5820/Poor labor practices

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Poor labor practices
Date of Scene: 01 April 2021
Location: Capital city of Aciter-3
Synopsis: Like all Mercenary contracts, things go bad.
Cast of Characters: Blackjack O'Hare, Carrie Kelley

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    The capital of Aciter-3 was simply known as "The Capital City", but what the Aciterians lacked in creative naming conventions they made up for in architectural accumen. Well if you liked brutalist architecture anyway, because the entire megacity looked as though it had been the product of a single hand. The starkness of the local concrete and harsh geometry broken only by the brilliant multicolored forms of the Aciterians themselves, who were for all intensive purposes best described as rainbow colored flying Octopi.

    Brilliant when it came down to math, Aciterians were universally renowned as living computers. What they weren't so hot at, well diplomacy but fighting was a close second. So when their far flung colony (The third such colony) needed security, they did the reasonable thing and hired out. Unfortunately they had run the numbers and decided it was cheaper to hire somewhere north of a thousand different outfits, rather than retain one large one big enough to actually protect the colony. Just the same though, money is money right?

    Blackjack slipped back out of the light, leaning back against the concrete facade of the "33rd monetary policy sub-centre". His head bowing as he sourced a stubby cigar from his jacket and brought fourth a flame to light it up, unconcerned at tha apparent displeasure of the passing Aciterians. This was day six of seven, and thusfar had consisted only of twelve hour shifts spent standing around infront of a concrete building which looked frankly like all the rest. It was anything but exciting, but the pay was surprisingly decent for a nothing of an op right? "Keep your ears up, nothing ever happens until it does."He does extend a gloved hand to offer that stubby cigar towards Carrie though. "You want a hit?"

Carrie Kelley has posed:
A shake of her head, "No, thanks." Carrie replies, before she stifles a yawn and then pushes off from the side of the building they are protecting. "I think I'm gonna go for a quick walk around the building here, make sure we're not missing anything. I'll be on comms." she says, and then starts down the street, before she ducks into an alleyway.

Brutalist cities are nice for a couple of things: first, getting lost in. Everything looks exactly the same and it's REAL easy for an outsider to get lost. Fortunately, Carrie isn't going far, so that probably won't happen here. The other thing that cities built like this are good for is: parkour. The perfectly spaced buildings and sharp alleyways make it easy for someone with a modicum of climbing ability to get into high places to keep an eye on things. Carrie has more than a little skill as a climber. She's spent years practicing on Earth, and the gravity of Aciter-3 is not so dissimilar from Earth, so she is able to quickly climb up onto the roof.

Once there, Carrie looks around, as if trying to figure out how someone might blast their way into a building like this if not via the front door. She walks along the edge of the roof, occasionally looking down into alleyways, or over onto other rooftops.

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    The building is actually remarkably well reinforced above the street level, which kind of makes sense for floating space Octopi if you think about it. There are for example plenty of armored emergency exits littered about, but not a single ladder in sight. Of interest however is the megaphones of the PA system, which unexpected crackle to life. It's just static for a moment, before the siren begins. A loud wailing drone not unlike a tornado siren, rising and falling in pitch.

    Down in the streets below the Aciterians flood out of the buildings and race towards well armored shelters, with a veritable cornicopia of various mercenaries trying to move upstream and shout to each other over the chaos. Blackjack isn't long in coming over the coms, of course. <<Outer orbital perimeter breached, invasion force twenty seconds to the inner perimeter. Landfall in three minutes max, looks like the corpos are bailing.>>

    In the sky above, faint flickers of light tell the story. A ragtag collection of fighters streak by overhead before pulling vertical to head towards the fray. <<safeties off, Kill anything that makes planetfall.>>

Carrie Kelley has posed:
The sound of sirens leads Carrie to instinctively look skywards -- too many period dramas apparently -- as if in expectation of the Blitz roaring over head. She puts a hand up to her eyes and squints up at the flickering lights, and then the fighters go zooming by. She nods once and says into her comms, <<If we got a couple minutes, want me back down or should I stay up here to hit em from above?>> The 'walk around the block' apparently turned into 'climb a building and perch'. Some habits die hard.

