Aline S Extraction

[20:01] <Minaplo> ["… Anc!"-
[20:01] <Minaplo> [The world was fuzzy, the edges of her consciousness full of pain.-
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["Blanc, can- Me? Blanc!"-
[20:02] <Minaplo> [The world was rocking back and forth, slowly. She was in something sticky and wet- it tasted like iron.-
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["This- Honey Badger- Status?"-
[20:03] <Minaplo> [Noise… Where was she? She started to stir properly now, senses sharpening.-
[20:04] <Minaplo> [The Entry Plug had landed poorly, in a burned out apartment flat. The EVA-00 had been defeated, location unknown; although the sound was muffled somewhat she could still hear the sounds of screams and animal roars. She was in pain, but it was fading.]
[20:07] * Aline stirred, after what seemed like a veritable eternity out of it. It was only a brief, fleeting amount of time though. Or so she felt, as she looked around. The plug. She remembered now. She had gone to combat those spawn and, as perhaps she should've predicted, she wasn't quite enough, even with those new Varangians around. "…I'm here… Plug's crashed… somewhere."
[20:11] <Minaplo> ["We're trying to recover, but- resistance- anti-air-"-
[20:11] <Minaplo> [There was a bright flash of light in the air- a squadron of British aircraft exploded, sliced through with a single laser beam. One impacted nearby, shaking the plug- which rocked forward.-
[20:12] <Minaplo> [Aline would see that the Plug was hanging precariously off the edge of a shattered apartment. Below was a veritable horde of spawn- one of the larger ones, the Annihilators, with the pinched angel masks- looked up at her, blinking slowly.]
[20:16] * Aline knew much better than to stay in such a situation, but hesitated on how to word it. Maybe a bit too long given the situation. "Plug's… hanging over enemy horde. I have to evacuate… before it falls into their midst. Will attempt to hide in apartment complex." While talking, she was already getting up and starting the manual plug exit procedure, but before she completely left…
[20:16] * Aline "Sorry."
[20:18] <Minaplo> ["Help - route!"-
[20:18] <Minaplo> [The door control was stiff and hard to move…]
[20:24] * Aline hefted as hard as she could, because she didn't really have another option. If she fell into the swarm, that'd be death for sure. It'd only be a matter of time, not even that, if one of the big ones got ahold of the plug. Just -stab- and done. "I don't have a good view, I'm sorry."
[20:28] <Minaplo> [The door gave way, sending Aline topping out onto a burned carpet. The air was acrid and smelled of blood and fire.-
[20:29] <Minaplo> [The plug began to slide enthusiastically now that she was out of it, but it wasn't fated to leave the apartment. AS it fell, a beam of light split it straight through the middle- one of the Annihilators- and the plug pieces fell, burning, into the horde below.]
[20:37] * Aline was working on instinct now, and quickly darted behind a wall or door or /some/ kind of visual cover. She knew that to some extent, her AT Field betrayed her presence if they cared to examine closely… but that knowledge was only refreshed by the time she had dove into cover.
[20:38] <Minaplo> [A moment of relative silence. The creature had moved on.-
[20:38] <Minaplo> [… And yet, scurrying sounds below. Footsteps. Something- no, somethings- corrupted humans? Were coming up the steps. To her position… She needed a weapon.]
[20:41] * Aline realized that, and looked around rather quickly. Chances are, because this wasn't the home of a Pilot, there was not going to be a veritable arsenal, so instead… she looked for some kind of rather large, loose object. That tournament from so long ago had easily convinced her of the utility of Big Damn Weapons.
[20:42] <Minaplo> [There was a heavy-looking cricket bat against the wall.]
[20:44] * Aline allowed a strained smile. This Will Do. She hefted it up, and braced it in her hands, trying to get an idea for its balance. She'd probably need to know that.
