Project Apex

This is the place to recount your superheroic deeds for all to gaze upon with astonishment and wonder.
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blaster219
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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Mon May 30, 2011 4:20 am

S02E01 - Medical Emergency (post credits scene)

(requested by Snake's player)

Salim lay on a bed in the Safehouse's medical bay, lit only by the soft glow of monitoring equipment. The virus was still raging through his system, destroying his nerve cells one by one. But now, the biosilica was rapidly bonding with the dead cells and regenerating them. His eyes flitted from side to side and despite all his efforts he remained stationary and immobile.

As he lay there trying to make sense of the new sensations darting through his body, the door hissed open and Snake entered the med bay; the lights softly coming on in response. Glancing at Salim, as he crossed the med bay Snake and paused to examine the monitoring equipment. A thoughtful expression crossed his face and he moved over to Salim's bed, bending down to Salims ear.

"Are you scared little one?" He whispered, his forked tongue almost making his voice hiss like his namesake. "Trapped and maimed by what they have done to you?" Snake turned away from the bed and walked across the room. "Do you feel the loss of all the things they have taken from you?" He reached the lab bench, keeping his back to the immobilised boy. "Ripped from your family, your childhood stolen. Experimented on, tortured!" There is a loud crack of breaking glass as a beaker shatters in Snake's hand. "Then they discarded you and left you to die."

Suddenly Snake turned and flung the the shards of glass at Salim's face. In an instant, the boy was on his feet and holding a single shard as the rest of the glass battered uselessly against the wall having changed its trajectory by 45 degrees. Salim was staring at the glass shard in amazement. Amazed, because from his point of view, he hadn't dodged the glass.

As the glass had flown towards him, shock, adrenaline and rage had surged through his system and he had launched himself from his bed. The glass seemed to slow down in mid air, like it was moving in slow motion and he easily swatted it aside. Then it stopped completely, hanging motionless, suspended in space. At the same time, the beeping from the monitoring machines ceased and the lights, which until now had been a steady glow, flickered softly. On the other side of the room, Snake stood frozen; his arm halted in mid throw. Salim had been able to reach out and pluck one of the shards hanging in the air. No sooner had he done so did time, seeming remember to continue flowing, resumed and the shards had shattered against the wall.

A grin spread across Snake's face. as Salim stood there dumbfounded. "And now you are reborn. More than human."
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Mon May 30, 2011 4:24 am

"Season 2 Web Exclusive Preview Clip"

Written by Terminal's player, set between Season 1 and 2

Terminal lay on the couch, eyes half-closed. Nearby, a computer screen flickered, going through screens faster than it could display them. An empty energy drink can lay discarded on the glass table alongside a handful of electronic components and a disassembled toaster. He stirred fitfully, and rolled onto his side. Without his eyes so much as twitching, he spoke. “Hey, Cham. Need something?”

An exasperated sigh came from empty air. “I hate you.” Chameleon, espionage specialist of Delta team, shimmered into visibility. “I made sure I didn’t have a single bit of tech on me. How did you notice me?”

“Girl, you’ve got more tech inside you than that toaster. Sorry, but you’re just not going to sneak up on me.” He still hadn’t turned to face her, and, apart from talking to her, seemed fast asleep.

Chameleon walked over to the couch and smacked his legs. He grumbled under his breath but swung his legs down and sat up, making room for her. She sat down next to him and pulled a pair of beer bottles out of her pockets. “The drink I owe you.”

Terminal smiled and took one of them from her, pulling a survival knife from his boot and prying the top off with it. Chameleon did the same, and they clinked bottles. “What happened to not being old enough to drink?”

Chameleon shrugged, and brushed her long blond hair out of her face. “I figure if we’re old enough to be kidnapped, brainwashed, experimented on and sent out to die, we’re old enough to drink.”

Terminal laughed; a short, bitter bark of a laugh. “Fair enough.” He took a swig from his beer.

“Not seeing off the rug rats?”

Chameleon was referring to ‘Charlie squad,’ a batch of vat-grown babies that Echo team had just rescued from Io. They had met up with a ship of rebels who agreed to take the children and have appropriate families adopt them, giving them their best chances at a normal life. They were currently docked with the rebel ship.

“Why? We rescued them. They’re going to be safe – or at, least, safe-ish – and taken care of, and we don’t have to worry about them anymore.”

Chameleon smiled slightly. “No desire to go with them? Hunt down your family? Maybe live a normal life? See what it means to be Ben?”

Terminal snorted. “Why would I want to do that? It sounds boring.” Chameleon laughed. “What about you, Alissa?”

“Me? I’ve got no family to find.” Her smile dropped, and for a moment her face was unreadable. “They died a long time ago, apparently. I was stolen from an orphanage, remember?” Her smile returned. “Besides, like you said: boring.”
Terminal smiled wryly and took another swig of his beer, but didn’t say anything. After a moment of silence, Chameleon spoke up. “So, what do you think will happen next?”
Terminal leaned forward and swung his now empty beer bottle in one hand. “No idea. I get the feeling we’re going to be pulled in a couple of different directions.” He shrugged. “I’ll go where the group goes.”

“Just like that? What if it’s somewhere boring?”

“We may try, but I doubt that. We’re genetically, psychically and cybernetically engineered super soldiers. And, like it or not, this attack on Io will not go unnoticed, by the government and by people at large. Add to that the Commonwealth would just love to run over here and smash us to pieces, if it didn’t mess up their more-civilised-than-thou persona, and you get a lot of trouble. I think this whole thing is about to go up like a lit firework, and knowing us, we’ll be stuck somewhere in the middle.” He put the beer bottle on the table, and leaned back, lacing his hands behind his head. “If everyone does try to give it up and go normal, I’ll have my work cut out keeping them alive. Most of them couldn’t pass for normal if they tried. Even if they succeed, I’ll just start hiring myself out as a mercenary. I’m guessing there’ll be a lot of work coming up.”

“Sounds like you’ve got it all worked out.”

Terminal shrugged. “What about you?”

“Me? I haven’t really thought about it. Probably about the same. I guess we’ll find enough trouble to keep us occupied.”

“If Mouse is going back to the Commonwealth, you’re going to have problems without a decent hacker.”

“Hey. I know my way around a computer.”

“Oh, yeah,” Terminal turned a cruel smile on her, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “You really proved that in the TerraPro gig we did.”

Chameleon scowled and backhanded him, which bounced harmlessly off his bio-electric field. “Not all of us have computers instead of brains.”

“That’s Mouse. I’ve got a brain – it just works better than a computer.”

“Whatever. Some of us have to hack the hard way. Cheater.”

Terminal clasped a hand to his heart. “You wound me.”

“Not yet, I haven’t.”

“Bring it, Invisible Girl.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

Terminal laughed. “All right, all right. You win.” He smiled. “Seriously, though. You ever need help with any hacking, give me a line.”

Chameleon finished off her beer, not looking at him. “Thanks.”

“Speaking of hacking...” Terminal dug into his pocket and pulled out a small portable hard drive. “I’ve copied over everything we got from the base on you, if you want a look.”

Chameleon took the hard drive from him and looked at it. She didn’t speak, just quietly pocketed it. “I heard that there was mysteriously nothing on you.”

Terminal grinned. “I like my privacy.”

“Don’t you trust anyone?”

“It’s not about trust. Though no, I don’t trust Snake. You ever heard the old saying ‘two people can keep a secret, if one of them is dead?’ If I’m the only one that knows, then it stays secret.”

“And if you die, all the information is lost. What if it’s relevant to something? Say, your brother?”

“The grab I did was crude. Took everything about me, period. Now I’ve had the chance to go over the files I got, I’ve separated out the stuff about me specifically, and the stuff about me and him. I’ve put the stuff about the both of us back in before sending the copy to Snake to have a look at.” Terminal turned to look at her. “Why do you care, anyway?”

Chameleon scowled at him. “You hide things. A lot. How can I... we trust you if you keep hiding everything? How can anyone get to know you?”

Terminal shrugged. “I do my job, and I’m not going to turn on the group. No one needs to know me more than that.”

Chameleon’s scowl deepened. “Right.” She stood up and dropped the empty beer bottle on the couch. “I’ll just give you some privacy, then.” Without another word, she left.

Terminal raised his eyebrow quizzically. “What the hell?” He took a swig at the empty beer bottle, then sighed. “See,” he said to the empty room. “This is why I don’t do wetware. No logic behind it.”
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby McGuffin » Mon May 30, 2011 9:12 am

I like this very much, the characters are interesting and varied and I look forward to finding out where the story goes next.
McGuffin's Workshop: Warp, Naga

Why crawl when you can walk? Why walk when you can run? Why run when you can fly?

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:52 pm

McGuffin wrote:I like this very much, the characters are interesting and varied and I look forward to finding out where the story goes next.


Thanks a lot.

(Terminal's player couldn't make it this week so his character was replaced by an NPC with a similar, but not duplicated power set. I don't like running PCs and NPCs so I made the decision to swap the character's out. I chose Mouse because in the off-chance that this became a two parter, which it did, than T's player would still be able to play a similar character next week)

S02E02 - Homecoming, Part 1

Tuesday, July 17, 2418
An Unknown Location

In a dark void, two people are watching the images being displayed on a video grid consisting of hundreds of news feeds being displayed holographically. The features of the two people are vague and indistinct, being nothing more than glowing anthropomorphic forms; the only clue to their appearance is that one of the figures has male body proportions whilst the other has female proportions.

The news feeds appear to be from across Union Space, from over a hundred worlds. Most of the news feeds are featuring one story; the continuing fallout from the Apex Dossier.

It has been a week since the Dossier hit the net and the reaction has been growing. USN Secretary General Alberto Sarran has made a statement vehemently denying the claims made in the Dossier, dismissing them as a desperate attempt by radical groups to sow anti-USN sentiment in the colonies and create conflict and divisions. Although he hasn’t explicitly stated it, or even implied to any actionable degree, the subtext of what he says strongly suggests that the Commonwealth are behind the Dossier in a malicious attempt to undermine Union stability.

Numerous experts have spoken in the media, denouncing the USN’s claim that their Io base was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Amongst the evidence being used to call the cover story into question is a report from a geological station on Io that detected no seismic or volcanic activity in the vicinity of the Io base until after the incident. There is also a statement by a traffic controller on Ganymede reporting that their systems had detected a SlipSpace Interface Point (also known as a “Slip”) very close to Io, possibly on the surface.

During all this, demonstrations and protests are growing ever more widespread as the true scale of Project Apex begins to become apparent.

First Landing, Epsilon Eridani 4, 10.5 light years from Earth

A large crowd has gathered at a park in the centre of the city, protesting against government policies. Thirty years earlier, in 2386, similar protests were met with violence at the hands of the since disbanded Colonial Security Agency. The protests escalated into riots and as the local Planetary Defence Garrison lost control, they evolved into a month long revolt during which the colony declared independence. The insurrection, now referred to as Black August, was ended when reinforcements retook the colony by force. There were significant civilian casualties and despite three decades of intensive investment by central government to rebuild and improve the colony’s infrastructure, anti-USN sentiment has remained. Consequently, even though the protests are peaceful, tensions are still high as many of the placards being waved read “Remember Black August.”

Tharsis Colony, Mars, 2.2 AU from Earth

Two years earlier, in a major scandal that caused the downfall of the Mars Colonial Administration in elections later that year, seven children disappeared from their orphanage when the minibus they were travelling vanished. No trace of them was ever found. No trace that is until the Apex Dossier hit the net a week ago. Among the kidnapped victims listed in the dossier were six of the missing children (Chameleon had been the seventh but Terminal had omitted any details pertaining to surviving Apex test subjects). Now, angry demonstrations have begun to take place. Many of the placards bearing pictures of the “Tharsis 7.” There have already been sporadic acts of violence and vandalism and the situation in Tharsis is extremely tense. Local police are being supported by a detachment of PDG troops, which, although needed, have only served to focus the anger of the crowds.

Unknown Location

The two figures watch the news feeds, calmly discussing “the plan” and how it is moving according to schedule. The male notes that they would soon be able to move to the next phase, that is, unless there is a sudden outbreak of reasonableness amongst the Union population. The women agrees, but states that already plans are in motion to provide two trigger events that will ensure that both sides on this growing dispute become further entrenched.

First Landing, Epsilon Eridani 4, 10.5 light years from Earth

At an airfield on the outskirts of the city, a man is busy performing the final preflight checks on an atmospheric craft. Satisfied that all is well, he takes off and heads towards the centre of the city; pointedly ignoring the query from traffic control as to why he is deviating from his flight plan. His course takes him towards the site of the protests. Lining up along the length of the park, he swoops down and accelerates, flipping up the cover over a button on the console. As he passes over the park, he presses the button. A hatch opens up beneath the craft and hundreds of leaflets flood out, drifting down onto the crowd below. Protestors and police alike pick up the leaflets, which claim to be from a dissident group advocating armed opposition to “Terran Oppressors,” as the craft swoops back up into the sky. Passing near a government building in site of the demonstration site, the pilot presses another button. The button sends a signal that hacks into the air defence battery on top of the building causing it to launch a surface-to-air missile. A shrill warning tone fills the cockpit as the pilot makes a half-hearted attempt to evade the missile. At the last second before impact, the pilot slumps over the console, dead. The missile hits the craft, vaporising it in a fireball witnessed by protestors and the media.

