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Full Version: Midnight of Solace: InfiniteCastor vs. Zifer
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My first match, versus Zifer. This map will be used.

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Who will start first is yet to be decided.
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It is common knowledge among armies and special forces in the entire universe that the best way to approach an object of interest with minimal casualties and sacrifices is during the night. This fact is also known to the Alliance, and so they have sent a small team to this location. The reason for their presence at this apparently desolate place is unkown to the members of this small troop. They chat about this issue as they approach a light in the distance.
"This is most likely just a simple training-mission to test us. I've had several of these." says the Birdie, who's leading the team.
The harpoon-wielding lizard running after the Birdie replies:"You mikt be just rikt. We would not have been sent here if it were an aktual mission. Just look, it is a house in the middle of nowhere!"
Behind him snickering is heard, as the Lizard following him so tightly mocks him:"You are really dumb. The ObseRvers do not send Alliance-troops to the middle of nowhere. This lokation must hold a kreater sekret!" It is silent, except for the two lizards whose casual chatter has now devolved into mindless insulting. "Silence!" whispers the Chameleon, not wanting its cover blown. Carrying his sniper-rifle on his back, the Chameleon follows the lizards. Behind them a Turtlehead is walking, noticably slower as the others. His reason to stay silent is most likely that he's just too tired to talk, as the troop has moved 4,3 kilometers from the drop zone to this place, and he's the least fit in this unit.
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Some say that the wind whispered words of the dead that fateful night, like the ragged breaths of an old corpse. 1st Class Warrant Officer Micheal Troy could hear those whispers, and it put him off. He worked for the Sentinel military, and this was his third try to get promoted. The other two missions, they hadn't gone so well. In the first one he had lost his squad, the one he had worked for all his tour with. The next one he lost a leg, and needed an artificial replacement. This time he had vowed to himself that he would succeed, and earn himself the title of Sergeant Major. But the wind, he could tell...it was an omen. His squad had been sent by TacCom to search for a place to establish a carbon farm. Rich soil could grow the trees they used to produce crude carbon, and it was needed to manufacture the nano-carbon fibre of Sentinel armour. They had come close, and the grass was becoming greener with every kilometer.

His new squad, known as Mangudai, was a small but simple recon force for the mission. It consisted of two Basilisk standard soldiers (colloquially referred to as Grunts), a Hydra heavy soldier, a Paragon specialist and Troy, the field officer. Holding his modified rifle at his chest he pressed on.

"So, sir," one of the troopers asked. "We almost there? My legs are aching." Troy had spent time trying to memorize voices, and this one was of Private John Helix. He was cocky, and far too green, but Troy had had no choice to take him in.

"Looks like it," he replied. "We're going to try to take that building up there, see if we can set up a base and contact TacCom to send that engineer corps so we can get the hell out of here."

Meanwhile, the Paragon has stopped to admire the peace of the night, and the Hydra advances, not needing any knowledge of the mission. One of his favorite quotes was 'I'm not paid to think.' The soldier not talking is shy, but willing to fight nonetheless.

They approached the building, unknowing of the beings that awaited them behind it...
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As the moon shines ever so brightly, the small squad of the alliance keeps moving forth.
"Kob'Talin you are one dumb Reptile and you brink shame to your breeders. This is just a trainink mission! END! No hidden ObseRver stuff!" Exclaims the harpoon-wielding lizard loudly, while the one with the darker skin, Kob'talin or just Talin for short, replies:"I literally am stunned by your dumbness!"
The Chameleon shakes his head in shame and replies:"Talin, lemme correct you. First off, if you literally were stunned you wouldn't move, second, dumbness means not beink able to speak." The reptiles keep argueing until they are interrupted.

"Alrighteveryone! Badnews! Headquarterssaytherespossiblehostilesaheadandandand!!!" spouts the Birdie in one quick sentence. The Turtlehead jokingly asks:"Wow, now how much of that stuff did you swallow? The whole bottle? Daaamn!"

"Kekekeke!" The lizards laugh, and Talin replies:"That was a kood one, but in all seriousness, you heard him. There mikt be hostiles. Stay alerted!" There's silence for a moment before the other Lizard mocks Talin again:"Talin, not only are you dumb, but you also lack kood humour. That wasn't funny in the sliktest. And to be honest, why should we be alerted? You and me are two bik mean reptiles with claws so sharp they'd tear throuk tanks! We are akile! Mobile! Stronk! We kot nothink to fear!"
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"Hey, Sioux?" One of the grunts asked. The engineer, Melissa Sioux, broke into a small jog to catch up with the squad.

"Yeah?" She answers.

"Don't you find it sort of strange that carbon grows on trees? I mean, really, a century ago we had to mine it out of coal and silicates and now we can farm it like wheat. How's that even work, anyway?"

