RP: The Battle of 8th Avenue is an impromptu, low-expectation, low-pressure roleplay started up by Ahalosniper (because he started playing Gears 3 again, dammit). The RP takes place in the thick of the Siege of Jacinto. Made complacent by the supposed success of the Lightmass bomb, the Coalition of Ordered Governments has been caught unprepared; refugees from the areas surrounding Tollen and Montevado have flooded the city, and emergence holes pop up in the middle of the city without warning as Troika emplacements shoot down Reavers overhead. And you, just one Gear in a conflict far larger than yourself, are tested to bond with other Gears and civilians at a moment's notice in a desperate fight for survival. Good luck, and remember to keep your head down.
- Participant users are limited to one Gear character or one civilian character apiece. This is to promote close collaboration between users as essentially a single squad rather than go off talking to themselves, and while Locust characters can be fantastic, their tendency to be tough bosses would raise them above such a small skirmish as this.
- Gear characters can be brand-new characters or be preexisting characters from another squad brought in. The RP doesn't necessarily have to fit into their larger story, so consider this an AU if you have a character you really want to use, but couldn't normally take part. No canon expansions if they would've been dead or elsewhere, however. That would break real canon.
- In their posts, other users are allowed to write dialogue for your character (because doubling back with multiple things to say just gets ridiculous), though if you feel that what they write is too far out-of-character or you have a particular response you want to make at a particular moment, you can certainly talk to the user and co-edit one anothers' posts.
- You can add as many NPCs as you want, from unfortunate Stranded refugees to indignant Jacinto citizens to good ole' Carmine redshirt gears, but don't try to rope in a large number of your other characters in this manner. The focus should not too heavily be on them.
- Posts can be revoked by the moderator if they are deemed not up to quality standards, but these standards will not be unreasonable. In fact, the less stress felt while writing them, the better. Do not try to make novella-length posts. In fact, posts should be under 10,000 bytes, by far in most cases. Make them short so other users can read through them easily, and don't try to out-compete one another on length and quality, raising the bar for other users.
- Posts should be treated as going roughly in chronological order, though doubling back a few minutes or flashbacks where appropriate are permitted.
- Try to stay realistic in terms of what the Gears of War universe considers realistic. Don't let in-character arguments become arguments between users, and vice versa. Let's try to have some fun with this, shall we?
- Ahalosniper (moderator)
- Character: Sgt. William Kulm, COG Gear
- Character: Sgt. Preston Riveras, COG Gear
- Lieutenant Davis
- Character: Lt. Colin Davis, COG Gear
- The Pale Kestrl
- Character: LCpl. Dante Grey, COG Gear
- Character: Cdr. Siren, Onyx Guard
|2525 Dalyell St., corner of Dalyell and 8th Ave.; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
"This is an outrage, I tell you! Do you know that without me, this city wouldn't still be standing?"
An overcasting cloud layer had done nothing to negate the usual heat and humidity the month of Storm brought with it when it wasn't raining. Clanking along the sidewalk of an upper-class suburb in his blue and silver All-Purpose armor, Sergeant William Kulm could see that it wasn't doing anything to improve the temperaments of Jacinto's citizens either.
He sighed to himself in exasperation, uncomfortable beneath full plates, as he walked a winding path through the tent cities that had formed all along this boulevard, filled with the refugees that had sacrificed and struggled just to get to Jacinto, only to find a hostile welcome and a tent in the street to be all that awaited them. Tensions between them and the city's well-to-do citizens they lived in the shadows of were running high, and the member of Jacinto's high society complaining to him was just one more symptom.
"Now what use would it be, I ask you, if a key member of the Council of Sovereigns can't get out of his own driveway?" The senator asked, brushing aside rudely a man in grubby clothing. Had he looked a little closer, he might've seen the clothing had once been almost as grand as his own.
In Coalition armor, Kulm had no need to push a man aside. Wherever he went, crowds would part with looks of either admiration or disgust, in equal measure. Kulm merely answered through his helmet's speaker grill, "If you had such a problem with playing host to the less fortunate, Councilman Barrera, maybe you shouldn't have been so eager to sign Operation Lifeboat into law."
It surprised most people that a common Gear would keep up much on Tyran politics, much less know any particular politician's vote on a given policy. Most of the Jacinto citizens who signed on quickly became officers, while the enlisted ranks were filled with the former Stranded that had been conscripted in accordance with Lifeboat. But Kulm had once lived in towers of ivory masonwork like these, until he'd run away from home to go to war. Often nowadays, he wondered what his life would've been like if he hadn't.
If calling him out on his politics surprised him any, Barrera didn't show it. "I can deal with doing my part in accommodating our fellow Tyrans, Sergeant. What I take issue with is the running of a whore house under my bedroom window!"
The Councilman lifted an arm of his fine gray suit to the next building they were approaching, and they alley beside it. Sure enough, some of the Stranded had set up shop dealing in Sera's oldest profession. Kulm knew it wasn't the only illegal activity being conducted on this street, either. Drug dealers peddling Imulsion-derivative toxins and thieves were thriving in the crowded streets, blending in so well that they no longer had any need to hide.
This very street had become filled over the last few days with an open-air market of wood-pole tents and movable trailers once the police had opened it up for use. The Storm heat and unwashed bodies of the refugees gave rise to an abominable stench that permeated the street. Stranded and citizens mingled, with mixed levels of comfort. There were even a considerable number of Gears, some still wearing their armor and even armed, others off-duty and here to enjoy the benefits of such a crowd.
Once, the scantily-garbed women leaning against the corners of the alley to display their long legs would have disgusted him. Now, however, he realized they were showing skin as much because they could barely afford clothing as much as to attract business. A Gorasni girl of no more than twenty with the edge of a bruise peeking out from under her thin top met the eyepieces of Kulm's helmet, and he saw in them the deadened hopelessness he had long since started to feel himself.
She smiled at him sweetly. He quickly looked away and walked past.
Councilman Barrera stepped in front of him as they ascended the stone steps to the front door of his large, private apartment. He took turned on the top step beside a Northerner who'd taken a seat on his porch, standing almost as tall as the augmented Gear.
"Now listen here, Sergeant. I could have you stripped of that rank and all the privileges being a soldier offers you, and then you'd be just one more streetrat on my doorstep looking for a handout. Do you hear me? I want something done about all this!"
Behind his helmet, Kulm bristled at the threat. The Councilman had to know it was an empty one; with Jacinto just about the last safe place on Sera, the Coalition was clawing for every man and woman able to hold a weapon that it could get, just as miserly as men like this were about their coin. But he knew his duty. And he wouldn't let an impatient socialite break his discipline.
Forcing his face straight, he pulled his helmet off and met Barrera's angry gaze with his cool green eyes and the most calm demeanor he could put on. "Councilman, your concerns are noted, and I'm sure the Coalition will see to them as soon as it can in the course of finding livable conditions for the entirety of its people. But until such time as it can, we need every citizen to do their part in ensuring the well-being of the many. Thank you for your cooperation."
Kulm nodded succinctly as he finished, his brown hair swaying as he tried not to smile watching the Councilman fume, thinking that he hoped he hadn't been so pompous as a kid. But just then, he felt a tremor carry up through the concrete and shake the bones of his legs.