Tharsis Colony, Mars, 2.2 AU from Earth

10 light years away on Mars, the very same man is securing a metal canister to the wall of a ventilation duct. Satisfied that it is secure, he keys in a sequence on the keypad and retreats. Several minutes later, the canister begins to release a colourless and odourless gas that is carried up the vent to a grill directly beneath where the PDG troops are standing. The gas is inhaled and begins to work quickly, flooding their system with adrenaline and temporarily altering their thought processes to promote aggression and violent responses. Some distance away, the man is on a rooftop with a high-powered sniper rifle. One of the soldiers is in his sights. He pulls the trigger and the oversized round streaks across the plaza, hitting the soldier in the chest and killing him instantly. The effect is explosive, the crowd screams and begins to scatter, the troops drop into combat positions and the police try to maintain order. With their minds affected by the gas, the soldiers see threats where there are known. Backpacks and padded clothing are seen as bomb vests, placards as weapons. The soldiers open fire on the unarmed civilians, their assault weaponry killing people by the dozen. The protest quickly becomes a massacre. The police, initially stunned into confusion, begin to try to defend the civilians from the rampaging soldiers, triggering a two-way fire fight. All of which is broadcast live by news cameras.

Safehouse 98, Epsilon Indi, 11.8 light years from Earth

The Apex Renegades have been at the Safehouse for a week now. Since the problem with Salim, there have been no more unexpected medical problems with the rescued kids. The incident also worked to persuade the rescued kids to submit to a full medical exam by Snake. During the exams, which were assisted by Sawbones, they found no evidence that any of the rescued kids had been fitted with “control chips”.

With that issue out of the way, assisted by Ghost and occasionally by other members of Echo team, Snake turned to the research data stolen from NXG. He really wanted to find out what those creatures they had stumbled across in the biolab were. Unfortunately, the only mention that he could find was that they were part of something called the WARBEAST Programme. No further information was available except a note pointing all further inquiries to Professor Ibrahim Oaken. It seemed that the research files were stored on the Professor’s private system that Terminal theorised was most likely some form of portable computer.

The name Oaken was familiar and Apex renegades soon recognised it as the name of one of the scientists from Project Apex. None of them could remember much about the man, they had never interacted with him and as far as they know, he hadn’t worked directly on any enhancement techniques, so they asked Doctor Marshall. The politest way he could describe the Professor was that he was a “vicious, amoral, sadistic bastard.” He was an expert in genetics and xenobiology and as far as he knew, Oaken had been at Io Base during Echo’s rescue mission.

Digging deeper into the data, they recovered prototype schematics for the MX78 Phased-plasma Infantry Gun. The schematics, along with the electronic version of the weapon’s operation manual, were all branded with the Synergistics Interplanetary logo. Reading through the files, it appeared that NXG was involved in reverse engineering the weapon and Terminal discovered that according to the metadata, the files had been created on a computer registered to Synergistics. The implication being that either NXG or its parent company Magellan Arms, was involved in corporate espionage. Things got more serious when Rhino pointed out that NXG had made one complete batch of MX78s and their serial numbers matched the ones on the MX78s discovered in the hands of the “terrorists” during their first mission.

Frost and Barrett had returned to the Safehouse by this point with the Drake fully repaired and restocked. It was time to work out their next move.

As things had begun to escalate, Face had become concerned about the safety of his and Terminal’s parents. He was impatient to get on with the process of rescuing the various relatives and family members of the Apex Renegades. The only problem was that according to research, his parents lived in New Geneva on Earth. Earth being the capital of the USN and New Geneva being the home of the USN General Assembly, Mr & Mrs Cross lived less than 10 miles from the heart of the government that was trying to kill them. Getting to them undetected would be a difficult proposition. Agent Barrett confirmed that they would most likely be under surveillance by ONI. The standard setup would be two teams each consisting of 5 assault troops led by a demon-class ONI agent like himself. They would most likely have two more squads on rapid response standby in case reinforcements were needed. ONI by now would know their abilities and would probably be prepared to deal with them, as much as they could anyway.

Furthermore, just getting onto Earth’s surface would be extremely difficult. Unlike the colonies, they couldn’t just land at a nearby spaceport. Atmospheric and sub-orbital traffic was heavy, getting clearance to enter the atmosphere would be nearly impossible as they would be subject to a great deal of scrutiny. Most traffic heading to Earth in 2418 didn’t actually land on the planet itself. Over the last century, the USN had undertaken the construction of three orbital towers. One in Africa on the shores of Lake Victoria, one in the Amazon Basin and a third on an artificial island in the Pacific just north of the Solomon Islands. The towers were a major part of the proposed orbital ring system that had just begun construction. The ring was designed to provide the framework for an orbital solar power generation system as well as replace a large number of earth-orbiting geostationary satellites and stations. It would be decades before the ring was even close to being constructed but already the anchorpoint stations at the two operating towers (Africa and Amazon) had begun to handle the vast majority of space traffic. If Echo Team wanted to get to Earth’s surface then they would need to dock at one of the orbital towers and continue the journey from there.

The arguments raged back and forth with some feeling that Face and Terminals were in no imminent danger but they would be if they tried to contact them. Although Terminal wouldn’t commit to either side of the argument, seeming not to really care one way or the other, Face has insistent that they get them off Earth. Eventually Rhino stepped in and laid out the plan.

Thursday, July 19, 2418
Anchorpoint Africa, Earth Orbit, roughly 40’000km above the surface.

Posing as tourists, Echo Team (minus Terminal) arrived at Anchorpoint Africa following a day long flight from Tau Ceti. The bustling port filled with tens of thousands of people, arriving, departing, transferring, allowed them to slip through passport control with ease. Although he hadn’t joined them, Terminal had handled providing their false identities and booking travel arrangements. Realising that they may need an information warfare expert, they had brought along Mouse in his place.

Once they had passed through passport control, the team rode the scheduled elevator down the tower to the transit port at the tower’s base. Their equipment was waiting for them in a storage locker having been sent ahead of them in a diplomatic pouch. Rhino’s plan called for them to catch a maglev train Tunis before transferring to one taking them across the Mediterranean into Italy and up into Switzerland.

Friday, July 20, 2418
New Geneva, Earth

They arrived in New Geneva early on Friday morning and picked up a hired vehicle (still trying to maintain their cover as tourists, despite the current lack of a responsible adult). As they crossed the city, Face reviewed the information that Terminal had uncovered in regards to their parents. Patrick Cross worked at a systems analyst for a software company whilst Joanna Cross was a teacher they still lived in the family home in the suburbs of Old Geneva. Currently they were both still at work.

Because there was a good chance the family home was under surveillance by ONI, Rhino sent Face and Ghost on ahead to check out the house while the rest of the group stayed at a nearby park, blending in but waiting for a call for help. Because of their respective concealment abilities, it was hoped that they would be able to scout out any potential surveillance teams and as they approached, they did indeed spot signs of surveillance. Face’s observational skills were working overtime and he easily worked out that there was someone watching the Cross house from across the street.

Because he was better at moving stealthily, Ghost crept up to the house housing the suspected surveillance team. Using his “gecko gloves,” Ghost climbed up the outside of the house, peering in the windows. In would normally be an upstairs bedroom he saw the surveillance team geared up and loading weapons. They were getting ready to move out. Unknown to the Apex Renegades, ONI had secretly wired the entire street with high-tech surveillance devices. After the escape of Echo and Delta, the remains of the military section had transferred what data they had their abilities. Consequently, they had prepared accordingly, including using technology to combat the Renegade’s unique abilities. Face had tripped a sensor almost as soon as he had stepped onto the street. When the surveillance team realised that someone or something was tripping some of the sensors but remaining invisible, they correctly determined that it was an Apex Renegade and were getting ready to take him (or her) out.

Realising that he had precious few seconds to act, Ghost activated the radio jammer to block any calls for assistance and crashed through the window. He quickly threw a salvo of shurikens at the soldiers and flipped out of the window, using his gecko gloves to hold onto the wall. The ONI agent ran to the window, drawing a stunner, and attacked Ghost. Ghost dodged and scrambled up onto the roof, followed by the agent who quickly holstered his stunner and drew his SMG. One of the soldier’s ran to the window and Face sent a mental bolt at the soldier which erupted out and stunned the all of the soldiers.

The Agent and Ghost were evenly matched, Ghost able to evade the Agent’s gunshots using invisibility and agility, the Agent able to avoid Ghost’s sword strikes through superior training and skill. Face tried to snipe the Agent while the he fought Ghost on the roof but after the first shot misses, the Agent makes sure to keep out of the line of fire.

Meanwhile, alerted by a signal sent by the jammer, Rhino, Snake and Mouse had jumped into their car and were making their way towards the Cross home.

Mildly, frustrated by his inability to successfully land a blow, the Agent pulled out a satphone, pressed a single button and spoke a short phrase. “Fire the weapon.” Below them, the soldiers had recovered from their stunning and were turning their attention on Face; focusing the bursts from the SMG’s on the invisible boy (whose position had been given away by his sniper rifle shots).

Suddenly, Ghost felt like someone had zapped him with some form of stunner and all his active cyberware crashed, the only thing that was still function was his superconductive nervous system. At the same time, the car the rest of the team were travelling in stalled along with all their electronic items. Mouse opened his mouth to say something but what he said was unintelligible to Rhino and Snake, neither of whom could understand Russian.

“* Кто-нибудь еще раз почувствовать, что? Он чувствовал, что мой мозг только что получил измотанные ... Что ты говоришь? О дерьмо ... Мой переводчик модуля не отвечает. Это должно быть, были чертовски электромагнитного импульса. Разве они просто EMP гражданских кварталов просто захватить нас? Для меня большая честь. Поскольку никто из вас, ребята, можете понять, что я говорю ... Носорог вам нужно душ, как стат. И змея, а вы просто жутко.”

With their car out of action, they had to proceed on foot. Things began to swing against Face and Ghost as the soldiers had managed to disarm Face and where on the verge of capturing/killing him. The sound of an approaching helicopter could also be heard. Snake arrived just in time to launch a smoke grenade at the soldiers that had surrounded Face. This allowed Face to slip away undetected. Ghost was able to get away from the Agent despite his glitching cybernetics.

For the first time, the Apex Renegades had suffered defeat. All their plans were now useless and no backup plan had been formulated. Now, they were acting on the fly. Finding a place to stop for a breather, they decided to drop the subtle act and just grab Face’s parents. It was likely that given the events that had just transpired it was likely that ONI would make a move against Face’s parents and take them into custody. They would not be able to prevent this, not with the amount of time they had. Mouse suggested why don’t they wait for ONI to arrest both parents, bringing them both together in one place, and then ambush the ONI team as they transfer them to headquarters.

With this as good a plan of any, they study a map of the city and pick a point where they could set up a likely ambush. Terminal, 12 light years away on the Safehouse, tapped into the city’s traffic cameras via the QT link. He was able to monitor the Cross’s respective places of work and track the ONI team as they arrested Patrick and Joanna and began to move them to ONI’s field offices in the city.

Rhino and Mouse acquired transportation. Wanting something a little more meaty than a street car, Rhino choose a tough-looking SUV. Mouse used his SmartLink to disable the immobiliser and alarm, and reprogram the vehicle’s start code. Since almost every other mission Echo had executed had involved stealing a vehicle of some kind, one thing was becoming clear. If Apex had hoped to turn a bunch of kidnapped and brainwashed teenagers in supersoldiers, then they had failed spectacularly. If on the other hand their goal had been to create superpowered delinquents, then the project had been a stunning success.

Snake and Face put on their armour. No more playing civilians.

They still needed a way to stop the ONI convoy. They decided to use ONI’s own tactic against them; an electromagnetic pulse. Combining a nerf gun, a powerful battery, a coil of wire and downloaded plans for a portable EMP emitter, they constructed a makeshift EMP gun in the back of the stolen SUV while Rhino drove through the city, exceeding the speed limit by more than double but handling the vehicle as if she’d been driving all her life.

The ambush spot selected was an isolated road that ran through an underpass where the ONI team would be unable to radio for help. The convoy comprised of two armoured cars driving in front of and behind the armoured detention van carrying Face and Terminal’s parents. Two motorcycle outriders completed the convoy.

As the convoy entered the tunnel, Rhino drove the SUV alongside the van. Face, being the best shot, had the EMP gun and fired as soon as they were in range. He pulled the trigger and a burst of compressed air propelled the nerf round at the van. Fixed to the tip of the round was the EMP emitter which magnetically clamped onto the side of the van. A length of copper wire tailed from the emitter back to the gun where it was soldered onto the battery. Face pressed a second trigger and the power from the battery flooded into the emitter. With a burst of sparks and the smell of ozone, the EMP fired. Frying both the van’s electrical system and the makeshift gun.

