Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:11 pm

Chapter 26

Captain Kirkinger had not thought about it, but the call from the Raptor pilot had made him realize the horrible truth:
He had lost some crewmembers still on the Galactica, in their Medical Bay under the care of Doctor Cotter.
After the Cylon attack, the Musashi had been so devastated that its Sickbay could not cope with all the injured crewmembers.
Some had to be transferred to the Galactica’s Medical Bay, Admiral Adama having had graciously offered the help of his ship and crew.
Six Musashi crewmembers had been sent to the Galactica’s Medical Bay, six crewmembers who would not be coming back home with them.
If we ever get there, thought Captain Kirkinger.
And while the Musashi had lost people, they had left with a Raptor pilot, and thus with a recon shuttle from the Galactica.

“Ensign Horton,” The Captain said, “Tell our “guest” we need to talk.
Bring him to the ready room.”

“Yes Sir!” Ensign Horton said.

It seems I’ll be offering another field commission today, thought Kirkinger.

*********************************

James had made it back to his room, his team still working out the details of their future operations.

“Officer on deck!” Cried Doc, and everyone stood up and saluted as James entered.

They had even started manufacturing some equipment they would eventually need for their missions, such as an electronic kit, explosives and detonators, and they had designed, under Doc’s supervision, an improved field Medkit, easier to carry and to use.
Each and every member, it had been decided, would carry a smaller, more limited version of the one Doc would use.
Seeing his team’s initiative made James smile even wider than he already was.

“Team, we have our first mission.” He exclaimed.
He explained what had happened to the ship, where they were and what the Captain wanted from them.
After one member reminded them of their comrades who had been left behind on the Galactica, they offered a salute to their lost and fallen comrades, and then went to work planning the mission.

Since the ship was using reserve power, and since the sensors had trouble penetrating the ambient radiation at the location, transporters were out of the question, so they decided, having learned of the Raptor in their Shuttle Bay and with Boomer’s familiarity with it, that they would use the ship to land on the planet.
Once there, they would deploy with James at the point, and with Boomer at the rear, and then penetrate the premises and try to establish contact with the inhabitants.
Since the atmosphere was breathable, they would go down wearing only their armors, and no hazard suits.
They would get their radiation shots before going down, and would wear radiation badges at all times, in case the levels increased.

“Am I the only one worried about walking in a radiation zone?” Cpl. Bruce Banner asked.

After a look around, James said:
“Yeah, it seems so.
Why are you so nervous?” He asked the Cpl.

“I don’t know, it’s just pre-mission jitters I guess.
Also, my ancestor had some issues with radiations apparently.
It’s always on my mind whenever I risk radiation exposition.”

“Well, don’t worry about it.” Said James reassuringly.
“This is a simple meet n’greet mission, so nothing’s going to go wrong.”

When their planning was done, they geared up, cleared the appropriation of the Raptor with Captain Kirkinger, and left the ship.

They could see the clouds covering almost all the planet, their moving and roiling indicating that the ride down would be a rough one.
Strong winds buffeted the ship as they entered the clouds, but Boomer’s piloting kept the bobbing of the Raptor at a tolerable level.
Her skills were evident to all, and they all silently thanked the Captain for assigning her to the team.
Still, the ride was rough enough, with the engines howling their defiance at the strong air currents, the frame of the small ship groaning at the beating the winds were laying on it.
Finally, they broke through the lower layers of the clouds, and things smoothed out a bit.

A few kilometres ahead, they could see the buildings they were looking for, the familiar ant-hill shape of a Nuclear Reactor – a shape used in all realities it seemed – looming up front, with the smaller, flatter building slightly to the right of it.
James pointed that building to Boomer, who nodded and aimed the Raptor towards it.
They landed a few minutes later in what seemed to be a vehicle park, filled with all sorts of wheeled and tracked loaders and trucks.
They landed close to what appeared to be a huge door, most likely a loading dock.
The equipment strew all around them reminded James of a huge mining installation.
What he thought was really strange was that all the vehicles were unmanned and empty, some of them even had their doors left opened.
It seemed as if everyone had left in a hurry.

They made it to the doors in the howling wind, and Cpl. Banner took care of the smaller service doors.
Once they were opened, the team penetrated inside slowly, Tricorders fully active, scanning their environment, sending the readings on their helmet’s visor, the data streaming down in front of their eyes.
This had been a modification they had performed on their armors with the help of Cmdr. Teramak.
They had modified Tricorders, and had created a bracer version, which was linked to the armor’s visor, so all one needed to do to activate it was to touch the controls on his wrist guard, and the results would be displayed on the visor.
They could use the armor’s Tricorder to establish what James had called a Friend-or-Foe signal, allowing for one to easily find his enemies and friends on the battlefield.
This allowed a MACO to have two free hands during missions.
Each MACO still carried a standard Tricorder in their backpack, though, in case their armor’s unit was damaged.

As they entered the loading dock, they felt as if the storm outside had happened inside.
Everything was a mess, tools were littering the floor, carts were tipped over, their contents spilled on the ground, as if people had come through running in panic.
When they penetrated the inner doors to the compound, things were even worse.
They saw kitchen utilities strewn everywhere, and all sorts of items of clothing, even a lone shoe, sitting alone in a corridor.
Doors were ripped opened, objects behind having been clearly used to block them, and in one corridor they found a half completed barricade, obviously made with everything people could find: pipes, pans, wall panels.
The people who had made the barricade never had the time to finish it, apparently, as it only covered half the passage.
They went through, still no contact on their Tricorders, still no sign of any living being anywhere, when they noticed a hole in the ground.
It was directly in the floor grills of the corridor, about a foot across, and its edges were uneven, as if the hole had been cut by a blowtorch, or as if it had been melted there.
The hole, they could see, continued on two levels lower, in the service corridors of the maintenance level.
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:12 pm

Chapter 27

The stepped around the hole, and slowly made their way further in.
They noticed everything was written in English, which led them to the conclusion the people who lived here were most likely humans.
This was solidified by the objects they found littered all over the place, human objects, James realized.
There were toys, cooking utensils and many other different objects haphazardly strew about the place.
Whoever had lived here had left in a hurry, they knew.

After a few meters, the corridor ended in a T.

“Let’s see if anybody’s home,” James said, “And if so, where they are.
Guys, we split in two teams: Boomer, you’re with me, we’re Team Alpha and we take the left corridor.
Doc, you lead Team Beta and you go right.
We meet back here in an hour.
We keep regular updates, I don’t want anyone to stray on their own, the teams stay together.
I don’t want any heroes either: you find trouble, you fall back here, understood?”

“Yes, Major!” Doc replied.
“Although our Tricorders won’t be able to see very far.
So close to a live Nuclear Reactor, it’s a good bet all the walls are lead shielded.
The material’s density will hinder our scans and limit the range to a few meters.”

“Noted. Now move out!” Was all James added.

James and Boomer started their sweep in the left corridor, moving silently, weapons at the ready, advancing in standard two-man cover formation.
James saw that, while he sometimes had to compensate for Boomer’s positions and tactics, she was good.
She had done this before, he knew, and more than just a couple of times.
She was also very silent for someone in armor, although nowhere near his level of stealth.
They were making good progress, and moving so fast they were done after less than forty-five minutes.
They were making their way back towards the rendez-vous point when their Tricorders picked up something.

“Major, are you picking up the same thing I am?” Boomer asked James.

“I am! It’s a human signature if I’m reading this right.” He said.

They tried to pinpoint the location of the human they were picking up, but it kept moving around, constantly evading them.
After a while they realized the human was probably moving in the service crawlspace, as they sometimes had to stop for walls, or closed doors, while the human signature continued on.
Eventually, they found a small ventilation duct opening at the baseboard, and the end of which their Tricorders told them they’d find the human.
The ventilation was much too small for James, but they both knew Boomer could fit without her armor.

“Don’t even think about it!” James said, opening his visor so Boomer could see his face.

“Do we have a choice?” She asked, doing the same.
“We need to know what happened here, if we’re going to get help for the ship.
We can’t risk assuming all is safe and then getting attacked by an enemy vessel or troops.”

James knew she was right, of course.

“Ok, but you go in armed, and that’s an order.” He told her.

“Eye, eye, Sir!” She said, saluting, before removing her armor.

She stripped down to her under armor lycra suit and socks, took her pistol from her armor’s holster and her small flashlight from her belt pouch, and then went in the ventilation shaft, momentarily distracting James as she kneeled on all four, dipped her head down towards the ventilation shaft, thus lifting her buttocks slightly right in front of him.
He realized he was staring, and so shaking his head to regain his concentration, he used his Tricorder to scan the surrounding areas for signs of hostiles, all the while listening to Boomer’s progression in the shaft.

“The shaft isn’t too long.” She said.
“I should be out soon.”

Boomer was making quick progress, her augmented Cylon strength compensating for the small movements she had to make to move forward.
In less than thirty seconds, she had crawled the ten or so meters separating the corridor from the small ventilation access hub.
She stopped when her way was blocked by a light grate, but she quickly discerned how to slide it open with little effort.
The grate aside, she oriented her light in front of her, then peered in the softly lit interior of the ventilation access hub.
The hub was small, less than two meters across on each side, and barely a meter in height.
But what held Boomer’s attention were the multiple objects haphazardly piled around the hub, and the small human girl clutching a large doll to her chest, huddled in the far corner of the hub, away from her.
The place reminded Boomer of a nest, a human nest, likely created by the small girl.
She could see her look around feverishly, as if looking for another exit to escape through, fear evident in her eyes.
The girl was small and very young, no more than six or seven years old, Boomer thought, with a dishevelled blond head, blue haunted eyes and a small, pert nose.
She was dirty, and evidently malnourished.
She wore what Boomer could only imagine were slacks and a jacket, so torn and dirty were her clothes, matching the little girl’s appearance.
Boomer, not wanting to scare the child further, hid her pistol by slipping it at the back of her lycra suit and by pulling her shirt over it.
She then entered the hub slowly, trying to be as unthreatening as possible.
She stayed at the entrance of the hub, crouching, and using her softest voice, she smiled and said:

“Come, little girl, I’m not going to hurt you. In fact, my friends and I are here to help.”

She extended her arms wide, in an embracing gesture, and waited for the child to make the first move, knowing that she couldn’t advance towards her without the young girl panicking.
After a long while, Boomer decided she couldn’t wait any longer, so she slowly started advancing towards the girl.
Panicked, the girl tried to bolt right past Boomer back in the access shaft, but she wasn’t quick enough.
Boomer caught her, and held her in a hug, trying to calm her.

“Ssshhh, it’s okay, I’m not here to hurt you… Sssshhh…”

The girl struggled a bit, but soon realized that the lean woman holding her had incredible strength, so it was no use to try to escape.
Still, for all her strength, the little girl thought, the woman had a soft touch, a motherly touch, one she had not felt in a long, lonely time, so she gave in to that embrace, careful not to let this newfound warmth erode the fear that had kept her alive all this time.

While hugging and calming the little girl, Boomer had been looking around the hub, and her eyes fell on a framed photograph of the girl, smiling, dressed up in a gown and with a bow in her hair.
Embossed in gold letters at the bottom portion of the frame, it said:
FIRST GRADE CITIZENSHIP AWARD
REBECCA JORDEN

Boomer looked at the little girl, and softly called:
“Rebecca?”

The girl reacted, if only to tighten her grip around Boomer.
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:05 pm

Chapter 28

As James was waiting for Boomer to come back out, his communicator chirped.

“Doc to Major Reynolds.” The voice said.

“Major Reynolds here,” James answered, “What have you got?” He asked.

“Our sweeps have come up dry, Major.” He said.
“Nobody’s home, or if they are, they’re very, very good at hiding.
We did, however, find something you’re going to find really interesting over here.
We’ve found their Sickbay, and some records that should help us shed light on what happened here.”

“Great work, Doc!” James said.
“We’ve had one human contact, and Boomer is investigating.
With any luck, between our live contact and your documents, we should figure out what happened.
We’ll follow your FOF signals when we’re ready.
James out!” He finished.

“Ten-four Major, Doc out!”

James called the Musashi and informed them of the situation.
Captain Kirkinger decided they would not send anyone down until James declared the place safe.
He also informed James that the repairs were advancing well, and that they’d have full power, or close enough to full power, in less than two hours.

As the conversation was ended, Boomer emerged from the ventilation shaft, holding a little girl in her arms.
At the sight of the immense man encased in armor, Rebecca squealed in terror and tightened her grip around Boomer’s throat.
Boomer gently but firmly loosened the girl’s hold, and said:

“Relax, Rebecca, this is a friend of mine.
He is here to protect us, so you must not be afraid of him.” She finished softly.

James took a step back so he would be less intimidating to the girl, and he kept his visor up so she could see his face.

“I guess she’s not used to seeing men in combat armor.” He said to Boomer.

“Well, it could have been worse,” She replied, setting Rebecca down next to a wall in order to put her armor back on, “You could have NOT been wearing it.
Then, she would have truly been afraid… I know I was!” She said with a grin.

Silently mouthing “I will shoot you” to Boomer as she finished putting her armor on, trying hard not to grin, James signalled for Boomer to take the child in her arms and follow him.
On the way, he told her about the building’s Sickbay and that Doc’s team would be waiting for them there.
They moved fast, Rebecca’s small weight not affecting Boomer’s stride in the least.
Boomer had not worn her helmet this time, wanting to keep as much a human image for the girl as possible.
She could see in the girl’s eyes what she was feeling, the pain, the horror, the loneliness.
She couldn’t even begin to imagine what the little girl had gone through.
Sure, Boomer knew about pain and horror, she had been a soldier fighting in a war after all, and wars never left the best impressions in people, but she was an adult, with strong adult defences, maturity and years of experience coping with bad situations.
But for Rebecca, things were different.
She was at an age where everything should always be wonderful, fun, where horrors didn’t exist, and where pain quickly subsided back in her mind to make place for happiness.
Boomer could see happiness hadn’t been in Rebecca’s eyes in a long time.

They arrived at the base’s medical bay, where they met with the rest of the team in the main room.
The room was vast, with half a dozen desks covering the floor, some upturned, with computers terminals on each desk, some still on.
Four doors were leading deeper in the medical bay, one on each side coming in, and two at the rear end wall.

“What have you guys found?” Asked James.

“Come take a look at this, Major” Doc replied, leading James in the door on the left wall.
Entering the room, James saw it was clearly a Medical Lab, full of beakers, jars, rows of freezers containing various substances, a few examining tables, and seven transparent cylinders.
As with everywhere else, many items were on the floor, broken, but it wasn’t what had held James’s attention when he had come in.
What had truly held his attention were the cylinders.
They glowed with an eerie violet light, and were located at eye-level.
Inside each of them, was what looked like severed large arthritic hands, the palsied fingers curled in a death grip.
Upon closer examination, though, James realized they looked more like spiders with sickening translucent skin, flacid scrotal bodies and gill-like organs underneath, drifting in the suspension fluid of what he concluded were stasis tubes.

James drew in closer, fascinated, his face almost touching the cylinder when the creature inside lunged suddenly, slamming against the glass.
James jumped back in reflex, and was already in firing position, his finger on the Type-III Phaser rifle’s trigger, before the creature had even made contact with the tube’s wall.
It had taken all his willpower not to fire at the creature.
From the palm of the thing's hand like body emerged a pearlescent tubule, like a tapered piece of intestine, which slithered tongue like over the inside of the glass.
Then it retracted into a sheath between the "gills" of the creature.

Doc was laughing, James realized after a few seconds.

“It did the same thing to Private Wilson when we first came in.” He said, still laughing.

“Very funny, Doc!” James said, not amused.
“You do realize I almost vaporized it, right?
That with my training and reflexes, jokes like this can, and most often will, backfire in the most unpleasant way?” He asked sternly at Doc.

Doc’s mirth sobered up instantly.

“Sorry Sir, I didn’t think things through.” He said.
“I apologize, it won’t happen again”. He finished.

With a nod to Doc, fearful of what might have happened, he reached for one of the file folders on top of the tubes, and started reading it.
He scanned the file quickly, his eyes widening, and then moved to the other folders, reading them as well.
He let out a loud:
“Motherfragger!”

“What is it, Major?” Doc asked, moving over next to James.

“These… Things are some kind of embryo carriers.” James began to explain.
“They attach themselves to your face, the tube we saw protrude goes into your mouth, and it lays an embryo right in your stomach.
The embryo develops there, and then erupts through your sternum when ready, killing you in the process.”

“Damn!” Was all Doc could say.
He started reading the files James had gone through while he kept explaining.

“After they implant the embryo, they die.
These two live ones were removed before they could implant the embryos, but the removal procedure killed the hosts.
Oh, and the funny part?
These things have acid for blood, an acid strong enough to go through almost any metal.” James finished grimly.

Doc’s eyes went wide as well at that description, and James could see in Doc’s eyes his brain was working fast, and then, in cold, fearful realization, Doc breathed:
“The hole in the walkway.”

“Indeed! That hole looked like it was melted through, by fire or… acid.” James confirmed Doc’s thoughts.
“But the kicker here, Doc, is that there’s no way a critter that size” He said pointing at the creatures, “Can make a hole as big as the one we saw.”

“Holy shit!” Doc exclaimed.

“Yeah, Big Brother’s around, and he’s probably watching.” James added.

*Cue “You’re all going to Die down here” from Resident Evil*

They exited the lab, and went back in the main room, where they found the rest of the team, minus Boomer.

“Major!” Called Cpl. Banner.
“I’ve found something in the computer database.
It was tough because they don’t have voice processors, and we have to use a keyboard to communicate with it, but I was able to dig through their database to find who or what lived here.
And I’ve found it, Sir.” He said.
“They’re all human, Sir, and they’re all working for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, whoever that is.
And, being a caring company with the best interest of their personnel at heart, they surgically implanted all their employees with their versions of subcutaneous transponders.
And,” He added, grinning, “I’ve got their frequency.”

“Great work, Cpl.” James said.
“But we’ve got more pressing matters to attend to.
We need roving patrols asap, full alert, Tricorders in active search mode.
Doc’s going to fill you in.
Once patrols are set up, Banner, find these people.
Move it!” James ordered.

Surprise was evident in his men’s faces, but they instantly saluted with an “Eye, eye, Sir!” before getting to their posts.

James then went looking for Boomer.

******************************************

*Cue James Blunt “Wisemen” from the album “Back to Bedlam”

Boomer was kneeling beside Rebecca, gently, almost maternally, brushing the girl’s unkempt hair out of her eyes.
She handed a steaming cup of liquid to the girl, or tried to, but the girl’s hand was unresponsive, the girl still looking vacantly at the wall.

“Here, try this.
A little instant hot chocolate.
You’ll feel better after.”

Boomer wrapped Rebecca’s right hand around the cup and raised it to her lips.
The girl drank mechanically, some of the hot liquid spilling down her chin.
With a smile, Boomer set the cup down, pulled out a sterile cloth from her pack and wiped the child’s chin clean.

“Wow!” Boomer said lightly, “You have white skin under that dirt.
And here I thought this was your natural skin tone.
I wonder what I’ll find if I wipe some more.” She said, smiling.

As she was cleaning the girl’s face, wiping the grime and dirt away, she noticed that, for the first time since they had found Rebecca, her eyes seemed to focus on Boomer directly.

“I don’t know how you managed to survive this long, but you are one very brave kid, Rebecca.” Boomer said while cleaning the girl’s hands.

Boomer saw the girl’s lips move, but she barely heard what came out.

“N… newt!” It seemed she had whispered.

“What did you say?” Boomer asked.

“Newt.” Was the reply.
“My n… name’s Newt.
Nobody calls me Rebecca except my dork brother.”

“Well, Newt it is then.” Said Boomer, grinning.
“My name’s Sharon, but all my friends call me Boomer.” She said, picking up Newt’s hand and shaking it.
“I’m pleased to me you.
And who is this?” She asked, pointing at the doll Newt was still clutching with her left hand.

“Casey.” Newt answered, “She’s my only friend.”

“Well, Newt, I want to be your friend.” Boomer told the girl.

“I don’t want you for a friend.” Newt said, matter-of-factly.

This surprised Boomer, who had thought that a lonely person like Newt would have welcomed her presence and the offer of friendship.

“Why not?” She asked, surprise apparent in her voice.

“Because you’ll be gone soon, like the others.” The girl explained.
“Like everybody.
You’ll be dead and you’ll leave me alone.”

Understanding dawned on Boomer, even as the child’s words had chilled her.

“Your mom and dad went away like that, didn’t they?” Boomer asked softly, leaning in close to Newt.

She nodded, staring at her knees.

