3...2...1... Unaona pulled the trigger, launching the missile towards its computer locked target. The turret she had chosen was turned to scrap as the guided projectile hit home, setting alarms blared and she had ducked back to use the cliffside as cover from their return fire. Now! I'll meet you on the North end! she called through her radio.
Thendria peaked her head over the small ditch, her visor zooming in to the human base to see soldiers, armor divisions, and emergency crews scrambling all across the base, mainly towards the West where her squadmate had fired from. A few more diversionary explosives from Unaona's peppering of grenades assisted in keeping their attention.
Glancing at the heavily plated woman behind her, she watched as the assisting systems kick in as she pulled up a massive two-handed cannon looking weapon. I'll get ahead, take out the turrets, and open the way for you. Thendria told her partner. Without another word, she jumped out and sprinted across the field, placing her hand on one of her short swords and pulling a grenade from her belt.
She knew they had seen her when one of the remaining turrets started to turn back in her direction, but too little too late. Thendria prepped the grenade, took a break in her stride and threw the grenade with a rather graceful spin of her body, sending it flying to the base of the turret, sticking just under the barrels. Without missing a beat, she broke into another sprint towards the base.
The turret managed to fire a whole two seconds before the grenade went off and ignited something, taking the rest of the turret down. Thendria began to serpentine as human infantry started to fire on her, but she managed to reach the walls of the base and leap up with sword in hand, carving at another turret. She procured one of her pistols, stabbed it into the turret with the bayonet, and pulled the trigger as fast as she could before jumping off into the base itself.
She was greeted by at least a dozen humans that opened fire on her. She dropped down and gave a sweeping kick to the group, sending them flying, a couple hitting a nearby building. The remaining humans scattered, but kept her in their sights as they fired their light arms.
More than a few bullets punched through the material on her legs as she darted away behind a building. The injuries weren't anything new, but it still stung like no one's business. At last she heard the heavy footfalls of her armored comrade and the rapid firing of her Pulser cannon. Over the radio, I'm heading North to rendezvous with Una and Ara!
Unaona responded, You'll be the first there. We're pinned by tanks! I'm low on grenades and I can't get a clear shot with my launcher! Ara's trying her best to mess with the crews, but there's a whole lot closing in! Without a response, Thendria stood and dashed towards the North end, jumping on to or over the miniature structures to move in a straighter line.
She rounded a corner to see about eight, knee-high tanks firing towards a heavily cratered wall of rock with a small platoon of soldiers between them. She sheathed her sword and pulled her second pistol, starting to fire the wide-angled lasers into the mess of human forces. She fried about six of them before they zoned in and returned fire.
Don't worry, girls, I'm coming. Jatiig's rich accent rang through the com-link, with background noise that sounded like a rock slide. Thendria got up on her knees to look over the building, but was faced by a lone human. He cried in surprise and fell back, his gun bouncing away from him. He made to run off, but ducked back when the human forces started shooting at her.
Thendria fell behind the building once more, dropping to the ground when what was likely a tank shell shredded the building. She felt something fall onto her back and roll off, turning to find it was the human she had just seen. He was making to get up, but with an exasperated sigh, Thendria holstered her gun, grabbed him with her index and middle fingers over his shoulders and proceeded to squeeze the sides of his neck. A moment of struggling later and the human fell limp, upon which she rolled his unconscious body away from her.
Tucking and rolling away from her original position, there were at least two tanks facing her direction now, and just as she ducked behind the next building, Jatiig crashed through a structure and opened fire on the tank closest to her, sending the infantry scurrying. At about the same time, one of the tanks treads suddenly spun backwards at full tilt, sending it flying away from the line, while another's turret rose up as high as it would go and began to spin like a top.
Thendria knew it was the work of the team's Psion, Aramathea, messing with the pilot and gunner of the tanks, and taking advantage that the one who was spinning it's turret was one of the tanks that had rounded towards her, Thendria charged from her cover. She tore up the ground in her wake as she approached the tank rapidly in a serpentine, drawing her bicarbonate sword from its sheath.
By the time she had closed the distance, the remaining tanks from the line started to spread out, attempting to flank Thendria and Jatiig, who was starting to strafe quickly around her second target, the first now having a hole of molten metal smoldering in its form. With a powerful and swift slice, she cleaved the barrel from the turret, then spun while switching hands, driving her sword into the base of the tank.
