The Black Forge, a collection of misfits all, attempts to survive in a hostile universe, by trading, fighting, and exploring while running low on spare parts, food, and keeping one step a head of the bank.
With a flash of radiation and light, the captured foldship, temporarily dubbed the "Booty Call", appeared above the planet. The Icarus swiftly detached, orienting itself for a deceleration and landing burn.
Inside the armored egg, a dozen war machines prepared for a hot drop. Pilots began to fire up their mecha before the ablative reentry cocoons closed around each mecha on the lower mecha deck.
Alex ran through his checks on the battleframe itself, before activating the weapons systems and ensuring that they were all fully charged, loaded, or otherwise prepared.
"Catspaw ready. Keep security distance between one another and cover your teammates if they need to retreat or abandon their machine." Makre rolled the controls slightly, preparing his guns for action.
Xir’s bio-armor being damaged, it stripped the armor off before re-joining Beast on the hanger bay. Much to Xir’s surprise Beast was still where it was left before the boarding mission. Beast was curled up in a ball like a ginormous cat. When Xir approached beast popped open the blue transparent hatch on its forehead allowing Xir to slip in and be secured in place by the muscles and Neuro fibers that connects Xir to beast. Xir then opens com’s stating. Paladin ready for drop. Beast then did a full body stretch before standing in drop position to jump out the hanger door.
Steven uploaded the team’s data map he acquired from the space station and needed information about the factory before the pilots deployed to their mecha. Steven readied himself for the drop, hoping luck would take pity on him this next fight, and smooth sailing for the rest of the team
Damion sat in his mecha hoping not to take three to the chest again "Well, good luck out there, guys and gals. try not to get shot."
Leo moved the mech quickly into its needed position, have quickly taken the rest of the thruster struts off it from the decel thrusters. After making sure everything was in the green, or at least not going to break on him, he strapped in and sealed the cockpit.
"Digger is ready to go" At least, as well as he could be. Flying through space is one thing but falling towards a planet was another. If things where to go wrong, he wouldn't be able to miss and not slam into the ground. Too late to really pull out anyways, Leo thought, might as well get used to it.
Dav closes his cockpit and fires up his fusion reactor. Power streamed to the armored appendages. With the flick of a switch, the cocoon began to close around the Dark Horse. Dav opened his comms to the mecha team while Black Forge ops listened in, "This is Dav. Beginning operations. Switch to battle communication protocols and call signs. Top Dog out."
Aiyana pulled up all the information she was given as she settled into Wildfire. She knew Muk would take the lead and she would follow up behind him and watch his back. Hearing Dav over the com's, she would flick the appropriate switch before tying her hair back in a long ponytail, "Understood." Aiyana said simply as she finished prepping and settled into her mecha now. “Book Worm is ready...am I really that much of a book worm?" Aiyana asked but then looked around her cockpit, "Ignore that last statement, Book Worm is ready to go- after this chapter of course." Aiyana would say with a small laugh.
Lyon rolled his eyes. Bird Man wasn't the most dignified callsign, but Muk has been calling him that and the name unfortunately stuck. "Roger." He replied tersely, then checked the Scoundrel's systems, allowing the heat shield to surround the mech.
Lily settled into Pink Defender and adjusted her helmet over her head, giving Aiyana a thumbs up as the hatch closed before turning to Alex’s mech and waving to him. Then she closed her own hatch and applied her cocoon.
Hopping up on to the mystery machine he climbed into the seat. Tantus fired up the Lion, running diagnostics the control panel flickered to black with a harsh hit from his tail it cut back on. "Piece of junk" he muttered. Looking out at the other pilots he felt content almost as if he was meant to be there. Shrugging the feeling, he lit his pipe. The smell of opium filled the cab with pale white smoke. Tantus fired the comms up " I'm taking bets. The most confirmed mech kills gets ammo refilled by the losers. Anyone wanna take it?" With a long drag of his pipe he activated the cocoon sequence. "See you all on the ground. May your gods protect you. If not, I hope for a painless death."
Muk climbed into Doomcrakka’s cockpit and closed the hatch. He settled into his seat, slipping the helmet onto his head as he went through his systems checks. Satisfied that all was well, he signaled readiness and the cocoon enclosed his mech. He felt a dull pain where his ear used to be and, in his stomach, where he’d been shot, but the bleeding had stopped after some basic first aid. Mostly just spraying on some synthetic skin and clotting agent. After the battle he would need some proper medical care.
Hearing the challenge from the new red Gartagen guy, Muk switched on his comms. “PASTOR will take dat bet, ORPHAN. You’s gonna all be payin’ my bills.” He said confidently. “Bro’seif’s enemies betta shake wif fear. We’s comin’ to deliver God’s wrath.”
Meters above the mecha, the Aeroframe jocks also prepared for a high altitude launch from the pair of magnetic catapults.
"Ready." Vlad notified the command deck, gunning the engines.
Marina listened to the chatter from the mecha pilots below with a smirk. They were much more interesting to listen to than her old comrades back in the Kaiserreich. As the talk died down, she returned her attention to her own Aeroframe, the humming of its reactor mirroring her own anticipation. "FALCON, ready to launch."
Once ready, the Icarus began reorientation to allow for mecha drop. Chuan fought the controls, hard vibration echoing throughout the ship as air resistance struck the craft. Once angled properly by Chuan, Jessica began to launch the mecha in pairs by weight. With each mecha released, the strong vibrations became a hard buck, nearly tossing both Chuan and Jessica from their chairs.
Once the mecha cocoons were dropped from high altitude, Chuan started to rotate the Icarus, positioning the Aeroframe launch rails aft wards. Once again, the ship rocked when the fighter craft launched, one by one.
