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This article, RP:The Blackout of 2 AE, follows the Reconnoiter fan-canon originally created by User:Screennameless.


This is an RP for Screennameless's Reconnoiter universe.

The Blackout of 2 AE
PithodiMap
Conflict:
Date:

Year 2 AE

Place:

Pithodi

Outcome:

Humans won, but with many casualties.

Combatants

The Marauders and Stranded

The Locust

Commanders

Deacon McCarrick

Various

Strength

Approx. 15 trained fighters

Unknown at this time

Casualties
  [Source]


Alright, so here's the dealio! The Marauders are a fairly large organization, and I need a lot of names for the random Marauders that may pop up in the story. There's also a lot of backstory to the Marauders that I thought about revealing. Then I decided, "Where's the fun in revealing it? I should just write a prequel." Then I decided, "You know what would be even more fun than writing a prequel? Having my readers write a prequel." And so this RP was born!

This RP features a main event in the formative years of the Marauders, and the defining event for Deacon McCarrick. It occurs shortly after Deacon has risen to power in Pithodi. The two sides are the Stranded of Pithodi/the beginnings of the Marauders, and the Locust.

This is the Blackout of 2 AE.

Rules and Guidelines

The Basics

Rule 1: As the DungeonMaster, I (User:Screennameless) have ultimate say.

Rule 2: Try not to make tons of posts before anyone else can get anything in.

Rule 3: No godmoding. Or I will smite you as per the provisions in Rule 1.

Rule 4: If you want somebody to die, ask the owner of the character.

Rule 5: The humans will eventually win this battle. That does not mean all the humans will live or all the Locust will die. That's just the final outcome.

How to Sign Up

Each player signing up may control UP TO:

  • Four Marauders AND two Stranded

OR

  • Six Stranded

OR

  • Six Locust

You may control fewer than six if you so desire. Likewise, if you really want that seventh character, ask me and I'll probably okay it.

This is a battle of characters. There are no tanks, vehicles, or other large units. People will still be allowed to join once the RP has started, but they will have to let me know they want to join so they can be worked in properly.

So How Will This Work, Anyway?

As a quick abstract: Pithodi has depleted its imulsion supply, and the lights go out in the middle of the night. The Locust, who have been receiving some trouble from this fortified Stranded city, decide to use the kryll now flooding the sky as a tactical advantage. An attack is launched. The humans must try to survive the night.

There are twenty working emergency lights in the city that run on batteries, but most of them are in the northern district and most must be turned on manually.

Humans have three primary goals:

  • Turn on the emergency lights.
  • Evacuate Stranded to the Northern District.
  • Repair the main Generator.

They also have four secondary goals, which depend on the characters' locations:

  • Hold the Town Hall/Radio Station.
  • Hold the Mechanic's, the Generator Room, and the Water Plant.
  • Hold the Gate.
  • Hold the Factory.

Locust have three primary goals:

  • Break the Gate.
  • Kill or kidnap any available Stranded.
  • Capture all valuable resources (ex. weapons, ammunition, imulsion, etc.).

Every human is equipped with a high-power flashlight, each Locust with a large torch. Losing your light source is tantamount to party wipe (aka, everyone dies).

The RP will last from the time the lights go out to the time the sun rises. It will begin when I make the first post on Tuesday.

Though I am participating as a player, I will also throw in surprise situations Dungeon Master-style if I feel a particular player has been stagnating. This has been detailed in the talk page.

Some Comments on the Map

As a bit of clarification, I'm going to explain the max capacity of Pithodi's buildings. The houses are for Stranded; the apartment buildings for Marauders. Each house is actually two small homes: one on each story. So each house can fit two families of four: eight people per house. There are forty-seven houses: 376 people at maximum capacity.

Each apt. building has three stories that can fit twenty-two people each: sixty-six per building. Two buildings: 132 Marauders at maximum capacity. So that's a grand total of 508 people at maximum capacity, not counting the people who live in weird places like the Mechanic's and the Repurposed Bowling Alley, which at the time of this RP is just the Derelict Bowling Alley.

Of course, at the moment there is a grand total of around 36 nameless Stranded spread around the 47 houses, and the number of Marauders you can see below (psst: it's approx. fifteen - we estimate Josh's nameless others to be 2 or 3 people). The named Stranded tend to have special homes; for instance, Lucas (aka "Doc") lives above his office, and Gabrielleh stays in one of the apartment buildings with Kurt and Paul because she's like that.

The Guard House is primarily for storage. Squads from the outposts stay there when they make trips to Pithodi.

Participants

Sign up here! To link to your page, type [[User:Username|Username]]

When you sign up please add your units into the appropriate sections below.

Units

Marauders

Screennameless
ODST Joshie
SuicidalSkydiver
Stolen Syn
Sokayo
BananaMuffin2024

Stranded

Screennameless
Stolen Syn
Jawsredfield
  • Gort Lockwood
  • Casper Lockwood
  • Davian Lockwood
  • Mink Lockwood

Locust

Jurnag12
  • Colonel Dorihv
  • Junior Sniper Korvuhn
  • 3 Locust Drones armed with silenced Hammerbursts
  • Stealth Assasin Kernoz
Bankotsu63
  • Kantus Lord Bankotsu
Liberator MK II

GEARS OF WAR 2

Grenadier Elite Cerberous

Grenadier Gnasher

Grenadier Nac

Flame Grenadier Scorn

Grenadier Elite Mantle

Grenadier Havoc

Mecha Rai

Grenadier Emesh

Theron Guard Zarraek

Drone Krogur

Sniper Intell

Drone Shunta

Drone Emukno

Introduction

Lucas Carr shuffled the deck.

He lowered his narrow chin, blue eyes peering over the rims of his glasses. Those eyes seemed to survey them with perfect clarity; since the spectacles were for nearsightedness and everyone was seated around a plastic folding table in plastic folding chairs, that probably wasn't much of a stretch. Lucas allowed a smirk to play across his fine features and snapped the cards into his hand expertly, as if he had been a cardshark in a past life. But then, the doc had picked up more than a few tricks since he found himself Stranded. He was rather like a magician, only when he pulled the rabbit from his hat he retained his calm, observational bedside manner.

