2011-01-26: It Can Hurt To Try


Hosea_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg Connor_icon.jpg

Summary: A rescue attempt for Travis goes horribly wrong, and Rashmi pays the price.

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2011. 7:00pm

Log Title: It Can Hurt To Try

Rating: R (Violence)

Africa - Nero's camp

Where the camp begins, all other life ends. Hard dirt with muddy puddles fill the road as it grows close to Nero's camp. This dirt road is much more commonly used than the rest. The gate is closed with cyclone fencing, and wooden watch towers look over the forest, guarded at all times by soldiers.
Inside the fence several stone buildings can be found. Trucks and LAV's move about, soldiers training at most hours of the day. Complete with running water and electricity powered by a nearby wind plant, it could be called the one trace of 'civilization' here. Nero's home away from home is here as well, a large mansion of a building with its own sets of guards to protect the warlord when he comes to visit. A helipad can even be found near the palace, his common method of entry and exit.

The evening has fallen, dusk is upon Nero's camp. The perimeter, as expected, is well guarded, and Hosea, Connor, and Rashmi have come to try to scout the location. With two teleporters, infiltration should be easy enough, but getting other people out, that might be another matter. Hosea crouches in the high bushes, wearing the armor that Connor had acquired for them all. He doesn't speak, but gives a point at two of the guards that are likely to spot them as they approach.

Rashmi is not terribly practiced in combat scenarios, beyond the simulations given by Xavier's and Barnes' practice rooms, and it shows in how fidgety and uneasy the law student is, kneeling on all fours behind the two boys. Thankfully, she managed a bit of foresight while preparing, and bundled her bright-copper hair into a swatch of dun-colored cloth, the bulge resting between her shoulder blades nearly heavy enough to be its own blunt weapon. Glancing from Hosea to the guards, she nods once, tilting her head and touching her throat, a silent query as to what she should be doing.

While it doesn't always show, the training provided to Connor is something of a surprise. When Rashmi makes the motion, he nods back, his face completely obscured in a black and grey uniform that looks nothing like his training attire. Then he taps under his eyes and points the opposite way from the group, indicating to watch for anyone. Touching Hosea on the left shoulder and then motions to indicate the left hand of the pair. Counting with his fingers… Three… Two… One… and the young man is gone, and behind his target, going for an arm bar around the man's throat, and the other hand over his mouth, meaning to pivot and take both himself and his target down into the grass and out of view.

Hosea indicates to a foot patrol coming along below the fence. He's outside of the fence, carrying his rifle with him. Rashmi is given an indication toward the man approaching, showing her the target that might spot the first two go down, and then simultaneously teleports with Connor. His target is on one of the towers, and as he arrives behind the enemy, he pulls him into a sleeper hold. The man struggles only for a moment, but then falls down into the tower, still in Hosea's hold. In the armor, Hosea's hair is restricted, and he takes the man's hat once he's unconscious, putting himself in the position of the guard. With the dim light, it's difficult to see the difference between him and the original with the light level. He picks up the rifle, glancing back down at where Rashmi is first, and then looking to locate Connor and his target.

Rashmi nods, drawing in a deep breath. Once Hosea and Connor teleport to their places, she lunges forward, her spheres in motion the instant they fade into view. While lacking the refinement of the boys' stealth training, her own attack is effective enough in its own right. Two spheres streak in from either side toward the patroller's knees, a third darting towards his trigger hand, a fourth in the solar plexus, and just to make sure, a fifth lands a none-too-gentle tap on the front of the man's forehead. All disabling strikes, vicious enough taken alone, unimaginably painful all together.

Connor's takedown technique means his own pressure hold with the man on top of him eventually renders him out before too long, and rolling the patroller is rolled onto his back, where he quickly removes the strap from his rifle and uses it to secure his hands and feet together into a sloppy but tight hogtie. His hat is removed, balled up, and stuffed into his mouth to stop any kind of protest… and then finally he uses a sliver of grav-power to snap the trigger off. Any small arms, knives, grenades, or otherwise on his target are removed in quickly removed and placed into slots designed on his combat attire. Once he's finished disabling the guard, his eyes panning back and forth the entire time, he teleports next to Rashmi, eyes up and alert.

The third man makes a slight yelp, and the other guards from the towers glance around. Hosea also looks down, and then fakes seeing the missing foot patrol. He gives a wave at Rashmi and Connor, and then back to the other guards to indicate that everything is clear. Triggering his throat mic, Hosea gives the others the layout. "Dere is a building on da far side of dis camp," he says. "Two hundred meters." He glances back down. "Many people are being put into da building."