Only their strength and buckles kept Chuan and Jessica in place. The straps bit deep into shoulders, thighs, and hips. Surely there was going to be bruising on their tender flesh. With a knowing look between them, they planned many an hour being massaged for their abuse by their husband's plans. A pair of pregnant ladies should never be tossed about in such a manner, they thought. Once their payload was away, Chuan brought the massive fortress under control. The falling building of ceramic, steel, and bottled energy began a controlled descend towards a clearing a dozen kilometers from the target facility.
As he is ground support, Vlad glides over the field and waits for his scan to show any bloody Taienese.
Grinning at the kick of the launch rails propelling her frame out into the sky, Marina set her engines to full throttle and took control of her descent. With a graceful sweep of her wings, she turned and settled into a holding pattern over the friendly drop zone.
The Dark Horse, like the other frames, rattled as the pods descended. With the great heat and pressure of the atmosphere, the pods began to slowly disintegrate as designed. Flakes of ceramic tile filled the sky in dinner plate sized objects, the metallic inner surface reflecting and refracting the active sensors of the ground installation. Dav smiled. He didn't even bother to turn on active sensors yet. With all the debris from the drop team, all his sensors would pick up was static, hopefully just like the Taienese.
Knowing Beast wouldn't handle the confined space of a drop pod, Xir opted out of using it. When the armored doors opened below Beast, Xir guided it out into the void before pushing off towards the planet. With an unprotected free fall and the lack of protection of the pod, Beast used a gravity point to descend at a slower speed then the rest of the drop team. Beast takes this opportunity to scan and observe the facility and surrounding land scape using Beasts senses. The heat was still high on the drop but nothing that Beast couldn't handle. Xir recognized that at a slower dropped that they might have to land in a slightly different location to keep up with the rest of the team.
while in the drop pod free fall Damion would key the coms. "Thunder god checking in with everyone. board is green and everything checks out. I’ll see you planet side."
Xir responds to Damion, "We are handling the drop well. Everyone looks ok from our vantage point.". Looking down at the drop pods gradually gaining distance in the fall from Beast and Xir’s point of view.
Nodding to himself while checking over all armaments on the mech, he responds to Xir "Understood. I wish you luck Xir. May your skills as a warrior see you through to survival."
Xir open's comm's, "You too Damion. Since I’m not confined in a pod, I'll describe the facility grounds to the team during my slower descent and clear view. No surprises this time."
Damion reopens coms "right, don’t want any surprises....also those of you in less combat capable support mechs I recommend sticking with a combat cable one as a buddy system to avoid situations like face planting against your consol." he said as a light hearted jab at Dav.
Dav responded to the two chatty pilots, stressing their intended call signs, "This is TOP DOG. Use mission call signs. I Don’t want Tai Pan tracking down our friendly assets. Good idea, PALADIN. Proceed with visual tracking. Confirm, Paladin. Confirm TIN MAN."
Xir open's comm's "Roger that Top Dog"
"TIN MAN here, understood." Damion responded over his mic.
"Uggh... Bird Man standing by." Lyon flicked some switches, allowing non-critical systems whirl to life. Watching the altitude meter, he remarked, "Let's see... decoy mechs and missiles ready to go. Smoke online. Just paint where you want me to lure the dogs." The decoys where nothing more than boxes and bullets that emitted radiation that mimicked the real deal. Visual confirmation would see through them immediately, but with current distances, the initial deception should give them an advantage in the fog of war.
Damion rotated his neck from side to side as he too watched the altitude counter tick down. Part of him wants to scratch at the still freshly healed scar as it rubs the safety harness strapping him to his pilot seat, but the other part of him keeps it to the back of his mind waiting for the inevitable ground to come up below his mech. pulling down the targeting computer for the heavy laser cannon he begins to take the time to set it for mid to long range engagements. "Hey bookworm, got any fiction novels you can recommend?"
Aiyana was strapped in, buckled and ready to keep from jostling around horribly from the descent. She was ready and flicking the buttons to prep her drop, "I don't know...maybe this really old classis called Wizard of Oz- it has a Tin Man just like you." Aiyana said with a bit of a cheeky smile, "But no I did read that one, a house gets dropped on a nasty old hag, this cheery girl wears the dead witches shoes...meets three guys who are brainless, heartless and scared of everything- turns out well in the end as she was just dreaming." Aiyana told him, giving a rather vague and slightly bad rendition of the old novel. It was nice to just shoot the breeze while falling from the ship.
During the free fall Muk blasted a classic metal song in his cockpit. The volume dropped when someone sent a message. Muk was not enjoying being rattled around in his cockpit with his injuries. “PASTOR doin’ good.” He lied; the pain evident in his voice despite attempting to hide it. The painkillers did fine as long as he wasn’t plummeting through atmosphere in a big metal coffin, being shaken like a ragdoll.
"Perhaps we should keep distractions to a minimum. There may be complications that we have to react to real fast." Makre suggested absentmindedly, his body relaxed and his grip on his controllers loose, acquainted as he was with the deployment procedure.
As the decent continued Steven vaguely remembered not wanting to die in his mecha. Being in an iron sarcophagus was not fitting his fancy that day or ...ever for the matter of the fact
Listening to the other pilot’s banter on it was relaxing. The pod was shit. he wasn’t even halfway down, and the pod was almost gone. He just hoped it held a little longer. Can't die before the fight starts, he thought. Coming thru the cloud barrier it got so quiet almost like he was dreaming.
Flipping the switch to engage landing protocols. His hydraulics were pressed into his legs. The rear thrusters fired but he held before what was left of the pod broke off at 7000 feet. Tantus burst fired the thrusters. 5000 ft then 3000 I'm still too fast he muttered. Hitting thrusters to full the temp gauge skyrocketed 1500 feet before landing.
At 700 feet, the mech shut off. Overheated, he crashed into the ground at over 100 kph. Anger overwhelmed him. Cutting auxiliary power on, he groaned into his comms, "Top Dog, this is Orphan. I'm a broken lizard. This mech is shit. It overheated on reentry. I'm down until I can get it fired back up and moving. Save some fight for me."
