The Chengdu Infiltration

[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [17:31] <Minaplo> [("Dropping to low altitude-")-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [17:37] <Minaplo> [The heavy VTOL began to drop, clearing the mists; below, heavily forested mountains rose around them as they dropped.-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [17:37] <Minaplo> ["ETA five minutes."]
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [17:46] <Raphael> Raphael Guillory shuts the heavy case at his feet as the voice dies away, giving the vast array of warning labels covering the metal exterior a hard look before slotting it away in his pack. The VTOL is bouncing in light turbulence as the aircraft descends, but he barely even feels it as he looks around at the other soldiers crammed into the VTOL's passenger compartment.-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [17:46] <Raphael> "Are we all prepared?"
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [17:50] <Minaplo> ["Yessir." Is the general response. His own squad are sitting closest to him, followed by Macnair's; Terence is sitting on the floor in a spot usually reserved for vehicles.]
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [17:58] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael nods, beginning the slow process of checking his own equipment. "Again, our objectives here are the recovery President Lujian and Director Zhang. Recovery of survivors is secondary, according to Command." Raphael says, with only the smallest look of distaste. "Our knowledge of just what's happening here is still shakey at best, so keep your guard up at all times."
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:00] <Minaplo> [More assent.-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:01] <Minaplo> [("Terrain at coordinates is poor-") ("Land us a little farther west.") ("Noted-") "ETA two minutes, boys and girls. Get ready. You'll be in for a bit of a walk."]
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:03] <Raphael> "Understood." Raphael says into the radio, giving the other soldiers a quick nod before focusing his attention on his own preparations as the VTOL continues to drop.
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:05] <Minaplo> [A sharp bit of turbulence, then…-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:05] <Minaplo> [The hatches of the VTOL blast open and the rear ramp lowers; sunlight floods in.]
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:19] * Raphael unclips himself for the chair and strides down the ramp with the rest of the soldiers, trying to get a look at the scene beyond around Terence's armoured form with more than a little difficulty.
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:21] <Minaplo> [The area beyond is hilly and forested, the only paths up here being basic dirt roads and, in some cases, implied paths through clearings of trees. A rather steep cliff looms ahead, and at the base they can see a small military fort with the Chinese Federation flag flying from its walls. From this distance they can hear the sound of screams and gunfire.]
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:32] * Raphael ‘s eyes narrow at the sound, and his posture becomes a little straighter. "We need to move fast." Raphael says sharply, moving towards the front of the group. "Captain Savage, you’ll be with my team. Sergeant Macnair, I need you to take the long way and provide fire support from the flank."
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:43] <Minaplo> ["As you say." Says Terence.-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> [18:43] <Minaplo> ["On it, sir." Says Macnair, and his squad move off.]
[13:42] * Raphael is gone as well, already leading his team down towards the base with rapid strides, his bolter held close to his chest. They find what cover they can among the rocks and trees on the way down, but it doesn't do much to mask their view of the base - or the still-rising sound of screams. Still, eventually the team would make it to the reinforced gates of the fort, forming up on either
[13:42] * Raphael side of the entrance.
[13:43] <AdEvaGM> [The sound of explosions and the sharp crack of maser fire is mingled into the mix now. Chinese soldiers are lining up on the eastern side of the wall, which is adorned with towers, firing down.-
[13:44] <AdEvaGM> [A soldier on their side looks down, his eyes bugging out impressively as he sees Terence's armored form. He begins shouting down at them in Chinese. Mana quickly replies.-
[13:45] <AdEvaGM> ["Looks like they've got a Guard with 'em." Said Hugues gruffly, pulling out the exquisite longsword he'd taken from one of his foes in an earlier battle.-
[13:45] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, it's an old one. A sergeant." Says Terence.]
[13:55] * Raphael frowns. "We'll need to keep it busy while we set up a defensive position, inside." He gives the gate a rough shake, barely budging it. "Mana, can you ask our soldier on the walls to get this open for us?"
[13:59] <AdEvaGM> [Another exchange. She looks at Raphael. "He won't leave his post- but I think we can grab the bolt and pull it open from here."]
[14:04] <Raphael> "Understood. Hugues, help me get this open. Captain Savage, I need you to deal with the Iron Guard until we can make it inside. Sergeant Favager and Sergeant Macnair will offer what fire support they can in the meantime."
[14:05] <AdEvaGM> ["As you say." Terence tears off around the side, followed by a few of Macnair's boys.-
[14:06] <AdEvaGM> [On the opposite side of the camp, the Iron Guard Sergeant reaches forward and roughly rips the eastern gate open- immediately after, a pair of cultists- wearing old LN equipment- run in, screaming bloody cries.]
[14:10] * Raphael and Hugues manage to pull open the door only a moment later, and it doesn't take long for the crack of bolters to join the already defeaning sound of maser fire as the rest of Raphael's team breaks into the fort.
[14:14] <AdEvaGM> ["I'll hold the big man off." Hugues runs off, not waiting for confirmation, sword raised. Mana follows after, taking out one of the invading soldiers. Hugues and the sergeant meet at the east gate- and the combat immediately turns ferocious. He ducks under a wide swing, bringing an arm up to flat parry one of the sword blows- before lunging out himself, catching the Sergeant in a weak spot.]
[15:03] <Raphael> "-Sergeant-!" Raphael calls sharply, but Hugues seems to fail to hear… or simply fails to listen. Raphael lets out a small, annoyed hiss through his teeth and raises the bolter. He should really be used to his Chief Sergeant's mad charges by now, he supposes…-
[15:07] <Raphael> Even in the heavy power armour he's wearing, Hugues would likely sense the bolter shell as it zips past his shoulder by mere inches before striking the Iron Guard's helmet. The modified shell burrows deep before finally detonating with a muffled, metallic crack that shatters the helmet like an egg striking pavement, although there's more circuitry flying than actual gore.
[15:09] <AdEvaGM> [The headless titan's corpse sways a little, before Hugues gives it a somewhat gentle nudge. It topples over and smashes into the ground.-
[15:11] <AdEvaGM> [Henri's new shotgun can be heard, the bark of shots loud to Raphael's ears- but the sound is soon drowned out. At some point, Blaise had managed to clamber up next to the guard in his tower, a missile launcher strapped over his back. He pulls it roughly forward, bracing it on his shoulder- and a second later a frag missile detonates in the mist of the offensive, shredding most of the remaining enemy soldiers.-
[15:12] <AdEvaGM> [The rest are soon cut down by the Chinese defenders.]
[15:20] <Raphael> The sounds of battle seem to die away all at once, and for a moment only deathly quiet is left behind. Raphael takes a second to scan the scene inside the fort - the blood, the disparity between the number of bedrolls and the number of soldiers… - before raising his voice. "All clear?"
