Star Brigade: A 53rd Century Adventure RP

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Soviet Heavy:
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TheBlueShotgun0:
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Bravo 21:
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"I'll do more than distract."
Lime was priming hisandher pressure ram ready to move out but before leaving asked the knight one thing.
"How confident are you that the untainted gryale meat could help?"
"I'm not, but it's better than no odds at all right.
Now come on Muo. We've got a job to do. Just remember to check your targets."

avouleance2nd:
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TheBlueShotgun0:
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"With pleasure." Muo's face lit up, and he could already feel the adrenaline beginning to flow. Today was going to be a good day. He gestured for a few of the comandoes to follow him, while he in turn followed Lime. "Sirandma'an, any particular way you want to handle this?"

"Ya, whatever." James answered, disheartened that he had lost the argument. He knew this would come back to bite them in the ass, but at least the consequences wouldn't be on his head. "You heard 'em. Move out." he said to Til, Thor, and Mae as he walked past them. They all quickly fell into step behind him. As the others filed out of the dome, Thor stepped up to take point. James drew his gun and started looking around for any other cultists. "Stay on your toes." he told the others. "There's probably more patrols." And so they began the trek through the jungle back to the Corona 1.

Bravo 21:
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avouleance2nd:
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Soviet Heavy:
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"Thank you," Ruth murmured Tom, Lime and Muo with a smile, she was glad the responsibility was off her shoulders and that they had chosen to stick with her comrades. She only hoped that the infection would be easily treatable once they arrived on the Star Brigade. "I'll get the civilians ready to leave," she told them and went back over to the others.

Meanwhile above the planet, whilst Captain Vance was waiting for Tallek's response when he received a message from the corps down below about their decision. He quickly typed out a message to Nate with one hand below the view of the video-link camera with the Norg.

15 sick civvies, human & crelm, heading ur way soon, prepare med bay k?

Capt.

JoJo:
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"Captain, we have waited long enough playing your distraction games. Tallek's will not start a war here, but we will prevent a plague. We have launched. If your personnel are not away from the colony by the time the purge is completed, Tallek will not be held responsible for their loss. Sacrificing a handful for the safety of all species is the preferable solution. We apologize."

Demexin was alerted by a nearby alarm. "Captain, they've launched assault pods! They'll hit the colony in five minutes, and then all hell will break loose!"

Before Vance could respond, Demexin was rushing down the hall as fast as he could. Hooking in his comm bead, he called up Thor, still on the ground.

"Thor, how long before you can prep the Corona 1 for liftoff? You've got a Norg assault force heading planetside."

Thor's response was muffled by static. "James is leading us back quick as he can. Damn, zombie Durras and now giant bugs. Any ideas?"

"Just get in the air as fast as you can, I've got an idea."

"Roger that, keep me posted."

Demexin switched his comm bead to Vance. "Captain, permission to take the Falcon out for a spin. I'm gonna try and pull some of the dropships away. Have Lisa jam their scanners to mask me and keep an incident from happening. Just need your go ahead."

Double Post

Soviet Heavy:
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Tallek's screen flickered off and Captain Vance banged his fists against his control panel in frustration.

"I just knew those fucking bugs would complicate our job!" he yelled, then breathing heavily he turned to his voice transmitter.

"Go ahead Demexin... get our corps and the civilians out of there, you know what to do!" he commanded with a manic look in his eyes, a bead of sweating running down his black forehead. He noted with satisfaction that Nate had sent an acknowledgement of his message to him, the medical bay was being prepared without delay.

"This is going to have to be a quick job..." the Captain muttered to himself.

JoJo:
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Demexin
"I'm on it, Captain!"

Sliding into the hangar bay, Demexin dashed for the Falcon, strapping himself in. The launch sequence ticked by painfully slow, every second here was a second wasted. The hangar doors opened into Vacuum, the lights were green, and the interceptor rocketed out of the launch catapult.

On the surface, the colony's outer dome shook. The planet's rotation had almost submerged the colony under the Sea in the Sky. Within a few hours, the dome would be completely underwater.

Secondary shocks, smaller, rumbling noises, started happening. Infected Durras, their eyes glazed over, blue fur molting, were drawn to the sounds. Black shapes filled the sky outside the dome, seconds before the dome itself erupted into molten slag. The Norg dropships swarmed through the breach like a horde of locusts, quickly spreading across the buildings. Sniper perches were established on rooftops, covering the approach of demolition teams.

The first Durra cultist trained his weapon on the closest Drone. And all hell broke loose.

Tom
Sudden rattles of distant gunfire caught Tom's ear. Gabriel and his men were moving out, waiting to catch any Durras that made a move on the complex. He was still unsure about the gunfire however. There was far too much to simply be Lime and Muo's distraction. Someone else had to be here.

"Oh shit." he said. Ruth looked at him quizzically.

"I think it's the Norg," he explained. "They must've decided to attack since their guns are down on the ship. Shit shit shit."

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Gabriel got up from his seat as soon as Tom had made his decision. He started loaded his pistol with fresh magazines, before spinning them around a few times, and placing them back in the holsters. He then looked at Tom with bold determination.

