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Into The Fire Act Five - Operation Golgotha


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Thanks for that one Blades. I'm wondering about the RP aspect of Nova heading to Orion. At least I still have some time to think.

Well. Um. Er, w00t! Let's get back in the spot now. I mean, it's been like 3 weeks since I made an RP Post.... So much has been going on, lately. *sigh* Oh well. Time to get the ball rollin!!


Operation Golgotha T+0

Earth, M.Z. 13

Drop Zone

Nova felt the tingle of the bright beam, and he knew that it had begun. He knew in his heart that it would be soon, before he'd start getting shot at again. The Gammulans in the Vulture, the ship itself, being destroyed by it's own artificial gravity, and now this. Time never seemed to slow by even the slightest fraction. His life felt as if it was rushing too fast.

To imagine, just a few weeks ago, he had been having the time of his life, on a modified mercenary cruiser, with 1 fighter on board. He was the backup pilot, but he was there, flying it, doing crazy stunts, and nearly blowing out the sub-space engines, by putting them in overdrive. Then he got fired, got hired onto the Vulture, and then became part of the team. And it all added up to this.

Seconds later, the beam dissipated, and his vision became clear. It was night, and the moon held high, in the clear sky. He felt the ground below him, with real gravity. Many years of being on ships, and living in a starstation. After ages of daring not to come back, he was on Earth again. Nova stood there, checking his gear, one last time.

A slight queasiness came over him. He believed it to be the transporter, again. At least the anti-tox kept him from puking again. For a man with lots of fighting experience, Nova hadn't been beamed by a transporter, almost at all. But at least few noticed it.


He tapped a button on his HUD Eyepiece, which activated his D.I.E. Scanning the landscape, he saw the hills, few trees off to a distance, a heads-up arrow for the base, and.......... In the distance, there was a man on a hill. He squinted, making sure his eyes weren't fooling him.

Several of the others looking around, seemed to notice as well. Chavik brought the matter to Blades. Blades calmed the team by telling them it was the contact.

"One hell of a way to meet the crew, if you ask me," Nova mumbled.

I wonder how long he's been up there. Ah, whatever.

He took a short walk, just a few feet from the site.


With adrenaline flowing in vast amounts, through his blood, Nova felt ready for battle. You could see it in the way he stood, and (if not for the helmet,) you could see it in his face, too. War was calling him. He, and the rest of the team, were going to answer the call soon.


[ 08-24-2001: Message edited by: Cmdr Nova ]

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Nice touch Blades.


EDZ 13

Perimeter scan.

Caine had spotted the slight glint of light off of armor just as the warning was issued, and he was in the process of getting lining his sight when the warning was promptly overriden. Lowering the rifle, the mercenary took a breath to relax himself. He had never been this jumpy before.

As he hooked the rifle back to it's clip on his armor, he attributed the shakes to being back on Earth gravity and pushed it aside. After all, he hadn't been here since leaving Galcom acad back in 02. Regardless, he had a job to do.

A Quick lookout from the ridge of their beam-down site assured that the path they were going to follow was clear of hostiles. Even on red and violet spectrums. Satisfied, he returned to where the others were gathering.

As he moved it was as if a shadow among shadows, the only signs of his passing the soft crunch of small pebbles, or the slight bob of a bush branch.

"Other than our contact, the field is clear for at least half a click. Not a blip on the hud."

Caine didn't bother to mention that there were ways to conceal ones' self, he was sure Blades was well aware. But at least there were no obvious hots, as he called them.


Mercenary Dominik Caine reporting for orders, SIR!

[ 08-24-2001: Message edited by: Caine ]

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Maddox had finally talked the Medic into letting him be discharged. He walked around Jo's office as he waited for her to come and tell him why she had summoned him. He looked at all the decorative knifes scattered around the room. There was a specific one that caught his eye though. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was the only case that was easily acessable. Inside there was a simple Stainless Steel (a rare commodity in these days ) knife with a Mother of Pearl handle. Not as gaudy as some of the other knifes in this room but still a fins specimin of a knife. Maddox carefully opened the lid of the case, and gingerly picked up the knife with his handkerchief, not knowing if Jo would be mad if he got fingerprints on it. He studied the finely sharpened blade. The serrated edge giving the knife a nomadic look. Maddox then noticed the fine inscribing done on the hilt. It simply read

"To my darling Kenneth, I give you this knife in recognition of our love to each other. This knife is modled after one my father had many years ago. It saved him from the most terrible situations, I hope it has the same effect for you. Your darling, Jo"

Maddox simply stared at this symbol of true love. He then carefully placed the knife back in its case. He thought to himself, Even though this Kenneth must know that this is definitely not the most expensive knife in here. It must be his personal favorite. I admire him for being able to win the love of this woman who it took me two weeks just to earn her trust.Maddox then turned around to see Jo walk through the door. She looked from the knife to Maddox, back to the knife then she opened her mouth as if to say something, but she just closed it again and broke down into sobs.


I just thought this would help us to remember that this story isn't fully fun and games, that the relationship of these people hang in the balance.

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Very, Very nice Maddox.




At the sight of the gleaming steel, the dark lines of te etchings plain to see, Jo could contain herself no longer. She fought against it for too long already. Her head lowered, and her eyes turned to the deck as the soft, short fur covering her face moistened with long unshed tears.

Looking back up at Maddox, she strode to his side, and gently took the knife from him. She sniffed as she cradled the object, holding it as if it could break at any moment. It was the gift she gave to her husband to celebrate their first year together. She still remembered the smile that lit his face as he read the inscription, the feeling of his perpetual scruff as they embraced.

She gingerly placed the blade back in the case before she would break down completely. Then she waved the commander to a seat, and took to the one behind the desk. It took her a minute to compose herself enough to be able to speak without a shake in her voice.

"I apologise for the show, Maddox. But normally things don't go the way they have been."

She leaned back, sighing as the last waves of grief finally resolved themselves for the time being.

