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Gold, Guns and the Girl - A Kill Team Story (Revival)

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Gold, Guns and the Girl - A Kill Team Story (Revival)

Postby Rapunzel_TM » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:26 pm

GOLD, GUNS, AND THE GIRL
A story about the Kill Team


At the end of the tunnel: gold, but maybe at a greater cost. Can they crack the toughest safe yet, even if it means risking their partnership?


Chapter 1
Good and Mighty Idiots

Spoiler: show
Several years, one cloning attempt and sixty-seven robbed banks later . . .

"Ms Tanner?"

"Ms Tanner?"

"Um, Sue?"

With a start Sue turned to face the woman speaking to her but the sudden movement caused a book to drop from the medic's lap.

The Spectre dropship pilot bent down to retrieve the fallen object from the cabin floor. "Sorry to disturb you. But we thought you'd like to know we'll be landing soon. This is about as far in as we can take you."

"Right. Thank you."

After a moment's consideration, the folder was handed back to Kate. "Quite a door-stopper of homework you've got there."

"As far as research for assignments go, it's actually pretty mild. This one particular claim about the island having five million metric tonnes weight worth of gold is downright ludicrous though."

The pilot threw her head back and laughed. "I hear that," she shook her head in a pitying manner, "It takes a good and mighty right idiot to come to this hellhole for only five million tonnes of it."

Sue gave a tight smile and glanced pointedly to the papers in her hands before meeting the other's gaze with knowingly-raised eyebrows.

"Right, sorry. I'll leave you to it. Just remember that we land ETA five." And with that the pilot left Sue to her devices.

It was in the blazing heat of high noon that HADES's latest builder crew arrived at their destination. Sue peered through the polarised starboard viewport, watching the chrome wings of the Terradyne dropship sail over the treetops. Dark obsidian pillars below lent to the island's mystique; they loomed over uneven dirt cobblestone tracks that imitated roads and cut swaths into the deep, foggy unknown. Further out still, was the gold.

Deciding that it was time to get ready, Sue got up, holstering her needle launcher, and set out to look for her partner. 

________________________


The resounding crash of heavy barrelled machinery hitting the floor echoed across the dropship bay. 

Followed by a much scarier sound.

"Don't go touching my guns. Don't ever." 

The ship's sole Zergling passenger handled the low and sinister warning as well as any restless, canine-toothed sapient would respond: by digging its teeth deeper into the metal hull of the Kill Team Marauder's pulveriser cannon like a chew-toy, as if in alpha challenge. Because you know, zerglings don't understand English.

Seconds later, said Zergling was seen catapulting through the air and straight into the wall, leaving a rather large dent to be marvelled at by a low-whistling, albeit slightly miffed Spectre. It was hard to feel sorry for it.

"You know you stand a better chance reasoning with a wild lyote than those grubs," Sue said as she sauntered over to Tyrone, who was busy nursing the tooth-marks on his barrel (a beautiful barrel!).

"Midget bastard will learn once I throw 'em enough," he growled through grit teeth, "What's Zerg wanna do with gold anyway?"

Sue merely shrugged, an honest answer. "Who knows. A more relevant one would be what's the Kill Team going to do with their cut?"

"Get rich. Get a private island filled with enormous piles of mo-neh. Retire and stay happy for the rest of their godamned lives, with no worries for law enforcement, stormtroopers--"

"--or securing tenure in a prestigious facility," Sue finished piquantly. 

Tyrone chuckled at that response, "Wasn't what I was going to say, but I can take that." He took a whiff out of his whiskey mug. Sue -- or anyone in the dropship bay for that matter -- had no idea where he had suddenly gotten that whiskey from. 

"Care to join me?"

Sue was unsure, and a little voice of professionalism chided her for thinking about drinking before a job, but all that went swooping out the port window as she saw her friend raise his shot with a rather impish smile, and she accepted the proffered drink graciously. "What do we drink to?"

"Here's to the woman with the most spunk I've ever seen in my life."

Sue hesitated ever so slightly, then raised her mug, "And here's to the one thing that makes the world go round."

Tyrone chuckled yet again. He did that a lot, merely one of many things about him that Sue always found comfort in. "Aye, I can drink to that."

Their mugs clinked, and they brought the mugs to their cups, confiding in a comfortable, alcohol-addled silence only several years of high-octane friendship could bring for the rest of the trip. It was their last happy moment together before they would plunge below the clouds and into the dark fog of war.