The van stuttered to a halt, flanked by the rest of the convoy. Ghost, riding invisibly on top of the SUV using his gecko gloves, leapt at one of the outriders, taking him down (though leaving him alive) in one single strike. A furious fire fight erupted; 9mm SMG rounds, tazer bolts, 7.62mm assault rifle rounds, shurikens, 14.5mm sniper rounds and neurotoxin darts flew between the vehicles.

Ghost kept the Agents in the lead car busy while Face peppered the rear car with sniper rounds, snap shooting from the hip and pinning down the two soldiers inside. Rhino stayed at the wheel of the SUV, standing up out of the sunroof and pelting anyone she could see with rocks. Mouse jumped out and ran over to the back of the van, Snake covering him, so he could open the back doors.

Two guards went down, the Agents concentrating on Ghost. Mouse managed to open the doors to reveal the shell shocked parents of Face and Terminal. Face tried to communicate telepathically over the noise of the gunfire to tell them to get into the SUV but hearing the voice of their dead/missing son only confused them more. Rhino yelled out to everyone to get them into the SUV. Ghost disengaged, retreating back and resorting to shuriken attacks on the Agents to keep them at bay. Mouse turned to run back to the SUV as the remaining outrider rounded the van. The man flinched was one of Snake’s neurotoxin darts impacted on his armour but unluckily didn’t penetrate it and he turned his weapon on the younger boy, Mouse. The boy was struck in the side by a burst from the outrider’s SMG which penetrated his undercover vest, puncturing his side. Mouse managed to stay on his feet and stagger to the SUV. Face meanwhile had leapt into the back of the van and by virtue of being a heavily armed and armoured teenager who was apparently there to rescue them, managed to persuade Mr and Mrs Cross to get into the SUV. Due to the armour he was wearing though, they failed to recognise the armed boy yelling at them was their son who had been missing for two years.

Snake finished off the outrider with his assault rifle and helped Mouse into the SUV, closely followed by Face’s parents. Ghost had retreated back to the SUV and was repeating his gecko trick by climbing on to the side. This left Face standing in the back of the van, sweeping the area for targets. Mouse both screamed at him in Russian, the stress of the situation momentarily forcing him back to his native language. “**Получить в чертовски автомобиль!” Only Face could understand what he was saying thanks to his telepathic abilities. But whatever it was, he got the message and jumped into the front passenger seat.

Rhino pulled doughnut and raced the car out of the tunnel. As they left, Snake poked his head and rifle out the sunroof and fired a salvo of grenades at the convoy, consuming the ONI team in flechettes and fire.

Leaving the ONI team dead or dying behind, the hit the motorway. Now all they had to do was find a way out of the city and off the planet.

* “Did anyone else just feel that? It felt like my brain just got frazzled ... What did you just say? Oh crap ... my translator module's not responding. That must've been a ***deleted*** electromagnetic pulse. Did they just EMP a civilian neighbourhood just to capture us? I feel honoured. Since none of you guys can understand what I'm saying ... Rhino you need a shower, like stat. And Snake, well you're just plain creepy.”

** “Get in the ***deleted*** car!”
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby Thrincold » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:20 pm

I'm really enjoying your play log. The setting is interesting without being overdone. As for the latest street battle, reminds me a bit of the GI Joe remake, just without all the suck. Awesome job, looking forward to reading the further adventures of your group.

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:47 pm

S02E03 - Homecoming Part 2

Friday, July 20, 2418
New Geneva, Earth


Screaming out of the tunnel, the SUV hit the main elevated highway heading out of town towards the airport. Rhino driving, Mouse in shotgun, Snake in the back with the cowering Mr and Mrs Cross, and Ghost and Face crouched in the open bed of the pick-up style back. Breaking 100mph, Rhino weaved the SUV through the traffic as everyone tried to get their breath.

They had only been on the highway for a few minutes when their realised that their getaway hadn’t been as clean as they had thought it was. The overhead signs along the highway flickered and changed, all of them now displaying a single flashing message “HIGHWAY CLOSED – POLICE EMERGENCY.” Almost immediately, the vehicles around them began to move either to the hard shoulder or through opening gates in the central reservation into a quickly set up contraflow system. The traffic in the other direction had swiftly changed from a four-lane highway to a two-lane contraflow system, flashing barriers raising up out of the road surface to segregate the two streams of traffic. Within a few short seconds, the highway in their direction had been evacuated by all traffic leaving the SUV travelling alone and isolated on an empty stretch of road.

The SUV began to slow down as control of the vehicle’s system’s were co-opted by the police. At Ghost’s prompting, Mouse connected his smartlink cable to the SUV’s dashboard and overrode the override. It was clear that they should expect company, and soon.

Racing up behind them, Face and Ghost spotted four odd looking robots. As they approached, Ghost asked Mouse to hack into the database and find out what they were and if they had any weaknesses. Inwardly rolling his eyes, and thinking to himself if this is what Terminal had to put up with, he did as he asked and accessed a file about robots he had created during training before they had left Apex. He reported that they were New Geneva Police Department – Highway Patrol Drones. They were armed with twin-linked 9mm SMGs, were pretty fast and have tough armour. From what he could tell, they didn’t have any obvious weaknesses.

Sighing, Ghost threw a salvo of shurikens at one only to watch as his accurately thrown shurikens clattered uselessly off its side. Snake fired a frag grenade at the nearest one but the drone neatly span around the impact point, avoiding the blast and only taking cosmetic damage from the chips of flying concrete.

The two lead drones opened fire on the SUV, peppering its rear with bullets but failing to do any appreciable damage. The other two hung back, waiting.

Face tried to line up a shot with his sniper rifle but his aim was knocked off as Rhino jinked the SUV from side to side to avoid further gunfire.

As the gunfire continued, Ghost asked Mouse to see if he could try and take over one of the drones. The boy nodded and his eyes glazed over as he projected his digital consciousness into the nearest drone. After a brief battle with the drone’s security software he seized control of it, forcing it to come closer to the SUV and turn its guns on a fellow drone. The other wheeled legs of the other drone were shredded by gunfire and it tumbled to the floor. Ghost leaped onto the controlled drone and Mouse, realising what Ghost wanted him to do, piloted it over to another. Drawing his sword, Ghost sliced at the drone and the mono-molecular diamond blade sliced the drone in half.

The remaining drone turned around, speeding along in reverse, and aimed its guns directly at Ghost who by all rights should have been invisible. Mouse’s voice came through the drone’s speaker. “Oh yeah, I shoulda mentioned. They got thermographics.” The drone opened fire on Ghost but the teen nimbly dodged out of the way, slipping down the side of the drone and using its body as a shield.

Snake raked the drone with a burst from his assault rifle, shredding its camera turret. This left Ghost riding the remaining drone.

In the distance, two black shapes began to approach rapidly and the sound of helicopter rotor blades could be heard. The black shapes turned out to be a pair of Falcon gunships. They swooped in low, opening fire with machine guns. Rhino swerved the SUV to avoid most of the incoming fire but was unable to avoid all of it. The rear end of the SUV was starting to look like Swiss cheese.

Mouse piloted the drone back towards the SUV and Ghost leapt off it and back onto the SUV, slicing the drone in half as he did so.

Both Snake and Face attempted to blind the Falcon pilots; Snake with a flash bang grenade, Face with his psionic abilities. However, it didn’t seem to have any effect as both Falcons responded by launching rockets at the SUV. Thankfully, neither of them hit and only buffeted the SUV with the shockwaves of the blasts.

Ghost asked Mouse if he could somehow hack into one of the Falcon’s and cause it to crash. Mouse shook his head and explained that the maximum range of his internal transceiver was around 30 meters.

Face lined up a shot with his sniper rifle and tried to shoot the pilot of one of the Falcons. Although he the round penetrated the cockpit window, it lost too much kinetic energy in the process to do any appreciable damage. Meanwhile, Snake continued to spray one of the aircraft with assault rifle fire.

At this point, things went from bad to worse. In fact, at this point in the day, things had gone from frying pan into the fire, from the fire into the furnace and now into the reactor. With a roar of jets, a Pelican dropship arrived on station; dropping in from above and positioning itself in front of the SUV just a dozen or so feet above the road. The rear loading ramp opened and four USNDF Rangers (basically Marines) jumped out. They were wearing jump armour, which incorporated a microjet flight pack into the standard body armour, and armed with combat shotguns. Fully automatic shotguns firing 12 gauge HEAP slugs. They surrounded the SUV, two either side, and opened fire seriously damaging the SUV and shooting through the front windscreen at Rhino. The Falcons backed off, unable to fire whilst friendlies where in the vicinity.

Ghost sliced at one that got too near, Face used his dazzle attack to knock one out face plant him into the concrete, and Snake caught two of them in a arc of gunfire, slightly injuring both of them.

The three remaining Rangers continued to press their attack, one of them managing to blow out the front windscreen and another shooting through one of the rear passenger windows at Mouse who was clipped by the slug but was saved from a major injury by his undercover vest.

With none of the Rangers in range of his sword, and with their armour seemingly impervious to his shurikens, Ghost used his grapple gun to fire a magnetic clamp into the payload bay of the Pelican and which himself up, activating his stealth field once inside. Echo Team had realised by this point that the Pelican, which was an orbit-capable transatmospheric vehicle, might just be the answer to getting off the planet without having to use one of the regulated shuttles or a space elevator.

Rhino directed Mouse to attempt to seize control of the Pelican’s systems. He scanned the wavelengths, isolated a telemetry link between the dropship and ONI headquarters and used it to piggyback his digital consciousness into the Pelican’s avionics. While he did this, Rhino began swerving from side to side, trying to sideswipe the flying Rangers. The SUV was leaking oil a greasy residue was beginning to leak from the vehicle’s fuel cell. Its controls were becoming increasingly sluggish and erratic. All the damage was taking its toll on the vehicle and Rhino didn’t know how long she could keep driving at this speed.

One of the Rangers, spotting Ghost winch up to Pelican, changed position to hover behind the dropship, pointing his weapon into the payload bay. He couldn’t see the stealthed boy standing right in front of him, sword drawn, ready to strike. Snake uses the laser range finder to calculate the range to one of the Rangers, feeding the data to 40mm flash bang grenade and programming it to airburst between the two remaining Rangers. Both of the Rangers were caught in the flash although one managed to avoid the worst effects. With the Ranger’s occupied, Face again tried to snipe a Falcon pilot to little effect.

Up in the Pelican, Mouse had successfully seized control of the avionics system, locking out the pilot and co-pilot. Ghost lashed out with his sword, brutally slashing the Ranger across the chest and severely injuring him. Activating his stealth field again, he moved forward to the cockpit where he caught both pilots by surprise, dispatching them effortlessly.

Snake fired a concentrated burst from his assault rifle at the unstunned Ranger still shadowing the SUV. The burst missed the Ranger himself but struck his flight pack, disabling the microjets crashing him into the concrete.

The Falcons, realising that the “ground” assault was failing opened fire again. A pair of missiles streaked away from the gunships. One struck just to the side of the SUV, catching the vehicle in the blast but the second stuck square on the rear. The explosion crippled the rear axle; blowing both wheels off and causing the rear end to drag along the concrete where it dug a huge gouge in the surface and trailed sparks behind it. It took all of Rhino’s skill to keep the SUV upright and moving. Face wasn’t so lucky; he was thrown from the back of the SUV by the blasts. He managed to tuck into a ball and tumble along the road, his armour absorbing most of the impact and saving him from sustaining a serious injury.

Snake was still stood up through the SUV’s sunroof and saw Face fall from the vehicle. With a cry of “man overboard,” he fired a smoke grenade at Face’s position in the hopes that the smoke would conceal him from the Falcons. Rhino slammed on the brakes and span the SUV 180 degrees; heading back towards Face. Unfortunately, this quickly increased the distance between the SUV and the Pelican. As the gap passed 30 meters, Mouse lost his connection to the dropship’s avionics and the vehicle began to wobble and falter, threatening to drop out of the sky any second and smash into the highway. A vehicle this size, crashing at this speed would spread carnage across both sides of the highway causing significant civilian casualties.

Thinking quickly, and wishing he had paid more attention during training, Ghost worked out how to set the autopilot to stationary hover mode just before the dropship nose dived into the concrete. Still enveloped in the smoke, Face stood up and retrieved his sniper rifle. Before he moved out from the cover of the smoke, he manifested his psionic perception filter.

Rhino drove the nearly crippled SUV back towards the smoke, stopping when she felt the two thumps on the roof as the invisible Face leapt aboard and “decloaked.” She used a handbrake turn to spin the SUV and began driving back towards the Pelican, all the time under fire from the two Falcons. As soon as they got in range, Mouse reconnected with the Pelican’s avionics and brought it to ground level. The SUV bounced and scraped into the payload bay. Ghost slapped the door controls as Rhino and Snake slipped into the pilot seats. Rhino calculated a quick and dirty escape vector and fired the boosters. The Pelican began to rocket upwards, climbing rapidly. Behind, the two Falcons gave chase but would soon be out of range. Nonetheless, they fired their remaining complement of rockets, none of which impacted. Mouse was still connected to the Pelican’s avionics and took the opportunity to target the two gunships with the Pelican’s radar guided missiles, destroying them both.

With everyone strapped in, the Pelican broke atmosphere and headed into orbital space.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:52 pm

I both love and hate my players.

