Edited by LilRedhare, 24 June 2016 - 10:16 AM.
3 replies to this topic
Posted 19 June 2016 - 11:41 PM
The Guns of the CHOTA: Part 4-Hammer of the Gods
Writer’s Note: This is part four of my first epic story for Sparks in the Ashes. This one focuses on events surrounding the agents of Project Unity, leading up to the conclusion of the story. This part and part five actually take place simultaneously. I sincerely apologize for the long break between part 3 and 4...writing is like that sometimes. As we reach the crescendo of our story, I hope you are enjoying it!-Kathryn A. “Kit” Southworth
Mashed set the slim metal case down on the table in front of Shiu and Nysek. The others gathered around in a semi-circle around the table, rubber-necking for a glimpse of the contents of the mysterious case. Shiu glanced at each of the Heretics then turned her gaze onto the case. “It looks so innocent, doesn’t it?” Shiu murmured under her breath. Nysek looked at Shiu, and also glanced at the case. It did look rather innocent…but the look on Shiu’s face…as if they were facing a horde of pale ones…Shiu reached out and placed her palm on the top of the case fingers splayed, and spoke a single word: “Mjolner”. At this, a red light activated on the front of the case, a glimmering red eye glaring at the semi-circle around it. The light began to pulse, the rate increasing. After several moments, the light became steady again, and an electronic voice intoned, “activate: Odin”. Shiu stared at the case for a moment then uttered a single word in reply, “Rainbow”. The light pulsed again, and after a time became steady. Again, the electronic voice spoke, “activate: Thor”. Shiu held out a page from the sheaf he recovered from Xuki, pointing out a word to Nysek. Nysek nodded in response, then spoke another word, “Bridge”. The light pulsed again in response to this, and then a small panel on the front of the case flipped open to reveal a small keypad. The electronic voice spoke once more, “enter sequence”. Shiu typed a series of numbers into the keypad. When she finished, the keypad flipped shut and the light pulsed once more. As the light became steady, the case hissed and slid open. Shiu and the Heretics leaned forward to see what the mysterious case held. What they gazed at was a small, thin clear crystal rectangle, its innards crisscrossed with micro-circuitry. The small transparent card sat on a manila envelope emblazoned with a patch bearing a muscular arm carrying an ornate hammer, bolts shooting from its haft and head. Above the patch in bold gold letters, PROJECT GOTTERDAMMERUNG. After a moment, Shiu explained exactly what that meant...
Long before the fall, before the start of the war, even before the founding of GlobalTech, The Brenhauer Investment Group had been funding nanite research by backing the development and deployment of space-born weapons. One such weapon, the Mjolnir-Class Kinetic Bombardment Platform, was one of the simpler, mass-produced designs. The Mjolnir, or MK-V KBP, consisted of a satellite platform that contained a cluster of 24 122mm depleted uranium darts, arranged in a hexagon pattern. Each dart had a vertical vector assigned that allowed it to fall onto the earth onto a pre-determined area or “footprint”. The cluster was fired by a simple rocket motor, blasting the darts downward at the Earth from low orbit. Upon release from the rocket booster, the cluster spread, covering a 10-mile footprint and brimming with the kinetic energy stored from falling thousands of feet. The energy released upon the impact of the darts would rival all but the most powerful nuclear warheads, without the nasty side effects of radiation. Mjolnir-class weapons were normally placed in geosynchronous orbit over their intended targets, for convenience sake, but were capable of being maneuvered, re-positioned and re-targeted. Because it was a simple kinetic weapon, the only countermeasure was to shoot down the platform before it could launch, as individually targeting small re-entry vehicles, such as the darts, was time-consuming and difficult, at best. Most of the Mjolnir weapons were destroyed or deployed during the fall, but a few had been kept in reserve, available for a plan that would ensure any enemy who managed to defeat the North American Conglomerate in battle would never live to celebrate their victory. Project Gotterdammerung, the twilight of the gods...release of the remaining Mjolnir-class weapons onto an entire nation, rendering it morbid. A fail-safe contingency named for the Nordic myth surrounding the end of the world, in flames. For a time after the Fall, all was well...access to these terrible weapons was lost with the death of the last American president in 2062. But now...
