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Author Topic: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]  (Read 45030 times)

Daryk

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The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« on: 26 January 2011, 21:30:23 »
Since I no longer have a good excuse to run my game in the Non-Canon Unit section, we'll pick back up here once we get a quorum.  I know Gorechylde and Failure16 have reregistered so far.  Anybody else?

Also, the consolidated TO&E and Fan Fiction version of Chapter 1 appear to be recoverable via the Google cache and new archives, respectively.  I'll eventually get those reposted, but the game between the start of Chapter 2 up til now appears to be lost to the ether.  I do believe this might be another opportunity for some of those "in between" vignettes Failure16, if you're game.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 01:57:46 by Daryk »

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #1 on: 29 January 2011, 18:38:08 »
Sorry for the delay in getting restarted.  Work got a little more interesting than planned this last week, and has spilled into the weekend.  We'll get moving again as soon as I can, but I expect that to be no earlier than next weekend.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 01:58:10 by Daryk »

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #2 on: 05 February 2011, 16:21:33 »
OOC: Through the Google cache, I was able to find some of the most recent posts, but not all.  I have #480-483, and #512-523, and the forum archive has everything up to #462 (before the start of Chapter 2, here).  I'll clean up the Google presentation of the recovered posts and attach them to this recap.  I'm not sure Comedian has made the transition to the new board yet, and I just spoke to Dr. Hawk to let him know things are back in working order.  Failure16 has drafted a post with Top Heravy grilling the troops about the wayward wrench, and I'm setting up the recap to account for that (Failure16: please post that when you have a chance; if you need or want another edit, just let me know).  For Gorechylde, please give Crowell a good turnover before heading out to do whatever is next on Croft's agenda.

ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Cargo Bay
HQ Jeep, Double Deuce Operations Center (DDOC)
1000 GMT

The time since the ship's dramatic departure had been far busier than anyone planned.  First, the mess created in the cargo bay by the hasty lift off had taken over two hours to complete, with exhausted troopers dragging themselves through the motions before being allowed to sleep.  The next eight hours or so were relatively quiet, except for the fact that Adept Thomas appeared to have suffered a heart attack.  That discovery had thrown the unit back into paranoid overdrive once again, with Adept Hopschnur assuming command, promoting Twilley to be the S-3, and debriefing Acolyte Mattis for the third time in less than 24 hours.  With Hopschnur otherwise engaged, Adept Croft was temporarily assigned as the Staff Duty Officer while Twilley reworked the schedule.  He had less than an hour of otherwise quiet duty interruptted by Acolyte Jiminez, the lead 'mech tech, presenting him an outsized wrench that had found its way into a bin of circuit boards during the clean up.  While that discussion was taking place, the unit's NCO network was busily passing the word to 'Top' Heravy, who was beginning his own investigation.  By 1000, things had settled down somewhat when Acolyte Crowell entered the Command Jeep with orders from Hopschnur to relieve Croft:

"Morning, uh, sir," Crowell said in an uncharacteristically tentative tone.  "The Commander said I should take the next shift as Duty Officer.  Anything going on?"

Looking up, Alex spotted Adept insignia on Crowell's collars that hadn't been there ten hours ago.  It appeared Alex was no longer the junior-most officer in the unit.

OOC: Failure16, I wouldn't be averse to inserting the conversation between Hopschnur, Heravy, and Crowell that resulted in her brevet promotion at some point.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 01:58:24 by Daryk »

Comedian

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #3 on: 05 February 2011, 18:59:56 »
back.
Sorry RL troubled me somewhat
Listen to your inner Lyran.
Take a Assault Mech!

Yes I was on the old boards.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #4 on: 05 February 2011, 19:35:45 »
OOC: Great, welcome back!  Croft left a message for Monchenigo in the old posts I attached above if you want to pick up where that bit of the story left off.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 01:58:48 by Daryk »

Libertadkrieger

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #5 on: 05 April 2011, 14:33:49 »
I might be interested.  What is the style of this whole campaign, exactly?

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #6 on: 05 April 2011, 18:39:20 »
OOC: Thanks for the interest, but I seem to have lost most of the players to the board crash and real life.  The basic plot is an ex-ComGuard garrison unit on the run from the WoB just after the 3053 handover in the FWL (the unit's former CO had Explorer Corps contacts that are transporting them).  The first "chapter" of the game covered the unit's departure from their former garrison world, and was cleaned up a bit and posted in the Fan Fiction section of the archive here.  I ran the game out of the Non-Canon Units section back then, as that's where it got started (if you feel the need to poke around the archive, I posted some deck plans and maps there).  Chapter 2 was going to be the transit to the next planetfall, and Chapter 3 would be the events that take place there (where I planned an opportunity to add new PC's not already part of the unit).  After reading over the story to date, please let me know what you think.  I might be able to drum up interest again if you're interested in joining.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 01:59:04 by Daryk »

Libertadkrieger

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #7 on: 06 April 2011, 16:46:39 »
I seem to be highly interested from what I've read thus far, and I doubt that'll change.   :)

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #8 on: 06 April 2011, 17:20:44 »
OOC: Great!  I'll see who I can drum up over the weekend, and PM you about what role you'd like to play (i.e. someone in the unit already, or joining at the next planetfall).
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 01:59:33 by Daryk »

Libertadkrieger

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #9 on: 06 April 2011, 17:55:46 »
PM sent.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #10 on: 23 April 2011, 05:11:02 »
OOC: All right, we now have LibertadKrieger up to speed.  So, is there any interest in playing out Chapter 2, or should I skip straight to Chapter 3 (where LibertadKrieger will join the unit)?  If we skip, I'll summarize Chapter 2 here in the next week or two.  Chapter 3 will bring the unit to Astrokazy.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 01:59:53 by Daryk »

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #11 on: 08 May 2011, 18:24:07 »
OOC Update: Failure16 has expressed interest in doing some additional storytelling in Chapter 2, and LibertadKrieger and I are hammering out his situation on Astrokaszy.  Most of the work is via PM and e-mail at the moment, but hopefully we'll have a post or two in the next week or so.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 02:00:19 by Daryk »

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #12 on: 29 May 2011, 09:49:08 »
OOC Update 2: Failure16 is being held up by real life, and I'm holding to hear further from him.  LibertadKrieger, please drop me a line via PM.  I have another idea for Astrokaszy.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 02:00:46 by Daryk »

Maverick

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #13 on: 03 August 2011, 21:19:05 »
Is this game still ongoing, Daryk?  If it is, I'd be interested in joining up.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #14 on: 06 August 2011, 18:10:06 »
OOC: Sorry for the delay, work was rough the last few days.  Unfortunately, I haven't heard from Failure16 in some time, but I'm always willing to bring on new players.  I've spent the intervening weeks converting the NPC's to the latest version of my spreadsheet, and cleaning up the deck plans of the Full House.  I had an idea or two for LibertadKrieger to fill the time on Astrokaszy (he's an infantry squad leader there), but I haven't heard from him either.  If you'd be interested in joining up on Astrokaszy, I can definitely work you in.  If you'd rather pick up an NPC aboard ship, it will be tricky, but I think we can do something with that too (possibly in an "Upstairs, Downstairs" way).  Just let me know, either here or via PM.
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 02:01:38 by Daryk »

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #15 on: 08 August 2011, 18:05:47 »
OOC: Great news!  Failure16 is back up on the net after a bit of a hiatus.  I should hear more from him soon...
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 02:01:53 by Daryk »

Failure16

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #16 on: 10 August 2011, 20:05:46 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Cargo Bay
0908 GMT

NPCs


          “Well, I must say that I slept marvelously,” Acolyte Poul Stiles commented, stretching his arms languidly to take in the expanse of the cargo bay, cluttered as it was with all the gear the outfit had taken with them when they escaped Campoleone.
          “How…fabulous?” Leaf Martin replied, his eyes tightly shut as if it would make him invisible.
          “That too,” Stiles said.  “Say, how’s it going?”
          “You’re here, too,” Martin responded.  “You tell me.”
          “Well, I would say that you can see for yourself, but that is evidently not the case.”
          “Surely it isn’t?”
          Stiles harrumphed.  “Surly is right.”
          Martin shrugged without opening his eyes.  Around him he could hear the voices of the rest of the two infantry platoons in relatively close-proximity, though the sounds were muted by the proliferation of gear that drank their voices and the scuffles of equipment being moved and redistributed.
          “Suit yourself,” he said finally.
          Stiles reached down to thumb curiously at collar of his uniform tunic.  “On second thought, your little trick is working.”
          His partner cracked his left eye to stare.  “How so?”
          “Well, apparently, I’m invisible, Twigs,” Stiles commented, smoothing his uniform; it was impeccably tailored and curiously unrumpled, though neither of the pair could figure out how it remained so.  “See?”
          “I see nothing of the sort,” Martin challenged.  “Except maybe the fact that you are full of yourself.”
          “Tsk.  Full of you, perhaps.  Or not, as it were.”
          “Perish the thought.”
          “Wouldn’t dream of it,” Stiles said at last.  Then, “Say, what did Acolyte Tal want us to be doing, anyhow?”
          “Tall, eh?” Martin wondered.  “Can’t say, seeing as I only vaguely remember someone short trying to tell us something about an hour ago.”
          “Cute.  I thought you couldn’t see anything?”
          “Oh, it’s all very clear, now.  I think Tal—or short as it were—wanted us to clean our weapons.  Sounds familiar at any rate.”
          “How droll,” Stiles remarked.  “How is yours?”
          Martin made a show of feeling around and came up empty.  “Looks fine.”
          “So says you,” Stiles rejoined accusingly.
          “So say we all, not so?”

