The angry crowd seemed to keep growing in size, and was mostly concentrated around the storefront that the shuttle had landed infront of. Even as the group of APCs approached they could see the shuttle trying to hover overhead, though the crowd had managed to tie several high-strength cables around the shuttle which anchored it to nearby storm drains, keeping the shuttle from flying away. The crowd itself seemed relatively unarmed, though many had some makeshift weapons, umbrellas, and gas masks, the majority was unarmed and had only the usual pants and combat-webbing that Kiwomians seemed to like wearing. The metal-bar covered windows of the clothing store they had gathered outfront of was being dinged by rocks and other things thrown by the angry crowd,
Luckily, Bao, Enid, and Wazu had already escaped out the back of that store. The group had passed through a tiny alley-way and climbed ontop of another building one street to the south of where the crowd had gathered. There weren’t any exits off the roof from here, and though the buildings were only about 2-3 stories tall, this was still a fall that was quite dangerous to humans and Kiwominians due to the increased gravity of this planet.
The angry crowd was not the only thing in the area. There were a number of large trucks nearby, mostly parked on the streets to the sides of the crowd itself. They seemed scattered about but clearly had been recently moved to the area based on the images provided by the fighters moving overhead. There were also a number of other Kiwominians around, some watching from store-fronts, others watching from the nearby streets. Mixed in with these were also a number of the brightly-suited Kiwominians, holding brick-sized handheld radios which they were using to talk to someone. These Kiwominians were setup all around the perimiter of the crowd, observing it for the time being.
The APCs were nearby, heading in from the road to the west. Green-Squad had already deployed a few of the small can-sized recon drones to scout ahead, providing images of the area nearby. They would pass-along the image of Wazu and the rest of his group hiding on the rooftops nearby. Though as soon as one passed over the head of the crowd it would shut off and fall to the ground.
“Geiben,” Green-Thumb would call out over the all-hands chanel, “Marking our people on the map now. It also looks like someone in the crowd has an EMP-type weapon. We just lost one of our small-recon drones.”
“Good to know. Oww, shit!” Geiben stepped off the APC and landed on the concrete with both his feet. The force of impact due to the gravity caused his ankles to protest in pain. Not a great start. “I’ll be fine,” the commander muttered. “Site-1 Overmind, friendlies have been identified on the rooftops. Escort the heavy lifters to pick up positions.” He then motioned to the Marshall and the Echoni. “Get into position. EMP-weapon has been identified in the crowds. If they try to use it again, or any other weapon for that matter, you have permission for a non-lethal takedown.”
“Green squad on me.” Geiben took a moment to contemplate their angle of attack. Their primary goal was to disperse the crowd, but from where? Pushing from one side will do little to push them out from the other side; the streets are too narrow here. “Split into two teams and block off the northward exits, but let them go south. Once the crowds huddling in the intersections disperse, we’ll stick to the northside of that street and push them southeast and southwestward.”
“444 and Corgan, I can’t stress how important your objective is. Failure to take down the instigators will result in the crowd holding their ground against us, but any lethal act will lead to a frenzy that is a magnitude worse than the current situation. Understood?”
Corgan opened the door and carefully stepped out of the vehicle onto the concrete. He looked at the gathered crowd and the brightly dressed instigators warily. If they moved to take down the guys in the suits he wondered if that would turn the crowd on them regardless of their lethality. It was out of their control anyway, so he stopped worrying about it and nodded. “Got it. Setting my laser to stun.” He said, fiddling with the controls for a few seconds.
Keeping his laser pistol holstered opposite his sidearm, he started walking calmly towards the nearest bright suited Kiwomian. He hoped they would be willing to talk but that seemed unlikely. “I’ll see if I can get one of them to talk. Maybe they’ll listen to a Marshal.” Corgan said, his voice full of uncertainty.
Two AU-3s are sent from Site-1 to the heavy lifters, acting as escorts. A comm-broadcast was sent out, warning that all and any crafts within a 200km radius will be targeted as hostile. Within 150km, anyone will be shot down without question. Continuing on their route, the AU-3s have yet to meet anyone violating their airspace.
444 would leap off the top of the APC and land beside Corgan with a rather loud ‘THUNK’ that betrayed just how much weight she was putting on her joints in this increased gravity. “So we Punch ‘em, but we wait until they do something deserving of the punching… but also don’t punch them too hard.” She clarified, eagerly looking over the crowd from where she landed and ending up scowling. These faces were all quite punchable but she was shorter than the crowd of rather tall, beefy Kiwominians. Even Corgan towered over her. She would do her best to look larger from this point on, getting up on her tip-toes as she slowly circled around the brightly suited pair of Kiwominians that Corgan had walked up to.
The bright-pastel-orange suited Kiwomian would turn his attention to Corgan, putting away his giant brick-phone. “You should take your Taipan friend there and head back home. This don’t concern you.” He said, pointing his thumb over at 444 who lacked the animal-features of the Taipan, but certainly did have the sleek bodysuit that their forces were so fond of wearing. There was another suited Kiwominian standing right nearby with a pale blue suit, and both of which had turned their attention right to Corgan, each trying to intimidate him by making sure their suit-coats were open slightly… just enough for him to see the shoulder-holsters they were wearing.
Meanwhile Green-Squad would form up around Geiben as Green-Thumb started issuing orders. “Alright everyone, do your best to form a line, use the drones and APCs to fill in the gaps. Keep stun-rounds in your weapons or stick with your side-arm on stun. Don’t draw your weapon unless you have to.” They had a number of floating riot-shield drones they could use to bolster their number, spreading them out along side the APCs to create as best a wall they could and then slowly moving towards the crowd. At the edges, the crowd was fairly sparse, and didn’t seem to mind being pushed around too much, their attention was currently fixated on the shuttle and the storefront, and few seemed to realize they were being corralled from both sides slowly.
“Wow, they’re like a buncha angry crabs! Like, if it was crab season at that one island. But not ants though, since they aren’t small enough!” Bǎo remarked, reaching out and pretending to pick up a distant person.. Poking her head over the railings on the roof, the little cat eared girl looked about with unmasked awe, far more curious about what was going on than feeling any fear about their current predicament. “I can see a few of them around the corner - the stuff they wear is really funny looking too!”
