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IC: Minerva E1: P-Days

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Trinity: The Minerva Protocol
Episode 1: P-Days

2 years ago...

You awaken.

You are alone.

The white burns your eyes as your senses once again try to reboot to the world you left behind an unknown number of hours ago.  Your eyes strain under the white of the room your in.  It's about 30' by 40'.  You're in skin tight, carbon weave medical onesie as you scan your surroundings.  There are two doors, one to you left, one to your right the white bed you woke up on is in the middle of the room as far along the wall as it can be, a simple medical model that will retract into the wall when not in use.  Directly across from your bed, 40 feet away from you is a massive mirror, black and glossy and it reflects back on you and nothing beyond it... you know it must be a 2-way of some kind.  There is nothing in this room besides you, and the bed.

Each of you has some recollection of what you were doing before you woke up.  You don't remember falling unconscious, and certainly do not remember how long you've been out.  Bot the doors have a holo-ribbon scrolling across its surface, 'Locked L4 Clearance Required' it reads.

Spoiler

You are alone.
This means you are literally alone.  Not the four of you are alone in a room, but you, your character, is alone in the room.  No one is with you.  You are the only living thing in the room.  There is only you, the room and the air, that's it.  You are not accompanied by anyone else.  I swear if one of you talks to the other PCs I will gas you all on general principal.

Do I have my...?
No.  You have none of your equipment.  You.  Onesie.  That's all.

Can I...?
You have no tools, so most conventional skill rolls will fail.  You can't hack a room with nothing in it, pry open a panel box to hot wire the door when you have no means of loosening the screws/bolts etc... and no... you don't have bobby pins in your hair.

Take a moment to consider a reaction, post it.  We'll continue from there.

 

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wake up

Grace's eyes opened, and saw only white. She winced a little and, moving her head as subtly as possible, looked around. There were variations in brightness...corners between walls and ceiling. She wasn't blind. A good start. Her eyes kept roving around as she sat up. No one else in the room. Three doors. Mirror. Bed. What was this?

There was fear. Confusion. Grace stuffed those dissonants into the back of her head with all the training the Legion had seen fit to bestow on her. Focus on the things happening now. What could you see now? What were you feeling with your body now? What could you do now? Fear wanted to dredge up old memories, or imagine wildly horrible possibilities. Stapling yourself to now defanged it, at least for awhile.

She felt a little stiff, but there was no pain, no sign of injury. The gown she had on seemed like the sort of thing a hospital would provide. Grace frowned a little as she probed her memories. Walking home, she thought. Walking somewhere. Daylight. Had there been trouble? Grace didn't think so, but if she'd been drugged then memory would be a frail and tattered thing to trust.

Her bare feet made no sound as she slipped off of the bed and made her way across towards the mirror. A long ways, really. The room was way too big for a prison cell or a hospital room. The 'clearance required' signs seemed military to her, or maybe paramilitary. So...laboratory? Research? She pressed her face to the mirror, cupping her hands around her eyes to block the light out, in hopes she might be able to see through the one-way glass.

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Zoe closed her eyes from the glare of white. She took three deep slow breaths and mentally checked herself. Fingers and toes moved, she could feel no pain, she quickly counted backwards from the number twenty, she wasn't dizzy nor did she have muddied thinking, and there was no ringing in her ears. She wasn't drugged and if she had been the effects were completely gone now.

Slowly she opened he eyes and focuses on the one area that didn't glare, the black glass.

Isolation and the threat of being watched. Doors on either side far enough removed to make it impossible to watch both so you would have to divide your attention. Classic.

Well, she thought, let's see if they have drugged my Psi.

Spoiler

Zoe will attempt attunment to where she is  Attunment roll: 6d10t7 1

 

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Dr. Temnikoa reached out for her non-existent cigarettes on the non-existent nightstand beside the bed, but her hand only flailed about for a moment in a futile search, which prompted her to open her eyes. The brightness was painful, so she cupped a hand over her eyes and seperated a couple of fingers from one another, making a crack for her to see out and allowing it just enough light to let her eyes begin to adjust as she looked around.

'What the hell?' she thought to herself, pulling her hand away after several moments, her eyes more or less adjusted to the brightness..

She looked down at herself and the skintight, carbon weave, medical onesie, considering it and the bed for a moment. Methodically she inspected herself, feeling for any possible injury or even pain from an injection site, but found toughing. Her mental tests were equally fruitless.