[20:49] <Minaplo> [The stairs. Someone was coming up the stairs.-
[20:50] <Minaplo> [A filthy face peered around the corner. A male in his thirties or forties, it looked like, wearing a white shirt, blue sweater and brown trousers; but the shirt had been ripped and the sweater was but rags hanging from his shoulders. Cuts ran up his face and along his arms in neat even lines. In his hands he held a pair of meat cleavers. He looked at Aline and leered.]
[20:53] * Aline levelled her bat, and stared back. "Human check." She called out to him, figuring that the infected were probably not that capable of subterfuge. Her stance was ready, and she wielded it in a fashion only slightly modified from her sword's normal stances. It was a bit frustrating to have to switch off from spear combat to this, but she had no choice.
[20:55] <Minaplo> [They really weren't capable of subterfuge. At all. "Killkillkillkill-"-
[20:56] <Minaplo> [The man leapt from the staircase, hurling himself at Aline, cleavers held high.]
[20:59] * Aline reared back, and timed a swing to bolster her sidestepping dodge, moving off of his attack vector (she hoped) while aiming for a gut hit (she /also/ hoped).
[21:02] <Minaplo> [They were berserk fanatics, but the corrupted weren't great fighters. She easily dodged the attack and sent him stumbling backwards several metres, before he fell flat on his back.-
[21:04] <Minaplo> [That wasn't enough to finish him. However, before Aline could react, a roaring sound filled her ears; then suddenly, the roof cafed in. A hulking shape fell through, smashing straight onto the unlucky Corrupted's body.-
[21:05] <Minaplo> [It'd take a few seconds for the dust to clear. The frame of a power armour-wearing British Heavy SAS became visible. The special jump-pack on his back was not yet cool. "Pilot Blanc? Sergeant Davion, I'm here to take you to safety. I came as soon as I could."]
[21:07] * Aline nodded, even though she hadn't yet ended her ready stance - if only out of habit. "Thanks, sir. Fortunately I managed to stay alive and uncorrupted until then."
[21:08] <Minaplo> [He nodded. "A close shave." He held out an arm. "Hold on. You're not used to Heavy Jets, so if you're not careful you could break something important."]
[21:10] * Aline walked closer to him, and nodded, cradling the cricket bat in an arm just in case she had to fight /later/ on. But otherwise… "I'll make sure of it." And as said, she clung on tight!
[21:12] <Minaplo> [And with a burst of force, they were off, into the air- and to a place relatively safer than this one.-
[21:14] <Minaplo> [Seventeen Hours Later.-
[21:16] <Minaplo> [The Stormbird glided through the skies over London. It was a sleek design, all curves and rounded edges, but it was probably the smoothest flight Raphael had ever had. The Stormbird's stealth systems kept it from being targeted by the enemy, and Raphael would probably feel quite reassured by the heavy bolters and cannons slapped onto the chassis.-
[21:16] <Minaplo> ["Touchdown on target ETA four minutes." Came the pilot's voice.]
[21:22] <Raphael> The pilot would recieve a quick affirmative from back in the crew compartment as he hefted the power armour's helmet onto his head and waited for the hiss as the seals activated, mimicking the motions of many other soldiers around the cabin.-
[21:22] <Raphael> "Keep in mind what we heard in the briefing, everybody. This virus may be angelic, but standard biohazard protocols should keep us safe. If your armour suffers a breach, notify your squad medic -immediately-."
[21:24] <Minaplo> [Nods from the group.-
[21:25] <Minaplo> [Serafina Raskova sat opposite of Raphael. She had her left gauntlet off, injecting a syringe of blue liquid into her arm. Once that was done, she placed the syringe aside and snapped the gauntlet on. "If you notice a squadmade is infected, execute them immediately."]
[21:30] * Raphael doesn't respond to that. Even disregarding her rank, he himself had spoken privately with Euphrasie, Lieutenant Rurikovich and his squad medic shortly before taking giving them similar, if slightly less blunt, orders.
