Aquilo Project Military Base Immense high-security artificial mountain range airbase
Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:10 AM
With that said, welcome to the Aquilo Project! :)
Spanning many miles both vertically and horizontally, the Canadian Aquilo Project Airbase is a truly huge operation, both physically and financially. The whole of the base is a series of converted mountain ranges, man-made from the remains of the tattered land from the Earth Crisis over a hundred years ago. The rocky hide of the mountains provide natural protection from enemy attack as well as provide launch platforms for the hundreds of aircraft-class machines that find this base home.
Of course, as it may look like a normal looking mountain range from afar, once you get within a mile or so an observer can tell the base is far more then a rise of rock and tundra. There are metallic installments jutting out from the sides of the cliff faces. Solar panels, antennae for air tower communications, air traffic control towers, airbus terminals, base defense installations, the massive STOL (short takeoff or landing) runways, and even large windows are built right into the mountains. The place was built like a venerable fortress, protecting all the valuable goings-on inside.
Though the meat of the Aquilo Project is the airbase located in the center of the mountain range, that is far from the only facility making up the base. The term "project" is coined to the place for a good reason; there are also labs and dormitories, as well as recreational areas. The base is divided up into Sectors as follows:
-Sector D: is fitted as a R&D lab (where the Jettegra armors, Sky Drones, and Avian Units are developed/researched.
-Sector M: manufacturing plant where the Avian Units and Jettegra Airframes are built and tested.
-Sector S: an open peak made to look like a natural volcano and is a Space Launch facility (As the Project has partnerships with the Global Business Coalition companies*, which includes space vessel development).
-Sector A: is the actual airbase that the Jettegra armors launch from.
-Sector L: a place where the employees, military personnel, and pilots actually live or visit as a living quarters/lounging area, and has things like housing arrangements.This is usually the sector visors are welcomed to first, unless they are of military importance. In that instance, they are escorted to land at the airbase.
-Sector R: is the recreation range, where pubs, restaurants, theaters, gyms, a hospital, and even a spacious war museum is built into it.
* The GBC, or Global Business Coalition, is in partnership with the Canadian Air Force to fund this project. There is also a reliance on Arretium, with whom many of the personnel in the APB (Aquilo Project Base) are close allies to. Though, now that Arretium has been exposed and trialed for their outrageous actions, the APB has been cut off from their support and now has to lean more on government and GBC funding. In return for all of this co-operation, the Canadian government trades military secrets and ships off it's Jettegra and Avian Units to aid the partnership factions/militaries.
There are a lot important things to take notice of if you're a outsider looking in on these facilities. Most of these things are security issues or transportation methods (since the area is so large, there are means in place to get around faster). They include the following:
-All of these mountains are connected via an underground transit system (I.e. subway). There are also conveniently placed AirBus facilities on each mountain range for further transportation needs. I.T. terminals are installed in all the sectors as well, but these are usually used only for emergencies, as the human occupants in the base (more on this in a bit) find it a less safe form of travel. Inside the base, people move from floor to floor using large lifts and magnetic elevators.
-In the early days of the Project, when Jettegra 00 was being developed, there was a roadway that lead into the bowels of the Base as well, for goods shipments. This was sealed off after the Jettegra prototype went berserk and used the access roadway to escape. Now the only conventional way into the Base is with an aircraft. Even so, the discarded bridge and blown cave entrance can be seen from outside....
-Of course, being a Air Force supported program, the whole place is regarded as a type of military installation. As such, the only way into the Base is via air travel. There are truly massive runways jutting out of the side of the sectors (most of the actual runway is built into the mountains for stability and security reasons) and are considered STOL landing platforms.
- Each of the runways are protected by 2 gigantic laser turrets (if you've ever played X7, you may remember the big laser turrets in Wind Crowrang's stage, right before you enter the main aircraft. Those nasty turrets that shoot those nearly-impossible to avoid blasts that sweep the whole wing? Yeah, those things.) They are here to deter any unauthorized landings or takeoffs. For every runway, there are two of these turrets installed on rocky outcroppings right above the landing zones. They have a 360 degree range of movement and can hit an aircraft precisely from four miles away. Also, these turrets are human-operated from within the weapons, and are using a computer guidance/tracking system for locating and singling out threats.
-Night and bad weather ops. is common activity at the A.P.B. Starting in the twilight hours and ending at the crack of dawn, the runways light up with a holographic display guiding incoming and outgoing aircraft with approach strafing lights. The air towers and mountain tips are also illuminated to help prevent collisions. These lights are also activated in bad weather.
-Being inside mountains, the Base's air quality is an important issue. For this reason, there are ventilation ducts installed in the side of the mountains, and the air inside is recycled in a purification system that can filter out germs and bacteria. This system even circulates to the underground transit terminals. Everyone in the base is kept quite healthy because of this system, and can breathe easy knowing that air-borne diseases are not a concern. However, it is noted that the ventilation system can be exploited as a possible break-in point for a especially persistent intruder.
-The ventilation shafts are a security risk. For this, the Project has a schedule of armed Droid sentries that routinely sweep the ducts 24-7. They are instructed to alarm Base security and even initialize self-defense with tasers in the case of a breach.
The same could be said for the sewage network of tunnels. They too can be breached by a crafty intruder, so Drones are stationed there to make sure no one without proper clearance (like maintenance crews) is down there.
-The Aquilo Project is a human-run organization, and thus is mostly populated by human officials and employees. In fact, the only Reploids there are the Jettegra pilots and some other specially crafted humanoid machines used for heavy lifting or various dangerous/notorious jobs. Mostly, the Royal Canadian Air Force still uses humans to pilot their war machines and to head the operations. But, with the ever-changing facets of technology, the uses for Reploids in exploiting the outer edges of areal survivability is becoming more apparent, and that is why the all-female Avian line of 'Ploids came into development.
There are some male-model Reploid Jettegra pilots as well, (Ala Scura squadron) but these are special cases and are treated as the Base ace-of-aces squadron, not to leave campus operations under any circumstances. The technology behind this squadron is kept a firm secret behind steel-riveted doors.
-Security. There is a lot of it at the APB, as one may imagine. There are 5 levels of security clearance, and only the 1st class can make it into the Labs and Space facilities, as well as the airbase lookout towers and meeting rooms. The halls throughout the entire Base is outfitted with audio sensors and cameras hidden directly into the ceiling and wall panels. Even the bathrooms have security features in case of a threat. Important rooms require a retina scan, on top of providing a I.D protected card-key that has all the user's identification logged into it.
The airstrips to the outside world too are protected, by invisible force fields that keep out the bad weather and prevent someone from just barging in or out of the place. These barriers are dropped by clearance of the control towers once an aircraft has been cleared for take-off or landing.
-Additional security includes a radar lockout system that creates a invisible dome of target-buffeting jamming over all the facilitates within the A.P.B airspace that prevents lock-on by radar guided munitions. This ensures that anyone who wants to target the Project zone must dive in close, within laser turret range, in order to mount an attack. These radar buffeters are placed in a circle around the perimeter of the Project zone and are protected by SAM launchers and AA guns.
-There is more to the Aquilo Project then the mountain base. There is also the 50 mile in diameter target range, waaay off in an isolated prairie location, where the pilots get to hone their skills.
-Demonstration Dome located in the outskirts of Ottawa, Ontario, where government heads and military officials from all over the world are invited to see a demonstration of what the Aquilo Project has produced. Here, the highly-skilled Aquilo Project Demonstration Team (think Blue Angles or Thunderbirds) gets to strut their stuff to wow would-be buyers, and provide a chance to show off recent models with fly-by circuits. Another neat feature of the Dome is the chance to meet the Aquilo Project Reploids in person, like the Avian units and even have a riveting conversation with a Protocol Droid. This is often where deals are made, not at the mountain base.
