"What's the plan?" Kaquyu asks, her voice wispy and dry.
Saoirse crouches next to the wounded hiltorel. "The plan was
to trade you for the bot and walk out with them none the wiser, but that's clearly not gonna work. So now I say we leg it while they're still busy shooting each other. Can you walk? Run?"
The girl looks apprehensive at the thought of moving, but steels herself and tries to put on a brave face. "I can try," she says determinedly.
Both women duck and wince as a stream of bullets smack the wall above their heads.
"Cole!" Nilo calls. He's staggering across the room, trying to stay close to the ground as blood pours from his chest between his fingers. He chokes; blood dribbles from his mouth. "Cole, I need medical attention!" At that moment, a bullet smacks him in the back of the leg; his tibia shattered, he crumples to the ground with a cry of pain.
The pressure is on. Enemies are pouring in from the right. Nilo is unconscious, and Frank is gone. Kinorvan and Feb Keshor both seem unstoppable, and there's a wounded political prisoner that needs rescued. Shouts ring out from the hallway to the south - explosions and gunshots.
Caleb's military training kicks in. He wasn't made a corporal for nothing. He begins barking orders as he smoothly leaps over his crates, dashing to Saoirse while fuchsia plasma streaks by. "Saoirse! Stasis bubble, east hallway! I'll take the girl. Head out first and try to stick to the shadows. Sukava, you go on ahead! Try to clear a path for us. We need to get out of here while we still can!" He kneels as an explosion rocks the crates he and Saoirse are using as cover, and forces his shoulder against them to stop them from sliding. "We can do this! You know your jobs! Get it done!"
Sukava laughs. "All right, little man!" She makes for the southern exit.
Standing, Saoirse flings a stasis bubble perfectly around the leading fysar in the southeast hallway, causing the other three or four behind him to stumble, bunching up while they try to figure out what the hell just happened. She turns and calls out, "Spiderbot! Cover our backs and follow us!" and leaves, following Sukava.
Caleb gets down on one knee next to Kaquyu, checking to see where she's wounded and sizing up her weight.
"Are you sure you can lift me?" Kaquyu asks, a little anxious. She's really starting to feel the flake in the air, or else she might be panicking.
The ex-soldier nods, putting his arms around her. "Easily," he reassures her, as he lifts her off the ground. She yelps with pain - and he almost does too. He'd forgotten the wound on his stomach, and now it's probably bleeding again... but he'll have to deal with that later.
"ENEMIES OF FEB KESHOR!" a voice shouts - a voice that sounds suspiciously like none other than Brom Keegan - professional businessman, hero of the Ermhelm underworld, and legendary assassin. "Lay down your arms at once! I am the great marksman Conley McKale, and this is my final warning: Those who refuse to surrender their arms will surrender their lives. Get in our way, and we will return you to the nothingness from whence you came!" Back in the day, ladies would swoon in his presence (at least, according to how he tells it). Today, nobody pays him any attention. It's a bit hard to talk down people who are busy fighting.
"For fuck's sake!" Caleb groans, listening to the wild boasts. "Just when I thought this couldn't get any more ridiculous!"
Behind Caleb, one of Kinorvan's men aims a pistol, planning to shoot Caleb in the back as he flees the room - but out of the shadows comes a dark assassin of the night that flings himself over the crates with an agile leap. By purest luck, the fysar trips over his own feet and Yuuji's blade bites the air. Startled, the fysar spins and attempts to fire his assault rifle at Yuuji's chest, but Yuuji anticipates it and deftly dodges the attack, spins around to the right, and slices the alien clean into three pieces before its body can even hit the ground.
Nearby, Vynkor rushes past, headed for the south exit. She'd already tried firing at that same enemy, but without any luck, and she's starting to feel like simple escape is probably her best course of action.
At the north side of the room, Brom charges through the doorway, firing a salvo at Kinorvan to try to keep him pinned. Kinorvan fires back, but misses as Brom dashes past, sliding to a stop as he tries to fire a salvo directly at Kinorvan's chest. His feet are slippery with blood, however, and he misses his mark entirely.
Now Brom needs to reload.
Kinorvan sits there for a moment, stunned, and then laughs wildly in mockery.
"A'ight, I had enough o' this fuckin' mission, this fuckin' shithole station, N' THIS UGLY BUG BASTARD THAT WON'T FUCKIN' DIE!" Buck roars, jumping atop of the toppled crates. His plasma baton flashes and crackles. "Stay outta the way, Brom!" And with this last shout, he crashes his baton into the top of Kinorvan's head. Kinorvan, dead or unconscious, crumples to the ground in a heap, the top of his head smoking. Then Buck turns to Feb Keshor and shouts, "FEBVOFOFO! QUIT SHOOTIN' OUR DAMN GUY, HE'S JUST AN IDIOT THAT CAN'T TELL Y'ALL ALIENS APART! STAY BACK N' FOCUS FIRE ON THEM BASTARDS TO THE OPPOSITE OF US! TELL THEM ENEMY REINFORCEMENTS TO PISS OFF IF THEY AIN'T WANT TO GET SPLATTERED OVER THE CEILING!"
"Then get that prisoner back!" Feb shouts angrily. "Bring me that hiltorel those fake FMU bastards just dragged out of here, and I'll tell my men to leave you alone!"
