IC - Bug City Blues

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Post by arcanus » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:12 pm

Cassandra Alban moved easily through the ward of her own design, its edges were tattered, she tutted, she was if nothing else a perfectionist when it came to the arts. Flowing across the basements astral space, she stopped to notice a different astral presence, no not one, two, a magician and an elemental.

How long had she been gone, had new dwellers moved into the basement, were they hostile 'Oh god, her body'
Now slightly panicked she followed her cord, something ordinarily not visible, back to her body.

Stopping short she realised that her body had changed, some form of spell was locked or rather quickened to it.
Engaging it, she battled until she unravelled the Quickening, the petrification spell dropping and her body slowly returning to flesh and blood.

Once it had magically thawed, she assimilated.
Her first breath in over a year, hurt her lungs and brought about a long rasping cough, movement from the next room.
Exhausted she prepared to face whoever came through the door of the little store room.

Then it erupted from astral space and Cassandra screamed.
Last edited by arcanus on Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Well, hello there.....

Post by Curren » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:58 pm

Curren rolls his head around to loosen the cramp that had been caused by his sudden but much needed sleep.
He wipes the sleep out of his eyes and props himself on the table with his elbows, his eyes not leaving the mirrored eyes.

'Better play it cool here.' He thinks as he turns a tight smile on the intimidating solo.

'Well, I was casually minding my own business when the whole city seemed to fall into this big bag of shit, and I've managed so far to stay alive. I helped rescue Gianeno here and he was kind enough to offer me sanctuary.'

'The best way to fight fear is to fight it toe to toe!' Curren thinks grimly

Rubbing his neck languidly he asks.'May I ask what the fuck it has got to do with you?'

Brace myself for a reaction using a continuation Reaction test.
'Fight fire with fire!' he exults to himself, free from fear!

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Post by arcanus » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:06 pm

Curren is literally punched into astral perception, and not from the source he expected.
The entirety of his surroundings seems to flow as if mutable, time, flesh, blood, sex, magic seem to partially freeze.

The samurai is lifted from his feet but stuck in rearward propulsion, everyone else in the room stand or fall in frozen shock and horror.

Turning as if swimming through molasses, Curren see's the sphere of organic wire rend its way into the astral space of the basement.
It vomits several half devoured insect spirits, imediately gathering them in one second fleshy then metal tendrils.

Its fabric, fleshy tubes, razor wire, fuck fuck fuck, reality bleeds, stretches across the room.

The Gagglepus roars its defiance and challenge at Malthalamus Curren.

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How do I look?

Post by Nazir » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:54 am

Swallow returned, swooping low over the grey block rooftops. The processed materials that were the visual iconic representation of real-world buildings had a battered and worn appearance, even here in astral space.
The bird landed on the Egyptians outstretched arm and chirped a shrill song.
Nazir listened intently to the birds tale. It seemed Silk’s old gang were in trouble again.
Swallow disappeared, it’s services complete.

Nazir turned slightly, looking across the mass of drab grey blocks in the general direction of the 1st Midwest Bank. Every now and then a hint of colour would show itself amongst the blocks. Could they be another spirit? A mage? Or another bug? These days there were far more foes around than friends.

This brought a serious question to the Allied Spirit’s mind... how was he to approach the Signs Gang?
His current attire, his traditional Arabian robes, were a little out of character for downtown Chicago, but would that instil suspicion or would his obvious foreignness put them at ease.

Granted, Winter was among them, but Nazir was unsure whether the solo would remember him, it had been many months.

Go as you are, he told himself.

Stepping off the roof and floating out over the street the Anubian shot toward the rooftop of an old Chicago bank.

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Post by Nazir » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:11 pm

The sun was yellowish smear in the sky above the 1st Midwestern Bank as it struggled to show through the almost perpetual smoke cloud that seemed to hover above bug city, fuelled by the fires started in many districts by the shells of the UCAS Army. adding to that were the hundreds and thousands of cooking fires that remaining residents had lit to try to provide themselves with rudimentary hygeine.

U-Turn sat looking tired, and for the second time in as many minutes checked that his magazine really was empty. It didn't really matter, he couldn't shoot straight with his arm in a sling anyway.

Soloman kicked his booted foot as he passed. 'You ain't bein' much of a look out sat on your ass are you,' the troll complained.
'Alright, alright!' U-Turn scrambled bacxk up to the parapet. his arm may be useless, but his eyes worked just fine.

'SHIT!' he yelled, 'INCOMING!'

He ducked down behind the old concrete as bullets raked across the rooftop blowing chuncks of masonry all over the place.

Solomon dived down beside No Entry and grimaced. 'Bastards!' he snarled.
'They're a bit miffed we broke their last one I take it!,' No Entry joked, before popping up over the cover and opened fire with his assault rifle.
Within a dozen rounds the magazine was empty and the situation was greeted with a curse.

The drone swept in fast, shooting over the rooftop and coming around in a wide arc. It had four targets registered and picked up a fifth as another burst out of the roof door.

Flechettes flying Winter again yelled his defiance at the flying machine.
Then he too ran out of ammo.

'Where the fuck is Give Way with that ammo?'

'No idea,' No entry said scrambling intop better cover.

Nazir appeared in the material realm stood on top of the elevator equipment housing. He concentrates and blasts the incoming drone with a wreck spell.
Magic+Sorcery: 21 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 'nice way to introduce himself!!'

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eeeek!!!

Post by Curren » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:40 pm

Does this look like a Mass Chaos spell?

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Post by arcanus » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:28 pm

No something of a truly higher and alien order of magic entirely.

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Run Away! Run Awaaay!

Post by Curren » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:56 am

'WHAT THE FUCK????!!!!' Curren roars in sheer shock and terror.
Astrally Project and tear off at full speed away from it using a concentrated mana charge to make sure the astral me has its full attention! A bit like chaff and flare from a warplane. Hopefully it leaves the people and my meat body alone.
Curren prepares to attempt to banish this thing.
'What have I done wrong this time?' He thinks with frustration as the astral winds buffet and pound him.

