Still own nada.Fallout
Col. Barnes walked down the corridor restraining her gait to a quick march instead of the pell-mell dash that she was desperately tempted to do. Their ‘guest’ Harris, if that was even his real name, had disobeyed orders and engaged in combat against the bugs, undermining an officer’s authority in front of his subordinates and by extension her own. On top of that he’d made a seasoned trooper look like a cadet fresh out of Boot after doing it, in front of every trooper present for the battle no less. He had also shown that he could lead and lead well, and that her troopers would follow him if he did. Yes she knew that in doing all this he had saved the lives of troopers that otherwise might not have survived, but that just made him that more dangerous because she now had people looking up to someone outside of her command structure that she knew damn near next to nothing about. That was going to change right now.
Coming to halt in front of the room he was posted in as the three troopers on duty saluted her; she acknowledged them with a nod. “As of right now nothing you hear coming from this room is to be repeated. In fact you never even heard it, understood?” Three nearly simultaneous salutes and “Yes Ma’am’s” were the quick response before she opened the door and entered the room, closing it behind her. Sitting at a small table with his back to her, in just a t-shirt and jeans was the cause of her current dissatisfaction. Squaring her shoulders she started forward only to stop as she heard the distinctive sound of a slide being racked, her own hand creeping towards her sidearm.
Harris’ amused voice floated back to her “It’s polite to knock before entering someone’s room.” The self-assurance in it grated on her nerves “After all a person could get shot just barging into some else’s room.” He placed the gun down on the table with his right hand while moving something in front of him that she couldn’t see and looked over his shoulder at her. “Well, are you going to sit or am I going to be talking to a blank wall for the entirety of this conversation.” Restraining a growl she walked around the table and sat down, all the while keeping her eye on the gun on the table and her hand in short reach of her own. Shifting her eyes from the gun she glanced at what was currently in front of him, before dismissing it and locking her gaze on his.
“Listen here I don’t really care who you are or where you’re from. What I do care about is keeping the men and women out there alive, unfortunately to do that it means that I do have to know these things. So you’re going to tell me everything that I want to know or so help me I’ll throw you over the fence myself.” Did she take a little too much joy in turning the amused look on his face into a more serious one, maybe but as some of her former C.O’s used to say RHIP (Rank Hath It’s Privilege).
Xanders eye narrowed as he leaned forward, hands pressed flat against the table. “First of all Col. I don’t like being threatened. Second the only way I’m going over that fence against my will is dead.” As he Leaned back and continued to speak the feeling of danger lessened. “On the other hand, wanting to know about me that I can understand, no one wants an unknown and potentially dangerous element running around. You already know my name, what you need to know is you and your people are my best, maybe only chance to live long enough to get home and I have no intention of jeopardizing that. Anything else I might tell you, you wouldn’t believe.”
“Well that’s awfully nice of you, but why don’t you tell me anyway and I’ll decide what I believe.” She said as she sat back in the chair, straightened her back and crossed her arms to project an air of authority and intimidation. The return of the smirk on his face, albeit more subtle, spoke to her failure on that point.
“Fine but remember you asked for the red pill. I’m not from this plane of reality, where and when I’m from there’s no Bug War going on so humanities still busy trying to rip itself apart. So much so that most don’t notice what’s going on around them, things like covert alien invasions or demonic incursions. Those of us that do, handle them as they come along. The group that I’m with, we handle the supernatural, mostly.”‘Oh great he’s crazy. That’s just what I need; the madman running around loose on my base is actually a mad man.’
“Before I found myself on this charming little planet, I was in a fight. We were trying to stop a cult of mages from bringing hell to earth and we were winning. One of them tried to open the portal by himself, I slit his throat but he’d already tapped into something and the portal started forming. One second I’m in downtown Detroit fighting to keep the world spinning, the next I’m standing on barren terrain facing down Jiminy Crickets steroid abusing cousin.”‘Or he’s not and just wants me to underestimate him.’
He’d already shown that he was smart enough to overpower and disable veteran Troopers and then evade an entire base for an extended period of time. So that possibility wasn’t too farfetched.
“You don’t believe me.”
“Frankly no I don’t. I think that you’re fucking with me and I don’t like being jerked around.” Standing up she glared at Xander before she walked around the table and headed for the door. “I hope you like this room, because until you start giving me some real answers you can consider your privileges rescinded.” Opening the door she saw the two of the Troopers that were supposed to be on guard talking to someone a little ways down the hall while the third stood directly across from the door. Slamming the door behind her all chatter stopped as everyone in the hallway turned their eyes and attention to her. “Someone want to tell me what’s going on out here?”
