The Golem And The Tower


brian_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

with cameo by ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Golem and the Tower
Synopsis A strike team heads for the pylons, the first barrier that needs to fall. No one said there'd be golems!!
Date November 8, 2011

Outside the Complex

Utter and complete shock engulfs the group watching Mary-Anne and the Brians get shredded to so many bloody chunks on the snow. Slanting a glance at the pylon team, Elisabeth calls, "GO!" Jaiden's range is the limiting factor here, and now there are robots and alarms and whatever the hell else.

The small strike team has to circle around behind where the main group crouches, Ryans in the lead. Richard Cardinal and Elisabeth Harrison are wearing full-bore Horizon gear and one of the Brians has Arkham gear, so it's their job to keep any and all threats off Jaiden Mortlock, whose ability is incredibly useful in a world full of frozen water.

Jaiden hates cold. It's probably been said at least a dozen times in the trek up here and now, dressed in white arctic surplus camp gear from his closest and last stash, Jaiden looks at the armored strike team that's basically there to keep problems from popping his head like grape on the floor of a steamroller factory. He winces at the sight of the Brians being turned into meat sludge mixed with clothing scraps - that's okay - Brian'll make more - but Mary Anne…hell, he liked the girl. There will be a short prayer and a bottle poured out later.

Assuming they survive this final, crazy assault.

At Elisabeth's barked order, the old Special Forces Jaiden kicks in. He starts to sprint…sort of, toward the pylon at a ground-eating pace, Snowshoes giving him more traction as he humps it towards the target, his arms extended at about forty-five degrees at the shoulders towards the ground, fingers outstretched as he wills the snow to bend to his will…

"…no." Richard's breath nearly a whisper of horror as he stares at the stains upon the snow where Mary-Anne and two of the Brians attempted to teleport through. The whirring hiss of hydraulics kicks into a scream as they fight against the below-freezing temperatures, assault rifle held low as he drops into a loping spring along beside Jaiden. His voice a snarl into the communication piece to carry to the others on the mission.

«They must be some sort of fucking force field! Goddamn it — Mortlock, Harrison, do you think you can take one of those down?»

There is a crackle on their radio as a ragged breath is drawn in. "«Well that was an unpleasant experience. Wouldn't recommend it to any interested.»" As the message from Brian Winters goes through the channel the faint angry hum of engines can be heard in the distance. "«Miss Stack out of play.»" Comes the official report, emotion mostly removed from the statement.

The Brian on the outcropping is still reeling for a moment from the shockwave sent through his system. Dragging a breath in, he brings the back of one hand up to dab away at the moisture pooling up at his eye. Dab it away before it freezes. Two identical men, dressed in thick insulated gear are laying on either side of him on the outcropping. Two large sniper rifles being deployed. "«Sniper support setting up now. Ground support coming in hot.»" The whine of engines grows louder.

Two snowmobiles burst onto the snowy field throwing waves of slush behind them as they zoom towards thr ground team. Two men on each, dressed in all blacks. More of Brian. Zipping towards the team rushing at the pylon, the radio crackles again. "«Let me know if you want a ride there chief, otherwise I'll do my best to keep em off you.»" The rear-man on each snowmobile hefting their rifles up and pointing them forward.

Sadly, there wasn't an armored suit for Jaiden to stuff his frame into - limited production line and lack of spare parts meant that keeping the existing units operational was more important than making a female-fantasy-armor-esque version that wouldn't do more than stop a stiff breeze. Still, he trudges through the snow drifts towards the first pylon, studying the ground, listening, trying to see sensors on the tower, trying to feel for a prickling of skin to telegraph the blow before it comes shooting out to pulp him.

He's only been shot once before - getting blended is low on his list of things to do.

«Keep them back. I'm gonna do my damnedest to topple this thing. Isn't like we can do much unless we can.» Quick and businesslike, Jaiden is, as he slows to a stop about ten feet outside of the kill zone. He studies the ground, looking for indications of power lines - connections between the pylons, sensors on the tower that can be blinded and, perhaps most importantly, the coils that almost certainly wrap around the inside of the tower, filled with antifreeze and water, to keep the thing from seizing in the cold. He blows out a column of steam and kneels in the snow his eyes hooded as he feels the world around him, the water in the snow calling to him.

Her own horror compartmentalized behind the soldier mindset, the former director of FRONTLINE brings up the rear of her team only because she paused long enough to make sure she had them all — a glance to the ridgeline to verify that the Brian who has overwatch for them is actually functional. As soon as he's verified his own position, she's in motion, loping with a grace that comes from long practice in the heavy armor.

«Affirmative, we can.» The reply to Cardinal is tight. «Part of the field is sonic, though, so I have to stick closer to Mortlock than planned. You guys stick to the original orders.»

Her job in all of this is now literally to make sure that the sonic field that triggered the mess that is now scattered across the snow in bloody spatters doesn't come into play. «Stay close enough to me that I can cover all of us!» Because her range is large, but not if they're scattered across a football field.

