Monday, June 3, 2019

Ghost Initiative

Outpost 7 is a carefully hidden base, blended into the foothills of a nearby mountain range. It was one of the original bases on Quern, and as such, is stocked with weapons, ammo, and armor is available. Because of its out-of-the-way location, not only was Outpost 7 not a target during the original Duul'Tlak invasion, but it managed to survive the first wave of the newest threat. Over the next two weeks, stragglers pour in from all over Quern. Some troops were fresh as a daisy, and confused as the the sudden panic, while others were just as war-torn as the party. News filtered in; the Duul'Tlak were tough, but these monsters are far, far worse. Cities were wiped out by the rampaging monsters. It's a good thing most of the civilian population were pulled out.

Apart from a few patrols to keep everyone from going stir crazy, the party decided to invest in the surgical facilities, and upgraded themselves with countless cybernetic enhancements. A few decided to try out for this new, secret UEA program... the Ghost Initiative. After a major surgery, where complicated tech was implanted in their head and body, the newly-reformed characters found themselves having attained new powers...

And of course, new weapons. The UEA Fireteam grew by one member, and more than one marine decided to grab a sniper rifle and a pile of grenades.

After the two weeks of "R&R" elapsed, Lt. Cmdr. Lars Thawaar called the troops to one final all-hands meeting.

"Men and women of the UEA, we've been getting reports of these creatures - we're calling them Kchurg - moving this way for a while now, but it looks like they are gearing up for a scrap. As animal-like as they are on the battlefield, something intelligent is controlling them; they've got us cut off from any other way out... except for a path through the mountains. It's tough, but it's the only way. That said, we simply can't get through just yet. We've got excavation clearing a path, but it's going to take at least 48 hours, and intel suggest we've only got 30 before those creatures come charging in. We've got the tank sandbagged in, plus two mechs we managed to get running and souped up, plus whatever equipment you can get your hands on, but that's still not much."

He takes a slow look around the room. "Your orders are this: survive. Keep everyone here safe for as long as you can. You are our last, best hope of living through all this."

The battle was a long, drawn-out fight, as the waves of Kchurg washed up against the long-guns of justice. Only a few of the creatures managed to make it all the way to the front lines, and those were quickly dealt with. Carefully chosen shots eliminated the large Fleshies, and the rocks they hurled were no match for the tough armor of the mechs. They gained an unlikely companion - The Ghost, the original member of the Ghost Initiative, and one of the most famous UEA army. Her likeness was plastered on all manner of recruitment posters and bunk walls. Not that she cared. Her nigh-on robotic sniping abilities were legendary, but she lived only to end the next enemy.

Finally, the main wave of the Kchurg arrived. The wave of razor-dogs was still held at bay, as the troops retreated back into the main building. The last marine in the tank decided to stay, to provide covering fire until everyone was inside. It took a little convincing for the last mech pilot to not die heroically, but he stepped inside the blast doors as they closed, safe and sound. They kept up radio communication with the tank as they moved through the base. She ran out of bullets, first on one mini-gun, then on the other, and finally on the heavy cannon, but the smaller razor-dogs couldn't crack the tough tank's armor. She spent her final hour reading the tank's manual and learning how to crack the reactor, so she could send whatever larger creatures came for it skyward.

The route through the base was much longer than the party expected; after nearly five miles of trekking, they finally made it to the tunnel. Behind them, the last marines moved through the tunnel. Taking a moment to reload and attempt to fix the mech (unsuccessfully), the party were the last to exit the tunnel system. As they stepped into the narrow ravine beyond, they heard a thrumming sound overhead... Fleshies! The mech fired, but didn't manage to bring down the great floating beasts. Each dropped a load of razor-dogs and needle-snakes, as the uncomfortable thrumming sound got even louder in their brains.

The ground creatures were, for the most part, dealt with swiftly, in a burst of fire and bullets, but the sound in their brains grew louder and louder until they could no longer stand it. One by one, the party fell unconscious, even the Ghost...

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