[15:21] <AdEvaGM> ["Clear." Says Hugues, wiping off his sword. And his chestplate. And helmet. "What a mess."-
[15:21] <AdEvaGM> ["Bag 'em and tag 'em." Shouts Blaise.-
[15:21] <AdEvaGM> ["Shut up, Blaise." Replies Henri immediately.]
[16:08] * Raphael strides inside the fort, glancing around at the soldiers on the walls. "I'm Captain Raphael Guillory of NERV's Paris-2 branch. Who's the commanding officer here?" He calls in deeply accented English. He glances over at Mana, switching back to French. "I may need a translator, Sergeant."
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> [One of the soldiers turns around- he's wearing a cap, not a helmet, and this seems to set him apart. He holsters his dual pistols, and asks something of Raphael- in Chinese.-
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> ["Coming, s-"-
[16:11] <AdEvaGM> ["TANK!" Bawls Blaise. A second later Raphael would hear the earthshaking sound of a tank cannon; followed by the sound of machine gun fire, interspersed with Terence's bolter.]
[15:03] <Raphael> Already halfway up the ladder towards soldier with the cap by the time the explosions begin, Blaise’s shouts manage to push Raphael up the tower with even greater speed. The Chinese soldiers are forgotten for a moment as he draws his bolter and stares over the wall for the approaching vehicle, finally managing to draw a bead as the tank crashes through a line of foliage and sending a
[15:03] <Raphael> bolter shell crashing into the more weakly armoured joint of the turret ring.
[15:14] <AdEvaGM> [The turret ring is ripped to shreds, causing the entire cannon to start swinging wildly- there's the dull sound of screams and chaos from within, the sound of impromptu pistol shots, before the entire tank careens into a wall.-
[15:15] <AdEvaGM> [Even at its relatively slow speed it hits the wall with enough force for the entire front to crumple- within, ammo deposits start to detonate. The ultimate result is a field of shredded metal and fire.]
[15:17] <Raphael> "…" Even Raphael seems slightly surprised by the result, one eyebrow raised as he stares at the blazing wreck.
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> [There's the sound of someone familiar nearby letting out a low string of swears half-way between loading his missile launcher.-
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> ["You're an overachiever." Shouts Hugues up onto the wall, the dead Iron Guard at his feet promptly ignored.]
[15:27] * Raphael coughs awkwardly, but his face is stern as he turns to look at the French soldiers scattered around the fort. "The coast is clear for the moment. Sergeant Beringer, please see to the Chinese soldiers while we have a moment. Everyone else, concentrate on reinforcing the defenses in case of another wave."-
[15:28] <Raphael> He looks back at the dual-pistoled soldier and pauses. "… Ah, and Sergeant Kirishima? I still need your help."
[15:30] <AdEvaGM> [The soldier is now leaning against the fortified wall, a cigarette out as he holsters his guns. Mana is quick to follow Raphael up- a quick conversation ensues.-
[15:33] <AdEvaGM> ["This is Sergeant Zhou of the 43rd- they were dispatched here to fortify this pass because of the strange signals and communication weirdness emitting from this mountain. Of course, we know that it was an AT Field signature."]
[15:34] <Raphael> "Were any attempts made to scout for the source?"
[15:35] <AdEvaGM> [Another rapid conversation.-
[15:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Zhou says they looked but they couldn't find anything- even though LN soldiers began coming from the cave." She pointed at a small cave that lay beyond the field of dead. "He assumes it's some sort of hidden door or the like."]
[15:41] * Raphael nods slowly. "… Right." He says, giving the rest of the fort a careful look. "Is he capable of holding the pass with Macnair's group if our team investigates?"
[15:41] <AdEvaGM> [Another back and forth.-
[15:42] <AdEvaGM> ["He says he should be able to handle it with their help."]
[15:45] <Raphael> "Good." He gives Zhou a firm salute before adjusting his bolter and heading for the ladder. "We'll allow them a few minutes to dig in before heading out. I'll let the others know."
[15:51] <AdEvaGM> [Macnair and his squad were left behind to fortify the outpost as Raphael and his squad headed on, Terence in the lead.-
[15:52] <AdEvaGM> [The cave ahead of them was dark and dim, coarse and rough, the ground a little uneven beneath them. "Hm. Fake door? More like a fake wall." Came Terence's deep voice. "The entire back wall here is a door."]
[15:54] * Raphael frowns, following a few steps behind Terence's voice in the dark. "How can you tell."
[15:54] <Raphael> «?*»
[15:55] <AdEvaGM> ["Because I've been in bases like this before." Said Terence patiently. "There's a very small crevice, right in the middle, that's actually a keycard reader…"-
[15:56] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, yeah, the big bastard back there had one of those." Said Hugues, taking out a blue card the size of his hand.]
[16:02] <Raphael> "Good work, Chief-Sergeant." Raphael says, only examining the keycard for a second or two before handing it over to Terence. "Although I must ask why you were rifling through the possessions of the dead. Again."
[16:04] <AdEvaGM> ["Well, technically, sir, it's an Iron Guard, so really it's not dead, just incapacitated."]
[16:06] <Raphael> It's a testament to Raphael's skills as an officer that Hugues would be able to feel the weight of his stare even in the increasing dark.
[16:08] <AdEvaGM> [There's a low chuckle from Terence as he slides the keycard into the door. "Not even the Maltese Vampire likes your thievery, Monette."-
[16:10] <AdEvaGM> [There's a click, and the 'wall' splits open evenly, sliding into some unforseen alcove.-
[16:12] <AdEvaGM> [The room beyond is square, with red tiles, red walls, and stark white lighting; a large compass-like mural has been painted onto the floor below. The room has three other doors, all of them extremely heavy and durable blast doors; a huge double door to the north and two smaller, but no less imposing, doors to the east and south.]
[17:18] <Raphael> "…" It's all a little more… opulent than he had expected. Then again, secret mountain bases had a rather different set of aesthetic expectations than your standard military bunker. Perhaps this was just common practice?
[17:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Man, what the hell? How can they afford all of this?"-
[17:32] <AdEvaGM> [Terence enters first, heading towards the northern door. "This must be an old base. Probably well-equipped, standard high-yield Positron Generator for electricity."]
[18:23] <Raphael> … and so the next few minutes pass in tense silence as Henri and Savage work to get one of the blast doors open, before finally moving into the long hallway beyond. The only sounds are the faint tapping of boots on concrete, and the low hum of a generator that reverberates out beyond the walls.-
[18:23] <Raphael> It’s only when they begin working on a second door that the storm they’d all been waiting for finally breaks.