"Fair enough." He said, speaking rather calmly.

"However, you'd better be ready to face the consequences. I have a feeling that your decision Tom, will have veritable impact in the future. Better get my security teams equipped and in order." Gabriel then calmly walked away from the table, a brief bit of laughter could be heard. He then activated his earpiece.

"All security team leaders, meet me by the armoury." Gabriel was about to deactivate his security headset, when an emergency warning began flashing. "What is it Beck?" He asked, sounding concerned.

"Sir, we just picked up something on the early warning system. From the looks of it, appears to be attack pods, Norg design."
"Shit. They've already started." Gabriel remarked quietly and out of earshot. "Thanks for the uh, early warning." He then quickly ran to the armoury. When he arrived, the security leaders had assembled.

"Good your all here. Just got out of a meeting with the Diplomatic Corps. They have asked us to provide some covering fire, whilst the infected Human and Crelm civilians get moved to their transport. And I have just been informed via the early warning system, that the Norg have launched assault pods, and are heading straight for the colony." The assembled leaders then stood to attention, readying for orders.

"I want you to armour up, and equip you and your squads with heavy assault rifles. Get in defensive lines, and aim for precision shooting. Gregson, want your squad armed with grenade launchers, fire some of those prototype sonic rounds that McKennah has been working on. You have your orders, now move it!"

Bravo 21:
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Soviet Heavy:
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TheBlueShotgun0:
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Ok here goes nothing. Lime had assumed cover in what turned out to be a pretty hot spot. The norg had landed nearby, flet were already unloading. The cultists were already attacking rapidly the flet had been bombarded with explosives. The flet were knocked down but getting up again.

"Rookies." Lime spoke under hisandher breath. No way were the durras going to be stopping them like this. Lime aimed for the flet feet the disruption to the sand caused them to sink in slightly.

Sure you couldn't really kill Norg but you sure could hold them. Now for a bit more of a distraction, Lime snuck behind a few of the distracted cultists, ripping the pheromone grenades from them Lime tossed on into the open hatch of a norg landing ship. It was quickly swarmed.
One of the durras turned but all that got him was picked up and smashed into his allies.

"Ok we've got some of it cleared. I'll be sending people through." True to hisandher word Lime sent about five of each of the three races towards the base.

Then things got complicated to avoid the counter attack Lime had ducked into a nearby remote monitoring station only inside to find a few more durras.
"Is it safe?" they asked.

Then Lime noticed they had a small gryale with them, at least that one look natural.
"Not just yet but soon."
"Can we take the gryale with us? This one's innocent in all this; we think maybe we can use it as a cure whatever is infecting the others."
Lime didn't know how to answer.
Using the radio.
"I've got a dilemma here." Lime quickly explained. "Response quickly please."

Thor burst into the clearing, weapon at the ready. When he was sure the area was safe, he motioned for the others to move forward. James walked out of the thicket and, with Til and Mae following him, used his interface to deactivate the shuttle's cloaking devise. The air on the other side of the clearing shimmered for a moment before revealing the Corona 1. Another button press opened the ship's hatch, and the group entered. "Thor, you're piloting." James barked. "Everyone else, grab a weapon." As Thor rushed to cockpit and the aliens armed themselves, James opened a locker and pulled out a plasma machine gun and it's tripod. He attached the tripod to the floor near the hatch and mounted the gun. Once they landed to pick everyone up, James would be able to cover their advance with a spray of plasma. Corona 1 lifted off and James went into the cockpit. "Lime" he said into the on board radio. "Corona 1 is in the air and approaching your location. ETA 5 minutes."

avouleance2nd:
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After a moment's pause, Lisa replied quickly but calmly to Lime's question over hisandher intercom.

"Is there any way of knowing whether that gryale is safe? The ship is already taking many more infected and possibly infective individuals on-board than it is designed to take safely, I suppose we could store the gryale in an airtight isolation box until our xenobiologist's have tested it fully for any sign of contamination. I believe there is one somewhere on the Corona 1."

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TheBlueShotgun0:
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The civilian's sheltered under tables and behind boxes as the Norg onslaught seemed to come from almost nowhere, their dropships flying over the cracking dome and below them, Durras cultists responding with growls and makeshift weapons. Ruth crawled closer to Tom to tell him of the latest developments.

"The civilians are all ready to leave now!" she shouted above the din around them, "Just as soon as someone gives the order for them to move!"

She looked around and grimly noted to herself that there was a silver-lining to unexpected attack by the Norg, in that they seemed to have gained the attention of crazed Durras cultists far better than the few sane Durras, humans and Crelm left on the planet.

Could we sneak out while they distract each other? she thought to herself.

JoJo:
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Gabriel surveyed the scene in front of him through some binoculars. By some stroke of luck, the sudden arrival of the Norg, managed to attract the attention of Durras Cultists, who were splitting off to face their insect rivals. Despite this, a medium sized attack force still headed towards the dome. During what little preparation time they had, Gabriel's security forces, had managed to erect some basic sandbag defences, and had taken cover, their weapons primed, and awaiting the order.