-Torpid Forest. A natural barrier that surrounds the entire mountain range of the Base. You can't go into Aquilo Project airspace without going over the forest.
OOC: This is all a lot to take in, and I don't expect everyone to memorize all of this at all. Basically, if you come here, say what Sector you're trying to get into, and keep in mind those security features. If you have any questions, let me know, I'd be happy to help you out.
Also, here is a overhead map to help visualize this place: http://i39.photobuck...aseOverhead.jpg
Echoing footsteps of heavy boots on a metallic floor sounded deep down in the highly secured bowels of Sector A, the hallway empty except for the presence of one man. Aquilo Project Base Commander Guy Sabbath paces down the vacant expanse in a hurry, heading to his office. There are terrible things amiss that he must attempt to rectify.
The overhead lights buzzed and flickered for a moment, as they often did. Being inside a mountain made certain most of the lighting was artificial, and that light was on regular occasion interrupted, be it due to a flux of energy from the underground generators or a maintenance error. Guy didn't give the cause any thought; he was at his destination. A swipe of his key-card into a lock panel and a quick cross ID check later the thick solid metal doors before him swung open, allowing him entry. The man stepped into the room, and the doors just as abruptly shut firmly behind him. A ritual that happens on average a dozen times a day.
The room wasn't magnificent, but what furnishings there were was of decent quality. On the walls were memories. Framed certificates of achievements both he and the Project itself has earned in their career. There were also photos: pictures of fellow officers and pilots earning their wings at formal ceremonies, Avian units being activated for the first time, the first air-to-air photograph of a Jettegra 01 in flight. Friends. Family members. All of them serve to remind him of why he's there; to protect and serve his country as a proud Canadian soldier.
A broad, darkly tanned oak desk and a black office chair welcomes him further. Guy makes himself comfortable by sitting on the chair, whirling it about to face the entryway of his office. He reaches to his left to tap a button on a flat panel installed in the desktop, and a thin display monitor pops up from it's hiding place on the desk. It boots up automatically, and immediately a 'message waiting' icon displaying the name "Caster" flashes on the screen, demanding his attention.
Sabbath sighs. He was expecting this.
Taking a deep breath and calming himself, the commander touches the flashing icon with his left index finger and braces for the conversation. Talking with Vince Caster is never a picnic.
The icon turns into a video call window, and the Project Director's frowning, shrouded face appears to indicate the start of a video call. "Vince," Guy addresses, " I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to hear from you so punctually. How is-"
"I assume you have been informed."
Now the commander is frowning. Vince always did like to skip the formalities. "I have been informed of Arretium's situation, yes." He knew this was what his old comrade was referring to. The news was all over the television.
"Good. Now what the hell are we going to do about this?" Came the snide reply.
Guy rubbed his temples with his gloved hands, already irritated. "We have no choice but to rely now on the support of the GBC and on our funding from the government. We can't wet our hands in the dark pool that Arretium made for itself. It's bad enough that we have had to rely on them this far."
"Humph. Bad enough? They have been our greatest ally. I need not remind you that if it were not for them we wouldn't likely to even still have the Aquilo Project!"
"They have been a great asset to us, that much is true. But we no longer need to rely on them. We have branched out to accept new avenues of revenue, avenues that may take us much farther then we could have ever envisioned."
Vince was not happy. "I can't believe this. I thought you, out of all people would understand. Arretium has given us everything we needed and then some to continue this project when we were out of options. They were the only ones who stepped up to the challenge we had before us to offer funds and an extra notch in the rope, all at a minimal cost. And here you are amongst all this saying we should just leave them to rot, with no rebuttal, with no support at all? After everything they've done?"
Guy's facial expression was calm. "That would be our wisest option, yes."
Vince's face contorted into a mask of rage, his one mechanical eye gleaming menacingly. He opened his mouth to retort, but luckily just then another icon flashed on Guy's screen. This one was marked urgent, and was signed by Colonel Truce of the Canadian Air Force. Guy silently thanked the stars for the perfect timing of this interlude.
Just as Vince was letting loose with a flurry of curses, Guy put his call on hold. "Sorry Vince. Urgent business. I'll have to get back to you", he said with unmasked cheer. He then pressed the message icon marked urgent and braced himself all over again.
Colonel Truce appeared in a new window on the monitor screen. His expression was dire.
Guy offered him a pronounced salute. "Good morning Sir! What can the Aquilo Project do for you?"
"Commander, the situation is grave. Have you checked the news?"
"Y-yes Sir. I have been informed on the situation with Arr-"
"I'm not referring to Arretium. Turn on your vidscreen."
The order was odd, but Guy did as he was told. He pressed another button on his desk panel, and a large wide TV video screen whirred around a side panel to present itself on one of the office's far walls. The screen blinked to life, and the channel that was currently displayed was showing an up-to-the-minute news cast. The cameraman was speaking in a terrified tone, trying to remain calm to deliver his message, a credit to his journalism skills. The shaky images were taken from the vantage point on an airborne helicopter, as one could tell by the zoomed out view and the distorted chopping sound in the audio. What the cameras were capturing shook Guy to his core.
Tsunami Hydra was brutally attacking the Confederation Bridge.
Guy stared on with his blue eyes wide. He couldn't believe it. Wasn't that thing property of the Navy? Why was it attacking a Canadian landmark?
"Where is the Navy? Why haven't they stopped this?"
Truce shook his head slowly. "The Navy couldn't stop it. The Hydra destroyed several of their patrolling ships before setting it's sights on the Bridge. There are already hundreds of casualties."
Guys' heart sunk.
Truce started up again. "We have been getting calls from all over about this incident. Civilians are trapped on that bridge, Commander. We need someone to do something fast."
Guy got the message. He sat up straight in his chair, his resolve steeled. "I'll get my finest Ground Strike squadron on it, Sir. Those civilians will know justice!" His eyes were flaring like a white hot fire.
"See to it that you do. We're depending on your Project to deliver. Don't drop the ball. Truce out." The call cut off, leaving Guy with an black call window, an angry Project Director, and a shattered soul.
The Commander gritted his teeth. Vince would have to chew him out later, right now there was a call to arms to answer. He shut off the desk monitor and hit the button to tuck it away into it's compartment. The TV had his attention now, it's grim tale still stabbing him with virtual daggers. This would end. No more civilians will die on his watch. Not by this terror that should have never happened.
The TV blipped off and hid itself back into the wall from whence it came. Another button was pressed and Guy was connected to the base loud speakers audio line, where everyone in the whole complex could hear him.
"Attention all personnel," he said authoritatively."Stonehenge squadron is to report to briefing room A13 immediately. I repeat, Stonehenge squadron to briefing room A-13 immediately for mission briefing. Jettegra 04 maintenance crew D60 prep your Airframes for sortie at configuration Dambuster. This is not a drill. Haul your asses people!" His commanding tone blasted to every room in the base.
Guy hauled his ass too. In a heartbeat he switched off the line to the loud speakers, was out of his chair, out of his office, and back down the metallic hallway, en route to meet up with his champion GS Avian units. This may just end up being another photo for the wall.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 09:06 PM
He slammed his right fist onto the button appropriate to open the steel mesh gate doors to allow entry onto the lift, and the door shimmied out of the way into it's recess. Guy stepped into the lift and pressed the button the close the gates. They did so without so much as a squeak, sealing the Commander in the contraption. Another button press ordered the lift to start moving. Motors churned their well-oiled gears to begin a smooth gradual start of upward motion to the lift, and soon the machine was on it's way to a higher level of the sector. From his standing point in the corner of the lift, he can see flashing lights passing by and rocky cut away out the wide windows to signify that he was indeed moving.