[18:28] <AdEvaGM> [A door opens. "HEY-"-
[18:29] <AdEvaGM> [A single gunshot from Hugues. A second later the security soldier lays dead on the ground.-
[18:31] <AdEvaGM> ["A security console." Says Terry. "It can be used to access the cameras and doors…"-
[18:31] <AdEvaGM> ["I'll get to it." Says Henri, stepping in.-
[18:31] <AdEvaGM> [The sound of a door opening elsewhere at the same time- then bolter fire. A bolt blasts itself against a wall a mere metre from Raphael.-
[18:32] <AdEvaGM> ["Enemy fire! I'm hit!" Shouts Mana. From the southern door comes a squad of soldiers, led by eight feet tall men of pure muscle, the air around them shimmering slightly as they fire.]
[18:36] <Raphael> "Apostles!" Raphael calls, leaning his back against one of the blast doors in an attempt to find cover as he unhooks something small from a strap on his belt. "Concentrate fire on the Guards. I'll provide a distraction." He leans around the door, one hand pulling back before pitching something over the heads of the Apostles.-
[18:37] <Raphael> With a clink, a grenade bounces to a stop at the foot of one of the soldiers behind them.
[18:49] <AdEvaGM> ["GRENADE-"_
[18:50] <AdEvaGM> [There's the roaring sound of an incendiary grenade exploding, a hot burning fiery petrol spraying out everywhere amidst the enemy's ranks. Soldiers burn and screams fill the air-
[18:51] <AdEvaGM> [One of the Apostles returns fire at Raphael. The shot hits the wall he is using for cover, but not before leaving a clear foot indent into the metal.-
[18:51] <AdEvaGM> ["Hold on, I've got him!" Shouts Mana, emerging from cover to open fire.-
[18:52] <AdEvaGM> [There's the sound of an AT Field flashing to life, bolt rounds bouncing off it harmlessly, before the air fills with the unique roar of Terry's own Stalker Bolter. The apostle on the left staggers back as it rips into his chest…-
[18:53] <AdEvaGM> [And Mana's shots finish him off. The combined fire rip through his head and torso, setting off his ample grenades and ammo, shredding skin and bone.]
[20:23] <Raphael> As the remaining soldiers scatter to various scraps of cover around the main hall the fighting grows increasingly bitter. And in the centre of it all, the remaining Apostle is proving significantly tougher to fell than his brother, bolter and railgun fire alike sparking off the glittering AT field.-
[20:23] <Raphael> Raphael is on his knees now, hauling open his pack to remove the case from earlier and unsnapping the latches as he summons Hugues’ attention. “Take Sergeant Duval and get these doors working!"
[20:33] <AdEvaGM> ["On it, sir!"-
[20:34] <AdEvaGM> [The cameras show four rooms; one of them is a sort of digital library, soldiers in defensive positions; another is a room with two soldiers standing stock-still, next to a table; a third room shows a holographic projector, and the last room shows what looks like a complex computer console built into a metal pillar.-
[20:34] <AdEvaGM> [One of the doors opens- the door to the holo-room.-
[20:37] <AdEvaGM> [A loud retort of a bolt pistol, and the persistent Apostle jerks backward as a bolt round shears away a good chunk of his head. The ground beneath Raphael's feet shakes as Terence charges down it, sword in hand, a sword that comes down on the Apostle not once but four times…-
[20:37] <AdEvaGM> [Leaving very little left except gore and meat.]
[21:55] <Raphael> Back at the doors, Raphael's shoulders relax somewhat as the last of their enemies falls. He's extracted what he needs from case and now holds it braced against his shoulder: It appears to be a far less sleek human-scale version of the EVAs positronic weaponry - or at least like someone ripped the guts from one and slapped it back together in a rough approximation of what one should look
[21:55] <Raphael> like. Tubes and cylinders protrude from the rare bit of space not taken up by warning labels.-
[21:55] <Raphael> "All clear?"
[22:01] <@AdEvaGM> ["Clear." Comes Hugues's voice.-
[22:02] <@AdEvaGM> ["Clear." Terence's. "Scrap that." The sound of a bolt pistol retort, a sharp scream. "Now clear."-
[22:02] <@AdEvaGM> ["Bag 'em and tag 'em!"-
[22:02] <@AdEvaGM> ["Shut up, Blaise."]
[22:05] * Raphael nods, collecting his backpack and approaching the alcove where Euphrasie is checking Marie's wounds. "Whoever introduced Sergeant Herriot to that phrase is going to be getting a stern talking to." He mutters.
[22:06] <@AdEvaGM> ["It's Lafabre's fault." Says Hugues.]
[22:06] <Raphael> "Of -course- it is."
[22:08] <@AdEvaGM> ["Sir? This is Duval. I've found some sort of communications network."]
[22:12] <Raphael> "Local or long-ranged?" Raphael asks.
[22:12] <@AdEvaGM> ["Local, sir."]
[22:15] <Raphael> "Is there any way for us to listen in?" Euphrasie has finished up her work on Marie by now, and with Raphael's help they manage to pull the power armoured soldier to her feet. "Are you alright, Marie?"
[22:19] <@AdEvaGM> ["Should be." Says Henri, and he gets to work.-
[22:20] <@AdEvaGM> ["Right as rain." Says Marie, rubbing a slightly blackened portion of the power armour and hefting up a gun the size of Raphael's entire body.]
[22:26] <Raphael> "Glad to hear it, Sergeant." He smiles, even if the minigun gets a momentary pause. "Alright, Sergeant Duval. We're headed your way now."
[22:30] <@AdEvaGM> [About half a minute later the squad's assembled outside of the Communications Room. "Got it." Said Henri. "If you set your frequency to 179.23 you'll be able to hear it."]
[22:34] * Raphael sets the rifle against his shoulder as he fiddles with the radio connected to receiver in his helmet. It takes a few seconds of static, but eventually he'd find the frequency in question.
[22:35] <@AdEvaGM> [The words he hears…-
[22:35] <@AdEvaGM> [… Aren't in a language he recognises.]
[22:36] * Raphael glances over at Mana with a raised eyebrow, wondering if she'd have any more luck.
[22:37] <@AdEvaGM> [She listens.-
[22:39] <@AdEvaGM> ["… Yeah, it's Arabic- a mix of West African dialects, a bit of Moroccan, Algerian. Mostly. Some French- West African inflections-"-
[22:39] <@AdEvaGM> ["Anything useful?" Growls Hugues.-
[22:42] <@AdEvaGM> ["Alright, hold on." Murmurs Mana. "Alright. It looks like they obviously know they're here… Orders to secure the 'subjects' in the southern wing, I'm not sure what they mean- prisoners? They're taking orders from a Commander…" She frowns, as if having issues parsing it. "Wait, that's German. Commander Brother… And he wants to make sure the east wing is locked down… Uh, and also orders from a… More German, hold on. I don't…"-
[22:42] <@AdEvaGM> ["Iron Paladin." Says Terence shortly.]