The ground forces are remaining behind the pylons, but it doesn't stop them from firing through the field that seems to be in the center of those things. «The sound barrier starts about 20 feet from the pylons! Don't go between them or closer than that!!»

«Copy. You heard Red Queen; keep a twenty foot distance from the defense grid, and provide cover for her and Red Knight One until the pylons down,» Richard's voice hisses over the radio, falling back on Endgame code-name designations, «Sniper support, warn us of any security response. I'm sure there'll be one soon enough. Over.»

The old russian assault rifle is double-checked, safety clicked off before it's brought back up, the scope used to scan the snow for any signs of movement outside of their own group. Who knows what countermeasures the Institute has set up around their pylons, after all…

«Popping smoke.»

The snow mobiles pull ahead of the group, taking hard turns in the snow. Waves of slush fly up into the air as the engines howl furiously as the team of Brians push the snow mobiles hard in tight loops, sending up waves of snow hiding the small group for a moment. It is complimented by the rear Brian on each snowmobile pulling a clip on a small canister each.

Smoke begins to plume from each snowmobile as the two vehicles continue to do tight loops around the small group forward in the snow. Smoke and snow go up in a cloud of obfuscation, soon it will be near impossible to see into the pocket they are forming around Jaiden. But also impossible to see out.

«Don't worry. We got eyes for you. Will keep you in the loop.» Off the comms, Brian chuckles softly at his little joke.

«Copy, red leader. I'm starting my attack run.» is Jaiden's response from his position in the middle of the battlefield, strain evident in his voice as he concentrates on making Snow do things that It Is NOT Supposed To EVER do EVER. And, at first, it really doesn't look like anything's happening. Sure, there are a few flurries here and there and some snow falling from a nearby pine, but it's not until you really /look/ that you see something happening. Little rivulets of snow, like something beneath the ground, start to move toward where Jaiden kneels, like mole burrows or veins beneath the skin of the earth. And the snow around him starts mounding higher. Just slightly so but, as the moments pass it grows higher, thicker, stronger, with a nice sheen of ice on the outside thanks to the moisture pulled from the air. Not bulletproof certainly, but bullet resistant and camouflage? Oh, yeah.

«Red King, I'm going to try and disrupt the heating systems inside.» He reaches out with one hand toward the tower, willing the water surrounding the thing - heated to a toasty temperature - to speed up. To hammer against valves. To push against weak joints. To go where it's definitely not supposed to go.

As the snow flies and smoke obscures everything, Elisabeth makes the mistake of stepping sideways. And just within range of the EM field — which has a slightly different range than the sonic field. Her left leg is stuck, and she struggles with the exoskeleton. Jaiden's going to have to get closer, she's going to have to push her ability to get him there, and she calls out to warn the others, «EM Field is fucking with the suit! Back it up, back it up! I can't move!»

Her own attention remains on Jaiden as he works with the water within the tower and the snow beneath it. She asks him through the comms, «Jai… is the tower down to bedrock? Because if you're digging out the foundation, I might be able to crack it…»

There are soldiers coming from the doors on the bunker now, riding their own snowmobiles. And they're not limited by exoskeletons, the EM field, or the cloud — which they're just firing higgledy-piggledy into. They just have to make sure not to get too close, which does in fact hinder their shots, at least. They're no better at hitting moving targets while in motion themselves than any other stormtrooper.

«That was my plan, Red Queen. A few pipes have already burst and I'm tunneling beneath the edge of the foundation. I can do it faster if I moved closer, but we may lose comms. Copy?» Jaiden continues to dump the heating system into the bowels of the tower, hollowing out beneath it. Yay lowest bidding concrete contractor. He looks over to Elisabeth in her armor and, with one hand forward, the other rests on his 'shell' of ice, moving it forward like a SWAT team member's shield with him behind it. «When I signal, hit it.» And he moves closer….

«Very funny, Red Kni— » Cardinal cuts off as a bullet buries itself in a snowdrift beside him, barking out, « Contact!»

Of course, he can't see through the snow-clouds right now, and in fact the glare off the white is nearly blinding even past darkened glasses and the shadow of his balaclava. He really shouldn't've left his helmet behind in the library. Not that he had a lot of choice. He drops down flat as soon as he realizes they're under fire, « Copy. Keeping my distance. »

Another two canisters are thrown out from the smoke bubble. Flying both to the left and to the right of the snow smoke bubble, smoke beginning to spread in more of a wall, giving the soldiers pouring out of the compound less to shoot at. But the Brians riding on the snow mobiles have an advantage the enemy soldiers do not have.

«Contact.» Comes the repeat of Cardinal's exclamation a bit more softly. «Sniper support engaging.» Four more sniper rifles are laid down in their back line as the Brian sniper teams begin unleashing on the far off enemy.

The two snowmobiles, continuing to zoom around, kicking up snow start letting off bursts of fire at the incoming targets. Though their fire is more suppressive, setting them up for the snipers.

