Where the hell were any of those guys when all of...that shit was going down?
Should I have done more? She wondered as she put more distance between herself and the carrier. An inevitable, and impossible, dilemma pf high versus low time preference. To expend more for the sake of present comfort, or to conserve, knowing that there was no way of knowing how much of the personnel was infected (as opposed to simply dead)? Yeah,there was really no telling. I could've expended everything and it still might not've died. Won't be making it back to the armory anytime soon. She checked her equipment once more and proceeded.
Didi remained on high alert as she moved about the facility, readying her gun at every corner, every intersection and every doorway before proceeding. While far from the conventional operative, she had been subject to much of the same training as the others, and if there was ever a time to heed the often-useless protocol...
Hey, when it works...
And it did. Once she'd finally found what seemed a safe enough area, she nudged the door in slowly, leading the way with the front of her rifle. Ever so slightly, nudging...and peering inside.
A gasp as she finds herself likewise met with the barrel of a gun, and greatly outnumbered. Her body tensed but she didn't fire right away.
And then she heard him speak, and that changed everything.
Didi straightened up and looked at O'Riley. Deadpan: "Great. Was hoping you were dead, or at least infected so then I could kill you without the hassle." Beneath the sarcastic tones she meant it, but her words served also as a beacon to the entire squad. "It's me," they said, without releasing her from the veil of invulnerability.
Assuming all went well she'd shove her way inside and find a seat, in a chair or on the floor if none were available, and proceed on herself with a similar makeshift repair process as she had the old man--albeit taken with more care. Speaking of..."The old man. Burn the body, then meet me inside when you hear gunfire." she said into her two-way comm; and just outside the facility the synthetic soldier would comply, returning to the tipped over van to retrieve a flamethrower for clean-up. Meanwhile she broke down most of the situation as she understood it, mentioning her encounter with Jina and that it was "mostly taken care of for now," but neglected to say how or the extent to which she had.
"Alright." She stood up once damage control had been complete. "This changes everything. I need to get back outside, to the armory, and you need to protect me. Lose me, lose everything. The cure," tapping fingers on her cranium, "is all up here. No one else." And she started for the door, hurried but in her usual composed, professional manner. "To the armory, then the lab. Lost my HIV. Need to get it back. Probably in the lab under my desk. Escort please."
The trail of her own blood drippings was easy enough to retrace even through the unfamiliar facility, Dana leading the charge following the same protocol that'd led her to the men. All the way to the crimson puddle where she'd rested, left not far from where Jina now lie. Her arm snapped up in a "halt" motion. "Hold, stay back but train your weapons. I need more for the cure. Doubt I killed it but if this goes wrong...well, least you get a head start."
Activating her biometric scanner, she approached Jina, eyes roaming over its body. Searching, for what might be discerned as a central neural network (or whatever passed as one for this thing), noting the sensory organs previously eradicated and reformed. Crow's feet at the edges of her eyes told of a hidden smile. Good. She spoke in a whisper, confidence showing once more for having her adversary in a precarious position. "I've heard you speak so I know you understand as well. Our fates are linked. If I die, so do you. You die, your drones all eradicated along with you. All carriers, cured. The only way you go on to propagate any further is if you hold still and let me do what I need to do."
Working with what she thought to be the "brain," she'd jam the needle in. Deep. She would be rough, both in order to ensure what she got was adequate, and as a form of payback for what she had gone through. Her sample would be drawn. An important research tool, and hopefully one which would comprise enough material to carry consciousness itself. Dana Kitajima took her fill, placed the ampules in her pack, stood up, and stepped back.
Then she opened fire again, emptying the rifle just as before. She fired and reloaded several times over until she'd completely depleted the ammunition stores. Then she pumped a few more shells from her shotgun. And when she had finished that, she gave the motion; just as before, the MORS now standing beside her would commence clean-up with the flamethrower.
The action was so quick, its working effect so seemingly unlikely, that several seconds passed before Didi's realisation of what had just occurred. A slow grin spread across her face, and that too she barely noticed until the exclamation of surprise. "Ha! It worked!" Her voice bore an almost mechanical property by the mask on her face, accentuating her deep breaths and the light chuckling from her throat.
Fan-%&$#in'-tastic! That should hold it in place for now, at least disallowing the most drastic of its morphing capabilities. So many options now...Should probably run, she thought, noting the creature's attempts to expedite its freedom already in practise. Shit, he's fast. Driven. There's that cold, virus-like determination. Hardly any time to process.
Worse still, whatever it was doing, the damned thing seemed too versatile to leave it to chance and its own devices.
Still lying there, inching backwards on her hands, she looked to her left - there lie the rifle she used for balance. Then to her right - her favored Mossberg 590A1. She remembered Incident Report #3:
Despite his orders, one of our own forces (Joseph Martinez) opened fire, killing the hostage and hitting the creature. The rest followed suit, as the creature began to morph it's head, able to still continue and form blades, from it's head. It then proceeded to slash one of our heavily armored agents and thankfully, due to his armor, knocking him away. Whatever healing the factor the "infected" had, wash't enough to stave off our gunfire for long. Within seconds, subject had lost it's right armor and it's center mass seemingly had been overwhelmed by an onslaught of high velocity 12 Gauge ammunition. Rounds traveled forward at mach 4, and no further damage to staff or civillians had occurred. Even when downed, the creature was regenerating itself, but after some time, it's regeneration had halted.
