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[M&M 2e RoD fic] Retaking the Platform


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I looked around as I waited for one of the researchers I was... er, supporting, to install one of their sensors on the outlying platform of the oil rig, along with the assistance of one of the oil rig employees. Officially, I was there as a general mechanical specialist to help the scientists out. Unofficially, I had been assigned as a little extra security for the team. Given that the phenomenon they were studying had apparently been responsible for the disappearance of several rigs, my superiors thought some back-up could be useful, regardless of whether Sakurako, the head of the team, agreed.

This wasn't exactly my specialty, but I was between major assignments and I don't particularly mind guard duty. A nice, boring assignment helps to give me some time to recover from my more stressful infiltrations...


...or not. Looking around, I saw several small aircraft escorting a larger transport helicopter. Soldiers started rappelling from the helicopter even before it had landed, firing on anyone they found. Turning to my two companions, I said, "Dana, Tom, trust me if you want to live." Without waiting for them to respond, I directed my energies to boosting my strength, causing my muscles to bulge slightly before tightening closer to my frame, grabbed both of them, and hurled all three of us off the side of the platform.

Once we were out of sight of the invading aircraft and troops, I halted in mid-air, startling Dana into cutting off the scream that she had barely started. I flew backwards into the under-structure of the rig, depositing my charges where they could hold on without my support. Looking them directly in the eyes, I spoke clearly and distinctly. "Whoever is up there is killing anyone they find. If you want to live, STAY QUIET. I know this isn't comfortable, but you will last here a lot longer than down there in the North Sea. If I can find a safe place to move you to, I'll come back, but even if I don't come back, others know where we are and will be sending help. Do nothing to attract attention. I'm going to do what I can to ensure that when help arrives, they won't have to face as much opposition, or, if I'm lucky, I'll reclaim the rig myself."

Dana managed to stutter out, "B-but, you're just an assistant! What can you do?"

I gave her a wicked grin as I said, "I'm not an assistant. I'm John Smith, stealth security." With that and a wink, I just faded from their awareness. Technically, I was still there and still visible, but as far as they were concerned I had just disappeared as their brains were no longer registering my presence. It was very difficult to do this without at least some form of distraction, but darn impressive when I managed it.

A grin on my face, I floated up to the base of the platform and over to the edge before easing myself carefully upwards. It was still possible to spot me if a person was attentive enough, and I had learned the hard way not to rely too much on my ability to keep people from noticing me. As I approached the top side of the platform, I heard heavy footsteps.

Peering over the edge of the platform, I saw 4 rather heavily armed soldiers. They varied a bit in burliness, but they all had the rough feel to them of professional mercenaries who had been at it for a bit too long. After a while killing people for a living, some people forgot how to live a life that didn't revolve around adrenaline and death. I hoped to be out of the game long before I reached that level, but the fact that I rarely had to kill and made a point of voluntarily visiting the staff psychiatrists every month, even if I had had no missions, helped reduce the risks of meeting that particular fate.

I quickly assigned names to the four just to keep them straight in my head. Shorty appeared to be in charge, as he was the one making most of the gestures. He pointed to Burly and Stretch, to his eyes, then to the building housing the water treatment facilities. That one was easy to work out: *You two search the building* as was his next set of gestures, pointing to Ugly, his eyes, the far side of the building and making a circular motion: *You take that side of the building, I'll take this, circle around*.

I smiled at this division of labor, as it meant two different opponents were going to be alone for a few moments. The building wasn't that big, so I would have to work fast, but this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. Waiting until Shorty passed by me, crept up top and snuck up behind him. He had no idea I was even there until the stiletto I had formed had been jammed through the base of his mouth, up through his palate, and into his brain, while my other hand clamped over his mouth to minimize the noise he made. He only struggled for a few seconds before succumbing, and to help cover the moment, there were two bursts of gunfire from inside the building causing me to wince. I had been unaware of anyone else on this platform. Realistically, there was no way I could have saved anyone else, not at the speed these guys were operating, but it still sucked to have had someone so close yet still out of reach.

On the other hand, any reservations I had had about killing these guys went out the window. I knew that the person in there had to be from the normal rig staff, not the experts I had accompanied, so they weren't discriminating with who they killed.

Before Shorty faded completely, I stripped his motor cortex for behavioural patterns and codes. This ability didn't really let me read minds, but allowed me to copy their reflexes, making my imitations far more realistic. I shifted my body to match his, then focused on his clothes, reabsorbing my own and extruding them back out in a pattern to match. I picked up his assault rifle and was ready to go, for the moment. I pushed Delta Alpha's body--apparently that was his code name for this mission--out of sight and hurried to the back of the building to meet up with Delta Bravo--aka Ugly, who I was glad I wouldn't be impersonating.

