Pyotr walked with the rest of the group into the dropship and immediately scanned for a good seat. Ten seats and eight passengers, myself included, should mean, provided no one sits in the seat adjacent to the corner spot, I will be reasonably isolated. With that thought, he sat down in the rear-left corner, secured his tool kit next to the chair, then strapped himself in. Making sure there was no slack in the safety belts, he sunk into the seat and let his mind sift through the possibilities of what they might encounter.
Imagining it now was substantially different than when he was being briefed; leafing through the files gave him a lesser perspective than actually being minutes away from initiating the operation. Many of the documents gave very little information as to what they were dealing with, all anyone seemed to know was that there was some hazardous materials causing enough problems to shut down the mining operations. At the very most, they'd just be scouting the place out, determining the hazard and call in the clean-up crew. Though now that he was strapped into the dropship, part of him believed the rumors of the presence of xenomorphs to be true. Feeling a nauseating mixture of excitement, fear, wonder and recurring hunger, he loosened the straps until it was comfortable to move, then closed his eyes and began taking slow, deep breaths as he awaited the drop.
Drake smirked and looked at the acid burn for a moment. Yeah, just a chemical burn. Someone on his old crew did that too, and it probably hurt pretty bad. Drake thought to himself. Once everyone sounded like he was ready, he looked over his shoulder again. "Arrite! Stay Strapped in! I know it's gonna feel like a smooth ride, but if something happens, I don't want anyone flying through the window." And with that, The dropship roared to life and quickly flew out of the hangar and straight toward the planet. "Fuck this, no ECS?" The pilot complained as he plotted out his destination.
The ship seemed to just fall toward the planet. Drake made some minor adjustments to ensure a smooth ride as he built up speed. Perhaps a little too much speed, but once he got close enough to the surface, he started to fly forward until he was no longer just free falling. Another few more moments, and he's be slow enough, placing the dropship just in front of a cave.
The man took his hands off of his controls for a moment as the ship hovered at one point. He needed a hard drink of whiskey, and once he was ready, he would slowly fly the dropship in. Almost painstakingly slow as he flew through the minuscule tunnel. This was the longer part of the trip, with an occasional scratch or "WHUUMP" Could be heard... But the ship never shook. Drake had lost numerous parts on a ship he knew to this tunnel, so naturally, on a ship he hasn't flown before, he figured that he would be a bit on the slow side and not lose anything.
With another scratch or two, and a rock falling on the front glass of the cockpit, There was no damage at all. Drake finally piloted the dropship into a much larger Cavern in which case he picked up speed and placed the ship on the landing pad. Once everything met specifications and the engine was eventually shut down, Drake let out a sign of relief and sat back, smiling. Nobody else could do that. Not on a ship they flew only once before. Never in a million years could anyone best this and he believed every bit of that.
With a bright smirk, Drake unbuckled himself from the chair and flicked a switch to open the dropship doors. "Fucking rights! Beat my time." he commended himself as he got up to join the rest of the others.
Marcus stood behind Drake as he flew through the tunnels. He wouldn't say anything, but he was damn impressed by his flying. "Good job, Drake." Marcus said, patting the pilot on the shoulder.
He walked into the sitting bay and looked over his Marines. "Alrigh' Ladies, you know the drill, keep it tight and watch your sectors. We're here to find the crew and get comms back up again. The crew detail says abou' thirty of them should be on site." Marcus cast one last look at them all and hit the loading ramp switch. With a creak, the ramp lowered itself and hit the floor with a thud. Stepping outside, Marcus looked around the spacious loading bay. Equipment lay scattered about and storage boxes were half empty. The site was quiet. He looked around, no welcome party. Just a single blast door leading into the station. Marcus pulled back the level on his pulse rifle with a clack and motioned for the Marines to disembark and follow.
Once the dropship landed safely in the cavern Sean unbuckled himself, got up and hooked up his smartgun harness.
"Well boys we ain't dead, so thank you mister pilot."
