything into their initial attack, and the two warriors let them come.

Robin falls back, letting the gangers overextend and exhaust their charge. When the three men coming for her falter and trip over each other, she darts back in. A brutal spear-thrust with her beamer's barrel cracks a heavy's jawbone and leaves blood steaming on the dropped weapon's accelerator shroud. A blur of aikido-inspired redirection sends a second gangbanger's knife into the third attacker, then Robin headbutts the last guy into blessed sleep with her full helm.

While Agent Barksdale dances her Deathkido tango, Zaef moves forward into his trio of trouble, striking one down with a vicious belly slash before the man can gather momentum. The Bloodwraith slides between the other two as they grab his shoulders. Zaef reverses his grip on his blades and the two gangers learn the hard way that knives seldom parry swords. Gore sprays the maintenance tunnel floor as Zaef and Robin look around for more, but there's no way the three gangers who ran off at Hugh's skimmer would return when seven of their fellows lie dead and maimed on the cold steel deck.

Just about then, Hugh's skimmer blows a gentle breeze down from the impellers that scatters lighter debris and ruffles the savaged Spinks' hair and clothing. The Spinks were guarding an access ladder up to a crawlspace underneath the skywalk with a view of the Kesh estate.



Angel finally gets a good angle on what the access ladder and crawlspace are hiding. A single male dressed in a long cloak or robe looks through a scoped rifle down at the funeral. The weapon is oversized to the point where the sniper has affixed or bolted it to his perch, which means he's worried about recoil, which means it's likely not an energy weapon.

Angel's vague memories of the team's escape from Aikoro come back, and he remembers even then Imperial fringe elements had already duplicated rough versions of Earthling firearms. His mind's eye plays back a Wherren named Clubby being torn apart under concentrated gunfire and the massive, break-open, mace-headed rifle the beast carried.

As Angel centers himself, controls his breathing, and relays the information, the sniper looks back at the hatch behind him in time with the tinny sounds of combat from Angel's earpiece, the melee that Zaef and Robin are quelling at the moment. He adjusts his stance and takes aim at someone below. When the man turns back towards the estate, Angel recognizes a telltale scar from the recon dossiers. Kohan Iyuzo has taken it upon himself to personally execute someone at the Kesh funeral.


Kesh Estate

Davis' gaze passes over Quon and he notes Quon's silently just marked him for death. At least that's how it looks. Quon is literally trying to think Davis into exploding right now. Segal, by contrast, is just taking in information. His mind's racing and he's barely even in the moment. Chaev Mahin's been recording the proceedings, but he's perked up with unusual interest as well.

"There has been some...trouble with local support on my current project, and I look forward to working closely with Gorlan in the future. I'm sure that Reno would be proud of his younger brother's business acumen and foresight." Harlin steps back and lets Gorlan retake the stage.
CrazyIvan 2010-12-22 23:21:41
Angel's voice, calm and methodical, comes over the comms.

"I'm in position. Kohan Iyuzo is up here with a damned fine looking rifle - real one, not a beamer. And he's looking mighty interested in the funeral."
Gatac 2010-12-22 23:27:32
"Do I have enough room to fly in and block his shot?" Hugh voxes.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-12-23 04:14:53
Zaef hits the access ladder with Robin mere feet behind him when Angel alerts his team to the danger above. Hugh knows even as he radios his question that there's no time to wait for an answer. Kohan no doubt hears his pursuers closing in and if he's not making an immediate escape, he's still going to try for the shot. Hugh kills the impellers and plummets the skimmer down, missing the skywalk by less than a car length. It's a risky move, putting himself in the line of fire like that, but at the same time Hugh's not skilled enough behind the yoke to pull off the manuever with anything approaching stability. The skimmer weaves and wobbles and looms like a colossal moon in the scopes of both Kohan and Angel.

Zaef waves the hatchway open and his head crests the crawlspace floor in time to see Hugh drop down in front of Kohan. Kohan spares a glance back and decides he's got to spare the time for a shot else the skimmer will have him no matter what he has planned for an escape.