The room was huge, far too big to be a cell or hospital room. Even surgical theaters were not this big. One could find entire apartments that were not even as large as this room. Why even make a room this size and sterile, just to leave it empty?

And then there was a dark glass at the opposite end of the room, likely some sorts of two way mirror, or simply a tinted glass and room that is kept dark so that a person in the bright, white room could not see in.

She did not appear to be harmed or even drugged, and was not restrained, The holo-ribbon suggested some sort of high-security facility though, and the fact that it was written in English suggested additional things to her.

Regardless, she was not pleased about her situation.

Dr. Temnikova looked to the mirror and waved with a smile before dropping it and flipping off anybody who might be watching her from behind it.

"Vhere's my fuking cigarettes?" she called out in English with her heavy Russian accent and irritation evident in her voice.

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Patrick opened his eyes, then closed them to a slit as the flash of white broke in. As his eyes adjusted, he knew - something was quite wrong. The Dutchman briefly raised his upper body up to a sitting position, then promptly leaned back, with his hands behind his head resting against a headboard. A seeming display of casualness, yet he was assessing the situation as Proteus taught him.

Tight, carbon weave medical onesie. Two-way mirror. Doors with a holo-ribbon requiring sufficient clearance to use. He didn't feel drugged, though that could be simply the boosted recovery of a biokinetic. Patrick knew he could still be overwhelmed by a sufficiently potent drug. Which could easily be in the possession of intelligence agencies, national governments, even the Orders themselves.

Whoever it was, if they wanted him outright dead - he clearly would have been. So Patrick waited, for his watchers and captors to show their intentions and their hand.

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Dr. Temnikova sighed after a moment, slipped from the bed and tried the doors. Just because they said clearance was required dud nit mean it was automatically so. 

Besides, she wanted a cigarette and they sure were not in this room...

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You hear nothing.  You see nothing.  Your senses reel from the constant scent of the sterile environment.  There is no movement beyond the mirror that you can see, in fact, you can't see anything beyond mirror aside from your own reflection looking back at you.

It's quiet, dangerously so.  The creeping sensation of being a prisoner quickly begins to take control as you ponder what is going on and how you might free yourself from this place.

[Dr. Temnikova]  There is no reply.  Gestures, words and witty insults garner the doctor nothing but more silence.

[Zoe] You relax and let your body and mind relax so that you might attune yourself with with a natural flow of psi energies... then the noise hit.  A high pitched, loud screaming tone that was akin to nails on a chalkboard that never quit.  It was like a sucker punch to the brain.  She knew that feeling... Zoe knew what Quantum Resonance was... it was part of the technology developed by the AI's long ago to disrupt Psions and their powers.  One Quantum Resonator, a device about the size of a small generator, could 'Taint' an entire area, making Psi incredibly difficult (and painful) to use...

Seconds...

Minutes?

It's hard for you to tell but it doesn't take long to resort to pacing, assessing, planning and anything else to keep your minds active...

Spoiler

"Operative," an older gentleman asks, looking through the mirror at Grace.  He points at her with two finger, clamping tightly on a cigarette.  "Why is that Legionnaire in a hospital gown?"

"Uh," the 'Operative' looked a the massive holographic screen, garnering him a look from the older gentleman who wondered why he didn't just look through the massive window they were standing behind.  "I don't know sir... error with processing maybe, sir?  Shall I adjust?"

He sighed and shook his head, taking a drag from cigarette.  "No," he waved off the action as plumed of smoke escaped as he spoke.  "They're awake now, that would sort of defeat the purpose, don't you think?  No, of course you don't... let's get on with this..."

"Six hours ago," a voice booms over a hidden intercom into all of your rooms.  It's almost too loud, given the silence until now and the acoustics.  "Each of you were brought here for routine medical examinations.  Two hours ago, this facility came under assault by A.I. frames.  Your clean rooms were left untouched, leaving you the only chance this facility has for survival.  There are eleven hostages, and an unknown number of frames securing the site.  Each of these eleven hostages are experts in their field and possess a cranial implant that includes a deadman's trigger.  Those triggers are linked to nanite swarms that were injected into your bloodstream just minutes before you awoke.  If one of those hostages dies, the nanites will consume your heart in a manner of seconds.  I've left which if you it will be up to chance.  I don't know who you are, and I don't care.  Rescue my scientists."

