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Aberrant: Dead Rising - Chapter 5d: In the Hands of the Enemy

Dawn OOC

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April 11, 2007

The thump of helicopter blades beat at his brain, and the vibration of the beast jostled his sore body. Somewhere, he could hear someone crying, a man, great, choking sobs of fear and pain.

Instinct told him to remain still, to assess his situation. Pain in his wrists told him he was handcuffed; he was lying on his side on the floor of the cargo bay. He opened his eyes a slit, and saw Henry Walpesh's unmistakable ratty Converse sneakers. There were other shoes, all connected to legs, and most of those legs still had a lab coat wrapped around them. If he looked up, he'd see the scientists from the Roff Enclave. But he didn't look up, because he could also see the polished boots tucked into BDUs that were walking in easy strides back and forth in front of his face.

He closed his eyes again and thought, piecing together what had happened. Just another morning in Roff, Oklahoma, in the enclave he'd called home for a few weeks. He'd gone around to talk to the one or two friends he had made before starting his shift. Before he could finish laughing with Denny over the way that Doris was throwing herself at Rod, the dumb bitch, an explosion had shattered the morning air. He'd looked to see the wall to the north crack and start to fall - the wall that kept this place safe.

The rest was a blur of combat, of fighting and taking them down before they overwhelmed him. There were other things, too, things he'd heard over the radio or from them, but they weren't important at the moment. Later, they were for later.

"Raptor 1 to Raptor 2, we are starting our landing." The voice came over the radio, but it didn't affect the boot steps, not until the helicopter tilted and began to drop out of the sky. Then the boots stopped moving as the soldier sought his balance.

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In his current situation, there wasn't anything Walker could do, which he found frustrating. He opened his eyes, because there really wasn't any logical reason to keep them closed. They were landing, as anyone could tell, and that meant that he, and the rest of the prisoners, would be unloaded soon enough.

He wasn't a good enough actor to play unconscious while burly, uncoordinated men tossed him around, and he didn't particularly want to be tossed around anyway. Better to just let them get used to him being awake again, and get up and move around under his own power when the time came. So he opened his eyes and took stock of what he could see with his strange eyes. He wasn't really looking with his eyes, though. He could "see" better with what he privately referred to as his "wind sight" anyway - or should have been able to anyway, but the damn chopper's blades slicing through the air were kicking up so much noise it was hard just to make out what was going on inside of the helicopter, let alone what was happening outside of it.

Bad enough the stinking world had to go and end; bad enough there were hundreds of millions, maybe even billions of undead cannibals out there trying to eat them all; why couldn't regular old people just live in peace with each other, for crying out loud?

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"It's awake," someone said, and John felt more than saw them jump back a little and tense up.

"His name is John," Henry said, poor sweet, dumb Henry. The next sound was the thud of a rifle butt smashing into Henry. The young geek yelped and fell out of his chair, unable to catch himself with his hand cuffed. "Owww..."

"Don't break the squints," a voice growled from the back of the helicopter. A thump shook the whole bird as it landed, and then the rotors started to wind down. Slowly, his wind sight returned, and it was easier to "see" what was happening.

"On your feet," someone growled - Gravel Voice. Hands snagged John under the arm pits and hauled him to his feet. They weren't cuffed; he'd already learned that they didn't expect to find a super there and weren't completely prepared for him. It was also why there were four handcuffs on him, and Gravel Voice dedicated to keeping a rifle and an itchy finger on him.

He swayed on purpose, hoping they thought he was hurt. He was, but he hoped they underestimated him. Behind him, the scientists were herded off the chopper and into a shed. John was shoved down a path with a rifle butt. "Move, freak."

John shuffled along, noting the heavily wooded terrain and the rolling hills. The air was humid, so somewhere in the South or near water. There appeared to be two roads out, north and south, and there was a chain-link fence to hold back zoms. The fence had two gates to allow vehicle traffic. There were six transport vehicles, more than enough to move all the scientists - and himself. There was a smattering of quonset huts scattered around within the fence, and John was pushed toward one of them.

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Only a few months into things, and Walker was already used to being treated like a freak. In a way, it was only fair - and it was definitely to be expected - because he was a freak.

When he'd first come back from the brink of death out in the open desert, and awoken to discover the changes within himself, he'd been mostly pleased with them (really, he'd just been pleased to still be alive). After all, he never would've survived out there for so long without those changes. But once he'd come back into contact with human society, he immediately became self-conscious about his appearance, and it was... difficult... to interact with others at first.