The ramp lowered and Dos Santos got up from his seat. Things looked calm enough on the outside. The others were getting up too and he jogged out after the Sarge staying close behind him, readying his weapon and staying alert on the off-chance he spotted someone injured that he might otherwise miss.
"Orders Sarge?" he asked, offering help. Though from the looks of things he doubted they'd be setting up an entrenched perimetre or anything just yet.
Miles gets to his feet, pushing the pain to the back of his mind. "Thanks for the trip. Inflight movie sucked balls though. Last time I book holidays through a third party site." Taking the rifle from his back, he checks the load as he trots down the boarding ramp. "Hey, Astrid, got any aspirin?"
Ortiz springs out of his straps and snatches his ZX shotgun, pressing the "pack" button that folds it neatly into a square ((Mass-Effect-like)) and straps it to the side of his belt. He snatches the M420 Flamethrower, a hefty looking gun that's only slightly larger than a regular pulse rifle, sans the canister, and hoists it with ease as he jogs and hops out of the drop ship.
Miles' advice had burned a personal mission into his brain. Stick with the smartgun, keep him covered, he thought to himself.
Upon leaving the dropship, he trods over the other marines and turns his attention to the Sarge.
Vic followed the marines into the dropship and looked for a seat. He wasn't picky, he didn't mind if he was surrounded. That said, he found one that wasn't occupied or surrounded so he sat down there. He got comfortable, adjusting his body and leaning back. He always got the shakes while going down to a planet. It wasn't a serious medical condition, just a way his body said he was nervous. But not in a bad way. It was like a race-horse before the start of a match. But he had never been a race-horse so he wouldn't know. I hope the pilot can fly smoothly, a bad pilot that sends his 'rines down with bumps is a pilot that might not make the pick-up. Pick-up, pick-up. Should be no rush today. No baddies down here hopefully. I mean there. No baddies down there... He thought.
"Arrite! Stay Strapped in! I know it's gonna feel like a smooth ride, but if something happens, I don't want anyone flying through the window." After hearing the pilot's announcement, he quickly strapped on without bothering to make adjustments.
During the drop, Vic closed his eyes and tried to relax. The ride was reasonably smooth, which was damn good for a drop. A drop was usually rough; this meant that the pilot was good. A pilot that would make good pick-up. The only thing Vic was irked by was the pain the straps gave him. He regretted not adjusting them. Fuuuuuck this hurts. I'll never have a real smooth ride. He thought.
"Alrigh' Ladies, you know the drill, keep it tight and watch your sectors. We're here to find the crew and get comms back up again. The crew detail says abou' thirty of them should be on site." Sergeant Marcus said and Vic pulled off the straps and followed the squad down the ramp.
"This place looks empty. Of course not as empty as my room." He said to himself. He pulled out his pulse rifle and checked to see if the safety was on. It was. He checked his shotgun, it was on too.
He was looking at a desolate docking bay. He thought there was supposed to be some kind of crew or machinery. Or sounds. Or anything that would be in a mining station. What the fuck? I don't see any crew or people. Isn't there supposed to be somebody? Someone working? I don't think they celebrate Christmas here...It's also too damn quiet. The sound of silence, there's nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. I don't hear any generators, any vehicles or any humming of equipment. Something is fucked up. Really, really fucked up.
Drake walked out of the cockpit, Shotgun in hand. He opened the side compartment and manually loaded two shells before closing the gun and loading a magazine. With a test pump of his shotgun Drake was ready. "I've been to Prabhava once or twice. They like to play tricks, secretive." Drake admitted. "They're too secretive though, I only really know the Bar, and nothing else. So, you guys should be careful. They might decide what it's like to shoot us."
Drake took a moment to look around the Landing pad. It seems a little familiar to him, but not so much. Man, it's been a hell of a long time since he was here. "I'mma gonna stick with you guys, Right? Pretty sure that's where you want me." With one last click from his gun as he hopped out, he disabled the safety. He kept his gun lowered, and was extra careful not to point it at anyone. He remembered the yelling one of his own crew members gave him for pointing a gun at him, Drake imagined it would be significantly worse if he pointed that shotgun at anyone in the military.