Field officers typically have better radar than regular soldiers, and he noticed a ping about a hundred meters away. It's too far to indentify hostile or not, but he realizes that they had nonetheless better hustle. Knowing that a dropship flies overhead ready to deploy reinforcements if they are needed, he relaxes, remembers his previous level of training and turns off his rifle's safety. The hum of the interior magnetic accelerator is reassuring; knowing that such power lies in his hands within his custom rifle (titled by him as the Dragoon) and in that his armour's energy shield protects him. He opens a comms channel to send a message to TacCom through the frigate orbiting the planet above.
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"I don't think we should go into that bright light if we want to stay in cover. We'd be easy targets in there. One of you want to take out that lamp so we can go and killalltheenemiesplease?!?" says the Birdie as he stops in front of the light casted down by the roof-lamp.

Talin advances slower, raising an eyebrow in suspicion. "Somethink is not rikt about this. I'll better keep an eye open." he thinks to himself as he watches how the other Lizard carelessy rushes ahead, trying to keep up the pace of the Birdie. The Turtlehead has just arrived at the Tree before the Bridge, as the Chameleon jumps into said tree. "I might me able to take it out from the top of this tree, Just gimme some secs to climb up to the top." he exclaims as he pushes aside leaves and branches.

The Birdie rushes another sentence at the Idea of the Chameleon: "Good. Once that light is out we can go in both over the roof and the bottom floor andtakeouttheenemythisisgonnabefun!" His eye twitches as he says this, obviously a side effect of the extensive and intrusive operations the ObseRvers have ordered onto all Birdies, to extend their abilities as scouts even more.
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"TacCom, this is Troy. I'm picking up blips ahead of us beyond the structure. I need SitRep and we are heading there now."

"Roger, Troy. Give us a minute...okay, we've got a reading. What you're seeing is a fireteam of the Alliance, we don't have too many details on them, but they sure as hell are hostile. Prepare for engagement. If you have any problems, the dropship will be ready. If anything big comes, don't be afraid to ask for a Paladin.

Troy signed off. Having already pumped his fist rapid-fire to get his troops going, he looked ahead at the structure. His energy shields had begun to charge. It only took about five seconds, though that was often an annoyance in a real fight, if not a possible fatality circumstance. He caught up to the rest of his squad.

Private Helix strapped his SMG over his back and broke into a run, Sioux following not too far behind.

"Helix," Sioux began. "Basically, all living matter has carbon in it, so if you extract it from grown trees you can turn it into fiber strands. Better soil means better trees; and better trees means bigger trees, which thereby means more carbon. Simple as that."

The heavy, nicknamed 'Daimyo', was now jogging, unable to go too fast under the burden of his bulky armour and carrying the weight of his Stormer light machine gun. Corporal Norman Palmer, at the rear, took his rifle off of his shoulder and carried it below the shoulder.

The squad steeled themselves and got ready for war.
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The Chameleon pops out of the treetop and fires an aimed shot at the lamp, destroying it and allowing the others to advance further. "Thank you much! NOWLETSGOKILLSTUFF!" exclaims the Birdie and moves towards the house, the lizard following him closely. Talin falls behind more as he realizes the shot might have just been a death sentence, as it could've given away their location to the enemy. Then again, the shot was fired from further behind him and the squad, and might give them the advantage of surprise as the enemies might not reckon with units this close to the building.

Pondering about wether he should tell them or not, the Turtlehead crosses the bridge. He is the only one who has been briefed on the true purpose of this mission. That means he's either considered to be assigned a higher rank, or the ObseRvers just want to dispose of him here, and gave him the Information solely for the purpose of getting him excited. The ObseRvers are known to do this to people who stand in their way, just to torture and play with them. He desperately clutches his gun and swallows at the tought of the second option, and he certainly hopes he will be promoted instead, in the case he survives this.
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With the amount of funding the Sentinels receive, they also are able to hire the best scientists for their purposes. Developing everything from energy weapons to new fusion engines, they are the best of the best, and incredible constructive. One such scientists had an idea once. Sound amplification technology is difficult to achieve due to issues in the system deciding which to project and which to shush. But since sound was effectively just travelling waves and waves can be easily detected...and so was born the OscilliSight. A way to see where sound waves are being projected and how far they are going. Such technology was instantly integrated into Sentinel visors, and it had saved many lives.

It came in great handy now. The Corporal looked up, seeing sound waves being projected from behind the building. The visor scanned it. Breaking glass. A sonic image showed a vague outline of a floodlight, and that put the Corporal ill at ease. This was a smart enemy they were dealing with, one that knew how to keep their cover. The Corporal quickly raced tactical strategies in his mind.

The squad ran on.


