View Full Version : Sanctuary
2003-04-02, 08:29 PM
Chapter 1: Awakening
He opened his eyes. Searo lay in a clean white hospital bed, hooked up to strange machines. Medical wasn’t one of his certifications, the machines might as well have been alien. One beeped, he wondered if that was a good thing. Apparently it was, as a nurse bustled in, and smiled. She was slightly overweight, and she had on a ton of makeup. He suppressed a shudder when she bent over to check the machine. “Well, you’re finally awake. You’ve been asleep for nearly 3 days now. Don’t worry, you’re perfectly safe. This is the New Conglomerate Sanctuary, a haven of peace and rest. As soon as you get well, you will begin Training.”
“Get well? What were my injuries?”
“More severe than you would think. Your nerves were frayed, literally, beyond belief. That machine really screws the body up. Thankfully, the hypersensitivity is gone, we mended most of the nerve fibers.”
“New Conglomerate, what’s that? Are they affiliated with Liberty’s Call?”
“They basically are Liberty’s Call. The exact name wasn’t specified in those fliers, too much of an information leak. Maybe this will make people a little more careful about where they read those.” She gave him a disapproving glare. He grinned a little sheepishly.
“Aren’t I well yet? I feel fine.”
“Not quite yet, one more day of rest for your system to calm down. Nerve pain amplifiers are not shrugged off lightly. Especially after exposure to the 8th setting.”
“It goes up to 10, at 10, the body instantly shuts down from the pain. Level 9 cannot be endured for longer than 3 minutes without a meltdown of sorts. Very nasty, the NC has banned these from use. Enough questions, you need your rest.”
“No buts, now.”
“This one’s important.”
“Ok, but be quick.”
“What happened to the shim- I mean girl, that rescued me?”
“I don’t really know. Her work is classified far above my clearance levels. That was a top agent sent to get you out, you must be somewhat important. Now please Mr. Ficha, get to sleep.”
He thumped his pillow, and with much grumbling closed his eyes. He went out instantly.
2003-04-02, 10:08 PM
Chapter 2: Reunion
NC Sanctuary-4 Hours later
“Please ma’am, I really need to see my friend.” A tall, lanky man with unusually pointed ears and slanted eyebrows pleaded with the nurse.
“No visitors, he needs his rest.”
“It’s final, Mr…?”
“Vulcan, but I really need to make sure he’s OK.”
“He’s fine, and he’ll be better if you let him be. Now off with you.” Shoulders stooped, he trudged back to the waiting room, and picked up a boring magazine. How he hated hospitals…
30 minutes later.
“I don’t care. I’m fine. Let me see my friend dammit.” Searo was sitting up, his normally calm face angry.
“NOW!” She sniffed, mumbled something about “kids these days”, and fetched MrVulcan. He grinned at Searo, an uncommon expression for him. It quickly faded.
“You look excellent Searo. Very healthy for a Terran torture victim.”
Searo laughed out loud at MrVulcan’s stiffness, and kept his grin.
“Too illogical to smile, eh? You haven’t changed at all since I saw you, what, 4 days ago? How in the hell did you get away from there?”
“Approximately that. I fail to see the need to waste energy moving one’s mouth as a mere social gesture. Now, about my “escape”. It was ridiculously simple, I didn’t have to be tortured to get away. I merely said I was going out with an officer’s permission to look for more clues. The guard took some convincing, and I had to re-adjust one of his nerves for him. I spawned a Mosquito, and flew here with great haste.”
Searo laughed again, and caught MrVulcan trying to suppress a smile.
“Why do you have to pinch everything that moves?”
“That statement is false, and quite illogical. You see, many objects that move do not respond to the Nerve Pinch, therefore-“
“I wouldn’t advise that you say that to the General of the Freedom Corp.”
Searo pulled a mock salute, and looked as serious as he could.
“Yes sir! Your lordship Vulcan SIR!”
Vulcan merely looked at him with distaste, and sighed. The nurse came in before he responded, and her shrill voice echoed through the room.
“Your time is up, buster! Out! My patient needs rest! Rest! He can’t get it with the likes of you making him laugh all the time!” She pushed a stammering Vulcan out the door, her tirade following him down to the hall. Searo laughed himself to tears, and then fell deeply asleep.
