Vercingetorix Meets W

[19:20] * W laid out the map and schematics on the table of the war room. "…and based on the information my colleagues have gleaned from NERV and other sources, there's a high chance there'll still be something worthwhile to us in Italy that they weren't interested in. I'd imagine a new power source for the particle accelerator would get -someone- to shut up for a day." A sharp not-look at
[19:20] * W Reinder. "So that's where we'll be hitting next. The hospital ruins are our primary objective. Objections before we move on to strategy?"
[19:27] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I am sorry." Said Reinder sarcastically. "Perhaps if -someone- had not put all our positron reactors over to churning out bolt shells, I would not have a problem!"-
[19:28] <Minaplo> ["Hey, hey!" Mac Naoimhin glowered. "You stop that right now! The men need those shells!"-
[19:28] <Minaplo> ["And I need a power source for my particle accelerator-"-
[19:29] <Minaplo> ["Of course, it is shells they make for the Guard," Said Henok Ashenafi. "Half my men, they do not even have proper helmets-"-
[19:30] <Minaplo> [Euphemia One sat opposite W, next to Edvard Durandi. Durandi looked almost amused at the bickering. Euphemia turned to W. "Lord, I do not hear any objections."]
[19:40] <W> "And that's what will be noted in the records. Commander Ashenafi, a platoon of your finest will take a convoy along the northern route and strike at the outpost to the east of the hospital. The enemy mostly consists of national army, but they likely have some support from NERV, as well. You'll be slightly outnumbered. Now, while that happens, we can get two squads of Guard in undetected
[19:40] <W> – the first to escort a team inside the hospital and secure our objective, the second to even out the battle and allow everyone to either retreat or, if the enemy is well enough stockpiled, push the advantage and take the camp before reinforcements show up."
[19:41] <Minaplo> ["East of the hospital? You mean here?" Ashenafi tapped his little computer pad, which reacted by placing a little red dot on the wide electronic map on the wall.]
[19:43] <W> "Yes. That's where their so-called surveillance post is located. Considering how scared they are of anyone getting in, it's a wonder the whole site is still there."
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["But that area is all hilly terrain! So you want us to fight uphill-" He held up a single finger, "Against a larger force-" Two fingers, "Against a fortified position-" Three, "An enemy who are likely to be better trained and equipped," Four fingers, "And supported by NERV?" Five. "We're cannon fodder!"-
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["Oh, and your helmets are fooked too." Said Mac Naoimhin helpfully.-
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["And our helmets-" Ashenafi turned to give Mac a suspicious look.]
[19:52] <W> "Bait, Commander," W corrected, expression unchanging. "There's a distinct difference. Hold out well enough, and you can take whatever you want from their outpost. They definitely aren't expecting us. Use that."
[19:55] <Minaplo> [Ashenafi's expression was dubious. "I do not like this. Can we not just hit them from the top with a squad of Guard?"]
[20:04] <W> "We don't want to draw attention to ourselves. The longer they think we're a negligible band of terrorists, the better. The resulting chaos should keep that information away from them."
[20:05] <Minaplo> ["…" Ashenafi still looked dubious, and he frowned. But he raised no further objections.]
[20:13] <W> "Commander Euphemia. An assault squad for the hospital, heavy weapons for the outpost. And Reinder, one of your experts will have to make sure we get everything we need, and intact."
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["That won't be a problem." Said Reinder. "My team know what they are doing. They do not waste resources."-
[20:15] <Minaplo> [Mac Naoimhan's eyes narrowed.]
[20:15] <Minaplo> [Euphemia merely nodded. "Understood, Lord."]
[20:22] <W> "We start tomorrow, departure at 2000. Get your people ready. That'll be all."
[20:29] <Minaplo> [There were nods. Euphemia's nod was prompt and short, the nod of a person of action. Ashenafi's was slow and hesitant. Reinder and Mac barely nodded at all, still glaring at each other. They made to stand…-
[20:30] <Minaplo> [When suddenly, all the computers- the consoles, the giant monitors, even the pads in their hands- suddenly cut out, going to black. And then they just displayed static…-
[20:30] <Minaplo> [And then an image cleared. It was a logo, a round black sphere, emblazoned with a stark white V.-
[20:31] <Minaplo> ["Found you, W." Came a voice, deep and deliberate. It was an intimidating sound to be sure.]