At the mention of 'safties off' she sighs and somewhat reluctantly pulls out the pistol she has carried with her for the last couple of months, without using. She looks for the switch, and then flips it to the 'red' setting, before she goes back to watching the sky and waiting for orders.

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    <<Inner orbital perimeter is gone, CAP says the drop pods are tagged as Dau Banking clan. So don't expect these guys to take prisoners, they're here to exterminate everything.>>The first few streaks across the atmosphere are like falling stars, only growing heavier and heavier by the second. The first few pods striking downtown with an eruption of smoke and debris plainly visible from your perch. Then comes the gunfire and a few muted explosions.

    <<Pagian irregulars are getting some by the sound of it, get down here and buckle up. We're going to fight our way to the Pagian perimeter and see if we can't lock down the capital building, if that falls we're bugging out.>>Which is yaknow, that thing Mercenaries do when the battle is lost. <<We weren't hired to repel a full blown invasion force, so we do what we can and if this gets out of hand? They ain't paying us enough to die here, these ain't our people right?>>

Carrie Kelley has posed:
In the very academic sense, Carrie gets that they are not her people and she's not being paid to protect them. In the real sense though, she's about to find out just how closely she adheres to some of the lessons her mentor taught her. <<Be right there.>> Carrie replies over the comms, and then, in about fifteen seconds, is down on the ground right next to Blackjack. She is nimble.

"Lead on," she says as she looks around, mostly in the direction of the still somewhat distant fighting. The woman does not seem overly concerned just yet. She seems to have a sense of about how far off the fighting actually is. And while civilians are still streaming by in the opposite direction, she's well composed for her first mercenary firefight.

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    It comes down in a flash, smashing through a nearby building before lodging in the street and vanishing in a rush of dust and smoke. The panels explode outward in a tumble down the street, and then it just -starts-. The Dau are big, seven foot of apparent brawn covered in bright yellow armor terminating in dangerous looking spikes. Their blasters erupt immediately before they've even exited the pod, and yeah their immediate focus seems to be on primarily the streaming civilians. Flooding the street with dull green energy fire.

    "Contact front!"Is all Blackjack bothers with, before he too gets right to work. For such a typically casual guy, the moment the fight begins he moves like a lightning bolt. A blur of purple and chromite as he hurtles across the open street, casually sending a short burst of gunfire towards the pod. A burst of that backpack thruster to help him change directions from right to left in the blink of an eye, side stepping where an energy bolt crashes an instant later. <<Right flank, push the right!>> Blackjack meanwhile seems content to race directly up the middle, zipping between the incoming gunfire.

    He closes the distance to the drop pod's exit, leaping into the air with a blur of motion only to land an overhead kick hard enough to send the crashing noise down the street over the din of battle. The little rabbit's kick more than sufficient to send the unfortunate Dau directly to the ground in a pile. He bounces back through the air in a ball, before unfolding himself with a flash of his thruster pack. Spraying gunfire to bring another Dau down where he stands. Theres the flick of his left arm to hurl a grenade, before hitting the ground and immediately scrambling off towards the right.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
THAT'S a moral quandary she no longer has to worry about. As the Dau start to mow down civilians, it seems Carrie is more than happy to shoot them in return. In fact, she seems downright giddy to do so. She's not as fast or as nimble as Blackjack, but, taking on a bunch of poorly paid and poorly trained mooks is more than within her skillset. She also seems to be fairly adept at following directions as she keeps herself low to the ground, and fires occasional bursts from her pistol to cover her movement and fry some bad guys at the same time.

She finds a place behind some rubble from the collapsed building, and sets up shop, poking her head out long enough to squeeze off a shot or two at various members of the assault team before they realize where the fire is coming from, and redirect their aim. By that point, she's moved on, always sliding further to the left and around them. If there were more than her and Blackjack one might think she were going for an encirclement, but in this case, she's just working on keeping the perimeter contained. She tosses her own grenade at a bunch of Dau setting up what looks like some sort of large, automatic cannon, and while hers does not do nearly as much damage as Blackjack's, it takes out the group efficiently.