Chapter 2
Ain't a Damn Lodestar in Sight

Spoiler: show
"The distraction will go fine."

The Kill Team wasn't much impressed about Titan Isle when they had first arrived. As far as uncharted backwaters in unknown star systems went in their extensive history, this particular one took the prize as 'dullest rock in the rim'. Nothing to see here; there were the young, springy trees one would normally find in the tropical parts, and light from the nearby dwarf star that bathed the place in moonish-orange light. The first time when their eyes weren't red and sore from all the damn pollen, they found there were little flecks of minerals that twinkled on the tree bark and leaves too, like ornaments on Christmas green -- nature's own light pollution blocking out every sensible lodestar in the sky -- and even small tufts of white dandelion that wafted through the island breeze. 

Also, there were rockets. There were quite a few rockets careening through the mellow-lighted, summer air that day. 

Shrub crunched underfoot as Sue and Tyrone zigzagged through the treeline. The air was filled with the distant rumble of earthquakes and buzz of radio static, the rattle of automatic weapons cutting through the canopy. Drowned out amidst the blasts and gunfire were the screams and shouts of a running Kill Team, as well as the roars of an invisible enemy in hot pursuit.

They slid down a rocky crevasse blocked by debris, only for them to hear what sounded suspiciously like the stomping crunch of gravel into fine powder behind them, like the force and effort not unlike an irate child kicking down a sandcastle.

"It's gaining!"

"It's always gaining," came Sue's apathetic reply to her partner, but beside her Tyrone was already screaming into his helmet comm. "Kill Team here! The distraction is going too well! We need to get back to base!"

--Yea . . . base's not up yet.--

A string of incomprehensible curses flew through Tyrone's lips, while Sue managed a sigh that sounded both dark and annoyed. In the thick of all this, they somehow found the time to trade bullets with their pursuer, and were scrambling to reload their guns whilst keeping pace. Not that the bullets really did anything. It was more of a force of habit really.

-- But the good news is that your distraction gave us tons of gold! And now I get to upgrade mah' Hellion! --

"Your Hellion is dead, Jose," Sue replied, "It was too slow."

-- How the hell did it get outpaced?! It's a godamned jeep, they're --

A metal wall erupted behind them, scattering shrapnel and heat over their peripherals, and from the monster of a dust cloud emerged a galactic goliath, knocking over century-old trees and swallowing the rest in the earthquake impacts of its charge, and it was catching up to the duo as if they were standing still.

"Theirs handles off roads better," Sue interjected, her tone as calm and iron-hard as ever.

So yeah, dullest rock in the rim.

They were cornered. They took a wrong turn, or maybe ran too far for too long. And just when they thought they might be in the clear, they now found themselves staring head-on at an impassable wall. A cliff, to be exact, with them on the lower side. The Kill Team could outsmart many things, but gravity had always proved frustratingly elusive to them. 

Dullest rock in the rim. A well-done distraction. Things were going according to plan, Tyrone reminded himself. Nothing the Kill Team couldn't handle--

The Archon was charging up, lidless eyes staring balefully at Sue. Tyrone didn't even need to think: he was already pulling out his gun. He already knew. Too much distance. Too little cover. Too little time. Too late for her. Not unless . . .

For Sue, he was either going to need to do something really heroic, or something really stupid.

"Hey, asshole!" The concussion shell he launched at it did nothing to actually damage the Archon . . . but what it did do was piss it off, drawing its attention and spinning it a hundred and eighty degrees away from Sue. Cool. Except not really, because it was now facing him.

He revved up his mini-gun, more out of a taunt to it than anything else. "I'll catch up with ya, go!" he called out to Sue.

"Oh, that's funny," she yelled out, and Tyrone could hear the metallic hiss of pressurised needles being fired, "Tyrone--"

"Go!"

The words were barely out of his mouth before the Archon made its next move. 

The world flashed before him as lightning crackled and gathered in a nebulous sphere, the acrid taste of actinic smoke wafting in the air, and with a thrust of its hands, the Archon released it into the world. Tyrone had just enough time for a 'ah, hell' and dive for cover before the psionic storm ripped through the emergency shielding in his armour.

