Frank coughs and wheezes. He's alive, somehow, and the patches he's made to himself are holding. Somewhere up there, the Great Dust Bunny must be watching over him. That, or he ought to have a little more confidence in his medical ability.
...Yeah, let's not kid ourselves. It's probably the Dust Bunny thing.
Pulling out his PDA, Frank tries to hack the lights to be a little brighter. It's a bit complicated, though, and he's having trouble focusing - but he finally manages to get the lights to ramp up to at least 4x their normal brightness. He feels pretty pleased with himself - but only for a moment.
A fysar appears in the doorway. "Kwifan ikara mikano ivitar, miikari
?" she asks, seeming surprised that there's a human standing there - much less an injured one with a bloodpack hooked up to his arm. She reaches for her weapon, probably more as a precaution than anything else - but doesn't manage before an explosive crossbow bolt hits her squarely in the chest, tearing her clothes, ripping off half the flesh and exposing her ribs. She staggers back, gasping, her eyes wide (all six of them), and then slumps to the floor. It's unclear whether she's dead, but Frank's not wasting any time finding out.
Frank packs up his medkit, stows it, and then walks over to the table. He sees Saoirse's battlestaff there, and Caleb's shotgun. Grabbing both of these, he sneaks quietly out of the room, listening as he goes.
He's barely left before he realizes that he only lit up the entrance area with his hack, and not the rest of the complex. It's all he could manage, though.
One step after the other, he begins the walk back to the central room. Hopefully the way is clear, and he can give Caleb and Saoirse their weapons without too much trouble... It wasn't that bad when he was in there before, at least, so the situation is hopeful.
"GET THAT PRISONER BACK!" Feb Keshor angrily shouts at Brom and Buck. "Bring me that hiltorel those fake FMU bastards just dragged out of here, and I'll tell my men to leave you alone!"
Buck splutters and rages. "Oh my fukcin' - WHAT THE HELL ARE WE NOW, CHARITY MERCENARIES!? We'll get your stupid squid back, but you'll be owin' Mokila TWO favors now, instead o' just one!"
Brom tries to calm him, but it's no use, and as a second firefight begins to rage in the room - Feb Keshor vs the world - the remaining members of Squad Alpha duck out through the southern hallway - but not before they see even more of Kinorvan's men pour in through the eastern hallway.
Buck storms down towards the cargo area, gravity gun in hands, and soon finds himself with a not-so-unexpected surprise: Yuuji is
with Beta, just like he'd always been suspicious of. Yuuji is with Caleb, specifically, and they have the mind-reading squidgirl prisoner with them. Flabbergasted, Buck raises his gravgun and points directly at Caleb. Barely remembering in time that he's supposed to be undercover, he shouts, "HEY, YOU!
I dun' know you people or what the hell y'all want that squid for, but it's MY squid now, and y'all best turn that thing over if ya know what's good for ya!""
Caleb is a bit stunned at this demand. Crouched behind the crate, he turns and looks at Buck incredulously. Buck's acting like he's never seen him before, which is ridiculous. They were on the Nemesis together only a couple of hours ago.
Saoirse groans. As if things weren't enough of a mess already, now Buck is here too? She hasn't forgotten that Buck is the guy that tried to genocide an entire colony with a nuke just because he could, and she probably never will.
The FMU are shouting in the background for everyone to lower their weapons. Nobody does. As a result, the Fuhodo Mercs - all six of them - storm into the room and take cover, beginning to try to mow down Kinorvan's men. Caleb turns back around and shouts to them, "Don't shoot us! We're FMU too!" He can't tell whether they buy it or not, unfortunately.
Buck's noticed he's lost Caleb's attention. "Come on now!" he shouts angrily, giving his gravgun a shake. "Y'all fuckin' heard me! I'm already pissed the hell off, don't try me! Hand 'er over!"
"He's an angry
human," whispers Kaquyu with a smile. She's lying on the dirty floor against the crate and high as balls. (Thanks, Buck.)
"Don't worry," Caleb whispers to her. Then, still crouched, he brandishes his little laspistol and turns to Buck. "She's with us!" he shouts, "and you're not getting your hands on her without going through me!"
