Jul 7 2011, 01:03 AM
"If the captain wants you to leave her alone then just do so, go take point or something ...."
Rai smiled devilishly as she turned her attention to the pilot. This just keeps getting better and better...
"Oh? Do I sense jealousy?" The brunette said as she wrapped an arm around Arel's shoulders.
"Right, I'm gonna go look the newspaper archives. Starting from the last decade. Who wants to come with?" Raina asked the squad as she stepped towards her self-appointed assignment.
She looked at Cat with a wink, "Wanna come with me, Kitty?"
Jul 7 2011, 02:38 AM
The captain rolls her eyes and dismisses the bickering between Arel and Raina. "Call me that again and I'll have you demoted from secretary to janitor. Whatever, let's take a look. The rest of you, group up and start searching."
Jul 7 2011, 02:43 AM
Rai twitched. Calm down, Rai... Deal with it like the mature woman you are... "H-Hey! I am NOT a secretary! According to the officials who hired me, I have as much authority as you on this mission! So, nah!" Rai stuck her tongue out to the Captain. Oh yeah, she was very mature.
"And just for that, I'm bringing Arel and Aiko with me!" She said as she grabbed the two girls by the arm and led them away from the group.
Jul 9 2011, 05:30 PM
Catalina sighed as Raina stormed off and divided up the others manually. Aiko, Raina, and Arel formed one group, Zhi and Jun formed one group, and Catalina went with Nate.
"Let's take a look upstairs," she suggested, limping up the crumbling stairs to the second floor. Spotting he graffiti, she chewed on her lip and began to sort through articles which had been written on or taped to the walls. "What? Hey, take a look at this. It's by some researchers for the Persephone government." Catalina scanned the article and paraphrased it aloud.
"It sounds like NSA radiation is capable of permanently killing the infectious spores. They were petitioning the UF for resources to develop an NSA-based cure, but that was after the Nexus was shut down, so they probably never got an answer."
In the search of the newspaper archives, Raina's group found a particularly interesting series of stories. A year or so after the outbreak began, a case hit the press about a trueborn man who seemed to be immune to the infection. For the better part of a year, he was the subject of a number of tests, but ultimately no cause of his immunity could be found; furthermore, no evidence of genetic immunity could be found. In the following years, a few more trueborns were also found to be immune to the infection.
Although no cause for their immunity was found, follow-up stories discuss rumors that each of the "immune" people eventually succumbed to Utrecht syndrome.
While searching in the basement, Zhi and Jun found some first-hand accounts from vigilantes who had taken it upon themselves to hunt down the infected shortly after the outbreak. They classified the infected into three types: vectors, enochs, and superspores. Vectors are the newly-infected and show no outward symptoms of infection, making them ideal to infect others. After a period of incubation, the spores often take root in the vector and they degress into enochs, which hunt in packs and show some degree of group thinking. Enochs who survive long enough (which make up a minority) eventually lose mobility due to the increasing mass of the spores in their body and take root in the ground, becoming superspores.
In the experience of the enoch hunters, a "family" of enochs are led by the superspore which originally infected them, possessing some strange (perhaps electromagnetic?) communication ability. Their efforts to kill a superspore proved fruitless, though they speculated that killing off the superspores would disable its spores.
Jul 9 2011, 06:30 PM
Nate barely had any time to investigate the library's catalog, other than finding digital versions of pamphlets that he found covering most of the computer's table, when he got pulled away by Catalina to investigate the upper story of the library. As soon as she paraphrased the article, his eyes opened in shock. He snatched the article out of her hands, no doubt annoying her, and began to look it over in depth.
"No way... But this doesn't make any sense, unless..." Nate paused, trying to think of an explanation. After a few seconds, he found one. "Wait, captain, is NSA Static the same thing as NSA Radiation? If it is, then why is it that we found a good amount of it when those enochs attacked us? It couldn't be a cure. There's just no way!"
Turning his thoughts inward, he continued.
Especially if they're the source that was emitting the NSA Static. I just wish I could prove a link between the two with my powers...
He bit his lip, wanting to tell her all about the powers he thought he had. But, he then started to wonder what her reaction would be. No one else showed any signs of having special powers. What if they could use it to link him back to the crashed ship on Morgan? Or what if it meant he was simply transforming into an enoch himself? He would be jailed, maybe killed, all because he said something about his powers.
I can't say it. I can't say anything! Why couldn't I have been partnered up with Arel? I could probably talk to her about all this...
With a sigh, he turned away from Catalina and started to sift through more articles. She hadn't given her answer yet, but he didn't want to look her in the eyes right now. She'd probably see something was wrong with him, and that was the last thing he wanted her to realize.
Jul 9 2011, 07:11 PM
Frank had been chatting outside with Turk and Lars, who were standing guard in case hostiles came their way, when Al came outside to join them. "Hey, ahh, I picked up some noise on the radio. I think it was a distress call. It was coming from the subway station. You think we could go and check it out?"
Jul 9 2011, 07:21 PM
Lars's mind had wandered off for a while now. Ugh, I think I scared that Aiko girl off, me and my big mouth...At leas- He slowly turned to Al, nodding in response and chuckling. "Of course, four armed men going down tunnels filled with a bunch of zombie wanna-bes, what could possibly go wrong?" Lars rolled his eyes, still smiling. "Seriously though, a distress signal sounds pretty important, I'll go and ask the captain."
Lars started turned his communicator on, trying to reach the Captain Catalina. "Hey! Lars speaking, Al here just picked up some kind of distress signal coming from the subway station, should we go and have a look at it?"