2003-04-02, 10:26 PM
2003-04-02, 10:53 PM
Thanks Aztec. This one's kinda short.
Chapter 3: The Freedom Corp
“Join the Freedom Corp today! Enlist, complete basic training, and you can be an officer in days! Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, the slots are open! We are the Freedom Fighters, protesting the Oppressive Rule of the Corrupted Terran Republic. What are we? We are an outfit of elite soldiers, loyal to the New Conglomerate. Our leader, Brigadier General MrVulcan, is a logistical and tactical genius. With our crack fighter pilot squadron, our veteran tank crews, our elite infantry, and the crème de la crème, Special Ops. How do you join? Simply contact a member, and hitch the next ride to the NC Sanctuary. Remember, MrVulcan wants you!”
Searo eyed the piece of paper. He glanced up at MrVulcan’s face. Masked expectancy flitted across the pointy features. “I’ll consider it.”
“Thank you Searo. Of course, you’d enlist as a Private, but after receiving Basic Training and Tests you will soon be promoted. I’m the General of course.”
“Could I join the Air Squadron if I wanted?”
“Certainly, maybe you could even make it to Special Ops.”
“Heh, maybe. Now cool your jets, I haven’t even joined yet, but it looks good. Will it get me out of this hell-hole?”
“Yes, we have a base about 25 miles south of here. It’s got full VR capabilities, a hangar, living quarters, and several re-spawn tubes.”
“I’m in. When do I start?”
2003-04-04, 04:02 PM
Chapter 4: Soaring
Freedom Corp Base
Virtual Simulator Area
Flying! How he loved to fly. His Reaver’s engines hummed as he cut through the clear blue sky, dashing in and out of clouds, flying in wide loops.
“Nice maneuver, Private”
“Thank you…cough…GENERAL, sir.”
“Cut that tone, Private.” Searo’s Reaver pulled a loop-de-loop, MrVulcan’s easily followed.
“Man, when do I get a promotion?”
“Soon. Maybe when you finish BASIC training perhaps?” As if to protest that last remark, Searo did a barrel-roll, and spiraled towards the ground, then pulling up about 10 feet from the solid earth.
“Ok, I get it. But how good is your aim, Private?” Hologram targets popped up on the ground. Searo neatly strafed all of them in one run, cutting back to 30% speed to avoid an overshot of his targets.
“Stop callin’ me that, Vulcan.” More targets appeared, this time moving around randomly. He punctured 3 virtual bulls-eyes with his Chaingun, and blew up the remaining ones with his Dumbfire missiles. No missiles went astray.
“Not Vulcan, it’s sir, or General, Private. But how do you fare against targets that shoot back?”
The formerly innocent Bulls-eyes morphed into miniature tanks, packing GTA Flux Cannons, and Fly-by-wire Striker Launchers. These were a bit nasty, with their small size and decent weaponry.
“Piece o’ cake, SIR. You really enjoy calling me a Private don’t you? Egotistical, logical, b-“
His last word was cut off, as he had to quickly dodge a slow-moving Striker missile, and then return fire with his own, engulfing the slow target with an explosion. The enemy Flux Cannons whined, and he quickly barrel-rolled, the spinning surface deflecting the laser shots.
“Very nice move, Private.” Searo grunted an acknowledgement, busy riddling the small vehicles with holes. He quickly shot another Striker missile down, and dodged some Flux shots. Another missile took care of the last target, creating a virtual crater.
“Now for some Air to Air action. I will merely observe. These are actual enemy ship models, programmed to fight at a veteran level. Good luck.” A pair of Purple and Teal mosquitoes swooped in, and their guns chattered. Searo dived, and then jammed his brakes and angled the Reaver upwards. One ‘Skeeter broke away, but the other one kept a straight flight course, directly into the Reaver’s sights. Searo’s gun spat metal, and the Skeeter began a dive, belching acrid black smoke, it’s engines neatly punctured. The remaining Mosquito began another dive, but it was a feint. He swerved quickly to get on Searo’s tail, and quickly got behind the slower Reaver. The ‘Skeeter poured lead into the skies, but it missed the Reaver, which was rapidly pulling up.
