2019-11-15 - A Burning Need (Part 1)


The Overwatch team of Ahadiel, Augmenta, Iron Patriot, and Posse are asked to intervene to save civilians cut off by a rapidly spreading wildfire in Montana.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Nov 15 01:37:27 2019
Location: RP Room 2

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Theme Song



It's a pretty standard day for science at RESCUE! Or security, depending on your job. It's still suprisingly warm for Fall, but there've been some days of rain here and there that have cooled things down more recently. There is, in fact, a large stormfront currently moving westward that's spending the last of its fury up near Oregon, Montana and California. (Washington remains dreary as well.)

At least, it is until there's an alert tone on the campus announcement systems, a pair of distinct, urgent chimes, followed by. "OVERWATCH to active status. All personnel to Overwatch command. Repeat, Overwatch personnel to Overwatch command. This is not a drill."

Posse and Roni's phones likewise lightly with a similar chime, displaying the same message, as well as sounding a slowly building in volume alarm until its dismissed. Just in case.

Nestled in her lab on the second floor of the Wellspring, Veronica is deeply into her creative juices, considering carefully a new attunement subsystem for the cybernetic implants she has been perfecting for years. The alarm sounds, and she startles slightly, looking around with an unfocused gaze through her glasses. She taps the commands to save all of her work, and orders, "Melissa, save recordings to working directory, this date, please. Initiate shutdown and lock." She then lifts her phone, keying in her code and biometrics simultaneously as the room shuts down all around her.

Only then does the good doctor acknowledge the alert and tuck her phone away. "Seal lab in thirty seconds, please." Roni offers, as she rolls for the doors that hiss open in front of her.

Veronica is going to be a while; even on wheels, it will still likely take her longer to get to Overwatch Command.

Overwatch's Chief of Security jolts awake from where she was sleeping in her quarters as her vision flashes a warning orange and the alarm echoes pierces the room. Yes, the hard-charging sergeant takes cat-naps.
From unconscious to fully armed and armored, it doesn't take the cyborg more than three minutes hoofing it through the security floor's secluded hallways, bypassing the busier paths of the public floor above. She arrives wide-eyed, faintly out of breath with all her armor panels attached, a pistol securely holstered to each hip… and an energy drink already pressed against her lips.

As a result, the people who reach the briefing room first are Posse and the standby Overwatch squad of ten, since the on call barracks area is in the same building. Toni, as it happens, is already there, having shucked her usual labcoat and casual clothes for a form fitting bodysuit that she often wears in the Patriot armor, her hair pulled back in a messy ponytail at the moment as she types on the computer attached to the main screen for the room.

Alert guys will notice that it's currently centered on Montana, specifically on a town labelled 'Seely Lake'. The feed next to it appears to be from news chopper a distance away. The sky is black with smoke. There's some murmuring and discussion among the rangers present, that cuts off when Posse arrives, the squad finding their seats, which gives Roni the time to arrive. If only she's taken Toni up on her underground jet sled attached to the clinic.

And finally Roni comes rolling in, shedding her white labcoat as she makes for her spot in the seating chart of the briefing space. Her phone lays in her lap, her fingers moving to fly over its surface as she starts power-up and self-check processes on the Augmenta armor, and then starts keying in destination coordinates and flight plan waypoints. "Sorry. I know I'm last to arrive. I hope you didn't wait for me?"

Posse lowers the drink from her mouth long enough to sweep a firm gaze across the room, ensuring her squad is quiet and attentive for what comes next. The cybernetic veteran has long-since earned her place above the rest of Overwatch, and the fact that she makes time to PT with the troops likely doesn't hurt.

Well, except for the odd nickname it engenders…

She smirks a little to see Toni *almost* dressed to travel and hides the expression by returning to her drink as Veronica rolls in. That's quorum enough. "You're just in time," Posse replies as her eyes flit to one corner, stopping an invisible timer before turning her attention towards the main screen. "What have we got?"

Toni says distractedly as she works, a few strands of purplish hair having escaped her bun to hang down against her cheek. "It's fine…we're waiting on Fire Captain MacKenzie anyway, he's got his hands full. Which is why he's calling us, I suspect, on behalf of the great state of Montana….oh, there he is."
She touches a button and an image of a man in a fireman's coat appears via a Skype picture. In the background, the skies are black, with an ominous distant red to the horizon. Behind him people are rushing around, several working frantically at a larger cargo chopper that appears to have caught fire at some point from the scorch marks. He looks harried and on edge.