[21:31] <Raphael> «Shortly before takeoff to give them*»
[21:35] <Minaplo> [A few minutes later, the Stormbird touched down in the front courtyard of Westminster Palace.-
[21:37] <Minaplo> [The Palace- which housed the British Houses of Parliament- had not fared well. Much of the facade had taken damage, and Ben-2 had crumbled. The gardens were dead and muddy; the promenade which dominated the front area had been turned into a fortification, British soldiers taking cover behind pillars and setting up machine guns. There was a lull in the fighting, which the soldiers were taking to smoke or drink.-
[21:37] <Minaplo> ["Move." Raskova was out first, rushing down the ramp.]
[21:40] * Raphael is out a split second after, the heavy boots of his powered armour making a harsh clang as he hurries down the lowered ramp.
[21:47] <Minaplo> ["Are you the extraction team?" Came an burred Scottish voice over Raphael's comm.]
[21:54] <Raphael> "Yes sir. NERV Special Operations Services reporting." Raphael replies, holding his position as the rest of the unit disembarks. "Who am I speaking to?"
[22:00] <Minaplo> ["This is Captain Kirkpatrick of the 115th. I'm in charge of defenses here. It's good that you've come- we can't hold here much longer."]
[22:04] * Raphael nods, for whatever good that does over voice comms. "Understood, Captain. Permission to approach?" He asks, glancing back towards the Stormbird.
[22:06] <Minaplo> [The Stormbird was cooling its jets, its bolters shifting restlessly.-
[22:06] <Minaplo> ["Permission granted."]
[22:09] * Raphael wastes no time in giving a short, sharp signal to the group behind him, quickly beginning the advance towards the promenade.
[22:15] <Minaplo> [Kirkpatrick- a rough-looking man that reminds Raphael immediately of Macnair- is positioned behind a window in a detatched building; he has no inclination to leave, it seems. He leans out to speak to them. "Who're you looking for, then, sir?"]
[22:19] <Raphael> "We have orders to retrieve any surviving members of the Royal Family, Nigel Shardlake of the HIC and Aline Blanc of Eva-00 if possible, Captain." Raphael says, giving the man a quick nod as he approaches.
[22:24] <Minaplo> ["Right. Communications're flaky- dunno why, but past a certain range the damned comms just break down. We placed 'em safely inside-" He thumbed towards the Palace. "Councillor Shardlake's all holed up with a squad in the House o' Commons, and Pilot Blanc went to Victoria Hall, jus' behind the House o' Lords, along with Princess Alexandrina." A dark shadow crosses his face. "Prince Andrew's dead, sir, taken out in the last attack, and Princess Catherine vanished one night."]
[22:34] * Raphael nods slowly. "… I understand." He murmurs, noting the dark look on the other man's face. "We'll arrange the extraction quickly, and get everyone we can to safety." He says, glancing over at Isidor. "Are you able to secure the Councillor, Lieutenant? I'll see to recovering Pilot Blanc and the Princess."
[22:34] <Minaplo> ["On it." Said Isidor.-
[22:36] <Minaplo> ["I'll accompany the Lieutenant to find the Councillor." Said Raskova.-
[22:39] <Minaplo> ["Don't trust an ex-LN officer, Director?" Asked Isidor coolly. Raphael had born witness to their sniping the entire trip.-
[22:39] <Minaplo> ["Shardlake is my responsibility, Lieutenant, and you watch yourself."]
[22:40] <Raphael> "Lieutenant." Raphael says sharply. "Mind on the job, if you please."
[22:41] <Minaplo> ["Of course, sir." Said Isidor. "Bringing up building blueprint on HUD now. Squad R, move out."]
[22:46] <Raphael> "We'll be in touch, Captain. I'll keep this channel open, for what it's worth given the signal." Raphael says, a tight smile partially visible behind the heavy helmet.- "Alright, everyone. Move out."