Rashmi bobs her head in understanding, creeping-scurrying forward out of the bushes, pausing to divest the brutally downed guard of his rifle. Pausing, she gives the weapon a second thought, as though worrying she may need it, then gives herself a shake, moving toward the gate and resting the gun against the leg of the tower. "How many people between us and there?" is her murmured question, the collar of the semi-rigid chest armor given a tug.

Reaching over, Connor retrieves the rifle from the spot where Rashmi put it, and breaks the trigger like the last one, rendering it useless for anyone to use, before he puts it back, crouching down before he gives the dim camp a quick scan, and then nods once, touching to a spot on the side of the neck of his uniform, "I've got a spot just behind a truck, between to buildings. Call that rally point. Watch for the guards from the mansion. They look like the real deal. The ones down here are the recruits, I'd guess. He'll keep his strongest and most loyal close." With that he reaches out to take Rashmi's hand for the port, whispering to her, "Ready?"

Hosea checks the location that Connor mentioned, watching the location. "Dere are many, maybe 70 dat I can see," he tells them. "Do not be caught." He checks the rifle, making certain that it is loaded and clear. He watches as a patrol passes the area. "You are clear, go now," Hosea directs them. "I will maintain watch from here."

Rashmi sucks in a deep breath, taking hold of Connor's hand and squeezing, once. "Ready," she whispers, tensing up for the inevitable shock of teleportation that always accompanies Connor's help getting from place to place. Knowing what could have been when the current moment is as unclear as it is, never an easy thing.

The pair vanish with nothing more than a ripple in the place where they were standing, and both Connor and Rashmi appear in the spot he'd indicated, but a foot higher than he intended, which is caught and corrected as he pushes his legs down to stand. He reaches over to steady Rashmi a moment, and then takes a moment to look back and forth before nodding once, "Ready for the next jump point." Eyes go to his friend just a moment, then just nods to her, exuding a strangely cool confidence for one so young. Perhaps it's the suit. Or it's something in his eyes. Something almost lupine.

The building is still a good distance from the location that Rashmi and Connor arrive. From this vantage, it's clear just how barbaric a location this is. A large number of the soldiers are watching some sort of event in the middle of the camp. A fight? Two African teenagers brutally tumble, fists slamming and crushing against each other. Bets are being taken over who will fall first, and both seem to be struggling to get to a pipe lying on the ground nearby.

Shaking off the effects of the teleportation, Rashmi opens her eyes… and tries not to gasp audibly, turning slightly green at the sight of the barbaric free-for-all. Tearing her eyes away from the spectacle, she looks to the left and right, searching for oncoming patrols, hoping to spot a break that can be used to duck intot he prison unseen.

Seeing what Rashmi sees, he actually puts a hand on her shoulder, and continues to watch the fight. Leaning in close, Connor whispers to her, "Wait for it to finish… we move when there's a winner." Letting her look away, he watches with a sense of detachment at the brutality, letting the mask and covering keep his emotions from showing, but the coldness in his eyes makes it obvious to her.

The fight is over in the next thirty seconds, one of the boys manages to get to the pipe. The other charges to try to grab it from him, but the pipe wielder brings the pipe across at his opponent's head. He falls to the ground, writhing in pain. But the fight isn't quite over. The victorious boy stands over his foe, and with several more strikes, the pipe comes down upon the boy on the ground, cracking open his head and beating him until he stops moving. He doesn't look satisfied. Tears are coming from his face, while the soldiers cheer. Money is swapped and the men drink to the victor.

The hardest part, when the fight draws to its sickly conclusion, is keeping herself from retching, thus giving away their position. Squeezing Connor's hand, she watches the fringes of the gathering, and once the drinking begins, she nudges her friend's shoulder—perhaps more sharply than necessary.

When the cheering goes up, and money starts to go around, Connor nods and makes his move. Going quickly with Rashmi, he ducks between the truck and the building, moving quickly with her towards their target. Keeping himself as grimly alert as he can, the young man looks up towards where Hosea is, and then back down towards the doorway where the prisoner are kept. Still holding onto Rashmi, he whispers to her, "Cover me." Not wanting to take her into a potentially failed port, he jumps just the small distance to the other side of the doorway, ready for any kind of attack.

