CH.12- ALL YOUR BASE
A/N: Remember, I don't own Titanfall. It's also been a long time coming. Enjoy
A small icon, the emblem of the IMC, rotated in the center of the screen in front of her startled face. The words 'LOST CONNECTION' flashed at the top of the screen.
"David…?" Alice Turner muttered to herself as she typed in a few commands. "Why isn't this schieße working?" She growled as her next few attempts to reconnect failed. It was as if their comm buoy wasn't working.
When the only things displaying were the inability to place the call came up several times she sighed and placed the tablet on the counter in front of her.
"Doctor Turner?" A voice called from behind her. "We don't want to be late for our rotation. Another load is coming in fourteen hours." Alice groaned as she looked at her partner.
"We barely have had enough time to treat the inpatients we offloaded two weeks ago. Where are we going to put the new ones?" She was getting frustrated, she shouldn't be getting mad at the other medical officer. But the Paen was almost filled to capacity.
"I've got no information." The man shrugged with an indifferent look as he turned to the door. "So we better make sure that enough of these guys get into decent enough shape before the next ship arrives."
The alarms on the Argonaut had gone silent, David noted idly as he slammed the butt of his pilfered shotgun into the neck of what was once a prisoner on the ship.
The man gasped and choked, reflexively reaching for his throat as if it would alleviate his pain. Grasping in a vain attempt to help fix the now crushed windpipe.
David didn't pay him any mind as he moved on to his next target, another ex-prisoner that was facing the other direction. Levelling the EVA-8 and firing a single round into the man and shredding his entire back. The man screamed as he collided with the deck and fell silent.
It didn't take him long to move his way through the rest of the group and find a makeshift barricade blocking that passageway right around the entrance to the primary Titan bay.
"Identify!" Someone called out.
"Turner!" He shouted out as he lowered his weapon. "Priority code Alpha-Tango-Two-One-Zero!"
He paused as the Grunts manning the barricade confirmed his identity before one waved him forward. "Welcome in, Sir! We are dropping out in two mikes!" David nodded as he handed that man a pair of drums for his own EVA-8.
"Thanks, sir." The Grunt nodded before retaking his spot on the barricade.
David passed through the door into the bay and spotted crews prepping ships and Titans for the evacuation and hopeful retrieval in vacuum. The Titans would be the most vulnerable in deep space, but another IMC ship should be along soon to recover them.
"Lieutenant!" David slowed down as he heard Captain Roe's voice over the shouts and moving of machinery. "Get to your Titan, the Capacity is en route and will be getting us the hell out of here."
"Aye aye." David responded just loud enough for her to know he had acknowledged her orders.
He could feel her frustration from her stare trying to burn holes into the back of his head. Did he understand her frustration with him?
Should he be feeling the slow burning resentment towards her?
Not at all. But he did though.
He would get over and through it though, one day, just like everything else.
"David…" He stopped as her voice was suddenly closer to him. He was honestly surprised he heard her as she whispered to him. "Do you think…?" The way she trailed off, it broke his heart a little.
"I don't doubt it, Jackie." The burning emotions receded slightly as he faced her. Reaching up he took off his helmet to look at her. "Pulled off flawlessly like this." He gestured, sounding proud in a way. "Has to be."
"That son of a bitch!" Jackie growled, fists tightening at her sides. "After it all, this was our home!" She looked up at David. Her eyes misted over slightly. With a deep inhale she refocused. "I'm gonna fucking strangle him."
David nodded at her and with a slight smirk he returned to the reality that was the hangar. They needed to leave.
He approached and quickly climbed into the waiting hands and command module of his Titan. Hannah didn't say a word to him as she lowered the hatch and grabbed the 40mm from the rack.
"Abschied Atmosphäre zu 3...2...1… Veröffentlicht." Hannah's voice soothed him as he felt his stomach shift with the drop and then nothing as they left the ship's gravity well.
Opening his eyes, David watched as several IMC IFF tags "fell" out of the Argonaut. Titans, dropships and lifeboats alike. It was all in one massive wave before both the Argonaut and another smaller ship took to FTL and left them all drifting in a loose pack.
None of that mattered. His eyes remained glued to where the ship had been moments before.
Twice the Militia have come into his home.
Twice he failed to stop them.
The Frontier Militia had taken his home from him.
"I'm lonely already" Someone's voice murmured over an open channel.
Alice had had enough of today. 'No more today for the rest of the year' she silently declared to herself as she sat on the Paen's spinal tram. She felt her head swinging down to her chest before she lurched up a little more alert than before.