Near the door (pick one) the white wall slides up and what's beyond slides outward like a locker.  Within it are blackened, carbon fiber plates for the arms, legs, feet and chest and a helmet.  Armor.  Next to it is a pistol, nothing fancy, but it's better than swinging your cod around.  As well as a few other trinkets.

Each your doors unlock with a click as the holo ribbon fades away after flickering green for a moment.

Spoiler

The locker contains:
1 Loaded Banji Cyclone
1 Fighting Knife
1 spare clip

The armor protects all of you the same 4/4 with no penalties (damn good armor, huh?), and is designed to fit right over your carbon onesie, except Grace who is going to look a bit silly in her hospital gown, but the armor will still protect her just fine.

As well as:
Zoe - A collapsible staff that will separate into a pair of kali sticks.
Grace - A Banji 7.62 Tornado, with one spare clip.
Dr. Temnikova - A Wakazuna Medsurgeon II Portable Medical Kit (page 276, Trinity Core.  It's designed to be worn on the back)
Patrick - Intrusion tools (like those that could be used to remove panels or bypass locks or electronics).

No matter which door you exit out of, you will all end up in the same hall way.  I know, I know... that defies all logical laws of the universe, but I give you my word, it'll make sense.  Once you gear up (or don't) you will have access to one another and may converse.

Upon exiting, the hallway is large dimply lit with flickering lights (like some survival horror game) with about twenty rooms in a row.  At the end of the hallway is a door, with red holo ribbon warning you it's locked.  As veteran RPers you guys should all notice you're being railroaded, at least for now.  Again, there is a reason, it'll make sense.

 

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The grip of panic filled her heart, what kind of sick joke... no this isn't a joke, that resonator is real.

Zoe jumped off the bed and walked away from the mirror toward the far door, behind her the bed slid back into the wall leaving no trace it had ever been there. As she reached the door a panel beside it slid up revealing a small closet or locker. inside a gun, 1 spare clip, a suit of body like she had never seen before and... a collapsible staff.

Zoe slowly reached out toward the staff as if it were a dog she were afraid would bite her. She picked it up and twisted the activation segment and watched as it expanded to its full length. Zha Wang had shown her one just like this no more than a week ago, He had suggested that to further her training she needed to branch out and that weapons were a historical part of the style of fighting that they did. He had suggested a staff.

She looked at the door. "Fuck"

She leaned the staff up against the wall and started getting into the armor. A few minutes later she was checking the gun to make sure it was loaded and that a round was in the chamber. Slipping the pistol into the holster that came with the armor she grabbed the staff and keyed the door open.

Zoe stuck her head out first and was pleased that it didn't get shot off. The hallway was long and white, go figure, but a flickering light made it look eerie and menacing. She saw all the doors and stepped out  of her room and pressed her back against the wall. Her heart was thudding in her chest and suddenly her mouth was dry, she was thirsty as hell and wished they had put a water bottle in the locker. To her left behind the way she had been looking she heard a door slide open. she crouched clutching the staff with her left hand while she fumbled the gun out with her right and pointed it back toward the sound.

 

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Grace backed up from the mirror a step, then looked up and around as the voice boomed out, outlining the parameters. There were a lot of levels none of this made sense on, but on another level it was perfectly clear. Take out the AI frames, prevent civilian casualties. The specifics could be dealt with later.

The sound of a panel opening attracts Grace's eye to the spot between the two doors where a supply closet is now being revealed. Carbon-fiber reinforced plate armor, rifle and sidearm. Ammo. A knife. She chuckled to herself as she went over to collect the gear. Christos, it was one of these. The armor fit awkwardly over the hospitalwear, but she made sure no cloth was sticking out in a way that'd prevent her from moving, or catch on something. It had a sort of built-in holster suitable for the pistol...vanilla Banji model. Rifle was conventional slugthrower too. A little irritating. Grace preferred laser weapons. She could use those to fire through her own barrier.

But the first rule any soldier in a combat situation learned was that you grab what was at hand and thank fuck you had anything at all.

Spare ammo fit into loops on the waist of the armor. Knife sheath had buckles she could attach pretty much anywhere...she chose her forearm.

Then she walked out the lone door and into the hallway beyond, rifle at the ready.

Almost immediately Grace saw movement up the hall and crouched down, bringing her weapon up to aim. Human-looking. Redhead. Pistol in one hand, a long rod in the other like a staff. Looked scared. Civilian?