[22:46] <Raphael> "… Something you're aware of, Captain?"
[22:51] <@AdEvaGM> ["They're Iron Guard." Says Terence. "Of a sort. You're aware of the Iron Apostles? An Iron Paladin has the power of the AT Field, like an Apostle, except to a greater level of power- and they're all Third Generation. Not the old, weaker sort you're used to. If an Iron Paladin is here on base, expect an enemy I'll have difficulty even equaling."]
[22:59] * Raphael is silent at that, giving the communications console a long stare. "… Mmm. We proceed as planned for now. Our first priority is to evacuate the Director and President, so attempt to avoid engaging this Paladin unless that objective's been completed if at all possible."
[23:00] <@AdEvaGM> [A collective nod.-
[23:00] <@AdEvaGM> ["Sir?" Henri.]
[23:00] <Raphael> "Sergeant?"
[23:02] <@AdEvaGM> ["The door security console back in the room we just passed- it can be used to remote open two of the doors here, but there -are- confirmed enemies. There's no guarantee that it's the only way to open the doors, though."]
[23:06] <Raphael> "How many confirmed, Sergeant? And any sign of what's beyond?"
[23:17] <@AdEvaGM> ["Two in the room back by the door, four behind that one-" he jabs a thumb at the door to their right. "That door there leads to some database, I think. Other door didn't have much of anything."]
[23:24] <Raphael> Another pause. "Alright, Sergeant, head back and prepare to get them open. Captain Savage, I'll need you to clear the second room while my team deals with those around the database."
[23:25] <@AdEvaGM> ["Yessir." Henri heads off to do just that, followed by Terence.]
[23:35] <@AdEvaGM> [About a minute later, Henri activates the doors.-
[23:38] <@AdEvaGM> [Raphael sees a wide corridor, with three archways on either side and a final alcove at the far end. Immediately, maser bolts are fired from the four soldiers hiding in cover, one barely missing Raphael's head.]
[12:54] <Raphael> The heat from the bolt is enough to singe his hair, but Raphael's only reaction is to bring down his hand - A moment later Marie moves from cover, her minigun spitting out suppressive fire as he, Mana and Hugues advance methodically behind her.
[13:03] <AdEvaGM> [A soldier emerges to snap a maser bolt off at Marie, but the armor soaks it and he pays for it as she guns him down.-
[13:08] <AdEvaGM> [A short cry from Mana as a maser bolt grazes her leg- she returns the favour with a bolt pistol, but fails to put her target down.-
[13:09] <AdEvaGM> [Which doesn't stop him from screaming, but…]
[13:13] <Raphael> The bolter shell that catches him in the chest a moment later does, however, and Raphael reaches out to pull Mana more securely into cover.
[13:22] <AdEvaGM> [Even without their superior weaponry and armor, Raphael and his squad are clearly superior, and the other soldiers are quickly taken down, leaving a room that smells of gunpowder and burning metal and flesh.]
[13:28] * Raphael takes a minute to catch his breath - not seeming to notice the acrid stench that clouds the room - and check his weapon before turning his attention to the archways and the archives beyond. "I trust you know what to do with these, Sergeant Duval?"
[13:29] <AdEvaGM> ["Yessir." Henri looks at the nearest console- the first one in the corridor, to the right- and approaches it.-
[13:30] <AdEvaGM> ["Hm. This looks like some kind of database for research…"]
[13:30] <Raphael> "More work with the Iron Guard?"
[13:33] <AdEvaGM> ["There's a lot of files here. Hold on…"-
[13:35] <AdEvaGM> ["Alright. Looking at a list of the most recently opened files… Some of it is with the Iron Guard. Weapons enhancement, armor enhancement… Seems like they haven't been able to really work on improving them physically since we took their biggest toys. Other things here too. Talk about cultivating some kind of bio-weapon. It's really technical…"]
[13:47] * Raphael 's eyes narrow at the mention of a 'bio-weapon'. "Are we able to make copies?"
[13:47] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah, I should be able to, sir. Want me to do the same with the others?"]
[13:51] <Raphael> "If possible."
[13:56] <AdEvaGM> [Henri proceeds to do this, although he stops at one of the terminals.-
[13:56] <AdEvaGM> ["Uh, you're here, sir."]
[13:58] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's frown deepens almost imperceptibly. "I'm sorry?"
[13:59] <AdEvaGM> ["One of these databases- it lists profiles, and you're included- god's blood, so am I…"-
[13:59] <AdEvaGM> ["What?" Mutters Hugues, snapping his head up.]
[14:01] * Raphael flexes his fingers and considers this. "… It's to be expected, I suppose. We've run enough major ops on the LN and Children of Adam to warrant some attention."
[14:06] <AdEvaGM> ["They've really done their homework on this. Close family members, personal ties…"]
[14:09] * Raphael places a hand on Henri's shoulder. "Sergeant Duval." He says gently. "Copy the files for now. We'll worry about the rest later."
[14:13] <AdEvaGM> ["R-Right you are, sir."-
[14:14] <AdEvaGM> ["This is Savage. Soldiers have been dealt with. They were surprisingly tough." Came his voice over the comms.]
[14:22] * Raphael gives Henri a small smile before turning to take the call. "Understood, Captain. We're dealing with the archives now, so regroup when you're able. Nothing of interest in the room, I take it?"
[14:23] <AdEvaGM> ["Doesn't look like it. I'm not even sure why it's here."]
[14:29] <Raphael> "… Mmm. I suppose it hardly matters now." Raphael says thoughtfully. "We'll see you in a moment, hmm?"
[14:31] <AdEvaGM> ["As you say."-
[14:31] <AdEvaGM> [A minute later, Terence's heavy footsteps could be heard as he rejoined them in the hallway, his armour splattered with yet more blood.]
[14:35] * Raphael gives Terence a small nod, having returned to watching the files flicker by over Henri's shoulder in the meantime. "Sergeant Duval is just copying the last of the data, Captain. We should be almost ready to move."
[14:35] <AdEvaGM> ["The room up ahead, if my memory serves, is usually the command centre. We should be cautious."]
[14:41] <Raphael> "Right. At least it may give us a clearer idea of where to find Director Zhang and the President… Although it's possibly the most likely place to encounter this Paladin of theirs, too." Raphael says thoughtfully, tapping gently on the barrel of his gun. "We'll be prepared."