Jul 9 2011, 07:24 PM
Turk glared at Al. "Distress call? Subway? I don't think I like the sound of this. Moments ago, you two were the only human survivors on Persephone." Turk picked up his rifle, and motioned to Lars, while speaking to him over the communications systems. "Sounds fishy. Keep an eye on the two- I'll go check my radio." Turk entered the Surveyor, and checked the radio, which he kept running. Nothing. It was either brief, or it never happened. To begin with, the only thing in the subway tunnels were enochs...
Turk accessed the communications network again, broadcasting to anyone on the suit network. "Frank and Al want us to check out the subway, said there was some noise on the radio which might have been a distress call. Strange thing is, the Surveyor hasn't picked anything up, and I've been accepting communications on all frequencies. Sounds really fishy. If you can hear this, send a response. In one hour, we'll make our own judgement if we determine that communications have been lost over the distance between here and the library." Respond.
Turk returned to Frank and Al with his decision. "We'll stay put for another hour, awaiting a reply from the other team. We've been ordered to keep you two alive. It'll be harder to do that in transit, especially since I cannot allow you into the vehicle." Turk glanced at Lars, "I'll make the call if we can't contact the Captain."
Jul 10 2011, 07:20 AM
"... In one hour, we'll make our own judgement if we determine that communications have been lost over the distance between here and the library."
Raina sighed. With a grunt, she spoke into her mic, "Turk, you and the other three just stay put, but keep on the look out. Don't get distracted, now."
She looked at Aiko, "Aiko, can you jot down what we've found out so far? It'd make for easy reference."
Turning away from the others and switching to private channel between Turk and herself, she said, "Turk, be careful. There's nothing but enochs down there in that tunnel and if one of them managed to send a fake distress signal... They're getting smarter. The enemy getting smarter is never a good thing. I'm trusting you to keep Lars, Frank and Al safe. Keep on your toes."
Jul 10 2011, 07:57 AM
Still stunned by Raina's sudden seizure of her arm, Aiko nodded at the woman in acknowledgement.
"I don't have a pen or paper, though . . . I'll just try to keep mental notes!" she said, grinning in spite of her earlier mood. Was it for show? As a general rule the baker did not fake her emotions, making her easy to read, but since the odd visual and auditory hallucinations began, she noticed herself making a bit of a habit out of putting on a happy face for the sake of the group.
I hate this!
Jul 10 2011, 11:33 AM
Turk turned back to Frank and Al, giving them a response upon receiving communications from the other group. "We're staying put. We can investigate when the other team returns." He glanced over at Lars, "If they even try to leave. Incapacitate them. We're to keep them alive, but unconscious is still alive." Turk returned to where he was previously sitting.
Replying to Raina's words on the communications system, he asked: "Is that what the Captain said? I understand that there's a hierarchy and all, but the one in charge of this mission is the Captain, not you."
Jul 10 2011, 12:07 PM
"...the one in charge of this mission is the Captain, not you."
Raina growled when she heard this. "Listen, you! On this mission, I have as much authority as Cat! I let her lead, yeah, but safety is my main priority. I will not have some overconfident, paranoid thug of a man compromise this! Do. I. Make. Myself clear?" She said through clenched teeth.
Jul 10 2011, 12:11 PM
Arel grumbled mentally as she was forcefully pulled into annoying girl's aka Raina's group. The area that they were in was full of information in regards to trueborns and their immunity to the rampant infection. They were discussing how they would keep this information.
"I don't have a pen or paper, though . . . I'll just try to keep mental notes!" Aiko grinned.
"That's not a problem. Honestly we don't need paper OR pen at all. You know why?" Arel simply walked over and grabbed a sheaf of newspapers and took a picture with the communication system's camera. "This way we can also send it back to the rest of our teammates....We're not living in the stone age after all. If we have the technology we should use it. Let's go ahead and get started with this info gathering shall we?"
Discarding the paper that she had taken pictures of she reached for another one on the Trueborn immunity. "We can sort all of this later..."
Jul 10 2011, 12:55 PM
Seeing Arel discarding the document so freely broke Raina's last nerve.
"Arel. Don't do that. Compile all the papers on a table and do your photographing there." She focused her attention to Aiko, "Aiko! Since we have nothing to take notes with, I want you to memorize important bits of these papers for easy reference. I don't want to waste time looking through a whole paper just to find one tiny bit of information." Her voice was cold, stern. She didn't smile as she talked, nor did she kid.
It was hard to imagine that this was the same person who was goofing around not 3 hours ago.
Jul 10 2011, 02:49 PM
Excuse me? Did she just order me around? Quickly Arel turned off her mic so she wasn't broadcasting what she was saying to the whole squad.
"If I'm not mistaken the captain did not put you in charge. I already got this paper photographed, and it's impossible for some person to just memorize all of this." She held up one of the articles she was photographing.
"Honestly I've had it with you. Being buddy buddy with me isn't going to fly, ok? You aren't in charge. Just follow the captain's orders."
Jul 10 2011, 03:10 PM
Catalina listened to the exchange over the radio and lofted an eyebrow. "Turk, do as she says," she requests. "Do be sure not to act without my confirmation, regardless of who says it."
"Wait, captain, is NSA Static the same thing as NSA Radiation? If it is, then why is it that we found a good amount of it when those enochs attacked us? It couldn't be a cure. There's just no way!" remarked Nate. Catalina finished shuffling through some papers.
"Yes, it's all the same thing. When I say NSA static, I mean trace amounts of radiation. As for why we found it around the enochs, it beats me. The thing is, though, that as far as I know, only Oraph has the means to flat out generate NSA radiation. There's no way the people on Persephone would have that kind of technology. I don't think there's a natural source of it, either," she remarked. "Well, I'm no expert, at any rate. Looks like we've got everything here. Let's regroup and start heading back."
Catalina limped downstairs to the first floor again and requested everyone to regroup in the lobby. They began the walk back to the survivors' apartment. The sky was beginning to turn a delicate shade of violet, hinting that they hadn't many hours of daylight remaining. Along the way, they discussed their findings.