Buck's eyes widen even further. "You'd really have all of us here killed, you'd fuckin' shoot at ME
, FOR SOME GODDAMN, GOOD-FOR-NOTHIN', SLIMY FUKCIN' SQUID
!? C'MON, WE'LL BE GETTIN' PAID FOR IT! WHY DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE TO MAKE EVERYTHIN' SO COMPLICATED!? WE'LL SHARE THE TIN WITH YOU, YOU GREEDY BASTARDS!!"
"You think we're not getting paid, too?" Caleb scowls. "My paycheck depends on her safety. I don't want your scraps! Fukc off!"
And then Brom shows up behind Buck, adding insult to injury. "Now now, everybody, stay calm. We're only after the hiltorel prisoner. If you'll follow the instructions of Bill here, this situation can be handled without incident, for I am Connley McKale, legendary sharpshooter and master tactician!"
Caleb raises an eyebrow. "What the hell? Connley Mc-What?" So, they decided to take on aliases as well. "I've certainly never heard of you!"
"ALLLLLRIGHT THEN!" Buck roars. "WE'LL SPLIT THE STUPID SQUID IN HALF BETWEEN US! Not like this Febvofofo thing wanted it alive, anyway." Kaquyu looks worried at this, but Caleb calmly reassures her that she'll be fine. Buck pays them no mind, instead hollering, "JUST SHUT THE HELL UP SO I CAN KILL THESE ASSHOLES SHOOTIN' AT US!"
And the assholes, numbering over a dozen, are indeed shooting at them - but mostly each other. They belong to three separate factions, making REKT the fourth faction - and the three alien factions seem much more interested in offing each other than taking care of the REKT crew. As Kinorvan's men stream out of an eastern hallway, they take cover behind the crates, one after another, firing rounds up at the catwalk. One of them manages to hit the hiltorel with a shotgun blast, sending him staggering, while the spiderbot peppers another one of them with rapid-fire plasma balls. More of Feb's fysar storm the catwalks above, raining death down on the heads of Kinorvan's men close by as they continue to stream out of the side hallway, looking for cover. Meanwhile, the FMU mercs, having found proper cover, are starting to try to pick off Kinorvan's men, although someone with a keen eye would notice they're also taking occasional potshots at those of Febivo Keshor.
In brief, the room is in a perpetual state of chaos.
Yuuji stabs a painkiller syringe into the medical port of his suit, and breathes a sigh of relief as his leg's pain begins to ebb. He pulls out his plasbomb launcher and starts spooling it up to fire.
Buck gets behind cover, followed closely by Brom - both of them extremely lucky they didn't get shot during their Grand Entrance. Stray bullets and plasma hit the walls behind them; a stream of bullets ricochets off the crates close to Caleb's head.
Vynkor tries to sneak behind everyone to hide under the ramp to their right - but of course she's noticed, going directly under the hiltorel podlight. A few stray rounds follow her back, nearly grazing her.
Saoirse tries to toss two of Kinorvan's men into each other with her gravamp, hoping to knock them off their feet - but at that moment a timed mine, launched by one of the fysar swarming the catwalk above, explodes on the opposite side of her cover, causing her to stumble and lose her concentration; her aim goes wide. Sukava, next to her, merely waits for everyone to leave the hallway so she can stab them from the back, just like turkey shooting. And they are, one by one - they continue getting into cover.
As the hiltorel on the catwalk above staggers, trying to avoid the spiderbot's barrage, Caleb manages to impair two of its tentacles. It reels with a cry of pain and stumbles over the edge of the catwalk, falling three meters to the floor in a slow-motion half-g while the spiderbot continues to pelt his body.
With a bright flash, Yuuji launches three mint-white plasbombs in rapid succession; they hit the ground near the crates by Saoirse and Sukava. One of the fysar manages to throw himself out of the way, but gets covered in greenish gore and blood from his splattered partner as two more bombs crash behind him, scattering the rest of his allies like screaming, panicked cockroaches. As the terrified, gore-coated survivor scrambles to get back in cover, Vynkor fires a small salvo of shots from behind with her stolen plasma pistol, crippling the poor fysar and sending him sprawling, clutching his injured leg as he scrambles away from the hiltorel Caleb killed only moments before, screeching in a horrific mixture of agony and terror. Bullets from the FMU smack the floor nearby, clacking and ricocheting. From above, electricity arcs from the lights on the catwalk, shorting two of them with a spray of sparks as the electricity sears an erratic, burning path across the floor - and it's only out of the purest luck that Saoirse misses him. At this point, he's curled up in a tight ball, metaphorically sucking his thumb, and just wants to go home, but with all the plasma and bullets flying through the air, that doesn't seem to be much of a possibility.