Could the alpha be affected the same as the others? Only one way to find out.
Didi shrugged. Never gonna get a better chance than this.
And she pulled herself to her feet, dragging the shotgun with her, placing the edge of the 20-inch barrel almost directly against Jina's head.
She fired, bracing for the report echoing through the halls, and still couldn't stop herself staggering backwards a few steps. Steadied, chambered the next shell, and fired. Steady, chamber, fire. Steady. Chamber. Fire. Again, and again, and again until she needed to reload. She did, and then she dropped the rifle. Without a moment to waste she grabbed the rifle and took aim again, setting its fire mode to fully automatic. All of what was left in the magazine, she unloaded into the creature's body and head (if anything notable yet remained of the head), before reloading and repeating once over. In these moments, her face still remained as coldly stoic as ever. No quiet fury for the lives lost or the suffering she'd so far gone through.
But this time she didn't stop to muse over the creature, herself, or their relationship in this twisted alternative food chain. When she was done Dana calmly but quickly picked up and slung both guns over her shoulder before hobbling off again as fast as she was able.
Have to find somewhere quiet to patch up.
She limped as fast as she could but Dana understood even if all of her shots hit home, her making it inside was out of her hands. But there's still a chance.An incoming communication on her earpiece, and just what she needed. She pushed a little harder and prepared to do a barrel roll.
And just as she reached the supposed haven it struck. In almost the exact same place as she'd been wounded before. She cringed, bolted upright on her feet, held static. And when she tried to move her leg she fell. Command sent, signal lost along the way. Nothing broken, but the situation was getting exponentially worse with every pain.
All that time wasted on his old ass, I didn't even get to bandage my damned self. The blood loss was not deadly just yet, but it was already presenting its own problems. Until it was taken care of she'd leave a trail anywhere she ran.
Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, some part of her raised the question again. Why even bother? She crawled. Was never a big believer in the beauty of the "human spirit."Although it remained a fair distance she swore she could feel its breath on her neck. Pride. Because that's what animals do. This is totally unfair. I hate metas. But there's a chance.The very hunter's instincts that make it more intelligent make it a thinking being more like an animal than an actual virus. It observes, learns, even seems to ponder...So many chances I wouldn't have gotten if this thing wasn't so "smart."
Though stricken, Didi pulled herself through the entryway and turned over on her back, still crawling, but to face the hunter. Her eyes seemed to squint and her shoulders shuddered. The quiet chuckles of hysteria.
"I don't...don't suppose begging would help...?"
But if she had her druthers, "Jina" would never hear what she had to say, as the last of her escort, the still-standing M.O.R.S, approved its directive. Emerging in that instant from behind the van, the synthetic soldier took aim upon the viral carrier with an XS 248 Recoilless Rifle and fired. The payload: CNT Reinforced Spider-Silk Polymer, ammunition aimed not at decimating the seemingly immortal threat, but to contain it. And to avoid a blast capable of harming the women these MORS were tasked with protecting at all costs.
Not a huge fan of this one as far as the prose goes, but as far as fun, it actually was, once I got going...probably because of how I've been waiting to try things. As far as I know this weapon is within my authorisation, and it's from your blog here. If not...well screw me!
How do you want to die? I'll give you a choice.
It was a small mercy, but as much as she could muster for the doomed scientist. Small comforts. But there was a right and a wrong way to respond. She had no sooner asked than started the countdown. Silently, so as not to worry him with her impatience.
Therein she presumed his acceptance, not aware of the extent of his budding connection with the subject. She'd hardly begun to move for her sidearm when she heard the shattered glass.
Looking up, she saw it for the first time in person, and the subject seemed to fall in slow motion. A magnificent and terrifying specimen, locking with its dead eyes, her body froze. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Dana's brain commanded her to move. And somewhere the signal was lost. Instead of shooting the old man and making a break for cover she stood stationary, knees knocking ever so slightly, an unseen quiver in her lips. But through the fear crept a sort of calm acceptance, as though all the deaths prior, and those to come including her own, were a simple matter of fact.
Huh. Gaz must be dead.
Though numb, she felt a bump, and then another. The old man, in his haste to escape, bumped (or perhaps vengefully shoved) her to her butt―and just under the would-be decapitating strike from Jina. Unsure whether she felt its hand or just a sharp wind generated from its movements, something grazed the top of her scalp.
Survival of this close encounter seemed to ignite her will once more. Without missing a beat Dana rolled prone and set her rifle. Three-round burst. Aim for the head. Shot at the old man. Shift focus on the creature. Aim for the head. One burst. Re-center. Two bursts. That should at least slow it down.
Time to book it.
Immediately after recovering from the final burst at the virus she popped to her feet, turned and ran-hobbled as quickly as she could back for the inside of the building.
Come on...Got to reestablish communications. Got to be someone still alive in there.
Laura is like the only one who can get away with calling another member of the crew bitch, even in a joking way. And she's the only one who has, but they all just kind of accept it, and I think it was either Taliesin or Mercer I remember commenting on that before.
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