Damien's legs began to twitch violently as he lost control over them. The flesh literally began to crawl as the muscle underneath returned to the standard dictated by Damien's Little Brother. His knees buckled and gave way, causing him to crash to the floor. Damien realized that he hadn't slept ever since he had arrived on the ship. He struggled to push himself up. "Rick, would you mind helping me into that wheelchair over there? Thank you." Damien said as the heavy-duty soldier lifted Damien like a feather and gently deposited the doctor in the indicated wheelchair. Damien rolled over to where he had flung his bag and quickly consumed a cube to make up for the energy he had burned through. Unfortunately, his body knew that it was being tricked now, and Damien would soon have to sleep if he wanted to be at max capacity.
Damien shook his head wearily and sighed. This was not the best time for his bedside manner, so he decided to give it as straight as possible. "You fainted due to an abnormally high blood pressure caused by an overstrong heart. Your BP was too high for a blood transfusion, and I couldn't touch you for fear causing massive hemorrhaging." Damien shook his head, unable to believe the events that had taken place. "You've developed a special tissue within your skull that seems to shield it from shock and lessen damage done to it. Rick could theoretically hit you right now, and it would do little to no special damage." Damien sighed, unable to completely understand it himself. "I prayed that it would save you, then hooked you up to beta blockers and applied pressure to the baroreceptors in your Carotid artery. Together, they managed to bring your BP down to normal."
Damien shook his head once more in disbelief of what he just witnessed. "To make a long story short, you're mutating. Your WINGS mutation is constantly evolving. I'll try and keep the data from Thompson, but I'll need the data on you to see if this was planned or accidental. Either way, I may have to subject all WINGS to a battery of tests to find out what the hell is going on." Damien looked at Jinxie. "And you will keep your mouth shut about everything I just said if you don't want your mentor to become a lab rat. Got it?" Damien asked. Sighing, Damien turned back to Camilla. "I'm going to keep you on beta blockers until the rest of your body catches up with your heart. Until then, drink plenty of water to try and dilute your blood a bit, alright?"
Jinxie nodded, mute. Her hands never left Camilla's. The invalid, however, was having none of it.
"I reckon I can manage, actually." she said, a little forcefully. "Blame the changing mutation, but I'm restless already. Let me up and do something!" seeing Damien's face, "I'll be careful, honest"
Jinxie darted away, returned with a glass of water. Camilla took it and drank greedily. There was a little crunching noise, and she winced. Setting down the glass, there were cracks where she had been holding the glass.
Rick carefully grabbed the glass and looked at it. A half-dozen spiderweb cracks covered the surface where Camilla had held it. The glass fell in on itself as he looked at it. Broken glass scratched viciously at his hand, but didn't break the skin.
He grimaced and reached over to a waste receptacle, dropping the shattered glass in. "Remind me to wait a couple days before shaking your hand, OK, Camilla? It's great to see you conscious again. I'll go spread the news."
Rick legged it back to the main WINGS quarters, finding Chris standing outside of them, looking puzzled. "Hey, Chris! Camilla's back on her feet! Damien did something-or-other to her neck and she woke up!"
Chris saw Rick down the hall and heard the good news, "That's great! Hey, do you have any idea where everyone is? I checked all over and can't find them. Also, I have been doing some work on those alien weapons we recovered, and I have been meaning to ask you and Camilla if I can run some tests on your armor with the weapons."
"Well, Kell's flat on his back, Camilla's getting off hers, Damien is on medical duty, James could be anywhere, I haven't seen Jobe in a bit and Saryll's up and vanished. I'm willing to put my stuff to the test, so long as you don't completely melt it..."
"Hmm, everyone seems to be busy. Oh, well. Oh, and thanks for letting test your armor. Who knows, maybe we can find a way for it to melt less or not at all."
After showering and putting his uniform back on, Jobe made his way back to his cabin. He wasn't sure if he was allowed to take weaponry out of the armory, but he doubted anyone would care. Or bring it up. Jobe was still buzzing from his brief training session, he was simply living for the sudden rushes of power and speed his adrenaline gave him. Oddly enough, he'd never been an adrenalin junky before the enhancement, but now...
Passing by the med-bay, Jobe noticed that Camilla seemed to be awake at last. He'd been concerned when she'd collapsed earlier, but she seemed tough enough to handle anything. Jobe poked his head through the door
"Good to see you're still with us! What happened back there? Headrush or something?"