Lucas flicked his wrist, and cards shot into the waiting hands as Lita gave the dealer a hawkish stare. He smirked and pressed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. The lights glared white on the lenses, obscuring his eyes, and Lita Bosch tightened her thin lips into a thinner white line. Wet, beady eyes narrowed atop her hooked nose, and she crossed pudgy arms over her bosom. She was the self-appointed overseer of their games, watching for pinprick holes or sleight of hand. She always looked for opportunities to further assassinate their characters even as they protected her.

Lucas and Lita turned to Ross, the fifteen-year-old who claimed to have forgotten his last name. Mitch had found him in the rubble of the old power station; or rather, had been taken by surprise by the boy who swung a wrench at him from the cover of the dark. Everyone had worked to restore his makeshift home into a garage with attached sheds for the water filterer and the generator that the kid had so lovingly maintained. He couldn't build things, but he could repair them, and it was a triumph for them all when he emerged from the old radio station with an exuberant smile on his face. That was the day he gave Mitch his name: "Just Ross." And that was what Mitch called him, even as the kid sat with them, frowning in confusion at his hand.

"Whatcha got, Just Ross?" Mitch asked innocently, leaning over despite Lita's hiss.

Ross blinked at him as if surprised by the intervention on the silence. Mitch Nolan had that way about him, with his bright green hair spiking out in all directions, with his wild tattoos and innumerable piercings. He was lanky and thin and hardly looked like COG material at all, but then they watched him at the makeshift range they had constructed and learned why his first tat had been of a Longshot. After Ross had fixed the radio, Mitch had started broadcasting every day - messages, any music he could get, sometimes nothing but static. He had been a jockey before he was a gear, he explained. Now his signal was how others found the city.

"I got shit," Ross replied, which earned him a gasp from Lita and hoots from the other players. Lucas chuckled as Mitch bit a chip contemplatively. Finally, a rakish grin split his face, giving him an almost depraved expression. He adjusted the heavy headphones draped about his neck.

"Wanna play my hand?"

Lita's mouth popped open, but Lucas silenced her with his blank lenses.

Ross folded his cards and took Mitch's. The disc jockey smiled his twisted grin, but his eyes shined earnestly, proudly. Lucas gave the strange, fatherly man an approving smile as Ross pushed a stack of chips into the pot. Mitch shrugged good-naturedly at the dealer. "Skip me."

Still smiling, Lucas turned to the third player. Mitya Sokolov had come from the far north to serve the COG, which was reflected in his light accent and hatred of the summer heat. He'd stumbled onto them after a disaster he still refused to talk about and had joined them immediately, surprisingly, given what little they knew of his family's military tradition. Lucas had asked him only once, and the Northerner had responded, thickening his accent, "In own way, you are good people, yes?" Then, laughing, he had added in his perfect English, "Everyone is guilty of something here. Yet by collecting together they become blameless. I want to be blameless."

Now Mitya gave them all that stupid grin and raised Ross's bet. Lucas lifted his gaze, letting the glare slide away and reveal his eyes. "Mitya," he smiled, "you know we know you better than that."

Mitya returned the expression dumbly, scratching at his clipped brown hair. "Yes. Does not make less fun," he replied. Another stack of chips was pushed in, and he gave them all the moronic smile. Mitch whistled admiringly and nudged Ross.

Lucas tapped the deck, let the glare slide over his eyes as he turned to the last player. Deacon McCarrick cast his gaze over all of them, his dark blue eyes showing flickers of mirth, confidence, shrewdness. Lita always tried to catch Deacon cheating, because he was the sort of man who seemed to cheat and win. That auburn hair, slicked back at just the right angle, the goatee carefully maintained so he looked just the right amount of debauched. And the brown leather duster he never took off, always hanging about his broad shoulders like a king's robe. He oozed the cleverness of the fox that raids the henhouse in broad daylight without being caught. That cleverness had captivated them all on more than one occasion, when he took control. He was a magnetic leader. Now he stroked his chin, letting a wolfish grin stretch his features. His eyes flashed at them all, and they were held captive, enthralled.

"I fold." Deacon slapped the cards on the table, smiling in the way Mitya did when he was playing the village idiot. Lucas collected himself first, scooped up the cards. Ross called Mitya's bet, and Lucas dealt the flop. Seven, seven, two.

Mitch nudged Ross, who was drumming his fingers on the table. The boy glanced back at his green-haired mentor, who grinned and nodded. Smiling back, Ross shoved in half his chips. Deacon whistled and clapped Mitya on the shoulder.

"You gonna let this kid take you?"

Mitya blinked at them stupidly. Slowly, he let the mask fade, gave them all his most intelligent, calculating gaze. "All in."

Ross turned to Mitch, who shrugged. The boy looked at them. "Ah, it's not like it's real money." He pushed in the rest of his chips.

Lucas dealt the turn. Five. Eyes masked by the blank glare, he laid down the river. Queen.

Ross flipped his cards. Two twos. Full house.

Mitya smiled sympathetically. "Sorry, kid." He placed his cards face up. Two sevens. Four of a kind.

Just as Ross began to groan, the lights flickered.

Roleplay

1

"Shit," Mitch hissed as they watched the lamp over their table dim and struggle valiantly back to brightness. Ross leaped to his feet, knocking his chair back into Lita's pudgy legs. No one stopped to check on her as she bellowed.

"Dammit, dammit! I knew I shouldn't have left the damn garage!" the teen fussed, grabbing his threadbare jacket and bolting out the door.

"Ross!" Mitch shouted, lunging after him, but Deacon caught his arm.

"Mitch, we need you on the radio."

"But-"

Deacon silenced him with those dark blue eyes, all business now. "Mitya, protect Ross."

"Sir," Mitya acknowledged. He rubbed Mitch's shoulder as he walked out of the town hall. "Hey. Your kid's safe with me, alright?"