Meanwhile, up in the SSF Syria, the TacCom officer helping Mangudai was viewing a video of a battle. It was from a few decades ago, and had been labelled as the Battle for the Badlands. (http://picturewars.net/smf/index.php?topic=727.0) A company of well-trained soldiers, easily overwhelmed by five of the reptilian creatures that had been called 'Turtleheads' in the video. He watched as one of their arms extended to easily kill a trooper from what looked like ten metres. With claws like those, there was inevitable death on that battlefield. There could be no heavy bombardment so as to preserve the carbon fields. But what would kill such creatures, if not heavy weapons?...He only hoped that Troy's tactical training paid off, and that he kept his head, because the squad would pay the price if he didn't.
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Hidden from the Sentinels remarkable technology, a ObseRver-Drone orbits the planet, providing the troop with useful information about the soon-to-be battlefield. A transmission from the drone is sent to the Units on the ground, reading:"Battlefield analysis completed. There are currently 5 units belonging to the Sentinels at your location. They are accompanied by an aircraft of unknown purpose, possibly carrying more units. Proceed with caution."

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Upon receiving this valuable information, the lizard that has rushed towards the building now takes something out of his backpack and prepares to throw it. It is a grenade, but not a regular one. This particular grenade releases a toxic cloud, which acts both as a smoke screen and lethal weapon, as it causes corrosion of armor and serious injury to anyone who breathes it in. Everyone except the lizards, who have a natural resistance against the poisonous ingredients of the smoke, which hail from the Home-planet of the lizards, where it was found mostly in the swamps, the natural environment of them.

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As the lizard below throws this deadly grenade, the Birdie grabs onto the roof of the building and pulls himself towards it. Talin watches his two battle-hungry comrades with worry. "Atleast that stupid idiot threw a krenade for cover. Hopefully it'll buy him enough time to mow those 'Sentinels' down." he thinks to himself as he nudges his backpack with his tail to check it. It is still there, its content are two flashbangs. He's looking forward to use them, as most lizards would do. Since they're coldblooded, they are drawn to warmth and heat. And what provides more heat than an explosion, that could possibly even start a fire? Granted, these are flashbangs but it's still enough to make him smile.

The Chameleon monitors the entrance of the building, ready to fire at anyone coming through. As he sits there he slowly blends in with the background, the only distortion caused by his breathing. Not far ahead is the Turtlehead, having now reached the other side of the bridge. The robotic voice of the transmission sent by the drone brings back the memories of the briefing he had received before this mission. He freezes and stares ahead mindlessy, as he remembers the dark room in which he stood, all by himself, in front of him nothing but a small metal sphere. He remembers the cables from which this sphere hung, those tentacle-like cables, wriggling about as the Sphere eyes him carefully. The thoughts of this send shivers down his back, and he remembers the "conversation" he had with this ... thing.

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"Has your Teamleader informed you about the reasons for why you are here?"

"N-no, I'm af-f-fraid not."

"I will tell you. We have been Observing you for quite some time now, and you have shown a variety of different skills and abilities in battle, through which you have gotten our attention. We consider to promote you to the rank of a Crow. You agree with me it would be a honor for you to carry that Title, do you?"

"O-Ofcourse!" I would n-n-never disagree with an infallible ObseRver-drone such as you!"

"You would do good if you'd keep that attitude. Never forget, the ObseRvers have an eye on you. Now to your mission. You will be sent to a nearby planet where you will encounter Units of the Sentinels, an advanced race we have encountered. They have access to a technology we desire, and we want you to defeat or capture their ground forces. If you are able to, you will acquire samples of this technology for us, so we can study it and ensure market control for our empire and the alliance. You are now dismissed."

"It has been an honor!"

The Turtlehead remembers how he stepped outside the door, still shuddering and stuttering for hours. This mechanical, horrifying voice had intimidated him much, and even just the memory of it still does.
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An alarm sounds in Daimyo's head. His visor flashes red with a warning; incoming projectile. A mental image of his last mission dances through his head for a split second, in which he used an energy MG to shoot down a grenade and detonate it in mid-air. Knowing this, he sends a quick prayer to God and squeezes the trigger. A short burst of bullets each the size of a human's fist fly through the air at 8 000 kilometres per second. Three of them harmlessly impact the walls of the structure, spattering concrete dust into the air. One of them hits the gas grenade, throwing a plume of noxious green vapour into the hall. The walls, the floor and the door of the elevator begin to corrode. Even the bullet is eaten away in the time it takes to penetrate the grenade's casing. The final bullet flies cleanly through the corridor, narrowly missing the lower chest of the lizard on lower point. Troy stops in his tracks instinctively to the gunshot. Helix goes into a kneel and pulls out his SMG. With incredible agility Sioux drops to prone and puts her proton rocket launcher on her shoulder, ready to sling hot destruction on the first thing she sees. Palmer stops as well, turning a dial on the electronic scope of his energy carbine to activate it.