"I'm so fucking tired…" She groaned as she rubbed at her tired, aching eyes. She was only heading to the nearest galley to get some coffee and maybe add some adrenaline to it. Maybe double the adrenaline.
Hospital ships like the Paen were working overtime to compensate for the overly active Militia activities in this sector as of late. She couldn't imagine how it felt to be a Pilot, or even in the infantry. Constantly pounding sand and moving to the next combat zone.
It made her worry for David even more.
Her thoughts were cut short as the tram shuddered and lights flickered for a brief moment.
"Odd..." Someone muttered off to the side. The hallway the tram was centered in was quiet as the personnel who were walking stopped to look around at the bulkheads. Expecting that the sterile white colors would tell them what all that was. There was a weird sound, almost a thumping, which was quickly followed by more shuddering and they escalated to violent rumblings. Startling her tired brain into complete awakeness.
"What's happening?!" Someone cried out, only to be followed by klaxons and a singular announcement.
"All hands! General quarters! We are being boarded! Man your stations!"
It was followed by immediate panic as the medical and maintenance crews scrambled up and ran into each other. Having been drilled several times but never in a rushed manner, they weren't ready for a live scenario. A real world event was just so foreign to her and the rest of the crew.
"Mein Gott." Alice shakily stood from her seat of the now stopped tram and weaved her way through scrambling crew members. "Mein Gott." She continued to mutter to herself as she hugged a bulkhead to allow a few of the security personnel to pass her. Not everyone cleared out of their way and were either thrown aside or knocked over in their hurry.
The overhead lights dimmed from their bright whites to cut down the visibility of the boarders. The crew of the Paen knew this ship well, and the security detachment had optics to help them. Another squad passed her by, their heavy gear rattling as they rushed towards their stations. She could see several of them clicking their optics into place, a building sense of dread forming in the pit of her stomach.
Not even they were ready.
"Mein Gott." This was happening. This was real. "Gott…"
"Alice!" A voice screamed out to her over the klaxons, Stephanie, her best friend on this boat. "Come on, Frauline! Use those tiny legs of yours!" She cried out from a hatch down the passageway.
She took that advice to heart as she nearly ran over a confused technician in her mad dash to cross fifty feet of hallway.
As she reached the hatch she nearly collapsed in surprise onto her friend as the shaking erupted again and the deafening roar of an explosion could be heard nearby. She knew her survival instincts turned off as she tried to peer towards the sound of the explosion. Which was now replaced by the staccato reports of gunfire.
Followed by screams and yelling. So many screams.
"Get in there!" The other officer who was working with her, Justin, shoved both her and Alice into the adjacent room and slammed his hand onto a nearby panel, closing the door behind him. With a few more taps, she heard the locks clicking into place.
Alice paused as she got a better look at the room they were now in. She felt her stomach drop quickly and ice fill her veins. They were in a small examination room. Two chairs for the medical officers, a trolly and the single patient bench. Cabinets lined the walls, probably filled with medical gear or cleaning reagents. But nothing that could help them against murderous assholes with guns.
She did another look around the room, pacing about with her fingers lacing through her hair. She stopped abruptly when she realized she was hurting herself and trying to pull out a fistfull on either side.
"Shit! Shit!" Justin whispered harshly as he leaned against the door. "What are we going to do?!" He looked about with frantic eyes. "We're trapped here! We're going to die!"
"Hals!" Alice nearly shouted at him. "We need to calm down. We need a plan!" She started muttering to herself as she rubbed her hands together. "Come on, Alice, what would David do if he were here?" She wished she was as strong as her younger brother, maybe as brave too. "Might as well ask to be Pilot trained, too." She grumbled.
"Shhh!" Stephanie hissed. "Do you hear that?"
Alice tilted her head as she tried to listen. Alarms were still blaring, she had just gotten used to them at this point. That wasn't it though, she now realised that the gunfire nearby had stopped .
The gunfire that had been steadily marching closer to them.
"Maybe that means that security has driven them out of this area?" Justin whispered, hope lacing his words. "We might be in the clear now!" His voice picked up in tone and volume as he went. "One of us should check. You know, take a peek?" His hand hovered near the door controls before it was slapped away.
"Knock that off!" Alice whispered. "Give me a moment." She reached for her earpiece and keyed the comm unit. "Central Hub, this is Medical Officer Turner. Do you copy?" She could hear a bit of side static as she had transmitted, which was odd. Other than that, no response. "Central Hub, this is-"
"Yeah! We copy!" A voice cut her off. "We're a bit overwhelmed with the situation." There was a small hesitation on the other woman's end. "But we are attempting to secure everyone, what is your location and we can dispatch a team to get you out of there."
