Event Den of Rats

quirbles

on smoke break, bother somebody else
Staff member
M.I.R.A. TerminOS version 0.62b
Secure Distribution - Mid-Atlantic Bureau A3
TerminOS kernel 40406 [build 40406 OEM 8eXD]
Running TerminOS as current module . . .
Press DEL to run Setup
                                                                                        
                                                                                        
`7MMM.     ,MMF'           `7MMF'           `7MM"""Mq.                   db             
  MMMb    dPMM               MM               MM   `MM.                 ;MM:            
  M YM   ,M MM               MM               MM   ,M9                 ,V^MM.           
  M  Mb  M' MM               MM               MMmmdM9                 ,M  `MM           
  M  YM.P'  MM               MM               MM  YM.                 AbmmmqMA          
  M  `YM'   MM      ,,       MM      ,,       MM   `Mb.     ,,       A'     VML      ,, 
.JML. `'  .JMML.    db     .JMML.    db     .JMML. .JMM.    db     .AMA.   .AMMA.    db 
                                                                                        
                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                                
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SITE-WIDE NOTICE: PASSWORD ROTATIONS IN EFFECT AT 1500 HRS.
CURRENT CLEARANCE LEVEL: RED-9
CURRENT AGENCY-WIDE STATUS: BLUE

FETCHING INCIDENT INFORMATION . . .

INCIDENT ID: I-212258407-ACX-D
LOCATION: 228 CRAIGTOWN RD, PORT DEPOSIT, MARYLAND
INCIDENT STATUS: ACTIVE
INCIDENT DESCRIPTION: DOMESTIC TERRORISM THREAT, CONSPIRACY, MILITIA GROUP

THREAT-STAKE ASSESSMENT: RED-0

FETCHING DISPATCHED AGENT LIST . . .

[ COMPILING ]




"DEN OF RATS"
"RUCHEFORT PARALEGAL SOLUTIONS", PORT DEPOSIT - 0100 HRS


About seven years ago, a former official within the Department of Defense by the name of Joseph Ravison broke ground on forming a private defense contractor by the name of Cavalry Armed Solutions; much of their pitch revolved around being an anti-PMPD solution without the use of factor-present operatives in the field. DOD carved out a pretty penny to fund the company, for a while-- Ravison might've had a favor or two owed to him, at the time-- before the DOD began to distance itself from Cavalry. For obvious reasons. MIRA existed, was a hell of a lot more effective at domestic and overseas deployment, and Ravison himself was seen as a bit touched with some radical sentiments about PMPD-affected individuals.

Deputy Director Ross was present within the armored personnel carrier that was currently en-route to the deployment point; his attention, however, was focused upon the live satellite feed of their target, back turned to the assembled Dagger operatives while he spoke. More important things to focus on than a direct address, especially with the time crunch they were under.

Now, Ravison and Cavalry aren't within the scope of this op-- but they're important context for why this little biofundamentalist militia came to be. According to our intelligence experts, at least.

Biofundamentalism was a recent movement in that had arose within the late aughts and early tens; it was a loosely-organized radical belief about factor-present humans being a misstep. Baseline homo sapiens were still the apex, and it was natural to be biologically and fundamentally mundane. It was a fringe belief; anti-PMPD sentiments were more than common, but supremacists on either side of the aisle often used dogwhistles instead of the explicit declaration that biofundamentalists often went with.

The group we're dealing with is the Natural Children of Liberty. Biofund militia based in Montana that's had expansion out onto the east coast. Anti-PMPD, pro-baseline. Other far-right beliefs mixed in, which means a lot of chapters are fractured. Not too much of a unified front. This Maryland chapter has a following of... maybe 100 individuals, as an estimate; can expect about a fifth of that, tonight. Undercover source says there's maybe 20 in attendance. The reason we're handling this, instead of the police, is because they're suspected of carrying highly dangerous munitions and firearms; that, and they're planning on carrying out a bomb attack on a political rally today. At noon. Which is why I've gathered you all on short notice.

At that, he finally turned-- the jostle of the APC leaving his body to slightly waver atop the cabin floor, however miniscule. His gaze was inscrutable, like his entire face had been cast in stone; the aviators atop his face didn't help alleviate the ambiguity of his expression. Over the roar and rattle of the engine, the Deputy's headset-projected voice cut into each operative's earpiece like a knife.