He turned around, and no sooner had he planted one foot on a lower stair than the sound of cracking concrete echoed through the street. The din of the refugee crowds stopped for a moment, only to be replaced by screaming as slabs of broken asphalt rose up like an enormous zit and shattered, revealing a hollow space carved out of the rock below. Massive, spindly legs of a Corpser drew back into the dark, swirling mist below, and from that space charged a writhing mass of sickly pale figures, scrambling up slanted shards of the street or clawing up the sheer sides into the light of day.
A few men and women who'd been in the wrong place at the wrong time were last seen falling in among the debris, and bullets trailing black Imulsion vapor cut down more of those who had begun to flee in fear.
Kulm's mind raced. The Locust had been wearing away at Jacinto's outer defenses for more than a month now, and occasionally managed to get an E-hole past the lines, but never this far in before. How could they have broken through?
He refocused. It didn't matter now. What did matter was throwing them back into the pit.
"Start bringing people inside." Kulm told the Councilman without so much as a look. "We need to get them off the streets."
Being ordered by some lowly infantryman startled Barrera from being frozen in shock. "I'm not bringing any mangy Stranded into my-"
The reply was suddenly cut short as William grabbed the front of his pressed collar and dragged him close. "Get them inside, now." Then he released the Councilman and unclipped the helmet from his belt, sliding it back on again with the blue optics glowing to life.
Grabbing the stair's rail with his left hand, Kulm reached over his back and unlocked a chainsaw-edged Lancer assault rifle from his back, and vaulted over the rail, catching himself with the free hand as he dropped to the street below. Pushing himself up, he started running against the flow of the crowd and shouting over his helmet's loudspeaker, "Get off the streets! Get inside anywhere you can! Gears, stand to and prepare to fulfill your oaths! Get something across and barricade the street! Keep the civilians out of the line of fire! To me! Gears, rally to me!"
That Damn Sniper 00:57, March 6, 2014 (UTC)
- Mod's note: Obviously, let's not break out the Berserkers just yet. Keep it to Drone-level grubs and under for the time being. If you like, take advantage in your first post of the opportunity to explore the refugee camp. Maybe someone managed to get together some decent food for sale, or perhaps you're in the middle of other activities which lead the Locust to catch you literally with your pants down. You can take 'em all the same.
|Furnell St., Outer Jacinto; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
"Look, I don't have time for your bullshit. You sign up or sit outside the walls."
Sergeant Preston Riveras was glad that his helmet had filters, because by the looks of it these Stranded hadn't washed in a long time. A short, grubby man in a tattered overcoat glared up at the armoured Gear, and spat onto the pavement before snatching the paper from his hands. The people following him did the same, taking the papers and shuffling into the nearby recruitment station. Of all the duties a Gear could be assigned, signing up Stranded was one of the worst. Preston would rather be fighting Locust.
"That the last of them, sah?"
"Yeah, that makes thirty-two in the past week. Think we're getting popular?" A lightly-armoured Gear dropped down off the Armadillo they were using as a makeshift barricade, and walked towards the gate. Corporal Bikash Sharma was one of the few remaining Pesanga Gears still in service, and if fifteen years of war had affected him then he wasn't showing it. Once the large steel gate had slid shut, he turned back to Preston.
"Doubt it. Since Tollen and Montevado went down, Stranded have nowhere else to go. Lifeboat's their only option."
The Sergeant nodded. "Well, at least they get showers now that they've signed up. Filthy bastards."
Bikash smiled, and began walking back towards the Armadillo. They'd have to take their newest recruits to a nearby barracks for processing; fit men would become Gears, while the others would take on war work. It wasn't a fair or forgiving system, but it was tolerated in the face of extinction. As Preston opened the APC's back door, a faint tremor rumbled through the ground. Every Gear knew what it meant, and by the looks of the Stranded filing out of the office with their papers signed, they knew it too.
Preston grabbed his Lancer from a nearby table, revving up the chainsaw bayonet as he did so. He'd found that it was useful in getting people's attention.
"Everyone, get aboard the 'Dill. It'll take you to safety!"
At this, Bikash clambered into the APC's driver seat, and honked the horn. The newly-recruited Stranded scrabbled for places inside, pushing and shoving in a mad dash to get in. Once the last of them was seated, Preston slapped the vehicle's side twice and allowed the rear hatch to close before activating his Tac-Com.
"Bikash, get this lot out of here. I'll take care of the grubs."
"Got it, sah. Be careful, okay?"
"I'll be fine, now go!"
The Sergeant watched the APC roar off down the street as the tremors hit again. They were close, no more than a block away. A couple of armed Gears walked out of the recruitment office, followed by several employees. Preston waved for the soldiers to follow him while the civilians ran to a nearby Packhorse. With that, he raced off down the street, ready for combat.
|Jolyon Iver Blvd., Outer Jacinto; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
"Got dammit, these Stranded 're everywhere. Filthy bastards are makin' a mess here, pissin' on statues and takin' shits in the park. Of course I'm the God-forsaken unlucky sonofabitch whose gotta make sure they don't."
Lieutenant Colin Davis grumbled as he made his rounds with a few other Gears from his platoon. The war was getting worse every day, with the Locust getting closer and closer to Jacinto, and here he and his entire platoon were on something that equated to a very un-prestigious mixture of police and janitorial duty. It wasn't right, there were police and street cleaners around after all, unless most of the police had been drafted and the janitors dead. probably from the fumes of the messes they were supposed to clean up. It was things like that that made glad his helmet had a filter, and glad that it worked properly and that he knew how to fix it if it broke.
As he meandered along, he saw a Stranded man trying to relieve himself by a statue of some famous officer or something similar. He yelled at the man as he jogged over to him. Startled by the fully armored Gear, the man took off, or he at least attempted to with his pants still down. As he waddled away the ground started shaking, and Colin and the other Gears stopped in their tracks. They all knew that sounds and that feeling in their boots, like the earth is about to drop out beneath them, and that's exactly what happened to the poor man as he attempted to flee. The concrete around him billowed up like something resembling a mountain or volcano, which them collapses in on it self, falling into a dark abyss, the man not far behind.
"Oh, fuck. Me." He said a little louder than he thought.
Replacing the man was a group of monstrous, scaly creatures, a little taller than the average man. Each of them were pale white with almost no form of clothing other than torn pants and the occasional bit of upper body armor, some of it recognizable as old COG standard issue gear, and each one had a large revolver and knife strapped to them, and were carrying compact rifles. As they emerged several of them emitted loud, animalistic howls and growls. If the sounds of the very ground erupting didn't alert everyone in the area, then their vocalizations certainly did. Citizens started running and screaming, only to be mercilessly gunned down in the street.
"Hotel-One, cover the civilians and get 'em outta here! The rest of ya, get into cover and engage the enemy! Someone get the Command on the radio and tell 'em what the fuck's happenin' out here!"
The Gears scrambled, looking for any manner of cover, Colin took cover behind the statue that the unfortunate Stranded man was using as a urinal not a minute before, and began firing at the Locust. At first it was sporadic blind-firing just in to attempt to get enough of them into cover so he could safely pop his head out to fire accurately. He heard the report of about half a dozen Hammerburst rifles and that of his own Gear's Lancers. He heard a scream and as he looked over he saw Private Johnson fall over, clutching his now bloody shoulder. He swore as he popped out and fired a sustained burst, eliminating two of the Drones, only for them to be replaced by four more from the E-Hole.