Over time, though, he'd gotten used to it because - really - what else was he going to do? He wasn't magically going to change back to the way he was before, nor did he particularly want to, either. So in the end he'd settled for a compromise between simple acceptance of his condition, and a kind of casual subterfuge in the form of sunglasses and oversized jackets that helped downplay or hide his most 'freakish' traits. None of this stopped the edge of unease that most 'normal' folks seemed to feel around him, though, and so he'd long since become inured to it all.

Walker didn't respond to his captors, except insomuch as he started to move in the indicated direction. He also favored them with a brief glare from his creepy eyes. But otherwise, he was still far more interested in picking up as many details of his current situation as possible. One nice thing about the 'wind vision' was that he didn't have to look at something to know it was there, which was handy when you didn't want people to know you were looking.

He needed to find some way out of this situation, preferably with as many of his fellows from the Roff enclave as possible. This, too, was frustrating for him, since - were it just him who needed to escape - he could just walk away right now. There was nothing his captors could do to stop him, if that's what he'd chosen to do. But getting all of those doctors, and Henry, out of here in one piece would probably turn out to be a little more complicated. To say the least.

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The door was opened and Walker shoved inside. An older woman sat behind a small desk, her Asian features only lightly touched by the age that had started to silver her hair. She was in uniform, immaculately so, and she had silver eagles on her shoulder. Behind her, there was a terrain map of an area, possibly this one.

To the right of the office was an American flag but it had been altered. There was black stars instead of white, save for maybe one or two of the stars near the center. John couldn't see which or how many of the star were still white, but it wasn't a good sign at all.

Despite having Air Force rank, their uniforms were not strictly Air Force. They were a dark blue, but their cut had been altered.

The woman looked at him sharply before standing and coming around the desk. The four guards tensed as she approached him, ready to beat him down if necessary. She looked at his eyes, meeting his glare with a professional curiousity. She reached out and touched one of his shoulders lightly, as if expecting them to not be real. "You're a very interesting person, Mister...?"

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Walker was sorely tempted to pull his great escape here, in the closed-in space of the quanset hut, with only five people to try and stop him. It'd only take a few seconds, and then he'd be free to roam the base as he pleased. But it was still mid-afternoon and there was plenty of daylight to spare. Bad time to try and make a run for it with a group of "squints" in tow.

So he decided to wait, and see what he could see. An operation like this, it wasn't likely that it was all run out of this one little compound. Frankly, that was a scary thought to John, considering that this "operation" had attacked his own enclave unprovoked. The more information he could get on these guys before he left their company, the better.

The woman at the desk looked at him sharply before standing and coming around the desk. The four guards tensed as she approached him, ready to beat him down if necessary. She looked at his eyes, meeting his glare with a professional curiousity. She reached out and touched one of his shoulders lightly, as if expecting them to not be real. "You're a very interesting person, Mister...?"

"... Walker", he said in a voice that was little more than a hoarse whisper, "John William Walker. Ma'am."

Though Walker's voice was only a dried up whisper, the rough gravelly texture of it, combined with the sure confident tones he managed to put into it, made it sound anything but weak. And he never stopped staring at the woman, even after he finished speaking. In fact, as he continued to stare directly into her eyes, she realized that he hadn't blinked even once since he'd been brought in, and he wasn't showing any signs of starting anytime soon either. It was creepy. Up close, those gleaming black orbs looked more like the dry hard shell of a beetle or a spider than like soft, moist organs used for seeing.

There was something about the way he moved, too, or rather, how he wasn't moving at the moment. The four-armed 'freak' had walked a few paces inside the hut and then he'd just stopped. Completely stopped. He hadn't so much as twitched a muscle or shifted his weight in the time since. It wasn't even obvious if he was breathing or not. The eerie effect was reminiscent of certain kinds of predatory insects that will remain so perfectly still, you'd swear they weren't really alive. Until they lunged at their prey and eviscerated them, that is. Clearly, the man with the strange eyes did not consider himself to be the prey in this scenario.

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"You're a dangerous one, aren't you?" she said, her tone soft. Her dark eyes were comptemplative as she looked up at him; she came to his chin. "But polite, I'll grant you that." She walked behind him; he could barely see the top of her head over his shoulder. "I'm Colonel Kiet." It was pronounced 'KAH-eet.' "You're in the care of the military of the Reclaimed United States.

"Excuse me for a moment, Mr. Walker, but my supervisor will have some questions when I contact him tonight," she said, her tone brisk and professional. A second later, her fingers trailed down his arms, feeling at the joints and how it all worked together. Her fingers were impersonal and cool, matching the tempurature in the thinly insulated building. She ended her explorations at his wrists; he felt her check each of the handcuffs to be sure they were secure before she released him.

"Most interesting," she said as she came around the front again. "I suspect that you're not in a mood to be agreeable, but is there anything you'd care to share about your condition with us? Special care or feeding requirements that we'll need to provide you for continued health?"

