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Author Topic: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy  (Read 17256 times)

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #30 on: 10 January 2019, 19:16:18 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Maintenance Facility, ComStar Word of Blake Compound
15 November, 3053
0930, Local Time


The traffic from Rabigh indicated an overwhelming victory, but one that required significant salvage efforts.  That was good.  That would likely delay the rogue garrison's departure, giving Acolyte Craig and his network time to extract from Shervanis City and make the 1,000 km plus transit.  With luck, Adept Walsh and his Ferret (with Acolyte Richter aboard) would be able to make to it Rabigh soon enough to delay them long enough for Acolyte Corse's jeep to arrive.

He'd already managed to alert most of his network tomorrow was the day, with only Jillani still in the dark (he'd left word with Corse to convey to Jillani that he should have an "urgent" air conditioning problem tonight).  Hopefully his "lady love" would be able to depart without too much drama on short notice tomorrow.  Craig was sure there would be plenty of drama, he just hoped it was after the Amira was aboard the departing jeep.
« Last Edit: 10 January 2019, 19:27:50 by Daryk »

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #31 on: 27 May 2019, 09:23:10 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Maintenance Facility, ComStar Word of Blake Compound
15 November, 3053
2230, Local Time


Acolyte Craig put his tool box down with a sigh.  The conversation with Jillani had been as complicated as usual, but the older man was reasonably sure the young idealist was able and willing to do what had to be done tomorrow.  At least he knew the other members of his network would be where they needed to be when they needed to be there.  Even the QRF schedule had finally bent to his will, and Walsh and Richter would be on the response bird as planned, along with the smoke grenade that would provide Walsh the pretext he needed to get the rest of the QRF to bail out.  Corse's people were probably the easiest to arrange, even with stuffing himself and the James-Mishras into the jeep with Jillani.  Checking his watch, Craig calculated he had just enough time for four sleep cycles before things kicked off tomorrow.  He knew it was going to be a long day no matter what happened.

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #32 on: 04 August 2019, 06:28:32 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Married Quarters, ComStar Word of Blake Compound
16 November, 3053
0615-0900, Local Time


Initiates Anant and Lisa James-Mishra returned to their quarters after their mid-shift.  Their last mid-shift on Astrokaszy.   As arranged with Acolyte Craig, the pair loudly complained about the "heat" in their apartment for the microphones, and called the maintenance line.  Craig's phone rang less than a minute later, and he told the help desk, "That's it!  I'm replacing that unit completely!"

Later, at the James-Mishra's apartment, he dragooned them into helping him unload the large box from the truck.  The "new unit" was of course an empty metal enclosure in a cardboard box.  While Anant and Craig set about making "air conditioner replacement" noise with a hammer and a drill, Lisa placed their packed bags into the enclosure.  She and Anant had told each other "no regrets", but it was still hard to pack what little of a life they had made together and would fit in the 50 kg Craig had allotted them.

If the trio struggled a little more with the "old unit" than they had with the new, no one watching them would know, nor did it seem particularly odd that the pair would accompany the technician back to the shop while the "new unit" cooled their apartment.  Major repairs often required major paperwork.

Back at the maintenance facility, Craig pulled the truck into the far end of the bay Corse's jeep would return to shortly, having delivered Jillani to the palace for the Amira's daily language lessons.  Then it would be a simple matter of transferring the James-Mishras and their luggage into the back of the jeep.  Under the turtleback, they wouldn't draw notice from the palace guards when they picked up Jillani in the afternoon.

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #33 on: 10 August 2019, 08:11:31 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Maintenance Facility, ComStar Word of Blake Compound
16 November, 3053
0936, Local Time


Acolyte Corse sighed as his jeep was backed into the maintenance bay.  He could see Craig's truck pulled in to the farther end.  His gear, and all of his troopers' gear, was already packed in the jeep.  Their go-bags had been a little more tightly packed than usual, but few paid much attention to the misfits, and certainly no one in the barracks that morning had.  The routine run to deliver Jillani had gone as smoothly as usual, which was to say there had been the usual horrible traffic.  Jillani had been perkier than usual this morning, at least until Corse told him to cool it.  The energy was still there, but at least somewhat more restrained.