Enid paced the rooftop in a circle around her bag. The wings of the shuttle were the restricting variable in the equation of the riot. Shuttle #7 was her assigned piece and she didn't want it damaged, but more movement and she could break something. The hovering would prevent too much banging and boarding but wouldn't free anything. Pausing in her place she spoke up "Hey Wazu, the ships shield system is designed to cancel noise but could you reprogram it to make noise? Something high pitched and loud to make people move away?" It made sense, well at least to Enid it did.
“Bao, I think you should stay away from the edges.” Wazu said, staying near the center of the roof of the structure. He would then turn his attention to Enid, looking at her without saying anything for a few moments as he thought through the problem. The shields on the shuttle were basically super-powered speakers used to cancel out noise… there was no reason they couldn’t be programmed to make different noises. “... I am pretty sure I can do that.” He already had his datapad out, checking through the software repos for the shuttle for the sonic-boom-control functions. He saw what she was thinking of and it wouldn’t take him long to make the requested updates and push the changes out to the shuttle.
But that wouldn’t be all. One of the suited Kiwominians had caught sight of Bao, and after a short bit of radio communication movement began to pick up. One of the trucks parked nearby started up and made its way around the crowds, slowing to a stop right outfront of the store that Wazu, Enid, Bao, and the loyalist Kiwominians they had come to rescue were hiding on top of.
Failing to spot the moving truck from behind the crowd, Geiben continued his intended plan. “Mr. Wazu, watch your heads, heavy lifters are coming to pick you up. We’ll try to disperse the crowd to get the rest of your friends out with APC’s. Forefathers help I don’t fuck this up...” Under the protection of Green-Squad, the commander walked forward, turned on his heavy jacket’s speaker, and addressed the rioters.
“PEOPLE OF CENTRAL CITY. STAND DOWN. YOU CURRENTLY SEEK A CHILD, A JONGWU AT THAT. GRANT US PASSAGE, OR WE WILL HAVE TO FORCE OUR WAY THROUGH.”
Corgan wasn’t intimidated in the slightest but he did stop moving towards the two men. Sure, if they turned hostile one of them would get off a shot, but it likely wouldn’t be fatal The other would go down and he would get the first one soon after. Getting shot felt really damn bad, though, and he was obligated to seek a peaceful resolution.
“I’m an Alliance Marshal, sirs. She’s just escorting me and the Alliance Foreign Legion guys, she’ll leave when we do.” Corgan said. “First, though, we need to get some of our people out of here. We came to offer aid to your people. Food, water, a way off the planet if anyone wants to leave. That’s all we want to do. And our leader is in that building you’re throwing rocks at.” He said, gesturing towards the building. While he talked to them, he tried to see if either of them had anything that looked like it could be an EMP weapon.
“You men seem like you’re well respected around here,” he continued. “Maybe we can help each other. If you can clear out this crowd, our leader Mr. Wazu would be extremely grateful. He might agree to give you something useful in return.”
Enid pulled out her command tablet again landing the ship and turning the shields off, rebooting it with Wazu's program change. Tapping her foot impatiently, "How many decibels can I make it?" Flipping her head at Wazu. "If I can I want a jet engine. That shit run anyone off."
“Ground-team, requesting status.” A female robotic voice radios in. “Escorts currently providing for transports.” ‘
The news about the mob broke out quickly aboard the Edward Deming and Diana had done her best to get a read on what had caused the riot but found little information available. Making the best of a bad situation, Diana was able to gain access to the video feeds that Green-Squadron were utilizing planetside, getting overhead shots from the drones in the sky and a sweeping panoramic of the enraged crowd as well. She quickly linked the feed with her New Horizons network application and found a small area in the lower deck of the Deming. She sets her data-pad on the floor in front of her and from it projects a series of holographic cameras, spherical in shape and an electric blue color.
Diana takes a moment to compose herself, tying her hair back into a bun and clearing her throat. “Going live in 3...2..” Diana felt a comfortable warmth wash herself as the red light shined on her data-pad and then spoke. “ Major developments in the unfolding occupational crisis on Ulimwengu Wa Kifu, it seems that tensions have reached an all-time high with the occupied Kiwomian people and a mob has broken out within the streets. Alliance forces are making the utmost efforts to quell the situation at hand in a peaceful manner whilst evacuating out personnel on the ground. Watch the live feed while the situation unfolds.”
The crowd didn’t seem too concerned with what Geiben had to say. These Kiwomians all towered over him and most of Green-Squad, their ample muscle mass making it quite difficult for Green-Squad’s line to push forward. Though they succeeded in clearing the side streets, they were struggling to make any progress pushing in towards the main street where the shuttle was. This main street was nearly shoulder to shoulder full of Kiwominians who were quite happy to join in the growing riot.
As Green Squad tried to push forward, they would try and keep in contact with the rest of the team including the aircraft flying overhead. “Escorts, My team has their hands full with the crowd. Can I have you keep an eye on the big picture for us?” Green-Squad was small, no more than 5 people. This meant each individual was responsible for developing their skills, and there was ample time to help new members learn, but that also meant that they could easily spread themselves a bit too thin.
One street down, Heram was watching as the truck that parked out front opened up, releasing a squad of suited Kiwominians armed with rifles, who began to push their way into the store below them, “Don’t worry about the shuttle or the crowd. We can always replace the shuttle. We just need to get out of here as soon as possible.” Heram said over the Radio, turning his attention away from Geiben and towards the ladder at the back of the building that they used to get up here. It was pretty clear he lacked a way to block usage of the ladder. “Enid, that shield is designed to mitigate travel at high mach. I imagine it can get loud enough to rupture ear drums but it isn’t like I’ve tested this. Maybe start on a low setting?” To his word, the new menu options for the shuttle controls looked tacked on. There was now a ‘volume’ slider that looked like it was hastily made with graphics right out of baby’s first website-book.
444 seemed to be getting annoyed that the men were focusing on Corgan and turning their backs to her like she wasn’t a threat. This manifested as her standing beside the Kiwomians, trying to get her face all up in their faces while standing on her tip-toes. Their height certainly made her seem a lot less threatening than she actually was. “THEY GOT GUNS!” She said excitedly, “Does that mean I can smash ‘em?”
The two suited men seemed to get a chuckle out of that. Corgan could get a good look at their weapons up this close. They looked like pistols of some kind, due to their compact size and shape they were probably projectile weapons. They lacked anything that might be a large optic for a laser, or a large transmission array for an EMP weapon. Corgan may not have been an expert in EMP, but he certainly knew enough about weapons to know that these weren’t the EMP devices he was looking for. “Losing your John-Wu friend in that riot? You can go get her when we’re done.” The first suited man said.