Mitch nodded dully. Deacon released him, and he left for the radio station next door. The lights dimmed again, buzzing like gnats. "Doc. I want you to go get supplies from your office. We'll hole everyone up in the factory; it's got backup lights inside and no windows." Deacon pulled a Boltok from a thigh holster and pressed it into Lucas's hand. Nodding, the doctor exited the town hall. Deacon turned towards the woman behind him, surveyed her wavy light hair, her beady eyes. "Lita... just..." He sighed. "Get to the factory. Watch for people at the door."

He left before she had a chance to protest, to ask for a gun or a knife or at least a broken beer bottle. He turned on the four emergency lights outside the town hall and the factory, watched them flicker into life. In the distance, he could see the kryll massing, waiting. He grabbed his other revolver and jogged to the radio station, where Mitch waited for his commands.

"Tell Josh and his crew to sweep the west; Rick and his guys to cover the east. Evacuate all Stranded to the Northern District; specifically the factory. Kurt..." Deacon paused, contemplating. "Kurt and his crew'll hold the gate. They've got enough lights."

Mitch nodded and leaned towards the mic. "Yo, idiots. We need emergency plan Alpha, pronto."

2

"Jesus fucking christ, since when was this Rick's group!" Psycho shouted. He didn't like being in groups, and he sure as hell didn't like being under the command of this kid. Rick ignored the hulking soldier, and moved down the corridor. As soon as the order came through, he had jumped from the couch he was relaxing on, and grabbed his armor. Finally cluking out of the room, he had found Torch and James waiting for him. They knew they would need to get Carrick too. This worried all three of them.

Carrick (it turned out) was already waiting in the apartment blocks foyer. He didn't react well to finding out that this was (for all purposes) Rick's show.

"Look, I don't like this either, but now isn't the time to argue about it" replied Rick, as he walked toward the door. "Right now, the city's pitch black, Kryll are on the way, and we have some lights that we need to turn on, or we all die." He glanced around at Torch: He had always had a deep fear of the Kryll, having experienced what they can do early into his tour of duty.

"Well, put it that way..." muttered Carrick, but it was heard by none of them. The group checked their flashlights, primed their weapons, and stepped out onto the streets of Pithodi.

3

Having hidden the Ravager (Their modified junker, used for transport), Va'asch and his men moved out. "Dunno why we even had to hide that hunk of crap Torvaan...it's a piece of junk." Arkturus growled, not seeing the point of it.The large Locust complained everytime they had to hide it. "Thats the whole reason fool, we camoflage it with more junk, and no-one sees it!" "Like hell..." Arkturus mumbled. "Shut it. Grilgar says were nearing the signal." Barked Va'asch as he dismissed his squabling squadmates. "Uhhh yeah..." Grilgar replied, not quite sure. "Do you have it or not?" Va'asch did not like his answer. "Yes but, it's just weakened a- -."

They stopped, silent. To the north sirens blared. They stood, not moving or talking for a good minute, all of them scanning the direction of the noise source. "Grilgar...take a look..." Va'asch ordered, not knowing what this could mean. "What is it now?!" Arkturus complained still, hefting his large torch which lit the area to his other hand. Grilgar, who had already removed his Longshot's scope, examined the noise up ahead. "Well, looks like it might be...uhhh gimme a hand...starts with P." He struggled, lowering his raspy Theron voice a little. "Uhhhh...P...P..." Torvaan wondered. "Pithodi" Va'asch groaned "Thats a little bit fortified for us..." "Va'asch, we been in situations tough for a Brumak and were still here." Arkturus proclaimed proudly, Va'asch only rolled his eyes.

Ignoring the conversation going on behind him, Grilgar continued his examination. "Not enough lights going for night over there guys, looks like they got some trouble." Va'asch grimaced "Any fire at all?" Their squad leader inquired. He directed this question at Grilgar specifically, due to his accute hearing. After straining his ears for a while, Grilgar heard nothing of the sort. "Still, looks like thats where the signal is coming from. It's not a C.O.G signal and... well theres no such thing as a Locust one so..." Va'asch nodded. "Move out, swift and silent." He made a gesture to Arkturus. Arkturus understood and dimmed the torch to low as he dare, and followed his group towards Pithodi.

4

Dorihv watched the Drones pick away at the rocks before him with small pickaxes, slowly advancing a tunnel to the surface."Sir?", he turned around to see his personal sniper, Korvhun, standing, Longshot on his back, with a questioning look at the miners. "Yes, what is it, young one?" he replied without turning away his gaze. "May I ask why we aren't using a Corpser to get to the surface? It would certainly speed up the destruction of the Human outpost". "Ah, your generation is always going on about speed, you aren´t looking at the bigger picture. Faster you lazy hunks of Kryll shit!" he raised his Boltok and fired a shot in the tunnels wall, urging the Drones to dig even faster and stop their chattering. "By going this way, we have the element of suprise on our side, which can prove invaluable, Humans may be despisable creatures who will lose this war anyway, but we must not underestimate their capabilities for combat, for they are not to be triffled with too strong.". He ran his hand across the scar on his neck, remembering the accuracy of the Human snipers who had given him his scar, even better he remembered the Kantus who had cared for him in the Sickbay, and was now deployed on frontline duty as Medic, a very important job wih a fatality rate of 98.7%. "Okay that does it!" he angrily shouted and strode to a miner who was standing against the wall, leaning on his pickaxe. "You are a disgrace for the Horde!". He said and promptly took out a long, wicked blade and stabbed the miner through the chest, then ripped the blade through his shoulder and out his neck. Only a small gurgle could escape from the Drone as it´s mangled remains fell to the ground, making a splashing sound as they hit it. Korvhun looked at the events with a horrified look on his face, although he had some combat experience, seeing a fellow Locust die so close by made him sick, yet he was glad that his master´s unpredictable temper was not directed at him.

At last, with a small crack, pieces of rock fell down and a rush of clean air flew into the tunnel, signalling their arrival at the surface. "At last!. All soldiers, follow me! Let your feet be as silent as the Leviathan underwater, and your bullets as powerfull as a Brumak!" He exclaimed as he stepped into the outside world, his soldiers following him with the light of their Immulsion powered torches turned low and held down next tot their sides.