"Ma'am, stand down," Grace said calmly. She slowly let the rifle down from aiming position, the barrel sliding away from the redhead. "I'm human, on your side. My name's Grace." Though she was still holding the rifle with one hand, it was no longer pointing at Zoe, and Grace's other hand was up with the fingers spread to show it was empty.

 

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Her security Orientation and the firearms training Orgotek gave her paid off, she didn't shoot the person who came out the other door automatically when she scarred the shit out of her. "Thank god " She said out loud even though she was mostly talking to herself. "Is this shit for real?" She asked  the woman down the hall as she reached out instinctively with her mind.

WHITE NOISE!

The metal static and jarring pain hit Zoe much worse this time. The staff clattered to the floor as she dropped it to grab her head. "FUCK!" she screamed.

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"Shit!" Grace looked around, immediately bringing her rifle back to firing position, then hurried to Zoe's side.

"Look at me," she said, trying to get eye contact. "Focus on me. Are you hurt? You've got to bite down on that shit. We aren't secure here."

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"Yeah just give me a sec."  Zoe collected herself with a couple of deep breaths. "It's Quantum Resonators, they hit hard. I forgot and tried to scan you. I'll remember now that's for sure."

She picked up the staff and triggered the collapse key, shoved the staff into one of the slings on the belt. Then she held her arm out for help standing. "Sorry about that," she said,waiting for the alert woman to help her up. "This is not the kind of thing I'm used to."

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"Quantum resonators?" Grace frowned at that. AI-tech...but then again they were talking about AI frames here so all right.

"Good thing I didn't try to break the mirror, I guess."

She leaned down and offered Zoe a hand up.

"Nice staff. Didn't catch your name."

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Grace looked around, taking in the nightmarish hallway. Red lights, debris...doors lining each side. Wires dangling from ripped out light fixtures. Compared to the rooms they'd woken up in, it was night and day. She shook her head.

"Not really. Lets stay on task. Eleven hostages. Unknown number of frames. What kind of combat experience do you have? Have you seen anyone else yet?"

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13 minutes ago, Zoe Santos said:

"Do you have any Idea where we are?"

"Somewhere between 'Shut the Fuck Up', and you 'Bitches Are Way to Fucking Loud'." Came a sarcastic (loud) whisper belonging to a Latino man in a get up very similar to their own.  He only had a pistol.

"Secure that talk Vasquez." A second man exited through the next door.  "Good to hear your voice, now shut up."

"Shaw!?  Dude, what.  The. Fuck. Man.  What is going on?!"  The two men seemed to know each other, although the one named 'Shaw' seemed to have a lot more calm about him.

"Couldn't say.  Like the lady said, stay on task.  We have a job to do, we do it.  And whomever is responsible for this, we put boot to ass later."  He approached the ladies.  "Damon Donovan Shaw, people just call me Shaw.  Biokinetic, although it's not doing me much good here, what with those resonators active.  Pilot too.  If it rolls, flies, or falls with style, I can pilot it.  Looks like we're in for one hell of a first date."  He smiled and checked his pistol.

"This is bullshit, Shaw!  We don't need them, they'll slow us down.  Ginger here can't even stay quiet for ten fucking seconds..."  Vasquez retorted.

"Says the guy who isn't shutting up." Shaw said quietly.  "Vasquez, chill.  We're in this together, now get your shit together."

[Zoe, Rapport]  You can tell that Vasquez is incredibly nervous, and scared.  He sweating, frantic, and his voice is reliably unsteady with every word he speaks.

Spoiler

You're all meeting and greeting together now, so I'll stop referring to things in the 'DM Descriptor' voice of 'You'... ;)  Save for things specific to your character.

 

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"Pretty much." Patrick drawled as he joined the others in on the tail end of the conversation. "Patrick van Saanvelt. Biokinetic, intrusion expert."

"Is this everyone, or did our friends really go on a shopping spree for lab rats?" Routine medical examination, his ass.

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Zoe nodded at Shaw and gave him a small Thank you smile, she acknowledged van Saanvelt as well, but it was to Vasquez who she made eye contact with and spoke to, in her best calming moderator voice. "Thank god your here. I'm Zoe and this is Grace. And your right, Vasquez is it?

I don't know about Grace, but all of this is quite new to me. I've had some corporate training but I have never been in any kind of situation like this. But i did score high in training and I know how to follow instructions." She nodded to him hoping her words and her tone would have a calming effect and bolster his confidence. "And I'll follow you guy's lead."