At least Kohan probably can't hit me with the car shaking like this, Hugh thinks. It's a small favor. The Iyuzo brother pivots his rifle on its brace and fires. The weapon unleashes a deafening KABOOM and Hugh feels the skimmer's cabin pressure quiver as a heavy armor-piercing slug rips into the skimmer and out the other side.

Robin's halfway through the hatch when Zaef gets his footing in the low, cramped maintenance area Kohan's using as a sniper's nest. Kohan lets the rifle go and his long cloak billows behind him as he makes a dive for the open air. Zaef has a split-second impression of some kind of structure to the cloak, hidden ribs and fibers, and realizes Kohan's would-be ghillie suit is some sort of glider or parachute. It's low tech, but would certainly make for a quick getaway - if Zaef wasn't within arm's length.


Kesh Estate

The man-cannon shot rings out over the estate grounds, prompting a shudder of surprise to ripple through the assembly. Gorlan snaps to Davis, "What was that?!"

Davis quickly passes his gaze over the crowd, but all he sees is surprise, even from the Quoronas and Segal. They weren't expecting this, or they're better at acting surprised than Davis is at reading their intentions. With the slow-building momentum of a semi truck starting down a hill, lords and hirelings alike start heading for their vehicles.



The skimmer's done for - Hugh's got barely a trickle from the front impellers. He's looking for a place to plant the vehicle when he spies a ubiquitous garbage drone peeling out a few hab-blocks down and aligning itself with Kohan's possible glide path. It wouldn't be anything of note except for the prior connection between Kohan Iyuzo, garbage drones, and attempted murder. The skimmer's not up for a chase, but a single pass? Hugh might manage that.
skullandscythe 2010-12-23 05:09:08
Zaef lunges after Kohan's cloak, aiming for the joints in the glider, figuring that he can wrest control from Kohan. He probably knows more about flying it than the Iyuzo does.

Zaef grins a little behind his visor. In the skies, in the void, Zaef was king. No one else.
Gatac 2010-12-23 06:32:59
"So much for the security deposit," Hugh mumbles to himself. He barely knows enough to fly a skimmer, never mind stabilize one that just had an armor-piercing cannon shell tear through its main drive system, but somehow he stays in the air and swings it around to get an angle on the garbage drone. Hugh grins like a desperate man.

"Might as well."

He slams the controls forward, diving for the garbage drone. He'll only get one chance to hit this thing, better make it count.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-12-23 23:09:00
Kohan's cloak snaps out into a semi-rigid wing as he leaps off his perch. It would be derivative if the Imperium had a Batman.

Unfortunately for Kohan, Zaef pulls a Superman. There's no time to think, only time to act. Zaef launches himself after the fleeing Iyuzo, and when Kohan's glider snaps open the drag slows him enough for Zaef to land square on his back. Kohan lets out a "whuff!" and the smartfabric folds up around both men as the glider sags with the impact.

Angel sees Zaef reenact Point Break through his scope. There's no way he's got a shot now; even if he managed to hit Kohan, Zaef would be riding an out-of-control corpse to much the same fate.

Hugh aims the skimmer at the garbage drone as best he can given the failing controls, then gives the rental all it's got. The skimmer screams, something blows out its rear end, and Hugh easily overtakes the mid-air struggle between Zaef and Kohan on his way down to the garbage drone.

Zaef can’t knock Kohan out or kill him; the glide-suit requires Kohan to stay out of a crumpled heap. Zaef can, however, wrestle Kohan’s arms and steer the contraption despite the Iyuzo scion’s best efforts. Kohan, by contrast, is denied the freedom of movement he’d need to twist around and dislodge Zaef. The two men engage in a precarious mid-air grapple whose every move sends them dangerously close to hab facades or tramway gantries. Skimmer traffic ducks and dodges the nearly silent oncoming flapping cape, leaving yells and wailing alarms in their wake. As they narrowly miss a drone taxi, Zaef wrests control from Kohan, pinning one arm and wrapping a leg around the other.