Getting off the planet was meant to be a major problem for them to overcome. But within seconds of the arrival of the dropship their eyes lit up.

Player: "Dropships can reach orbit right?"
GM: "Um yeah..." (cue sinking feeling)
Player: "So if we hijack it, we can get of the planet."
GM ...

It was a good plan, a workable plan. They had the resources and abilities to pull it off.

And I completely didn't see it when planning the encounter. Doh!

Cue crossing out the rest of the plot.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:17 pm

S02E04 - Homecoming, Part 3

Saturday, July 21, 2418
Safehouse 98, Epsilon Indi, 11.82 light years from Earth


Barrett and Frost stood at the observation window, looking out at the ship's docked with the station. The general turned to the ONI agent with a wry smile. "You realise what this is means if Echo Team keep this up?" Barrett returned the smile. "We're gonna need a bigger space station." They said together.

Friday, July 20, 2418
Low Orbit, Earth


24 hours earlier...

The dropship carrying the Apex Renegades, along with Mr and Mrs Cross, broke atmosphere and headed into orbit. They had managed to evade the forces chasing them by heading out into space but it was only a matter of time before orbital interceptors were dispatched. Snake used his abilities to “sedate” Mr and Mrs Cross. Despite the fact that his sleep gas is odourless and colourless, it was obvious that he had something to do with the panicking adults suddenly falling asleep, which prompted an irate Face to burst out with “Please don’t drug my parents.”

They were still operating on the fly without a solid plan so in order to buy some time they decided to try the "pick up truck manoeuvre.” Rhino would pilot the Pelican close enough to another ship for Mouse to wirelessly interface with its systems and swap their transponder codes in the hope that any pursuers would follow the wrong craft. They wouldn't be able to do this for long as the authorities would soon cotton on to this tactic and begin following both craft.

Without a SlipSpace drive of their own, they would be trapped in orbital space around Earth (since the dropship did not have the range for a long interplanetary flight). Their choices were:

  • Return to Earth and try and sneak aboard their original transport (suicidal)
  • Surreptitiously board another ship and either hijack it or stowaway (possible, but they would then be trapped aboard said ship until it docked or landed)
  • Piggyback aboard an outgoing ship and use its SlipSpace field to leave the system (difficult, but leaving them in control of their own escape route)

After much deliberation, they chose the third option. As plans go, it wasn't that bad but it had too major complications. Piloting the Pelican close enough to latch onto another ship just prior to jump would trigger proximity sensors and alert the crew of the other ship. To avoid this, they needed to find a way to mask the dropship's approach. Easier said than done. The other problem was that because the Pelican was a transatmospheric orbital spacecraft not designed to enter SlipSpace, it was incapable of generating the shielding necessary to protect passengers and crew from the exotic radiation generated by SlipSpace travel. Snake had a potential solution to this problem. Using his internal biofactory, he could create enough doses of an anti-rad serum to protect everyone on board from environmental radiation. He himself didn’t need a dose since his cellular structure was impervious to all but the most severe radiation exposure.

It took Snake about an hour and a half to come up with the correct chemical formulae and create the doses. By this time, the USNDF Homeworld Defence Force had been scrambled and were making quick work of tracking down the wayward dropship. After several close calls, they were rapidly running out of time.

While Snake was busy concocting the serum, Face had managed to come up with a way of stealthing the Pelican. With a bit of effort he could extend his telepathic concealment field (often reffered to as a “somebody else’s problem field”) to encompass the entire dropship, effectively rendering them invisible to most sensors. As long as he concentrated on maintaining the effect, they’d be virtually undetectable.

If they suddenly “dropped off the radar,” it might raise suspicion. To avoid this they decided to fake their deaths. Rhino piloted the dropship on a collision course with one of the many power sats in Earth orbit. At the least second, they fired a salvo of missiles at the satellite, ducking under the resultant explosion. Face invoked his concealment field and Mouse deactivated their transponder.

Undetectable, they approached one of the bulk freighters heading outwards. Rhino slotted the dropship between two of the many cargo containers connected to the freighters open spaceframe. Snake has already distributed the serum and all they had left now was to wait for the freighter to make its SlipSpace jump.

Friday, July 20, 2418
San Gabriel, Eta Cassiopeiae A, 19.37 light years from Earth


The freighter reverted to realspace in the vicinity of San Gabriel, the third planet orbiting Eta Cassiopeiae A, 12 light years from Earth, 19 light years from their rendezvous point on Tau Ceti 4 and 27 light years from the Safehouse in the Epsilon Indi star system. San Gabriel was the only terraformed and inhabited planet in the system and after completing its post-jump checklist, the freighter began moving towards the planet. No doubt heading for the orbital docking gantry to offload some of its cargo containers.

As the freighter approached the ringed world, they disconnected the Pelican and dropped into the San Gabriel’s atmosphere. They chose a landing site near one of the colony’s larger cities and one with a space port, landing a few hours walk outside the city limits. Face dropped his concealment field as soon as they had touched down in a secluded gulley; he was exhausted by the strain of keeping the dropship concealed for so long.

After powering down the Pelican, it was time for an awkward reunion. Snake gave Face’s parents the antidote to his sleeping gas and everyone else quickly vacated the dropship. Face’s parents awoke as the armed and armoured teenage boy in front of them removed his helmet. Without the helmet, they instantly recognised their eldest son; despite him being missing for two years and coming back “bulked up”, wearing combat armour and carrying a sniper rifle. There were only two questions on their lips once the shock had worn off. “What happened to you,” and “where’s your brother?”

Face did his best to answer the first one, explaining how he and Ter … er … Ben had been kidnapped men working for the Special Weapons Division and forcibly conscripted into Project Apex; the same scandal that had been dominating the news the past week. After demonstrating his abilities in order to convince them of what he was saying in regards to the “enhancements” that had been given to the conscripts, he went to explain that all of the Apex test subjects were mind wiped and programmed with false memories. Most of the surviving test subjects had broken their behavioural conditioning to some degree but as for Ben, it seemed that the brainwashing still held strong. That’s why, Face thought, that he hadn’t come on the rescue mission.

The only thing they had left to do was get to the safety of the Safehouse. They were expected to rendezvous with the Drake in the Tau Ceti system in three days time. After a brief discussion, two possible courses of action were identified. They could either somehow secure passage to Tau Ceti 4 and meet up with the Drake or they could just simply steal/hijack yet another vehicle and proceed directly to the Safehouse.

Obviously, they chose the latter.

It took of a couple of hours to walk into town and get to the spaceport. With their armour off and their weapons hidden, anyone who paid any attention to the group would just assume that they were a couple taking their son and his friends on an outing. They approached the perimeter fence nearest the landing pads for privately owned spacecraft. A few dozen meters on the other side of the chain link fence was a small tramp freighter (in reality a refitted decommissioned gunboat). At only 40 meters long, it was just the right size and type that they were looking for.

Under cover of darkness, Mouse disabled the two security cameras that covered their approach to the ship. One by the landing pad pointed at the freighter, the other covering the fence nearby. Using the tool kit looted from the dropship, Rhino cut a hole in the side of the fence and the group crept up to the ship. Mouse was called upon once again to do his thing and he quickly cracked the entry code on the airlock. As soon as the airlocks opened, the sound late 20th century rock music flooded out. Ghost activated his stealth field and followed the sound back to the engine room. He found two men with their backs to him working on one of the systems. He quickly knocked both of them out as the rest of the group swept the ship for anyone else. The unconscious bodies were dumped on to the concrete and Rhino quickly ran through the pre-flight checklist before making an unscheduled lift off. Using the stolen ship they quickly left orbit and activated their SlipSpace engine.

Saturday, July 21, 2418
Safehouse 98, Epsilon Indi, 11.82 light years from Earth


Glock and Psipher were waiting for them when they docked at the Safehouse. The two boys looked at the group as they disembarked for a few seconds, then Psipher turned to the Delta Team leader and said “pay up.”

Mouse explained sheepishly that they hadn’t been betting on whether they would come back alive or successfully complete the mission, but whether they’d come back with another stolen vehicle. It seemed that Echo Team was gaining a reputation for committing “Grand Theft Spaceship.”

While Mr & Mrs Cross were shown around the Safehouse, Face went to the station’s command centre to confront his brother. It turned out that Terminal hadn’t stayed behind due to indifference towards his parents (although there was a sense of that), the reason was that somebody had infiltrated into the station’s systems with a computer virus and Frost had asked Terminal to take care of it. The fact that a virus had got into the station was a major breach of security on its own but when Terminal had isolated an analysed it he had been shocked by what he found. The virus had spread throughout ONI’s network of Safehouses and had seeming been programmed to search out and identify anyone and anything it found at the Safehouse’s. He had managed to isolate the virus before it could report, decompiling its code and sending an all clear signal. It hadn’t been easy; the virus was extremely advanced in nature. Polymorphic with an adaptive neural net, it was capable of adapting to any and every type of system it encountered, evolving ways to circumvent security software faster than the security software could adapt back. It had also come from outside normal ONI communication channels, penetrating the agencies data security like it wasn’t even there. Purging it from the station’s mainframe had taken him nearly 24 hours of solid programming and he wasn’t in the mood for a family reunion.

Meanwhile, the Apex Renegades (all of them) were setting out to celebrate the successful return of Echo from “heart of evil itself” (meaning Earth). Snake had found a crate of moonshine hidden onboard the stolen freighter and had begun to distribute it around the kids packed into the lounge. One of the Foxtrot kids had managed to pull up footage of the highway chase that an eagle-eyed civilian had posted onto YouTube. Everyone cheered when one of the USNDF Rangers was face planted into the tarmac.

Regardless of Terminal’s wishes to be left alone, his parents eventually “cornered” him in the Command Centre, Face left playing referee. Prepared earlier by Face, Mr and Mrs Cross refused to just accept that Ben was “gone”, determined to “make things work” and “help him through it.”

After the awkward reunion, Face managed to convince Terminal to help him master his mind reading. A skill that was currently unreliable but he needed a willing partner to practice on; after all, what are brothers for. Face was able to project himself into Terminal’s mindscape in a similar way to how he and Terminal had worked together to project themselves into Mouse’s. He remembered that the last time he had done this (see here on Page 11 of the PDF), just before he “disconnected” he had witnessed an altercation between two very different personality fragments which appeared to have belonged to Terminal. One had appeared to be the Terminal he knew, the other appeared to have been the person that Terminal had used to be before the Apex scientists had begun hacking at their personalities and memories. Face hoped to try and get in touch with Ben and miraculously, he succeeded.

Face managed to meet and talk to Ben, getting the impression that this fragment was much closer to Ben’s original personality and that the “Terminal fragment” was repressing him for some reason. Face also got the impression that Terminal was keeping things from Ben, perhaps in an attempt to shield this more naive and innocent personality from some of the things that Terminal was forced to do. At this point, it all got very psychobabbly. Face withdrew from his brother’s mind.

Saturday, July 21, 2418
ONI HQ, New Geneva, Earth


Meanwhile, 12 light years away...

Agent Danvers sat at her desk in the headquarters of the Office of National Intelligence, studying the many holographic images projected into the air in front of her. The biographical data of a dozen of teenagers are displayed in one area complete with medical history. Another window shows a scrolling list of names, each one a soldier or scientist that served at the Project Apex facility. All of the names are in red with label deceased except one, Ibrahim Oaken, who is merely listed as missing. The most prominent window is showing footage of a high-speed gun battle along an elevated highway. All of the images and footage being displayed in some way relate to the Apex Renegades or the Project itself.

As she taped a note onto a tablet, a younger man entered her office. “The information from Serpan’s has just been transmitted,” he said, bringing another window up in the holographic display. “It’s been confirmed. The intruders at NXG Systems were the renegade Apex test subjects. Echo Team to be exact. Is that the footage from the incident on Highway 1?” The man asked to which Danvers nodded. “Coming to Earth, right to the Capital in order to retrieve their parents, I’m not sure if that shows guts or stupidity.”

Danvers snorted. “This was a message, nothing more.” When she saw that the man looked confused she elaborated. “They’re telling us that they can strike anywhere at any time. They got to within 15 minutes of the General Assembly building before they allowed themselves to be detected. Here, in the heart of the USN, we are not safe from their revenge. That is what they are telling us. Retrieving Echo 3 and 6’s parents was a side benefit. Do we know yet what they stole from the NXG facility on Serpens?”

“Yes, 300 millilitres of processed biosilicates.”

Danvers looked pensive for a moment and turned back towards data. “Prepare the Nodachi for departure; I want to be underway by the end of the day with a full compliment.”

“You think they survived the crash with the power sat?" There was no answer to his question. "I’ll get right on it.” He said as he left, the door closing behind him.

“What’s your next move,” she said quietly to herself, “how far will you go to get your revenge.” As she sat back in quiet contemplation, door lock clunked as it engaged and she reached out towards a set of shelving across the office. A minifridge opened and a cold bottle of water floated across the intervening space into her out stretched hands; the bottle cap popping off by itself and landing softly on the desk beside her.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:21 am

S02E05 - A Slow Day

Monday, July 30, 2418
Safehouse 98, Epsilon Indi, 11.82 light years from Earth


It has been just over a week since Echo Team returned from Earth after successfully completing their rescue mission. As it has become clear that soon the Safehouse will not be large enough to house everyone and their families (as well as the growing fleet of stolen ships) something must be done.