“The monsters killed them, and they took my brother.” She said softly.

Boomer didn’t know what or who the monsters were, but she could easily imagine them being enemy soldiers dressed in scary battle armor, which would have had the same effect on Newt as James’s appearance had.

“Newt, look at me.” Said Boomer gently.
“I won’t leave you and I won’t let the monsters get you.
I promise.”

“I promise too!” A strong voice said from the doorway.

Newt froze immediately at hearing the voice, but Boomer only smiled.
In the doorway was standing James, no longer wearing his helmet, smiling as appealingly as he could.
Boomer looked at Newt while pointing at James.

“You see this man right there?
Do you know why he’s so big?” She asked.

Newt shook her head.

“He’s that big because he eats monsters for breakfast.
He won’t let anyone hurt you, and neither will I.” She told Newt.

“You promise?” Newt asked.

“I do!”

This seemed to reassure Newt, sufficiently, at least, to let her open the gates of her sadness.
Her lower lip started to tremble, and not long after she began to sob, gripping Boomer by the neck and refusing to let go for a long, long while.

James nodded to Boomer, mouthing “Great work Boomer!” before returning to the team.

*************************************

“Major!” Cpl. Banner called out as James came back.
“I’ve found them!” He said.
“They’re over at the processing station, in sublevel “C”, under the South Tower.”

James told them about Boomer’s breakthrough with the little girl, and her story about the monsters that had killed her parents and taken her brother.

“I’m pretty sure that’s these monsters’s lair.” James postulated.
Going there just to take a look would be suicide.” He said.
“We’re going to take the girl with us, move back to the ship, and try to find some other way to perform our repairs.”

“Major,” Doc intervened, “I would agree under normal circumstances, but there’s something the Corporal didn’t tell you yet.
He linked all our handheld Tricorders together in order to boost the power, increasing the range to over four kilometres.”

James closed his eyes, swearing under his breath, because he had already deduced what Doc was going to tell him.

“We have human life signs at that location, weak, but stable.
Some of the people are still alive.”

*Cue the Matrix Revolution Main Title song*
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:04 pm

Chapter 29

*Cue Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle"*

James was moving fast in one of the service tunnels, making his way towards the processing station, guiding himself using plans they had gleaned from the base’s computer.
They had noticed these tunnels in the building’s blueprints, going to and from the processing plant, and had deduced it was most likely the way these creatures were using to move between buildings.
He was fully loaded, going in with his Type-III Phaser rifle and two spare power cells he had taken from his teammates, his Colt Manhunter heavy pistol with armor piercing rounds and two spare clips, his collapsible stick, and the MACO’s new addition to mission equipment: the Tritanium combat blade.
More a machete than an actual knife, with a two feet long blade, and a six inches secure grip handle, its edge sharp enough to cut through steel, it represented the pinnacle of Starfleet technology when applied to weapon manufacturing.
The blade could not be sharpened manually, being made of Tritanium, and if it ever became dull, could only be re-sharpened through an industrial replicator.
James had it added to the MACO arsenal because he knew that sometimes you simply needed to cut something, and only a blade would do the job.

His two Tricorders, the one on his armor and his backpack one, had been networked together by Cpl. Banner to increase their range so he would be able to pick-up the transponder signals far enough to allow a terrain recon before approaching.
His team’s networked units would allow them to keep an eye out on him during his mission.
Communications would be assured by using the Raptor’s communications suite as a relay, the more powerful equipment having no trouble breaking through the interference created by the radiation from the Reactor.

“Major Reynolds to Home Team, progress is good.” He called out in his helmet’s integrated microphone.
“I’ve covered more than half the distance, and no hostile encounter yet.”

*******************************

“Home Team here,” Boomer replied, nervously following James’s progression, “We have an eye on you, and Transponder signals are still strong, although there are two less than when you left.”

As she was replying to James, she looked out the window, and noticed that it was darker outside then an hour earlier.

“We’ll take a night cap for you.” She said lightly, hoping to alleviate the mission’s atmosphere.

“They come mostly at night.” A small voice said.
“Mostly…”

*Cue the Brotherhood of the Wolf soundtrack “Le Combat de Mani”*

They all looked at Newt, and noticed she had followed Boomer’s sight and was also looking outside of the base, lost in thought.

*************************************

Not for the first time, James questioned his decision to go out to the processing station alone.
It hadn’t been a popular decision, his MACOs objecting loudly to it, Boomer being the loudest of the group.
They had all reminded him he was the one who had said going to what was most likely the creature’s lair was dangerous and suicidal.
That the MACOs had been created exactly for that purpose, and that they had all received his training and knew their jobs.
They were right, of course, and had James intended to go in hot, he would have brought the whole team with him, but this wasn’t the goal of the new mission.
James wanted to be in and out very quickly, and the only person in the team who could even hope to follow him was Boomer.
But since Newt only opened up to her, and she had promised Newt she wouldn’t leave her, it meant he couldn’t take her with him without direly affecting the child again.
He didn’t want that, and wanted to have the ability to run like hell should problems present themselves without having to wait for slower teammates.
And so, his decision made final, he had gone out alone.
It didn’t mean he liked it, or that the prospect of facing acid dripping creatures didn’t instil fear in his heart.
But James Reynolds had lived a long time in the shadows, where fear was a runner’s constant companion, and he had long ago conquered his, so he continued towards his goal, undaunted.

After some hundreds of meters, the scenery started to change.
Strange structures were added to the standard refinery latticework of pipes and conduits.
The structures were crudely imitating plumbing, made with some strange encrusted substances.
Touching the structure, James realized he couldn’t tell what it was made of.
It was hard, yet supple, and some sort of oily substance covered it.
He used his Tricorder to analyze it, and after a few seconds he received the results on his faceplate.
The material used in the structure resembled silicates, but in a form never encountered by Starfleet, according to his Tricorder’s database.

*Cue X-Men 2 soundtrack “Storm’s Perfect Storm”*

The structures’ layout reminded James of some sort of a chambered nest, the kind he had seen in some Discovery channel trideo show long ago.
It attenuated so gradually into the original processing station’s superstructure that he couldn’t say where the original ended and the additions began.
He knew with certainty then that he was, indeed, in the creatures’ lair, or nest, as it was.
He looked around him, fearful of an ambush from the lab creature’s bigger versions, examining every nook and cranny of the walkway he was currently on.
He didn’t find anything, which didn’t reassure him in the least, and so he reprogrammed his Tricorder to search for and find the missing people’s transponder signatures.
He found them quickly enough, and to his surprise found out they were less then a hundred meters from him, two levels lower.
He searched for some stairs, found them, and went down quietly.
He felt like he was entering some sort of organic labyrinth, the walls surrounding him looking like the marrow of some vast bone.
The air was full of steam, the walls trickling water.
He was cautious, his senses fully alert, his eyes constantly darting to and fro using both his thermographic and low-light visions, intent on finding anything out of place, any telltale signs of an ambush, of an enemy approaching.
Again, his searches yielded nothing, and so he kept advancing towards his goal.

He had gone down two flights of stairs, and veered into the right corridor, knowing it would lead him to the owners of the transponder signals.
After less than fifty meters, he entered a small chamber.
It was less than ten meters across, and no more than three meters high, but what held James’s attention, what changed his expression from one of worry to one of disgust, was what he saw on those walls.

*Cue the Brotherhood of the Wolf soundtrack “Le Fantôme”*

In front of him were walls of living horror.
The people who had been taken by the creatures had been brought there and entombed alive.
Cocoons made around the bodies of the colonists protruded from niches and interstices of the structure.
The cocoons’ material was, according to James’s Tricorder, the same material, and the same translucent epoxy that he had seen in the latticework of the processing station.
Bodies were frozen in carelessly twisted positions, a macabre image of agony.
Many bodies were desiccated, skeletal, some with their rib-cages burst outward, as if exploded from within, entombed in living death for the embryos growing with them.
Some of these deaths looked recent, blood barely dried on the bodies of the newly dead.
James nervously looked around him to see what could have come out of these people, but he saw nothing but the cocoons.
He noticed a cocoon that looked recent, and slowly approached it.
The woman inside, her transponder signal weak, was ghost-white and seemed drained of energy.
Her eyes snapped open, focused on the armoured figure before her, pleadingly.

“Please… God… Kill me!” She said weakly.

*****************************************

Boomer, looking at the camera feed coming from James, put her hand on Newt’s eyes, not wanting her to see any more.

*******************************************

Before he could offer her help, before he could even begin to tell her all would be well, she began to convulse, screaming, a shriek of mindless agony.
Her chest exploded in a shower of blood, and a small, fanged head emerged, hissing viciously.
It looked like a big earthworm that had grown fangs, and two small arms, and it was covered with its victim’s blood.
Knowing she was dead already, her agony at an end, James did the only thing he could: he aimed his rifle at the creature and fired.
The bolt of energy hit it squarely, vaporizing most of it, and the rare bits that weren’t vaporized sizzled as the acidic blood hit the rest of the woman’s body.
Transfixed by this, James barely heard the shrill screeching that began.

He looked around, his Tricorder still detecting only himself and the transponder signals when, out of the corner of his eyes, he saw movement to his left.
Reacting as his shadowrunning experience had thought him to, he planted his left foot on the floor and, twisting his body to his right, he dropped to the ground in a tuck and roll.
As his body hit the floor and he began his roll, a large shape flew over him, and he knew that if he had simply turned to face the movement he’d seen, the shape would have hit him square on.
The completion of his roll got him up on his feet, weapon tracking the shape that almost got him.
And he froze.
In front of him was a living nightmare.
The creature he was facing was vaguely bipedal, though it kept itself hunched, with skin a muted shade of black.
It had a segmented tail, sweeping behind it like a cat’s, its tip ending in a large blade-like plate, and a flat ridge of spines running its length up to the base of the blade.
Its arms ended in hand-like appendages, the fingers serrated claws at least two to three inches in length, and it had four tube-like ribs protruding from its back.
But the most fearsome sight was its head.
It was elongated and cylindrical, and possessed no eyes James could see, and yet it seemed to look straight at him, and if he moved a bit, so did the creature.
The most unnerving issue facing James at the moment, though, was that even though the creature was right in front of him, his Tricorder still didn’t register it, and even worse, it didn’t appear in his thermographic vision, as if it radiated no heat.
Puzzling was the fact it wasn’t attacking, but then James understood, and, lifting his weapon to fire, he rushed at it as his weapon’s bolts flew towards his target.

*Cue Resident Evil soundtrack Slipknot’s “My Plague”*

The creature’s chitinous armor offered some protection the James’s shots, he noticed, but not enough not to kill it.
It went down in a shower of acid, but none of it touched James, as he jumped high over the creature as he had fired.
Landing on the other side of his enemy, he turned around, in time to see five of the creatures who had been moving in on him, walking on all four, two even scaling the walls like common house flies.
His way back was cut off, so he looked for another tunnel, and found one, just as he noticed some more creatures, from higher above in the chamber, starting towards him.
Firing his weapon at them, he left the room running.

**********************************

“What the hell was that?” cried Cpl. Banner.
“What’s the Major shooting at?”

Boomer was looking intently at the video feed they were getting from James.
The image was grainy, so they couldn’t make out the form in front of him, but they could see it was almost as big, and moved fast.
Then they saw him move, and turn around.
They all gasped when they saw the creatures on the wall, so close, yet James’s Tricorder hadn’t even warned him.
Boomer felt a small hand grip hers, and saw Newt huddle closer, terror in her eyes, silently mouthing “the monsters” over and over.
They saw James make a break for it then, running through a dark tunnel, the image worsening by the second.

******************************

“They don’t register on the Tricorders because they’re silicon-based life forms.” James shouted in his microphone, running.
“Reset all Tricorders to scan for moving silicates, and anything resembling hydrochloric acid.”

He was running down the corridor full speed now, hoping to see a side corridor he could take, but every time he saw one, it was filled with those creatures, and they were all coming for him.
He was firing at any coming too close, always running, always moving, and then he realized what was happening: he was being herded.
The creatures were fast, and on all four were almost as fast as he was, they knew the layout better than he did, yet they never caught up to him, never came out in front to attack.
They knew he was dangerous, and they were herding him towards something.
James knew he had no other options, so he kept going, shooting at any target that he saw, vaporizing hands and tails, anything he could fire at.

*****************************

Cpl. Banner was on it instantly.
He reprogrammed the Tricorders, and with Doc’s help, he used the life forms in the lab at a template for the detection protocols.
As he was working on the equipment, the two creatures in the lab started to get agitated.
He stopped to look at them more closely, and noticed they were more and more excited.
Doc’s eyes grew as wide as they’d ever been, and he almost yelled at Banner:
“Finish those mods now, Cpl., NOW!”

Not knowing what was making Doc panic, he nonetheless accelerated his works, and within minutes was done.
The Tricorders all beeped to life, and detection alarms started to beep loudly.

*Cue Carmina Burana opera “Oh Fortuna”*

“Oh my God.” Said Banner, fear in his voice.
“They’re all around us, and they’re closing in fast.”

******************************

James rounded a bend, and came to a halt.
He had arrived in a very large room, at least fifteen meters on each side, and five meters tall.
The walls were once again covered with organic material, but James barely noticed them.
His eyes were riveted to the floor, filled with rows upon rows of what could only be described as eggs, two feet tall, all sitting on the floor, patiently waiting for prey.
For him.
They had herded him to a hatchery, to be infected.
The truth always depends on which side of the fence you're standing... ;)
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Praeothmin
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:08 pm

Chapter 30


*Cue “Le Loup Blanc, Guévaudan” from the Brotherhood of the Wolf soundtrack*

James turned around, looking for an exit, but the only two passages he saw were filled with creatures, and when he looked back at the eggs, he noticed that those closest to him had began to open.
He turned back to the passages and in each of them, fired three bursts of his Type-III Phaser rifle, killing one or two creature, but more importantly, making them duck.
Using the few seconds he’d bought himself, he grimly turned around and, after making a few adjustments to his rifle, fired at the eggs, using a sweeping firing arc.
The Phaser beam exited the rifle in a cone, at least five meters wide at its widest point, fifteen meters away from its origin.
As he fired, he started to advance, ensuring that he would vaporize all the eggs he could see.
He heard a loud screeching emanating not too far away, its origin lost in the maze of tunnels.
As he was advancing, he noticed that there was a recess at the back of the room, and when he looked in it, he saw an enormous white semi-translucent pouch, suspended to the ceiling of the room, one end moving about the floor, laying eggs, while the other end seemed to go through the ceiling, connected to the “queen” creature, James thought.
He fired at the egg pouch using his wide-beam setting again, vaporizing it and its contents, increasing the power of the screech he had heard tenfold, and when his weapon beeped, indicating it had depleted its power reserves, he ejected the spent cell and took out another one.
He was about to reload when he was hit from the right side and was thrown to the floor under one of the creatures, the Phaser rifle clattering away over fuming egg remains.

**************************************************

Doc was yelling orders, the team’s frantic movements displaying their fear and their attempts to control it.
Doc had decided that the best place to shore up their defences was in the Medical Lab where they had found the creatures in the Stasis Tubes, since it only had one entry point, and the windows would be recovered by metallic shutters, ensuring no one could come at them from that direction.
They had closed them, and used their Type-II hand Phasers as welding tools to weld the shutters in place.
They had also closed the only door to the room, and had welded it shut also.
No exit had been kept unsealed, because while they could create an exit by firing Phasers at any surface, they hoped that the creatures would have a harder time getting in.
They had done the same with the door that led to the outside corridor, in order to win them some time, and maybe hoping that the creatures would leave once they saw how tough it was to come in.
Once the door to the Med Lab had been welded shut, they had overturned some desks in a semi-circle facing the door, and some others facing the windows, just in case.
They were taking their designated positions between the two rows of desks when the door to the main Medical Bay room rang out, as if some heavy object had been flung at it.
They settled in their defensive positions, Doc taking up the rear, watching the windows, but mostly watching over Newt, who, although she did seem terrified, acted calmer then he and his men were.
The only other person as calm as Newt, if not calmer, was Boomer.

When Banner’s panicked call had come, she had felt the fear, the panic, rise up in her, but then she had looked a Newt, who was watching her with expecting eyes, and she remembered her promise.
She had straightened up, looked at Newt and said:
“They’re not getting us, I promise you.”

So there she was, behind her desk, waiting, eagerly, for the first creature, the first “alien”, to rear its ugly head, so she could show it how tough Cylons were.

They heard a few more ringing sounds, and then a crashing sound.
The door had been breached, and the scraping they heard coming towards the Med Lab told them the Aliens had not been deterred.

***********************************

*Cue “Mad World” from Gary Jules, the Gears of War version*



James and the creature were rolling on the floor, a heap of arms and legs and claws.
The creature was trying to slash at James, but the Duranium armor he wore held up to the first slashes.
But James didn’t want to know how much longer it could resist.
He let his back be pinned to the floor, and once there tried to use some grappling techniques to immobilise the creature, but he quickly realized how futile it was.
He was used to grappling with humanoids, man or metahuman, and they all behaved in the same manner once on the floor, manners that were predictable, and thus could be countered.
But now, he was facing a strong creature that was flaying wildly, with no measured movement, no practiced technique.
He was trying to evade the claws and the mouth, when out of the jumble of limbs came a blade, going straight for his face.
He barely had time to move his head to the left, when the blade impacted on his helmet.
Having moved his head to the side, the blade saw its perfect trust angled the other side, and thus, instead of shearing through the helmet, it simply cut a long gash at its side.
Serrated edges scraping at his scalp told James the blade had penetrated, though, and that out of all the weapons this creature possessed, its tail was the most dangerous.
He couldn’t fight like this for much longer, he knew, because he was vulnerable while on his back, and so he moved.
His left leg came up, kneeing the creature in the stomach, while his right leg went out and up, and then came back over the creature’s hind leg in a downward motion, pinning it to the floor.
His left hand went up and impacted the creature’s sternum while his right swept its forearms off him, pushing it to his left at the same time.
Once the creature had started moving, James’s twisted his body to the right, on his left side, out from under the creature.
As soon as the creature landed, James kicked at it with his right leg, pushing it almost ten feet away.
He used the momentum imparted to his leg by the impact to swing it up in a circle, his left leg following, and corkscrewed his body in a mid-air pivot that landed him on his feet, facing the creature.

Only there were now five creatures facing him.


******************************************************

The door to the Med Lab finally gave in to the sixth impact against it, and it crashed loudly down to the floor, as Aliens rushed in to submerge the intruders.
As soon as the first Alien had been seen, though, the MACOs had opened fire, raining death among the ranks of the creatures, pulse after pulse, the crimson energy bolts vaporizing silicon flesh every time they hit.
The first wave of the creatures was defeated quickly, smoking carcasses dripping acid blood on the floor, the strong sulphuric smell invading the defender’s nostrils.

Then a second wave came, and they resumed firing, but one of the creatures, coming in at the back of the pack, was relatively unscathed as it lunged to the side upon entering, running in quick strides around the defences, and finally coming in from the left.
It jumped high in the air, over the upturned desk, and was met with three rapid pulses from Boomer’s rifle, which lifted and deflected it sideways, where it crashed into the Stasis Tubes.
The tubes crashed to the floor and broke in hundreds of glass shards, spilling their content to the floor, the dead creatures, as well as the two live ones, who scampered off under some furniture in a corner of the room.


****************************************************

*Cue “Teahouse” from Juno reactor in the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack*

A quick sidelong glance told James his Phaser rifle was out of reach, so when the creatures started moving towards him, he took out his Colt Manhunter and fired.
The first creature was hit with three successive head shots, the armor piercing rounds coring through its exoskeleton, spilling its brains all over its companions.

They shrieked and hissed in unison, and then they tried to rush him.
They were fast, these creatures, moving on all four easily as they did on two legs, and so they knew this bipedal creature would not be able to move away from them, assuring them of a kill, the bipedal in front of them clearly too dangerous to allow to live, to risk impregnation.
But then James was no longer there.
As soon as they had moved, he had too, diving in a sidelong roll to his left, getting to his feet after the roll, firing as he did, each bullet scoring a hit, each hit fuelling the rage the creatures had towards him.
He saw a passage he couldn’t see before, one that had been hidden from him by the egg pouch.
It was the only passage not swarming with creatures, so he took it, running into it, firing as he did, emptying his clip in the pursuing creatures.