"Apparently so," she smiled back, "Apparently my heart muscles got too strong and nearly burst my brain, and it's taken a bit for the rest of em to catch up. I'm starting to get a little restless though; time to get up, I think."
Before anyone could protest, Camilla swung herself upright and off the bed. Wearing some kind of medical clothing, she gently but forcefully propelled the others out,
"I'm gonna get changed", she said, "then see how recovered i really am..."
Jobe smiled, and an idea flashed through his mind "The gym perhapse? That would probably be the best place to see how well you've recovered. I could show you the way there if you like..." he shot Camilla's Feather a look before she could continue protesting "Unless you're not up to it of course."
"Hell no!" Camilla grinned, then to Jinxie, "Look at me, I'm fine. You can tag along to keep an eye on me, but I won't be bed ridden a moment longer" So saying, she ejected them from the room. A few moments, she emerged, wearing the regulation army fatigues, which on her looked small.
As they arrived in the gym, she stretched and looked around thoughtfully. "I haven't been in a place like this since my mods kicked in," she mused, "I wonder if these things even work on my scale?"
RICK: Rick stepped into the gym, ready to get a good workout before re-suiting. Every time he went to the gym, he was a bit stunned by how strong he got because of his ultra-resistant armor. Rick guessed that he could leg-press over 1500 pounds now, knowing somewhere in his brain that he was underestimating. Probably a lot.
Camilla was there, looking around thoughtfully. He smiled slightly and jogged over to her. "Need a partner? Or are you planning to bench-press the entire gym?"
KNOBS: Knobs pulled a spare wrench out of his belt pocket. His smell was back in full force. Even he wasn't sure exactly where it came from, he guessed that he had dead things in his pouches somewhere or other.
The flamethrowing mods were about done. He hoped Camilla would use it. He had completely overwritten his blast-chamber, deciding that the fired ammo had too much bubble and not enough precision.
Colon had come by with new guns. Knobs had pocketed one. He couldn't make heads or tails of the innards, and he was going to figure it out as his next project. For now, he had taken out its ammo-making-thingie. It was a weird ball with a hole that dripped a nigh-invisible liquid. It gathered in the gun somewhere in a chamber made of unknown material, where it didn't melt. Knobs found that the liquid melted absolutely everything else. There was a hole in the floor about three inches deep (the liquid had neutralized), and the edge of the desk was quite drippy. Hopefully, Rick wouldn't mind.
Then, in a particularly brilliant move, Knobs shot a drop of it at the wall and lit it on fire.
Well, we didn't REALLY need that cream-color to be consistent, did we?
It was very well targeted, and simultaneously charred, melted, and vaporized the wall, before turning it into creme brulee.
Progress is sweet.
Disassembling the gun chamber, then pounding out the internals into a thin layer, Knobs lined the inside of the thrower with it, before making a release that spat however much liquid had been made and released by the ball. He used classic flamethrower sensibilities for the lighting, with a sparker at the front.
He was now banned from Target Range 16. Beautiful.
All he had to do now was enhance safety features, and the mother of all flamethrowers would be ready. Camilla would love it.
Camilla looked Rick up and down. He looked smaller than with his armour, but even so he was powerfully built. But it wouldn't do him much good if he hmeant what she thought.
"You're not suggesting we spar, are you? No offense, but I don't know if that's entirely safe, even if you're trained for getting shot up..."
"Not quite what I was getting at, but I'm always up for a good melee. As long as you're not going to unzip me, I'll be fine."
He gestured at the gym equipment. "I had been talking about partnering on the gym equipment, for safety, keeping the staff from descending like overprotective vultures, and stuff. But whatever you wanna do, I'm up for it."
James had been taunting Kell whenever he could, McMillan was doggedly not asking about James's feelings on the subject. He was rather busy trying to live through the training he was getting. James was now teaching tactics, weapon workings, how to enter and escape buildings, and had been improving CQC steadily. Now, the pipe he slept in filled with water pressure far higher. The room was kept pitch black 24/7, and that mine would every so often walk around and tap his pipe. He had to wake up and count each tap, then go back to sleep and remember in the morning, or else he had to clean the outer barrels of the guns. The ship's guns. This was a dirty, dangerous, and all-in-all unpleasant in every way. Took awhile, too. McMillan was currently going through an exam James hat written up about gunnery. The last time he failed one of these, he was 'docked' a night's sleep. And had to swim up double the distance of the pipe on waking. Strangely, he was allowed to sleep in a bed after that.