Bravo was just rounding the back of the building as I arrived. I gestured *Report!*, receiving a response of *No hostiles. No hiding places.* I repeated the gestures back at Bravo, with the slight variations that were Alpha's habits. As on his toes as he was, he didn't seem to suspect a thing. I started to order him to go back around the same side he had just searched before Alpha's reflexes warned me that standard operating procedure would have us both search the opposite side on our way back to the front to ensure that neither of us had missed anything. Crap. There was no way he would miss Alpha's body. It wasn't obvious, but I hadn't had time to really hide it, either.

I marched on past Bravo, who continued back the way I had come, then turned, pointed my gun at the back of his head, and pulled the trigger. *Click* Nothing. The gun didn't fire, the trigger barely even budged. Crap on a stick with a side of toast! No time to figure out what was wrong. I reversed the gun and smashed the butt into the back of Bravo's head as hard as I could. Bravo crumpled to the ground, out cold.

Examining my gun, I realized that I had left the safety on.

Click to reveal..
...and rolled a 1 on my attack roll

Of all the rookie mistakes... I berated myself. Still, it hadn't cost me anything--this time. I rolled over Bravo's body and quickly searched it for any useful goodies, pulling his extra ammunition, side arm, grenades, rope... I had to stifle my snicker at the rope as certain movie quotes rolled through my head. "Charlie Branson always needed the rope," indeed. Body looted, I rolled him off the side of the platform, letting the waves have him. I placed his assault rifle on the roof in case I needed a spare later, and then moved back to Alpha.

Examining Bravo had revealed that they had some equipment built into the suits, most important of which was their radios. This meant that a convincing impersonation of Alpha would require the actual suit. With the schematics, I could produce a working copy of the radio, but I would also need all sorts of information that Alpha didn't have to make my copy function like his--preprogrammed frequencies, encryption codes, etc.

Stripping him took mere moments, and getting into his clothes mere moments more, but every second that ticked by made me more nervous that Delta and Epsilon... *Snerk* They really should have reserved the code Delta Delta fora girl, if they have any in this organization... would finish their search of inside and catch me getting prepared. I really had to cut back on the jokes. My sense of humour had gotten me in more trouble than any other slips in my career.

Hurling Alpha's body into the sea as well, I headed to the front of the platform, just in time to meet Delta and Epsilon coming out. They looked around for Bravo for a moment, but I just gestured to them to *Report!*

Delta--Stretch--responded *One hostile. Eliminated. Inside secure.*

I nodded curtly then pressed the radio button on my collar. "Delta squad reporting in. Platform 6 secure. Two hostiles located and dealt with. Delta Bravo was lost to an ambush by one of the hostiles. Further orders? Over."

The radio crackled for a moment before a voice came back. "Good work. Return to the central platforms to dig in. Mine the walkway with trip wires and AP mines on your way back. Over."

"Understood. Delta Alpha, over and out." I turned back to Delta and Epsilon, who were looking grim at the news of the loss of their squad mate. Still, these things happened, and they all knew it when they signed on. "You heard the man. Set up the mines, then meet me in the mess hall, platform 5." I knew neither Alpha's nor Bravo's gear had included any mines, so it was safe to assume that either these two had them or that they would just assume my order was to go get some and come back.

Epsilon pulled out an object that glowed faintly green to my sight. I surreptitiously tilted my head to see them without the glasses everyone was wearing, confirming that they did not glow to normal vision. Cool. I've got to get some of these back to ops for reverse engineering, as that just rocks. Mines that your side can see and the other side can't.

I couldn't afford to act suspiciously now, though, so I just turned and walked towards the next platform. There, I found two guards standing beside the north entrance to the mess hall. I nodded to them and went past without a word. They didn't even try to stop me, nor did they act at all suspicious. Good. Inside, I headed over to the kitchen, ignoring the voices coming from the store room. Once in the kitchen, I made a point of opening every cupboard in order from left to right until I reached the thermoses and coffee. I started a several pots of coffee brewing, then looked into the store room.

Inside were two more soldiers making a quick inventory of the supplies. They stood to attention when they saw me, but I just gestured to them to continue. "I'm making some coffee if you want some when you're finished here. It is bloody cold out there and we need to stay warm if we are going to stay alert."

One actually saluted, so at a guess I'd say he was new to the company. The "*bleep* yeah" from the other revealed that he had been doing this a lot longer. Ok, so he didn't say *bleep,* but I prefer not to use more than mild profanity unless needed, and I'm the one telling this story.