With the direction of Xir, Beast focuses its senses on the facility and surrounding area from the high altitude. the tree coverage around the facility is dense preventing visual so Beast activated an energy detection perception to the visual senses. If anything under the canape of trees has a powerful engine running Xir would at least know where it was, but likely not what it is. With the combination of visual and alternative sensory information Xir describes over the comm's to the team what it sees of the land scape, factory, and enemy combatants the best it could.
[[OOC: JP completed by Bullroarer4, kiteakat, mechameme, Ray of Meep, SloanRocks2, ArsenicJohn, Jimmy, Gir, Armacalic, Ahoy, Nyxborn, Lone Badass, Hal 9000 and Dimirhunterjsh23.]]
While in descent, Xir's scans showed a group of five mecha moving towards the descending Black Forge mecha. Several kilometers away, some activity was beginning to show in the factory base. In between, nothing but dense foliage and thick, stubby trees for as far as Xir could see.
Dav's shell parachutes opened, slowing his descent. At 100 meters, the shell exploded, and the disposable retro thrusters fired. with a grace belied by the size and mass of the Dark Horse, Dav landed the mecha. With a flip of the switch, the disposable jets popped off with a muffled thump. Dav walked the Dark Horse over to Orphan and his Mystery Machine, a half-folded mess of a mecha lying half buried in the soft ground.
Dav opened comms, "Alpha lance, move out. See where those bastards are hiding and light em up. Bravo and Charlie lance, stay loose and follow Alpha towards the target. Orphan, catch up with us when you can. Bird Man, you help Orphan out and get back to us. ASAP. Air support, take a pass at the base and make sure there aren't any aircraft lying in wait. I don’t want our boys out here getting jumped by some hot shot Taienese pilot trying for a front-line assignment."
Alex had landed without much fanfare nearby and moved in to support his other landing comrades. The danger was clear and present, and any slipups on anyone's part would mean disaster.
"Top Dog, this is Golden Boy, we have 5 incoming enemy mecha." He said as he reversed his mech to avoid some incoming fire from the side and turned his torso in response. His energy weapons spat deadly light at the enemy mech's torso before he followed up with a burst from his gauss cannon, aiming at the now heated and weakened armor where the lasers had been directed, aiming to knock the foe out of the fight as quickly as possible.
energy struck the lead enemy mecha, ceramic plates cracking across the upper torso as energy beams stitched across the upper torso and shoulders. a quick thrust from its maneuvering jets spoiled Alex's aim somewhat, the burst of gauss rounds shattering the right knee joint. The return fire from the engaged mecha sliced down the left forearm, hot beams of energy mauling the armored casing but failing to damage the delicate internal structures.
The armor separating him from the battlefield was a welcome change from the recent operation on foot. No desperate grappling with a foe, no shouting through smoke and gunfire.
Lily guided Pink Defender down, cutting off the thrusters just above the ground to land with only the gentlest of large impacts close to Alex, sending dust and dirt into the air before the large machine striding out of the cloud. Several smaller impacts began landing around as the disposable jets which had been popped off just before impact began hitting the ground around them.
"Widow on the ground, commencing mission." She said simply, torso twisting towards the targets and firing a salvo of missiles before her railguns fired.
The missiles were summarily shot down by the advancing group of enemy mecha's point defense systems. One of the railgun shots struck a thick tree, releasing a dense fog along with the splintering of wood and foliage. The other shot struck true, damaging the right arm of the enemy mecha.
The drop wasn't bad- it wasn't fun, but it wasn't bad as she landed with a slight crater around Wildfires feet. Her stomach felt like it was in her throat as she regained her bearings a little bit, "Hey Pastor, you land ok?" Bookworm commed over to him as she went through a quick system check after her landing.
"Marksman, active and ready, call your targets for support fire." Makre announced as soon as the Catspaw was able to move, taking position quickly to return if needed.
To Nestle the fall Steven activated the parachutes just before the fall so he could gently land the mecha without damaging anything, knowing the bad streak of luck for Steven these past times
As the landing his Steven activated his ECM and CECM making sure there were going to be no shooting at him or his comrades. Steven opened comms " Top dog, surveyor is landed, do you wanted me to scout the area surrounding for enemies?"
Beast was still in a controlled free fall using a gravity point, while the rest of the team crashed through the treetops to land or landing in small fields. Xir made an assessment targeting an enemy mecha that's under the least amount of tree coverage. Beast then zeros in its cutting laser like a laser pointer and focuses two shots on an enemy combatant mecha that Xir directed it too.
The one-two pulse of energy struck the tree providing cover before punching through and scoring a hard hit to the right leg. More dense fog released into the area, once a clear glade now a fog cloaked glen.
"Roger that Top Dog. Changing trajectory to rendezvous with Orphan." Lyon sighed. At least it wasn't the front lines. Once he reached terminal velocity, he detonated the explosive bolts that help the mech with the drop pod, launching him into the atmosphere. The mech's disposable thrusters fired to further slow it down, then were ditched as it crashed into the woods. "Ah... shit." Lyon pushed away broken trunks and branches, making sure no systems were damaged.
"Copy Top Dog, landing... now". The thrusters fired off, and it slowed down as shrubbery arced back from the down blast. Sagi came to soft landing near Lyon, luckily avoiding the trees. It did, however, sink into the soft soil slightly given its heavy weight. It trudged along up to the Orphan.
The protective shell around Doomcrakka exploded letting light into Muk’s cockpit. His disposable retro thrusters flared with blue flames, slowing his descent to a non-fatal speed. Soon after he landed among scorched trees, splintering a few smaller trees on impact. Muk detached the thrusters with the push of a button, and they fell away with an audible thud. He waited for the rest of the team to touch down while he got his bearings.