[22:49] <Minaplo> [The squad began to shift into position.-
[22:49] <Minaplo> ["INCOMING!"-
[22:50] <Minaplo> [Streaking through the sky- a flickering spark of light and metal. It smashed through the facade of the palace, ripping through several rooms before lodging itself somewhere within the second floor.-
[22:51] <Minaplo> ["Captain, that was a mover pod." Said Kirkpatrick over comms. "They use it for quick short-range transport- they're in the palace!"]
[22:53] <Raphael> "Double time, everyone!" Raphael calls, before switching back to Kirkpatrick's channel. He sounds calm except for his quick breathing as he jogs. "Human infected, Captain? Or the larger ones?"
[22:53] <Minaplo> ["A mix!"]
[22:53] <Minaplo> [Raskova is already pushing open one of the heavy oak doors.]
[23:46] * Raphael charges through the gap, examining the map laid out on his helmet's HUD as he judges the quickest route through the Palace
[23:50] <Minaplo> [The hall is wide, spacious and huge, the walls of gold leaf and ornate portraits clashing with the destruction. Rafters and falling masonry litter the open, coverless space.-
[23:51] <Minaplo> [Sounds echo in here, and the sound of scurrying feet can be heard everywhere. Low, booming, crazed laughter can be heard as well, and Raphael soon sees the source.-
[23:51] <Minaplo> [A hulking red Iron Guard, armour stained red with blood, wielding a whirring chain-axe. He's growling and grunting like a wild beast.-
[00:04] <Minaplo> ["Guillory, take it down!" Came Raskova's call. Raskova herself charged against it- her long sword clashing against axe- before backflipping away and landing in a crouch.]
[21:11] <Raphael> The sudden burst of gunfire echoes through the hall as the team takes up positions, Raphael himself firing off a shot as Mana charges ahead to get a better view. "Hugues! Pin it down!"
[21:14] <Minaplo> ["Right!" Hugues charges, sword drawn, but he's unable to force a decisive result.-
[21:18] <Minaplo> [Isidor and his squad run into the hall, a chorus of heavy footsteps. "To the left! Double time!" Shouts Isidor, sword drawn.]
[21:38] <Raphael> Raphael's next shot manages to find some weak point in the corrupted guard's armour, and when the bullet spalls and ricochets in a thickly armoured compartment the results are… messy. Blood sprays from every gap in the helmet before the entire thing simply -detonates- in a spray of gore and a rather worrying amount of shrapnel.-
[21:39] <Raphael> "…" Raphael spares a brief look down at the bolter in his hands. Between this and that LN tank, he wonders if Surov should take a look at the weapon…
[21:50] <Minaplo> ["Augh!" One of Isidor's soldiers cries out in horror as corrupted fluid covers his helmet. He wipes at it, scrabbling madly, yelling in fear at both the grisly scene and the fear of contamination.]
[21:56] <Raphael> "You're alright, soldier!" Raphael shouts, checking the readouts on the SENTINEL headset. "Your suit hasn't suffered a breach. You're safe. Link back up with the Lieutenant, ASAP."
[22:00] <Minaplo> [The soldier needs no encouragement, as he has long since turned and ran.-
[22:00] <Minaplo> ["Assault squad engaging the enemy. Large numbers of corrupted humans." Came Isidor's voice over comms.]
[22:03] <Raphael> "Acknowledged, Lieutenant." Raphael responds as he raises his gun, staring down the hall towards their own approaching horde as the roar of Marie's minigun begins to fill the hall. "Sergeant Herriot, I need that rubble cleared. Can you do it?"
[22:04] <Minaplo> ["Uh, I can try, sir. Either we clear it or we just create another collapse, it's your call."]
[22:14] <Raphael> "What about the wall below it?" Raphael calls, raising his voice unconsciously to be heard over the din. "Can you do it safely?"
[22:15] <Minaplo> ["I could definitely breach it, but I'd need a minute to see if it's bearing or not."]
[22:16] <Raphael> "Do it."
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["Yessir."]