I got down several thermoses. Two I filled with very sweet coffee with a bit of cream. I didn't know how Dana or Tom liked their coffee, but the extra calories would do them good. These I slipped into my 'pocket,' a little space I had learned to make. It didn't hold a lot, but I didn't need it to. From that pocket I pulled some drugs, lacing two of the pots of coffee with a strong sedative, and the remaining one with a strong laxative, just for shits and giggles. (Heh. I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist the joke. I apologize for the language.) I filled several more thermoses and walked back out into the dining area.

I looked at the two men currently seated in there. One felt higher ranked than me, but the other felt lower ranked, so he would probably follow orders. "Beta Epsilon! Since you don't seem to have anything to do right now, take these and distribute them to the guards outside. You can warm up and have some for yourself once you're done."

He just rolled his eyes at me and said, "You ain't the boss of me, Prof." The appellation Prof. brought up memories from Alpha's subconscious, mostly that he hated the name but had picked it up for always being so precise about the rules and terms used. It still beat his old nickname, which he had gotten rid of by shooting someone for insubordination after it had been used one too many times. I shan't repeat it here since there is a lady present.

The other man at the table said sardonically, "But I am, and it's a good idea. Hop to it."

BE gave an exaggerated salute and shouted, "Sah Yessah! I shall deliver these containers without fail, Sah!" With that, he grabbed the thermoses I was carrying and sauntered off. Profesionals these guys might be, but professionalism was something they were clearly lacking. One goal achieved, it was time to head over to the living quarters while I waited for the drugs to do their work.

I had to cross two bridges to get to the habitation platform, so I chose to swing by the one where the helicopter had landed first. The helicopter itself had apparently left once they had it unloaded. One thing on that platform that was apparently powered down at the moment was a rather large bipedal mech, complete with machine guns and a large railgun mounted on its shoulder. The biggest weakness to the bipedal design is a lack of stability, and railguns like that tend to have enormous recoil, so I suspected that it would have to lock down before firing its main weapon. There was no way I could take it out now, but that information could be mighty useful when help arrived.

Upon reaching the living quarters, I once again tried to enter without saying anything to the guards, but this time they stopped me. "You don't want to go in there right now. The captain's... interrogating... our only prisoner, and you know how he hates to be interrupted when he's... interrogating." The look of distaste on the man's face and the hesitation before saying 'interrogation' likely meant either that the captain was particularly brutal or that he was raping the prisoner.

I've been in deep cover missions where I had to let things like this go without doing anything, where maintaining my cover was more important than an individual's life. In this case, I didn't really expect my cover to last much longer anyways, so, as the saying goes, cover, schmover. "This is important, so let me in. I'll take full responsibility." The guards moved aside and let me in.

It wasn't hard to figure out which room the captain was in. All I had to do was follow the meaty thuds and occasional scream to one of the rooms. There, I found a shirtless man standing over a thankfully still clothed woman. She was bruised and bleeding, but would be ok if I could stop this now. The captain turned as heard my approach, snarling, "What do you want?"

With a faint smile, I replied, "To tender my resignation," and shot him full of holes. I then grabbed two grenades from my belt, pulled the pins, and tossed them at the doors leading into the building before jumping into the bedroom with the woman and shutting the door. I jumped up to the ceiling, floating where I wouldn't be seen by someone just entering the room and said "Sshhh," to the woman looking wide-eyed at me.

I heard curses from the lounge just as my grenades went off. Apparently I didn't get all of the guards though, because I heard the sounds of feet running towards me mere seconds later. One of the guards burst into the room and pointed his gun at the woman. I fired at him, but not before he managed to fatally wound her. As I settled back to the floor, I told the dying woman, "I'm sorry I couldn't save you, but this death is far better than what he would have done to you." She looked frightened of death and yet relieved at the same time as the light slowly left her eyes.

Returning to the blasted lounge, I threw smoke grenades out both outer doors, which had been jammed open by the blast. I then grabbed a stack of blankets and cold weather gear from some closets before leaving the room at full speed. If anyone saw me at all, it would have been as a brief blur that went over the edge of the platform, unless they had some ability to see through smoke. I flew back to where I had left Dana and Tom, sticking to the underside of the platforms, and shifting just my face back to what they expected of John Smith.

Once I arrived, I tied several blankets to the girder they were sitting on to give them a more comfortable place to sit, helped them tie themselves to that cord, gave them the coffee thermoses and extra gear and blankets, and settled back to relax a bit.

When they realized I wasn't leaving again, at least not immediately, Tom asked why I was still there. "Simple, me boyo. I just kicked the anthill and laid a few traps. Waiting and doing nothing will do more harm to their morale than an immediate strike. Once they calm down, then I'll stir things up a bit more."

To be continued?

I don't know if I'll come back to this story or not.

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