Humanis Falls: Operation Lariat


claire_icon.gif curtis_icon.gif dearing_icon.gif lucille3_icon.gif

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Scene Title Humanis Falls: Operation Lariat
Synopsis Team Amarok takes on a metal colossus to protect the civilians of Fort Irwin from certain death.
Date July 22, 2018

CA - Fort Irwin - NW Residential Sector - approximately 03:00 hours

Far to the east, fires gutter and snap in a line against the desert dark — remnant sizzles of the missile barrage that cleared a path into the heart of Fort Irwin. Dust and smoke glows volcanic orange in the night, churning in eddies behind the tires of the rear guard plunging through, and pierced by spits of rain at its furthest fringes.

Automatic gunfire rattles to the south; a rocket shrieks from a rooftop and blossoms into a fireball. An answering boom of thunder rebounds off of the surrounding hills and muffles the chaos into its own dull rumble.

Drizzle on the wind cools the flash of heat from a second rocket strike as it bakes at bare skin.

The attack on Fort Irwin is underway.

Ahead, an impossible shadow weaves down an unlit street — forty feet of carbon black machinery rocked antennae to bolts with the weight of is every step. The massive, flattened dish of its skull is lifted high by the stalk of a saurian neck, the entire beast armor-plated, roving away on four long, crushing legs.

It’s unlit, unoccupied, unescorted, passing like a darkened ship between empty houses. Hot pavement cracks and craters beneath its feet.

This far from the primary conflict, the twing and twang of cables pulling taut through its hocks punctuates the diesel grind of power at its core, as quiet as anything of its size could hope to be. Its dish is a black disc against the glow of fire off of cloud cover pressing in low overhead.

It’s leaving.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” The rumble of James Dearnig’s cursing can barely be heard over the roar of an engine and the rattling clatter of dirt and rocks still coming loose from the tires and striking the underside of his two-person light strike vehicle — a glorified dune buggy. Loaded for bear in an operation more befitting of the war behind them physically and metaphorically, Dearing steers the agile vehicle throughthe misting rain, headlamps on the front of the vehicle cutting through the gloom as best as they can. Looking back over his shoulder, Dearing eyes Claire, standing up through the roll cage, then offers her a nod in the affirmative, she can see that they're closing in.

“Everybody hold the fuck on!” Dearing shouts into his earpiece as he swerves around a piece of concrete debris and begins to close the distance between the strike team and their looming target. “Lariat-1! I'll get you in close and keep it as steady as I can. Put this fucking Godzilla giraffe down!”

Looking left and right to try and spot the others, Dearing calls out over the comms. “Lariat-3, 4, and 5 give me a sit-rep!” For as calm as he's trying to be, Dearing is screaming inside. The thing he's driving towards is a nightmare of carbon-fiber and hissing hydraulics. It's a towering impossibility set against the night, and everything inside is telling him to run away.

“That thing is stupid big,” Claire murmurs more to herself than anyone. Watching as it looms larger and larger, her head slowly tipping further and further back. “Got to hand it to them for their creativity.” This shouted towards Dearing as she swings the 50-cal around to train on the lumbering behemoth. It is a bumpy ride, but the regenerator is strapped in good. Still she has to brace herself now and then, when a white knuckled grip on the bar in front of it.

“Lariat 2 and 4, lets get ahead of it. We need to secure the cables, preferable around buildings.”

Claire turns to look behind her to the rest of the group following up behind her. Especially, the motorcycle bound, Lucille. Only really visible by that single headlight. “Lariat-5.. Get that radio jammer ready, when you have a chance, attach it to a leg. How we coming on your end, Tenzin? I don’t want any kinda signals getting out past this thing, if we can help it. Last thing we need is that on our conscious.”

“Alright Lariat-3,” Claire looks rather tiny next to the 50-cal as she swings it to aim at some of the more vulnerable looking parts of that thing. “Let’s light ’er up.” As soon as the words pass her lips she’s firing on thing.

That lone headlight veers to the left coming up on the side of Claire and Dearing, eyes ahead to watch for any large obstacle to become illuminated. Besides ya know.. the extremely tall walking robot. Her asymmetrical blazer flaps out over her light armored body and trails, looking like some kind of hellish bat speeding towards the.. very scary and tall monster. Blue eyes blink and Lucille squints as she revs the off road motorcycle up and continues forward with a mute nod at Claire’s words. Only pale eyes visible for the thick black wrap around her head and face to save her from most of the dirt and grime.

The bike loaded with a number of firearms, gear and other weaponry, her weight in the middle balancing it all out there's a lean forward, “Coming up, seven o’clock,” is her soft admission before she's reaching for the jammer they brought and flicking the switch, a red light blinking into existence. Primed. The terrain rough and she quickly puts both hands on the bike, swerving in a wide arc to come up on the robots bottom left leg, Lucille’s breathing even but nostrils flared at the speed.

The thrill of another hunt. Luce’s leg taps gently against one of the longer blades attached to the bike. No use against the communications “tower”, unless someone was on top of it. Pressing forward and when given the opportunity The woman in black leans forward over the bike to throw the sticky radio jammer right on the back leg.

"Ooooooh Danny boy, the pipes the pipes are calling." Curtis is… singing. As they ride into battle. He's got all his equipment ready to go for the attack on the giant tower robot monstrosity thing. "From Glen to glen, down the mountain side." He's got explosives, he's got his swanky new machine gun. He's got climbing gear. He's loaded pretty light this time around really. A couple of knives, the machine gun, only one spare box for it, the explosives and his climbing gear. He's even skimped on the normal body armor. "Lariat-3, just about ready to start climbing." He comments into the comms at Dearing's question as the vehicle goes bouncing along.

As they approach he fishes out something that looks an awful lot like a single round grenade launcher. Only it's not a grenade he loads into it, it's a canister filled with coiled rope and a grappling hook on the end of it. Then a gas charge is plugged into the gun. "All ready to go climbing and fuck us up a godzilla sized robo giraffe." He comments as he pats the thing, then goes back to singing as he rides along in the buggy. His machine gun, while awesome against infantry is not going to do a damn thing to that beast, so he just sits, one hand on the roll cage to steady himself. "The summer's gone, and all the roses falling."

A line of 50-cal fire opens up across the behemoth's flank, every chop of the gun barrel thumping through the framework of the vehicle and into the bones of everyone on it. Sit reps are a temporary impossibility as incendiary ammo flashes into armor, throwing smoke and drowning Curtis’ performance down to a hum submerged in his own skull.

The tower staggers in slow-motion shock, one hind leg braced back wide as lights pulse to life along the sides and up the neck — blinding blue and white between metal bones and bracers until it fills out in a ring around the saucer. Were it not for all the noise, Lucille might hear the satisfying snap of the jammer locking onto what passes for a fetlock. …Assuming she gets the toss off before she’s crushed by the colossal hoof tearing through the pavement for purchase beneath her intended target.

A foghorn bellows out a bass warning from on high; the lights drop and shift their color, painting Lariat’s godzilla giraffe a uniform, bloody red.

Even in that light, they can see the line of scorched metal Claire’s left up its middle and across the spine of its neck. Sparks trickle from a few open seams, shaken loose with the rain as it takes another step. Still moving away.

As near to the edge of town as it is, Dearing’s ride is more than agile enough to outstrip it — to circle around it in laps, even.

…Of potentially more immediate concern is the lack of any report from Lariat 4.

Lariat-4 where the hell are you!?” Dearing shouts into his comm, watching the lumbering behemoth moving slowly as that alarming shade of red flushes through its mechanics. With a quick look back to Claire, Dearing reaching behind himself and slaps a canvas-covered bag behind his seat as a reminder. “Lariat-1, I’ll bring you alongside! Burst-fire at the knees, then we’ll cut ahead and anchor the tow cables!”