[22:54] <Minaplo> [A roar down the main corridor- the area was filling with a panting, hissing, howling tide of corrupted humans, wielding hammers, knives, jagged broken records, anything they could get their hands on.-
[22:55] <Minaplo> [Leading the charge was another blood-soaked berserker, laughing insanely; his mouthguard had broken off, revealing sharpened teeth barely visible through mad froth.-
[22:56] <Minaplo> [Serafina leapt forward to take the berserker, whilst Hugues charged the horde fearlessly.-
[22:56] <Minaplo> ["This is Assault Squad. We've located the Counsellor, but we're besieged in the House of Commons by large enemy movements."]
[23:07] * Raphael keeps firing, bringing one hand up to his ear. "I'm deploying some of my team to assist. Lieutenant, can you operate as a rearguard and draw them back to the hall? We have heavy weapons deployed to assist, and I'm hearing reports of further infected nearing the palace from the north. We need to hurry."
[23:19] <Minaplo> ["Understood."-
[23:20] <Minaplo> [The great mass of corrupted began to break and fall, now, Hugues pursuing just a little before flicking some of the blood off of his sword. Gunfire followed the horde as they fled.]
[23:26] * Raphael fires again as the horde departs, but his bullet finds its mark in the Berserker dueling Raskova. Punching through the faceplate and winding up finding a home in the infected Iron Guard's mouth and before the explosion leaves its head a bloody ruin.-
[23:28] <Raphael> The hall now clear of infected, Raphael opens the comms again. "Sergeant Favager and Director Raskova, please assist the Lieutenant. Everyone else, prepare to breach the wall."
[23:57] <Minaplo> ["Alright, this is set up!" Comes Blaise's voice as Raskova and Marie take off. The roof above them shakes a little as something heavy lurches above his head. "…"]
[00:55] <Raphael> "We're in position." Raphael replies, positioned right around the corner. "When you're ready, Sergeant."
[00:59] <Minaplo> ["Copy that." Blaise took a step back, flipping back the molly-guard and pushing his thumb down on the detonator.-
[01:02] <Minaplo> [A moment passes. Then another. Blaise frowns.-
[01:02] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure I-"-
[01:05] <Minaplo> [The wall exploded outwards, showering the area with debris; wood and wallpaper went everywhere.-
[01:05] <Minaplo> [There was a growl of anger from the other side. As the cloud of smoke cleared, they saw an Annihilator, 4 metres tall, bulky body suspended on thin, spindly legs. It turned to stare at them.-
[01:05] <Minaplo> ["Holy shit!"]
[01:07] * Aline gawked at the massive explosion, even as she was pushing back against a wall to get /away/ from the thing. "W-we're in here! Can you, uh… try to lure it out?"
[01:12] <Raphael> A snap shot glances off the Annihilator's mask and ricochets into a wall, leaving the creature itself unharmed. "Yes ma'am!"
[01:32] <Minaplo> [The Annihilator climbs out of the room, tilting its mask slightly and blinking at Blaise and Raphael… Before lifting its arm, the thin biceps suddenly bulging, before a blinding lance of light slides from an orifice in the middle of its claw-
[01:33] <Minaplo> [But the attack was thrown off as the debris shattered, vaporised in a massive energy explosion of red and white. Aline would have half a second of warning…]
[01:34] <Aline> …Which was enough time for her to break into a running dodge, rolling off and away, before carefully stepping around the Annihilator after knowing she was clear of the explosion.
[01:43] <Raphael> "Aline! Take the princess get outside! There's a VTOL waiting." He shouts, ducking explosions and rubble as he circles the creature and placing himself between the pilot and danger. "Raphael Guillory to NERV SOS, authorising an immediate retreat. The position is being overrun. Operate as rearguard as long as it takes to get the VIPs clear, and then evac ASAP."
[01:44] <Minaplo> ["Copy that, Vampire!"-
[01:46] <Minaplo> [A young girl- no older than 14 at best- bolts from the room, her long silvery hair streaked with blood; her pale face focused with that same sort of terrified stubbornness that Raphael had one seen on another, younger girl. Like Aline she's wearing UN armour, an awkward fit for her build; it's coated in layers of blood.-
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["Captain! This is Kirkpatrick! An Apoc is on the way!"]