Ignorant fools. He thought to himself, mocking the cultists, for their lack of attacking the dome in numbers.

This piecemeal force that charges towards us, should easily fall. He then laughed before addressing the security.

"All right men, now, this may have not been what you were trained for; but you must not let the enemy see that. Show them the your might, and they shall fall." Gabriel could see a group of Durras heading towards the sandbags. He began pacing back and forth along the defensive line, before throwing out his arm. "Fire! Keep the enemy suppressed!" He watched as the front most squad began to fire, toppling down a group within a small volley. As more came, the other squads began to fire, being assisted by grenade support from the last squad.

Gabriel withdrew his SMG, loading a fresh clip, before beginning to fire as well.

"Keep it up!" He shouted.

Well Tom, hope this proves satisfactory for you. Gabriel thought to himself, as he took down three Cultists within a single volley.

TheBlueShotgun0:
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Thor suddenly heard another voice coming through his bead as he pulled the transport around. It was Demexin. "Thor, keep her low to the ground, I'll keep the skies clear."

As if to answer Thor's growing questions, the Falcon interceptor zipped overhead, followed by a trio of Norg ships. Demexin pulled the ship into a tight starboard loop, chaff flowing from the Falcon's countermeasure systems. Pushed into his seat by the g-force, Demexin struggled to keep the flight stick steady as he came out of the loop. The Norg ships were slow compared to his speedy interceptor, and as he leveled out, they were perpendicular to his new orientation. He greeted them with a spread of autocannon fire, shredding their engine arrays and sending the transports hurtling towards the ground.

"Three down, fifty to go." he said to nobody in particular. He watched the Corona 1 skimming low along the streets, its backwash kicking up debris and litter in its wake. This mission was turning into a rush job, but between a galactic pandemic and an army of exterminator roaches, they couldn't afford to be picky.

avouleance2nd:
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Bravo 21:
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"Lisa, pinpoint the Corps members on the map display." he said. He peered through the Falcon's canopy, surveying the growing fighting below. They were down there somewhere. Lisa chimed in with her response, marking the Corps members locations. Three of them were traveling together in the Corona 1 with Thor, Tom was holed up in the command center along with around twenty humans, and Lime and Muo were about a kilometer east. Demexin commed Thor again.

"Thor, can you make a pickup? I've got Lime and Muo on my map. I'll clear a path for you. James, be ready on the guns."

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JoJo:
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Tom kept his head down as the gunfire erupted, shattering glass around him. Ruth had rigged the colonists on stretchers to keep them still, and they didn't seem to respond to the flying shrapnel at all. Najeed slid into cover beside Ruth and Tom, covering his ears. "How much longer?" he shouted, his voice competing with the sound of gunshots.

"I don't know!" said Tom. "Could be five minutes, could be an hour for all I know. Just keep your head down."

They were interrupted by a scream. One of Gabriel's security members flew over the desk they were hiding behind, crumpling upon landing. His chest looked deformed, hit with a pressure ram, and he was bleeding from several puncture wounds. Tom scrambled to pull him out of the line of sight. He wasn't going to make it, his chest had imploded, and the man was gasping for air. Tom tried to keep him calm, but his breaths were coming harder and faster as he struggled, before falling limp. His laser pistol dropped from his hand. Tom took it and gripped it against his chest.

"Come on, where are you Thor?" he muttered.

Soviet Heavy:
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Bravo 21:
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"No point having any more casualties."
Lime spoke to the durras.
"Coast is clear for now; get that thing sealed up as best you can or it's not getting on board."
"We've got a containment pod lined up it's what we use to transport them around the base."
The gryale was soon locked down; the container was an air tight ball about a meter in diameter. Lime had never been so close to them. It looked mostly like a night black starfish dotted with a series of vents. There were also a few neon orange lumps growing in various places. Weird to think it was one of the most dangerous creatures in the galaxy."
Now back to the radio.
"I'm sending my coordinates, we're clear for a second but I'm not really sure much longer we can hold out. Did you get everyone out of there?"

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"We haven't got anyone yet." James replied over the radio. "You're our first pick-up. Like I said, 5 minutes." He hung up, not wanting to hear Lime's protest if he had any, and faced Thor. "You got his position?"

"Right there." the cyborg said, pointing to the map display. "I'd warm up that gun if I was you."

With a nod of his head, James returned to the passenger bay where Mae and Til had armed themselves. Til held an assault rifle, which looked abnormally large against her small frame, while Mae was awkwardly clutching a sub-machine gun. "Here, let me see that." James said, gesturing at the SMG. Mae handed it to him, and James demonstrated how to hold it properly. "Keep the stock tight against you're shoulder and hold the grip as tight as possible. This thing has a lot of kick."