The garbage drone’s controller must be looking over his shoulder for Kohan, because he clearly spots Hugh’s smoking vehicle barreling down on a collision course. Hugh grimaces as he banks to follow the drone’s lazy maneuvering. The crippled skimmer can barely change course faster than the heavy drone, but Hugh has speed and altitude on his side. Above the vehicular melee, Kohan stops struggling just for a moment as he watches the stricken skimmer plow into the rear flank of the garbage drone. Metal shrieks and fragments and the drone veers out of control. It scrapes along a begargoyled upper-class art gallery of some sort, shedding superstructure as it goes. The drone ends its fateful trip with a lethal slam through the roof of a lower-level commerce center. Debris sprays across the interior buildings and skimmer traffic scatters like gazelles before lions.

Hugh’s upside down-
-right side up-
-upside down-
-he can’t tell-
-oh God he’s going to puke-
-what’s THAT noise?-
-lots of wind!-
-spiraling lights-

Three distinct, increasingly wet punches from Megatron batter Hugh inside the skimmer wreckage and he succumbs to blackness.

Angel and Zaef see the rental skimmer rip almost in half as it clips the heavier garbage drone. Its death spiral mercifully ends much earlier than the drone as it kareems off a passing gravsled and batters its way through a rooftop aquarium’s outer wall. Aquatic life from several worlds floods out into the empty space between interior buildings in a great shower of sparkling water. Most of the structure’s contents follow Hugh’s path through the building he hit - Angel spots water blasting out of windows and hatches three floors down from the impact point, along with a few unlucky residents who were swept along with the tsunami.
skullandscythe 2010-12-24 00:10:37
The vox channel the team is using crackles, then bursts to life.

punkey 2010-12-25 06:10:53
Davis patiently waits for the crowd to disperse enough that Gorlan and he can slip away. He motions for Gorlan's men to make sure that all the nobles leave and no unwanted "presents" are left behind to record them.

Once back inside, Davis is on his vox. "Okay, that was a lot of bad noises. What's the sitrep?"
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-03 23:33:48
Gorlan's in Davis' other ear, asking forcefully but never actually shouting, exactly what is going on and who is trying to kill him already.

Meanwhile, Zaef struggles to keep Kohan busy enough to wrangle the glider towards Hugh's crash site. Kohan's lost his original extraction vehicle, but he appears to have a backup as he shouts into a hands-free vox.

"WIND NOISE WOOSH WOOSH FLAPPING CAPE RUSHING AIR!" Kohan shouts. Despite his inability to eavesdrop while in midair, Zaef does manage to bank himself and the Iyuzo brother towards the shattered aquarium. He spots the skimmer wreck still submerged in the flooded building. He can't see any motion from the ex-vehicle save for the dirty cloud of skimmer juices and what is quite possibly human blood. Zaef can't tell whose it is - there are at least four bystanders drowned in the initial deluge or crushed by debris and still pinned in the watery mess.

Zaef snaps back to his and Kohan's chosen landing site. Of course they're going to hit the last remaining pane of glass. Good thing he's got carapace arm-CRASH

Of course Kohan's glider turns back into a billowy flaccid funeral shroud as soon as the two men hit the murky water amidst a supernova of sparkling glass. Kohan knows his gear and uses the momentary confusion to start slipping, unsnapping, or slicing away his harness while Zaef's still struggling to find Hugh. He spots his teammate inside the wreck, separated by the struggling men by a crisscrossing web of crumbled aquarium superstructure. Hugh's armor would normally be environmentally sealed, but the stream of bubbles coming from his breastplate and a handful of other lesser slashes through his undersuit indicate the Delta captain is taking on water. More worrisome is the cloud of murky blood around Hugh that grows murkier by the second. Zaef's perversely heartened by that sight - if Hugh's still bleeding, Hugh's still alive, and as acting Samal for their little acting troupe, he's carrying one of the team's two kaukas.