After looking at all the alternatives, Barrett and Frost have decided that they need to acquire a ship large enough to house everyone and form a mobile base of operations. Their best option was to acquire a decommissioned Antares class Planetary Assault Transport. Nearly 200 meters in length, its six three-tired cargo bays could carry a 40 ground vehicles, 20 atmospheric aircraft and up to 800 ground troops. It would be more than large enough to cope with their needs. Frost mentions that he knows of at least one religious order that use one to house a travelling monastery and that the Red Cross have converted a few to function as mobile hospitals and disaster relief ships.

Frost and Barrett had identified a likely target in The Boneyard, a storage area located near Pluto where the USNDF stores decommissioned ships prior to dismantling or sale. Getting to The Boneyard could prove to be tricky as it was located on the outer edge of the Sol system. A ship approaching it would be spotted quite quickly. What they needed was a small team to go in and steal the ship quickly before the soldiers guarding The Boneyard realised they were there. As they had quickly become experts at "acquiring" vessels and vehicles, Echo Team were the logical choice.

This left the matter of transportation to the ship. Frost and Barrett had come up with a novel idea. Using Face's concealment abilities, it was believed that Echo Team would be able to sneak a small ship into The Boneyard and dock with the PAT. All they needed was a small enough ship. Echo Team had abandoned the stolen Pelican back on San Gabriel but a quick check had shown that it was still where they had left it. The Renegade's resident techies put their heads together to figure out a way to install a Slipspace drive and extra power generators to the dropship, turning it into the only jump-capable dropship in existence.

After a day or two of brainstorming they got a plan worked. All they needed to do know was get their hands on a SlipSpace drive, a cargo pod, some power capacitors and recover the dropship. Frost sent Echo Team along with Barrett Aboard the Drake to acquire the supplies.

Wednesday, August 1, 2418
Tradestation Beta-4, Vega, 25.3 light years from Earth


They arrived in the Vega system at around midday (local time) and immediately headed for large space station the functioned has a hub and way point for a number of trading routes. It was the second time the Renegades had been to Tradestation Beta-4, the first time had shortly after they had fled from Apex. Back then, they had come across the group of separatists and the Commonwealth had made a grab for Mouse. Hopefully this visit would be less eventful. Terminal had managed to marshal enough credits from fake bank accounts that he created to be able to outright buy the parts they needed instead of simply stealing them.

Since they weren't needed to steal anything, just "stay out of trouble", Barrett let everyone off the ship to enjoy themselves for once. Rhino declined and chose to accompany Barrett to the shipyard to purchase the needed parts. Perhaps she didn't feel like socialising with the others, perhaps she felt that even the ONI agent needed protection.

Ghost and Face independently found their respective ways to the same bar. Face used his diplomatic and social skills to prop himself up at the bar and do a little bit of rumour gathering. That this was the sort of the bar that rarely bothered to check the ID of anyone who had the money and didn't need to stand on tip toes to reach the bar definitely didn't have anything to do with his decision to come to this particular bar. Ghost on the other hand was more interested in the gaming opportunities offered by the establishment.

Snake initially tried to get into contact with the boy they had met last time they had come to the station but was thwarted in his attempt by that most dastardly of foes, school. Eventually he wound up in the market area stuffing himself with the most vilest examples of fast "food" he could find.

Meanwhile, Terminal had made his way to the most expensive restaurant that he could find and was treating himself to the most expensive things on the menu.

Eventually, it was time to leave and as they boarded the Drake, Face related to the rest of the team one of the more lurid rumours that he had come across. It seems that over the last couple of weeks, a number of Deep Range outposts and colonies had gone silent. Rumour had it that everyone had been killed by some unknown force. The most recent incident had been a couple of days ago. One of the spacers at the bar had told him that their ship had visited the colony to drop off supplies and had found that although there was no sign of fighting, everyone was dead. When they got back to the Safehouse, Frost suggested they take the Remora out to the colony and check it out.

Thursday, August 2, 2418
HD 16760b, HD 16760 system, 148.26 light years from Earth

The Remora arrived in the distant system early the next day and immediately headed for the Deep Range Colony which was situated on a small satellite orbiting the brown dwarf companion of the system's star. The moon was an inhospitable frozen rock that had only recently been settled. The small outpost was populated mainly by workers and their families who were there constructing the terraforming infrastructure needed to make the moon habitable. There was no reply from the colony as they came into land on one of the external landing pads, although a visual inspection showed that there was no damage to the colony structure and that it seemed to be fully operational.

Due to the hazardous natural environment, and not knowing precisely what had allegedly killed all the colonists, Echo Team exited the ship wearing the X7 Tactical Combat Suits that they hadn't worn since their first mission. Breeching the colony was a simple matter, the airlock had no security lock, and it didn't take long to find their first body. What they believed to be a man (it was hard to tell) was found lying a few meters away from the airlock. His flesh was horribly burned and most of his hair was gone. Strangely, despite the damage to his tissue, his clothing was only singed and lightly burned and there was no pattern of burning away from the body. A quick examination of the body by Snake revealed that the burns were uniform across his entire body and right down to the bone which itself showed signs of being exposed to extreme heat.

The team continued their exploration of the colony and found more bodies in a similar condition. Even though a the readings on their suits said that the air was safe to breath and that radiation levels were normal no one was taking any chances. Terminal managed to access their servers and pull up the CCTV footage. It showed everyone suddenly dropping to to floor dead at the same time, their flesh smoking and sizzling. Sensors on the colony did not pick up anything other than a burst of harmless radiation occurring at the moment of death. Although in massive quantities, the type of radiation detected could cause complications, the dosage detected was too small and it hadn't penetrated the colony's shielding.

After accounting for almost everyone, they determined that a small work detail had been at the construction site two miles north at the time of the incident five days ago. Echo team located a small garage to the rear of the colony bunker containing several snow mobiles. They used these to journey to the site where they found the bodies of the construction team.

During their search of the construction site, Ghost was able to locate fragments of what appeared to be the casing of a missile warhead scattered around the site. Since there was no obvious blast crater, it could have come from an airbust weapon.

Journeying back to the colony, they consulted the sensor logs again. This time concentrating on the those that could detect an incoming ship. They discovered a ship had arrived in system prior to the incident and from the readings, had made a nearby pass of the moon, sling shotting around its gravity well. Terminal called up the footage from one of the colony's small number of orbiting satellites. It was the only one that had been over the colony at the time but since its orbit was below that of the incoming ship, its down-facing cameras did not pick up the ship. It did however pick up two small objects entering the atmosphere. Two small to be shuttles, but large enough to be missiles. One detonated a few hundred meters above the colony, the other above the construction site. Detonation times coincided precisely with the death's of the colonists.

After bagging one of the bodies in a biohazard stretcher and taking samples from the colony's air supply and surrounding snow and soil, they headed home.

Thursday, August 2, 2418
Safehouse 98, Epsilon Indi, 11.82 light years from Earth


Upon their return, Snake and Sawbones assisted Doctor Marshall with performing a full autopsy on the recovered body. After collating the results and the data recovered from the colony Doctor Marshall was able to determine that they colonists had been killed by a radiothermic weapon. A supposedly theoretical weapon system that emitted an exotic form of radiation (the detected radiation was merely a by product of the detonation sequence) that passed through most forms of matter without interacting with it, "kind of like neutrinos." The only form of matter that it did interact with was living organic cells. When the radiation encounter organic cells, it induced a rapid build up of thermal energy in the cell's nucleus to effect of raising its temperature by as much as a thousand degrees for a brief fraction of a second. This is what killed the colonists, a weapon system whose only function was to completely eliminate all organic life whilst leaving infrastructure and computer data intact and undamaged. Radiothermic weapons had been on the drawing board for nearly fifty years, and although theoretically possible, no proposal to continue the research had ever received funding. Despite what some people might want to believe, no one in the Union wanted to fund a weapon whose sole purpose was indiscriminate genocide.

Until now.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:38 am

S02E06 - Murphy's Eighth Law

Saturday, August 4, 2418
San Gabriel, Eta Cassiopeiae A, 19.37 light years from Earth


Between the Drake's crewmen and the Apex techies, it took two days of work to construct the "SlipPod." After much calibration on simulation, all that was left was to attach the pod to the dropship they had left behind on San Gabriel. The pod had been loaded onto the Drake for delivery to San Gabriel where it would be accompanied by Echo Team. Once they had arrived at the colony they would attach it to the dropship and then use it to complete the mission to steal the Antares class Planetary Assault Transport from the boneyard near Pluto. At the last minute, Terminal had been dropped from the mission having fallen ill just prior to departure. With no time left to bring anyone else up to speed, Echo Team would need to perform this mission without a techie.

The Drake arrived in the Eta Cassiopeiae system and landed at San Gabriel’s only spaceport sometime in the late afternoon. Shortly after landing, Ghost made his excuses and slipped away from the ship. On a (perhaps childish) whim, he headed into the city looking for a store that sold musical instruments. While he was on walkabout, Rhino and Face went into the spaceport to hire a truck from the vehicle hire firm attached to the spaceport. Although at 16, Face was old enough to look like he was of legal age to hire a vehicle, knowing how to drive it was a different matter. As Rhino drove the truck across the landing pads back towards the Drake, Face noticed that there was something odd about the behaviour of some of the dockworkers. He couldn’t quite work out what was wrong, except that they were paying more attention than usual to the ships on the landing pads.

Backing the truck into the Drake’s cargo bay, Rhino loaded the SlipPod onto the back of the truck, eschewing any form of mechanical aid simply using her prodigious strength to lift the 2 ton pod by herself.

An hour later, Ghost returned to the Drake carrying a drum synth kit. Although he was eager to get back and tell everyone how it combined memory materials and holographics to create a full size electronic drum kit whilst still being small enough to fit into a backpack, he was observant enough to notice the suspicious nature of the dockworkers. After stowing the drum kit away, he decided to investigate the dockworkers using his stealth skills. Rhino collared him as he left, arranging for the truck and rest of the team to go on ahead and for Ghost to meet up with them at a diner outside of the city. This was after she pointed out that if she was going to be the team leader, then it would be nice if people would at least let them know what they were up to while on mission, if they weren’t going to follow orders or operational procedures.

Sorry in the way only a superpowered 14-year-old can be (IE, what ya gonna do? Ground Me? Gotta find me first), Ghost activated his stealth and slipped out of the cargo bay whilst the rest of the team headed for the rendezvous outside of the city. He followed one of the suspicious dockworkers around, watching them at work. In between their usual duties, they seemed to be making notes on the ships landing and departing from the spaceport on a handheld data pad. Waiting for one of them to take a break, he quietly crept up behind him and stole the pad from the dockworkers pocket.

The pad indeed contained a record of ships; detailing class, registry, cargo manifest, passengers and crew and other details. There were checkmarks against ships registered to government agencies and organisations (be they Colonial or Federal government). Ghost checked on the off-chance; the Drake was not checked instead it was listed as a privately owned, civilian transport ship. He copied the data and returned the pad to the unsuspecting dockworkers pocket.

After meeting up with the rest of the team at the diner, they hit the road, heading for the gulley where they had hidden the dropship. The gulley was a few miles outside of the city at the end of dirt track leading off from the main road. As they approached however, they saw the glare of blue and red flashing lights illuminating the trees from near the dirt track. Rhino parked the truck around the corner and sent Ghost ahead on foot to check it out. He returned to report that a police car was parked across the entrance to the dirt track, a single officer inside.

In order to get to the dropship, they needed to pass the roadblock and in order to do so, they needed to neutralise the officer. It was very strongly felt by everyone that the officer was not their enemy and shouldn’t be harmed. Snake used his internal biofactory to create a sleeping drug. Ghost crept back to the officer and, using his stealth field, attempted to drop the small pill into the man’s coffee. Unluckily, something tipped the officer off to his presence. A brief struggle ensued and Ghost was forced to resort to more physical means.

After rendering Ghost rendered him unconscious, Face checked the computer terminal inside the car to see what he was doing parked out here. It turned out that a couple of days ago, a couple of children from a nearby settlement had discovered the concealed dropship in the gulley. The officer had been sent out here to secure the entrance to the gulley and await an ONI investigation team. According to the information on the terminal, the team was already on site.

Things were now getting ... interesting ... in the Chinese sense of the word. The dropship was their only way off the planet (and out of the system); the Drake had taken off soon after Echo Team had disembarked and was already heading to the rendezvous point. Now they had an ONI team between them and their goal.

They drove part up the dirt track before proceeding the rest of the way on foot. Whilst Face headed up the side of the gulley looking for a decent position from which to snipe, Ghost headed on to the dropship under stealth. He discovered 5 heavily armed soldiers guarding the site, surrounding the dropship. From his concealed position he could see two agents inspecting the inside of the craft. One of them, bald and with a slighter build than the other, was running his hand along the floor of the dropship. He turned to his armoured partner with a frustrated expression. “It was definitely them, but I’ve scanned the timeline from the moment they hijacked the Pelican to the moment they disembarked. Not once did they mention the hiding place of the other fugitives. They mentioned a Safehouse but not a location.”