“AHHHH!” Searo pulled a few Gs, and was pressed back into his flight-seat. Things started turning Gray, but then he spun the Reaver right, and dove at the confused aircraft. Two missiles streaked out of their launch tubes, slamming into the tiny craft, creating a large fireball.
“Excellent work, now this is the final test.” Searo scanned the area, he assumed Terran Reavers would be projected into the VR landscape. His ship HUD pinged, “Incoming Missile.” He cursed, and violently rolled to the left. A dumbfire missile shot past where he had been, rocking the Reaver with its speed. He spotted MrVulcan’s craft, one tube smoking.
“Hey no fair! That was you!” Searo grinned, and pulled up, more gently than before. Vulcan shot at him with the chaingun, and started dancing the deadly stream towards Searo’s engines. Searo braked hard, and the shots thudded into his wing, instead of his engine.
“Hull at 85% Integrity” The HUD display zoomed in on the damaged wing, indicating 7 bullet holes. “Internal Damage: None.” Searo felt something sting his leg, and then felt something wet, he looked down, blood was flowing from a shot that had penetrated and hit his thigh. It didn’t really hurt, but it should have. “Strange,” he thought, “isn’t pain turned on full in these?” He ignored it and looked for that elusive Vulcan. The General’s Reaver was pulling up behind him, nearly on his tail. He cut engines to 10%, and pulled a 360 degree turn, dizzying him momentarily. He launched 4 rockets out of his two tubes, rammed engines up to 120%, and then dove. The engines thrummed deeply, they couldn’t take that much punishment very long. 3 rockets buffeted his ship, speeding by overhead. Unfortunately for MrVulcan, while he was leading the shot, Searo had launched the rockets. 3 slammed into his craft, and he was yanked out of VR. Searo laughed, and then accessed the computer. “Performance Evaluation on subject: Searo.”
“User Searo: 3 aerial kills, 5 ground targets destroyed. Slight hull damage. Grade: 98%”
He grinned and spoke another command, “User Searo, logout of Virtual Reality Simulator now.”
His view went black, but then faded into the real world. He pulled the headpiece off of his skull, and jumped up out of the implant seat. MrVulcan was waiting for him.
“I believe your performance merits a promotion, you are no longer a Raw Private. Searo, you are now a 1st Lieutenant in the Freedom Corp.” Vulcan gave him the access code to get the Bar put on his armor and uniforms. He looked at his watch, One ‘o clock in the morning, he had been going at that simulator all day and half the night. His eyes felt grainy, and after that intense dogfight he was fatigued. Searo dragged his tired body to his quarters, climbed into his bunk, and fell asleep once his head hit the pillow.
2003-04-04, 04:06 PM
Chapter 5: Fire Bat
Freedom Corp Base
He looked around the massive room. Planes of all kinds sat parked in rows, instantly available to any pilot that needed one. MrVulcan was standing beside him, and pointed up. Searo observed the massive armor plates reinforcing the lofty ceiling. He thought, “No weapon I know of has the firepower to pierce that. It could easily take a direct Galaxy crash, even if it was loaded with explosives. Of course weapons are locked here, but just in case…”
A man in a Freedom Corp jumpsuit walked up to them, beaming. Searo noticed the rips in his suit, and the splotches of lubricant and hydraulic fluid. A mechanic, surely… The mechanic beamed at them, and spoke, “Welcome to the hangar gentlemen. General Vulcan, nice to see you here. Come to propose a new prototype?”
“No, I’m giving a tour. This is Lieutenant Searo Ficha, newly recruited. He’s a flying ace, downed me yesterday in the VR.”
The mechanic smiled and shook Searo’s hand. Searo ignored the grime and resisted the urge to wipe his hand on his pants. “Nice to meetcha Searo, I’m the Chief Mechanical Engineer, and I’m also Major Commandobax. I fly, but I really love to work on the planes. I’ve designed a few myself.”
“Variants of the original designs? Sounds interesting.”
“Aye, I can show ‘em too you if you’d like.” Searo agreed and they began walking down to long aisle in between two rows of planes, Commandobax giving a running commentary of each variant.
