2020-04-03 - Hellcat Missing


Following the devastation, Posse and REACT return to the scene of the disaster, and find someone dangerous lurking about.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Apr 3 21:42:20 2020
Location: Blasted Ruin

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Theme Song



When the Bearcat returns, VTOL engines blasting to life forcefully for all to see and hear as it lowers itself towards the crater, disgorging Humblebee drones in a veritable cloud to scout and map the way, those drones almost immediately pick up something the naked eye would have missed: there's someone moving down there. Only the pattern enhancements in the Humblebee sensor suite allow them to pick up the figure that is somehow managing to keep itself cool enough to blend in with the heat profile of the crater's ruins, and visually disguised and camouflaged sufficiently that the human eye just glances right past without noticing much of anything. But movement is the key; there's a person down there, hiding, but moving slowly about the ruins.

Survivors and wounded heat signatures are one thing but with the fierce threats the last sortie found waiting for them, REACT's chief of security is already on edge for anything else alive near the crater as she watches their surroundings with her legs dangling out the back of the Bearcat's open door. Her rifle is ready and charged as her eyes scan the environment through the dust cloud kicked up by twin VTOL engines. The concealed life-sign reported back by the humblebees is anything but ignored.

With the former sergeant are three teams of REACT personnel each already briefed and loaded for their roles. Posse exits first, dropping onto the first landing zone of a nearby roof along with a two-person overwatch element before the Bearcat continues on, unloading in sequence its second overwatch pair and then the main elements; the guard team bravo and, most lightly armed, the rescue team charlie.

"<One figure detected in the ruins. Keep alert for more and keep ROE. Humblebees get me a tighter visual,>" Posse's voice rings through REACT's tactical net.

As the Humblebees swarm in and try to get a closer bead on the figure they have identified, the air is suddenly filled with thick smoke, billowing suddenly into the air. The Humblebees' sensors suits are less than hampered by this, though their visual recognition has gone to pot now. Then an alert screams out for the Humblebee control tech, who shouts into comms, "F***!" as their sonar and radar imaging pick up a very large weapon suddenly being swung about to aim at the closest drone. "Weapon! Weapon! Weapon!" he follows, shouting sharply as that Humblebee explodes into shattered parts, its signal going dead: the last thing it saw was a ginormous three-oh-eight caliber round racing out of the smoke right at its tiny center of mass.

"Rapid movement! Figure is … shaayzus, that's fast! Closing fast on team two!" the Humblebee operator shouts. Out of the smoke a figure leaps improbably far, visibly wearing a gillie suit and carrying a large-bore rifle. In just seconds the figure covers the distance from the heart of the crater to the landing zone of the second team … and then stopped, cold.

The improved visual shows that having broken cover, the figure is a woman with long hair of indeterminate color, wearing threadbare oversized military surplus attire. And she is staring with intent towards the medical team. But at the moment, she has not lowered her rifle to aim at them.

The figure might not have her weapon raised again but the threat of it is more than enough to get her manners reciprocated. Gun barrels from the security and overwatch squads are both leveled in her direction even as the closest troops move to nearby cover. They're energy rifles at least, so they're probably set to non-lethal - right?

As the tense silence is punctuated by the crash of the shattered humblebee two things become clear: no one is shooting at her, and not all the guns present are in her direction. A few, dutiful to their training, are swung at completely separate segments of the ruins, mindful of other threats.

"That's far enough!" Posse shouts from on high as she leaps from her perch, landing hard enough to crack the pavement down below. "Don't move, and keep your gun in the air!" Her own rifle despite the situation is resting in one hand against her shoulder. The cyborg is either being foolishly amiable, or she's confident her squads can fire faster than the threadbare woman can.

"No fire medics." Just three words, and not spoken very loudly, an oddly slurring voice, one that sands off all of the sharp edges of the speaker's native accent. It's pretty distinctive, really. And though not shouted, the words are picked up by the other Humblebees in the swarm, and that sound clip is then routed to the comms by the tech running the swarm. "Don't know what they mean by that." he offers uncertainly. "Who the Hell fires on a little unarmed drone like that?"

The figure does not move. Does not raise a rifle, but does not lower it either. Does not in fact outwardly seem to react at all to the implicit threats. "Fire, all die." That, too, is shared. Whomever this is, they talk like they are singularly unafraid.

Then the woman turns towards the cyborg. "Pee Cee Bee." she murmurs. "Posse." Because the Hunter remembers.

The cyborg's green eyes light up in recognition, at the voice more than anything else. Most of the woman's appearance is lost in her ghillie suit but then, so is she in her armor. "We're better than that, but let's not fill body bags we don' have ta'," she drawls back. A raised rifle is just fine by her it seems. The sniper is welcome to take shots at the moon.

"Good memory, but this is m'other job: RESCUE. We've got a body in there we're hopin' to dig out alive." Extending an arm to her side, the chief of security wordlessly issues the order to stand down, and the REACT officers tilt their weapons away and return to their original tasks with haste as Ava walks slowly over. "What's the situation here, Hunter?"

"Gone." is the only word Hunter offers to Posse. But then she waves the cyborg closer, gesturing at her to follow. This time the mysterious figure does not leap or dash away, but walks calmly back towards the crater, apparently intending to take Ava with her. The distinction between PCB and RESCUE is a mite lost on her, but they brought medics; she respects that, even if her people are already at the clinic. Were there others here, she would encourage them.