He looked in the distance and saw the fortress´ lights flicker, some failing and others being turned on, he looked up and saw the Kryll massing above him, moving towards the Stranded town.

"Perfect"

5

"Oh this is just wonderful."

Paul had just climbed down from the eastern guard tower at the south gate when the lights flickered. He had spent the last 2 hours keeping lookout in the tower, and was almost certain that Kurt would want him back up there, ready for anything. Much to his surprise however, his older brother ordered him to meet up with Cornelius and gather ammo and other useful things from the garage.

"You and Cornelius grab as much as you can carry from the garage and get back here, me and Tom will keep watch. If my Torque breaks, Tom's the only one here that knows what the hell would be wrong with it, AND he has a long range weapon. Pistol's dont work well at long range little bro," Kurt had said, "Now get your ass moving! Cornelius'll meet you at the garage door."

Paul had grinned, hit the emergency light switch, and began sprinting toward the door. 'Oh well,' he thought, 'at least tonight's not gunna be boring."


6

Va'asch slowed his pace, raising a gloved hand to indicate to his squad to do the same. He saw something, up ahead. It moved slightly, in the light of the moon overhead, and in the glow of his groups torch. It seemed ridiculously large. He raised his Hammerburst and started to back away. But then, it hit him. He had found the east wall of Pithodi. His eyes simply played tricks on him in the failing light. "Torvaan...We're gunna need a door."

The squad gathered around their pyromaniac member, and gazed on as he prepared his 'door'. "Well, were going to need something quiet." He spoke aloud, rummaging through his pack, finding what he was looking for, "There's the damn stuff..." He was referring to the bundle of rope-like substance in his hand. Made by himself, it consisted of a thick string of concentrated Cordite, which contained plastic explosive, laced liberally throughout the whole thing. Basically a stealth charge strong enough to cut through a 16-inch solid steel wall. With a few applications of course.

Torvaan went back to his bag, after placing the first stage of 'door making', and found some goggles. He threw a pair to Va'asch. "Is it really that bright?" Va'asch was wary of it blowing their current cover. "It'll fry your eyes in a second." He replied, donning his own pair as he spoke. Va'asch simply accepted that it was too late to change thier plan. He went to offer a pair to Grilgar, but he declined. His reply was that his own high tech goggles would do fine. Torvaan drew his detonator from his hip pack, and with a devilish grin he chuckled to himself, "Let there be light."

7a

A sharp crack echoed through the blackness. On a distant hillside, Iris Langton hesitated, tightening slender brown fingers around her walking stick and her lantern. Frowning, she narrowed her eyes at the far-off walled city. There was a second, louder crack, a vague vibration in the soles of her bare feet. She squinted in the direction of the noise, then gasped as a tiny, blinding light flared near one of the walls. There was a rush of air, an enormous hand on her shoulder, then the rumbling of rock and stone as it crumpled to the earth. She blinked frantically until all that remained of the flash was technicolor spots dancing across her vision. Shaking her head, she smoothed her purple headband and tugged at the tie holding back her dreadlocks. With a nervous sigh, she asked her companion, "Did you hear that?"

Maddox Coburn released her shoulder as he gently squeezed the small, blue bundle in his arm. He was a burly man, with broad shoulders, a corded neck, and heavily muscled limbs. Using his free hand, he rubbed his scarred, ruddy skin. He tugged at his small chin beard, the reddish hairs coarse and wiry. "Unfortunately." He sighed, shifting the bundle up slightly. "Don't suppose we should keep goin', then?"

Iris cast vibrant green eyes to the cloudless sky. "No," she murmured slowly. "We've come a long way to get to Pithodi. We'll continue."

Coburn cocked a thick brow as the woman turned back toward him. "Are y' quite certain? We turned back at th' other settlements."

Iris gripped her walking stick as though it were a martial staff. "If Pithodi is what it claims to be in its broadcasts, then it will survive this." She glanced at the bodyguard. "It's different from the others. I can feel it." Turning back towards the city, she asked briskly, "You have Conway?"

Coburn snorted. "Nah, I dipped 'im in th' last creek Achilles-like an' left him there. 'Course I got 'im. Sleepin' like you wouldn't believe, too." He hefted the bundle. A small brown hand tumbled out, and Iris tenderly tucked it into the blue blankets again. Coburn allowed a small smile as tiny fingers curled against his chest. "So what would y' have me do, owner?"

Iris smirked. "I think Pithodi will appreciate a pair of knuckles like yours."

7b

Mitch flipped a few switches as the ground trembled beneath them. He slapped a headphone to his ear and handed a pair to Deacon, whose mouth had drawn into a grim line. Pulling a microphone towards his lips, Mitch demanded, "All men report. I want to know what that was and where."

The radio crackled its response. "This is Lucas. I've retrieved the emergency kit and I'm bringing it to the factory now. thus far I've met no resistance and all emergency lights are functional."

"Copy, Doc," Mitch replied, darting his eyes towards Deacon. The leader stroked his goatee, eyes narrowed in intense concentration. His lips moved, but no sound escaped as he mouthed plans and strategies to himself. Shaking his head, Mitch tugged the mic closer and repeated, "Hello? I asked you all to report?"

"Sorry, Mitch," Mitya replied. "I was trying to get a visual on the explosion, but I don't want to leave Ross alone in the mechanic's."

Mitch's eyes widened. "Get a visual?"

"It was right near us. Bright light, loud noise, the works. It might be Locust trying to take advantage. Like I said, I'd check it out, but I've got no back-up and Ross is busy with the generator."

In the background, a teenage voice bellowed, "What the fuck is this thing doing?!!"

Mitch couldn't resist a smirk. "What's the status on the old clunker?"

Ross's voice came through the radio. "The status is that it's trying to chug along on fumes. It's entirely depleted its Imulsion source. Basically, we've got five minutes before the lights go completely."

"I could kick it," Mitya offered. "That always got a few extra watts out of the generator back home."

"What? No!"