Escape, escape, escape! His gut instincts scream at him.
I'm pushing my Ascelerity to the envelope, Currens astral form becomes almost bullet like and moves very similar to a dogfighting jet. It never stays in the same position for more than 2 seconds.
Last edited by Curren on Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by arcanus » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:00 pm

No-Entry blinked as the pulse of magical power erupted across the rooftop.

The drone shook, and they exploded, its shell torn apart, internal components igniting and disintergrating.

The Signs Gang turned and looked fearfully at the creature resembling Anubis, glowing with power.

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Post by arcanus » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:13 pm

A pulse of magical power launches from Curren's form, MetaMagical power surges through him, his astral form blurring and accelerates through the chaos.

The grey morass of manmade materials becomes a single grey sheet, as Curren reaches astral speeds far in excess of anything he has experienced.

The reality of the basement reinserts itself, with a thud, imediately everybody within the room vomits as if recovering from hi-gees.

The Gagglepus, assumes the form of an astral lance and fires through the cosmos, propelling itself to a velocity just behind Curren, as they race across the astral sky of the CZ.
Last edited by arcanus on Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tidy up

Post by Nazir » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:17 pm

Nazir and the Sign's Gang saga will continue in a separate forum to keep the clutter down... visit "IC Signs of the Underground"

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Travelling Beyond Sight and Sound.....

Post by Curren » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:56 pm

Curren groans with the exertion of the speed he's building. Astral bodies like stars flash past the englishman as he feels himself attune to the sharp cleanness of the ethiric plane which now changed to a pure white, almost like an empty canvas. It is him and the enraged spirit alone, suspended in a white void which has no ending, and where velocity has no meaning.

'How long can I hold this speed? I can't defeat it!' Currens panicked thoughts echo aloud here like the pulse of a thunderclap.

And then it hits him, it feels almost like colliding with the idea at the excessive speed he's generating. Almost like the memory was planted there for him to find in the void.

'I may not be able to defeat it, but I will find its true name!' The realisation strikes new hope into the fugitive.
Curren prepares to initiate a Metaquest to find Gagglepusse's true name!

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Post by arcanus » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:25 pm

A rotation in velocity and Malthalamus Curren reaches an vertical climb.
As he enters the heavens, a huge crescendo of voices echo "Who are you" their volume like waves crashing upon the cliffs.

'A story as old as time, a tale as old as rhyme'
Story continues upon IC - Axis Umbra.

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Darkness Descends

Post by arcanus » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:41 am

They converged upon the Blackstone Hotel on the corner of Michegan Avenue, built in 1910 it had seen better days.

The proximity of the dead within the nearby Shattergraves made them all uncomfortable, none more so than the Father.
He crouched touching the cracked Asphalt, feeling the presence within the vault below, deep below 'soon' he whispered in his mind 'soon'.

The first gunshots rang out The Lakeside Trolls gang lived in perpetual readiness as all residents of the Greater Chicago Containment Zone did, but they would never be ready for this!

His mental command echoed out, they moved in perfect unison, as one. Smashing through barricades, scaling walls, the screams began. Tearing sinew, clawing flesh, bullets and ammunition tore into flesh and blood, but they were more, more than mortal.

The trolls blood hung suspended in the air, more atrocity, when would they learn, a grotesque sculpture a memorial to a race that didn't have the sense to realise it was extinct.
He watched without satisfisaction or emotion, the harvest had begun.

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Back To Reality

Post by arcanus » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:04 am

Tombstone pushed the vomit down, his cyberlegs vaulting him back into a crouched position, customer built Savalette Guardians swept the room.
It dawned upon him that as powerful as the pistols were they woud have been useless against whatever that was.

Moans and groans came from the refugees, as they began to get their bearings, in doing so nausea struck them.
Getting his bearing his headware locked on each of the figures, his orientation system planning the dimensions of the room, a 3D representation.

The room had returned to normal, rather than some Picasso painting, normal apart from the deep rents in the walls, his tactile sensors also picked up a fine layer of metal filings embedded in the woorden furniture.

His headware locked upon a figure in the storeroom doorway, a woman, the woman who had been turned to stone, living and breathing.

His attention turned back to the dormant form of the englishman, slumped against the sofa, somehow 'Tombstone' had a sense that he had helped them.

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Post by arcanus » Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:51 pm

Prairie Grass rustled with the building breeze, crickets like demented violinists turned the rubbing of their leaping legs into a mind numbing crescendo.
The man stood within the crop circle, instinctively he could feel the latent power of the ancient Snake Mound buried beneath, the ritual completing an inhuman chittering call spread across the astral landscape of the Midwest Great Plains.
In answer millions of locusts rose like twisters from the grasses.
<It begins> The American Indian Sent.
_____________________________________________________________

T’iress’s head snapped up, he sensed the mana swell and the trouble it spelled.
Rushing to the window, he looked upon the seedling ‘Ardure’ its glowing white newborn aura.
They were coming to destroy it, how naive had he been.
Drawing upon the Chalice, he bolstered his own power, the ‘Ardure’ had to be preserved.
_____________________________________________________________

“ALL HANDS TO BATTLE STATIONS”, klaxons echoed through every corridor of the UCAS Wolverine.
Admiral Leonard Baxter calmly strolled from his ready-room “Sit-rep”, Captain Jonas Zibralski allowed his exo to assume bridge command and stepped over to the holo-briefing table.
“A huge spirit form is inbound from the CZ, its heading straight for us” replied Zibralski “Spirit response is engaging as we speak”
“Threat level” quietly enquired Admiral Baxtor
“Most significant yet, sir, the bug is top scale on the Adams-Heizman Charts, General Henderson has confirmed full magical support”.
_____________________________________________________________

The Priest looked around the Masonic Chamber, as large as a Cathedral hall. Absently he stroked the huge scaled head that was restrained beside him.
The warding of the chamber was impressive, old Hermetic Principles, some Zoanistic and Rosicrucian numerology included.
The Priest watched his industrious flock scurry around, flesh imitating the true souls within, he thought.
The Sending reached him just as he sensed the coming.
_____________________________________________________________

Beams of Elemental power exploded across the Astral Space above Lake Michegan.
The collection of Elementals and Spirit was truly impressive, unleashing the full fury of their innate power, however the Insect Spirit they faced was possibly the biggest thus far seen within the Sixth World.
A Brood Warrior, an Invae incorporated into a special Magical Host, a successful union bore terrifying results, the spirits were hurting it but they weren’t slowing it down.
_____________________________________________________________

Colonel Barnard Tiowokee looked at the bones, bad omens.
He felt the Great One, it was a challenge, the Insect Shaman had issued it, against Totems of his fathers against ‘Thunder Runner’. A ruse to draw the Great One out, to pause from his vigilance.