"Damn, this is gonna get away from us real quick unless we can close that damned hole! Hotel-Three, cover me, I'm gonna lob a grenade right down their fuckin' throats!"
Without waiting for any of them to respond, he rushed forward, taking cover when he could until he reached the Drone's position. Leaping over a fallen log, he kick one grub away from cover, stunning it. He revved his chainsaw bayonet and sawed it in two. Two more came at him, and he fired a burst into one, before turning around and sawing the other one across the gut. He quickly took one of his Bolo grenades off of his belt and lobbed it at the hole and watched it land inside just as it went off, closing the hole, as well as taking out some grubs climbing out at the same time. After that it didn't take long for the rest of the Gears to mop up the remaining Locust. As he walked away from the collapsed hole, he heard more tremors, soon followed by gunfire further down the street, and began sprinting in that direction.
"Lets get goin' men, we got some grub ass to kick!"
|8th Avenue and Dalyell Street intersection; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
We're not gonna stop them. There just aren't enough of us.
Locust drones surged up from all sides of the e-hole by the dozen, oozing out like pus from a diseased wound in the street. Once they set foot on the surface, each rose up to stand at nearly seven feet tall, a pale-skinned nightmare with filed teeth and rabid yellow eyes. Claws already stained with the blood of humans who'd fallen in among the debris when the pavement crumbled, they turned their unleashed fury on whatever was convenient, loping away in small bands carrying a collection of stolen and appropriated Coalition weapons alongside cruder rifles with their own iconography.
They spread out quickly, hooting and bellowing as they scoured for prey between the flimsy stalls and tents that filled the street. One Grappler with cords of tough, black hide strapped across its chest fell behind as it noticed a woman trapped beneath an overturned cart. Her whimpers soon turned to screams as he was savagely torn apart.
Kulm could see it happen from down the zig-zag alleyways, but was to preoccupied to give him any aid in time. There'd been only two other battle-ready Gears within a block of him, one a dark-skinned Iliman in polished silver armor and the other in Tyran capital blue like himself. Three Gears against so many Drones had slim chances of just surviving, nevermind holding them off as they spread out in every direction or driving them all back into the Corpser-sized hole.
He forced the thought and logical fear that would follow from his mind; none of it mattered. They had to at least try.
Nearly passing a narrow alley between tents, Kulm stopped as he spotted a bare, sickly-white back retreating further into the city, and immediately dropped to a knee. His Lancer braced against his shoulder, he lined up his sights, and drilled a healthy burst of white-hot lead into its back. Layer upon layer of toughened scar tissue gave way, and the Grenadier toppled forward and lay still.
His attention suddenly shifted as a hulking shadow passed across the far side of a tent, and Kulm turned his rifle to be rewarded by an inhuman growl cut off as he sent more rounds to tear through the patched and filthy fabric.
Tossing a dismembered limb atop the corpse, the Grappler turned its cumbersome helmet, filled with lights that glowed like embers, towards the Gears and snarled before running off.
"I'm on him!" shouted the Iliman, and dashed off.
"No, wait!" Kulm called after him, too late. The man disappeared down a parallel alley, intent on revenge. Before either of the other Gears could go after him, a definitely human shriek came from the opposite direction, and both Tyrans set off immediately.
Emerging on the other side of the camp's crooked rows, they nearly crashed into the squad of Locust that had cornered a quivering Stranded man with his arms outstretched to shield his daughter behind him. The largest of the drones reached down and lifted the man up by his throat, filthy claws beginning to sink into his neck's soft skin.
There was no time to line up a clean shot. Instead, Kulm cannoned into the brute headlong, knocking them both to the ground as the Locust released its victim. The other Gear started blasting with a Gnasher as Kulm scrambled frantically for dominance with his opponent.
He managed to kick his way on top, his growls and those of the Locust drowned out by the teenager's panicked screams. Ignoring it, Kulm put all of his weight on his Lancer to pin the Locust down and threw a hard punch to the side of its jaw, cracking the bone of its jaw.
The Locust barely even flinched.
The pull of gravity suddenly reversed as it pushed hard, sending Kulm tumbling aside in a clatter of articulated steel. His hold on his rifle slipped, driving him that much closer to panic. As soon as he came to rest on his back a yard away, he swept both arms out feel for the weapon, and looked up to see the Locust getting up, and behind him, the other Gear was overrun.
Turning from the buckshot-torn remnants of his first kill, the Tyran was suddenly halted as a claw locked firmly around the top of the weapon, and the drone's other hand seized his throat. Caught in the grapple, he had no chance to escape as the last one set the teeth of a Lancer over his shoulder and started to cut. Sparks and steel shrieked and gave way to blood and flesh as the man's screams were muffled by his helmet, his torso slowly torn apart.
Kulm lost sight of the man as the hulking leader's boot planted itself beside his face. He looked up in time to see a powerful kick catch him in the side of the face, strong enough to rip away his helmet. Blood trickled down from his nose as he once again felt the warm air of Storm on his face, but it did nothing to override the Locust's stench, worse even than the Stranded camp.
Pride rejecting the idea of dying without the use of every chance he had, he fumbled for the Snub pistol pinned in the small of his back, glaring up at the Locust from within the sights of its Hammerburst, when several streaks of blazing lead cut high and dug themselves into the back of its head.
That Damn Sniper 07:10, March 11, 2014 (UTC)
|Corner of Furnell St. and Madison Ave., Outer Jacinto; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
"We've got an E-Hole!"
Sergeant Riveras ran across the empty street, ducking low as he took cover behind a pile of supply crates. The two Gears he'd brought with him moved up, raising their Lancers as the concrete cracked. After a few seconds it gave way and the first clawed hand grasped the edge. Riveras took a deep breath, and trained his Lancer on the hole as the first Drone clambered out. A burst of fire from his Lancer struck the creature in the head, sending it toppling backwards. More began to emerge, most falling to the Gears' combined fire. A few managed to crawl behind abandoned cars and pillars, opening fire on the Human soldiers.
"Sir, another one!" called the Gear next to Riveras. The Sergeant grunted and unhooked a bolo grenade from his belt. At least half a dozen Drones had emerged from the first hole, and another would probably overwhelm the three Gears. As the concrete began to fall away, he tossed his frag across the street at just the right moment to watch it plummet into the freshly made Emergence Hole. The resulting explosion blew it to pieces and closed it off for the time being.
"Holy shit!" Exclaimed one of the Gears, hosing down an advancing Drone with bullets.
Riveras couldn't help but grin. That had been a lucky shot, but he couldn't dwell on it as the surviving grubs began to run forward; he'd known dozens of the creatures to die in an attempt to kill a single Gear. He leapt out from cover and revved up his chainsaw bayonet before bringing it down on the head of the first Drone in his way. The Sergeant screamed in its face as the bayonet cut through flesh and bone and brain, dropping the creature instantly. The next one tried to grab him but was treated to a faceful of bullets.
Within a few seconds, the street was clear again. The Gears stood in silence amid what had been a chaotic battlefield a minute ago. One of the Gears approached the Sergeant, reloading his Lancer.
"Looks like we got 'em all, sir. That was an amazing throw, by the way."