Looking around the weapons control room, lit only by the displays and controls, he saw James sitting in the central raised fire command station. That chair was much more comfortable than his, he mentally grumbled and went back to the exam when James raised his brow at him. Bastard.
Kid's doing well. I need to go taunt Kell later today. I wonder if they have any more bacon chocolate glaze donuts to pointedly eat in front of him. I should also track down some of the other WING members onboard and check progress on those alien weapons. Maybe I can train McMillan in how to actually shoot worth a damn while I'm at it. James cloaked and exited the control room without McMillan noticing, walking through the bridge, dodging servicemen and stalking out of the room which was far too crowded for his liking. He walked through the corridors and labyrinth depths of the ship, taking the least crowded route to the training facilities, and uncloaking when he saw Meat-Shield Male and Meat-Shield Female "Hey... Rich? Rick? Your name, how's progress on those weapons? I hear from various hilariously terrified servicemen down near the ranges your recruit is working on them?" James.. sounded friendly enough. Creepy. Weird, and morbidly creepifying, but he was trying to be nice, or that's the tone he gave at least, his face was in his helmet and his body language was almost nonexistent.
"Eh? I've not seen him recently... I know he had one of 'em, though. He said something about the ammo oxidizing really well and having a... um... 'hilarious energy release rate'. Also something about creme brulee. I don't know." He shrugged. "Maybe the ammo is my mother's creme brulee. Anyways, me and Camilla were about to work out for a bit. Wanna join? Or are you busy?"
Rick half-expected James to bolt immediately in a desperate bid to stop Knobs from exploding the ship. He knew full well what a "hilarious energy release rate" in an effective oxidizing agent implied, he just trusted Knobs not to do anything outlandish. He also prayed. A lot. It seemed to work so far.
Chris headed to Rick's room to pick up Rick's armor and take it to the range. When he got there, he placed the cart he brought with him next to the wall and knocked on the door. Knobs quickly answered it and said, "Hey Chris, what's up?"
"Not much, just came by to pick up Rick's armor to run some tests on it," Chris replied.
"Oh, go ahead, it right there on the table." Knobs replied.
Chris, with Knobs' help placed the armor on the cart and started wheeling the heavy object out the door. Chris stopped right before he left and smelt something rotten, "Oh, god! Knobs, you really need to take a bath!" Chris exclaimed while holding his nose.
"It's going to take an army to put me in a shower again." Knobs proudly replied.
Jobe glanced between Rick and Camilla. Now that would certainly be an interesting fight! "Unstoppable force vs imovable object. I've always wondered what that would look like...If you guys ARE going to beat ten bells out of each other I think I'll start selling tickets" he thought a moment then added "and ensure the captain has this place insured."
"Try not to breach the outer hull. Also, one of the guns is about fifty meters down ship, don't block or damage that or I'll fire you out of it to clear it. Other than that, I'd almost pay to watch it before I snuck in." James thought hard "Actually that might be an effective boarding tactic. I just might soon ask you to get into a gun..." whether he was joking or not, was anybody's guess.
Camilla shrugged, uneasy. She hadn't been sure whether or not to accept the offer to spar, but now everyone was watching and she could hardly say no. She cracked her knuckles, trying to look busy, and half-smiled, "Sure, Rick, I'll spar if you want to risk it. Ready when you are."
Rick grinned and immediately launched himself "Everything-Behind-Me-Exploded" style straight at Camilla. His unarmed training was standard and nothing to write home about, but he still excelled at full-body contact.
He thunked straight into Camilla, who recoiled a fair bit, not really expecting to be attacked by a jack-in-the-box. After a moment of tactical thought, she leaned over and smashed her forearm into Rick's chest.
She wasn't used to her newfound power. Rick was launched off his feet all the way into a wall some ten feet away, where he hit with a sickening crunch. He remained plastered to the wall like a cartoon for about two seconds before sliding to the floor. He easily landed on his feet, barely even winded. His bones had encountered crunches twice as bad as that before, but the hit was still quite impressive. There was a brief shot of pain as his squished blood vessels popped open again, a bit strained but unruptured.