‘No Great One you will face another’ thought the Salish Colonel.
_____________________________________________________________

Only the fortunate members of the UCAS Third Thaumatic Corps, avoided the punishing headaches and consequential nose bleeds, based in their own compound in the South Wall Army.
The Background Count had suddenly and meteorically risen.
Captain Julie-Ann Denan shook the disorientation from her head “Where were the Wards” she bellowed, getting no intelligent response.
“LOOK ALIVE PEOPLE” Denan roared, the military mage and soldiers clicked into basic training.
Running her finger along the glyphs of her Order ring, she intoned the enchantment
“I call upon Stricture One, the Rose Cross Seal”
An observer looking down upon the entire military compound from astral space would see a huge incomplete pyramid, the all seeing eye floating above it, the symbol made from pure white lines of light.
“Annuit Cœptis” intoned the senior officers.
_____________________________________________________________

The clouds above Lake Michigan turned suddenly black, illuminated only by Thunder Runners lightning tantrums. The Greater Storm Spirit rallied against the NAN Shamans orders to not intervene.
Hurricane force winds ripped across both the physical and Etheric surface of the lake, the Brood Warrior and its attackers were buffeted by the force.
The Shaman had said nothing to the spirit guardian of the CZ regarding the weather.
_____________________________________________________________

The Rapideye Satellite focused according to its updated matrix commands.
The E.M.S (Environmental Monitoring Service) Centre based in Columbus, Ohio had gone on alert, part of FEMA its role was to monitor dramatic environmental changes.
Millions of locusts constituted a dramatic environmental change, as with so many things in the Sixth World they had appeared from nowhere.
“Their course is definitely Chicago” said lead monitoring scientist Stan Luzon.
“Notify FEMA Region V and CZ Central Command” replied Director Levingston.
_____________________________________________________________

The UCAS AF C270s thundered across Indiana, their flight path took them in over the swarm.
Air Force Major Randy Harker checked his instruments, the transports had been fitted during the formation of the CZ, carrying specialised pods, deployed from modified fuselage bays.
Swinging over the black plague each opened its bays, discharging its insecticide payload.
They had finite time, before the flight path took them over population centres.
“Sir” came a voice from ‘Storm 4’, “Yes First Lieutenant” replied Harker.
“We’ve hardly dented it” reported the wing officer
Harker winced over the monstrous drone from several million insect wings.
“Agreed, Indiana Flight Command, this is Flight Lead, mission is a no go, I repeat mission is a no go, please notify CZ Command”
With that Storm Flight turned, each of their shielded engines groaning under the coating of dead insects upon their fuselages.
_____________________________________________________________

Hoodlum Priest looked up from his reading, a storm was coming.
Hoodlum quickly climbed to his feet "Pharaohs heart has hardened," he boomed in his preaching way.
He quickly gathered the ork and trolls children and ushered them to the cellars of the broken down church.

As the plague descended upon the CZ, Hoodlum Priest read the scriptures to his flock and called upon salvation.
_____________________________________________________________

Several of the lower Grade Salish Military Shaman collapsed from exhaustion, unconsciousness from drain pushing them to forced slumber.
Colonel Tiowokee wiped the sweat and blood from his hands, he felt the Ritual spell escape into the spirit world, aiming for its target.
Thunder Runner had hit the Brood Warrior with a blizzard, which had stalled its advance upon the awaiting ships.
The guardian spirits immediately departed speeding away from the battle as fast as astrally possibl.
The ritual broke around the Warrior its immense wasp form, struggling as a storm of mana static erupted around it, at the same time bands of magical force enshrouded the monster bearing it down into the icy depths of Michigan.
_____________________________________________________________

The plague of locusts tore through the skies of the CZ, Thunder Runner liberally coated the zone in snow and ice as it hit the attack with blizzards and winds, but even he couldn’t stop 30 million insects.
The locusts descended upon Lincoln Park, smothering the area around the ‘Ardure’ Tree, devouring anything in their path, fortunately they had managed to evacuate the majority of the elven families leaving only the young trees guardians, guardians who impotently fell beneath the onslaught.

T’iress staggered beneath the weight of the assault, his shields and wards straining against the sheer physical biological weight.
He hadn’t much time, even his power didn’t fully encapsulate the tree, he could feel its pain as the plague chewed into its limbs, its branches, its lifeforce.
The ‘Ardure’ wouldn’t survive for long, in anger he unleashed powerful destructive magic’s cutting a swathe through the swarm.

Bloodied rents appeared in his arms and chest as he committed himself to his course of action, opening his magical forces, his soul, his godhead, irrevocably draining the power from the Chalice.
Turning he faced the ‘Ardure’ bitter tears running down his cheeks, as the two of them fell to the onslaught.

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Post by arcanus » Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:29 pm

The Brood Warrior surfaced, the immense astral storm ritual once again closed around it, the warrior suffocated materialized.

<NOW, young one> said Tiowokee, the Salish Warrior stood upon the shore of Michigan, raising the tribal lance aloft he focused and threw true.
The Lance struck the Warrior midrift, piercing its carapace, in itself the wound was insignificant but enough to spiritually stun the Invae.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Lock & Load” came the order, the Firewatch team aboard the Ares Destroyer Avalon.
The bombard was an extremely hi-tech version of an old cannon design, targeting the now visible spirit the gunner, drew his lock and fired.