He would have some time to himself while the lift got him to where he needed to be. The stillness allowed his heart rate to settle from the long dash, and gave him time to think. His mind raced to what he would present to his squadron... The truth is, he didn't know a great deal about the Tsunami Hydra. This was a major problem; Stonehenge couldn't be expected to engage such a dangerous adversary without adequate intel. He needed a informant that knew of the dangers the Hydra presented, someone who he could contact on short notice that would be able to double as a relay officer on the field.
And luckily, he knew of such a person. He hasn't need to contact this individual in what it felt like ages, so he wasn't sure if he still had the right comm. frequency. He would find out soon enough.
Guy dug into one of his pockets to fish out a emergency long range communicator (i.e. a phone) and set it to pick up and send out comm. frequencies. A swift series of button presses allowed access to the APB's outgoing communication transmitters (a necessary step when in a mountain). A few more button presses and he was dialed into the Abel City's airwaves.
He placed the phone audio receiver to his right ear and tapped his left foot nervously. He didn't have much time for conversation. The line buzzed with a dial tone...
Come on, Chiba, pick up. Lord, let this be the right frequency.
Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:46 PM
But Guy needn't worry. Much to his relief, Chiba picked up on the other end and responded.
It was like a lead weight was lifted off his shoulders. He couldn't help but smile. Oh, thank you Lord above, he thought.
Guy replied to Chiba in turn, holding the audio receiver of his communicator to his ear and speaking loudly into the mic. to be overheard by the noise of the lift. "Chiba! It's been a long time. This is Commander Guy of the Aqulio Project. Look, I'm sorry to cut to the chase after such a long period of silence but we have a situation up here. I'm going to assume you're well aware of what's going on at the Confederation Bridge because it's hard to miss with it all over the news. As I recall, you may have some information regarding the Hydra that may be useful for engaging the beast. I'm en route to give a briefing to a squadron of Avian Units specializing in Ground/Naval Strike as I speak, but we need some reliable intel in order to fight this thing. Can you help us?"
The thrumming of the lift died down as the machine slowed then came to a stop. Guy could tell he was at his destination even before the contraption began to halt, as his ears popped from the dramatic increase of elevation. He was now on the top floor of the airbase, 20,000 feet above sea level. The lights above indicated it was safe to venture off the lift and the steel mesh gate door pulled out of the way to allow him passage. Guy stepped off the lift platform and into a large hallway, then veered sharply left as he began to walk quickly. The briefing rooms weren't far now.
Posted 05 August 2011 - 05:25 PM
The Commander got the response form Chiba on the other end of the call, and what he said was a little confusing, and disappointing. Not much information? Distract the Hydra? We? Us? Commander? Just where is he and who is he working for now?
There was a quick way to find out without looking foolish. A simple call trace revealed that the call was being received from the locale of the Abel City branch of the Maverick Hunters.
Guy's eyes widened in surprise when he saw this displayed on his communicator LCD . What had Chiba gone and done that earned his place there? It didn't matter much now. What mattered is that this whole mission just got a lot more complicated.
"Distract? Chiba, we are engaging the target with enough fire power to destroy a small mountain. We have the intent to kill this beast. Now, if you want to help and finish the job for us that's all the better, but you better realize that if any of your men get caught between our weapons and the Hydra when it's shack on target it's dust for your fellow soldiers. We're going to have to keep communication between our teams very tight if are to pull this co-operation off without any friendly casualties."
Guy let that sink in for a second.
"You had better transfer me over to your Commander. But first, I want to get to the main reason why I'm calling in the first place. I'm wondering if you can detail to me what kinds of weapons the Hydra has, as well as any specific limitations or weaknesses. It would be useful to know just what we're getting into."
Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:48 PM
"That's very disappointing to hear, Chiba. For someone who claims to have 'the most knowledge' you don't seem to know very much about this threat. I hope you're not keeping something from us.
As for distracting the Hydra... Seeing as we don't know much about this beast, I suppose we will co-operate and do as you propose. It is out responsibility as the Canadian Air Force to ensure the safely of our people, so once we get the cue from you that the civilians are safe and that you need us to disengage, we're going to break off our 'distraction' and observe your team's actions from above at a safe perimeter around the target zone. We're going to depend on you out there. Don't forget that."
In addition, I believe we may be able to help with the bridge evacuation as well. It would only take one pass with one of our Jettegras to clear the bridge of ice with the right munitions. After that, it will be up to you and your fellow Hunters.
By all means, Chiba, get to your IT bay. Patch us through to your Commander. We are standing by on our end."
Indeed he was. As he was conversing, Guy entered the A13 briefing room and was pleased -but expected- to find the Avian units of the Stonehenge squadron waiting patiently for him, sitting at the desks provided. Once Guy entered the room, they all stood up and saluted him simultaneously. The Commander waived them to be at ease and they all sat back down, backs straight, completely silent, and entirely focused on Guy.
The average-sized man walked up to the room vidscreen and activated it by pressing a small button in the lower-right corner of the wall-length device. The screen immediately bleeped to life and broadly displayed the Aquilo Project logo. At the same time, the lights dimmed on an automatic synch-system.
Guy patched his communicator to the room's audio speakers, so everyone could hear what Abel City's Signas was going to say in the conversation. The GS Avian units were awaiting the important briefing, completely unsuspecting of the important Reploid that is about to declare his presence.
Posted 07 August 2011 - 11:29 PM
Guy only smiled to himself at the display from his pilots, which he was able to spot even in the dim from the lighting. He was much more accustomed to talking with Signas then any of these AU's; he did negotiate to have a Air Supremacy model Avian unit stationed at Abel City after all.
Guy spoke into the communicator again. "That is an affirmative, Commander Signas. I wish we greeted anew under better circumstances, but there is a dilemma unfolding on our grounds I'm certain you have been made painfully aware of. My discussion with your Hunter, Chiba, revealed to me that you intend to send a team of your Hunters to evacuate the Confederation Bridge, and then to engage the Tsunami Hydra. Rest assured, we at the APB are also launching an assault, although Chiba informed us it would be more opportune if we simply distract the Hydra instead until the civilians are no longer at risk. Upon review of his intel on the matter, I have agreed to this."
A few of the Avian units couldn't resist to murmur at that revelation. They spoke to each other under their breath of how insane this all sounded and how they were expected to pull it all off. They stayed quiet, however, and let the discussion between the Commanders continue unhindered.
"So. That leaves us with the confirmation of the alliance. If we are to pull off these maneuvers precisely and efficiently, our teams are going to have to keep the lines of communication open at all times and work together to quell the threat. I give you my word that my pilots will give it their all to assist your men in all ways that deem applicable for this cooperation."
Guy had his serious Commander look on now. The Avian units, still seated and paying attention, could only look on in dread of what's to come.
Posted 09 August 2011 - 01:03 AM
It was going to be a long alliance with the Hunters. Guy could see the endless cups of coffee and sleepless nights calling his name from tomorrow's yearn. Still, he had to show steeliness in front of his soldiers.
Guy cleared his throat to continue speaking. "Y-yes, Signas, of course. We will meet up at a more opportune time to make this official, just contact me at a time when we can make this happen to make the arrangements."
He had to have a moment to think.
"Sigma. That does not bode well on any level. I take it that this incident with the Hydra is only the beginning then. If he has the means and the will to find ways to attack our lands, then we will likely see more of our territory violated before this is over. We will stand on high alert and watch for any more Maverick activity and make the necessary actions to intercept any threat that validates the use of our forces."
A wave of audible groans erupts from the mouths of the Avian units. They know they won't be getting much rest either.
"I am more then ever grateful that we have made the step to acquaint each other in previous negotiations. I am enlightened even more so at the support we will be getting from the Federation. It seems we may have a long dark road to traverse ahead of us that will demand good use of all our forces combined resources. May we act wisely and fare well in this alliance."
The pilots were getting restless at their desks. Their faces screamed of concern and discontent. Suddenly, it appeared like they were fighting a war.
Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:56 PM
However, that isn't to say he isn't without his cautions.