As the squad watches the cloud burst, Troy opens the comms. "We're not going to see through that normally, thermals on, people!" With that word the rest of the squad hits the button on their control wrist-cuffs that sets their visors' vision modes to thermal, and the scenery lights up in a variety of colours.

The combat has only just begun.
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The lizard jumps back and fires his harpoon. There is no big muzzleflash or anything, it is simply launched and flies through the air and the toxic cloud. The spear gets damaged by it, but this was planned. The spear itself was not meant to penetrate the enemy or hurt anyone by itself, but rather that which is strapped to it. As it lands on the ground just in front of the Hostile unit that has just shot, the blue explosive at the end starts ticking. It's going to explode, and the lizard snickers as he thinks about how the enemy might be torn to pieces just after this. Talin has stopped behind the Lizard, staying behind the slope as to cover himself. Only the very tip of his head is not covered by this, and he can see right through the hallway.

The Birdie runs over the roof as he eagerly taps the trigger of his SMG. Far behind, the Turtlehead falls to his knee's as his head starts to hurt. He drops his weapon and looks down in pain. "Oh god I knew it! They were going to dispose of me here! They must've poisoned me or something!" he shouts. The Chameleon, altough worried for his teammate, stays still and watches the hallway, waiting for the cloud to disappear.
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The harpoon spear detonates. A blast takes Daimyo by surprise, and he's thrown off his feet by the explosion. His energy shield protects him from most of the force, but his armour takes a battering, and a warning flashes on the left of his visor, indicating the loss of certain functions in that area. If not for the shield and the genetic enhancements, the leg would have been taken off. Though he is not badly hurt, his machine gun flies into the air, the front of its barrel shredded by the explosion. Troy can quickly deduce that such a weapon will not function anymore. Their first disadvantage. He lifts his rifle to shoulder-level and looks down the sight. In an automatic adjustment the implants in his wrists steady the cell movement to be near still. His visor tracks windage, temperature and trajectory, and calculates a solid firing solution. He holds his breath and takes three pulls of the trigger within a single fraction of a second. Two of the shots miss and continue to travel straight on their course. The first one he took, unaffected by any recoil, burns a path through the chilly air into the eye of one of the lizards. Purple blood splatters out the back of his skull. Meanwhile, the gas in the building has begun to clear, showing parts where the walls have been completely eaten away. Palmer watches a blip approaching the squad on his radar and aims his rifle to the spot of its elevation. For something to already have gotten there? Such climbing would be near impossible...he readies his index finger. Helix is stunned by the sight of the blast, and Sioux is waiting for the right moment to fire her rocket launcher.

The TacCom officer watches the live footage with ever-increasing anticipation. He thinks about the two years he spent in the service, and the shot he took in the arm that ended his tour...he had, as a matter of fact, served with Troy, on one mission. Those words that Troy said to him once...

"Just remember, if you know your enemy and you know yourself, you will never be imperiled in a single battle. I forget who said that, someone from three thousand years ago, I think. If you know how your enemy works, what they think, how they think...you will know how to fight them your best."

With the bare minimum of data TacCom had on the Alliance...the officer could only hope that Troy would get the better end of the coin of peril.

It was the only hope they had.

(To any audience reading this, sorry about the junky explosion, I'm new to it and I'm far too tied up to do anything better.)
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The Birdie jumps off the roof and towards the enemie, unleashing a bulletstorm onto them. Poor Daimyo takes most of these, and is killed. The few others hit the ground or are stopped by the shields of the Sentinels, except for one which hits the foot of Sioux and one which ricochets of someones helmet causing no damage. As this happens, Talin steps back enough to be completely hidden behind the hill now, not wanting to experience the same fate as the poor lizard in front of him. He shows little to no regard as the lifeless corpse falls back, as he is a coldblooded killer, and has seen quite a few others die before. As he can't see through the hallway himself anymore, he asks the chameleon to inform him once someone comes through.

The Turtlehead stands up in a swift motion, grass floating up all around him as he emits a strange aura, kinda like an gravitational field. The ObseRver-Drone orbiting the planet sends a new transmission:"Turtlehead unit #736646231-SY has been confirmed as a Jackal. Orbital reconnaissance will continue. There are currently 4 Sentinel units at your location. Orbital strike is on the way." and just as this sentence is finished, something comes down from the skies.
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"Damnit!" Sioux winces with the pain of the bullet entering her foot. She remains in place, knowing that standing up will make it hurt more. Sentinel armour can slowly but surely repair damaged flesh, and she didn't want to take her hands off of the launcher to grab a medpack in case she needed to fire it. Helix looked to see where the bullets went and saw first Sioux's entry wound. Rookie as he is, his training kicks in and the words of the instructor come back to him. He grabs a tissue repair parcel and a painkiller shot from his gear.