"From what we found, it sounds like they found some way to treat it with NSA radiation, but I don't know how safe that is. Considering it has 'radiation' in the name, it's probably not something you want to bathe in," the captain remarked.
Jul 14 2011, 03:16 PM
Glancing at the sky, Turk turned back to the three other individuals in the apartment building. "Night is coming. Check your weapons one last time- Kill the lights and the radio. I want to be able to hear the enochs, and have them not hear us." Turk checked checked to make sure that he knew where he had stashed ammunition on his body, as well as in the apartment. Making sure his knives were within reach, he continued telling the others what to do. "Melee weapons. Make sure you have a few. If we run out of ammo, make sure you can take off their heads, or break them open." No chances.
Turk returned outdoors, and turned off the Surveyor's generators, switching the vehicle to battery power. Glancing around at the ruins of the city, he returned to the stairs and waited. The sooner the rest of the team gets back, the sooner we leave.
Jul 15 2011, 03:29 PM
By the time Catalina's team arrived back at the apartments, the sun was beginning to disappear behind the horizon. From where they stood, the sun was blocked by a half-collapsed building, casting them in shadow while the surrounding area was painted a reddening gold.
"We've dawdled enough for today," the captain decided once the group was united. "I don't want to be around when the sun goes down. Especially not underground. I think it's about time we start heading back. We've already been here later than I wanted."
"Hey, hey, hey," called Frank. "What about the other survivors? If they sent us a distress signal, they might not make it through the night."
"My subordinates are more important to me than some nameless survivors," Catalina responded. "Come on, no time to stay around and chitchat. Let's hit the road, people." Catalina rounded up the members of her team and they began the long walk back to camp. Along the way, Catalina had to stop a few times to rest, blaming it on the heat.
Back at camp, the captain assigned Raina the task of compiling the information they had gathered into a record for easy reference after eating dinner. Once finished, the captain turned in for the night and assigned Aiko to first watch.
Jul 15 2011, 04:09 PM
Aiko had not said much after each group shared its information, choosing instead to communicate her understanding with slow nods and a soft voice. But what went on inside her now entirely contradicted the semblance of calm she had spent hours trying to construct.
What Zhi and Jun found about the special family of enochs---and their strange communication abilities---it sounds so familiar. Could I . . . could I be one of them? Could I be turning into one of those poor creatures?
The young girl hoped with all her heart that she was wrong, that this was just another mistake like the ones she so frequently made in the kitchen when not baking, but doubt and fear were swiftly replacing confidence and hope.
"I feel cold," she whispered to the night.
Mom! Dad! I'm cold! I'm so cold!
Jul 16 2011, 01:10 PM
Arel is assigned second watch. Her alarm awakens her in the middle of the night to alert her that it's time to change shifts. Curiously, Aiko, who had the previous watch, is nowhere to be found.
Jul 16 2011, 01:38 PM
Upon entering the area, the pilot had noticed that Aiko was no where to be found.
"Did she turn in already?" Arel mused to herself as she adjusted the strap that held her rifle. "Although it is standard protocol to wait for the next person on duty to relieve you...." Taking another glance around, she double checked to ensure that Aiko really wasn't in the campsite.
Arel hurried to where Aiko's sleeping quarters were, taking a peek in....
"She's not there!" All that Arel saw was her blankets and pillows that had been tossed aside. Hurriedly, she turned on her communications to broadcast to all of the squad members as she ran towards the captain's sleeping area.
"There's a situation over here. Aiko is no where to be found. I can't find any trace of her on camp and she wasn't outside to meet me."
Jul 16 2011, 01:49 PM
Lars slowly approached Arel's location, yawning. "The baker girl's missing, you say? Well, then I guess we should go and look for her, no?" He said as he yawned one more time, not really completely awake yet. He'd stretch his arms a bit, looking around one more time before turning back to Arel. "Did you check if she took anything before disappearing?" He asked, his eyes still half closed due to the tiredness.
Jul 16 2011, 11:53 PM
Back at camp, Nate still held his hand on his pistol he had holstered to his side. It was a death grip, one of pure rage.
"My subordinates are more important to me than some nameless survivors."
The callous words of his captain were enough to make him want to shout in objection, but everyone's silent agreement caused him to waver. Of course, even he had to admit it was the sensible thing to do; they could only be considered a force of about ten people, and they were possibly going up against hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of enochs. Of course they wouldn't go, not if they were sane.
It didn't exactly make Nate feel better. A part of him still wanted to object, but it'd just fall on deaf ears anyway. It's why his hand was there, solidly clamped around his pistol. He wanted nothing more than to shoot Catalina and force her to stay behind to save the missing survivors, but all that would do is get him locked up and killed, for a variety of reasons no less.
Then he heard it, his golden opportunity.
"There's a situation over here. Aiko is no where to be found. I can't find any trace of her on camp and she wasn't outside to meet me." It was Arel's voice.
He ran out of his tent, hurrying to find her. He didn't even need to think about it, he knew it would probably be his only chance. He cleared his mind to come up with the proper words, then found Arel. Lars was next to her, yawning from being woke up from an incomplete slumber no doubt.
"Arel! Aiko... She has to have gone back to Relto City! There's nowhere else on this planet she would go!"
His words were hasty, but calculated.
I need to get everyone to go back. If we can't save those survivors... His teeth were clenched, and all he could do was hope he could convince everyone to head back if necessary. It was their only chance at saving them.
Jul 18 2011, 01:30 AM
(This happens after Kiro's post that follows this one.)