[01:49] * Aline solemnly nodded, and looked over towards the princess, preparing for her own outward dash.
[01:53] <Minaplo> [Gunfire- Aline would feel thuds as metal slugs smacked into the ceramic ablatives on her armour. A surge of Corrupted were opening fire with guns; stolen from soldiers or stolen from shops, either way…]
[01:58] * Aline looked back just once, and… wished she didn't. Stupid zombie movies giving her a dread and familiarity with this mess. So instead she bolted, heading through the open door, and looping in a wide 'U' pattern towards the hopefully-waiting aircraft.
[02:00] * Raphael is pulling back as well, a few steps behind Hugues and Blaise as he ducks behind a cracked slab of collapsed roofing to avoid the Corrupted gunfire coming his own way. He spares a moment for a quiet curse at Kirkpatrick's latest news. "Noted, Captain! We're only a few seconds out!"
[02:16] <Minaplo> [The form of Nigel Shardlake- armoured in UN armour- passes by, running out the doors. "You men! Onto the craft! Now!"-
[02:17] <Minaplo> [The rest of the group are falling back as well. Blaise runs by- another huge blast missing him barely- Hugues runs past Raphael, slinging Princess Alexandrina onto his shoulder as he goes. Euphrasie falls back through the doors just as a Berserker bursts out of the advancing tide.-
[02:17] <Minaplo> [Mana finds herself surrounded by a different tide- the soldiers once standing in defence are lining up, weapons trained on the front door.]
[03:01] <Raphael> And the next few seconds are a blur, Raphael sprinting back out the wide double-doors, shouting encouragements as he goes. The VTOL is just ahead now, others already beginning to climb aboard…
[03:02] <Minaplo> ["SIX ROUNDS RAPID!" The sound of gunfire as a score of corrupted fall, even as a Berserker leaps from their ranks to how down an Assault squadman- an anti-armour missile knocks the Berserker off its feet. as the Annihilators leap out of the crumbling doorway, shots rip across one's face and legs, knocking it backward.-
[03:04] <Minaplo> [Fire rakes the incoming Corrupted from all angles, but it's not enough. Isidor runs out from behind Star Chamber Court, dragging his medic behind.]
[03:04] * Aline was one of those others, having manged to finish her dash up onboard the VTOL… though not before turning back to let out an utterly ineffectual barrage of shots.
[03:12] * Raphael finally makes it after what seems to be an eternity, leaping onto the loading ramp with one hand on the hydraulics for support. There's not even time to breathe before he turns again, dropping to one knee as he provides covering fire for the others retreating across the grass with Hugues at his shoulder.
[03:17] <Minaplo> ["Go go go go go!" Isidor rushes his group onto the VTOL- and is followed barely by Kirkpatrick, the last of his men on board as the ramp closes up.-
[03:19] <Minaplo> ["Captain! There it is!"-
[03:20] <Minaplo> [Internal monitors put it on screen- a huge red beast, the size of a house, with a wingspan easily that of a blue whale's length. It carries a massive axe in one hand and a lethal-looking barbed whip in the other. It turns its eyes and unleashes an earth-shaking roar as the VTOL begins to take to the air.]
[03:22] * Aline leaned over - but not onto anyone important to flying the damn thing - to see. "…Of course." She muttered.
[14:34] <Minaplo> [The Apocalypse Engine unfurls its wings to full, and makes a leaping bound onto the top of the VTOL mid-flight.-
[14:35] <Minaplo> [The VTOL- now barely fifty metres above ground- lurches unnaturally, sending people sprawling and tumbling. Raphael is close enough to see the pilot smacked hard into the console, sliding out of his chair onto the ground. The Emergency Automatic Pilot takes over- but it's no substitute for a real pair of hands…]
[14:36] * Aline for her part cried out, and managed to grab onto a bulkhead to keep /herself/ from getting knocked out. "Damnit!"