“Yeah, though if you wanna try and stop us from finding the loyalists hiding out here then we’re gonna have some trouble. The monarchy is done for. Your Taipan and John-Wu friends aren’t gonna stop the people from taking back control!” The other one added, seeming a bit surprised when someone called out over his bulky brick-like radio, ‘We found them!’ Following that was an address that indicated ‘Them’ was Wazu’s group that was trying to hide out on top of a store.
Not too far away the first of the heavy lifters was slowly lowering itself down near the store itself. The large hexagonal craft didn’t have the ability to carry any people, but it did have arms on the underside that were strong enough to carry an APC. Though just down the street another truck was pulling up, the covered rear folding down to reveal three more Kiwominians carrying rather large shoulder-mounted railguns.
Enid stared at the blocky slider on her tablet. Power was in her hands but she only wanted the "replaceable" shuttle. Even if Wazu suggested low she put it a little bit higher and listened close for the reaction. As the Shuttle rebooted it rose to make the cables tight again. The energy shields would then begin pulsing, creating visible pressure waves which distorted the air around the craft itself. Even from the nearby rooftop the extremely deep sound could be heard, like someone was blasting sound from the subwoofer of their car. Enid shook her head, "Not enough to scare people off. Crankin it." She slowly moved the slider up and up to just above halfway. The sound coming from the shuttle was now loud enough to shatter glass, sending the crowd running in all directions, the intense sounds loud enough to rattle the roof of the structure that Enid was standing on as the crowd began to push past (and through) Green Squad’s defensive line. Enid clutched the sides of her head to cover her ears, a pained expression painted her face as she gritted her teeth. She held the tablet under her arms as she knew it had to go on for a while to really send everyone away, but also because she feared unguarding her ears from the horrid noise.
A loud-beep sound is heard from everyone’s listening device before Overmind speaks. “WARNING. Stabilization team, lethal arms detected within your block. Weapon identification, RAILGUN. Requesting permission for air-units to engage.”
Geiben didn’t have the chance to thank the rooftop team for dispersing the crowd before he heard the Overmind’s ominous, robotic message. His heart sank for a split second as he drew his taser from his holster, which gave a masked beep under the booming roar of the shuttle. He steeled himself as he muttered, “Roger. I am authorizing a pre-emptive strike to protect Alliance property and personnel.” Geiben paused, then repeated himself more firmly.
“Light them up.”
Frank while sitting in his armor asked greenthumb "by any chance you think they might start letting us through if someone of equal build stepped out there?"
A pilot within a AU-3, having just escorted a heavy lifter, is now informed by Overmind of his new mission. “New priority objective. Ground-support. Coordinates sent.” The pilot adjusts his flying route towards his new target. A few minutes later, the pilot lines up his attack vector as he gets close to the gun truck. Soon, the sound of a jet-plane is heard. The pilot climbs down from the sky. The gun trunk is eviscerated and anyone very close near it, 30mm rounds utterly shredding all. A large cloud of dust is kicked up, dissipated by the wind in short-time. After that, the sound is heard, BRRRRRRRRTTTTTTTTTTTT. The pilot then quickly climbs the AU-3 up to higher altitudes.
“Lethal arms neutralized.” Overmind reports in to the ground teams in its usually tone.
Dr. Knowledgebot had been watching, saying nothing as he sat stock still in the APC, looking through every sensor they had available. The situation had gone from a standoff to lethal. He believed it to be the right call, for in what universe is a mob with access to not just one railgun, but several not considered a threat? However, he had yet to see the most likely adverse effect this would have with the mob, and so he kept watch, using his robotic mind to watch all corners of the APC, processing info at lightning speeds. Enid’s work was successful in dispersing the mob, but it was still tied down. He felt nervous, something he wasn’t used to feeling as a machine, and even now it was more a detached apprehension than a true human emotion. As such, his leg opened up to reveal the laser pistol he made himself for self defense, and he left it there for easy access. Perhaps this would end in more bloodshed, and still, members of the Interstellar Alliance were far more valuable than a batch of rioters. “Air support, stay in the area. Scans show three other trucks similar to the one you eliminated, may require further assistance if they are armed as well.”
He switches comms to everyone around. “The shuttle is free of mortal obstacles, however is still tied down. We need personnel to detach those bindings, and we can begin evacuation in earnest.”
Scrambling to lower the shields with her nose Enid rubbed her face on the tablet. It wasn't difficult and she soon managed to turn off the systems. Popping back to her feet she turned on comms for the first time. "HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT You Guy's See That AU, WOOOOOO!!! Feels Good!" Enid through her arms into the air and turned at the hip to look at Wazu. Her lips puckered and smiling, eyes widened in pure joy she shot a gaze of pure excitement right into Wazu and Bao. She punched the air repeatedly and did a kick in a sports like form of over celebration. "HELL YEAH?" She asked the two of them before turning around with put an answer. Pretty much yelling, people on the street might have heard her without the comms. "Hell Yeah, Thank you DKB if you guys cut my shuttle free, please I'll move these people out asap." Her tone calmed but a grin still painting her face.
The Marshal felt like he would’ve had more luck convincing a brick wall to stand down. If these guys didn’t have the EMP, then it had to be one of the other suited guys, or even someone on a rooftop that he couldn’t see. He was considering heading off to find the guys with the EMP before the guy mentioned finding the loyalists. So that’s what they’re after, he thought. He knew what would most likely happen to the loyalists if they were taken by these revolutionary types.
Suddenly he heard a low bass sound and then a horrible ear-piercing screech a few seconds later. It was annoying but his enhanced physiology could handle it a little better. The go-ahead from Geiben for the air support spurred him into action. “Okay, 444, smash time,” he said.
Hopefully before they could react, he pulled his borrowed laser pistol and fired a stun beam at the closest Kiwomian. A blue-white beam erupted out of the pistol along with a loud laser noise.
Frank up until this point had been moving with the rest of green squad keeping to himself so as not to piss off his squad leader. As much as he's not in it for the alliance he still needs to follow orders, he thought to himself as he moved. As soon as the screech was heard and the marshal fired his sidearm Frank cursed under his breath as he prepared for this powder keg of a crowd to get worse or disperse either or made Frank grimace as he followed orders.