The group found two survivors. Jun didn't care. As far as he was concerned, it only drove in how few people lived through the outbreak he was now susceptible to. At least before now he could tell himself that the place was just empty of proper humans because they all left, or something. Maybe they were all hiding in some secret, underground society, or something else stupid like that. What a joke. That shit only ever happened in movies. Right here, right now? They were all dead. Everyone but these two uninteresting bastards.
Unless their lack of notable features was what got them through this mess, he was pretty much screwed.
Worse yet, the others seemed to be getting the same impression from the discovery. Both Nate and Aiko were wandering off with blank looks on their faces, and his sister looked unusually uncomfortable, considering they just found what they meant to find. Not that he was surprised. There probably wasn't a single result they could get out of this that wouldn't crush everyone's spirits in the end. In a way, it was probably their own fault for having hopes in the first place.
It was the entire planet's fault, back when the disease happened in the first place. Why were they expected to go back and fix these idiots' mess? They'd probably just wind up carrying it over.
Everything that was said from the moment he entered the house was tuned out. None of it really mattered. It never mattered.
It was only once he and Zhi were lead to the library to do research, or whatever pointless cause they were shooting for at the time, that he let himself give even half of a damn. Of course, then it was only because he knew his sister wouldn't let him do otherwise.
He let her do all the searching, though. It wasn't like he had any idea what they were looking for, anyways. It was as he was putting a half-assed attempt into patching up the tear in his suit using some tape he found when Zhi seemed to come across something that caught her interest. He tried not to pay attention when he noticed her flip through whatever it was, but it became rather difficult when she started reading part of it out loud.
"Vectors are the newly-infected and show no outward symptoms of infection, making them ideal to infect others..."
The concern in her voice made it pretty obvious why she was announcing that bit of information she just got. She knew he was open to potential infection at this point. She probably didn't even realize what she was actually saying until it was too late.
Not that her intention mattered much. What she said immediately struck the wrong nerve. The last thing he wanted right now was an elaboration on how screwed he was. When it was put the way that the papers did, he really was degraded into nothing more than a carrier.
"Yeah, okay, so I'll eventually turn into one of those freaks the others mentioned, and then what? Die?" He snapped from across the room, not actually wanting an answer to his bitter question.
Zhi looked over to him in silence, taking in a shaky breath. The papers crumpled lightly in her tightening fingers as she desperately searched for words.
"... No. You're not going to die. Do you remember what they said? You're immune. We all are. No one's going to die here, by disease, or anything else. Okay?" She eventually tried to assure. Yet despite her promising words, her voice lacked the same certainty she was attempting to convey.
He didn't believe a word of it.
Zhi couldn't sleep through the night. The atmosphere the others carried back with them was more than a little tense, and the news they brought wasn't particularly uplifting. Everyone's sinking confidence, the abandonment of the survivors, and the unsettling revelation that immunity only came with Utrecht's syndrome did little more than drag her down as well. The only reliable hopes she truly had were the determination of the team, and the assurance from Oraph that they were immune. Now, neither held any weight.
Neither she nor Jun could be immune by the standards they found. They weren't even trueborn. As for everyone else, they had nothing more than the misery of Utrecht syndrome ahead of them.
Even with her position in mind, Zhi couldn't confront anyone that night. She let Catalina handle all of the decisions, and kept out of the way of Turk, and anyone else who could cause a problem. She didn't even want to confront Jun. She didn't feel like she could be honest with him. She couldn't tell him that even she wasn't confident in anything anymore.
After several sleepless hours, Arel finally came in to rouse Zhi out of bed. The interruption of thoughts was welcome, but it unfortunately came with more bad news.
"There's a situation over here. Aiko is no where to be found. I can't find any trace of her on camp and she wasn't outside to meet me."
Aiko had gone completely missing over night. Zhi's already sinking mood nearly collapsed at the new development.
When she went out to check on the others, and approach Arel directly, she found the camp strangely empty. Neither Arel or Catalina were in sight, and Aiko was, of course, missing as announced.
Before she could get too concerned about the matter, however, Arel and the Captain returned from over the horizon. Apparently they had gone off to do something. She wasn't entirely sure what to make of their unannounced actions, but desire to get answers about the Aiko problem overpowered any doubt in her mind. She pushed everything else aside, and met with the group to try to discuss the matter.
"Why would Aiko leave...? I don't understand..." She whispered, near breathless. "It had to be willingly, right? We're safe in here."
Most of the others seemed to agree, and began to exchange ideas of why she would possibly want to do such a thing. The most popular theory was that she simply wanted to go back to the survivors after they abandoned them. Turk, on the other hand, seemed to think she went rogue, though, as she did with anything else he said, she took his view with a grain of salt.
"If you're going to look for her back in the city, I need to come with you." She offered Catalina, secretly hoping that her suggestion would override Turk's. She really didn't trust him to bring her back alive if he went alone.
Jun, however, spent the entire conversation off in a side room, barely listening to anything that was being said. Any time someone looked at him, he broke eye contact, and any time he was approached, he only moved further. Any attempts to even get him to listen seemed hopeless.
Jul 18 2011, 11:37 PM
"Arel! Aiko... She has to have gone back to Relto City! There's nowhere else on this planet she would go!"
Turk woke to the commotion surrounding Aiko's disappearance. Tuning back into the communications system, he briefly shouted, "Calm down, dammit." Crawling out of his hiding place, he approached the group, and looked at the camp. "Kill the lights. I can't imagine that the girl would leave camp without something to light her way- She doesn't have the backbone to hunt in the darkness." Walking away from the camp, Turk let his eyes adjust to the darkness. "The lights will probably attract enochs. They'll be drawn to Aiko like scavengers to a shipwreck. If we post guards with Frank and Al, and keep them from doing anything rash, we can send out a few of us into the darkness to hunt for Aiko." Turk grabbed a fresh supply of knives, as well as some flares.