Screaming fury and pain and curses, Tyrone let loose with the ungodly 1200 rpm of his auto cannon, but the Archon continued its inexorable march forward, undeterred. The enemy showed no signs of stopping. His ammunition was running out faster than the Archon's shields were. Soon, he would be out altogether, and then --

BLAM

A big chunk of his power armour vaporised, jerking his shoulder violently and tearing sinew off the bone. The pain didn't register in his head; he was still in shock. He retched out blood, not sure whether it was his and not too bothered to care. The shell casings bounced off the remains of his chassis as he kept firing.

BLAM

The second psionic blast punctured through the centre of his chest, and every bit of wind left in his lungs rushed out of him. Bits of himself burst out like confetti, smoke and heat ate into his charred skin. 

He took his eyes off the enemy for a brief second. Sue was nowhere to be found. Something inside him quietened a little. A peaceful quiet. 

BLAM

Tyrone still didn't feel any pain as he splattered onto the ground in a million pieces and blood, all he felt was a sensation of . . . lessening. The world fading and narrowing, caving into blackness as if it were closing in on him. After a while -- who knew how long? -- everything was still and silent and dark.

For a brief few seconds, the mini gun continued to rev, and then slowly it came to a halt.


Chapter 3
A Gut Feeling

Spoiler: show
Happiness could be bought, and for Tyrone it came in stocked 9mm magazines. He loved their stopping power, their sleek penetration and aerodynamic designs. And like money, bullets were meant to be spent.

He never really came to the Quartermaster's shooting range during his live-fire contests (too easy, my g), but every once in a while Tyrone felt the need to be in the vicinity of other men in firm belief of their own immortality. These were his fellows who scoffed at Russian roulette and safety belts, who solemnly regarded marksmanship as the perfect articulation of thought and the only respectable form of art, and who would also stand no chance at winning the six hundred thousand dollar cash prize for the best shot.

His competitors had stayed well clear as Tyrone went up onto the platform, his power armour steeping the floor. The people knew to give the Marauder a wide berth when he was around weapons. That was why they were still elite mercenaries and not dead.

He was in the midst of his turn when a challenger slid into the firing platform next to him. He would never forget her: the woman with the Red Cross insignia on her shoulder pads. Before he could even say anything, she had already loaded her gun, trained her scopes, and shot the heads off each of his assigned dummy targets with seven clean shots. The newest top score lit aboard the Quartermaster's shop for all to see, replacing the one that had been on the board for three years now.

The expression on Tyrone's face was akin to a boy who had just been shown a card trick. "Lady, where did you come from, and why have I not known you before?"

She blew the smoke trailing from her needle launcher with practised composure. ”Maybe you've been looking in all the wrong places," she said truthfully, then gave him a triumphant smirk. "And I do believe I just took down the reigning champion."

Cheers and whistles came from the spectating benches, the men’s honourable code of sportsmanship bidding them to gloat and rub his defeat in, but Tyrone did not seem to notice. He simply laid down a hearty chuckle and arched his eyebrows a bit.

Call it a gut feeling, but he'd lay down bank money that the biggest twist to his evening so far would soon blossom into the start of a beautiful friendship.


______________________________________________________________________________________________________


Loss was an acceptable part of war. Casualties were a number on the report. Soldiers were replacable. Tyrone knew all this. He knew the risks when he signed up for it. They all did.

So when they ditched Tyrone so they could escape the Titan, she agreed it was the best plan they had. When they decided not to search for him afterwards because it was dangerous, she saw the sensible reasoning behind it. Even when nobody else offered to pay their respects, she did not hold it against them. They were after all, professional murderers and psychopaths, with no room for sentiment. Hell, most of them weren't even human.

Loss was . . . acceptable. So why couldn't she accept it.

Why couldn't she accept that Tyrone was dead.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________


The Mausoleum, Home of the Zealot


Faint footsteps resonated across the Hall of a Thousand-Year Silence. Then the Pool of Eternal Still Water rippled, trodden by a wader, and the door into the Chamber of One slammed open for a visitor.

“Protoss.”

Zal’Rashar did not even deign to open his eyes to address the trespasser, and resumed his meditation, “The bigot.”

“You Protoss are all so funny,” Sue retorted. She continued to walk in, not sensing -- or more likely not caring about -- the frustration seething off him.

“Have you desecrated my mausoleum only to mock me?”

“You know a thing or two about loss."