*     *     *
         
          “Bloody Hell,” Acolyte Gorodniy swore.  “Why we gotta stand around here like this?”
          “You got somethin’ better t’do, Rod?” Acolyte Harras  wondered from the head of the line of troopers stretching out away from Top Heravy’s makeshift office; the door had opened for a moment to disgorge one of J-2’s troopers, but the squad leader was still in the office and that meant J-4 was still cooling their heels outside.
          The jump-trooper shrugged from where he stood behind his squad leader.  “Can’t say that my bunk getting cold is any consolation, Acolyte.”
          “Hrmf,” Harras replied.  “Silly you, then.  If’n we weren’t standing around here, we’d be doing somethin’ else, right?”
          Gorodniy pursed his lips and looked away.  Behind him, the rest of J-4 was strung out in close order.  Rod was the senior trooper besides Harras, so he was followed by Tolbert, Jenkins, Moxley, and finally Talbas.  With the exception of the kid, none of the other troopers looked particularly worried about what was going to be asked of then in the next few minutes.
          “How you makin’ out, Talbie?” Harras asked his newest trooper.
          “Ah…okay?” the greenie replied, though his eyes and neck were working overtime in an attempt to take everything in at once.
          Harras grinned at him.  “No worries, right, Talbie?  Jus’ tell what we were doing and then we can all go on our way.”
          Acolyte Tolbert and Jenkins exchanged glances.  Moxley yawned and shook her head.  The door they were waiting for opened and shut almost immediately, though the squad leader of J-2 had appeared as if out of thin air.
          “That’s fine,” the rifleman said.  “But I can’t say why they think any of us did it, neither.”
          “Because we’re grunts, right?” Acolyte Avram Tal said after he had closed the door he had just exited.  He strode forward and stopped by Harras.
          “You ya doing, snake?” Tal asked.
          “Peachy, Avie,” Harras replied.  “What’s the sit?”
          Tal half-turned so he could regard the closed door for a moment.  “Can’t rightly say,” he surmised.  “Sounds like somebody broke a tool and now everybody’s up in arms about it.”
          Harras regarded his fellow squad leader critically.  “You serious?” he asked.  “Broke a tool?”
          “You got me, Joh,” Tal responded, looking past the stocky squad leader towards the row of expectant faces staring back with varying levels of interest.
          “So, what’d you tell ‘em?” Harras pressed.
          “Ah…the same thing you probably will.  The truth.  That me’n my boys were guarding the gate until we tumbled back aboard and prayed for the best.”
          “Eh,” Harras said; he was going to say more, but the door was opening and Tal was gone like the wind.
          “Next,” a voice said and Harras stepped off smartly.
          He entered the room and stopped short when he saw Adept Stoyka and Top Heravy crammed together behind a desk that probably wouldn’t have been suitable for either of them, but needs must…
          “Acolyte Harras, reports,” the squad leader responded after had had closed the door behind him—not as smartly as he would have desired since there wasn’t a Hell of a lot of room for him to scoot further into the enclosed space; the thin panel kept brushing his boot toes and heels while he maneuvered himself.
          “At ease,” the platoon leader said curtly, but she let the senior enlisted man handle it with a glance his way.
          “Morning, Joh,” Heravy said perfunctorily, his tone leaving no room for a reply.  “Got the rest of your chitlins out there, do you?”
          “Ah, roger, Top.”
          “Good.  Would you mind telling us your whereabouts since you boarded the ship last night?” Heravy asked, his voice as dry and rough as the gravel that had rimmed the road of the spaceport perimeter they had left far behind.
          Harras blinked despite himself.  “Ah, sure, Top; ma’am.  My squad was part of the reaction force that snatched the civs back from the HPG station perimeter.  We, eh, pulled security such as it was on the run back t’ th’ ship and then the ship lifted off…”
          Heravy cleared his throat, but his eyes never left those of the squad leader.  “And what did you and your squad do then?”
          “Well, Top, we helped get the civs aboard and into their couches,” he said, thinking back to the mass-confusion of those few moments before they had departed Campoleone, hopefully for good.  “It was pretty….crazy, I guess I would say, what with the Wobbers coming in hard’n’ fast an’ all.”
          “I was there, too,” Heravy replied while Adept Stoyka leaned back as far as she could—which wasn’t much—and crossed her arms over her broad chest.  “Did you, at any point, either assist—or detail any of your squad to assist—the ship’s crew in clearing the deck for liftoff?”
          The acolyte shook his head twice, very controlled.  “Negative,” he said firmly; long ago he had learned to answer such a question with minimal amplification, since guilty men often tried to couch their answers needlessly.
          Joh Harras had a lot of experience in being guilty, but not this time.
          Stoyka leaned forward suddenly.  “The reason we ask, Acolyte, is that a very expensive tool was damaged at some point since lift-off.”
          She pushed a flimsy forward and pointed to a spot on it; Harras saw when he leaned over slightly that it was a schematic displaying the cargo bay—and presumably the location of where the accident/crime/whatever had occurred.  The spot meant nothing to Harras—or probably any of the other infantrymen embarked aboard the ship.  The only thing he or his troopers cared about was the location of their bunk, the latrine, the chow hall, and the armory.
          “That in itself isn’t the end of the world, but with the tool went some very sensitive supplies—which are not, apparently, replaceable.  I suppose I don’t need to remind you that we are…operating…on a very thin margin for this operation?”
          “Ah, no ma’am,” Harras said quickly.  “Table stakes, got it.”
          Stoyka blinked up at him and Heravy let out a long, expansive breath, making Harras wince.
          “So,” Top said, regaining the floor.  “Once again:  did you or any of your troopers do anything—even by accident, which would be understandable, given the situation, if not perfectly acceptable—that could have led to this situation?”
          “No sir; ma’am,” Harras replied again.
          “Good,” Top Heravy replied.  “Do us a favor and call in your squad one by one.  Let’s all make this quick, shall we?”
          Harras smiled thinly and reached for the panel’s operating mechanism.  But he couldn’t resist the temptation brought on by the thought running through his mind after he’d talked to Tal so as he opened it he said, “One thing, though…d’ye think that one tool is goin’ t’be the only thing that’s gets broken on this op?”
« Last Edit: 05 March 2018, 00:28:18 by Failure16 »
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #17 on: 13 August 2011, 09:24:38 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Mess Deck
0929 GMT

Acolytes Parker and Mattis were quietly drinking coffee with a smattering of other unit personnel scattered at other tables when Acolyte Paley found them.  He was, as seemed to be usual, breathless.  "A-Acolytes, the Commander requires your i-immediate presence in his stateroom," he said, visibly shaking.  Fortunately, it was a short walk from the mess, and Parker and Mattis quickly crowded into Hopshcnur's stateroom with Acolyte Bzerzinksi, the lead vehicle technician.  Hopschnur was seated at his desk, looking worn.  Once Paley closed the door and resumed his guard outside, the Commander nodded and said, "Go ahead Vaclav, one more time."
Clearing his throat, the older Acolyte said, "Uh, well it seems the doors and back hatch of 006 were tack welded shut.  Two tacks at the lower corners of the doors, and two on each corner of the hatch.  After the frame was torqued by the crash.  Did either of you hear anything while you were inside?  The Commander didn't."
« Last Edit: 31 December 2017, 02:04:49 by Daryk »

Failure16

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #18 on: 14 August 2011, 16:16:49 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Mess Deck
020929NOV53