As she cut through half of the underside of the turret, she spotted another tank center its barrel on her. She dropped down as quickly as she could and felt a powerful whoosh of air at the level her chest had just been. She rolled away and looked up, starting to pull out her other sword, but a missile nearly split it in half. Back in business! Unaona chimed over the link.
Another tank popped just before a loud, lingering crack filled the air, Thanks Verra, Jatiig responded, adjusting her strafing pattern and zoning in on the last tank. Or so Thendria thought when the tank next to her that had been spinning suddenly stopped, then started to properly adjust itself in her direction. Before she could run, another missile found its mark, taking down the tank once and for all.
The tanks taken care of, Thendria approached the one she had cut apart when the hatch popped open. On reflex she pulled out her pistol, aiming at the human that was exiting the vehicle,once he spotted her he froze. Get out! she demanded in a stern voice, pointing with her pistol in a firm jerk of her hand. The human pulled himself out, holding up his hands and stepping down onto the platform of the tank.
Is anyone else in there? she asked, rapping the the gun against the side, but that was answered by another small head poking out. This one had blood spattered across his side, but he seemed uninjured. She took hold of the handle of her sword and pulled it from the hull of the tank, and sure enough, it had a coating of red blood.
Keeping an eye on the humans, she retrieved a cloth and carefully cleaned it. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw one soldier stare at her while the other glanced away as she simply wiped off what had once been their comrade. It was common sense to keep her weapons clean, but she understood their discomfort. Before her thoughts trailed on any further, Unaona and Aramathea had joined them inside the walls of the base.
The team leader, Verra, came over the com-link, Good work girls, round up any remaining infantry and personnel, secure the armories and hangars, this base is ours.
Thendria sheathed her sword, then started to spread out, leaving Unaona and Ara to watch the human prisoners. Jatiig started to head back to the path she carved through the base, I think one of the buildings I smashed through was an armory. Their light arms shouldn't be a problem for me, so I'll see if someones trying to salvage from there. Thendria nodded an affirmative and headed towards the East side, where she spotted the tank Ara had sent throttling backwards.
It was flipped over, apparently hitting something at just the wrong angle, the treads spinning futilely as the crew tried in vain to right their situation. Thinking they likely at least had ventilation, she left the tank alone for the time being and stepped past it, watching and listening for infantry or faculty that might be about.
There was a loud noise followed by a steady whirring. Verra yelled from over the com-link, There's an underground sector! Something's coming up from near the middle of the base! to which Jatiig replied, I can see the opening, but I can't make anything out...wait a minute... Thendria had already been weaving between buildings to reach the spot. She encountered a few human soldiers that either fired on her or coward in her wake, but she ignored them either way.
Her thighs were burning from the tiny metal bullets that had hit her earlier, but they hadn't seemed to get lodged in anything, so she wasn't pushing herself hard. Thendria had only just made it to the location when she heard Jatiig once more, What in the name of the Fathers? Thendria peered around a building as stealthily as she could, and immediately saw what had drawn such surprise from her towering ally.
It looked to be some kind of weapon platform, the upper body having heavy plating with a turret of some sort mounted on top. The arms lined two or three different weapons, and as it came closer to surfacing, the machine appeared to be supported by two reverse-jointed legs. Like any machine with moving parts, the joints seemed to be lacking in aspects of armor, so Thendria knew what her target was.
Turn off your HUDs and switch to burst transmission! Ara, we need you to put up an electric field to interfere with its instruments. Thendria did as Verra said, flipping up the visor over her eyes and blinking to adjust to the light, This is one of those war-machines from the intelligence reports. Extremely well armored, and all manner of weapons. Jatiig, it doesn't need a computer to shoot those solid round weapons. They have enough caliber to tear right through your armor, keep moving and stick to cover. Thendria, you have the advantage of mobility, as soon as we get its attention, see what you can do to disable it.
There was a moments silence when suddenly Ara sounded like she was struggling, Th-there's...something wrong. I can't...I can't reach the pilot, or even tell if it has one, it's... she gave a light whimper.
Ara! Disengage your link with it! We can't afford to lose you on this! Verra ordered over the com-link. A little out of character, Thendria spoke up, her voice carrying a little more than concern for her teammate, Ara, are you okay?
Y-yes...I'm fine. Let's just take care of this thing. Ara was breathing a little heavy, but she sounded fine otherwise. They all heard the lift come to a stop at the surface, and right away, the war-machine started to move, the steps were a little quicker than Thendria would have anticipated, but it didn't seem like it had any kind of chance of keeping up with her.