"Don't worry, I got this!" Helix exclaims as he prepares to treat the injury.

Daimyo's limp corpse falls to the sand, blood pouring from several sparking holes in his armour. His broken machine gun falls next to Troy.

"Man down!" He yells over the comms. TacCom would know, so there was no need to contact them. The monitor that all officers had in their HUD gave a flatline on his vitals. Troy had seen plenty of death himself, and knew there was nothing he could do. Troy fired off three more rounds to suppress the hostiles. In his mind, he knows that Daimyo's death will not go in vain. Sentinels were the protectors of those who could not protect themselves, and it went no expection for these blood-thirsty reptiles. Emotions would come later. For now, all the Warrant Officer could think of was make them pay.

Palmer had been ready, so taking a shot at the bird-like creature was not difficult in the slightest. Remaining completely calm, he sent the red dot onto the first piece of flesh he could lay it on and threw a long spiralling beam of pure super-heated plasma at the Birdie's neck. It landed square on-target, sending blood through the air and cauterizing the scales on contact. Palmer was thinking the same thing as Troy.

All of the squad but the dead heavy saw a reading on their HUDs of an incoming projectile. Unidentified, unknown. That made it dangerous no matter what. Troy, when done with his other priorities, would make sure tell TacCom about it.
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As the 'Orbital Strike' closes in, it becomes apparent that what looked small only because it was far away was actually small and really damn close. The energy-projectile makes a sharp turn just before hitting the building and flies along the roof. The Turtlehead, who in his mind already dubbed himself "The Jackal", already knew what this projectile was. It was a planetbuster projectile, one of the most dangerous weapons the ObseRvers have. Luckily, this has one has been fired from a small cannon by a orbital drone, and so the most damaged it could cause is tearing the building up.

Talin decides he was patient for enough time and throws a flashbang through the hallway. It emits a strange glow, and a smart enemy will realize that this is no ordinary grenade either. This is both a Flashbang and a EMP-grenade, altough with a low range, tough it still is enough to shut down enemy hardware and software in a radius of about 8 meters. Behind Talin, Jackal arrives as he has previously grabbed his gun again and now runs as fast as he can towards the building. Unlike all other units, both on the enemy side and his own, he is not afraid to enter the building and possibly open himself to enemy fire. His mind has come clear to what he possibly could do at the exact moment the ObseRver-Drone transmitted the magical words:"...Confirmed as Jackal!"

The Birdie's lifeless body keeps plummeting towards earth, his muscles do not react to anything anymore as the moment he was hit by the enemy's plasmabeam, his conciousness ceased to exist and he died. Far behind, finally coming out of the tree, the Chameleon marches towards the front. he could possibly move through the building, since when he moves slowly, his disguise will not be compromised.
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A figure stood at the window, watching the void of the cosmos with aged eyes. Wisened eyes. They belonged to Captain Tulsi Rajani of the SSF Syria. She had been a part of the Sentinels for twelve years now, and had taken the Syria during her tenth. After being an officer for a year, she decided she wanted something that didn't involve her seeing as much blood. She signed up for a course in fleet crew and earned her first ship, the Sine Mora, after earning the rank of Commodore.

Now she was thinking about what was happening. She knew that it was not her role to do so; that was of the TacCom officer, Dynat. But Troy's father had once been her NCO, and she owed his bloodline. A platoon was ready to join them if things began to get tricky, so no matter what, that carbon would, with hope and with luck, be theirs.

Dynat came over her headset.

"Ma'am, we're getting an orbital strike reading from the mainframe of Corporal Norman Palmer, serial 1-87790. Small, composed of an unknown energy and on-planet now. The Alliance doesn't seem too worried about it, so I suspect it's something of theirs, but we don't see anything near the planet. Our people our acquiring a track on its trajectory now. Are we green to engage the target on-sight upon acquiry, ma'am?"

Rajani pressed a button on her headset. "Acknowledged. When the target is found, cycle in the Broadsword and prepare to fire. Don't use missiles, just the Lance. If any more of their beacons go down, then tell the Albatross that they can go down and drop their cargo. Oh, and Dynat?"

"Yes, ma'am?"

"Wish those boys down there luck for me."

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The grenade detonates. The pulse eliminates Troy's suit's electronic function, and he is temporarily blinded by the flash. He is suddenly very grateful of the lessons he took on tactics under loss of armour power. The emergency directive the armour used upon detection of the grenade has removed the visor's opacity on the inside, and his sight is restored after a brief second. The visor, even when powered down, has a layer of a material that can resist lights at a certain level of brightness, and it has protected his eyes even if only halfway. Blue spots fill his retinas, but he can still see the open hall of the building. Thinking of Daimyo gives him spirit. He takes a grenade and pulls the pin.