[14:50] <AdEvaGM> [Savage nodded, and moved to take point.-
[14:54] <AdEvaGM> [The door itself was made of two highly reinforced blast doors- Savage gave them all a nod, then placed his gun carefully against his thigh, where it snapped to the metal magnetically. He slipped his fingers into the crack between doors and -pulled-. With a screech of metal, the door began to move aside…-
[14:54] <AdEvaGM> [And a second later, a bolt shell screamed out, striking Hugues square in the chest and sending him careening into a wall.]
[15:08] <Raphael> Raphael lets out a low cry of horror before he can stop himself, and it’s all he can do to turn his gaze away from the motionless form of his friend and back to the door.-
[15:09] <Raphael> "Euphrasie, see to him!" Raphael calls sharply, his bolter set aside in favour of the bulky positron weapon from earlier. "Captain Savage, with me. Everyone else, stagger your suppressive fire!"-
[15:09] <Raphael> Without giving himself a moment to think, Raphael hurls himself between the gap in the door and dives behind the nearest console for cover.
[15:33] <AdEvaGM> [The room around him is large- the largest he's been in yet. The walls are lined with data consoles and information, and along the far northern wall sits a massive viewscreen, casting a shadow over the large main consoles- at each one sits a soldier, each now turned towards the door, masguns at hand.-
[15:33] <AdEvaGM> [But in the centre of the room stand two, green-armoured Iron Guards. They're a little larger than the usual type, and their armour is more streamlined- third generation. One of them is holding a smoking pistol.-
[15:34] <AdEvaGM> [The other one turns towards Raphael, helmet's red eyes shining in the semi-dark room. There's a deep whirr as the Guard's chainsword activates- he begins to approach.]
[15:54] * Raphael lets out a long exhale, emptying his lungs as he throws a series of priming switches along the side of the rifle and allows the a sense of calm to wash over him as the footsteps - audible even amidst the gunfire - draw closer. It only takes a moment for the rifle to build up sufficient charge, and Raphael expends it almost immediately as he emerges over the desk and releases the
[15:54] * Raphael antimatter beam at the Guard’s neck.
[15:57] <AdEvaGM> [At the last second, the guard sidesteps- or rather, he anticipated the action and moved just in time. The positron beam rips through the chainsword and smashes into a wall, blowing a chunk out of the viewscreen and sending a sudden power surge throughout the lights. Everything is plunged into darkness, illuminated only by the glowing consoles.-
[15:58] <AdEvaGM> [There's the sound of gunfire- Marie's minigun opening fire, bolters firing- the door must've been opened.-
[16:02] <AdEvaGM> [Heavy, thundering footsteps- he can see the glowing red eyes, and he can feel the weighty entity above him. A fist flies with shocking speed towards his head.]
[16:06] * Raphael tucks his shoulder and throws himself to one side, heedless of the bullets and maser bolts flying around him. It's enough to get his head clear and save his life for the moment, but there's not enough time to get himself entirely clear.-
[16:09] <Raphael> The fist comes crashing down on his left calf instead. The armour's ablatives are enough to stop the leg being pulped entirely, but there's the sickening snap of bone underneath them. Raphael lets out a roar and manages to bring up his gun again even in the awkward position, pulling the trigger with only those red eyes giving him any sense of where to aim.
[16:20] <AdEvaGM> [The shot's fired at close range and this time, the Guard isn't able to dodge properly. It awkwardly yanks itself back, turning a potentially lethal shot into a merely damaging one as the positron energy burns against its left rib cage.-
[16:20] <AdEvaGM> [The Guard raises his pistol instead, now-
[16:30] <AdEvaGM> [But suddenly, the area around him is very rapidly illuminated as a missile smashes into his side and explodes, chunks of armour and skin splattering in a radius around it. Waves of heat can be felt from the rather small (thankfully) explosion…-
[16:31] <AdEvaGM> [When the blast clears, the Guard is… Still standing, incredibly, although half its torso and an arm is missing. It lays on the ground, pulling itself towards Raphael.]
6[16:52] * Raphael bares his teeth and wrenches his sidearm from his belt, emptying bullet after bullet into the head and torso of the Guard, unwilling to risk exposing himself further by dragging himself out of cover.
[17:00] <AdEvaGM> [Each impact seems to jerk the Guard a little, but it continues to crawl forward, slower and slower, before finally slumping still.-
[17:00] <AdEvaGM> [The rest of the room is chaos and fire. The line of enemy soldiers is being broken under Marie's minigun, supported by Henri and Mana; Terence is duelling with the surviving Guard, his blade flashing in the firelight.]
[17:10] <Raphael> Chaos and fire it may be, but there's enough time for Raphael to snatch up the Guard's discarded bolt pistol and unload two shells into the fallen cyborg's head. Only then does he lean over the sparking remains of the console and begin assisting the others in bringing down the rest of the soldiers.
[17:14] <AdEvaGM> [The weight of the gun and the recoil as it fires are almost enough to snap Raphael's wrist, yet the results can't be denied as the head cracks open, completely pulped.-
[17:15] <AdEvaGM> [The lesser infantry are quickly cleaned up, lacking the skills of Raphael and his squad- and although the Iron Guard puts up a hell of a fight- at one point smashing Terence into the ground- the Captain manages to kick the Guard off its feet before bringing his sword down in a clean arc, severing it from the neck.]
6[17:22] * Raphael slumps down against the console. His ears are ringing, his wrists feel sprained and his leg is bad enough to draw a hiss of pain every time he moves it. Not that he has any time to feel sorry for himself, of course.-
[17:23] <Raphael> "Report!"
[17:25] <AdEvaGM> ["Room's clear." Said Savage, sheathing his blade and looking around. "What a mess."-
[17:25] <AdEvaGM> [Someone was bossing into Raphael's personal space at the moment. "As if I didn't have enough to deal with!" Growled Euphrasie, her medkit cracking open. "Hugues shot, Blaise clipped, you charging in like a madman-"-
[17:26] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm fine, by the way-" Started Blaise.-
[17:26] <AdEvaGM> ["What were you thinking?!" Snapped Euphrasie, well and truly furious.-
[17:26] <AdEvaGM> [Someone nearby was laughing. Hugues. Although it was a little pained, it was still fairly full and not at all a dying laugh.]
[17:28] <Raphael> "Someone needed to soak up the bullets, and Hugues was occupied." Raphael says with a very slight smile, wincing as Euphrasie begins poking at his leg. He seems to brighten considerably at the sound of Hugues' laughter.