Bombs are on-site at the rinky-dink shithole they've been renting out. Could be active, could be inactive-- which is why Cannonade will be your team lead as on-site EOD. He will be your pointman. He will be your lifeline. You do not execute on a plan unless you have his blessing. If he tells you to jump, you ask how fucking high. And most importantly, you do not get in front of his mounted forearm cannons unless you want to become a statistical end-note on this operation.

Cannonade was already suited up; he was locked into place at the tail-end of the APC, deployed first and foremost once they reached their destination. With the weight of his suit, it was no wonder they were travelling at a stunted pace on-board the carrier.

Operational guidelines are simple. Neutralize the bomb threat-- there are two total. Once the bombs are disarmed, neutralize the personnel threat on-site. We want one man brought out of this alive, and his name is Gerald Davis-- ringleader of the Maryland branch.

A photo of Gerald popped up-- goatee, bald, scar on the left side of the face. Displayed on the monitors within the APC's cabin, Ross motioned off-handed to the picture as infographics appeared alongside the photo-- DOB, areas of operation, and other footage of the man while with the Natural Sons of Liberty.

It is imperative that you take him alive for question. Hardware like this doesn't just appear out of thin air, and available intelligence suggests there's a link between the Natural Sons and some bad actors within Cavalry. If we can pin him down, make him squeal, we'd have done our job tonight. You are greenlight on lethal and redlight on neutralizing Davis.

Are we in alignment, operatives?


 
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About 20 people- likely baseline, likely armed. Bombs on site. Bad idea to engage when they could blow us all up. Tin Can's got that covered, from what it sounds like. Can probably shift blame if things go wrong, but I doubt they will. Mandatory PPE has already been distributed- didn't have to email about that this time, thank god. I'll have to remind them to put it on, if I need to deploy inhalants. That likely won't be necessary, but we're greenlight on lethal. I want to keep my options open.

This wasn't the first time Elixir had been called to a field op, but it were uncommon enough to still seem quite novel- a bit like interviews, in that regard, but with a slightly different intended outcome. Whilst he couldn't quite call them exciting, there was certainly something interesting about being involved with a mission's progress, rather than just filing the paperwork at the end- although, from his experience, he'd probably end up doing both.

It was preferable, though, to see how the sausage was made. From the office, everything MIRA did seemed so abstract- arbitrary, almost. Their methods, their missteps, the human struggle on both sides- all reduced to data points. Numbers on a graph, completely detached from the world inside the office. Being there could make it seem real. Sometimes.

Gaz sat back and listened to their briefing, but decided not to speak, responding instead with a polite nod. He leaned back in his seat, trying to savour the downtime as much as he could. Even with the relative awkwardness of the Venom Suit, he seemed fairly comfortable where he sat. He had to be- there was no chance in hell he'd be able to relax again until this was all over.

Anti-metahuman. I suppose we're here to justify that.
 
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Miasma leaned forward in her seat that felt wholly too large for her, her forearms resting on her thighs as she listened to the briefing. She flexed and relaxed the fingers of her left hand as she listened, pulling them into a tight fist until she felt her knuckles crack before relaxing again. Perhaps it seemed like a nervous tick, which wouldn’t be surprising as it wasn’t like the last time she had been requested for a dagger op went well, but Miasma could feel the weight to the canister set into her left arm as liquid sloshed with the heavy thumps of the APC.

Understood, sir.” Miasma said once she had been prompted. Her gaze flicked around the other gathered faces. Lethal sent a nervous ping through her stomach, one that sent her double checking to make sure the armored plates of her suit were properly secured, and the mask that hung off the side of her head would form a proper seal in the event that Ga— Elixir had to get involved. Or, was it a triple check if she had done all of this before earlier in the drive?

How was everyone else so relaxed about this, anyway?
 
Molt wasn't here to infiltrate.

She wasn't dressed in a casual costume, and her mottled grey skin was uncovered by any husk. Instead, she wore tactical outfit - dark padded jeans, a combat vest, fingerless rubberized gloves, and a helmet. It was heavy, awkward, and uncomfortable, and the straps dug into her body whenever she moved. These sorts of missions blew. She was just here to be another gun. Maybe a bit more durable, maybe a bit stronger, maybe a bit better at skulking around - but another gun all the same.