Ghost retreated back a little and spoke softly into his radio, informing them that, believe it or not, it appeared that one of the agents had psychometric abilities. It was decided that he was the most potentially the biggest threat and needed to the eliminated as soon as possible. While Rhino and Snake crept up to the treeline, Ghost would sneak into the gulley and attack one of the soldiers, drawing out the two agents. Face would then attack the telepath with his sniper rifle.

However, while everyone was still getting into position, the two agents left the dropship, casually chatting. “So, sector 7?” The telepath said to his partner. “Sector 7,” the other confirmed. As one, all the soldier’s turned their weapons and pointed at Ghost (who was supposed to be invisible). Unknown to Ghost, his stealth field was useless against telepathic senses. And knowing their enemy, the ONI team had equipped their soldier’s with HUD contact lenses that had been programmed to divide the area around the dropship into a circular grid. The HUD was voice activated and upon the agent’s command, it had highlighted sector 7 on the grid. Although the soldier’s couldn’t see Ghost, they knew his vicinity thanks to the agents senses.

Despite the surprise, Ghost immediately attacked the soldiers whilst Face fired on the telepath. Although he hit, his round didn’t appear to do much damage. Both Rhino and Snake attacked the telepath too; Rhino with a throwing knife, Snake with bullets. Neither projectile managed to score a hit, deflected in mid air by a wave of the other agent’s hands. He appeared to possess telekinesis.

As Snake and Ghost eliminated the soldiers one by one, the telepath began to send blasts of raw telepathic energy at Face, attacking him despite the distance between the two. The telekinetic used his telekinesis to lift himself into the air and out of Ghost’s and Rhino’s range. He then lifted Snake into the air.

Ghost and Rhino finished off the soldiers as the telepath yelled at the telekinetic to put him next to the sniper. The telekinetic released Snake, dropping him to floor with minor injuries, picked up the telepath and virtually threw him at Face who had been attempting to snipe him with some degree of success. Landing next to Face, the Telepath locked eyes with the boy and exerted his prodigious mental will, overwhelming Face’s defences. Face was taken by surprise and found himself attempting to shoot himself with his own weapon; not easy with a sniper rifle. At the last second he managed to break the mind control but the telepath had another trick up his sleeve. Perhaps realising what he was supposed to be doing, instead of trying to control Face, he tried to read his mind and determine the location of the Safehouse. Although he only managed to gain access to Face’s surface thoughts it was enough. “The Safehouse, where is it?” He barked at Face. Before he could bury the thought, the star system the safehouse was located in popped to the front of his mind.

Smirking, the telepath thanked him for the information and fired of a telepathic message to the telekinetic. Understanding what he had to do, the telekinetic focused his power and vanished, his disappearance accompanied by a sonic book as his telekinesis propelled him through the air at several times the speed of sound.

Face finally managed to get a good shot on the telepath, incapacitating him before he finished him off.

But it was too late.

The damage had been done.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:33 am

S02E07 - Escalation

Saturday, August 4, 2418
San Gabriel, Eta Cassiopeiae A, 19.37 light years from Earth


Things were not looking good; there was a serious risk that the security of Safehouse 98 had been compromised. Echo Team had no idea how long it would take for ONI to capitalise on the information. There was discussion whether their mission was even viable now. In the end, Rhino realised that they needed the Antares now more than ever. She decided that a change of plan was warranted though. Instead of heading from San Gabriel to the Boneyard to steal the Antares and then onto the rendezvous point to meet up with the Drake, they would instead head to the rendezvous point first. There they would recharge the power cells in the Slip Pod and inform the Drake of the situation. Echo Team would then head on to the Boneyard while the Drake headed back to the Safehouse to begin an evacuation.

Echo Team set about attaching the Slip Pod to the Pelican. Rhino and Snake worked together, following the instructions whilst Ghost kept an eye out for trouble. Face went back to his sniper position where he would be able to spot anyone attempting to approach the site, be it from air or by road. Although the instructions were relatively simple to follow, there were a lot of cables and conduits to connect and check; the work was time consuming. About twenty minutes into the job, something odd attracted Face’s attention. From his vantage point, he could easily make out the twinkling lights of San Gabriel’s colonial capital. That is, he would have if they didn’t suddenly cut out leaving just a few isolated buildings lit up. It looked like the city had suddenly suffered a blackout. As he reported this to Rhino, a flare of light from the sky caused him to look up. Something was entering the atmosphere above the city, something small. For a second, he feared that it might have been a missile with a radiothermic warhead but when he examined the object through the scope of his rifle he saw that it appeared to be a meteor.

Tracer fire streaked up from one of the points of light on the outskirts of the city. Face remembered from the briefing that the light was location of the Planetary Defence Garrison. The tracer fire was random and uncoordinated, almost as if the forces at the base had lost fire control. As Face watched, the meteor plunged into the base, obliterating it in a fireball.

The dull thudda sound of rapidly approaching helicopters was soon heard, approaching the gulley from the other side and heading towards the city. Flying low, they swept over the gulley without stopping. The aircraft were flying without running lights, no markings other than standard civilian registration markings.

By this point, rapid staccato flashes could be seen from several points across the city, punctuated periodically by small explosions. Something major was happening in the city.

Whatever was happening wasn’t their problem and wasn’t a threat to them.

It took another twenty minutes to complete the installation of the SlipPod. The added weight and bulk of the pod initially made the piloting the Pelican a little difficult but Rhino quickly compensated and soon, they were breaking atmosphere and heading into space.

While Rhino plotted the jump to rendezvous with the Drake, Face started to hear a voice in his head speaking Spanish.

“Hello? ... Can you hear me? ... I told him it wouldn’t work ... Wait a minute, maybe he can’t understand Spanish! ... Can you hear me now?” The voice was young, and male. At first, he thought it was another ONI telepath. When asked, he identified himself as Carlos. Snake remembered that one of the rescued kids, a 13-year-old boy, was called Carlos Ayala and his Apex file had listed him as having empathic abilities. Face asked him where he was since he didn’t know that anyone else was in system. Carlos replied by saying that he was in his room, at the Safehouse, with “the general guy”.

Face was a little surprised at this. The Safehouse was 27 light years away in the Epsilon Indi system. That was a frighteningly huge range for any form of telepathic ability; and as far as the Apex records had indicated, no one had possessed that level of power.

Ignoring the surprise, Carlo went onto explain that Frost had cornered him and asked him to try to get in touch. The boy’s thoughts were a little ... scattered. He had poor mental focus when it came to telepathy, more often than not allowing internal thoughts to bleed through. Thoughts such as...

“I don’t care if he’s the ranking military officer. Here’s a news flash for him, I’m a civilian, I’m not one of his little soldiers. He can’t tell me what to do, what he gonna do, ground me? ... What’s for dinner? Oh yeah, I’m on kitchen duty today. Yay! Pizza for everyone.”

After Face managed to get him to focus, he explained that the General wanted to know if everything was okay. In the last half hour, news reports of “terrorist attacks” had begun to break. It appeared that there had been simultaneous attacks by rebel groups on seven colonies. Mars, Eridani 4, San Gabriel, Tau Ceti 4 and three others. Face explained what he had seen and briefly described their encounter with the ONI psychics. Carlos relayed Frost’s response (without any underlying sarcasm or resentment this time). Frost thought that Rhino’s decision to head to the Drake was a sound one and that he would begin the preparations to evacuate the Safehouse while waiting for the Drake.

After “signing off”, Echo Team proceeded to the rendezvous point. The pod’s power cells were recharged and the crew of the Drake informed that they would need to head back to the Safehouse ASAP to assist in the evacuation.

Saturday, August 4, 2418
USNDF "Boneyard", Pluto Orbit, Sol System


The Pelican arrived on the outskirts of the Sol system around midnight. Face immediately cloaked the ship and they snuck into the USNDF Boneyard undetected. They found their target, PAT-36, moored precisely where Agent Barrett said it would be. Gain access to the decommissioned ship was relatively easy. It took about an hour’s work to transfer the power from the pod’s power cells into the emergency batteries of the Planetary Assault Transport. With the dropship safely anchored at the back of the ship between the engine exhausts, Rhino booted up the ship’s navigation computers, powered up the Slipdrive and jumped the ship to the rendezvous point.

Sunday, August 5, 2418
AX Microscopii, 12.9 light years from Earth


They were met by the Drake along with the Jo Lynn (the stolen tramp freighter) and the Remora (the stolen pirate ship). The evacuation had gone without a hitch; there had been no sign of ONI or USN ships in the system while they transferred everyone to the Drake and loaded all the station’s supplies into the cargo bay.

The ships were all docked together on the outer edge of the AX Microscopii system; an uninhabited and unimportant red dwarf system. The PAT had more than enough space to store all their supplies. Accommodations would be basic, but better than sleeping on mats in an empty cargo bay. Plus there was more than enough room in the six bunk areas for everyone to spread out and get a little privacy.

For the time being at least the PAT would be their home, a mobile base of operations that, unlike the Safehouse, could stay on the move and hopefully ahead of any USNDF or ONI pursuit.

Now they needed to work out what their next move was.

Sunday, August 5, 2418
An Unknown Location


The two glowing figures watched the myriad of news feeds showing footage of the ongoing political crisis. The Uprising, as it was being called by some networks, was dominating the news.

“I told you,” the feminine figure says, “all they needed was a little push and they’ll destroy themselves.”

“We should move ahead with Phase 2.” The male figure says. “This may still be an internal political matter for the Union, but the fools in the Syndic will not stand by when a humanitarian crisis erupts on their doorstep.”

“I agree,” the female says in thought, “Do you have a target in mind?”

“Any of the Union’s deep range colonies near our border will do,” her companion says dismissively, “I don’t care which, surprise me. I’ll leave the decision to you, I have a meeting in meatspace.” His voice takes on a tone of distaste.

“Anything important?”

“Thanks, to the public release of the data, the Apex Test Subjects are no longer needed for our research purposes and they pose a potential risk to The Circle’s agenda. A risk I feel needs to be eliminated before they become a problem.”

Monday, August 6, 2418
ONI vessel Nodachi, Epsilon Indi, 11.82 light years from Earth


To say that Danvers was angry would be like saying the sun was mildly warm. The surviving agent she had dispatched to investigate reports of a dropship that had been found on San Gabriel and whose tail markings had matched the one stolen by the Apex Renegades and returned with an ... interesting report. She had listened calmly as Murphy described the complete debacle that had erupted. Although his report had included the probable location where the renegades were hiding, it didn’t mitigate the fact that his partner was dead and that they had initiated hostilities. It would be even harder now to make contact with them and virtually impossible for her to convince them that she meant them no particular harm.

They had been delayed departing San Gabriel thanks to the sudden, and surprising, uprising of some elements of the colony’s inhabitants. By the time they had reached the Safehouse, her quarry was long gone.

She had to admit that she was more than a little impressed now. It was obvious that they had some help from someone within the agency, that much was clear by the fact they had been hiding aboard an ONI safehouse. But they had managed to create a trail of destruction and mischief across 5 star systems since their escape from the military.

  • They had assaulted and destroyed one of the most secure facilities in Union space in order to rescue their imprisoned brethren.
  • Infiltrated and stolen supplies from the military base on Eridani 4.
  • Broke into the labs of a weapons research company to steal valuable research materials.
  • Managed to get within 15 minutes of the General Assembly building before they were discovered, and when they were they ruthlessly over came a better armed and better equipped team of ONI special agents.
  • Hijacked a military drop shop, whilst still in flight.
  • Fought and defeated two psycomm operatives.
  • And to top it off, if the latest report was to be believed stolen an Antares from the Boneyard at Pluto.

If they had been just a few years older, they would have made excellent ONI operatives.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:48 pm

S02E08- R&R

Monday, August 13, 2418
AX Microscopii, 12.9 light years from Earth


It has been just over a week since the evacuation from the Safehouse. During the time, the PAT has been moved closer to AX Microscopii in order to mask the ship's sensor signature in the star's glare. Onboard, the Apex Renegades have done their best to make the ship more comfortable. A number of individuals have “borrowed” deck plating from the hanger bays to create partitions in the troop barracks in order to have a little privacy. Thankfully, the PAT’s life support systems were geared towards a much higher number of passengers and thus its ability to recycle air and water meant that they wouldn’t have to worry about these two commodities running out in the foreseeable future. Food was a different matter, although they did have two months worth of supplies in that regard. The PAT’s other systems were a different matter. During its decommissioning, many of its systems had been stripped. Sensors, communications, onboard computers, all had been removed leaving the PAT with the most basic systems necessary to the functioning of the ship. Furthermore, although the armour plating was still in place, it being an integral part of the ship’s spaceframe, its defensive systems had been removed entirely.

Since it seemed that PAT-36 would be their “home” for some time, everyone agreed that some serious refitting would be needed if it were to serve as both a mobile base of operations and a safe haven for non-combatants. In conference with the “responsible adults”, Echo Team drew up a shopping list of needs that needed to be addressed.