"None living." Hunter murmurs later, as she climbs down into the crater, showing the way all along. She even makes a point of turning to make sure Ava has enough traction with those cyberlimbs to climb down rather than slip and fall. What follows, then, is a largely wordless stroll, exploring the entire site. Posse might spot that Hunter gestures to different locations and uses military hand-signs to indicate what had been there: numbers, monsters, heavy weapons, vehicles, explosives, etc.

Finally, Hunter leads to the hollowed-out heart of the explosion, and the fallen stone and concrete at its collapse. "Hellcat missing." she murmurs, as she crouches by the spherical 'nothingness' void there. "Archimedes."

Posse's rifle smoothly shifts to a low-carry as she climbs down the lip of the crater after the camouflaged woman, using the more comfortable two-handed grip to aid her balance. Her mouth sets sternly at Hunter's tally, but it's enough to let her lead on in silence for now while the video and audio feed from her helmet streams back to RESCUE and the former sergeant builds a mental map piece of piece of the site. It's a subtle sign of comprehension that not once does the woman ask about the hand-signs being given her. It may not be an international language but in context she's fluent enough.

"What is 'Archimedes'?" she asks while her sensors flip through everything available to them as she studies the neat and blatantly artificial sphere of missing matter, far too clean to be anything conventional, explosion or otherwise. "Where'd she go?"

"Machine voice, feminine, said it. Last." Hunter offers. The most words she has ever once offered since Posse met her. "Mercs ran, after." Hunter moves to the edge of the spherical void. Then she sniffs audibly. "Gone. Bloody. Others, like you." Hunter points at Ava's legs and arm. "Energy." She gestures at the void.

"Her voice or someone else's?" Ava asks as she walks a slow circle around the hole, studying it from all angles. "Sounds like a teleporter… so we find more Rambo bas, we find Spot," she concludes with a glance back to Hunter. "You up for that mission too?"

Hunter merely shakes her head. She said 'machine voice'. So it wasn't the Hellcat's. But she does not repeat herself. Wasted words are not her way.

"Find Hellcat. All home. Whole. Pieces. All home. Mission ends." Those are Hunter's final words on the subject.

Even Posse needs a few seconds to translate that one but eventually she nods. "Good. Let's go back top-side. You need any supplies?"

Hunter shakes her head. She points up the hill, and then stalks off to the side, keeping an eye out from a different angle as they climb back up. 'How track?" she asks.

"I'll let the surveillance experts figure that out. We've got Hank's nose and squads of drones that can run recon surveillance. Where the squirts ran off might be a good start," Ava replies as she shifts naturally into an echelon with the sniper, taking a position ahead and to the opposite side of the hill. With something so basic, hand signals are pointless. "You got a phone we can call when it's go time?"

The homeless vet turns to look at Posse curiously. Hank's nose? Bah! Her own is far superior, and he should know that. "Phone?" She eyes the woman and shakes her head. Hello? Homeless? Why would she have a phone someone could call? "Whiplash." Lexi has a phone. She's at the clinic watching over those in need, but she has a phone. Hunter considers the number, and then offers it. Maybe Lexi can figure out how to let her know?

"Cheaper to maintain than that," she rebuts with a glance back to the blonde's rifle. "We'll meet through Whiplash." Cresting the ridge, she pauses just as sunlight strikes her helmet to survey the terrain before continuing upwards and climbing fully out of the embankment.

Turning back, the cyborg checks on Hunter in the unlikely case the woman wants a hand. "What do you call Spot ''Hellcat'' for?" she asks curiously.

Help? Hah! Hunter is holding back tremendously to not blur ahead and leave Posse behind. She glances at the cyborg curiously at the question, thinking about it, and just shrugs. "Is." Is there more to say on the question?

Ava raises a white brow inside her helmet and stares skeptically at the laconic sniper. "Gonna' have ta use more words to explain that. How is she and what is she?"

And the laconic sniper just shrugs. "Spotted albino. Smells cat. Cat smells hellcat. Eyes silver. Fangs grow. Magic." Ava wanted more words. So there, more words. Did they make any more sense? Probably not.

Spot? Check. Silver eyes? Check. Fangs? Check.

Huh, maybe the albino is not 'just a mutant' after all…

"I'm not familiar with magic. What magic does she do?" Ava replies, turning half an eye to the field around them and the overlay in her HUD of all her squads' positions. All is still as it should be.

Hunter considers Ava for a bit, and then shrugs. "Smells magic." Beyond that, she has no idea. Magic is weird and funky. The fact that she can in fact smell the stuff is even weirder, even if she has guessed that what happened to her is magical in some way. (After all, she transforms and goes from 150 pounds to over a thousand!)

"Riiight… and 'hell' cat? Not just a regular cat or werewolf-cat-thing?" the sergeant questions, probing for what she can out of the woman.

"Smells. Brimstone." Hunter answers, with a shrug. "Said something. 'Thea', healer. Visit Hell together?" Hence her choice of label for all of this.

"Is that so…" Posse ponders, narrowing her eyes while considering the new facts before nodding with a sense of finality. "Thanks, Hunter. I'll contact when we find anything, you do same. Once we're done here, you want a lift back to your territory? You can use the showers at our base." Because if there's one feeling thing that comes from being around this ruined disaster of an underground lab, it's dirty.

Hunter shrugs and nods. Then she just wanders off, continuing a spiral search pattern out from around the crater, sniffing for the path of the evacuating goons. Perhaps they went to the same place where the teleporter took the hellcat? She is the Hunter. So she will hunt.

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