Drake also felt pretty good though. Maybe not drunk enough for this, but he felt right again. Drake decided to get in a position near Miles. Miles seemed alright.
Pyotr sighed with relief as the dropship came to a soft landing. Swiftly, he unbuckled the safety straps, grabbed his tool kit and stepped off down into the landing bay. It was empty and quiet, though he had assumed that was the norm. He hadn't studied much on the actual mining procedures at Prabhava, just the various operating tech on the station. Fiddling with his utility belt, not out of boredom but from the general dislike of having idle hands, he walked around the cavernous landing area, toolkit swaying in his right hand. He didn't know what he was looking for, if anything at all, he just was biding his time while waiting for more orders.
Marcus looked around the Bay and then without hesitation, walked towards the blast doors, motioning for the others to follow him. Upon reaching the door, he noticed the lock was on. Curious he thought. Motioning for Pyotr to open the doors, he watched as the small Russian worked his magic. Within an instant, the lock flashed green and with a 'whoosh!' the doors slid open. A sub-corridor leading to the right, turned and went up a ramp. Directly infront of them, another doorway stood and as Marcus walked forwards, it opened. Leading into a large open room. Machine carts littered the space and cargo crates were staked high, with various parts of machinery laying across the floor. In the South wall, a massive circular opening was stood. Inside it, was a set of mine-cart tracks and looking deeper into the tunnel, it veered off into darkness. The tunnel was about twelve foot in circumference.
Marcus looked further into the room and above them, on the second story a command room could be seen. The shutters were down and the "Weyland Yutani Corp" name could be seen printed across them. Marcus looked back at the tunnel. "Alrigh' somethings not righ' here. Command rooms upstairs. We'll back track up there and see what we can find. Stark, I want you and the Civvy here keep an eye down that shaft, anything comes that's not Human, fucking hose it." Marcus turned to the rest of the squad. "The rest o' you, follow me." Marcus said as he walked back to the corridor, to make his way upstairs.
"This is how bad horror movies start out Sarge"
Sean said as he follwed the sarge looking at the ceiling and around him.
"anyone got a motion tracker? I don't like this, I dont like this at all."
Jose wasn't sure if the Sarge answered him or not. He looked around the absence of any activity. Or signs of life abosorbed him. It was like a black hole drawing in his attention.
"This is wrong Sarge, this is very wrong"
A sense of rising panic, the controlled response of a trained marine: to parts of him fighting for dominance. He readied his rifle.
"No no no no"
Not even the hum of a motor someone had left on.
He had forgot the Civ's name... the pilot. Dent?
"Civ, I don't think think these are games they're playing. This is fucked up"
The silence ate at him. This wasn't natural.
He was tense and ready to strike. Calm down or you'll shoot a squadmate. He lowered his rifle a little. His training and discipline taking hold, but he was still ready for things to kick off.
"There should at least be a generator on! Something! I'm telling you this is messed up. Sarge what do we do? I've seen stuff like this before"
His mind flashed back to an ambush in a mine. Damn the simliarities were unnerving. They'd been attacked by a small group. No motive had ever been discovered. It was only thanks to Joshua Wagner, a PFC that had spotted what was about to happen in time to save both their skins that Jose was still alive.
He had kicked himself so much for that and had resolved to be that soldier next time round.
In his mind he repeated "Sarge please listen please listen" over and over again.
"I got one", Miles calls out to Sean. "Built into my datapad. Used it during infiltration missions. I'll buzz your comm if anything pops up."
Miles turns to the pilot, "right, Drake. Guard duty! Oh, and not to unnerve you, but if you hear a hissing, that's them. If it's directly behind you, you're already dead." He grins, "no pressure."
"Well shit boyo that don't help us when we're going deeper into the station. Anyone got one that isn't attached to their arm and is coming with us?"
Sean begins fidling with his eye to activate the night vision and targeting data for the smartgun.
"With my experience with these bastards I'll tell all you youngins to keep 'em looked and loaded if there are bugs here you'll wana be ready"
Ortiz flips a switch on his belt, and his rather large shoulder mounted headlight turns on. It's surprisingly powerful even for its already large size, it almost lights the entire path in front of him right down to the minecarts.