She made eye with Shaw next and gave him the slightest of nods.

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Grace gave Patrick a gimlet eye for a second, then nodded at the others.

"Shaw. Vasquez. Patrick. Like she said, I'm Grace. Four years in the Fifth Legion."

She looked up and down the hallway and went on, "What we have here is what I'd call a critical lack of intel. No clue where the hostages are, or where the frames are. If we start kicking doors in, we're going to get people killed."

"Patrick, you're an 'intrusion expert.' Can you do us some scouting without being seen, and without your biokinetics?"

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Dr. Temnikoa covered her ears to reduce the volume and listened as she walked over to the locker and looked inside, rolling her eyes. With a sigh she strapped on the armor, ejected the magazine from the pistol and reloaded, then stowed the spare clip and knife. She then looked over the PMK, checking it's supplies and tools, removing a syringe and taking a blood sample from herself, which she safely stored.

Standing up again, she picked up the pack, holding in more like a suitcase as she drew her pistol and walked to the other door, strolling out of it into the flickering light of the hallway. She could hear some hushed voice and spotted a few people just a little down the hall. She walked over and dropped the PMK casually, looking over the others with an evaluating gaze.

"I am Dr. Polina Temnikova." she said, introducing herself with a thick, Russian accent before continuing. "I am medical doctor, and expert in many fields. Many PhDs."

She then look around and shrugged at the environment they were all standing.

"Dis is, of course, not a test." she said sarcastically. 

"Our clean rooms just happen to have veapon lockers vith armor.." she added and then mocked surprise, "...and look, mine happen to be only one to come vith medical kit. And you get rifle, and so on." she finished with a dismissive wave of her hand as she rolled her eyes.

"So ve do obvious test, and I get my cigarettes back."

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Spoiler

"Sir, one of them suspects it's a test." The Operative stated to the man in charge, the older gentleman who'd issued them their orders moments ago.  "Do we abort?"

"No.  These are the best and brightest in their fields.  IF they didn't assume it was some sort of a test, we'd just be wasting our time because they wold obviously not be what we are looking for.  Turn the Quantum Resonators down to 4.34.  Let them have their toys."

"Copy that, sir.  Turning Quantum Resonators down to 4.34."

[Psions] You now have access to your Psi Modes.

"Your cigarettes?!" Vasquez gave her a 'you must be joking' look.  "There are Frames here that are gonna kil us, if they don't kill the hostages first, in which case we do too, and you're worried about your fuckin' smokes?  I'm outta here man, these bitches are gonna get us killed, bruh.  We can handle this without them."

"Second time," Shaw said.  "Secure that talk, Vasquez."  Shaw gave the ladies an apologetic look, knowing there was only so much apologizing one could do for someone else.  "Seventh Legion, twelve years.  Civilian pilot and indie contractor now.  Good to have you with us, Grace.  Doctor, Mrs. Santos, van Saanvelt.  Vasquez isn't a bad guy, he's just... under a lot of pressure.  He never did handle it well.  He's a cop, one of the best, working out of L.A.,  I've flown for his precinct several times, we've had a few beers... he's always been an asshole though."  He shot them a wink with a small grin as Vasquez paced around nervously, looking for some way to escape this entire situation.

Suddenly Vasquez dashed over pointing to Grace.  "And why the fuck does she get a rifle?  Huh?  Man, this is fucked," he waved his side arm about.  "What the fuck are we gonna do with these, huh?  Piss them off enough to kill us quick?"

"Given the limited space," Grace chimed up, keeping an eye on Vasquez and the way he was waving his piece around.  "I doubt they'll be using heavy frames.  Armor will be light."

"Servos in the joints, power core in the mid chest, memory core in the head.  These are your weak spots, just like on humans, heart, head, limbs," Shaw added.  The combined experience of the two military professionals was lifting the morale slightly.  "But remember, unlike us, they do not feel pain, or fatigue.  Conserve your energy."

"You can't be serious.  We're gonna be slaughtered by those things!"  Vasquez added in as he wiped sweat from his brow with his sleeve.

[Dr. Temnikova, Medicine] - Vasquez is showing early signs of psychosis.  Possibly brought on by an abundance of fear and anxiety.

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Dr. Temnikova crouched down, opened her Portable Medical Kit (PMK) and entered some command, causing the med-computer to emit a soft beep.