Mattis   

         
          “Can we smoke in here?” one of the infantrymen lounging at one of the tables nearer the door asked loudly enough to make it a general question.
          “Shit, snake, spark it up,” another trooper at a table off to Mattis’s right replied.
          Steven exhaled a cloud of smoke toward the ceiling of the mess hall and pushed the pack towards Parker kitty-corner to him across the table.  The gunner pulled one of the cigarettes out and brought it to lips already quirked into a grin.  The momentary flash of his lighter reflected off his left eye—he had instinctively closed his right one against the glare.
          Mattis flicked a bit of ash into an upended lid of a coffee cup.
          Old habits die hard.
          “So, who do you think is going to walk through that door next?” Parker asked.
          “Probably the captain of the damn ship, knowing our luck,” Mattis groused, but he was still going to smoke his damn cigarette all the same.
          “Or Hops maybe,” Parker replied.
          He’d angled himself so that he could see the hatchway into the mess out of his peripheral vision after Mattis had pointedly taken the corner seat facing the portal.  A heavy handful of other personnel were sitting in various-sized clots at the other tables, their conversations making a gentle burble in the moderately sized compartment.
          They probably shouldn’t have been smoking on the mess deck, but even under the best of times that would have been but a mere suggestion to Steven Mattis.  After what had happened in the hour-plus since he’d awakened…
          Well, it was better than the alternative.  If a noticeable fraction of the other dirt feet within earshot of him decided to follow his lead, that was their own lookout.
          The sound of voices in the corridor caused a few of the junior enlisted men to drop their cigarettes down to their sides, out of direct sight of the entranceway, though what good that would have done was beyond the crew of 006.  Parker chuckled even as the quartet of infantrymen forced their way through the opening and sat down roughly at a table that had been—up until that moment—populated by a pair of the unit’s techs waiting to go on duty.  They got up with a grimace, but otherwise didn’t deign to notice the ground pounders who had so rudely disturbed them.
          The short, sturdy non-com leading them gave Parker and Mattis a nod before ducking his head to listen to a question from one of his troopers.  Mattis recognized him as Acolyte Avram, one of the infantry squad leaders in the Jump Platoon.  He wondered where the rest of the infantrymen were at the moment.
          “Eh?” Parker asked suddenly.
          Mattis looked over at him quizzically.  “I didn’t say anything.”
          The gunner blinked, nonplussed.  “Didn’t say you did, buddy…but you had that look on your face again.”
         Mattis pursed his lips and took a drag of his cigarette, wondering how to put into words the feeling of being alone in a room full of people—and not wanting to compound the feeling by filling the room with even more bodies.  He decided to say nothing and leave it at that.  If Parker wanted to press further… he let it pass when yet another trooper scurried through the doorway.  This time it was one of the newbies, the kid named Paley.
          He stopped in the doorway, looking around with short, choppy, birdlike movements until he say the two veterans nestled comfortably in the corner.
          “Well, here comes trouble,” Parker murmured out of the corner of his mouth.  “Damn it all…”
          “No rest for the wicked,” Mattis deadpanned, taking a last drag off his cigarette before wrinkling out the remaining bits of tobacco in the impromptu ashtray.  He looked up at the seemingly-permanent staff-duty runner when the kid approached.
          “What can we do for you, troop?” Parker asked when it was clear beyond doubt Paley was headed towards them.
          “A-Acolytes, the commander requires your i-immediate presence in his stateroom,” Paley said in his perennially breathless state.  He was visibly shaking and the crack in his voice had drawn more than a few looks from the crowd of troops now filtering into the compartment from wherever it was they had been hiding out.
          Parker took a deep breath and exhaled heavily.  Mattis ran his tongue across the inside of his lower lip while he studied the youthful trooper.  The gunner got up and crushed his cigarette out, waiting a few beats before turning to look down at the driver.
          “You coming, then?”
          Mattis blinked at Paley, who looked more agitated now than he had when he’d come in a moment before.  After a moment, Steven stood and gestured the runner closer to him.
          “You need to relax, kid,” he breathed.  “You’re making everydamnbody nervous, right?”
          “A-Acolyte?” Paley stammered.
          “C’mon,” Parker pressed, spearing Mattis with a glance that told the driver that enough was enough.
          Steven let it ride, but he hadn’t been joking, either.  His right hand brushed the small of his back in an unconscious movement that might have been—to the uninitiated onlooker—a concession to the torqueing his body had received last night.
          “Well, lead on, then,” Parker said to the younger acolyte, looking more and more flustered with each passing moment.
          “Make a hole, boys!” Parker intoned over the runner’s shoulder while they made their way across the quarterdeck to the commander’s cubicle.
          “Ah, here we, ah…are,” Paley said when they’d reached their destination; Mattis didn’t bother reminding the kid he at least had been here only a half-hour before.
          He wanted to, though, wanted to beat the kid down mentally and watch the wreckage self-destruct, wanted to watch him crumble and fall apart…but he wouldn’t.  Steven Mattis wasn’t a bully, but he had a lot of pent-up frustration at the moment—and it didn’t seem like he was going to find a way to release it in the next few moments.
          Piss on it, he thought.  None of it mattered, anyway…
          The panel was already open and a Double Deucer in a mechanic’s coverall was waiting inside the room.  Parker reached inside to knock and Adept Hopschnur barked his assent before the gunner’s knuckles had even made contact with the thin panel.  Mattis let the other trooper go in first and turned to look at Paley standing off to the side.
          “Kid, you should find yourself a bloody desk at least to sit behind so you can look official.”
          Paley looked back at him and blinked, conflicting emotions crossing behind his eyes.  Steven wondered idly if the trooper hated him, thought he was the King ******.
          Not that it mattered.
          Mattis kept his face blank as he crowded into Parker momentarily so Paley could close the door behind him.  He nodded to the other man but made no other effort to greet him; this was the Adept’s turf, and Steven didn’t yet know the rules…
          His nametape read ‘BZERZINSKI’, but Mattis knew him as “Zink”.  He was shorter and more sparely-framed than the driver of even the lanky Parker, but no one who had ever seen him boss his team of vehicle mechanics would mistake him for frail.  Mattis and he had gotten along well in their time in the motor-hole, but Steven didn’t suppose either of them considered the other a friend in an absolute sense.
          “Go ahead, Vaclav.  One more time,” Hopschnur stated without preamble.
          The older acolyte cleared his throat and compulsively wiped his hands on a rag hanging from his coveralls’ back pocket; he smelled of lube-oil and too many hours on duty.  None of that bothered Mattis or Parker, both of whom knew they’d all be smelling like that within the next few days.
          DropShip transits were rarely pleasure cruises, and that was without the extra civvies on-board.
          “Uh, well, it seems the doors and back hatch of 006 were tack welded shut,” the lead wrench started.  “That is, two tacks at the lower corners of the doors, and two on each corner of the hatch, you see.  After the frame was torqued by the crash, you understand, yes?  Did either of you hear anything while you were inside?  The commander did not.”
          He gestured toward Adept Hopschnur, who was sitting with his arms on his desk and his fingers tented before him.  He looked over the tips at each of his crewmen in turn as if the digits formed the V-notch of a weapon’s sight.
          Parker stirred uncomfortably.  “Er, you mean to tell me someone bloody welded the doors shut after we rolled over?  Sir?”
          Hopschnur nodded his chin towards Bzersinski.  “That’s what I am being told, gentlemen.  Now, what do you both recollect about the incident?  Mattis, you first.”
          Steven chewed on his upper lip for a brief moment to resettle himself from the cold funk where he’d been while his mind contemplated a universe where—potentially—his enemies had stood over him as he lay unconscious and helpless—help less—watching, waiting, chuckling, and there was nothing he could do about it.
          “Blazes, sir.  We were headed out from headquarters and came around that last curve—bloody Hell, I mighta been going too fast, but I never saw the spike strip ‘til were already bloody on top of it…the tires blew and then we were, we were…spinning, sliding.  Rolling, sir.” 
          He paused for a moment, his hands at his sides but nonetheless gripping the steering wheel that hadn’t been able to return control of his vehicle to him when it had happened for real, either.  He looked over at his friend and snorted.  “Thought it was curtains for Parker, here, too, up in the turret and all—but he’s the one that got me outta my seat afterwards.  Then I went t’check on you, sir.  I suppose you know the rest after that.”
          Hopschnur nodded, then turned back to Parker.
          “Ah, yes, sir.  I was up in the turret, manning the gun.  I thought I saw something in the road when we came around the turn so I said something over the intercom—I think.  I mean, I thought I did at any rate…”
          The infantry officer gestured the gunner to continue with his tale; both men knew it wouldn’t have mattered if he had or hadn’t called out a warning.  The trap had been too expertly laid.
          “Right.  The minute we ran over it, I was already inside the vehicle.  I just remember screaming, is all.  Tires blowing and skidding, maybe us—probably me, heh, right, sir?—whatever.  I remember hitting the roof, that musta been on the first rollover, and after that I don’t remember a damn thing.  Not until I woke up, upside down and crumpled like an accordion…”
          Parker looked over at Bzerzinski who was engrossed with the story, hearing it for the first time, or rather, hearing the version from those who were there and who had lived through it.
          “We were way off the road you see, and since the turret hatch was open and we were upside down, well, you can get a pretty good idea…right, sir, sorry.  Just by chance I happened to have my electric torch on me, so I used that to get Matty here outta his seat.  Then we went right t’work on you, sir.”
          Hopschnur blinked and licked his lips slightly before dropping his hands to the desk in preparation to speak.  “Well, if that’s the case, then I’m not sure how they did it…or even who ‘they’ are.  The net control station—that would be our very own Acolyte Paley out there—says we lost contact at approximately 2340 hours based on when we left the headquarters building and our, ah, approximate speed.”  He flashed tight, humorless smile to Mattis who replied in turn.  “Top Heravy and the convoy got to us at approximately 0020.  Unless one of you can give me an exact time about when you woke up, we might never know exactly how long we were out—or awake, as it were.
          “Just for the record, you two did your usual pre-op PMCS, correct?  Which, presumably, included checking all the doors and hatches?”
          Mattis felt his stomach tighten; not because he hadn’t done his job, but at the reasonable irritation when a professional’s performance of his duty was called into question.  “Roger that, sir.  I believe you can correlate that with Zink here’s copy of the CG4828 form…?”
          He turned to the mechanic who nodded his assent.  “Matty is right, sir.  Everything is in order, right up until the time he drove through the motor-pool gate.”
          “Long story, short, Vaclav, I’m not sure even I understand how it happened, then,” Hopschnur admitted.  He shivered and added, “And I can’t say I’m enthused with the notion of some dirty bastard sealing us into an overturned truck, either—and the three of us not waking up in the time it took them to do it, more to the point.”
          “Well, they did it from the outside, sir, if it’s any consolation,” the mechanic offered.  “After a wreck like the one 006 went through, well, I’m sure you all had other things on your mind, even if you hadn’t all been unconscious.”
          Hopschnur nodded, but his mind was clearly focused on something else, so the gesture was a distant one.  Mattis inhaled through his nose and out through pursed lips.
          “One thing, sir,” he said.
          “Spit it out, trooper.”
          “I think what we have to think about now is:  why is the Word of Blake playing us with kid gloves—such as it is?  Why  go through the trouble of assassination—a double assassination at that—and leave us sleeping peacefully in the middle of nowhere with no witnesses instead of killing us when they had the chance…and it was just as easy as not to do it?”
          “Well, not everybody is as willing to kick a guy when they are down, Matty,” Parker interjected.  “’Course, I am too.”  He smiled thinly.
          Hopschnur regarded both of the enlisted men carefully.  “I wouldn’t say that the BattleMechs rushing towards the flight-line were being operated with kid gloves, Mattis.  Would you?”
          “The point still stands, sir.”
          Bzerzinski shifted uneasily as the mood in the room had shifted its lines from a maintenance puzzle into a reality shaped by the killers in uniform that dominated it now even more than they had a moment before.
          “In that much you’re correct,” Hopschnur allowed.  He tapped on the desk as if to bring a halt to the interview.  “Well, Vaclav, let me know immediately if you find anything else.  As for you two, stand easy, but stay ready.  I presume you’ve already heard about the damaged parts ?  We’re not out of the woods yet.”
          The three enlisted men nodded as one and made ready to vacate the compartment.
          Hopschnur’s next words forestalled them.  “Oh, and Mattis,” he sniffed.  “For the moment, this is a no-smoking flight, I think you’ll find—at least on the mess deck.  Keep it in mind until we get it settled.”
          “Roger, sir,” Mattis replied, slipping through the door ahead of his companions.
          He instinctively checked the companionway, left-right-left, before stepping out into it, ignoring Paley’s stiffening to attention.  His hand again brushed the small of his back, making sure the hold-out pistol was still seated there against need.
          He had a feeling he would need it very shortly.