The passage was large enough for James to run comfortably in, but still narrow enough that the creatures could only come at him two at a time.
There were no side passages, which reassured him, but at the same time his gut told him that the winding passage may not bring him to safety.
He exited the passage at a run, but then stopped dead in his tracks, for before him stood the biggest creature he had seen yet, easily four meters tall and five meters long.
It was currently detaching itself from the remains of the egg pouch James’s had vaporized, but then it spotted James and, showing its teeth, let out a cavernous screech.
Lifting his pistol, fully loaded with a fresh clip of fifteen rounds, he intended to empty his gun at the massive, clearly angry creature.


*******************************************************

Newt screamed as the small creature jumped at her, but it never landed, as it was snatched in mid-air by a gauntleted hand that closed on its tail like a vice-grip.
Boomer then swung the creature as she would have a sling, and threw it at the oncoming Aliens.
As it landed on the head of one of the bigger creatures, it was pierced by a pulse of energy that cored through and also impacted on the bigger Alien’s head.
The pile of bodies was getting bigger and bigger now, slowly bringing the creatures closer to the defender’s positions.
The acidic blood of the dead creatures also ate through the floor, the walls, and everything it had splashed upon because of the dying creatures’ trashing.

Another wave was coming in, and once again it was met with pulsating power propelled through their bodies from the inventions of Starfleet’s weapons division.
As they were once again slowly repelling the attack, a new scream from Newt got Boomer’s attention, who turned her head just in time to see Doc go down under the attack of the remaining smaller creature, wrapping itself around his helmet.
She went to him immediately, while Newt screamed hysterically, as she was no longer seeing Doc, but her father, when he had come back from the derelict with the same creature on his face.
She grabbed the creature’s body, and as she started pulling, she saw its tail wound ever tighter around Doc’s neck armor.

“Get it off, get it off!” A panicked Doc shouted.


*****************************************************

*Cue Underworld soundtrack “Throwing Punches” from Page Hamilton*

A movement to his left made him look, just in time to see a creature’s tail head straight for him.
Reflexes honed in hundreds of fights propelled his body away from the lethal blade while his only defensive weapon – his pistol – came up to deflect it.
The blade passed above his right shoulder, well off the original target: his stomach.
James hit the floor on his back, but used the momentum he had to lift his legs up and over his body, using his arms and shoulders as leverage, and flipped back to his feet after upending himself, six feet back from where he was.
He lifted the heavy pistol, intent on putting three bullets in the attacking creature’s head, but as he lifted his weapon up, he saw the cannon and slide had been cut through at least half an inch, making the weapon inoperable, nothing but dead weight in his hand.
He threw at the creature which paid it no mind and jumped on him.
But James was ready, and braced.
The creature was stopped dead in its tracks, its hind legs scratching at his armor, his left hand grabbing the creature’s right arm, his right hand free to intercept and incoming tail blade.
The creature hissed at him, and opened its mouth to bite.
It lunged at James’s face, but it didn’t make it.
His right hand, waiting for a tail attack, was already there, pressing against the head, stopping it mere inches from his faceplate.
And then the faceplate cracked, impacted by the force of the second row of jaws that protruded lightning fast from the creature’s mouth.
Surprised, his vision now impaired by a cracked faceplate, James reacted even faster, by kicking at the creature with his right leg, while pivoting on his left, and opening his helmet’s visor with his left hand.
When his pivot was over, he had his combat blade in his right hand, his collapsible stick in his left, and he was seeing again, although he wished he was still blinded, for before him, less than five meters away was the large creature, and all around him were smaller ones.

He was alone, couldn’t call for help and was surrounded by dangerous, vicious creatures.
Death had come calling.


**********************************************************


Boomer was pulled with all her strength, and the creature reluctantly let go, but then it swung its tail around and grabbed her right arm with it.
It had changed target, and was writhing in her hands, trying to free itself and attack her.
Boomer held it firmly, and although she was struggling, her great strength allowed her to resist the creatures attempt.
She could still hear her team firing at the approaching aliens, and Doc even got up and joined the fray, looking no worse for wear, except for what looked like acid scorch marks on his armor.
She looked at Doc, held the creature up high to her right and told him to fire at it.
He looked at her like she was mad.

“The creature’s blood will melt your hands.” He said.
“I can’t do it.”

“If you don’t, I’ll have to spend the rest of the fight holding it, and you need me.” She said through gritted teeth.
“Now do it, damn it, it’ll be easier for me to live with acid burns on my hands then for you guys to fight without me.”

Doc hesitated only slightly, but he knew she was right, and so he adjusted his aim, and fired.
The bolt cored through the creature, vaporizing its center, but the rest of the creature came apart, acid splashing on Boomer’s hands and right pauldron.
There was some smoke as the acid tried to eat its way through, but the Duranium alloy proved itself to be tougher than their surroundings, and so she was unscathed.
She picked up her discarded rifle, and turned to fire at the oncoming hordes, killing one alien as it was about to climb over their makeshift barrier.
She was worried, though, as there were so many aliens killed, that the walls and floor of the Med Lab up to their barrier was almost non-existent now, the creature’s blood having melted so much of it in their death throws, which means the enemy had greater venues of attack now.


****************************************************

*Cue Matrix Reloaded soundtrack “Chateau” from Rob Dougan*

He spun to his right, his left hand moving the collapsible stick to impact on the head of a creature, propelling it in the path of two other attackers, while his right hand descended the blade it held across a creatures’s head, cutting it neatly in two, splashing blood on him once more.
His armor and blade were covered with it, but while the blade was untouched by the corrosive substance, his armor showed spots where the accumulation of splashes was beginning to take its toll.
Already, James had lost his Tricorder vambrace, and one pauldron was hanging looser, a strap having been eaten by the acid.
Still, the man inside was untouched, and was moving like he was possessed.
His move over, he spun to his left, his blade slashing horizontally, killing two more, slicing through limb and torso, this time taking a side step in his spin, using the opening he had created in the creature’s ranks to no longer be surrounded.
He back flipped over the remaining creature between himself and a passageway he’d seen, slicing at the back of the lunging enemy, deep enough that only half his two-feet long blade was showing, killing the creature instantly.
He landed on his feet, ready to run towards the passage’s entrance.
And the larger creature.
Somehow, it had anticipated his plan, had known exactly where he would try to go, and had moved there without him knowing.
It was less than three meters away, and started moving towards James.
He spun around, and found himself face to face with four creatures, which attacked him.
His left hand spun down and sideways to block an incoming bite with the collapsible stick, his left leg sweeping inside-out to kick a creatures’s head sideways, propelling it at its biting brethren.
As he kicked, his hips moved to the left, evading sweeping claws, and his right hand came up over his shoulder and descended to blade at his back, blocking a swinging tail blade, and then descending immediately back down to cut a clawing hand at the wrist.
He let go of his stick, leaned to his right, and flipped over the injured creature’s back, reversed his grip on the blade mid-air, and stabbed it when he landed, right through the side of the head.
He pulled the blade out, spinning again to his left while taking a step away from the creature, and when he faced them again, he held his blade in the standard grip again, with one less enemy.
But then he noticed the smaller creatures were backing away from him, and then he noticed the big shadow looming over him, coming from his back.


****************************************************

As another alien jumped over the defender’s barriers, it was received by Boomer’s empty rifle smacking it upside the head.
The creature landed hard against a cabinet, but it was on its feet instantly, and moving towards the now unarmed Boomer.
She kicked it in the face, not only stopping it dead in its tracks, but pushing it back a bit, allowing her to take out her combat knife.
She waited for the charge, and when it came, simply leaned back and brought her knife upward with all her strength.
It penetrated deep under the alien’s head, even puncturing the smaller mouth before it could come out and attack her.
She pulled the knife free of the dying creature and turned just in time to get rushed by another creature.
Her entire team, except for Doc, was in melee now, all of them holding the creatures off as best they could using their combat knives.
Doc was picking off the ones at the back, trying to give his team a fighting chance.
Boomer saw Cpl. Banner impale the alien he was fighting at the same time its tail penetrated his left shoulder.
She saw Private Heyes’s left arm get broken in the struggle with his enemy, before stabbing it repeatedly in an anger fuelled adrenalin rush.
Private Wilson blocked the smaller mouth of his attacker by placing his knife sideways, but was stabbed in his right thigh by the creature’s tail.

And then there was Newt.
Poor little Newt, looking straight at the face of one alien, the creature hissing at her.
As it prepared to lunge, a combat knife embedded itself in its skull, dropping it writhing to the floor.

“Stay away from her, you frakking monsters!” An enraged Sharon Valerii yelled, her right arm fully extended after the knife throw.

The creature attacking her pressed on, its opponent now unarmed.
But it didn’t know what it was facing.
The enraged Cylon’s right hand became a fist, which punched the creature in the head.
The first punch cracked the creature’s skull, the second one went through to the wrist, ignoring the acid that penetrated the armored gauntlet.
Boomer’s hand came out with fuming cerebral matter, which she threw down, and the creature’s lifeless body followed.
She threw herself at another advancing creature and wailed at it with no regards to her safety.
The alien’s tail knifed her in the gut, but the armor and her Cylon physiology transformed a killing blow into an easily ignored flesh wound.
As this creature tried to split her skull open with its smaller mouth, she grabbed it with her left hand and her right impacted it from the side, breaking it in two.
The creature reeled from the pain, and Boomer wasted no time stabbing it with its own broken mouth.
The serrated teeth, with all of Boomer’s strength behind, easily penetrated the creature’s exoskeleton, killing it.

************************************************

*Cue Mortal Combat Annihilation soundtrack “Theme song”*

James turned around and plunged between the creature’s legs, getting clipped on the thigh by one of the huge creature’s claws.
This time, the armor didn’t protect him as much as with the smaller creatures, and he felt the claws going through armor and flesh.
Any normal human being would have been cut to the bone, but James augmented body kept the wound superficial.
He exited his tuck and roll behind the creature, and barely evaded a killing blow by the creature’s tail by sidestepping to his left, right out of his roll.
He grabbed the creature’s tail as it whipped it up for another hit, and jumped on its back.
Holding on with his left hand, using its protruding ribs as hand holds, James reversed his grip on his knife, and started stabbing the creature.
It reared, it bucked trying to dislodge him, but he held on, his genetically enhanced strength allowing him to remain in place.
He stabbed again repeatedly, his incredible speed allowing him to hit the creature ten, fifteen times per second.
The blade could not, even with James’s incredible strength behind it, penetrate too deep in the creature’s body, but he knew that the accumulation of the wounds would ultimately kill the creature.
It knew it too, and so it rolled on its back tying to crush James, but he succeeded in hiding among the protruding ribs and so was neither crushed nor dislodged.
He knew, though, that time was of the essence, and so he waited until the great beast was back up on its feet to run up to its head, and he stabbed it in the neck many times.
Pain fuelled fury made the creature react instinctively, and tried to stab James with its enormous tail.
James saw the blow coming from his right, so he used the ribs as leverage, twisting away from the great bladed tail at the last instant.
He grabbed the tail with his left arm and cut immediately with his right.
The stump, spewing acid everywhere, whipped him in the back.
He almost went over the creature, but successfully held on at the price of his knife which clattered to the ground far from him.
He set his powerful legs against the creature’s rib, accepted another rib shattering tail whipping, still holding on, and with both hands holding the blade end of the tail, he rammed it through the creature’s skull.
The creature died, falling to the floor, in a screeching chorus, as all the smaller ones joined it in its death cries, sitting on their haunches, head pointing up, as wolves howling at the moon.


*************************************************************

The aliens all stopped, sat on the ground, and screeched, a deafening noise in the small Med Lab, or what remained of it.
This went on for some time, during which the MACOs, ragged and their armors torn, regrouped and took out their hand Phasers.
They set them on wide beam, and while the creatures were still screeching, they vaporized them, as well as a large portion of far room.


*************************************************************


He was running as fast as he could, knowing that the creatures were on his heels.
They had stopped for a moment to mourn their fallen leader, but then had turned towards the intruder, and had not found him.
He had fled, knowing he could not fight like this for much longer.
And so he was running, making his way back to the Medical Bay in a hurry, hoping to find his team still alive, hoping that the creatures had not gone after his team.


**********************************************************

Their Phasers were empty, their blades somewhere on the lower levels where they had fallen during the melee battle with the aliens.
They were battered, some bleeding profusely from many wounds, Boomer cradling Newt in her arms, her armor long ago torn off in battle, suffering from many acid burns.
Then they heard them, their claws clattering up from the lower levels, coming in from new openings, through new holes.
Looking at the floor gratings that were still intact, they saw clawed hands coming out and grip the edge of the holes, followed by these horrible heads with their horrible mouths.
As they approached, Boomer’s hand slowly moved to Newt’s neck, swearing to herself she would never let Newt be taken alive, would never let her suffer.
The first creature jumped straight at Doc, but he batted it aside with a table leg he was using as a club.
The second alien jumped as well, but never made it.
As it was sailing in the air, the body of a broken kindred flew into it from the doorway, making it crash to the far corner of the room.
Boomer’s eyes went to the doorway of the Med Lab, to look at a mountain of a man, bloodied, his armor, what was left of it, and even some skin, fuming from acid burns, standing there, snarling.
His right arm, which he kept at his back, extended, and she saw he was holding something in it.
Some sort of cable, which he unfurled with a twist of his hand.
As more of the creatures came out of the floor, he moved, and to everyone looked like a blur.
He waded in the aliens, kicking, punching, and wielding his whip around with such force he was actually able to crack the aliens’ exoskeleton with the cable.
It was over in seconds, the half a dozen or so creatures that had come back dying while they fell through the floor’s holes.
It was only when he stopped moving, both feet balanced on a structural beam that Boomer could discern what kind of cable he was holding: an alien’s tail, it’s deadly blade glistening with the acidic blood of the creatures it had sliced open.

*Cue “Haunted” from the Evanescence album Fallen*

Boomer smiled at James, relieved, and softly told Newt:
“Didn’t I tell you he eats monsters for breakfast?”
The truth always depends on which side of the fence you're standing... ;)
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:53 pm

Chapter 31

Cue “The Horizon has been Defeated” from Jack Johnson

He stood there, tired, his Pain Compensators working overtime, barely keeping his wound’s effects in check, as he surveyed the battle scene.
He was relieved to see all of his team members still alive, even though Cpl. Banner needed immediate help.
Knowing the threat from the creatures was over, at least for the moment, Doc went at work on the Cpl.
James came to help him while the others kept watch in case the creatures returned, and within minutes Cpl. Banner was out of danger.
Doc and James then went on to treat the others’ less severe wounds, the Starfleet medical kits helping lessen their pain while waiting to be fully treated aboard the Musashi.
James went over to Boomer and Newt to examine them and see how bad they’d been wounded.
He quickly ascertained that Newt was untouched, then moved to treat Boomer's wounds.
He gently patted down Boomer, looking for possible broken bones, only halfway through realizing he didn’t know how closely she resembled humans internally.

“I have bones, and they can be broken.” She said with a smile, having apparently read his mind.

“Are you a Doctor too?” Asked a surprised, but also very impressed Newt at James.

“Yes,” Replied James, “I’m also a Doctor.” He said, not wishing to explain to Newt the difference between being an actual Doctor, and his specific medical knowledge.
“You’re safe now, Newt.” He continued, smiling gently.
“We promised you would be, and as you can see, we both kept our words.” He said, nodding at Boomer.

He turned to his team and said:
“You guys did great, and you’ve proven what I already knew: the MACOs are the toughest SOBs in this reality.” He finished with a grin.

The rest of the team, weary as they were, grinned in return.


Cue the Chronicles of Riddick soundtrack “The Hunt for Riddick”

Then, at the same time the remaining functioning Tricorder sounded enemy contact, James’s augmented ears picked up cautiously approaching footsteps.
Using hand signals he had taught the MACOs, he signalled his team to hide behind what was left of their defences.
As they silently moved in place, he too crouched behind a beat up, upturned table, facing the direction of the coming footsteps, after turning off the Tricorder’s alert signal.
Although the approaching group was stealthy, to James augmented hearing, they sounded like a fanfare, and every move, every step was heard.
He estimated five to seven people based on the rhythm and number of steps heard.
As they were getting ever closer, James was somewhat reassured, as he knew these were not creatures coming for another assault: the way their steps resonated on the floor of the corridors, he was certain they were bipedal and wearing combat boots.
Metallic clicking sounds told him they were carrying weapons, most likely rifles.
They were moving in a military manner, the point guard taking a few steps, sweeping for possible enemies, and then signalling for the rest of the group to follow.
And then they stopped, at the same time he heard some kind of pinging sound, regular, coming back every second.
He realized it had to be their version of a Tricorder, and that they most likely knew the MACOs were there.
Then he heard a whispered “stop”, telling him he was dealing with humans, like the people from the station.
He didn’t know if they were the kind of people to shoot first and ask questions later, and since his team was in no shape to fight against well armed enemies, he didn’t want to take any risks.

He called out:
“Don’t shoot, we’re not your enemy.
We’re in the medical bay, in the laboratory to the left.
Come in, but be careful, there are many holes in the floor.”

They came in cautiously, the two point men – or point woman in one case – coming in first, wielding huge machine guns on articulated harnesses.
They did a rapid sweep of the lab, their eyes widening at the holes in the floor, walls and surrounding furniture.
James also saw something else in their faces, an expression he read easily: recognition.
They knew what had made those holes, he saw.
Their sweep over, they aimed their weapons at the MACOs while taking a few steps inside the room, in standard cover formation.
The woman yelled “Clear!”, and the rest of the squad came in, weapons sweeping the room.
Their leader stepped between the two point men, a black man, athletically built rather than bulky, with an air of command oozing out from every pore of his body, a lit cigar dangling from his lips.

“I am Sergeant Apone, from the Colonial Marines.” He said with an authoritative voice.
“This is a private property owned by the Weyland-Yutani consortium.
Who are you, and what are you doing here?” He asked.

Slowly, James raised his hands and stood up.
He noticed a slight widening of the Marines’ eyes when they saw his size, a widening which increased when they noticed the creature’s tail hanging on his hip like a whip.
One of the Marines, a skittish man holding their scanner, said:
“He’s one big Mofo!”
But then was shut up by a man with the rank insignia of a Cpl.
The man had an intensity about him, even though his demeanour was calm.
He wasn't a big man, but it was clear by the way he stood and held himself he was a tough man, one who wasn't afraid of much, who remained calm in stressful situations.

James looked at their Sergeant, and replied:
“I am Major James Reynolds, of the Federation Military Assault and Command Operations, and this is my team.”
James made sure his demeanour, while relaxed, conveyed that he did not feel threatened at all by the Marines.
His appearance – the busted and smoking armor, multiple wounds, and the Alien’s tail dangling at his belt – strengthened that impression.
“We’re here because our ship needs repairs, and we detected this facility from orbit.
Our sensors were unable to detect any lifeforms at first, so we believed this station abandoned.
We found out some time later it wasn't, and that its inhabitants had all been taken by some kind of creatures.
These creatures were holed up under the Processing plant's Nuclear Reactor, where they took the people living here.
I went to investigate, but I found no living person.”

He said the last part with a sidelong glance at Newt, but noticed she was too busy hugging Boomer and being scared at the Marines to notice what James had said.
The Marines's leader, Sgt. Apone, was about to say something when his headset chirped.
He brought a hand to his ear to activate it, and listened to the incoming signal.

“Apone, this is Burke,” A weasely voice said, “Ask him what happened here.
Did they encounter the Aliens?
If so, where are they?” He finished expectantly.

“Roger that!” Apone said, then he asked the question.

“We killed them.” Said James.
“They were too dangerous to allow to live.
They kidnapped this stations inhabitants, used them to gestate and grow their youngs, killing them in the process.
These creatures are parasites, extremely dangerous parasites, and we couldn't, in all consciousness, allow them to live and propagate.”

He saw the doubt in the Marines' eyes, a doubt mitigated somewhat by the evidence before them, but James saw they wanted to believe him.

“What?” Was Burke's reaction.
“Who the hell do they think they are, deciding what to do on a Weyland-Yutani property?
They had no right doing that.
Hold them there, we're coming in.” He finished.

James had heard every single word, but he didn't react to them, waiting, not wanting to let them know about his abilities just yet.

“He's coming in. I feel safer already.” Said the skittish man.

“Shut up, Hudson!” The Cpl. Replied.

“Yeah, sure Hicks.” Said the one named Hudson sheepishly.

“By the way, Sergeant,” Said James, “We've found a survivor, a little girl.” He nodded towards Newt.
“Her name's Rebecca Jorden.
She says her parents were taken by the creatures.”

He saw Hudson blanch a bit at that, the man becoming ever so nervous.
He would need to be watched closely, else he could become dangerous in a stressful situation.