The REKT crew members, aliases or otherwise, feel the same way. The only one attempting to inch forwards is Vynkor, but thanks to the heavy weapons fire, she's finding the situation... less than optimal.
But Buck plans to change that. "GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!" he bellows like a bull as he steps out of cover. His gravity gun charges up, a steady whine increasing to a fever-pitch scream as the coils on the back of the weapon burn incandescent. Moments later, with a flash, the old familiar gravity sphere ejects itself from the firing dish, swirling through the air towards the catwalk. As it goes, the containers on the floor shift slightly, tugged in its direction. The spiderbot chirps and clings to the crate it's standing on for dear life, and Saoirse gets dragged out of cover, revealing her position. She stays calm and clutches the edges of the farthest crates to her left until the gravity sphere passes out of range.
Sighting Saoirse down below, the fysar on the walkway fires another timed mine at her - but it gets pulled into the vortex, along with loose debris, blood, the hiltorel corpse and the screaming, ever-more-terrified fysar. Moments later, Feb's man with the minelauncher gets sucked up too.
Yuuji, his plasbomb launcher spooled up, fires another triple salvo - and every single shot gets pulled into the gravgun's vortex, which now, after picking up the rest of the enemies on the catwalks, is drifting lazily towards the ceiling on the other side of the room.
A dozen eyes follow, mesmerized, as the gravity vortex whirls, spinning. Saoirse's electricity crackles through the growing cloud as shots ring out. Brom manages to nail one of the hurtling aliens in the face with an epic shot, and the corpse goes tumbling along, bumping into another one that screams as Vynkor puts a few rounds into his back from below. The plasma bombs, burning brightly, orbit the center parabolically until one of them slams into the top of the catwalks with a fiery explosion, sending a nearby fysar screaming as he spins out of control, drizzling a floating trail of blood from his arm. Another fysar is unlucky enough to get hit in the chest with one of the plasbombs - the resulting shockwave and explosion of body parts destabilizes the plasma mine, which de-orbits and attaches itself to the vortex's core. The limbs, guts, and gore begin their own elliptical orbits, whirling into an ever-denser cloud.
The never-been-so-terrified fysar from before, no longer sucking on his thumb, grabs onto the core and pulls himself in, trying in a naive, desperate attempt to avoid the searing plasma...
...only just before the entire monstrosity crashes into the ceiling with a powerful explosion, as gravgun core, mine, and plasma bomb detonate at once - a series of almost instantaneous explosions that shake the walls and send a shower of gore and blood raining down, down, spattering the walls, spattering the catwalk, and coating the floor with a fine green film and so many severed limbs.
And the gunfire continues unabated.
Brom manages to nail another one of Kinorvan's men in the chest as Vynkor creeps forward to a set of crates beneath the catwalks, under fire from yet another fysar hiding behind the mass of pipes and structural gridwork to her left. As she reaches the crates and ducks into cover, she notices a group of new enemies on a balcony at the far side of the room, engaged with the FMU and Feb Keshor's men - a trio of much more formidable foes wearing black-and-brown heavy armor and wielding massive plasguns. Behind them, their leader shouts orders and fires on the offending enemies, as one of the marines leaps from the balcony and easily decapitates a nearby merc.
Behind Brom and Buck, a series of shouts ring out - Buck happens to turn around and sees not four, not five, but eight
of Kinorvan's fysar fighting off Feb Keshor, with half of them clearly intending to make a tactical retreat down the hallway. One of them sights Buck and shouts angrily - shots ring out and plasma whizzes past. Hastily switching to his PDA, Buck initiates a hack, hoping to close the door behind him - and does, just in the nick of time. A sliding door closes flush with the rest of the northern wall in the central chamber, almost smashing the fingers of a couple fysar who try to keep it open. They shout angrily; gunfire sounds on the other side of the door, which is suddenly perforated with multiple bulletholes. Buck ducks back into cover, barely in time to avoid a fusillade that manages to catch the spiderbot, damaging it. It squeals and scrambles for cover, limping awkwardly on its remaining legs.