The statement came like hot iron. It burned him straight into his weak spot, into his most tender flesh still raw. His eyes were closed, but he knew all around him the frescoed windows of the chamber depicted Xura’thel in its halcyon: golden streets resplendent with silver and chrome, bejewelled skyscrapers and sprawling citylines. They existed now only in the memories of the tribe’s last surviving Zealot.

“I would agree that much with you, Susan Tanner.”

“I’m not interested in getting in contact with your anger management counsellor, because clearly he’s done a terrible job with you. But there is something you can help me with. You see these?” she pointed to the dark purple rings sagging underneath her eyes, “Nightmares. The same one every night.”

He opened his eyes, too uncertain about human anatomy to disprove her claim and too stubborn to care. “And?”

“You dealt with them. Yes, you channeled them out as rage but you picked up the pieces and moved on. Normally I don’t make a habit of including other people into my shit, but it’s been affecting my work, and what affects my work affects the team.”

Zal’Rashar stared at her in a terse scrutiny. She inhaled.

“I want to know how you did it. I want to know how you won.”

Silence returned. “I sense a great pain in you, Susan Tanner.”

“You have no hair,” she shot him an innocent look, “Oh. Sorry, I thought we were stating the obvious.”

“Clear your mind. Truth yells out in the streets but the Titan will whisper to your ears to silence it. The true test has yet to come.”

She folded her arms. "I'm in no mood for cryptics, Zal'Rashar."

"No. You must be in the mood for listening."

Before Sue could offer another retort, he had walked out and closed the door. And then she was alone. Just her and her thoughts in the Chamber of One.

She had suspected this was going to be a waste of time. Proverbs and piffle. Silly postcard platitudes. The true test had yet to come? The post-traumatic stress must have cracked the Zealot’s mind, or maybe she had been right all along and the Protoss really are just emotionally stunted creatures.

She rolled her eyes, but all the same she sat there, pondering.

The human brain could not accept the idea of absolute silence. The brain needed input to shape the world in which it interacted with: the trickle of distant rainwater, the beep and hum of machinery, the heart’s steady thrum of life. Even in her zero-g training in her youth, as she was trapped in the sensory deprivation chamber for days on end, her eyes found shapes amidst the single-gradient blackness, and her ears had been rife with desperate cochlear buzzing. That odd but painful sensation had never truly left her, and it taught her that the idea of a void — of complete and utter nothingness — frightened the brain, made it see, hear things that simply weren’t there. Long for something hard enough and the brain can fool you to sate the pain.

Perhaps that was why, in her sleep-deprived state, in that moment of time, her world was spinning, for suddenly her intercom — the private one that only one person knew the channel to — buzzed to life, and a familiar voice crackled from the other side to mutter one word.

“Sue?”

The glazed arcing windows seemed to bear down on her.

It was Tyrone’s voice.


TO BE CONTINUED


Chapter 4 (Coming soon)
Gui Montag

Chapter 5 (Coming soon)
Saving Private Tyrone

Chapter 6 (Coming soon)
Big Damn Heroes

Chapter 7 (Coming soon)
Here's to Lookin At You, Kid
Last edited by Rapunzel_TM on Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:41 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Gold, Guns and the Girl - A Kill Team Story (Chapter 3 u

Postby Rapunzel_TM » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:31 pm

Chapter 3 updated after several years.
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Re: Gold, Guns and the Girl - A Kill Team Story (Revival)

Postby fdas » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:05 pm

WOW, its back.
syipinc wrote:So it was, that his name was suitably tarnished by malicious rumour and low browed innuendo, that Remy Marcel had no other choice than to enter French politics...
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Re: Gold, Guns and the Girl - A Kill Team Story (Revival)

Postby Rapunzel_TM » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:04 pm

Guess the forum really is dead
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Re: Gold, Guns and the Girl - A Kill Team Story (Revival)

Postby fdas » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:45 pm

Rapunzel_TM wrote:Guess the forum really is dead


What is dead may never die.
syipinc wrote:So it was, that his name was suitably tarnished by malicious rumour and low browed innuendo, that Remy Marcel had no other choice than to enter French politics...
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Re: Gold, Guns and the Girl - A Kill Team Story (Revival)

Postby Vallvaka » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:02 pm

I still check here monthly or so! Cool to see the story got an update lol
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