Slamming his foot down on the accelerator, Dearing buzzes down the straight, flat road and cuts far ahead of the machine. Periodically, he looks back over his shoulder to check the mechanical behemoth’s position, then once he’s sure he’s made enough forward progress weaves to cut in front of the monstrosity, giving claire an unobstructed line of fire to the front legs. “Kneecap it!”

Lighting it up had been a test to see how strong the exterior had been, so Claire grins with triumph to see the sparks raining down. “Lariat-2, I like your thinking,” the regenerator chirps over the com, checking to make sure the belt didn’t need changing, yet.

Satisfied with the ammo she still has, Claire settles herself in for round two. Bringing around the large assault weapon, she is ready as Dearing whips that vehicle around. “Let’s do this,” she shouts — for only the ears in the vehicle — with some enthusiasm; the tiny woman lets loose on the tall robots kneecaps. Working first on one and then the other.

There are times Claire might like her job a little too much.

Eyes widen as the foot above her comes hurtling down from her perspective, leaning forward and to the left she turns swiftly and just misses the hoof as it slams into the ground the dust billowing out from it bathed in a red light. Luce’s eyes almost miss the boulder in her path and jerking the bike over to the right causes her to almost lose it but a shift of her weight to the left gives her enough balance to stay right side up. Fuck. Her eyes flick to Claire and Dearing’s direction and the question blares in her mind as well.

Where the fuck was Felix?

Speeding further to the left until she's at a safe vantage point she kicks the stand out and leaps off from the bike, grabbing her launcher strapped to the side of her motorcycle and swinging her body around to line up the sights, “Lariat-5, rocket inbound,” flicking the switch up and aiming, “Three…Two..One.” Lucille’s finger presses the trigger and she watches as the rocket sails out in front of her, aiming for the body of the behemoth.

Curtis finishes prepping the grapnel launcher and then straps it back in on his leg, careful to arrange the prongs of the hook so they won't stab him in the leg should they hit a nasty bump. His hands are occupied with the machine gun, checking the ammo feed to make sure it's good, then he racks the slide on it and lifts it up. "Where the fuck is Felix?" He shouts, turning and twisting to look around himself and the buggy, trying to find the speedster somewhere. But then he sees the results of the fifty cal Claire is manning and the damage it's done to the big beasty. "Huh." His gun is lifted and he lights off a burst of high caliber rounds at the walking monstrosity, watching to see where they hit and what kind of damage they do. His rounds might not be fifty cal, but they're the next best thing at a .338.

Once he's observed damage he pans over to the legs and starts blasting away at armor plates, not going for deep damage, but he's more creating jagged surfaces for them to climb, chewing up armor plates so they can hook climbing lines on them, and creating handholds and the like. He's not trying to bring the thing down with his gun. Just make things easier. He's still singing too, though it's completely drowned out now by the noise of the machine, as well as his and Claire's machine gun fire. He does pause occasionally to look around, still trying to spot the speedster. "You guys let me know when you want me to jump out and start climbing. I'm prepped and ready to go." Curtis wants to climb that thing. In the middle of a firestorm and battle, climbing a moving mountain of robot? That's Curtis' idea of fun.

Dearing’s over-the-shoulder checks yield imagery of the tower pushing on down the residential street behind him in shades of hellfire, every laboured stride leaving the pavement in worse condition than the last. Claire’s not in any danger when she swings the turret around to bear, iron sights muscled on point despite the bump and lurch of buggy’s suspension beneath them.

It’s a big target.

In the seconds before Claire depresses the trigger, the tower’s horn ratchets up into a shrill, dog-whistle whine, and sheets of heavier rain flash steam off the gun’s barrel. It’s probably fine.

Curtis fires first; there’s a satisfying spray of shrapnel where his burst chips through layers of carbon fiber and steel; a light up in the root of the neck sparks dim. Concentrated from close range, it looks like it could chew through.

Then Claire fires, whud whud whud whu—

A ramrod of lightning drills into the street between the muzzle flash and the glowing core 50-cal rounds have cut in through the plating over its knee — close enough for everyone on the buggy to feel the heat, ozone rank in the air. One tendril lashes through the gun’s muzzle, along the barrel and right up the backs of Claire’s hands, zagging for her heart.

Dearing and Curtis each catch a less direct pop of electricity through wet metal.

Lucille can see blinding white light through the legs just as her rocket connects — a split-second tangle of electricity scorching through the rain and throwing sparks off the buggy ahead. Another bolt scorches through the tile of a nearby rooftop, setting dry attic wood within alight. Another plunges itself into the saucer of the beast overhead, sending a ripple of electricity crawling down through the skeletal neck and through the plated shoulders as it staggers across the long dead lawn of a long dead officer. Rocketfire rolls up its near flank, orange on black, dribbling molten metal and plastic.

A thrice-charged thunderclap punches air from lungs and sings at their already haggard eardrums, and the tower plows into a two-story home. It all but vanishes into a plume of dust and fire and hazy red rain, the lights on its dish twisting loch-ness-like out of the wreckage as it fights to keep its feet.

No one can hear the screams of profanity coming from Dearing following the strokes of lightning. He struggles to maintain control of the vehicle, knife-like tingling lancing up his arms. He slows down by necessity thanks to the flash of light ruining his night vision and squints against rain, against the darkness, swerving at the last minute to avoid a parked and derelict truck.

Bennet!” Dearing shouts over his shoulder. “Fuck! Fuck!” Stealing a glimpse at the lambert read cloud of steam rising up around the tower, Dearing hits the gas again to work that distance and keep them away from what amounts to an ambulatory lightning rod. “I thought the lightning field was disabled! Anybody? Give me a fucking update, what was that!?”

He can barely make out Lucille’s headlight in the dark, barely even able to see Curtis in the seat next to him. “Holy shit,” Dearing whispers, white-knuckle death grip on the steering wheel. “Holy shit,” he hisses again. He isn't thinking straight. This is way over his head.

Claire will barely remember seeing the flash of light as the bolt hits the ground and she definitely won’t see the tendril of it travelling down the length of the gun that she has her hands around. There isn’t even time to feel good about the damage she’s done to it. It is possible she might have gotten an Oh shit through her head before that flash hits.

What Claire will remember clearly will be the feeling of someone hitting her hard in the chest. The radiating pain through the upper half of her body, especially, that intense pain down her left arm. Luckily, she won’t have to feel it long as she slips into unconsciousness, slumping forward in her seat. Dearing’s only hint that something is wrong, will be the clang of her helmet bouncing against the railing behind his head.


Mouth agape as Lucille backs away slowly to her bike, “Shit son.” The Old Luce peeking out from the blanket of centeredness at the terrifying but oddly beautiful sight. Wincing at the thunderclaps so close to her. What the fuck? Shaking her head in an effort to steel herself she works her shoulders up and down and swings a leg over the bike and revs it up.

Pale blue eyes wide as she searches for the rest of her team through the smoke and destruction being rained down in the surrounding area. A pale hand goes out to grab at a syringe in her breast pocket and ripping the cap off with her teeth the woman injects it right into her neck with a sigh of elation while her body shudders. A moment later the motorcycle is wheeling into the air and Lucille is sailing through the dust towards the tower and hopefully her teammates. When the moment arrives and the Amp kicks it, she’d go for her radar to feel out around.