Waiting for the group to think on what he said, Turk turned towards the Captain's tent. "I would like to volunteer to go after her. I'm no stranger to hunting... large creatures... in the dark." Turk fidgeted with his knives and continued, "Firearms will only attract enochs. I can silently take care of them." Should've seen this coming. She was acting strange before they went to the library. All alone outside of the apartment. Could've been planning to desert.
Jul 19 2011, 01:41 AM
A few minutes later, Arel and Catalina are spotted leaving the shuttle they had used to land on Persephone's surface. The captain spoke over the radio to the team. "Aiko, this is Catalina. Please confirm your status. If you don't, I'll have to assume that you're either incapable or unwilling to do so." The captain arrived back at the camp and chewed on her lip as she assessed the situation.
"The lack of a response means that Aiko is either refusing to report back or in a situation in which she can't. The bottom line is, she's either avoiding us or dead. Either way, we won't be able to find her in the middle of the night. It's too dangerous to leave camp at night, so we'll have to look for her in the morning. I'm going to take up Aiko's guard shift and I better not see anyone try to leave camp. You're all to stay put, understood?"
Jul 19 2011, 11:08 AM
"...I better not see anyone try to leave camp. You're all to stay put, understood?"
The captain's words were just another nail in his slowly crumbling psyche. He needed to say something, anything, just to get them to go now. But yet, at the same time, what could he say? His reasons for desperately needing to go save Aiko? He'd get laughed off. About how he was certain he could detect enochs through NSA static? He'd probably just get locked up for testing. Going off alone? He'd just be killed, either by the enochs or due to insubordination.
I can't let Aiko die... I can't let Aiko die! I need to do something. I need to save her!
His head flashed back to Morgan, seeing the hundreds, if not thousands of people in the riot, all stampeding and killing those around them. And suddenly, he saw Aiko beneath their feet, getting stepped on, crushed under their weight as she screamed out in agony.
Tears started to flow from his eyes. Could he really just wait until morning, letting the enochs have enough time to kill her?
No... I can't. I don't care what happens to me, I need to save Aiko!
He turned to Arel. If he was going to die, someone needed to know what was going on.
"A-Arel... We need to talk. Now."
Jul 19 2011, 01:05 PM
"A-Arel...We need to talk. Now."
"Sure?" Nate had approached her so suddenly, Arel was almost at loss for words as she stared at the crying soldier in front of her. "What do you need? If it's about this situation going on I can understand your frustration. I want to save her too, but the captain said we should wait."
But she knew that since the enochs would be active...it would be extremely hard. Plus with her recent blindness, it only made walking around in the dark more difficult. There would be so many blindspots....not to mention the dark. Arel clenched her rifle strap as she thought about what could happen to Aiko in that timeframe though....
Jul 19 2011, 01:48 PM
"...I better not see anyone try to leave camp. You're all to stay put, understood?"
A sound decision. Under the assumption that our numbers have already dropped, they cannot be allowed to drop further. Turk hesitantly put his knives aside. No hunting. Shame. He turned towards the landcraft, and entered it before accessing the communications network again. "We can search for Aiko using the vehicle, Captain. We can cover more ground, and we're defended from enoch attacks. The only disadvantage is that we need to leave people behind to control Frank and Al, and we can't return to this area until daylight, otherwise we risk drawing in enochs." Turk kept on thinking of other ways to leave the camp while suggesting the vehicle. Saving Aiko is one thing, but cutting up enochs would probably be more useful.
Jul 19 2011, 01:55 PM
"Yes, we can use the vehicle to search for her in the morning," the captain confirmed. "But right now, get some sleep. No one is leaving camp until morning. Shaomei, you take watch after me and your brother is going after you."
Jul 19 2011, 03:58 PM
-Adapted from a PM conversation-
"You don't understand, Arel... We need to save Aiko now! If it turns out she's dead then I... I..." Nate clenched his hands into fists, turning his head down as more tears continued to flow from his eyes.
"...Do you even have a plan of action if we decide to rescue her? I"m all up for saving Aiko...but it's meaningless if we don't have a plan of action. Aiko has helped to keep the team together and in good spirits. It'd be a real shame to lose a friend like her."
"I... I don't. Even still... I need to go! If Aiko dies because of this mission, it'll be all my fault! If it weren't for me, none of us would even be here in the first place! That's why I have to go. I couldn't live being responsible for more people dying..."
Arel glanced at the land craft that was parked near the campsite. "...we'll use the landrover then and go rescue her. I overheard Turk and the captain talking about using it in the morning. However, you'd need to either A. get the other crew in on this or B. We'd have to sneak out on our own."
"It'd probably be best if we could get the rest of the crew to save Aiko, but... Do you really think they'd do it? Besides, I doubt Turk would let me in the Surveyor anyway," Nate looked down at his arm, where there were obviously a few poorly fixed rips.
"Our chances of survival would probably go up if we get at least one more person. I can drive the Surveyor."
"Who should it be? Lars? Zhi? I doubt Jun would go, considering how little he seems to be responding anyway. And I don't think Raina would be of much help either..." He sighed, thinking over the possibilities. He was happy that someone was willing to do this with him, but as he started to think about the odds, the more unlikely their success would be.
"You're right....For now I guess we're on our own. We need to get Turk away from that Surveyor first. If we drive off at full speed towards the city I doubt the captain could do much to stop us."
"How could we do that, though? Turk doesn't seem to be to unwiilling to go, well, hunting in the dark right now. Could we cry wolf and say we heard something in the woods, and that it could be hostile?"
"That could work. Go run and tell him. I'll keep watch for you."
Nate turned to head over towards Turk, when he hesitated, then turned back to Arel. "Actually, wait. Arel, could I possibly tell you something first?"
"As long as it doesn't take up too much time, sure. We gotta focus on getting Aiko back safe and sound as soon as possible, right?"