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Walker had continued to remain perfectly motionless throughout the Colonel's inspection, though there was a sense that he was still watching her somehow (which he was, using the air itself as his eyes). As she came around to the front to ask her question, she found she couldn't quite tell if his eyes were following her as she moved or not, only that at some point before she stopped in front of him they'd fixed on her with intensity.

Originally Posted By: Colonel Kiet
"Most interesting," she said as she came around the front again. "I suspect that you're not in a mood to be agreeable, but is there anything you'd care to share about your condition with us? Special care or feeding requirements that we'll need to provide you for continued health?"
He continued to stare at her - for longer than was normal.

After a moment he whispered, "No".

Whether he meant that he wasn't willing to share, or that he didn't have any special requirements was unclear. What was obvious was that he wasn't going to elaborate.

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The creepiness around this man was suddenly too much for one, and John 'saw' a guard moved behind him, his rifle butt rising. John tensed for the blow, but Kiet threw up her hand. "Hold, Sargent. He's a prisoner, and that still means something in the United States."

The soldier lowered his rifle slowly, his face flushing red at the reprimand. Kiet looked at the Sargent with a few more bars than the others. "Call a replacement for this man, and he's not to guard Mr. Walker anymore."

"Yes, Colonel!" The First Sargent called for another man, and the room was very quiet as they waited for the replacement. Kiet kept her eyes on John, her expression unreadable. When the replacement arrived, the red-faced soldier left.

"Now, Mr. Walker," the colonel said, leaning back against the desk. "You have some idea by now that you're in a bad situation. You are a prisoner and only by merit of the possibilities you provide as one of those who is clearly more than human. Things can be easier for you if you're willing to cooperate with us. Part of that cooperation will be answers to a few questions. Would you be willing to answer some questions, or shall I have you taken to your accomidations?"

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Walker flexed four shackled arms and shifted their weight once, but otherwise continued to remain motionless while he waited for the guard's replacement to arrive. As soon as the man walked through the hut's door, however, Walker turned in one too-smooth motion and locked his carapace-eyes on the newcomer. He took a long measuring look at the man, remembering the face and how he carried himself, and then he turned back to the Colonel.

He regarded her unblinkingly for another moment, and then answered her question with that whispery voice of his that almost sounded like it must hurt him to even speak.

"Depends on the questions, ma'am. And the accomodations."

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Colonel Kiet smiled a little, the expression changing the severe angles her face slightly. "Well, your accommodations tonight are regrettably austere," she said, moving around the desk to sit down. "You are a prisoner, and have shown minimal cooperation. You killed a number of my men before you were captured. Moreover, you are complicit in the theft of classified data from the Reclaimed United States.

"In fact, let us start there. First Sargent, get him a seat, please." The burly man did as she said, getting a folding chair out of a cabinet and setting it behind John's legs. "A stool would be better," Kiet amended, eying the firm back of the chair. "My apologies, Mr. Walker, but we're short on luxuries out here. I hope you find a stool more comfortable."

After a moment, John sat. He burst into motion suddenly and stopped it just as suddenly, with no warning. One of the watching guards shifted nervously, and the tension overall in the room increased. His motions were so unnatural that the watching men couldn't help but fight nervous reactions.

If the Colonel noticed, she didn't show it, though there was a new wariness in her eyes. Instead, Kiet nodded and glanced down at her desk, opening a file folder. "You don't seem to be someone who has been with the traitors long. When were you hired by the Roff Enclave?"

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The old John probably would've tried to bluster his way through a situation like this. Get cocky, crack some smartass jokes, basically do anything to hide how scared he was. The new John did none of those things. For some reason, he just didn't feel the need to anymore. He was still scared, just like his old self would've been, but he felt no need to act on that fear, either to try and hide it or to give it vent. He simply kept it in check, and that was all.

So, he didn't respond to any of the slightly insane-sounding accusations leveled at him. In fact, his face didn't even register that he'd heard her say anything. Only the unrelenting stare of his eyes told her he was still paying attention. He was grateful they'd thought to give him a stool, rather than a chair. With not two, but four arms cuffed behind him, asking him if he'd like to sit in a stiff-backed chair would've been more of an insult than a favor.

In response to the Colonel's newest question, Walker responded more quickly than he had in the past, though he was still slower to respond than most would have deemed appropriate. "I dunno. About eight weeks ago. When did you folks get started?"