Guy threw his communicator out of sync with the room's speakers for the next segment of the discussion with Signas. He didn't want even his loyal pilots to hear these arrangements for the locale of the meeting, just in case. In retort to the sudden cut off, the speakers fuzzed and complained loudly for a second, much to the confusion of the Avian units. If they were restless before, they were downright anxious now. A dozen silver eyes looked on to the base Commander in hopes that all would be explained soon.
Guy looked right back into those eyes as he spoke quietly into his communicator. "You are more then welcome to visit us up here in the highly secure confines of the airbase, if you find that appropriate. We have a very tightly-knit community here and most of us don't ever leave the base for reasons other then mission requirements."
He thought one up better just as he spoke the previous words. It may be a little risky, but the chances of Sigmas' forces being there are highly unlikely, especially over a limited amount of time.
"Another idea is in low Earth orbit. We have a fully functional space facility that is put into routine practice; it would not be out of our means to have a small space craft accommodated to suit our needs. I would have to go up with the ship, but we can have you transferred aboard using a carefully calculated IT beam once the craft is already in LEO, and have you transported back to your base the same way, minimizing the risk to you. I realize this notion is rather extreme for a simple meeting, but if you want isolation, it doesn't get much more isolated then being in space. We should be safe from Sigma's prying eyes."
One of the Avian units was getting impatient, propping her right arm up on her desk and resting her head on the broad part of the back of her hand like a bored couch potato with nothing to watch on TV. "This is ridiculous", she whispered to herself, "get on with the damn briefing already. We're wasting time. I bet our Jettegras are done being prepped by now."
Posted 11 August 2011 - 04:06 AM
Guy ignored the attitude of the Avians, confident that they will wait. He spoke again, still quiet, into his communicator.
"I'm glad one of my options sounds pliable to you, Commander." Although, truth is, Signas didn't elaborate on which plan sounded good, so Guy hoped to get more confirmation out of him. "Which one of those routes would you like to venture? I suppose staying grounded would be safer for us both, but I understand the meet can't be left to risk. We should do what put's you more at ease.
It is tragic, that even with the devices today we can't seem to fully secure ourselves from absolute harm," Guy says with a hint of regret, referring to Kazuma "but it is a truth we must face. I will gladly contact General Rykov at your request using a personal signal after this arranged meet up. It would be all the more better if we had that secure network up and running by then."
His vision swiveled to focus on the clock hanging above the doorway, only visible with the light reflecting off of the glowing vidscreen shining on the smooth glass. He felt this discussion was dragging on and on, and every second counted when you're in this kind of business. He would have to finish this up very soon and get his girls in the air.
Posted 12 August 2011 - 04:28 AM
"I was thinking just the same. We both need to tend to the mission. In response to what would be faster for the meeting, an IT here to the ABP would be fastest. All I would require is a simple foreword to your arrival."
Guy was thankful for this decision. Sending a craft into space would no doubt be the costlier option by far, not to mention it would put his own personal safety more at risk. It wasn't certain if Signas was deciding on a faster meet considering these factors or not, but it did do well to show a more compassionate side to the Reploid Commander, even if it wasn't intentional.
"I will be on standby to receive the signal within the hour. We can fine tune the details of our assembly then. And Signas.." He paused, setting his subdued tone to a more personal setting... " I wish you and your men the best of luck. May Light watch over us all. Guy out."
With that authoritative end, Guy cut the comm. signal to his discussion with Signas, and re-patched his communicator into the room's speakers with a loud buzz. Time to get to the mess of the briefing.
Posted 14 August 2011 - 05:33 AM
"Commander, if I may speak frankly?" She said in a tone of irritation.
Guy didn't see much reason to stop her, seeing the situation. "You may, but be brief."
Bluntcut stood up and shrugged, exaggerated enough so the rest of the room can see the gesture. Her voice was raised. "What the hell, man?" That was all. She sat down promptly, having thought nothing more needed be said. The rest of her team nodded in agreement, all silent at their stations. It seemed their captain spoke for them well.
Guy shook his head with a smile, partially amused by her antic. As he did this he turned to the vidscreen controls and pressed a few buttons. The huge screen's display shifted from the Aquilo Project's logo to a zoomed out wide angle view of the Tsunami Hydra, in all it's horrific glory.
"Listen up ladies," Came Guy's voice loudly over the speakers, "time is wasting and there are a lot of innocent people in jeopardy who are counting on us, so I'm only going to say this once. Pay attention."
The screen display changed to a series of images depicting the Hydra from various angles, accompanied by readouts of some of it's statistics, such as size in cubic meters, weight in kilos, and the approximate signature it may read on a radar, read in numeral scale value. If this were any other target, there would be an assessment of it's power readings and range as well, but the Navy did a good job keeping this beast under wraps.
As the slides were shifting, Guy continued. "I'll be blunt. Our mission is to distract the target you see here on the screen behind me; the Tsunami Hydra. As you have all no doubt heard, the beast has attacked the Confederation Bridge and has been branded a Maverick. There are an unconfirmed amount of civilians trapped on the bridge after the attacks. They are no doubt panicking and are in need of rescue, but that is not our main objective for this mission."
Another slide on the screen displayed the proud crest of the Maverick Hunters, which was quickly followed by a shot of Signas of the Abel City Branch.
"That duty has befallen on our ally for this strike, the Abel City Maverick Hunters. You all heard their Commander, Signas, state that he has their best men on the job, so we can be confident that they will come through with results. You need to keep your eyes and ears open for when they say the civilians are safe; at that point you are to disengage the Hydra and let the Hunters attack the target. You will fly around the hot zone at a circumference of 2500 meters and at an altitude of 6000 feet to await for additional instruction from the Hunters in case they need further assistance. You are to remain in the airspace until the Hydra has been neutralized."
This brought up another question from Bluntcut; she raised her hand again. Guy signaled to let her speak.
"Sir, since our allies are the Abel City Maverick Hunters for this mission, are they going to send out Bolter to help us? I understand she was stationed there as a representative not all that long ago. As we all know her well, she would be useful for communications and helping with the angle of attack coordinates."
Guy sighed. This was going to be something he was to bring up with Signas, but he thought better of it at the last minute. " I regret to inform you, Bluntcut, that Bolter will not be joining us on this mission. She is an Air Supremacy specialist, what we need here are those who can strike land and sea based targets with pin-point accuracy. Also, there is the matter of armor plating to consider. As talented as Bolter is in her Jettegra 06, she wouldn't be able to contend with the brute force impact from any of the Hydra's weapons, which brings me to my next point."
Another slide corresponded with Guy's words to show a shot of the Hydra attacking the bridge. This particular photo was taken just as the attacks were taking place and was collected from media sources contacted on his way to the briefing room. Bluntcut sat down, disappointed but temporarily satisfied with this answer as she looked on.
"As you can see," Guy went to say, " Tsunami Hydra has a series of powerful weapons at it's disposal. From what our intel was able to gather, these include a stream of pressurized water strong enough to punch holes clear though the armored hull of a battleship, and a materializing ice spray capable of flash-freezing said water stream. It goes without saying to take these threats seriously as you bank and dive into your attack runs, and especially when you have the enemy at your six O' clock; it is suspected that this beast can strike from misleading ranges and may yet unsheathe more of what is unseen of it's arsenal. You are required to stay on high alert and watch the target's heads for signs of a lock on to your position.
In addition, once in the target zone one of you will break formation and take priority in eliminating the ice blockades on the bridge, if the Hunter's haven't already done so by the time you get there. The remainder of you will engage the Hydra and initiate distraction protocols."
Now Guy could see signs of worry crease the faces of the Avian units. He pressed on.