"Alright, ya." The alien mumbled, and James handed it back to him. He doubted that little crash course would prepare him for a real gun fight, but with any luck they would be avoiding one. He walked back to the locker and withdrew a radio headset. Hooked to his radio, it would allow him to talk to the people on the ground without having to stop firing. "Almost there." James heard Thor yell from the cockpit. As the loading door began to drop, James got to the machine gun and crouched in front of it, ready to shot. Through the lowered door, James could see the trees only a few feet below them and the air battle above. Demexin was doing a good job of keeping the enemy busy, but he could only hold out for so long. "ETA 30 seconds!" Thor yelled, and James suddenly felt very, very scared.

TheBlueShotgun0:
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avouleance2nd:
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Back up on the Star Brigade, the Captain watched what he could of the events on the ground through the various monitors and feeds that the command bridge was equipped with. He wished he could be down there with them and cursed the DC rules that specifically prohibited him from leaving the ship during missions excluding exceptional circumstance.

"This is your Captain calling in," he spoke into his receiver on a line that was transmitted to the crew of the Corona 1, "according to Lisa's calculations you have less than ten minutes to get the civilians out of there, don't dawdle corps!"

"Aye sir," Thor replied as calmly as he could as the small craft veered sharply downwards, he had to admit he always did like the thrill of a fast descent, whatever the risks might be. From the cockpit windows; Lime, his Durras assistants and the grayle's box grew from tiny dots into recognisable figures in just a few seconds.

"This is going to be a close one!" Thor shouted as the Corona 1 made touch down and skidded along the sandy clearing with a terrible screeching sound, it's passengers holding on for dear life.

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Thor yanked hard on the Shuttle's stick to try and pull Corona 1 out of it's skid. Several cultists, drawn to the Corps position by the noise of battle were quickly joined by a squad of Flet Drones. Thor barely managed to pull them out of the way before they could collide with one of the tank like drones. As he peeled off, he activated the shuttle's entry ramps, opening James and the others to the elements.

"Give'em hell!" he said before switching channels. "Lime, we're outside, and James has got covering fire. Make a break for it at the first chance you get. And don't forget to let Muo have some fun while you're at it."

Demexin's voice echoed over their comm channels. "Just to let you know, you have three dropships moving in on your location. I'm tied up at the moment, but I'll get you air cover as soon as I can. We've got about seven minutes to get out of here."

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"Roger."
At the next opportunity that presented itself Lime started escorting the durras civilians and their contained gryale. The path they took showed signs of recent carnage. The fight clearly wasn't very balanced; the only good side to things really was that the cultists weren't smart enough to not provoke the incredibly advanced army which took the strain off the innocents.
The path to the ship wasn't a long one and relatively clear well to be more specific anything that was going to hurt them was already dead.

Lime made the trip expertly and efficiently showing hisandher years of experience. However once the civilians were loaded in things became more interesting.
So some of the cultists weren't so dead.
"Muo a bit of help here."

Evrant:
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The Command center was under siege by the Cultists. Dozens of frothing Durras were pounding away at the doors, disregarding the security's repeated attempts to dissuade them with gunfire. Tom finished sealing the lower doors shut, and sighed in relief. "Gabe, the lower levels are sealed off. It should funnel them back to you." he said over the comms.

Ruth called from the other end of the hall. "The other side is sealed too. We're heading back up top."

The tide was coming in much faster now. Cascading water stretching towards the sky was swiftly enveloping the colony. With the holes in the protective dome caused by the Norg, they'd drown before the cultists would kill them. Tom pushed his way towards the latest focus point for the cultist's attacks.

Jamming his pistol through the barricade, he filled the corridor with laser blasts, downing three Durras, but they kept coming.

"Gabriel, why haven't the Norg made a move here? Wouldn't the command center be a priority target?"

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The oncoming wave of Durras Cultists, gave Gabriel and the security teams, a lot of targets to hit. With every consecutive volley, several squads of cultists had fallen, their numbers being kept apart, thanks in part to the grenade barrage. They had lost a couple of troops, but they were still able to keep the enemy at bay for the moment.

This is glorious. Gabriel thought to himself with a dark smile. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. He then added, noting the ease of the kill.

It was then that he received a communication over his headset. From the signature, it was Tom.

"Gabriel, why haven't the Norg made a move here? Wouldn't the command center be a priority target?" He stepped from the fire fight, motioning one of the team leaders to take his place. The gun fire whizzed past him, each shot, with barely an inch between, missed. Gabriel began to think it over for a moment, before delivering an answer; speaking calmly, despite the chaos that surrounded him.

"I don't know. Hang on a sec-" Gabriel remarked, before whipping out his pistol, and killing two more cultists with a couple of shots.

"Perhaps they are waiting for a gap in our defences.

Maybe, they are concentrating on targeting the infected.

Perhaps the Cultists have their forces tied down.

Those are all just ideas that I can come up with for the moment. In any case, what is your current situation back there? From the looks of it, tidal wave is going to get you before everyone can get out of here."

avouleance2nd:
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"Muo a bit of help here."

That forced him to look back at the big picture. Lime had evacuated the civilians, now it was time to get moving. Muo fire one burst back down the hill, then went to join Lime. When he found himandher there was a growing group of cultists that were firing upon his CO. He moved up, taking position next to Lime.

"Orders SirandMa'am?"