Preston Riveras absentmindedly flicked a piece of grub brain from his bayonet before turning to the Private. He sounded young, probably just out of the academy. It was no wonder that the pair of them were stuck guarding a recruitment station. Still, the fact that they had survived was good; many Gears died in their first engagement with the Locust.
"I got lucky," he replied, glancing around. "And it's Sergeant, not 'Sir'. I work for a living, Private."
"Oh, right. Sorry Si- Sergeant. Anyway, area's clear. What now?"
Riveras walked over to check the E-holes. Many of the smaller ones seemed to collapse on their own after a while, and the other was totally collapsed by the grenade. The sound of gunfire nearby meant that this wasn't over by a long shot. With all the announcements of the Locust being defeated recently, they had been making incursions deeper and deeper into Jacinto, the one place they shouldn't be getting into. He put two fingers to his earpiece.
"Control, this is Sergeant Riveras of Bravo-Two. We've taken down two E-holes on the corner of Furnell and Madison, and can hear gunfire nearby. What are our orders, over?"
Preston waited a few seconds before the voice of Second Lieutenant Mathieson from Control responded. "Orders are to move in and assist right now, Sergeant."
"Copy that Control. Do you have a location on the rest of my squad?"
There was a long pause before Mathieson responded. "One of them just arrived in an Armadillo, the rest are already out on a civvie defence op."
"Got it Control, Thanks. Riveras out."
Shit. While he could operate on his own, the veteran Gear preferred to have his squad at his back rather than a couple of rooks. He'd have to make do for now. Another tremor shook the ground, snapping him back into battle mode. He reloaded his Lancer and motioned for the others to follow him. They kept pace with Riveras as be dashed through a side alley and into another road. A few civilian stragglers were making their way along there, and jumped at the sight of three heavily-armoured Gears coming into view.
"Where are they!?" Preston shouted.
"B-back there," sputtered one of the mean, leading along his wife and son by the hand. "They said Jacinto was safe, damn it! They said we'd be okay here!"
Preston ignored him and kept going towards the sound of gunfire. Years of patrolling the city streets between missions had given him a pretty good internal map of Jacinto city. He paused by another street corner as familiar bestial snarling and hollering sounds drew closer. The Privates following Preston nearly bumped into him.
"What is it, Sarge?" one whispered.
"Grubs," Preston muttered, shaking his helmeted head. What the fuck do you think's round there, moron?
Edging round to the street corner, Preston peeked out and saw at least a dozen drones heading through the street away from them, and towards the familiar sounds of Lancer fire. By his reckoning they were around Eighth Avenue, or somewhere in that area. A lot of Stranded refugees had camped out there, making them a prime target for a Locust attack. The Northerner sighed, and moved round, keeping his rifle raised. The Gears following him did the same.
"Keep it quiet, we're gonna tail these buggers to wherever they're headed, then we hit 'em from behind. Let's move."
Preston ran out from cover, keeping low as the last of the Drones disappeared round a nearby corner. They weren't bothering to check their rear, and were hardly tactical geniuses. It was the gunfire, the blood, and the screams that drew them in. The poor bastards defending that camp were going to be slaughtered if they didn't lend a hand. The Gear Sergeant waved his men forward, slowly tailing the Locust mob as they ran through the deserted city streets. Occasionally he caught a few words of broken Tyran from the grubs, but nothing particularly complex. As the grubs rounded the corner that would take them straight to the camp, the Gears sprinted round after them.
"Right, give 'em hell!"
Preston crouched by a car, lifted his Lancer, and began firing. The Drones never knew what hit them. He'd learned over the years that it took roughly six to eight good shots to down one of those bastards, so he made sure every last one of them took a hail of bullets before going down. A few grubs had the presence of mind to dash for cover and even fire back at the Gears attacking them. A few Hammerburst shots grazed the shoulder plating of one of the Gears with him, and the offender took a round to the face n return. It didn't take long before the entire group was wiped out.
"Well, that was easy," remarked one Gear, kicking a dead Drone over. "Seriously, these grubs ain't shit. I don't see what all the fuss is abou-"
There was a crack from the street corner, and the man toppled forward. Most of his head was gone. Preston barely had time to register the body by the time he'd opened fire on the grub peeking out from the next corner. It fell backwards, screaming as his Lancer rounds tore an arm to pieces. The sergeant ran towards the wounded sniper and kicked it face-up.
Preston fired up his chainsaw bayonet and plunged it into the Drone's chest, letting the carbide-tipped blades slice the creature's innards to pieces. It screamed for a few seconds, then fell silent. The Sergeant stood up, kicked it in the face, and walked off towards the encampment. The younger Gear followed closely, glancing back at his fallen comrade for a moment before following the older Gear into battle.
Ressh Ressh Ressh
The sound of Lance Corporal Dante Grey's knife scrapping across his whetstone grated through the air. The Gear absent-mindedly let the blade slide across the stone, completely oblivious to the worried glances that the stranded refugee's gave him.
Ressh Ressh Ressh
Next to Dante another Gear, James, looked over to him.
Ressh Ressh Ressh
Dante didn't look up, he just kept on sharpening. Apparently deep in thought. A little way off a woman wrapped her child in a grubby blanket and took him inside.
Ressh Ressh Ressh
James sighed to himself
This time he snapped out of his sharpening trance, he looked up at James as if he had just been woken from a day dream.
"Could you not, your kinda freakin' them out"
Dante turned to look behind him at the groups of refugee's spread out across the boulevard, some looked away when he turned others just stared at him defiantly. Or was it anger? Dante couldn't tell.
He turned back around to look out across the rest of the boulevard and the tent city that had sprung up over the last few days as the refugee's of Operation:Life Boat started to settle down. As he did he begrudgingly sheathed the knife and put away the whetstone.
"I'm surprised that despite everything they have gone through, one gear sharpening his knife will freak them out. I thought they'd be tougher"
"Cut them some slack, they've been through a lot"
Dante just grunted in reply "Still, i've seen rookies with more backbone"
James chuckled to himself "You really are an asshole Dante"
"No, well not all the time"
They both grinned and went back to look across the tent's, alert for any kind of incident. That usually meant breaking up a brawl or chasing down a thief, the later of which were getting very good at disappearing into the crowds.
Dante suddenly had the need to grab the Gnasher shotgun on his back or pull out his knife again or just stand and pace. Something. He didn't do well at just sitting and waiting. But that other part of his mind, the one that wasn't the slightly mental gear his fellow solider's knew, told him to sit and avoid worrying the families nearby.
To alleviate the nagging silence Dante asked "Where's the Sargent?"
"Talking with the Senator I think"
"He's probably pissed"
Dante looked down to see some of the pebbles on the ground shaking lightly
"And that probably means Sarge's getting a bollocking for some Stranded taking a shit on the Senator's roses or something"
A low tremor begun to shake through the ground. Both Dante and James looked at each other. A few seconds later the sound of shattered concrete echoed through the streets. The two Gear's grabbed their Lancers and stood up. Running toward the sound of screaming that was slowly being joined by the howls the emerging Locust soldiers. Over the din they could here the call's of Sargent Kulm.