Curtis hisses in pain as that shock runs through him. Muscles twitch and his body spasms a little bit, his finger leaving the trigger so he doesn't accidentally light the gun off at something other than the giant robot. He waits until the shock passes before he lifts the gun again, depressing the trigger. He's firing in bursts, concentrating his fire carefully. "What in the actual fuck. Isn't the lightning supposed to be down?" There's an angry growl from Curtis before he looks over his shoulder at Claire, reaching out to try and check on her. "Claire, you alive back there? Say something." He waits for a response. "Fuck fuck fuck. Lariat 1 is down. I repeat Lariat 1 is down! Dearing! You're in charge!"

There's nothing Curtis can do for Claire right now. If they stop the vehicle sure. All he can do is hope her healing is still good enough to bring her back from the dead. Cuz he's pretty sure that's what just happened. That was a lot of lightning. "Lariat 5 are you still there? Please say something. And where in the literal fuck is Ivanov?!" Curtis starts to climb up out of his seat, moving to check on Claire more fully, and take over her spot at the gun if she is down. It's precarious, climbing around on the glorified dune buggy while it's running around in the middle of the night with a half blind driver.

Houses on either side of the street shrink smaller and closer together as Dearing accelerates away from the chaos, their southern faces flushed orange in the glow of one particular home collapsing into an inferno around the struggle of a giant metal kaiju. Ahead, mountains stripped bare by desert sand crag up into the rain.

Abruptly, the buggy runs out of road, suspension bouncing over a curb and on into scrubland. Claire’s helmet gives a particularly loud thump; the structure Curtis is clinging to jumps under his feet, threatening to launch him airborne.

Behind them: a second burst of lightning slashes down on the tower’s position as the last rounds Curtis fired off spark off the saucer — pounding the rooftop and the robot behemoth and the mailbox (still standing, somehow) as one massive foreleg pushes out through a brick wall — and snaps off at the elbow. The shank careens out of joint on a few threads of twisting cable; the entire structure screeches and groans forward on its struts, oversized head swinging wide off balance. It’s still partially entombed in rapidly depreciating real-estate.

Before them: brush and boulders and the barrel-bodied, meat-and-bone shoulder of a regular old donkey rush up at them out of the night, bleached white by the headlamps.

Lucille feels it all, as she catches up on their six. She feels Dearing white-knuckled in the driver’s seat, Curtis hanging on for dear life, Claire bobbling lifeless next to him. It’s quieter out here, on the fringes of the fight — noise reduced to the roar of their engines and the panic of their comm chatter.

She feels the donkey.

Ohshit!” Dearing hisses as he jerks the wheel to the right, tires skid-hopping across the rocky sand as he swerves to avoid the donkey and winds up spinning out completely before coming to a stop on the fringe. Breathing heavily, hands still clenched on the wheel, Dearing is now staring directly at the seething machine and its lurching movements, spun completely around in the rainy dark. Frozen in his seat, Dearing doesn’t respond when Curtis tells him he’s in charge, doesn’t respond when rain starts dripping down his brow and into his eyes.

Curtis has seen this before though. Not in Dearing, but definitely during the war, during the worst of the war when the raw inhumanity of Evolved powers applied to mundane soldiers was brought to bear. Some people who had never in their life seen what someone with telekinesis could do to a human body just disassociated — checked out from the shock. At the moment, Dearing is perhaps less conversational than the donkey, staring at where the lightning struck. It was one thing to see it at a distance, and another entirely to be attacked by it.

The lifeless thread that is Claire hums faintly for the biokinetic and she swerves with them as they go to avoid the donkey?!? A soft swear to herself and she feels her own heart beating before she snaps out with her ability to flood Claire’s body with adrenaline in hopes that it will jumpstart the woman’s heart. Lucille’s eyes flick over to the rest of them to her left and her eyes go up to stare down the retreating tower.

“Lariat-3, get 1 up!”

The auburn haired woman looks up to the sky and then to the machine again. They can't take it out with those lightning strikes. But goddamn it.. Luce tears off to the left with a groan of the bike as it races ahead and she kicks the stand and swerves to a stop before pulling her rocket launcher out and aiming and firing a rocket at one of the things ankles.

If it is one thing Claire had never had to wonder about; it’s what death feels like. There is a familiarity to the sensation… a type of pain that goes with coming back from the dead. The feeling of having your chest hit, even if it is just a surge of blood in the veins as the heart remembers how to beat.

One beat, two beat… a rhythm is established.

With a sharp jerk of her body and a sudden need to breath, Claire comes back to life, her whole body tingling as it works sluggishly to repair the damage. Of course, her first view is Curtis trying to get into that small cramped space. “Lariat-3, what the hell are you doing?” the regenerator tries to snap out the words, but it’s more of a rough croak of sound.

"Lariat 2 is non responsive." He calls into his coms, hoping someone somewhere hears that. He is trying to get Claire unhooked from the gun so he can check on her, and get her into the passenger seat so the gun can still be manned. "That's exactly what I'm trying to do Lu. It's not exactly a big space, and I'm not exactly a small person. Fuck it." He starts to pull back, intending to get out and on top of the vehicle to pull Claire free of the big gun when she… wakes up? It only takes him a moment to put two and two together. "Thanks for the save 5." 5 being Lucille. "Well Claire I was trying to rescue you since you just died via lightning bolt. Thankfully we have an amped up Lulu on our team and I'm pretty sure she just restarted your heart. Now, Dearing is non responsive. This thing needs to come down. I'm going up."

He drops back to his seat, grabbing his gear, though he leaves his pretty new machine gun behind, and he just takes off running towards the giant monstrosity, the grapple launcher out and held in one hand, the other free and ready as he races at the machine. "Sorry. There's no one to drive that buggy. You should get Dearing clear." Claire will have seen this too, that shock and paralysis. It's not something that most people just snap out of. Also Claire should get clear, but no way in HELL is Curtis suggesting it in that way. “Lariat 5 I’m inbound on that thing. Try not to shoot me if you can help it. If you can’t? Well… get the mission done.”

Zzzt. On the edge of her return to consciousness, Claire detects a dark shape — shorter and stubbier than the average cigar —- buzzing heavy from some tent or crevice in the hood to alight on the breast of Dearing’s armor. Bzzt. It tucks away insectoid wings and crawls for his face, antennae gentle in a probe at the corner of his mouth.

Zzt. It flutters, as it touches.

Firelight blossoms across the desert mud at a second rocket’s impact at the end of a stream of propellant and smoke. The shockwave sweeps a sphere of hard-packed air through the rain. At its core, the tower continues to struggle against the house it’s collapsed itself into, an avalanche of pulverized brick and mortar cascaded down into the street with a sluggish kick of one saurian hindquarter.

Another foghorn bellow rises mournful into the stormclouds.

It’s trapped — a promising target for Curtis, in the horizontal sheer of rain shoved outward by Lucille’s rocket. Nothing but the sound of his boots pounding mud at close range under the behemoth's mechanical song.

The weight that strikes him from behind comes unannounced and unseen, burning red lenses a smear in the night, living weight and the stink of searing hot metal and a long needle pushing out between wet fangs. A hunter bounds onto his back as he runs, rubber and steel gripping into his armor, twisting for purchase as it drives him to the ground at a roll. There’s exposed flesh in there somewhere, the robot knows — needlepoint searching for the violent red of human hide as it claws over him, struggling to lock him down in a cloud of steam.

The touch of something foreign on his face has Dearing reflexively reaching up in the way millennia of don't let bugs land on you instills in people. But when his hand touches the fibrous metallic legs, flimsy wings, twitching carbon-fiber thorax in roughly cigar shape he immediately recoils. Senses come back and the realization that something is on his mouth has him letting out a strangled howl.

Dearing tears free of the seatbelt like a frightened elephant finally realizing the tent stake holding it in place has no real strength. The buckles snap, and Dearing throws himself out of the seat, slap-wiping hands across his face, making spitting noises and trying to get the machine-fly off of his face. “Fuck, fuck!” Dearing screams into the dark.

