Characters: Mazun & Arthur (Darrurz)
Location: Akofotsidano Downport
Back outside, the group sprints across the tarmac, trying to keep low and out
of site of the administration building windows. There's a garage door open over
at the hangar. Gunfire can be heard emanating from there. Joe is apparently
keeping some raiders occupied.
The ground level of the passenger terminal appears to be dedicated to cargo loading and unloading. Each gate has its own garage door, but it also has a sapient-sized door. Each of the sapient-sized door has a rectangle of glass in the right third, approximately 15 cm wide and 60 cm tall. Nightvision goggles reveal that there are stairs leading up to the passenger level. The upper level gantry arms are all retracted and their access doors are out of reach short of standing on each other's shoulders.
Thaedznou wants to keep their location and intent as secret as possible, so he opts for the group to access the westernmost gate. It also eliminates the possibility, if the passenger terminal is occupied, of someone coming up on their six.
Surprisingly, or maybe less so since Thaedznou pointed out to Aerrak earlier the relative superiority of the raiders to the locals obviates the need for security measures, both the cargo and personnel doors are unlocked. The cargo door opens onto a room that holds a couple baggage carts and handtrucks. There's a corridor that runs perpendicular to the cargo door. There's a conveyor belt in the middle of the space running west-east. From what can be seen, the conveyor belt and corridor run the length of the passenger terminal. How they connect to the main terminal/administration building isn't visible at this distance.
Thaedznou believes that the cargo corridor would be the best way to surprise anyone in the administration building, but he recognizes that the upper level would offer greater visibility to observe what's going on there.
Arthur says, "Recommend we go high as we're kinda blind right now."
"High it is," Thaedznou replies.
As the group ascends the stairs, Joe comms, "Looks like they're gonna restart power anytime now. If what you're doing requires darkness get it done quick!"
"Acknowledged," Thaedznou replies.
Aerrak throws the door open with Arthur in position down low. The passenger lounge on the other side has been converted over to a makeshift barracks. The beds in this one are empty, bunk trunks open and a mess. Looking down the corridor reveals that the whole passenger terminal has been done the same way. Plywood walls and curtain doors. A dingy gray carpet lines the floor.
"They must all be in the main terminal waiting for us." Thaedznou says.
"Do we clear the whole way?"
Thaedznou shakes his head. "No time. We have to hustle. I suspect that our attack is an 'all paws on deck' scenario."
The group jogs through the passenger terminal. Once they get close to the main terminal, they slow down. Before they enter it, Thaedznou gives an indication to stop and crouch. Through the gateway arch, those with nightvision can see the raiders—there's at least a couple dozen of them—have erected a barricade composed of benches facing a set of doors that leads in the direction the control tower. But even with the limited knowledge of the building the group has, they know that there's at least another room on the other side of the north wall. No one is looking down the passenger terminal.
On the other side of the arch are the ticketing and baggage check counters. The counters are a meter high. No idea from here how much protection the counters would provide, but it would be some cover.
After checking to make sure the surrounding area is clear, Darrurz comms, "I'm moving east to take up a position where I can see the corridor leading to the control tower and still keep an eye on the north side of the starport."
Arthur instructs Thaedznou and Aerrak to fire frag grenades into the raiders fortified position by the doors and then take the fountain. He and Mazun will move to the left counter and fire at visible targets. Once Thaedznou and Aerrak have taken the fountain, the group should then be able to flank the raiders.
There's a murmur of whispered conversations coming from the raiders.
Once Arthur gives the signal, Thaedznou and Aerrak fire their grenades. Someone barks, silence for a second, then near simultaneous explosions. Yelps of surprise and pain.
Arthur and Mazun each take out a target standing by a column.
The lights come on.
Aerrak and Thaedznou are charging towards the fountain. They adjust mid-stride to switch off nightvision, and each fires a burst at a target, taking them out.
Mazun and Arthur duck out of sight to ditch their nightvision goggles and move north, closer to the wall.