"Moving onto your strike plan." The slides changed yet again to display the long range missiles that are being used for the mission. "As this is a distraction tactic, you are to get a lock on and set your munitions to detonate upon pre-contact with the target. The large warhead will create a wide, bright explosion that will, with any luck, get the Hydra's attention and maintain it's focus on you. If the Hydra evades out of the way and your missile completely misses the intended mark, you are to detonate the munition immediately to prevent an overshoot and cause accidental casualty. God knows we don't need to make the Hunter's job even harder."
The Commander eyed his pilots as if to scorn them.
"You are to only fire when parallel with the bridge as to minimize risk of said accident. Pick you time to shoot when the Hydra is in the open and not in close proximity to the bridge or any distant buildings. Remember, we are out there to save lives this time, not take them.
Be sure to set your weapon radar to cool-run mode to allow lock on to cold targets, as the Hydra will no doubt utilize the water to it's advantage and may be naturally resilient to a heat signature due to it's ice manipulating ability. Also, tune your radio to Hunter frequency once you approach the hot zone. You don't want to miss your cues and end up blowing the whole mission."
5 of the Avian units turned to look at a specific member of their team at this mention, their faces twisted in warning. That one Avian unit, codenamed Blackout, slunked into her desk, embarrassed to be singled out for her past error.
Guy caught the squadron's attention again simply by starting up with a sharp tone. "You are all to proceed to the Jettegra launch facility immediately after the conclusion of this briefing for dispatch. Once you are all in the air, form up at an altitude of 40,000 feet and head east towards the Confederation Bridge at top speed. Go be a credit to your Project and show those Hunters what you can do. Dismissed!"
The Stonehenge squadron all stood and saluted their Commander in unison, indeed a credit to their Project. They then turned on their heel and moved away from the desks to exit single file out of the room, leaving Guy to reset the vidscreen and disconnect his communicator to the room speakers.
He breathed deeply with a sobering thought. He didn't entirely expect to see all of his great GS squadron returning home from this one. Per Ardua Ad Astra. Good luck out there.
Posted 15 August 2011 - 07:50 AM
Bluntcut ran to her Jettegra too, but on the way she stopped to get the attention of a crewman. The purple-jacketed man in service gear turned to face her and put one hand over an headset-covered ear in order to hear her over the powering up of ten high-output plasma engines.
Bluntcut shouted over the commotion. " Excuse me! Are these units fully fueled and ready for takeoff? We had orders to dispatch immediately!"
The crewman responded, his voice raised too. "Yes ma'am! The Stonehenge squadron is ready to roll! Just let us get out of your way and warm up the catapults for you!"
The aviator nodded, ending the conversation. The both of them went their separate ways, Bluntcut to her airframe and the service man to tend to the launch catapult. In moments, the runway was completely clear of personnel and the strafing guide lights began their flickering, signaling the true beginning of the sortie.
'Cut looked up at her mammoth machine, standing a ominous 25 feet tall. With it's armaments gleaming in the bright overhead light, it looked as ready for a fight as she felt, a feeling that was comforting. The tug line was waiting for her to step on it and trigger her ascent to the cockpit, which had it's hatch open, as if to welcome her. She looked up into the black maw and smiled. She stepped onto the tug line toe catch, clinging onto the line with one hand, and it zipped her up to her instruments of destruction without delay. A second later she disappeared into the dark abyss of the cockpit and was swallowed by the machine.
The rest of the squadron had already been devoured by their armors as well. The powering up/interfacing sequence was done and the horizontal running light 'eyes' of the mechs were ignited, showing that they were ready for action. One by one, they moved placing one massive, treaded foot in front of the other, walking nosily to the runway taxi line. The first of the units was lined up at the catapult, hunched over as if it were in a athlete runner and staring down the length of the runway like it was facing a lethal opponent.
Before they could launch however, they needed clearance from the closest ATC, or Air Traffic Control tower stationed on Sector A. By the time the first Jettegra 04 was ready for takeoff, Bluntcut was strapped into her armor proper and was flipping the appropriate switches to contact the ATC. Being the flight lead, this responsibility often fell on her shoulders.
"Sector A2 ATC, this is Stonehenge 1 of Stonehenge squadron requesting immediate clearance for catapult departure at runway A02. Please drop the runway force field. We are standing by on your instruction."
Immediately came the radioed reply from outside the base; the ATC was alerted to this scenario as it was unfolding and was ready to issue clearance. "Stonehenge 1, this is Sector A2 ATC. You have clearance for takeoff. repeat, you have clearance for takeoff. The field has been dropped and you have permission for departure. Be advised; there is a 35 MPH crosswind currently in effect coming off the cliffs at direction north-northeast. There is also an airbus lowering altitude for docking permissions at port A1, so adjust your ascent heading for that and try not to give them a spook on your way out."
'Cut was looking over her radar and saw the blip that marked the airbus, taking note of it's exact coordinates, heading, speed, and altitude. She smirked wickedly. "Awwww, ATC, you wanna kill all my fun don't you? You do realize we're going on a harrowing mission and might not make it back right? Gotta take out moments while we got em' man."
There was a sound that came over the radio that sounded like someone was hit by something. "Stonehenge 1, we don't like the sound of what you're saying. You better not be up to something. You are to proceed to open airspace and carry on with your mission, do you copy?"
The stubborn aviator rolled her eyes in defiance and had a tone to match the gesture. "Yes ATC, we copy," she said sarcastically, "No funny business, we promise."
"That's all we ask. Keep clear of the airbus and watch you ascent angle to not get blown into the cliffs. Happy hunting."
This was it, go time. The crewmen sent a series of hand signals to each other in rapid succession, and the catapult warning lights along the left side of the runway went through a traffic light cycle, going from the red standby glare to yellow and then to green. Once the lights hit green, the catapult came to life and did it's thing, dragging the mighty Jettegra 04 by the treads down the runway by a conjoined tow cable, adding to the takeoff speed of the mech. Ahead of the speeding war machine the shimmer of what would be the force field had died off completely, meaning that there is no further obstacle impeding the takeoff.
Plasma engines hit full power as the metal monstrosity screamed down the runway at 300 MPH and off the platform towards the end, launching the 15 ton Jettegra skyward fantastically. It was just open air at that point in the procedure, as the runway ends outside the base with a sheer vertical cliff drop off at the end. But this launch method was well rehearsed, and the Stonehenge squadron pilots had no problems dealing with the challenges of catapult takeoffs. This pilot, Stonehenge 2 or "Firestorm" as she is known, took her machine to the skies as if it were her first home.
The others in the squadron followed suit quickly, only pausing for a reset of the catapult. Three minutes later and the whole squadron was up in the air and out of the airbase, increasing altitude and banking left for a formation flight. Flight lead and Captain Bluntcut was the last to launch, but she wanted to have a little fun on her way up to reform with her wingmen.
Still eying that airbus on her radar, she purposefully turned to a different heading and flew towards the unsuspecting aircraft on a collision course. The ATC saw this and screamed bloody murder in her ears, hoping to convince her that this is a ludicrous decision. the ATC's cries were soon joined by the rest of the Stonehenge squadron squawking concern as well; they know their Captain well enough to know what she's planning and pleaded with her to stop. But alas, she would have none of it. When she makes a decision, she follows through.
Closer and closer she drew to the airbus, a hapless victim to 'Cut's scheme. She was closing in at a clip that was frightening to anyone who saw the developing storm. In just moments she would cause a catastrophe that would surly end the lives of everyone aboard that vehicle. It was madness! Why would any self respecting individual do such a careless thing?
The airbus was trudging along safely, not a care in the world. That is until the operator of said flying machine saw Bluntcut come at him like a bat out of hell, and then understandably panicked. He tried to hurry the landing procedure, but the lumbering aircraft was not built for sharp maneuvers. The stricken man's life flashed before his eyes as tears ran down his cheeks in torrents. He was convinced he was never going to see anyone he loved ever again. His eyes closed as he braced for the unavoidable impact.