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Ruth and the other healthy civilians struggled under the weight of their infected companions as they inched up the stairs higher into the dome, carefully avoiding the fragments falling from above them. Durras shrieks filled the air but thankfully the cultists were nowhere in sight... yet.

"Look here Miss Ruth!" a voice called.

Ruth dutifully looked up to see Najeed balancing on an overturned boiler module, holding open a hatch out onto the roof of the facility. A ray of sunlight flooded down onto the huddled humans and Crelm below.

"Get the rest out of there!" she told him quickly and then radioed Tom and Gabriel. "We've found a way onto the roof, we're getting up there so the ship can pick us up. Think you can get to us in time?"

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"Orders are to keep their attention to avoid civilian fire.
Catch!"
Lime tossed over durras to hisandher companion.
They were acting fairly aggressively probably just trying to get off the last bit of offence they could.
Lime tore a few apart doing hisandher best to finish them quickly, no point causing undue suffering.

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James picked himself up and shook his head. Thor's rough landing had sent him and the others flying into the Corona's wall. James stood up and looked out the ship's loading door, through which he could see Lime and Muo fighting a group of Durras some distance away. Closer to the ship was a squad Flet drone, clearly displeased that James and his comrades were still alive. Eyes wide, James went to shake Til and Mae awake, but the battle cry that the pack's leader roared did that job for him. Mae jerked awake and began a stream of confused babble, but James cut him off. "Grab a gun and shoot!" he said, and started to follow his own advise. He sprung for the machine gun and, jamming his finger into the trigger guard, unleashed a wave of plasma towards their attackers. The Flet had been advancing, but James' counter-offensive stopped them in their tracks. The alien's natural armor protected them from any fatal wounds, but the million-degree plasma was still extremely uncomfortable. The Flet tried to take cover behind trees and rocks, but their large bodies were difficult to completely cover. James, now accompanied by Til and Mae, was able to keep them pinned down. "Lime! Get the civilians over here!" James shouted into the mic. "We can't keep these guys down forever!"

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Muo caught the Durras thrown to him, rearing up onto his rear legs to free his forearms for the task of crushing Durras. In an instant, he had broken the back of the cultist, and dropped the lifeless corpse to the ground. That act drew the cultists attention to him, and he rushed at them, wrath and adrenaline carrying him towards them like a freight train.

The cultists fired at the charging Ferrax, but they were unable to bring his charge to a halt before he cannoned into the first Durras who foolishly chose to stand his ground. Muo felt bones break in the smaller sentient, but he felt no pity, only anger, and somewhere in the back of his mind, pain from where the lasers had punched through his armor. He ignored the pain, it could be dealt with later, his only concern was the glorious battle unfolding before him.

Leaving the crippled Durras where it lay, he plunged forward into the mass of violence before him, punching, crushing, shooting indiscriminately as he made his way forward. He carved a bloody path through the cultists, in their panicked state unable to form a coherent resistance, until they finally began to break and run. Muo fired at them as they fled, downing several of them, before they had fled into the trees.

Taking a few long breaths, he calmed down somewhat, and moved back to where the civilians had taken shelter. Several of them were quite visibly shaken, but that wasn't his concern, they were alive, that was enough for him. "Ready to move Sirandmaam." With that he began herding the Durras up the path to where the Corona ought to be.

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"Of course Ruth. From the looks of it, the horde of Durras cultists are dying down. We should be able to get to you in a few minutes." Gabriel responded with, turning off his communicator. He then addressed the assembled security team.

"Alright men, we'll be heading towards the evacuation site now. That doesn't mean you should let up on the cultists, keeping giving them hell as we move." Was his ordered, gesturing towards the location that Ruth was talking about. They then started to move back from the sandbag defence, but still kept shooting at the Durras.

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They'd made it.
Lime loosened slightly with relief as heandshe and Muo made it.
"You did good, Muo. If you want to rest I won't begrudge you."
Lime opened com channels.
"Who else needs my help, I've finished here so I'm ready to go when ever."

avouleance2nd:
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TheBlueShotgun0:
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"Muo, remind me to buy you a drink when we get back to New Terra. Alright, strap the Durras in, we're taking off."

The repulsor jets kicked in as Muo clambered aboard carrying the last durra. Smoke and water battled for control of the dome, making it impossible to see. Thankfully for Thor, his cybernetic implants filtered out enough detail for him to maneuver without slamming into buildings. Til and Mae crammed into the cockpit behind him, Mae chattering wildly.

"You alright, Mae?" asked Thor. "You look ill."

"I-i its's nothing. I'm fine, p-p-please, just get us out of h-here."

Thor shrugged. "If you say so."

Til spoke. "The cultist might not be a problem in the air, but the Norg still are. I assume you have a plan for dealing with them?"

"Yeah, I do." Thor flipped a switch above the canopy. "I'm gonna let them know we're coming. Demexin told me that the Norg are letting us out but purging the colonists. So if we let them know we're Corps members, they'll let us go unnoticed. And with us, whoever else we can gather."

