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Chapter Ten: "Mutants"

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  • Major Christene Etearna, United States Air Force
    • Chief of Staff, 32nd Joint Fleet
    • Chief Scientist, USS Pillar of Dawn
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • Private Angela Etearna, United States Army (PCNPC)
    • Engineer, Outpost P2X-925
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • November 28th, 2008
    • October 19th, 2021

Christene made her way across the terrain, rain slamming into her as she did her best to shield her eyes. A womanly figure in the distance seemed vaguely familiar, going with what she apparently thought was a train of cargo, wandering alone.

"ANGELA!" Christene screamed, running to her and holding her tightly.

"Chr-" Angela was cut off by her tall sister's embrace. "Christ-ene? I missed you..."

"Ugh, I missed you too..." Christene let her go, and took a step back to examine her sister. "Engineer, huh?" They were suddenly slammed back by a cheap metal panel of what seemed to once be a barracks. Christene looked around for her obnoxious counterpart. "Angela, there was a Marine who came with me... I can't... Frak, we're lost..." Christene moaned.

"DUCK!" Angela said, slamming into her sister and causing them to fall, just as several more panels flew overhead. Angela's radio fell in the mud, and she groaned. Christene took out her own.

=^=General Tenjin, this is Major Etearna; Come in... I have Private Etearna here with me, we're lost, we need your co-ordinates... COME IN!=^=


Karl sat o the bridge, listening to fragmented messages as people groundside began panicking. =^= This is the Pillar of Dawn, I say again this is the Pillar of Dawn. Proceed to the shuttles and outpost and get under cover immediately. I say again, proceed to the shuttles and outpost and get under cover immediately. Message ends. =^=

He'd repeat it several times in the prayer that someone would hear it.


  • Captain L.W. Higgens, United States Marine Corps
    • Executive Officer, USS Pillar of Dawn Embarked Marine Detachment
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • November 28th, 2008
    • October 19th, 2021

=/\=Good luck Cap, see you back onboard. Apple Valley 6 out=/\=

L.W. waved in the direction of the shuttle carrying off the major and the first load of evacuees. He sighed. They'd probably end up stuck down here in the rain. Like a Boy Scout camporee, he thought.

Cursing under her breath, she started to back out but a strong gust of wind 
rattled the building. Yelping, Liah covered her head as debris started to rain 
down, and an instant later a beam hit her head, sending her into oblivion...

"Corpsman!" The marine he'd sent with Captain Donnley had returned with a badly bleeding and broken body. For a moment he was afraid it was the captain's. The squad corpsman was there in a heartbeat, bag out checking the wounds.

L.W. looked down at the scene before speaking, "Wheyah's the Captain?"

"Told me to take the casualty sir! I'd say she's still at the lab building," Corporal Meyers was a good man, done his duty.

L.W. sighed again, "Link up with yah fire team Cahpoahl. Dismissed."

Now the shuttle was climbing back into the sky, rocked by the winds. Higher, higher, than bam. It started to drop into the water. There were no ejection systems.

"Shit," He all but shouted into the storm. Cadman and the RTO watched in shock before Sam tried calling the shuttle.

Karl watched this mutely before pressing the intercom button. =^= Ground team, 
your window is up. Set the shield on the jumpers and hold down the fort in them 
and the outpost. =^=

"Raja. Sam, give it up. Call the shuttle pilot and tell him what to expect and make suah he don't take off," L.W. grabbed the handset from the RTO and relayed a message to all the team leaders.

=/\=All personnel repaht to the shuttles. No time to save geyah, get them all to the shuttle area now. Apple Valley 5, put=/\=

The dying troopers scream echoed in the concrete facility.

"Shiiiiiiit," This time L.W. did yell at the storm. It was all on him now, with the boss lady dead in a couple hundred feet of water, an approaching hurricane, and now shots fired.

Platoon leader Giles was beside him now.

"Cap, I'm missing a man from 2-2. Meyers says where he heard the shots," The bespectacled young man was clearly nervous.