[20:34] * W blinked at one of the images with an annoyed expression. He walked over to the door and punched a button on the intercom. "Worker, you getting this? Get to work."
[20:38] <W> -DISREGARD-
[20:45] * W blinked at one of the images with an annoyed expression. "Tech people, get on this. Find out everything you can."
[20:45] <Minaplo> [Mac experimentally jabbed his pad's screen. Nothing happened.-
[20:46] <Minaplo> [Reinder turned on her heel and left in a rush, off to her labs to see what was going on. Mac was quickly after.-
[20:46] <Minaplo> ["Oh, don't bother, W. You won't find anything." Said the voice, sounding amused.]
[20:51] <W> "I try to make a habit of always finding something. Check the perimeter, Commanders." He sat back down at the end of the long table and sighed. "What is it?"
[20:52] <Minaplo> [Ashenafi and Euphemia rushed out next, leaving W alone with Durandi. This wasn't too bad, since Durandi was patient, a good listener, had a good memory and knew when to shut up.-
[20:52] <Minaplo> ["You seem to have misplaced your headset, W. Not a fan of modern music?" Said the deep voice.]
[20:59] <W> "Music is a pointless crutch, a relic of an opiate pandering to obsolete parts of the brain. I no longer need it. What are you after?"
[21:02] <Minaplo> ["Impressive. So you removed the tracking chip. Dare I ask how?"]
[21:07] <W> "Parting gift from a friend. With its incessant ticking gone, the music isn't necessary. Where are you getting this from? There's no way anyone below the Directors will have known about it."
[21:08] <Minaplo> [The icon resolved into a video feed- of a shadowy room, a desk near-swallowed by darkness. A shape was sitting at the desk, one that couldn't be seen, merely… glimpsed. "I am Vercingetorix. And I know much."]
[21:11] <W> "Clearly. What is it that such a powerful person needs? I'm pretty sure Rome is more or less finished."
[21:12] <Minaplo> ["I am dealing with bigger fish. Surely, someone of your geographical sensibilities must know of Mary Caine and her fortress."]
[21:18] <W> "Unfortunately, yes."
[21:20] <Minaplo> ["As a sign of goodwill, I will present to you fairly reliable strategic data regarding her forces, their composition and projected strengths in six and twelve months' time."]
[21:22] <W> "Completely reliable data is for suckers. I'm listening."
[21:24] <Minaplo> ["The largest portion of her forces are ground-based Storm Troopers, armed with light power armour and state-of-the-art Pulse weaponry. Very accurate, very deadly. We estimate anywhere between 2.5 and 3 million Storm Troopers currently under arms, with that number reaching four million in six months, and six million in twelve months."-
[21:28] <Minaplo> ["Supported by this are Armored Combat Suits, mobile weapons platforms about four and a half metres tall. She has roughly seven thousand of these organised into seven regiments of a thousand each."-
[21:29] <Minaplo> ["Beyond this she is mass-producing Evangelion-scale vehicles. E-Destroyers, next-generation Superheavy units. Faster and more agile than a T-RIDEN-T. She has anywhere between ten to a hundred of these- she keeps them secret."-
[21:30] <Minaplo> ["Within six months she'll have fifteen regiments of AC Suits, and within a year she'll have twenty. Her E-Destroyers? No idea. Too many."]
[21:38] <W> "Sounds about consistent with her behaviour. What do you think, Councillor? Do you think she could get all that done?"
[21:40] <Minaplo> ["Easily." Said Durandi casually. "The Synfront was able to create a the LN's full army in months. The trick is that the Synfront is all automated, so it expands its factories and finds resources… So the longer it operates, the greater its construction capacities are."]
[21:44] <W> "Your plan for all this, then? You'll have noticed we operate on a much smaller scale. We're terrorists, not an army."
[21:44] <Minaplo> ["You have Iron Guard." It wasn't a question.]
[21:46] <W> "Hypothetical Iron Guard forces alone mean nothing against Caine. They need more than a viable plan of attack."