[17:29] <AdEvaGM> ["We have a walking battletank right there!"-
[17:30] <AdEvaGM> [Terence let out a low chuckle at that.-
[17:30] <AdEvaGM> [Henri, for his part, was busy looking over the consoles. "Hm…"]
[17:32] <Raphael> "I -did- ask him to assist, you know." Raphael says gently. He almost seems sheepish in the face of Euphrasie's anger.
[17:49] <AdEvaGM> ["You're lucky. Your leg's been twisted a little, it'll slow you down but not too much." Mutters Euphrasie. "If you're going to do stupid stunts, at least have the common courtesy to get a suit of power armour…"-
[17:50] <AdEvaGM> ["Hey, Captain." Shouts Henri. "I have something here you'll be interested in. Looks like a door locking console…"-
[17:50] <AdEvaGM> ["'Power plant, Inner Sanctum and Holding Cells'."]
[17:56] <Raphael> "How far are we from the cells?" Raphael asks, pulling himself carefully back to his feet.
[17:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Looks like we have to head back to that middle room, then head east."]
[18:12] <Raphael> "… Alright." He pauses for a moment, gently testing his leg before nodding and collecting his weapons. "We need to move quickly. We need to extract the VIPs before we take any more damage, which means skirting their sanctum if possible."
[18:13] <AdEvaGM> ["They all feed off from the same intersection, I'll be guessing." Said Terence slowly. The Guard reloaded his bolter and began to head out as the group moved. Henri busied himself with unlocking.]
[18:16] * Raphael keeps up with the others as best he can, only pausing to grab his own bolter from the doorway. "We'll just have to be careful, then."
[18:17] <AdEvaGM> [Back to the intersection, past the dead bodies…-
[18:18] <AdEvaGM> [Then its east. Here, the tiles dark red, a disorientating change from the blue-coated walls and floors they'd just been in for the past few minutes. Down a corridor…-
[18:19] <AdEvaGM> [And finally to another, narrower intersection.-
[18:19] <AdEvaGM> [Savage pointed north. "Power plant." South. "Cells."]
[18:20] * Raphael motions south. "Best to check the cells, I believe."
[18:23] <AdEvaGM> [Savage nods, and slowly heads south…-
[18:25] <AdEvaGM> [There are eight cells, four each to a wall, placed irregularly so that no two cell doors face each other directly. The cells themselves are cold and dull.-
[18:25] <AdEvaGM> [They are also empty.]
[18:27] <Raphael> "… Mmm. I suspected as much." Raphael murmurs as he takes a closer look at the cells. "They know we're here, and what we must be after. No reason not to move the prisoners to a more secure area."
[18:28] <AdEvaGM> ["The inner sanctum would probably be the most secure location." Says Savage.]
[18:29] <Raphael> "Agreed." Raphael says, with a quiet sigh. "What can we expect there, Captain?"
[18:31] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm not sure." Admits Savage. "Everything on base is built to a template bar the sanctum."]
[18:34] * Raphael nods, limping back towards the doorway. "Fair enough. Going in blind is hardly my preference, but we don't have a great deal of choice."
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Maybe we'll just find the Vips tied together with a little note next to them." Muttered Hugues.-
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Or attached to a conveyor belt, heading for a giant saw." Offered Henri.-
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Or suspended over a tank of piranhas."-
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Don't be dumb, Blaise."]
[18:38] * Raphael laughs gently, but is otherwise quiet as they head towards their next destination.
[19:22] <AdEvaGM> [The door slides open…-
[19:23] <AdEvaGM> [And they come face-to-face with… A wall, a narrow metre away.-
[19:24] <AdEvaGM> [The door has led into a passageway, sharply directed to the east. It is almost immediately identifiable as-
[19:24] <AdEvaGM> ["A maze entrance." Says Hugues flatly.]
[19:36] * Raphael lets out a small sigh and edges towards the corner, peering around the corner leading east without comment.
[19:37] <AdEvaGM> [Another corridor, ending in a corner facing north…]
[19:41] * Raphael is silent for a long moment, but eventually he pulls a knife from his belt and scratches a small mark into the corner wall. "We need to move. If we mark our path as we go it shouldn't take long to reach the centre.""
[19:45] <AdEvaGM> ["Better than breadcrumbs." Says Savage dryly.-
[19:47] <AdEvaGM> [But the corridor ahead leads only to yet another corridor, facing west, which turns south… However, this time, instead of running into yet another corridor south, there's only a wall there- instead, there's a shorter corridor leasing to the east, with a corner to the south.-
[19:47] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmmm." Henri frowns.]
[19:57] <Raphael> "Quite." Raphael mutters, examining the mark on the next corner for marks. "What are we missing…?"
[19:58] <AdEvaGM> ["This is an-" Blaise began-
[20:00] <AdEvaGM> ["S'not a maze." Said Hugues, cutting over Blaise. "The four corridors we've walked already form a square. It's a spiral."]
[20:03] <Raphael> "So we keep following it inwards?"
[20:04] <AdEvaGM> ["Yeah." Said Hugues.]
[20:06] <Raphael> "Simple enough." He nods, drawing another quick cross on the wall. "No reason for us to linger, then."
[20:09] <AdEvaGM> [They proceed.-
[20:10] <AdEvaGM> [Eastern corridor turns to the south, which turns to the west, and finally, a corridor to the north, which…-
[20:10] <AdEvaGM> [Ends in a double door on the eastern side of the wall.]
[20:11] * Raphael glances back at the others, his expression firmly set. "Ready?"
[20:12] <AdEvaGM> [Blaise solemnly loads another missile into his launcher.-
[20:12] <AdEvaGM> ["As ready as ever." Says Hugues.]
[20:12] <Raphael> "Try not to get shot this time, Chief Sergeant." Raphael mutters.
[20:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Try to let Terence lead this time, Captain." Replies Euphrasie waspishly. "That's what he's there for."]
[20:14] * Raphael gives her a wry smile and begins heading for the door… and yes, to his credit he does so a few steps behind Terence.
[20:14] <AdEvaGM> [Terence fits his fingers into the crack. "Say when."]
[20:17] * Raphael readies his weapon, rolling his shoulders. "Ready when you are, Captain."
[20:20] <AdEvaGM> [Terence heaves-!-
[20:20] <AdEvaGM> [The door slides open. Within is…-
[20:22] <AdEvaGM> [Standing on an elaborate sunburst mosaic is a man. A man in a rich dark, slightly archaic outfit, wearing a dramatic cloak with a mask that covers his entire face. Next to him, on their knees, in ropes, are the Chinese Preisdent- and Director Zhang.-
[20:22] <AdEvaGM> [The man is holding a knife in each hand, and each one is pressed against their throats. "Raphael Guillory! How nice of you to finally join the party. Did you have to kill all the other guests, though?"]