"It looks like we might not need to find out." Green-Thumb responded to Frank, the space-suit like armor was more than enough protection for the squad, the filtered audio automatically sorting out the overly loud noise from the shuttle and turned it into just a dull hum which wouldn't overpower the noise from the local communications. "Frank, move in towards the shuttle and cut the wires holding it down. It'll be faster to use the laser built into your helmet or your sidearm than it will be to set the G8 drones to target the cables. I'll move with you to keep an eye on the crowd. Everyone else stay with the APCs and keep managing the crowd." The rest of the squad would acknowledge what they heard, continuing to try and manipulate the crowd to get it to head out of the area. While a large number of them seemed to just be leaving, there were plenty of others clutching their ears in the streets or otherwise knocked over by the extreme noise.
Frank nodded to greenthumb “then please keep me covered last thing i need is to get shot by a rioter because a pilot got trigger happy.” frank said as he began making his way to one of the cables holding the shuttle in place. ‘Cant belive im apart of this fustercluck’ frank thought to himself.
Nearby, while it only took a few moments for the ground team to request a strike, the few minutes before it arrived allowed the Kiwomians to do plenty. The men standing on the back of the truck had their rail guns hoisted up onto their shoulders, eyeballing the shot towards the heavy lifter and firing as fast as they possibly could. The rail guns were made from salvaged metal, with heavy car-batteries providing power from the bed of the truck, hooked up by thick rubber-coated cables to the mid-sections of the weapons. Their sights were made from metal rings and wire though it looked like the Kiwomians hadn't even bothered to use them. They were able to shoot through nearly 50 metal slugs between the four of them, the vast majority of the rounds missing the target entirely and sailing off into the distance. One of the rounds would strike the under slung APC, making a small crater in the thick armor before being deflected off into the underside of the heavy lifter and another round impacted the lifter itself, crashing through one of the unarmored anti-gravity engines located around the hexagonal lifter, causing the faint blue glow to end and that side of the lifter to droop entirely. The lifter would now be hovering just above the street, unable to lift the APC and leaving it with the wheels touching the ground.
Their job done, and their ammunition spent, the Kiwomians jumped off the back of the truck, leaving their rail guns in the back. They had been fighting Taipan long enough to know their air power didn't take long to respond AND that their vehicles were easy to track once they had been exposed. Their intention was to make an escape into the crowd but before they could take more than a few steps from the truck it would be hit by the AU-3's cannon. When the smoke cleared, the truck was just a pile of metallic scrap. The fragmentation from the cannon hits was also enough to put holes in the storefronts along that street.
*FZZZT* Laser based stun-beams certainly had a questionable effectiveness on people, a wide-ish beam hitting the target flash-burning a small amount of material off their front to create a concussive force that knocked him back, leaving him staggered and barely able to stand. The Drawbacks of the LP 2966 stun pistol became immediately apparent for all involved as the bright light from the weapon, and the backscatter from being hit, blinded both targets, Corgan, and 444!
Corgan would get a good look at the excitement in 444's face right before he couldn't get a good look at anything at all. "GET FUCKED!" She yelled, jumping up past the second Kiwomian's shoulders and grabbing a hold of the back of their head. She didn't quite need to see in order to bring their full weight down on the pavement with a heavy *THUCK*. The Blind Echoni quickly hopped to her feet and then tried to slam those feet down onto the injured Kiwomian... but her first strike missed entirely as she couldn't see exactly where he ended up, leaving the Echoni to look like she was just hopping in place and screaming obscenities.
Not too much further away, Heram was struggling with the loss of a different set of senses. The shock-wave of sound coming from the shuttle had been more than enough to make his ears ring. He looked right at Enid as she said some words and then responded with a loud, "WHAT?" He would be answered shortly by the Kiwomians who were in the store below them. Someone fired their SMG up through the roof, putting some holes in the center of it without hitting anybody just yet.
There were also more trucks heading towards the street that Bao, Enid, and Harem were on. The floating drones near the APCs would be able to route quite a bit of data to Dr. Knowledgebot before the EMP weapon hidden nearby fried them. Of the three trucks closest to where the attack took place, one looked like it was a taco-truck, with the side doors and shutters closed and a rotating 'taco turret' on top advertising just what kind of wares the vehicle had. The second one was similar to the rail-gun truck: A white vehicle with the back closed off and no real markings. There was tinting on the front windows and what looked like additional lights installed on the front and sides. The final truck looked to be a refrigerated transport truck with some kind of popular kid's program mascot on the side. There was clearly some kind of refrigeration unit mounted near the front of the vehicle and it was riding fairly low to the ground.
Geiben took a minute to take in the gravity of the situation, a minute too long as the lifter stumbled towards the ground in front of him. With a rather futile taser in one hand now, his other hand pressed against his helmet. “Green squad, your priorities remain. Get the APCs to surround the store and evacuate friendlies.”
“Site 1 Overmind, we’ve visually identified with new potential targets. Three trucks. Coordinate with Dr. Knowledgebot and confirm their threat level, then eliminate if necessary.”
“Dr. Caxia, get 444 the fu----” Geiben snorted through his nostrils to calm himself down. “Gunshots have been heard inside the building Mr. Wazu occupying. Get her under control to subdue the attackers.”
“Mr. Wazu, Enid, are you hurt? Hostiles are right below you. You might have to jump. … Disregard that advice.”
Geiben clenched his teeth. Who in the void was he kidding? Jumping from a building under 2g’s? They’d be lucky to have their organs intact, much less their bones. Nerves were getting to him, and the commander hated it. Why now? He went face to face with Hoshiko, stared down the Gartagens, why the sudden loss of composure?
Answers will have to come later. As Geiben grabbed a shield from one of the drones to protect himself, he made contact with the Edward Deming. “Green-Screen, this is the commander. Inform Captain Somnya that we are now under fire. I’ll do my best to limit property damage and casualties, on both sides.”
"Wow Bao is up here too ya know?" Enid snapped informally on the comms. However she was often informal on the open comm channels, it would be more accurate to say she had a venom hidden behind a light hearted tone. Stepping closer to Wazu and grabbing Bao she scooped the heavy little girl up under the gravity and held her for a second before changing her mind and putting her down. "Have some people ready when they cut my shuttle lose we can evacuate a few with us." Her voice was flat but formal lending to the thought that talking to Wazu was somehow different than open comms.