Losing the Safehouse meant that they had lost their access to communications and information. Given the nature of the physical support infrastructure required by Quantum Transceivers, obtaining one was out the question. If they wanted to keep abreast of the latest news, their best course of action was to periodically send one of their smaller ships to an inhabited and use a computer program to log onto the local planetary grid and scrape the latest news and information. In order to process and store this data, they would need to upgrade the PAT’s computer facilities that were just enough currently to operate the ship.

Snake and Terminal both raised the possibility of mounting a SlipSpace Detection Array on the hull of the PAT. This would allow the ship to detect SlipSpace Interface Events, the detectable energy burst created whenever a ship exits are leaves SlipSpace. Given the size of the PAT, they would be able to detect SIPs at a distance of around 5AU. Since the plan was to keep the PAT’s SlipSpace Drive on permenant standby, this would give them plenty of time to complete the calculations for an emergency jump.

In order to supplement their food stocks and improve their ability to reprocess air and water, Face suggested using one of the garages or hangers to create a hydroponics bay. Snake and Chameleon came up with a design that not only provided a variety of edible foodstuffs but was actually quite effective at its secondary goal too. The fact that once in full operation it would be a pleasant spot of greenery was entirely coincidental.

Rhino felt that a lot of work was still needed on the accommodations. The barracks were in reality nothing more than bunks and storage lockers. Not exactly comfortable or suitable for long-term use. She worked with Ghost and Hawkeye to draw up plans for proper partitions, galley equipment and recreations facilities. Getting everything in place would be time consuming and expensive, but was considered worth the effort by everyone.

Snake raised the question of medical facilities. In addition to loosing access to the Safehouse Quantum Transceivers, they had also lost access to the high-tech infirmary. While they did have an infirmary and science lab aboard the Drake, if the ship was ever sent off on mission, they would need some sort of infirmary onboard the PAT.

Finally, Face floated the possibility of converting one of the garages into an engineering workshop. A suggestion that had the support of some of the Drake’s crew as well as Mouse and few of the more technically minded Apex recruits.

The shopping list was long with quite a variety of needed components and supplies. With the hacked accounts set up by Terminal since Echo Team’s escape from military control, getting the creds to buy it all was unlikely to be a problem. They just needed to choose a location where they could purchase it all. It needed to be a big colony, or one that sees a lot of commercial traffic, one that doesn’t have a heavy USN or USNDF presence, and one that as far as they know has joined the spreading turmoil. From what they knew, Tradestation Beta-4 in the Vega system ticked all the various boxes. In addition it was a location where if trouble did occur, they had “friends” they could turn to for help.

Tuesday, August 14, 2418
Tradestation Beta-4, Vega, 25.3 light years from Earth


The Drake arrived in the Vega system early on Tuesday morning. Because they were expecting to come back with a significant amount of bulky cargo, the Orion class Deep Space Explorer with its large cavernous cargo hold had been the best chose of ship to bring along, leaving the PAT behind in its hiding place. The mission was considered peaceful enough that a number of people had come along for “shore leave” including Face and Terminal’s parents, Chameleon and a couple of the recruits. Carlos had wanted to come but Frost had vetoed the possibility.

Upon docking with Beta 4, Terminal scanned the station’s public access computer network and quickly fired off orders to a dozen suppliers. It would take about a full a day to get everything delivered and stowed away. In the meantime, Terminal took Chameleon to the restaurant he visited last time he was on the station.

Snake and Face checked out the news filtering in to the station, wanting to find out that state of “The Uprising.” Fighting on the Martian colony of Tharsis had been halted when a stray missile struck a residential dome to causing it to fail. There were a significant civilian casualties and fatalities and the separatists were blaming the USNDF while the USNDF blamed the separatists. Government forces on Eridani 4 had quickly crushed the rebels on that colony but it now seemed that the uprising on Eridani may have been a distraction. Separatists on Glaucus (Tau Ceti 4) had staged a surprisingly effective raid on the colony’s Planetary Defence Garrison. They had managed to seize the USNN ships attached to the local Planetary Defence Garrison. By the time the PDG ground troops responded to the breach of security, the separatists had managed to make off with the entire detachment; a cruiser along with a number of support ships. No one knew where the ships were now and it was a major embarrassment for the government. The other major story was the San Gabriel’s declaration of independence. The sudden and complete destruction of the colony’s PDG had emboldened the rebel forces and they had quickly consolidated the control over the colonial capital. Most of the experts and commentators on Trans Luminal News were of the opinion the self-declared independence of San Gabriel would be short-lived at best. As for the other colonies that had taken part in The Uprising, sporadic fighting was still going on.

After their dinner, Terminal and Chameleon met up with the rest of Echo Team around the table in the Drake’s galley. An impromptu meeting was being held while the non-coms were off enjoying themselves and the Drake’s crew were handling the loading of cargo and supplies.

Snake had been pushing for a couple of weeks for the team to investigate both Doctor Ibrahim Oaken and the creatures that had been found at NXG Systems. There was some resistance to this; an undercurrent of whatever NXG was up to was none of their business. However, it was pointed out that Ibrahim Oaken had worked on Project Apex. Their assault on Io hadn’t just been about revenge and liberating the rest of the Apex test subjects, but ensuring that the research could never be used on anyone else ever again. If there was any chance that the scientist had survived the destruction of Io Base, they needed to know for sure; doubly so since he now seemed to be involved in the Warbeast Programme.

Terminal had been looking for information on Oaken ever since their visit to NXG’s facility on Serpens a month ago. He was listed as the Director of NXG Systems, he had PhDs in Bioengineering and Xenogenetics from the McKay Institute of Astrobiology on Beta Centauri 2, but apart from this there was virtually nothing about him on the net. Few if any scientific papers had ever been published and none of his research was publically documented. Looking into NXG Systems themselves, only one facility was listed in public records, the one on Serpens. They had at one time or another leased commercial properties on a number of worlds as and when they needed an off world presence, but Serpens remained the centre of their research and business activity.

Rhino expressed significant concerns about revisiting the Serpens facility, worried that as they had already broken into the place once before, there was the chance that security would be improved. They already knew ONI were on their trail and if they connected them with the break in at the NXG labs, they could be waiting for them. Furthermore, Serpens was one of the colonies where there was sporadic fighting between Separatist and USN forces.

Eventually, a compromise was reached. After the Drake had returned to the PAT with the parts and supplies for the upgrades, Echo team would head to Serpens in the modified Pelican. Landing some distance away from any settlements, they would hike to the NXG facility and place it under surveillance to see what, if any, security was present. Only then would a decision would be made whether to infiltrate the facility or not.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:35 pm

S02E09 - Warbeast

Tuesday, August 14, 2418
Serpens, Wolf 1061, 13.8 light years from Earth


Rhino landed the dropship several miles outside of the colonial capital, hiding it in dense woodland; Face and Snake with the armour stored in backpacks, weapons wrapped in cloth and blankets. It took several hours of hiking through the countryside before they could actually see the city. The sporadic rattle of gunfire from the direction of the city was a good indication that some fighting was still going on.

They made it to the industrial park without incident and approached the NXG facility. Hiding in bushes along the perimeter of the company’s grounds, one thing was immediately obvious. The car park was empty and the shutters were down on all the doors and windows. Whilst this was possibly due to the unrest that had struck the colony over the last few days, a closer examination of the perimeter and exterior of the building revealed signs that the facility had been locked up for a least a month.

Terminal tried to access the computer network again but ran into the same problems as last time, no network connections to the outside world he could hack into and no wifi network that his technopathic abilities to connect with. It seems that they had discovered and disabled the back door that he had left behind on the previous visit. His brother had similar luck. Face’s abilities had begun to grow and evolve over recent weeks, becoming stronger and better focused. He had recently discovered how to telepathically scan an area for active minds and he used this newfound ability on the NXG facility. However, he detected no active minds in the vicinity apart from those of his teammates.

Rhino was still concerned about a possible ambush so she had the team set up surveillance from a number of positions around the building. As afternoon turned to evening, and as the sun began to set, she was satisfied that all precautions had been taken and ordered to the team to move in.

As a point of entry, they chose a side door. A bit of technical jiggery disabled the door’s alarm and Rhino lifted up the security grate, allowing the team to get in. Inside, it was dark and quiet, lit only by soft emergency lighting. Face took the group into the cubicle farm on the lower floor and accessed one of the admin computers. Although he could find no mention of “Warbeast” or any information of Doctor Oaken’s whereabouts, he did find an internal, company-wide, memo that indicated that all operations were to be shut down with immediate effect and transferred to “Site B”.

He was unable to find any clue as to where Site B was located, or even if it was in this system. Face wanted to dig deeper but Rhino didn’t want to the team to spend too long in the building. She left Face working on the computers while she led the rest of the team to the basement labs where they had initially seen the Warbeasts. Terminal quickly cracked the security lock on the elevator and they were on their way.

After reaching a dead-end on his investigation into the computers, Face decided to simply save time and pull the hard drives from the servers. He could then take them back to base and analyse them at his own speed. After quickly checking the plans they had of the building, he headed to the server room. As he opened the door he was confronted by a robotic security drone sitting patiently on the other side of the door, waiting for him, its machine gun pods whirring into action as it prepared to fire.

Face threw himself to the side as the drone opened fire, screaming “Help, killer robot!” via his telepathy at his teammates. He wasn’t quite fast enough as the rounds pounded into his armour. Luckily, the rounds were unable to penetrate the carbon-fibre armour plates or he would have been seriously injured. However, his luck was short lived. These weren’t ordinary bullets, but electroshock rounds designed to incapacitate but not necessarily kill the target. Face was badly shocked by the rounds, almost knocked off his feet. He managed to get a shot off before the drone could fire again but he was still suffering the after affects of the electroshock rounds. Sucking it up, he managed to shake off the effects and clear his head. Realising what he should have done in the first place, he ejected the clip of regular 14.5mm rounds and slammed in the clip of specially designed EMP rounds.

After the success of the makeshift nerf EMP weapon used on Echo Team’s mission to Earth the previous, Face had worked with Mouse and one of the Drake’s engineers to polish the “prototype” into a workable weapon. The low velocity round contained a powerful EMP generator and integral, one-use, battery. Although non-nuclear EMP weapons had been around since the mid 21st century, no one had miniaturised them for use in personal scale weaponry before. As far as anyone knew, these rifle-sized EMP rounds were unique.

Standing up from behind cover, Face levelled his sniper rifle across the cubicle farm and fired. The EMP round struck the robot chassis, triggering the generator. The range of the EMP burst generated by the round was small, measuring only a couple of centimetres in radius and projecting much of the pulse forward into a cone that penetrated the robot’s body. The drone seized up and toppled forward, its systems knocked out by the pulse. After sending a telepathic “all clear” to the team, Face hopped over its prone form into the server room.

Downstairs, the team had received his telepathic messages but decided to maintain radio silence, trusting in Face to be able to deal with the “killer robot.” Down here, in the basement, there was no emergency lighting and the time resorted to using flashlights to light their way. As they moved away from the elevator down the corridor to the labs, Snake could smell cryon (a gas used in cryogenic freezing), lubricants, and ozone, scents in configurations and concentrations that he associated with high-end scientific machinery; he was partially right.

From the darkness ahead, both Ghost and Rhino heard the distinctive sound of machine guns whirring up and preparing to fire, calling out a warning just in time for everyone to scatter out of the line of fire. In the chaotic, seizure inducing, light of rapidly moving torches and the staccato flashes of machine guns firing, they could make out a security drone blocking the corridor ahead.

Ghost leapt quickly threw at it, his sword drawn. The blade skittered across the armoured surface, scratching a gouge in the plating but otherwise doing little damage. As he struck it however, the drone’s proximity defence system kicked in, dumping a powerful electrical charge through its outer skin and into the boy. It didn’t cause and serious injury but the sudden “attack” as a ... ahem ... shock.

Seeing this, both Snake and Rhino opted to attack from range; Snake with his assault rifle and Rhino with her throwing knives. Both struck the robot solidly, their various weapons penetrating the armour and damaging its internal systems. It was still operational however.

Terminal tried to remotely hack into the robot by accessing its datalink port using his technopathic ability. But his attempt was shut down by the robot’s active firewall system which detected the intrusion and powered down all incoming external communication links As Terminal attempted this, he also discovered that something was jamming radio transmissions.

Ghost gritted his teeth and decided to ignore the robot’s automatic defence system, striking it from behind with his sword as it unsuccessfully tried to strafe Rhino, Snake and Terminal with machine gun fire. His word embedded itself in its back, causing significant damage.

Rhino finished it off by plucking two knives from her holster and throwing them with deadly accuracy and force at the drone. The knives ripped through the drone’s body, tearing off both its legs, and sending it crashing to floor.

They decided to proceed on to the lab. Just as they departed, Snake felt a sharp pain in the side of his neck. He quickly removed something that looked like a dart. Tasting the needle, his enhanced sense of taste could pick up no traces of any drugs or poisons (neither of which would have worked on him anyway). A careful examination revealed that it appeared to be some form of sample dart designed to take a sample of whatever it was shot into. The end of the dart contained some form of transmitter. Snake immediately crushed it.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Face had removed the hard drives from the servers. He was startled by the sound of the drone beginning to move behind him; its systems had recovered from the EMP. Firing another round into it to disable it again, he finished it off a regular bullet to the CPU. By this point, he had heard the gunfire from downstairs, and after discovering that comms were being jammed, he decided to go down and back his friends up.

