Author Topic: [Battle report] Smoking Guns at the Temple- Mishima vs. Capitol vs. Ilian (SG2)  (Read 6245 times)

Offline Horned Owl

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His head still spinning from the close encounter with death, Lieutenant Rao reflexively ducked as the second sniper´s bullet mercifully passed him by. Rolling under the line of fire, he made it to the entrance, recklessly vaulted the rubble left by the shattered portal, and was inside. Behind him, bullets slammed into the ferroconcrete wall and sent splinters scything down the corridor. The Capitolians were putting up a heavy suppression fire, presumably to cover their regrouping fireteams against anything that might issue from the gates.

Rao offered a silent prayer to the Cardinal and the Light to keep his comrades´ souls as he made his way through the darkened tunnel, past the smiling icons of the Seven Sages that plastered the wall. After all these years, there was still a hint of incense in the musty air. Somehow, though, it did not feel right. Hairs stood up on the back of his neck; there was an unreasonable fear lurking in the corners of his mind. Had the sniper´s near miss created a new and unwelcome sensitivity in him? It was unnaturally chilly as well. Soon the knuckles of his hands were white with cold, and his breath misted before his face.

The samurai looked on impassively as Rao limped past. Ice crystals had formed on their helmets and flared shoulder pads, but if they noticed, they betrayed no sign of it. Their shotguns´ muzzles covered the enemy´s route of approach, ready to turn any Capitol advance down the corridor into a bloodbath. A dedicated close assault weapon, the Airbrush was devastating at close quarters.

He found his remaining two squads huddled together and uneasy. The strange atmosphere that had crept upon the deserted temple had affected them. Nobody complained, and they all kept a closed face – the unreadable, emotionless „mask“ that always made foreigners uneasy –, but their faces were pale and drawn, and their stance was awkward. The men clutched their weapons like a drowning man might a piece of driftwood.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

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Corporal Kaminski and Kirkpatrick, his remaining Striker, carefully picked their way through the rubble of the portal. Crouching low and hugging the walls, they slowly advanced. He heard Carson´s team follow, their slow, firm footsteps crunching on the concrete. It was unnaturally cold in here, and Kaminski felt uneasy. He slowly slid his sword from its scabbard. The blade immediately frosted over.

Then adrenaline hit him as the shapes of samurai rose from behind a makeshift barricade. His rifle stuttered out a swathe of suppression fire, and Carson´s fireteam joined a split-second later. Shot and bullets ricocheted all around. Something wet and warm splashed his face, and Kirkpatrick slumped lifelessly against him, knocking him off his feet. He cursed and struggled to rise, to shake Kirkpatrick´s limp body off and aim his rifle, but  -

- suddenly reality seemed to shift sideways. There was a black flash that left hazy afterimages dancing on his retina. Tall, dark shapes stepped from the rift. Their billowing cloaks were rimmed with frost, and in their jet-black folds, as if through a hole in space, he imagined he could see cold, distant stars. He shook his head to clear it, but there was a momentary intensive pain, as if someone had pushed an ice splinter through his head.

Suddenly, it was bitter cold.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

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One minute, Kakibara Tomoyuki, the samurai leader, had been ambushing the Capitolians, coordinating the attack. The next second, he was fighting for his life. To his credit, he did not flinch as the tall, insectile shape towered above him and slashed him from breastbone to hip. There was a faint hissing noise as his soul drained into the shard of nothingness that served the creature as a blade, then his body collapsed to the concrete floor. Shotguns barked at the thing, jerking its shoulder pads and ripping its unreal cloak to shreds, but the creature stood still and seemed to savour the moment. Then it uncoiled its limbs, like snakes made out of razors, and slashed into the stunned samurai. The other Templars followed, their blades whirling left and right. It was over in seconds.

Then the Capitolians opened up on the Templars. One of the creatures slumped against the wall, a horrid emptiness slowly oozing out of the holes in its armour. A frozen samurai was hit by an M50 bullet and shattered into a thousand pieces. From deeper in the maze, the chatter of Shoguns could be heard as Rao´s ashigaru fought off another Templar circle that had appeared out of nowhere.