"I'd do my gathering a little faster then, Thor." said Demexin over the comms. "They're getting suspicious of me, I doubt I can play 'cultist controlled interceptor' much longer. Grab the command center batch and make a break for orbit. We've got about three minutes time left, maybe less if the Norg's bombs go off first."

"Roger that, Demexin. Keep a path cleared for our escape."

"Will do. Watch the skies."

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Tom pushed through the fleeing people, some on stretchers, others hobbling up the stairs. Ruth and Najeed were herding them up, and Tom was heading back to collect the security team. He caught up to Gabriel as they were pulling back from the sandbags, still firing into the Durras. The cultists were screeching now, animal growls as they tore at the defenses. Six arms flailing wildly, one of the cultists ripped the bags apart, breaching the wall.

"Gabriel, it's time to go! The transport's on it's way, we can't wait any longer!" Before Tom could continue, a distant booming rumbled through the building. Something down below had exploded. Either that or the pressure dome had burst and they were all going to drown. Either way, it just cut their time even further.

"Hurry up, get to higher ground!" he said, shooting his laser pistol into the slavering cultists. "Back up the stairs!"

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"Of course Tom. Right you lot, get onto the transport, I'll hold them back, give you some time to get on board." Gabriel ordered, a few slowly making their way to the transport, whilst others were hesitant.

"But sir, that is suicide. How possibly can you-" One of the security officers spoke. Gabriel, in a brief moment of anger, grabbed the man by the throat, bringing them face to face, his golden eyes piercing into the man's very being.

"I said. Get. On. The Transport. Now." Gabriel ordered in a cold hearted, but remarkably calm manner. The security officer got the message, and signalled the others to follow suit. He then whipped out his pistols, and began twirling them in a rhythmic pattern.

"Well ladies, it looks like this is it. Guess we ought to give 'em hell." He said to his pistols with a devilish smile. Gabriel then began to fire at the Durras cultists, as they moved ever closer, each shot taking one of them down. Noticing that he hadn't much room to maneuver, Gabriel made the decision to start moving up the stairs. The cultists soon followed suit.

They had reached the rooftop, where everyone else was already on board, and it was starting to move away. Gabriel quickly returned his pistol, and whipped out his long knife, before turning to face the horde.

"Well then, guess this is where you get off." He remarked without a care, spying the transport as it moved ever further away. With a run and a leap, he plunged his knife into the landing door, hanging on for dear life. Gabriel soon clambered up, and sat in the last available seat, watching as the door slid shut.

Evrant:
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avouleance2nd:
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Bravo 21:
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TheBlueShotgun0:
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"That's it! Everyone's accounted for and we're clear!" Thor said. "Demexin, how's our exit vector looking?"

"The window is closing fast. About a minute and a half before the tide swallows our exit. I'm out, see you on the other side!"

"Meet you back at the ship, my crystalline friend." said Thor. The Corona 1's main thrusters kicked in, and the shuttle rocketed away from the command center. Behind them, the building erupted into flames and began to collapse. It looked like the Norg had set their charges at the tower's base. Below, them, several other charges began detonating across the colony, turning the area into a sea of flames. The Norg's shiny black transports lifted out of the inferno, making for the dome.

One of the ships hailed Thor. "Diplomatic Corps vessel, we shall escort you from this place. It would not do well to betray our benefactors. Allow Tallek's to guide you safely."

"Hmph, much obliged, Tallek's, you have an exit in mind?"

"Fall into our formation, and we shall do the rest." Thor shrugged, and pulled the shuttle into the center of the Norg flyers. The weight of the Sea in the Sky was pushing down on the colony's dome, with waterfalls pouring through the breaches. Yet the Norg ships, rather than moving for one of the holes, instead were aimed right at the dome's side. Thor suddenly realized what they planned to do, and he winced.

"You might want to hold on back there, this is going to get rough." said Thor. In the back, Tom shrunk into his seat, while Ruth and Najeed gripped each other tightly. The passengers collectively braced themselves, preparing for the worst.

A pair of rockets streaked out from the lead Norg ship, melting a gaping hole in the dome. The squadron zipped through in a flash, and mere moments later, the entire dome shattered. The Sea in the Sky swallowed the colony in an instant, a vast wave of water a mile high sent out like a shockwave. Thor whistled to himself, impressed by the forces of nature. The squadron of ships broke for orbit, closing in on a pair of distant glinting shapes, which eventually formed into their respective ships.

"Pleasure flying with you folks." said Thor. "But this is where we get off."

"A pleasure to work with the Diplomatic Corps, despite your insistence on subterfuge." said Tallek's drone. "May we meet on more arranged circumstances in the future."

"I'll hold you to that." Thor cut the transmission and broke for the Star Brigade. The ship's smooth curves were a welcome sight after a day of chaos. Thor looked to the passenger's section. "You know how people always want to go somewhere with a beach after a particularly tough mission? Screw that, I'm going hiking. I've had enough water for a while, anyone else agree?"

Thor was met with a murmured response. "I'll take that as a yes."