Geiben opened his mouth to object at hidden jab by Enid, before the cold voice of a female AI kept him silent.
“Targets received. Please stand by.”
A series of extremely loud “BOOM” sound occurs, large dust-piles filling up the sky. Anyone without ear protection would feel heavy discomfort as four multi-purpose guided missiles hits the three trucks from unknown long ranges. Shrapnel flew everywhere, shredding anyone within a 12-16 meter radius. Pieces of metal at high-velocity is not a good thing for the body nor is the explosive power of the missiles. The roaring of a jet is heard off in the distance as usual.
“Dammit Site-1!” The commander’s eyes widened as he lost his cool, “I told you to confirm first!” He shouted angrily through his comms. “Everyone else, hold your damn fire unless it’s a clear and present danger!”
Frank called over comms to greenthumb “one cable detatched working on the ne-.” turning his head to the side he got a look at the plumes of some and heard screams from civilians caught in the crossfire “fuck, were supposed to be helping these people not turning them to hamburger.” Frank turned his head back to the cable he started working on gritting his teeth as theres nothing he can do about it and he has a job to do but the whole situation puts a lump in his throat.
In reaction to the burst of white light Corgan’s eyes shut down to protect themselves from being permanently damaged. He hadn’t really ever fired many laser weapons, usually relying on kinetics to do the job, so he was taken by surprise. “Fucking fancy ass lasers!” Corgan growled.
He started towards the guy he had just stunned and almost tripped on uneven pavement. His ears were starting to adapt to the screeching when the missiles hit. Instinctively recognizing the sound of an airstrike, he threw himself to the ground and crawled in the direction he thought the nearest cover was. Now he was blind and partially deafened for the moment.
“Nobody ordered an airstrike, god damn it!” Corgan yelled into his comms piece. “A little warning would be nice! And what about all those civilians?” He asked incredulously. This had all been going better than he expected up until now. Now the shit hadn’t just hit the fan, it had completely destroyed the fan and kept going.
The moment the thunder and fury had struck, Bǎo had quickly clasped her small little hands over her ears as her tail cowered behind her legs. She winced several times at each overly loud noise bit at her ears, but she held silent despite tearing up at the noise. The awful, loud noise. Every time she thought it was over, something new would start again, and it hurt. Bits and snippets would slip by, and none of it made sense. “What’s even going on?” she cried out. “And what does the weird lady mean by ‘Get Fucked’?” Bao asked. “Are we getting fucked? Is fucked tasty?” she looked up at Enid, scared and confused.
“Attention-stabilisation team, your survival is paramount. Promoting communal unrest and destruction of corporal social protection units will result in disassociation from the civic populace.” Overmind responses to the ground-team in its calm monotone voice.
“Shut up…” Geiben growled under his breath.
Diana had been keenly reporting on each major event as it occurred before her along with any developments provided to the crew of the Edward Deming, images flashed of green-squad and other soldiers movements along with aerial shots of the ongoing conflict. It seemed that the matter at hand would be resolved quickly and with minimal civilian casualties or even conflict as possible...That was what Diana was hoping until the missiles struck. A look of horror flashed across her face as the plumes of dust came into the view of the feed and no reports came in of what had caused or who had ordered the strike. “Just coming into the feed is a clear view of an aerial strike upon the target vehicles, no report is given yet on the specifics of the blast radius or who ordered the strike.”
A switch flipped in Enid after the airstrikes kept rolling in. What was a cool display of power to ward of vicious and belligerent attackers after a child became a war-crime against pitiful, beat down civies. 'Are they just firing on all vehicles? They shot at a food truck for trucks sake.' Enid boiled with silent helpless rageful energy. Clenched fists softened as her eyes watered, then seeming to suck the tears back in she clenched her fists again before a cycle began. 'So powerless' she reprimanded herself mentally 'not high enough in the chain to call it off, not certified to get in any armors. You settled for shuttle pilot. Weak.' Her anger needed direction and like a lighting rod Geiben was there for her kilowatts of hatred. 'The only one in a position to call shit off was acting like a blubbering fucking idiot. Where is his cool head at? The suave confidence he used to have.' Enid couldn't tell if it was the moment or if her illusions of him had faded. She turned and clutched Bao close. Leaning her body as a shield around the girl. Blocking as much noise and visuals as she could. 'I can't save the people but I can save her innocence, even just a little.' "Don't worry sweetie I can protect you. Don't look at all of that okay, don't listen to this it isn't for you to see." She muttered and squeezed the JungWo as if it would bind her shakey words into the fur of the little one. This was overall not how Enid expected today to go and it had just hit her like a million bricks what was happening. 'I gotta work on my composure.'
Frank finished the last of the cables watching as the plumes of smoke began to clear “Frank to command the cables are cut it should be able to move freely now ...any confirmation of the targets please at least tell me there isn't high amounts of collateral?” Frank didn't wait for an answer as he moved back to regroup with green squad.”
Dr. Knowledgebot hadn’t had time to respond to the coordination order, when, like divine smites from the heavens, missile strikes utterly destroyed the trucks, regardless of orders. As a result the battlefield was awash with terror and confusion, but not in His mind. He knew what had happened, and now The Commander was panicking as the troops scattered. Dr. Knowledgebot spoke up into the comms in it’s cold and uncompassionate voice. “Overmind, be advised such drastic actions are unwarranted, and continued such actions will result in dangerous social issues for the Interstellar Alliance. Next time… wait for my signal. All ground personnel, adapt. Ensure the perimeter is clear, and that the VIPs are safe. Mr. Wazu, ensure those with you are unharmed or able to mobilize, and make your way to the shuttle. All APCs, move in to accept VIP personnel, and be lifted away by the lifter. Those who will not be flying to base, begin moving in formation to landing zone after picking up VIPs. It is imperative that we do not tell The Media anything that may incriminate IA personnel in civilian deaths, so in humanoid terms… keep your mouths shut.” He gets off the comms, and waits to see if his plan shall be set into motion. He was after all, massively intelligent, and not prone to mortal emotional outbursts like The Commander. Yes, perhaps He should be in charge of something. Would certainly be a learning experience. For everyone else.
The trucks themselves were scrap metal, and numerous small fires had been stared in the nearby structures. The street looked even more like a warzone than before. The trucks certainly didn't seem to be carrying railguns, and while the refrigerated truck appeared to be carrying some machinery, the other trucks were carrying what looked like tacos, furniture, and what could only be described as Person Gravy.