« Last Edit: 03 March 2018, 00:50:55 by Failure16 »
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Maverick

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #19 on: 08 September 2011, 23:00:45 »
OOC: I thought I would introduce my character, currently aboard the JumpShip just hours after the Code Omega call.  The "Nova" call to the planet takes place during the time described here.  This story takes place chronologically prior to Failure16's above.

29 October 3053
SS Inside Straight
Nadir Jump Point, Campoleone System
Free Worlds League
1830 Hours GMT (0130 Hours Local)


Entering the bridge, Flight Officer Eric Maddox drifted easily towards the captain’s chair, where David Grayson was just exiting.  As the oncoming watch officer, Maddox received a quick briefing from Grayson about the Inside Straight’s current situation, including the “Code Omega” call that came through shortly after the afternoon watch started.  “Things are heating up, Eric,” Grayson stated, drifting toward the hatch as Maddox secured the restraints that would keep him from drifting across the bridge unintentionally.  “The Blakists seem to have a real hard-on for this planet, and little love for Evans’ unit.”  Eric nodded, giving a friendly wave as he acknowledged the situation and began reviewing the data collected during the previous watch.  The Code Omega call was hardly unexpected, given the current situation, but it was still worrisome.  Things were indeed heating up.  “Get some sleep, Dave,” he replied, watching Grayson drift through the hatch while Rebecca Broderick, seated at the executive officer’s station, transferred the oncoming watch officer checklist to the console on the captain’s chair.  Jennifer Rose—the third member of the watch team and Eric’s copilot on the Egret-class small craft Ace of Drax--remained at her post, seated at one of the other sensor stations scattered about the bridge.  Like Rebecca, she had been on duty for just over half an hour, and she was competently juggling several different duties from her own station at the primary sensor operator’s panel.  Eric turned to her and asked, “What’s our current status, Jennifer?  Is the jump sail safely stowed?  Are our wayward brethren making any suspicious moves?” 

“Jump furling checklist completed, Eric,” she replied, studying the sensor readouts on the screen before her.  “The ship is ready for jump at any time.  The WoB DropShip is maintaining standard acceleration and appears to be on-target for a 0730 local landing.”

“Keep an eye on them, Jen.  I have a gut feeling about this, and I’m fairly certain it isn’t Mitchell’s cooking.”

Broderick and Rose exchanged grins at the mention of the Inside Straight’s “adventurous” mess cook, and Broderick spoke up for the first time since Maddox took over the watch as she turned to look at the captain’s chair.  “I’m not so sure about that, sir, the soup had a definite unusual tang to it, and I’m feeling a bit queasy myself.”

Eric looked up, returning her dazzling smile with a tight one of his own.  “While I’m ALMOST convinced Mitchell isn’t a Blakist plant out to poison us, at least for the moment, I’m certain the uneasy feeling I have is related to whatever’s going on down on the planet to warrant an Omega call.  Keep an eye on things, and let me know the moment the situation changes.”  The next two and a quarter hours passed easily, with frequent routine status reports and all systems reporting green as the ship hung motionless at the jump point.  As the bridge clock approached 0340 hours local time, however, Jennifer turned to Maddox and said in a low, controlled voice, “We have a problem, Eric.  The Gauntlet is decelerating hard.  It appears they may have gained at least a half hour on their expected arrival time.”

“Sensor data confirmed,” Broderick reported from her own station, showing radiation sensors spiking as the WoB DropShip dumped additional reaction mass into its thrust chambers and temperatures and radiation readings spiked as a result. 

“Are we in danger?” Eric asked, switching the Captain’s repeater display over to a view of local space.  “Are there any more DropShips out there?” 

“Negative,” Rose replied, studying the local space around the nearly defenseless JumpShip.  “Our immediate surroundings are clear.”

“Very well,” Eric replied, slaving his screen to that of Broderick’s, so he could see the signature she was continuing to track.  “Keep an eye on the Gauntlet.  I’m calling the Captain; we need to let Mason and Evans know they’re going to have company sooner than expected.”  He checked the bridge chronometer, noted the time in the ship’s logs and recorded his instructions, the sensor readings from both Rose’s and Broderick’s consoles, and the outgoing communication he planned to transmit.  Then he paged Captain Hong, waking her and informing her of the situation.  “Very well, Eric,” she replied, the sleepiness rapidly leaving her voice.  “Send a warning, and prepare for jump.  I’m on my way.”  After acknowledging his instructions and sending a “Nova” message to the Full House on Campoleone, Eric turned back to Rose and Broderick.  “The rest of the watch should be interesting.  Jen, call Hastings and McCarter and make sure the Ace is pre-flighted and brought to Ready Five status.  I don’t expect we’ll need it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Once they set up a watch rotation, they can bunk in the Ace for the next few hours.  When we’re relieved, you and I’ll join the rotation.  If we DO have company during our trip out, I want to make sure we have our best china out for them.”

“Roger that, sir,” Rose replied, splitting her time between watching the local space around the Inside Straight and the rapidly decelerating DropShip near Campoleone.  “We’ll have the Ace ready when needed.”

Eric nodded and turned back to study the tactical displays.  Not for the first time since being assigned to the Inside Straight, he wished for the comfortably cramped surroundings of a ship with more defenses.  A heavily-armed Vengeance-class DropShip would be very handy right about now, but even an Invader-class JumpShip would be an improvement over the practically-unarmed Inside Straight.  Until the Double Deuce—and more importantly, the Full House—boarded the ship, the only defense the priceless Scout-class Inside Straight had was the lighter-than-normally armed Ace of Drax, a modified Mark VII landing craft stored in the Inside Straight’s lone small craft bay.  It would have to be enough, and hopefully would be.  There were days, though, he wished more than anything to be back in an active combat unit.  At least there, he had weapons with which he could defend himself and his crewmates.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #20 on: 02 February 2018, 21:01:00 »
While we finish up a few character creation details, here's a post mostly put together by Failure16 detailing Crowell's brevet promotion to Adept, not long before she relieved Croft as duty officer...

ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Main Deck, Senior Officer's Quarters
01 November, 0945 GMT

   Adept Karl Hopschnur let out a breath he had not even realized he had been holding in the minutes since the door to his stateroom closed behind his previous visitors. 
   He’d have to keep his eye on Mattis, without a doubt.  That one was crazy, and no less lethal because of it.  The real problem wasn’t that the trooper had a fragmentation grenade for an emotional and functional core, it was that Hopschnur wasn’t sure he’d be able to direct the blast when it inevitably came.
He let his hands relax and fumbled with his left hand for the latch to the drawer of the fold-out desk.  When he finally manhandled it open (of course the frame was torqued from Blake-alone knew how many liftoffs and landings), he slid the laser pistol he’d kept along the seam of his pants into it.
The tiny desk was the room’s solitary extravagance—beyond the fact that there was only one (fold-out) bunk, and one full-time occupant.  The stenciling on the panel facing the passageway read ‘COMMANDER, II/II’.  Not for the first time, Karl Hopschnur wished it wasn’t him.
But even that wasn’t entirely true.  Karl had never been one to duck a fight, nor a shy from a challenge.  He’d sweated blood and tears in a far too literal sense to get where he was today.  And he knew as often as not that in a line unit, promotions often came when the poor bastard in the next slot up got it in the neck.  The Lord knew he’d always insisted every trooper from the greenest Initiate on up to his senior Acolyte learn the task of the trooper above them.
But he hadn’t figured on inheriting command of a reinforced company, on its first off-world operation in years, in the middle of a literal schism of interstellar proportions, nor upon the death of its two previous commanders under highly suspicious but unprovable circumstances.
All within 48 damned hours.
The Double Deuce was a fine organization.  It had a core of hardened professionals, inured to privation and operating without significant external intelligence or support.  It was self-sufficient and ready for whatever mission was handed it.  It was also an order of magnitude larger than his infantry platoon; that was the truth.
And it was his jump troopers he now had to consider.  The way things were going, everyone needed as much leadership as they could get.  Hell, he was good enough proof of that, wasn’t he?
He pinched the bridge of his nose and leaned on the tiny fold out desk that formerly belonged to Demi-Precentor Evans.  It would be a damn sight easier if the enemy—whoever the bloody Hell that was—was shooting at them because at least then he’d know which way to maneuver.  The thought brought a mirthless chuckle to his throat, but it died stillborn when someone rapped three times on the door.
“Come!” he ordered sharply.
The panel opened swiftly and two burly infantry NCOs tried to slip in equally as fluidly.  Groundside it probably would have worked; in the strait confines of his stateroom, they managed to get in each other’s way as much as the chair and bunk-now-sofa did.  And Karl himself.
Hitching his chair closer to the desk, he gestured to his folded bunk and said, “Please, have a seat.”
Acolyte XIV Wilhem Heravy nodded his thanks and tried to make way for Acolyte XIII Hannah Crowell. Her ebony skin made the butterfly bandages over her left eye stand out even more than they might otherwise.  Heravy had been soldiering since some of the kids in the platoon were just getting out of diapers, and the scars told stories that echoed Crowell’s present status.
“How’s the eye, Crowell?”  Hopschnur asked mildly.
The woman sniffed and shrugged.  “I’ll live,” she replied, her eyes looking somewhere over the officer’s shoulder.  “The bastard just got lucky…”
Heravy grinned momentarily from the side.  He rubbed his side in remembrance of times’ past and said, “Hey, stun-batons hurt too, Cee.  You got your point across, never fear.”
Crowell sniffed diffidently, but let the subject drop.
Hopschnur took his cue.  “Thank you two for coming on such short notice.  I won’t belabor too much what we already know, but suffice to say we’re having a leadership…crisis…at the moment, and you two are an integral part of fixing it.”
Heravy and Crowell nodded slowly, precisely.  Heravy’s jocularity had been an act, masking a hard bitten professional too consciously tough to show the weakness of personal concern.  Crowell wasn’t too far different in temperament from the slightly older man, but the pain meds in her system likely softened the corners of the situation somewhat.
“It looks to me like you two have already mulled it over,” Hopschnur continued, marveling at his ascetic calm.  “I take it this will be a short discussion, then?”
The pair of non-coms exchanged glances.  Eventually, Heravy cleared his throat and said, clearly but quietly, “Ah, yes, sir.  We have.  We recommend Hannah get the first shot at being the next PL.”
Hopschnur brought his hands together and interlaced his fingers as he leaned back in his chair.  The decision wasn’t unexpected in the slightest, though he had secretly been wondering if Top would take his chance to break into the commissioned ranks.
“Top figured his place was with the kids, you know,” Hannah added.  “Figured he’d be, you know, of greater use right where he is, right?”
Hopschnur nodded somberly, but inside he grinned despite himself as the two NCOs, so unable to voice their own concerns or reservations, were able to do so for each other.
Karl let his grin show through and he rose to offer his hand to the pair in turn.  Heravy first as was his due for his position, and then Crowell, to whom he was welcoming into a family of infantry officers that was small enough even in the combat arms.
“My thanks, Top, for everything that you do and will undoubtedly continue to do,” he said first.  “And congratulations, Hannah!  Welcome aboard!  We will try to do something more official soon enough, but I’m sure you understand the present circumstances?”
“Ah, roger, sir,” she allowed.
“You’ll move in with Adept Stoyka for the transit.  She made the same transition you’re making, but I’m sure you’ll have your own ideas, too.”  Hopschnur paused while Heravy continued beaming as if he’d dodged an oncoming car.
Perhaps he had, in his own way of thinking.
“Any idea of your replacement in the platoon?”
“Avie Tal,” she replied immediately.  “He can stay in charge of Jump-Two, but he’s best qualified.  He has the other squad leaders’ full support.”
Hopschnur nodded, and so did Heravy.  At this point, it was all formulaic.
   The commanding officer of II/II-σ reached down into a drawer of his desk.  His fingers ghosted over the pistol within and came to rest on a small box.  He withdrew it and inspected the contents briefly, admiringly.  He cleared his throat.
   “Attention to orders!” he said crisply, but quietly, stepping towards Crowell to undo the rank tabs on her collar.  “The Precentor Martial, having reposed special trust and confidence…”

