2020-05-04 - Sweat and SWAT


Dr. Kelsey and Posse work out, and Roni brings up the AIM mission. They discuss strategies.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon May 4 22:54:14 2020
Location: RESCUE Campus

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Theme Song



Since giving Ava her new upgrades Roni's been treated to more of the cyborg than usual - literally. Moving around lithe and naturally in one form-hugging layer, the bionic vet's stim-suit has almost completely replaced her armored exoskeleton for exercising in the campus fitness center, and it does match nicely with the carbon fiber black of her improved limbs. A rhythmic puff of tense, heavy breathing marks each of the woman's reps as a kettlebell swings through a circuit of motions, moving to and fro past her sweat-shined face while music plays inaudible through a headphone band clipped to but not in her ears. By now the hard-charging vet has run through most of the free weights in the gym and is ending her routine with cardio.

For herself, Roni is already glistening, sheened with sweat, as she has finished reps at four different arms and shoulders stations. She has moved onto to chair work, and is currently pushing herself hard through a randomly changing obstacle course with her chair. Unlike some paraplegics, she does not have different chairs for different needs or activities, and is doing all of this with her standard wheelchair, pushing herself to go faster and stay cleaner in her pivots, turns and twists. She has a collar around her neck that is piping music to the buds in her ears, all fed from the Starkphone in the pouch on her chair.

With one last rack of the kettlebell against her bicep, Ava leans back to pant while standing tall, then staggers over to the wall to dump the weight back with its set. An equally sweaty hand dabs itself on her suit then wipes up across her face, pulling any droplets away from her eyes and smearing them across the snowy buzz cut growing back little by little. While catching her breath, the woman turns her head to sight-see and smiles open-mouthed at Roni's routine. If the doctor looks back in her direction she'll get a metal thumbs up.

To keep up with the shifting obstacle course, Roni has to concentrate on what she's doing, not rubbernecking elsewhere. But once it's done, she rolls past the end and turns, panting as she grabs her towel and wipes it across her face. Her arms ache and burn with the effort, so for now she doesn't bother to roll herself any closer. But she does nod her head towards Ava, and eventually frees up a hand from the towel to offer a returned thumbs-up.

Eventually, Roni rolls slowly over to join Posse, tugging out a water bottle from her side satchel and tossing it to the taller woman, then fishing out one for herself. "You really seem to enjoy the improved limber mobility and supple agility of the stim suit. Looks like we made the right choice, there."

Ava's metal hand snatches the bottle as it arcs towards her. It's the only one up to the task now. Managing a panting grin, the cyborg pops its top open and takes a hasty swig between breaths. Though it doesn't show through its insulation, she's drinking more than just water.

"Thanks… It's nice not havin' the extra bulk and climate control," she answers back. "Feels good workin' up a normal sweat."

The paraplegic smirks at that and nods, cracking open her own bottle and tilting her head back to drink about half the bottle at once. "The armor was never intended for the kind of full-term use you put it through. We adapted for that as we watched how you used it. But even this isn't strictly necessary. It's just a vast improvement." She knows well how Ava uses the stim-suit, and the armor before it, to re-train her cybernetic body's instincts to maximize performance, and she's not about to assume she can convince her not to do it. She has learned better than that.

"The suit lets me push harder too," the green-eyed bionic points out as she wanders over to a foam roller and lays on it to massage blood flow into her exhausted body.

"I know that." Veronica comments. And of course she does; she is the cyborg's doctor, after all, and has been for years. She slowly sips at the second half of her water, still breathing heavy, letting herself cool down before she works on stretches for her abused muscles. "How're you doing otherwise? Adjusting OK? Any flashbacks after the mission?" Only Roni can get away with asking something like that, prodding at Ava's emotions. But Ava has learned to trust her, and hopefully that trust will allow her to answer rather than bottle it all up.

Ava holds her stretch without any special reaction to the three-shot burst of questions and waits to catch her breath as much as anything else before answering. "In good health, all green."