L.W. pointed, both were shouting over the rising wind, "Majah's dead and Donnley's MIA, I'm in command now. Call PoD when you reach safety. Take yah men back to the shuttle area and the storage bunker area. Take Cadman and my RTO with you. Tell 2-2 to stay put and leave 2-1 here with me."

With a jerky nod he waved Giles shouted the orders back down the column. 2-1 fell out beside him, and his command team joined up with the group of marines and refugees.

First I've gotta find Donnley. Then Eterna, she wasn't among the group. Meyers could probably handle whatever shit was going down in his AO for the time being.

=^= This is the Pillar of Dawn, I say again this is the Pillar of Dawn. Proceed 
to the shuttles and outpost and get under cover immediately. I say again, 
proceed to the shuttles and outpost and get under cover immediately. Message 
ends. =^=

"Right. Let's go," L.W. dropped his arm forward as the wind whipped about the five men. Not much different than winter back home.


Edward walked towards the line of new MT-305 Wolverines in the Hangar. He entered one, and sat in the pilot's seat. He flicked on the radio, and started the engine.

"Mustang, this is Hamilton. I'm taking off. It's about time you guys see the full potential of these new kites." The Wolverine's hold doors closed, and soon, it was on its way to the planet. The Wolverine's cockpit was somewhat similar to that of the Talon. He flicked on the HUD and started his decent to the planet below. Tenjin had warned him already on the flying conditions, but Edward was used to this weather. He tuned in for a clear frequency on his radio and flew even lower.

The shuttles weren't doing so great. They were being tossed around like toys, and thrown into the sea. He looked at the people near the shore. They were doing all right, so he continued deeper into the area, over a forest. Talking into the open channel he asked

"This is Edward Hamilton, CAG. Pillar of Dawn. Any lost personnel, pop smoke or flares, and I'll pick you up." He waited anxiously for a reply.


Karl groaned, when he heard that his CAG leader had decided to disobey him and flew out into the storm. ~That dude is in for a courtmartial.~ He sighed, and sat back, tapping his controls. =^= Major Hamilton, you are not cleared for takeoff. Return to the hangerbay, Pillar of Dawn, out. =^=


  • Major Christene Etearna, United States Air Force
    • Chief of Staff, 32nd Joint Fleet
    • Chief Scientist, USS Pillar of Dawn
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • Private Angela Etearna, United States Army (PCNPC)
    • Engineer, Outpost P2X-925
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • November 29th, 2008
    • October 19th, 2021

Christene waited a few minutes, Angela in her arms as they lay in the mud, debris slamming on the ground near them. Angela took Christene's radio, and set it to contact all people on the ground as she spoke into it. =^=This is Private Angela Etearna--I want status updates on all ground personnel on behalf of Major Christene Etearna--We, ourselves, are lost; please contact us if you can reach us--I REPEAT: PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU CAN. Private Etearna out!=^=

Christene looked at Angela. "That wasn't necessary, you know." Angela shrugged.

"I thought it was; besides, it'll give other people hope that they're not the only ones lost!" She smiled.

Christene rose an eyebrow. "Angela, I don't think that's how it works..."

Angela thought for a moment. "Oh. Well, still for good measure! Wanna play Hangman in the mud? I'll start--it has seven letters..."


  • Captain Liah Donnley, United States Air Force
    • Chief Medical Officer, USS Pillar of Dawn
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • November 29th, 2008
    • October 19th, 2021

The shots and screams so close by roused Liah and she reached for the spot on her head that was aching, feeling wetness there that she knew wasn't from the rain. Groaning, she tried to push up to her hands and knees but a sharp pain in her leg caused her to yelp and collapse back down. Gasping for breath, she squeezed her eyes closed, fighting down dizziness for a moment before trying again. It was soon evident that not only was her leg broken, but it was pinned, holding her in place.

=^=Dr. Donnley... to any...=^= She drew a breath, finding it hard to fill her lungs. =^=Trapped...=^= Then she heard something, near, breathing heavily in the darkness. =^=Hurry...=^=

Shaking off blackness, she dug in her pack for a laser scalpel, clutching it as she fought to stay awake.