“This here’s the NCR-3B variant of the original NCR-1. It sacrifices its rockets for laser-guided bombs. It also has reduced engine size to equip a heavier armor piercing chaingun. So it’s more effective against heavier ground targets, yet can still chew up Aerial aggressors with its large chaingun. Rather nasty, been in service for a year or two.” Searo was fascinated by the new designs. Many radical prototypes were available for inspection, and they mounted sometimes, bizarre choices of weaponry. The NCM-K52 for example, had scrapped the chaingun completely, using a much slower “slug-flinger” gun. It hurled a huge metal chunk at massive speeds at the poor target. Searo watched the Mechanic’s simulation of impact with a human body. Ouch, it all went different directions. Basically, anything within a 50-foot radius would experience a fine mist.
“Could I make a variant?”
The Engineer looked surprised, but quickly spoke, “Now I don’t see why not, the design computers are in the back.”
He led Searo and MrVulcan to a computer terminal in the back, and told Searo to sit down. “Now Lieutenant, all you do is alter the original design using the existing weaponry, engines, parts, and armor.”
Searo quickly caught on, and clicked away with the outdated mouse. In a few minutes, he was done.
“The NCR, Fl-7 variant. Interesting, you replaced the Dumbfire rockets with Incendiary Missiles, nice choice. Lighter, more damaging, but the range suffers a tad. With the freed weight, you added the Flamethrower. Devastating at close range. Yes, a good ship overall.”
“You missed some changes.”
“What would they be? Oh yes, I see now. A smaller Chaingun, but with increased range. Lightweight as well. What is this? New ammo too, hmmm, odd bullet choice. Light, and more piercing power, better against armor I suppose. Ahhh, an engine upgrade. Very nice, nearly a match for a Mosquito. I will order it up for you.”
They hurried over to the Aircraft Pad, jogging to keep up with the eager mechanic. He tapped on the terminal, and an aircraft shimmered into view on the pad. The sleek Reaver had flames running along the side, contrasting nicely with the blue and yellow.
“What’s it called, Lieutenant?”
“The Fire Bat, sir.”
2003-04-04, 05:08 PM
Chapter 6: No Surrender, No Pain
Freedom Corp Base
Bullets whined around him. He was sitting down, his back to the wall, waiting for the barrage to cease. Searo’s crumpled husk of a Reaver lay in the middle of the courtyard. A seemingly disembodied voice spoke: “Hold Base for: 12 more minutes.” Reinforcements would be here soon, as long as his makeshift barricade held… He sensed a lull, and jumped up. He sprinted towards the ramp, shots ricocheting off of the stone base walls. He slid down the ramp, and ran across the courtyard to the Equipment Terminal. The base still had around 3/4s of its energy, so he splurged. Ordering those tanks really sucks up some power…
He typed in the code for more Grenades, he was out. He got another Gauss, more Ammo, and then switched armor too. Without a Bio Lab, he couldn’t repair the armor anyway. His old Gauss lay smoking near the Reaver-hulk, its barrel had exploded from the near constant magnetic pressure on it. With the new gear, he stooped, and slowly inched his way up the exposed ramp, and then crouched down near the wall. He heard a boom near the front of the base, his barricade rattled. He glanced down at it, a boomer had toppled the massive wall of vehicles. Shit…
He tossed two frags over the wall, and grinned at the screams. The front doors shuddered again, another boomer had been planted. He didn’t have much time. Searo crept along the cover of the wall, directly above the door. He reached his hand over the top, and dropped a plasma. More screams met the grenade, and he glanced down quickly. An engineer was on fire, and the Vanguard battering ram was a torch too. He nearly laughed, but when a stray Jackhammer shot slammed into his helmet and knocked him backwards, he stopped. The helmet’s alarm whined in his ears, another shot like that and it would crack in two, along with his head.
He decided to pull into the base itself, and jumped off the wall, landing in the courtyard. The voice spoke, “Good, now only 4 more minutes until help arrives.” He smiled, maybe he had a chance. The main gate clanged open, and the smile left him, maybe he was a goner too. The attackers quickly started scaling the battered wall of vehicles, and he dashed into the inner base, locking doors behind him. He stopped at the terminal briefly, grabbing a new helmet and some ACEs. Now the silo was down to 50% of its NTUs. He didn’t know how the hell the stupid ACEs worked, so he punched some buttons and threw it behind him. It exploded. Damn, he punched a different button on the next one. A nasty gun popped up, and he threw it too. It anchored to the wall, and waited for the enemies to get closer.