Recovery was much more sluggish than Claire would like, fingers still shaky and tingling from the shock fumble with the straps of the harness. “Lariat-3 stop!” But the words are too slow for warning the man. “Dammit. Lariat-5 where you at? Incoming. Lariat-3 needs assistance.” The buckle finally snaps apart, allowing her to move a little more freely.

Claire looks at the 50-cal and for a moment considers it, but the distance and darkness. There is a chance she’d hit Curtis. This is where she’ll need to trust her team to work together. They needed to get the vehicle and plan on the move again.

Which means, figuring out what the hell was up with Dearing — a glance over her shoulder — and quick. “Lariat-2!” Claire snaps out as she crawls out of the cage and drops to her feet unsteadily. “We have to get this plan moving…” It is said with a growl of irritation that might stem from things other than a man hopping around. What man is afraid of a damn bug?

Though he is tall, Claire manages to snag the top edge of his AEGIS armor chest plate and uses the weight of herself to pull him down with the expressed purpose of removing the bug. “God you're such a wimp, it’s just a — “ The glint of metal as her fingers wrap around it, is a bit of a shock. “What the fuck is that?!?” She yelps even though she still tries to get it off her teammate.

What the hell is it with this place?!?

The sound of running feet come before the dark figure that is Lucille can be seen sailing through the air a moment later mouth open in a battle cry as she wields two blades, one in each hand and aims them downward to sink into the metal of the hunter.

Gold glowing eyes narrowed as she moves to straddle the beast and work the blades down into its body. Her asymmetrical blazer and headwrap flailing about in the wind caused by her movements. Coming to the aid of Curtis is swift, her bike a few feet away propped up from when she went to fire that rocket. Long limbs used to scale the robot before she's howling in pain from the hot to the touch metal.

Heart pounding heavily in her chest as she cries out from the searing hot metal and rolls off of the hunter while still holding onto one of the blades using the hunter’s back legs as leverage with her boot, she goes for her sidearm and unhooks it before emptying a clip in the robot’s side, Lu's teeth chattering from the impact. Her ability blooms into overdrive aided by the Amp coursing through her veins. Alleviate. The biokinetic’s whole body receives the removal of the sensation of pain she's enduring like the tide slowly receding. She’ll be sorry for this later.

What in the fucking fuck…

"Sorry 1. Two is down and I doubt you're up to fighting speed yet. Go ahead and hit it with the big gun. I trust you not to kill me." Lucille on the other hand? Well he knows Lucille wouldn't kill him on purpose but… "Get clear 1. Find out where the fuck 4 is." There's a slew of curse words after that, most involving Ivanov, sometimes his mother. Occasionally the donkey in the street which he has now named Ivanov. His boots hit the ground, pounding out a heavy rhythm. He's sprinting headlong for the giant robot, one hand pulling out the grapnel launcher, lifting it to aim as he approaches. "Lariat 5 do you see an-" He's cut off as he goes down hard, slamming chest first into the ground. His finger reflexively jerks and pulls the trigger on the grapnel launcher, sending the hook skittering along the ground, the rope uncoiling behind it. That's going to mean a manual throw.

Curtis feels that weight settle on his back, and is pretty sure what it is just from the weight and the fact that it's not crushing him to death by being there. Though when he twists at the waist to look back at it it does confirm it for him. "Oh fuck you." He growls out as he tries to both twist himself around beneath it, and reaches out to try and grab that jaw assembly so he can keep that needle away from him. With that twist he's also trying to get his legs back underneath him, knees or feet either would work and give him more leverage against the big robo heroine dog. "Didn't your masters teach you it's rude to jump on guests?"

Then there's a Lucille to the rescue, stabbing and slashing and shooting. It's enough distraction for Curtis to get that twist around he's been looking for so he can stop trying to dodge a needle he can't really see. With twisting around under the cat tiger thing he's aiming a hand for that head assembly and the giant needle there. The other hand is reaching for the throat and the exposed tubing there, trying to grab a hold and yank and tug and pull something loose. “Bad kitty! No biting!” It’s not really trying to bite him, but that needle is close enough.

Even a beetle the size of a quarter has some solid leverage to the claw of its feet when it doesn’t want to be held. This one is the size of a grapefruit slice, and made of metal, pincers like great, segmented fangs gripped onto Dearing’s collar for dear life where it’s fallen in all the ruckus.

They’re called raptorial forelegs — as they may learn later — in the creature that inspired them. And they’re called that for a reason.

Its little eyes glint blue in the chaotic dance of shadow between the flailing of Wolfhounds and the strike vehicle lighting up a ring of rainy desert ahead. It digs in against Claire’s efforts, gripping on tight — Bennet can feel it pushing back wiggling its buggy butt flush to armor to resist removal until a wrench and a twist finally tears it free. Hooked feet kicking air, it buzzes in her grasp, the sensation of its fury tingling through her armor and into her bones. It’s long and flat in its insectoid armor, with six legs and a mean pair of graspers.

Dearing is fine. Claire is fine. The bug is fine. Everything is fine!

The eyes turn red. Its wing casings swivel open. ZZZZZzt.

Back in the neighborhood, flames crawl through the rubble pinning the shambled tower into place; it heaves, sending another avalanche of debris crumbling into the street. Smoke rolls black against flushes of lighter steam; red lights wink dim where the smog is thickest.

Between here and there, a hunterbot twists against the hand Curtis has buried wrist-deep in its gullet, mechanical muscle choked into an angle too awkward for its syringe to sink home. It drips warm on Curtis’ cheek as the needle strains out further still through steel fangs, razor tip probing like a bee’s sting, fighting for every millimeter it can close.

The brunt of the bot’s weight bucks over him behind the locked pivot of its head and neck, digging in against his efforts to find further leverage, heat blinding through his gloves. It’s like wrestling a branding iron into stalemate — one stubby rubber foot driven into the mud just between his legs, another braced at his gut.

…Then Lucille lands on its back.

Its elbows buckle under her added weight — launching the shoulders and the skull and the needle directly down into her teammate beneath it. It only lasts an instant, but that instant is all it takes for Curtis to feel muggy warmth bleeding into his neck from the needle’s stick. The hunter doesn’t even seem to recognize its own victory — too fleeting amidst the chaos, screaming like a mountain lion made of hornets in the fog of its own steam. Furious.

Lucille’s blades rake in through its bare ribs and against the coarse composite of its engine casing, and the hunter thrashes upright against the onslaught, needle swung around for Lucille’s knee. It only gets halfway there before Curtis rips loose the hose he’s snarled his left hand up into.

Coolant sprays free in a surge of fresh steam, spattering all three parties in the tangle — freezing sand and steel and armor and the skin beneath. The metal cast of the hunter’s skull gets the worst of it, frost racing brittle across faux bone and into the wiring beneath.

It reels from the combined imbalance of Lucille’s kick and Curtis’ shove, backpeddling, blinded by the cold crystalizing over red lenses. Small arms fire sends it staggering. A gout of flame funnels out through its ruptured body case as bullets rap against its flank, and finally shatter through the frozen skull in an explosion of ice and shrapnel.

The first hunter drops.

A second leaps up onto the top of the buggy’s cage.

The sound of the second Hunter landing atop the buggy has Dearing wheeling about, blood running down his neck in thin rivulets from where the insect was torn free, leaving tiny punctures. He snorts against the pain, rain pattering down against his brow and dripping off the tip of his nose. Finding Felix, right about now, would be amazing. But there's more immediate concerns. Adrenaline pumping, heart racing, hands shaking, Dearing brushes Claire aside and takes five long strides toward the vehicle, then climbs up and at the Hunter.