"In our line of work, death is a constant... the only constant really. But at least there had always been a contract drawn up before hand, so we'd be aware of the risks...properly equipped...and prepared for the likelyhood of survival or no. But now, he is gods knows where, on a mission we know nothing about, with no trustworthy equipment, and unknowns watching his back. It just seems so likely he's not coming back this time..."

Jo was lost in thought for a few seconds as her words trailed off. But she began to feel herself drift back into the loss of controll, and went back to business.

"I called you in to apprase you of what's going on. We've reached moon orbit, and so far we've either been unseen or ignored. In either case we're beginning to get the preemptive rad leaks, and the counteragents have already started flowing through life-support. Within an hour...hour and a half, we'll have to start innoculating. After that... the casualties start coming in."

Jo leaned forewards on her desk.

"If the price get's too high, we pull out. Even if we don't find Ken. I called you in to hold me to that. Right now I'm still aware that even one person you love isn't worth the crew, and ship."

She wasn't sure if she saw protestations, or just imagined them.

"He's a survivor, and if he does get left behind... we'll find eachother again. But a few hours from now I may be incapable to give that order."

Her tone became more official, almost as if she was an officer of Galcom itself.

"Maddox, I am placing you among our ranks as Acting Second officer of the UCV 'LEO', and I am counting on you to keep me straight in this."

She leaned back in her chair again.

"You've already proven yourself by saving this ship from mutiny, even though you had opportunity to join the dissenters and leave us to float into a hole."

Jo gave the man a half-smile, her old mood finally returning since before this escapade began.

"But, I'm not giving up on him yet. I want you to focus on tracking his signal. We've already gotten two brief signals, but not enough to track beyond knowing he's not on the moon after all. The clock is ticking, let's not wait untill it winds down."


how about that for a field promotion? From guest to second officer in one fell swoop!

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Well I just might stir things up....not in a bad way though...


"I accept the responsibilities. However when we get Ken back, and I promise I will, or die trying, I will have to go back to GalCom. I am the head of that station that you see,"

At this Maddox pointed to Genisis Station that was just coming around from the shadow of the moon, its white plating gleaming in the sunlight.

"I know everything there is to know about that station. When you picked me up I was just going there for the first time as the head of that station. I can't abandon her, but I can't abandon you either in your time of need. So here I will stay, for the moment. Now about that radiation......If we could get everyone off of the personnel quarters on deck 4, we could use the back-up life support ducts to suck all the radiation to that part of the ship. It won't hold it there for long....maybe an hour, maybe less. But I think it might give us enough time to find Ken. If it doesn't then We'll go to plan B, as soon as I think of one."

Maddox smiled at the woman who was slightly smaller than him, but considerably braver than him. Maddox then walked out onto the bridge and over to the turbelift. He went down to deck 3. He then proceeded into his quarters and sat on his bed to think.

An hour later a marine saw Maddox enter engineering, he looked like he was a man on a mission....


I like wht you did on your last post Caine....it was....insirational?

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Thanks...I aim to please

Oh, so that you all know, there is a chance that I will be unable to post over the next week. I'm heading to Winepeg for a week, then going home to get back to school (Yech, ugh, and all that ). But If I can manage to get to a computer, I'll be sure to do what I can so that I don't fall behind.



ready room.

Jo leaned back on her chair and began staring at the ceiling as Maddox took his leave. Then she blindly tapped a few commands onto the consol before her.

--Jo Shtann mission log, the hunt, entry 4.--

*sigh*. "It's been a long time of it, but we're finally making a litle headway. Ken is still missing, but we've picked up a couple leads, and have narrowed down his location somewhat. But not nearly enough.

In the meantime, a group of mutineers decided to take advantage of our being close to home port and try to turn us in. During the brief event, Engineering was shot to hell, the ship nearly lost it's cloak twice from what Huber tells me, shields were almost rendered inoperable, and communications were locked down for nearly an hour before communications hacked the ban. But things have been stabilized, and we're coping with the loss of fine controll over the cloak and sensors."

"Maddox has been a real asset to us during this time, and I no longer regret bringing him aboard. He's proven himself to be trustworthy, and he seems to have the heart of a merc... even if he works for 'Com. I could see him going pretty far in our world."

There was a long pause as Jo collected her thoughts.

"I just wish this could be ended, soon, so that we can all get back to our lives...."


"Yes?... oh, come in Hu-*"

------end log-----


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Good one!


Maddox walked over the bridge examining the controls, then Huber walked over and went into Jo's office. Maddox went over and peered at his workstation. There was a simple little phrase on it. Obviously this message had been intercepted and decyphered by Jo's people, And Maddox was about to open it when his world turned into darkness and he fell to the floor a knot at the back of his head.


sorry I am short on time =)

Well......what sould I do, If Caine is going to be gone...that's going to put a dampener on this thread....any ideas??

[ 08-29-2001: Message edited by: BCFreak13 ]

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Operation Golgotha T - 0.75 hours

Stores was located near Cargo Bay one, and as Scholar cautiously stepped inside, he moved to one side as a bulky cargo android lumbered past, powerful servos whining and massive legs stomping as it carried a large cargo canister.

"Can I help you, merc?" spat a voice from the dim light of stores, and Scholar put on his best winning smile before turning around to face the long bench in the room.

The officer's countenance didn't change.

"Are you in charge of stores?" asked Scholar. The man nodded.

"Systems Engineer number 11, Ensign Robert Abdho at your service, sir." The last words were spoken with a sneer.

"I believe Fleet Commander Blades has authorised full access to your stores for all mercenaries and other people on board the McKendrick showing this?" queried Scholar, pulling out a datatab from a suit pocket and reaching towards the verifier on the counter-top. the officer waved a hand.

"Yeah, yeah, I know what you're about. Take your pick of GalCOM's finest, merc."

Scholar nodded briefly. "I need a suit of light powered armour, a DIE unit, a SCAT-1 with as many clips as you can fit into half a bandolier, and a BMP-9 with the rest of the bandolier filled. Type 2s over Type 1 clips."