Idly, she flexed one of her fingers, extending claw glinting in the pale white light of the carrier's interior.

"Y'know, it's fucking hilarious they're using us to take down these nutcases," she murmured, unwittingly echoing Gaz's thoughts in part. "Secret government op using metas to take down their safehouse is, like, prime crack conspiracy stuff. Bet whatever shithole imageboard they're trolling's gonna have material for weeks after this."
 
Roughly twenty people, all of them with a hatred dark enough to kill just over their existence. Something that none of them could control. In her work, Rowan saw a lot of miserable, hateful people, bore witness to several reprehensible acts. This, though, felt much different. To her, this was evil. A terrorist attack, that would bring harm to so many, just because they thought that people with PMPD, people like her, weren't meant to exist.

During the briefing, she had a sour look on her face, a near scowl as she looked down at the mask in her hands. A simple thing, a domino mask. She usually didn't prefer to wear one, on account of not needing it, but it was required here, for anonymity, and frankly, she didn't want any escapees knowing her face. Between it, and the mask she would be wearing because of Gaz, her face would be entirely covered.

Under normal circumstances, being greenlit for lethal would leave Rowan nervous, or even apprehensive. Today, though, she understood the risks. Moral quandaries could come later, once this was wrapped up in a neat little bow. She needed to see the Natural Children of Liberty stopped, first.

Deputy Ross brought up a person of interest, and she looked up from the mask, still scowling about the whole set of circumstances. She had her mark. Gerald Davis. She wouldn't let this one get away, she just had to hope no one else got to him first. With his face committed to memory, she looked back down again, preparing mind and body for what was to come.

"I don't get how people turn out like this," she said, a low grumble in response to Hannah.

 
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"That's part of the reason why we've been sent in," Ross replied, looking to Molt for a brief moment. His gaze was inscrutable behind the obsidian-tinted lenses of the tac-glasses. "The Natural Sons are not just a little thorn in the side of this country. They are an organization. They have websites, events, fraternization. They are afforded a degree of comfort by their numbers, and most importantly, they will know that we have stopped this attack-- which sends a message. You won't have any of them admitting they had ties to the Natural Sons-- which is why we want Gerald. He's the provable link, here. Get a confession out of him, it's a start."

The armored carried began to roll to a slower pace, now; they were close to the deployment site. The photos and background of their target flickered to an aerial view of the abandoned office space, with key locations highlighted-- western, northern, and eastern entrances, along with specific rooftop postings highlighted.

"Multiple ways to take this; the northern entrance is going to be on the opposite side of the building. We're approaching from the south; starting here would require a route along the western treeline, bringing you to an impromptu loading and vehicle bay they've set up at the northwest. Higher security, there. Transport and offloading, too." Ross brushed a finger along the western side, next. "West has tighter security, based on a RECSPEC report; east has lighter monitoring because it's fenced in and not facing the main road. That'll be your main entrance if you want to go with shock and awe. Plenty of approaches, here; bombs are suspected to either be on the upper or lower basement levels. Equipment depot is on the first floor, near the north. Best you destroy their caches before extraction, as well. What're we thinking?"

 
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Nobody else looked comfortable. Ayla looked terrified, Hannah looked bored, and Rowan looked like she was about five seconds away from detonating the bombs herself. It was hardly surprising, even without knowing what kinds of people they were. Dagger operations were dour affairs, if his limited experience was anything to go by. High risk for often low reward- the dirty work, in more ways than one.

Ayla, in particular, he was worried about. Fresh out of high school, brought on after an incident he had to investigate himself- she was very apologetic, despite how little harm was done. Most importantly... she was a Cloak, for god's sake. Infiltrating a terrorist cell in the middle of buttfuck nowhere wasn't exactly public relation work- how did they expect her to handle herself here? And, following from what Owen had said in the break room, this wasn't the first time she had been assigned this sort of job. Sure, she must've been trained, must've been briefed, but she was still... well, she was inexperienced enough to still feel nervous about it.