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She looked a little surprised, her eyebrow arching upward. "So you weren't told of the RUS?" Kiet asked. "I wonder how much they trusted you with. Hmm. Eight weeks?" At John's slow, precise nod, she fell silent. After a moment, she seemed to reach a decision, and she said, "We've been around since the collapse of the official government. The Reclaimed United States is attempting to reclaim the United States for its citizens. Unfortunately, we've faced stiff opposition from other groups that claim to have the country's best interests in mind. One of those groups infiltrated us, stole vital information relating to our research into the Z-virus and fled to form their own enclave. This was the foundation of Roff."

Kiet lifted her hands, placing her elbows on the desk with her fingers still intertwined. "Why were you working for them, and what did you do for them?"

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Walker had a hard time believing everything this lady was saying. If they were such a large, well-organized, and (given the ordinance they'd used to take down his former employers) well-funded organization as she claimed, then how had he not heard of them before now? Hadn't they ever heard of radio broadcasting?

On the other hand, what he'd seen so far didn't make them look like a small time operation with delusions of grandeur. So what was going on here? The folks who ran Roff hadn't exactly been the most forthcoming people he'd ever met, now that she mentioned it, but he'd always just assumed they were being careful like him. He hadn't exactly told them everything about himself yet, either. Still, he had to admit that he didn't know enough to discount the possibility that he was now stuck in the middle of some post-apocalyptic shadow war or something. Which, if true, would totally suck. He'd left the Navy because he had no stomach for this kind of crap.

Walker thought about the Colonel's news for what - for him - was a decent amount of time, but - for everyone else in the room - was only an instant (yet another aspect of his 'change', he had all the time in the world to consider his next action), but he finally decided that he wasn't quite ready to believe that the 'squints' at Roff were the bad guys here. They weren't the ones who went around decimating an entire enclave full of that most rare and precious of resources in this new world - namely, real live people.

He'd keep all these thoughts to himself for now, though. In answer to the Colonel's question, he merely whispered, "Said they were trying to find the cure. I worked security for 'em. Pay was good."

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“So you’re effectively a mercenary,” she said, and he heard the slight derision in her voice. “You work for whoever pays you.” She sighed through her nose. “Very well, I assume that since you were in security, you didn’t have much access to-“

The door opened and a man entered, handing her a notepad, careful to hold it so only she saw it. The Colonel looked at it, and her eyes narrowed sharply. “I want to talk to him next,” she said, handing the pad back. “Once I’m done with Mr. Walker.”

He left and she looked at John for a moment. He stared back, utterly immobile, utterly alien. He looked nearly human, save the eyes and the arms, but even so, no one would mistake him for such, even with a disguise. No one could mistake him for one, not with that awful stillness.

Without missing a beat, Kiet picked up their conversation again. “I’m sure you didn’t have much access to classified data, but did you see anything, some of the research, an indication of the numbers of the enemy? Did any of the scientists share anything with you?”

“One of the scientists seemed fond of him, Colonel,” the First Sergeant said.

“Have him brought here,” Kiet said. As the First Sergeant made the call on the radio, she said, “Did you have anything to add before your friend arrives?”

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Originally Posted By: Colonel Kiet
Without missing a beat, Kiet picked up their conversation again. “I’m sure you didn’t have much access to classified data, but did you see anything, some of the research, an indication of the numbers of the enemy? Did any of the scientists share anything with you?”
Walker seemed to ponder her questions for a moment, though in reality he was simply continuing his efforts to wear at his captors' patience and sense of calm - something he'd found he was rather good at since his change. After a few seconds one of the soldiers sold out Henry. That wasn't exactly the outcome Walker was going for, but it was too late to hurry his answers now.

Originally Posted By: Colonel Kiet
“Have him brought here,” Kiet said. As the First Sergeant made the call on the radio, she said, “Did you have anything to add before your friend arrives?”
The damage to his throat made it difficult for Walker to speak at length at any subject, even ones he wanted to go on about. Normally, this was an inconvience, but in a situation like this it was handy - his captors must be having a hell of time telling if he was just being uncooperative, or if he was simply struggling to overcome a real physical handicap.

The air hissed raggedly out of his throat as he finally answered the Colonel, "Ask your men how many of us there were. I dunno how many are left."
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"I will ask them, now I'm asking you, Mr. Walker," Colonel Kiet said, and for the first time, there was a thread of irritation in her voice. "Is your mind fast enough to count their deaths as they fell? Do you have a perfect memory with which to recall their deaths? Or are all your gifts physical?"

Before Walker had a chance to answer - not that he necessarily would; seeing the Colonel losing her shit a bit was nice - the door opened. A familiar form stirred the air, and Henry stumbled to a stop, dropping on his knees next to John's chair. His glasses were crooked, and he was panting; the mud soaking his shoes and pants explained his heavy breathing. "Hi... John," he managed. "How's it hanging?" His tough guy act was just that - an act. His voice shook from more than exhaustion.