Dante and James ran around the side of a tent and right into a squad of four Locust. Both Gears raised and fired their Lancers at the same time, using the moment of surprise to bring down one Locust before seeking cover. Dante placed the Lancer on his back and drew his gnasher, poking out of cover to blast on of the creatures heads off.
Over to his side James fired a few bursts before sinking down again as Hammerburst rounds slapped against his cover.
"There's another three coming" he called to Dante "We need to split up, get them away from the civvies!"
"Got it, i'll draw em off. Ready!"
James nodded and Dante braced against his wall. One of the Locust soldiers begun to advance on him. Dante waited until the Locust was on top of him he then leapt up and vaulted the cover, kicking the creature back and then blasting it in the chest with his shotgun. It fell back clutching it's ruined torso.
"Hey assholes!" yelled Dante, firing another round at them "Come get me!"
The gathered Locust turned to fire at Dante and James used the chance to fall back, motioning for the refugee's to follow him. Dante saw his disappear and then turned his attention back to the encroaching group.
Dante leapt back and took cover behind some shattered masonry, he peeked his head out and counted. 6 Locust. Piece of cake.
|8th Avenue, Outer Jacinto; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
Lieutenant Davis hugged the wall of a nearby building as he and his platoon walked down Dalyell Street, careful not to expose himself to possible snipers. He'd seen many an unfortunate Gear have his head blown clean off his body by a Locust sniper. As they walked further down the road they saw many grisly sights, such as civilians and Gears alike mangled together, with the occasional Locust corpses thrown into the mix. As they approached the corner leading to 8th Avenue, he stopped and examined a dead grub. Even though he was far from a forensic examiner or even a medic, he could tell this was a fresh kill. The multiple jagged puncture wounds were still bleeding and the body itself was still relatively warm.
His attention was pulled away as he heard several feral howls followed by a string of gunfire which was accompanied by typical Gear battlefield lingo. He stood up a readied his Lancer, looking through his helmet towards the other Gears in his platoon, they all had their weapons out and a few of the new guys were shaking with anxiety. He was shaking slightly too, not because of anxiety, but more out of shock as the realization hit him the the Locust were truly in Jacinto, killing its people. He thought of those that had lived here their whole lives, unaffected by the Pendulum Wars, or the Locust that came afterwards. These people had lived so idyllically, that it was probably traumatic for them if their favorite show on the television was put on hold for an hour or so. He remembered about a year ago when the main character of an old military show died of Rust Lung, the whole city wept. Now look at them, running in fear of creatures that up until now they had only heard of and never seen.
He was suddenly brought out of it when one of his Gears tapped him on the shoulder.
"Lieutenant, we've got movement up ahead. I can't tell if they're grubs or not."
"Are they hootin' and hollerin' like animals or do they look like they're sneakin' around?"
"They're moving around near an alley, looks like they're heading for one of the refugee camps on the road."
"Well then, looks like we'll just have to go find out who they are. India-Four, you guys are with me. Rest of ya, stay here and keep us covered, lets go."
Colin and the Gears of India-Four quickly made their way near where the two figures were spotted, when they arrived there, the found a dead Gears, his head blown clean off, and a sniper nearby. He retrieved his COG tags and looked around, spotting the light reflecting off of the standard blue of COG plates. Against his better judgment and instinct, he called out to the Gear.
"Hey, over here! We're Gears!"
He watched as the figure turned toward him, and after a moment waved over. Colin signaled for the rest of his platoon to move up and he walked carefully towards the other Gear. As he approaches he started seeing more details like all the little pot marks on his armor along with many scratches and a few scortch marks. Whoever this was sure has seen plenty of combat.
He slung his Lancer over his shoulder and extended a hand, "Lieutnenant Colin Davis, good to see a living human face of here."
The other Gear took the hand a shook it, "Sergeant Preston Riveras, Bravo-Two."
"Well meet Sergeant, too bad it wasn't under better circumstances."
"Yeah, me too."
"What's the situation here?"
"Not sure, me and some others just got here ourselves. You may have seen one of them back there."
"I assume he was the poor bastard with his brains splattered all ov'r the place?"
"That would be him. Poor man, seemed like a good soldier. Must have been straight out of training."
He was about to continue the conversation when the ground rumbled again nearby, and the two Gears readied their Lancers for the new fight that was about to occur.
|8th Avenue and Dalyell Street intersection; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
Lying prone, Will stared up breathlessly for a moment as the Locust's already-lifeless body towered over him a moment more, then collapsed as every muscle went slack. The corpse toppled onto him, decayed meat and worse smells emanating from its slackened jaw. Will groaned and rolled the body off him as he heard the sound of metal-plated bootsteps approaching.
Standing in the Locust's place was the Iliman whom had disappeared before, the end of his Lancer barrel smoking. The two other grubs lay dead alongside the Tyran Gear whose torso they had rent in half.
"Sir," the man said. His voice was young, but subdued, tempered by the experience only a few short months as a Gear would lend a man. "I got a good look around hunting down my Drone. There's a few squads moving in to help close this hole, but apparently it's not the only one. But it is the biggest. Even if we can close it, though, a lot of Locust got by us already, and we'll have to hunt 'em down."
What use is that? Will wanted to say, but he bit off the comment. There would be no certain accounting of the Locust that had just breached Jacinto; one Drone could haunt back alleys and murder one by one in streets like these easily enough. No one would be missed. But as Sergeant, he had to keep his squad from thinking it, even if it would be keeping him up nights now. Speaking of which, where is my squad?
The Iliman, Will was close enough to read his tags engraved with "Loxley" now, offered him a hand up. Regaining his feet, Will tipped his head back so the blood from his nose would stop faster, and gasped as he tasted copper. Glancing down, he noticed that the father and daughter had gone without so much as thanks, and now all that was left in the street were the remains of Locust and the dismembered bodies they in turn had left behind. He tried not to think of the taste in his mouth as the same liquid collecting into red puddles in the street.
"Forget the strays, Loxley." William said, glancing around for his helmet. To his disappointment, he found it had been crushed, the dome caved in and the eyepieces shattered. Broken. Again. He snorted. "We'll have bigger, uglier problems if we don't get that emergence point contained. You say there are other squads?"
Loxley noticed the Sergeant's gaze, taking off his own helmet to reveal a face serene in spite of all the carnage, with calm green eyes. "Heard India-4 was moving up over the Tac-Com. Here, sir. Take mine."
Will looked down to see that Loxley was holding out his own silver helmet, one with a design specific to the former garrison of Ilima. To the man's surprise, however, Will only scowled and pushed it back.
"Never give another Gear your gear, soldier!" William barked. "I lost mine, and it's my own fucking fault. I might outrank you, but that helmet's fitted to your fat head, and you keep it on in a combat zone, you got that?"
Loxley dropped his gaze to avoid the Sergeant's. It wasn't that Will was trying to be rude to him, but he was responsible for this man now, and keeping him safe was a priority above keeping himself safe. Loxley opened his mouth just as he was raising the helmet to slip it back on, maybe to apologize, when a bullet zipped by and cleaved his skull in two.
"Fucking Allfathers!" Will shouted reactively, and dove back behind the veil of a tent. This had been exactly why he'd refused the helmet, for all the good it had done. Now Loxley's body lay alongside the other Gear and the Locust he had killed.