The SysEng raised a eyebrow. "Aren't you going to ask to browse the menu?"

Scholar broke into a grin. "Funny man. I've eaten here before. Oh, and ten or fifteen frag grenades. Cram them into the standard away team pack somewhere. And a couple of smoke grenades might come in handy as well."

The Engineer tapped a few commands into the terminal in front of him, and a cargo android stood against the far wall of Stores hummd into life, before lurching out towards the cargo bay.

The Systems Engineer turned to the mercenary, and eyed him shrewdly. "I'm curious. Why light armour?"

Scholar grinned. "You know it's classified, Ensign Abdho."

The Engineer frowned. "Whatever."

Scholar sighed, and stepped closer. "Bioprotection. The ability to seal off the outer environment and rely on suit air for up to ten hours might come in handy. And I want to be able to patch in my guns and the DIE to the suits computer. I like assisted targetting."

Robert Abdho nodded. "Fair enough. Not going for medium or heavy armour?"

Scholar laughed. "And walk around like a tortoise? No thank you. The light stuff keeps me maneuverable."

The cargo android lurched back into the room, and stood before the counter. The SysEng ran a hand-held scanner over the package, before turning to Scholar.

"The 'droid will follow you to the ready room, where you can suit up. The clips for the power armour and here, and here," he said, gesturing towards points on the armour. "Biosuit on first, over your ship suit. Then the armour pieces. Each servo and strut will magnetically link. The suit will power up and confirm activation if you've put it together properly. Scan for your weapons and DIE and program them into suit channel five. Now, the pouch in here is for-"

Scholar cut him off. "I know what the pouch is for. I've worn them before. Thanks."

The SysEng grinned, but it was a cold grin. "Don't mention it. Thank me by getting someone else to deliver the suit back here in one piece."

"You're all personality, you know that?"

The only response Scholar received was a rude gesture and a curse as he strode out of Stores, the android clumping along behind him.


Operation Golgotha T + 0 minutes 30 seconds

Earth, Mission Zone 13

Team One and Two Beam In Point

The light from the transporter field dissipated and Scholar bent low and ran, his DIE on full illumination, the virtually recreated landscape a dim orange as he sprinted for the nearest rocky outcrop, suit servos whirring almost silently with each step. The titanium wafer compound armour shell was tough but light, and the biosuit underpinning it was a kevlar/titanium fibre blend, meaning that Scholar could move virtually unimpeded and quietly.

Not quietly enough. He hurled himself behind the outcrop and began scanning the landscape, switching the DIE over to full infra-red mode. At the top of the hill overlooking their beam-in point, he caught sight of some movement, the contact using some of the still-warm rocks to cover his own body heat. Scholar smiled. clever. But not clever enough.

The others from the team were beginning to leave cover now, the area secure. Scholar flexed his shoulders, the unfamiliar texture of the special suit Chavik had handed out to Team Two members chafing against his skin. He walked out from cover quietly, towards the rest of the crew.

"I'm detecting no signs of life, apart from a few non-intelligent avian life forms," one of the mercenaries - Star, or Nova, or something - was saying. Scholar smiled cynically.

"They're called chickens, buddy," he grunted, before approaching Blades. Several other team mebers got there first.

And so did their contact.

almost without warning, he stepped from the brush surrounding their beam in point, surverying the gathered humans. Several people went for their guns, but Scholar's eyes never left Blades. Blades didn't even flinch as the tall man - obviously ex-marine - stepped forward.

Obviously no threat, then, surmised Scholar.

Blades stepped forward and shook hands with the newcomer, before turning to the rest of the group.

"This is ex-Sergeant Diamond, GalCOM marine. He'll be joining us from here on in."

Scholar raised an eyebrow.

The Chikuma. I remember you. Then he remembered, the signs of movement on the hill.

You wanted to be seen. You could have been invisible if you'd wanted to hide.

It had been a test. Scholar wasn't sure whether he'd passed or failed. But then, maybe it wasn't the kind of test that got graded that way.

Scholar took a few steps forward.

"Blades, with due respect, Earth Command will have EWR units out here and they'll have detected the beam in, if not our weapons and transponders by now. We should start moving."

We few, we bloody few...


You've sent us on a suicide mission?? What the hell did you inject us with, you shifty bugger? *grin*


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Ready room

Huber waited at the door to the small weapon-laden room as Jo tapped off the terminal.

"I've come to give you the latest report Jo... Are you alright?"

Huber had noticed the disheveled, ragged look on her face, and when she absently nodded, rubbing the side of her face before running a hand through her red hair to smooth a few wayward locks. After a pause, he continued with his report.

"Maddox's plan to relocate the crew should buy us some time, especially if we periodically vent through controlled shunts to the aft dorsal valves, we can squeeze maybe another hour into the search. ..."

"Go on, Huber. I'm ready for bad news."

The communications officer took a breath before continuing, despite her urgings.

"We aven't had any more sign of Caine's signal in the last half-hour, but telemetry finally traced the last pair of signals to somewhere in earth orbit. We've narrowed it to a grid of about fifty clicks square. We're focusing the modified array there, but nothing has come up yet."

Jo took the chip Huber offered that had the fine detail and computer mathematics, but it would tell her nothing more than he had already revealed.


Jo turned to her consol at the camm request, hesitant to answer it in fear of more bad news.


Finally, she activated the in-ship. Her fears had been answered.

"Maddox is being brought to Medibay one, he collapsed at the communications consol. We're still trying to figure why."

Jo stood abruptly, her shair spinning full circle on it's swivel.

"Dammit, nothing ever goes any more. Huber, keep on the search."

She didn't register the instinctive 'aye' from the perplexed man as she passed him by, striding to the lift.

"Daal, you have the bridge."

The Vesperon duty officer nodded, and took his post as Jo barked her order into the empty lift.