"FALCON copies. Do not worry, we will check the nest for hornets," Marina replied, and brought the nose of her Aeroframe around towards the base.
"Right behind you, Marina." Vlad follows behind Marina's Aeroframe. Vlad looks to his scanner screen to check if anything has been caught in his sights.
Within minutes, Lyon met up with Dav and Tantus, looking over the curled-up mech. "Uggh... yep. That's an impact alright." He reached down to pull it out of the ground. "Orphan, give me system data. Top Dog, requesting supply drop of a basic repair kit and spare parts."
Tantus cut the communicator on adjusting the volume "Lyon, I have no hydraulic pressure, core seems fine, diagnostics say 2 minutes before heat reaches acceptable levels. It looks as my front armor took the brunt of impact, electrical seems fine. Get me up. I hope it's just some damaged hoses and loose armor. When she fires up in a couple minutes we’ll know."
"I'll cover you Lyon, if you need a hand just holler and I'll hop over to help." Leo pivoted the Sagi around to face away from the Orphan, scanning the surrounding area. He had to reposition the feet every few moments to prevent it from sinking in too much.
"Negative... Digger." Lyon briefly looked up Leo's callsign. He came next to the Sagi and maglocked a box to its waste. "That's a mech decoy. It's simple deployment. If the dogs are stupid ---and I think they are--- they'll mistake it as a sniper. And this---" He then gave the Sagi his peashooter. "Is a missile decoy launcher. Use it in tandem with your own, actual missiles. It's no good to me by itself anyways." The avian form went back to examining the Orphan's wounds.
"Alright then, thanks for the gadget. Stay safe, uh, Bird Man" Leo pushed the Sagi out to the where the others landed, while he synced the decoys to his own system to use later. "Pastor this is Digger, where have you landed so we can group up."
The sound of snapping of wood in mass as Damion had finally landed in the tree line echoed
"Tin Man has landed moving to gain line of sight on the enemy, over." Taking the controls in his hands he began moving the mecha in the direction Lyon had landed using the tree line as obscuring cover.
coming to a stop within the tree line having picked up movement on the Targeting computer. grabbing the small console and moving it over to his optical lens "Top Dog this is Tin Man, GRID NK453215 North of Orphan 1300 meters out, permission to Fire for effect over, "
Tin Man stated clearly and calmly as he waited for the go ahead to be given, he had his 125mm gun load and ready as he would attempt to zero the moving mechs.
“Pastor ‘ere. I’m in da forest.” Muk responded. He saw a nearby friendly mech IDed by his IFF as Tin Man. “’Bout two hundred meters east of Tin Man. We’s just south of da rest of Alpha.”
Leo chimed in, "Me and Bird Man are grouped up, but looks like we may need to go through the first assault without him. We need to group with Bookworm and start heading for our Target."
Damion keyed his coms "Pastor word of warning 1300 meters north from Orphan hostiles spotted." waiting a bit hey keyed his coms "Paladin, how’s about a bet? whichever of us gets the most confirmed kills this mission wins the losers mission share....you up for it?"
"Hey Pastor, need me to come over and watch your back or want me to stay with Tin man and Bird Man?" Bookworm commed over as she approached the others. The elf scanned the area some but also readied her weapons. "Are we all at least in one piece and ready to get this done?" The elf would ask her small group.
"I think we should start making our way to our target and meet up with Pastor along the way" Leo said, responding to her question. "Bravo Lance is supposed to make the assault, but that may change with Bird Man's situation."
“Didn’t know books ‘ave worms in ‘em. Whatever, we’s supposed to go after Alpha. Get a move on ‘less ya want me to clear da battlefield fore ya get ‘ere.” Muk said, taunting the others in Bravo. Doomcrakka moved towards the advancing enemies but stayed in the cover of the forest. Muk took aim at the enemies and fired three of his light plasma cannons at the nearest enemy mech.
One plasma bolt struck the enemy mecha dead center, blasting a small amount of ceramic armor off its torso. The other two struck the trees behind it, detonating the pulpy foliage. The resulting smoke and fog boiled out, thickening the air with the new gases.
Damion began moving his mech into formation with alpha Lance while keeping his eyes on his targeting computer in an attempt to actively spot any hostiles that may poke out into line of sight.
Xir opened the com's to Damion. " Tin Man, focus on surviving and getting the job done, and we will see how many kills we get done by the end."
"Come on Book Worm, let’s get there before Pastor ends up killing himself. Stay safe Bird Man, if you’re in trouble give us a holler."
"Well, the paper in books are tasty but that just makes it sound really gross now." Aiyana said with a little laugh at that. "Alright, alright." she told him as she would get a move on to get there, "Yea...let’s not have that. I'll keep up, don't worry." Aiyana told them as the elf moved her own Crushah so that they could meet up with the rest of their team and hopefully things wouldn't get too insane with Bird Man being where he was.
Nodding to himself Damion keyed his comms "10-4 paladin."
OOC [JP completed by: Bullroarer4, Dimirhunterjsh23, Arsenicjohn, Nyxborn, Sloanrocks2, Ray of Meep, Kitekat, Jimmy, lone_badass, Ahoy, Armacalic, mechameme, Gir, and Hal9000]
With the now dense fog appearing after several of the local flora was destroyed, the general sensors of most of the team was malfunctioning. Radar, heat, neutrino... all acting as if malfunctioning. The enemy mecha, now hidden in the mist, ceased firing. Now was the time of the hunt and of the operation when this would make or break the Forge.
Dav opened comms and was greeted by a harsh static feedback. His AI, "sweetie", cut comms immediately and informed Dav his comms was down. He suspected the newly created mist from the destroyed foliage was the source of the interference. He waved his mecha arms in the air, gesturing towards the target facility. Once he had done that for a moment he began walking slowly towards his destination and the last direction of the enemy patrol.