Mitch turned skeptically to Deacon as an argument ensued on the opposite end of the transmission. The leader furrowed his brow. "Mitya, barricade the mechanic's. No one gets to the generator or the water. Ross, I want you to try to improvise a new energy source."

"But-"

"Look, we have all sorts of things that can run without the generator. How do we power those?" Deacon demanded, cutting Ross's protests short.

The teen sighed. "They're batteries, alright? Solar batteries. But we'd need a fuckin' array of the things to power an entire city."

Deacon rubbed his face. Finally, he pulled on his goatee and dragged the microphone to his lips. "Ross, we just need enough power to last the night. I know some other things we could try to get the generator going again, but we can't exactly go out now to get them. Can you handle that?"

Mitya grunted. "Well, I've blocked the windows with some cabinets and things. The door's locked; hope that'll be enough. As for fuel... we could send someone to siphon what's left in the tanks from the Junkers." There was a pause. "You know, we really ought to get a gas station built here."

"Borrowing gas from the Junkers could work," Ross agreed, sounding somewhat surprised.

Deacon grinned. "Alright, Mitya, hold the mechanic's. Ross, keep the generator going as best you can. We're going to need every speck of light we can get. Mitch, relay everything that's reported back to me. I'll go get the juice."

"Yessir," Mitch replied, smirking. "Try not to have too much fun."

8

Suddenly, there was a loud crack, and the sound of crumbling brickwork. Rick spun around, keeping his flashlight low, so as to avoid catching any unwanted attention. Unfortunately, Tom's head mounted flashlight blinded the rest of the group as he too spun around at the sudden noise. Rick swore under his breath: If whoever or whatever was behind had been unaware of his groups position, they must surely know now. Luckily, Tom's flashlight revealed nothing directly behind them. Only after he looked closer, did he notice that something did not look quite right. Even now, he could see stonework kicked aside, and activity just out of his vision. One slightly scaly and pale hand flicking out of the darkness told him everything he needed to know.

He gestured to the assembled soldiers to take up any cover, in alleyways, behind lower walls, in doorways, anything. He also whispered for them to keep their lights as low as possible. He took one last look at the wall, and flicked down his visor, activating the mic on the inside.

"Everyone, we have a problem. a VERY big problem..."

9

"Torvaan, you son of a bitch! You said it would be quiet!" This indeed blew there cover. "Look, I had no idea the wall was so thin!" Va'asch put his hand to his face, "It's too late for apologies...move in!" He hissed, simply resigning to accept yet another difficulty. The other squad members readied their weapons respectively, all the while muttering about 'Being as quiet as a friggin' A-bomb'. Va'asch took point, darting straight through the man-sized hole, looking from side to side, "Clear."

From there, they moved North, towards a light around the corner. Torvaan noted a deep whirring noise, and identified it as a generator or another large turbine-based motor. He decided to ask his commander about it, "Uhhhh Va'asch? Should we take it out?" Va'asch barely even considered this, "Without the light produced, we would suffer the same consequences as the humans." "Yeah...becoming Kryll shit." Arkturus cut in. Torvaan apologised for the stupid idea, and they continued. "Our target is at the other side, we only gotta make it there." Grilgar reminded, checking his tracking device once again. "Then let's haul ass then!" Arkturus simply suggested, and took the lead around the next corner.

10

Gort Lockwood gripped his torch, and kept it facing the window, muttering under his breath. Casper had left his torch on the table, facing the door. The living room had only two ways to get in, window and the door. Leaving the torch there was a safe way to keep the room secured from the krill outside. If there was Locust however... Gort dismissed the thought, and turned to his sister.

"Mink, where are you?"

Gort grimanced as he stood to check behind the table, but no, she wasn't there. Gort let out a sigh, and looked up to the Ceiling, and Mink was propping herself against two walls, her purple hair wavering downwards, and her slighty burnt face, giving it the impression of her face was scaled.

"Getting Good Gort." Mink whispered, her smile was contaned, and she fell to the floor, crouching as she hit it. She stood and turned on her torch, shining the light on the face of Gort.

"Where's Casper and Davian?"

"Casper's Asleep, Davian is hunting for food."

"By Himself?!?"

"Well, Of Course."

"But...Tha-"

"Good DAY PEOPLE!" A New voice said, coming from above Gort and Mink. They Both looked up to see the long coat of Casper hanging off his body, his spiked hair shimmering from the light of Gort and Mink's torchs, and his sly smile on his face.

"So, What are we doing? Locust are out there." Casper whispered, still holding onto the ceiling.

"How Do you know?" Gort demanded, his voice lined with anger.

"I use my ears, Gort. Now, Davian is outside the door." Casper grinned, and the sounds of Davian knocking on the door.

Gort walked over, torch in his hand, and unlocked the door, pushing it open. Davian stood there, wearing red tinted glasses and long blond hair. "We have Locust, we need to get to the garage."

"Let me guess..." Gort started, but Mink started for the door.

"We're going. That's that."

Gort mumbled something, but picked up Casper's torch, and handed it to Casper, and the family moved out into the hallway, and set off to the garage, shining the lights in all direction... Love is Noise Love is PainLove is these blues 11:16, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

11

Lucas kicked the door to the factory three times, wincing at the pain that shot through his toes. The metal door responded with three loud bangs that reverberated in his ears. He hefted the emergency box, glaring through his lenses at the blocked portal. Finally, he shouted, "Medical supplies here!"

The lock clicked, and the door swung open. Lita narrowed her eyes at him, pursing her lips. "Doctor."

Lucas ignored her, pushing past and settling the box on the floor. "Why didn't you open the door?" he demanded, releasing the locks on its lid.

"Oh, come on now. Open the door with all that danger out there?" She pressed a hand to her breast. "What would a poor defenseless girl like me do if you were a Locust?"

"You knew it was me," he retorted, unpacking medkits and loose bandages. His glasses flashed white. "You look for every chance to sabotage us, never realizing that the only one who really suffers from it is you-"

"Keep talkin', doctor," Lita replied, placing a cigarette between her thin lips. "If you blather long enough, someone might listen."