"Here. Zhis vill help." she said as she removed a syringe, that the computer had just filled, from the case.

"I'm not letting you stick me with shit." Vasquez said emphatically, drawing another look from Shaw.

"Iz not shit. Iz combat enhancer." she explained, which only cause Vasquez to look at her slightly less wearily.

She rolled her eyes and sighed, "Dis iz test, da? But zat does not mean iz not lezal test." she elaborated.

"Little? What the fuck do mean, 'little test'?" Vasquez asked.

"Not little. Lezal. Le-zal." she tried to explained, but only drew a near bovine-esque look from him.

"Deadly, okay? May be test, but could still be deadly test. So zhis vill help you. Ze better you all are fighting, ze sooner ve are done." she said, offering the needle again.

"Fine. Shit. I just want out of here and there's no way this is a fucking test either." Vasquez spouted.

Dr. Temnikova rolled her eyes and stuck the needle into his neck, pushing down the plunger.

"Ow. Shit!" Vasquez exclaimed, though keeping his voice down.

"Ow? Zat is sound voman makes. You are no voman, are you? No. You are big, strong man and fierce varrior, da?" she stated, more than asked, though it was not entirely clear if she was teasing him or not.

She crouched down and placed the syringe back in the pack, ejecting the needle.

"No ve go, pass test togezer." she said in her ever-present thick, Russian accent. 

 

Spoiler

The drug she gave him is some anti-anxiety like Loraxapam or something, as I doubt the kit has actual anti-psychotics (and they take a bit longer to work). Mostly it will just calm him down a good bit, but she is not trying to sedate him or make him dead weight.

She is betting he will not even realize that he was the only one she injected either by distracting him and such. Heh.

If I took too many liberties, lemme know I will edit.

 

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Grace watched the drama between the doctor and Vasquez unfold with skepticism written plainly on her face. Combat enhancer drugs were risky in this kind of situation to her way of thinking. Usually they revolved around kickstarting adrenalin or aggression until someone couldn't feel pain or fear...but by then they couldn't necessarily plan more than two steps out, or stick to a plan either. Not really what you wanted on an op like this, test or no test.

But then again, doctors were crafty as fuck, and Machiavellian in their manipulations. Especially combat docs.

"Alright. Patrick. Scouting. Find us targets."

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Well, Temnikova got him to shut up. That was a plus in her favor. Patrick turned to Grace and threw a lazy salute. "Aye aye, Cap'n." But there was no laziness in the way he set off, checking sight lines, movements much more controlled. Keep his distance, keep an eye out, and not get spotted. Patrick could complete that objective.

Spoiler

You know, we're supposed to be the best in our fields, but only got skills of 2 or so. Eh. Here goes.

Stealth: 5D10E7 => ( (2, 4, 4, 9, 6 → 1 success against 7) ) = 1
Awareness: 5D10E7 => ( (3, 9, 3, 4, 3 → 1 success against 7) ) = 1

 

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[Patrick] Aside from poor lighting and the constant flickering ballasts above him, the hallway was quite bare and quiet.  There were several more doors open along the hallway, all to clean rooms that were empty.

He arrived at the door at the end of the hallway, the only noticeable exit.  The holo ribbon alerted him that this door, to, was locked, but this time, thankfully, he had tools to assist him in bypassing the security.  He considered reaching out his senses, but frames didn't show up to on lifesense.  Nope, there was only one real thing to do and that was move forward.  The security wasn't difficult, once the panel was removed he sequenced the security code and within a few moments the ribbon turned green and the door unlocked.

Partick disabled the automatic function the door and manually slid it open a few inches.  Beyond were labs, by the looks of it.  The lighting was poor, if not worse than the hallway he was in now.  There were holgraphic displays providing minimal light and a few three dimensional holograms spiraling images of scientific things that really didn't mean much to him.

From where he knelt, the coast seemed clear.

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So far, so good. But Grace had insisted on targets, so Patrick had to move forward a bit more down towards the labs. Again, he moved cautiously, with lighting so bad and the risk of happening on AI frames without warning. Just a little further, and regardless of what he found, he would report back. Being caught alone out there would be a lethal prospect.

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Patrick entered the labs, sliding himself the person sized width in the door he'd pried open.  Slowly he progressed, keeping low and keeping alert.  He'd made it about halfway through when the 'swoosh' of the doors on the are side of the room could be heard.  The hard thump of mechanical feet could also be heard as well as the clicks and whirs that made up their binary language.