Green-Screen would acknowledge Geiben's request, and then open up a channel to Somnya to pass along the mission data.
Geiben would also receive a response from Wazu by text message saying only "D E A F B U T A L I V E"
Green-thumb would start back towards the APCs which were now turning onto the street where Bao, Enid, and Heram were trapped. They wouldn't be that far away from the building but people staggering through the street still shell-shocked from the air-strikes and sonic-weapon were making travel difficult. Further obscuring things were the small fires starting in the nearby structures. "We need to focus on the task at hand Frank. Regroup with the APCs and make your way towards where our people are stuck. Trust that Geiben is handling the situation with the air-strikes. If we don't do our part well then we could end up with more unnecessary casualties." Green-Thumb said.
Back at base Caxia had received most of the request from Geiben to get 444 under control. Data from the event was already being streamed to Caxia's body, the cybernetic enthusiast easily able to process through what had already been sent so that a proper response could be formulated for the Echoni. "444, Take hold of the Marshal to your left and proceed bearing 165 into the alleyway."
444's price was steep, "TWO JUICE BOXES."
"When you return. Go smash now." Caxia responded.
The Echoni didn't need to see where Corgan was, she already kinda knew thanks to some fuzzy outline of the surroundings provided by the drones beaming all kinds of information all over the place. She'd grab his hand then grab one of the guns off the stunned Kiwomians, her vision already returning as she sprinted towards the alleyway. "COME ON CORGI!" She yelled, pulling Corgan along behind her until he was up against one of the dumpsters that was mostly-blocking the alleyway's exit. There were already four Kiwomians in the Alleyway, trying to climb up the back ladder by the time Corgan and 444 arrived, three of which turning towards them to spray gunfire from their SMGs. This left 444 to abandon Corgan at the alleyway entrance, jumping on top of the dumpster and then on top of the nearby structures, having to use all of her strength just to make the short leap up thanks to the heavy gravity weighing them all down.
The commander took a breather. The robot doctor was right. Dammit! Somehow, he forgot that there was a reporter on the Edward Deming, no doubt broadcasting the situation live. It doesn’t matter now; he’ll just have to deal with the fallout later.
“Overmind, you heard the doctor, have your jets stand down until explicit orders.” He made his way forward next to the rolling APC, looking up at the building. “Enid, the shuttle’s been freed by Frank. Get as many people onboard as possible, and I need you to get me airborne as well to assess the situation.” He looked at the burning husks of the trucks, and the messy biological remains of Kiwomians, and winced. There was no excuse for this mistake.
Held close by the young woman, the cat eared little girl looked up at her, fear and confusion on her face. “Enid? I think hear dead people,” Bǎo began. “They’re screaming and crying and bleeding on the streets somewhere. Is that gonna happen to us?” she asked, the corner of her lip beginning to quiver with the realization of their situation.
Corgan started to fight back until he recognized 444’s voice and allowed himself to be pulled along. He realized if he didn’t she was likely to rip his arm off. His eyes finished rebooting around the time she jumped onto the dumpster. The anger he felt towards that AI subsided as self-preservation and training kicked in. He holstered the laser and drew his Desert Eagle.
They had fired on him with lethal force, making lethal weapons an option. Popping out from behind the dumpster, he took aim at the men trying to shoot him and opened fire. He slid back behind the dumpster and called out to the Kiwomians. “Put your fucking guns down and walk away! You can still get out of this alive.”
Corgan spoke into his earpiece quickly. “Geiben, we’ve got guys with SMGs trying to get onto the roof. 444 and I are trying to stop them. Tell Wazu if they can’t get to the lifter to try to find some cover, and make sure Enid and the kid get behind it too.”
A part of him that he tried to forget hoped that they wouldn’t lay down their weapons. This was starting to feel more like a war than a simple retrieval mission. If he wasn’t careful he could slip back into a warrior mentality.
Diana was in full control of the camera feed and held little back in regards to the footage of the carnage broadcasted on the feed. It would do little to no good to attempt to try and shoot around or attempt to angle the cameras away, this had to be seen...More importantly this needed to be remembered. “Reports incoming of numerous Kiowmian casualties as a result of the missile bombardment, no exact numbers are being stated as of yet.” Diana watched as the feed slid between the first-person perspective of a member of Green Squadron’s helmet camera to an orbital shot of this sector of Central City. The smoking and eviscerated bodies of multiple Kiwomian individuals came into clear focus on the broadcast along with the smoking craters left from the blasts.
This was an utter mess and it would make diplomacy with the Kiwomian factions planetside even more difficult than they already were. For now it would simply be a matter of making of a recovery effort planetside, at least the shuttle seemed to be freed and Heram and the others could be evacuated. “ Forces will be hurrying to the blast zones to evacuate any civilians who were wounded during the bombardment.” Diana could feel a lump forming in her throat but quickly forced it down, this would work out in the end, it had too.
Enid was cracking under it all. Her head flew in circles. The weight of the situation weighed heavy which struck her as funny since the planet had increased gravity, but laughing was buried deep in the queue of her other reactions. Her tears held back along with a hoard of screams. The line was long and first up was shock. Silence reigned in a muffled throne room of Enid's head and outside echoed war crimes and horror. All composure fell apart when she heard Bao's words, the child knew of and feared her death. Curled over her she was protected for now but Enid had to move to get her to safety. Wazu had become her responsibility as well now thanks to command. Command. It snapped with an echo in her head. She wasn't a civilian, she was a military member and she took orders. The entire queue of reactions took a backseat as she popped into autopilot. Pulling the large tablet over to her she let go of Bao to take hold with both hands. Using the pad she would bring the ship to the roof before hopping on Comms. "Wazu direct 5 VIPs on board, send Bao on first. Climb in when we have room for just one more."
Her tone was devoid of emotion, pushed out by the necessity of the situation.
Frank was on his way to the apc as ordered when he decided to ask “Green Thumb, permission to assist corgi and 444 with the assailants if they get to the roof it could prove dangerous for the shuttle occupants.”
Corgan's first shot hit its target, slamming into the right shoulder of the first armed Kiwomian and knocking him onto his ass. There was blood, and a lot of noise, so it was hard to tell exactly how effective the shot was outside of the yelps of pain and the man dropping his SMG. The remaining three would forget about trying to climb up the ladder to the roof and instead switch their attention to Corgan.