Searo entered the main control room, and glanced at the security cameras. They reported the squad and a half of soldiers sprinting across his courtyard. The hallway reverberated with Gunfire, and the cameras showed the lead enemy being cut down by his turret. A grenade quickly killed his turret, AND his security camera. Damn again. The voice spoke, “Reinforcements have arrived at the Respawn room, estimated time of arrival to your position; 27 seconds.” Searo grinned, he had this won. Suddenly, the door started shaking. It was being pounded from the outside. The steel door didn’t budge, and the pounding stopped. Searo loaded his Gauss, preparing to send spikes into the hacker on the other side. He eyed the control panel, waiting to see a warning signal. It didn’t appear, and he had a thought. SHIT! He jumped away from the door, but it was too late. The boomer went off, sending massive amounts of burning shrapnel into Searo’s left side.
His chest contracted, and he coughed up blood, with spongy chunks of his left lung swimming in it. He gasped for air, but he felt only a little pain. Another glitch in the pain ratio…
Searo propped himself up in the corner, a pool of blood forming around him. His weakening arms struggled to hold up the Gauss, but he eyed the counter. 8, 7, 6, 5… They would be here soon. A MAX suit clanked into the room, and eyed him. Searo recognized him through the small visor, and SomeOneUncommon spoke, “C’mon man, surrender.”
Searo’s remaining good eye locked onto his face, and he raised the rifle, it chattered, driving the spikes through the thinner visor. The MAX groaned, servos and gyros whining, and toppled over. Searo took one last gasp, and eyed the time counter again, it read 0. A friendly popped into the room, and gave him the thumbs up before his virtual body failed…
He took the VR-projecting helmet off, and grinned. He had passed! MrVulcan was standing, watching the battle on a large holo-projector in the center of the room. He pressed the button to terminate the training program, and more Freedom Corp soldiers woke up from VR. Jester, Uncommon, Zenny, HawkEye, and Masurao got up. The rest of the enemy soldiers had been bots, programmed to fight at a “Veteran” level. Uncommon glared at him, and spoke, “Gah, I offer you a clean surrender, and you blast my brains onto the control panel.”
Jester laughed and claimed, “Yeah, I saw those when I walked in. You got a nice brain man.”
Zenny smiled, and then informed Searo, “Yeah, that was my boomer that blew you to pieces. Nice work eh?”
Searo grimaced, remembering the difficulty of breathing. He was puzzled, and questioned them, “MrV, did you forget to turn on pain? That shrapnel didn’t hurt too bad.”
MrVulcan was puzzled also, and slowly said, “Nooo, I turned it on, come look.”
Searo glanced at the pain panel, and saw it at 100%, in the middle between 50% and 200%.
HawkEye responded ruefully, “I know that pain was on. Damn those plasma nades hurt!”
Searo thought. That shrapnel should have hurt like hell, but he didn’t really notice it.
“Vulcan run a test run with me, give yourself a Gauss, no armor for me.” MrVulcan tapped on the panel, and gave him the thumbsup. They settled into the VR hookup chairs, and slid on the helmets. Searo found himself in the base again, with just a standard uniform on, General Vulcan was standing in front of him with a Gauss Rifle. “Ok, I know it sounds sick, but blast me in the thigh.”
The General frowned, and took aim, steadying the rifle. He squeezed off the trigger, and a spike smashed through Searo’s leg, knocking him to the ground. Blood welled from the injury instantly, and bone fragments lodged themselves in Vulcan’s armor. “Blech, doesn’t that hurt Lieutenant?”
Searo smiled, “Not really. More like a bee sting.” Blood continued gushing from the horrendous hole, and Searo felt a little light-headed. He stood up, putting full pressure on the wobbling leg. MrVulcan sucked in his breath, and spoke, “God, that should be impossible. You should be on the ground screaming.” He grimaced, and shot himself in the foot. Searo suppressed a laugh at the stream of illogical curses coming from his usually reserved commander.