They waited in silence, James deciding at one point to simply ignore the Marines until the one named Burke arrived.
He and Doc checked on the MACOs' wounds, making sure Banner's condition didn't worsen.
Newt never left Boomer's arms, and to James it seemed as if Boomer wouldn't have had it any other way.
She had strong maternal instincts it seemed, which James thought odd coming from a machine, as Cylons, he had been told, were more machine than man.
Apparently his source of information had been wrong.
Of course, Admiral Adama had most likely never seen a Cylon in a familial setting.

While looking after the wounded, James also discreetly signalled his teammates using their hand signals to remain calm and follow his lead.
They didn't have to wait for too long before three people came in, two men and one woman.
One man, in his early thirties, average built, close to six feet tall, black hair and with handsome features now twisted in anger, came in leading the other two.
James knew right away this was Burke, and he disliked him instantly.
The second man was of similar height and built as Burke, had shorter hair barely showing below a green cap, marking him as one of the Marines in front of James.
His Lt. Rank insignia made him out to be the team leader, but James had a hard time accepting this, as the man was unassuming, and exuded no authority whatsoever.
He was new at this, James thought, and this was certainly one of his first live missions, all his experience coming from simulators and wargames.
This explained the fact that no Marine paid him any heed when he came in, instead focusing all their attention on Burke.
Lastly came the woman.
She wasn't beautiful, but was certainly comely.
Tall, taller even than Boomer, she was just as thin, easily seen even through her loose clothing.
She had a full head of thick, curly dark hair, a bit longer than shoulder-length.
But what held Jame's attention was her face.
It had a mask of pure terror on it, her gaze stopping on each and every hole on the floor, every visible acid mark.
She was shaking and clearly didn't want to be there.

James rose to his full height again, the action having the same effect with the new arrivals as it had had with the Marines, Burke's expression even mellowing a bit as he looked at the huge, Alien tail-wielding giant of a man standing before him.

“You've seen these things and what they can do before, haven't you?” James asked the female, looking her in the eyes.

“Y... Yes!” Came the hesitant answer, her expression having answered the question for her before she had even spoken the words.

“Listen, pal,” Burke said, not wanting to lose control, “She's not the one you should worry about.” He said.
“I'm the one in charge here, not her.” He added, his tone almost menacing.

“If you say so.” James answered nonchalantly.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Burke?” He asked.

The fact he knew Burke's name surprised the man, and James saw he was becoming slightly nervous.

“You can start by explaining what the hell you are doing here.
This is private property.” He said.

“As I told your Sergeant, we are here because our ship needs repairs, and we were hoping to find suitable materials here.
But then, we noticed that the place seemed empty, and everyone was gone.
We found only this little girl,” He said pointing at Newt, “ who told us what had happened here.
The creatures she's seen before,” He said indicating the dark haired woman, “apparently kidnapped all the people and took them to the maintenance levels of the Processing Plant, where they stuck them in a wall and kept them there to be impregnated by these creatures.
They tried to do the same to me.
They failed.” He said simply.

“Where are these creatures now?” Asked Burke, trying to display aloofness.
The dark haired woman tensed at the question, eagerly awaiting an answer.

“Most of them have been killed, including their Queen.
The rest pursued me in the tunnels, but they left me alone when I killed half a dozen of them.
They may be regrouping and trying to find alternate strategies of attack.
They appeared very adaptive when I fought them.”

He saw the dark haired female gasp, and look at him more closely.
He saw hope in her eyes, hope of what he couldn't say, but it was there.
And there was some relief as well, as if hearing the new these creatures could be killed by humans was the best she had heard in her life.
James decided he had to learn what had happened to her before he left.

“On what authority did you decide to destroy these creatures?” Burke asked, almost livid.

“On the authority of one whose life was in danger.” James said stoically.
“They attacked us, we were forced to defend ourselves.
Might I remind you again that we were also trying to ascertain the whereabouts and situation of your employees, the people who lived here and were killed?
The people you so clearly seem worried about.” James finished.

That seemed to take some of the bluster out of the man, although he still looked at James with angry eyes.

“What's the problem, Burke?” The dark haired woman asked, her voice finally returned.
“You told me we were coming here to destroy those things.
These people destroyed most of them, you should be happy, damn it, I know I am.”

“Ripley,” Burke replied, “You don't understand the situation.
These creatures are living beings, we can't just exterminate them as we please.”

“THEY DO IT TO US!” Ripley almost yelled.
“You don't understand what these creatures can do, Burke.
One of them killed almost all our crew on the Nostromo, imagine what an entire nest could do.”
She was almost hysterical as she finished talking.

“Well, our friend here says he killed half a dozen by himself, so I guess they're not so tough after all.” Burke said lightly.
“Or our friend is exaggerating a bit...” He trailed off the last sentence, looking at James defiantly.

“Well, if you would care to take your head out of your ass, and examine your surroundings, you'll notice that there are a lot of acid holes in here, as well as on our armor.”
Some Marines smiled at James's words, a clear indication they didn't like the weaselly Burke either, probably even less than their Lt.
“One creature can't produce enough blood to create all these holes.
And the reason we're so efficient in killing them is because our weapons and armors are very, very efficient.
And I agree with Ripley: these creatures should not be left alive.
They are parasites, very dangerous parasites that can't be controlled.”

“Well, it doesn't matter what you think,” Burke said smugly, “you don't own this installation, and according to space law, since this colony is ours, we decide what to do with everything on it.”

“That's fine by me,” James said, “So why can't you accept that these creatures are so dangerous?” He asked.

“Because according to the colony logs, the first colonist was infected in grid 26 Alpha.” Banner's voice weakly said.
“And according to those same logs, he's the one who sent the colonists out to that grid, the directive dating six-twelve-seventy-nine, and it was signed by one Burke, J.” He finished.

“What?” Said a panicked Burke.
“What the hell is he talking about?”

“YOU SON OF A BITCH!” Yelled Ripley.
“You sent them to their deaths.”

“What? You're going to believe someone you don't even know?” Burke said, trying to salvage the situation.
“They have no proof, all the station's terminals are smashed, unusable.
Who says these guys didn't bring the people to the Aliens, hun?”

James looked straight at the man and took a small step forward, eliciting a reaction from the Marines, who tensed a bit and all pointed their guns towards him.

“Are you saying we are lying?” He asked, his voice icy cold.
He took another step forward, always ignoring the Marines, always staring at Burke.
“Or perhaps you are calling us murderers.”
His tone was deadly calm, daring Burke to respond affirmatively to his statement.
Burke took a step back, a single bead of sweat rolling down his temple.

“Look, I'm not accusing anyone of anything, okay?” He said nervously.
“I'm simply pointing out that there isn't any proof of any wrongdoing.”

But nobody was buying his excuse.
The Marines looked at him in disgust, even their Lt.
And Ripley was livid.

“You piece of shit.
You sent them out there and you didn't even warn them, Burke.
Why didn't you warn them?” She asked, full of fury.

Seeing he could no longer deny it, he looked at his feet, and answered in a subdued tone.
“Look, maybe the thing didn't even exist, right?
And if I'd made it a major security situation, the Administration would've stepped in.
Then no exclusive rights, nothing.” He said, his manner almost dismissive.
“It was a bad call, that's all.”

“For money?” She asked, incredulous.
“You justify killing one hundred and fifty eight people for money?
The company's going to nail your hide to the shed, Burke, and I'll be there when they do.”

“The company's not going to do anything, Ripley, because they endorsed this.” Burke said.
“And you won't say anything because I'm in control here, and I decide what happens.”

Ripley was about to jump Burke then and there, but the Lt intervened and blocked her path.

“Gorman,” Called Burke, “Arrest her and have your men arrest those people for trepassing and destruction of private property, after Commerce Code regulation 18967.” He finished with assurance.

The Marines seemed unsure of what to do, which irritated Burke, but one look to Gorman was sufficient.

“Marines, do as he says.” A struggling Gorman said.

“Well, you heard the man!” Apone barked.
“Arrest these people, and secure the little girl.”

The Marines slowly moved towards the MACOs and Newt, the one called Apone going for James.
“Aw man, this sucks!” Said Hudson.
“We're not supposed to be on the side of the bad guys, Sarge.”

“Of Course not, Cabron,” Said the point woman proudly, “We're the baddest of them all.”

“Hudson and Vasquez, shut up and do your jobs.” Apone said, and Hudson did indeed shut up.

The Marines were about to put handcuffs on his team just as Apone was about to cuff James.
He had decided not to do anything for the moment, to see where this was going, but then Burke decided to rub it in.

“You see, Ripley, there's nothing you or your friends here can do about anything, because I'm in full control of the situation.” He finished with a grin.

James look Burke straight in the eyes, smiled, and then he moved.

As Apone's left hand was reaching for his handcuffs, James's right hand, fingers extended, moved downward past the rifle then curved upward to the right, bringing the rifle's barrel in a circling arc to finally point at the ceiling, his left leg kicked Apone hard enough to crack his chest armor.
While Apone's body was floating through the air, James went for Gorman.
He was reaching him as his actions started getting noticed by everyone but Boomer, because she had seen him move a fraction of a second before the others.
As he reached Gorman's back, his left hand went under the man's left arm, and it gripped his throat, while his right hand first un-holstered the man's pistol before coming up and under his right arm to touch Gorman's jaw with its muzzle.
As his actions slowed down to normal speeds, Apone's body impacted an upturned desk, crumpling him in a heap on the floor, and Boomer had seized Vasquez's machine gun with her right hand, and had smashed her left elbow down on the arms of the woman with enough force to break Vasquez's right forearm and the harness's buckles.
Gripping the machine gun with her left hand, she brought the barrel of the weapon up in Vasquez's face, knocking her out, right before her right foot came up to kick at the other point man's machine gun, pinning it to a wall.
Before the man could do anything else, he was facing the muzzle of his partner's weapon.

Not wanting to be left out, Doc had used the attention Boomer was getting to sidestep to the left of Hudson, knee him in the groin while his left hand clamped down on the man's rifle to point to the floor and his right hand gently rested his huge combat knife on his throat.

James looked around, smiled, and looked at Burke, who looked absolutely terrified.
The only other person in the room who didn't look completely lost was Hicks.
His rifle was aimed directly at James, but his demeanour was far from nervous.
He had the look of a man who was patiently waiting for an opening, a man who was carefully weighing the odds.
James respected the man, and so shifted Gorman around so that his body was shielding him from Hicks.

“Care to repeat that last part again?” He asked Burke with a grin.
The truth always depends on which side of the fence you're standing... ;)
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:57 pm

Chapter 32

“You see Burke,” Said James, “The notion of control is such a fickle one.
One moment you seem to be on top of the world, and the next things are spiraling out of control.” He finished with a smile.
“I should know, it’s how I got here.”
His mouth was forming a half-smile, but his face was definitely mirthless.
“Now, are we going to shoot each other, killing innocent people all because you’re a money loving weasel who’d sell his own mother for profit?
Or are we going to act in civilized manners, put our weapons away and work together to ensure we all get out of here alive?
Make no mistakes, Burke.
If we start shooting, you’re my first target and I can guarantee you I’ll empty this pistol's clip in your ass before anyone else can even fire a single shot.”

Tension was high in the room, everybody ready to act, but no one knowing exactly what to do.
James knew he needed to do something to calm things down before someone decided to do something stupid.
Looking at Hudson, he saw the man was about to realize his worst fears, as the man was looking at Doc, clearly wondering if he should jump him or not.

“Hudson!” James called loudly, pulling the man’s focus towards him, and everyone else’s towards Hudson.
“Calm down and don’t move.
You wouldn’t want to cause unnecessary bloodshed, would you?” He asked.

Hudson looked at James, surprised the big man had even noticed him since he was looking at Burke.
He looked unsure of what to do.

“Sit down, Hudson!” Hicks called out.

“What?” A confused Hudson asked.
“You mean we’re letting them…” He was interrupted by Hicks.

“Sit down NOW, that’s an order, Private.” The man said, not taking his gun off James.

Hudson sat down, Doc letting him go but not taking his eyes off him.
Hicks and James looked at each other, and Hicks gave a quick nod to James, before lowering his weapon.

“What are you doing, Corporal?” Asked a panicked Gorman.

“Saving your life, Sir.” He said with restrained contempt.
“Saving all our lives.”

He signalled to the rest of his men, who all slowly, tentatively lowered their weapons.
James looked at Boomer, simply smiled, and she took her foot off the other pointman’s weapon, lowering her appropriated weapon.

“Doc,” James said looking at his field Medic, “Take a look at their Sergeant and see what you can do for him.”

Doc nodded, sheathed his blade and brought his Med-kit next to Apone.
The sergeant’s pulse was strong, but he was breathing shallow.
Doc’s Tricorder confirmed what he already knew.
James’s kick had cracked the man’s armor and broken five ribs.
Luckily for the Srgt, none of these broken ribs had punctured a lung.
He would be able to tough it out until they could get him to the Musashi’s Sick-Bay for true medical help.

James had let go of Gorman by that time, but had kept the man’s appropriated pistol.
Gorman never asked for it.
He was doing all he could to ignore the fact he had peed in his pants when James had put his gun to his head.

“So what do we do now?” Asked Hicks to James.

“I’ll tell you what we do now,” Burke started, but never finished.

“You’ll shut up, is what you’ll do now.” James told him.
“I hear another word from you we didn’t ask for, and I’ll shut you up personally.”

His gaze let the other man know he was dead serious.
Burke’s shoulders sagged, and he decided he would be better off looking at the floor.

“What we do now, Corporal, is try to reach an understanding.” James began.
“What do you think of Burke’s actions?”

“I think they were the actions of a morally corrupt man, or a murderer.” Hicks replied.
“We cannot, in all conscience, back up those actions.
I don’t care if they court-martial me, I will not follow any orders to back him up.”

Hicks then looked at his teammates, and they all agreed, even if they did hesitantly in some cases.
James was certain he could trust most of them, and he knew that he could trust Hicks.

“What about you, Gorman?” He asked.
“What do you think of Burke’s actions?”

“Well… Ah… I… I think we shouldn’t judge him too quickly…” He started to say.

“THE HELL WE CAN’T!” Ripley interrupted him.
“He voluntarily caused the death of over one-hundred and fifty colonists.
He’s a murderer, there’s no doubt about it.
Your men understand that, why the hell can’t you?
Unless you’re in on this with him…” She let it hang in the air.

“N-no, of course not!” Gorman stammered.

“Great, so it’s settled.” James said, smiling at Ripley.
“Here, you may need it before long.” He said to Gorman, handing him his pistol back.

His eyes were daring Gorman to try anything, but the smaller man knew better then to test James’s resolve.

“Ok, then, Corporal, since I’m a Major, you won’t mind if I take control of the operations here?” He asked Hicks, pointedly ignoring Gorman.
Hicks shook his head.
“Great.
First thing we need to do is make sure our wounded are able to move.
We need to get them to our ships, and then get the frag out of here.
The creatures that remain will surely come back…”

And then he didn’t have time to finish his sentence.
The ceiling of the Medical bay collapsed, raining metal grating and struts on them, as well as Aliens.
One Alien grabbed the male pointman and lifted him up through the ceiling.
The man’s reflex action had him depress the trigger of his machine gun, hosing the room randomly, lead flying everywhere.

James saw Boomer going down under the lead barrage, as well as Vasquez, Apone, and two other Marines.
Before he could move towards Boomer to see if she was alive, two creatures dropped in front of him.
Before they could do anything, he grabbed the whip at his belt and uncoiled it in an attack move.
The bladed end flew straight through the head of one creature, but when he tried to pull it out the entire creature followed, as the blade had snagged itself on one of the Alien’s backrib.
The second creature went straight for him and jumped.
He caught its head under the jaw with his left hand, the right hand finding purchase on its neck.
It thrashed and tried to claw him to death, but his right shin was up and deflecting many of the dangerous claw attacks.
He saw Newt out of the corner of his eyes slowly crawling towards Boomer, crying, and also saw one creature stalking the girl.
He knew he wouldn’t get to her in time, and saw that all his teammates and the surviving Marines were fighting for their lives.
As the creature was less than two feet away from the small girl, it got wacked in the head with the same bar Doc had used on another creature earlier.
Only it wasn’t Doc that was wielding it.

“GET AWAY FROMHER YOU BITCH!” Shouted Ripley, coming around the creature and standing in front of it.
She swung again and hit the Alien’s head once more, barely forcing it back.
Then its tail whipped around it and went straight at Ripley’s abdomen.
But it was stopped a mere inch away by a bloody hand coming up from the floor.
Boomer struggled against the creature, but she was too weak from her wounds, and so it was able to free itself, and it moved around to get a better attack position.
As it was about to jump, its head exploded under a hail of high velocity armor-piercing rounds from Hicks’s rifle.

This action had cost him, though, because another Alien ploughed into him and took him down to the floor.
Its mouth closed on the rifle, preventing Hicks from shooting it as he used his weapon as a shield against the powerful jaws.
Doc tackled the creature, forcing its head sideways, allowing Hicks to wiggle around and get his shotgun.
Heaving in concert, both of them pushing with all their strength, they shoved the Alien a few feet backwards, and before it came back, Hicks shot it point blank.

While Doc and Hicks had been fighting, though, Cpl. Banner had been left unattended.
One creature was circling the battle, making its way towards the wounded man.
James wasn’t going to let that happen.
His right foot pressed against his opponent’s sternum, and he pushed away from him, while both his hand gripped the head tightly and he pulled with all his strength.
He heard some cracking noises, the creature thrashing ever more violently, and then with a sickening crunching sound, the creature’s head detached from its body.
He retracted his foot rapidly to minimize contact with the creature’s blood, and then dropped the head as he moved towards the stalking killer.
As it mounded an upturned cabinet, James’s knife sailed through the air and impaled it in the head, pinning it to the wall.
The rest of the Marines and MACOs were now using their rifles, some newly acquired off of dead Marines, to fire at the incoming Aliens.
It wasn’t long before all were dead or dying, and the surviving Marines let out a loud “Woop!” to show their happiness.
James surveyed the battle scene and noticed that Burke had disappeared, run off to God knows where, and he noticed the Alien he’d impaled on the wall was still moving, it’s body’s nerves making it constantly twitch.
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:45 pm

Chapter 33

The Musashi had been gliding in orbit around the planet when an unknown ship had approached the solar system.
Short range sensors, now online, had detected it, and had ascertained that the ship, in the Musashi’s current predicament, could be a threat, as it sported many powerful Particle Cannons.
The Captain had ordered the Musashi to the planet’s Lagrange point, hoping to confuse the other ship’s sensors, but they had insufficient power to move there.
Cmdr T’Len had proposed a simpler solution.
They would simply vent some plasma around them, the ionized particles from the plasma adding themselves to the radiations from the Nuclear Reactor, creating high sensor distortions, and masking the Musashi from the approaching ship, which they did.
T’Len was confident the other ship could not detect them, and unless they knew to look for the Akira-class vessel, she had surmised visual detection was not likely.

And so, hiding in plain sight, they continued on with their repairs, anxiously waiting for some contact with the MACOs on the ground.
The team had left almost two hours ago, and they should have reported back in more than thirty minutes earlier, but hadn’t.
While Captain Kirkinger and Cmdr Teramak had full confidence in the team’s capabilities –and their leader’s- , they were still getting worried somewhat.

When the newly arrived ship had acquired geo-stationary orbit around the planet, and had launched a small ship towards the surface, Captain Kirkinger had Teramak try once more to contact the MACOs, while pushing T’Len to boost sensor efficiency, allowing the Transporters to be used.
They had no success with either attempt.

“Damnit James!” Captain Kirkinger said under his breath, “What the hell’s happening down there?”

**********************************************************

As the fight died down, James realized that the Colonial Marines, as well as Ripley, were staring at him in dumbfounded awe.
While he had moved too fast for any of them to truly see him in action, they could easily retrace his steps by looking at the destruction left in his wake.

“Holy shit!” Hudson said, almost whispering, while he was helping Hicks with Gorman who’d been injured in the fight.
“That man is one baaaaad ass-kicking Mofo.”

“Stow it, Hudson!” Hicks said, shutting up the other man.

Hicks then looked at James, nodded respectfully at the big man, and said:
“We need to jump this place, pronto.
Let’s gather our wounded and go.”

No one argued with him, and so they moved.
They quickly gathered their injured teammates, James cradling Boomer’s injured form in his arms while Cpl Banner had been slung on his back and tied there by Doc.
At first, when Banner had been set on James’s back, Hicks had approached Boomer as if to carry her back outside the compound, but a quick “No, I’ll take her!” from James, the tone indicating there would be no discussion, had settled it.
Doubt was in the surviving Marines’ eyes, and James could see they thought he’d slow them down.
But then he’d gotten up with Banner, the man’s weight bothering him less than Newt’s in Ripley’s arms, the doubt began to vanish.
And when he picked Boomer up, again with no noticeable strain in his face, they all realized how lucky they were that Hicks’s level-headedness had prevailed, because here was clear proof James’s threat to Burke had not been a threat, but a simple promise the huge man would have had no problem keeping.