But the raiders are adjusting to the change in lighting as well as the grenades. Those that recover first fire at Thaedznou and Aerrak.
Mazun and Arthur pop up from behind the counter and start shooting. Mazun has his carbine and Arthur using his gauss rifle. As planned, they catch the raiders with a flanking maneuver. The raiders that realize that they're getting flanked, look to adjust their cover situation.
Thaedznou and Aerrak take the fountain and now redirect their fire towards the clustered raiders, but keep an eye out for anyone trying to outflank them.
As the situation devolves into a bloodbath, several raiders try to flee through the open door on the north wall, but the pile of bodies makes it impossible. They fall onto one another, creating an even larger obstacle to escape.
It's over in a minute.
Someone barks out that they're willing to surrender. Thaedznou orders them to throw their weapons away and to come out with their paws up.
Two raiders emerge, throwing their rifles as far as they can.
"Down on your knees! Paws on your head!" Thaedznou orders. He and Aerrak approach with their assault rifles trained on the two.
Arthur radios to Darrurz and Joe that they've eliminated the raider force in the admin building. "Looks to be near thirty dead. Two captives. No injuries on our part."
Location: Akofotsidano Downport Power Plant
Like the other buildings, the other side of the door is an interstitial space.
Joe immediately crosses through it and enters the hangar. Like the warehouse,
it's a very large space, albeit devoid of the racks. With his nightvision
goggles, Joe quickly assesses the building's interior. Directly in front of him
is the hangar door to admit spaceships. Tools line the wall to his right. Some
computers—powered down—sit on carts. Behind him and to the left is a
long workbench. There are manuals and catalogs strewn about. Past the workbench
is a walled off space, subdivided from the rest of the hangar, with the words
"PARTS" printed on a sign over the door. This room runs about two-thirds of the
left wall. Two forklifts are parked along the wall. When the wall ends, there's
what appears to be an open machine shop. On the other side is a garage-style
door with the words "RECEIVING" written on it.
The forklifts seem like the best source of cover, so Joe sprints over to the one closest to the garage door. Hoping to use the Receiving garage door as his escape route, he quickly checks to see if he can open it. It's locked. From the way that it resists him, there seems to be some sort of bolt holding it in place. The nightvision goggles allow him to trace the bolts back to the door tracks. They're simple sliding bolts, and Joe slides them out with ease, enabling him to open the door. On the other side is the receiving area and a loading dock which has another garage door on the far side. The locking mechanism is the same.
An explosion stops him in his tracks. The raiders must've tripped the frag grenade he left behind in the power plant. He loads a flechette mag into his rifle.
He gives the raiders a few seconds before darting over to the garage door on the loading dock. He slides the locking bolts out of position and lifts the garage door. He then takes up a position behind the closest forklift and watches the entrance.
He gives them a minute to make a move on him, but there's no sign of them. Keeping his weapon trained on the doors, he makes his way back to the entrance. He listens at the door, but doesn't hear anything in the interstitial space. He pulls the door open with one hand, the other keeping his rifle trained at the opening. No one is in the interstitial space, but he hears muffled voices on the other side of the doors leading into the power plant.
Joe slings his ACR and pulls out his snub revolver and loads it with a flechette mag. He creeps over to the far door and cracks it open with one hand while keeping the revolver at the gap. He sees a pair of Vargr in the corridor over at the entrance to the power plant room, staring inside. Several more are inside the room, wielding flashlights, apparently working to restore power.
"Can't have that now can we," Joe whispers to Ed. Joe pops off a couple of shots, one at each vargr by the entrance in the corridor.
The first falls prey to a well aimed shot and the element of surprise. The second reacts quick enough to the sound of the first shot that he dives for cover and Joe misses.
Vargr with flashlights react by turning their flashlights on Joe, momentarily blinding his nightvision specs, and shouting.
Joe ducks back into the interstitial space to give his night vision time to reset. He holsters his snub revolver and readies his rifle. He then opens the door and dives down the corridor below the level of the glass panels. The movement of the doors, visible in flashlight beams, agitates the vargr. A couple of shots are fired, but they fail to penetrate the windows.