It was impossible to tell when they impacted the water, but Zaef notices the current now, sweeping the water down and out through countless smashed windows below. Kohan's having just a bit of a panicky moment as his flight reflex kicks in, and what would've been a headstart simply turns into a reflexive flailing. He does free himself from the glide-cape, which sweeps along gracefully like a manta past Zaef.

To make matters worse, there is no way that Akis Kansat will be able to ignore a catastrophe of this magnitude. The question is, how far away are they and whom are they really beholden to?
skullandscythe 2011-01-04 18:22:01
"Kids, I need some back-up or at least a working skimmer over here. Swao needs medical, Kohan already called his thugs for help, and Kansat's probably coming soon too."

Zaef takes advantage of Kohan's panicking to swim closer to the Iyuzo. This mess can still be salvaged. He just needs to capture Kohan alive.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-04 20:29:39
Kohan's arms are finally unrestrained and he uses his newfound freedom to draw a stinger as Zaef torpedoes towards the Iyuzo. Zaef corkscrews at the last second and wraps his arms around Kohan's weapon hand. The water around them churns and bubbles with the warbling of hundreds of hypervelocity slivers.

"GARBLE BLUBBER MUFFLE BUBBLES!" shouts Kohan. Zaef's hold is sloppy but it's enough to keep the buzzsawing handgun from chewing him up for the moment. That same stinger keeps Zaef from sealing the deal (or neck), however, and as the two men twist and flounder, Kohan sweeps the stinger across Zaef's shoulder and torso. The combination of Turai armor and the dampening effect of the water conspire to keep all but the most direct - and painful - hits from penetrating. Zaef's blood clouds the ever-draining battlefield as Kohan's weapon runs dry.

Kohan relaxes just a bit; clearly he thinks he just took Zaef out, but it proves his undoing. Zaef slithers around to Kohan's back and finally gets a grip on the Iyuzo's neck. Bubbles shoot to the surface from Kohan's suddenly open mouth. The noble struggles but he finds that underwater he has no leverage with which to dislodge Zaef. The Bloodwraith cranks down hard and Kohan's semi-trained technique turns into frantic animal desperation. His fingernails find no purchase in Zaef's carapace and his sloppy kicks are blunted by the water. A great gasp of bubbles escapes once more as Kohan goes limp.

Zaef snaps his gaze up and sees Akis' skylights through the water above. The depths are receding but not fast enough to simply leave Kohan tied to what's convenient and expect him to live through it. He's probably got ample water in his lungs already. If Zaef wants Kohan alive, he's going to have to leave Hugh bleeding and drowning in the skimmer wreck a few moments more. It tears at him, but Zaef didn't go through that terrifying flight and subsequent hail of gunfire just to see his quarry slide lifelessly out of a hab-block window or drown tied to a girder. Zaef grunts with pain and drags the unconscious Iyuzo up until they break the water's surface. Precious moments tick by as Zaef affixes Kohan to the aquarium superstructure with the funny plastic "zipcuffs" his Narsai friends carried. He's cold now where Kohan's slivers shot through his armor, but his air supply seems undamaged so far. Zaef hears it topping off before he dives back into the soup, swimming with all his might for the wrecked skimmer.

There's less water above him now but what's there flows faster and faster. Zaef isn't prepared for the increased current and silently curses as he struggles in place for a few crucial seconds. He pushes himself harder and harder, slowly inching forward until he can grab at the toppled web of steel aquarium bones. One good pull and - oh no - an avalanche of beams and debris rains down! Zaef claws the deckplates to keep the current from washing him out and makes it past the roiling deadfall. The junk serves to block the riptide enough for Zaef to strain, his wounds burning, the final meters to the skimmer. He latches onto the vehicle like a headcrab and fumbles for Hugh's kauka.