That made him uncomfortable. It reminded him, almost, of-

"Oh, a number of reasons." He turned to Rowan, "Being radicalised is easier than you'd think, 'specially nowadays. People get convinced about all kinds of shit. Easy solutions, and that. If the problem in your head seems big enough, then nothing else matters- no cost is too great. You're the good guy, and you're about to bomb a rally."

A shrug, before he added- "Doesn't mean they need our sympathy, though.".

Molt had already said what he was thinking. Yet another of life's compounding ironies, this was. If Gaz really wanted to stir up those conspiracy nuts, he could take off his mask- MIRA sending in Contaminant, that would start a riot. He wouldn't actually, of course, but the thought was amusing enough to keep him entertained for a while.

Well, it would be, if there wasn't a job to do.

Ideally, I'd go west- Venom Suit is shockproof, but doesn't make me impervious to getting my shit kicked in. They have bombs on site, as well- unlikely, but they might be desperate enough to take us down with them. The others seem better equipped for this sort of thing, given it's their job- have them offer distraction whilst Iron Giant goes in to diffuse? Or...

"I'd like to know where any vents are. Please."

He leaned forwards in his seat.

"I understand if there are objections to this idea, but I can deploy a sedative- or a paralytic, if we'd rather have them aware of what's going on. Non-lethal, considering our primary target."

His tone was dry, but not disinterested. He brought one hand up to the other, clicking the vials of the needles together as he continued.

"If we can incapacitate at least some of them before moving in, it might make things easier- and, if I can position myself within the vents, it should make any later..."

Gaz cleared his throat.

"It might make things easier."
 
"Yeah," Hannah replied idly to Gaz, "Bombing a rally. Or gassing a plane, right? Fucking radicals."

She grinned sardonically, nudging Rowan in the side, but her gaze remained consistently on Gaz. As Gaz started to talk about his plan, though, she leaned back, closed her eyes, and tilted her face to the ceiling.

"You do your shit. Get the numbers down. Rest of you cause a scene. Chaos, chaos, chaos, yadda fucking yadda. Maybe blow up the depot pretty early so they're stuck with whatever shit they've got on them. Don't want the psycho terrorist militia to start pulling out like - fertilizer bombs and killdozers before we've got a solid foot in."

She opened one eye.

"Smaller group goes in west, gets past the guards, tries to cut off Mr. Davis before he fucks off. Sound gucci?"
 
Despite everything, she was happy to see Gaz here. The suit brought up uncomfortable memories, from more than one point in time, and he'd be using his manifestation in way more of an offensive capability than she'd personally seen before- in a way she'd only heard of on the news. And yet, it was good to have him at her back, in this. Hopefully, he'd prove her right, about what she thought of him, since joining MIRA.

"Cannonade can cause a scene, draw their attention and firepower after Elixir starts to thin them out." Rowan spoke plainly, her voice taking that distant sort of non-attachment that it did when things were about to break bad. She knew the moment the briefing started, how this would end. Oddly, she felt calmer than normal, when approaching something like this. God, Aline would love to dig into that thought. "We have to secure the bombs first. They clearly have transportation, to get them to the rally. If things start getting hectic, they'll just load them up and take off, and then this becomes a much bigger incident. Maybe..." Her voice trailed, as she looked over those gathered.

"
Molt, do you think you could get in close, unnoticed? To make way for Elixir, and maybe me. If we can get in through the west, we can get eyes on the payload and tentatively secure that, while Elixir works on putting some of them to sleep. I can find Davis and convince him to come along with me, while Miasma and Cannonade lock down their transports and keep them distracted while the dagger work gets done."
 

"Satellite photos aren't good enough to get a read on ventilation," Ross began, switching the feed in the APC to that of some old blueprints. "But we had some analysts pull some archived building records. Some renovations happened between now and '95, I'm sure, but should be somewhat accurate." He tapped the second floor. "If they're not fuckin' stupid-- which they are, but not that kind-- they'll have the workshop well-ventilated. Might be your ticket, there."

His gaze fell upon Molt as she spoke-- gaze once again inscrutable-- before he rolled his shoulders. "Blackburn. Keep your battle buddy here on a leash or I'll yank it for you." Was all he said to her, before leaning down to stare Molt in the face.

"I don't like jokes, Marlow." Ross stated simply, tone level. Uncomfortably level. "Least of all from you. Knock this internet troll horseshit act off."