From his vantage Patrick only saw three, but as the door slid closed, he settled on that number.  Three... and he was half way into the room, which meant he was half the room's distance to his only exit: back into the hall where everyone was waiting for his report.

Spoiler

Frame01.jpg

Spoiler

To help, you have a few options.

Stealth - To stay hidden. (Dexterity + Stealth)
Haul ass to the door - not ideal, but it'll work. (Dexterity + Athletics to dodge any shots coming your way as you run out.)
Stand and fight - The sounds of combat will be heard by those in the hallway. (Dexterity + Firearms + Accuracy bonus, you know the drill.)

The room is small enough to still allow you access to all your shotgun accuracy dice.

 

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From what Patrick had been given in training, AI frames might have such problematic things as infrared vision, ultrasound, and technologically enhanced vision and auditory sensors superior to humans in both range and detail. Rule of thumb: when in doubt, err on the side of assuming they can. Which placed the Dutchman in an inconvenient position. With bodily control and awareness, he could most likely suppress most tells by breathing or motion, but there was no way he could transform his body heat.

Before he could decide on taking the chance and retreating, Patrick spied what looked like a large lab oven. Praying it had been recently used enough to provide something to obscure his heat-signature, Patrick dove in behind it and waiting, controlling his breathing and remaining damn still.

 

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The moment Patrick moved the frames caught on.  In the poor lighting of the room Patrick saw only their shadows creeping about, but they were punctuated by heavy, metal footfalls.  Their heads panned around, cone shaped bluish beams ignited from their central eye, bathing the area in a night club style lighting as they scanned the area for movement, heat, or anything out of place.  They exchanges clicks and buzzes in their language, keeping each apprised of what data they were collecting.  His trick worked however, the heat from the furnace was keeping him hidden, his breathing was under control... but a new problem had arisen.

They were too spread out now.  If Patrick tried to run there was no way he could escape unseen.

He was trapped.

Spoiler

None of them saw Patrick, but his movment did alert them.

Roll(4d10): 4,9,8,5 Total: 2 successes.
Roll(4d10): 7,1,8,6 Total: 2 successes.
Roll(4d10): 2,9,4,8 Total: 2 successes.

They are spread out.  Imagine in a rectangular room, they are in an 'A' pattern.  One in front of the door they entered through, and two at the midpoint of the room on opposite sides.  Their cone shaped blue sensors now cover the entire room, if you move, you will be seen.  One of them is less than three meters (ten feet) away from Patrick's hiding spot, it's practically looking right at him.

From where the rest of the group is standing you all catch the shimmer and glimmer of blue light... like someone is going nuts with blue laser pointers at the end of the hallway.

[Grace, Military Background] You know those lights.  Frames are in the room ahead and they're in passive scan mode... it'll take a miracle to sneak up on them at the moment.

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Grace held up a closed fist suddenly, without even thinking about it, to signal all stop. The lights shining through the little viewport...moving around like searchlights.

Shit.

She looked back and held a finger to her lips, shaking her head. It was impossible to know how sensitive their hearing would be, but when they were scanning they'd be much more alert to any kind of disturbance, not just visual. If they hadn't already started signaling others, or shooting, they hadn't found Patrick. If he kept cool, and they didn't find him, they should return to whatever they'd been doing before fairly quickly.

Multiple frames, can't really tell how many just from the lights. Patrick may need a distraction if things get hotter.

Grace turned around and locked eyes with the redhead, Zoe. She tapped her temple, then made a circular gesture, indicating the group. They needed some silent communication here that couldn't be tapped into by a machine-mind.

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Zoe nodded and stared at Grace. It was easy since she wasn't resisting. Their minds touched a gentle kiss sensed rather than felt <I can relay your orders to everyone here one at a time. Patrick will be harder since I can't see him, give me a second and I'll try to contact him>

Zoe closed her eyes and tilted her head toward the room Patrick had entered she tried to envision him in her minds eye and sought his mind.