Angel and Robin can see the healing device glow from their vantage points. It diffuses through the cloudy water like a lighthouse.

The bleeding stops, the open wounds close, but Hugh doesn't wake up. Zaef doesn't know if the kauka disappears the water out of one's lungs, and if he didn't know, the kauka probably didn't know to handle that part of Hugh's injuries. He still needs help.
skullandscythe 2011-01-04 22:00:13
Zaef swears loudly as he tries checking Hugh's vitals. He's alive, but not conscious, and Zaef doesn't have the know-how to finish patching him up. Hell, he can't even pull Hugh out of the skimmer-the current's too strong for Zaef to swim through alone, much less carrying dead weight.

Slumped against the passenger seat, Zaef triggers his vox and opens the team's channel again.

"I bought the Captain a little more time, but he still needs medical attention from someone who knows what the hell they're doing. I'm pinned down at-fuck, what's that say- coordinates 78-46-75. Get a skimmer, I don't care how, and get us out of here."

Zaef tries catching a glimpse of Kohan before plugging the breeches in Verrill's suit with whatever's on hand.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-06 03:28:07
Kesh Estate

*What's going on!* Tealni Quorona voxes to Luis. *It's not our people. Is it yours?* Her questions are broken up by her shouting with Quon, just another voice lost in the cacophony of Kohan's foiled attack.

*This isn't anything of my doing. Too rash. Master's taint, if someone kills Haralin before I get the chance to,* Zakest curses. Luis tilts his head, like he's hearing another voice, *And there's a call from the man himself. If you'll excuse me, I need to go attend to some things. I'll call later, and we can work out a way to make these other attempts look like the amateurish things they are.*

Tealni's reply is once again punctuated by pauses while she speaks aloud. *Understood. If this attack did not originate with any of us, it is in Quon and my best interests to leave immediately. It was a fine service otherwise.*
Admiral Duck Sauce 2011-01-07 19:23:34
Crash Site

Zaef does what he can for Hugh as the rooftop aquarium drains out of the ruined floors below. Kohan Iyuzo's unconscious form slumps heavily against the superstructure once the water level recedes, and Zaef cranks open Hugh's helmet as the swirling soup drops below the Delta captain's chest.

To Zaef's amazement, Hugh shudders and coughs up a staggering amount of nasty fluid. He's awake - barely - just enough to struggle out of the skimmer, bend double, and continue his painful retching.

Zaef looks out from the rooftop, but even if his team was leaving right now they wouldn't get to him before the Kansatai. Two of their orange-and-black skimmers bank out of a throughway tunnel and speed toward the crash site. As they slow their approach, one skimmer stays overhead while the second pauses, trying to find a landing spot amidst the jagged debris.

A third party appears soon after as well. This one's a little drone about the size of a large dog, its front end all a morass of sensors. It doesn't belong to any offical organization that Zaef can name, and it's ignoring him and Hugh in favor of focusing on the Kansatai and Kohan.

The drone reminds Zaef of something, actually. Even Hugh, groggy and disoriented as he is, realizes it too. Normally Kansat skimmers have little surveillance drones. They're not much more than sirens, strobes, and impellers, but way back on Botane Hugh remembers the breakneck pursuit trying to avoid the little machines. These Kansat haven't sent in any drones... probably because this way they won't have to account for their footage. Then Zaef realizes there aren't any other official vehicles inbound. No medical sleds for the wounded or dead, no additional Kansat, nothing.

The second Kansat skimmer wrestles its way through an uprooted forest of girders and sets down a short climb up from Zaef and Hugh. The building creaks and a small shower of debris rains down for a moment, then the upper floors hold the vehicle's weight.

Finally Zaef sees why the mystery drone looks so unfamiliar. The recognizable lines of a municipal utility drone are broken up by a ramshackle harness of high explosives. The drone's sensor array whips back and forth between the two Kansat skimmers with lethal intent. Its operator must be trying to decide which one to attack.