You like explosives, you scaly freaks?! Have one, then! On the house! With all the energy he can send to his arm without the adrenaline of his suit he throws the field grenade into the corridor. It hurtles with surprising speed at Talin, its mechanical fuse giving one more second for its travel.

Daimyo's armour begins to disintegrate. The overload in the internal fusion reactor causes it to melt away into a crumbling slag; a protocol to ensure the armour cannot be taken in the case of capture or death. The armour had already set off the overload and then turned off with the lack of heartbeat, so the EMP has no effect at all.

Helix begins to work on Sioux's foot. She remains still. The pain remains at a constant, but the painkiller Helix has prepared will soon solve said misfortune. The beam that emanates from the parcel pulls molecules from the air, rearranges the subatomic particles and turns it into raw carbon ready to be manufactured into new organic cells.

Palmer opens his comms. Now that Troy cannot use his own and Palmer is the highest-ranking soldier on field, he goes to TacCom to report the projectile. If they can get a firing solution off of where it came from, then they might be able to hit it with the biggest gun they had. If there was something up there that could send reinforcements, then it had to be neutralized, and ASAP.

The night will be long, without a shadow of a doubt.
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Talin realizes he can't run away from that grenade and puts his hand in front of his face as he prepares for death. However, just as the grenade explodes, Jackal comes in and saves him by extending his arm and claws to form a shield. "Don't you worry soldier, I got you covered." he reassuringly says as his arm takes the entire blast of the grenade for himself. He barely withstands the enormous force, but makes it away undamaged, just like Talin will. Behind them the Chameleon approaches. He notices the way Jackal just saved Talin and looks at them in awe.

At the other side of the building, the Birdie's carcass hits the floor just in front of what was once Daimyo. It splashes apart and is barely recognizable, as it seems to be nothing but a pulp of blood now. Meanwhile, the projectile makes another turn and flies towards the head of Helix. It hits him, but doesn't appear to cause any damage, as it seemingly disintegrates upon touch. Helix however feels a strange warmth moving through his body...

Far above all these happenings, a message is sent to the SSF Syria, by nobody else but the ObseRver-Drone orbiting the planet. It keeps eyeing the battlefield as it waits for the Syria to accept the message and open communication-channels.
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Troy swears under his breath; despite the ordnance he sent at the enemy, he sees no purple blood and knows that it was not a confirmed kill. He draws his sidearm from his belt, wielding it alongside the Dragoon. At this point, he is furious. This was to be his mission for promotion, and it was being ruined by these obscure hostiles. He refused to let them win, regardless. Humans never gave up, especially in the face of overwhelming odds.

Daimyo's body continues to wear away, almost completely gone now.

Palmer watched as the projectile flew into Helix. He would have warned him had he not been occupied with contacting Dynat, but he was relieved to see that it did nothing. The relief did not last long. He realized that if it had no typical effect...then it was something far worse. The first thing he thought of was his mission on Antherion 5. That was his first mission, and he had seen the terrible horrors of an alien disease that could take over nervous systems of any carbon-based life form and turn its body into a living weapon. If that would happen to Helix, then the remaining entirety of Mangudai was in danger. Maybe even the whole Sentinel organization. He lifted his rifle to Helix's head, levelling it with the lime-green visor.

"Helix. Drop your weapons, your grenades, your knife. Disable your shields. Now."

Sioux overhears and is quickly worried. Her foot being healed almost completely, she gets ready for whatever her next orders will be.

Dynat looks upon his monitor. Two of the hostiles were down; he was praying for Troy's safety, as well as that of the rest of the squad. A hall away, the chief targeting officer works with the greatest haste possible to track the projectile's path back to its source. The calculations in his head race, and most of what he remembers from senior education about arithmetic floods back to him. He and Dynat both hear at the same time the confused voice of the communication officer.

"Uh, we got something hailing us. I can't identify it. Got no serial, no channel ID, no FTL signal. What should I do, ma'am?"

Rajani looks away from the window. Turning on her headset, she gives the word.

"Deny it. If it tries to force its way in, terminate it. I don't want any virus on our systems, and I sure as hell don't want some lowlife alien creep telling us to 'go to hell' or 'surrender while you have the chance'. I've heard it all, and it's complete bull. But use the transmission signature to give poor MacCraw and his crew some extra help with his targeting. The faster we can put an explosive tungsten slug into whatever's sending these lizards at 12 000, the better."
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Talin gets an adrenaline rush as he feels the heat of such a close explosion. He is now hellbent on tearing the enemies apart. Jackal notices this and asks him to stay behind him, as he keeps his shield upright and progresses into the building. Talin however has a better idea. Since the hallway does not feature much cover except Jackals shield, he decides to go the way the birdie came, tough he definetely wants to fight with more trickiness and finesse than him. As Jackal enters the building, behind him the Chameleon who can't follow after talin, Talin throws out a grappling iron onto the roof and climbs up it.
The Planetbuster-Projectile disappears in the poor soldier, leaving no entrance wound, no trace at all can be found. Helix feels a warm fuzzy feeling inside however...