Hopefully everyone remembered their orders, Dav thought. He hoped Alpha lance would pair off and drive the enemies they found towards the main body of the forge mecha. He hoped Bravo and Charlie lances, now short some members, would stick together. So many hopes and so much that could go wrong.
Damion would move the targeting computer away from his face as he began to push up with Alex and the rest of Alpha lance. Watching through the cockpit windshield since the fog seemed to jam everything the mech had for sensors. "Hey, you guys-" he began to say but stopped short gaining nothing but static from the comms before cursing under his breath and continuing forward. Remembering where the last group of enemies Alex spotted were, albeit a general direction, Damion armed his light rail gun and proceeded to fire a round downrange into the fog in the general direction of the enemy mechs hoping to use the impact or sparks or debris from the big fuck off ammo to zero a target in the fog.
Muk wasn’t too concerned about the sudden appearance of the blinding fog. Atraxis had dust storms from time to time that made it impossible to see two inches in front of your face. In addition, he was used to operating his mech with no assistance from AI, so using his eyes to navigate was normal for him. He shut off the music he’d been playing and attempted to listen for movement.
The unmistakable sound of Damion’s cannon firing told him something was going on to his west. He decided to move even farther east, not wanting to sit and wait until he was discovered. As Doomcrakka stomped to the east he began to realize there was another problem. Without radio or any visual sensors, it was going to be difficult to tell friendlies from hostiles. It was a good thing he knew the rest of Bravo was behind him. He continued to circle east about three hundred meters and then turned north again, towards the last known enemy position.
Leo stopped when they got into the fog, the systems being clogged up. Leo thought at first it was his own mech acting up until he saw almost all his comm systems go down. After panicking for second, he thought of an idea. He reached over and turned on the old prospecting seismic sensors and stopped. Leo waved his railgun side to side to tell Aiyana to stop so he could get a good reading. Even though the machine could do it, Leo had done this for so long he also listened alongside with the machine. Leo could hear ten faint thumps, little less than a kilometer away, towards the hostiles. He told the machine to flag them as the five hostiles. With the quick movement of another mech going across, he assumed it was Muk or Damion. In an attempt to communicate with Aiyana, he tried speaking just out into the forest in hopes Aiyana could hear, although quiet enough as to not be too loud. "I have seismic sensors; I can generally tell where everyone is. Follow my lead, I'll try and get us to Muk".
Lily looked about as the fog descended, she looked up as her computer informed her that comms was down. Visibility became almost nil, and all electronics were jammed. It was like the fog from the trees was laced with metallic particles or something. Definitely didn’t want to breath it in.
Analyzing the situation for a few seconds, she strode her mech up to Alex’s moving in front of him and gently leaning to press her cockpit against his. The two machines awkwardly pressed together in a close embrace as their heads met gently as possible, tenderly.
“Alex!” She yelled, hoping the noise would carry through the glass of her cockpit to his. “Alex, can you hear me? We need to move!”
Lily looked out as blind fire rippled through the forest to their north towards where their enemies were last seen, shockwaves passing through the food and shattering trees in the way. The thought that the two of them were between the rest of the Forge and the enemy caused a stone to drop in her stomach if any of their other pilots were as ill-disciplined.
“Move East, and then North! If I use my jets, follow me!” she yelled.
She had thought to move North but going through a storm of blind fire from either direction made that idea seem a lot less appealing. Instead they would move East, out of the line of fire, and attempt to go north around the enemy and push them towards the rest of the Forge.
The contact between cockpits had been enough to allow him to hear her when she had been yelling, and he knew at least the basics of what he intended to do. The proximity of their cockpit glass allowed a clear view both ways, the form fitting pilot suit that Lily was wearing causing him to blush as he halfheartedly looked away.
"We should probably get moving! I hope we don't end up getting shot by our own side in this fog!" He said, clearly looking for any excuse to break off the awkward encounter.
"Copy that! I'll keep you safe. Let’s move out before the others run us over, or someone else decides to try their luck in the fog!" She replied, taking one hand off a control to give him the OK hand signal.
The two machines awkwardly separated, machines shuffling away from each other before Pink Defender turned, raising its gauss cannon arms before advancing at a brisk walk through the fog-laden air, avoiding trees and obstacles in the way.
Bravo lance should have landed close enough to each other that they could regroup and organize, but Lily had no contact with the other half of Alpha lance, who had each landed on the flanks of the formation on opposite sides to each other. She hoped that by adjusting East and then heading North the pair could continue their mission effectively and hit from a different angle than from where they had last been spotted.
The lack of communication meant that more primitive methods would have to be used, and advanced tactics and long-range combat were pretty much out the window. This fight would be close and dirty. She gulped as she realized her and Alex’s survival were now down to her not leading them to disaster and their own fighting skill.
Either combat had already started, or something had gone wrong. Makre wasn't sure what was going on, the radio spewed chopped barks and static loud enough to make him groan in exasperation. 'Too early to be having problems' he thought to himself as he lowered the volume and began walking east, his instruments might not be operating properly but he was still fairly certain about the groups general position and direction.
"Marksman here, heading northeast. Will update on enemy positions as soon as possible." He announced, though he was certain he was just talking to himself with this much interference and pushed the controls to get the Catspaw moving.
The fog was unsettling and made her nervous, her body leaning forward some to look out through her mech. She knew she was right next to Daemon and Leo but Muk was further off. It took her a moment to be able to even hear Leo as she and her mech both jumped at the shooting that suddenly happened *shit* was all she thought to herself. Taking a small breath, she made a mental apology to the boys as she pushed her mind into theirs ~Ok Leo, keep the seismic sensors going then if they still work. Comms are shit right now but I can at least talk to us like this. I will try to reach Muk but that will take some time, he's far but should be going the same place as us~ Aiyana's voice would say in both Daemons and Leo's mind as well as probably a slight headache from the unwelcome invasion.