Huber stepped up to his console ad reinitiated the scan for Caine's frequency, and as the working symbol appeared, he took notice of a small flashing icon in the lower corner of the screen. It was a decoded message, but it's source was unknown. When he opened it, letters and symbols began rapidly cascading down the screen in an unintelligible jumble. Curious, he replayed it again and again, but he only got the same thing.

"Damn decoder is off.." He muttered as he checked the password it had found. all that came up was a set of numbers that seemed random.


Huber scratched his head, confused. But a quick glance to the array showed it was working properly, so he had some free time to fill, and happily set about cracking the meaning.



Maddox, when you wake up Jo will be standing over you expectantly That is unless you are suffering from something that needs treating...

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  • 2 weeks later...


Operation Golgotha T + 3 minutes 25seconds

Earth, Mission Zone 13

Beam in point.

The discussion with Sgt. Diamond was brief, and to the point. The former marine updated the Orion Fleet Commander with the current state of play, then strode aside to check some of the equipment Savage had brought down with them. While this was going on, Savage summoned Chavik, Scholar and the merc Nova to his side.

“Diamond has brought me up to date on a few things. For starters, the efforts he has made up here to mask our transporter signals may or may not have been 100% successful. The base and surface barracks is unaware of our presence, but there have been roving patrols seen in the area that may have picked us up. Diamond had a dampening field set up in the hills above our position, and activated it just prior to beam in. Unless the patrols were monitoring this area specifically for EW emissions, the chances are we are undetected. However, that is by no means certain. Diamond will lead us through the canyons towards our objective, and take a short cut through an old mine to within 500 metres of the surface barracks. While we’re inside the mine, external sensors wont be able to track us. Apparantly, there were security sensors within the mine itself, but he’s seen fit to reconfigure them temporarily so we can pass by unmolested. Bottom line, so far so good.”

“How long will it take us to get to the mine?” asked Chavik.

Savage checked his datapad. “According to this terrain data, so long as we don’t wrong foot it anywhere, we should make the mine in just under an hour. Once inside, it’s going to be quite slow going. It’s been abandoned for hundreds of years, and is therefore quite dangerous to traverse. The sensor net within is archaic but is tied into the barracks security station. Although I have full confidence in Diamonds abilities to fool the net, I don’t want us to do anything that’s going to press our luck.”

This time it was Nova who presented the Fleet Commander with a question. “You said there were roving patrols out there. Whats their makeup?”

Savage took a moment to recall what Diamond had told him, then relayed it to the small group. “There are at least three teams out on patrol. Two to a team in a small offroad patrol vehicle. Their patrol patten seems to be random, and within these canyons we cant get accurate sensor data as to their location. In reality, that’s a good thing, since if we cant see them, they cant see us. While we’re moving on, we’ll have to rely on old fashioned methods of tracking them down, something I want Chav and his team to head up.”

Chavik grunted. “You want us on point?”

Savage smirked. “I cant think of anyone better. Besides, if it comes to it, you can fire up those suits of yours and get in close – just like you’re going to do at the barracks.”

Chavik frowned. “I was hoping not to use the suits too much until we were at the barracks itself. If we have to use them before we get there, we’re running the risk of extreme exposure.”

Savage shrugged. “I know, it sucks, but better that than expose the mission. If they get advanced warning of our approach, we’re dead.”

Scholar chuckled. “Lets not do that, ok?”

Savage nodded. “Next point, and perhaps the break we’ve been looking for.”

Everyone looked up at the Fleet Commander.

“The security centre within Golgotha is being retrofitted with additional sentry weapons systems, and a good portion of their automated defense grid is down while engineering crews work on it. The upside is that we wont get quite as hammered as I was expecting by their autoguns, the downside is, theres more security there to get in the way.”

“No biggie.” Remarked Nova. “Just means theres more human falability down there. I’d rather take on a platoon of grunts than a fully operational sentry platform anyday.”

“There is a down side to this, though.” Interrupted Savage. “Apparantly, theres a full company stationed in a temporary barracks at a supply room just down from the south tunnel into the main complex. This means we have to close those blast doors really quickly if we’re gonna have any chance of securing security and the landing platform. We’re going to have to do this fast.”

Chavik shook his head. “A full company? Good god, we cant repel those numbers.”

Savage nodded. “Not if we don’t get those blast doors down and secured immediately. IF we secure that exit, we can probably hold up there long enough for your team to beam in and extract the target. But only IF we get those doors down in time.”

Schloar frowned. “It’s going to be tight. No margin for error.”

“None whatsoever.”

A moment passed with the four men in silence. The silence was broken only when Diamond returned from the equipment check he was making and entered the circle.

“I take it you’ve given them the good news?” said Diamond.

Savage regarded his old friend. “Well, I’ve given them the news. Good or not remains to be seen.”

Diamond smirked. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it. We either do it, or we don’t. Our last chance to abort is now, and I don’t think we’re gonna do that.”

Chavik looked up at the fleet commander, as if daring him to change his mind.

Savage returned the look, and although saying nothing, communicated his intention to press on with his eyes.

“The time for talk is over. You know what we’re facing, and you know we’re on a tight schedule. Saddle up people, we move out in two.”

With that, Savage left the circle and strode towards the main concentration of men.

Moments later, with the others returning to their respective positions, the troupe moved out.

The lonely walk to Golgotha had begun.


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Earth, Mission zone 13.

"Saddle up people, we move out in two."

The orders rang clear through the earpiece of Caine's black helmet, and he promptly took his place with the others. Just as they were heading out, he finally activated light enhancement and allowed himself a moment to adjust to the changed display. He then took his rifle in hand, flipping it to mode two, and moved out silently. The only sounds around him were those of shifting dirt and armor from those around him.


[ 10-24-2001: Message edited by: Caine ]

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Akuma sat in her quarters, having nothing really to do at all. She played with the small badge having not talked to Rattler in quite sometime. She traced the outline of the sigil carefully with her hands. "Insurgent one." She hugged it close. "I'm so close to losing it uncle."

So close... She held her uniform in her hands. But this will be over soon.