[20:29] <Raphael> "Unfortunately, yes." Raphael says calmly, his positron rifle aimed at the man's chest as he stares at the mask. His eyebrow goes up the slightest fraction as he takes in the ensemble, but he's seen stranger. After a moment, his attention moves over to the bound woman next to him. "We'll have you free shortly, Director Zhang."
[20:31] <AdEvaGM> ["He doesn't really seem to care much about you, does he, President Wei?" Says the cloaked man delightedly.-
[20:32] <AdEvaGM> ["Guillory, you and I are going to enact a social experiment. You're here to save these people. You are entitled to choose one of them to save. The other, I kill. If you attack me, I kill them both. Take more than five minutes to decide, I kill them both."]
[20:40] * Raphael 's expression doesn't shift at all, but… there's something about the way his gaze is moving around the room that makes it clear he's quietly measuring the distance between them, gauging the various option. "Why?"
[20:43] <AdEvaGM> ["Why what?"]
[20:43] <Raphael> "What purpose does this serve?"
[20:43] <AdEvaGM> ["What purpose does saving them serve?"]
[20:49] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's eyebrow inches higher, wondering whether that was an honest question. "Beyond the fact that they both have families? Both of them play a role in maintaining global stability. Their deaths aren't in the world's best interest."
[20:50] <AdEvaGM> ["Suppose I'm an enemy of global stability." A chuckle. "Consider this an act of mercy on my behalf, then."]
[20:57] * Raphael lets out a derisive snort, looking from Zhang to Wei and back again before finally glancing over at Hugues.
[21:04] <AdEvaGM> [Hugues looks back, looking dubious. "What's to say we can't kill you in a rush and patch up the wounds? We've got a pretty good medic with us."-
[21:05] <AdEvaGM> ["You're welcome to try, if you're the gambling type, but statistics are not quite in your favour."]
[21:06] <Raphael> "… He's right." Raphael nods slowly, straightening up and setting his expression into a calm mask.-
[21:06] <Raphael> "We’ll take Director Zhang." Raphael says, his voice free of emotion or doubt. "I’m truly sorry, Mr. President, but we have our orders."
[21:07] <AdEvaGM> [A groan from Zhang, but the President shakes his head a little and smiles.-
[21:08] <AdEvaGM> ["I was hoping you'd say that." Says Wei.-
[21:08] <AdEvaGM> [The knife skewers his throat in a flash, ripping through and out the other side, a splash of blood and a horrid snapping sound both filling the air. The President slumps backward.]
[21:13] * Raphael 's expression remains unchanged, but he's breathing harder now and putting a little too much weight on the trigger of the positron rifle. His eyes are fixed on the mask and the figure behind it. "Done." He says flatly. "Now give us the Director, if you please."
[21:15] <AdEvaGM> [The knife around Zhang's throat is tucked away. The gloved hand strokes her hair fondly before unceremoniously grabbing her collar and tossing her forward. "Sacrifices, sacrifices…"]
[21:18] <Raphael> "Captain Savage, help her if you would." Raphael says, minding the edge that was slipping into his voice. He was intensely aware of the weight of the weapon in his hands, but there was still so little distance between the director and the man in the mask…
[21:19] <AdEvaGM> [Savage nods, and steps forward, gathering Zhang up in his arms.-
[21:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Say, do you happen to know the time?" Asks the cloaked man conversationally.]
[16:21] <Raphael> "Are we done here?" Raphael says flatly, ignoring the solid-looking watch on his wrist as Terence pulls Mingzhu to relative safety. The bead he's drawn on the masked man's chest still hasn't shifted.
[16:27] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, feel free to leave at your leisure." The man lifts an arm and pulls back the sleeve, where his own watch sits. He peers at it.]
[16:45] <Raphael> "Good." Raphael says, and with a sudden hum a blast of positronic energy issues forth from the rifle in his hands and carves a crackling path through the air as it heads for its mark.
[16:53] <AdEvaGM> [The energy blast never strikes its target, who manages to vanish- a loud whip-cracking sound filling the air- and embeds itself in the wall behind. The cloaked man's watch hovers in the air for a second, before falling to the ground with a clack.]
[17:03] <Raphael> "…" Raphael stares coldly at the space where the man had been with his jaw clenched tight for a long moment, before striding forward and hauling the President's body onto his shoulder without comment. He grunts under the weight as he turns back towards the others. "Evac on the double. Captain Savage, I trust you to protect the Director at all costs?"
[17:04] <Raphael> «I can*»
[17:13] <AdEvaGM> ["Of course."]
[17:21] <Raphael> "Good." He nods, handing the positron rifle to Henri in favour of his pistol to better support his new burden. With one last look at the room he heads out into the hall, attempting to keep a growing sense of fury out of his expression… and at least partially succeeding. "Assume the AT-user is still a threat until we're clear of the base."
[17:22] <AdEvaGM> [They go, and, unseen, a small light on the watch starts to flash…-
[17:25] <AdEvaGM> [They're by the first intersection heading west when Savage stops, looking up. "… Background energy readings are rising at a rapid rate."]
[17:28] * Raphael stops a short way ahead, a few beads of sweat dotting his brow. "… Can you find the source?" He asks tersely.
[17:29] <AdEvaGM> ["The only source I can think of is the main reactor."-
[17:29] <AdEvaGM> ["… An overload." Mutters Henri.]
[17:34] * Raphael lets out a quiet hiss and begins to move even faster than before, glancing at Savage as he goes. "Do we have any hope of clearing the blast in time?"
[17:42] <AdEvaGM> ["It'll be tight." Said Savage. "But not impossible. This place ought to have a motor pool where we can commandeer faster vehicles."]
[17:46] <Raphael> "Right." He nods. Between the new burst of speed and the extra weight from the President's body, Raphael's limp is growing increasingly pronounced. "Direct us as best you can, Captain. Sergeant Duval, I need you and Mana to raise Macnair's team and have them retreat to a safe distance with the Chinese soldiers."
[17:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Yessir."-
[17:59] <AdEvaGM> [Down to the first intersection- with the compass mural- then to the north, to an unopened door like a blast garage door. Savage is done with prying doors open- he kicks the door once, twice, three times, then drops the shoulder and slams it with all his weight, crumpling it enough for him to pull open with speed.-
[18:02] <AdEvaGM> [Within were four jeeps- with mounted machine guns to boot- and a tank. There was a road leading to what seemed like a flat stone wall.-
[18:02] <AdEvaGM> ["Door controls are here." Said Blaise, hitting a button- allowing the stone door to slowly slide open.]