Thankfully, using this part of her talents didn't leave her a bloody mess but with a small headache, ~Lets move out and hope no one else heard those shots, alright?~ Aiyana told them, not scolding for it but she was on edge now about that, ~Leo, take the lead, your sensors should keep us safe, I'll stay in your heads to relay information between us. Also, sorry for the headache.~ Aiyana would apologize as the elf would wait for Leo to start going and then would follow suit.
In the meantime, Aiyana mentally reached out as far as she could to Muk- that strain hurt like a SOB, ~Its Bookworm...You ok Pastor?~ Aiyana's voice would ask, hoping he could hear her in his head.
Leo jumped slightly at the sudden voice in his head, but quickly put together it was Aiyana and calmed down slightly. "This should work" he said aloud into the cockpit of his mech, thinking that she could probably hear him. "The sensors are quite finicky, but I've roughly pinpointed the locations of the hostiles. I'll just keep my torso pointed in their direction to help us keep a bearing on them." Leo turned the torso to face the center of the group of hostiles. He could only detect them while they were moving, but the AI had flagged where the signals had stopped. "When we are on the move, I'm blind with the interference of both of us walking. So best we stop every few seconds so I can get a new reading"
That made her chuckle a little bit, ~Good, I can pass that on then to the others at least.~ Aiyana told him before the elf would mentally relay what Leo had said to the rest of her teammates. ~How about stopping every fifteen seconds? We can cover ground but not be walking at a crawls pace~ Aiyana said as she would adjust herself so that Leo could be in front. Knowing that the enemy hadn't moved was a comfort at least.
Leo debated injecting some of the painkillers to deal with the headache but decided to just deal with it instead of dulling any of his senses. "Do you have any breathing equipment on your mech? When stuff goes sideways you may want to get it on. This fog probably aint healthy to breathe in when we start getting holes poked in us. I detected a friendly moving across out path a little while earlier, either they were Muk or Daemon. Best we head to them and meet up." Leo shut off his lights to stay as hidden as possible to not give away his position. "I better not feel this in morning Aiyana." Leo said in a joking manner, trying to keep the mood light as he began walking towards Muk's mech.
~Yea, it’s under my feet in a box.~ Aiyana told him as she did try to keep seeing through all this mess. ~You're probably right, also better safe than sorry on that front. I personally don't want to breathe whatever this crap is in.~ Aiyana told him before telling Daemon and Muk if he was able to hear her rattling around inside his head. ~Could be either or, honestly I hope it’s both so that we won't be out numbered.~ Aiyana said before just laughing and letting him hear it, ~Dude I'm going to feel like I have a hangover in the morning because of this.~ The elf said jokingly, ~Least now I can get into your head and just mess with you that way instead of with physical pranks.~ Aiyana joked, it wasn't something she would actually do but it was still a funny thought as they made their way to Muk.
"If you need it, I know a good cocktail of drinks and meds for that. Back when I was a kid, we raced ol' minin' ships and got hangovers from the high-G drugs, we made a cocktail to get over it. Maybe I can make some tomorrow." Leo was trying to stay light-hearted, but Aiyana could tell he was scared. This was his first real combat op, after all. Leo stopped the Sagi to get another reading.
~I'll try anything once at least. Why does it sound like you got into trouble a lot as a child?~ Aiyana asked him with a little laugh. The elf knew he was nervous and most likely scared but if she could keep talking and keep him calm then they should be good. When Leo stopped his mech, she would do the same and wait, ~Anything change?~
"Nothin' yet, unless they moved and stopped while we walked, but I doubt." Leo pushed the Sagi back up again, listening intently to what the sensor had picked up beforehand to see if he could find anything. "Well, 'In trouble' isn't what I would say. No one to really punish me anyways. My folk's weren't 'round for most of my life, so it’s not like anyone to watch over me. The feds though, that’s another story." Talking helped calm his nerves at least.
~That’s good.~ Aiyana said with a sigh as she would follow suit with his movements. The elf did her best to keep her eyes peeled for anything as she listened to him, grinning a little bit as he spoke, ~So...you got in trouble with the law a lot then I assume?~ Aiyana asked, a little tease in her tone, ~ I honestly didn't get into trouble...I was busy studying a lot, working on my psionics and honing them- though I did get yelled at once for giving an annoying boy in my class a bloody nose by making him feel like his head was splitting in half.~ Aiyana mused to him.
"I was usually busy working, since I had to provide for my siblings. But there’s some downtime when you wait for the ore to process, and you can find a lot of cool things out there. I usually liked gravity racing, just slapping a thruster to a bare-bones ship and using gravity assists to fling you across the system. It was dangerous, but boy did it give you a rush when you skimmed the atmosphere of a gas giant. Stopping for a reading." Leo stopped and read the sensor again, no movement.
~How many siblings do you have?~ Aiyana asked him a bit curiously. It was funny hearing the mischief that Leo got himself into and enjoyed, ~I've never done something like that, it sounds scary honestly.~ The elf said with a small laugh before stopping, ~Alright.~ Aiyana told him as she mentally reached out again for either Daemon or Muk while Leo sensed the area, ~Still good?~
Aiyana was able to poke a big enough hole in Muk’s mental defenses to get her message through. He looked around his cockpit in confusion. “Bro’seif? Ya sound like a girl.” Muk said suspiciously.
"Yep, nothings been moving since that first reading. And I had two brothers and a sister. I was the oldest, so when dad died, I took care of them." Aiyana could tell about what happened with his emphasis on the 'had'. Leo felt slightly saddened, "Work was hard, dangerous, accidents happened often. Ain't much to it, life was hard, so we lived it to the fullest."
