Dog Run: Raise The Hammer...

The mining complex was nestled in the crook of the Dragon's Cradle Mountain Range a couple hundred miles northwest of Beggar's Canyon. The place had a number of buildings, most of them had been there to process the nickel and silver that came out of the mines here. Others were for storage and living spaces. It was also a known Syndicate front. Back in the early days of Jericho's Landing, The Syndicate was practically running the Mining Guild and had dug underground tunnels throughout the Central Continent.

When the Crimson Queen came in and took over much of The Syndicate's territory they were forced to abandon places like this. The Syndicate were smart, however, and ended up collapsing a number of their secret tunnels as a final "fuck you" to The Queen. Even still, some of those tunnels hadn't been blown, and were still in use today by Crimson smugglers ferrying drugs, weapons, simulant slaves, and even people. Then there were the tunnels the Pack used to get around.

Jhonen had been a part of the hunting parties in the Barrens the first time the Dragoon went after The Wendigo. With the attacks on colonists and mega-corp sites at an all time high it was inevitable back then that they'd hunt the sick fuck down. The Pack had dug themselves into a natural cave system in the desert (Jericho was lousy with various cave systems and chasms due most of its water being underground). The bloodbath that ensued had wiped out a good number of Pack, and more dragoon than Jhonen cared to think about. But The Wendigo managed to escape.

He figured it was around that time he came crawling onto her doorstep. The Queen took him in, gave him this place and a new alpha female and lesser wives to breed and grow. Jhonen would make sure this time the fucker didn't slip away.

He took in the details of the scans of the catacombs that Ink had made. The palace was an odd structure to say the least. An impressive feat for a bunch of wild men. Which is why he decided to take a closer look at the photos and images. While there was an obvious "Pack touch" to the structure it was clear that whatever structure was serving as the base for this palace was far older and much more elaborate than the Pack could ever hope to build. Something built onto the large stalagmites rising up from the underground lake that was far older than the ramshackle Pack structure that now festered inside it. The support ropes were the dead giveaway, they weren't holding up the main structure, they were for the additions the Pack had made to it.

And it didn't look like typical Mining Guild structures or Syndicate. This was something else entirely. Something Jhonen figured Chaplain Strom and his team of xeno-archaeology experts would just love to look at. Which is why he decided to forward the scans and images to Strom.

Mysterious alien ruins aside. The palace was a formidable stronghold. Though it was these additions to the original structure that would prove to be their downfall. He was having the infiltration team pack demolition charges provided by their resident demolitions expert: Samuel Davenport. If they could sever the support lines to the Pack structure on the alien ruin then it would be a bad day to be a Wendigo lounging in your lair.

It was too good an end for the bastard. Jhonen looked to the table with all his gear and his eyes went to Owen Boston's dual blaster pistols. Jhonen had taken them from the altar The Wendigo had made to taunt Jhonen. If he had the chance, he was gonna make The Wendigo eat a bullet from one of these guns. Owen would've wanted that.

When he got his gear collected he stepped out into warm desert air and looked around at the rest of his team. They were all prepping their dragons, aside from Hilda who was getting her Bonecrusher suit ready on a large flatbed being towed by her van.

Anna was feeling a little anxious. It was gonna be the first time she went back and faced The Pack again after being taken by them. Dastan could sense her worry and gently nuzzled her head with his snout in an attempt to calm her down. He was sweet like that. She scratched the scales on his chin in thanks and looked to Jhonen who had turned back to look at her.

"You ready?" Jhonen asked. It was a deeply loaded question, it was less about getting Dastan ready obviously.

"...Yeah..." Anna nodded.

Jhonen smiled at her. "You look ready."

Hilda looked to Davenport. "You guys can go, I'll catch up with you. Park this beast someplace where the Pack won't notice and continue to the LZ in Bonecrusher here. Don't worry, it's faster than it looks." She smirked. Then she looked to Syn. "You can ride on one of the dragons if you want, I'll just be driving with some heavy metal music playing to get me pumped up. Some people don't like my music..."

"Alright, that's enough." Jhonen said. "You know your roles, you know what we're about to get into. If we keep our heads and focus we'll be back for some well deserved RnR." He smirked. "I booked us a few rooms at a resort on Clarke island. Sandy beaches and sunshine along with some of the best fish on Jericho. So you all have something to look forward to when this is over."

Anna didn't believe Jhonen at first. He didn't seem like the type to do something like that. But then he flashed her a smile that said he was, indeed the kind of person to do something like that for his team. Anna hadn't been to Clarke Island. She heard it was beautiful.

"Let's move out, people!" Jhonen said as he straddled his jet bike and prepared to take off towards the mountains.

Anna climbed onto Dastan and got him airborne. They were headed for the Gristle nest. She just hoped that wouldn't stop this operation before it even began...

----

Hilda reached the rendezvous point for Davenport's assault team. Hereby referred to as the Hammer. Jhonen's team was the Dagger. Hilda had to get out and get the AI-36's online and moving. Syn helped, it was nice to have a partner in crime on the technical side of things. Jhonen was illiterate on such things in spite of Hilda's attempts to teach him things. He was fine working on his bionic arm but that was about it. Syn, however, was obviously in a class far above Hilda.

Once things were ready she got into her mech. Bonecrusher was a beast of a suit, one of her more prouder moments as an engineer to be sure. But it was loud and clunky so she had to put it into "driving" mode which made it shift to a sort of car on small wheels that was more quiet then walking around. When she reached the others, she switched to walking mode and looked to everyone, and stopped on Davenport.

"Alright, Davenport." Hilda said with a nod that went unseen inside the cockpit of Bonecrusher. "This is your show. Tell me what you want me and our small squad of robots to do."

---

Anna reached the entrance to the Gristle cave after finding a spot far from the cave to leave Dastan, from there she hiked to the cave. It was high in the mountains and initially she expected Jhonen would take time getting up there without a dragon. However he was waiting for her and Ink to arrive. There was no sign of his jet bike anywhere though. He looked to Anna as she approached. He gestured for her to be silent and nodded towards the cave mouth.

"Sleeping." He said quietly. He looked to Ink. "You got past them fine. However..." He pulled out scent masking spray from one of his tactical pockets. "I'm not one to wipe shit all over myself." He smirked. "You should have some in our inventory too, Anna. It's made at The Eyrie by the dragon masters. Should do just fine." And he glanced over to Ink with a wry grin. "And shouldn't make you smell like shit..." Jhonen probably wasn't going to let Ink let that one down.

He glanced back to the cave and readied his rifle. "Alright guys... This is it..." He pressed a bionic finger to his earpiece. "Wrecker, this is Daddy. Awaiting the fall of the Hammer..."

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