Rhino, Ghost, Snake and Terminal entered the lab, swinging their torches across the cryogenic stasis pods where they had first seen the Warbeasts. They were all empty. As they searched the lab, Ghost suddenly froze, gesturing to a darkened corner of the lab with a flurry of military hand signals. He had heard the sound of something breathing, something that didn’t sound human. Snake, displaying an epic fail of stealth and intelligence, said aloud “There’s something where?” and pointed his flashlight directly at what Ghost had been pointing toward; a full-grown, and growling, Warbeast.

Snake had just enough time to mutter “oh sh..” before it leapt at him, raking him with its razor sharp claws. The Warbeasts claws cut through Snake’s armour like it wasn’t there. Rhino ran over and grabbed the creature, pulling it off Snake and hurling it across the lab. The creature struck the wall hard, impacting the wall right next to Face just as he entered lab. In mild panic, Face stepped away from the Warbeast and fired at it.

Although the bullet penetrated the Warbeast’s thick hide, it didn’t seem to slow it down. The creature stood up and its skin changed pigmentation, the Warbeast faded from sight like a chameleon. It leapt at Snake again, catching him by surprise and driving him to the floor. The others tried to force the creature off him, inflicting horrific injuries in the process. Injuries that seemed to heal before their eyes. The Warbeast, still focusing on Snake for some reason, tore into him with claw and fang. As Snake passed out due to pain and blood loss, the Warbeast continued to attack, tearing out his throat.

As Rhino howled in rage, Ghost slammed his sword down on the Warbeast, impaling it. The Warbeast stilled and Face pulled the creature off Snake. The younger boy wasn’t moving, didn’t even appear to be breathing, blood pouring from his wounds. Using an emergency first aid kit, they tried their best to patch up his wounds but didn’t know if they had been successful.

They loaded Snake onto an emergency stretcher that had self-contained life support in the hope that somehow he was still alive and would last long enough to get him to proper medical attention. Knowing that they couldn’t leave empty handed, especially with what the mission may have cost them, they wrapped up the corpse of the Warbeast for transport back to the dropship after checking that it was thoroughly dead.

With Ghost and Terminal carrying the stretcher, and Rhino carrying the Warbeast, they ran through the night back to the dropship, Face using his concealment abilities to keep everyone hidden.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:40 pm

S02E10 - Wayward Part 1

Wednesday, August 15, 2418
AX Microscopii, 12.9 light years from Earth


Snake awakes in the Drake's sickbay surrounded by his concerned (and confused teammates). Doctor Marshall is studying a datapad and conferring with Frost, the two of them occasionally glancing over at Snake. Bones looks down at Snake. “You should be dead, you were dead. For eight hours.”

“I was dead?” This is something that Snake would periodically mutter over the next couple of days.

Doctor Marshall theorises that the extreme trauma of the injury forced Snake’s body to enter a deep state of “biostasis.” So deep that not even the medical instruments on board the Drake could detect it.

After everyone (but Snake) had gotten over the whole dead issue for the time being Frost informed the team that analysis of the recovered warbeast would have to wait. A few hours before Echo Team arrived back, the Jo Lynn undocked from the PAT without permission. It must have happened sometime during the night as the PAT's systems were interfered with in order to prevent the alarm being sounded on the bridge that would have alerted the crewman on duty. It wasn't until morning that the missing ship was noticed. After realising that the Jo Lynn was missing, Frost ordered a head count. The only two people unaccounted for were Carlos and Mouse.

Frost mentions that Carlos had become extremely agitated after watching news footage of the Colonial Uprising gathered by Barrett. In particular, he seemed most concerned with something he saw on footage of the fighting on the Deep Range colony of Calder. A quick check revealed that Carlos’s homeworld was Calder and his family was still on the planet. Frost had been holding off on any mission to the planet due to the heavy military presence on the colony. Over the last two years, the USNDF had been building up their forces on the planet as part of a Forward Operations Base since the planet was the nearest USN colony to Commonwealth Space.

Asking around, they learned that he hadn’t become really upset until he’d asked Barrett to zoom in on a particular frame of the footage. Terminal called up the footage, located the specific frame in question and zoomed in. A large building to the side of the frame was easily identifiable as an atmospheric reprocessor. It was clearly not in operation. But the frame was centred on a complex of buildings that had been gutted by fire, smoke still pouring out of the windows. Terminal used his computer skills to determine the camera’s point of origin by comparing the surrounding buildings to maps of the colony. From there he could work out what building the camera was pointing at. After a minute or two, he was able to identify the complex of buildings as being owned by TerraGen, the corporation contracted by the USN to handle the terraforming of Calder. According to maps, the complex was the “Central Terraforming Hub” and was responsible for controlling the terraforming infrastructure across the planet.

This was a problem, Barrett explained, as the planet was a Stage 2 colony world meaning that although the planet was habitable, its environment was not yet stable or self-sustaining. It needed constant monitoring and adjustment. Furthermore the planet’s sun, 51 Tauri, was an F0V star making it larger and hotter than Sol. A significant of orbital infrastructure was used to reduce the solar radiation hitting the planet. This included a massive solar shade to block out the sun and put the entire planet into an artificial night and a series of orbital mirrors to redirect sunlight onto the “nightside” of the planet creating an artificial day. (see the image and Powerpoint Slide here for a better explanation). All of this infrastructure needed constant adjustments. The solar shade was essentially one massive solar sail (as well as acting as a huge orbital solar power station) and without constant telemetry from the ground, the solar wind would quickly force it out of position until the planet was subjected to the full glare of the star.

The footage was a couple of days old so it was unknown if anything had been done about this since it had been taken since the quantum link to the colony was down, severed at Calder’s end.

While Terminal and Barrett discussing this. Face and Rhino had been asking around to see if there was a reason that Carlos had taken Mouse along. It turned out that Mouse, Psipher, Carlos and one of the rescued kids (Jessica, hypersenses) had quite regularly been playing poker as a form of training. Basically, using their respective abilities to try and cheat (Mouse by card counting, Psipher using is precognitive abilities, Carlos his empathic abilities, and Jessica by reading her opponents cards via the reflections in their eyes). Through the game, Mouse and Carlos had become friends (both being of the same age probably helped) and it’s likely that if Carlos needed help with something, like “borrowing” and piloting a starship Mouse would be the person he’d ask. Especially since it appeared that Carlos didn’t trust Frost.

Frost wanted Echo Team to go and retrieve the two of them as well as the “borrowed” ship. He was sending them because they needed to be able to stealthily approach the planet and only Face had mastered masking the dropship. It was also hinted at that the reason he was so focused on getting Carlos back was because with his interstellar range telepathy, the boy was potential security risk.

The dropship was being prepared for the long journey which could take as much as two days. Extra food and water was being packed as well as extra fuel cells. Dropships normally had a mission duration that was measured in hours. The 182 light year journey to 51 Tauri would be pushing the dropship, and their ability to not kill each other, to the limit.

Just before departure, Glock approaches Rhino and asks a favour, that no matter what happens she makes sure to bring Mouse back. “Bring him back in one piece okay? ... Because when he gets back, I’m gonna break his little neck. Then get Bones to revive him so I can break it again.”

Friday, August 17, 2418
Calder, 51 Tauri system, 176.31 light years from Earth


It took nearly two days to get to 51 Tauri, and luckily only one person (Snake) had a black eye. As soon as they jumped into the system, Face cloaked the ship and they began their approach. On long-range sensors, they could detect a debris field around the planet and it was clear that the orbital shade was out of alignment, although it was still protecting the planet for the time being.

During the journey they had decided to focus on fixing the problems with the planet’s terraforming infrastructure and leave retrieving Mouse and Carlos as a secondary concern (saving an entire planet, how heroic and noble).

As Rhino piloted the dropship on a slingshot around, they passed close enough to determine it was made up of debris from a number or orbital mirrors. They also detected the Jo Lynn’s transponder, but by this point they were committed to their orbital trajectory.

Pulling up behind the solar shade, Terminal and Rhino came up with set of orbital corrections that would nudge the shade temporarily back into position. They attempted to upload the programme the shade’s computers but couldn’t connect. Donning space suits, Terminal eva’d over to shade to connect manually. When he connected he learned to important things. Firstly, the communication boards were all burned out and were unusable. Secondly, the propellant for the shade’s OMS thrusters had been dumped. Both of these problems had been caused by a computer virus uploaded from ground control.

Without propellant, there was nothing they could do to move the massive structure. Their best bet was to search for propellant down on Calder. Rhino plotted a course back to the planet which would take them past the Jo Lynn.

The transport was drifting and didn’t respond to hails. As they approached, they could see that the ship had suffered significant damage, its hull was pierced by what looked like weapons fire. The rear end was completely decompressed and the engines were virtually destroyed. Docking with the airlock, they discovered that the front of the ship, containing the bridge and part of the crew quarters, still had atmosphere. Although without power, the environment aboard was rapidly becoming uninhabitable. They found no sign of Mouse or Carlos but one of the two escape pods had been launched. A quick check of the flight data recorder revealed that they had arrived in the system a day earlier, entered orbit and were then attacked by something. They had abandoned ship when it became clear to them that the crippled transport was nothing more than a drifting death trap.

Returning to the dropship, they were able to pick up an emergency beacon from the escape pod (know they knew what to look for) and decided to head down. The beacon came from somewhere in the cratered plains of the planet’s northern hemisphere. The flooded craters provided plenty of water for irrigation and the region was dotted with farmsteads and small settlements. Rhino landed the dropship a short distance away from the downed pod and they hurried over, Face dropping the cloak now that they were landed.

The pod was empty but a mass of tracks could be seen around the pod. Horse tracks led up to the pod from the direction of a nearby farmstead and back. It was difficult to work out from the pattern of foot prints what had happened but Ghost slowly began to piece things together. He told everyone how shortly after landing, two people got out of the pod. Judging by the shoe sizes, they were the two missing boys. One of them, he couldn’t determine who, had injured their leg and was limping heavily given the differing impression made by the left and right foot. While they were still with the pod, two men on horseback arrived. There seemed to have been a struggle and the two men rode off, taking Carlos and Mouse with them. Snake mentioned that he could smell blood and gunpowder. Finding a bloodstain, he tasted the blood (to the revulsion of everyone present) and determined that the blood had come from Mouse.

Leaving the dropship behind, they headed off in pursuit. Ghost ran ahead, activating his stealth systems and scouted out the farmstead. It consisted of a house and three outbuildings surrounded by farmland. Two men could be seen loading supplies onto a transport that sat in a dusty courtyard. They were speaking Spanish and Ghost could not understand what they were saying. The door to the house was open and Ghost quickly searched inside finding no other people and no sign of Mouse or Carlos. Two of the outbuildings were locked up and gaining access to them would have attracted unwanted attention.

He regrouped with the others as they arrived near the farm and made his report. Face was now in range to scan the farm telepathically. In addition to the two men, he detected a third mental signature beneath one of the locked outbuildings.

The group approached the farm with Ghost re-engaging his stealth. As they got close, the two men span around as soon as they noticed the group and drew sidearms; (perhaps alarmed by the approach of a bunch of strangers, two of which were quite heavily armed and armoured). Snake quickly released a gas cloud of pheromones designed to calm people down and make them more agreeable. As he was the only person that could speak and understand Spanish (they never asked if the men could speak English), Face was the one that questioned them men. He discovered that they were farmers packing the ship so they could skip planet ahead of “the burn” and that there was no one else on the farm. This was an obvious lie since Face could detect the presence of a third mind. Unwilling to reveal what he knew, Face mentioned that they were looking for a couple of friends and would they mind if they took a quick look around. The farmers did mind, very much.

Meanwhile, Ghost headed to the outbuilding where Face had detected the third signature. He was quickly able to break the lock and thanks to the distraction provided by his teammates, the two men didn’t notice the flicker as his stealth field momentarily cut out. Ghost crept into the building and was able to locate a trap door when...

Peaceful negotiations broke down; everyone went for their guns and opened fire. A firefight occurred, but the two men were outnumbered and outgunned by Face, Rhino, Snake and Terminal. One of the two men was killed the other subdued and knocked out. Ghost emerged from the outbuilding and announced that he’d found Carlos tied up in the basement, unconscious and possible drugged. There was no sign of Mouse.
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)

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Re: Project Apex

Postby blaster219 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:58 am

There's a delay in uploading the final two episodes of season 2 (plus the Epilogue).

In the meantime, all the campaign's notes can be viewed in a Shared Evernote notebook http://www.evernote.com/pub/blaster219/projectapex
"Heroes get shot, stabbed, burned, bludgeoned, poisoned, infected, disintegrated, irradiated, electrocuted, exposed to vacuum and fall from great heights. Being a hero is a tough job."
- Alternity GMG, Chapter 6 (Damage and Injury)


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