Aiyana listened and felt a bit of a similar pang at the mention of his loss. True it wasn't outwardly spoken but the past tense was not lost on her, ~You're a good brother for doing that.~ she told him, ~I can relate, I have no living family anywhere.~ Aiyana told him simply, keeping that rather matter of fact, it was honestly the most she had spoken about her past since joining, ~Life is always hard, most we can do is make the best we can and that is what we are doing.~ The elf said rather confidently to him. ~You holding up alright though?~
"Yeah, yeah" He said rather quickly. "It’s been a long time. Sorry for your loss too. Just gotta keep going for them, right?" The Sagi stepped over a fallen tree, and then stopped again for a reading. "Still nothin' they must be as blind as we are"
It took a minute for the real reason the voice sounded female to dawn on him. “Wait. Dis dat elf magic. Can’t see nothin’ or read nothin’ on sensors.” He complained. “Good on ya, findin’ a way to talk wit dis fog.” Muk complied with the request and stopped moving Doomcrakka so Leo could get his position. He continued moving north at half speed after a few seconds, allowing the others a chance to catch up.
~It’s all good Leo~ Aiyana told him as she would follow suit and stepped over the tree before jumping at Muk's voice, ~Well damn, good to hear you. Leo has sensors that are at least working when we are not moving as far as I know, we are closing in on you.~ The elf told Muk, ~And yes, this is elf magic but so far Leo hasn't picked up any hostiles, so that’s a boon. I'll keep us connected and relay between us all now.~ Aiyana told him before focusing in on Leo, ~Hey, Muk's good, talking to him now and his sensors are screwed up too, so it is all on you and yours now Leo, keep leading the way.~ Aiyana told him.
Makre stopped for a moment, feeling his eyesight fail him and blur, and shuddered at the new sensation in his head. The mental intrusion was having some trouble on the otherwise completely normal human, but it didn't take long before he was also affected with the new 'transmission' efforts.
He let out another groan and his eyes watered slightly, a headache in the middle of combat. He guessed with mild annoyance. The voices all around were familiar at the very least. "This is Marksman... I'm hearing Book Worm, Digger and Pastor... is this some form of telepathy?" Whether enemy or allied, he resorted to try and keep his mind clear, to avoid creating even more disorientating traffic, and continued with his original plan.
~Hey! Yea, I can't keep it open to everyone all at once, but I can relay to ease the strain on you non-psionic people.~ Aiyana told him, ~Where are you at? Me, Leo, Muk, and Daemon are all trying to regroup. Leo has a single sensor working that only works when we stop moving- no trouble … yet. Are any of your sensors working?~ The elf asked him before quickly relaying to the team that she was hearing Makre.
"I am making my way northeast; I have a rough estimate of where we were and the surroundings. Other than that, nothing that can be of use. Sensors are down outside of visual, and its minimal visibility out there. I'll synchronize my movements with yours if that is needed."
~Alright, I'll let Leo and the others know. At least we have one thing working.~ Aiyana told him as she rubbed her temples a little bit, ~Yes, we stop every fifteen seconds for a moment to let Leo do his thing and then move again, it’s been working. I'll stay in your head to relay between us all. Tell me if you notice any changed, alright?~
"Oh dear" Leo mumbled, not really directing it at Aiyana. He is basically the only one that can see as far as he knows. At this point, Muk was close enough that he could detect the reactor vibrations of his mech. He should be close. "Aiyana, best you stay in my head. You'll need to relay anything I find out to the others. We should relay to Bull the plans."
Aiyana heard the 'oh dear' and did not like it, ~I'm not leaving it, I quite like playing in your guys’ heads, its warm and cozy.~ Aiyana said with a slight laugh, ~What’s going on though? And I don't know where Bull is so that makes making a mental connection harder.~
"He should know we have methods of communication and that we are carrying on with the op, last thing I need is to leave the fog and no ones left. But if it's gonna strain ya too hard that's fine, we need you to be in fighting order. Muk's real close, we should be able to see him soon."
~I can try to but don't hold your breath for me to be able to reach him, I'm already latched into four heads. Don't freak if I go silent for a minute.~ Aiyana told him as she reached into her bag, popped an energy pill basically and would stretch her telepathy out as far as she could ~Top Dog? This is Bookworm, please tell me you hear me.~ The Elf called out. ~Alright, starting the mental hunt for Top Dog, let’s see how that goes.~ Aiyana told the group she was linked with.
"Get someone to cover you." Makre gave one last quick suggestion before returning to his visual scanning. Wrestling his mind into stillness and fighting down any idle thought.
~I'll be alright, Leo's in front of me but thanks.~ Aiyana told him as she was mostly on autopilot with her movements with the mech at least. Hearing everyone’s thoughts though was a bit entertaining on her own part.
"Pastor, where are you?" Leo called out through the fog using the speakers on his mech, not sure where he was exactly. The Sagi stood still and listened. Still no movement, which was starting to concern him.
Muk could hear mechs approaching close behind him. He turned his mech to the left and edged sideways, aiming his big gun at whoever they were. They stopped in front of him but far enough away that he couldn’t see them. He pushed Doomcrakka forward until their outlines came into view. Recognizing the shape of the Crushah and the Sagi’s unique profile, he relaxed his grip on the Third Eye’s trigger. “Right beside ya.” Muk said, raising his mech’s chainsaw arm in a wave.
Having confirmed the position of the friendly mechs, he reoriented Doomcrakka to the north. “Goin’ at half speed. Gotta let Alpha move up like da boss said.” He explained. “Bookworm, move up beside me an’ Digga, follow us to support. We’s got da chainsaws.”
"Sounds like a solid plan, we may need to stop every now and then so I can get another reading. They seem to stay in place for now, and a little less than a kilometer North East of us." Leo positioned himself behind them, to protect himself. "When you guys engage, I’ll move around and try to get some shots in"
As they continued and she heard Muk's voice, Aiyana would pull from his head as well as Leo's and Daemons and just close her eyes for a moment, "Oh thank goodness." Aiyana said with a sigh of relief.