He straightened, at that, looking to the group. "That goes for all of you. These people want you dead. They want your kind dead. They will not hesitate to put you on a fucking t-shirt and make you a statistic for MIRA to log. See this shit?"

The feed on the APC changed. Mannequins, dressed in outfits. One had the paraphernalia of Rocket's Red Glare. Another, Scramjet. Monsoon. A Gilgamesh-esque suitcoat with QUEER spraypainted on the chest. People posing with the heads.

"You think this shit's funny, Harlow?"

Another slide. Headlines about PMPD-affected individuals singled out by militias; social media posts on fringe sites, photographs of masked Natural Sons with the beaten bodies of civilians. Molt had been entirely right; darkweb and extremist sites were filled with these types of people.

"I want you angry. Not cracking jokes. Give them a fucking reason to fear you."

The APC rolled to a stop. The door swung open; Cannonade was dismounted from the vehicle, settling with a thud upon hard earth as he came down the ramp. "Operative Iris is providing overwatch from the southwest. You'll have forest cover. Get a fuckin' move on. TOC is contained within the confines of this APC; when you've finished, extraction will be two miles due north of the compound. Do not miss your window. Good luck."

The ramp slid back open, clicking shut, and the carrier began to roll off, leaving the daggers in silence.

The operation was theirs to spearhead.

 
"Yeah, sounds good," Molt replied idly. As Ross started to chime in, however, her relaxed expression soured. She met his eye unflinching, though from her curled fingers and grinding teeth, it was making her more than a little uncomfortable.

"Yes, sir," she muttered. "No laughs, no giggles. And -"

She sat upright.

"...with all due respect, sir, seems like they've already got a fucking therapy goldmine of reasons to fear me. Happy to give 'em another, yeah?"

She grinned. She didn't like Ross. Ross didn't like her. It was a pretty obvious mutual frustration. But - there was a big gap between disliking and fucking despising. Out there was every fuck at school who stared, or laughed, or gagged. Out there was the side-eyes. The snide remarks. The we can't do this anymore.

The fake help. The empty care. Special fucking school, her ass. This was the way her life was gonna go the moment she changed.

And if she could make those scumbags hurt - she'd do it kindly, Deputy Director. She'd do it with a fucking smile. As she started to move out, though, she paused by Gaz, a firm hand grabbing at his arm, stopping him while the others pressed forward. She gestured at Rowan with her head, waiting a second to make sure she wasn't in earshot.

"Keep her safe. She hurts, you hurt," she practically growled. Not waiting for a reply, she brushed past, looking forward at whatever fresh hell the deputy had dropped them into.
 
Ayla flinched in her chair as the hate crime slides flicked past to punctuate a point that made her skin itch in that crawling feeling she was certain life would make you feel. Like finding dirt shoved through the slats of your locker, or the remains of a sharpie marker which never quite went away under a fresh dabbing of paint. Even then, that patch of paint was never quite the same color was it?

Ah, uh, excuse me?” Ayla said, following the others as they trailed out of the vehicle. Her fingers worked the straps of her mask as she pulled it over her face and tightened it. “I can douse the tires of their cars, and maybe set up an area we can light up to close off an avenue of escape.” She said, a voice she didn’t quite recognize escaping through the mask.
 
In through the workshop, then. If they have any masks or other protection, it should be around that area as well- best to block that off sooner rather than later.

If Gaz had reacted to Hannah's comment, she wouldn't have been able to see it- the mask covered his entire face. He hadn't of course. For one, she was far from the first person to say something like that. If anything, it was nice she was so direct. Maybe it came with the role- people back at the office tended to couch their disdain in layers of implication, leaving him with an irritating few seconds before he could parse what they had actually meant.

And then, of course, she got told off by the boss. So it wasn't his problem at all, really.

Perhaps to his detriment, the images of hate crimes elicited a similarly non-existent response, even behind the mask. He had been pulled out of secondary when his mutation manifested, put in a youth ward for some eating disorder he didn't have. At the time of his PMPD diagnosis, he had been isolated from his peers for over a year- and the process was still incomplete. Weird digestion and a few connected glands was all they discovered. Lee had kept his head down about it the whole time- pretended his psychiatric diagnosis was the right one. Kids thinking you threw up every meal was a lot nicer than thinking you shat from your wrists. Somehow.