The Coil-gun discharged several thousand shards of razor sharp metal, ordinarily this massively destructive weapon would have had little effect upon the spirit, upon this occasion however its blew a hole the size of a troll through it.
The fact that the shards were heavily magically radicalized, seemed to have some bearing upon the proceedings.

Admiral Baxter watched solemnly as the huge wasp, disrupted, the collective naval taskforce crews breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
“Captain Zibralski please place an immediate request to DARPA to purchase several of those Coil Guns from Ares Arms”

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Post by arcanus » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:06 pm

A wave of palatable dispair radiated from Lincoln Park, saddly it renewed the ingrained sense of misery and dispair that existed as a part of the CZ residents daily lives.

A wellspring of hope had existed in Lincoln Park, one that was now dead.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

At 13.12, the weather patterns of the CZ worsed, two Arctic Spirits descended upon the park and flash frosted the area of settlement, emtombing the millions of gorged locusts in frost and ice.

A 15.30 6 UCAS Naval hovercraft slid up the shoreline of Lincoln Park. UCAS Northrup Hornets slid over the treeline, covering the marines as they disembarked, the spirits stood guard.
The forces wary of encounters with either residents or bug spirits worked with due haste, deploying a strip and burn tactic, flamethrowing the locusts, considering the threat they posed to Midwest Agriculture this was top priority.

The marines ignored the frozen forms of the elves, who had died of suffocation by the swarm.
The marine colonel stopped by one of the corpses, noting how unlike the others he had no signs of suffocation or having been fed upon.
As soon as the operation was complete, the marines retreated leaving the dead where they lay.

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Post by arcanus » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:45 pm

The Firewatch Mage took in the crop circle, she could sense the coiled power of the Serpent Mound beneath the soil.
Thousands upon thousands of flies and wasps raged around the team, its significant magical barriers rendering their primal rage mute, however the drone was invasive.

The telepathic confirmation reached her, the other 3 mage were ready. Connected by their Array Metamagic, they pooled their spellcasting and released, the spell exploded out in every direction, its inner nature and crafting entirely geared to the termination of insects.

She closed her eyes as the white flash went off, hearing a sound not unlike hailstones as millions of Aculeata and Diptera fell all around them.
She looked at the farmhand they had pulled from the wreckage of his tractor, miraculous that he had survived.

The spell would play havoc with the local eco-system but what choice did they have, filtering the spell residue and the hazy patterns left within the astral by the swarm, she pinpointed the start, the source.
'Yes the summoning had definately started here'.

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Post by arcanus » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:27 pm

"I don't like spooks" stated General Karl Henderson
The man who stood in his ready Room was muscular enough to have be a pro-wrestler, clad completely in black, his dark brown hair slicked back and a pair of studentish round rimmed glasses.

"Never the less general, we are a nessessary evil" replied Agent X.
"Ares have concluded that the swarm was intentionally summoned, then directed at Lincoln Park" continued the agent.
Henderson merely stared at the agent
"Ares have already briefed me on that revelation".

"What they may not have told you is that this activity may have been a diversion, bug activity within the CZ jumped some 300%, calculated attacks on specific targets"

"So this is more of this Swarming shit, that Eckhart talked about" muttered Henderson "What does it mean, Agent?"

"As far as we can surmise, the bugs are making their move"

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Post by arcanus » Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:27 am

The comforting skittering of tiny 'Blattodea' legs, up and down the sewer tunnels, was a pleasure.
The ragged cowl bobbed with a gesture that could have been amusement or maybe appreciation.

<So, are you with us or against us?>
The ragged figure turned, several man sized cockroaches shuffled into view, defensive of their parent.
"The compact hasn't finished" replied the ragged figure.
<It is for the sake of The Compact that you must choose, when the Swarming begins there must be no weakness> said the tranluscent priestly figure .
"Ha" rasped the robed figure "It was we who stood while the winged ones fell, they'll be no doubts on us"
<Good> and with that the figure was gone.

"We always survive" chuckled the robed figure.

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Post by arcanus » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:32 pm

The large room of Senate Commitee Room 226 was some two centuries old, its antique furniture and wood panelled walls spoke of age, the antiquity seemed to ooze from the walls, although not magical Armford's family had long held the sensitive lineage. He could almost feel the age.

Brigadier Nathan Armsford fielded the politicians questions.
Sitting directly in front of the 5 Senators, one of two interviewees on the horseshoe shaped table, sitting before the Senate Oversight Commitee.
Having satisfied themselves with grilling Armsford and showing their unilateral dislike of his CO Major General Henderson, they shifted their attentions to the other present.

Knight Errant Military Colonel James Fulton, regarded the collected Senators, unlike his UCAS Military counterpart he was not beholden to these people, he answered masters motivated by the same financial drive but without all the hubris, well not so much.
The Commitee started along the same tact as before, attempting to drag him over the coals for the military escalation within the CZ, the collateral damage and the loss of life. The Commitee convened for a break.

Fulton mentally speed-dialled the EXO-Line, "Commander", Fulton gave his CO a brief rundown, while sipping his mocha.
"Thank you sir" Fulton, disconnected the line from 'Roger Soaring Eagle', the Commanding Officer of Knight Errant.

The commitee reconvened, "So Colonel Fulton, we were ."
"If I might interrupt, Senator Killian, can I be clear as to whether this meeting is serving any purpose other than villainise the military contingent of the Chicago Containment Zone"
The Senators looked stunned, annoyed and a little baffled, it was their role to 'beast' hardassed military officers, make them accountable.

"Senators Ares Macrotechnology maintains a full 48% of the military contingent guarding the CZ, as well as supplying significant amounts of equipment and intelligence, I am unsure why we have been called here to justify ourselves" commented Fulton
"Colonel, you will remember where you are. Ares Macrotechnology is in part responsible for the Chicago issue" retorted Killian attempting to regain control "Plus Ares make a tidy profit in its supplying us with military equipment".