As Goodwin pulled the parking brake, the others spilled out of the back.  Denman moved to close the overhead bay door, ostensibly to keep the heat and dust outside.  The temperature was already above 35 degrees, and climbing under Astrokaszy's harsh sun.  Of course, the door would also hide the cargo transfer that squad was about to conduct.  Acolyte Craig emerged from behind a shelving unit and gave a thumbs up as the door sealed shut.  James and Lisa followed him with tentative looks on their faces.  They'd never met Corse or his troops before.  Craig made introductions all around:

"Anant and Lisa James-Mishra, may I introduce Acolyte Randall Corse, and his troops, Elizabeth Hamm, John Denman, Harry Neil, James Goodwin, and Eric Jones."

Randall shook the two communications techs' hands and said, "Thank you... we couldn't be doing this without you."

Lisa smiled and replied, "Well, there certainly wouldn't be any 'this' without you either, so thank you too!"

Opening the turtleback, Craig said, "All right, let's get this thing loaded up.  I've got containers for spare water, just in case.  Elizabeth, would you be so kind as to instruct Lisa on how to use the other end of that business?"

Grinning, the trooper picked up a red container and led Lisa back behind the shelving again to avoid overly embarrassing her.

Truth told, there wasn't that much to load.  The troopers' gear was already aboard the jeep, along with Jillani's, and Anant and Lisa's luggage was relatively light.  Only the extra water and rations were any work at all.  While the bags were being transferred, Corse relayed the 'bad' news.

"Just one hitch, Chief.  Ops laid on another mandatory indoctrination training for two hours, starting at 1000.  Apparently, he thinks we need the distraction to keep us out of trouble.  We should be back a little after 1200, which should give us enough time for lunch before we have to fetch Jillani."

"No problem, then.  Enjoy training..." Craig replied, shaking his head.

"Oh, sure..." Corse said, gathering his troops.

After the troopers had left, Craig offered a place between some shelves for the James-Mishras to nap until they left.  It was going to be a long day.

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #34 on: 10 August 2019, 10:16:54 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Air Field, ComStar Word of Blake Compound
16 November, 3053
1130, Local Time


Adept Walsh was conducting his pre-flight checks prior to assuming duty as the on-call pilot for the garrison's Quick Reaction Force.  Stowing his only slightly bulging go-bag in the cockpit, he began his walk around.  As he ducked under the Ferret's tail boom, he slapped a hand on its underside.  What no one else saw was the small magnetic device (provided by Acolyte Craig, and containing a smoke grenade) that he left behind.  The fob to set it off was securely in a pocket of his flight suit.  Today was the day.  With him flying, and Acolyte Richter "helping" his fellow jump troops bail out when the "in flight emergency" happened, the pair of them would escape the Word of Blake, and Astrokaszy too.  They only had to ditch the rest of the QRF, and fly 1,000 kilometers to Rabigh.  With the Ferret's speed, that would only take 3-4 hours.

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #35 on: 11 August 2019, 06:12:01 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Maintenance Facility, ComStar Word of Blake Compound
16 November, 3053
1400, Local Time


Corse and his crew were in high spirits after their last indoctrination class.  They'd managed to keep the comments to a minimum during the class itself, but even that level of push back had earned them an extra hour of droning lecture.  Back in the maintenance bay, they wolfed down their lunches and cleaned up.

After waking Anant and Lisa, Craig went over the plan one last time: he'd join the pair under the turtleback for the trip into the palace to pick up Jillani, then swap into the driver's seat two blocks away before driving around to the side of the palace where'd they'd pick up Jillani's "student".  From there, it would be drive hell-bent for leather toward Rabigh and the rogue garrison from Campoleone.  The WoB garrison's airborne QRF would be "taken care of" by other means.