The two Troopers stepped aside and she groaned internally, standing there with a look of indignation was Lieutenant Colonel Holmes Head of the R&D department and a Fleet officer. From the look on the other woman’s face it seemed that some of the Troopers still hadn’t figured out that any Fleet personnel still on base was in same the situation as them.
“You mean aside from these two Neanderthals refusing to comply with the orders of a superior officer and let me through.” After glaring at the Troopers standing on either side of her, Elizabeth was surprised to see the LTCs glare settle on her. “I want to know why you’ve locked me and my people out of the system. All of our notes and research is saved there and without it we’ll have to start back at square one.”
That was not the complaint she had been expecting. “What?! What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb with me; I’ve seen the way that your MI Troopers look at anyone Fleet since we got stranded here. I thought at the very least that you were above that sort of vindictive behavior.”
“I haven’t done anything to you or any other member of Fleet on this base. Now what the hell are you talking about?” ‘What the hell was she talking about?’
Holmes expression changed as she took in the confusion on Col. Barnes face. “You really don’t know, do you?” she paused and sighed “That makes this much more complicated than I first thought. Because I didn’t do it and if you didn’t do it, that means that someone else did it but no one else is suppose have that level of access in the system.”
Her hand flashed to her hip as she came to the same realization as LTC Holmes, either there was a glitch in the system or someone had hacked it. The System was a private network accessible only to officers and research personnel, unlike the open net that everyone used, the system held important, sensitive information. Grabbing her radio she keyed it up and brought it to her face. “Control Room this is Col. Barnes, respond.”
:: Control Room responding, 2LT Tanaka speaking what can I do for you Ma’am? ::
“Are you logged on to the system?”
:: No Ma’am I’m not logged on, to the best of my knowledge no one has been on it since the Archie assault. ::
“Then log on and get anyone else there to do the same.” Her fingers tapped out a tattoo against the side of her leg as she waited for a response. After what felt like an eternity her radio gave a small squeal and Tanaka’s slightly distorted voice poured through.
:: Um M-ma’am I can’t get on, no-one can. We can’t even log onto the base wide network. It’s like someone completely shut us out. ::‘Ok so this wasn’t an accident or isolated to the system. The comm’s are shot so it couldn’t have been done from orbit, which leaves people on the base. But there only two people on base with security access high enough to do something like this and we’re both right here. That leaves a hacker. But who on base has a reason or the ability to…do….something….like…..this.’
As she tried to work out an answer her mind flashed on something that had happened not so long ago. “Shit!” cursing she drew her sidearm, spun around and kicked open the door bringing her gun to bear. The gun pointing back at her confirmed her suspicion as she glared at the face of Xander Harris, none of his usual amusement present on it. She felt a little better when she heard the sound of rifles being shifted against armor behind her.
“Undo whatever it is you did and return control of our systems.”
“I can’t do that just yet.”
Col. Barnes inched forward a few steps while tilting her head to the side to get a look at the table making sure to keep Xander in her sights. Still lying there was a small device similar to the data-pads that some of the researchers used, except where the data-pads were about the size of a clipboard this one was about the size of a man’s palm. She planned on convincing him to stop whatever he was doing and turn back over control to them, but that didn’t work she wanted to have a clear shot at that device. Hopefully its destruction would return control to them but even if it didn’t they would at least be able to take the time to regain control without any opposition.
“Do it or I put a bullet in your head and do it for you.”
Xander adjusted his frame, moving it to block her view of the device as if he had anticipated her actions. “I really wouldn’t do that if I were you because if I die the only thing your computers will be good for are doorstops and scrap metal.”
This time she allowed herself to growl aloud in frustration. This complicated the situation even further, and made the desire to shoot him just that more tempting. Lowering, but not holstering, her gun she tried a different tactic. “What do you want?”
“I already told you, to stay alive long enough to find a way home or for my people to find me.” Xander said as he lowered the Desert Eagle to his side. “And you’re my best shot at that.”
“So this is what, a- an attempt to gain our compliance? To make sure that we do what you say?”
“No this was me trying to do you a favor, optimizing your systems as an act of good will. And it’s lucky that I did or we’d all be dead before weeks end.”
Now that was a statement that piqued everyone’s interest, none so more than her own.