Captain Vance sat on the bridge, his chin buried in his hand. The Norg ship had left, having taken the bait, never once assuming they had moved the colonists. He still wasn't sure it was the best course of action, but he couldn't exactly go back on it now. Anyways, explaining this mess to Command was going to be trickier. They wouldn't be fooled.

Doctor Harris had his hands full setting up the quarantine and triage centers to suddenly treat forty patients as well as perform the routine post mission checkups on Corps members. The few that hadn't been infected were helping him at least, some Ruth lady and her relative. He'd have plenty of time to find out what Nate had learned on the return trip.

"Lisa, how long would it take us to reach the New Terra from here? I'd rather not spend another two weeks stuck on the ship, and I doubt our new arrivals will either." he asked.

"The New Terra is currently stationed in the Horizon System. It will take approximately three days from the Kehladd System to arrive. Shall I send a subspace transmission to inform them of our arrival?"

Vance waved his arm. "Yes, go ahead. Tell them to get the debriefing committee ready for when we arrive. I can't stand them, but procedure is procedure. They'll probably want to ask the colonists some questions too. I'll give them some time before I let them know. I think we all need the rest."

Til Wing nodded. "I agree Captain. Further stress may cause unexpected problems."

"Thank you, Counselor Obvious." said Vance, half jokingly. "And if I suddenly go blind, I suppose you'll tell me I won't be able to see where the ship is going?"

"I would," she said slyly. "Except I place more trust in Pilot Arsiir's capabilities, considering he is the pilot, and not you."

"Should I include that in our report as well, Captain?" said Lisa.

"No."

"I see."

"Just get us out of here." sighed Vance. "I've seen enough water for one day."

The Star Brigade arrived at Kehladd's Jump Gate, the gigantic accelerator ring's outer edge accentuated with warning lights. Just what Vance needed, a nice, smooth return trip that he could sleep off. He felt the rumble beneath his feet as the Star Brigade's main thrusters started up. It might have been easier to use the FTL drive, but they needed a rest.

"Thor, take us home."

Aiming the ship into the Gate's center, the stars disappeared, and the Star Brigade vanished into the gate system, leaving behind a smoldering wreck, and looking forwards to paperwork.

End Mission One

Epilogue: The Two Faced Planet

New Terra, Diplomatic Corps Headquarters

Captain Vance stared through the window that stretched along the length of the corridor, gazing into the vast space that comprised the Diplomatic Corps' private dry dock within the New Terra. The Star Brigade was dwarfed by the massive Anvil Class Battleships it shared it's space with, a mere speck within the empty space. She was receiving a refit after their last mission, at Demexin's insistence that point defense guns wouldn't cut it against hostile warships. Vance smiled, imagining Demexin ordering about the work crews trampling over his designs.

New Terra was at once a station, a ship, and a colony on a grand scale. The station would be better classified as a planetoid, given that on first glance, one might easily mistake the grass covered surface and breathable outer atmosphere for a regular planet. But what it truly was was the greatest engineering feat of human and Crelm history. Subcontracted to the Norg of course. New Terra was the mobile heart of the Solanic Union, an Earth sized starship that served as a second home to any union member. It's organic surface covered an artificial interior, honeycombed with entire cities, factories and anything else one could imagine needed for life.

The hatch at the end of the corridor hissed open, revealing Til. The Astrid's skin was a pale blue, reflecting her calmness. She smiled at Vance. "I hope I'm not interrupting, Captain." she said.

"Not at all, Counselor," said Vance offering his hand. "Come to stare at the ships, or are you just bored of wandering already?"

"Hive structures don't interest me, Captain." she said. "I much prefer tundra, as you humans put it. Flat plains stretching to the horizon, with cold shores washing along the coasts. Ventaig might seem geographically boring to most, but it is home."

Vance leaned over the rail. "Well, this is my home. The surface might look beautiful, but you'd need to be rich to live up there. Nope, I'm from the warrens below the surface, so those "hive structures" are what I grew up with living here. They tried to make the place look lived in for people so they wouldn't feel like test subjects living in a sterile world, but all that encouraged was for the locals to shit on everything. It was a slum, no doubt, but, it was home."

Til tilted her head to try and catch Vance's eyes. "Is it still home then, Captain?"

"Please, call me Thomas, or Vance. We're not on the ship, Til. We can be informal. I haven't been back to the warrens here for maybe ten years. Not since I joined up with the military. Been on ships ever since. I guess you could compare it to a traveling salesman: his only real home is his vehicle. Except, it's a starship instead of a car. The Star Brigade just happens to be the latest one."

"Hmm, I hadn't considered that." said Til. "Even when away from Ventaig, my family has always considered it to be home, regardless of where we moved to. Not every Astrid thinks this way, though. It's seen as old fashioned. But I have my reasons."

Vance chuckled. "I suppose you do. And I also suppose you aren't going to tell me, are you?"

Til's eyes narrowed. "Not until our sun goes supernova and wipes our homeworld out."

"Hah, never met an Astrid who would talk. You're incredibly tight lipped about your local culture."

"We don't have lips, Thomas."

Vance shrugged. "It's a manner of speaking."

