Swarm Storm

JP between Omni, Kudzu, chismevious, Kronos, and A.Patient.Man

8.3.5 SW
19:50/21 SW-CP-Local Time
Crowning Point

As they drove northeast along the High St, they could see among the row of electrical towers off in the distance there were bursts of blue light that resembled heat lightning, but as they got closer to the downed lines, they could see the flashes were being emitted by several clusters of Storm Flies.

"OH good. Not just flies after all. You weren't kidding Irving. Lightening bugs capable of taking down a power grid. This'll be fun..." said Jensen sarcastically. 'Better be a fat bonus at the other end of this tunnel.' he thought to himself.

"Just follow Maryam's lead, she knows what to expect with this things," Irving said to Jensen. "Sharpey, being a marine I expect you'll be handy at downing these flies?"

They parked the vehicle on the road about 45 meters from the blinking swarm and they all exited the truck. The area consisted of large. open, wind-swept fields of tall grass about a half a mile northeast of the settlement. The road was dirt and gravel. A wall of conifer trees of the Wombwood bordered the fields off to the east and north. It’s was dark night. The moon (Suen) was a crescent and the stars were bright. Occasional rain clouds passed quickly over the area with drizzle.

"Dibs on the flamethrower!", Vera proclaimed loudly as she moved to claim it. Her PPE squeaked and rustled as she did so.

Jensen offered no resistance. In typical corporate fashion he was fine standing back and letting someone else take the risks.

Irving picked up a revolver and some medical supplies. He felt more comfortable using a pistol over any other kind of weapon, it was compact and capable. He looked around to the others: "I'll do my best to help, I'm no soldier though."

"I ain't never dealt with these little fuckin' bastards before, so I don't really know what's good against em..." Sharpey said. "Anyone got any ideas at what's best to destroy as many as possible as quickly as possible? I can carry quite a bit and am versed in even more. I just need to know what direction to go..."

Maryam gathered the necessary equipment, she was familiar with these bugs. "Are we ready everyone? Have you got everything we need yet?" she barked like a commander at the others. She enjoyed feeling like a leader, normally she was just ordering her staff to fix vending machines or faulty circuit breakers.

"Yeah! I'm eager to do something new! Let's get to it" Jensen said loudly as he walked up to join Maryam. He had absolutely no idea what he was doing, but when had that ever stopped him?

Walking up toward the shuffling, blinking masses, the group couldn't yet see the downed wires so they turned on their flashlights. These particular storm flies were bigger than the colonists of Sutter's World had ever seen. Each one appeared to be the size of a praying mantis. The atmosphere was buzzing with electricity and the translucent paper-thin wings. It was a beautiful, yet unsettling sight in the darkness of night.

Jensen approached cautiously, preferring to let others take the lead. "So exactly how close does Vera need to get to barbecue the creepy crawlies? And how are they going to react?" asked Jensen.

“The Marshal said these incinerators have some decent range. About 75 feet, give or take. But I’ve only ever used it close up… You remember the last bugs we had to deal with. Glad we have some distance at least.” Vera said.

Then Maryam chimed in to answer his second question, “They certainly won’t be thrilled but this should clear them out. We’ve dealt with them in the past. Had an issue at the South Substation just a few days ago.”

"Think we can just approach head on and light them up? Come right throught the field, fire roaring? And if we do, what's the risk that the incinerator will damage the cables we're trying to fix?"

“Fire should cause minimal damage to the wires and towers… but, we would have to wait until it is extinguished before trying to repair them, especially if the vegetation catches fire.” Maryam said.

"Hey, Sharpey, you have any grenades you could lob their way?" Jensen offered, half-jokingly.

Vera's eyes widen as she hears Jensen's comment. "No! Please tell me you're joking..."

She stepped up and briefly inspected the flamethrower before brandishing it. "Maryam, are you ready for me to light them up?"

Sharpe looks a Jensen and gives a small chuckle. "Not a half bad idea, but I don't think it's the best right now. Normally I would sit back and pick em off in the distance, but that amount of critters, gonna get me a Sentry Gun, open it up and let em have it. Can't guarantee accuracy, but I'll sure as shit fuck some of em up," Sharpey said as he picked up both a sniper rifle for backup and his Sentry Gun.

Sharpey, looking at the group, "Jensen, you're a funny dude. What's the game plan?"

"Whatever it is, it better be a good one," Irving mumbled to himself, he spoke so quiet that it was unlikely any of the others could hear him. The loud wind and the cacophony of sound from the swarm masking his words.

"Maryam, you're the pro here. Can we set up the turret to draw the swarm towards Vera's flame while you, Irving, and I repair the wires, or do we need to wipe out the swarm entirely?"

“As long as we can get them away from the area, we should be able to work these wires, but they are the reason we have these kind of problems. I hate to say it but we’d be better off destroying them. The swarms can really mess up all kinds of metal structures and electrical systems.” said Maryam. “The turret and flamer in tandem should do the trick, but be careful. If they swarm us, we could be in a lot of trouble.”

"Ok, so here's my thought..." offered Jensen. "We set the turret up just east of the swarm right now, and have it fire west into the swarm, so the shots head out over the bay. We retreat to a safe distance, wait for the swarm to head for the turret, then Vera advances and roasts them. Eh?"

“How are they with smoke? If they aren’t able to see in or through smoke, once they get drawn out, to provide a bit of cover, we could place several smoke generates and make a smoke wall,” Sharpey asked, impressed with himself while pushing his hands together up and out making a mushroom cloud motion.

"Worth a try. They don't like smoke." said Maryam.

Vera listened to the proposed ideas thoughtfully. "Assuming the worst and those things swarm us, we should have a plan to escape from them. Maryam, how do we get away if that happens...would saving a few smoke grenades to set off on our position protect us?"

Maryam answered plainly, “The same way you get away from any swarm of insects or birds, I suppose. Run. Find shelter indoors, in this case, the truck. The smoke can only protect us so much and we have to keep in mind the direction the wind is blowing. Most times, like now, it comes in from the west off the bay.”

As the crew set up their plan with the sentry gun, a vehicle came barreling down the High St out of Wombwood and shot passed without stopping. Flynn Sharpey knew that it was one of the security team's FAVs.

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