"There, that's better eh?"
He jogs and catches up with the others, keeping his arms relaxed but steady on his M420 Flamethrower. "Don't freak your stuff just yet amigos, it could just be a technical fault or something."
I got a bad, bad, bad feeling about this. Fuck should I tell Sarge about it? Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Nah I'm not being paranoid. Yes I am! Fuck I might save a few lives, maybe get a medal. Nah a medal is too shiny for me. I'm not a medal-grabber. I may be paranoid, but I'm no android... Vic thought.
He followed the squad through the doors and looked around the room. To Vic, this felt more natural. It looked and felt like a proper mining station. Of course minus the people, but it had the vibe that someone had been here. It felt less empty. Less grim. He wondered if it was the fact that he was in the place with human company or the fact that there were cargo crates and machinery. Don't matter, I'm no psychologist. He noticed that on the South Wall that there was a huge opening. It was circular and roughly twelve foot in circumference. Inside were mine-carts and further investigation confirmed that it went deeper.
I wonder if 'em buggers can handle the gas. Or maybe they pump it out now. This place seems fancier than the mines back in my home. They probably do. I hope we don't have to go down there. Bad memories about mines, bad, bad memories...
"V! Pick up the pace, you ain't getting paid by the hour. Hell we ain't even paying you much." The operator said. He cackled after teasing Vic and pushed a button to make the space he was in tighten. "Fuck it. On the bright side, I won't be claustrophobic when I grow up. Although it could flip." He said. With the little space and air that Vic had in the tunnel, he was close to collapsing and talking wasn't helping either. But he knew talking to himself was the only way to get through the hours. Sometimes he wondered if he'd ever get out since operators sometimes left, leaving the workers trapped. Most died when that happened. They'd be stuck there too, no one bothered to pull them out. It made conditions the workers had to face worse, with the smell and infestation of various animals and insects. The pay was bad and conditions worse, but Vic had motivation. His family. But that was no longer his motivation. His motivation was to live. He loved the Corps. It was the prime time of his life.
Vic snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Sergeant Marcus saying "The rest o' you, follow me." He followed.
Drake looked around frantically. This looked like go-time, but... No way. "I dunno." He responded to Jose. "They're stupid to fuck with ECS and Long-range Scans. But there aint no way anything other than a bullet or human's comin' from that hall." He held a firm grip with his shotgun with his left hand. Holding onto it by the pump as he reached in his coat pocket and aimed his handgun down the hall. If he needed Range, a handgun was where it was, as the spread from his shotgun was pretty unreliable.
"I mean, fuck off." He said, getting a little tired and shaky. "Aliens aint real... Can't be fuckin' real." Could they be real? All the stories he heard, about something latching on to someone's face, or a giant worm bursting out of your chest like some sort of backwards shotgun. Were those chemical burns really some sort of acidic blood? No way. If the blood was really that acidic, wouldn't it burn through the alien? Drake smirked as he found his loophole. "Just be ready for redneck hicks. That's what half of these people are." He assured Jose and Miles. "And it's Drake, By the way."
God these assholes were making him need another drink. Fuck Miles.
Pyotr packed his toolkit just as swiftly as he had fished his tools out; his muscle memory made him fast at work with nearly unmatched precision. However, there was no time for pride, he had orders. Stepping into the large room past the second door, he noticed the ground was littered with various components. "Bljįkha-mśkha, you would think these people would take better care of their work spaces..."
He hustled over to catch up with the sargeant and the others. Looking around the squad, he noticed a few of them seemed to be on edge. There is no present danger... he thought, what is wrong with these people?
Miles pretends to ignore Drake's freak out, and wipes a dried slick of gun oil from the barrel of his rifle, absent-mindedly. He clicks his tongue impatiently, and then says "Hey Drake, got any whisky on you? My headache's pissing me off and I forgot my pain meds."
"Miles, seriously with all due respect Lance Corporal, I'm convinced as hell it ain't time to be chucking back starshine or whatever."