"You mean we took responsibility in dealing with the bug threat, Senators Ares has placed both its support and faith in General Henderson, what the administration seems to fail to understand is that the bug threat cannot just be walled in, contained, these creatures continue their work, build their powerbase and do so with a determination befitting an insect"

"Colonel, we would appreciate it if Ares didn't patronise us" replied Senator Grey
"Then with all due respect maam, the Oversight Commitee needs to stop tying both General Henderson's and Ares hands, we are at war, ladies and gentlemen and saddly innocent people die in war" as Fulton finished he picked up his coat turned and left, without being dismissed.

As Fulton walked down the steps of the Capitol building his phone rang, "Hello, ah Mr Knight, yes sir, no they weren't particularly pleased with our stance sir, thank you sir" with that Fulton, climbed into his car.

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Post by arcanus » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:39 pm

The dracoform roared in pain and rage, the Father watched as its essential forces flooded from it, chitinous lances each woven with Hive Magic drew its forces from it.
The Roscurian seal flexed and pulsed with the influx of power, several flesh forms desicated, their own forces only powerful enough to channel the mana, unravelled through the effort, their husks collasping into dust. The Father showed an uncharacteristic look of glee, as the wall began to give way.

The dracoforms struggle for continued life ended, its willforce and magical defences failing, all would fall to the multiplicity.

The Father stepped forwards, the Seal was immensly powerful, the full end wall of the chamber had collapsed with its disruption, clever that something so powerful had been woven in pre-awakened days. However such things were more than possible for those versed in the arts, even if that knowledge was theoretic.

The tunnel opened before them, they were close now. The swarm surged forwards, only then did the Father sense it, drawing back, as the fleshforms ran up the passage, tremors shuddered through the chamber. Stone seals cracked and fell away from their centuries old placement within the redbrick walls.
Further shudders, then the avalanche came, literally tons of sand exploded into the tunnels, released from an age of pressurised containment.
The Father turned as the deluge erupted into the entrance chamber where he stood.

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September 8th 2059

Post by arcanus » Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:42 pm

Major General Karl Henderson took in the Chicago Containment Zone, the wrecked, ragged expanse of the once great central Chicago.
The military Maelstrom LAV rode the windy currents high above the cityscape, its elevation a thousand meters above the kill-net, a layer of mil-spec drones that hovered above the quarantine.

The LAV swung onto the landing platform of Avian I, the massive semi-lighter than air command platform had grown in its entourage, a series of Ares germinated bloat forms (Genetically cultured organic dirigibles), each reinforced with cyber-structures and hardware frameworks had been added to the original superstructure.
Avian I had grown into some science fiction nightmare, the refugee population had to contend with monsters hunting them both metahuman and invading spirits, now had to live under a floating fortress.

The past two years had been a time of bitter frustration, Henderson had been moved to Strategic Commander of the Illinois Command, under the pretence of ensuring that Illinois state could be defended should the Insect Spirits breakout en mass.
The move was one to placate the Senate and a UCAS that no longer wanted to hear of those poor unfortunates within the CCZ, those poor unfortunates who could suck your brains out or so the population now believed.
General Franklin Yates had moved the Senate Strategic Committee to place Henderson’s second in command ‘Brigadier Nathan Armsford’ in direct command of the CCZ with express orders to contain and not intervene. The idea was too keep the zone out of peoples thoughts during election year.
In some ways sadly the bug breakout had not happened, the Spider Shaman ‘Eckheart’ had warned that the Invae were patient and building their forces, Warlord violence had torn through the zone.
Thousands had died, and still the military had stood and watched, but not intervened.

‘To Protect the Citizens and Government of the UCAS from any and all threats both foreign and domestic’ thought Henderson, as he disembarked and made his way across the windswept deck.
Navigating his way through the new or adjusted passageways the Major General finally arrived at the command bridge, as the bridge officers stood to attention he surveyed the recently repaired damage to the bridge.
“Sir a pleasure to have you back on board” spoke the female Major, before him, she was new and had an attitude that immediately irked Henderson, the spiraled lapel identified her as a Psion, military intelligences once secret weapon now openly used.
Henderson allowed the major to brief him on the current situation within the CCZ, changes to Avians command structure and routine and other amendments to procedure, before he retired to his ready room.

Avian rocked slightly, its stabilizing thrusters kicking in to compensate for the windy cities breath, his automed fed an anti-nausea stim into his bloodstream.
The first thing Henderson did was to activate his secure trid link and look in on ‘Brigadier Armsfords’ hospital bed, his return to active command had be a result of the CCZ Command being directly attacked by a terrorist missile, one that had been fired from within the zone.
The missile had breached all of Avians defences and exploded into the command bridge, ‘Nathan Armsford’ had endured 13 hours of surgery and had had the entire lower 40% of his body replaced with clone parts, his condition was critically stable.
He mentally composed an encouraging message to ‘Susan Armsford’, then cancelled it, it would be the sixth he’d sent this week, was he making her feel better or himself.
Henderson spend the next 8 hours reviewing the tactical data from the past 6 months, rubbing his eyes he reflected on his return.
His transfer had been upon the insistence of his former CO General Franklin Yates, a political move to stop unsightly events from distracting from the Presidential Election.
His return had been similarly fraught, in reality it had been down the increasing death toll with the zone, the fact that he had somehow become linked to Nadja Davier and the newly created Dunkelzahn Institute of Magical Research.
The DIMR had considerable interest in the CCZ, the lack of progress in dealing with the threat and bringing about a resolution had brought a call for Henderson’s more aggressive tactics to return.
The new Haeffner Administration had played the safe ticket for the first 2 years of its term, however the fact that Nadja Davier was the Vice President as well as Director of the DIMR, influenced a rapid change of policy, that and Senator Andrew Jackson losing his state.

Henderson took no glee in his return, in reality the hardest fight was to come, the UCAS Military and Ares policy of containment meant that the Warlords and metahuman predators had rebuilt significantly, the Insect Spirits had been largely quiet, which meant that something was afoot.
Henderson sent a series of messages arranging meetings with Ares, the CIA and various magical experts starting the following day, it was only then that he retired to bed.