Will guessed the rough position of the Locust sniper, and kneeling rolled around the edge of the tent, blasting with his Lancer in a wide spread. Stone and mortar chipped away on a building corner, and a pale figure to well-built to be an apparition disappeared from an upstairs window. If it was on its own, it knew better than to come back to the same place twice.
Free for the moment, Will rounded the corner and started to walk up the street, determined to make his way to the E-hole and hold the line. He paused for a moment, glancing at Loxley's body. After a moment, he reluctantly crossed and picked up the helmet from where it had fallen, rolling on one rounded hemisphere with blood now staining its silver surface. It was a bit tight, but he got it on fine enough. He also took the time to break Loxley's COG tags off the chain around his neck, and did the same to the fallen Tyran before heading up the street trying to avoid stepping on the ripped-apart bodies. Several times, he failed.
Synching the new helmet's Tac-Com to his squad's frequency, William jammed the radio transceiver's button in. "Sergeant Kulm to Iota-9. Grey, James, where the hell'd you get to, huh?"
It wasn't even a moment before his Lance Corporal answered, but Grey sounded a bit pressed. "We're here, Sergeant, pulling a group of the civilians back. Got a half-dozen Locust over here if you want to help us out."
Signals from their suits appeared as navigation markers on the Tac-Com HUD. "Got it, I'm en route. Get ready to turn right around, though, we've gotta push through to the Corpser-size E-hole on 8th Avenue between Dalyell and Furnell Streets. If we're lucky, India-4's shove 'em back from the other side."
A static-muffled Gnasher blast preceded the response. "What about the civvies?"
Will tightened his jaw. "Leave 'em, they can run on their own legs, Lance. We don't attack that E-hole, it'll keep on spitting grubs like an anthill and we'll lose a lot more than a handful of Stranded. Now let's get to stomping these things!"
|8th Avenue, Outer Jacinto; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
Sergeant Riveras really hadn't expected backup to arrive so soon; he'd been prepared to take on the whole Locust force with the rookie. His short conversation with Lieutenant Davis was abruptly halted as the ground shook with familiar tremors and a section of concrete further up the street crumbled. The spider-like limbs of a Corpser could be seen momentarily as the beast clawed its way up to the surface before sinking back into the depths below. In just a few seconds an Emergence Hole as wide as the entire street had opened up and the first Drones began to crawl out.
The Gears all ran for cover as the firefight began, Riveras having to drag his companion behind a car to keep him from dying first. The rookie Gear began to reload, only to have his Lancer jam.
"Lousy piece of junk!"
The Sergeant glanced down after gunning down a nearby Drone. "Don't rush your reloads, Rook. Stay calm."
"It's Private Ryan Simpson, Sergeant!" The younger Gear finally managed to reload, and joined the others in firing on the approaching Locust for a few seconds before ducking back into cover. They were in a fairly defensible position right now, though the sheer number of Drones would likely overwhelm the Gears if they kept coming like this. Hammerburst fire filled the air and peppered their cover with rounds. Riveras reloaded, and looked over towards Davis and his men.
"Lieutenant, gonna try and flank round through those buildings!"
Davis stooped to reload his weapon before shouting back. "Sergeant, we'll need as many men as we can holding the line here! We're the only thing stopping these grubs from overunning the Stranded camp!"
"If we don't go round, they will! We've gotta hit them before they hit us!"
"Fine. Hold there, I'm coming with you!"
Riveras kept up the fire as the Lieutenant tossed a grenade towards the incoming Locust. A few Drones scattered as it landed, killing three with the resulting explosion. The momentary lull in firing gave Davis a chance to duck out of cover and run to the Sergeant's location, covered by both his men and Private Simpson.
"Lead the way, Sergeant," he gestured to the side street leading into the Stranded camp. Riveras moved quickly out of danger and made a beeline for a nearby house. The buildings in Jacinto's outskirts had long since been abandoned by the COG; only Stranded lived there now. The door fell inwards to a swift kick of his combat boot and the two Gears moved inside.
"How many d'you think there are?" Davis asked.
"Hard to say, Sir. "
The pair moved forward slowly; Locust incursions and years of neglect had left some of these older houses with weak floors. The sound of gunfire outside was slightly muffled, and by the sounds of it there were many more Drones than Gears fighting outside. Riveras hoped that Simpson would remember to keep his head down and not get it blown off like his friend earlier. Davis edged up to a nearby window and peeked through the curtains. They were fairly close to the Locust outside.
"Think this'll do?"
"Don't think we're close enough. I'm gonna go through the wall."
Davis turned to see Riveras affixing a grenade to one of the walls, and moved back into the hallway. With any luck it would blow through to the next house and give them a chance to move up into the next house. If not, they'd probably bring the ceiling down on their heads. The Sergeant moved back and fired a burst into his grenade. It exploded, blowing the wall apart and showering the room with bits of plaster and rubble.
"Right, move up. I'll head upstairs and get the drop on 'em."
"Got it, sir."
By the time the two Gears had ducked through the hole in the wall, the door of the adjacent house had been kicked in and several Drones were investigating the explosion. Two fell to combined Lancer fire, while the third was wounded and cut in half by Riveras' chainsaw bayonet. The Sergeant ran to the front door and mowed down another before crouching and letting loose a hail of fire on the Drones outside.
"Take that, ya fucking grubs!"
Under fire from two directions, the Drones attempted to turn and return fire, only to be cut to pieces by well-aimed Lancer bullets. Riveras heard a window shatter from above as Lieutenant Davis joined the attack. In less than half a minute the Gears had cleared the street. As he reloaded, Preston heard Davis shout from above.
"Move up, we've gotta close this grub-hole!"
The Gears from down the street emerged from cover and began to advance. Riveras was glad that Simpson was among them. It looked like one of Davis' squad had taken a hit to the neck and gone down in the firefight, but otherwise they'd done pretty well for themselves. Riveras walked out onto the street and tapped the side of his helmet twice; his usual habit of checking the tac-com.
"We'd best get this over with. There's a lot more Grubs out by the Stranded camp."
By the time the Lieutenant arrived, the other Gears had already tossed several grenades into the large Emergence Hole, and stood back as it closed shut following a tremendous explosion. That had been a lot of Grubs, even by the standards of their usual raiding parties. Judging by the gunfire from nearby, this wouldn't be the last of them, either.
"Sergeant," Davis spoke. "Where's the rest of your squad?"
"Away on an evac op, sir. I was pulling Lifeboat duty when the grubs arrived."
"And the Private?"
"Private Simpson was on guard duty at the recruitment station. He and another Gear were with me, though the other one didn't make it."
Simpson stepped forward. "Kayson, Sir. His name was Kayson."
"Right." Riveras still had the man's COG tags on him. "But it looks like we're under your command now, Lieutenant."
Davis surveyed the battle-torn street around them before turning his attentions back towards the nearby Stranded camp. A group of Gears like this would be a lifesaver to any civilians still holed up nearby, even if some of them had been stranded recently.
"Okay Gears, fire up your Lancers, we've got a lot more killin' to do before-"
Davis was cut off by a heavy, thudding sound from around the street corner. Whatever it was seemed to be rapidly approaching the group. Then a dull, all too-familiar voice cried out.
"Leave 'em, they can run on their own legs, Lance. We don't attack that E-hole, it'll keep on spitting grubs like an anthill and we'll lose a lot more than a handful of Stranded. Now let's get to stomping these things!"