She opened the jacket of the uniform and took the pin and needle up from where it lay on the bed. Deftly she sewed the patch onto the inner lining of her uniform....Just over the place where her heart was. Soon, I won't have to choose...I won't choose to shoot either. Not Foss, not Blades, and not my dear dear Uncle. Not ever.

She stood up putting the uniform top on and sitting down at her desk.

Dear Blades...

She scribbled that out, crumpled it up, and threw it away. This wasn't for Blades.

Requesting Permission...

She did the same to this piece.

To whom it may concern...

She let out a sigh of aggervation and put the old fashioned pen and paper down. She moved back to the bed carefully placing the needle and thread back in her night table drawer. Maybe if I sleep...

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So many things had changed in the past few days. Nine years ago, I'd been the CMO aboard the GCV Kev's Star. Just after the Battle of Jupiter, I'd been promoted and reassigned to the Deterrence. My first mission had nearly resulted in the destruction of my ship, and had taken the lives of over twenty young soldiers. A few years after that, Blades gave me command of a Battle Group. I was never able to figure out why he'd done that. Then, to top things off, he put me in charge of a base. A ground base, of all things. I had tried, until that time, to only be planetside during leave.

Now, nine years later, I'd been a medical again. It had restored something that I'd thought lost in me for a long time. I'd been saving lives instead of taking them. Now, as if some cruel joke of the universe had been played on me, I was back in a position where I would have to kill again.

The difference was, though, that this time, I would be shooting at other humans. An occurrance that had been, up to this point, blessedly limited.

I thought about the lives that could soon be lost. Thought about their hopes and dreams, what they might wish to be. If this mission didn't go as planned, the consequences could be a lot worse than if we succeeded. Hundreds versus thousands. No, versus millions.

Damn the numbers, I thought silently. The rifle, slung silently across my back. The pistol secured in a back holster. The wrist laser, a last resort. I looked down at the medikit hanging off my shoulder.

Hope I don't have to use you, old friend. Though I would rather that, then have to shoot someone. Somehow, though, I got the feeling that I would soon be firing with the rest of them. Whether I liked it or not, I'd volunteered for this mission. If that meant that I had to shoot the enemy to ensure my comrades - Insurgent and Galcom alike - made it back in one piece, then so be it.

[ 09-27-2001: Message edited by: David Foss ]

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It'd been a long time since he'd been on a long march. He noticed some of the group carrying their rifles slung across their shoulders, and wondered how often they'd seen ground combat. One learned very quickly to carry your weapon always at the ready in case you were ambushed.

The first time he'd seen ground combat was in 2985. A rebellion had sprouted up on the Mars colony, and the 108th OMB was dispatched to suppress it. He'd been assigned to them as the Marine Liason Officer 4 months before, after attending the Basic school that all Marine officers attended and the Marine Parachutist school.

That was something. In years not too long past the only way to get Marines into a hostile target was to have them jetpack from a shuttle flying high above the drop zone. For reasons of tradition the Marines still called them Parachutists, and his company of the 108th were among them.

They dropped 720 Marines on the surface of Mars to quell the rebellion, and Somerset made his first combat jump on March 12, 2985. Before he hit the ground over 30 of the MI's were dead, and the rebels were trying to pick the Marines off as quickly as they could. After 17 days of fighting, he'd gone up again for another drop to outflank the last of the rebels who held part of a city just to the west of a mountain range.

The fighting ended April 2, 4 days after he made his second jump. There were only 108 Marine casualites, Somerset among them. Two days before the fighting was over some shrapnel caught him in the back. Though he'd lived, his back wasn't ever quite the same again.

He'd never been the same again.

When he'd joined up he never expected to have to kill other humans in combat. The rebels had almost 700 when they started out. At the end, there were only 63 alive. Only one outcome was possible for traitors to the State, and Somerset was more than happy to attend their hangings.

Something had left him that day, more so than things had left him when he was in combat. Seeing those rebels die was nothing like seeing buddies from his company be blown to bits by rebel fire or grenades. He was glad to see them pay the price for their traitorous activites. And perhaps it would show others that rebellion wasn't the way to address your problems with the government. The state had ways and means to make qualms known, and armed rebellion wasn't one of them.

Which is very ironic when you think about it, isn't it Benjamin? Isn't that exactly what you're about to do now, engage in armed rebellion against the state? The more he thought about it, the more ironic the idea became.

He moved the weapon slightly so he could see the energy charge in it. Old habits died hard, as he felt along his web belt for the extra clips and grenades. He lifted his left hand up to make sure that his pistol was secure on the front of his chest. Making sure it was slightly loose in the holster, he moved his hand to the strap of his pack and checked his knife there.

As he marched down the path, automatically looking left and right, he hoped this was the right thing to do. He no longer had qualms with killing, he merely had qualms with dying.


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How long had it been since he had been on Earth? Five years? Six? Chavik couldn't remember. Didn't quite remember it being this hot either. But he wasn't from around here and he was sure the depleted ozone layer wasn't helping much. Nah, he thought, had to be his imagination. It was just plain hot. No cover from the sun at all, not even cloud cover. And the heat, must be summer. This turned another thought over in Chavik's head. He really didn't even know what season it was supposed to be. He grew sad for a moment as he contemplated this. The only thing he really knew for sure was that they were going for Akira.

Another thought, the man could get into more sh*t than anyone he knew. He guessed that was par for the course. Through Akira's efforts, the Insurgents had been a larger thorn in Galcom's side than would have otherwise been possible. So large a thorn that in fact if it were to be pulled out the blood would flow for a very long time. Funny, Chavik thought again, they were here to extract that very same thorn but in a different way.

They had hiked quite a ways while Chavik thought. Different thoughts off and on and off again while trying to ignore the heat. All the time keeping an eye out for anything dangerous or unusual. Nothing of importance had shown itself though to watch Gallion, Scholar, and the others would seem to be-lie that fact.