[14:43] * Raphael is already running up the central corridor as the monitors show their pursuer, but as the VTOL lurches under him he's left stumbling, grabbing hold of the netting in the crew compartment for balance. He makes one desperate grab for the controls, then another, before finally managing to get hold of them and pushing the unconscious pilot from his chair a little more roughly than
[14:43] * Raphael intended as he almost leaps into the chair himself.
[14:51] <Minaplo> [The Apocalypse Engine is not willing to give up so easily; however, a bucking and sliding VTOL is not an easy platform. The last straw comes as the Emergency Pilot- now running secondary activities- electrifies the hull, sending the Apocalypse Engine toppling off - it catches itself in midair soon enough, but now Raphael has his chance…!]
[14:57] <Raphael> The VTOL /lurches/ upwards, barely skirting the limits of the vehicle as Raphael desperately tries to gain some height before they find themselves in a head-on collision with a building. Still, it's not a pleasant maneuver for anyone inside the Stormbird.
[15:04] * Aline , in her quest to show the consequences of there insane maneuvers, holds on tight for dear life, trying to climb her way up the Stormbird towards the front, muttering under her breath about the differences between conventional and AT flight.
[15:24] <Minaplo> [As the VTOL heads away from Westminster and -hopefully- the Apocalypse Engine, a disheartening change occurs.-
[15:25] <Minaplo> [The Apoc Engine curls up for a second, shielded by its wings- the flesh of its back rip open, huge gashes out of which yet more wings fly. The existing wings already stretch out- it is now being being born aloft by four wings, each of them nearly thirty metres long.-
[15:26] <Minaplo> [It takes off after the Stormbird, wings propelling it to absurd speeds, axe born aloft.-
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["We must go faster!" Shouts Shardlake, crawling into the cockpit.]
[15:27] * Aline had made her way up that far, and called back to him. "That much is patently obvious!"
[15:32] <Raphael> "Be quiet and strap yourselves in!" Raphael barks with uncharacteristic irritation, pulling the VTOL sharply around one of the higher buildings. "Get the pilot, too!"
[15:33] <Minaplo> [Shardlake keeps his footing, dragging the pilot back out into the crew area.-
[15:35] <Minaplo> [The Stormbird is a fast craft- the outskirts of London fall behind them as the vehicle picks up the pace, the Thames snaking its way east. But the Apocalypse Engine is just as fast, a focused beam of roiling energy vaporising one of the very same buildings that Raphael was trying to avoid.]
[15:37] * Aline wasn't quite as lucky with footing, but managed to direct her fall into a seat, which she then began working the buckles for about as calmly as she could - which wasn't very. Of course, her eyes were flicking over the instrument panels and switchboards now, even though she was not in reach of any of them (OR WAS SHE).
[15:40] <Raphael> "Hold on!" Comes the call over the comms, as Raphael does the only thing he can do - pulling the VTOL in a wide barrel roll, ducking under the beam before angling aircraft over and past the scything blast of energy. For a heart-stopping second the VTOL is upside down, before the rolling manoeuver rights them again.
[15:41] <Minaplo> [At just the right time as well- a narrowly-missed lance of energy passes close enough to immediately increase the temperature inside the ship by five degrees, but not close enough to do damage.]
[16:03] <Raphael> Over the next few seconds (Minutes? Hours? In this sort of situation it's hard to say) the sickening string of manoeuvers doesn't show any sign of letting up as the Stormbird narrowly escapes death a dozen times over. Raphael's hands are white around the controls, his teeth gritted behind the helmet.