"Right. It's just... Ever since we landed on Persephone, I think I've been able to detect NSA static, maybe a little earlier than that, I'm not sure. Remember when we were in Relto City and I said I heard a buzzing? Yeah... And then when we got back, I didn't hear a buzzing, and she said that there wasn't any NSA static. I think... I think if we go, I'll be able to detect if enochs are in the area. I... I don't really want anyone else to know, so could you please keep it a secret?"
Arel was suprised to say the least. The skill would come in handy during the rescue mission, but she was curious to how long Nate had been able to sense NSA static. "Of course. My lips are sealed. A pilot would never break their word."
"Thank you. Now let's hope that we can get Turk away from the Surveyor, huh?" He asked, a smile on his face for once.
He turned and ran off, heading over to where Turk was standing. As soon as he was within earshot, he spoke. "Turk! I thought I saw something over there, in the woods. I think it might be an enoch. Since you're probably the best at handling this kind of stuff, do you think you could go check it out?"
With the question asked, all he could do was wait for a response, and hope Turk fell for his ruse.
Jul 19 2011, 04:54 PM
"...I think it might be an enoch. Since you're probably the best at handling this kind of stuff, do you think you could go check it out?"
That's odd. Turk scanned the camp for any enochs sneaking in. "Right. I'll track it down." He crawled inside the Surveyor, and activated the monitoring systems, looking for vibrations outside of the camp. I'm definitely getting enoch movement on this, but it's some distance from the camp. Going back to Nate, he stared at him. "You're right, we've got enochs. They're not within a close proximity to the camp, so we'll be safe enough leaving them alone."
Turn went back inside the vehicle, turning back to give Nate a knife. "If you spot any enochs in camp, use this. Gun shots will only attract more. We're searching for Aiko in the morning, so get some sleep- There's a chance she might be in the enoch tunnels. If you fall asleep during an enoch attack." Turk paused a bit before adding on another short comment. "One more thing. Stay out of the Surveyor. It's a clean environment- We don't need viruses in it."
Sealing the airlock behind him, Turk went back to his seat, and tried to get some sleep. Nate has been paranoid ever since he got back from the subway station. It's not unlikely that the virus is taking over his brain, and giving him hallucinations.
Jul 21 2011, 03:20 PM
Arel watched as the Surveyor's door closed. She called Nate over after his failed negotiation.
"We're stealing that Surveyor. Aiko needs us right now. The captain is watching though. What I want you to do is this. After I open the door and pull Turk to the ground, you'll need to throw this." Arel pulled out a flash grenade. "We can set our helmets so the flash won't' affect us. Throw it over there." She indicated a spot that would be optimal for the grenade. "Luckily this thing is potent. It should blind the Captain, Turk, and anyone else stupid enough to be outside right now around the camp for at least one minute. Which will be enough for you to get your behind in vehicle and for me to drive this thing out of here."
Jul 21 2011, 03:27 PM
As he listened to the plan, Nate could think of many ways it could go wrong. Plus, if it did, they still wouldn't have the Surveyor and would openly announce themselves as hostile and would be in a position where they couldn't do anything about it.
"Yeah, it sounds perfect."
He took the grenade and looked it over. It was fairly simple to use, even for him. As soon as he finished inspecting it, he looked over at the spot Arel indicated.
Jul 21 2011, 04:34 PM
Adapted from a PM conversation.
Adjusting her gloves, Arel strode over to the Surveyor's door. First she removed her rifle from the back and held it in one hand. With the other she quickly opened the door and through the airlock where Turk would be sleeping.
As she entered, Turk answered, " Nate? More enochs? Kill them yourself."
"Ah, no it's me, Arel. Could I talk to you outside for a sec?"
"Outside? Wouldn't you rather talk in here? There's more privacy... Oh. I won't stab you."
""...well I was going to talk to you about the shuttle...there's a malfunction with one of the ignition lines when I did a check recently. I was wondering if you could go take a look at it? I was thinking that maybe there was a leakage..."
"No can do. I don't know how recent systems work- I'm specialized with older technology, like this Surveyor." Turk put his hand the vehicle's controls. "Besides, Oraph equipment is a black box to me. Still haven't figured out how their guns work."
Arel grumbled. This guy is making it hard to steal the Surveyor."Ah, I see. Well either way there's a heavy box of parts that I need lifted, y'know the ones just in case something breaks down. Since you worked with me on the whole reactor fiasco the last time I thought I could ask for your assistance."
"Did the Captain put you up to this? It seems like everyone in this camp has been trying to get me outside to assassinate me or something."
"First it was Nate and his imaginary enochs, and now you, with your broken Oraph stuff and your parts."
"Hey this one's for real. The captain didn't put me up to any of this. Since you were close by and all I thought you'd be able to help." Luickly there was quite a few crates back in the shuttle that did contain spare parts."
"Can we do this later? I haven't gotten much sleep yet, and the Captain says we're going after Aiko in the morning. Lars is probably out there to. If you don't want to die when I tumble the vehicle into a nest of hostiles out of sleepiness, you'd best leave me alone."
"...Do you want the shuttle to not work when we have to leave? We'll be stuck here forever, y'know. Then we'll be dead for sure."
"It's not my job to help fix the shuttle. If the Captain, or the Lieutenant orders it, I'll do it, but otherwise, I'll stick to killing and driving."
"Well if you really want to be stubborn about it...." Arel leaned over the console and switched to a comm unit to the captain. "Hey, I was inspecting the ship earler, there might've been a ignition line leakage. Might be a system error but still need to check.I was going to ask Turk here for help to move some parts just in case, but obviously he doesn't want to move until YOU give him orders."
The captain replied over the comm unit, "Go ahead and do what needs to be done."