By the time people knew enough about his mutation to hate him for it, that hatred had already been justified.

That felt weird.

Gaz rolled his shoulders and prepared the needles- testing each chamber with saline, as was his preference. They wouldn't be his primary tool today, but it helped to make sure everything was in order. He stepped off the carrier last, running a quick head-count as he looked out over his new team. They seemed fine. Even Ayla, despite her discomfort, was clear-headed enough to come up with a plan.

Fire- now that's an idea. If we can pen them in, I can keep them paralysed whilst-

She wouldn't agree to that.

"Not a bad plan." He said, "Go for the cars, then the road- if they have sandbags or anything of the sort, saturate those and block the exit. If they manage to get past yourself and Optimus Prime, we can light up the blockade and force them back. Should buy us more time."

Hannah grabbed his arm. He stopped- at first acknowledging her with a glance, but then (after remembering she couldn't see it) fully turning his head to face her. She looked serious. She sounded serious. He had noticed she had a bit of a protective streak- though quite what she thought was going to happen was still something of a mystery. Still, he nodded.

"Believe me, I'm as concerned as you are." He muttered, "I'll keep an eye on her, don't worry- and you look out for the Cloak, alright? She seems pretty shaken already."

She was trying to intimidate him. That wasn't lost on Gaz, but he decided to act like it was. That usually made things easier. He quickened his pace a little, managing to catch up with her as she left- though, when he spoke again, his tone had changed. It was firmer, now. It was grave. His accent, whilst hardly subtle, somehow seemed thicker than normal.

"Oi."

He reached forwards- not going for an arm, like she did, but to tap her on her shoulder. In his other hand was a metal canister. He held it out to her.

"Paralytic." Gaz stated flatly, "Visible to the naked eye, but dense enough to linger, even outside. You're the proper dagger, out of both of us- I trust your judgement better than mine."

It was taken from his suit- Hannah could clearly see that, it was obvious something was missing. He looked around, lowering his voice a little.

"Chuck it at the ground, shoot when they stop twitching." He muttered, "Or earlier, if you wanna be nice. But it's a last resort, yeah?"
 
All Rowan had for response to the direct command from Deputy Ross was a nod, electing for silence. Of course, Hannah was going to say whatever she felt like saying at any given moment, but she could at least try to reign her in. The effectiveness of something like that would be-

She froze for a second. It sounded like Molt was trying to be sarcastic back, in response to the direct orders, but she was agreeing, instead, in her own weird way. She'd seen it a hundred, if not a thousand, times. It was a common enemy for the two of them, at this point, and it let Rowan relax a bit. Nothing would come of it, hopefully. They were both discerning individuals. They needed to focus on the external threat.

Images flashed across the screens in the APC, images that only darkened her mood. Images, icons, targets, all made to look like her friends. It make Rowan sick, in a way that only made her more determined to end this here and now. They almost seemed proud of their hate, almost like they thought it made them better for it. As the vehicle began to draw to a stop, she slid the mask over her eyes, and put on the mask meant to protect her from Gaz.

Hannah seemed ready for action, and Gaz was inscrutable as ever, wearing that suit. It still gave her chills even now, but it wasn't as bad as it used to be. She was getting acclimated. Ayla, though, didn't seem to be. She took a mental note to check in on her after, make sure she was handling it well. It would be too distracting to ask now.

Rowan had it easy growing up, even when the change happened. Her manifestation was, for all intents and purposes, low profile. It didn't bring visual change, and let her live a mostly normal life. If it hadn't been for her using it on accident, it almost wouldn't have been noticed. She didn't have to see this vitriol, not like she knew Hannah did. She was very lucky, indeed, with her manifestation, and she was determined to use it to stop more hate.

As they all stepped out of the vehicle, target in sight, she took a look to the heavily armored Premier Team member spearheading this operation. She walked over to Cannonade, clearing her throat on approach. "What do you think, approach wise? You've got experience, I want your input before we commit to anything."
 