“Well, it sure hurts for me! COMPUTER! Logout NOW!” Everything went black. They returned to the real world, and pulled of the helmets again. Zenny spoke, alarmed, “Searo, your brain readings barely even noticed that hole in your leg. As being certified in Medical, I can say there’s somethin’ really frikkin wrong with your nerves there.” Searo was startled, something wrong with his nerves? He didn’t think that the torture would leave lasting effects…
2003-04-07, 08:21 PM
Chapter 7: Return to Liberty
“Do you mind if we run a few tests?” The doctor peered at him through thick spectacles. Searo was uneasy at the fact that the guy who was examining him, had such bad vision, that it couldn’t be corrected with laser surgery. The doctor was normal-looking, steel-gray hair, middle-aged, average build, very ordinary.
“Not at all.”
“Great! My name is Dr. Andrews, I’m trying to figure out what caused your unusual resistance to pain. We’re going to need some nerve tissue. This probably won’t hurt, on account of your special case. We’ll knock you out anyway, it’s not pretty to see your arm split open.”
Searo gulped, splitting open? He flashed a weak smile at Andrews, and lay down on the operating table. Medical personnel rushed in, hooking him up to foreign monitors, and preparing instruments and tools for the surgery. Another person covered in white came in, holding a large syringe. The person jabbed Searo’s arm with it, but he felt a tap. He saw the fluid pumping into his bloodstream, felt a tingling sensation, and passed out.
12 hours later.
He awoke. It was like deja-vu, being in the hospital again. At least it was a different room. He checked his arm, a small incision had been made, but now it was gone, leaving a white line. It would fade in a few days, just like all wounds treated by a Medical Applicator. A nurse came in, male this time. Searo wondered what kind of man would go into nursing. Sub-consciously he answered his question, and tensed a little. The nurse spoke gruffly, “As you can tell, we removed the tissue. It is being tested right now, we should find the results by tomorrow. You are free to go, anytime you wish.” That would be right now, moron. The nurse left the room, and Searo jumped out of the bed, and checked his watch; 3 in the morning, great.
He made his way down to the respawning tubes they kept on hand in case they lost a patient. Only one was in use, so he stepped into one not in use, and felt a buzz as his particles disassembled.
He found himself floating in a tube back at base. The liquid drained, and he stepped out. Strangely, the stuff wasn’t wet. He headed to his bunk and went to bed. What a boring day…
6 hours later: 9:15 AM
The phone was ringing. Searo rubbed his eyes, pissed at being woken up by the obnoxious tone. He slapped the Take Call button. A holo of Dr. Andrews popped up, and started speaking, “Your results were sent with this call, and they are quite interesting.”
Searo pressed the download button, a file was printed. He skimmed through the medical mumbo-jumbo, glancing at some of it. At the bottom it was converted to layman’s terms, “Basically, all this means, is that the nerves no longer believe the body is being hurt. After the torture, the nerve tissue rarely relays messages to the brain, believing them to be false outside influences. You will feel little to none pain, even with severe injuries. A blessing and a curse, make sure you keep track of wounds. Pain is a way of saying, “I’m hit, cure me.”
Below the text was a generic sheet titled “Your Illness.”
Very informative. Searo snatched a lighter off his bunkmate’s nightstand, and torched the paper. He didn’t want some enemy to figure out he didn’t feel pain, it would make him a prime target for snipers, just because he could be potentially dangerous. MrVulcan stepped into the room, and spoke:
“I believe you are ready to go on your first assignment, Captain.”
“Captain? Another promotion?”
“You completed Basic, and Advanced Training, showing ingenuity and a strong will. Besides, the Freedom Corp is a tad short on officers, you’ll do fine. You are assigned to the 11th Expeditionary Wing. Your mission is classified until tomorrow, where I will brief you and your squad mates. Is that clear?”
“Now get some sleep, being tired is a massive waste of resources, therefore illogical.”
Searo considered staying up late to spite him, but then realized he was correct, as always. Advanced psionic abilities had surfaced in the enigmatic MrVulcan when he was a child, therefore gaining him the nickname that would stick with him forever. A keen intellect and incredible powers of deduction made him one of the best commanders on Auraxis, and Searo was determined not to let him down.
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