"Righty. Let me finish up here, and I'll head over right away." Turk ran some diagnostics on the Surveyor's wireless connection to this arm mounted data-tool. Glancing at Arel, he added, "I don't want to be outside when the hordes of enochs come. I'd rather take them by surprise." Turk wired up the ignition and control systems to his arm mount, and sealed the compartment up. "This way, I can get access of the Surveyor while we're outside, just in-case Nate's actually right about silent enochs creeping around the base." Turk turned back to Arel, and looking at the door, he offered, "After you."
Arel stepped outside and waited for Turk to follow. "I have to grab some tools from my tent so you can go on ahead to the shuttle."
Turk stepped outside, and turned on the door's magnetic locks, as well as engaging the physical lock as well. "We've got infected in the camp. Can't let them try to sneak in, can we?" He then began walking to the shuttle, watching the shadows for any of Nate's enochs.
As Turk started to walk towards the shuttle, Arel made sure to trail behind Turk. Raising her rifle to strike him from behind she brought the rifle down on his helmet.
Turk dodges the hit, turning his knife on his assailant. "I used to live in the slums, Captain. You can't... Arel. This is unexpected." "Who put you up to this assassination attempt? Was it Raina? Xhi? Lars, maybe?"
"My own morality. That's what. YOU CAN'T JUST LET AIKO BE ALONE OUT THERE." Arel grabbed a flash grenade from her belt and threw it on the ground.
Turk closed his eyes, and pulled his knife back. "If you want to rescue Arel, we need to scoot now." Turk moved towards the direction of the Surveyor, with his eyes still closed. "Everyone will hear that explosion."
Arel almost dropped her rifle in surprise. "I-I got it covered. Nate's waiting with some more flash grenades to stall them..."
Turk access the communications network. "Captain, there was an enoch in the base. It got away- I'm taking the Surveyor after it, before it relays out position to the others."
Arel was quick to add on, "Nate, Turk, and I can go handle it."
Jul 21 2011, 04:48 PM
Turk stared at Arel. "Nate's coming? This works out perfectly." Turk left the girl and went back to the Surveyor. He grabbed some rope, and attached it to one of the attachment points on top of the vehicle. "I was going to have you tethered to the top, Arel, to shoot at enochs and grab Aiko, but if we have Nate, this makes it so much easier."
Jul 21 2011, 06:29 PM
Along the way, Turk, Arel, and Nate encounter a set of tire tracks leading away from camp, which they decide to follow into Relto City. Twenty minutes later, they receive a message from the captain on the radio.
"I haven't heard from you guys. What's your status?" she inquires.
They arrive in the city to find the streets crawling with enochs. When they reach the street, the tire tracks become impossible to follow. Attracted to the lights being given off by the surveyor, the emaciated humanoids begin to crawl close to it.
Jul 23 2011, 09:42 PM
"We're... alright. There are more enochs- We'll have to eliminate them so they don't get to the camp. We'll maintain radio silence for a while." Turk responded to the Captain's inquiry. Cutting off the long range broadcast, he began to relay instructions to the other two. "This could be problematic, you two. First off, Nate, I want you to turn on your night vision, and use a silencer on your weapon. Arel, do the same." Turk switched off the all of the Surveyor's lights, and killed the engines and generators. Let's hope this works. Turk switched on his night vision as well, and observed the enochs.
"There's something off about this. If they were attracted to our lights, they would've been crawling over the camp." Turk grabbed a few knives. "Watch their movements, and look for other lights. If Aiko is moving around, she's sure to have a knife, and is probably attracting them." If she's still alive, that is.
Jul 24 2011, 12:58 PM
"Roger." Arel switched on night vision mode. Instantly she could see the outlines of buildings and other objects clearly. I wonder if we turned on heat seeking mode...would it do anything? Reaching into her pack, Arel affixed a rifle silencer and peered down the scope....
Clusters of enochs were here and there. Arel searched for the largest cluster that was moving...
"Too bad these suits don't have tracking beacons, would've made things a helluva lot easier."
In the distance, Arel notices a lone heat source in a building. The building is Al and Frank's apartment.
Jul 24 2011, 06:19 PM
It had been an hour since Aiko locked the front door and barricaded it with the two kitchen chairs. Fortunately, the enochs were still outside.
"How long has it been?" Aiko wondered aloud. "I've been up all night!" With an unladylike yawn, she stretched her arms and repositioned herself. No. Can't sleep. Have to stay awake to stay alive . . . enochs surrounding this place . . .
The young baker was indeed exhausted after her ordeal, both physically and mentally. And Al was still missing. She owed him her life, in the end, and now he was out there somewhere. He had taken his shotgun with him, but Aiko wasn't sure how long he'd last. The city is their home now, she realized grimly.
Sighing in frustration, Aiko decided to try her communicator again.
"Hello? This is Aiko Moreno. Is anyone out there? Please, someone respond . . . anyone . . ."
Her focus on the front door was wearing thin, like a batch of dough that had been rolled one too many times.
Jul 24 2011, 09:04 PM
"Hello? This is Aiko Moreno. Is anyone out there? Please, someone respond . . . anyone . . ."
This is a lot simpler than I thought it would be. Turk checked in with Arel and Nate. "Can you hear that?" Turk readied his knife, and left the Surveyor. "This is Turk. Hold your position," He responded to the message in a commanding tone. Turning his attention back to Nate and Arel, he thought of a plan to rescue Aiko. "Arel, take Nate and go after Aiko. I'll draw off the enochs using flares- Once you have her in the vehicle, locate me, and assist in my retreat."
Turk immediately ran off away from the apartment building, and lit a few flares, before slinking in to the shadows. As the first group of enochs staggered into the light, he emerged from the darkness and began ripping through their arteries.
Jul 27 2011, 03:44 PM
"Hello? This is Aiko Moreno. Is anyone out there? Please, someone respond . . . anyone . . ."