Neither spoke for a while. Vance noted through several quick glances that Til's color was changing ever so slightly towards yellow. She seemed more comfortable and less coolly professional, or at least that was what he could gather from bioluminescent communication. He grinned to himself.

"Still," he started. "Even if the warrens are a slum, they had some good haunts for food. Let's see if any of them are still standing. Are you hungry?"

Til seemed surprised. "Oh, er, well, why not? I suppose there are more tunnels and hollows I can see before we set out again."

"That's the spirit. We're ashore for a few days, we might as well spend it doing something new!"


"I'm telling you Rithim, they are going to pin this on me somehow. They always do. Thomas Anderson, accidentally worshiped as a god on one planet before being chased off world. Thomas Anderson, responsible for causing a war within the first hours of contact with a new species! The Andursion, an evil being that will be shot dead and eaten if he ever steps foot on Lonyx again. And now a new one: Thomas Anderson, the man responsible for unleashing a galactic pandemic to the heart of the Solanic Union because he made a split second decision to rescue a bunch of colonists!"

"Well, I'm sure the colonists won't hold it against you." said Rithim. The Crelm continued working on his leaking doorway. "Anyways, the Committee will understand, especially if they want testimonies from everybody, not just you. It's not like you were the only one to advocate taking them."

Tom was pacing around the room, biting his knuckles. "Sure, that's true, but what do you think the Committee will see? A bunch of relative nobodies on their reports, or the guy who has a track record that puts most others to shame?"

"Pass me that slicer will you?... thanks. Well, if you hate it so much, why don't you just take an office job? You'd still be working for the Corps, but the worst thing you could be accused of is forgetting to format your spreadsheets. I'm sure that Poravan could send another envoy."

Tom scoffed. "Right, in another thirty years maybe. They might be sophisticated, but organized, they aren't. I'm just stuck in this spot. What am I going to do, Rithim?"

The Crelm hit his head region as he stood up. "Well, for starters, you could stop moaning about it at every chance you get. I'm busy doing housework while you just stomp around the common room whining about your job. So unless you want me to dump seawater all over you, shut up and let's talk about something other than work."


Soviet Heavy:

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Lime- New terra level 1 New New Frekisburg

Lime stepped out of the ship and onto the other one.

Heandshe hadn't talked to many of the others during the journey. There were reports to prepare and things to consider. Sure their little trip to earth wasn't the easiest but that other mission was well, military training didn't often focus on the moral questions.

The jury was still out on whether or not bringing one of the most dangerous animals in the galaxy onto the ship was actually a good idea, so far the gryale tumour meat was helping the infected get better but containment was always sketchy.

A few of the canopy troops they'd helped get off world said they should contact the Urillian Brigade a group of durras and norg working with the canopy council to controlee and regulate gryale.

Lime hadn't planned anything yet heandshe'd recognise the need to talk to other first.
Lime hadn't spent much time on the new terra, heandshe was much more use to earth, much more peaceful and less crowded.

But Lime had something that needed doing. Checking with a few local sources it wasn't hard to hunt down someone heandshe owed an apology to.
"Anderson."

Kalade

Her horn mostly healed by now Kalade was back to her slightly more social self. One of the new people interested her, something wasn't right about them. No one else seemed to notice.
"Gabriel was it?" She asked the stranger.

avouleance2nd:
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The door to Rithim's home rang. "Tom, make yourself useful and get that will you?"

"Why yes dear, right away." muttered Tom. The door slid open revealing Lime. "Oh, hello Lime. Umm, come in, please."

Lime obliged and followed Tom back to the common room. Rithim looked up from his work at the sudden arrival of a fellow Crelm. He tucked his tools into his gel pouch and offered a hand to Lime. "The name is Rithim, friend. Do I call you sir, ma'am or both?"

"Uh, Rithim, this is Lime, the military commander from the Star Brigade. He's a colleague. Lime, this is Rithim, one of my friends from my time doing field work before I was made envoy." Tom leaned in closer to whisper to lime. "He likes it if you talk to him as male. Just a quirk of his."

"It's more than a quirk, Tom. It just makes things easier for me, and it definitely helps when dealing with other species in... intimate situations. So, what can I do for you Lime? Tom was just stopping by to tell me all about his fascinating experience with almost being drowned, eaten, shot at, blown up and falling to his death in a single day. I'd show you around the submerged section, but Tom wants to stay dry."

avouleance2nd:
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Gabriel had remained mostly with his security team whilst they was on board the Star Brigade, chatting about their overall experience mostly, whilst playing a few games of cards during the voyage. Most of them had left to visit family stationed on New Terra, others decided to stay, wanting to help out in what way they could.

He was looking out one of the viewing windows at the various ships, which easily dwarfed the Star Brigade, when a female lizard like being with orange scales, and purplish blue rings on its tail and limbs went up to him.

"Gabriel was it?" She had asked, Gabriel soon turned round to respond.

"Indeed it is. Gabriel Wolfe at your service. Your Kalade right? I think I spotted you in passing as the colonists got on board." He offered a handshake, or clawshake if your a lizard I suppose.

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