[16:05] <Minaplo> [The entire craft lurches as the Engine grabs onto the top of the craft- Raphael can hear the screech of claws on metal- and Aline can see the dents forming right above her head.-
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["MUST GO FASTER! GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO-"]
[16:06] * Aline was thankfully used to far worse… Well, maybe. She was holding a hand over her face, but compared to the pain of losing limbs…! Not that her throat didn't burn from choking it back. "Uuuuug…"
[16:09] * Raphael drops the Stormbird into an almost vertical dive towards the Thames, only pulling up again when he hears the shriek of metal and spots the Apocalypse Engine falling behind again with a hunk of the matte black hull impaled on its claws.
[16:14] <Minaplo> [… But the beast is quickly pursuing once more, enveloped momentarily in a sonic boom as it leaps forward, another burst of light homing straight towards the cockpit.]
[16:15] * Aline muttered quietly, much a counterpart to Shardlake's yelling. "It keeps coming…"
[16:18] <Raphael> Another sickening turn as they finally leave land behind and begin skimming over the open ocean, low enough to create a bow wave before they pull up to avoid the next light beam. The blast strikes the water instead, and for a moment their view is obscured by the wall of steam the flash-boiled water throws into the air.
[16:27] <Minaplo> [… But when the view clears, Raphael has to do more than simply pull up.-
[16:28] <Minaplo> [A huge area of ocean is practically boiling- the water is starting to part. The first Raphael sees is the command tower- then the main hull, compartments sliding open to reveal massive Positron cannons.-
[16:28] <Minaplo> [The Dorian Lachapelleemerges like a leviathan from the water, the metallic hull glistening with the water. The cannons train on the Apocalypse Engine.-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Captain Guillory!" Comes the voice of Archibald. "Fly clear!"-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Scramble EDVs for interception!"]
[16:32] * Aline seemed to brighten, even if she was fresh off of trying not to throw up. "There we go!"
[16:34] * Raphael accelerates the VTOL even further, feeling the aircraft shudder as it's pushed to the very limit. The plane barely manages to skim over the edge of the flight deck and streak past the control tower with enough speed to rattle even the reinforced glass.
[16:34] <Raphael> "Clear!"
[16:37] <Minaplo> ["Roger that! Cannons three and six, fire!"-
[16:38] <Minaplo> [Two positron lances streak through the sky, the first tearing a wing off the Apocalypse Engine, the other impaling it through the chest. Despite the sheer level of firepower being deployed, the beast is simply not dead yet.-
[16:39] <Minaplo> [The EDVs deploy from the flight deck, rail-launching speed propelling them into the sky. Their jets send them spinning around the Engine-
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["Honey Badger engaging!" Comes the voice of Lilly Norling; the blue-tinted EDV burst bolter raining shells into the creature's body, joined with the pulse shots from Holmstrom's own craft.-
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["Guillory, finish it off!" Comes Marianne's voice.]
[16:43] <Raphael> The VTOL banks rapidly, turned almost entirely on its side as it comes around to bring the Apocalypse Engine into sight ahead of them. "Yes ma'am." He replies tersely. "Weapons free. Deploying positron torpedoes on my mark.-
[16:46] <Raphael> It's a very long second as the Stormbird closes the distance, the creature growing larger and larger in the cockpit windows. Then, finally, Raphael gives the word and the VTOL is banking again - but not before two sleek-looking missiles are released from under each wing to streak towards the infected beast.
[17:00] <Minaplo> [The missiles hit, a split second between penetration and explosion- and when the explosion happens it happens in a huge way. The Apocalypse Engine is -shredded-, ripped apart from the inside, shorn in half, turning less from a dangerous beast to a collection of disparate bloody parts.-
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["Bogey down, homebird." Said Honey Badger.-
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["Ikari-1, you are to dock in Pad 5." Came a voice over Raphael's com.]
[17:02] * Raphael slumps in the pilot's seat, releasing a breath he seems to have been holding for hours. "Understood, Command." Raphael says after a moment, gradually reducing the VTOL's speed back to a more reasonable level as he brings the craft around to prepare for a landing.
[17:16] * Aline looked at Raphael with a small, polite smile - too wide and it'd probably Evoke Things… and sighed. "Well, good to know that part's over…"

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