Dante lent himself against the shattered masonry as Sargent Kulm ordered him over the Tac/Com. Dante wondered to himself why he'd asked about the civvies. Truth be told he didn't really care, they were just a passing trouble. What mattered to Dante was the fight, the blood and everything that came with it.
But as he thought about it there was a part of him that cared in some way. The same part of him that had made him put the knife away a few minutes ago.
Dante's brief revere was suddenly shattered as another salvo of Hammerburst shots smacked against his cover, chipping away at the crumbling stone work. In reply Dante raised his Gnasher and fired at the nearest drone. The buckshots struck and tore through the locust soldiers armour, throwing it's wasted body against the wall.
The other five locust continued to fire unabated and Dante was forced back into cover again. He gritted his teeth as the rounds tore through the air around him. 'I gotta find a way to even the board' he thought to himself.
All he had on him was his Gnasher, Lancer and Snub pistol. He could take them all out with those but it'd be slow work alone. And the Sarge would probably be here in five and these drones needed to be gone by the time he got here.
Dante suddenly felt the clinking of his Bolo grenades that were on his belt and a smile slowly crept along his face.
As the drone's fire thinned Dante leapt from his cover and rolled back, firing a few blasts to keep their attention.
"Come on you bastards, i'm still here!"
He kept backing up and then spun to take cover behind a pillar under one of the garden's ledges. He place the Gnasher on his back and grabbed one of the frag grenades. From the other side of the pillar he heard the drones advancing, growling to one and another in their strange language.
Suddenly one turned to corner next to Dante, it's Hammerburst tracking in search of the human. Before it could react Dante grabbed the gun and pulled the drone forward into his knee, winding it. He then wrenched the gun from the drones grasp and grabbed it's collar so that he could pin it to the wall. It struggled but Dante kept his grip and stabbed the frag grenade into it's head. The little spikes along the explosive dug in and stuck, leaving the grenade hanging in place.
Before it could react Dante pushed the drone out his cover and kicked it square in the chest, right back at the rest of it's team.
"Tick, tick, boom mother fuckers!"
Dante slipped behind his pillar again as the locust trooper stumbled into his friends. The grenade beeped a three times and then detonated with a deep boom.
Dante peaked around the corner to see his handy work. The area where the drones had been was now clear, with locust body parts littering the area. The blast had certainly done the job though it had decimated the immediate area. Dante's eye suddenly caught the sight of movement in the destruction.
A single locust drone was dragging himself away, both his legs mangled and the rest of his body in similar shape. Dante stalked over to him, like a predator descending on it's prey, and drew his machete.
The drone had been deafened by the explosion and so had no idea that the Gear was coming for him until Dante grabbed his head and wrenched it back. Dante looked into the drones failing eyes and was returned by an unending stare. This one knew he was dead, good.
"Your soul will be rotting in some forget place soon enough"
Dante smashed the creatures head into the ground, shattering teeth and cracking it's skull.
"But only after"
He flipped it over and stabbed it in the chest, the blade cutting deep. To it's credit the only acknowledgement it gave was a wheezing sigh.
"I've made you pay"
Dante brought his boot down into the drones head, the skull cracking further.
"For everyone you've killed"
He pulled the machete out of the drones chest, the light in it's eyes begun to fade.
"If you have any gods, tell them it's them next"
Dante brought the weapon down into the creatures neck, slicing through the wind pipe and out the other side. It's managed one last struggle before slumping to lifelessness.
As Dante's killing urge faded back into his mind he suddenly became aware of Sargent William Kulm as he made his way over to him.
"What have I told you about performing one of your executions in the middle of a combat zone Lance Corporal?"
"My bad Sarge, I might have gotten a bit carried away"
Kulm looked down at the mangled corpse at Dante's feet.
Dante just shrugged and sheathed his machete, pulling out his shotgun afterwards.
"So, what's this about an E-hole?
William nodded and looked down the road "Ye, Corpser sized one down that street. It needs closing now"
"Corpser size? That's gonna need more than a grenade to close it up"
"Indeed, come on. We've wasted enough time as it is"
William and Dante turned and begun to run up the road, Dante on point. He felt his killing urge rising again. Whatever this battle was. It was just getting started.
|8th Avenue, Outer Jacinto; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
As the thudding of the Boomer got closer, Colin rushed to cover behind a wall along with Sergeant Riveras, careful to make sure that whatever they took cover behind wouldn't immediately collapse or explode upon the impact and detonation of a Boomshot grenade. As he checked his Lancer, something made him pause as he heard the sound of the first Boomer joined by that of a second, along with the scattered voices of the common drones. He peaked his head out for just a moment and saw the two Boomers walk around the corner, flanked by several drones.
"Alright, Hodgkin and Bisenti, you two keep the grubs pinned down while the Sergeant and I move into this building to get a better shot on 'em."
He heard the two Gears respond and smiled. Hodgkin and Besenti were part of Papa-Thirteen, a squad filled with veterans, and they were no exception. He was glad having them assigned to his platoon, because it meant that they'd have his back, and he could trust they wouldn't let anything happen to him. Colin turned towards Riveras, who nodded in return. They both moved to a side door to gain entrance to the building, and once they were inside they began climbing the stairs to a decent vantage point. As they were moving the gunfire started, and he could hear the sounds of grubs dying under a hail of their lead.
As they reached the third floor, they heard the growls of several Locust muttering in broken Tyran, something about a sniper a hominid brains exploding. Riveras turned the corner to head down the hallway to the stairs and ran nearly head on into a sniper and its escorts. Colin quickly pulled the Sergeant back as lead started punching holes in the wall behind them. Talking cover behind the corner, Colin started blind firing into the hallway, firing in bursts to avoid using too much ammunition. Soon he heard the pained growls as he downed one of the drones, and he poked his head out to locate the others and saw the other drone attempting to pull the downed one up. He quickly emptied the rest of his already low magazine into both drones, killing them both. He then ran out into the hallway just as the sniper was setting his Longshot up on a window sill, and revving his chainsaw, brought it up through the grub's back.
Picking up the rifle, he looked through the scope at the battle in the street bellow and saw several drones dead in the streets along with one of the Boomers. He grinned, which quickly faded as he noticed that the second Boomer wasn't there. Suddenly he heard the deep Boom again, followed by a sickening boosh and saw the car that Hodgkin and Bisenti were taking cover behind explode. Hodgkin was engulfed in flames while Bisenti, who had started to run, fell screaming as a piece of shrapnel cleaved through his leg. A drone walked out of the alley that they had just been in a minute before and ran over to Bisenti, raising its Hammerburst in the air, ready to bring it crashing down on his head. Colin instinctively pulled the trigger, the high caliber round piercing the Drone's skull, splitting it open. The headless grub fell lifelessly onto Bisenti, probably breaking a rib or two when it hit. Scanning around, he tried locating the other Boomer fruitlessly until it wandered out of the alley, uttering its cry of "Boom" again and fired its launcher, blowing a statue to pieces. Colin reloaded the Longshot and took aim again and fired, however, instead of hitting it in the head, it was low and entered the Boomer's shoulder. The now enraged Boomer turned towards the building, uttered a loud, deep roar, and pointed its Boomshot at the two Gears.