Going back into space, the ObseRver-Drone grows angry after being refused to communicate with the Syrian, so it forces its way in. Besides the crews best efforts, it manages to hack into the system, where it leaves a tranmission spoken with a sadistic, robotic voice:"Watch your ground units."
(To the audience, once again, I made a slight mistake; I forgot to put in the Syria's controller AI. It'll be in next turn, as I'm way too tired to get anything big right now. Sorry folks.)

The comms officer watches as strange letters flow through the monitor, each one eventually turning into an english character with the translation software.

"Ma'am, the transmission got through. It says...'watch your ground forces.' Know what that means?"

Rajani did not take very much time. "I do. Something is about to happen with them. That energy projectile, I'm willing to bet good money that it turned Helix into a living timebomb, or some kind of Syte freak of nature. Dynat, get Palmer. Tell him something, say it's urgent."

MacCraw, the chief targeting officer, shouts with success at the sight of his monitor. On it displays a successfully calculated firing solution. It's rough, but it's definitely aiming at whatever sent the projectile. He contacts the captain, who gives another order. The crew of weapon control type in the solution; the chief of the crew taps in the confirm code for the Lance fire. He thinks to himself for a brief moment about the blast that will inevitably result from the shot. Knowing this, he pressed the button down. Inside the firing chamber of the 'Broadsword' Class Heavy Frigate-Designated Magnetic Acceleration Cannon, the coils of the long barrel begin receiving dozens of gigawatts worth of electricity.


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The beam from the repair parcel is beginning to disperse, and there's a click as Helix's shield lowers. He's hesitant about dropping the weapon, however.

Dynat comes over Palmer's comms. "Helix is a threat, he's been infected with something. We're not taking any risks. Tell him to activate the self-destruct, or eliminate him."

"Wait, what the hell?!" Helix begins to panic. "Why? You think I'm just going to drop myself? That thing did nothing. I feel fine!"

"We can't rely on that," Palmer replies. We can't have you being a bomb. If there's something in you that will blast you, it'll be a lot more painful. Sorry about this. I'll tell Sarah you love her, and that you died a hero."

And with that he closed his eyes and pulled the trigger.

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Blood fills the air as another bolt of plasma ejects itself from Palmer's barrel, melting Helix's flesh in an instant. He feels nothing from his already fried nerve endings. The suit's self-destruct readies the overload. Palmer feels traumatized for a second that he just killed one of his teammates, but soon realizes that it was for the greater good. Whatever was in him, it would be gone right about now.

Troy gives a command. Sioux listens and pulls a trigger of her own. Her launcher lets loose a small core filled with nano-bots that, as it flies through the barrel, attracts billions of amplified sub-atomic particles from the conduits on its sides. These particles accumulate into an unstable ball of pure energy that throttles from the front, throwing the excess particles out the front. The core's nano-bots redirect it to its target, pre-programmed from the launcher's onboard computer. It hurtles at Jackal's shield with enough detonation capacity to easily turn anything within six metres of the claws into a small handful of radioactive material. If it had a face, chances were that it would at this point have a venomous smile and would be thinking you call that a shield? I've seen better shields come out of my nose! Burn down below you stupid turtle!

Troy's systems begin to recalibrate, and he is satisfied to know that he will soon have power back again.

In the background, a silhouette gets closer. The pilot of the Albatross VTOL dropship tells the ten soldiers in the back to get tactical, as they will be dropping into battle rather quickly. The sergeant of the squad looks at one of them, who sat silently the whole ride. She stares down at the floor without a single action, and the sergeant thinks for a moment to inform her that she needs to prepare. He decides against it; the Siren, after all, works alone.
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Palmer has been right when he said that it would be less painful to die by being shot than through whatever has hit him. The Planetbuster projectile expands rapidly and rips the body of helix apart. "Arms" of energy are grabbing onto the loose body parts of him, splattering blood everywhere. Two of these arms also grab around Palmer, signing his doom, as this thing is not a regular explosion. This projectile has an immense mass at its core, and is drawing in more mass from all around it, similar to a blackhole. It is only contained by a very small energy field, which stops this thing from consuming the entire planet. Palmers body is drawn to the core of this thing with a force he just can't resist, and he soon will be squashed into the size of a coin alongside Helix. Interestingly, the Planetbuster seems to ignore the body of Sioux.