Joe makes his way back up to the power plant doors, still out of sight of the glass. There are a couple of new dead bodies placed on the far side. One of the doors opens, a figure low on the ground with a pistol. Joe fires as soon as a target presents itself, taking him out before he can get a shot off.
But in doing so, the flashlights converge on the doorway accompanied by shots. There doesn't seem to be a way that Joe can step into the doorway without being blinded.
Joe swears under his breath. "Nothing I can do like this." He heads back to the hangar, planning for an ambush for the Vargr when they start after him.
Over the comm, he calls the group, "Looks like they're gonna restart power anytime now. If what you're doing requires darkness get it done quick!"
"Acknowledged," Thaedzou replies.
Joe takes a minute to check through the open doors of the hangar to see what is going on outside before settling by the forklifts and waiting for the lights to come on. A couple of minutes go by, maybe more. There's the muffled sound of an explosion or two, likely a grenade.
The lights come on. Shortly thereafter the crackling sound of gunfire, but muffled. Joe holds his position.
Two minutes later, Arthur comms, "We've taken the admin building. Looks to be near thirty dead. Two captives. No injuries on our part."
Joe replies, "Copy that. I'm in the hangar. There's a bunch in the power plant. If they head to me, I'll see if they want to surrender."
He continues to hang out. If any vargr opens the door he'll shout for a surrender, but ready to fire back if they don't do so immediately.
He waits a couple of minutes more when Darrurz radios in. "I'm seeing six raiders running across the tarmac from the power plant toward the far end of the passenger terminal."
Joe bolts from his forklift position to the Receiving area. The garage door is still open, so he immediately spots the six raiders. "Got them. Doesn't look like they're surrendering. I'll take them out."
He opens fire on them, going fully automatic. The first four fall before they realize that they're being shot at. The last two stop in their tracks, quickly trying to find cover, but Joe mows them down before they can find anything.
He comms the others, "Got them."
Characters: Mazun & Arthur (Darrurz & Joe elsewhere)
NPC: Thaedznou & Aerrak
Location: Akofotsidano Downport
Arthur radios to Darrurz and Joe that they've eliminated the raider force in the
admin building. "Looks to be near thirty dead. Two captives. No injuries on our
Darrurz acknowledges and states that he's going to stay put and keep a look out for any movement in and around the starport that he can see.
Joe replies, "Copy that. I'm in the hangar. There's a bunch in the power plant. If they head to me, I'll see if they want to surrender."
Meanwhile, Thaedznou starts interrogating the two prisoners. He barks out, "Where's Ithalloefegz?"
The prisoners gesture with their heads that he's behind them. One of them says, "He's the one with the orange ascot."
Thaedznou walks over to the cluster of bodies indicated by the prisoner. He spots one with the orange ascot. He's face up with eyes open, four bullet holes in the chest.
Thaedznou returns to the prisoners. In a calmer voice, he asks, "Where's the rest of your pack?"
The first one says, "This is everyone."
The second one says, "Besides the guards on the roof, the control tower staff, and the wolves that were sent to secure the power plant."
The first one says to the second, "Shut up, dog."
The second one replies to him, "No, you shut up. Don't you think that they know about those others already. Especially the ones on the roof. Those were the first ones they took out. How else do you think they got in without us knowing?"
Since the group knows that they've already taken care of the raiders on the roof, in the control tower, and some in the power plant, it would seem that there's just some stragglers to mop up.
While they ponder what to do next, Darrurz radios in. "I'm seeing six raiders running across the tarmac from the power plant toward the far end of the passenger terminal."
Joe comms, "Got them. Doesn't look like they're surrendering. I'll take them out."
Darrurz watches as all six are cut down.
Joe comms the others, "Got them."
Thaedznou gets in the faces of the prisoners. "Is there anyone else?"
The first one shakes his head solemnly.
The second one says, "No, I told you where they all were."