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #21 on: 01 March 2018, 21:15:34 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Cargo Bay
04 November, 1430 GMT

It had been three days since the Full House made its dramatic departure from Campoleone.  The drama hadn't stopped after lift off though, as the unit proceeded to lose a second commander in a suspiciously similar way to their first, and various facts came to light.  That the doors of jeep 006 had been welded shut after the vehicle had rolled the evening of departure had only confirmed suspicions that dark forces were at work against the unit.  The concurrent discovery of a wrench in a bin of circuit boards had certainly raised concern, but after an exhaustive investigation, no one could be definitively blamed.  The troops had been exhausted after all, and it was likely whoever had carelessly deposited the tool where it didn't belong didn't even remember doing it.  Acolyte Jiminez obtained her revenge by simply distributing the work of repairing the damaged Wolverine among as many infantry troopers as possible.  After three days, the work was complete, and the general misery was increased commensurately.  The rest of the unit had a chance to breathe a bit easier for a day or two, though the S-3 and S-7 were busily putting together a training regime to keep the troops occupied.

By November 4th it was clear to the S-4, Adept IV-φ Sam Walden, that the troops would require a tobacco ration soon, so he directed his deputy, Acolyte III-φ Lana Seko, to conduct a pre-issue inventory of the tobacco rations.  Lana acknowledged the order with all the enthusiasm she could muster after more than a month of exhaustive work, planning for and actually packing the unit into the relatively tiny Full House, not to mention the stress of that final day.  Fortunately, Walden's "office" (which doubled as his sleeping quarters) was only one level up from the deck of the cargo bay, so Lana didn't have far to go.  Not that anyplace on the tiny dropship was far from any other.

She methodically operated the combination lock that secured the cargo container with potentially the most expensive material aboard.  Most of the unit consumed tobacco in one way or another, three years on Campoleone having had the expected effect on the troops.  The planet was a haven for retired spacers, and tobacco was a luxury most of them had been denied most of their careers.  The growers' collective and various manufacturers made sure it was a major part of Campoleonean life.  On Campoleone itself cigarillos were the most prevalent form of consumption, but off worlders often preferred cigarettes or chewing tobacco.  The container Lana was opening had a variety that ensured the majority of troops would receive their preferred method of consumption.

Lana sighed as a carton of cigarettes spilled out of the container when she swung the door open.  Bending down to pick it up, she straightened suddenly and shined her hand light into the container.  Whatever she saw made her eyes nearly pop out of their sockets, and she threw the stray carton into the container and slammed the door shut.  Her breathing was rapid as she spun the combination lock, and she immediately ran back the way she had come to Adept Walden's "office", heedless of who she ran into (or over) on her way.

By the time that story had made the rounds, Adept Walden had already stopped by the galley on the way to Adept Hopschnur's stateroom, his deputy in tow, her demeanor not much less calm than it had been.

Failure16

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #22 on: 03 March 2018, 00:43:32 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Married Quarters
041412NOV 3053

          The deck vibrated slightly in tune with the DropShip’s transit drive.  For an instant, everything and everybody aboard seemed heavier than normal as the crew applied a touch more power before throttling back to their the single gravity of acceleration that had been the norm since they had lifted from the planet now unimaginably distant.  For a heart-stopping instant, gravity lightened to a feather’s touch as the engine labored to make the transition.  Outside the narrow confines of the shipping container that had become their temporary home within the overarching village of their bubble in space, the gentle burble of voices stilled, then resumed their gentle babble when normalcy reasserted itself.
          Marienda Krantzel’s brow furrowed in consternation when one of her daughter’s toys, a stuffed dragon, dislodged itself from its perch on her bunk and toppled unceremoniously to the floor.  For a split second, it had seemed to fly.
          Which is no more than the watcher was hoping she could do:  fly away from this dastardly place, with too many people in too small a space for all this confounded machine’s size.  The irony, of course, was that they were flying away—through space no less, though she had little enough information to internalize their destination and even less reason to be comfortable if she did know.
          The relative frequency of guns and trigger-fingers to civilians aboard gave her little comfort that where they were going was better than home, than Campoleone.
          The panel that functioned as the suite’s door opened and her husband, Jase, slipped through before shutting it behind him more roughly than he likely anticipated.  She regarded him coolly and he smiled back in return.  That made Marienda yet more irritated; at him, at the situation, but most of all for allowing herself to be a part of it.
           “Did you find a way off this disaster, then?” she asked, her tone a mixture of plaintive venom.
          Jase’s smile grew incrementally more brittle.  “Well, just walking around to see what there was to see.”  He paused.  “Aimee is playing with the other kids in the common area.  I figured we could pick her up on the way to dinner…?”
           “Of course,” she allowed.  “Who is she with?”
           “Ah, some of the soldiers, you know, were moving some gear around, and the other kids turned it into a jungle gym of sorts.  I figured—”
          Marienda could feel her eyes flash.  “You left our daughter with not only strangers, but soldiers besides?” she asked acidly.
          Jase looked stricken.  “Well, I thought you needed a little time to yourself,” he temporized.  “And she needs to wear herself out…”
           “I told you to take her out for a walk, and you come back saying she is playing with a bunch of professional killers,” Marienda started; she knew she was being unreasonable, but it was no more than had been thrust upon her at her husband’s urging.
           “Well, I’d hardly say that about the—”
           “Of course you wouldn’t,” she retorted.  “One wonders if you thought the present situation through any more than you did leaving our daughter with a bunch of people carrying guns around.”
          Jase opened his mouth, then shut it with a muted clop.  His right hand tightened on the latch to the door.
           “Oh?” she said.  “You thought our earlier discussion was over because we dropped it, did you?”
           “I kind of thought that we had sort of moved on, yes,” he answered.  “When we boarded the ship.”
           “Then you are a bigger fool than before,” Marienda returned.  “I am not mad so much that we are on this cursed, stinking, death-trap with our only daughter.  I am mad because you make arbitrary decisions with no thought towards the future.”
          Jase look of puzzlement had been slowly but steadily increasing, but now his face clouded over with repressed anger.  “Are you kidding?” he said with quiescent heat.  “I was thinking about the future when I got us away from those Word of Blake monsters!”
          Marienda leaned over and picked up the dragon and held it in her thin hands.  Her skin, darkened by her native sun, Campoleone’s primary, contrasted with the purplish plush fabric.  A sun that was by now far, far behind them.
           “Were you?” she hissed like a viper moving to strike.  “You were thinking about the next day, the next week, perhaps,” she allowed.  “But what about the rest of our lives?  What is your great plan now, Jase?”
          Again, he opened his mouth and closed it when he realized he didn’t have a suitable reply.
           “Exactly,” she plowed on.  “You never once stop to think about the future.  It is always ‘live for the day’ and ‘hope for the best’.  It will work out, right?”
           “It has so far,” he replied mildly.
           “For now,” she shot back.  “What about when it doesn’t?  Have you stopped to think about that?”
          One heartbeat.  Two.
           “Of course you haven’t.  You never do, I wonder if you ever will.”  She twisted the dragon in her hands.  “But you had better start, and start quick.  Because I am not going to let you ruin this family because you have the impulsiveness of a teenager.”
          His hand on the panel became mottled momentarily before he released it utterly and flexed his fingers against the palm.  He turned away and sighed.
           “Guess I’ll go check on her, then,” he said thickly.
          She stood up in sudden decision and strode towards him so quickly he probably thought he was being attacked.  Instead, she thrust the stuffed animal into his chest and deftly stepped around him while he was distracted.  “Don’t bother yourself, dearest.  I will go check on our daughter while you sit back and ignore the world around you.”
          She stepped out of the cubicle and shut the door haltingly behind her, ending the discussion without—as always—and resolution.  She was shaking internally, but mentally wiped away the tears that she knew were beginning to form in the corners of her eyes and the recesses of her mind.  She could have simply peered over the railing to see her daughter playing below, but she needed out of that little metal cubicle that was barely big enough for the bodies of the occupants.  Let alone their emotions, their hopes, disappointments.  Their shared past.
          Outside on the expanded steel decking that provided access to their container, the thrum of the transit drive and the burble of humanity within the envelope of the ship provided a susurrus that helped steady her.  It was at least her fault as anyone else’s’ that she was aboard it.
          The ship she was on continued to curve away from the only home she had ever known, bearing her and her only child away from the cradle of both their births, possibly forever.
« Last Edit: 03 March 2018, 02:06:33 by Failure16 »
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Failure16