"Would you believe that's the most put-together I've felt in months?" she asks rhetorically. "That action was a five-course mess but somehow we got in and out with no casualties. Guess I just needed a special ops bloodletting," she cracks wryly while standing back up and stretching to the side. "I'd rather get spooked from that than going to a Burger King any day."

Veronica nods, sipping more of her water, starting to stretch out her arms and shoulders, then her sides. "Good. Good." she murmurs, knowing Ava's hearing is good enough to pick her up without raising her voice.

"I can imagine it helped a lot." the doctor admits. "You were able to do your job. Do the things that make you feel like you. And you weren't instantly sidelined into a useless lump to be lugged around by your team, half out of your skull after a shock to the system." Roni can be a bit brutal sometimes, but she gives it honestly. "I just wanted to make sure that if you're having flashbacks, you tell me. With the upgrades, … it could go badly." If Posse's brain perceives threat where there is none, a lot of people could get hurt in a hurry. Even people Posse likes. Better to know of the issue so they can address it.

"If you ever think I need a full psych eval go ahead. I know the failure rate for bein' me," Posse offers freely, almost brusque in her readiness. "'Sides I've had enough they ain't personal."
"I still get weird as frick dreams sometimes but better it all turns off than I sleepwalk out a window," she adds.

Roni nods. "Fair enough." Roni trusts Ava implicitly; they've been through a lot together. "I wanted to get your opinion and feedback on something, a bit later. Assuming you have some time?" she inquires as she starts stretching out her sides further and further, groaning with the effort as the blood flow changes, cleaning out some of those hard-won toxins.

"I can always make time. It's a magic trick I learned from a genie; bottle it up and spend it again later. Just don't rub too much dirt off the lamp in my bedroom," Ava answers with a completely smooth and unchanged tone. Her green eyes twinkle when Veronica groans and the cyborg smiles. "That sounded good. Wanna' hand?"

Instead, Veronica rolls her chair over beside the cyborg's roller pad and offers her hands down. "C'mon, I'll help you up." she teases; it's not like Ava needs the help. But this is what six years of familiarity breeds. They like to tease one another at least a little bit.

"Been going through some intel, trying to plan the best way to get more. I figured you'd be a good person to poke holes in the plan." Veronica explains.

"I am a professional hole-maker," Ava jokes back as she takes Roni's hand in both of hers and rocks back onto her feet with a heavy sigh. "Oof hehe… today was a good one."

Once Roni gets Ava to her feet, she turns and starts rolling at the cyborg's side, heading out of the gymnasium and into the locker room. "So, we have an intel asset that reports those responsible for the attack on our campus that injured dozens and very nearly killed three of our staff are going to be in a particular location, in a two-vehicle caravan, at a particular time two days from now. Toni and I have been thinking about the best plan of attack. Obviously, we want to maximize the intelligence we can gain from them, and minimize threat to innocent civilians, and our own people."

Not hard to realize that someone must hae told Veronica about the AIM caravan. But she's bringing it to Ava for advice.

"Sounds fun. Why not tail it to find a base? Use small fish to catch a bigger one," the cyborg asks, taking the information literally in stride.

Veronica considers, and nods. "Not a bad idea. At least worth tracing the route a bit, to see if it lands anywhere but for fuel." And something they can do across the next two days ahead of an intercept point. "But none of that gives us a look at what's inside." She's not complaining. It was a good suggestion, and one they will follow. But Roni's not wrong either.

"That's also true, so what're you expecting in the caravan? Any HVT—" Ava stops and purses her lips. "Any high-value targets? If there's tech we should try to pull in Io for extraction. People just get handed to cops and who knows what comes out of 'em then."

"We are uncertain, to be honest." Veronica answers truthfully. She would never lie to most anyone, really, and especially not to Ava. "It could be tech. It could be data, or at least partially data. It could even be personnel, though personally I expect that to be incidental at best unless it turns out to be a pair of mobile labs." Not impossible, mind, but Roni's logic and instincts say that's unlikely. "Having Io along would be an excellent idea, though. My initial thought had been to bottle them up inside the Lincoln Tunnel, deploy forcefield at the far end and then behind them, protecting civilians at either end and containing the firefight that might ensue." Also constraining attempts to flee, given the targets are starting out mobile.