"Mr. Walker, do you have anything to add at this point?" Kiet's voice was pure steel. She was hardening herself for something nasty, and John could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes.

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It was immediately obvious to Walker what the Colonel was planning, and that she had essentially no intention of asking Henry anything. She only intended to use him as motivation while asking Walker more questions.


While Kiet continued to rattle off her rather annoying questions, Walker prepared himself by taking a final account of the entire room and its contents, people, and other assorted points of interest. By the time the Colonel was wrapping it up, Walker was just about ready to get started.

Originally Posted By: Colonel Kiet
"Mr. Walker, do you have anything to add at this point?" Kiet's voice was pure steel. She was hardening herself for something nasty, and John could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes.
Walker's carapace-eyes stared coldly at her for another moment, and then he simply whispered, "Nope.". Immediately after that, he vanished. Gone - just like that.

Round: 1, Initiative: 20

An instant after that everything exploded into pure chaos and violence.

The four guards behind Walker, being well trained men, already battle hardened and difficult to get the drop on, were raising their rifles to fire at the spot where Walker had been seated an instant before, but none of them managed to complete the act. Instead, there was a sound not unlike four baseball bats smacking into four coconuts all at once, and each of the guards' heads snapped backwards and their feet left the ground as they literally sailed backwards as though they had just been hit by some sort of invisible explosion (which, in a way, they had).

All but one of them hit the nearest wall and then rebounded off of it to the ground. None of them got back up again. Back at her desk, Colonel Kiet had drawn her pistol (woefully too late to do any good) and fired blindly, but without hesitation, as all of her men were currently lying prone, and so presented no target. As for Henry, he'd collapsed on the ground in terror as soon as the violence had started, so he was safe from any crossfire as well.

The bullet from her gun impacted uselessly with the wall of the hut, it's only effect being the whimper it elicited from Henry who was lying fully prone on the ground next to Walker's empty stool by that point.

There was a strange, unidentifiable noise - almost like dead leaves blowing across stones - but its source was indeterminable. There were now five men lying on the ground, one of them was dead, three of them wouldn't be getting up again before the coming of winter, and the last was merely terrified. Colonel Kiet was otherwise left in an apparently empty hut with a smoking gun in her hand...

End of Round 1

Round: 2, Initiative: 20

Kiet suddenly stifled a scream, partly of fear and partly of pain, as her hand and arm inexplicably swung out and to the side. The gun she'd been holding broke free of her grip, but it didn't move naturally as it sailed through the air, instead travelling a strange parabola before seeming to come to a near stop in mid-air. Kiet had no time to wonder about this, however, as her own head suddenly snapped back and she collapsed against the wall behind her desk unconscious.

End of Round 2 and of Combat

Henry was pulled from his reverie of sheer terror by the grating sound of a familiar voice. "Henry. Get up."

Looking up, he was met with the sight of John Walker standing behind the Colonel's desk, with her gun in his hand, looking at him with those strangely sad eyes of his.

The four-armed man's face was so devoid of emotion it was more of an anti-expression than a normal, emotional expression. He gave Henry a much friendlier stare than he'd favored Kiet with, however, as he asked, "You ok? "

Then he moved, in that sudden and startling way of his, and came over next to Henry offering him a hand(s) up. As Henry struggled to his feet, Walker muttered, "We got problems. Need to move."

Click to reveal..
Immediately before Round 1:

Tactics: 7[1]: 2,5,6,8,9,7,4,[8]: 5 (adding this to his initiative)

Round 1 Begins:

Walker's Initiative roll: 12+[5 from Tactics]+1d10 (rolled 3)= 20 Initiative

Guards: doesn't matter, see below

Kiet's: 6+1d10: 2: 8

Henry's: 7+1d10: 1: 8

Walker's 6 Combat Actions:

1st: Inviz: 4[1]: 3,7,8,2,[9]: 4+{3Q}= 7 total

2nd: Unspecified Power: QP spent, no roll

3rd: Martial Arts: 6[1]: 2,1,7,4,8,9,[4]: 3

4th: Martial Arts: 5[1]: 7,4,5,5,10,[3]: 2

5th: Martial Arts: 5[1]: 1,2,7,6,8,[10]: 5

6th: Martial Arts: 4[1]: 7,1,1,3,[10]: 4

Kiet's Firearms roll: 7: 2,3,8,9,1,6,5: 2 (Blindfire penalty of +2, so she fails)

Henry's Athletics roll for cowering: 3: 7,8,10: 3 (good roll)

Walker's Damage Rolls (after soak):

All Strikes (Str+2+successes)