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #23 on: 03 March 2018, 00:45:46 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Cargo Deck
041420NOV53

           “Would somebody shut the damn door?” a voice said peevishly in the time it took for Acolyte VI Pandajharmin to slip into the heavy armored personnel carrier that served as the Foot Platoon’s terrestrial transport and general base-of-operations. 
          He had entered through the personnel door inset into the primary rear hatch.  There was scarcely the room to drop the two-tonne ramp and in any event, its squeal would wake the dead, an attention that none of the occupants filling its formerly-cavernous bulk wanted. At the moment, it was filled with gear that was shapeless and anonymous in its profusion, making the dark, dank interior even more than normal.
           “Keep your knickers on, Joh,” Panda replied loudly as he labored to swing the panel shut behind him.  Then, waving at the miasma of smoke in the enclosed space—made ever-tighter by the dim lighting and splayed bodies within—“By Nanak’s Beard, how can anyone even see in here?”
           “Oh, simmer down yourself, Pan,” Acolyte Tuna, Foot-Five’s squad leader, replied tiredly from where he was draped on a roll of cable next to Foot-Four’s senior man, Braismith.
          The rooms the troopers of II-II had been given were converted shipping containers—conexes—that were barely enough to fit an infantry squad and their personal gear.  Their tactical vehicles had not escaped the need for space.  That made it a tight fit for the clot of infantry squad leaders forced into it at present.  Still, on a ship packed with all the gear it could hold—and a couple hundred people it probably shouldn’t have—space was at a higher premium than normal.  And space where they could talk more or less freely as peers and away from the prying eyes and ears of superiors and subordinates both was nearly nonexistent.
           “Ah, well, I see that we can now call the meeting to order,” Acolyte XII Avram Tal, squad leader for Jump Two and the most senior man in the compartment, intoned professorially.  “Sulieman and Helhake are on duty, so it’s just us.”
          Panda elbowed his way onto a crate of chemlights near the door, drawing sighs from Engels and Jackson of the Jump Platoon as they made room for his dense form.  He had been serious about not being able to see in the dim confines that made the cramped rest of the ship seem like an open prairie in comparison.
           “What’s anybody got?” Tal started, running a hand through hair that was dark and so closely cut that it made the fact it was thinning all the more obvious.  “Anything exciting?”
          Somebody blew a raspberry, eliciting a few perfunctory chuckles.
           “Well, I heard the cooks saying that we were gonna be on field rations for the noon-meal from here on out,” Acolyte V Joh Harras—Jump Four’s squad leader—started
          Panda wondered idly where if the squaddies knew they were all crammed in here.  Not that it mattered.  If the squad leaders needed to pow-wow, that was that.
           “That’s just because they want to stop us all up to reduce the latrine usage,” Sonja Engels threw out.  Normally she kept her blond hair tied back into a little bun, but now it was free, hanging down to her jawline in a ruff.
           “So how does that make it any different than any other field-problem any of us have been on?” Jeremie Braismith rejoined.
           “Well,” Tuna drawled, “I guess Joh will run out of shit to say then.”
          Good natured chuckles pranced through the group like fireflies signaling in a darkened glade.  Harras flipped his fellow a single-fingered gesture before opening his hands like a receiver waiting for a pass.  He caught the already crumpled pack of cigarettes tossed over in reply.  He lit one, regarded the pack for a moment then tossed it back. 
           “Well, two things,” he said through the blue smoke framing his features.  “First, how much bloody field-rats did we bring along, and second, are we that short of regular food that we have to be concerned already?”
           “Just so long as you bastards don’t run out of cigarettes,” Panda replied.  “Then we’d really be up a creek without a paddle.”
          Harras blew him a smoke-filled kiss from across the compartment.
          Avram Tal cleared his throat, forestalling any further replies.  He gestured airily in the dim confines of their warren, the motion drawing eddies through the smoke hovering above them.  Panda coughed to himself.
           “Look, Log-Section made sure we have enough grub for the trip,” he started, his eyes sweeping the group.  “As you all should damn-well know, because we all had to help load it at some point.”
           “Too damn right,” someone, Jackson maybe, breathed.
           “So let’s cut out the bullshit, shall we?” Tal continued quietly, stolidly, ever the mailed fist within the velvet glove combined.  “How are the kids doing?  Got any issues with the officers?  Speak up now, killers.”
           “Hell, the troopers are fine so far as I can see,” Panda said, snorting.  “’Course, we’re only a few days into this thing, aren’t we?”
           “Too damn right,” Jackson said again.  “Say, how long they say we gonna be on this barge anyhow?”
          Harras scrabbled around himself, probably looking for something to toss at the most junior of the squad leaders.  He came up empty handed.  “Bloody Hell, Jackson, you know how far we got to go, doncha?”
           “And don’t start asking if we’re there yet, either,” Tuna continued to gentle chuckles.  “’Cause I swear if they turn this bitch around…”
          Even Tal smiled, but it was just as easy to release tension that was as any other.
           “But so far as officers go,” Engels mused out loud, “It don’t seem like we’re gonna have too many left to worry about, things keep going like they are at present…”
          Nearly everyone present grunted some kind of assent.  All except Tal, who had his powerful hands steepled atop his chest.  It was not like anyone had been trying to keep it all a secret:  Demi Precentor Evans had died right before they left and the senior-most Adept, Thomas, had been found in pretty much the same predicament the day after they lifted.
           “Yeah,” he admitted after a time.  “That is so.  But our platoon leaders are solid, that’s the case.  Most of the other adepts are too—we’ve been together long enough, after all.”
          Joh Harras snorted and looked away, but that was to be accepted—
           “And now we got that bitch Crowell to worry about,” Harras inserted venomously.
           “That’s Adept Crowell to you, brother,” Tuna rejoined before Avie Tal could do the same.
           “That’s Adept Crowell to all of us,” Tal said with the forcefulness of a sheathed blade.  “Don’t matter if you don’t like her, it only matters that it’s the way it played out.  And she’ll be fine in the field.”
           “Better’n Hops?” Braismith asked with mild curiosity.  Both Crowell and Hopschnur were from the Jump Platoon.  The Double Deuce was way too small, especially its infantry contingent, for the peds and jumping jacks to be strangers.  But in the field, infantry platoons were often insulated to a very great degree from their fellows.
           “Damn well hope not,” Engels replied.  “He’s running the whole shebang, isn’t he?”
           “For now,” Jackson tittered.
          Panda reached down and dug his index and thumb into the pressure point just above the junior squad leader’s knee.  The younger man shrieked and doubled over.  But he shut up.
          Tal cleared his throat anew.  “Crowell will be fine.”  He was looking at Harras.  “Everybody plays the game, and the kids will follow, right?”
          Harras and Tal regarded each other for a moment before the junior man pursed his lips and looked away.  “Right.”
           “Hell, Avie,” Panda said, not knowing he was going to speak until the words had already started to tumble out.  “The kids’ll be fine.  I’m more worried about the civs, tell you all the truth.  That was a rough start for them, and I think they probably heard about 006, same as we did.”
           “The jeep, yeah,” Engels said, leaning forward.  “What kind of drek is that?”
           “Word on the street is that someone locked those bastards inside the truck after they rolled over,” Tuna responded, lighting up a cigarette and passing it over to Harras.  “Didn’t think of all the things that happened, though, that bastard Mattis would be the one to roll his damn vehicle, truth be told.”
           “Naw, I heard they had their tires blown out from under them,” Jackson interjected, massaging his knee.  “Ran over a mine or something?”
           “Or something.”  Harras took a drag from his loaned cigarette.  “And welded the bloody doors shut somehow.”  He handed the cig back to Tuna, before adding, “And then there was that bullshit about the wrench in the circuit board locker or whatever the Hell El-Tee Stoyka and Top Heravy were going on and on about.  And Thomas, of course.”
          The group was silent for a moment.  None of them had any particular love or dislike for Adept Thomas, not like they generally held for the late Demi-Precentor Evans.  But he was a Double-Deucer, after all…
           “Shit, yeah,” Tuna breathed.  “How many of us believe that Thomas had a heart attack like the docs said, huh?”
           “No proof to the contrary,” Avie Tal intoned.
           “No bloody proof it’s what happened, neither,” Harras shot back.
           “So what does all this drek mean?” Engels pressed.  “You mean we got some kind of Wobber kill-team on board?  Is that it?”
          There was silence that permeated the close confines of the room faster than the smoke had, and even denser.
          Panda blinked at the portal he had recently closed behind him.  He was still thinking about 006, a smoking wreck at the bottom of a road embankment, its wheels still turning lazily as someone quietly welded the doors shut in an attempt to entomb the three men inside.
          He wondered if he should have left it open after all…
           “It’s way too early to say that,” Avie cautioned.  “And way too damn early to say anything like that to our troopers, and especially the civs.”  He took a deep breath and let it out slowly to bring the temperature of the room down a notch.
           “Point of the matter is, lady’n gentlemen,” Tal ground on, “there is something…amiss, to say the least.  And it’s going to be up to people like us in here to hold it together.”
           “For as long as possible,” someone, any one of them, rejoined.
           “At a minimum,” Tal allowed grimly.
          Someone lit up another cigarette.  The flare of the lighter limned the features of the cabal yellow/orange, waking echoes of the likely future.
« Last Edit: 10 March 2018, 19:03:39 by Failure16 »
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Failure16