"Doctor Ho, Doctor Kelsey. We've go ta problem and the governor's given me the go ahead to ask for help. We need it." he says in a clipped tone. "We've got a wildfire that's going out of control. Started in the park near here. We were evacuating the area, but the fire jumped three firebreaks and cut off Highway 83 people from around Seely Lake were evacuating. We've lost contact with a small convoy coming from a hospital nearby. We've been trying to open up a path for them but our main helitack caught an updraft and sucked fire into its engine…we're trying to get it up and running but we don't know where any survivors are to try and get other choppers to them. Even then, most of the response aircraft are already dealing with a wildfire in California…this one came out of nowhere. We need a response team that can go into that hell and either get people out or get them to safety long enough for us to get enough airlift there to get them out."

"Preload the entire swarm of Humblebees, and two relay attenae so the onboards can control them if I end up cut off." Veronica calls out, as she continues tapping out commands on her phone. "Toni, we're going to need Patriot's forcefield projection to protect and gather, and then I'll have to lift you and the whole bubble out at once." Then Roni turns towards Posse. "Change loadouts from riot gear non-lethals to firefighting, obviously. Foam canons, deionizing beams, cryolattice grenades. I'll equip the outer frame, so you can catch a ride on my back." And just like that, they're into problem-solving mode.

"Roger," Posse acknowledges tersely before turning to her subordinates. "Load up double medical supplies and air tanks, lace up your fire gear and every mask is leak-checked before you're on the plane. Let's go!" the cyborg instructs before turning back to Roni. "Need a push to your locker, Doc?"

The squaddies jump to their feat and head for the equipment room to grab their firefighting gear, as Toni says. "I've got a cargo plane at the airport ready to transport, but it'll be a couple hours behind us. We're going to need to go on ahead if we want to get there faster. We'll have to just fly in armor." She nods to the fire captain. "We're enroute now…should be there in a bit under an hour at full thrust, with our support coming in about an hour after. We'll contact you when we're close for updated info on what you've got." MacKenzie nods. "We'll have it. Don't spare the horse, we need you ASAP if we're going to save these people." He taps a button and the video screen closes, as Toni trots over to where the patriot armor is, snagging the helmet and setting it aside, before it smoothly unfolds so she can back into it, then reseals, with her picking up the helmet and pulling it down to seal, the optics glowing to life. "Catching a ride with Augmenta again?" she asks Posse as she moves to follow the pair.

"You get the rest of them arranged. I'll be tromping through shortly." Veronica offers as she pushes off and rolls towards the bay where the Augmenta armor is opened up and waiting. She reaches up as her lift bar lowers, and grabs hold as it swings her over to drop into place inside the armor as it seals up around her and the connections to her mind and neurology come online.

Once that is done, the Augmenta armor steps out of its holding bay and then steps over to another station, where she then bolts into an outer frame ideal for towing along extra gear - like all of the pods of prepped Humblebee drones, or a certain cyborg partner. "Open the roof launch, please." comes Augmenta's altered voice.

"She's my favorite horse in the stable," Posse jokes before running off to swap her own gear out as well. With her own helmet already on, the cyborg's vision overlays with progress bars and half-loaded maps as mission data streams in as she preps. "<I'll meet you by the skylight when I'm refit,>" she radios back to Augmenta.

The Patriot armor inclines its head, starting to stomp her way up to the landing area as well as a support staffer rolls up one of the Humblebee pods so she can lock it into place on the armor's back. From there, it's a short wait for Angela's arrival, and with Toni carrying Angela and Posse riding along on Augmenta, about an hour's trip or so to get to Seely Lake in Montana.

The wildfire leaves its mark. The closer the group gets to the fire, the darker the sky gets, and the scent of smoke starts to fill the air. A breathing mask is available if people need it, of course.

Upon arrival, MacKenzie reports that they've pinpointed one of the GPS trackers for two of the missing ambulances on the highway, near a small residential suburb built between two of the smaller lakes in the area. The fire has engulfed part of the area, but there's an area of the road next to a burning ambulance that's still open, save for several abandoned civilian vehicles that were apparently cutoff, a Malibu and a pickup truck with some random things thrown hurriedly in the back. Another ambulance is fully engulfed and appears to have exploded recently, probably when the gas went up….it's a burned out hulk at this point. No sign of bodies though.

Upon arrival in Montana, Angela grins at Toni, "Thanks for the lift." She winks, and then actually falls from Toni, spreading her arms as she seems to be skydiving. Without a parachute.

Which is when she starts to glow, armor forming around her out of nowhere and feathered wings spreading wide from her back. Her hair looks to almost be made of flame now, as her eyes glow a golden hue, the angelic being circling around as she says, "Get the civilian vehicles out first?"

Augmenta comes clomping up to the landing and launching pad and waits until Posse arrives, then allows the cyborg to step up and lock into the frame now attached to the armor for expressly this purpose - and carrying more gear, like another of the Humblebee pods. "Adjusting flight profile for increased load. Ready?" she checks, and then launches after the Iron Patriot and her bewinged passenger.