But it was all for naught. Bluntcut was no slouch in the areal acrobatics department, even in a behemoth like a Jettegra 04. At the last possible second before impact, she twisted and curled her machine in mid air to avoid the airbus by mere inches, leaving the commuting craft completely unscathed and the operator furious. He cursed loudly and flung offensive gestures at her back through his window as she flew away merrily to rejoin her squadron, who were just as breathless as the airbus operator at her boldness.
They too were not happy with their Captain's preference of entertainment, but it would all be soon forgotten. The coming conflict was going to make that death defying stunt seem like a day at the park.
[Stonehenge Squadron to Canadian Confederation Bridge]
Posted 22 August 2011 - 06:33 AM
This was ending up to be a long day already.
Guy rushed into the complicated and busy Command Center terminal, barely noticed by the common place commotion. There were many operators tending to Jettegra and fighter squadrons on sortie or training runs, all on separate stations dotting the layout of the Center. To join in with the verbal symphony, tacticians were drawing out routes and strategies on brightly back-lit holoboards and relaying orders to the operators. This was all associated by the many blurps and beeps of console buttons being pressed and alert warnings sounding off to mock engagements. It was a orchestrated kind of hell.
A hell that was understood well by the base Commander. He shuffled past some other lower ranked officials to watch over the shoulder of one operator that was keeping tabs on the Stonehenge squadron now under attack by the Tsunami Hydra. The Operator was clearly stressed trying to keep on top of it all, but noticing that didn't stop Guy from tapping her on the shoulder to get her attention. She jumped a little, but quickly regained her demeanor. She couldn't afford to turn away from her console screen, but she did address the superior officer.
"Commander!" She started, "The Stonehenge squadron is being engaged by the Tsunami Hydra and have established contact with the Maverick Hunters on the Confederation Bridge. Most of the civilians have been evacuated Sir. No damage currently to report to our team."
"Good to hear it," started the Commander, "I'll be in my Command Room. Keep me updated on the situation. Patch through any developments to my comm. channel, but keep in mind I may not be able to respond immediately; I'm going to be having an important conversation." Guy sounded almost nervous.
That was never a good sign. The operator responded coolly despite this. "Yes Sir. I'll keep you posted."
Guy simply nodded as he turned away to face another less occupied employee. His shift just started, so Guy stopped him as he was about to sit down to take the load off another exhausted operator. He turned, surprised to have been addressed out of the blue by the base Commander himself. "Oh! H-how may be of service to you Sir," he said shakily.
Guy retorted with soft eyes and and an equally soft demeanor, in efforts to calm the young man. No one likes to start off a shift already stressed. "I need you to set up a personal secure channel for me. Make sure it can't be overheard or traced back by an outside source. I'll send you the cue to boot up the channel from the Command Room."
"Sure thing Commander. I'll be on stand by on station 3." By the time he finished the sentence, he was already seated at his station and setting up the channel.
Guy smiled at his proficiency. "Excellent," was all that needed to be said then. Guy then found his way past the crowded room to a separate section, or 'cell' and closed the heavy steel door behind him with the wall terminal buttons, effectively isolating himself from the rest of the Command Center. This small four wall cell was his designated Command Room, and it didn't have much but a swivel chair built into the floor, an small console for patching incoming and outgoing communications, three large vidscreens on the surrounding walls for multiple conversations, and a hidden escape hatch in case of emergencies. Despite the claustrophobic conditions, Guy felt safer here then anywhere else in the APB, even then in his own office.
He tried to Relax. Who he was going to contact that required all this security was someone of higher rank then he, so a strong front was necessary in order to put up a good impression. His face churned to force a neutral expression. Oh, how he hated talking to Generals.
A glowing light emanating from the console caught his attention. He could tell from the button that was flashing that it was the channel set up from station 3, waiting to be acknowledged (he knew this because that key was often the one used for such tasks). Before he opened up the channel though, he dialed in the contact frequency to General Rykov of the Federation using the dial buttons on the console. Once that was done, then he pressed the flashing button, which sent the cue to open the secure channel. It opened, and Guy flew his hand over the console again to link the channel to the General's frequency.
This call demanded that he stood at attention in case the General wanted to have the conversation via vidcreen. The tone sounded to initiate the call. Once again, the pause before the pickup at the other end was like waiting for the needle to pierce the skin during a immunization; not going to be fun when it happens, but you'll be better of for it once it's over.
Posted 25 August 2011 - 10:48 AM
Guy persevered in the presence of the important Reploid, saluting the superior officer in good faith and then dropping it, but maintained at attention. "General Rykov of the Federation. This is Commander Guy Sabbath of the APB. My sincerest apologies for the abrupt contact Sir, but an underhanded crisis is unfolding as we speak, quite possibly in our midst."
Guy could see on the screen a bit of the General's environment. He was in a large complex room, what would be guessed as a command center. This was worrisome; he didn't have much of a clue as to who may be listening in on this conversation. Anyone in that room may be a subject of Sigma's influence, watching completely undetected. And given the past history of the Federation, there is no telling just how likely it is that corruption may already be flowing in the blood of the faction. Guy needed to choose his words carefully.
"Certainly you are already aware of the crisis of which I speak. Before I go on to discuss more to the nature of this communication in detail, I must insist that you only have your most trusted personnel in your present company. What we need to speak of contains sensitive information."
The screen beside the one transmitting the conversation with the General came alive, silently bleeping to life as a message window. Guy didn't look away from Rykov, but instead looked to the new correspondence out of the corner of his sight. To his relief, it was a text message. The operator keeping tabs on the fight at the Confederation Bridge was giving him an update, and was courteous enough to consider the importance of the conversation he was in, thus making sure not to get him engaged in another.
The message read in point form, as follows:
Battle of the Confederation Bridge update:
>Stonehenge Squadron attacked by Tsunami Hydra; consisting of a ice-encased bomb shower. Threat dealt with by utilizing arm mounted weapons. Maverick Hunter S Ranks assisted. No casualties caused by this attack. Stonehenge reports minimal damage and will carry on with distraction protocols.
>Stonehenge Squadron engaged a second time. Another assault of concentrated ice and water from a single Hydra head. Stonehenge #4 Nitro reporting extensive wing and right arm damage; will continue to engage.
>Majority of civilians have made it off the bridge. Maverick Hunter has engaged the Tsunami Hydra, with varying success.
Further updates pending.
Guy didn't like the way the battle was heading. Already his best GS squadron has taken damage, a result he had hoped was postponed until at least the civilians were all out of the picture. He didn't let this news churn negativity into his posture though. He remained rigid in the face of the Federation's General.
Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:18 PM
Even knowing that the General's surroundings were clear, the fact did not do much to calm Guy's nerves. There was no doubt now from Rykov's words that he wasn't in a good mood. This conversation was going to have to be short and to the point.
Guy offered the General a smile, for reassurance. "Thank you General. With your present company accepted, I will continue to the point of this conversation.
"I will be blunt as to not waste your time. I have been alerted by Commander Signas of the Abel City Maverick Hunters that we are once again facing the threat of another one of Sigma's uprisings. Signas has also informed me that you have agreed to offer aid in the form of an ongoing alliance in order to help snuff this danger. I contact you now because this is relevant to my operations, as I too have agreed to cooperate with both you and Maverick Hunter in this dilemma. In fact, as we speak I have a squadron of Ground Strike Jettegra units in heated battle against the Tsunami Hydra at the Confederation Bridge in a joint assault with Maverick Hunter's best field operatives.
Is has been decided that the three of us need to gather in person to securely discuss our strategy, in an area that will present the most possibility that our meeting will not be overheard by Sigma's many ears. I offered the high security facilities of my mountain base as a quick and efficient means to this end, and Signas agreed. Although, I am willing to discuss any better locale you may have in mind.