One of the Kiwomians would grab ahold of the injured man and start dragging him back inside the store while the other two pulled out fresh magazines to load into their weapons. They clearly lacked the same military-sense that Corgan had as they were just standing out in the open, crouching down slightly to brace themselves against their SMGs as they unloaded with high-velocity rounds. A small number of the projectiles would tear through the dumpster like it was paper... but their aim was quickly thrown off as something came at them from above!
444 had run across the tops of the buildings nearby to close the distance with the Kiwomians, jumping off the side of the structure and firing her pistol single-handed like an action star! Of course, there were reasons real soldiers didn't do this very thing. Despite her super-human abilities 444 would find that firing single handedly while flying through the air made hitting anything quite difficult, her bullets missing the targets entirely while the Kiwomians aimed upwards to spray bullets at her, some clearly impacting her suit and cratering into her arms and shoulder. She would also find that gravity was still much higher on this world than she was really ready for. Though she had planned to jump onto one of the Kiwomians, her attack landed short as her body slammed against the ground with a 'THUCK' loud enough for even Corgan to hear what must have been breaking bones.
The Kiwomians looked surprised for a split second, then frantically started fumbling for more ammunition inside of their jackets. One turning to run as 444 now scurried along the ground on all fours to get at him.
On the roof right nearby, Wazu was trying to get his bearings. He still couldn't hear, his ears ringing thanks to the sonic-attack put out by the shuttle that was now pulling up beside the structure, side door opening. He couldn't just sit around and do nothing though. The first step was to get to his datapad, setting the comms to text and skimming through a transcript of recent events. Enid's plan made sense of course, he hated the idea of leaving before the Kiwomians he had come to save had been removed from the area... but he was useless here. He couldn't hear, and he would just be weighing people down if he tried to stay around. The logical choice was made, and he would tag the youngest of the Kiwomians hiding with them on the roof, getting the smallest ones first to fit as many as possible into the shuttle before heading to board himself.
The APCs were getting right up to the first floor of the store now, allowing Green-Squad to approach without having to worry about being shot at by those inside. The sheer bulk of the armored APCs was more than enough to protect against any weapons the Kiwomians had.
"No telling who is still inside of the store. Less-Lethal weapons only." Green-Thumb stated, switching the magazine in her G8 Launcher from Stun-Rounds to Scout-drones before firing off all four. There was a doorway wide enough for only one person to enter, and the Kiwomians had already blocked it off with some tables. On the side of this door was a single large window with metal bars covering it. This forced the coke can sized drones to crash between the bars to get inside. It seemed that the kiwomians were inside of a paint store, the drones relaying back that there were six Kiwomians crouched down against the walls trying to stay out of the way, while nearly a dozen had taken cover in the back of the store behind some desks and racks of paint, some of them firing wildly at the drones that had entered the store. "Use your best judgment here Frank, We will stack up on you and follow you in."
Frank looked at the feed from the drones for a brief moment his augmented mind processing things quickly as he too pulled out his g8 and switched it to shock rounds.
“Stack up on either side of the door we will cross breach to clear more areas effectively. Any rooms including the front door not breached yet, deploy a flashbang, with the oxygen on this planet plus how these kiwomians are biologically they would be more sensitive or should be to the noise and light of it. If while were clearing and hostiles are about to engage fire three round two in the chest one in the neck to make the most of the shock rounds.” Frank laid out his plan to greensquad using his best judgment on the situation while showing his strategic capabilities as a soldier “sound good?” he asked the squad.
“That is fine,” Green-Thumb said, the rest of the squad stacking up on the other side of the door, “Go on three.” She would check her G8 to ensure that stun rounds were loaded, and then check her pistol and helmet energy weapon settings to ensure they were on stun. The rest of the squad would do the same. Green-Screen was stacked up right by the door, and she would have her stun grenade at the ready, already primed and ready to throw.
Frank would breach the door with a firm shove of the barricade as Greenthumb popped the flashbang. “Breaching breaching breaching!!!” Frank called out as they entered the Room split to cover the most ground thankfully due to the squads helmets the flash nor noise affected them. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for those inside. Due to not wanting to take chances with the guerrilla nature of the fighting so far frank used the laser set to stun on his helmet to stun the occupants in the main room shouting “Face the ground with your arms above your head don't move!” as the squad made their way to the back room frank tossed a flashpack into the room and flashbang to give a disorienting strobe effect as the subdued the hostiles non lethally but efficiently. “Greensquad sound off if your still alive.” Frank said before messaging Geiban that the building that harbored 12 Kiwomian guerrilla fighters had been taken and hostiles subdued.
The rest of Green Squad would enter behind frank, spreading out and securing the area. The Kiwominians were quickly blinded and deafened by the stun grenades, followed up by the short, hot, blasts from the laser weapons inbuilt into the squad’s helmets that left their targets knocked down and stunned. The inbuilt hearing and eye protection in the squad’s armor protecting them from the stun effects of their own weapons. It would only take a few moments for them to sound off that everyone was ok, “Green-Screen, stay here and keep an eye on the area. Frank and I will head to the roof via the ladder out back.”
“Huh?” Bǎo’s feline ears shot up, her tail held high in shock. “Enid, aren’t you coming too?” Now released from the young pilot’s grasp, she turned around to stare up at her, completely bewildered. “Don’t we have enough room? You’re the pilot!” she exclaimed. Stomping her foot down, the little girl shouted, “I’m not going if you’re not going!”
Enid looked down and lines of menacing tones floated around her. She softened and bent slightly to make a happy face and rub Bao's ear. "No silly of course I'm coming. Ship can't fly without me." Enid spoke in such a silly tone it cracked the seal of tension on the situation and breathed the fresh air of hope over her whole demeanor. "Look see," Enid grabbed her bag and stepped onto the shuttle, walking its narrow space she sat it in the cockpit. "See, see. I wouldn't leave my valuables with a group of strangers." She hollered from the back of the shuttle in an intentionally girly voice. Returning to the outside she ushered Bao in and told her "You should sit up front with me in the cockpit, I'll go get Wazu and the Others."
Corgan was glad that these guys had no idea what they were doing. They were fairly well armed considering their technology level but they lacked training and any kind of armor. Even so he was glad for the distraction 444 provided. High velocity rounds didn’t need training to kill him.