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Post by arcanus » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:48 am

Major General Karl Henderson strode rapidly along the corridor from the shooting range to ‘Avian’s’ Bridge, he had long learnt to contain any agitation or fear and bottle it, something he wished his panicy officers would do as they blustered along the same corridor, he ordered them to ‘Shut up’ twice now.
“Situation” he said stepping onto the raised dias at the rear of the bridge.
“We’ve got the start of a major break-out along 60th, 61st and Peora Green in Englewood, plus a Scale 4 Maelstrom heading South from the Arkham Breach Point” replied the his senior comms officer.
“Maelstrom??” questioned Henderson
“A Mana Storm with severe physical and psychic effects and backlash” replied comms
“Kirlian Monitors are indicating large fluctuations along the Cayce Latitudes” replied the duty Empath.
“Happy days” replied Henderson quietly

Henderson stood silently for a long while watching the various screens all relaying differing views of the same image, an image of several hundred if not thousands of fleshforms pouring out of Engelwood’s sewers and cellars.
“Sir, we’re approaching a point past containment” updated the SCO.
Henderson reflected, they found themselves here once again, in the previous two years the military had merely sat back and watched these swarms.
“SIR” said the SCO almost frantically
“Deploy MCTs cluster dispensers, lets see if these things work” replied the General.
The Command seemed to breath a sigh of relief in the knowledge that this was one emergency order that might not have incredibly grisly consequences.
Across the hull of the floating citadel of Avian I, bomb bays opened, instead of munitions several hundred missile shaped drones deployed, boosting down below the ‘Kill-net’ and disgorged their bellies, scattering several hundred small spheres. Each sphere began a counter rotation as it dropped, spraying a new insecticide in circular arcs.
The sensors within the ‘Kill-net’ watched as several hundred fleshforms writhed in agony and their death-throws, the streets of Englewood resembled some macabre Surrealist painting.

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Post by arcanus » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:12 pm

The satellite images showed a startling formation, interlaced thermographic, MAD and electrostatic sensors build up the topographic view of the former Yakashima Tower situated on the north east corner of 24th Boulevard and Marshall Boulevard, the tower adjacent to the ruins of the massive Carter Harrison Elementary School.

Viewing the images were a collection of CZ military veterans, once more reunited after a few wilderness years, however the images they now looked upon filled them with the fearful notion that their absence may well have allowed an evil to once again fester.

The images showed a enormous amount of movement, at an almost frenetic pace.
“What are the dark brown structures” asked Colonel Cook, Avians CO
“We’re not sure!” replied Captain Denan of the UCAS Thaumaturgy Corps and advisor to Avian’s command structure “We think it could be structural changes”
“For structural changes their random, more like a termite mound” replied the Colonel
“One that extends throughout the entire scraper and school” added Colonel Fulton of Knight Errant
General Karl Henderson stood listening to the gathered experts, his arms folded and one hand covering his mouth in thought.
Amy Eckharte stood quietly allowing the Commander In Chief to complete his thoughts; instead he turned and looked at the shaman inquiringly

“A huge termite mound” said Henderson, his eyes boring into ‘Amy’
“Yes, they have swarmed beneath the streets, behind aged doors, General!”
The soldiers had stopped and now regarded the pair, a silence developed between the eerie shaman and the General
“As always they seek to consume all around them, to remake this city and the world in image of the Hive” finished Eckharte
Henderson looked at his officers and Fulton “We need to know what’s occurring within that building!”
Colonel Cook breathed in audibly “That’s a suicide mission at best” he commented
“I have just the man to lead this” interjected Denan “I gave you the report”
Henderson regarded his Magical officer “The spook” he replied distastefully
“He’s extremely effective sir and the bugs can’t go near him, it’s almost like they have an aversion” she replied
“I can assist with ordinance and Firewatch personnel” added Fulton
Henderson gave the Ares Officer an inquiring arch of his eyebrow
“Call it intensive training and field testing” replied Fulton stoically

Henderson regarded his officers “The teams to be assembled by 21.00 tonight” he ordered as he left the intel suite, it was time for him to check in on Nathan Armsford’s condition.

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It Can't Rain All The Time

Post by arcanus » Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:23 pm

General Henderson was growing accustomed to the motion of ‘Avian’, looking out of the room’s plexiglass portal he saw further Ares bloats being matured, floating above Chicago’s northern districts.
The General turned to the individual who stepped into the room, dressed in an Ares uniform modelled off UCAS military utilitarian battle dress, the figures skin was a deep ashen grey, his eyes a watery black and his swept back hair chalk white.
The room had almost certainly dropped a couple of degrees with his entrance.
Henderson looked at the man for a moment, regarding him, the silence continuing he then looked at his datapad, ‘Major Marius Scholl” born 1759 in feudal Westphalia, Germany, the Parapsychologists had identified him as a specialised type of Ghost or spectre, a ‘Remnant’.
“So what are you” asked Henderson
Scholl snapped to attention “I’m a survivor, sir” he replied in his thick Germanic accent
As it turned out the UCAS Army owed Scholl, a Black Op had gone bad and the unit had become backed into the Shattergraves, the unit were losing cohesion and predators were moving in for the kill, when Scholl had appeared, apparently just that, materialised out of nowhere, looked momentarily disorientated and then fought the approaching shades off.
He’d then led the unit out of the ‘Graves’ and to the wall, the men were smitten with him, each had been tested for supernatural influence but magical scans had revealed nothing.

“Little bit far away from the Rhine, aren’t you” asked Henderson with a deceptive murmur
“Not at all sir, my descendants settled in Chicago in the 1820’s” replied Scholl with his thick German accent.
The general stepped up to the phantom, and touched his arm with the tip of his finger, slightly cold but as solid as the next man “So are you possessing somebody ‘Scholl’?”
“Nien sir” replied the Major
“You’ve commanded quite a bit of loyalty from some of the troops Scholl” commented Henderson as he returned to his seat
The remnant merely nodded
“Okay, we’ll give it a shot, assemble your men and prepare to leave in one hour”
Once again Scholl nodded, turned upon his heel with military precision and left the room.