[21:48] <Minaplo> ["Then it is simple. I have allies within NERV. Given the right circumstances and the right… Hypothetical forces, I'd be able to secure a mighty weapon to use against Caine: Evangelion units and a AT-SLAS Battleship. I will cut to the chase: I intend to lead a coup of the NERV Geofront."]
[21:56] <W> "I see. If you think it's possible. What's in it for me?"
[21:57] <Minaplo> ["Well, for one, you won't have Mary Caine wipe you out in the next four months."]
[21:59] <W> "I have a feeling you know what I need to run this crew more efficiently."
[22:01] <Minaplo> ["You need resources, equipment, people to use them. This can be provided. Vercingetorix has many resources."-
[22:02] <Minaplo> ["But for optimal efficiency, you need more than just people or 'resources'. I know the location of where you were trained. And where your companions are."]
[22:08] <W> There was a flicker of emotion on his face. He glanced at Durandi. "Now that's something we can make a deal over. I'll need them before we can negotiate on the coup."
[22:08] <Minaplo> ["Acceptable. I'll transmit the coordinates to your personal datapad."-
[22:09] <Minaplo> [W's pad was restored to its normal status. A line of coordinates flashed across the screen- a map program automatically calculated the location to be…-
[22:09] <Minaplo> ["Britain." Said Vercingetorix. "Angel-infested Britain."]
[22:10] <W> "We suspected as much when the transmissions stopped altogether, but I never got anything more accurate. I'll check it out."
[22:11] <Minaplo> ["You should go with a heavy escort, obviously."]
[22:16] <W> "Of course. The Angels are nothing to be toyed with, and if we're to assume they're still alive, the facility will still be manned."
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["Indeed."-
[22:18] <Minaplo> ["So. Do you find this agreeable?"]
[22:19] <W> "You certainly have my attention. Mary's in our way, and I see no obstacles to a truce while she's still around."
[22:20] <Minaplo> ["Acceptable. Perhaps once Caine is dealt with, you can have Australia or something."]
[22:23] <W> "Haven't you played Risk? You always take Australia first."
[22:26] <Minaplo> ["Then it's not a bad proposal, is it?"]
[22:29] <W> "I accept."-
[22:29] <W> "Now, can you get the fuck off my screens?"
[22:33] <Minaplo> [And before W's words had left his mouth the screens were clear.]
[22:40] * W tapped his fingers on the table for a moment, then stood up. "Change of plans. If you could tell everyone the operation's canceled, Councillor. I've got to find Euphemia."
[22:41] <Minaplo> ["Of course, W." Said Durandi congenially. "I'm sure Mac Naoimhan and Reinder will enjoy the chance to flirt some more."]
[22:45] * W gave a slight smile at that. "Certainly. They'll have the day off, I guess. The coordinates are pointing pretty deep in the blackout zone. We'll be blind and deaf." A thoughtful look. "Oh well, it's not like you have anywhere to run to while I'm gone. See you when I get back."
[22:46] <Minaplo> ["Goodbye, W. Take care now, young man."]
[23:10] <Minaplo> [Like many things in this base, the helipad was underground. A large- fat, really- VTOL had been pulled out onto the helipad. It was a Guard VTOL, designed to carry a rapid response pod- a perfectly spherical highly durable object- that was near-undetectable to most sensors. Euphemia One stood on the helipad, a helmet under one arm and a heavy, intimidating two-handed hammer resting in her other. There were six other figures too- five black-armoured Iron Guard, their pauldrons displaying a sword and gun crossed over on their left shoulder, and a large, blunt 'IV' on their right. Squad Ethan, then- and indeed, Knight-Lieutenant Ethan stood at the front of the squad, his helmet on- a horse-hair ponytail hung from its top.-
[23:10] <Minaplo> [Next to Euphemia stood a man in elaborte black-and-orange power armour, a long, elaborate sword on his hip, a helmet with flame decals under his left arm. His armour was covered with robes below the waist. Apostle Ardashir Charmshi.]