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #36 on: 11 August 2019, 09:17:44 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Palace
16 November, 3053
1500-1515, Local Time


Acolyte Corse waved at the guards as the jeep left the palace as usual.  He gave no indication they were now on the clock.  If Jillani had passed the word correctly to his "student", they had 10 minutes to depart "normally", and come back around the side of the palace.  The young teacher had been almost bouncing when they picked him up, and even a stern word from Craig hadn't wiped the grin off his face.  That was why his skinny frame was wedged between Neil and Jones in the third row of seats.

Several blocks out, the jeep made its normal turn, but a block after that, Goodwin made another left on to a side street.  Easing the jeep to a halt, he smoothly got out and crossed in front while Craig opened the turtleback, and Hamm exited from behind Corse in the truck commander's seat.  Craig slid into the driver's seat and buckled in while Goodwin got in behind Corse, and Hamm took Craig's place under the turtleback.  The jeep was back underway in under a minute.  Jillani laughed at the precise execution of the swaps.

Craig's driving wasn't noticeably smoother than Goodwin's in the city, but Corse had gone with the Maintenance "Chief" on more than one test drive over rough terrain, and took the older man's word for it that his training was the best among them all.  As the jeep rolled to a stop on the side of the palace, Corse noticed there were no guards on the top of the wall.  The reason became apparent soon enough.

A rising female voice, punctuated with gunfire, could be heard, even through the armored door the jeep was parked next to.

"I am" <BLAM>
"Fatima" <BLAM>
"SHERVANIS!" <BLAM> <BLAM>
"And you" <BLAM>
"WILL" <BLAM>
"OBEY ME!" <BLAM><BLAM>

An instant later, the armored door swung inside, and a slight local woman wearing a red sash over an armored jacket, and bearing a smoking assault shotgun, emerged.  A pack was slung over her shoulder.  Goodwin reached over and shoved the door of the jeep on that side open.  The princess handed the shotgun in first, as if handing it to a servant, then firmly closed the door behind her.  With a hard smile, Craig hit the accelerator, not waiting for her or Goodwin to buckle in.  Goodwin quickly made sure the shotgun was empty, then passed it back so he could strap in.

Jillani's eyes were wide, and his jaw was slack.  Jones shoved the shotgun into Jillani's hands while he unlimbered his own rifle.  The young teacher just stared at it, the enormity of what they were doing finally beginning to dawn on him.

For his part, Craig was fully focused on driving.  He'd gathered most of his network into this one vehicle, and they were all depending on him to get them out.  He nimbly dodged around anything that failed to get out of his way, occasionally fishtailing the five-ton vehicle like it was a sports car.  Denman, manning the machine gun, hung on for dear life, and was extremely glad of his safety straps.

Guards reappeared on the palace walls just as Craig rounded a corner to break line of sight.  After another minute or two of brisk city driving, a klaxon finally began to wail from the palace.  By the time the jeep was bouncing over open desert, disorganized pursuit was in chase, but the organized kind had yet to materialize.  Corse could hear confused radio chatter on the garrison's channel, so at least the QRF hadn't been mobilized yet, even if the locals were requesting assistance.

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #37 on: 11 August 2019, 09:53:35 »
Shervanis City, Astrokaszy
Air Field, ComStar Word of Blake Compound
16 November, 3053
1527-1545, Local Time


The local authorities had finally made their problem clear to the garrison, and the sirens were wailing on the airfield.  Adept Walsh was of course the first one in his bird, and had the rotors spinning by the time the two squads of jump troopers spilled out of their own ready room.  Acolyte Richter was among them, and strapped himself into his designated seat.

The Adept leading the infantry gave Walsh the thumbs up, and the Ferret lifted off.  The radio provided a vector to chase the rogue jeep, and Walsh pulled the nose around at speed.  The jeep in question had apparently made good time once it was in open country, and was a good 20km outside of the city.  The Ferret wouldn't take long to cover that distance.  The troopers in the back were busily checking their weapons to insure the hasty boarding hadn't knocked anything out of alignment.  While powerful, the new Mausers issued to the garrison seemed a bit more finicky than the older ones.