[18:10] <Raphael> "Henri, I need you driving one of the jeeps. I'll take another." Raphael says, laying the president's body in the back of the vehicle. Striding over to the locked cabinet on the nearest wall he brings down the butt of his pistol on the lock without breaking stride and retrieves two sets of keys.
[18:20] <AdEvaGM> [Marie, Blaise and Terence follow Henri; Euphrasie, Mana and Hugues jump into the one with Raphael.-
[18:21] <AdEvaGM> ["I'll lead us out!" Shouts Henri, starting up his jeep. He hits the gas and drives the thing out of the garage with as much speed as he can without totalling it.]
[18:28] * Raphael is a second or two behind, swinging left to avoid the cloud of dust Henri is leaving in his wake.
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> [The base was deserted at this point. The gates hung open…-
[18:36] <AdEvaGM> [Down the slope to the west of the base were the others. Macnair, his squad, the Chinese soldiers- all of them flat out sprinting down the hill.-
[18:43] <Raphael> "HOW MUCH TIME DO WE HAVE?" Raphael calls back, turning sharply to avoid an outcropping of rocks.
[18:45] <AdEvaGM> ["ABOUT A MINUTE!"]
[18:49] <Raphael> "…" Raphael pushes the jeep further towards its limit, sending the vehicle jostling as it crests a raised lump of earth and is sent briefly airborne.
[18:52] <AdEvaGM> [Henri's jeep clips an errant rock and starts spinning, out of control-
[18:54] <AdEvaGM> [… Almost, as Henri manages to just barely keep it in check, avoiding a no-doubt lethal collision with a tree.]
[19:19] <Raphael> An impressive move, but Raphael doesn't have much concentration to devote to the other jeep when his own is careening down the slope. And all the while he's busy silently counting the seconds…
[19:22] <AdEvaGM> [Eight… Is that a roaring sound behind them? Seven… The car was shuddering and jolting around so much that it almost seemed like Mana was in danger of flying away… Si-
[19:23] <AdEvaGM> [The explosion was early, and it lit up everything for kilometres around. So bright that even though he was looking away from it, Raphael couldn't see for the light…]
[19:28] <Raphael> Which hardly led to safe driving when they were already pushing one hundred and twenty kilometers per hour… downhill… with a variety of rocks, shrubs and trees littering the path.-
[19:28] <Raphael> So it was, perhaps, not at all surprising when the jeep - already tilting under the force of the blast behind them - struck some unseen obstacle and began to tilt…
[19:38] <AdEvaGM> [A combination of a hundred factors combined into a perfect storm to lift that jeep into the air, propelled along by the shock wave behind…-
[19:38] <AdEvaGM> [A strange sensation of weightlessness…-
[19:39] <AdEvaGM> [By the time the light had faded and the smoke had cleared, the jeep was in approximately thirteen pieces, Hugues had been hurled into a tree, Mana was lying unconscious next to a burning rubber wheel, and Euphrasie had managed to roll herself into a ditch.]
[19:50] * Raphael is left staring at the sky a short way behind the bulk of the wreck, having been dumped from the jeep almost as soon as it had flipped. Every joint and muscle is screaming from the impact, but none moreso than his injured leg which, he realizes, has been struck by the body of President Wei.-
[19:53] <Raphael> Rolling the man's body clear with as much care as possible, Raphael tries to clear his head as he staggers to his feet and tries to check the others. The question of how he had survived a wreck like that is very much present in his mind, but he's doing his best to delay it for now…
[20:09] <AdEvaGM> ["That was fun." Came a sardonic voice. A little ways away, Terence gets to his feet, a very shaken but unharmed Mingzhu in his arms.-
[20:10] <AdEvaGM> [Henri seems to have completely vanished from the scene, until he calls out painfully- apparently having been propelled no less than 120 feet from the jeep.-
[20:10] <AdEvaGM> [Like Terence, Marie is also mostly unharmed. "Let's never do that again."-
[20:12] <AdEvaGM> ["Why are we always doing the most recklessly lethal jobs?!" Snaps Blaise, who had apparently managed to catch himself on a tree branch, 25 feet from the ground.]
[20:18] <Raphael> "We had the bad luck to gain a reputation." Raphael mutters darkly, slowly bending down to scoop up Euphrasie from the ditch and half carry, half drag her back onto the grass.
[20:21] <AdEvaGM> ["I'm alright, I'm alright." Mutters Euphrasie.-
[20:21] <AdEvaGM> ["'Oh, Captain Raphael, won't you hand-pick a group of worthy soldiers to help you?'" Says Hugues, mimicking Marianne's voice. "You're a bastard, Raphael Guillory. A right proper git." Hugues gets to his feet, groaning.]
[20:26] * Raphael sets Euphrasie down and slumps on the remains of a chair with his eyes shut. "As I recall, Hugues, you volunteered."
[20:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Well, yeah." Hugues walks over towards Raphael. "Someone had to watch your ass."-
[20:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Is anyone gonna get me down?!"]
[20:31] <Raphael> "Are you alright, Director Zhang?" Raphael says, leaning forward after taking a moment to gether himself.
[20:32] <AdEvaGM> ["I… I feel like I'm going to be sick."]
[20:35] * Raphael nods sympathetically. "Perfectly understandable, ma'am." He says. "Are you wounded at all?"
[20:35] <Raphael> «Gather*»
[20:35] <AdEvaGM> ["I don't think so."]
[20:37] * Raphael nods again. "Still, we'll have Sergeant Beringer take a look at you as soon as she's able. And Sergeant Kirishima as well, I think…"
[20:42] <AdEvaGM> [… Who is still lying, out cold, by that wheel.-
[20:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Alright, I'll get to it." Said Euphrasie, nodding.-
[20:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Have we heard from Macnair?" Asked Hugues, frowning at Henri, who shook his head.]
[20:45] <Raphael> "Try and raise him again." Raphael says with a deep frown. "And try and make contact with our team on the VTOL if you're able. We need to arrange an extraction."
[20:51] <AdEvaGM> ["Yes sir."-
[20:52] <AdEvaGM> ["Until then." Says Savage, heading over to Blaise's tree, "We'll have to stay put and heal up. We probably won't run into any more enemies at this point- but if we do, they'll undoubtedly be the toughest."]
[20:55] <Raphael> "Mmm. A slightly more defensible location would make me feel better." He says quietly, scanning the area… but that only serves to draw his eyes back to the distruction behind them, and the massive pillar of smoke rising above the cliff. "…"
[20:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Still." A hand on his shoulder from Hugues. "I'd say the worst part's over, eh?"]
[21:09] <Raphael> "We can hope." Raphael says quietly, rubbing gently at his eyes. The image of President Wei's crumpled body was still there when he shut his eyes.-
[21:09] <Raphael> "I think we've done enough for one day."

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