"Rodger, I'm coming up and I'll stay in your head Digger alright? Just in case we need to go silent again." Aiyana told him. Still, the elf did try to reach out for Top Dog to try and get his whereabouts, "Also, so far nothing on Top Dog but I'm still trying." The elf told them as she moved right up beside Muk now, holding up her Mech's saw arm with a little bit of eagerness to break them in.
"If we head about this way-" Leo pointed with one of his railguns,"-That should place us a little right of where they are. I think we should go in slightly off from a direct engagement. I'll follow y'alls lead" Leo shook the railguns, getting the ash from the burning trees off of them.
In the meantime, Lyon was sweating bullets outside of the range of the fog. He was outside of the fog's range, out of his mech, welding the Mystery Machine's internal pipes back together. "Orphan, I can't hear the lances anymore, just static." He checked his data pad for a connection again. "Nope, still none. The good news though is that you're not spilling coolant everywhere anymore. I'll share some of Scoundrel's with you, and get you up running. Then we'll figure out how to find our lances." As Lyon pumped coolant into the Mystery machine, the pump jammed in the on position, sharing more than intended with the mystery machine.
He then switched his comms to the foldship. "Booty Call, this is Bird Man. Orphan and I are separated from the rest of the lances; I think the fog's fucking up our comms. Can you give us a map of everyone's last known locations?"
Booty Call transmitted the last location markers through the Icarus, giving a general direction to travel in towards the forge mecha as well as the target facility.
Tantus listened as the crackle of the welder stopped periodically. The kid was working as fast as he could. "Hey Lyon, just get me running don’t worry about the chest plates the fogs so dense I doubt they could even get a lock on me not to mention I'm gonna be so close it won't matter".
The welder stopped. "running start up diagnostic now" the computer beeped slowly then the diagnostics bar began to fill. Red began to switch to green "I'm almost there Lyon" Tantus relayed over the comms.
The ignition button lit up balling up his fist he slammed down on the poor button the mystery machine roared to life the whirring of the nuclear drive was so comforting. Tantus smiled " Lyon I'm guessing the fog has took out comms get somewhere safe you saved my life I'm in your debt" Tantus looked at him threw the cockpit window. Then engaging the dual chainsaws to ensure they still worked.
Screaming like gears grinding they spun hungry for metal. The onboarding computer showed the enemies last known location. Sliding his hand on the screen to see if any sensors worked. All stopped at the fog "this fog is ridiculous " as he lite his pipe and inhaled.
The distance erupted with lights and explosions. "Aww shit that's where I'm headed" taking off at full trot the mystery machine headed towards where he hoped all his associates were still alive.
Vlad reports. "I'm flying over to the factory." Vlad steers his Eagle towards the factory. "I'll report anything I see."
The lights stopped abruptly "they got smart" Tantus murmured stopping the mech he looked through the cockpit window looking at the ground for any sign of the group’s tracks. Stepping over a tree he stopped and examined the trunk. It appeared a mech ran through the poor tree.
"That's Muk " Tantus smiled following the trail closely he could tell the group was wide right. Hopefully we can get behind the enemy he thought. In the back of his mind he heard whispers. Female, he thought. He increased speed being mindful of overheating.
The elf he could hear was just ahead. Tantus thought clear and precise, "Aiyana its Tantus can you hear me? I'm here on your six do not engage."
As the fog envelops around the mecha, Steven remembered the good ole saying that his momma always told him "God gave you two eyes, use the damn things. Look at where you’re going." as he walked through the fog and keeping his pace with the rest of the team
Lily and Alex strode cautiously through the fog at a cautious pace, passing between the looming trees of extreme height and bizarre sap quality.
Xir still at decent altitude controlling Beasts descent noticed the bursts of fog from the trees from both its fire but as well as the enemy fire. Through Beast senses it detects the static in mechanical sensors and its standard comms, but still could detect the power sources of the enemy and friendly's at least from above. At a moment’s notice, Xir directs Beast to use a gravity point to land in top or the enemy lead mecha. before dropping full weight on the enemy, Beast gracefully pushes off the Mecha, like a cat, landing skillfully behind a tree hiding from direct fire from the enemy. The lead mecha toppled to the ground, its stubby weapon arms pointing skyward.
The remaining four upright mecha let loose with a fusillade of plasma and laser beams, seeking Beast and Xir’s destruction. Most of the fire was ineffective, only one laser beam caressed Beast's back, cutting like a scalpel but only doing superficial damage to its thick hide.
With further direction, Beast did a zig zag sprint towards its teammates, hoping their enemy would take the bait and follow. Xir smiled inwardly as he thought. Their senses must be as affected as ours. If they don't follow, this cover is the perfect environment for stalking pray.
[[OOC: JP completed by Bullroarer4, kiteakat, mechameme, Ray of Meep, SloanRocks2, ArsenicJohn, Jimmy, Gir, Armacalic, Ahoy, Nyxborn, Hal 9000 and Dimirhunterjsh23.]]
Dav began to think this current mission was beginning to become more trouble than it was worth. The potential gain from the raid was rapidly becoming much less than the potential loss. For Dav, this was unacceptable. These were his brothers and sisters. They weren't fighting for some higher ideal on this planet. They were doing the bidding of a political animal. Yes, Tai Pan was a scourge. But they were much more ready to defend here than The Black Forge was to attack it.
Once free from the fog of war, Dav Radioed the Icarus and Daedalus. Dav called a fall back. Dav said, "Execute order Dumpling."
Over the next hour, the Black Forge withdrew after crippling the hostile forces in the foggy woods.
Within the month, the forge had returned to Vice. The assets were liquidated, shares distributed, and hearty good byes given. Dav wished them all the best and hope they found the future each of them were searching for.