They had gotten a good distance from Blades' group when Chavik "heard" it. Felt, heard, sensed, Chavik couldn't really tell anymore. He motioned for his group to stop. Scholar and another merc looked at each other with a smirk. They then looked at Gallion; who, appearing the much more battle-hardened warrior, they had unconsciously (consciously?) grouped with. Chavik saw the whole exchange and waited as Gallion turned to him.

He wasn't quite sure how Gallion pulled it off, that "Don't be quite so sure he's wrong" look. Perhaps it was the raised eyebrows combined with the silly smile. Perhaps it was those far off eyes that could bore through you in a moment. Whatever it was Gallion had their attention. Despite the previous exchange of glances they followed Chavik up the hill when he motioned.

They crawled over the ridge and there it was. One of the patrols Blades had mentioned. Whether they were stopping for lunch, break, goofing off, or sentry duty Chavik couldn't tell but there they were.

Chavik looked at the mercs. They looked back with a 'What ya gonna do now?' look

Chavik looked at Gallion. Gallion was grinning. "Do you feel lucky?"

Chavik ducked back behind the hill and shucked off the top half of his coveralls. He removed his Tshirt and ripped it into strips. After putting the coveralls back on he picked up the strips and held them in front of Gallion. Gallion loked like he was going to panick for a moment then held his arms out.

The Capture of the patrol unit was swift. A quick run down the hill, an urgent declaration that he had captured the errant fleet leader. The stunned look on their faces as they recognized Gallion. The more shocked look as they were stunned down.

Chavik drove back to Blades. "What next boss?"


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Heat, god I hate the heat ...

Onward we went, at the point, Chavic, the Scholar, myself, Gunney, and the others.

... maybe I've gone soft since leaving terra-firma ...

Blades was not a fool - at least not completely. He stuck us on point. The first to get hit in the event of an ambush. Which would take care of two birds with one stone - ID the ambush and eliminate possible difficulties in the near future.

...Naw, I aint soft...

"Show time," Scholar muttered with a grin to me as the gaggle stopped at Chavic's signal.

"Yep," I said to the gaggle as the came around me, "you all know what to do," I added as I watched Chavic scurry up the ridge. For some unknown reason a silly, sadistic, and at the same time smug grin came across my mug as we followed Chavic up the same ridge.

...just hate this bloomin' heat...

Yep, there they were. One of them patrols that Blades had mentioned. We could take them out easily - but not without raising the alarm and damning the mission to failure just as it was beginning.

...I'm getting to old for this...

"Do you feel lucky?" Chavic says to me as he removed the top half of his overalls and took off his t-shirt, which he tore into strips and held them in front of me.

For a moment I flashback to just a few months ago and then again to a few years back. One flashback was centerd around Galcom HQ and the other reminded me of the Witching Hour. I guess one could say that I panicked somewhat. I prefer to call it a momentary laspe of reason and the short time one takes to reflect on one's actions - those taken or those about to be taken. I held out my arms and Chavic quickly tied me up. I think that he enjoyed that to much. York gave the bindings a quick check and nodded to Chavic. Chavic and several of the mercs headed out carefully but swiftly along the backside of the ridge. York began to count to himself.

...and where are you going littl' red Riding Hood?..

When York reached his mark he nodded to those of the gaggle that remained and we all headed over the ridge ... towards the patrol.

...I'm going to my Grandma's house in the woods...

We got within 100 meters before we were challenged. Must be new recruits, either that or these twits must've landed on somebody's s-list. We recieved the standard Halt, who goes there? and Advance to be recognized lines. I thought the Lt. in charge was going to have a cow right then and there when the Scholar ID us. When Scholar ID me as the escaped prisoner from Galcom HQ, York nailed me in the kidneys with the butt of his ZS10. Which caused me to loose my balence and drop on my knees. Tears began to swell in my eyes from the unexpected pain radiated from my lower side and back. With my arms tied I had no choice but to fall on my other side. For some reason, the rocks and gravel did not yield to the side of my head and face as they made contact with the ground. Black spots appeared in my vision and I could feel blood trickling down the side of my head and face. I opened my mouth to scream from the pain but that only resulted in a mouth full gravel and dirt. My scream resulted in my spitting out these intruders from my oral cavity.

...terra-firma tastes like ...

The patrol got a laugh out of that and they relaxed their gaurd some. But their laughter and merriment was cut off quite suddenly as they heard the telltale clicks of the safeties of weapons being released as a plethora (to them at least) of ZS10s and HD4SGs were leveled at the patrol from both my gaurds and the gaggle with Chavic directions. The patrol was surrounded, they gave up without a scuffle.

...you bastard York, I thought, you 're enjoying this to much...

My head, side, and lower back was still throbbing as Chavic reported back to our fearless leader of this managerie. The point crew, as I began to call them to myself, secured and stunned the lost patrol. At the same time they began to confiscate their equipment and uniforms. Some put the uniforms of the patrol on - York among them. Others set up a hasty perimeter. I was still tied up by strips of Chavic's t-shirt.

"You gonna loosen these up York?" I asked my grinning Gunnery Sergeant before he put his new found helmet on.

"Nope," he said, "you're now the bunny leading the foxes through the briar patch."

If looks could kill, York would've been dead now. I have no idea what York's expression was. I could not see his face through the mask of the helmet. Then I grinned, a very evil grin and chuckled some. York's actions were correct. we might not have the luxury of getting ready before we ran across the next patrol as we drew closer to our objective.

"What ever you do York," I said still chuckling some and spitting gravel and dirt out from my mouth, "dont throw me in the briar patch with..."

I never got a chance to finish, York just grabbed me with one hand hauled me to my feet and said, "We got to get them ruby slippers sir."



[ 10-01-2001: Message edited by: Gallion ]

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all too easy


Caine smiled as he ghosted off with Chavic and the rest. He didn't envy what was coming for the trussed man though... the same ruse has been used often, sometimes with himself playing the main role.

Pushing fond memories aside, he followed the others, ducking from stone to plant, a shadow among shadows like the others. By the time the halt was called they were all already in position. Caine just hoped they would hive in without any tricks. He didn't want to have to take down his mark, but he would if he had to. It was business now, nothing personal.