1: [10]+6: 3,3,9,9,6,10: 13B

2: [10]+5: 10,3,7,10,3: 13B

3: [10]+8: 10,7,10,7,1,8,4,7: 16B

4: [10]+7: 2,3,7,3,9,7,1: 13B

End of Round 1

Beginning of Round 2:

Walker's Initiative: 20

Kiet's: 8

Henry's: 8

Walker's 2 Combat Actions:

Disarm Roll to take Kiet's gun out of her hand (after crossing over to her, using his movement for this round): 9[1]: 9,9,5,8,2,5,10,10,9,[10]: 9sux

Martial Arts Strike: 8[1]: 1,3,9,8,7,8,4,1,2: 4

Kiet's Defence against the Disarm: 7: 2,8,9,10,8,8,10: 6 (wow)

Henry's Action: Cowering: Automatic Success wink

Walker's damage roll for the Strike (only using 9 auto-sux for damage): [9]-3 Stamina: 6B

End of Round 2

Total QP spent: 5, 21 remaining.

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"Oh, my god, that was awesome and I've never been so happy to be in a gunfight in my whole life," Henry babbled, grinning as he turned his back to John. "Hey, do they have the keys for my handcuffs? Did you pop yours off? How long before they notice that we're free? Are we going to get the others?"

That was Henry - sweet kid, utterly impractical.

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For the first time in what felt like a while, Walker actually smiled. It was hard not to when faced with the irrepressible Henry. He didn't actually say anything in return, in part because speaking was difficult for him, and in part because he was a little distracted with trying not to die today, but mostly just because he wouldn't have been able to get a word in edgewise.

Instead, he wandered over to where his former guards had been, and started fumbling around in the pockets of one of them until he came up with what he was looking for. Handcuff keys. He slapped the keys in Henry's hands, and while he fumbled with unlocking them Walker turned back to looting the soldiers.

Aside from the obvious assault rifles (more than he could use), sidearms (mostly useless, under the circumstances), and combat knives (now we're talkin'), Walker came up with dogtags, a crumpled pack of cigarettes (with only three left), and a lighter. He pocketed the cigarettes and lighter for later, tossed Henry an assualt rifle, and stood up with another rifle slung loosley over his back.

Walker pointed at the rifle he'd just tossed at Henry and said, "Wait here. Anyone comes through the door 'cept me, point the barrel at them and pull the trigger."

It was the most he'd said all at once in a long time.

"Wait here? Where ya going, John? Why can't I come? What if one of those goons wakes up - hey is that guy dead?!" Walker only smiled and patted Henry once on the shoulder, then he vanished. The sound of dead leaves was heard again, and then the hut's door opened a crack only to be closed again immediately.

With Walker gone, Henry was suddenly very quiet and very nervous. He gripped his rifle tightly and waited...

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April 11th, 2007

5:33:46: A single shot rang out in the RUS Military Outpost. Privates Harris and Torney were on patrol along the Outpost's Western and Northern fencelines, respectively. They both heard the shot, and moved towards the hut to investigate. Both confirmed their intentions over radio to both the central Watch Tower, and the other two soldiers on sentry duty.

A few seconds later, the door to Colonel Kiet's quanset hut opened with a soft creak, but then closed again just as quickly without anyone appearing to have come in or out. Sergeant Harris reported this over his radio, and the first glimmer of tension was felt by those who heard it.

5:33:58: Private Torney arrived at Kiet's hut first, and moved behind it to search the area between it and the fence, leaving the unpleasant job of knocking on Kiet's door and checking the inside to Harris. Torney found nothing, but only managed to search about half of the space before his head suddenly turned into a cloud of bright red mist, and his body dropped heavily into the tall grass behind the building.

Private Harris was just arriving at the hut's front door, and remained blissfully unaware of his fellow sentry's gruesome fate as he raised his hand to knock on the door and check on the Colonel. He never had a chance to knock though, as he was suddenly dragged bodily into the thick bushes that had grown up along the Western side of the quanset. The bushes only shook for an instant, and then they were still again. Nothing was seen to come out of them again.

5:34:01: "Now I can't see Torney or Harris", remarked Private Sloth. Clicking on his radio, he spoke into it, "Harris, Torney, either of you read? Check in, please. Over."

"Can't raise 'em?", asked his fellow watchman, Private Bounds. Instead of an answer, he heard only a sound like leaves blowing across the ground, and turned around to see what was causing it.

Sloth was slumped over at a strange angle next to the window on the opposite side of the observation room. He was trying to gurgle out of a bloody mouth, but he was finding it difficult to do because of the very large hole through the left side of his chest. Something was wriggling itself loose from the hole in Sloth's chest, and once it came free it became slightly spattered in the dead man's blood.