Also, Signas is engineering a secure network that we can use for communications purposes. He mentioned that he will send me a signal once it's completed; I'd ponder he'd be so courteous to do the same for you. We will likely weed out the details of our assembly then. My hopes are that these conditions are satisfactory to you, Sir."
The left hand screen buzzed with information again; another update from the operator. More lines of point form text ran down the screen.
Update on Confederation Bridge battle:
>Stonehenge squadron launches an attack on the Hydra consisting of six LRPDMs, Hydra foils attack by responding with a flurry of ice bombs and highly-pressurized water. Stonehenge squadron evades counter attack.
>Chiba Masato contacts Stonehenge to time distraction protocols while all Hydra heads are exposed above sea level. Maverick Hunter initiates attack both on the bridge and into the ocean. By this point, all remaining civilians have been cleared of the battle zone.
>Stonehenge squadron initiates Delta split formation and engages each Hydra head in teams of two. Rockets being fired. Stonehenge number six engages with close range tactics.
Guy's brow furrowed at the mention of Snapshot's aggressive fighting method. He silently wishes for the best, but knows deep in his heart that is wishful thinking.
Posted 08 September 2011 - 01:48 AM
Update on Confederation Bridge battle:
>Stonehenge # 6 Snapshot down. Shot down by a stream of pressurized water. Assumed deceased.
>One head of the Hydra has been destroyed by combination assault of Hunter and Stonehenge weapons. Two heads remain; one has minor damage.
>Batbones dispersed from Hydra and equipped with ice bombs. Threat has been neutralized and has caused only minor damage to Stonehenge squadron. The team has reported weapon system malfunctions from sonic waves emerging from batbone destruction.
>Stonehenge squadron reengages the Hydra heads at the bridge. Two missiles fired.
>Reports of submarine in area proximity to the Hydra. Identification is not currently acknowledged.
Guy had a reason to be upset now. Well, more of one, this whole mess with Sigma was never a good bit of news in the first place. One of his pilots was down and out of the fight, and it was likely a very unpleasant end. It would no doubt rattle the Avian unit populace once word got out since the whole group was regarded as family to each other, and that in turn would decrease morale. Something he did not need now that a war was pending. As it is, he had to wonder how the rest of Stonehenge was holding up with one of their numbers terminated. He hoped they were strong enough to cope and carry on with the mission.
This business with the submarine wasn't good either. Who would send a sub into a hot zone with the Tsunami Hydra? Was the crew lost and off course? Surly this couldn't be an intentional move, could it? Even a stealth submarine couldn't last long against a beast like the Hydra; it would be suicide. Guy could only pray that the crew knew what they were up against and stayed out of the way.
Another voice could be heard in the conversation with Rycov and a second head appeared beside the important military officer. Guy didn't know who this person was, so he wasn't going to address this man until after he was done with the General. Before he got further communication from the big Reploid though, General turned his head and spoke to someone else off screen in code. Likely someone else high in rank, Guy thought. There was probably a lot going on now that the news broke about the return of Sigma.
What the General spoke to his Colonel wasn't too much of concern right now though. His question was more of importance at the moment and needed a reply. Luckly, it was simple to answer, assuming he knew what "operation" Rycov inquired about.
"The operation to co-operate with Maverick Hunter is already under way. As I stated, I have a team of Ground Strike Jettegras already engaging the Tsunami Hydra at the Confederation Bridge, allied with Abel City's best Hunters. We have yet however to coordinate a long term alliance, which, we hope, to incorporate the ongoing support of your Federation. Before anything can be solidified in writing, we need to have all parties understanding one another, which is why I am speaking to you now. We can work out the fine details of our partnership once Signas has sent us the signal for the secure network."
Guy was straight faced, hoping this was the answer Rycov needed.
Posted 12 September 2011 - 04:25 AM
Still, he didn't let this come to bear on his outward demeanor. He answered Rycov's query peaceably, still standing straight and at attention towards the view screen. "Yes, I agree that the Hunters have always been capable of quelling Sigma's plots in the past, but not before they become world-class events. To my understanding of the situation, Sir, the difference this time is that if we act as a unit fast enough we may be able to stall the levels of corruption -which will no doubt happen and escalate like they have in the past- before they reach influential levels of power. The main concern is that there has already been breaches in security; Signas has informed me that one of his own, going by the name Kazuma, has been proven traitor already and may be a catalyst to the current crisis. We are simply trying to form bonds we can trust that will aid to put this threat to an end, before it spirals any more out of control."
Guy took another breath before he continued. "We will be on alert for Colonel Liaf, now that I know he's wanted. If we get any leads on his position, we will report the findings to you.... That does bring up the inquiry; can you bring me up to speed on what the accusations are? Being strictly tied to the Canadian Air Force, I have not been informed of this happenstance".
The tiny cell was feeling more claustrophobic by the minute. Guy's voice rang and rebounded off the metallic walls like light reflects off of shimmering cave walls of ice. It's funny how these circumstances tend to make one more aware of oneself.
Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:56 AM
Guy wanted to rub his temples at the General's words. He couldn't remember hearing about the New Hera incident where Colonel Liaf corrupted soldiers. His mind wasn't a computer, able to store vast amounts of information and able to bring up a certain file at the click of a button. There are times when he could see how Reploid commanders could be beneficial, with their electronic brains.
Guy put two and two together, thinking that Liaf may responsible for the current predicament with Tsunami Hydra. Guy can concur that the Colonel is a threat that needed to be extinguished. He nodded his head in agreement. "Understood, General. We will co-operate with you in apprehending Liaf with your permission, should we get the chance. His actions should not be pardoned regardless of past affiliation.
Are there any other terms of concern, or may I consider this tri-fold alliance confirmed? I have said my part and don't wish to constrain your time further."
The informant screen to the left of the discussion with Rycov opened up again with a new message. This one was rather ominous, as it was far too brief to be a sign of any good news.
Update on Confederation Bridge Battle:
> Be advised! We have lost all communication with Stonehenge squadron. It is suspected a jamming field was initiated in the vicinity of the Confederation bridge. Source unknown, but all suggestions point to the Tsunami Hydra. Stonehenge squadron is not suspected splashed. Attempts to re-establish communications have failed. Operation status is unknown.
This was not welcome. Military aviation was corner-stoned on communication. If they didn't get the link back with the squadron there is no telling what may be happening to them. Their fate was left in God's hands now.
Posted 17 September 2011 - 02:32 AM
"As you wish, General. I am looking forward to a prosperous and productive alliance with you. On behalf of the A.P.B., I thank you for your time. Guy out."
Some of that statement was a lie.
The communication line was cut and the transmission ended with a casual press of a button. The wide vidscreen blipped to it's hollow blackness once again and returned a state of tranquility to the tiny room. That channel that hosted the secure call was keyed into his personal communicator, taking the data from the small console interface at his side. This channel as going to be used for all outgoing communications with the Hunters and the Federation from now on.
At the same time this channel data was being transferred into his communicator, he cued the young man at his station to cut the channel to this room with a few more console key strokes. A orange key blinked twice to confirm the order was received and carried out.
The second screen was still on, displaying all the updates for the Confederation Bridge battle. Not surprising with the communications blackout, there was no new feed of information. That would have to stop.
Flying his left hand over the console panel again, he transmitted to the operator that she can stop the feed to his Command Room, as he's coming back into the Center. A second later, the feed from the information screen faded to black and stopped transponding, cuing that she got the message. With all the screens black and the overhead lighting dimmed, the room was like a vacant cell from a horror movie, just waiting for something unexpected to happen. Dark. Quiet. Suspenseful.
But there was no reason to feel apprehensive. This was a safe haven for the Commander. In this dark abode, he took this time to readjust himself inwardly. The stress was dying down now that he wasn't under the proverbial gun, and he relaxed and let his posture go lax. He sighed heavily once and then took a few more deep breaths to calm down. His day wasn't over yet, and he had to face the remainder with energy and an optimistic attitude. As thus is the expectations of a base Commander.