More snowmobiles are pouring from the open bunker, and robots are beginning to make their appearance on the field of battle. Even as the group at the pylon fire back, rather blindly, the sounds are familiar to some in the group, if not all. The roar of snowmobiles almost hides the whirr and hum of robotic machinery.

Bullets are fired from the security forces toward both the ridgeline and the cloud of smoke and snow, but it's too great a distance for standard shots to reach the ridge and if they hit anything in the clouds, it's going to be sheer dumb luck.

The team of Brian-snipers are good, though. Three, four, five snowmobile riders are picked off in quick succession. The robots, however, seem to not be impacted at all. And everyone on both sides of the pylons is keeping back from the barrier itself, obviously.

Approaching as close as he dares, Jaiden's powers start to work their magic. Foundations made of cinderblock are eroded by blazing hot water scrubbing against the joints between them, and the first sign that something is happening is the steam that starts to rise from the base of the tower to the left, aiming toward the bunker where the troops are steadily pouring out of. He shifts his ice shield to face them, a few errant shots pinging off of the crystalline surface, spiderwebs of cracks appearing and then sealing over in the frigid temperatures. « …got…hit….Queen…. » Jaiden tries to communicate but, due to the EMF, it doesn't get through so…he makes another bold gesture.

The shield of ice closes over Jaiden's torso, followed by more and more snow, the man pulling it into him, around him in a shape that…well…

It's a snow golem. A fifteen-foot tall, ten-ton snow golem surrounded by bare dirt, thanks to all the snow and ice being leeched into it.

Elisabeth calls out, «No closer—» But it's too late. The only thing she's going to be able to do to keep that tower from decimating Jaiden is help him get it out of commission. Dropping her head, focusing her own power on the sounds all around them, she shapes them into a harmonic wave that she sends through the concrete of the foundation, vibrating the very rock it's made from.

The water from within the tower pools at the base, fed by Jaiden's power, while the hard-packed snow outside continues to shift away from the base of the tower in runnels and ditches. The vibration merely adds to the instability of the structure itself, and as the warm water of the heating system seeps into the the concrete and the rock beneath it the tower begins to lean. It's coming down, and it's going to be VERY loud.

And there's a frigging abominable snowman out there!!

« It looks like it's starting to shift, I can see a distinct… » A bullet whizzes past Cardinal's ear, and he brings up the AK-47, firing off a few rounds blindly in the direction of the snowmobiles, « …lean in the pylon. Whatever you're doing over there, keep it— what the fuck is that? »

The shadowmorph's half-blind at the moment, but even he can see the vast humanoid form rising up surrounded in snow and ice, his eyes widening behind polarized lenses.

No lungs mean no awesome roars, but snowballs the size of recliners do tend to get noticed and, it seems, Jaiden's been practicing his sculpting skills just a little bit. Instead of a giant snowman, it's an actual honest-to-god golem. Arms, legs, head with teeth and eyes made out of black stones - just enough to screw with anyone seeing it at a distance.

Oh, and it's throwing snowballs the size of recliners. Did I mention that?

Gunfire starts to walk towards Jaiden's Golem, a few bullets catching across the chest, the same cracking and sealing over happening again before the impertinent goon is clobbered with a snowball that sends him careening into the troops surrounding him, while more snowballs are thrown towards the door of the bunker. Whether or not they hit is kind of moot - a giant frickin' snow golem is flinging boulders of ice in your general direction.

This is a lot of power from Jaiden — the golem and the water washing away the foundation. He can't hold this for long. Here's hoping the distraction works.

«We shouldn't stay out here for too much longer. They're converging.»

Sniper rifles blast methodically, the Brian snipers firing fast and when the rifle is emptied, they are handed another, the empty rifle going to a Brian in the back who's job seems to be only reloading the rifles as fast as he can. With more Brians appearing everywhere it seems that for today the replicator may be pushing himself to his limits.

«Switching to launchers.»

The Brians on snowmobiles sling their assault rifles over their shoulders, reaching down in unison to detach something from the side of each vehicle. Pulling up both of them pull the trigger, thwoomp, thwoomp, as grenades are launched at high speeds towards the enemy snowmobiles. The snowmobile Brians dance circles around the golem, popping off grenades as they zoom about their icicle ally.

The security forces appear just as drastically WHAT THE FUCK as the rest of the team, because as massive snowballs come hurtling out of the cloud, the snowmobiles on their side break and whip back around to run. A couple of robots are literally buried inside the snowballs, although whether they're crushed or just momentarily stuck isn't clear.

The tower itself leans further, and there's a hard bass THWOOM from Elisabeth's direction that shoves it past that last little inch of no-return. It comes down in a massive wave of loose snow and crashing sound. No more force field.

There's a few more snowballs hurled towards the bunker when, suddenly, the sun is blotted out by a tower slowly starting to teeter over. Golem-Jaiden steps back a few massive paces and, as the tower hits the ground, the white-clad JAiden bursts out of the back of the golem like a confused chestburster, rolling to his feet and skidding to a stop. «Tower clear.»

Ryans's voice comes through the comms loud and clear. «Go! Go! Go!»

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