Lucas shook his head as he pulled out a handful of splints. Lita was an ugly woman, not so much because of her weight but because of her manner, because of the way her piggish eyes constantly scrutinized them. It was a shame she had the voice of a phone sex operator. "I suppose," he murmured, pulling a sawed-off shotgun from the emergency box, "you have some complaints to lodge as usual?"

She smirked. "Oh, so now you care about my opinion?"

Lucas laid some assault rifles on the floor. "Not particularly."

Smiling thinly, Lita blew a perfect smoke ring. "You know, the COG would never have let us run out of Imulsion."

Lucas reached into the emergency box, his glasses blank white circles. "No. The COG would've just shot us with it."

12

Korvhun peered through a crack in the boarded up window, scanning the streets for any Humans that were heading their way. As they were approaching the fortress, they had heard a loud bang and a small localized mushroom cloud had risen at the other side of the city. Acting quickly, they had used the fortunate event as cover to climb over the wall surrounding Pithodi and hid themselves in an abandoned shack to discuss their further plans. "Colonel, what the fuck was that explosion at the other side of the town?, I've never seen anything anything like it before!", one of the drones asked, sitting impatiently in the corner of the shack. "Cordite by the looks of it, but a hell of a lot of it by the looks of it." Dorihv said, "The problem is, is that Cordite is Locust manufactured, and the Lord assured me that we were the only squad ordered to attack this measly excuse for a town.". "Sir, you wouldn't think it would be the Betrayers, would you?" Korvhun asked, his voice thinly masking the fear he held against the Betrayers. "The Betrayers?, you mean Va'asch and his squad?" Dorihv spat on the ground in discontempt."It is certainly a big possibility". "Colonel, what are our orders if we encounter them?" Korvhun asked. "Then, your orders are quite clear men." Dorihv stretched his face in a murderous grin, half-madness gleaming in his eyes.

"Kill 'em all, and mutilate their corpses until only the Memory remains"

13

"I say again, we have a problem. A VERY big problem. We are in a lot of trouble here: Anyone outdoors needs to head straight to cover, or you'll regret it..." Rick was stammering now, frantically trying to convey his warning to the other inhabitants of Pithodi. He continued to watch as a veritable crowd of Locust stream from the hole in the wall. Suddenly, he heard James cut in on his own mic: "What Rick's trying to say, is we have confirmed Locust: Just blasted through the wall and are currently strolling across the West Wall. Don't seem to have a care in the world."

Rick seemed to have finally eased his nervous state somewhat. He turned towards his companions and gave his orders. The group were to follow the Locust squad, and find out what their motives were. They were also to tend to any lights they passed, so long as it did not give away their position.

Carrick was obviously unhappy with the arrangements: "So we're soldiers playing games, rather than doing our job and killing whoever happends to be in our way. I fucking swear, this goes wrong, and my chainsaw's going straight through you first you uptight son of a bitch". Rick checked his visor was still down, and turned his back on Carrick, quietly catching up to the Locust group moving away from them.

14

"Shit, shit SHIT!" Torvaan exclaimed "Not going right at all, is it?" Grilgar smirked "How can fun not be right?" They took refuge in what looked like a kitchen. Arkturus discovered the fridge and had ransacked it, eating anything that was in there, from salads to a jar of mustard. "Stop stuffing you face man! We got work to do!" Torvaan walked up to him while he was devouring what was left on a chicken carcass, and then he noticed some dip "Oooooh!" "GET OVER HERE WILL YOU!" The two of them obeyed and approached Va'asch. "What's the plan then?..." Grilgar asked after the short silence caused by their sergeant's outburst. Va'asch closed his eyes to calm himself. "The plan is..." He managed through gritted teeth. "...To take cover in the last greenhouse in the row, then move on the target building." Arkturus didn't like the whole 'take cover' idea, "You mean hide?...Cos I don't do that." Va'asch moved on the considerably larger locust, "We will hide then if you like, but either way, we are doing it." He paused to look at the others faces, examining them for any signs of objection. "There are other locust here anyway. We do not want to fight two enemies at once." "More locust! No way man. Not possible." Torvaan didn't want to believe him at all. Grilgar wasn't convinced either. "How do you know...?" Va'asch turned to him, his face a look of one who wasn't quite with them, lost in his thoughts. "I just do."

15

A man in a dirtied white apron had his shoulder up against the back door of the kitchen, holding a gnasher shotgun in his hands.

"Those son's of bitches, the fuck are they doing to my kitchen!?" he hissed.

"Tao, calm down, it's just a kitchen. I'll help you rebuild it after this is over," Gabrielleh whispered.

Tao gritted his teeth with a mixed expression of rage, self restraint, and pain. He gripped the handle on his shotgun tighter, and turned away from the back door to look at the 14-year-old girl standing under the emergency light. "Oh, alright. But if they so much as scratch that stove oven Ross and Tom managed to get working I'll kill all of these son's of bitches myself if I have too.”

Gabrielleh sighed and gave Tao her “look,” which comprised of cocking her head to her right shoulder, and letting her black hair cover her right eye. “Tao, you heard Mitch, we need to get to the factory and wait with the others…” Gabrielleh’s eyes widened as she heard the cries of the kryll overhead.

Tao swore, slung his shotgun onto his back, grabbed Gabrielleh, and began to move toward the factory.

“Fucking kryll, every time she hears them she goes fuckin’ comatose. Why the hell does it have to be now?” he said, as he started to move toward the building with Gabrielleh in his arms.

16

The lights flickered as Iris and Coburn climbed through the hole. Above them, the kryll chittered, swarming and diving, but avoiding the unfaltering light in Iris's hand. The humans quickly moved to the brightest lamp, a large wall-mounted bulb that glowed blue instead of yellow. Spotting the panel above it, Iris muttered an admiring, "Solar lights."

Coburn snorted. "Yeah, solar lights - but no back-up generator."

As if on cue, the other lamps sputtered for the final time and died, plunging them into darkness. The kryll screamed as they swooped through the streets, rushing past the blue-white circle. Iris let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding.