Spoiler

Zoe tries to scan for Patricks mind mind scan for patrick: 7d10t7 3

Her mind reached out as his mental pattern solidified <Patrick, This is Zoe the redhead,> she gave him a mental smile <we are connected telepathically so I need you to tell me whats going on so I can relay it to the others. Just talk to me without speaking, I'll understand.>

Spoiler

If he resists I'll have to make a roll

 

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<Y'all got a fine sense of timing.> Even in his mental voice, Zoe could pick up the drawl, but also the undercurrent of relief at her connection and contact. <Three frames are in the lab. I'm hidden, but they picked up on my movement.> He added a mental picture of their relative position to her. <Collectively, they've got the entire room covered. I'm stuck where I am.>

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Grace nodded at Zoe's message and looked around. No other movement in the hallway. That was something at least. The operation was delicate, but they couldn't just sit around all day. Three frames were bad news...three frames with no hostages to recover was even worse.

All right. Review the parameters of the op. Eleven hostages, unknown frames...amend that to at least three. It wasn't specified that the frames holding the hostages would execute them immediately, but it wasn't specified they wouldn't. Assume worst case scenario, but don't freeze up.

We have firearms. I have a rifle. If it's suicide to use them, that makes no sense.

She looked at Zoe.

<Have him sit tight, don't move. Everyone else, clear the door, weapons out.> She demonstrated by getting to one side of the door way and crouching down with her rifle ready to fire. <Vasquez, you've got my back. Zoe and the doctor go next and Shaw has rearguard. We're giving the frames five minutes to see if they cycle out of scan mode so Patrick can get clear. If they stay scanning, or look like they're getting too close to him, we take our chances and rush the frames.>

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Zoe took a deep breath as she cut the connection with Grace and her mind sought out Patrick again. <Pat, Grace says to stay put and keep an eye out but don't move. She is hoping that they will come out of search mode. So just hang tight and I'll be back with you asap with further instructions>

She then telepathically relayed Grace's instructions to the rest of the group.

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At Graces orders, the team fanned out, pinning themselves to the walls and walking slowly towards the large open doors.  The closer the got, the less and less they were in the Frame's field of vision. Those on the left side of the door (facing the lab) could see where Patrick was hiding, a frame no more than a few feet from him, unable to see him through the large thermal signature the furnace was giving away.

He slowly shook his head, notifying them not to move.

They waited... and after a few moments the Frame's curiosity was sated.  The beams shut off and the rose up back into 'walking' mode, standing their full six and a half feet of steel and wiring.  The strange binary noise of their language could be heard from the one in the back and they proceeded to continue with their rounds.  The group's patience had paid off, and PAtrick breathed easily as the Frames turned their backs on the group and made their way for the exit (the same way they'd came in).

Spoiler

The frames are leaving.  Their backs are turned.  You have two options: take em' out from behind or let them go (there is no 'right' choice).

>>>The next person who posts needs to make that decision.  They are in motion and the window of opportunity is closing the closer to the door they get.<<<

Patrick may want to remain still until they leave.  Any movement by him will spark another search, unless of course he just pops up and starts shooting.

 

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Peeking just a little around the corner when the 'flashlights' vanished, Grace saw the clanks starting to lumber away. The urge to take them by surprise was strong. There were hostages to consider though. As much as she might want to mix things up, once the first shot was fired it couldn't be unfired. The frames might not execute hostages at the first sign of difficulty, but then again...they might. Once they knew shit was going down, the power was in their hands. Not ideal.

As long as the AIs didn't know there were people in the area, the people had the power. If they could find hostages first, that was the time to strike. They had to keep looking. Goddamnit.

Grace looked at Zoe and tapped her temple. When she felt the telepathic presence she sent, Have Patrick get clear, get back to us. We're trying to find hostages before we make our move.

It was risky this way too. The longer they took poking around, the bigger the chance they'd get caught. A call had to be made though and this was it. They'd keep looking.

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The message popped in from Zoe. <Grace says get back once you're clear.> Patrick obediently (and quite agreeably to the idea) waited for the frames to be out of the exit and a few seconds longer to make sure they put distance between him and them before rising up and heading for the doors. The doors came open to show the Dutchman, relieved to see them. "Well, I found you targets."

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Grace nodded and gave Patrick a squeeze on the shoulder.

"Yeah, about that. I was going in a little hot. Lets find our people before we start opening cans of beatdown. Alright, lets regroup here."

When everyone was together, rather than split up on either side of a doorway, she looked at the others and added, "Whatever anyone may think about this situation, we're playing it straight. Maybe you think it's an exercise...doesn't matter. We have the book, we're going by it."

"Alright, can't do an area mind scan...what about vitakinetics? We're looking for the only large living things around here that aren't us. What about scent? Tracking. What have we got in the toolbox?"

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