"Ah shit, now he's pissed. Take cover!" yelled Colin who rolled away just before the wall exploded.
"Lieutenant, permission to take the sniper?"
"Yeah, sure. Permission granted, take the damn thing."
He handed the rifle and its ammunition over to Preston, who took it and crawled towards the newly made gaping hole in the wall. He loaded it and fired, hitting the Boomer square in the face as it roared again, popping its head open. They both stood up and surveyed the scene bellow; the Gears had finished off the remaining grubs and had moved back out into the street, with a medic looking over Bisenti. The medic looked up at the two in the building and shook his head.
"God dammit, those two were damn good men. Those scaly grub bastards are gonna pay for this."
"I know how you feel sir, but you can't let those two deaths be reason for you to lose your focus. You've got other men who are still alive that you have to lead."
"Yeah, I know. Doesn't make it any fuckin' better though. Let's get back down there, try and see if there's anyone else that needs help."
|8th Avenue, east side of Locust Emergence hole; 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
The smell that had permeated all of the street grew worse as William, Dante, and a handful of other Gears made their way towards the main sinkhole. It overpowered their helmet filters, seeping in wherever the hot midday air could slip through a loose seal. The only consolation the Gears could take from it was that the smell would probably mask the scent of a half-dozen approaching Gears to a Locust's keen sense of smell.
"In here," Dante said from the front, waving the others into a huge, half-collapsed tent, all that remained of a medical relief station. William ducked through the burlap flap it had for an entrance and came up with his rifle leveled, searching for any foe lurking inside.
The place was empty. The Locust had swarmed through it almost immediately when the e-hole opened, and now all that remained of the doctors and nurses that had volunteered to be here lay dead on the floor alongside the patients they'd been trying to help, all butchered. It was the one good thing you could say about a Locust; they hated everyone equally. Young or old, sick or healthy, woman or child, they'd slaughter you all the same. The councilman Will had been speaking with just a few minutes before could have learned something from them.
Will crossed to the far side of the tent as the rest of the squad hurried inside, passing an operating table with a corpse lying atop it like a grisly mockery of a feast. Whether the man had died in a failed surgery or the Locust had been responsible for tearing out his chest, Will didn't know. Pushing it out of his mind, he picked up a clean surgical knife and kneeled in front of the folds of fabric where the tent had fallen in, and slit a hole to see through.
On the other side, he could finally see the e-hole. It was massive, more than a hundred feet across, and stretching clear across the street from sidewalk to crumbling sidewalk. Immulsion-powered cars were stuck half-fallen on the rim, and on the far side, he could see down to the bottom twenty feet below where shattered asphalt and the ruins of part of the Stranded camp had fallen in. Bodies were strewn amidst that mess, too. So many bodies . . .
Another thing Will had to push out of his mind. It was getting harder and harder to stay sane on this battlefield.
Dante took a knee beside him, hands fidgeting with the grips of his Gnasher shotgun. "How many of 'em?"
"Cool it." William murmured. Dante was one of the best soldiers Will had ever seen, but seemed to be more than a little unhinged. Whether those two came hand-in-hand, Will was unsure, but he knew he didn't want to end up like that. When he daydreamed about the impossible chance of surviving the war, he wanted to imagine he'd be able to enjoy it.
He took another moment to finish surveying the sinkhole's rim, and turned back to the soldiers gathered around.
"Looks pretty quiet out there for the moment, but who knows how long that's gonna last. There's about a dozen grubs walking the edge on our side, looks like the rest that came up with the first wave all spread out across the city. Hunting them all down's gonna be a bitch later, but we haven't got time right now. We need to take that e-hole and hold onto it long enough that we can get teams down there to plant explosives in the entry tunnels."
"Any sign of back-up?" James asked.
Will shook his head. "We're gonna need it. Anybody have a radio booster pack?"
One of the Gears in back, a man named Valdez, raised his hand. The armor over his shoulders carried a metal hump like the back of a camel, filled with advanced radio gear powerful enough to raise Control. Will waved him forward, and Valdez crawled over before turning around to let him plug in.
Static filled the Sergeant's ears, and after it cleared, he said into his mic, "Control, this is Sergeant Kulm, Iota-Nine. You copy?"
The momentary silence to follow was filled with despair as each Gear prayed Control would hear them, broadcast or prayer. To be cut off from any kind of help meant every second was another potential death sentence. Being attacked by Locust was bad enough without being able to call for help.
Luckily, a woman's voice responded a few seconds later, lifting the squad's tension like an angel of mercy. "Iota-Nine, this is Commander Walker, go ahead."
Thank the Allfathers. Will thought. "I've got a squad on the east side of the sinkhole on 8th Avenue, and we're in position to try and take back the real estate. We're gonna need support on the west. Have you got any units in the area?"
"Hold on . . . there was one report. Lieutenant Davis of Hotel-One just checked in not long ago, I can set you up a Tac-Com link."
The radio emitted a click as lines were connected, and then the voice of a man who sounded like he had a Stranded accent broke in. "Sergeant? You're go fer Davis."
"Lieutenant, this is Sergeant Kulm. My squad's in position to take the big sinkhole in the middle of 8th Avenue from the east. Can you get the west side?"
"Lucky you called when y'did, Sarge. We just finished up with some snipers, and cleared a couple'a Boomers before that, so my boys are ready fer action."
"You better be. We've spotted a handful of Grinders coming up from the hole on your side, so I hope you're ready for them. We'll see you at the sinkhole."
"Y'betcher ass. We'll send a flare up once we've begun our assault. Hotel-One out."
The line clicked dead again, and Will switched back over to the squad's frequency. "Alright, guys, we've got out support. We wait for Hotel-One's signal, and then we get to throw them back underground."
That Damn Sniper 02:25, April 17, 2014 (UTC)
|8th Avenue, just South of the E-Hole, 12th Day of Storm, 15 A.E.|
Siren did a quick ammo check, the Locust swarming all around her, and was dismayed at what little she had left. Two clips for her Lancer, one for her Longshot, half a clip for her Gorgon Pistol, and a single Ink Grenade. It was too bad that her staff wasn't a ranged weapon, otherwise getting out of there would've been a hell of a lot easier.
She needed help, and in the worst possible way.
Sighing, she took out another Drone, cleanly blowing his head to bits before taking cover from the onslaught that resulted.
"Damn it, last mag. Right now, I really wish I'd let Charles come with me."
She went again to the window, but quickly ducked back into cover, just in time to avoid the rounds of several snipers that had assembled to take her out. Peeking out, she could also see there were at least two Grinders.
She was completely outnumbered, and heavily outgunned.
Her only hope now was that someone was in radio range.
"This is Onyx Actual to any COG Forces near 8th Avenue. I'm pinned down in a building just south of the intersection by several snipers and at least two Grinders, maybe some Drones, too. I'm low on ammo. If anyone is receiving, I need assistance."
Thump Thump Thump
Siren froze, for she knew only one thing that had as heavy of footfalls at that.
Thump Thump Thump
Slowly, she peeked out the window, and her worst fears were realized. The worst part wasn't she was low on ammo, but that nothing she had besides her staff would be of any use.
"This is Onyx Actual....I have a Berserker advancing on my position. If anyone's listening, I could REALLY use some assistance right now."
A place for notes, really.