He winced when he heard the crunch of breaking bones. The dumpster was blocking his view so he couldn’t tell who just hit the ground. He leaned out to get an idea of what had just happened and saw 444 bounding after a Kiwomian like a wild animal.
Taking advantage of the chaos he tried to end the battle quickly, aiming at one of the remaining rebels. He fired off a few shots before sighting on the second and firing again. Hopefully he would hit them or at least get them to run away.
Diana had continued her report on the as the situation seemed to slightly turn in favor of the Edward Deming’s crew and Green Company as a whole. Though that was a lukewarm comfort considering the number of Kiwomian casualties hadn’t even been calculated yet but projected numbers were disconcertingly high… Damage control would need to be a top priority for the crew moving forward as well as trying to find a way to make to prepare for the blowback that was going to come from this. More importantly, someone needed to answer for those missile blasts and at least explain what happened, the Kiwomians and the people of the Alliance had a right to know.
“Reports are coming in now of a successful pacification of the remaining Kiwomian insurgents, no casualties on either side.” It was good that effort was being put in for stun rounds rather than lethal force, it might at least offer a tinge of good-will in future diplomacy endeavours. As Diana spoke she quietly continued to operate the cameras, shifting from feed to feed to paint a clear image of the situation as it continued to break down, just hoping this would all be finished soon enough so they could move from here.
Though before Bao could get into the shuttle, there was more loud gunfire coming from the alleyway just behind (and below) them. While the Kiwomians had sprayed bullets at Corgan in a hurry, Corgan took his time to line up his shot. The first grouping of shots was tight, landing right into the Kiwomian's chest and sending him to the ground. His second grouping landed on the target's shoulder, getting him to drop his SMG and start running away.
While these two Kiwominians were escaping, 444 was getting frustrated with just how fast they were able to outrun her as her legs healed. The Echoni would end up scurrying over towards the dropped SMG picking it up with one hand while trying to fish out more ammo with the other, "COME BACK HERE AND FIGHT ME!" She shouted.
“I’m coming, but the Kiwomanz are slow!” Bǎo shouted back. With the onrush of locals trying to get into the shuttle, the little girl had started to help the smallest of their number get on board as well, and now, found herself at the back of the pack. Pushing with her hands, then her shoulders, she tried to force the other children into the shuttle faster, but there was one question that may have not been asked. Was there enough room for everyone to get on board?
Corgan rushed over to the guy he’d shot in the chest and disarmed him in case he was still a threat. He checked the guy for a pulse, not expecting much but since he wasn’t familiar with their anatomy he had to know if the man could be saved. Either way he suspected 444 might need a medic.
“This is the Marshal. The instigators are fleeing. I shot a few of them and 444 chased them off. Probably freaked out because she kept coming even though she looks injured. Anyway, I need a medic at my position to look her over and see if they can save one of the injured attackers.” Corgan reported. “Looks like everything back here is resolved. How does it look from your end, Commander Folami?”
Geiben stepped into the broken building Green squad cleared, looking down at the stunned and confused Kiwomian fighters. His eyebrows knit tightly that him and his team helped bring along. His muted his mic for a second, keeping off any records, before muttering to himself for a shred of release. “This isn’t right. We’re just doing the Tai Pan’s dirty work for them.” He then looked at Green Thumb and asked, “You’ve served for the Alliance longer than I have. We’re supposed to save people, right? Not to prop up some regime.”
The commander didn’t wait for an answer as he unmuted his mic, then answered to Corgan. “Roger that, Marshall. We’re clear here as well.” He looked up at the ceiling, above which the shuttle was supposedly loading loyalists. Taianese loyalists. Son of a bitch. Geiben called out to Enid through the comms. “I’ll need a ride straight back to the Edward Deming.”
“Green squad, block off this area and take a 3-D model of everything, then return to the land base.” Geiben took out another syringe and stabbed himself with it.
Over comms Enid was hesitant on speech but her mind seemed to have a million things to say to The Commander. "Kids first, Family Man." a real sharp quip out of her mixed up head sounded like she was attempting to spit literally daggers from the roof at Geiben. She knew she would have to pick him up but no way would evacuees be under him. Just no. 'That lying, leading asshole can wait his turn' she smoldered and though comms weren't visual stared forward with such anger as if he was before her.
“As you are currently viewing, the crisis planetside has been pacified for the moment and the Kiwomian civilians and the crew of the Edward Deming are being evacuated as I speak. Still no updates on the total number of casualties or injured within the missile blasts, stay tuned for further updates as they come in.” Diana spoke in the even and professional tone she had cultivated for herself over her time on the beat but even she was starting to feel herself cracking slightly. It was a relief that Heram and the others weren’t hurt too badly but that was a cool comfort compared to the rest of this mess.
Diana could hear bits of the Green Company's chatter over her earpiece and then feels her datapad hum in her pocket, likely Heram requesting to meet with her once he got back aboard the Deming...That would be an interesting conversation to say the very least. Someone needed to answer for what had happened down there and she would do whatever it took to ensure that they did. In what could have been a move forward for diplomacy has morphed into a cataclysmic leap backwards instead and may have just made the Empire of Tai Pan’s purpose here that much easier. For now Diana simply listened to the chatter and followed the camera feed as the vessel was getting occupied, hoping nothing else would happen to further this blunder.
“Ha!” 444 exclaimed, happy to find a magazine full of ammunition inside of down’d soldier’s internal pockets. She’d seen one of them reload the weapon before, and was able to quickly replicate the process, slamming the ammunition into the bottom of the gun then pulling the thingy on the side to make the gun click. She also appeared to be learning how to use the weapons, taking a firm grip of the handle and the top of the gun with her hands.
The Kiwomian that Corgan was checking received three rounds to the face from close range. 444 quickly getting back up to her feet to turn her attention towards the two running away.
And in no time at all the rest of the ammunition was sent into the backs of the two Kiwomians running away.
“GOT EM!” She exclaimed, throwing the now empty gun at them from long range just for good measure. The weapon arcing high in the air before landing right on one of the bullet-riddled backs of the Kiwomians.
Green Squad was just now making it through into the back alleyway, responding to Geiben’s request to start scanning the area. It was easy enough for them to start fanning out now that the hostile Kiwomians were in retreat, and there was plenty of time to load everyone up into the APCs for transport back to base. The hard work was done, and mistakes had been made, but now it was time to finish bringing everyone else home safely.