"Yes!" Stephanie cheered. "We are in section-" She paused. "Hello? Hello? What happened?" She tapped at her earpiece a few times to figure out what had happened to the line.
"Are you an idiot?!" Both Justin and Alice shouted.
"They didn't ask for our identity codes like they're supposed to. That was clearly a trap! Bait to get to us!" Justin cried. He narrowed his eyes on the woman. "How could you have almost fallen for that?!"
"What do you mean? We called the Hub!" She defended herself weakly.
"Yeah, and they didn't even follow protocol with the radios." Alice pointed out as she unfolded her arms. "They cut me off, didn't identify themselves and I'm pretty sure Mark was on duty today for our frequency code." With each reason given a finger was raised, Stephanie wilted a little more in on herself and her face flushed crimson with shame.
"Look, I understand." Alice approached her. "We want to get rescued, but our best bet is to wait here until we are rescued by IMC personnel."
"And if we aren't?" Justin asked from his position from sitting on the floor.
"Pray to whatever god you hold dearest that the Militia have a code of conduct. Especially to medical teams." She offered a weak smile as she met his eyes.
"How much of the crew were recovered?" There was a moment of hesitation. "How many projected losses?" Captain Van Doorn swallowed hard as he asked the question to an intel officer on the bridge.
The other man silently plugged numbers into his console as the program ran predictions based off the muster reports and retrieved gear.
"Sir, only about thirty-seven percent of the IMS Argonaut's crew and attached ground assets have reported in." He turned to look his captain in the eye. "All others are considered lost to the enemy, KIA."
Van Doorn pinched the bridge of his nose to keep himself calm. He'd been fighting this damn war for long enough. Even if the Militia took prisoners, it usually wasn't for long. They were almost always executed in the end, be it that day or after you were deemed no longer useful. The Capacity wasn't large enough to house the refugees, despite how few were recovered. Existing crews and teams were going to get broken up and disassembled to be reassigned to other ships within the fleet.
He didn't look forward to writing those reports, but it had to be soon. Vice Admiral Graves had ordered a mass fleet regroup at Leviathan. Several, if not all, members of his bridge crew were confused by the new co-ordinates given to them.
Van Doorn knew the place. He'd served on a ship that maintained an orbital security presence for the planet, back when the IMC was starting its reclamation of planets years ago. It had been quickly abandoned again when they realised that the planet provided very little in the way of tactical value. They didn't need anything from that sandtrap of a planet anymore, after all.
Someone, somewhere was probably kicking themselves for that oversight. Someone high up in the ARES Division. Smart-asses that they were.
"Well," he cleared his throat, "Helmsman, get us underway. Prepare for a warp jump. We have places to be."
"An odd target, sir. You sure he's gonna drag 'em there?"
"Of course." Graves' response was low and even. "I served closely with MacAllen for years, I know how he thinks. We created scenarios of this very thing. Leviathan is the next logical step."
"But what's there?" Blisk's patience was starting to run thin. He didn't like these run around games that Graves would play with him. "What's so important about that god-forsaken planet?"
"With how much we're paying you, Sergeant, I would say it doesn't matter." Another voice cut in. The disdain in his tone was clear. "All that matters are the results of your new team and consultation. You are proving to be more of a liability than an asset these days, Mr. Blisk."
The mercenary scoffed. "I've been getting you your bloody results. Besides, you don't make my life any easier by not telling me what you want until five minutes before every mission." Kuben folded his arms across his chest as he watched the aged head of ARES approach. "A little heads-up would be nice."
"All you need to know at this time is that we have old research assets that need to be destroyed. No recovery will be necessary this time." General Marder held out a small datapad. "Now, consult."
"Fine. We have a bit of time before we reach this 'Leviathan' anyway." Blisk started reading. "I'll let you know when I have something." Marder and Graves nodded their approval before Blisk turned away from the pair and headed towards the door. He could already hear them bickering in hushed tones.
Not drawing attention to himself, he quietly slipped out and nearly bumped into one of his newest Predators.
"Ah! Kane, enjoying the new kit, eh?" Blisk smiled as he patted the man's shoulder. He started walking past the newest Predator until he felt something slap into his chest. Instinctively, he reached up with his free hand and grabbed what had been placed there.