Bounds, operating solely off of raw instinct, raised his sidearm and tried to fire at the invisible creature that had just killed his fellow soldier. His finger never had a chance to depress the trigger however, as the top of his head - and the brain that had sat inside of it - was suddenly a messy stain on the wall behind him. Invisible leaves skittered across a floor, and then the room was silent again.

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April 11th, 2007

5:34:04: Private Fry had just left the barracks and was on his way towards the mess hall to help prepare the evening's rations when he stopped dead in his tracks and stared. Did he just see two knives go flitting overhead?


He turned around slowly, and to his surprise and dismay, he realized he'd seen correctly. Privates Henry and Roberts - the men assigned the task of guarding the prisoners they'd just brought not fifteen minutes ago - were in the process of falling over dead with knives lodged past the hilt into their chests. Oh shit!

"Men down! Men down!", he cried, trying to fight the panic as he fumbled with his sidearm, trying to get it out of the holster. "They're trying to free the pr - Ergh!!"

Halfway through his sentence, Fry's head suddenly twisted more than 120 degrees to the left, killing him instantly. Mysteriously, his knife suddenly floated up into the air and high overhead, then it launched itself at phenominal speed in the direction of the North-Western corner of the Outpost, some 60 or more meters distant.

5:34:07: Meanwhile, Sergeant Fanshaw, who had also heard the single gunshot coming from the nearby hut of Colonel Kiet several seconds ago, had just left the Officers' Quarters and was approaching the Colonel's office at a brisk walking pace. He was startled when something whistled right by his left ear, and then smacked resoundingly into the frame of the hut's door. Fanshaw stared disbelievingly at it for a good two seconds before he realized that it was a combat knife, still vibrating rapidly back and forth in the doorframe.

It took him only slightly less than a second more to realize that he aught to be looking behind him to see what had thrown the knife at him in the first place (or better yet, diving for cover in case more were on their way). Unfortunately, he was struck from behind by the body of the late Private Fry before he had a chance to make good on his realization. Both men collided with the hut just to the left of where the knife had stuck in the quanset hut's wood, and then they both landed unmoving on the grass beneath it.

At precisely the same time, and nearly 70 meters away, Private Ives - who had been doing sentry duty along the Eastern fenceline until he'd heard all the commotion - came running around the side of the helicopter that had recently brought in all of the prisoners with his weapon raised. What he saw in the instant before he died wasn't possible. Someone - it looked vaguely like Fry - was spinning through the air like a frisbee, and was about to impact with one of the officers on the far side of the compound. Ives tried to shout out a warning of his own, but presently, he was flying through the air himself, and was also dead. His body impacted with the fence some 20 meters behind it, and then was still.

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April 11th, 2007

5:34:10: Privates Kay and Medcaf had been trying to relax inside of the outpost's barracks after having just gotten back from a successful but grueling raid on that Roff place. But a succession of strange and unpleasant noises, starting with a gunshot from over on the western side of the place and ending with shouts of 'men down', had finally motivated them to unholster weapons and go outside for a look.

This proved to be very bad judgement on their parts however, for no sooner had they stepped out the barracks door then they were struck down in a hail of bullets from an invisible gun. Neither man had time to so much as grunt in surprise.

Over at the outpost's garage, on the Southern end of the compound, Private Rhodes had remained blissfully unaware of the carnage taking place all around him until just a second ago. Somehow, he'd even managed to miss the shouts from Private Fry just before he'd been killed. But he did not miss the sound of fully automatic gunfire less than 30 yards behind him. Nearly jumping out of his skin, he jerked around and was met with the shocking sight of someone's body hurting through the air at tremendous speeds before slamming into the Eastern fence and nearly tearing it down.

Movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention, however, and he turned just in time to see a rifle - likely the same one responsible for all that shooting, he thought - spinning end over end right at him. It struck him full in the face, and he went down without protest.

5:34:13: Private Sandford had been the sentry on duty patrolling the Souther fenceline when that first shot had sounded up along the Northern side, and he'd been privy to those first few seconds of radio chatter. All of which had gone silent a suspiciously long time ago. Then had come the shouts from over to the East, followed by gunshots. He started running.

Private Thorn had been slaving away in the Mess Hall for several minutes already, and had finally gotten impatient waiting for that no good Fry to show up and start helping. He'd just stepped outside to go and find the bastard when he heard the shouting - which sounded like it'd come from Fry. He started running, and then noticed Sandford coming up on his right, running in the same direction. Was it the prisoners? They were being held in that direction.

It was as he was wondering these things that the first bullet struck him in the left arm, causing him to stumble a little and spin to one side as Sandford ran on past. The second bullet winged only winged his left side, but it hurt much worse. Fighting shock and panic, he drew his sidearm and fired blindly in the direction the shots had come from, but didn't seem to hit anything. Sandford had slowed and was in the process of looking behind him to see if Thorn was alright when he was suddenly launched backwards high into the air. Thorn watched with dazed eyes as he sailed overhead.