"Camilla, remember to not punch people other than me, even if they deserve it. You'll disintegrate them."
He sprinted at Camilla again before spilling forward, trying to take out her legs.
Camilla tried to avoid being tripped, but her body felt slow, weighed down by unfamiliar muscle. Unable to dodge, she knew she would fall, so turned it into a controlled break fall, and kicked out at Rick.
She tried not to hit him too hard, but even so he was thrown, sprawling to the floor. Rolling upright, she crossed the distance between them to catch Rick as he got up, and lifted him bodily.
"Don't make me throw you, big man" she grinned, "I dont want to damage the walls"
"Walls, schmalls." He reached over and flicked her playfully on the forehead. "I BELIEVE I CAN -"
Camilla reared back and threw him forcefully across the room.
Having hit the wall upside down, Rick peeled away from it, ungracefully falling head over heels on his ass. Wow, that was more fun then it had right to be. He probably should feel some pain, but he didn't really. Too much adrenaline and enjoyment. There was a pretty sizable dent in the wall, nothing the technicians couldn't buff out.
He pushed hard against the wall with his right foot and the floor with his left, skidding a third of the way back to Camilla without even taking a step. At this point, it was clear that Camilla had much better technique and power, and wasn't about to lose the melee. D'oh well, what's the fun of fighting a losing battle if you're not going to Flying Dragon Kick? Especially since he had a hard time doing ANY aerial kicks in-armor, he may as well enjoy the freedom. Two steps, jump, position.
He aimed straight for her chest and made contact, but she only had slightly more give then the freaking steel walls.
Camilla braced, but Rick her square on. She expected to be knocked down, but instead she found herself staggering back, with Rick landing in front of her. Evidently, he hadn't expected this either, and in his surprise he left his guard down.
In response, Camilla stepped in and launched a hook kick, curving in to clip Rick's shoulder, knocking him sideways. A shoulder barge sent him flying to the floor, and s short lunge placed her carefully on top of him, heavy enough to paralyze, but not enough to fully crush.
"Tough luck," she said softly, "Had enough yet?"
"Ngaaaaahh..." Rick shuffled a bit, then lay flat.
"I've been beaten... BY A GIRL! Oh, how will I ever live this down? My poor father shall kill himself in shame!" he moaned in sardonic mock sadness. Camilla let up and Rick rose to his feet, sticking out his hand. "No trick to this handshake, that was just fun and impressive. My thanks." Camilla reached over and gave him a firm handshake.
Sheesh, she STILL wasn't used to her strength. As Rick withdrew his hand, he felt the arteries popping open again.
"Aight... Let's see... two dents in the walls, a slightly misshapen section of the floor... could have been way worse. Meh, this gym is still open for business." Rick walked over to a leg press and slid into it, determined to do some controlled workout before leaving.
Chris was making his way to the gym as he was heading to the range after he felt some vibrations through the hull of the ship. He could only guess that is was Rick and someone else sparring. After he finally got to the gym, Chris took one step in and noticed that he missed a small brawl.
"Aw man, I missed a fight. 1. Who was fighting, and 2. Who won?" Chris asked while still having the cart with Rick's armor waiting outside.
"1) The big people who look like limbed glaciers and 2) Not the people who will have to clean this up. Still, it was amusing to watch. Had any luck with the acid gun by the way? If I'm going to be fighting ETs again I'd quite like to know how their weapons are best avoided..."
"Damn, I wish I didn't miss the fight. It would have been awesome to see. Oh, the guns? Well, they are obviously more advanced than ours, and the only way to not get hurt is to not get shot. Sorry for being a smart-ass, but there doesn't really seem to be any other way, unless we create some kind of anti-acid armor. The projectiles their guns fire are invisible, so don't try and peak around cover to trace the shot to the gunner. God only knows what their snipers use." Chris replied.
"So thats the bad guys with acid guns, advanced armour, diomand skinned cretins, giant near-invincible sand worms and now invisible bullets. And I'm meant to be taking them on with a pair of pistols and a sword whose teeth spin really fast. Just doesn't seem fair does it?" Jobe chuckled and shook his head "Maybe I should just fight left handed? By the way has anyone actually got any intel on those aliens? I'd like to know why sniper boy had to plug one several times before it died, might help with weak-spots or something."