Instead of trying to avoid the mechanical predator, he lunges at the thing, long fingers on strong hands grasping at the sides of its mechanical skull as he wrenches it off of the top of the buggy, hauls it's several hundred pound weight without issue. This is the one thing he does well. With the Hunter in hand, Dearing drops off of the buggy and in a fit of blind rage and fear begins swinging it like a rag doll, smashing it against the ground in an attempt to just bludgeon the machine to pieces.

Claire is ostensibly in charge right now.


The metallic sound of the hunter bot landing on the buggy has a startled Claire turning, with the large robotic bug in hand still. Oh crap. Eyes wided a little, as they are kind of caught with their weapons still in the buggy. Real smart.

There is one weapon she has immediately at her hand. So with her eyes on the bot on the buggy, while she retrieves her knife. Or starts too, until Dearing brushes her aside like some rich noble would a peasant…. And proceeds to go all Hulk on the robot.

“Whoa.” She did not know he could do that.

There is a moment of staring, before she gives a shake of her head and pulls the knife, but not for the big bot no…. Eyes narrow at the robot in her fingers, watching how the metallic wings flutter in irritation at being caught. Finding a spot just big enough to slip the knife tip into it. Sliding it in there, Claire gives it a deft twist… only get another zap.

Both knife and bug are dropped with a series of curses and she gives it a few stomps of her boot for good measure. Finally, she looks up at the raging Dearing. Claire has had about enough of everything. “Hurry it up Lariat-2,” she snaps out, “and get in and drive.” The regenerator pulls herself back into the buggy, checking over that 50-cal, while calling over the radio. “Lariat-3 and 5. Report! Lariat-4? Has anyone heard from him yet?”

She doesn't feel anymore pain currently but she looks in horror at the ice over surface that is her arm, eyes wide the golden irises swirling as she bares her teeth and climbs to her feet, walking over to wrench her blades from the hunter’s body. Lucille inspects the blades if ruined no matter, there were more on the bike. Regardless of the fact she walks over to Curtis while speaking into comms, “Peachy here,” a hand given to Curtis to help him up.

“No sign of him.” In reply to Felix’s whereabouts and Lucille can feel that sense of dread growing. Where was he?

With a grunt she makes her way quickly to her bike and slides on with a look over to Curtis. “You're heavy but, we should go around the houses to the tower.” Curtis can attempt to hop on and they ride off or follow at a slower pace or whatever he chooses. Lucille has an advantage of Amp she still wants to take advantage of she looks over towards where Dearing with tossing a hunter around like a chew toy and an eyebrow raises. That's where they gotta go first, revving the bike up she speeds towards the pair. “Inbound to your position Lariat 1.” This is so fucked.

Curtis takes Lucille's hand up and staggers to his feet after throwing the weight of the now dead catbot off of him. He's unsteady, wavering a little bit, his vision going down to his burned hands, and then to the blood leaking from where the syringe punched into him. His head is shaken a couple of times. "Hell. Got a partial dose of the uhhh…" He pauses a moment searching for the word, mind a little fuddled. "Lu, mind giving me a shot of adrenaline? Not a full negation but enough to leave me cloudy. Need to shake it off." He looks down at her own burned hands and arms. "You good?" He asks her as he ambles over to where his grapnel launcher fired off. He leaves the launcher itself, it's canister is spent, he can retrieve it later. But he does grab the rope and hook and quickly windes it up around his arm, then hooks the hook onto his gear and heads back over to the bike. "Just to the buggy." He comments to Lucille, sliding onto the back of the bike. He is big, and heavy. And it'll be an awkward ride. But hey what are friends for?

The strike vehicle bounces on its shocks under Dearing’s climbing weight — and again when he hurls the hunter off its roll cage and into the desert mud. One of the rear legs snaps upon second smash, robot hips crooked out of joint. The skull splits wide open down the middle, needle sprung out in a missed goblin shark strike mid-arc over Dearing’s head.

It snaps shut again just in time to be rocked back into the ground in a flash of filthy steam, one red eye shattered dark.

…And on, and on, bits and pieces slung off into the rain as its ribs tent in around its engine casing, and its limbs twist and tear loose. Ivanov the donkey spooks through the carnage, a ghostly blur pelted with scrap as he streaks through the rain.

Electricity crackles blue-white in the mud where Claire’s stomped the bug flat, sparking in fits and starts. As she climbs back into the vehicle, there’s a distinct pop of detonated ordinance from the bug’s last known position. It’s gone — a bit of leg left behind in a crater too small to distinguish from any other footprint.

Lucille and Curtis arrive in buddy-riding-style to see it flash like a little firecracker in the night — subtle, against the show of Dearing thrashing a mechanical jaguar into shrapnel.

Behind them, the tower calls out again, forghorn cry rolling mournful through the mountains.

It’s not going anywhere.

They probably have time to regroup. Probably.

Fuck this place!” Dearing shouts as he stumbles back and away from the twisted metal carnage of the broken hunterbot. One hand comes up to his head, neck, face, feeling for injuries shock might be hiding. His palm comes back clean each time, save for the smudge of machine grease from the Hunter.

By the time he's shambling back to the buggy, he's able to bunk just a little more clearly. “It's— it keeps calling for help,” Dearing finally pieces together what everyone else has likely figured out a while ago. “It's stuck, we just need to blow the goddamn dish!” He’s shouting, climbing back into the buggy’s driver’s seat.

Looking out into the dark distance, Claire ponders what Dearing says…. Cause he isn’t wrong. “Good to have you back, Lariat-2,” she comments without any real judgement for what had happened. The awkward arrival of the other two, gets a nod of acknowledgement, it is clear she is already adjusting that perfectly planned assault. Nothing ever works as planned.

“Lariat-5. Looks like you are getting some serious action with your launcher? We have the laser sight for bringing in the heavy artillery, but we are still in too far into town. So it is going to be up to you.” Blue eyes go to the pair on the bike, thoughtful. Then a glance down to Dearing.


There is a touch more confidence to the tiny ex-terrorist as she unrolls the new plan. “Lariat-3… take the 50-Cal.” Claire swings herself out of the cage, even though she had just gotten into it. Approaching the bike, she continues, “I’ll take Lariat-5 in close enough to get a rocket off…. More if need be. Lariat-2 do your best to not get the two of you killed by lightning and do your best to keep it distracted.” Pointing at the gun as she says that.

Golden eyes take in the rest of the squad and in the distance the donkey gets a frown, what to do about that. Poor guy. Claire begins to give out orders and the head wrapped woman nods, the only thing visible being her eyes giving off an eerie effect if the eyes weren't enough. The pain from her encounter with the hunter is held at bay as she nods and a unseen smile cracks at the blonde’s words. “Let's get to it.” In agreement and a nod the taller woman is sliding back to the bike and grabbing the launcher and loading it before hopping on once Claire starts the bike up.

Leaning in close to stay steady until they’re at a good vantage point to fire at the dish, Lucille’s thighs grip the side of the bike as they ride through the dust and debris her blazer trailing behind them, the pair an intimidating sight on the bike together.

Her head cocks to the side as the tower looms before them, it really is quite terrifying and beautiful at the same time. It's foghorn making her think of sadness, if the thing had a soul Lucille might feel something and even though it obviously doesn't that sound still makes her frown behind the mask of fabric around her face. Nonetheless Lucille readies for the shot and the moment she gets the opportunity she rises on the shocks of the bike one hand on Claire's shoulders before she lines her sights and blows the first of the rockets aimed at the dish, wind and grit still assaulting her even with her face veiled but she stares through. Another rocket is loaded if given the chance.