Regardless of his own safety, Lieutenant O´Neill vaulted the pile of rubble and sprinted down the entranceway to support his men. His fireteam followed suit. Then they saw the alien creatures backlighted by the M50s´ flickering muzzle fire, and stopped dead in their tracks.


Outside in the garden, frost crept on the rapidly wilting leaves. A sudden wrench in her stomach caused Corporal Roseboom to turn around. There was a woman´s serene face, cold and radiantly beautiful, watching her, framed by the creepers that hung from the vine trees. Such incredible beauty, in the midst of war! Entranced, she dropped her rifle and took a step towards it.

The thing unfolded, spider-like. The face, wearing an unreadable expression, rose into the air on a mass of cables and tubes that protruded from the back of its head. Mechanical limbs emerged from the foliage, pushing the body through. But the Corporal´s eyes were still fixed on that lovely face. She imagined she could see the faintest fleeting smile pass across its lips.

The void flames from the creature´s belly engulfed her, and her body and soul were consumed.

"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

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Sergeant Yang was close to panic, and only the presence of his superior kept him from betraying emotion. Their fire had been ineffectual. The alien creatures had weathered the hail of lead and joined up with each other, stepping out of the shadows. Now they advanced, unhurriedly, with a terrible calm, towards his shaking line. Again the Shoguns chattered, and the things took a second stream of fire from their right, where Lieutenant Rao organised the defense. The Templars walked through the fire completely unperturbed. Then they levelled their black guns and opened fire at point-blank range. Bullets scythed through Yang´s squad. Three men fell jerking. The sergeant dropped to the ground and rolled to avoid the raking fire.

Inside the entrance, the Capitolians cheered as their combined fire downed another of the creatures. Its armour was cracked open like an egg, revealing an empty hollow cavity where the suit´s inhabitant should have been. Animated by its own emptiness, the remaining Templar glided towards Kaminski and impaled the corporal on its blade. 


In the garden, the Beast of Ilian advanced towards the temple entrance. The two remaining men of Roseboom´s squad hastily unslung their anti-vehicle rockets. It seemed to sense the danger, scuttling sideways and gathering its legs under itself, making ready to leap at the soldiers.

Still hurting all over from the shotgun blast, Sergeant Cooper threw himself between the Beast and the soldiers. His M50 kicked out bullets that ricocheted futilely off its armour. It checked, still crouching, and the beautiful head turned towards the sergeant. A stream of void fire washed over him, melting the flesh from his bones, tearing his soul to shreds. Sergeant Cooper ceased to exist.

But his sacrifice had not been in vain. His comrades might have been stunned by the brutality of the act, but they were trained soldiers of the Special Forces, and their bodies followed the drill even as their minds recoiled in horror. Sights up, safety off, tube to the shoulder, „Firing the IAVR!“, a deep breath, and the pull of the trigger. Two trails of fire streaked towards the beast, striking it in the body and the long, sinuous neck. The explosion blew the neck clean off. The beautiful head rolled on the ground, trailing appendages and severed tubes. The legs jerked and contracted.

As the soldiers gingerly advanced on the wrecked beast with their swords drawn, a thin, icy mist rose from the ruptured body, coalescing into a gibbering mass that rushed at them.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

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The two soldiers backed nervously away as the mist advanced. It roiled like a stormcloud, and imagination conjured up the shapes of tortured faces inside it. Tendrils reached for the Sunset Strikers, then jerked back as bullets from the snipers crisscrossed its nebulous body. Donahue and Miller fired as fast as they could, and the mist dissipated, lost coherency even though the bullets seemend to pass through it without resistance. Within seconds it was over, only tiny motes glittering on the mossy ground. The soldiers heaved a sigh of relief.