The group went forward, Hicks up front with Doc, and Privates Heyes and Wilson at the rear.
Of the four, only Hicks was unharmed, with only a scratch on his left cheek to show for the fight against the Aliens.
The other three clearly had been through the hell, running on their remaining adrenalin and Starfleet Medical stimulants.
It was a testament to their training that their vigilance was still up, and their formations still intact.
The survivors quickly covered ground, for they did not want to fight against those creatures again.
Even James feared another encounter, for he held himself up by pure willpower at that point, the additional wounds he’d amassed in his three battles more than overloading his Pain Compensators.
He was sure Hicks had noticed at one point a crack in James’s resolve, but the man had simply given the all-clear signal, and had continued on point with Doc.

After ten minutes or so, with Boomer’s pulse weakening continually, James’s had urged the others to increase their pace, and they did.
Once outside, since the MACOs had the more injured members of the two teams, it was decided they would first go to the Raptor to communicate with the Musashi, in the hopes of getting help fast.

They got to the Raptor, Doc leading the way.
As he opened the door, he stepped on something slimy and almost fell off.
He opened the Raptor’s door and stepped aside to let James climb in and lay Boomer on the cabin floor.
As James started climbing, a dark big shape lunged at him.
As he pushed Doc away, letting Boomer drop to the Raptor’s wing, the Alien grabbed the big man by the shoulders and tried to bite him.
But even weakened as he was, James was still alert.
He grabbed the creature’s head in both hands, and through pure strength, he pushed it far enough back that its smaller mouth, when it came out, snapped a few centimetres in front of his face.
Boomer was rolling off the Raptor’s wing when Heyes dived for her and cushioned her fall with his body, his breath being forced out completely by the impact.

James was holding the snapping jaws at bay, but he knew time was against him, as he was starting to weaken from all his accumulated wounds, and transporting two people over such a distance.
Hicks was trying to get a clear shot, but James and the creature were struggling in the doorway of the Raptor, cutting off Hick’s opportunities to shoot the creature with his shotgun.
James was thinking of a possible maneuver offering Hicks that chance when he felt immense pain coming from his abdomen.
Looking down, he saw the Alien’s tail wiggling in his stomach, trying to come out, but James found it strange that he couldn’t see the end of the tail, until understanding dawned on him: he’d been stabbed, and by the sensations he felt at the base of his spine, and the moaning of Banner on his back, the tail had gone straight through and had impaled the Cpl as well.
He felt himself weaken a bit, the snapping jaws coming ever closer to his face, his augmented ears barely hearing Hicks’s cries of “move over, move over so I can shoot it!”
He thought of letting go, the pain he felt was unbearable, and he knew he had done his best.
He thought of his friends in Seattle, wondering where he was, he thought of his new friends on the Musashi, of Boomer, of Newt, poor little Newt, who’se parents had been killed by these creatures.
Anger, righteous fury rose up in him, clearing his head.
As his eyes came back up to look at those snapping jaws, ready to tear his face apart, knowing it would most likely try to do the same to his friends if he let it, James silently told the heavens to go frag themselves.
As the mouth was less than a centimetre from his face, it stopped, and then powerful arms, muscles bulging under the strain, slowly starting to push it back.
The pain in his stomach no longer mattered.
The pain in his back no longer mattered.
All his previous wounds no longer mattered in James’s mind.
The only thing that mattered was that this creature be stopped, then and there, that he could ensure his friends’ safe return to the Musashi, even if it was the last thing he did.
A guttural growl came out of his mouth as every ounce of strength he had was used to push the head away.
Once the jaws were no longer a threat, he gripped the creature’s head solidly, and started twisting it, slowly forcing it in a 180 degree arc.
The creature started flailing, the tail came out and stabbed him, again and again, but still James was pushing.
At one point his throat was slashed open, gushing blood on the Raptor’s wing, but still James was pushing.
The loud cracking of failing vertebrae accompanied his fall in darkness, satisfaction at having achieved his friends’ safety the only thing on his mind.


****************************************************************

He was quickly making his way far from the dangerous, hulking man and his team of commandos, running in the colony’s corridors to what he hoped what an exit.
As he rounded a bend in a corridor, no longer hearing any gunfire, thinking they were all dead, thinking he could finally capture one of the creatures and make millions in profit, he ran smack dab into his business venture.
He turned around and tried to run, serrated claws gripped his right ankle, severing the Achilles’ heel.
It was only a fraction of a second before realizing the blood-curdling scream he heard was his.
As he continued to scream, he was pulled in the darkness of a crawl tunnel, never to be heard of again.
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:47 pm

Chapter 34

Pain called him back to consciousness and with that pain also came the realization he wasn’t dead, even though he was sure death would be less painful.
He bemoaned the fact that, since that fateful day when he appeared on the Musashi, he had never been hurt so much, had never suffered so many wounds in such short time.
He felt weak and nauseous, and his mind was filled with cobwebs he just couldn’t seem to shake off.
He opened his eyes and light assaulted them, and he would have been blinded if not for his Flare Compensators.
His ears were filled with sounds, mostly some sort of vacuum working overtime, and once in a while he could hear some beeping sound coming through.

“Okay, keep this wound clean.” He heard an angelic voice say.
“I’ll need the auto-suturator to close the gap in his bladder.”

“Nurse, watch his pulse,” A male voice said, “It’s getting a bit high.”

“Damnit!” He heard the angel speak again, “He’s awake!
Increase sedative dosage to 150%.
His damn toxin filters are clearing his system of it.”

A few seconds later, he felt himself falling in a deep, relaxing pit, where pain faded away and was forgotten, like a bad nightmare.

*********************************************************************

He came to feeling refreshed and fully rested, and realized he hadn’t felt like that in a long while.
He felt a hand on his arm, and when he looked up he saw Valis standing there, smiling.
His heart beat faster, and he smiled at her.

“How do you feel?” She asked gently.

“Great!” He said, looking straight in her eyes.

“You had us scared for a while there, James.
We didn’t know if you were going to make it when you arrived with Boomer.”

Boomer.
He looked at Valis and asked in a concerned voice:
“Is she alright?”

Valis smiled, took a step to the left, and pointed at a Bio-bed next to his.

“Why don’t you ask her?” She said.
“Take it easy on her though, as she doesn’t heal quite as fast as you.”

James sat up and was about to stand when he stopped, and quickly checked under the bed sheets to make sure he had some pants on - eliciting a grin from Valis- and was glad to see he had loose fitting Starfleet medical garments.

“Don’t worry James, you won’t embarrass any nurses here… unfortunately!” She added as an afterthought.

James knew he was blushing a bit, but he just smiled, stood up and went over to Boomer’s bed.
Valis walked by and patted him on the arm, then said she had some more work to do, and that she would see him later.

As he approached the bed, he saw Boomer was awake, and it was clear she had heard the conversation because she silently mouthed:
“Are you wearing pants, for me?” Which was followed by a wide grin.
There was pain though in that grin, James noticed, and looking at the displays and the contraptions next to the bed, it was clear Boomer was still being treated with painkillers.

“How are you feeling?” He asked her.

“Better than you look.” She answered weakly, grinning even wider.
“Seriously though, I’ve felt better.”

“Yeah, getting filled with lead will do that to someone.” He replied.
“I’m just glad you survived, else I would have had to find someone else to annoy me on the team.” He finished with a smile.

“Thanks for saving me, James.” Boomer said seriously, grabbing his hand.
“For the first time in my life, I was afraid I was truly going to die.
It wasn’t a good feeling.
But my mortality allows me to savor this moment, savor the fact I am still among the living, and I owe it all to you.”

James looked at Boomer in silence for a while, holding her hand in comfort, just wanting her to know he was also very glad she was still alive.
Then he thought of the other member of their team who’d been critically injured, and worry crossed his face.
Boomer picked up on it instantly, and simply shook her head slightly.
“Banner didn’t make it.” She said silently.
They both let silence be their companion for a while, oblivious to their surroundings, thinking of their fallen comrade.
Oblivious to Valis’s many looks in their direction, and her concerned face when she looked at James.

They were interrupted some time later when the doors to Sick-Bay opened, and a man let out:
“Holy shit, I thought the armor was what made him look so big.”
As he looked up, he saw Hudson, Hicks, Ripley and Newt coming in.
Newt ran to him and jumped in his arms, a wide, happy smile in her face.

“I knew they couldn’t kill you, I knew it.” She said.
She looked at the others who’d come in:
“These guys said you could die, but I told them you promised me you’d never leave and that, that neither of you never broke your promises, and that you ate monsters for breakfast.”

She grabbed on to James’s neck and squeezed with all her strength, giggling madly while doing it.
And when she was done, she looked down at Boomer and extended her arms towards her, so James bent forward to bring her closer, and then she did the same thing to Boomer.
Her injuries brought a gasp of pain from Boomer, but she didn’t say anything, and simply basked in the joy radiating from Newt.
Eventually, perhaps fearing she would choke Boomer to death, Newt let go, and asked to sit on the bed next to her.

The others were standing next to the bed by that point.

“Sorry about your teammate.” Hicks said soberly.

“Sorry about yours. I wish we could have saved them all.” He replied somberly.

“Hey, if it wasn’t for you, none of us would have made it out alive.” Hicks countered.
“Thanks!” He offered his hand.

James took it and gave him a firm shake, but made sure he didn’t put too much pressure so the handshake wouldn’t turn in a contest.

“Yeah, thanks man!” Hudson said, offering his hand as well.
“Just don’t crush my hand, ok?” he said, grinning.

James squeezed just a bit harder than for Hicks, and saw Hudson’s arm twitch.

“Oh shit! Damn you’re strong!” He said, massaging his hand while everyone else laughed.

“I also want to thank you and Sharon.” Ripley said, taking a step forward.
“And also your Captain.”

“What for?” James asked with curiosity.

“Didn’t you know?” She replied.
“He destroyed the installation and any construct close to it with your particle weapons a few hours ago.”

“Yeah!” Newt said.
“All the monsters were esploded.” She added happily.

“How long have I been out?” He asked.

“Roughly twenty hours or so.” Was Hicks’s reply.
“Although I’m surprised to see you standing with less than a day of care, after what you’ve been through.
You should be in bed, like Boomer.”

“I heal quickly.” He said, and no one doubted it.
“Here’s something else that bothers me: how did I get here in time for help?
Neither I nor Boomer should have survived the flight back up to the Musashi.”

“That’s my fault!” Came a voice from the doorway.

Doc came in, clearly happy at seeing James up and about.
“I see you’ve taken to wearing pants in the infirmary now.” He said.

The others looked at James quizzically, except for Newt who didn’t understand what the grownups were talking about.

“You were saying, about the reason we’re here and alive, and you’re about not to be?” James said, folding his massive arms across his chest.

Doc only smiled at the threat, knowing his commanding officer too well to be afraid, unlike Hudson who had taken a step back at James’s reply.

“Once you so politely told the last creature to look the other way, as it was, I contacted the Musashi, and told them of our situation.” He began.
“Lo and behold, our Captain let me know the ship’s ever capable Chief Engineer had re-established main power hours ahead of schedule, and had successfully programmed the Transporters to compensate for the radiations.
They beamed you directly to Sick-bay, the original Raptor’s pilot to us, and we took the long way back to the Musashi, while our friends went back to their ship.”

“Which reminds me,” Hicks said, “Sgt Apone sends his thanks, twice.”

“Twice?” James asked, intrigued.

“Yeah,” Hudson replied for Hicks, “Once for not killing him and the second for saving his life afterwards.” He finished laughing.
“He was… Transported here as well, and was quickly treated.
We were all surprised when he appeared on our ship, fully healed, fully operational after only hours of treatment for fractured ribs and a concussion.
You could’a kept him a while longer, you know.” He added with a grin, which he dropped after seeing Hicks’s face.

“And Gorman also said to thank you guys for the same reasons.” Hicks completed, with a small smile he made sure to hide from Hudson.

“So,” James began, “What are your plans now?”

“Well,” Hicks answered, “We’ll start by going back to our ship, and talk about how to inform the company of what happened here.
I guess they’re not going to be too happy.
It’s highly possible we’ll all get court-martia…”

He never got to finish his sentence, as all the lights and instruments failed at the same time, the ship started shaking and creaking, again with some loud cracking noises, and then a familiar sense of nothingness, before power slowly returned to the Sickbay systems.

“What the hell happened?” Hicks asked, surprised.

“You may have to rethink your plans…” James answered.
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:48 pm

Chapter 35

James sighed, and went to a wall communicator.

“Bridge,” James said pressing on the communicator button, “This is Major Reynolds from Sickbay.”
He sighed again, as if he didn’t want to ask the question he needed to.
“Where are we now?”

“Major, this is the bridge.” Replied an unknown voice.
“We have no clue at the moment, but the Captain will most assuredly let you know as soon as it’s possible. Bridge out!”

That exchange raised the stress level of the colonials present in Sickbay.
They looked at each other, making sure they had all understood the same implied event.
It was Hicks, their new appointed leader since the Alien encounters it seemed, who asked James the question that was burning their lips.

“Major, what exactly do you mean by: Where are we now?” He asked with apprehension.

James looked at them, apologetic, feeling once more as if other’s lives had been ruined because of him, and he explained everything as quickly as he could, showing them reports and scans as proof when he felt they were needed.

“So all of this is your fault?” Hudson asked accusingly an hour later.

“Hudson, stow it!” Hicks said, not wanting to aggravate James.

“No, it’s ok, Corporal,” James started, “He’s right, all of it’s my fault.
If the Musashi’s crew hadn’t tried to help me and send me back, none of this would have happened.”

Hicks looked at James straight in his eyes.

“Major, permission to speak freely.” He asked.

“Corporal, I’m not your commanding officer, you can say whatever you want.” A surprised James replied.

“Great, then let me say this to you: For a guy who runs head first in danger to help out friends and colleagues, hell anyone who’s in danger, you sure like to feel sorry for yourself!” Hicks said, defiantly.
“Seems to me, if what you said is true –and the way you’ve conducted yourself since I met you, I sure as hell believe it is- then the Musashi’s Captain offered his help, you didn’t coerce it from him, and you’re certainly not responsible for all these jumps, let alone the first one.
And from where I’m standing, Major, I’m sure as hell happy you were there when we went in the colony, or you might be dressed down by a corpse right now, and if you were to ask this Admiral Adama you mentioned, I’m pretty sure he praises the day you and the Musashi appeared in their lives.”
He had a full head of steam, and clearly wasn’t going to let go now.
“Now, I’m not a religious man, but have you ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, all your travels are for a reason?
That maybe this has been your destiny from day one?
That you were destined to travel through all these realities in order to help people and improve their lives, just like you’ve been doing?
That maybe your destiny and the Musashi’s crew’s are entertwined?
I’m not a religious man, but with all that has happened to you, I sure would start believing in some higher power.”

James didn’t know what to say, how to reply to Hicks.
He looked at everyone, trying to read their faces, to see if they shared Hicks’s feelings.
Doc was smiling, nodding, Ripley simply looked at him like he was an idiot for not realizing this, while Hudson, so vocal in blaming him, was suddenly looking at the floor, face flushed red, as if he realized how true Hicks’s explanation was.
James heard Boomer say, low enough so only he could hear with his enhanced hearing:

“I’m glad you appeared in my life, you big idiot.
All your brains and you can’t even realize such a simple truth.
You should ask the Doctor to examine you, your head must have been damaged in the fighting.”

He could hear the mirth in her voice as she said every word.
But the strongest argument in favour of James’s presence being a good thing was Newt jumping down from Boomer’s bed, running towards him and again, jumping in his arms.

“I don’t want to lose you, Mr. James.” She said, looking in his eyes with her innocent blue marbles.

“Well,” Said James, emotion tight in his throat, “I guess you won’t have to worry about that anymore, because it seems we’re all stuck together for a while, whether we like it or not.” He finished, looking at Hudson.

The moment was broken by a communicator chirping, and then James heard Captain Kirkinger’s voice over the comm.

“Captain Kirkinger to Major Reynolds.” The authoritative voice said.
“Please come and see me in my Ready Room at once, and bring our guests with you.
It seems the Musashi’s family has grown again, Major.”

“On my way, Sir!” Was James’s reply.

Before he could go, Valis came up to him and said:
“You may want to put some clothes on before you go, Major.
We wouldn’t want the Captain to put our MACO leader in the Brig for indecent exposure.” She said smiling.

James looked at Valis, slightly embarrassed.
He sent the others ahead with Doc leading the way, and then went to replicate some clothing.
After getting dressed, he went to the door, but as he passed by Valis, she stopped him with a hand on his chest.

“I’m very happy that you came into our lives, James Reynolds from Seattle, don’t you ever doubt that.” She said, putting emphasis on the word “very”.

James smiled, put his hand over hers and held it there for a second, and then he left.
He moved quickly, with purpose, wanting to know what was happening to the ship and where they were.
He arrived on the bridge as the group was entering the Captain’s Ready Room.
He saluted a few people on the bridge and he entered silently right as the doors were closing.
Captain Kirkinger looked up from a Padd at the group coming in, Teramak doing the same.

“Ah, I see you’re all here.” He said, eliciting surprised looks from everyone but James.

“Yes sir, we’re eager to learn what has happened.” James said with a smile, startling the group.
Doc looked at James, smiled while shaking his head, and then invited the group to the table.
They were all still looking at James, wondering how such a massive man could move so silently.
Newt was in simple admiration of her own monster eater, James could see.
He sat down and took the Padd Teramak handed him.
He scanned it quickly while the Captain started explaining what had happened.

“As James most likely guessed, our wonderful Orb of the Prophets has activated again, and threw us across time and space to God only knows where and when.
As with the last time, sensors were down and the Musashi was damaged by the shift, but since repairs to the main systems were already done, we are in a better shape then when we arrived at the Colony planet.”
He looked at the Colonials.
“Are you aware of what happened to us before?”

“We are,” Hicks replied, “Major Reynolds informed us of the main events in Sickbay.”

“So you know we unable, at this time at least, to recreate these events and take you back to your reality?” Kirkinger asked gently.

“We do, Captain.” Said Hicks, somewhat resigned.
“But we were also told that you were looking for a way to do so, and seeing the incredible technology you have at your disposal, I think it’s safe to say we will keep our hopes that you will succeed.”

“If I may,” Ripley began, “There’s nothing for me anymore in my reality, Captain.
I really don’t care if I go back one way or the other.” She finished soberly.

“And I don’t want to go back either.” Said a resolute Newt.
“Boomer and Mr. James protect me, and they promised they wouldn’t leave me, and they never break their promise.”
She looked at the Captain, daring him to contradict her.

“Well, I guess we can’t argue with that, now, can we Major Reynolds?” Kirkinger said, smiling.
“But you will all have to pull your weight on the Musashi, I’m afraid.
The ship has been hit hard, and we need help to keep it in shape.”

Ripley looked around, and all nodded, including Newt.

“We’ll be glad to help any way we can, Captain.” She said.
“I was a Warrant Officer on my first ship, and more recently, a loader driver.
I’m sure I’ll be able to find a way to help.”

“As for us,” Hicks said, “I believe we’d be very useful as part of Major Reynolds’s team.
The recent events unfortunately cost the Major a teammate, and another one is still in the infirmary.
I’d be happy to offer my services to the Major, if he’ll have me.”
He looked at Hudson.
“What about you, Hudson?”

“Hell yeah, I’m in.” Hudson said with enthusiasm.
“I apologize for my accusations earlier, Major, and if you’ll forgive me, I think I can be a good addition to your team.”

“Well?” Captain Kirkinger asked, looking at James.
“What do you say, Major?”

“I all can say is, I’d be very stupid not to take them in my team, Captain.” James said honestly.
“I’ve seen them fight, and while Hudson seemed skittish at first, and definitely is a loudmouth, he can pull his weight in a fight and would indeed be a good addition to my team.
As for the Corporal, every team needs someone with ice in their veins during a fight, and I’ve rarely seen cooler under fire.
Gentlemen,” James said, standing up and saluting, “Welcome to the MACOs.”

Both Hicks and Hudson imitated James, and less than a second later, Newt did too.
“I wanna be in your team too,” She said, “Just like Boomer.”

James smiled, unsure of how to gently refuse the child’s request without hurting her feelings.
The Captain was quicker than him.