Curtis jerks his thumb over his shoulder as the bike pulls up to the buggy and he hears Dearing's shout. "There's another one over there if you want to take out some more frustration on it." Curtis rolls his eyes a bit at Dearing's finally catching up to the rest of the club, and he climbs off of Lulu's bike. A quick hop has him up on the buggy's cage and he vaults himself over the rest of it and into the gunner's spot once Claire has cleared it.

He checks the grappling hook and it's rope around his left shoulder making sure it's still there and untangled. "We're going to need to climb it 1. We shot some armor off, but even between the rockets and this fifty cal we don't have the ammo to take the head off. We're going to need to climb and plant the explosives to bring it down."

Explosives that Curtis decides to take a moment and check over, making sure he's still got arming triggers and all the little blocks of explosives are right where they should be. "Hopefully these triggers aren't fried from that lightning blast…" He looks over at Lucille. "Might want to hold onto your last rocket if you can… might need to hit the explosives with it."

Curtis settles in with the gun though, not bothering with the harness. it's sized for a much smaller Claire and adjusting it will take too much time atm. So he just checks the ammo feed and swings the gun around. "You ready 2?" He calls down to Dearing. "And try not to hit our Donkey yeah?" War veterans are a strange bunch.

Thunder rolls under the crawl of chain lightning through the cloud cover. Orders are issued, vehicles are traded, munitions are checked, and the tower flickers, lights rippling red into darkness, and then red again.

Its prison is burning, the house it stumbled into engulfed in flame too thick and too hot for the rain to give it pause. If Curtis intends to climb it, he’ll have to overcome the house fire.

Its ongoing cries for help go unanswered — the bulk of Irwin’s human fighting force caught up in the heat of battle with Bullwhip. Flashes of an ongoing firefight crack and sizzle to the south, closer and sharper than the thunder’s grumble. Occasionally there are screams — shreds of radio interference over the comms, confused reports of dead men walking.

Lucille’s rocket rends through a section of the dish; debris shocks out in a sphere of destruction from on high. Hubcap-sized meteorites of burning shrapnel crater the earth around the bike, trailing streams of god-knows-what.

Lariat,»" comes a voice, over the comms, disembodied but recognisable as Hana Gitelman's voice. "«This is Nambiza. I've disabled its access to the lightning field hardware — target is safe to approach.»"

For a very, very generous interpretation of the word 'safe'. And the word 'target', for that matter.

The red lights dim at last, and go black. The tower slumps sadly, great metal vertebrae groaning under the strain of the dish’s weight as it tilts off center. It’s very dramatic.

Pooled rain runs off the far side in sheets, crashing into the fire without fully dowsing it to darkness.

Our donkey?” Dearing shoots off through the comms. “Okay, first off— ” No, no. No. Dearing wrenches his eyes shut and gives the wheel a slap with the heel of his palm. “We can’t get in close with that fire at its base. One rocket might not be sufficient, but we’ve got the tow cables and grappling hooks. If we can get two cables anchored on the dish we might be able to pull it down the rest of the way and let gravity do the rest.” Dearing looks over at Claire, revving the buggy’s engine, then beginning to speed ahead and back toward the slouched tower.

“We’ve got three cables. We can tie one to the buggy, I can grab one bare-handed, and maybe Lariat-3 can grab another and get an adrenaline boost? I think with the three of us pulling in one direction we might be able to haul that old bitch over.” Curtis looks ahead to the rain and the slouched metal neck of the tower. “Then it’s just a matter of getting in close once it’s all the way down.”

“Thank you, Nambiza.” is said in acknowledgement of their boss. “And nice job, Lariat-5,” Claire states rather impressed that it worked so well. Didn’t completely do the job, but they knew it was doable. It takes everything in her not to be that person that gives Curtis a smug look. Twice now.. He doubted her. Though she does comment blandly. “Lariat-3, no. you’re not climbing that, you’ll get fried from the heat it is producing.”

The bike comes to a stop next to Dearing in the buggy so that she can see him. She listens to the plan, nodding along. Following after when he takes off towards it. “With those front legs weakened, that plan should work.” She looks up at Curtis in the upper seat, but only a quick glance so that she can watch where she is going on the bike. “Lariat-3. Think you can act like a part of the team and actually go with the plan on this one? Maybe on the approach add a few more points of impact to the legs with that 50-cal? Weaker those legs the easier it’ll tip.”

“Lariat-5, get the grappling hook.” Claire, she brings the bike to a stop with a dusty skid of tires once they are close enough. “Give it to Lariat-3 and give him a boost when he gets the thing attached.”

Thank you Mom.

For getting the lightning to stop, also. Thank you Hana. It’s strange she always feels though as if her mother is protecting her. She dips her hand into her clothes to pull out and kiss the locket she gave her before slipping it back inside and listening to the others plan it out. Curtis gets a grin masked and a shake of her head, he’s always so ready. She doesn’t outright snicker at her friend but a snort escapes her and she walks over to pat him on the back once they’re reunited.

Eyes still blazing gold she turns her eye to the fire and the tower something biblical about it in nature really and Lucille agrees with Dearing and Claire, “A boost is easy.” With the amp running through her veins, anxious to get out of here already and a strange yearning for human targets overcomes the woman and she takes the chance to grab the hook as they ride off towards the tower, ready to swing it when prompted.

"Considering you were dead two minutes ago and 2 was checked the fuck out of reality? I'm not sure how sure your footing on smug hill is there 1." Curtis replies back to Claire in a dry tone. "This mission was damn near down to 5 and I." He's got the fifty cal all ready and primed for when they get into a good range to use it again. "Hey I'm back here with the gun aren't I?”

“And I’m happy to go with plans that are smart. Sit here and shoot at it is not a good plan. Pull the fucker down star wars style is a damn good plan. So no, I have no problems with this plan.” Curtis eyes the distance up to the top of the radio tower head of the robot. “Damn that’s a tough throw. Why isn’t 2 doing the throwing and 1 driving?” He asks of Claire and Dearing both. “40 feet straight up is a tough throw even for me. Which is why I brought the launcher. Fucking hunter. I’ll try the throw though.”

“Oh, and whoever does end up in the passenger spot, my machine gun is still in there if you wanna throw some pain while we approach.” Curtis swings the fifty cal around and points it in the direction of the big ass robot. “And yes 2. Our donkey. I’ve named it Ivanov. And it’s totally coming back to the bunker with us. We doing this or not?” He asks as he eyes the 40 feet of scalding hot steel and carbon fire, that also has a fire raging around it’s base too now. “Once more unto the breach.” He mumbles softly, not quite to himself, it’s loud enough for the coms to catch.

Lightning crawls through the cloud cover, violet against the dull orange soaked into thunderheads from the fire blazing below, but it doesn’t strike down, and the behemoth doesn’t move. Much.

The great weight of the dish sags further on its suspension — a cable cracks and twangs through the rigging of the spine against the strain. It’s some twenty feet off the ground at its lowest point, with the neck arched over in death — a more manageable throw in this sad state.

Because it is dead — absolutely, definitely dead — slumped over forward in a residential bonfire, wreathed in rain and smog and flame. No light of its own, no movement but for the theatrical settling of massive metal bones against the weight of their own demise. All it’s missing is a vulture or two to shuffle their wings in its struts.

Just the most dead anything has ever been.

…The tower is still attempting to transmit.»" Nambiza narcs, by way of a you’re welcome.

Kids,” Dearing says with a strain of his voice, “either get married or shut it.” Grabbing one of the cables and hooks, Dearing moves to the fore of the buggy. “And clean out your ears, because I'm doing the hauling. Lariat-3, stay in the goddamn buggy and fire yours once 1 gets you in range. I'll meet you all there.”