Inside, the Templars had reached the Ashigaru. Void blades slashed in wide arcs, and Yang´s soldiers were cut down to a man. Lieutenant Rao cajoled the shaken men of his last squad into order, pouring another volley into the creatures and slowly retreating by pairs to the sanctum – to protect their Lord. Around the corner, the gunfire had ceased, and there was the shouting of men and the clash of blades as the Capitolians rushed the other circle´s last Templar. The alien wove a web of void-forged steel around itself that killed all three of Lieutenant O´Neill´s men, before another soldier desperately pushed his sword through its neck armour. The creature collapsed on its black cloak.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

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Kakibara Hideo kneeled at ease on the dais in his formal business suit, his swords sheathed, his hands clasped loosely on his knees. He watched as his last remaining Ashigaru fought Ilian´s abominations, and lost. Sergeant Inoue valiantly tried to bar one of the creatures´ way towards his Lord, and was cut down. One Templar was twitching on the ground, pockmarked by smoking bullet holes, but the other two disentangled themselves from the dead and frozen Ashigaru and advanced towards him. It was a solemn moment. He slowly and deliberately drew his sword.

Then a burst of gunfire exploded one Templar´s head. Its companion did not flinch. But in the split second that its attention had been diverted, Hideo leaped at it, his blade blurring through the air. The Templar parried, impossibly, jerking up the sword with its own blade and punching him in the chest with its free hand. Ribs cracked, and Hideo was thrown across the room like a limp rag doll. Just at that moment, Lieutenant O´Neill threw himself forward and stabbed out with his own sword, arm extended, in a desperate attack. The Templar seemed to nod once, then collapsed in a heap. The blade snapped and froze over.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

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Lieutenant O´Neill took a deep breath. His sword arm was numb; he dropped the shattered hilt with a clatter. Gingerly, he stepped around the creatures´ empty remains, fastidiously avoiding the Templar´s blade which looked like a deep pool of nothingness on the floor. When looked at from the corner of his eye, it seemed to writhe subtly, like a living creature, and he imagined it watching him with cold, hard eyes. It made him uneasy to turn his back on it. He checked the Mishiman´s pulse: alive. Good.

He raised his rifle with his good hand, then hesitated. This man had bravely rushed the creature, distracting it for O´Neill to get in the killing stroke. Now he lay there helpless, the objective of today´s raid. A quick pull on the M50´s trigger, and the mission would be accomplished. He felt a sudden cold passion, an overwhelming urge to kill, rippling and pulsing outward from the black blade. Terrified, he shook himself and fought the alien impulse down. His hand was trembling, and forcing the finger away from the trigger was the hardest thing he had ever done. He flipped the safety with a huge wash of relief, eased the tension out of his shoulders and sighed.

There was the sound of a ****ed weapon behind him. A small bespectacled Mishiman with a round brown face stood in the doorway, aiming a Shogun at O´Neill´s back with a shaking hand. On a chain around his neck hung a tiny silver Cardinal´s cross, and he clutched at it like a drowning man.

O´Neill lowered his rifle. He felt like laughing. The small man slowly, warily, entered the room.

"Your leader is wounded", the Lieutenant said hoarsely. "He fought with courage. Please try and get him to safety. There is a radio in the next room, if my memory is right." The Mishiman gave the tiniest of nods, his face unreadable. O´Neill threw him a quick salute, and ducked out of the doorway.

Shouldn´t you have pulled the trigger, Calquhoun O´Neill?, the Lieutenant thought as he walked through the corridor towards the entrance. There will be hell to pay once you get home. A severe reprimand, at the least. The Special Forces always get the job done. No excuses. You had him in your sights.

To hell with it, he thought. I won´t kill a valiant man who tried to help me in cold blood. Not for Irving-Jorgensen and his petty revenge. Let them court-martial me if they want to. The Strikers´ way is the honourable way. Let´s try to get Miller and his spotter off that wall, collect the boys, then head for home.

Suddenly, he felt very tired.
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."

Offline Horned Owl

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There, I did it. I mentioned a ****ed gun.  :-[
"How was I supposed to know he was an unarmed man? His back was to me."