Coburn shifted his bundle. "So. Shall we stay here?"

Distant screams echoed through the blackness. Human terror mixed with locust dismay in the cries. Iris gripped her staff.

A loud clang behind them made them jump. Muffled cursing followed, then more banging and thumping. Iris and Coburn stared at the wall in confusion. Finally, shaking his head, Coburn, slammed a fist on the building. "'Ey! Y' alright in there?!"

Iris glared at him, but a young man's voice responded, "Fuck no I'm not! This motherfucking generator's fucking out of fuel!"

Coburn adopted an expression somewhere between amused and disturbed. "Y' mean y' didn't notice it was runnin' out?"

"I fix the damn thing, okay?! I never fueled it; it always got Imulsion from somewhere. We don't have a gas station or a power plant anywhere nearby." The voice turned desperate. "How the fuck am I supposed to know where the fuel comes from or how much it was?"

Another voice, somewhat more mature, bellowed, "Ross! What the fuck are you screaming at?!"

Ross replied, loudly for Coburn and Iris's benefit, "There's a guy outside the generator room!"

Coburn began to amend this statement, but another voice beat him to it, an Irish one from his right. "Make that a gorilla, a goddess, and your wise and benevolent leader."

Iris simply stared at the redheaded man who had seemingly materialized beside them, but Coburn cracked a grin. "Deacon McCarrick. Y' son of a bitch." He swept the smaller man up in a hug usually reserved for lovers. "Should've known y'd be behind this."

Deacon laughed as he found himself set on solid ground again. "Mad Coburn, I am deeply offended. You dodge the draft and you don't come straight here?"

"I got hired," Coburn grinned, thumbing towards Iris. Her eyes widened briefly as Deacon gave her a shrewd once-over, but she collected herself and glared at him. Deacon smiled and turned back to Coburn.

"So how much do you two know about siphoning gas?"

17

The they sat quietly in the glass greenhouse, not really talking at all. The noises outside consisted of the occasional footsteps and almost constant screeching from the kryll, hungrily searching for their next unfortunate victim.

Torvaan sat in the corner, not uttering a word, but instead took to preparing more charges if they needed to blow anything else up. Arkturus tinkered with his LMG, performing a bit of routine maintainance in this rare bit of downtime, usually unheard of on the battlefield.

"Who do you think is leading the others?" Grilgar decided to break the silence, even though he said it in barely a whisper. "Hard to tell...it's been a long time." Va'asch had before convinced his company that there was indeed more locust here, other than their own squad. "So you have no idea?..." Grilgar genuinely believed he would know. "Well ok, I'll think about it." Grilgar listened intently, as Va'asch's 'thinking' consisted of hushed words muttered to himself. "Couldn't be him...he'd be dead already..." He stared at the roof for a second, seeing nothing but the black of kryll flittering about madly, blocking out the stars. "And we all know he'd never reach that rank..."

After about 10 minutes, he had done his thinking and muttering. "Grilgar.". This roused the squads sniper from his partial sleep, which he had inadvertantly fallen into while waiting for his sergeant to answer him. "Uhh yeah?" "After a bit of thought I came up with a few names but remember, these are if they are still alive." Grilgar prepared for very sketchy answer to his query. "First one is Valius, you remember him?" Grilgar grimaced, "Nah...sorry." "well he was known for massacring civilians with nothing but a chainsaw bayonent, one-by-one." "Then there is Darkun, one of the first Kantus to appear...might be a little old now, but he was sneaky, used to be sent on assassination missions a lot." Grilgar actually recognized this locusts name, "Oh right...he was freaky guy...." Va'asch chuckled, "Yeah...yeah he was...".

After a few seconds of reminiscing, Va'asch was interrupted by Grilgar, "Is that all?" Va'asch seemingly came back to earth, "No, there is another." "Who?" Va'asch took a second to recollect his memories. "There was one who never seemed to die, crazy bastard he was. I always thought he was favored by RAAM, but..." "Who!" Grilgar was getting impatient. "Why...that asshole Colonel Dorihv of course."

18

The ground collapsed, creating a large Emergence Hole on the outskirts of the now fairly noisy town called, or what the Locust had recieved reports of, Pithodi. A large, leathery white, scaly male Locust climbed out of the hole, wearing black and red tanned and scarred leather. His leathery coat hung loosely off of him, as he beckoned his platoon to follow. As he got out his Torque Bow, a large, armorless white Locust jumped energtically from the hole without even using climbing rocks from the jagged edges of the hole.

"Ha ha ha ha hah hah... still got it..." he said in a raspy tone, smirking evily with jagged black teeth at the larger Theron in front of him.

"Krogur, where are the others?" the Theron Sentinel asked the Drone in front of him.

"In the hole, Zarraek," he replied simply, arming himself with the Hemmerburst II model assault rifle. Suddenly, two other Locust climbed slowly out of the hole, panting a bit. They each looked at each other, then at Zarraek.

"There you are, Shunta and Emukno!" Zarraek said with a friendly smile at each Drone. "But you're both late. Our whole squad is late for some reason..." he said, scratching his head as if wondering why that was.

"Shouldn't that be obvious?" Shunta dare spoke the words, but Zarraek only shrugged, obviously not getting the hint. Emukno laughed, and asked for briefing. As Zarraek got out his Torque arrows, laoding one into the bowgun, and slinging the rest that were held in his quiver over his shoulder, two more Locust burst from their hole, one slightly skinnier than the other.

"This makes six!" the large, scaly, bulky white lifeform said as he erupted from the hole and onto the pavement of the town's outskirts. The other Locust was a Sniper, slim and slender, holding a cutsom LongSnout Longshot, which is basically a Longshot with an extended barrel for increased power. He looked around at his team, and sighed, as they were not who he'd expected them to be.

"Intell," Zarraek greeted the Sniper with a warm smile, and a handshake. "Emesh!" he nodded brsikly to the large Grenadier, who'd equipped his Gnasher shotgun. "Everyone..." the Theron began, waiting for the full attention of his platoon, forcing them to lower their weapons. "The mission is the same although we're very late. Pillage the place, kill the Stranded, and the ones who aren't worth killing, kidnap 'em, we'll take 'em for ransom." Zarraek explained.