[23:19] <W> "Commander. Apostle. Squad." W nodded to each of the people present in turn. He was wearing a light bulletproof vest, for whatever good it might do him against most of their enemies. Over his shoulder was slung a positron rifle. The cane was nowhere to be seen anymore, either. "Get in. I can brief you on the way."
[23:21] <Minaplo> [They nodded, businesslike and prompt. They climbed in quickly.-
[23:21] <Minaplo> [Of course the interior of the VTOL was scaled up. If W sat in any of the chairs his toes wouldn't even scrape the ground.]
[23:29] <W> He tried to not let it bother him, instead opting to sit cross-legged on his seat. "Alright. We're hitting a complex somewhere underground. The site is located in a mid-sized urban city overrun by the usual assortment of Angelic forces. The first thing we'll do is find a way in. The facility is secret, so we'll have a bit of educated guessing to do. The coordinates are accurate, so we have
[23:29] <W> at most three places we have to check to find a viable entrance – or a place we can make one."-
[23:34] <W> "Once we successfully infiltrate the city -and- the complex, we may have to face automated or manned defenses of unknown nature. Deeper inside, we'll find my team. Once we get close enough, we should be able to cut through the interference and communicate with them directly on the frequencies I sent you. I'm going to need one of you to keep actively monitoring them once we're past the
[23:34] <W> Angels."
[00:02] <Minaplo> [Standard practice saw the Guard take their helmets off for the trip, and thus W would be able to recognise by sight one of the guard, named Ekkehardt- who had a pale face, a pointed chin and narrow eyes- who spoke up. "I can monitor the frequencies, Lord. I'm used to coordinating communications."-
[00:05] <Minaplo> [Lieutenant Ethan- a grim, older-looking man with scars and a sunburnt, brown face, nodded. "Agreed. Knight Ekkehardt can monitor the frequencies. How old is this place, Lord? If it's past two or three years old, we might be fortunate. They might not have any -real- weapons."-
[00:06] <Minaplo> [This was a quirk of the Iron Guard W had had to learn very quickly- they had the habit of referring to any normal-caliber weapon that predated the railgun, masgun and bolter as 'weak', 'old' or 'worthless'… Even if those weapons were heavy machineguns that could cut down a company of soldiers in less than a minute.]
[00:15] <W> "It's certainly been there for longer than that. But it's anyone's guess what they have. It used to be a project of some value, though, so they may have had time to upgrade. For the past months they've been entirely cut off, and that's pretty much all we can rely on."
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["Cut off? And this place is underground, Lord?" Asked Ethan, rubbing his chin. "That could be fortuitous. Do they have growing fields, like NERV's Geofront?"]
[00:20] <W> "Some. Unsure how much they could support, but certainly a small crew."
[00:24] <Minaplo> [Ethan and Euphemia looked at each other.-
[00:25] <Minaplo> ["If maiden situation, then safe, even sortie." Said Euphemia cryptically.-
[00:25] <Minaplo> ["If not, then… Unsafe, attrition." Finished Ethan.]
[00:34] <W> "Pretty much. But we'll have to deal with the Angels on the way out either way. I doubt the facility will have been designed with safe exits in mind."
[00:36] <Minaplo> ["Ever do fortresses turn into traps." Said Euphemia.-
[00:37] <Minaplo> [There was a light cracking sound, a little bit like a whip hitting leather. The smell of ozone reached people's noses.-
[00:37] <Minaplo> [Ethan turned towards Ardashir. "Must you play with your lights on the VTOL, firebug?"-
[00:38] <Minaplo> [Indeed, the Apostle had his hand aloft, holding a handful of fire that was changing colour. "Do you doubt my control? Scared it might burn your pretty face?" He said softly. The other Guard laughed. Ethan scowled, making him look ever uglier.-
[00:39] <Minaplo> ["The Angels should not be much of a problem." Said Euphemia, ever prim. "Not even if they come in large numbers. This sounds like an easy task- the only challenge is protecting the weak…"]
[00:47] <W> "Protecting your only way inside," W said. "We'll land outside the city and make our way in from there until we get to a subway entrance. Questions?"
[00:50] <Minaplo> [No one spoke up.]
[00:55] <W> "Very well, then. We'll deal with anything else on the ground. That is all."

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