Henderson cast his mind back to the briefing meeting he’d had with Captain Denan, Major T. Ackridge from Ares and Paranatural Consultant Tabitha Wyst.
“So what is he?” inquired Major General Karl Henderson
“A ghost” replied Ackridge gruffly
“I prefer the term returned spirit” interjected Denan
Henderson looked at his officer “Can we be a little less romantic!”
“Actually his paranatural classification is a ‘Remnant’, a soldier returned to fulfil a purpose” calmly explained ‘Wyst’
“So he’s got an agenda” pushed the General
“ He has but then hasn’t everybody, in fact turning it around he’s single minded in his, more reliable” added Wyst
Henderson looked at Ackridge, the Major was an Ares career soldier, they called them the ‘Old Guard’, soldiers who were so useful their old age was arrested by rejuvenation treatments, fifteen years ago Tobius Ackridge had been the lucky recipient of the first Leonization treatment, taking him from his mid nineties back to his thirties.
“We’ve got just as crazy things working in other divisions” replied the Major
Henderson turned to Wyst “Why’s he come back and why now, he’s from Germany for cried out loud?”
Denan replied “We think his shade followed his strongest descendants, who settled in Chicago in the 1820s, recent events possibly some threat to his modern family forced his manifestation that or his code of honour”
“People, we’re about to send him in with our troops, so is he on the level!”
Denan and Wyst both nodded immediately, while the hard form of Ackridge seemed thoughtful for a moment before added his consent.

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Heavenly Wrath

Post by arcanus » Sat May 09, 2009 8:34 pm

The Ares CWS-346 LAV Vertol or ‘Nightshadow’ lifted off from its clandestine landing pad, it resemble a huge helicopter gunship minus the rotors, instead elevated and propelled by advanced vector thrust pulse detonation jets and turbo fans.
The matt black stealth ship roared towards The Greater Chicago Containment Zone, buffeted by the purposefully heavy thunderstorm beginning to lash Chi-town.

Corporal Sam Tripp of UCAS Delta Force looked across the passenger well, looking at the other 15 members of the strike team, assembled from either Ares or UCAS Military Special Forces with the odd hardened veteran thrown in. His attention particularly settling upon their commander, Major Marius Scholl.
The Major was something of an enigma within ‘The Avian Combat Group’, they’d started calling him a Bygone, a solid ghostly soldier returned for unknown reasons.
None of them knew the full story regarding ‘Scholl’, the scraps of information or rumours were that he’d originally been some kind of duelist several centuries ago in what was now the Allied German States, an old spirit, a very old spirit.

In a frantic fortnight they’d gone from combat simulations and exercises to no less than seven operations into the CZ, with ‘Scholl’ in command.
At first the assembled team had been not only extremely mistrustful but almost fearful of the grey skinned soldier, however the solemn swordsman had proved the equal of every man in the unit, but more than that he had a presence, a command presence that instinctively they’d grown to trust.
Certainly his ability with a sword was incredible, all the more strange that he wore the old Zweihänder Sword with full ultra-tech combat armour, ‘Scholl’ had his strange old ways but his bravery and leadership was unquestioned.
This mission proved it, what other Strike Team would fly into the heart of a Maelstrom, Tripp’s own fear was suppressed by his military conditioning and his combat drugs.
Despite this he still felt a shiver of trepidation knowing that a just beyond the armored walls of the LAV raged the mother of all storms and that they might well be flying into the gates of hell itself.

Major Tobius Ackridge watched as the Stealth LAV cleared the CZ Wall, in the pandemonium of the Quarantines formation, Ares Macrotechnology had secured a number of dispossessed Skyrakers in outside Chicago.
Despite being situated in the relative safety outside the Zone, their owners were too fearful of the ‘Bug’ menace within and fled enmass, Ares Real Estate subsidiary ‘Honor Property Enterprises’ had moved quickly and acquired the buildings.
During the time of occupation Ares had refitted the buildings as Tactical bases, standing on the 43rd floor the ‘Old Guarder’ solemnly saluted them ‘Gods Speed’ he mentally prayed.

In the five years since CZs tragic formation, its military command had grown quite considerably, Major General Karl Henderson's time in the political arenas of DC had utilised his frustrations to funnel considerable resource to Avian Command.
The ground bases on the three land sides of the Zone were as of 2059 sectional bases, with the overall command from the Avian Sky-platforms, Avian I having been joined by no less than four organic blimps or ‘Bloats’ each designated a command function.
Number Three was run by the UCAS Air Force, under the command of the Illinois 183rd Air National Guard Fighter Squadron, its field commander lieutenant colonel ‘Elaine Bridges’.
Its Duty Officer silently watched as the craft mysteriously vanished from its most vigilant sensors, it wasn’t cost effective even for Ares Arms to outfit all of their stealth craft with magical cloaks but this one would need all the help it could get.

The Ares CWS-346 LAV Vertol or ‘Nightshadow’ lurched as one of Chi-towns famous thunderstorms raged around it.
Ares Senior Airman ‘Harry Snow’ allowed the nav comp to adjust their vector, its Battle Tac reconfiguring to map the ever hostile terrain below.
His sensors tracked his flight telemetry and remapped the advanced cloaking across the SOTA craft, along the fuselage MetaMagical craftings shifted to enshroud them, ‘Harry’ prayed it would keep them safe.
Seated within the crew compartment the four Knight Errant ‘Firewatch’ Mage could sense the CZs thick psychic fog, with begrudged thunderous rumbles the storm sent again streaks of lightning along its shielded fuselage.
Veterans of bug hunts each of the squad knew that this could well be their last mission, one of the ‘Firewatch Mage’ looked at one of the UCAS Rangers, a Shawnee Indian “Thought we had a pair of NAN Storm Spirit Twins lookin out for us?”
Gallows humour was common among such comrades, the Ranger smiled “Hey, their Sioux Spirits, can’t rely on them!” grim chuckling ran amongst the intrepid.