Thaedznou turns to the others in the room, but asks the entire pack, "What do you guys want to do with them? I say we let them go, let them walk to wherever. After we verify that the place is cleared out of course."
Coming in on the radio, Darrurz replies, "I agree. Give them food, knives, equipment, and let them walk to wherever they want. Unless they want to come with us back to Tsougak. How much do they know about the Vakh and raider operations around here? And apart from shooting do they have any useful skills?
"If they want to walk we can point them north to the raider stop and tell them to take the mechanic to Dhoknan in Oegzuzerrghgurrgoksa."
Mazun agrees with Darrurz's suggestion.
Joe adds, "Sounds good. Ok, securing the garage doors in the hangar and circling back up to the control tower. I'll sweep for any missing pups on my way."
"Roger that," Thaedznou says. "I'll see what I can get from these two." He returns his attention to the raider prisoners. "How much do you know about the Vakh and raider operations on your world?"
The first one scoffs, "Nothing that matters now."
The second one says, "We had several outposts stationed around the Gnarraelaeghoerrong Sea."
"That's the body of water northwest of here, right?"
"Yeah. It was generally one per city."
"How many wolves stationed at each?"
"I don't know for sure. A few here and there. Mostly scouts from what I was told. Not all of them were occupied."
"We didn't have the numbers," the first one butts in. "Recruitment was something Kuzsokh said that we needed to work on."
The second one continues, "If the scouts found some prize on their route, they'd get word back or wait for a cleaner crew to swing by."
The first one answers, "That's when Kuzsokh sends a dozen or so wolves into a couple of trucks and sends them on a road trip, checking in on the scouts to see what they've dug up."
Thaedznou nods. "What about the Vakh?"
Both prisoners shrug.
"The Star People?"
The first one responds, the edge out of his voice, his attitude gone, "Whenever they come round. I make myself scarce."
The second one adds, "I've been on duty a few times when they arrive, but never up close. A couple of wolves I've spoken to say that Kuzsokh would give them coordinates when he found either relic tech or a cluster of people to take."
"Somewhere offworld. No one I spoke to knew where. If Kuzsokh knew, he never told us."
"What did you get in return?"
"Weapons, equipment, medical supplies, fuel to keep the power plant going. Kuzsokh said that all of Akofotsidano would be ours one day. The Star People were making it reality."
"If you ask me," the first one butts in, "it already was ours. Until you wolves came along."
Thaedznou asks, "Either of you got any useful skills apart from shooting?"
The first one says, "I can drive a truck."
The second one says, "I learned how to maintain and repair them."
Thaedznou says, "You're free to go."
"Yeah, you've answered our questions." He gestures to the pile of dead raiders. "Killing you would be pointless." He pauses to let that sink in. "We'll give you what you need to walk out of here. You can head up the road to your outpost, Kakh Town, and meet up with the mechanics there. If you're smart and ready to follow a new path, maybe head over to Oegzuzerrghgurrgoksa and go see a wolf named Dhoknan. He's the alpha of that city. You tell him that we sent you.
"Or you can hitch a ride with us back to our world. Maybe the military can put your knowledge of Akofotsidano and the Star People to work."
"Hey! I'm all for that! Woo hoo! Going into space!" the first one says.
"Yeah, me too!" the second one adds. A puzzled expression comes across his face. "So where's your spaceship?"
"We're working on that," Thaedznou replies.
At this point, Joe enters the room by climbing over the benches and bodies. "All clear my way. No stragglers."
Characters: Arthur, Joe, Mazun, Darrurz
NPC: Thaedznou & Aerrak
Location: Akofotsidano Downport
It's about a half hour before sunrise when it hits the group that they've been
awake since the last sunrise. With adrenaline spent, the pack is feeling
knackered. Although there's still so much to do, sleeping now is a must.
Still, there's the matter of the prisoners. Someone has to watch them. Aerrak has volunteered to take the first shift supervising them. Thaedznou will relieve him in three hours.