"Good news is unless they want to use enough power to go to Warp each time they shoot, they can't use those things in space, bad news is they've probably got superlasers or antimatter beams or something. Well... We've got nukes and railguns. Which, so long as they can't just become ectoplasmic at the last second, should kill just about everything so long as you don't mind killing everything else around it." James mused. "I should probably just nuke them next time. I don't care what kind of diamond they're made out of, nuclear fission doesn't take any shit from anybody. And from what little I've heard of any experimental energy shields I've heard Human eggheads fathoming, we should be able to nuke that too. I say we just start railgunning nuclear bombs at them, they didn't seem too eager to talk things out with us on that planet."
"Nuke the crap out of a whole planet?" Camilla's voice sounded deeper thean she remebered, but it still carried the same sarcasm she had aimed for "That fits the mission plan of 'Kill All The Things', but probably requires passing with the High Comand. We don't know why they sent us here to clear it out; maybe there's something valuable down there that they want to keep the aliens off; nuking it wouldn't be wise"
Personally, she also thought that throwing that amount of firepower around would lead, sooner or later, to a disasterous mistake or an apocalyptic retalitaion, and she wasn;'t sure which would be worse...
"Besides, we're genetically enhanced super soldiers of death! If I get within five feet of one of those bastards I could carve it into cabab meat in ten seconds flat, and I don't want to think about what Camilla could do to one in close quarters! Where's the fun in just blowing everything up?"
What James had said was true though, Jobe thought, and after seeing what those acid guns could do, Jobe wasn't all that keen on rushing them. Still, if he had Rick to hide behind it'd probably be fine. Eventually he decided he honestly didn't care if they used nukes or not, just so long as he got to use his chain-sword a few times first
Rick grunted happily. 1650 pounds on the leg press! He would make it to the 2500 limit yet...
"Personally, I think we should get a bit more intel on the big diamond-scale-thing first. We might have just used a flyswatter on something that was bigger than a fly, which is why it didn't work out, but there's no reason to start swinging a large car at it yet."
Jason had spent the past few hours in his room alone as he tried to piece together what those aliens were. "Dammit, what were those things and what were they doing there." Jason thought to himself as he rewatched the video from the battle for about the 50th time. "They were too organized to be a scouting unit. It's almost as if they were guarding something, but what?" Jason wondered aloud. "Captain Kahlil, the science team has discovered something and they are requesting your presence." Lieutenant Sanders announced over the PA system in Jason's room. "Tell them I'm on my way." Jason responded as he stood up. "They better have good fucking news." Jason added under his breath as he walked out of his room.
"So what do you have for me." Jason said as he walked into the science room. "Well sir, we are still analyzing the dead bodies and the weapons but we discovered something interesting." Dr. Fredrickson the head sceintist replied. "Well what is it?" Jason asked. "Well we found this device that we think is locator of some kind. Here what do you think of it?" Dr. Fredrickson stated handing the device to Jason. Jason took the device and took a look at it, he noticed that the device had a large screen and showed what looked like a map. Jason noticed that there was a dot on the map but it didn't look like there was anything there. "Interesting, I'll take this to chris and see if he can figure out what this points to. In the mean time I want the analysis to the dead bodies and weapons ASAP!" Jason stated as he walked out of the room with the device.
"Lieutant sanders, could you tell me where Sergeant Gannon is?" Jason asked into his radio. "Yes sir, Sergeant Gannon is currently in the gym with other members of the WINGS." Sanders replied after a short pause. "Thank you." Jason said as he headed towards the gym. As Jason walked into the gym he noticed some of the other WINGS were there. "Hey chris I got this thing that we can't make heads or tails of. I think it's a map of some kind but I don't know what it's pointing to, can you try to figure out what this is?" Jason asked handing the device to Chris.
Chris turned to see Jason when his Captain entered the room and called his name.
"A map?" Chris inquired while grabbing the device. After looking at it for a couple of minutes he stated, "Well it's obviously a map of the dunes we were fighting on down on planet-side. I can't really say for sure, but if I had to guess, I would have to say that the dot is pointing at something underground. Whether that thing is a secret base, an ancient relic, or whatever else is anyone's guess. Hey Jason, while we are on the note of these aliens, I have compiled some data on their weapons, if you want to take a look."