He hated cointradicting or otherwise creating conflict with superiors. He now wished he hadn't said anything. If Miles told him to piss off he would drop the matter. He just hoped the Sarge saw things his way.
And if the Ci- Drake. Whatever.. people here got referred to by their ranks all the time. Not his fault the civ didn't have one. He was a good pilot, a damn good one, but Dos Santos wasn't convinced of his abilities as a grunt yet. He had kept his calm so far, a good sign. "Focus on that!" he thought to himself
"Trust me boyo don't worry about the liquor, one you dealt with bugs, you need the drink to do it again."
Seas said seriously as he slapped the man on the back
"He got the right idea." Drake replied to Sean as he put his handgun away for a moment. He was on edge, he didn't go for the drink right away, but instead, held the shotgun at the ready with one hand as he reached in his coat pocket. Two swigs later, Drake passed his silver flask to Miles. Before Miles could take i though, Drake looked straight at the solder and pulled the Flash Back. "I get this back." He ordered, before passing it over to him. "And it's really hard, it'll probably knock you on your ass, so don't spill it."
Drake was pretty tired of this Alien shit. But with everyone's expression, he was starting to get a little into the zone. A bit on the spooked side, a bit in the murderin' side. If it was in that hallway, and it moved... He'd fucking blow it away.
Astrid walked behind the marines, looking at them as they drink liquor during a mission. "Stay sober, stay sharp. I can't make you new limbs", Astrid said as she continued to follow the sergeant. She looked around her and tried to keep her cool, instead focusing on the medical procedures she'll have to preform once she meets with any injured miners.
Miles glances at Santos and Sean. "Trust me. I've had these headaches all my life. I'm more likely to be put off by them than a swig of whisky." He takes the flask from Drake and takes a large swig; giving his had a shake as he gulps it down. "Right. Ain't you guys supposed to be going with the Sergeant upstairs?"
"Erm Sergeant, I have a bad feeling about this. Not the bad feeling I usually get but the kind of feeling you get while you're on a deserted mining facility. You know? Not the feeling from gas but the kind of feeling you get from going on a mission like this. It feels like a text-book suicide mission or a waste of time. I feel like it's the former. It is the former in my opinion. What do you think Sergeant? I'm sorta worried Sergeant. I don't want our first mission to be our last mission Sergeant." Vic said. He was beginning to 'combat-chat.' Once he started, he wouldn't stop.
Vic felt a sense of worry. The docking bay had made him curious, and his curiosity made him nervous. He knew it could be another bug-hunt but he also knew that it could be a trap. They aren't mindless bugs. 'Least not the thing that attacked my BCT. If that even was a bug.
"New guy calm The fuck down. Stay close to me and ortiz my Big gun and his Flamethrower ain't gunna let anything happen to you... As long as you stay outta our line a fire that is."
"Cool it holmes, you guys are freakin' out and we haven't been here more than 5 minutes."
A small mechanized sliding door blocks the way up the stairs towards the command room. Ortiz turns his shoulder light towards the door and moves in closer to investigate. The door is securely locked shot from the inside, the exterior control panel doesn't seem to be functioning.
"Hello! Anyone there?"
A few moments pass by as the squad waits in silence, there is no response.
"Pyotr, come pop this door open amigo."
He takes steps aside for the Russian specialist and takes his place next to Sean again. The door is well lit, as Ortiz's shoulder lamp covers the entire thing and a large section of the wall around it.
((I hope you don't mind that I start taking some initiative to move the roleplay forward. It's going wayyyy too slow and I just think people are afraid to do absolutely anything without you giving it the O.K.
I'm not going to make a swarm of Aliens attack us or anything but lets start moving, lol.))
Marcus looks around the corridor as he moves towards the door. Watching as the Russian gets to work on the lock. Raising his rifle to his waist, he keeps an eye on the doors, waiting for them to open.
With a 'whoosh' the doors open and a small light flickers on illuminating the room. Cables trail across the floor and computer stations are littered with equipment. Cold coffee sits still in mugs left on the work tops and a half smoked cigar lays in an ashtray. Rifle at the ready Marcus moved into the room, looking around. "Keep it tight Marines..." He whispered.