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  • Better Days
Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #24 on: 03 March 2018, 08:35:54 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Cargo Deck
041430NOV53

          “Is this a stairway or a ladder?”  Leaf Martin, one of Joh Harras’s Jump-4 troopers, asked generally as he navigated his way through the cargo bay towards the main deck and the galley which was his ultimate destination.
          His partner, Poul Stiles, clucked his tongue absently.  “Well, can there be stairs in a companionway?  Or just ladders?”
   “Ah, so it’s a stairwell after all, then?”  Martin replied
          “Actually, I think it’s a companionway.”  Stiles made way for a sailor going the opposite way on some errand or another.
          “Certainly; it is rather confining, you mean?” Martin clarified.  “Best to be friends, then, eh?”
          “I suppose friends should be close, that is so,” Stiles allowed, taking a straw out of his pocket to chew on. 
          After a moment’s reflection he paused, withdrew a short blade from his boot-top and cut the straw in two to hand a piece over to his comrade.  Martin looked at it quizzically for a second before tossing it over his shoulder. 
          “But about being mean, you said…?”  Stiles continued.
          “Well, I said it, alright, but I didn’t mean it,” Martin replied defensively.
          Stiles raised an eyebrow.  “You didn’t mean to say it?  Or you didn’t say that friends should be mean?”
          “Bit pedantic, aren’t you?”  Martin said disinterestedly.
          “See, there you go again.”  Stiles replied equanimously. 
          “Eh?  Come again?”  Martin rejoined as they turned onto Main Street towards the transfer point between decks.
          “Only if you are headed back this way; all this meandering in circles has made me rather parched, you see.”  Stiles gestured his partner forward when they reached a narrow spot in the corridor
          “Well, I see that this ship is certainly round, so I get the point.”  Martin continued.
          Stiles sniffed.  “Which is ironic, don’t you think?  I mean, it’s not a contest, after all.”
          “It is not even done yet!”  Martin exclaimed, half turning when Stiles came abreast of him once more.
          “What?” Stiles asked genuinely.  “The contest?  Or the point?”
          “There is no point, of that I assure you.  Incontestable, one might say.”  Martin made a show of examining his fingernails.
          “That is certainly a depressing thought,” Stiles allowed as they headed down the ladder towards the Main Deck.  “I can’t say I completely agree on that score, ol’ Twig.”
          “There you go again,” Martin chided.  “You haven’t yet.”
          “That is a bit unfair, wouldn’t you say?”  Stiles responded gently.
          “I would say the odds are definitely against us,” Martin concurred.
          “Won’t be the first time.”  Stiles demurred.  “One imagines it might be so on the last time, though.”
          “Perish the thought.”  Martin clucked his tongue disapprovingly before nodding.
          “Precisely.”  Stiles began to whistle tunelessly even as a fellow Double Deucer—this one from the Four Shop—Logistics, from her collar tabs—burst past them going the other way.
          Stiles and Martin flowed around her like water.  She didn’t speak a word, but her face was set as if she were being chased by demons.  One of the pair sniffed diffidently.
          “Looks like she has somewhere to be, not so?” Martin said in a stage whisper to his companion while they started down the ladder.
          “Oh, certainly,” Stiles replied.  “Just be glad we won’t be there to see it.”
          “Of course not; it looked terribly official,” Martin opined.  “We certainly don’t want anything of that nature around us, eh?”
          “Nature is usually terrible,” Stiles agreed morosely.
          “Make a Blake-damned hole!” the female trooper yelled somewhere behind them.
          Martin had a sudden thought.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a straw, which he regarded for a moment as they entered onto the Main Deck.  He passed it over to Stiles who took it absently and tossed it over his shoulder after a moment.
« Last Edit: 10 March 2018, 19:04:01 by Failure16 »
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Failure16

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  • Posts: 1509
  • Better Days
Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #25 on: 06 March 2018, 21:54:31 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Cargo Deck
041629NOV53


Mattis   


          “Well, this ****** thing is ******,” Acolyte James Parker said idly from atop the commander’s jeep.
          On the deck, Steven Mattis shrugged without looking up.  He steadied himself with one hand while he levered his body forward to hand the head mechanic the wrench they had both spent the last five minutes looking for.  Vaclav Brzezinski accepted the tool with a grunt and switched his head lamp back on.
          “Glad to see that you care so much about my plight,” Parker continued.
          “You good, Zink?” Mattis asked the mechanic buried under the heavy truck.
          “I’m…busy,” Brzezinski replied as a way of saying he didn’t need the driver’s assistance for the moment.  “Don’t go too far, no?”
          “Maybe just step outside for a breath of fresh air is all,” Mattis said quietly as he looked the mechanic in the eye.
          “A joke.  He jokes,” Zink snorted before returning his attention to the frame of the truck they had been working on since liftoff.
          The first day aboard had been effectively a stand-down period.  Given the rat-****** of the departure sequence, the Deuce had needed it, sure enough.  Since then, however, they’d been collectively taking a bite of the shit-sandwich they had all been dealt.  For Mattis and Parker—and poor Zink, of course and perhaps foremost—that meant literally straightening out the torqued frame of 006 following its high-speed rollover crash.
          In a moderately equipped automotive shop, that was a time-consuming but not particularly difficult job.  Aboard an overloaded spaceship with only the barest necessities, it had been very nearly a nightmare made flesh.  They had finally had to resort to a jury-rigged system of anchors, pulleys, and an exo-loader…
          Which had worked, or so they thought.  There was no way to see if it worked or not, not until they got dirtside.  Of course, Mattis knew, the way things were going they’d be hip deep in an op when that opportunity presented itself.
          Piss on it, Mattis thought both at the time when the thought occurred and now that he was remembering it for the umpteenth time.  We’ll make do.
          Mattis stood and stretched, as much a reaction to seeing Zink contorted in such a small space for the last hour as a physical need on his own part.  He reached into a side pocket and pulled out a pair of cigarettes, tossing them up to Parker before mounting the vehicle.  The gunner chuckled and lit them both, handing one to the driver when they settled roughly with their legs hanging over the passenger side door. 
          “I don’t know how we’re gonna get that bloody pintle mount back in operation, Mattie,” Parker groused, thumbing back to his hatch and the mount for the automatic weapon that normally rode there.  “Thing looks like a bloody-damn pretzel.”
          Mattis leaned back on his left hand and took a long, lazy drag from his cigarette.  He exhaled and watched the smoke stream upwards towards the ceiling.  Sighing, he said, “Well, I’m sure that Supply didn’t figure we’d need a spare base-plate for the pintle.”  He sniffed in sudden, dawning amusement.  “Must’ve thought that the pintle and truck itself would have the same lifespan, hey?”
           “Sure they thought that ‘bout the crew, too,” Parker replied, smiling back. “So far, so good.”
          Mattis pursed his lips while he mulled over a reply that wasn’t naturally forthcoming when he spied a haggard group of troopers tromping their way.
          “And who the Hell is this now, huh?” Parker said out of the side of his mouth.
          Mattis squinted, more for personal affect than strict need since the approaching clot of troopers wasn’t that far away.  “Looks like Helhake and Foot-Two, killer.”
          “Delf, eh?” Parker replied.  “Wonder if those snakes got the low-down on the latest?”
          “You mean, more than us?” Mattis asked. 
           “I figure since we got half the staff shops covered between the two of us, we’d know just about everything there is to know,” Parker responded.
          “Shit, killer, the only thing we’re covered in is grease and grit,” Mattis shot back gently.  “Same as them, close enough.”
          The pair atop the damaged gun-truck knew full well that infantry personnel had been seconded to the Maintenance Section to help repair selected items and machinery.  The Wolverine that had taken some damage during the retrograde and embarkation was a critical priority for the Deuce before they made landfall again.  So was 006—for its crew, with assistance as required or necessary.  The squad of legs headed past them looked like they’d been through the ringer alright.
          “Heya, Acolyte Helhake,” Parker said easily as the squad neared.  “How you snakes making out?”
          The short line was being led by Spencaire, the tall, thin brunette with piercing eyes and a still demeanor.  Mattis nodded at her as she came abreast of him.  She returned his gaze levelly for a moment before looking away.  Mattis blinked in sudden awareness and looked towards the squad leader who was ambling forward from his central position through his now stopped troopers.
          “Ready for this day to be over, Jimmy; Mattie,” Helhake grinned; his boyish face looked even younger when his smile cracked the streak of grime along his jowl.  “You two hooligans finish breaking this bitch yet or what?”
          Mattis slid down from his perch and felt the corner of his mouth raise in what he knew was a slight smile to most onlookers.  Two of the peds backed a couple steps to give the driver some room.  Parker followed.
          Mattis thumbed towards the undercarriage of the truck.  “Well, we got Zink under there taking a nap before he lets us take it for a test drive,” he said quietly.  More loudly, he continued, “Everything should be fine, right, Zink?”
          “Yeah, sure, fine,” the mechanics replied.  “Everything A-plus-plus.  Maybe tomorrow, yes?”
          Most of the troopers chuckled at Vaclav’s earnest obliviousness.  But they knew when they needed an automobile fixed, he was the man for the job, no doubt.
          “Maybe next week,” Parker replied jokingly.
          A few meters away, Spencaire stood uneasily, toying with an unlit cigarette in her hand.  Mattis would have offered to light it for her, but there was no way to do so without it becoming supremely awkward, so he ignored it.  The way she stood hipshot made her look uncomfortable without an armored vest and a rifle clipped to a patrol sling.
          Steven Mattis could well sympathize.
          “Hey, you two killers hear this drek about Seko?” Helhake asked after a moment.  “What the blazes is that all about?”
          “Eh…?” Parker temporized, looking over at his partner who merely raised a querying eyebrow.
          Half a dozen troopers had wandered by mentioning the deputy S-4’s panicked flight through half the ship in the last two hours.  Neither Mattis nor Parker had seen it first-hand—and besides, they had other things to worry about than a rear-echelon staffer with a bee in her bonnet.  But it had aroused everyone’s suspicions mainly because it was a change from the encroaching monotony of space travel.
          “Word on the street is that she went below to check out a conex and Bam!, a buncha Proserpina Crop Devils drops into her lap,” Lasskiy, the second-most senior trooper after Spencaire, chuckled.  “Bet that scared the bejeezus outta her!”
          Mattis cleared his throat quietly.  Blazes, that would scare the Hell out of him, too.  He’d run into ProCroDees before.  They probably wouldn’t kill a man—but they wouldn’t say no to it, either, if they got the chance.  He felt a chill run up and down his spine.
          “She’d be right to,” Mattis said finally, aware that he was being too harsh in what was supposed to be a lighthearted moment.  He tried smiling more broadly to take the sting away from his rebuke.  “They say what conex she was into?”
          “Hell, who knows?” Groummond, one of the junior troopers chortled.  “Prob’ly the liquor cabinet, knowing our luck!”
          “They got a liquor container?” Trooper Baumann asked suddenly, drawing spurts of amusement from the rest of the troopers.  Spencaire reached up suddenly and cuffed the rifleman by the ear.  He hunched his shoulders but otherwise accepted it with equanimity.
          “ProDevs, eh?” Parker mused.  “Those big crab-looking bastards, right, Mattie?”
          The driver nodded grimly.
          “Well, why don’t they just give us pistols and set us all loose?” Parker asked semi-seriously.
          “Guess they don’t want to have half the outfit out with bullets in their feet, Jimmy,” Helhake replied; he looked around thoughtfully.  “Or anything else aboard this tub.”
          “There’s that,” Mattis allowed.  “But, the thing is, if any one of those bastards gets out—and it’s gravid, which is at least an odds-on favorite—then we got the whole ship to worry about.  And then it really won’t be a joke, killers.”
          “So we set the whole shebang on fire then?” Spencaire asked suddenly.
          Mattis turned towards her like she was the rising sun after a long night of perimeter watch.  “Not a bad idea, groundside,” he allowed.  “Here, we either space it—and hope there’s nothing important in it—or seal it damn tight and make sure there are no openings that shouldn’t be there.”  He paused and his passionless eyes swept the rest of the group.  “I know which one I’d do.”
          “Well, ain’t you just a bag of sunshine?” Helhake said laughingly.  “Just so long as they aren’t in the smoking trailer!”
          The rest of his squad nodded their approval.
          Parker crossed his arms over his chest.  “I tell you what:  the bastards be in with our smokes, and someone is getting shot!”
          “Too damn right,” someone breathed.  “I’ll start shooting people just because if that’s the case.”
          More nods, but the time had come.  For Mattis and Parker to help Zink finish up, and for Fox-Two to keep moving on.
           “C’mon, snakes,” Helhake said with a tone of gentle command.  “Let’s get us on t’chow so we can hit the showers and the racks before the lines get too long.
          “You two wanna tag along?”
          Mattis looked at Spencaire and looked back to the squad leader.  He reached back and patted his truck.  “Negative; gotta bit longer with the ol’ girl here.  Catch you next time, roger?”
          “Roger roger,” Helhake said, gesturing his troopers forward.
« Last Edit: 10 March 2018, 19:04:41 by Failure16 »
Thought I might get a rocket ride when I was a child.          We are the wild youth, 
But it was a lie, that I told myself                                          Chasing visions of our futures.
When I needed something good.                                            One day we'll reveal the truth,
At 17, I had a better dream; now I'm 33, and it isn't me.        That one will die before he gets there.