Four similarly cloaked drones flanked the ‘Nightshadow’, rigger linked into the ship ‘Harry’s world was invaded by two blips, ‘Snow’s tactical programs altered his 3D bubble, he knew that the Chinookan Twins had raised the storm to deter any paranatural attention to the mission.
“How the hell are they out in this” Harry cursed

Chief Master Sergeant Dorran of the UCAS 1st Infantry looked up at ‘Harry’s’ face as it appeared upon the screen above the men, “Incoming” said Harry, “Two Bugs”
“In this” retorted Dorran in disbelief, the Chief Master Sergeant turned to Major Scholl who merely nodded, “Take em out” he relayed to Harry

Harry swung the Vertol portside, targeting the two big and heavy Beetle Spirits, the nose turret rotated releasing the anger of six fire-linked Firewatch Heavy Lasers, one of the huge stag beetle like monstrosities fell to earth, a smoking ruin.
The second relentlessly continued, ‘Harry’ swung the LAV out once again, avoiding its aerial charge as it swung in behind them in pursuit, a further two blips appeared within the trideo cage.

‘Scholl’ nodded to ‘Dorran’ once again, “Mckiney man the aft turret”
The Special Forces trooper, swung into the cramped rear turret, the cyber-soldiers four smartlinks integrated with the Hi-Vel cannons and releasing an onslaught of hard ammo at the bug, which deftly flew around it.
“BRACE” roared ‘Harry’ into the comms, as the beetle rocketed into an arc which brought it slamming into the LAVs starboard side, its physical and arcane armour rebuffed the assault.
Mckiney swung the cannons and fired as soon as the crafts momentum separated it from the bug, this time strafing its dorsal shell, the LAV weaved in and out of the Chicago skyline.

“Master Sergeant destroy it” quietly commented Major Marius Scholl, who ‘Tripp’ noticed seemed almost disinterested in the whole event, despite the LAV being shaken around like some rag doll within a puppies maw.
Mckiney deactivated the hi-vels, as ‘Dorran’ relayed the order to ‘Harry’
The ordered worried ‘Harry’, they were over a heavily populated refugee area and at risk of losing their stealth advantage, ‘Come to think of it how the hell had the bugs seen through their unbelievable level of cloaking.
From the section of the fuselage just behind the nose turret, a mortar like tube extended upon an arm, turning toward the rapidly closing beetle, it locked and spat a pulsing green lozenge at macro-sonic speed.
The Anchoring Load impacted the beetles head before detonation, it erupted engulfing the beetle within a potent blast barrier just before the high explosive and thermite charges exploded, the Core Bomb assaulted the Flesh Form both physically and elementally, blowing it to pieces.

Momentarily a group of the Fifth Street Militia looked up to see the falling form, they watched with interest until they realised it was heading straight for them.

Aboard Avian III, the CZ Air Command monitored the flight not via any visibility of the ‘Nightshadow’ but rather the pursuing Insect Spirits physical forms.
Watch Commander Second Lieutenant ‘Brentford Miller’, came off the comm from III’s CO, immediately a request was relayed to the Sioux Military Attachment Base on the West Wall, their response was very rapid.
High in the cloud cover above Chi-Town an ethereal three hundred foot form swam through her thunderous domain, her twin sent a column of wind sailing down into the Zone. Her form swirled with electrons, a leader column of lightning poured from her bosom, the first of the two wasp spirits exploded from its impact.

Harry winced as the barometric pressure suddenly rocketed, wind shear and vectors elevated dramatically, on a collision course for the LAV, he was about to say ‘Brace’, when the lightning and hurricane flowed harmlessly over the fuselage.
Instead the hurricane wind gripped the remaining wasp and raked it across the side of a tower block.

The Chinooka Twins blessing had protected the mission and squad. The team settled back into their bucket seats, Gallows Humour once again pervaded the compartment, while the ‘Nightshadow’ accelerated onto its destination, time was pressing.

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Grave Expectations

Post by arcanus » Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:01 pm

Major General Karl Henderson smiled warmly, standing to shake the proffered hand of Colonel Barnard Tiowokee, entering the briefing room with him was the Sioux forces CO ‘Linda Paiute’.
The pair sat around the briefing table, Henderson resuming his seat.
Each month the NAN Command Officers met with the CCZ Command, a tactical briefing where they updated each other on their relative areas of jurisdiction.
“Karl, before we start talking tactics, we have something to tell you!” started Barnard, his tone drawing Hendersons attention.
It was the Souix officer who started “After a review of the stability of the situation General, the NAN Tribal Council have decided to withdraw their forces from the Chicago Containment Zone”
“We feel that the threat within the zone no longer poses a danger to our sovereign soil”
Barnard looked somewhat apologetic, but nodded in agreement.

Henderson pursed his lips, his brow furrowing.
“The bugs are still active and our joint intelligence suggests their numbers are growing” replied the General
“However the anticipated swarming didn’t occure and the Insects numbers have not risen beyond numbers that UCAS and Ares forces can contain” replied the Souix
“We will maintain the Spirit watch for a further three months, by which time we will have effected withdrawl” added Tiowokee
Henderson didn’t reply, a curious unreadable expression upon his face
The NAN officers exchanged looks and made to stand
Henderson pressed the touch sensitive surface of the table, as the pair stood they were greeting by the labyrinthine image of the Yakashima Tower , actually the internal structure of the tower.
The nightmarish catacombs that eat their way down through the manmade materials.

Barnard stopped, bending over the image and scowled, after a while he breathed out “Is this live?”
“Yes” replied Henderson
“Colonel, General we have agreed the way forward we” the Souix officer was silenced by the look that Tiowokee gave her
“I have a team enroute now to recon the area, we’re anticipating reality to be considerably worse” added the General
“So they did swarm” replied Barnard, not looking away from the satellite image
“They did, they just did it quietly, we think it could be bigger than Cermak”
Barnard Tiowokee turned and regarded Colonel Linda Paiute “You’d best inform the Tribal Command that Chicago has never posed a greater threat to the entire American continent than at this time!”

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