Friday, May 20, 2016

IW 5 - Blue Jungle


The crew of the CAMEROON has received a distress call of their clients. The call, extremely weak, is taking them deep in the hinterland of Brethrow, a backwater on Prometheus. The clients are shady hunters from Terra. They are short of weapons, and are suspecting that the extraction will be complicated by the presence of raptors.

The air is thick enough to make soup with it.


Prometheus is the oldest Terran colony. Brethrow is a distant developing nation where little laws are in effect. The air is thick, the temperature an uncomfortable 35C(95F). The topography is made of mountains covered by a dense jungles.

The insertion spot (purple), the creek (orange), the cave entrance and exit (blue).

Location: 400m of approximate extraction site, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The CAMEROON descends to 20m and release the air raft. On board of the raft, Tom and Anika. The only weapon on board is a 4mm gaussian pistol that Tom puts between his legs as he drives the craft over a creek heading up the slopes. On the CAMEROON, Diane pinpoints the signal from the transmission to a nook at the foot of the mountains. She passes the data to the raft and the CAMEROON begin sweeping the area. The free trader grates against the tree canopy to mask the approach of the raft. Jane has the dual 100MJ laser at the ready.

Location: some godless creek bed, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

Anika clings to her dazzler laser flashlight. Tom is speeding over the creek bed in a scary display of driving prowess. Debris and leaves are rubbing against the craft and the visibility is down to nothing from her point of view. When the raft begins banking, Tom swerves to avoid crashing into trees. A 5m long raptor is now perched at the rear of the raft, and came out of nowhere. Anika has to throw herself off the raft to avoid a deadly bite to her torso. She lands heavily in the creek bed, but the nanoweave suit turns a deadly fall into a bad one. Her hands clings to her dazzler. As she wipes the wet hair from her face, she sees the raptor lose its footing and falls into the creek, some 20m upstream. 

Hey, Anika, you smell like lunch.

Tom has abandoned the wheel and takes a few shots at the raptor. One 4mm tungsten rod hits the beast hard enough to make it jerk out of sight. Anika is struggling in the heavy foliage on the bank. The scene calms down: only the cackle of the creek and the drone of the CAMEROON overhead remains. Anika climbs back on the raft, sore from the fall.

On the CAMEROON, Diane detect a heat signature as well as a weak electromagnetic signal. The location is piped on the raft’s computer with a precision of 1m. Tom hits the throttle until the creek becomes too narrow. The raft then starts to slalom in slow motion at 15m off the ground, sandwiched between the undergrowth and the canopy.

Location: Cave entrance, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The raft descends through the undergrowth and get a visual on the entrance of a man-made cave. A trail of smoke is coming out, and the smell of thermite lingers. Tom lands the rafts and head to the tiny hole, both weapons trained on the unknown. Anika trips, hangs upside down and panics. She thrashes and tries to climb back on the raft as Tom slips down into the cave.

Tom finds a tablet, but it is locked. He switches his flashlight to the LED. The tunnel is about 1.5m high by 0.6m. The air was sucked out by the burning of a thermite grenade. He finds the mangled body of Phillip, one of his client. He was somehow dragged by a small toothed creature that held him by the throat. The dirt nearby has turned to glass by the heat.

Anika takes a hold of herself and slips down into the tunnel. The smell of thermite is intense. She can see the glimmer of Tom’s light ahead, but keeps the dazzler mode on, just in case. The two meet a little past Phillip’s body, into a small antechamber. The room is filled with trash, some of the wrappers are Terran household brands "Mr. Noodles". The place was used recently. They head out by the other access tunnel.

Location: Cave exit, mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

The cave exits to another sealable trapdoor. The light is blinding as Tom peers outside. Nothing snatches his head, but a raptor could be a few meters away and he wouldn’t be able to tell. Three horribly mutilated bodies are lying on the ground next to him. The scene makes him woozy and he needs to catch his breath. Anika looses her cookies loudly back into the cave entrance. Amongst their anxious whimpering, the weak voice of a man hanging overhead. Tom recognizes Marion, the other hunter and client. He is swinging at the end of a rope, attached by his waist. His head is badly beaten.

Marion cues Tom of the impending charge of a raptor. Tom blinds the monster with his dazzler laser. The raptor runs into a tree and finds a way to get out of sight in the thick undergrowth. They can hear it scurry away. Maybe 150m to the North the CAMEROON has opened fire with the dual laser. In the thick and moist atmosphere, the laser makes noise analogous to thunder. Tree trunks explode in the intense heat of the beam. A number of raptors seems to be scattering away from the scene.

Anika locates a rope and climbs to meet Marion. He points at three terrorized men clinging to a tree 20m above. He refers to them as targets/flags. Tom makes the connections. He thinks back at the 3dT of unknown cargo that was in his hold before and figure out that the targets had been smuggled in a cryo state.

“Have you smuggled these men to hunt, asshole?”, Tom and Anika seem to be on the brink to execute Marion on the spot. Marion begs for mercy, but his voicebox has been smashed and nothing but gargles come out.

Location: Brethrow airspace, 1000m alt., mainworld, Prometheus system
Terran timestamp: May 1, 2170 AD

It turns out that the targets are Prometheans natives. They speak a hard to parse cajun. Tom finds on the damage dinosaur gun and make it his. Marion is hauled onboard and given to the care of Aeryn and Flo. If Marion survives, which he should, they’ll make him pay and then turn him over to law enforcement for his sins.

Character Cast

  • Tom Anders: Retired Marine, gruff, good hearted. Now get off his cargo hold.
  • Diane Ayetou: born rich and far less qualified than given credit for. Gets an A for A-fort.
  • Jane Calhoun: Business-like business end of things. Reluctant pilot, appreciate spirits and solitude.
  • Anika Kaprescu: Recluse. Did some time, killjoy. The ship’s cat.
  • Aeryn Lorien: Stumbling steward, athlete and nurse. Gets the ribbon for caring the most.
  • Molly Pepper: Engineer and ship’s puppy. Her giggles are wasted on the crew.

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