With that, Dearing hops out of the buggy to cut a path diagonal from the vehicle’s intended direction. Powers by tremendous strength, Dearing runs with the cables over his shoulder, ready to loop one point of the three-point pull once the other members are in position.

There may be some bristling at Dearing’s joke… Did he just?! Jaw tightening and a daggers glared at his back. All that was left was a well placed Fuck you, Dearing or just offering him a salute with her middle finger. However, she doesn’t do either, that might get her drug to the principal's office and make his labeling them as kids true. Instead, Claire takes a deep breath and sighs it out in hopes of calming her temper.

Between the two men, her limit is about maxed.

She might have to buy Lucille a beer later as a thank you for being the only one who isn’t a dick in the group. Claire relinquishes the bike and motions the other woman over to the buggy. “You get to ride shotgun. Remember, to give him a boost,” gripping the other woman’s shoulder, she moves to hop into the driver’s seat. Only waiting long enough for Lucille to settle before she brings them close enough for Curtis to launch those hooks.

Eyes that are usually pale blue squint at Curtis with a tilt of her head and her gift unfurls within her and just before she offers Curtis a little pain to shut his mouth, the reigns of control Lucille has worked so hard to hold snap in place and she clears her head with a shake of it. Deciding to let the Major or karma deal with her fellow Amarok member. There’s no time for any of that and nodding to Claire she hops into the buggy while lifting the heavy gun, blades strapped to her back she squints down at the heavy machinery in her hands, grabbing at the familiar gip and lifting. One more glance at her bike with other other tools and she makes a promise to speed back here when she gets the chance, no man gets left behind. Or motorcycle.

As they race forward Lucille’s eyes are on the tower and then she’s leaning over and firing a volley of bullets at the damaged sections mainly going for the legs.

Without warning Curtis’ body is flooded with adrenaline and with it comes all the advantages and disadvantages of increased reflex time, speed mixed with the feelings of anxiety. Fight or flight, fight or flight. The only indication that Lucille’s ability is at work is the flaring of her already gold burning eyes, sweat beads on her brow and is caught by the cloth around her. Even with the Amp, she is pushing herself hard, with the nullifying of her pain from the burns to the radar and the now boost of adrenaline sent Curtis’ way, her teeth grit beneath that cloth mask but it forms into a mad grin, high on the power she’s feeling. Another volley of bullets hits the leg of the tower as Curtis and Dearing go for their hooks.

Thanks mom. We'll finish it off.» And Curtis says it with a smirk but he means it too. His gaze flickers over to Dearing when he starts speaking. Low blow Dearing. Low blow. The surprise on Curtis' face might be worth it though. His head jerks back and he stares at Dearing for a few moments, but hey… he shuts his mouth.

Curtis mans the fifty cal and lets loose with a stream of fire, raking it along the beast's legs. The fire gets more accurate when adrenaline floods his system even further, enhancing reflex and reaction times. But then they're in close and Curtis quits with the fifty cal. He climbs up and out of the buggy dropping to the ground, with a tumble if it's still moving, or just to his feet if it's not. He needs room to wind up for the throw. With the tower leaning low though the throw is a lot easier. A few quick rotations of the hook and he lets fly. If it catches he'll be looking to tie that hook off to the buggy and then get the other for another throw.

Fifty caliber rounds drill through failing crossbeams and into the tower’s exposed foreleg, leaving a glowing line of torn armor to sizzle and steam in the storm and the smoke.

Heat from the house fire warms through the rain at a distance, and stifles into pressure cooker intensity up close and personal, wet rope slithering through hands after the arc of grappling hooks swung for the dish. Dearing’s strikes first, and his hook finds an anchor after a long, sparking scrape down the dish.

Curtis’ tangles in the exposed snarl of understructure left gawping after the impact of Lucille’s last rocket.


A shock of movement ripples down the ridge of the behemoth’s spine, vaporizing runoff into a new wreathe of steam and red lights buzzing back to life; it swings the dish up and out into rain, locking loose coils in snare-tight around elbows and shoulders and anything else liable to be caught up in the sudden whipcord lock of tension. Dearing and Curtis are snapped up into the air like swings on a carnival ride, traveling on an arc that promises to end in a tetherball twist around the neck, until —

It tries to take a step.

The knee it’s pushed out through the fire buckles at the cross-section of glowing armor, and the structure folds forward in a slow-motion surge of mass to gravity.

Dearing and Curtis are still in flight, but the sudden change in direction throws a jolt of slack through the line, giving each a split second to disengage or commit to a cable ride back down to earth. The tower folds face-first into the street, dish plowing through asphalt after the buggy in a tidal wave of torn metal, concrete, and fire.

Somewhere in that whip-crack arc, Dearing lost his grip on the cable. Gloved hands slipped off rain-slicked braided metal cables and he windmilled end over end through the air. Claire catches sight of him — a dark shape backlit against fire — right before he collides into a third story window in a shower of glass and debris, disappearing from sight.

There are moments when you suddenly think… Yeah. I should have thought about that. This was one of those times when both men at whipped up into the air by something far bigger than them. They might be strong, but they don’t have the weight behind it. Claire glances at Lucille next to her with rueful smile. “Shoulda thought of that.”

WHen the knees buckle there is a cheer, but it doesn’t last long as Dearing goes flying.

There is only time enough to see his trajectory, noting it so she can go find him if need be, before the crunch and crash of the Godzillama…. Thing… forces her to save herself and Lucille. “Hold on!” She half shouts as she cranks the wheel on the buggy and stomps the pedal to the floor. With a spray of sand and sagebrush, the women race — hopefully — out of the path of the robot and everything the bulldozer of a head is sending their way. “What do you think, Lariat-5? You got another rocket for that thing?”

There is a quick glance behind them and she grins at Lucille, “Just watch out for the boys. OR… I have a pack full of charges back there. You wanna go for overkill?”

Looks like Team Rocket’s blasting off againnnnnn.

Lucille’s eyes are wide as the two go flying into the air, her eyes tracking Dearing’s descent before she’s refocusing on the tower itself allowing her senses to inform her of Dearing’s whereabouts in the building. They jerk and bump to escape the dish and debris and Lu grunts at the impact of their maneuvers. “He’s alive..” She says softly through the comms but her eyes haven’t found Curtis, she does a search for him as well before eyebrows lift as she turns to Claire. There on her belt hang two more rockets, a hand goes to load one of them into her launcher. Lining her sights up with the other two out of the way she cocks her head and rises slowly leaning against the railing of the buggy. An amber gold iris takes in her target as her lips flatten to a line.

Flicking her finger, she sends the rocket flying towards the tower watching only for a moment before going to load in the last one. There are explosives after this and then after that…

Curtis turns with grappling line in hand is about to tie it off to the buggy when… he gets lifted into the air and goes swinging around the neck of the behemoth. He's quiet as he pulls himself along the line, inching towards the body of the robot. Until it suddenly changes direction. "Shit!" He cries into the comms as he goes… well flying. He watches the roof of a house come up fast and tucks into a ball, head down to protect himself, and rolls across the roof, disappearing off the other side into the yard, out of sight of the rest of the team. And he doesn't check in immediately on the coms. Either unconscious or winded and unable to speak. Or dead. Dead is always a possibility.

A burst water main blasts water back up at the storm in an arcing cascade; smoke and fire and steam fill the air as the burning house collapses after the fallen tower. Visibility is abysmal, but there is a stir of movement among the wreckage — massive metal plates shuddering around a failing engine.

The buggy is well clear.

Lucille’s first rocket slams the silhouette of the dish in a wash of yellow and blue flame, rocking down the slack twist of its neck. Electricity snaps across the rubble from a ruptured cable, blinding white through the smog.

The second rocket plunges in through the crater left by the first; detonation occurs in the core if its gullet.