After a few minutes of stunned silence, the Heretics continued to stare at the crystal rectangle as Shiu turned it in her hands. “so small...so innocent-looking, yes?” Shiu said softly. Nysek slowly shook his head in reply. The small Asian woman twirled the card a few more seconds, then passed it to Nysek with a deft flick of her hand. Surprised, Nysek caught the crystal card with a jerky swipe. “Wha...” he uttered. “That innocent-looking piece of jewelry is what allows its holder to fire those horrible weapons. The case holds codes to tell it where...that card and this case cannot be together when the man who wants them finds them” Shiu whispered, “...and trust me, he will find them. I am forced to do something I never like doing” Shiu paused and looked each Heretic in the eye, “I am forced to ask for your help. Take this card someplace that you can defend. It will be looked for, and not by just anyone. The man who wants it will send his most capable and trustworthy agents to recover it. I suggest you get some help to take care of that thing”. Nemo walked up behind Nysek and with a huff, spoke. “We are way off-mission here. We didn’t come here for this...but if she’s right, a lot of people are in danger, including more than a few of our own. We gotta do this, man...”. Nysek look over his shoulder at his companion, then at the rest of the team. Finally, he looked at shiu. “Alright...” he spoke slowly, "But with a few provisions. We get paid, even when we do it for faction or charity...someone pays us”. Shiu panned her eyes around the spoils left by the Enforcer and Ravensmark dead that Nemo, Lydia, Mashed and Allen were collecting. “It seems to me someone already did...unless owning three suits of Ravensmark Commando Armor, as well as several shiny new weapons, isn’t enough for you”. Nysek gaped, then grinned. “well...since you put it like that...”. Shiu grinned back at Nysek, “now that we have that settled, I’ll contact you when it’s safe to meet again”. Nysek had been turning around to help his compatriots gather spoils when shiu spoke. He turned back towards the small, deadly assassin at her last declaration and started speaking, “and when will tha...”, but the mysterious woman had already disappeared from the bar. Flabbergasted, Nysek turned back towards his companions. “Well...it appears we have another mission...”. Nemo placed a belt laden with grenades in Nysek’s hands and replied, “yeah...and we don’t want to be here when the mysterious former cardholder comes looking. I suggest we get on the road to our favorite hidey-hole...and do it in the next 10 minutes”.
Within 10 minutes the Heretic were on their bikes, racing for Alpha Sector. The trip would take several hours, and travel through Alpha would be dangerous, to say the least. Not only were there the normal beasts of the wastes to contend with, but the journey would take them through areas inhabited by rogue Vista; rangers who abandoned the Vista creed and considered all intruders as hostile enemies of the earth, including non-rogue Vista. Hopefully, they could travel to Unspoiled Grove for a brief rest and refuel, then make their way to Scorcher base from there. Once they arrived at Scorcher Base, the Vista agents would be surrounded with rangers from their faction. It would be virtually impossible for anyone to simply walk in and take the card, much less assault the base, without dealing with companies of highly trained and disciplined Vista rangers and snipers. The five Heretics rode as long and fast as they physically could from Los Alamos, pushing north to Wall, in Terminal Woods. Nemo called for a brief rest and refuel at the sparse outpost, and then the group pushed on for Rock Bottom. There, Nemo planned for the group to take an hour’s rest before pushing on to the gate for Alpha Sector.
It was two hours later when the team made its way into Rock Bottom. Thankfully, they had been uneventful hours. Saddle sore, the Heretics pulled up to a lonely garage a distance away from the few buildings that made up the town of Rock Bottom. As they shut off the engines of their motorcycles, each Heretic dismounted, stretched and voiced their weariness in some manner, a few using epitaphs not suitable for gentle company. “Alright”, Nemo declared, “we have an hour, maybe a little longer. Let’s refuel, then grab a bite to eat”. Nysek nodded his head and added, “It’ll also give me a chance to look over everyone’s wounds and see if the healing took properly”. Allen nodded, a look of relief and weariness covering his face. Soon, all discussion died as the five set about purchasing gasoline from a raggedly dressed and dirty garage vendor, and setting about refueling thier thirsty and hard-ridden bikes. Then, with slow and obviously tired gaits, the five walked slowly into Rock Bottom.