"That's a good tactic if we can clear the tunnel of non-combatants. The LT's straight underwater…" Ava smiles ruefully as she trails off on a thought, then looks back to Roni. "Unfortunately RoE says our safety isn't as important as minimum force. We can't engage at range if they don't present a threat and lost intel isn't valuable to law. How positive can we ID the occupants as armed and dangerous AIM?"

"I think IDing them as AIM should be relatively easy. Those uniforms are keenly distinctive, and detectable in millimeter-wave. So unless they've managed to put forcefields on the inside of those trucks, we'll know." Veronica is not assuming that those in the cabins of the trucks will be visibly wearing AIM beekeeper suits, but she's betting anyone in the backs will be. "I suspect Io can confirm as well. From all Toni has told me, AIM is never without network sharing engaged. With the Humblebees to eavesdrop, audible and radio transmission for tracking for thirty-six hours, we should have them dialed in to a faretheewell."

"That helps. If they're running gas our job is easier," Ava replies as she walks ahead to enter the locker room first and hold the door for the brunette doctor. "But two vehicles is hard on squad size. Wait at the exit of the tunnel where we'll have concealment and use a roadblock beyond LOS if we can't rig a traffic light. Then when we have a visual on both, sync screamers through the passenger windows and we rush in with cuffs - with Io unlocking the doors remotely. Front raider hits the door unlock as back-up."

"If she's free, we get Wasp to go in first, drop screamers into the rear compartments." Veronica recommends. She rolls after Ava into the locker room, then nods to her. No words of thanks after six years, but acknowledgement. Appreciation. "Just in case, we take four loads of earthquake foam, to quick-deploy supports for the tunnel." Roni rolls up to her locker and opens it with her thumb, then starts changing for the showers. "Everyone should wear clamshells and goggles. Contained like that in the tunnel, the screamers will be awful. And I should adjust their algorithms, just in case AIM grabbed a copy of the old one before that jerk left." They do always wear those beekeeper helmets, which may very well be equipped against the screamers.

"When run 'em low power since they only need to work a meter at most. The van's its own echo chamber," the cyborg notes as she moves to her own locker and works on peeling off the stim suit that has been sweat-glued to her body, tracing a metal finger down the faint seam on the front. Thank goodness for magnetic zippers.

"If ISR show 2-3 heads per vehicle we can drop from overhead when they exit the tunnel and engage through the side windows. There are very few people stupid enough to move with a muzzle a foot away, and neurodarts should punch through their suits without risk of over-penetration. We can sim that beforehand. Do that right and no shots need fired. More than 3 and we alt-fire a screamer if they resist."

"They don't allow for remote operation; I'll have to set the power before launch." Which is not Roni saying no, only pointing out if that turns out not to be enough, she'll have to launch more of them. The paraplegic doctor peels herself out of her own sweat-slick clothes, then grabs a towel and other toiletries only after she hangs up her backpack and side-bags inside the locker, so they do not get wet. Then she rolls towards the showers, choosing one of the stalls and using the pull-up bar to get into place as the water starts heating up.

"I think the first key here is the intel we can gather by observation beforehand." Roni admits. "But I think we have a decide plan of attack which we can refine in preparation. I'll tell the team to prep a rotation of flights of humblebees to track and observe. Then we'll need to set times to review the data."

Ava glances back with her tattoos and hardware fully on display and a towel of her own in one hand. Her eyes twinkle as she watches the handicapped but ever able doctor do the same from a harder position before she turns and snags the adjacent stall. "Roger that. You want a hand to wash?" the cyborg teases over the sound of running water, knowing full well she isn't needed.

Roni's voice snarks back over the partition between the stalls. "Thanks, no thanks. I got it." Both are proud women who can and do take care of themselves quite determinedly. "Assumin' you don't need help yourself?"

"I got so used to doin' it one-handed I figured I'd lend ya' my spare," Ava readily answers.

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