Walsh could see a panoply of local vehicles churning up a huge cloud of dust in the near distance.  A few kilometers beyond that, he saw the smaller cloud trailing a speeding jeep.  He could also see the low ridge that was part of his own escape plan.  Pressing the button on the fob Craig had given him gave him just enough time to get both hands back on the controls before a loud BANG sounded from the rear of the Ferret.  Swearing into the intercom, Walsh switched to the radio and said, "Mayday!  Mayday!  Quebec Romeo ONE going down!  Lost the tail rotor!"

Smoke was pouring from the bird's tail, and Walsh was letting it start to spin "out of control".  Keying the intercom, he said with real urgency, "Bail out!  I don't know how long I can hold it!"

Without a second thought, the Adept in charge ordered the troops out of the Ferret.  Richter, as a squad second, was helping the troopers to his left and right disengage their safety harnesses, and shouting "Go! Go! GO!".  In no time, a lazy spiral of 11 jump troopers was headed for the ground on pillars of jump pack thrust.  As the Ferret passed over the low ridge, Richter unlimbered the package of explosives secured under his seat, pulled the cord, and kicked it out of the bird.  As Walsh recovered from the spin and began flying just a few meters over the deck (below the level of the ridge), the package detonated, providing a very convincing smoke cloud where the Ferret "crashed".  By the time the rest of the QRF reached the top of the ridge, Walsh and Richter were over a kilometer away, behind another hill, still flying nap of the earth.

The Adept in command ordered his men down the ridge to look for the wreckage, but called an abrupt halt when the lead trooper encountered quick sand.  Walsh grinned from ear to ear when he heard the report of himself and Richter being KIA.  That would give them some extra time, not to mention Craig and his crew.  Not even the garrison's Hussar would be able to catch that jeep with its ever growing lead.

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #38 on: 11 August 2019, 11:38:23 »
Astrokaszy
Just Shy of 2.5 Hours Outside Shervanis City
16 November, 3053
1735, Local Time


Corse smiled with his hands pressed over his headset, the scratchy HF transmission was hard to hear, but not impossible.  Turning to Craig, he reported, "Sounds like Walsh just got the greenlight from the Deuce!"

Craig just nodded, his eyes fixed forward for the next terrain feature requiring negotiation.

Turning a bit further and raising his voice so those in the back could hear, Corse said, "Our friends in the chopper just talked to our ticket out of here... sounds like we're a go!"

Given the noise, most only smiled and nodded.  Hamm, in the far back, thrust her hand straight in the air with a thumbs up.

Daryk

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Re: Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053] Astrokaszy
« Reply #39 on: 11 August 2019, 12:50:43 »
Astrokaszy
Just Shy of 3 Hours Outside Shervanis City, and 2 Hours Outside Rabigh
16 November, 3053
18001900, Local Time


As Astrokaszy's sun sank for the horizon, no one could miss the twin pillars of fire ascending into the heavens.  Corse's jaw dropped as he saw his ride leave without him.  Craig just kept driving.  As Corse was trying to work out what this meant for the little band of defectors, Walsh's voice crackled on the radio:

"Desert TWO, Desert TWO, this is Desert ONE, over!"

"Go ahead, Desert ONE, over."

"Monitor ATC for further instructions, out."

Relief started to seep into Corse's brain, but he was still worried.  What happened to the plan of picking up their ride in Rabigh?

Ahead, the smaller pillar of flame began to curve toward the speeding jeep while the larger continued boosting for orbit.  Well, that probably explained that.

"Looks like they're going to pick us up early!" Corse shouted over the noise.

EDIT: Had to change the timestamp, as I forgot to shift time zones...
« Last Edit: 11 August 2019, 13:23:13 by Daryk »

 

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