As the Heretics passed a few buildings, Mashed glanced around and commented, “is this town normally this deserted? It’s as empty as Nemo’s bedroom here...”. Allen and Lydia began scanning the surrounding buildings as well, then looked at each other, shrugging. Nemo shot Mashed a hard glance, but then looked around and noticed what his shorter comrade had concluded; he shot a look at Nysek, and said, “you’ve been here before...is it always this empty?”. “No”, Nysek growled, “something’s wrong. There aren’t a lot of people here, but this is a trading post, and this is peak business hours. This isn’t right...something is definitely NOT right...”. The five continued looking around for signs of life, growing more nervous by the second. Nemo had instinctively began reaching for a weapon when, from the nearest building to them, a voice exploded from a nearby window, “Ah...the agents of Project Unity, Vista Mercenaries doing the dirty work of anyone with chips to spare...all in the name of restoring some druidic preservation project at Gaia...digging in the dirt for the means to feed worthless people who can contribute nothing to the world. And in the end, the only good you wound up doing is upsetting those idiotic religious fanatics. Well...I actually applaud you for that..but now your ride is over.” At this, a tall figure, fit with streamlined muscle, appeared from the door of the nearest building. His armor was the latest design from the Techs, a power-assisted model with micro-assist modules so small the armor could be skin-tight. His stride was of a predatory big cat on the hunt. On his thighs he carried dual holsters sheathing pistols of an indeterminate design. He had a fully sheathed sword on his back and grenades on his belt. The flat dot camouflage paint scheme of his armor seemed to absorb light. He was a Captain of the Ravensmark, an elite arm of the Sun and the Moon of the Lightbearer faction. His name…the only name he cared to use, was the Dirty Fighter.
Colonel Ebaloff sat in the high-backed chair in the control room of the command bunker, enjoying another pristine cigar as he read reports from his Red Alert Division’s movements in Deadfall. Around him scurried several Treadstone Department scientists, their light blue lab coats marking them as Tech faction support. The scientists adjusted equipment and repaired consoles throughout the control room while Ebaloff looked on, disinterested. All seemed proceeding according to plan, despite the loss of the GOTTERDAMMERUNG artifacts and the activation information. Ebaloff had no doubt his agent would be recovering one of them very soon, and the other…would make its way to him. Ebaloff leaned back in the chair and blew a long stream of smoke. As he exhaled, the door to the command room slid open. Ebaloff heard footsteps coming into the room. It would only be one of two people, and using the time between footsteps, Ebaloff made a guess. Without rising or looking, Colonel Ebaloff spoke to his guest. “Good evening. I’ve been expecting you…” Ebaloff took another drag on the cigar and continued. “What I don’t know, is why you’re here. I won’t lie to you; there is no reason to. We can do business if you came for what I think you have. But if you’re here for the other reason…well, I cannot guarantee the outcome”. With that proclamation, half a dozen Ravensmark troops stepped out of the shadows, weapons at the ready. “They won’t be necessary…” A female voice, soft and purring, intoned causally, “I’m here to do business”. Shiu stepped around the chair, placing one booted heel on the armrest of Ebaloff’s chair. “And Colonel…I don’t work cheap”.
Shiu and the Agents of Project Unity have discovered the contents of the mysterious case are a powerful weapon, woken up from the old world; Shiu and the Heretics split up to keep the Mjolner artifacts apart, but the plan looks to be going terribly, terribly wrong; and in the end, what game is Shiu playing?; keep following to find out what happens next in The Guns of the CHOTA…
- Reaps989 likes this
Kit Southworth, Kitness Everdeen, Ophanim-Dying Light
Posted 20 June 2016 - 09:58 AM
Dayum, i thought it was never ending.
Posted 03 July 2016 - 02:37 AM
Posted 04 July 2016 - 10:33 AM
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