Far away from this horrible event, the crew onboard of the Syria is being taunted by the ObseRver-Drone:"I have told you to watch your soldiers! Now look what has happened! Your poor meatbags will be condensed enough to fit into a can! Tell me Captain Tulsi Rajani, how do you feel at the sight of your soldiers being brutally beaten?" it laughs sadistically, as much as an robotic voice can laugh. "I could hit your ship with one of these beautiful little things too. Would you like me to?" it asks and keeps laughing.

Back on the ground, Jackal moves forward. Sioux' shot, as powerful as it may be, can't penetrate his claws. He keeps advancing, pushing against the core of nanobots which pushes just as much against his shield. If it will be succesful will show soon, and what damage it will cause too. The Chameleon keeps moving behind him, staying in cover. He only now realizes that he is FUBAR if Jackal fails to defend against that projectile.

Talin doesn't have to cope with such problems, and so he moves over the roof, towards the leftover enemies. He has seen a demonstration of the Planetbuster back when he was in training, and so he knows that now has to fight atleast one enemy less, and the others are probably busy fighting against Jackal. He figures out he will have good chances to beat them all into the ground if he can go there fast enough.
Is that hunk of floating mountain supposed to be there?
It's not a hunk of floating mountain, it's the dropship, but I've revamped its design recently. It used to look like a floating box, but now it's more like a box being carried by a VTOL. Expect it to come in right about now, and things will make more sense.
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The Albatross soars into the scene. The pilot, after holding her thumb off of the gun button for so long, relieves her itchy trigger finger. A burst of .50 SuperMag Express bullets made specially for vulcan use stream from the hot barrel to cut into Talin's upper torso and head. Sparks fly from the shattered metal of his weapon, and the blood is thrown around like a malicious confetti. The troops in the back wait for the door to open, and the Siren looks up. After being in the Sentinels for 30 years, she has a finely tuned sense for war, and every instinct she had told her to come with the operation Midnight of Solace. She didn't know why, but she did not know why not, either. The reactor in her hardlight rapier crackled, excited for its upcoming use.

Sioux swears, loudly. The fact that she thought the bomb above her was going to kill her was just about enough, but that missile, the kind of projectile that had been able to disable tanks for years of its service had been shrugged off by this thing's bare claw. After earning a Master's degree in biology, she knew that the only thing that could resist that was either ten centimeters of adamantium or ten meters of titanium, top grade. Calcium could not sustain that blast force, let alone stop the rest of the wake. She decided that she could play the same game and waited for the computer's charge meter to return to full.

Palmer accepts his death. As his last act, he fires off one more round to be remembered by, not caring where it lands. He closes his eyes and remembers the oath. He did his job. Knowing this, he smiles.


Rajani listens to the broadcast transmitted to her by the drone. As she listens, she whispers something off-comms to the firing officer. The crew looks unnverved, but the captains appears as if she is merely shopping for groceries. At the end of the taunt, she turns on her headset and sends a direct signal.

"I hear you, you big old heap of iron. I see what this tool of yours can do. But tell you what; I'm not gonna let you fire one at my ship. I don't want this innocent people to die, like you let your troops. You throw them at our forces like you have no business. They are but pawns to you, pieces without any hopes. Any dreams. They are all just walking piles of meat, like us, right? Well, you are wrong like all the others before you. These people are what drove our race. We went to the stars because of them, because of their minds, their dreams. We used those ideas, we turned them into godly powers of our own. And look where we are. We are one of the most powerful spacefaring species in this arm! We have colonized hundreds of worlds, created our technology from nothing, built mighty empires and consortiums! We are nothing short of omnipotent! I am of the Sentinels, and I speak for all of them and our great Commander when I say that we don't back down! We protect the broken, we bring down oppression, we send burning justice to those who would tear it apart. We never surrender, and especially not to people like you!" She gave another word to the officer.

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The coils in the railguns discharged. The gargantuan slug made of tungsten and filled with an unstable fusion reactor was launched out of the barrel, going to 12 000 kilometers per second in about the time it would take to create a mental picture of, say, an apple in one's mind. The projectile travelled through space indiscriminately above the planet, headlong into the weapons bay of the drone's ship. The surface collapses inward, erupting with thermonuclear energy and being reduced into simpler particles as if it never existed. No tracer is left by the slug's path, even when it comes to fly out of the other end of the spherical craft, sending shrapnel flying. The explosion follows it trajectory, and plumes of flame scream into the open vacuum. Cracks formed along the hull. With the residual electrical energy Rajani had ordered into the slug, the pulse it created had within a moment detonated every PlanetBuster shell in the entire bay. The orbs begin to expand from their broken (if not disintegrated) capsules, collecting into a larger form and reaching their tentacle-like feelers to the slagged walls. From outside, this cannot be seen, but it will soon.
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