Hamilton grinned. He punched at the radio and replied, "Negative, general. I'm landing in the eye, and I'll get some of our guys back, savvy?"

=^=This is Private Angela Etearna--I want status updates on all ground
 personnel on behalf of Major Christene Etearna--We, ourselves, are lost; 
please contact us if you can reach us--I REPEAT: PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU CAN. 
Private Etearna out!=^=


"Major Etearna, this is Major Hamilton." He opened the canopy of the aircraft, and stepped onto the ground. "I'm popping smoke and shooting flares. When you guys see the Fourth of July, go towards it."


  • Major Christene Etearna, United States Air Force
    • Chief of Staff, 32nd Joint Fleet
    • Chief Scientist, USS Pillar of Dawn
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • Private Angela Etearna, United States Army (PCNPC)
    • Engineer, Outpost P2X-925
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • November 30th, 2008
    • October 19th, 2021
=^=Dr. Donnley... to any...=^= She drew a breath, finding it hard to fill her 
lungs. =^=Trapped...=^= Then she heard something, near, breathing heavily in 
the darkness. =^=Hurry...=^=
"Major Etearna, this is Major Hamilton." He opened the canopy of the aircraft, 
and stepped onto the ground. "I'm popping smoke and shooting flares. When you 
guys see the Fourth of July, go towards it."

Angela blinked; Christene grabbed the radio from her. =^=Hamilton, this is Major Etearna, we're in a rather muddy but decently protected shelter--Go find Donnley--NOW! That's an order, not a request. She is trapped under rubble, I repeat--and I thought I heard something in the background behind her, but it may be static. Get there ASAP.=^=

Angela stopped playing hangman. "...Wait, who's Donnley?"

Christene looked at Angela. "Probably, next to Tenjin, one of my most treasured coworkers."


"Dammit, Etearna. I've got enough space for six in this thing. Get in, and take me to Donneley. I have orders, too. He continued pn his course and landed in the muddy clearing. Hopefully, this thing wont get stuck, he thought. He didn't turn off the engine, and said "Alright. You and Private Etearna get in. I don't know where Donneley is, so you oughta tell me.


Karl groaned and rubbed his eyes. "Someone shoot that damned bloody cowboy." ~He's in for a courtmartial. I swear.~ He seriously, for a moment, toyed with the idea of bringing one of the point-defense cannons online and targeting Hamiltons transport with it, but dismissed it as being a little over the top. He punched the intercom button. =^= Zoer, you got a little extra time. Hurricane struck, they're stuck down there. Do we have any heavy-lifting gear? =^= ~I hope that transport that sank is intact, maybe we'll be able to pull a few survivors out if it's air tight...~


  • Captain L.W. Higgens, United States Marine Corps
    • Acting Commanding Officer, USS Pillar of Dawn Embarked Marine Detachment
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • November 30th, 2008
    • October 19th, 2021
"This is Edward Hamilton, CAG. Pillar of Dawn. Any lost personnel, pop smoke or 
flares, and I'll pick you up." He waited anxiously for a reply.

Sam looked up into the storm before triggering her headset. =/\=CAG this is Apple Valley FAC, you are not clear to land or overfly the area. LZ is closed, I say again LZ is closed!=/\=

=^=This is Private Angela Etearna--I want status updates on all ground
 personnel on behalf of Major Christene Etearna--We, ourselves, are lost; 
please contact us if you can reach us--I REPEAT: PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU CAN. 
Private Etearna out!=^=

L.W. and his fireteam were slogging through the rain and mud towards Donnley's last reported position as the call came over the radio. He clicked his own radio in response

=/\= Pahivate this is Captain Higgens, stay of the aiyah. That's an ahdah.=/\=

The team leader pointed at an even more delapidated structure ahead of them, "There it is sir!"