Now ready to face the hectic onslaught of the Command Center anew, Guy keyed in the boot-down sequence on the console panel, his keystrokes echoing loudly as the only noise in the room. A second later he was swallowed whole by complete darkness as the cell's functions completely ceased. It was comforting in his state of fatigue, but it couldn't last. Even in this ebony cocoon, Guy was well aware of his surroundings and headed for the doorway. On habit he keyed the command to open the door from the side panel lining the door frame, and instantly the blackness surrendered to a variety of lights that welcomed the Commander back into the Center. He had to take a moment to readjust his eyesight and get used to the noise again.
A few wayward glances from a few passing operatives noticed he was back in the room and offered a helpful tone of concern, but he waived them all off. He had a distinct person he had to get to. A washing look from one end of the Center to the other found who he was looking for and he strode over to her, weaving past other officials. He got to her side and leaned over to announce his presence, supporting his weight with one arm against a panel. She took notice of him immediately; it was the operator that was trying to keep tabs on the Confederation Bridge battle.
"Commander, we are doing everything we can to get back the Stonehenge squadron. The jamming field blocking their signals is strong and have thwarted every attempt to scatter it." Her hands were a blur as she was pressing buttons and turning dials in every way she could think of on her console.
Guy wasn't happy, but didn't raise his voice or otherwise gave much sign that he was stressed. His eyes were glued to the screens at the operator's console, which were now displaying colorful static. "Keep trying to boost the signal strength. Relay and reflect it off off every surface of the battle's vicinity if you can. Do we at least know if the squadron is still in the air?"
"Yes Sir, we have confirmed satellite radar contact with the squadron. Five Units are still operational, although Nitro is hanging on by a thread. Looking at their positions, they have split up into teams again. Two of them this time."
This was a good sign. Guy could guess what that meant. He let a small smile escape. "They aren't going to give up, even without our instruction. We shouldn't give up on them either. Keep trying to raise them on the same frequency. It may just be a temporary setback."
"Yes Sir." She did as ordered. There was an occasional bleep of coherent radio noise for a second or two every so often, but that was all the ghost was going to give. There was still hope.
Posted 29 September 2011 - 09:29 AM
"Captain!?" Juno quickly cut into the transmission. "How the hell did you get off of the bridge?"
"You transported me to the nearest shelter. On my end, that was right outside New Hera. I regrouped with the remaining loyalists, and we decided we were going to finish the orders Executive ordered!"
"Sir! A transmission has broken through the Hydra's jamming at the Confederation Bridge site, " the operator exclaimed. "A Federation Captain by the name of Streng has an intent to order a precision plasma strike on the Hydra, using a beacon set by the submarine that, er, was in the vicinity. He's asking for permission from all parties involved. Assuming that we are now able to transmit to our squadron using the same channel, what should be our response?
Commander Guy, who was still listening in on the situation, looked startled for a moment, then more reassured. He even allowed a thin smile to cress his lips before he spoke. "Well hot damn. Looks like the Federation is already coming through. So that was their submarine... Wait, was? Was the submarine sunk?"
The operator shook her head, eyes glued to her instruments. "That is unknown, Sir. We didn't get confirmation on what was happening until the channel cleared just now."
"This news didn't deter the Commander's expression. He guessed that the sub must have been remotely controlled if it was to be used for such a purpose. An expensive asset to leave to chance, but apparently it did it's duty. He stroked his chin in thought before he spoke again. "Have Captain Bluntcut tell Streng that they have our Ok for the strike, as long as they give a signal beforehand to allow our teams to clear out. Minimizing casualties has been our priority on this mission from the beginning."
"Yes Sir. I'm sending the orders in data code now."
Just then, another cause for alarm showed up on the radar. More aircraft, not belonging to the military, are approaching the battle zone. They squawked civilian code.
Once more the operator barked another concern. "Commander, we are seeing more aircraft on radar in the battle zone vicinity. They are squawking a code 2!"
Now Guy was frowning. He sighed. "Always bad with the good, isn't there? Better tack on orders to Bluntcut to get a wingman to ward off the civilian aircraft. They don't need to become more of a part in this."
"At once Sir."
While she was typing in the message to the Stonehenge squadron, Guy was entertaining another thought. He was thinking back on what was said in the conversation with Signas earlier, about how anyone could be a scapegoat in Sigma's plans. While the vast majority of the staff and operatives at the Aquilo Project were kept on a tight leash and given everything they need at the base so they don't need to leave, there was one small group of individuals who were granted certain freedoms because of their esteemed status. Now would be a good time to look in on them and be certain they weren't.... misbehaving.
Guy gave the hard working operator a reassuring pat on the shoulder and left her side to communicate with another, more isolated operator in another station cell. This woman's console was different then the others; set up to track and communicate with a specific team on a very special high priority set of encoded signals. Guy needed only to wade up to her and give her a simple hand signal to send her the message to locate the members of the famed Ala Scura.
It took less then a second for the machine to find her quarry. Three of the four airmen were still where they were supposed to be in their designated luxury dorms, but one of them was not on the airbase grounds. Guy didn't have to say a word to tell the pretty operator what to do; instead he simply gestured the hand signal for 'lockdown'. She got the message, as she was specifically trained to do, and sent the encoded transmission for the privileged military aviator to get back to his dorm and stay there until further notice. The whole squadron would be placed under mandatory lock down from now until this whole fiasco with Sigma has passed regardless of personal status. They were an asset that the Project couldn't afford to loose.
Guy would get a hefty retort out of them, he's sure. But that wasn't his primary focus for the moment. Now he would return to the operator watching over the battle of the Confederation Bridge and be certain to follow on any updates. This new development with Streng and this precision plasma strike would surly be important to keep tabs on.
In a self-contained and dark computer lab in Sector L of the Aquilo Project mountain range, more busy fingers were hard at work, although this time through a less urgent matter then the goings-on in the airbase Command Center. The fluorescent light coming off the computer monitor was the only currently active light source in the room, casting long shadows of the character that tasked the machine, sitting at a reflective desk lined with static personal computers. It was like a mood-instilling build up scene from a sci-fi movie; the only sound that could be heard aside from the low hum of the devices was the clacking of the keyboard. The only thing that was vacant to complete the illusion would be a riveting music score.
And, perhaps, a more convincing actor, for the fellow typing couldn't be more quirky. The man was instantly recognizable with his distinguishable afro, large-lens green sunglasses (that were worn even at night), and the brightly tye-dyed lab coat as none other than Disco, the head designer of not only the entire line of Jettegra airframes, but the Avian units as well. Now, he sits alone not to muse the intricate bluebrints of a state-of-the-art war machine, but to write a simple e-mail to a friend. It was a quiet luxury he could seldom afford with his trying working hours, so he took advantage of it while he had no one breathing down his neck.
Who was he typing to? Why, the newly acquired areal-asset to the Abel City Maverick Hunters, AV-AS-33, or as the Hunters would call her, plain ol' Avian. Disco had a habit of making good friends with his creations, and as so much was all of a sudden happening with the APB he felt obliged to fill her in on all the activity. Of special note would be the mission at the Confederation Bridge since the Stonehenge squadron's captain was quite close to Avian. She would no doubt like to be informed of her sister's heroism.
Being a man of science and technology, Disco has spent many an hour slaving over a keypad and was quite competent at typing, thus he was done with his task quickly. A few more key strokes sent the e-letter to Avian's personal messenger in her Alcove terminal program, and then he made sure to save his work for the day, log off his machine, and powered off the computer. Now basking in darkness, the tried scientist yawned as he stretched out his tense muscles. Long hours have passed since his last rest; after a exhausting day of cracking complex algorithms and breaking new ground in aviation technology, it was time to head off to Sector R for some well deserved sleep.