The inside of the building is rank. There are almost a hundred captives inside, held inside of crude cells. None of them are speaking. They don't say a word, but the smell of filth hangs thick in the air. There are no white people here, though. Two guards, each younger than Connor, watch the cells. Connor's notable arrival earns him two assault rifles pointed straight at him. They begin yelling at him in Hausa, demanding something, most likely surrender.
Outside, Rashmi might notice the boy who won is pointed to the dead body, and is forced to clean up his mess. He doesn't wear much clothing to get bloody, but the other youth's corpse hangs heavy, and he takes the body to a deep pit off to the side of the camp. It's tossed into the hole, and he is guided back toward the cells where Connor just jumped to.
Hosea shoulders his rifle, "Rashmi," he urgently communicates. "Dey are going back to da cells. Connor, you do not have much time. Can you see Travis?" Little does he know that Connor has already been discovered. They are starting to pass by Rashmi's hiding place now.

At this point, stealth has gone flying out the window. Pressing on her throat mike, Rashmi whispers, "There's yelling… I think he's been spotted." Following through on her instructions to cover Connor, she leans further out of cover to get a better look… and right across the visual path of the oncoming patrol, spotting them a moment too late. Falling back on her rear, she sends a pair of wpheres streaking outward, their orbits poised to end at the patrollers' breastbones.

Hands coming up in surrender are actually a cover to flip out a pair of grav-bolts into both his targets. The pair are hit with enough downward crush-force to knock them to the floor and potentially unconscious, so for added effect, Connor gives a secondary rise and slam-hit to the ground. Once he's got a breathing moment, he says into the mic, "We've got almost a hundred prisoners. No Travis. I can't shift this many people without a portal." He pauses and then his eyes narrow, "Nero has him at the mansion. Best security… but I'll double-check…" And he starts to move swiftly down the rows to verify his guess.

Hosea takes aim, watching Rashmi in the scope as she unintentionally reveals herself to the group passing by. The first two take the spheres directly in the chest, given that she had the instinct to act first. The rest of the crowd quickly closes in. "Rashmi! Run!" Hosea orders abruptly. "Connor, Rashmi's been discovered!" He fires a round out of his rifle, striking a soldier who has first brought his pistol up. It takes him in the right shoulder, spinning him around and knocking him to the ground. The round is ejected, and he reloads, taking aim again.
The soldiers swarm like bees toward Rashmi, more of them pulling pistols and assault rifles they are carrying with them. When the shot takes one of their allies down, about half of them spin around toward Hosea's position. The sounds of rifles going off begins to fill the air as they open fire on Hosea. For Rashmi, they begin shouting, rushing to her location.
Inside the larger building, the two young guards are quickly taken to the ground, yelling loudly for help. The people in the cells look no happier to see Connor than they were to see the guards. They shift to the back of thei cells like frightened mice as he passes by, but indeed, there is no sign of Travis.

Defensive application of her powers, now, this is something Rashmi is *very* practiced in. Her spheres whirl and blur in a wide semicircle around her position, a swarm of highway-speed bees that do a fine job of sweeping her vicinity clear, as she hurtles *toward* the prison cells. Perhaps the gates mean freedom, but the prison is where Connor is, and a more certain chance of escape. "Connor! Heads up!!"

Connor begins to use his powers to break the locks on the doors, freeing each group in turn so that they can choose to leave the cages, though he already seems to be just doing it from reflex. Into the mic, he says for the team, "Hosea, get Rashmi out of here. I'm doing what I can, but we've been made. Without getting into the mansion we've got no means of finding him. Get out of here. I'll be fine." With all the confidence he can muster as he continues his task of making it so that it will be difficult for the cells to be kept sealed, and the people inside might help cause a bit more of a panic.

Perhaps a great surprise to Connor. Not a single prisoner flees their cell. They are petrified, most of them broken of any sort of will. They make no motion to escape, they just watch Connor, as if he were a snake ready to bite them.
Hosea falls through the bottom of the tower, landing on the ground solidly, gun still in his hand. He takes aim again, and it about to fire when a flame streaks across the air before him, like a whip of gold. It lashes across his arms, and he drops the gun, looking at the new opponent. "I am trying," he says.
As Rashmi's spheres whirl, the guns start firing rapidly. It's true that Connor was able to get them body armor, but such bullets still hurt, and there are a lot of rounds. Then comes another attack. Dissimilar to the bullets, a dart pierces the shield of spheres, striking the girl in the side of the neck. There is a sudden broadcast from one of the commanders to cease fire. "I cannot see what is happening! Rashmi, you must get out of dere!"
From the sides of the building, several soldiers begin to pour in, and they start firing on Connor immediately. Not all the bullets are well aimed, leading to several prisoners becoming the unintended targets that are dropped to the ground as they try to take down Connor.