His nerves were running up the walls and a slight increase in his heartbeat told him something was wrong. "Pyotr, see if you can get this station online again, check these 'puters and see what you can find."
Marcus wandered to a desk and picked up a logbook. The last docking came from a small freighter ship, docked in the second hanger. Just off from the main tunnel.
"Oi Sarge you know this ain't right. Noone just up and leaves like this."
Sean said as he picked up the cigar from the ashtray and lit it
"Just voicing my concerns to the Sergeant, that's all. Not trying to make anyone edgy, wouldn't want to have casualties on a bug-hunt would we? But this just looks bad you know? I agree, no one just leaves like this unless they were forced to. I don't like it, not one bit. Can we check security cameras to see what happened? I'm sure that'll explain some stuff. Maybe they went on holiday or something." Vic said.
He was blurting out whatever came to his head while looking around. It was his infamous combat-chat and his squad might not be the only ones picking it up. Vic didn't realize that if his suspicious were true that he could have given away their position. He had a fairly average power distance at first, he would be a five all the way to three in mitigated speech when talking. Eventually, he would go to two where he would almost command people. It was odd for this to be found in a person raised by a poor family but BCT changed all of that. Vic was no longer afraid of talking to superiors.
Dos Santos arrived at Vic's side.
"I hear you, man. I know what you mean. We got any word on what the systems and cameras say? Where's Pyotr"
Between himself and Vic, Jose was getting really worked up about things. So far the Sarge seemed cool and that gave him some stability.
"Yes, sir," Pyotr acknowledged, "right away, sir." He rushed over to the terminals and set his toolkit onto the desk. Checking the terminals, he noticed none of them were recieving any power. No lights, no sound... he thought to himself as he kneeled and peeked under the desk to find the access hatch to the terminal cables, let us see what we can find.
He saw the hatch under the left-most terminal, fished his hex key set out of his tool kit, and hurried over to the hatch. Taking the mag-lite from his belt-holster, clicking it on and pointing it at the hatch, he immediately determined the necessary hex key size. After unscrewing the hatch and opening it, he shone the light into the opening to find the power cables. He discovered a tangle of thick black cords, several of them connected to a large converter box that was laying on the floor. Upon closer inspection, a few of the wires looked badly stripped. Goddamned rats... he looked from the stripped cables to the two large, adjacent sets of four-pronged protruding from the box, bent at an angle as if they were wrenched from the sockets, BIG Goddamned rats.
Pyotr got down on his stomach, reached far into the opening, grabbed hold of the converter box and struggled a bit as he attempted to push the prongs in their proper ports. After a few short moments of blindly prodding the wall, he found the ports and with a good shove he forced the box into place. He pulled his arm out, shone the light into the opening and evaluated his work. Should hold providing no more rats come near it. As he rescrewed the hatch to the wall, he began to hear the dull hum of the computer terminals slowly rebooting.
The power rushed back to the facility. With a 'whuur' machines and computers began to come to life and go through start up routines. The main lights flickered to life and lit up the whole room. Marcus wandered around the room, checking the computers as they booted up.
In the main tunnel room, where miles stood, the tracks and turbines in the tunnel began to power up. Lights flickered on along the length of the tunnel, as it disappeared a mile into the rock the station was built on. A gentle breeze came from the tunnel as air was pumped around.
Ortiz flicks his shoulder lamp light off and sighs in relief, relaxing his arms which had been tensely gripping his weapon for the past few minutes. It seemed much longer to him. Although he wasn't as openly nervous as everyone else, he still had that sinking feeling inside that something wasn't right. He just hid it better.
But now the light's back on. Light is comfort, light is security. No darkness means nothing strange lurking underneath. As long as he can see what he's shooting, it isn't that bad.
"Why were they off anyway, was it a hardware failure? Hey Sarge, you think this was just some Industrial accident and some miners suffocated down there or something?"
He knew what was coming next. Ortiz was most definitely not looking forward to entering those tunnels.