But I'd think of something better if I could
                           --E. Tonra
--A. Duritz

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #26 on: 10 March 2018, 10:53:25 »
ECV Full House
Outbound from Campoleone
Cargo Bay
04 November, 1515 GMT

The 45 minutes following Acolyte Seko's discovery had seen quite a bit of activity.  The medics hung biohazard and quarantine signs on all the unopened cargo containers, while Adept Devereaux himself oversaw the welding of several pieces of bar stock over the doors and vents of the one with the tobacco.  The medics had hung their signs on every side of that container.  This of course sent the rumor mill into overdrive.

While all that was going on, Adept Hopschnur gave orders to assemble the Adepts (with the exception of Sharpe and the on-watch duty officer) in the ship's wardroom at 1515, and then went to see Adept Mason, the dropship's Captain.  Initiate Paley was the harried messenger that tracked down the unit's officers wherever they happened to be.  Fortunately, he didn't have far to go, given the ship's small size.

The wardroom was small, barely large enough to contain the ship's tiny crew, and only the first half dozen to arrive were able to sit.  As the chronometer on the wall rolled over to 1515, Adepts Hopschnur and Mason entered from the door opposite where the unit's officers had.  Their looks were grave.

Looking around grimly, Hopschnur said, "As you've all probably heard, it seems we have an infestation of Proserpina Crop Devils aboard.  So far, it appears they're only in the tobacco rations, but I've ordered all the unopened food containers to be sealed pending inspection.  Doctor Morrison believes the food rations were given closer scrutiny during on load, but we're not taking any chances.  We're a day out from rendezvous with the Inside Straight, and Adept Mason and I have decided to brief Precentor Hong after we dock to maximize security.  The tentative plan is to now make land fall at Astrokaszy, and can't risk the Word figuring that out ahead of time.  We were originally only going to recharge there, and deliver Mr. Monchenigo to his destination using the shuttle aboard the Inside Straight because the garrison has declared for the Word of Blake.  Land fall will allow us to offload the infested container, conduct a thorough inspection of the others, and obtain new tobacco and food rations if necessary.  S-1, find out what you can about what our legal status on Astrokaszy will be.  S-2, you have 48 hours to put together a briefing for the unit on what we expect to find, but you'll be part of selecting our landing site.  S-3, once the site is selected, you and S-5 will have a further 72 hours to develop a deployment plan to secure the landing zone.  S-4, you'll need to figure out how to off load that container in the least amount of time possible.  Since it's on the bottom of a stack, I know it won't be fast, but please see what you can do.  S-6 and Doc: please see if you can figure out a way to safely inspect the unopened containers, both underway, and once we're on the ground."

Karl let out a tired breath, looked around once more and asked, "Any questions?"

Tegyrius

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #27 on: 11 March 2018, 13:42:20 »
Adept Cameron McCann slouched at the back of the wardroom, drawing calm from the steady vibration of the Full House's transit drive.  One foot was drawn up to rest flat against the bulkhead, his elbows tucked in, his hands were spidered around a zero-G drinking bulb, and his face canted slightly downward - his usual pose for avoiding senior officers' attention in meetings.  Or for emulating a stork about to spear an unwary frog.

Cameron took a long drag of StarGo!! sports drink - flavored and colored by a factory computer that might once have received a secondhand description of Concord grapes - and concentrated on his breathing and heart rate, still coming back to normal after burning through the last few sets of his workout.  A trickle of sweat rolled down between his shoulder blades.  He tapped the pause button on his noteputer to pause his music and peeled the bone-conduction speakers from behind his ears as the briefing began.

As Hopschnur handed out taskings, Cameron waggled two fingers in acknowledgement.  Behind his eyes, a checklist started to spool out, things he'd need to dig out of the ships' data banks - or out of crewers who might have touched dirt on Astrokaszy before.  He raised a finger again, crooked an eyebrow, waited for Hopschnur to notice.

"First thing - morale."  Cameron smirked slightly as the tobacco addicts around him twitched or frowned.  "No one's going to starve before we touch down but we can expect the troops to start hoarding immediately.  We need to let them know that their pogey-bait will attract croppies.  And we might want to secure the survival rations from the vehicles, too.  I don't think we want an infestation inside an APC."

He flipped out a second finger.  "Second item.  I haven't checked the load plan yet, but can we shift sealed containers into a lock and open them in hard vacuum or EVA?"
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #28 on: 11 March 2018, 14:13:46 »
Adept Sam Walden raised a hand to answer.  With Hopschnur's nod, he glanced at Doc Morrison, then turned to Cameron and said, "Inspections of all open cargo containers and vehicles are already underway.  A general health and comfort inspection will also be conducted of the living quarters.  We don't expect to find any Crop Devils, but it's the only way to be sure.  That will have to include the civilian quarters as well.  Doc Morrison and his medical team are all qualified inspectors, as am I and my deputy.  It's going to be a long day."

Chuckling, he continued, "If getting to that container and shoving it out of an airlock was an option, believe me, it would already be done .  It's on the bottom of a stack of four, right next to the Armory.  Even if we could get to it, there's no way to squeeze it past everything else to one of the two airlocks we can still use, and both of those have BattleMechs in them."

Daryk

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Re: The Double Deuce II/II-σ [3053]
« Reply #29 on: 18 March 2018, 10:40:20 »
Adept Hopschnur let Walden finish, then added, "An officer will accompany the inspectors.  Halle and Doc, I want the two of you to handle the civilian quarters.  Lisse, you have the lead for Gruntville, and can grab as many of the others as you need.  Dennis, you honcho the Main Street stack and the vehicles.  I'll handle the quarters on the Main Deck, and Captain Mason will take care of her crew.  Unless there are any saved rounds, we have work to do.  Let's get to it."

 

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