A bewildered fysar huddles against a stack of crates in a dark corner of the room. Hardly a minute ago, he had boldly charged through the chamber with his buddies, intending to defend Kinorvan. They'd gotten a radio message that Feb had snapped, and the revolution was finally happening. He managed to kill a few of Feb's cronies along the way, but the second they entered the old storage/maintenance area, they'd been swamped. Who knew Feb had so many allies? More importantly, why were there so many humans in here, and why
were they hiding over in a corner? Probably most importantly of all - what the actual fukc was that weapon they just fired?!
The fysar, who we'll call Joe (his real name was Jo'nava, but that's inconsequential), huddles up against his crates. He looks across the way at Miller (actually Mileh), who, being the badass he usually is, is in the middle of a tense exchange of plasma with an oddly-garbed human hiding behind a stack of crates under the catwalks. Joe, at least, is glad that he hasn't been noticed. After all, he was trying to kill Feb's men, not these human morons. ...Although, a few humans less is never a bad thing. Joe leans out of cover and fires a couple shots at the weird-ass lady under the catwalk. Unfortunately, his aim is a little off - it's dark anyway, so not really his fault, he consoles himself.
And it is
pretty dark - especially in his quiet little corner - a particularly
quiet little corner, I hasten to stress, which is why he's all the more surprised when he sees the ghastly, grinning, bulge-eyed visage of a madwoman slowly inch its way around the corner of the crates to his left. The madwoman begins to chuckle ...well, madly. A knife flashes in her hand.
Joe steps back, dodging Sukava as she dashes past, cleaving the air. When Sukava comes back for a second pass, Joe jumps back again, easily sidestepping the attempted slicing and backing himself further into the corner... and right in front of Saoirse.
Electricity arcs from the catwalk to the nearby crates, and then from there to Joe's body. He shrieks with pain, his muscles contracting involuntarily for just a moment before Sukava plunges a knife into his back, up to the hilt.
Sukava follows this by stabbing him 37 times in the chest, laughing maniacally as she does so. She hasn't felt so happy in years. (It's probably the black flake. She's inhaled a lot of the dust at this point.)
It's hard to tell in the dim lighting, but Saoirse probably looks pretty disturbed at Sukava's deranged behavior.
Frank finally makes it back to the main room and pokes his head around the corner.
His jaw drops.
And then it drops again.
And then a third time, just for good measure.
What was previously a few fysar standing on a raised walkway is now an entire roomful of screaming aliens, in multiple types of uniform, locked in a perpetual free-for-all. The floor and walls are coated with blood almost like somebody took a giant spray can to it. Half of everything is on fire. As he watches, a triple plasma-bomb shot explodes on a stack of crates nearby, splattering a fysar into bits and killing a previously-wounded FMU merc. Up on the balcony with the floodlight, some very heavily-suited figures in sleek brown-black armor are firing massive guns at the FMU and splintered Minas Maniri alike. On the far side of the room, he can see Buck waving his gravity gun, and Brom shouting about how great he is, and Vynkor
of all people seems to be crouched behind a stack of crates.
As Frank watches, more enemies stream in from the hallways on the side, guns blazing as they pour out through the narrow, winding corridors. A commander on the balcony above waves her soldiers on. "Find the prisoner!" she shouts. Her voice is almost lost in the din, as golden fireballs streak across the room and crashing bullets let fly with sparks.
...On second thought, maybe this whole "bringing people their weapons" thing is a little more dangerous than he bargained for.
Nilo wakes up.
He looks around.
It's kind of dusty in here. Dark, too. There's a lot of gunfire, but everyone seems to think he's dead.
Vaguely, he hears Feb Keshor's laughter, and the terrified cries of aliens speaking in some language he doesn't understand.
Nilo tries to move, but finds he's far too weak. But why is he so weak? He looks over to the side, and as he turns his head, his helmet splashes in a puddle of blood. "Ah," Nilo thinks to himself matter-of-factly. "That explains it."
A few minutes later, Nilo breathes his last - abandoned by his fellow squadmates on a hostile station less than an hour after meeting them.
This isn't how he saw himself going out at all.
He wasn't expecting to get rekt.