Laying on his back along the ridgeline, he could see a merc on his left, and Chavic further down. He was on the tail end of the semi-circle, and was made responsible for covering the radio man. If a hand went to an ear, he'd blow it clean off. Thankfully, from what Caine could tell they were still out of shortwave range, so they only had to worry about the packer.

As he listened in to the brief discussion happening below them, and on the other side of the ridge, he checked his ammo silently. Others were doing the same. The readout was nominal. Then the signal was given, and in a heartbeat himself and several others had a weapon trained on every suit of armor, and the resounding clicks of chambering rounds stilled them utterly.

God he liked his job. It seemed that they were going to play by the rules after all. After only a few second's hesitation they complied with their new orders, though Caine was sure to make the packer aware of the one inch bore pointed at his faceplate.

In minutes the patrollers were subdued and cleaned of harmfull posessions... and things that could be used to send signals or otherwise jeopardise the mission. Caine was even sure to take lighters so fires couldn't be started. He then set about his duties of helping scan a perimeter, and take up a defensive position. He chose a section of the ridge where a large boulder met the ground at an odd angle, giving him something to tuck under. He slid into the deep shadow and lay prone on his belly, using the scope of his rifle to scan the area around him.

It seemed even the squirrels were unaware of what happened minutes before.


[ 10-24-2001: Message edited by: Caine ]

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Sorry, just came out of coma :-D


Maddox lifted his head, trying to ignore the ounding ache, dulling his thoughts. He tried to force his yes to focus, but they couldn't. Finally he reralized hat was wron and asked to no one "Where are my contacts?"

"Over there. On the counter"

A voice said in his ear, making him jump.

"DON'T DO THAT!" He yelled as he fell out of bed.

A blurry figure helpd him upand over to his contacts. As he placed them in, his headache grew worse. The pain was nauseating. He slowly slumped to the floor as his knees gave way, and cluthed his head helplessly.

"Here, take these"

Maddox gratefully accepte the two pills offered to him and tok them. Instantly the pain receded until it was nothing but a slight twinge in the back of his head. He lookedup and recognized Jo.

"Now what?" He asked.

"We wait" Was her answer, it was just the answer he had expected. Then he remembered Smith, still plugged in, he didn't even know that there had been sabotuers on board. Maddox would wake him later and inform him. Yes, he'd wake Smith eventually. Maddox thought back over his lost ship, his dead crew, the new Harkrader floating around somewhere out there, with someone who shouldn't be ather helm. Maddox sighed, not really over anything, but over life itself. One moment he was on top of the world, next in line for a promotion, but then he was flung out into deep space, collided wih a transport, which jumped in rigt on top of him, Maddox wondered what ever happened to that ship..........

"Yeah" he replied. "We wait"

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We're at war. Scholar isn't in this for the movie rights. He also has more than a minor grudge against these people. Therefore, this post might offend some people. If it does, stop reading.


Scholar winced as he saw Gallion chew the turf, although outwardly his countenance remained unchanged. There's no love lost between those two crewmen he mused sardonically as he watched the Sergeant haul the old pirate up by the binders around his wrists. Gallion's eyes were filled with rage as he spat gravel and blood, and although Scholar couldn't hear the words the sergeant spoke as he hauled his Commander towards the unwary patrol, Scholar could easily make out the tension.

The signal came, and Scholar, already tensed to move, sprung from cover, energy rifle already trained on his mark, one of the heavy armour marines. The reticle in his DIE steadied squarely over the man's chest, and Scholar warily reached forward to switch it into energy fire mode. Heavy armour might stand up to a few projectile rounds square in the chest, but an energy blast should fuse enough of it to make the wearer distinctly uncomfortable.

And there was always the frag grenade he had racked up in the under-barrel launcher.

The marines obviously weren't the "death before dishonour" type. They surrendered readily and wordlessly, and the freelancers moved forward swiftly to disarm them. Scholar nodded slowly as he watched Caine destroy their communications pack with a few well-aimed blows of his heel, and smiled. these two mercenaries - Nova and Caine - had survived a lot. That made them men to watch closely.

The marines were trussed up rapidly and left under cover. Blades turned to the point team members, gesturing them closer.

"Stun them, quickly. Meet us in the brush. Then we move on."

Blades led the rest of the freelancers back into the undergrowth as Team Two turned to face the patrolmen. Scholar grinned. He approached the leader of the patrol. The evening breeze was beginning to pick up, and it ruffled the tied man's hair. Scholar squatted, rifle at the ready. He heard the staccato of stun blasts behind him as the rest of the team did their work, and stared hard into the EarthCOM marine's eyes. He searched hard for fear. There was nothing but reckless bravado.

Scholar spat to one side. "Only Earth Command would train their men to be defiant in the face of capture."

The marine remained silent and unmoving.

"I didn't see this kind of defiance when we were threatening to kill you."

Still no response. Scholar sighed.

"I don't have the gullet for this. I want your tabs. Your ID and access tabs. You're not wearing them. Where are they?"


"You will give the 'tabs to me now."

More silence. Perhaps the hint of a smile. Scholar grinned in return.

"I'm not interested in playing that game either. You give me the 'tabs or I start getting unfriendly."

When this, too, failed to elicit a response, Scholar stood straight once more, and switched his rifle onto a low intensity energy fire mode.

"Low intensity. Energy beam. Will still cut through flesh, but it'll cauterise. You won't bleed to death. We talking yet?"

The marine clenched his jaw and said nothing.

"Of course, I'm not going to kill you. You know that, don't you?"

Another few seconds of silence.

"What will we start with? Hands? I could cut off your hands. Of course, a bit of 'Gen Tank Therapy will regenerate them, but imagine the pain. Imagine waking up in the hours before they rescue you to try and untie yourself and to grate your bloody stumps against the ropes?"

The marine didnt respond, although a fine sheen of sweat was spreading across his brow. Scholar smiled mirthlessly.