Up close, the IOX-ACS-II "Ox" suit was a sight to behold. With its twin FAC cannon-arms and reactive plating, it was more a mobile tank than anything else; given it was a dagger operation, Rowan would clearly be able to see the .50 BMG chains that were contained within the semi-transparent underside of the forearms. The chains of bullets, predictably, ran throughout the suit and were probably largely contained in the back, with a feed system to the arms-- if a layman were to guess, at least.

The Premiere Juror was silent, for a moment, as they walked-- the mechanical noise of the Ox suit making enough noise to give a slight echo through the forest.

... MOLT AND MIASMA, TAKE A WESTERN APPROACH. STICK TO THE ROAD, AVOID ANY PASSING CARS-- THOUGH THERE SHOULDN'T BE ANY TRAFFIC. MIRA PUT A BLOCKADE ON ADJACENT ROADS. Ideally, nobody would call ahead to the group, but it would be safe to assume they'd be on high alert regardless-- and moving the bombs in preparation for tomorrow. ELIXIR, SONGBIRD-- HEAD UP THE EAST. IT'S FENCED IN-- STICK TO THE SHADOWS. SHOULD BE LESS GUARDED. MIGHT BE SOME ACTIVITY ON THE ROOF.

There was a slight whine as the cannons primed on the Ox suit. With a whir, Cannonade looked down to Rowan.

I'LL PROVIDE THE MAIN ASSAULT. IT'LL DISTRACT-- WAIT FOR MY SIGNAL, THEN EXECUTE. MOLT AND MIASMA DISABLE VEHICLES AND CONFUSE; ELIXIR AND SONGBIRD, SEARCH FOR THE WORKSHOP. A pause, as he threw his hands forward-- the arms blossoming into twin barrels. YOU'LL KNOW THE SIGNAL. GET INTO POSITION.

And so he stood, not risking the creation of any more noise above the mechanical, droning tone of his modulated voice-- waiting for the teams of two to get into position. Molt and Miasma, by the treeline of the western embankment; Elixir and Songbird, by the eastern fence. True to Cannonade's prediction, there were multiple silhouettes on the roof, their bodies backlit by the floodlights that pointed into the yard; additionally, a few more gunmen were scattered throughout the yard, idly conversing and otherwise on low alert. A few dummies and mannequins were set up inside the perimeter, along with a few metal targets. To pass the time, most likely. Two men were situated on the firing range-- one taking pot shots at a dummy, and the other was idly scrolling through his phone, gun resting across his lap.

The west, however, was a different story. As Molt and Miasma snuck towards the northwest vehicle bay, it would become apparent that there was a lot of hardware in the Natural Sons' possession; weapon caches filled with automatic and semi-automatic weaponry were underneath spotlights, along with a few mannequins equipped with armor and helmets. And that was what they could see.

What was most apparent, however, was the tricked-out G-Wagon that they had. Full doomsday prepper equipment peppered its chassis-- bulletproof implements on the windows, armor panels on the sides. Even what appeared to be a bulldozing ram was near the front bumper, probably to be affixed to the bulbar on the front grille. The Natural Sons' insignia was spraypainted onto the side paneling.

"-- shit you see on the television nowadays. Half of it's doctored, and MIRA doesn't have funding for a good 60% of the shit it says it does, anyways."

"Yeah. Just hope this shit wraps, soon. Got a job interview to be at."

"... after the fucking rally?"

"Yeah?"

EXECUTING.

An explosion from the south. The nighttime sky was lit up with brilliant hues of orange and yellow-- a flash of billowing smoke and fire cascading into the sky. Enough to distract-- but not enough to destroy the building's integrity and potentially set off the bombs. Heads were turned towards the destruction; the two in front of Molt and Miasma were distracted, as were the pair before Elixir and Songbird.

"What the fuck is--"

VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT.

If there was ever a clear signal, it would've been the twin cannons from Cannonade's suit firing downrange with the sound of an angered A10 Warthog.

 
Hannah searched his eyes for any sign of insincerity or malice - but he was just serious. Stoic. If there was anything hidden, she couldn't fucking see it. Didn't remove the possibility, of course, she was shit with people and he was a twisted fucking cycle path, but it did make her feel a little less uneasy. A little.

She grunted, taking the cannister and turning it over between her hands.

This was inside him, at one point. Probably.