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    The moment that grenade hits the deck in the entry pod, the whole thing goes up like the fourth of July. The few Dau who survived the initial explosion come stumbling out engulfed in flames, though Blackjack only offers the "cease fire" hand signal. He stands unflinching amongst the burning shrapnel as it comes raining down on the street. Hears perked up as he peers about for a moment. The sounds of gunfire and explosions are coming from every direction it seems, not that Blackjack seems bothered in the least. <<Gold corp was just to our North but their coms are dark, we're going to see if there are any survivors and drag them with us to the capital building. They're nice kids so if they're gone, we're getting payback.>>A nod, before he brushes off a bit of dust on that purple coat and gets moving.

    Through two tight alleyways and across a trio of streets, the dead and the dying are everywhere. Civilians, Dau, Mercenaries from god knows what outfit. The sound of war is somewhat universal really, and not totally unlike earthbound war movies. What movies never touch on though is the -smell- of it all, ozone, fires running rampant, the stink of alien blood and no shortage of dust. The first of the Gold corp Mercenaries isn't far, slumped over a bit of rubble he'd used as low cover. His gaudy gold armor potmarked with jet black burn marks. Blackjack wastes in time in rolling him over onto his back to check for a pulse, before immediately rooting through his web gear. "You want a rifle yet Miss Kelley, this poor young man won't be needing his carbine it seems."

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"Yeah. Hand it over." Carrie says with grim determination. It would seem her tour of the warzone has hardened her resolve concerning some of the activities that she will be engaged in from here on out. She takes the rifle, looks it over quickly -- just because she didn't want to carry one, didn't mean she hadn't familiarized herself with the workings of them. She then reaches down to take a couple of backup battery packs off the young Merc, and sticks them into her belt.

Then, she's looking off for the next objective. She spots a group of mercenaries -- maybe Gold corp, maybe someone else -- pinned down by a platoon of Dau. She motions over towards them and says, "We should probably help out there," and then, starts to move in that direction, again keeping low, though not firing yet. Not until she's close enough to ensure she's going to hit what she's aiming at.

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    "Stragglers, looks like gold corp."Blackjack offers calmly, keying up his mic to try and make contact before simply shaking his head. Theres a moment spent watching in silence, before nodding a little. "Miss Kelley, I want you in that balcony to our right there. Wait for me to start us before you open fire, once we can break the rythm I want you to fall back through the structure and meet up with us on the next street over. We can't win a fight on flat streets like this."And that's why Blackjack is rightly feared in a proper battle.

    He doesn't wait long, rushing forward low and fast until he can slide to a stop behind a delightfully chunky bit of cover. Then comes a pause as he fills his hand with grenades, pitching it overtop blindly before leaning out around one corner to put that bullpup into action. Short controlled bursts go pouring downrange in a torrent, more than enough to distract the Dau from the fistfull of grenades that come raining down immediately after.

    The leftovers of Gold Corp aren't fools, they pour on the outgoing hate immediately. Adding a few grenades of their own as the explosions begin bursting amongst the ranks. Flashing hand signals towards Blackjack, which he immediately returns before ducking back under cover. <<This is a rout, once we link up we're bouncing to the space port. Pagian irregulars are gone, so give these bastards some payback.>>

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"Roger Commander," Carrie says, and then she too is off, quickly. She runs towards a burned out drop ship and climbs up it, until she can leap from there onto the balcony. She gets into position, and then seeing that the assault has already started, begins to lay down her own cover fire. As she does so, she moves along the balcony, headed for the exit point she's selected to get out of the fight as Blackjack commanded. She is not taking careful aim -- aside from trying not to commit an act of friendly fire -- but rather just trying to keep the Dar's heads down so they don't realize the rescue force is a single bunny and a twenty something human.

<<Got it, though, we taking the Gold people on our ship or they got their own?>> she asks over the comms at the latest update of the situation. She figured things were not going /well/ considering how many Dar there were around, and how few mercenaries she'd seen, <<This how it usually goes?>> she adds as she ducks some return fire by slipping into a doorway, out of sight of the Dar. <<Couple have figured out where I am, I'm gonna go through the building here, meet you at the street.>>

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    It's a bit of a pitched battle to give the remnants of Gold corp room to pull back and break contact, but they eventually fall back through a narrow alleyway with Blackjack in trail. There aren't many of them, just three and not an uninjured one amongs them. <<Sometimes, this is what happens when somebody hires Merc's on the small to save cash. If I had the full Black Bunny Brigade here, we'd have won this fight.>> Our favorite bunny pauses just long enough to dump the rest of his magazine in a long burst, before pitching another fistfull of frags down the alleyway and moving down the road almost casually.