"Or maybe we'll take out your kneecaps. No permanent damage. But painful. Excruciating pain. Tied up, you won't be able to move to relieve the pain. Burning agony for hours unil they find you. And knock you out. And every time you wake up, the same agony. Even after they fix you, even after you've floated in a tank for two weeks, you'll still wake up, at night, dreaming of the agony, screaming."

The marine cleared his throat, swallowing several times.

"How about - I've got it. How about we shoot your cojones off? That's the ticket. They can regenerate them, too. But think about it. Lying on the ground, in a pool of burnt flesh and blood, feeling the pain from your groin. Lying like some neuter, some eunuch, on the ground. By the time they find you, get you stabilised, you'll have been emasculated for at least two, three days. You'll probably have started to lose your hair by that stage. Probably your voice will have broken. You'll sound like a woman. You'll cry like a b1tch in front of these men...that you lead."

By now Scholar was sighting down the barrel of the rifle, the man's groin lined up in the sights. He squeezed the trigger ever-so-slightly, just enough so that the buzz and crackle of the projection field could be heard and seen aound the muzzle of the gun.

"I wonder if you'll have begun to develop breasts by that stage?"

Finally the marine broke. He hissed out between clenched teeth. "I buried them. About two meters to your left."

Scholar smiled as he lowered the weapon part way, and took two cautions steps to his left. Below him, he spotted the small patch of freshly disturbed earth. With one foot, he scratched at the ground until it uncovered something solid. A glint of metal chain revealed it to be a datatab. Scholar smiled, and switched the rifle over to stun mode. He raised it to frame the marine's head in the targetting reticle, before squeezing off one blast. The marine slumped, unconscious. Scholar bent down to pick up the 'tab, the chain snaking through his hands, before stuffing it into his pocket.

He turned to look at the rest of his team, watching on quietly.

"Shall we go?"


Just a little something to make things more interesting. Never know when some more access codes might come in handy. Not to mention being able to pass off as an Earth Command officer.

What? I warned you! *grin*. On with the motley.

Oh, BTW, Akuma - where are those pictures? *grin*.

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Jo was relieved that Maddox was conscious, and apparently coherent. But the med couldn't find anything that would have caused the blackout. near as he could figure it could have been some residual effect of the narco-drug.

"Get him fit for duty as soon as you can. We'v still got tracking to do."


sorry this one's so short... it's late, I'm falling asleep, and I can't think of anything else to write right now.

Although I could have sworn that I had made a post involving Maddox waking up already... but I think it disappeared on me. Was it deleted or am I just losing my mind?

[ 10-10-2001: Message edited by: Caine ]

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, we're moving swiftly along now. I've been delayed from posting too much recently due to a variety of depressing reasons, but this weekend Im going to do my best to bring this girl back to life and get us in position for the main event. Here goes.


Operation Golgotha T + 1 hour 27 minutes

Earth, Mission Zone 13

Abandoned 23rd Century Mine Facility

Savage hesitated at the mine entrance, looking over his PAD for any additional information regarding the interior of the mine from the data that Diamond had downloaded to him. Despite the fact that Savage trusted the old marine completely, he couldnt trust the intelligence data with the same confidence. Most of what Diamond had passed on to him was from his own internal scans and observations during his two day recee in the mission zone, but the details regarding the mines interior was, to say the least, a little patchy.

Sure, he'd discovered the monitoring equipment inside, and had devised a way to circumvent it, but as to the complete layout, bottomless pits, poor lighting etc - there was next to nothing. A basic route was mapped out and seemed accesable enough, but Savage knew better than to trust anything on appearences alone. He didnt like it, was hesitant to take people inside. Still, there was little choice now, and time was running out.

The distraction with the Earthcom patrol had cost them time, and time was the one thing they didnt have in abundance right now.

Chaviks group were getting restless. They were perched in and around the mine entrance while Savage and the remainder of his team were gathered around sixty feet distant. They had been sitting there, waiting for the go ahead for at least five minutes now, and every once in a while, one or more of them would look back, or make an annoyed gesture towards the Fleet Commander suggesting that they wanted to press on.

It was only after Diamond had returned to his former commanders side that he broke from examining the datapad and regarded the tough marine.

"The boys are getting ansy, boss. They dont like being exposed like this. They want to move in and take cover within the mine before we run into any additional patrols."

"Im aware of that Diamond." said Savage. "Im just not completely happy about whats up ahead."

Diamond shrugged. "Nor me, but we come all this way now, and I dont think you'd entertain the idea of turning back now."

Savage shook his head. "I think after Gallion and Chaviks escapades with the patrol, we're a little bit too commited to turn back."

Diamond nodded and checked his chrono. "We're about thirty minutes away from hitting the barracks. If we're gonna keep on schedule, we have to hustle."

Reluctantly, Savage had to agree with the old marine. He looked at his own chrono, and mentuallycalculated how long before the McKendrick would be back in position to recieve them. "Ok, get back up there and give them the go ahead to move in. You know the route, so you take the lead."

"Got it." said Diamond. "It will take about ten minutes to reach the security control net, and about five minutes to bypass security and keep the barracks in the dark. A little before the control net I've stashed some additional equipment that we might find useful once we get inside, including that special order of yours."

Savage's eyes both lit up, then became sad in the same instant. "Lets just hope I can still remember how to use it."

Diamond smirked. "I dont think you ever really learned how to use it, boss. You just did. And did very, very well."

Savage nodded, sadly. "Yeah. Get up there Diamond, move them out."

With that, Diamond scuttled away and made the 60 foot dash upto the mine entrance and joined with Chaviks team. There was a brief discussion, then a hand signal from Nova indicating that they were moving out. A moment later, Chaviks entire team dissapeared into the mouth of the cave and vanished from sight. A few moments after that, Savage gave a signal of his own, and the troupe broke from cover and made way towards the darkness beyond.


Chav, you and your team got the lead now. I intend to have us in position for the strike against the barracks by this evening. If people want to post - post fast.

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