The dish explodes.

Some of it does, anyway — shrapnel ejected in a whump of flame that rolls upward over the neighborhood. Curtis and Dearing get the worst of it where they’ve landed — sheer force traveling outward in a shockwave they can feel in their lungs. Flaming debris rains down from on high, bits of carbon fiber and metal rattling against windows and rooftops and through the buggy’s cage like hail. A chunk of burning dish the size of a bathtub levels a nearby mailbox.

The last red lights die out through the machine’s rigging. It lies still, and after a few moments, the cooling plate of its armor begins to plink and tink in the rain, and the flood.

Shortly after the second explosion rocks the radar bot thing, Claire brings the buggy to a skidding halt the back end fishtailing around. There are a few blinks as she looks at the dead robot, then over to her teammate. “Holy hell, that worked,” the regenerator sounds kinda surprised about that.

Her attention is brought back to the scene before them, when bits of robot start to rain on them. Claire is really given a jolt of reality when the mailbox a few feet from them is flatted.

That bit of smoldering wreckage gets a stare, then it click. Sitting up in the seat, “Shit, the guys.” She starts to unbuckle as fast as she can, keeping her emotions just below a panic. Last thing she needed was two dead teammates on her watch. “Check three… I'll see if I can find two.” With that she is pulling herself out of the buggy and running for the last place she saw Dearing flying.

The raining of debris and swirl of ash and smoke mixed with steam and the rain give an otherworldly effect and Lucille covers her eyes as the fruits of their combined efforts rain down around them. Lu smiles and briefly pulls down her mask to show teeth while reaching over to pat Claire on the shoulder, “Good plan,” she says before following suit her gaze trailing in the direction that she feels Curtis’ heartbeat, picking her way through fast hoping that he isn’t hurt too bad.

Lucille checks her weapons as she moves, hands steady as she jumps over a pile of flaming metal.

Slowing as she reaches the house — or she thinks it is, since now most houses have blown out windows now — Claire looks up at the broken second story windows. “Dearing?!?” She calls out over the sound of crackling fire and raining debris, tilting her head a bit, as if it could hep her hear better. Nope. There is a soft curse, from the woman.

Lucky for her, the door is half off its hinges from the blast already. So it only takes a solid kick to open it enough to slide in.

The building creaks and there is the distinct smell of smoke. It is enough to get Claire to hurry up the stairs two at a time. “Lariat-2. What’s your status?” Off the com, she adds “Dearing?!? Report!” Luckily she only has to open two doors before she finds him…

…partly buried under two separate walls, plaster all over his black uniform, drywall perched over his form like a hobo’s ten, boots visible with toes up. At the sound of Claire’s voice there's a muffled sound, then another, and a piece of drywall comes sliding away to reveal Dearing’s gloves hand reaching out, as if for help.

Then the hand turns into a slow and shaky thumbs up.

He’ll be fine.

Continuing to pick her way through the rubbles Lucille doesn’t feel the need to call out instead relying on the remaining boost from the Amp in her body to extend herself past her usual capabilities. With measured steps the woman moves ahead a hand raised lightly to rest on the blade behind her shoulder though she feels no other biotic signatures asides from Claire and Dearing behind her. Grateful even more for the cloth she has been using as a mask to protect her face as well as identity, a callback to the days of the war where she allowed the effect of her golden glowing eyes to stall men with fear before she struck alongside Colette. There’s a yearning for her friend and Berlin that Luce quenches with the reminder that they were both more than capable to deal with whatever was in that hospital.

Her eyebrow quirks as she draws nearer to Curtis’ signature, the electricity from his neurons and nerves calling out to her as she draws close. Eyes downcast and to her left to regard his shape, “You gonna just lay there like a log?” Hands on her hips, she cocks her head to the side and if the cloth weren’t in place a wide smile could be seen, “Come on Beefy.”

Curtis is buried too. Under a dog house of all things. His impact point is plain to see. He plowed down someone's roof bringing shingles with him everywhere, and then through their nice wooden fence and into the neighbor's yard before having a doghouse blasted off the ground and on top of him. He's very much alive just… not moving at the moment. "Yes. I am going to lay here like a log. Tell me it's dead and I might lay here all night." There's a heavy groan from beneath the remains of the doghouse, boots sticking out from under the mess. Then there's a shift, a clatter of rubble and debris as shingles and wood planks rain off the pile, and then he flings it all to the side. "That… fucking… hurt." He grumbles, getting a hand up underneath himself and pushing up to a sitting position. "Anyone get the number on that giant robot?" He cranes his neck back, a few pops sounding from it, to look up at Lucille. "Hey Lu. Fancy meeting you here." A quick grin from him before he's pushing himself up and to his feet. A bit unsteadily.

Claire steps closer to see if he need any help getting up, grabbing the edge of some of the plaster and pulling it way from Dearing’s prone form so that she can see him. Leaning so that she can give him a bit of a smirk. “Good work, by the way.” No sarcasm really, but she does add with amusement, “You want me to just leave you there? You kinda got it rough today… Not your normal kooshie Keelut gig.” Lowering that bit of drywall back into place, she adds, “Know what…I’ll just go ahead give you 5 minutes.”

Not waiting for an reply, Claire steps back and brings a hand up to key up her com. «Nambiza. This is Lariat-1 reporting. I am pleased to say that the target is down.» The regenerator can’t help but grin, something she doesn’t really do much of. «… but I’m sure you know that already.»

Stepping to take a glance outside the hole in the wall, eyes alighting on the burning wreckage, Claire adds for the rest of the team, «Good job team.» After a tick, she adds a little flatly, «And no Lariat-3 you are not taking the burro home.»

Shaking her head with a hand on her hip Lucille extends the other for Curtis to pull on as he comes up out of the debris and rubble. «All in one piece. Mostly.» The tall woman looks in the direction that she feels the other two of her team and she starts to job backwards, “Come on.” To Curtis. She wants to get back to Claire, Dearing and her baby the motorcycle. Temporary baby. She was cheating on it with this off road beauty.

Curtis staggers for a few feet as he gets his bearings, wincing as he reaches down to pull a rather large splinter out of his calf and tosses it on the ground. "Fuck me running." He mutters as he walks, well limps for a few feet, then walks stiffly, but by the time he and Lucille are walking out to the other two he's walking mostly normal. He pauses in front of Claire, a smirk on his lips. "You did good 1." Curtis walks over to the buggy and fishes out the machine gun he brought to the fight, checking over it and making sure it's locked and loaded before putting the strap over his shoulder, ready to be fired should they find any further opposition. "Real good."

His hands move over the rest of his gear, checking to make sure it’s all intact after that. The detonators for his explosives are okay in their metal case, though it’s dented and bent. There’s some ammo missing, a knife. But mostly it’s all there. “Now where’s our donkey?” Yeah, he ignored that last part from Claire, and even climbs up onto the cage of the buggy trying to see if he can spot said animal.

Down at the end of the street, not far from the trenches the buggy tore over the curb in its brief escape from the neighborhood, Lariat’s donkey is huddled under a stop sign. A spark of blue light draws Curtis’ eye through the rain as it spirals away from a flick of the animal’s tail.

Closer by, the tower sinks deeper into a heap as flames lick up through its engine casing. Bursts of steam escape the last stable vasculature of the cooling system; bits of burning house crumble through metal bone.

«Understood.» Nambiza’s voice is late to reply, as if distracted by verification. «Other operations are still in progress.»

The donkey meanders across the road to sniff at a thatch of scrubgrass half-buried under a twisted chunk of radio dish, oblivious to the caliber of disaster Amarok just averted.

«Proceed to rendezvous Amarok 2 for extraction.»

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