And there's some cleaning up to do. It won't be long before the pile of bodies begins to stink the place up. Aerrak suggests dragging them outside, but the prisoners say that's a bad idea.
"Uerroksafuekhskhuez. They can smell a carcass for kilometers. Get that many in a pile and you'll attract a lot of them."
"Can they break down the fence?" Thaedznou asks.
"Well, they haven't yet, but we usually only get one or two and we have—had enough wolves to defend this place, keep 'em away from the fence."
Thaedznou nods. "Ok. The two of you—wait, I need your names."
The first one says, "Uedzaks."
The second one says, "Ungunu."
"I'm Thaedznou. That wolf there is Aerrak. The wolf outside keeping watch is Darrurz. Speaking of which, Darrurz, you really should come inside and grab a nap. If you fall asleep outside, a uerroksafuekhskhuez might think you're breakfast."
Darrurz responds, "All clear at the moment, but I'll head in. I'll pick up Aen on the way, presuming he's the one that turned on the power plant. Or has he been dealt with already? Joe?"
Joe yawns. "Yeah, I passed through the plant on the way up. I went to check on him, but the door was open and he was gone. I'm guessing that the other raiders let him go." He pauses, coming to a realization. "I guess I shot him with the others when they ran across the tarmac."
"Roger that. If you don't see me in five minutes come looking. Ask Uedzaks and Ungunu if there are any other techies, or others around."
They shake their heads. Ungunu says, "That's all I can think of. Everyone else was here..." He looks down at the floor.
Thaedznou continues, "These three are Arthur, Mazun, and Joe."
Uedzaks and Ungunu stare at the three Humans, their jaws slack, eyes glazed.
"Never seen a Human before." Thaedznou says. It's not a question.
"No," Ungunu replies. "Just stories."
"Is that all the fur you have?" Uedzaks asks, then sniffs the air.
Joe replies, "Yup, pretty much. But drying after a swim is quicker!"
Both of the raiders laugh at that.
Thaedznou ends things there. "There will be time for sniffing around later. You two are going to take all of the weapons off of those bodies and stack them over there. Then you're going to remove their boots and equipment and make piles of them next to the guns. Once the bodies are stripped of useful stuff, you'll need to load them into our truck and drop them off somewhere, say five kilometers. Not near the road. At least a hundred meters from it."
Aerrak interrupts, "I don't think that's a good idea."
"That's our truck, and it's full of our gear. Assuming we take out the gear, it's going to take a lot of trips to get rid of all of these bodies. If something goes wrong, we don't have a truck anymore."
"Right." Thaedznou sighs. "Too tired."
"There's a bunch of trucks in the garage," Uedzaks offers. "We could probably haul the lot of 'em in one load."
"Do it," Thaedznou says.
Uedzaks wags his tale at Thaedznou's approval.
"What about the bodies on the roof?" Aerrak asks.
"Yeah, them too. I have to imagine the sun will bake them, get them good and ripe."
"Ikhekharrghuloe would get them." Ungunu says.
Ikhekharrghuloe is translated for the non-native Gvegh speakers as "Medium-sized flying lizard with long, sharp-toothed beak. A carrion feeding creature akin to Terran vultures. Congregates in packs of ten to thirty."
"Yeah, we don't need that," Thaedznou says. "Get them, too."
"There's a bunch in the power plant, too," Joe adds. "And a couple in the control tower."
Thaedznou looks around at the pack. Noticing the blank stares, realizing it's sack time. "Ok, Aerrak, I'll be down in the passenger terminal if you need me."
At this point, Darrurz shows up at the main entrance to the building. Uedzaks heads over and unlocks the door. When Darrurz enters, the two exchange sniffs of the air about the other.
"You must be, Darrurz. I'm Uedzaks."
"Well met, Uedzaks."
Darrurz then proceeds across the room to the others. The smell of gunpowder and blood assaults his nostrils. It is not a scent he's missed.
He joins the others as they walk down the passenger terminal, each finding a room to crash in and grab some sleep.
[...to be continued...]