Yggdrasil Central Command Base
The nearly constant hustle and bustle of personnel, vehicles and machinery filled the primary operations base of Malum Daemonis. Similar to any military base located around the world it was in constant motion; field operatives gearing up for and returning from missions, support personnel doing whatever they could to make sure that these men and women completed their assigned missions and came back alive. Base personnel sat at consoles monitoring active ops and providing on the fly support or ran around the base like demented roadrunners making sure that it was operating at maximum potential.
One room however was insulated from the controlled chaos of life on the base by advanced sound dampening technology and low level magic. In this room resided a massive fire hardened oak table and around this table sat the six (current) highest ranking members and the only member of the United States government (or any government for that matter) that actually knew its location, one Brigadier General Jonathon J. “Jack” O’Neill. In the center of the table sat a small device about the size of a small PowerBook, above it hung a small glowing pale blue ball roughly the size of a softball. A synthesized female voice came from the ball “Mercury3 Communication System Online. Olympus Command Base connection active.” The areas around, above and below the glowing sphere came to life with holographic three-dimensional screens, each screen was separated into 5 sections each with a name; Zeus, Artemis, Hades, Ares and Eris.
“Zeus, it’s good to see you and yours or at least those present.”
The section of the screen labeled ‘Zeus’ grew until it was taking up most of the screen, relegating the other for sections into smaller sizes.
:: The same to you General and all of you as well. Tyr, Baldur, Sif, Frey it’s been a while. All of us that are present are here, Poseidon is on mission and last I saw Athena she was in conference with your Loki and Hiemdall. ::
“Yeah yeah everybody’s happy to see everybody. Can we hurry this up so we can all get back to work?”
“Tyr!! This isn’t the time to act like an ass. Were here for an important reason and you know it, so act like it.”
“Well excuse me for saying what needs to said. We all know what the old man would say if he was here Baldur, he’d want us out there fighting the monsters that hide in the dark instead of sitting in here flapping our gums!” yelled Tyr.
The echoing sound of a hand slamming against the table drew everyone’s attention to the only female physically present in the room, Sif. She focused her attention on Tyr as she spoke “I’ve known ‘The Old Man’ longer than you, longer than most everyone in this room and what he’d want is for us to make sure what he spent so long building wouldn’t just fold without him. So sit down, shut up and let’s get down to business or so help me I’ll sit you down.”
Frey having been on the slayers bad side before smiled seeing it directed at the hot headed Tyr. Baldur, hoping to prevent any actual violence, began to speak. “Tempers aside, it’s been almost a month and all attempts to locate and retrieve Odin have been less than successful. In light of that I propose a vote, to relegate the search to a secondary concern and focus on, as Tyr so colorfully put it, getting back to work.”
The room went silent at the declaration, though most if not all present had been expecting to have this conversation sometime soon. Eyes moved from person to person searching for some idea of how others felt or closed as their owners tried to order their thoughts. Jack for as responsible as he was and all he’d changed was never one to abandon a comrade, much less a friend when there was even the slimmest chance of helping them. “Secondary, not backburnered. That means that as long as it doesn’t interfere or endanger an active operation any and all efforts will not be impeded.”
Picking up where Jack left off Baldur spoke. “Enough of us are present to make it official, so we put it to the vote.” Bowing his head for a moment he let out a small sigh. Moments passed slowly as votes came in before his voice spoke out again. “All agreed…… All opposed….. 7 for, 3 against and 5 abstain by virtue of absence. The vote passes.”
:: That brings up another important issue. :: Hades deep voice filled the room, his image replacing Zeus’ as the dominant one on the screen. :: Who informs Angela that not only will he be missing Joseph’s birthday but that he’s been classified as M.I.A? ::
No one in the room wanted to volunteer for that. Angela might have been a normal human but she was also an FBI Special Agent, the widow of a marine and the ex-wife of the leader of an organization so black the POTUS wasn’t cleared to know of its existence. Not to mention that she was also the mother of Odin’s only son. None of this made anyone eager to be the person in the line of fire when she learned what had happened, much less in the same State.
:: This is a delicate situation and should be handled as such. So in the best interest of Mrs. Harris, and her son, the news should be delivered by someone that she is familiar with someone that she knows. ::
Frey nodded his head, his eyes closed as he tried to recall someone that had actually met Angela before. His nodding stopped as he felt a chill run up his spine and he slowly opened his eyes, to find everyone looking at him. Frey, better known to the world at large as Juan Rico, sighed as he realized that he’d been offered up as a sacrificial lamb. This was going to suck.