Fire It Up!

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

8.3.5 SW
19:55/21 SW-CP-Local Time
Crowning Point

With a slight frown and a concerned look, Vera watched the security vehicle tear past them and disappear into the settlement.

"Is there maybe something else happening we don't know about that might complicate our operations here? Can we contact the occupants of that vehicle and ask what they're up to?"

“Wonder where the fuck they off to in such a hurry” Flynn said under his breath but loud enough to be audible to surrounding parties. “Fucking pussies better be running from something big or off to a goddamn big fight!”

"So, I don't think my original idea will work so well. If we set up the turret east of the swarm, we'll be firing right at the road. I think we're better off setting up the turret right here and firing into the Wombwood. Shouldn't be anyone in the immediate vicinity over there right now. Vera, stay close to the turret and light up the swarms as they come close. The rest of us will take up positions Northeast about 50 feet and do our best to help finish off the swarms. How does that sound to everyone?"

Flynn Sharpey calibrated the sentry gun to avoid hitting the team by limiting its rotation and setting up ARS (Advanced Recognition Software) that would recognize them as friendlies. The turret was set up to face east and shoot straight into the masses of storm flies.

The team headed about 50 feet north of its position with Vera Kirby closer to the sentry gun turret, ready with the flamethrower.

Flynn activated the turret remotely and immediately it started finding targets, firing full auto at the squall. Repetitive explosive bursts of .308 caliber rounds pounded the air, and tracer rounds punched out into the darkness. Now agitated and on alert, the insects began to take flight and flash with electro-radioactive energy.

Vera fired a gout of flames out into the swarm from a distance of 90 feet and instantly took out 20% of the insects in the northernmost cluster.

The squall of Storm Flies picked up from their feeding ground and flew towards the turret and closer to the area where Vera stood. It was unnerving to see the swarm on the move and hearing the sharp pops of auto fire from the turret. Irving wanted to just get the hell out of there, so he decided to crack off a smoke grenade and throw it in front of the closest swarm while heading closer to the road and utility truck.

Armed with a shovel, Maryam simply followed Irving, ready to swat at anything that got too close to them.

The Sentry gun took out several of the bugs individually but missed more and it only served to stir up the swarm.

Then Flynn Sharpey took aim with a frag and lobbed the grenade into the flaming swarm, causing an explosion that took out another chunk of them.

Following up, Bruce Jensen took aim with the pulse rifle and fired the built-in grenade launcher into the swarm. The bugs scattered, some spinning and falling, others just dispersing.

Vera took another shot with the flame thrower, this one aimed in a wave across the incoming mass of insects from the south. It looked as if hundreds of tiny fireballs were heading her direction but many dropping like fiery rain as they got closer.

“Burn bitches, burn” Flynn growled as he raised his arms to the skies.

The straggling bugs couldn’t see beyond the smoke of the grenade so they began to coalesce into a tighter swarm and head toward the turret and the team behind it.

Flynn took a look left and then right. “These bastards are tightening up and coming right at us. Let’s get some!!!” He gripped his gun and was at the ready for the fun to begin.

The swarm of Storm Flies joined together for a coordinated attack, focusing on the person throwing fire, Vera. They began flashing white and emitting radiation as they clung to Vera's body. They were now drawn to her synthetic skin and electrical energy.

Anxious as usual, Irving tossed another smoke grenade into the swarm in front of Vera, hoping to effectively divide the swarm and he headed toward the road and the utility truck.

Maryam yelled, "Get inside the truck!" as she followed behind Irving. They were only technicians after all.

The sound of automatic gunfire wound down as the sentry gun's belt ran dry, but the erratic buzz and hum of the frenzied Storm Flies and hiss of the smoke still filled the air. Flynn Sharpey aimed behind the squall and chucked a grenade that would damage the horde without risking harm to any of the team. His aim was true and the blast catapulted the back half of the swarm into dust, goo, or nose dives.

Jensen launched his own grenade and the remnants of the swarm was scattered and began to fly away.

As Maryam and Irving watched the synthetic young woman, her face was set in a cold expression as she methodically moved through the swarm of flying alien bugs with her flamethrower. Her eyes were fixed on the task at hand, and she almost seemed to take pleasure in the destruction she was causing. The bugs screeched and buzzed as they tried to escape, but Vera was relentless, her aim true as she incinerated every last one of them.

The air was thick with the acrid smell of burning flesh and the sound of crackling flames. As the last bug fell, she stood there for a moment, reveling in the sight of the airborne ashes that they had become. Her eyes gleamed with satisfaction, and for a moment, they wondered if she might be enjoying this a little too much. But then she turned to the rest of the group, her expression softening slightly, and they realized that she was just doing what needed to be done to survive in another harsh, unforgiving world.

"Looks like we got the swarm on the run!" Jensen yelled excitedly. "Sharpey, can you check on Vera? She got bugged from what I could see. I'll try to find Irving and Maryam. Last I saw they were headed for the truck."

Flynn nodded at Jensen in acknowledgment. Flynn looked left and right and didn't notice Vera right away due to the smoke. He then looked south towards the remaining bugs and saw Vera finish lighting em up with her torch. Flynn ran down to assist while smacking a couple on his way to Vera.

“How you doin’ Vera? Saw them critters get a hold of ya. You doin’ ok?”

As Flynn approached, Vera set the flamethrower on the ground with care and inspected herself, shifting the compromised protective gear wherever she could to conceal her injuries from those among her group (like Maryam and Sharpey) who weren't aware of her true nature.

" Mmmph...feeling about 66%. Is everyone else ok?"

Noticing Vera covering her wounds, Flynn Sharpey asked, “Want me to take a look at the wounds? I’ve learned a little first aid here and there. Most the time first aid don’t com into play because, well you can’t put a brain back in a skull and jump up and walk off… But, that ain’t the case here. Be happy to take a look and see if I can render aid if ya want?”

Vera smiled appreciatively and shook her head. "Thank you, but no need. They zapped me a few times...kinda numb and tingly but otherwise, I'm ok. I'll feel better after a little rest. If I'm not needed for these repairs, I'd like to take it easy for a bit back at the truck."

"Sounds good to me!" shouted Jensen over his shoulder on his way to the truck. He was hoping to find Maryam and Irving unharmed and start repairs on the downed wires before any surviving bugs could regroup.

Rain clouds were still passing in from the sea and what began as a small drizzle led to drops of rain that started to fall lightly and then pelt the team in the open fields. It was totally unsafe now for the technicians to repair the live lines in the downpour. They would have to wait until the rain cleared. It would give them time to head to the reactor and shutdown the main grid anyway. The settlement would be fine running on emergency power for a while.

Vera silently agreed with the idea of staying safe and settled into her seat, hoping she would recover somewhat while resting on the way to the reactor.

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