“You already do, Newt.” He said.
“You are the one in charge of making sure the MACOs in Sickbay are properly cared for.
Right now, I’m pretty sure Boomer would love company down there to help her heal.”

Newt beamed at the Captain’s words.
She looked at him, and said:
“Yes, Sir!
I will go there right now to help her, Sir!”

She turned around, and bounded towards the Ready Room’s doors.
James nodded for Doc to follow her, and he did, taking the lead, and making sure the little girl would get to Sickbay and not get lost on the ship.

“Now, then, “Kirkinger began, “Sensor sweeps twenty minutes ago showed us in orbit of a planet.
Unlike the first two times, this planet is a Gas Giant, around Jupiter’s size.
What held our attention, however, is the immense Ring which is also in orbit around the planet.
This ring has a diameter of ten thousand kilometres, is eight kilometres deep, and forty-five kilometres wide.
The inside of the ring contains a class-M environment with different parts of the ring having different types of ecosystems, as well as different climates.”

“Captain,” James started hesitantly, “Are you saying we are in the presence of some sort of… Dyson ring?”
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:49 pm

Chapter 36

“You are familiar with the concept, Major?” Asked the Captain, surprised.

“I read a lot.” Answered James.

“Well, I don’t.” Said Hicks.
“What’s a Dyson Ring?”

“An old Earth scientist, Freeman Dyson, once hypothesized about such structures existing.” Captain Kirkinger began.
“A Dyson sphere, the original concept, is a hypothetical Megastructure. Such a "sphere" would be a system of orbiting Space-based solar power meant to completely encompass a Star and capture most or all of its energy output. Dyson speculated that such structures would be the logical consequence of the long-term survival and escalating energy needs of a technological civilization, and proposed that searching for evidence of the existence of such structures might lead to the detection of advanced intelligent Extraterrestrial life.”

“It was long thought to be something that could exist only in someone’s imagination, at least up until the 2050s.” James added.
“And I would have thought it was the same for your society as well, Captain, but your lack of enthusiasm at the discovery of something potentially new to Starfleet, leads me to believe this isn’t the case.”

“And you are right, as usual.” Said the Captain.
“Starfleet encountered an honest to God Dyson Sphere at Stardate 46125.3, or April 2369.
A Federation ship had crashed on its outer shell, and the Enterprise, under Captain Picard, had to go to its rescue.
The situation is similar here, because we’ve also detected a crashed ship on its interior surface, and have received many distress signals close to the crash site.
Our sensors also detected strong energy pulses which are apparently shot from one end of the structure to the other.
The emitters for those pulses are close to some of those Lifepods, but their energy interferes with our sensors, so we can’t say if there are any more pods close to them. ”

“Let me guess: our mission, if we so choose to accept it, is to go down to that interior surface close to the crash site, and find the survivors, if there are any.
Correct?” James asked.

It was Teramak who answered.

“Correct about the mission, wrong about having a choice.” He said, smiling.
“We’ve scanned the area around the crash site, and detected many smaller crafts which we assumed were lifepods.
The interesting thing about those lifepods is that all life signs are human.
So approach should be easier.
We’ve selected the coordinates of a lifepod closest to the crashed ship.
Find the survivors, if there are any, and get some info about that ship.
Maybe some of their technology can help in the Musashi’s repairs.
The Transporters have been repaired, so you will be transported to the surface of the ring in order to save time.”

“Yes sir, I’ll assemble my team immediately.” James said, getting up.

He signalled Hudson and Hicks and left the Ready Room, where Captain Kirkinger was looking for Ripley’s new role aboard the ship.
He called his team to the planning room – his room – and had to order Boomer to stay in Sickbay and sit the mission out, as she wanted to come despite her injuries.
He introduced the newcomers to the MACOs, renewed their equipment stock, and showed Hicks and Hudson how Starfleet weapons worked.
Since they were less than familiar with energy weapons, he had the Replicator make them rifles from his time period, under his specifications list.
They were happier with the solid slug rifles, and learned all their capabilities quickly, including the aiming mechanism that synchronized the battle field sensors with the electronic aiming equipment of the guns.
This aiming mechanism, called a Smartlink by James, communicated the gun’s aiming spot by placing cross-hairs in their helmet’s visor, greatly improving the aim of any soldier.
James, using Smartlinks often in his missions, had also integrated this capability on the Phasers the MACOs used.
The former Colonial Marines marvelled at the equipment they had access to, far in advance of anything they had ever used.
Once the team was ready ten minutes later, they quickly made their way to the Transporter room, and stepped on the pad.
James could see Hicks’s and Hudson’s faces as their visor wasn’t down yet.
While they had been told what Transporters did, and how safe they were, they seemed apprehensive at the thought of using it.

“Don’t worry guys.” Said James.
“The worst that can happen is you get your face exchanged with your butt.” He explained with a smile.

“Oh, well,” Hicks replied, “No need to worry about it, Hudson, this happened to you at birth.”

The MACOs burst in laugh at that comment, except for Hudson who made a face at Hicks.

“MACOs, mount up!” James called, and they all got on the Transporter pad, lowering their visors in unison.

They were disassembled into their constituent particles, added to an energy stream, and then transmitted to the ring’s interior surface, where they were re-assembled, straight on target.
As their forms coalesced back into their natural solid states, their cognitive functions began to decipher their surroundings.
They were in a mountain range, they could see, as they were standing on what was clearly a plateau.
Green lawn was under their feet, and they saw trees dotting the landscape, the type of which marked them in a temperate type zone.
Rocks were seen here and there in all sizes.
To their left was a steep wall of rock, almost flat, with an even, unbroken surface.
It rose up easily to a hundred meters, and while it ran only a few dozen meters to its right, it was at least another hundred meters or se to its left, and ended in a mountain.
To their right, the terrain continued for a few meters before dropping straight down in an unknown depth, like a small canyon, and on the other side was a plateau similar to the one they were on.
A small two meters wide stone bridge, clearly artificial, brought both ridges together.
To their back was a tall mountain with no easy climbing path, and they couldn’t see the mountain’s peak.

Their target, however, was right in front of them.
Less than ten meters away, they saw the Lifepod, embedded in the plateau’s soil, its front end crumpled from the impact.
The pod was elongated, without any windows except up front, it seemed.
It was about two meters wide, by two and a half meters tall, and four times that length.
The rear hatch had been sheared off by the crash, and broken bodies lay strewn on the ground around the pod’s rear.
Equipment, such as rifles and First Aid kits were haphazardly lying around the victims of the crash.

“Sheeeeiiiit!” Hudson said over the Comm lines.
“These guys were Colonial Marines, Major.”

“They weren’t, Hudson.” Hicks replied.
“The equipment looks a lot like ours, but their guns have some differences.
Plus I’ve never heard of our Corp having found an extraterrestrial ring. Have you?”

“No, you’re right!” Hudson admitted.

“Well, what is certain is that there are no survivors at this location.” James commented.

But then his helmet’s audio sensors picked up a sound, coming from inside the pod, as if something was slowly moving.
Quietly signalling his team to stand guard and for Hicks to follow, he crept closer to the rear of the pod.
He peered inside, and for a second thought he saw his own reflection, for inside the pod laid an armoured giant, roughly James’s size and girth.
His armor’s Tricorder showed the occupant has human, but for then a force field came up and James could not get another reading on the man.
The giant’s head moved slightly, and settled on James’s armoured form.
He tried to grab a weapon, a heavy pistol reminiscent of the Ares Predator James knew so well, but his grip was too weak, and he dropped it to the pod’s floor grating.
James opened his suits external microphones so the man could hear him.

“Relax,” He said, “I’m not here to hurt you.
I’m Human, just like you.”
James opened his visor so the man could see him.
“You seem hurt, but my team and I cannot help you in such a confined area.
We will try to move you outside.
Will you allow it?”

The man nodded weakly, so James holstered his Phaser Rifle in the special integrated back holster on his armor, and moved to gently lift the man.
As he kneeled down, and took the man in his arms, the armored giant tried to push James’s hands away.
The strength of the man surprised James, for if the man had not been so injured, James firmly believed the man would have been able to push him away.
But as James started lifting him with great difficulty, surprised at the weight of the armor, the other man’s hands froze in mid-push, as if surprised anyone could lift him so.

It took James almost sixty seconds to get the man out of the pod, due to the great weight of the armor and the confined space inside the pod, but once he was out, he quickly set him down in a comfortable position on the ground.
He tried to take the man’s helmet off, but it was sealed, and James could not find a way to unseal it.
In fact, he saw his fingers would not even make actual contact with the armor, as they were apparently repelled by some blue shielding.
All of a sudden, the shield went off, and the helmet’s seals opened up.
James removed the helmet to peer in the bloody face of a man.
This man had short brown hair, brown eyes and a small gap between his two front teeth.
He had square features, the kind one got when they had skeletal enhancements, James had learned some time ago during his own procedure.
The man seemed to whisper something, so James took off his helmet, and leaned in closer.

“What… p-project are you a… p-part of?” The man asked weakly.

James caught on that the man was making the same mistake Hudson had made, and believed the MACOs were part of the same forces as he was, only from a different platoon.

“Can’t tell you.” James answered.

“It’s ok, it’s.. unim… p-portant.” The armoured man replied.
“P-please, s-save the oth… others.
Don’t… don’t let the cov.. ovenent get the… them.
On your… w-word as a sp… Spartan, swear t-to it.” He finished.

James knew he didn’t have time to explain things to the man, and that unless he received immediate medical attention, he would die.

“I swear I will!” He said.

He contacted the Musashi.

“This is Major Reynolds, we have one survivor to beam directly in Sickbay.
He is wearing heavy armor, so you may wish to beam both separately.”
He looked down at the injured Marine.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be in good hands.”

As the man began to dematerialize, cutting off whatever he was going to say, a message came over the MACOs’s Comm systems from the Musashi.

“MACOs, this is the Musashi.” A hurried voice said.
“We detected a ship arriving at the ring, weapons loaded and shields up.
We are in no shape to fight, or even defend ourselves.
We must leave.
I repeat, we must leave.
We will come back for you as soon as possible.
Be aware the ship has dispatched half a dozen smaller ships in your direction.
Good luck!”

“Copy that, Musashi.” James said.
“Good luck to you too!”

James looked up, and thought he saw some shapes coming in fast.
He signalled his men, and the quickly gathered up what could be useful, such as grenades, extra rifles and clips.
To their surprise, when they picked up the rifles, the display on their visor lit up, and cross-hairs appeared to show where they were aiming.
Once they were done acquiring equipment, James looked up and noticed a large ship coming towards them, more than twenty meters long and at least ten meters wide.
It had a central bulb at the back, most likely the pilot’s cabin, and two long “arms” coming forward, starting at each side of the cabin.
The vessel also had four cannons on its underside, and it was coming straight at the MACOs, firing as it swooped in.
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:50 pm

Chapter 37

Energy pulses came at them, forcing them to scatter or be destroyed.
Each pulse hitting the ground impacted like a grenade, each explosion showering the MACOs with dirt and rock chips propelled at high speeds.
Their armors were tough, though, and so none were injured by these explosions, even though some MACOs were propelled in the air by the explosions, landing hard against the ground, Private Heyes hitting a jutting rock hard enough to stun him even through the armor.
James had dived in a tuck and roll when the first pulses had left the alien’s weapon, and had gotten out of his roll and up before the first pulse had hit the ground.
He was surprised at how slow these pulses were, but their danger to the team was fully demonstrated once they had impacted the ground.
As he saw his team members being thrown around like rag dolls by the explosions, he turned around, boosted the power of his Phaser Rifle to level sixteen, and fired as sustained beam at the weapon’s turret on the under belly of the ship.
The turret exploded in a ball of vaporized alloys and plasma, taking half the piloting cockpit with it, and the ship lurched to the right, while the front dove down.
It was going to crash to the ground, that much was certain.
As his team were finding cover, Hicks getting Heyes and helping him get to safety, James lowered the power level of his weapon, as his first shot had depleted half the charge in its power cell, and simply moved away from the crashing site of the ship.
Shortly before impact, the ship released two smaller vessels that were held between its prow “arms”.
It also opened side doors and some passengers jumped out of it, some landing hard, but most floating down as if borne on some invisible air current.
One big creature, at least a foot taller than James, wearing bright blue armor, with a four-mandible face and lower legs like those of birds, simply jumped out of the crashing ship while it was still five meters in the air.
It landed in a crouch, its powerful legs absorbing the impact of the jump as easily as James’s would have.
It looked around at the fallen, smaller aliens, his expression what James thought of as a sneer, and barked something in an unknown tongue.
The smaller aliens got up, and formed a semi-cohesive defensive circle around what was clearly their leader.
Their ship crashed, creating a huge explosion that James felt even through his armor since he was still in the open.
This caught the attention of the big alien and he looked at the crashed vessel, noticing James at the same time.
He pointed at him, and barked another order.

“Grunbkd… Him and … gkortou… sacred ground!”

The Universal Translator had started doing its work, James noticed, but he didn’t have time to ponder this in depth, as the smaller aliens fired their weapons at him.
Their small pistols spat small globes of greenish energy at him, seeming deadly, but moving slow, as the big ship’s weapons had.
James smiled as he quickly sidestepped the bolts, which splashed against a big rock behind him.
The rock exploded in razor sharp shards and hot blobs of melted material, but both were stopped by James’s armor, ensuring his safety.
He returned fire, his finger tapping rapidly three times in a row on the rapid-fire trigger of his Phaser Rifle, each hit producing a small blob of yellow energy that impacted with his targets.
Each of his shot had been a head shot, and so three headless corpses, heads transformed into bluish mist by the Starfleet weapon, fell down on the ground.
The big alien froze for only an instant, and then shouted frantic orders to his troops.

“It is one of the defiler Demons we were warned about. Kill it, destroy it with grenades now.”

It lifted its weapon and fired, the bigger pistol firing smaller pulses more rapidly than the smaller aliens’ weapons.
Still, James’s speed allowed him to plunge down to the ground and roll away before the alien’s gun had even fired one pulse.
They all sailed overhead, the last one passing close to him, and then he was up again, firing at the bigger alien before he could get another bead on him.
Three pulses left his rifle, all three head shots, but to James’s surprise, only one hit, and it was only a glancing hit, as the group’s leader had moved almost as quickly as he did.
And even worse, in James’s eyes, was that the shot had done no damage to the alien, as it had apparently hit a force field that was being projected around the alien’s body.
He wasn’t able to repeat the experience because his opponent had moved behind a boulder to protect himself from James.
He turned to the smaller aliens, and saw one cock his arm for a thrown, a scintillating blue globe of light in his hand.
James’s rifle came up and he fired, hitting the alien square in the stomach, a hit which spun the alien around so that when it weakly released the blue globe, it fell within its own ranks.
All the others spun around and made a run for it.

“Grenade!” Called one loudly.

One of the other aliens running for cover was also holding a scintillating blue globe, which he dropped almost as an afterthought while running.
The first globe quickly pulsated, and then exploded in a powerful blast less than a second later, the second blue globe being detonated in the process.
James was propelled backwards by the resulting explosion, even though he was at least eight meters away.
He felt the heat even through his armor, and noticed that the front of it was blackened by the heat created by the detonation.
He landed on his back hard, lost his rifle, and used the momentum to roll over backwards and jump back up on his feet.
Just in time to see the big blue armoured alien jump over the boulder he hid behind and try to land feet first in James’s face.
Using his enhanced reflexes, he bent back down and formed a bridge with his body, the big alien flying over him.
He got up, turned around and ran at the alien, intent on ramming him.
The alien wasn’t surprised, though, and so it was ready when James made contact with it.
What did surprise it was the strength behind the impact, and the alien had to take two steps back to properly absorb the brunt of James’s attack.
They both struggled for a few seconds, James trying to get a good grip on the alien, the big creature trying not to give him any advantage, but as James finally got his footing, as he started to push the alien back - to its great surprise- it stepped back with its right foot, swung its hip around and flipped him over on his back.
As soon as he hit the ground, James’s left leg came up and over his head in a kick which caught the big creature mid-thigh.
The kick impacted with less strength then he had expected, but he knew why instantly: when his feet had connected with the creature, he noticed a shimmering effect appear, as if some sort of shielding was protecting it.
It did take a step back due to the strength of the kick, though, and so with a quick tuck and release, James was on his feet, although his back was to the creature.
Heard movement, and so, using all the speed he could muster, he took a step forward, jumped and spun, delivering a sweeping mid-air kick that caught the creature by surprise, straight on its jaw.
The shield flickered again and must have been brought down, for James’s kick shattered the creature’s jaws.
James wasted no time in launching a side-kick at the alien as soon as he landed.
The alien partially blocked the kick, but it impact still propelled it back in the air to land on its back.
It recoiled from the kick, howling, anger and frustration clearly apparent in its eyes, and could not believe that a simply human could be that fast, and that strong.
As James was about to move towards his opponent again in the hopes of finishing the fight quickly, plasma rained down on him from above.
None of the shots hit him, but they exploded on the ground all around him, pelleting him with high velocity pebbles and rock shards.
His armor held, but he lost his opponent in the explosions.
He looked up to see what had attacked him, and saw two small violet colored vessels climbing in a sweeping arc, clearly intending to come back in an attack run.
The vessels were no more than four meters long, and from the front looked like a bird trying to acquire uplift, its wings pointing down.
The center of each wing was hollow, and the ships were leaving smoke trails as they moved forward.
He looked around for his weapon, and saw the big blue alien had picked it up and was examining it.
James drew his Manhunter from its leg holster and fired rapidly, the report deafening.
The first two shots were partially stopped by the alien’s shield, but the other four were not.
The creature sprayed violet blood when it spun to the ground in its last death dance.
He raced towards the body while re-holstering his pistol, and dove for his weapon just as the two small vessels started firing again.
They missed him, again, and then he was up on one knee, firing at one of the coming crafts.
His rifle’s pulses impacted directly on the nose of the obviously unshielded craft, which exploded in a rain of shrapnel and damaged parts.
He knew he didn’t have the time to fire at the other vessel, and so he plunged behind a boulder as the craft opened fire.
The boulder’s opposite side was pulverized by the energy blasts, but there remained enough of it intact to protect James from another pass.
But the vessel didn’t get that chance.
From among the trees and behind boulders, myriad pulses and dozens of bullets tore into the small craft, perforating its fuselage and the pilot inside.
It was hit by so many Phaser shots that most of it was vaporized, transforming it in a fiery display akin to firecrackers.

“Laying down on the job, Major?” Asked Doc, smiling, coming out from behind a tree.

“Yeah, I felt like rolling around in the grass.” James replied with a smile of his own.
“Let’s get moving, MACOs.
They might send another welcoming committee with more firepower.”

They all moved quickly, James always careful to pick a speed that the others could follow.

“Be weary of the big ones, by the way, their armor also has a shield.” He told the others while advancing.

“No problem, Major, we’ll leave ’em all for you since you kick so much ass.” Husdon replied.

They crossed the bridge made of rock, which made them realize they were on the edge of the Dyson Ring, and that they could fall off if they were not careful.
They made their way towards the center of the ring by following the other ridge.
A group of aliens were apparently patrolling the area, but the MACOs made quick work of them, James emptying his ManHunter clip in the big creature heading the patrol.
The MACOs were so efficient and intense that one of the smaller creatures had panicked at one point during the fight, yelling loudly “They’re everywhere!” while waving its arms around in fear.

As they were advancing, their Communicators beeped.
Surprised, James answered the call that could only be coming from the Musashi.

“Major Reynolds here!” He said.