"Names of Pilots whose contracts are coming up for renewal." The man turned his head slightly to look at Kuben. "Thought you would want to take a look at a few who might prove themselves worth a buy-out." He tapped the pad a couple of times before continuing down the hall.
"Joy; more reading." Blisk grumbled as he spared it a quick glance. Luckily for him, it was a short list. He could work with that. "Anyone I've already scouted?" He muttered before his eyes locked on a few names.
"Well, well, well..." A sly smirk graced his lips. "Mr. Turner, retirement from the IMC might come early for you."
David sat quietly on his new bunk aboard the Capacity with one of his new Sono-blades and a whetstone. The blade and stone grating against one another as he slowly slid them across each other was relaxing in its own way. It had already been six days since the loss of the Argonaut.
Six days of light drills and medical examinations.
Six days of bullshit.
David's eyes looked down at the bottle in front of him. Read and re-read his name and the dosages allowed per day. One when he woke up, one when he went to bed. He grimaced as he continued to sharpen the edge of his blade. Next to the bottle was a datapad containing a dossier.
The name was large and blocky, accompanied by his stock IMC enlistment photo that had been placed on the side. The man was listed as a former combat technician of Goblin Reconnaissance Unit, then as a former Titan Pilot of Hazard Quick Reaction and now MIA.
He wasn't MIA. David knew that.
He was glad that the Militia hadn't shot the bastard after the incident at the colony.
Now, he could kill him. Preferably with his knife, or with all of them.
David hissed as he felt a sharp twinge in his finger. He didn't need to look to tell that blood was oozing out of the tip. Good. This blade was sharp. Onto the next one. With barely any effort he swiped his arm to reach for the next knife, but knocked the orange pill bottle by accident instead. It clattered to the ground with enough force to pop its lid, spilling it's contents around his feet. No word of reprimand came from Hannah as he would've expected. His nose did twitch as he heard the door open. He glanced over.
Commander Roe had returned. She was drunk. Again.
News of Jake's survival had done something to the both of them. None of it good.
The alarms had finally gone silent.
"Thank fuckin' Christ." One man grumbled. "I was wondering when they would get those fuckers off." His rifle swung towards another door, the flashlight illuminated only a small portion. Enough to read the placard.
"Another examination suite?" He muttered and quietly reached for the door controls. Nothing. "Merc, open this one."
"We might as well just keep opening them in the hall." She grumbled. "Here. Open this one!" She raised her voice to a whiny and nasally sound. "Then let's think about it at the next one and open it up anyways!"
"Shut up and do it, Mercy." The man growled as he kept an eye on the hallway, ignoring her further attempts at bitching towards him.
She continued to have a conversation with herself. Thanking herself for all the hard work she was doing. The third member of the team found this all very odd as he quietly hoped for a reassignment after this mission was over.
With a low hiss, the door locks disengaged and allowed the door to slide into the bulkhead.
"Hey, asshole; you're welcome." Mercy stated as she slowly reached for her rifle.
That was when she saw movement.
"Oh, fuck!" She shouted and her rifle barked as she raised it.
"You shot me! Fuck!" Cried out a man clearly dressed as a med tech. "Why?! I'm not a threat!" The man started to wail at her and gripped his side. A woman was kneeling slightly behind him and peering over his shoulder while trying to help him stay alive.
"Uhhh, whoops?" She looked at Chine, her Sergeant, for clarification.
"Well, fuck. Put 'em down." He sighed as he heard the other member speak up.
"Fucking what?" Fen asked. "They are civilians! Non-combatants!"
"They're IMC" Mercy stated as she shouldered her rifle.
"They're fuckin' medics." Fen retorted. "Not soldiers." He looked over her shoulder. "Jesus Christ, look at them. They're not even fucking armed, you jumpy bitch!"
"Still..." Mercy shrugged. The panic on the two is clearly evident in their eyes. "Orders are orders."
Fen turned away with a frown and sharply turned back when he heard a startled yelp come from Mercy. The woman was falling into the room and Chine was rushing to follow with his rifle raised. He only made it to the door before a single shot rang out and he crumpled under his dead weight. Another shot followed and Mercy's struggles ceased.
A third person in IMC medical gear stepped out of the darkened room with a pilfered sidearm. The barrel pointed at Fen shook, either from nerves or adrenaline. Fen didn't know nor care, he just quickly raised his hands at chest level in surrender.
"Get us the fuck out of here!" Alice demanded.
Post A/N: I hope you all enjoyed that. I have bad bouts of either hitting a massive block or lacking motivation.. Or huge distractions. I did get a puppy... Anywho, keep on keepin' on Pilots!