Nate found himself unable to breathe. She's alive. She's alive! He sighed in relief. Now her blood couldn't be added to his hands. She would live.
"Arel, come on! Let's go!"
Elated, he ran off towards the apartment, his eyes tracking over towards where Turk was distracting the enochs. So far, they all seemed to be targeting him, and as he looked around he didn't notice any that were closing in on him. His speed increased as he ran up the steps. As soon as he was at the top, he reached for the doorknob, only to find it locked. With no other option, he began pounding on the door.
"Aiko! Aiko, are you in there? It's me, Nate! We're gonna get you out of here, so hurry and open the door!"
Jul 27 2011, 04:04 PM
Arel followed Nate as he ran, making sure to look around for any enochs that were creeping up behind them. Once they got to the building, Arel took position to cover Nate's back as he attempted to have Aiko open the door.
She decided to check in on Turk. "Hey, Turk, we just got to Aiko's position. We're trying to get in contact with her. How are things doing on your end?"
Jul 27 2011, 10:12 PM
Nate's voice nearly made her jump out of her skin. Bolting to her feet, Aiko pushed the kitchen chairs aside and unlocked the door. Her free hand trembled on the knob as she turned it, but the inner workings of the door did not stick, and within seconds she was greeted by her friend's panicked face.
"Nate! We have to find him. We have to find Al! He left after he . . . shot his friend. He wanted to protect me, wanted to be free of this life they were living. He took a shotgun with him, but he hasn't come back, and I couldn't find him. The enochs . . . I couldn't help him . . ."
Tears stung her eyes anew, but she blinked them away. Now was not the time to cry.
Jul 31 2011, 02:12 PM
"Wait, he shot his friend? What the hell happened in there!?" His voice automatically raised itself, to the point where he was shouting at Aiko.
He quickly shook his head, not wanting to get angry at her over something that likely wasn't her fault in the first place. Taking a deep breath, he continued, calmly.
"Well, we'll do our best to find him, I promise. But for now, Turk wants you to get back to the Surveyor where you'll be safe. Alright?"
As soon as he finished, he turned on radio communications with Turk, hoping he wouldn't distract him.
"Turk, this is Nate. We've got Aiko, she's safe. Try your best to get back here, we've got things to discuss."
Jul 31 2011, 04:48 PM
Turk received the news about Aiko's rescue over the radio, as he gutted an oncoming enoch. No support for me.
"Get her to the Surveyor." Turk tossed a couple of lit flares away from himself, and quickly sought to evade the approaching enochs by moving in the darkness. Turk ducked into a building, and began traversing the urban jungle, passing over the prowling enochs on the ground, while he moved back to the Surveyor. He reached a building where he could easily sprint to the vehicle, and watched over it.
Jul 31 2011, 06:00 PM
If there's one guy out there...we have to save him somehow... Arel thought maybe they could use the Surveyor to look for him. With that thought in mind, she began to head down towards the ground floor.
"Nate I'm going to go a little ahead to support Turk, alright?" Without any further explanation, Arel looked towards Turk's location. Outlines of enochs were starting to appear one by one...
Looks like we're attracting more attenti- Her thoughts were cut off as she spotted an enoch jump out to ambush her. BANG! The pilot had raised her rifle and shot the assailant in the chest. The enoch staggered back before being kicked over by Arel.
".....Maybe on second thought I'll just wait for you..."
Aug 1 2011, 04:23 PM
Aiko nodded feebly and stepped out the front door to follow him, silently relishing the air that filled her lungs. Considering the amount of time she'd spent in close proximity to a corpse---especially without her now-lost helmet, which had been removed during her ordeal---it was a miracle she hadn't vomited . . .
Then, hit by a sudden jolt of nausea, the contents of her stomach rushed upward, causing her to retch violently. "Sorry," she gasped. "Going to be sick."
And so she was. Nate looked back at her and frowned. "You okay?"
"Yeah. Let's just get back."
About ten minutes later, they reached the Surveyor, and Aiko settled down inside the vehicle to rest while Nate remained outside. She was drained. Only after her strange visions had she felt any weaker than she did now. But her mind, full of questions, wouldn't let her sleep. They still had to find Al. Was he already dead? Even if they found him alive, what would the others do to him if they found out what he had done? And would they want to help him?
"I don't know," she admitted to herself. Fortunately for the young patissiere, she did not get much of a chance to dwell on her fears: sleep had come to claim her after all.
Aug 3 2011, 05:03 PM
With a sigh of relief that Turk was still alright, Nate began.
"When we found Aiko, it seems that Frank and Al had... A dispute. Al shot Frank, and then left. We're not sure where he is, nor why he did those things at the moment. The only one who does is Aiko, and she's inside the Surveyor at the moment. I don't think she's in a good condition to tell us what happened, other than she wants us to go find him. And, to be honest... I agree with her. We can't just let someone get killed out here."
He took a deep breath, then continued. "But we can't do anything to help him if you're not back here either. Is there any way Arel or I can help?"
Aug 5 2011, 04:35 PM
Turk descended from his position above the structure, and approached the team at the Surveyor. "First, we get back to camp. I need to vent all the air from the vehicle and run a proper decontamination on the inside." Turk checked to make sure that his suit was properly sealed, and entered the vehicle. I should've got back sooner, or intercepted them. The vehicle is a virus hive now. "It seems unlikely that the two survivors would turn on each other after all this time- It is probable that our presence caused this to happen. We should consider Al to be unstable- I can't agree to taking action without everyone else onboard."
Turk watched the surroundings from inside the vehicle. "There are enochs prowling around. Toss a few flares away from us, and I'll get the Surveyor moving..." Turk unsealed the door and deactivated the airlock procedure. "I guess Nate can come inside now."