“Major, this is the Musashi.” An unknown voice said.
“We don’t have much time before we need to go away again, so listen well.
We are beaming down the armor of the man who’s currently in sickbay, as it will help you on your mission.
Basic scans reveal he was augmented, like you, and he told us his armor was designed for augments he calls Spartans.
Once you get it, we will beam your old armor back to the Musashi.
Once you wear it, do not move until the onboard systems can calibrate themselves for you.
This armor has an integral Artificial Intelligence that will help you accustom yourself to it, and will help in your mission.
Prepare to receive in 3, 2, 1…”

And then a golden energy beam coalesced into the green metallic armor James had seen on the man earlier.
It stood by itself, its back to James, and was already opened.
James found the way it opened very interesting, as he could see that only the back of the armor, the back of the thighs, and the back of the arms opened.
One would presumably first insert his feet through the calves of the armor, which had been loosened, his arms as well, and once fully inside, the armor would close and tighten all its parts to fit the user.
The wearer could then, he noticed, put on the Helmet which magnetically hung on the armor’s right thigh.
He took off his old armor, and signalled the Musashi it was done.
His armor disappeared in a golden energy field where it would re-materialize on the Akira-class ship.
James was hesitant, but with a shake of his head, he stepped in the armor.
It closed with a hydraulic hiss, and adjusted perfectly to James’s size.
When he put on the helmet, it sealed, and James heard a little fan from somewhere at his back, and he felt refreshed, and breathed easily.
The helmet’s visor came to life, scanned his face and eyes, and all information adjusted automatically to his field of view, according to eye separation, facial depth and all other minute details that other, mass produced armors could not compensate for.
It then displayed “adjustment completion… 100%”, and then beeped in readiness.
The MACOs all appeared in his new Friend-or-Foe display, and his helmet’s Tranceiver tuned in on his team’s frequency.
James was impressed with the armor, but he was sure he hadn’t seen it all yet.
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:06 pm

Chapter 38

Cue “Black Sun” from the Dead Can Dance album Aion

“Hello, James!” A strong feminine voice said in James’s ears.
“I am Cortana, the armor’s integrated AI.
I’m here to help you save the survivors from the Pillar of Autumn.
That’s the ship that crashed here.” It explained.

“Hello Cortana!” James replied.
“How do you know my name?” He asked cautiously.

“I was monitoring your communications when you rescued the Master Chief.” She answered.
“That is how I learned of your involvement, and that you were truly here to help.
And it is why I offered my help and the armor.”

“Major, are you all right?” Hicks asked, concern in his voice.

James realized he hadn’t moved since donning the armor.

“Yes, I’m fine guys.” He said.
“I’m currently getting to know my armor.
It has an integrated AI named Cortana, who will help us for this mission.”

“Major,” She said, calling him by his title, “I believe it would be better if your team could hear me directly during the mission.
Would you mind if I transmitted my words to them all when I talk to you?”

“No, of course not.” James said, puzzled at the respect the AI was showing him.
“I want all my team members to speak freely unless ordered not to, and hearing your advice directly will ensure less waste of time for the mission, increasing efficiency.” He explained.
“Now, why don’t you reveal this armor’s little secrets to me and my team?”

“Of course, Major, right away.” Cortana said, sounding happy.
“This is a Mjolnir Mark V armor, made specifically with Spartans in mind.
As your ship informed you, Spartans are augmented humans, with greater speed, endurance, strength and resilience.
Although I’ve never seen a Spartan as augmented as you are.” She said with clear admiration.
How does she know about the extent of my augmentations, James wondered.
“The armor is dangerous for anyone not augmented, as it increases the existing speed and strength of the wearer with the help of servo-actuators.
These actuators are so sensitive that anyone not capable of fast movements would break an arm or a leg when moving with the armor.
In fact, the original designers did a couple of times, until they decided it was better letting the actual Spartans test it.
The result is that the already formidable Spartans become unbelievably dangerous in these armors, capable of rivalling even Covenant Elites in hand to hand.
Be careful though, it may take some time for you get used to it completely.”

“Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.” He said, figuring these Elites to be the big aliens he’d killed.
“Now let’s see what this baby can do.”

He turned around, and would have gone straight to the Elite’s body, except his body kept turning because of the added momentum the armor had given him, and he tripped himself, falling face first on the ground.

“Got a problem, Major?” Asked Hudson, laughing.
“Maybe you should lay off the booze for a while.” He added.

James didn’t reply, ashamed of his blunder in front of his men.
But he knew Hudson was right, though, as his sudden twist and fall must have been a sight to behold.
He slowly got up, taking his time to feel the armor’s response to all his movements, and realized how natural it all felt, so natural, in fact, that by the time he was up, his control over the armor had vastly improved.
He showed this to Hudson by turning around, jumping over the surprised man’s head, from a standing start, and, after landing behind Hudson and turning around, by lifting the surprised man, armor and all, a combined weight of over two hundred pounds, with one hand.
He lifted Hudson over his head, arm fully extended, and felt no exertion, no strain at all.

“Sheeeeeiiiiiiiiittttt!” Hudson cried.

He held Hudson there for over a minute, then gently let the man down.
Hudson was no longer laughing.

“Holy cow, man, you’ve become the mother of all badasses, Major.” He said, impressed.

“What, you mean I wasn’t before?” Asked James, his tone deadly serious.

“Uh, yeah, sure, I mean…” Hudson sounded a bit nervous then.

“Hudson, he’s yanking your chain.” Hicks told him.

James was glad the MACOs could still find mirth in their situation, cut off from support, on an unknown terrain apparently filled with hostile creatures.
Of course, he thought, compared to the last mission, this one’s pretty easy… for now.

“MACOs, move out!” He said, taking the lead.

Cue “Welcome to the Jungle” from Guns’ n Roses

The MACOs moved as one, going deeper in the mountains, towards the energy shooting construction the Musashi had detected.
Their Tricorders were reading off the charts power levels coming from the structure, and they also detected many lifeforms close to it, many human, but most not.
They increased their pace, moving from cover to cover in a standard two by two formation.
James was in front of the group and had increased his lead, but he made sure the rest could keep up with him.
They travelled down a small sinuous valley, and when they rounded a wall, what they saw froze them in mid-stride.

The structure which housed the energy emitter was big, easily thirty meters tall at its tallest point, where the energy pulse came out.
The structure appeared to be made of a rock-like substance, and looked like an immense sledge hammer’s head, the energy cannon being its handle.
It was about twenty five meters long, eight meters tall and looked at least fifteen meters wide.
On the side facing them, they saw an inclined ramp going up the side of the structure.
Huge pipelines exited the structure on both sides, and then ran into the ground.
The structure was the host of a battle, the MACOs saw.
Humans were fighting against aliens, and from what the MACOs could see, it was a losing battle.
They saw a human get back-handed by a blue armored Elite and fly six feet back into a rock, then fall on the ground with its head at a strange angle.
They saw two Marines hiding behind a tree, firing one after the other, killing the small aliens left and right, until one of them lobbed a blue scintillating grenade at them.
The Marines jumped out from behind the tree and tried to roll away, but the grenade hit one Marine in the back and seemed to stick there.
When it exploded, there was not much left of the victim.
His partner, no longer behind cover, didn’t last much longer.
The Marine killed another small alien before its partner fired its hand weapon point blank in the human’s back.
His chest exploded in a ball of vaporized mist, a hole close to twenty centimetres in diameter clearly visible.
All other humans were hiding on the flattened top of the structure, taking cover behind its parapet, firing on anything that looked alien, but it was clear they would be overrun soon, unless they had some help.

And so help they got.
James signalled the MACOs to split in two groups, groups A and B, so they would each approach the battlefield coming in along the two walls of the valley.
James’s group, group A, was composed of himself, Hicks and Hudson, and came in from the right, while group B, composed of Doc, Wilson and Heyes, and came in from the left.
As James and his group made their way towards the structure, he saw the Elite he’d seen ordering the troops around pop out from behind his cover and aim another of their blue scintillating grenades at the defenders on the structure.
Before he could release the grenade, though, James had lifted his Phaser and had fired three rapid pulses in the creature’s grenade wielding arm.
The shield flared and failed on the second shot, and its right forearm exploded in a violet mist.
It howled in pain and surprise and dropped the grenade on its right thigh, which stuck there.
It grabbed at its leg armor plate and pulled with all its strength, and at last succeeded in getting it off, but the grenade exploded as it was about to throw it away.
The broken, eviscerated and partially vaporized body fell down, throwing the smaller aliens into utter chaos.
Seeing James’s group approaching, they all left cover, firing blindly, and running away.
He noticed they did the same thing on the other side of the valley, where Doc’s group was coming in.
The MACOs kept advancing in formation, firing on any target that presented itself to them.
When they were close to the structure, the two groups closed in on each other, trapping the smaller aliens between them and a third front, as the refugees on top of the structure renewed their assault upon seeing the cavalry arrive.
The small aliens died quickly under the combined fire power of all three groups.

As the firing stopped, James signalled for the MACOs to do a perimeter sweep, so once again his team separated in two groups, and they went around the structure, searching for surviving aliens.
Finding none, noticing there was also a ramp on the other side of the huge energy emitter’s base, they went up to greet the survivors of the crashed vessel.

“Look, it’s a Spartan!” One of them said.

The man was wearing a greasy coverall, and was most likely one of the crashed ship’s mechanics.
At least half of the people on top were part of the maintenance crew of the crashed ship, according t their clothing, and they were all happy to see James and the MACOs.
But among the other half of the refugees, there were some who did not seem too happy about seeing them, or more precisely, him, he concluded after a nasty look was received from a Marine.

One man looked very happy to see him, though, and he showed it clearly.
He was black skinned, a bit over six feet tall, athletically build and looked I his prime, even though his face showed he was closer to fifty than forty years old.
His voice exuded authority, and he kept gnawing on an unlit cigar.

“Chief,” The man said, “I’m Sergeant Johnson of the UNSC Marines Corp.
It’s about time you showed up, ‘cause we were getting chewed up and spit out faster’n a rifle on full auto empty’s its clip out here.”

The man reminded James so much of Apone, Hicks and Hudson’s old team leader.

“Holy cow,” Hudons exclaimed on the MACOs’s frequency, “It’s Sarge’s nicer looking brother.”

Hicks snorted at that comment, and then started laughing.

“We are happy to help, Sergeant.” James told the man.
“Do you have any wounded we can help?” He asked.

“We sure do”! Sergeant Johnson said.
“Got me a couple of leathernecks in need of some hole patchin’ over there.” He finished, pointing at two Marines lying down near a parapet.

James signalled Doc to go take a look, and the man took off, unpacking his Med-Kit from his armor’s back compartment.

“What’s the situation?” James asked the Sergeant.
“Are re-enforcements on the way?”

“They’re on their way, but we sure as hell ain’t got all the time inna world to wait for them.” Said the man.
“They better get here fast, or we’re likely to become Covie chomp.”

He then turned around and ordered his men to perform perimeter sweeps, and to stay alert for incoming enemies.

As his first lookout called out, James and the MACOs received Cortana’s message at the same time their Tricorders beeped an enemy contact.

Cue “Le Duel Sauvage” from Le Pacte des Loups soundtrack.

“Covenant dropship inbound.” The AI stated.
“I read two of them, Major.”

As James looked towards the detected ships, he saw bright violet pulses streaking down on their position.

“Spread out!” He called while tackling the Sergeant out of the way of the deadly rain.

He landed in a sideway roll, and got up right next to a nook in the energy emitter, one big enough to hide him from enemy fire.
The pulses hit the structure and exploded violently, but the shields of his new armor absorbed the brunt of the overpressure, and James barely felt it.
More surprising was the fact that the structure had suffered no visible damage from the onslaught of energy that kept impacting it, not even burn marks.
Their Tricorders showed them the ships were separating as Cortana informed them:

“They are separating.
One is going to the back of the structure, and the other is going to the front of the structure.”

James located both ships, and then signalled to the MACOs to spread out.
He separated the team in two groups as before, except that this time, group B was four man strong, Hudson being an addition to the group, and group A consisted only of James and Hicks.
As James started off to the back of the structure, Sergeant Johnson followed him with a few of his men.
Some of the non-combatant personnel of the Pillar of Autumn wanted to join in, but James told them to hide and only fight if the enemy came up the structure.
He wanted to increase their chances at survival, and not being trained in warfare and combat in general, James knew they would only be a menace to themselves and others on a battlefield.

As his group arrived to the parapet and hid behind it, training their weapons on the landing field of the enemy, James jumped right over to land on the ground eight meters down.
He landed in a crouch, his increased strength having absorbed the fall better than he could before, and as soon as he came out of his crouch he ran to a tree and hid behind it.
He heard the vessels’s repulsors before he could actually see it, and when it positioned itself over its chosen spot, the humans on the structure opened fire on it with everything they had.
A quick peek by James told him the human weapons weren’t doing much damage to the ship, and when it returned fire as it was descending to its deployment spot, the defenders had no choice but to dive behind the structures’s parapets and remain there under cover.
As the ship continued firing, its side doors opened up, and many aliens jumped out of it, weapons at the ready, intent on destroying their enemy.


**********************************************************

Group B had gone down the back ramp, and were going towards the descending enemy ship, which was apparently aiming at an open area at the back of the structure to use as a drop zone.
As with the front ship, this one also started firing as soon as it saw the Marines and MACOs advancing towards it.
The men all scattered from the approaching pulses, and hid behind boulders and trees while the firing ship let its troops out.
The MACOs, led by Doc, were picking targets and firing left and right, even through the barrage of energy pulses coming from the drop ship.
The aliens seemed surprised by the resistance they were encountering, and the MACOs surmised that they were most likely expecting to face their versions of Marines, feebly equipped survivors with little weaponry, and certainly not four Starfleet MACOs with full combat armor and pulse Phaser rifles.
They had already killed three smaller aliens when another one, of a type they hadn’t seen before, the same height as the other small aliens, thinner, with a head like that of a turkey, sporting a feathery Mohawk, came out from behind a tree.
They took aim, but before they could fire, it disappeared behind a shimmering orange field, which blocked all the shots fired at it, eventually failing after four Phaser pulses hit it, which allowed Hudson’s bullets to hit it, chewing up the alien’s body before it fell to the ground, dead.
But the creature had succeeded in its mission, for all the attention had been diverted on it, and when the MACOs and Marines looked around, they noticed they were surrounded by enemies.


*******************************************************************

Cue “X-Squad” from the Mortal Combat Annihilation soundtrack

Some aliens were still in the air, in the process of landing, when James came out of his cover running and opened fire.
He was going to his left, heading straight for a huge boulder, firing one handed in the aliens landing on the ground, almost half of his shots finding targets.
As he reached to protection of the boulder, four of the dozen of debarking aliens were dead, all had scattered, and since the ship had started shooting at James, the defenders on the structure came out from behind the parapet to fire at the surviving aliens.
James was able to notice that some smaller unknown aliens had some sort of portable shields that were blocking all the bullets that actually impacted with them.
He realized at once that these aliens could be dangerous to his team if not taken out quickly.
As the drop ship was getting back in the air and about to leave, its cannons fire anew at the structure’s defendants, James reconfigured his Phaser again, boosting the power of his shots, and fired a full spread of pulses straight at the ship’s cockpit.
His rifle’s power pack depleted its last energy reserves as his fourth pulse left, but these were sufficient to destroy the cockpit in a fiery detonation.
The ship stopped its upward motion, seemingly floating for a second before coming back down to crash on the field, killing two more of the small aliens.
James was replacing the spent power pack, snapping it into place when he was tackled violently by the blue armored leader of the alien troops.
The impact was so powerful that both combatants’ shields fizzled and were brought down completely, and both lost their weapons that went flying through the air far away from them.
James used the momentum imparted to him by the big alien’s attack to roll to the side, locking the alien’s arms and putting his right leg on its left tigh, and propelled it through the air.
It landed to James’s left, ten feet away, and after a quick tuck and release he was up in a fighting stance.


****************************************************************************

Energy pulses and bullets were flying everywhere, and cover was becoming hard to find.
Two Marines were down already, while the aliens had lost another two shield bearers.
Enemies were running around like crazed animals, jumping, rolling on the ground, firing madly any way they could.
Doc had found another lifepod and was using it as cover as he laid down suppressive fire, trying to help his men and the Marines on their side to regroup and get back under cover, but two of the shield wielding aliens had come together and were advancing in unison, providing cover to a small, grenade throwing comrade.
Doc saw the little alien cock his arms back and release the grenade it held.
He tried shooting the arm, and then the grenade, but failed at both, his targets too small even for the aiming aid of the armor.
The grenade sailed through the air for only a short moment, before impacting the back of a retreating Private Heyes’s armor, sticking there and beginning to pulsate.
As his eyes widened in horror, as he was about to cry for his friend to get his armor off, Doc could only witness the massive explosion, caused by the grenade’s power and the detonating of Heye’s remaining power packs, which tore Heyes apart and threw him to the ground.
He fell, the overpressure from the blast knocking him around, his armor protecting him, but Doc knew he had suffered a concussion.
As he laid there, his vision blurry, he saw a blue armored giant aiming at him, his face an approximation of a smile.
Before it could fire, however, both their attention was taken by an explosion coming from the rear of the structure, followed quickly by a loud crashing sound, of metal screeching at it was deformed in a massive impact.
The creature looked very surprised, than apparently angry, and turned to finish Doc off, but fire from Private Wilson and Hudson drove it away.
It started running towards the structure’s northern pipes, intent on circumventing them in order to see what had happened.


************************************************************

Cue “36 Crazyfists” from the Resident Evil 2 soundtrack

They studied each other only for a second, then both warriors came wading in, ready for battle.
The creature took two small steps forward and launched a quick snap-kick straight at James’s left knee, but before it connected, he’d already lifted his left leg and positioned it over the incoming kick, effectively blocking it with a small kick of his own.
The alien retreated its foot but launched a quick left jab at his face, quickly deflected to his right by James’s left hand.
After the alien’s probing attacks, James decided it was his turn.
Just like the alien had, he launched a quick snap-kick to the aliens left knee joint using his left foot, but unlike James, the alien wasn’t able to block it or fully evade the kick.
It tried to take a step back, but before it was out of reach, his foot had connected, although not as solidly has he would have liked.
Still, he had followed the retreating creature after his kick, and his left jab connected before any defenses could be attempted.
This time, however, the blow was attenuated by the fully restored shield from the alien’s armor.
Having taken the alien’s full measure, James opened up on it.
A left jab rocked the alien’s head back, and when its hands got up to protect its face, James sidestepped to his right and launched a powerful right hook that went around the creature’s defenses and snapped its head sideways.
The blow also had taken down its shield, for James saw violet blood coming out of the creature’s mouth.
He followed the punch with a spinning right kick the alien never saw coming.
The impact propelled it closer to the structure, folding it in two.
It landed to the ground on all four, almost two meters away.
James closed in on it and threw a right kick straight at its face, a kick with enough force, he knew, to snap its neck and kill it instantly.
But the kick never made it, for another creature, also dressed in blue armor had come in fast and with precision and power had kicked at the side of James’s right leg with sufficient force to drop his shield and numb his leg.
The impact made James spin around to his left, so he used the momentum to sidestep and turn around to once again face his enemies.
He almost fell while pivoting because of the numbness in his leg, but then his Pain Compensators kicked in and his leg felt good again.
Which James thought was good, since the second alien was on him instantly, attacking relentlessly.
It threw a right hook which James blocked with his left forearm, it came back with a left cross that he deflected to his left using his right hand.
It tried sweeping his left leg with its right one, and when James countered the sweep by lifting his leg over the alien’s sweeping one, it replied by continuing its pivot, transforming the sweep into a full-power right spinning kick.
James blocked it with his left shin, again receiving a numbing impact, but this time he didn’t need his Compensators as he was ready for the blow.
After blocking the alien’s kick, he simply extended his leg rapidly for a front kick, which the creature blocked with a mighty downward block.
Which was what James had wanted, for as soon as the block was started, James retracted his left leg and jumped up, snapping a full power straight right kick at the alien’s head.
Committed as it was on the first block, it never got the chance to even attempt anything against the second kick.
Its head snapped back, its shield went down, and its lower left jaw made a resounding “crack”.
It howled in pain, and would have run straight at James, but its partner put a hand on its arm to stop it.
It was up, and ready to go at it again.
James didn’t really want to tangle with two such creatures at the same time, but looking towards the structure, he realized the trees and boulders were offering great cover to the creatures, and the continuing firefight he heard from the back of the structure told him no help would come from there either.
He knew he wouldn’t be able to draw his pistol in time, and he realized that he had left his combat knife in its sheath on his Starfleet armor.
Frag it!, he thought, hand to hand it is then.