    <<They have their own ride, but this lot is pretty used up. They've got a transport coming for exfil, and we'll snag a ride with them back to the spaceport.>> The short hare is hard to miss, and in present company his purple and chromite hardly even seems flashy. "Come on heads on a swivel you slackers, We didn't save your hides just to get picked off like amatuers now."He does take point of course, casually exchanging magazines finally. "Take heart, this is why we always get payed upfront."

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"Hope we have some air support." Carrie mutters to herself as she works her way through the office building she's taken cover in. She gets to the exit by the street Blackjack mentioned, peeks out, and then quickly vaults off the balcony, and bounces between walls before landing in a crouch behind the bunny and the Golds. She looks them over, and then she's jogging along towards the spaceport, "How far to the ship?" she asks, coming to a stop beside a burned out vehicle of some sort, and peeking up the mostly deserted street. Mostly, because it does look like there is a small Dar command post set up a couple of blocks up, but they seem busy with their own concerns.

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    "Had, they got torn to ribbons. Same as us they hired a ton of small outfits rather than any single big one, no unified command and control. No triage, no artillery, no central command of any type. This happens often, really. You try to tell them this isn't the way to do it, and they think you're just tryna pump'em for cash."Theres a shrug there, as the transport in question skims in low over the buildings before touching down roughly in the middle of the street. "As you can see most of us are happy to work with each other, but we all operate differently so you can't exactly impose a central command on us even if they had tried."

    The Gold boys rush up to the transport and there seems to be a conversation happening with the crew, before the duo are waved forward. "Spaceport's on the other side of the city, which we could walk but it'd take us an age to walk there."And so our favorite bunny takes a seat on the ship's doorway, hanging his legs casually off the side and flashing a wave of thanks back towards the crew. "For the time being the space port's held, but if we tried to walk it?"

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Carrie Kelley clamors aboard the ship as well, and sits next to Blackjack, "Yeah, I wasn't looking forward to the hike back. Don't suppose there are too many Dar who want to just let us pass unharmed." Considering she's probably taken out seven or eight today alone, that seems a fair thought. She tugs out a canteen she had on her belt, and opens it and takes a quick drink from it. "Is it normal to feel like I haven't drank water in about a year?" she asks, before she swishes a mouthful of liquid around in her mouth, and spits it out into the air rushing by. She takes another long gulp from the container, before she puts it back and then asks another question, "So the plan now is to get on the ship and stealth out?"

Blackjack O'Hare has posed:
    "Our employer is dead, we were paid upfront. There is nothing we can do here but kill some Dau, we can accomplish no rescue of the civilian population. So yeah, we bail."Theres a shrug at that, as he digs around in his pockets before offering a tube of...well alien candy towards Carrie. "Gum helps, the laser fire dries out the atmo and it just sucks the juice right out of you. If I still had skin I'd be just as bad, one of the benefits of having been shot to ribbons a lifetime ago."

    It's not a long ride fortunately, and the views offered of the city below are decidedly apocalyptic. "Heres some homework for you to consider, ask yourself why invading fleets never torch the space port even when they're there to exterminate a populace."And as the ship comes in low and finally slows down, Blackjack is quick to slip off and hit the ground not far from their ship.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"I'm sure they don't destroy a lot of infrastructure when they invade. It's easier to move your people in after and just take over doing whatever it is the planet was doing before." Carrie says with a slight shrug. "Plus, lets all the non locals get out so there isn't an interstellar diplomatic incident I'd assume. Can't have the high grand ambassador to the Empire of Kregor get got by the invading army unless you want to open a two front war." She takes the gum and pops it into her mouth, chewing slowly. "This isn't half bad. Not great. But, it's not that stuff we had last week."

As the ship settles down, she hops off and then starts to walk towards the landing bay that the Gambler's Lore is parked in. "That...wasn't the worst work I've ever done..." she admits as she goes.