"But... uhm..." Krogur interjected. "There are already Locust in the area..." he said, pointing a black, rusty, sharp nail to the wall which had been blown to pieces by a plastic explosive. "What do we do? What if the mission's already over?"

"Nonsense! We can join zha fun too!" Zarraek smiled warmly and good-naturedly to his platoon. "We may be late, but nightfall isn't done yet..." he finished, throwing on his red goggles, which actually took away from his vision in the dark, but repelled light in case of a flash attack. His platoon simply kept their eyes open, seeing as how Locust had near perfect vision in the dark. Intell got out his Longshot, slinging the strap over his back, and readjusted his Sniper helmet.

"Move!" Zarraek commanded, and his men moved into the east wall, looking for any Stranded they could kill, or any lights they could take out, as Shunta held the torch above their heads to ward of the bloodthirsty, flying, ravenous, murderous Kryll.

19

"I can't believe you just handed him my child!" Iris hissed, squeezing Coburn's wrist. They strode through the dark streets purposefully, trailing behind Deacon. The mean swung his flashlight wildly, a manic smirk on his face as the kryll attempted to dodge it. They screeched in protest when it swerved too close, diving away. Iris clutched her lantern tightly.

"'E'll be fine! Mitya's a responsible guy; y' can see it," the bodyguard retorted. "Now stop cuttin' off my circulation, if y'd please."

"But we don't even know him!" the woman protested, "and now he has my baby hostage!"

Sighing, Coburn grabbed her arm and dragged her forward a few paces. "Look, Deacon knows 'im. And I trust Deacon. Besides, 'e's safer in there than out here and you know it. Now, if y'll excuse me..." He broke from Iris's hold and drew level with Deacon.

"So how long have you been here?" Coburn asked, slowing his pace to match the smaller man's. Deacon allowed his flashlight to focus ahead of them, and the kryll swooped in behind, nipping at their heels.

"Since a few months ago." Deacon frowned, eyes skimming over Coburn's ragged clothing, his weather-worn face, his calloused hands. Deacon amended, "Since a month after the Fortification Act."

Coburn's eyes narrowed. "Since a month after the Hammers."

"Yeah."

Iris watched Deacon's eyes darken, glimmer in the lamplight. Her voice came unwilled. "You hate them, don't you?"

Deacon blinked at her, as if he'd forgotten she was there. He paused, forcing them to stop as the kryll chittered excitedly and gathered closer. After a moment, he murmured, "I don't hate them. They didn't push the button."

He began walking as Iris and Coburn exchanged looks. With trepidation, they followed Deacon to the garage, where he grabbed a spare tank and an awl off a wall rack. He pivoted, menacing them with the tool. "Alright. You take something sharp and pointy like this, you puncture the gas tank, and you catch what comes out in the tank or bucket or whatever you happen to be holding. Don't touch the shit; don't touch the tires. Capische?" He shoved the supplies into Coburn's hands. "I have to go order around my men. Take that back to Mitya and Ross when you're done."

Deacon marched to the door, but stopped when Coburn cast a dismayed look in his direction. He sighed, turned towards the newcomers. "Look, I'm sorry. But now's not the time to catch up." He gave them a mock-salute. "We'll play cards later." And he ducked out the door, flashlight shining into the darkness.

"Leo! Tom! Paul! Psycho headshot boy!" Deacon bellowed, stalking to the gate. "What's going on out there?"

The four guards peered over the walls of the gate, a varied collection of weapons in their hands. Finally, Kurt glanced at his team and announced, "Nothing. They're probably already in. Which is a shame, because I would've sniped the shit out of their faces."

Paul and Tom were unfazed by the proclamation, but Cornelius stared at their squad leader. "Say what?"

Deacon cursed and fumbled for his radio. "Mitch? What's the status on our other squads?"

There was a brief silence, then a voice crackled to life. "Rick and crew are fine; Locust are in sight but in numbers too great to attack them. I've heard nothing from Josh's group."

Deacon nodded, then gazed at the gate again. "You boys heard that?"

Paul was already half-down the ladder. "We'll check out the Western sector. The gate'll hold."

Rubbing his face, Deacon raked his eyes down the metal doors. "It better."

20

Torch heard Carrick mutter under his breath "Again, people are STILL calling it's Rick's fucking show...". He scurried a bit further ahead laying down a wide blaknet of light behind the group. James had pointed out that Toms light was far too powerful to have at the front: One glance behind, and the Locust they were following were bound to spot the small group that were skulking after them. Under his armor, he was sweating under the stress of his position. He hated the Kryll, but feared them more than anyone he had ever met. In his state, he tripped backwards over a cable that was strewn across the floor. He felt the weight of his armour pull him down to the ground with a loud crash. Seeing the opportunity it had opened, the Kryll attempted to fly through the gap of light, straight at the group. Spinning around, Rick caught the Kryll for a moment with his flashlight and they swooped away. He went to help his friend up: Torch was shaking with fear. He helped him into a sitting position, and left him to compose himself.

Meanwhile, James was inspecting the floor where Tom had fallen. following the cable, he found a large box, with a spotlight on top. They had found one of the emergency lights. Flicking on his radio, he broadcast through to Mitch: "This is Rick's group calling in, we found one of the emergency lights... I think we're by the library. The Locust we were following appear to have entered some of the houses nearby, and are currently moving through them to make progress further south, toward the Guard House. I also think I can see two others... Looks like a man and a young girl, exiting the locust occupied buildings. No clue how they slipped through them, but I'm glad they did."

Rick signalled to James to cut his radio, and turned on his own radio. "We now have three possible objectives. Follow the Locust, turn on the emergency light, or help the two citizens. Can command please advise?"

21

Mitch flicked a few switches on his radio. "Ignore Tao and Gabs; the guy's got a shotgun and he's heading towards the factory. Get the emergency light on and then tail the Locust as best you can."

He pressed another button. "Kurt. What's your status?"

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