Kinda gross, but she was the last person to judge. Giving a curt twitch of her head that could've been a nod, she slid the cannister into one of the loops of her vest - maybe that's what those were for - and glanced over at the compound. He trusted her judgement, huh? Probably just being ingratiating, but she'd be lying if she didn't say that made her feel pretty good.

"Right. Thanks," she muttered, giving another quick glance to him, before hurrying over to meet up with Ayla.

Check on her. Gaz said she didn't seem good. Check on her - like - see if she's going to piss herself? She was ready for this, she had to be. Fuck, she'd done stuff like this before, hadn't she? Not, like, like this this, but dangerous shit. Violent shit. If she wasn't ready now, why'd she even be here?

"You, uh. Good? Ready?" she asked, moving with Miasma quickly towards the west end of the complex. "Check your gun? Got your vest on right? Y'know - "

Fuck. There was an awkward pause where it seemed like Molt was going to say something else, but wasn't saying anything.

"You got this. Just gotta - believe in your flaming hot spirit, or whatever."

Oh, that was retarded. And talking about fire was probably not the best - oh, fucking, whatever. Hannah picked up her pace, cutting through a thick bit of brush and catching a sight of the bay.

"No fucking clue what the signal's gonna be," she admitted, "so just keep an ear -"

VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT.

"- out."
 
It was only once Hannah took the canister that Gaz realised she wasn't wearing a mask. She wasn't stupid, though. She'd probably planned to use her mutation before the mask would be required, and needed to keep her face exposed for coverage, or something- as long as she didn't fancy a trip to the workshop, she'd probably be fine. He nodded as they parted ways, confident enough. His comment on her judgement wasn't a lie, after all.

Without the canister, his own mask was usefully useless. Though it certainly looked the part, it offered absolutely nothing in the way of protection; anything could go in, and anything could come out. It was a good thing the costume was so distinctive. If anyone picked up this mask by mistake, they'd be in for a rough time.

The Premiere's instructions were met with yet more silent agreement. It seemed like they had a solid plan, but even as an Analyst, Gaz knew that meant fuck all out in the field. Still, there was no need to dwell on contingencies just yet. The only thing he could do was his job.

Eyes up, then. Last thing I want is some dickhead shooting me in the back from the rooftop before I'm able to get inside- whatever distraction T-800's got planned, I hope it's a good one.

If that suit was anything to go by, it probably would be. The man wasn't just here for bomb disposal, after all.

He caught up with Rowan, keeping a steady pace as they walked. Even without a mask, she was almost as inscrutable as him- and with her face covered like this, it would be impossible to tell what she was thinking. Gaz had an idea, though. They all did. Something was distinctly off- not just with her, with everyone on this job.

Extremism like this must hit pretty close to home- especially for this lot. They grew up in the wake of 2007- fear would be all they knew. Fuck, that was depressing And it's not like he didn't contribute to the attitude, as well- Gaz knew his own crimes had brought on a wave of paranoia across the pond. It was almost guaranteed that a fraction of this was his fault, at least partially. He didn't want to think about that.

At least they all wanted to get this over with.

"You alright?" He said- part empty greeting, part genuine question, as was often the case.

"We should be good, 's long as we keep our heads down. You might have to point out what the signal is- I haven't been sent on many of these, so I-"

VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT-

"Actually, I think I've got it. Let's move."
 
Yeah, I’m uh, I’m good. It’s just jitters.” Ayla said as she fell into step behind Molt. Her fingers moved again to the various straps of her vest and holster as they were mentioned, though she kept her eyes forward. It would be really stupid if they got caught because she stepped on a branch while distracted. “I’ve got everything, yeah.” She said lightly, a pat of her palm against the shape of the lighter in her pocket.

The vehicle bay was… a lot. Like, preparing for a war sort of a lot. Miasma felt a turn in her stomach at that thought, all this to just kill people who didn’t mean them any harm?

Thanks, Molt.” Miasma said, a thin smile flashing across her lips, before she half jumped out of her skin at the sound of what she was pretty sure was cannons ripped through the air. “Shit” She hissed between her teeth. Couldn’t he have just told them he’d do that?

Munitions or tires first?” Miasma quickly asked Molt, raising the nozzle set into the wrist of her suit. The air around her shivered as alcohol vapor rolled off her shoulders.
 
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