The machine stomped around, slowly closing in on Aramathea's position, giving Thendria an inclination to make the first move, but something hit the side of it with an incredible force, sending it sprawling to catch itself. Immediately after, the drawn out crack of Verra's rifle echoed over the valley. The machine finally stopped and righted itself, watching the East where the huntress lay in wait somewhere, and a massive cracked dent in its side where the round had found it.
It picked up its pace and strafed behind a building, keeping an eye out for anything. Jatiig's pulser cannon revved up and unleashed a hail of laser fire on it, moving quickly between buildings to avoid getting locked on. The machine bore down on her, the upper platform spinning on its 'waist' as the legs picked up at a surprising rate, bounding towards her hiding spot and firing the energy weapons from the arms and the rotating gun on top, carving up the buildings in its wake.
The field's having no effect! It's shielded from electric interference. Ara declared.
A thought came to Thendria's mind, Ara! Send me a couple of your crystals! the last part of the sentence she was worried didn't get across as Verra's rifle cracked once more, not quite causing the machine to stagger again, but the rapidity of the energy weapons was cut in half after a loud crash signaled the loss of one of its arms.
Before Thendria could repeat her message, she spotted three crystals approaching her rapidly and grabbed them, stuffing them in a pouch. She drew her bicarbonate sword once more and peeked around her cover when the sound of a small arm rang in her ears and gave out a cry as sharp pains spasmed up her side. She spun to face a lone human soldier, her eyes on fire and glaring at him with such ferocity he wilted, face turning white and a look of sheer terror in his eyes. He dropped his weapon and ran away screaming.
She let the human run, returning her attention to the machine that threatened to corner her teammate. After a split-second of getting in position, Thendria took off at a dash for the war-machine. The turret on top spun around towards her, but by the time it had started firing she was already right on it, ducking and spinning around it with such grace and rhythm, it looked like she was dancing with it.
The machine tried it's best to follow her movements, but it couldn't keep up, nearly tripping over itself more than once. Finally, Thendria made her move and drove her sword through the exposed leg joint, quickly grabbing one of Ara's crystals and jamming it in the moving parts of the knee. When it tried to move, the joint was locked and it nearly toppled, but the remaining leg managed to catch itself. It was that moment Jatiig chose to jump out once more and fire her pulser cannon at the machine, in response, the rapid-fire turret on top spun around and returned fire.
It was again Thendria's turn, and with some effort, she jumped up onto the back of the machine that was roughly two heads taller than herself, yanking her other sword. As quickly as she could, she stabbed it into the turret as it was spinning back around, and upon impact, a violent blue light engulfed the blade for a split-second, burning straight through it and taking it out. After that, the machine was starting to thrash in an attempt to lose her.
With a good jerk of her arm, the turret crumpled off and Thendria mounted it, wrapping her legs under its shoulders. She flung the debris of the turret away and did her best to keep steady as she lifted her sword, blade down, preparing to stab down into it. She did, but it didn't quite go even half-way down, and the machine was still thrashing as it had been. A few good twists and yanks and she got her sword free, immediately lining herself up for the last plasma charge the sword had in it.
In a moment's hesitation as the platform spun back and forth, Thendria drove the sword down once more, this time sinking it well down into the machine. A few experimental tugs told her she wasn't going to get it back this time, so she carried out her plan, wedging the remainder of Aramathea's crystals in to the holes made by her sword and releasing her legs from its shoulders and throwing herself off.
As soon as she hit the ground, Verra pounded it with another shell, managing to puncture the armor and knocking it over now that its leg was locked up. Over the com-link, Thendria called to Ara, Now!, and what immediately followed was the steadily growing amperage that surged from the crystals directly into the machine. Only seconds of electrocution and the leg joint popped, but the rest of the machine still seized for a minute. After a number of loud pops and crackles from the machine, the electricity stopped and Thendria's teammates stepped out from their cover.
Jatiig gave it a soft kick to check if it reacted, when it didn't, That wasn't so bad, but if it had gotten the jump on us it would have been. she looked over to the platform it had rose from, Verra, you think the controls for that orbital grid are under here?
It's a very good possibility. Thendria, you stay above ground and help Unaona round up human forces topside, Jatiig, you go with Aramathea to the underground and locate and take down those controls. Aside from that, Good job, ladies. Mission well done.