The sound of leaves blown by the wind, and a shimmering in the corner of his eyes caused Thorn to look back down and to the East. What he saw there caused him start screaming in mindless terror.

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April 11th, 2007

5:34:16: Sergeant Wells had come rushing out of the Officers' Quarters at the sound of the burst of gunfire a few seconds before. He'd immediately noticed the two bodies stacked outside of the Colonel's hut, and his first instinct was to rush over there and determine if she was alright. The sound of gunfire to his right, on the other side of the watch tower, changed his mind and as he looked he saw Private Thorn stumble as he was shot. Then Private Sandford had suddenly appeared from behind the tower - sailing through the air like a rag doll. Wells instantly ran to the near side of the watch tower and pressed himself against it, drawing his firearm and preparing to defend himself.

From the far side of the tower, he heard Thorn suddenly begin screaming in tones of abject fear that made his blood run cold. When he dared a look around the corner of the tower and saw what was killing the man, he understood why. It looked up and met his eyes the instant he showed himself, and Wells immediately jerked back behind the building. It was on him so quickly, it might as well have appeared out of thin air. Wells, scared out of his mind but with a better sense of survival than Thorn, didn't bother screaming and tried to make a run for it. His head was shorn from his neck before he could take his first step.

As the blood poured from the stump of Wells' neck, the sound of dead leaves blowing across stones faded into the distance as his killer made its way back towards the Colonel's hut and the former prisoner named Henry.


5:34:27: For Henry Walpesh, the past minute or so had seemed like an eternity. Most of it had been spent waiting anxiously to the sounds of total silence. But in the past few seconds he'd heard lots of gunfire and screaming, and then it had all just stopped again. Of course, he didn't know who'd won or lost, and while he had a great deal of faith in his friend Walker, he was just one man (or... whatever he was) against an entire military outpost of well-trained soldiers. The facts were that he'd better start preparing himself for the worst. Just then there was a knock on the door, and Henry nearly shot himself in the foot, he was so startled.

A voice could just be heard from outside, "Henry! It's me, Walker. Comin' in, now. Don't shoot me."

A second later, the door opened, and a visibly worn down John Walker stepped through. "It's done", he whispered, "Let's go get our friends."

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Henry just stared. John looked tired, but not hurt. He wasn't even scratched. It was like something out of the movies, though a director would have never had been ballsy enough to not have the hero get a little hurt. And naturally, Henry gave the only reply that he could. "John, you are my new God. I'm serious. I'm starting a church. The First Holy Testiment of John Walker."

John just gave him a look, and even Henry got it. "Oh, right! Later." He attempted - and failed - to sound like Dirty Harry. "Let's go be heroes, John." His voice was more normal as he added, "Or you'll be a God, and I'll be your High Priest. You know - whatever works for you."

As Henry started out the door, John moved back behind the desk and picked up the unconscious Kiet. A nasty bruise was forming on her head. Henry watched, his eyes tight with anger. John could see that the young scientist wanted to leave her behind, but he said nothing as John hoisted her over his shoulder and braced her with one arm.

Together, the two men left. Henry started to ask why they weren't sneaking around more when he saw the first body, then the second. It just went on and on, and some of the luster wore off of the young man.

Freeing the prisoners was easy, anticlimatically so. The door was unlocked, and they stumbled into the light, staring around in the light of the end of the day. Questions were raised, and Henry got the pleasure of telling the story. The others didn't seem to be nearly as thrilled with it as Henry, probably because they were smart enough to realize that if John could do this to trained soldiers, he could do it to them.

By the time night had fallen, they had loaded up the two transport trucks with everything they could find at the base. Some of the scientists were even talking about tearing down the buildings and taking them, but John knew that sooner or later, someone was going to call and then wonder why they weren't getting an answer. They'd have to be satisfied with what they could easily carry. This placated them, and one of the scientists even found the some of the research that had been taken from them.

As John started the first truck and rolled out, Henry turned to him and quietly asked, "Where are we going? Roff is gone."

"There's Fox's, to the south of Roff," Bob Harley said from the back, rolling forward on his chubby frame to speak to John and Henry. "Unless you decided to take them out, too, bitch."

It took John a second to realize that the normally-kind man was spitting his anger at Kiet. He looked back to see her looking around; the cuffs he'd used to secure her to the side of the truck glinted softly in the light from the cab. She glared at him, though it lacked punch; she still looked dazed. He met her glare until she closed her eyes, her face a little green. Then he led his friends out into the gathering night.

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