Cue “Hell is Thy Home” from Gamma Ray, album “Majestic”

They separated so he could not easily defend himself, even trying to flank him.
They came at him together, as if they had battled as one all their lives.
While one attacked low, the other attacked high, keeping James off balance, hoping to prevent him from countering, or mounting attacks of his own.
The warriors were moving so fast that if anyone had been able to see them, they would have looked like huge blurs moving around.
They were pushing him back, he realized, and when his back touched a boulder, he knew why.
They had effectively cut off any escape route he could have had.
They kept attacking, he kept blocking, his speed the only thing that allowed him to keep up with the two fronts of attack, but he knew, just as they suspected, that he could not keep it up forever.
While he was the stronger and faster of the three, he wasn’t sure he had the most stamina, and he knew he was expanding a lot of energy fighting both creatures at the same time.
He knew he had to find a way out, and so he calmed himself, and analyzed the pattern of his opponents’ attacks.
They were good, but unimaginative, he realized, and so he knew he could use that against them.
The one on his left threw a right punch at his head, while the one on his right attacked with a left spinning kick.
He sidestepped to his right, lifting his left leg to block the kick while his right hand delivered a hammer punch to the kicker’s face, while his left hand came up and over, blocking and then grabbing the puncher’s hand.
He stepped on his left leg, pivoted and launched a massive kick at the puncher’s groin while pulling his opponent with his left arm.
The creature bent at the waist, its legs becoming wobbly, James still pivoting and pulling.
When his move was over, the kicker had recovered and was advancing on him, but the sudden appearance of its companion froze it in place.
James kicked his victim at the other alien’s legs, but the creature sidestepped to its right, its left being blocked by the boulder.
He’d counted on that, and when the creature was no longer impeded by its friend, James attacked.
A quick right spin kick to its knee opened up its guard, which allowed James to slip a right jab at its head, followed by a left uppercut which tore of the already damaged lower left jaw.
Its right hand closed instinctively on James helmet while its left hand grabbed his right arm.
James’s left arm came up in front, continued over the creature’s shoulder, and came back out under its arm, forcing the release of his head, and bending the creature’s arm in the opposite direction which nature intended.
He heard ligaments tear, and the creature cry out I pain, its left hand reflexively releasing his right arm, which he used to punch the creature in the throat with bone crunching force.
As the creature fell down, the other one got up, still wobbly from the groin blow it had received, and rammed James in the stomach, trying to bring him down to the ground.
He hooked both his arms under the creature’s, around its stomach, and heaved.
He lifted it over his right shoulder, and before it could react, he ran straight at the boulder in front.
The creature’s head exploded under the impact, spraying him with brain matter and violet blood.
He dropped the lifeless alien to the ground and turned to join the MACOs he thought were still fighting on the other side of the structure.
That was when he realized there were no longer any shots fired.
He looked up, and saw the remaining Marines, his MACOs and the surviving personnel from the pillar of Autumn, all looking at him in awe.

“So,” He said, trying to lighten the mood, “Did I miss anything?”
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:16 pm

Chapter 39

Cue “La Mort de Fronsac” from the soundtrack of the Brotherhood of the Wolves

It was Doc who delivered the bad news.

“Heyes is dead, Sir.” He said soberly.
“Those alien bastards threw a grenade at him, and it stuck to his armor.
The explosion was too powerful, there wasn’t enough left of him for me to try anything.”

James knew the expression Doc was displaying on his face, as it was one he’d worn for a long time after his failed military mission.

“It wasn’t your fault, Doc.” He said.
“Heyes’s death wasn’t your fault.
I’m sure you did all you could to keep them all alive, Doc, but trust me, sometimes you lose men, and there’s nothing you can do about it, except to accept it as a reality of battle.”

“I know Sir,” Doc answered, “I’ve seen men die in battle before.”

“But you’ve never had men under your command die in battle before, Doc, correct?” James had ascertained.

“Correct, Sir.” Doc said.

“That makes all the difference in the world, my friend.” James told him.
“When you are in command, you’re told you are responsible for your men, and you think that makes you responsible for everything that happens to them, and you’re mostly right.
But someone getting killed by an enemy while under your command is part of battle, and is a reality you must learn to accept, as missions where no one dies are rare, very rare.”

“You lissen to the Chief, there, Doc, ‘cause he’s tellin’ the God honest truth.” Sergeant Johnson said.
“I’ve had more men die under my command then I care ta count,” He added, “but I’ve learned to accept that it’s a part of battle, and that the best thing I can hope for is ta minimize the number of people I lose, ‘cause I’ll always lose some, no matter how easy the fight, or how good the plannin’.”

Johnson’s face softened for a moment.

“The best thing you can do for those you lose, Sergeant, is to make sure they’re always in your think box, and that their deaths weren’t for nothin’.”

Then his features hardened again, and he looked around at his men, daring them to comment on this uncharacteristic show of sentiment.
No one said a word.
James came up to Doc, put a hand on his shoulder, and when Doc nodded, he let go.

Cue “Outlands” from Daft Punk of the Tron Legacy soundtrack

“Major, I’ve got an incoming communication from a friendly.” Cortana said.
“Patching it through.”

Their helmet speakers came to life at the same time as the Marines’ radios did.

“This is Foe Hammer to any UNSC Marines out there, anyone hearing me?” the voice asked.

“Foe Hammer, this is Cortana, it’s good to hear your voice.” The AI replied.

“Hey, Cortana, I’ve got a present for the Chief and the Marines.
Where can I drop it?” Foe Hammer asked.

“Follow these coordinates.” Was the answer.

James heard an incoming aerial craft, and as he looked up, he saw a green colored ship coming towards them.
The ship had a long body, narrow at the front where the cockpit was, with what looked like a flat boarding ramp at the back, with two large but short wings, each with jet engines on them, and adjustable jet engines at the rear, one on each side.
The craft had what appeared to be a jeep attached to its underside.
It came in fast, and oriented its engines towards the grounds at the last instant to stop abruptly, in perfect control, roughly six meters from the ground.
The pilot, Foe Hammer, James thought, was as good with her craft as Boomer was in a Raptor.
She dropped the jeep from her position, six meters up, and James along with the rest of the MACOs inhaled in fear of the damaging crash they would hear upon the vehicle’s impact with the ground.
The jeep landed hard, its suspension going down very low, but to their great surprise it bounced back up immediately, the shock absorbers of the vehicle propelling it off the ground at least half a meter before it landed again.
It was a two-seater combat Jeep, James could see, for on its back, mounted on a weapons’ platform, was a belt-fed .50 caliber tri-barrel minigun, the belt leading directly to an ammo box at the back of the jeep.
When James looked at Johnson, the man was smiling profusely.

“Ah, a good ol’ Warthog.” He said.
“Thanks, Foe Hammer!” He called in his communicator.

“Johnson, that you?” Foe Hammer asked.

“You got that right.” Johnson answered happily.

“Well then, I guess our survivors are already rescued then, with you and the Chief there.” The pilot said.
“Have the survivors here get on board, I’ll take them to our temporary camp.” She finished before taking her craft even lower, almost touching the ground, before opening her craft’s back ramp.

“Doc, I want you to take Wilson and climb aboard with the rest of the survivors.” James said.
“Once our mission here is completed, I’ll get back to you guys.
Hicks, Hudson, you’re with me, we’ll take the Warthog and drive to the landing coordinates for the other lifeboats.”

“Now wait just a damn minnit here,Chief.” Johnson said.
“There ain’t no way I’m letting you rescue my boys without me.
Now you tell one of your boys here to get on in with the rest, I’m goin’ with you, end of discussion.” The man said with finality in his voice.

James knew there would be no way of changing the man’s mind.

“Hudson, you go with Doc and Wilson.” He ordered.

“Aw, man, I’ll miss all the fun.” Hudson said plaintively, but he didn’t discuss the order, and went right in the craft.

James signalled for Hicks to follow, and they went to the Jeep.
Johnson was already sitting in the driver seat, waiting for them to select either the passenger seat, or the machine gun nest at the back.
James signalled for Hicks to get in the passenger seat, and he jumped up in the gunner’s nest.
He armed the high-caliber machine gun, planted his feet in the gunner foot harnesses, and signalled he was ready to Johnson.
The man started the jeep’s engine, which rumbled to life, and then, shifting gear to “drive”, he floored the gas pedal.

Cue “Highway To Hell” from AC/DC

The Warthog jumped forward, leaving deep tire streaks in the dirt, and James had to hold on for dear life.
They rode on for a while, going down a deep gorge that became a natural tunnel, if anything could be considered natural on the Dyson Ring, and the natural tunnel eventually gave way to an artificial one, which led them inside a huge cave.
At the cave’s entrance they met with more aliens, but Hicks’s rifle and James .50 caliber gun made short work of them, even those with shields.
After clearing all the aliens they could see, James and Hicks explored the installation, sweeping around what seemed like rocky blocks, killing every remaining alien they encountered.
They came up to what looked like two columns of the strange, alien material, and noticed that this construction was mirrored at the other end of the wide chasm separating the two identical structures.

“This is a bridge,” Cortana said to James and Hicks.
“There should be a bridge control somewhere around.”

James and Hicks went through the structure once more and eventually found a short, steep ramp that they hadn’t seen before.
Not taking any chances, they threw a couples of grenades pilfered from the alien corpses -Plasma grenades Cortana had called them- up the ramp, where they exploded, again without any noticeable damage to the surrounding structure.
What had been affected by the grenades were the two Elites who were waiting in ambush at the top of the ramp.
Their torn bodies, most of which had been pulverized by the grenades’ explosive power, lay on the ground, their purple blood coating the floor and walls of the corridor like a new coat of paint only partially applied.
James continued on, and found the controls, which he activated.
He saw, from both sides of the chasm, two huge metallic girders extend from below the chasm’s edges.
When the girders were extended to around twenty meters on each side, a translucent force field appeared over them, connecting the chasm’s two sides.
Hicks and James quickly made their way back to the Warthog, and Johnson gunned the engine as soon as they were in.
They felt as if they were returning to their point of origin, as the tunnels on the other side of the chasm went through a reverse transformation, going from artificial to natural.
They emerged from the tunnel amid a group of aliens, but once again they were quickly dispatched in gory showers, their bodies chewed up by the heavy machine gun rounds fired from James’s weapon.

As they drove around, looking for the lifepods signals, they met and dispatched a few such alien groups, one even led by an Elite, but once again, the .50 caliber rounds devastated the enemy as quickly as they exited the cannons of the tri-barrel weapon.
They suddenly came upon a recently crashed lifeboat, but found all its occupants dead, killed by enemy fire.
As they were about to leave, their jeep was thrown in the air from plasma bolts that rained on them from two different directions.
Before the jeep was even halfway through a sideways roll, James, reflexes revved to the max by the previous encounters, had jumped off, and was getting to his feet firing after a tuck and roll.
The truth always depends on which side of the fence you're standing... ;)
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Re: Shadowrun crossover with many realities...

Postby Praeothmin » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:18 pm

Chapter 40

Cue “Let’s Ride” from the Runnin’ Wild album of Airbourne

The two flying enemy crafts, the same kind of small violet attack crafts he’d encountered before, were in a steep winding climb, trying to position themselves for another pass.
James lifted a borrowed rifle and fired a long burst at one of the crafts, his enhanced strength allowing him to keep all shots on target.
As the jeep had finally finished its cartwheels, the attack craft exploded mid-arc, in a brilliant plume of plasma and violet metal.
An Elite’s flaming body fell out of the ship as the wreckage plummeted to the ground.
James threw a quick look at the Warthog, and sighed in relief as he noticed both Hicks and Johnson rolling away from the jeep so they would not be crushed under its weight.
He saw the other craft coming from his right out of the corner of his eyes.
As it fired, he dashed forward a few steps to evade the deadly plasma coming down towards him, and twisted his torso while advancing to fire at the ship.
Since he was running, half his shots went wild, but half hit home, and so as his rifle clicked empty, the bolt locking into place, the second alien craft exploded just as it was trying to climb again.
It graciously started ascending, and then reversed its momentum and went down in the small brook to James’s left.
He immediately went over to the other two men, examining them quickly, looking for possible injuries.
He found none, and so helped them get up and shake the effect of the attack off.
Johnson looked at James, relief in his face.

“Well, that was close!” He said.
“Glad you’re with us Chief, or we might’ve gotten our asses whooped.”

He looked around a bit, searching for something, but James was wondering what it was, since the man had recovered his weapons.

“God damn it!” He swore.
“I lost my God damn ceegar.
‘Was my favourite brand, too.
Those sons of bitches will pay for this.” He finished.

James couldn’t suppress a smile at the quirky, yet tough as nails, Marine Sergeant.
He looked over at Hicks who was silently collecting his weapons, and foraging through the dead men’s equipment while keeping an eye out for trouble.
James was very glad fate had put Hicks on his team, even though he still carried his lost teammates in his mind and heart.

They rummaged through the dead Marine’s possessions, restocking their ammunition, and picking up some grenades, but what James was most happy about was the Sniper rifle they had found, fully loaded and with extra ammo as well.
After their supplies were taken care of, they checked the Warthog, resting on its side, James fearful that the attack crafts had damaged the vehicle beyond repair.
To his great surprise, it looked functional, except for the bent head bar and the machine gun mount that had been sheared off.
Johnson looked at James, pointing to the Warthog, and said:

“Why don’t you put ‘er back on ‘er wheels so we can get to my men?”

James looked at the man like he was crazy, and then remembered that his visor precluded the Sergeant from seeing his expression.

“Excuse me?” He said.

“The Warthog, Chief,” Johnson indicated, “Put ‘er back upside, we ain’t got much time.”

James still wasn’t moving when Cortana intervened.

“Go ahead, Major, you can do it, trust me.” She said.

Doubtful, not sure if Cortana was making fun of him, James went to the jeep, gripped its side, and heaved with all his strength.
To his surprise, the jeep came up fast and almost overturned the other way, before finally setting itself on its suspension.
Johnson clapped James on the shoulder and got up in the driver’s seat.
Hicks went once again in the passenger seat, but James no longer had a supported machine gun to go to, so he sat on the mount’s bottom plate, facing back, and took the machine gun in his hands.

Cue “Spit You Out” from Bullet for My Valentine, from the Album The Poison

They rolled for a few kilometres before arriving to a narrow climbing pass in the mountains.
Johnson started the climb slowly, and stopped once he got to the top of the pass.
The pass opened up on a plateau with a mountain wall to its left, and a cliff’s edge at its right.
In the center of the plateau, another energy emitting structure, shooting blue beams towards the other side of the ring.
They noticed movement, and saw a lot of aliens, some with shields, some wielding grenades, and a few Elites patrolling the structure.
James signalled for Hicks to disembark, and to take up a sniping position to cover them.
Once Hicks was off the jeep and in position, Johnson stepped on the gas pedal and threw the Warthog down the slope towards the enemy.
James sat more comfortably in the back, and grabbed the tri-barrel machine gun in both hands.
He fired as soon as he saw an enemy, the big gun firing bullet after bullet at a dizzying rate, the tracers every five round making the weapon look like it was firing a single beam.
Using the greatly enhanced strength provided by the armor, as well as its weight, to stabilize the machine gun, James was able to concentrate fire exactly where he wanted.
He didn’t waste many bullets, as almost all he fired hit their marks, pulverizing the smaller aliens, and even taking out an Elite that had shown only its left side to fire at James and Johnson.
Its left shoulder was disintegrated into purple mush by ten .50 caliber rounds, and it fell down spinning, spraying purple blood everywhere.
James registered some movement to his right, and when he turned he found himself facing an Elite with its gun pointing at his head.
Before he could align his machine gun with the creature, it fired.
A few bright pulses of crimson fire sped towards him, the impact taking out his shield and scoring his armor.
But a few pulses were all the creature could fire, as its head exploded like a purple watermelon under the impact of a high-powered rifle bullet.
The crack of the bullet being fired was heard a second after the headless Elite hit the ground, seemingly coming from all around them.

“Thanks Hicks!” James said in his Comm.

“My pleasure, Major!” Replied Hicks in a calm voice.

Sergeant Johnson eventually stopped the Warthog in front of a smaller structure at the base of the big one.
He got off, followed by James, and they went around the side of smaller structure.
As they rounded the corner, they came face to face with a smaller alien, one that lifted its arm to throw a grenade at them, but it never got to finish the movement, for James brought his heavy machine gun up and depressed the trigger, unloading a full burst into its body.
The small alien jerked under the impacts, and dropped the grenade on the ground behind it.
James turned around and pushed Johnson around the corner where they both took cover, just as blue plasma ball erupted behind them.
Even using the building as cover, the explosion was so powerful that the shields on James’s armor were affected.
They quickly recharged as both men rounded the corner again, facing a bluish goo all over the ground and building wall.

They found an opening, and went in using standard cover formation.
A ramp went down under ground, deeper in the structure, and James thought he saw shadows moving there, and his enhanced hearing picked up some noise.
Boosting his FOF sensor, he went in, followed by the Sergeant.
They swept the lower levels, and came into an opening, a room bisected in the middle by a deep chasm three meters wide.
Two small bridges crossed the chasm, and on each side, instead of a parapet, stood some sort of a wall, directly in front of the ramp.
Four Marines were hiding behind this small wall, trying to stay covered, hiding from alien’s fire coming from across the chasm.
James wasted no time, and as he entered the room, he sidestepped to the left of the wall, and opened fire at the other side.
The tri-barrel whined and then thundered in the small room, the noise deafeningly reverberating on the walls.
The Marines jumped in surprise, and then elation, as James started a sweeping firing arc that covered the opposite side entirely.
Sergeant Johnson stepped out from behind the wall to the right, and calmly picked his target one by one, as they tried to come out from behind James’s sweep to shoot at the armored behemoth that was thinning their ranks.
One of the Marines, bolstered by the spectacle before him, jumped out from behind his wall, ran hunched across one of the bridges, and lobbed a grenade over the side of the wall on the opposite bank of the chasm.
He then dropped to the bridge, almost going over, when the grenade exploded.
Alien parts flew everywhere, and then they heard a great howl of pain receding, as if a wounded enemy was getting away from them.

Cue “Chateau” from the Matrix Reloaded Soundtrack

James ran across the bridge in front of him, jumping over the prone Marine in the process, and, once on the other side of the chasm, noticing it too had a ramp leaving from the room and going up, he entered the passage at full speed, gun blazing.
He was halfway up the passage when his machine gun stopped firing, the Tri-Barrels simply whiring in his hands.
He let it drop and quickly took out his ManHunter, and he started up the ramp again in a full run.
The Elite was nowhere to be seen, even though James was using his Thermographic and Low-Light visions, seeing clear as day even in the darkest corners of the corridors he was running in.
He was nearing the top of the ramp he was on, and saw that it led outside, so he slowed his ascent, and approached the exit cautiously.
He peered around, ever fearful of ambush, and noticed the exit came out behind some pipelines, and that there was some sort of open-headed corridor, heading right and left.
He looked to the left, and saw nothing, but then his FOF signalled an enemy right on top of his position, and on top it was.
As James heard the sounds of moving armor above him, he dived out to his right, rolling and uncoiling to stand facing the corridor’s opening with his gun pointing towards it, almost three meters from his original position.
But his enemy had anticipated that, so when James stood up, he was facing an Elite less than a meter away.
He fired, but right before he could depress the trigger, the Elite’s right arm came in a circle under his arm, pushing it slightly to the right of the Elite, the bullet passing less than a hair’s breath away from its torso.
But James couldn’t kick it back to re-align his weapon, else he’d be shot in the face at point blank by the hulking alien in front of him.
So he used the momentum imparted to his right hand to twist it around and bring it back up to his right, while his left hand shot up and over his right, knifing past the Elite’s weapon and pushing it to James’s left just as it fired.
The energy pulses flashed brilliantly in James’s visor, but the big human’s augmented eyes, modified so they would have natural Flare Compensators, were barely affected.
As his ManHunter was coming back up to point at the alien’s face, it pivoted to its right, its left hand slapping at James’s gun pushing it once more to its right, while its right arm followed its body movement and completed a sweeping arc after which it pointed once more at James.
Hearing noise at his back, James took a left step forward, talking him inside the sweeping arc of the alien’s arm, and while he pivoted to his right, his left hand came up and grabbed the Elite’s wrist to point at a smaller alien that was trying to shoot James in the back.
As the Elite’s weapon fired, hitting the smaller alien square in the face, James’s right arm was going around his right side, then up at his back as if in an arm lock, the gun pointing towards his back, to end its course pointing at the Elite's lower abdomen.
Before he could fire, the Elite’s right knee came up and pinned his gun to his back while pushing it off line, at the same time as its right elbow came down and pressed on his neck, forcing James’s body to twist down to prevent his spine from breaking.
He let go of his ManHunter, and used his right hand to grab the Elite’s hand at the thumb, while his left arm bent and his elbow went up to push under the alien’s right elbow.
As his arms performed these actions, he twisted his right leg to kneel on it, and twisted his torso to pull on the alien’s arm.
The Elite had no choice but to follow, or suffer a broken arm.
It jumped over James in a roll, but instead of following it, James simply twisted its gun hand, forcing it to relinquish its weapon.
Still kneeling, he used the creature’s own weapon to fire at it, hitting it in its roll, the first two shots talking down its shields, breaking its momentum, the rest of the shots going through armor and body, killing it instantly.
James looked around quickly, fearing another attack, when he saw a blue scintillating ball arcing graciously down towards his face.

Oh frag, he thought.
The truth always depends on which side of the fence you're standing... ;)
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Praeothmin
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