In a room to the south, Frank sits by himself. Looking at the alien across from him, he whispers, "Go to your boss and tell everyone you killed the human. They'll reward you!"
The little bug's eyes widen and a huge grin breaks across his face. "Oooooh! Kwii ifar ofanil fevi ohkaka
!" Obediently, he toddles out of the room through the east entrance, an unsteady spring in his step. He's so high he's gotten a glimpse of heaven, or else that probably wouldn't have worked.
Frank begins the arduous process of patching himself up. His breathing is ragged; he tries to slow it, but it's difficult to manage. He starts off by taking the nanobot medfoam canister and filling up the hole. Then he injects a syringe of anti-shock meds, a syringe of coagulant boosters, and a syringe of painkillers into his suit's medports, praying to the great dustbunny that it'll kick in just a little bit faster for his sake. Then, after everything else is done, he sets up the bloodpack, hooking it into his suit. He'll be revitalized soon, he hopes, but he's lost so much blood already that he's starting to feel faint.
His fingers trembling, he hefts his crossbow into his lap, half-wondering at how heavy it feels, and, exerting a powerful effort, loads a bolt into it. He sits slumped against the wall, facing the door, crossbow at the ready. If only one enemy comes, then he'll try to take them down. If two come... well, he wasn't long for this world anyway.
Sukava rushes into the large central area. One of the aliens on the walkway points and shouts, taking aim with a rifle, and without hesitation, Sukava pulls out her oversized grenade. It doesn't have a pin, and it's wholly non-terrestrial, but she has some experience with these things. She holds down a couple of the buttons and gives the grenade a twist; it starts blinking. She tosses it in a high arc up onto the catwalk. In the low gravity it sails gently through the air.
The grenade explodes - first with a powerful shockwave of air that sends two of the aliens sprawling, and second with a fiery explosion that sprays burning napalm out like an angry volcano as two of the aliens catch fire, screaming, as they struggle to get away. (Bit of trivia: it's actually fondly called a "napalm volcano" by gang members. It's good for use indoors, and excellent to hurl at a bunch of pursuers.)
With the aliens distracted, Sukava senses her chance and slinks into the shadows on her left, getting in cover behind a tall stack of crates. Saoirse follows close behind, and the pair are hidden completely from view. The aliens on the walkways have no idea they're even there.
Caleb soon enters the room, Kaquyu in his arms. The aliens on the walkway seem enraged, and fire at him, but their aim is wide; a timed mine bounces off the back wall and explodes nearby as he throws himself and the squidgirl into cover.
"Get down!" Caleb shouts at Kaquyu. The cover is barely sufficient, so she hunkers down, staying as low to the ground as she can as the soldier starts firing his laspistol at the enemies on the catwalk.
Vynkor soon appears next to him, breathless and in terrible shape.
Another huge explosion rocks the crates, almost sending one toppling down on Caleb, but it rocks back at the last moment.
Another enemy starts climbing down the ramp on their right, firing wildly; bullets ping off their cover as Vynkor and Caleb work together to take the fysar down.
Across the room, shouting rings out as a whole new group of fysar storms in through a side-hallway, firing wildly at the three aliens still on the catwalk and hurling obscenities. One of them gets shot in the neck and goes down, spurting blood, but they manage to take out one of the catwalk-enemies in this initial exchange. Saoirse peeks out of cover briefly, but ducks back upon seeing how many there are: at least four.
Above Caleb's head, a hovering podlight takes a glancing blow from a bullet and cracks, spinning wildly and casting flickering shadows about.
The spiderbot stands on a crate nearby, chirping happily and firing streams of plasma balls at anyone and everyone like the adorable little psychopath it is.
In the north, Kinorvan's men have finally applied enough pressure to Saoirse's stasis bubble to cause it to break, and they pour into the room, screaming wildly (and screaming even more
wildly when they notice Kinorvan's body). By this point, Brom and Buck have made their way across the room and taken cover where Saoirse and Kaquyu had been only moments before. Brom lets out a couple volleys with his assault rifle, but the enemies, seeming to expect this, are hunkered well behind cover and don't bother peeking out.
Meanwhile, Buck is staring greedily at a big bag of black flake he snatched from one of the tables. He's hoping he can sell it or something; he figures he deserves a little compensation after a mission as ridiculous as this one.
Yuuji rushes into the big chamber, plasbomb launcher at the ready, and promptly gets shot in the left lower leg - just a graze - while he tries to get into cover near Caleb. He shouts in pain, limping as the nanites rip into his flesh, and finally falls to one knee, dragging himself the rest of the way while grinding his teeth in agony. He's no longer bleeding, and the suit has re-sealed itself, but Odin's beard, it hurts like all hell.
Down at the southernmost side of the room, a few orange-suited enemies step into view, shouting something in fysarian. After a moment, one of them repeats the stock phrase in Galactic Standard: "DROP YOUR WEAPONS! WE'RE FROM THE FMU! BACKUP IS ON THE WAY!" Even as they shout this, they mow down a fysar with assault rifle fire (a fysar that himself had just mowed down a second fysar that had stumbled into the room from the south). Naturally, nobody pays any attention to their demands of surrender.
The whole complex is in chaos, and if the inmates suspect anything, it's that this clusterfuck is only getting started.