"On station in thirty seconds. Posse, do me a favor? Free up your left boot, and tap the deploy lever on the Humblebee pod, please?" Veronica requests. And as the pods are deployed, they shed dozens of the little drones, their systems networking together into a flying, roving, adapting mesh of mobile sensor platforms cooperatively feeding that data to Augmenta and the Iron Patriot. "Sonar imaging up first, to see through the flames. Let's get a topo map of everything, look for signs of a shelter."

And then they are on-station, and it's time for Posse to drop. It's quite the sight, these folks getting to where they are needed most. "Remember to lead with one of those cryo-lattice grenades, Posse. I don't want you getting any more burnt than you were already."

Clamped firmly to Augmenta's armor, Posse peers down at the scorched earth below, flipping through her suit's array of sensors to find the best contrast against the hot and smoky background. The cyborg leaves one foot hanging after dropping the Humblebee pod and chuckles disarmingly. "How else are you gonna' test that spray-on skin? If I find any chocolate down there I'll bring you back a s'more."

With that, the cyborg decouples from Augmenta's back and freefalls the rest of the way to the ground. Still flying in at a substantial speed, her metal boots hit the ground together and the Overwatch chief tips and rolls along her side and across her back, coming up unharmed if dusty and unholstering the foam cannon from her suit.

Toni blinks behind her helmet as Angela sprouts golden wings and descnds. "…well fuck." she mumbles, frowning faintly at that. "…okay, wasn't kidding." She shakes her head, then flies up to get a better view as she hovers overhead, her optics zooming in on the advancing wall of flame closing on the area from the northeast. <We've got a narrow window here…it looks like maybe fifteen minutes until the window pushes the front into the neighborhood. I'm going to try and stall it while you get the survivors…I might be able to channel the wind with some fields to blow it at an angle or something…"

As Iron Patriot flies off to do that, the Humblebees fly upwards quickly! The smoke and heat make it harder to scan…partly because there are high winds whipping through the area that are responsible for the wildfire's voracious advance, well into gusts of 50 mph of hot, dry air that sucks the moisture out of you to breath in practically. It's surreal, a normal subdivision of perhaps twenty houses and a lake surrounded by flame. A few streams of fire have already caught here and there, separting it itno sections.

But after some work, the drone network tentatively tag three groups of survivors in the area not yet consumed by the wildfire.

The first is easiest…it's a pickup truck that's going cross country in an attempt to evade the flames. It is currently losing the race as the winds push the fire after it across dry fields filled with brown fall foliage and grass that catches easily.

The second is a small group that appears to be near one of the houses that's been surrounded. A group of people trapped there appear to be trying to hold the flames at bay with garden hoses as they spray down the area near the house desperately.

he third group appears to be in the lake itself near where the shore is ablaze, hanging onto to what looks like an old pontoon dock that's been cut loose from its supports and is floating freely in the lake.

Angela seems unfazed by the fires and smoke as she says into her commlink, « Got it. I'll handle the people on the lake. » Since, well, she doesn't exactly have the armor or tech of the others… but she is pretty strong. Angling downwards quickly, she soars down towards the lake and banks over, hovering over the makeshift raft.

She then smiles reassuringly down at the people there, "Hello, I'm here to get you out of this. I don't suppose you have a rope?" If they do, that makes things a lot easier, since… well, whatever language she's speaking in is the native language of what they speak.

"Patriot, you head to the house. Your force field should be enough to wrap around all of them and keep them safe. I'll get the truck." That said, Augmenta arrows in, using her flight systems for aiming b ut almost no braking at all as she streaks to close in on the desperately fleeing vehicle. "Launching cryo-lattice grenades on target."

Pahtump! Pahtump! The grenades fly out, drop around the vehicle and erupt into intense but momentary cold, dousing the flames nearby even as the matte grey armor of Augmenta comes streaking through the flames, arms down to grab the vehicles superstructure. "Time go!"

The guy inside the truck certainly yelps, loudly as his truck is grabbed and hefted off the ground! The cat in the little carrier on the floor likewise expressions unhappiness, but that might more be the whole having been bounced around in the scary vehicle with the smoke and fire all around too!

The people around the dock look astonished as the angel descends, one older man stammering. "See, I told ya God would provide! We could have stayed at my h-house!" They're shivering a bit because the water is more than a bit cold, of course. They've left the dock itself to the trio of children and two women currently packed together on top of it. One of the men clinging to a pontoon snags a rope hanging off one of the places to tie the boast up that was apparently cut (as the boat over there is on fire) and offers it up!

Meanwhile, Toni will soar over to land on top of the house, then hold out her hands as she generates a forcefield to hold back the flames for the moment. <I can hold back the fire for a while, but I can't do anything about the air quality. We've got a limited time before the smoke will be too thick to breath easily.> she warns.

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