Bullets spang off her armor, causing her to stumble, crying out in pain as she pelts toward the prison. But when the dart strikes her neck, the spheres suddenly blink out of existence… and Rashmi shrieks in pain, dropping to the ground. Before, she was terrified, a young woman with little practical training suddenly in the middle of a combat situation meant for hardened soldiers, but now? Now she is defenseless, powerless, and *hurting,* as though her body was consumed with fire from within.

Reflex takes over at the first sound of the bullets going off behind him, and he 'ports in time to miss being part of the barrage, but not in time to not be struck with a couple stray rounds in the side. Reappearing behind the group, the decision to fire has superceded the survival of the prisoners to a degree… but he's not leaving without his own pound of flesh. Grenades are spotted on soldier's sides, and he flicks his bolts out to snag the pins from their grenades and send them flying, sewing additional panic by being right behind and almost within the pack. "Be seeing you." And again he's gone, porting back to the spot he'd called as his rally point, and immediately looking for Rashmi, "What's going on! Talk to me."

Several of the guards are upon Rashmi the moment she goes to the ground. They have no qualms about hitting a girl. A pistol is swung powerfully at her face, trying to remove her from the fight.
Hosea teleports behind the fire wielding foe of his, and despite his hate of killing, it happens. A quick grab of the neck, and a twist that is far too easy, and his foe goes to the ground. "Rashmi! Can you hear us?" the deep voice emits over the radio. "I should have come by myself," he says aloud, not into the mic. It was a mistake to involve other students.
The grenades go off as Connor leaves the building, some of them were flash bangs, others were frags. It's hard to tell exactly how much damage he did, but it was undoubtedly great. Unfortunately, as he teleports back to his rally point, he finds himself surrounded by a mess of soldiers. They are surprised only for a moment, and begin swinging. Some of them are no slouches, either. Hand to hand combat seems to be a prized skill as fists and feet fly at Connor, trying to take him to the ground.

Many mutants are blessed with durability beyond that of normal humans. Some can take a punch or five without flinching, others can take a speeding car. Rashmi, unfortunately for her, is not one of those mutants. Already in pain like she'd never truly known before, the blows are taken with only the feeblest attempt to protect herself… and the gun across the face silences her cries for good. The upside to this is that when the explosions go off, she's too busy being unconscious to register the heat, or the blast front. The downside is that she's now unconscious, and surrounded by *very* hostile guards.

The first punch is caught, turns, and the person throwing it at Connor is dropped into a kick from another, followed immediately by an elbow back into the neck of someone attempting to strike him in the kidney. But with his brain working this fast, he already knows he'll be overwhelmed too fast by remaining like this. Too many strikes, and a hit to his chin, followed by another to the back of the knee that almost drops him are evidence of this. A brawler's punch to the balls on one of the group of assailants is follow by him firing off a four foot wide gravitic shockwave to buy him some space, followed by a push to the opposite side. The armor cushions most of the hurt, but still one lucky soldier hits him across the jaw with a rifle butt, causing his hands to come up in a disarm strike and a reply of the side of the rifle striking the soldier right in the nose, knocking him away.

That brief moment of critical concentration is enough for him to make another teleport away and up, landing on top of the building to the right of him in a roll, tumbling back to his feet and panting out, "They… they got her. Pull out. We're done here. Too many guns between us and them now." And the bitterness in his voice cuts hard. So does the cold anger.

Hosea doesn't seem content with the status of the fight. "Den you go," he says, "I will finish dis." He doesn't seem prone to taking orders from anyone right now. Connor's teleport was timely, allowing him to evade another dart from the man carrying the dart gun. It strikes one of his fellow soldiers, who writhes from the pain. The same man who just took the rifle to the nose, in fact. Hosea teleports again, just above the soldiers with Rashmi. As he comes down, one of them takes his elbow in the back of his head, while another tries to respond, tackling him against the building.
"Ikbuku!" The cry suddenly can be heard rippling through the ranks of soldiers. They know who Hosea is. Rashmi's unconscious body is pulled up, and a gun put to her head. Hosea freezes a moment, taking in his situation. He can't win this. So what's the next best thing? Take a prisoner himself. He slams his fists against the man holding him against the building, and shoves him away, then teleports behind the man with the dart gun. It's time that he figured out whether he can teleport people. Out into the air he teleports, and then back down to the ground in the forest. Someone is going to give them some answers.

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