Operation Search and Expunge (3/5): Meatgrinder

Security Checkpoint, Illicit Drift, Narijic System, Freeport Loop – Mission Elapsed Time +0:08:17

Shit. Unbelievable greencored shit. The fresh-awakened linobir finished struggling into hsis combat armor, and leapt for the checkpoint door. “Would someone shut that selffucking siren up?” hse demanded. “And what in the selffucking netherworld is –”

The status board spelled it out all too clearly, though. Hull penetration in the outer office ring, compartments – too many compartments – open to space. Half the spacetight doors were down, and the rest slicing the external security force into a dozen isolated sections with diabolic cunning; and yellow system-unreliability markers radiating out from the damaged areas, showing a spreading stain of infowar perversion.

A spearhead pointed straight at hsis checkpoint, the route to the inner core of the drift. As hse watched, the final corridor segment outside the checkpoint flicked over to the black of decompression, with the accompanying clack of sealing valves from the outer blast door.

“Defense stations!” hse yelled, scrambling to take cover behind the room’s central wall, gesturing with one mid-leg to a nearby lieutenant, “And you, shut off every infosystem in here before we lose them. They’ll be –”

A series of loud metallic clangs resounded from outside the blast door, distracting the guards for a fatal moment; a fractured second. Hse barely had time to speak a syllable before the ceiling service panel tore open, and a small object dropped through.

The needle-blast of the grenade tore through the first and second ranks of the guards. The gray ghost that followed it rapidly began to carve its way through the last line, moving elegantly as a dancer through the carnage – splatters of red, blue-black, yellow and white – while the flèchettes of the survivors caromed off its armor.

Hse spun to face it, raising hsis weapon a fraction too slowly; at its gesture, a shaped gravitic pulse ripped free hsis right limbs and tore into hsis guts.


Mission Elapsed Time +0:09:64

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