=^=Dr. Donnley... to any...=^= She drew a breath, finding it hard to fill her 
lungs. =^=Trapped...=^= Then she heard something, near, breathing heavily in 
the darkness. =^=Hurry...=^=

=/\= Stay calm Captain, we are 40 feet out.=/\=

With that he let go of the transmit toggle and brought his arm forward, "Come on, double time!"

At least the Captain was alive. Trapped, but nothing a bunch of strong young marines couldn't handle he figured. As they jogged up to the edge of the wrecked lab, a shape moved about inside the building; too large for the doctor.

"You theyah, halt!" L.W. knew almost every other survivor had gone with Giles and Cadman. Something was up.

"Major Etearna, this is Major Hamilton." He opened the canopy of the aircraft, 
and stepped onto the ground. "I'm popping smoke and shooting flares. When you 
guys see the Fourth of July, go towards it."

Cadman grunted in exasperation, attracting a surprised look from the Captain's RTO. A tinge of a Jersey accent inflected her speech.

=/\=Hamilton, get yah ass back in the cockpit now. Do not leave that area mistah, you've already disobeyed a direct order once.=/\=

=^=Hamilton, this is Major Etearna, we're in a rather muddy but decently 
protected shelter--Go find Donnley--NOW! That's an order, not a request. She is 
trapped under rubble, I repeat--and I thought I heard something in the 
background behind her, but it may be static. Get there ASAP.=^=

=/\=Ignore that last CAG you will stay where you ah. Majah, stay off ATC frequencies.=/\=


  • Captain Liah Donnley, United States Air Force
    • Chief Medical Officer, USS Pillar of Dawn
    • Outpost, P2X-925
  • November 30th, 2008
    • October 19th, 2021
=/\= Stay calm Captain, we are 40 feet out=/\=

=^=Good... thanks...=^= Sighing, Liah relaxed back, feeling better in knowing that they were so close. Even now, she could hear L.W. without needing a radio...

"You theyah, halt!"

Looking toward the sound, Liah gasped, only succeeding in attracting the attention of the beast that was between the Marines and her. It swung toward her, its eyes glowing red, and as she focused the beam of her light on it, she could see fangs dripping foamy drool. The thing growled, then started to lumber toward her.

Liah screamed, trying frantically to pull her leg free...


=^= Zoer, you got a little extra time. Hurricane struck, they're stuck down 
there. Do we have any heavy-lifting gear? =^=

=^="This is Major Zoer to the general. Aye general, we got a grappling canon on the bottom side. It was meant for pulling ships in to a hyperspace window. We can pull the shuttle out with it. It's a high tension line so it should do the trick. Unfortunately it's not been tested in the field yet."=^= Twan says while preparing the targeting software. Checking the status of the cables and the wheels.


Hamilton reluctantly climbed back to higher altitude.

=^=Higgens, this is Hamilton. I'm not landing. Repeat, I'm not landing.=^=

All of a sudden, he remembered something he had learned about hurricanes the past years in the Air Force. Their movement was controlled by large scale winds in the atmosphere. If he could bring the Hurricane away from Higgens and the people he was looking for, it would be a big help.

=^ General Tenjin, this is Hamilton. Hurricanes are controlled by large scale winds in the atmosphere. You know what? I'm already down here with nothing to do, so I thing I'll break Mach 2 in the atmosphere and bring the hurricane away.=^=

Then he said to Higgens. =^=Pop smoke to mark your location. I'm bringing the hurricane away. Let's hope God helps. =^=

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Mission #3: "Blue Skies" Chapters
Chapter 1: "Sky Blue" | Chapter 2: "Malfunctions Galore" | Chapter 3: "In the Line of Duty" | Chapter 4: "To the Beach" | Chapter 5: (File Not Recovered) | Chapter 6: "On the Move" | Chapter 7: "Arrival" | Chapter 8: "Evacuation Procedures" | Chapter 9: "Evacuees" | Chapter 10: "Mutants" | Chapter 11: (File Not Recovered) | Chapter 12: (File Not Recovered) | Chapter 13: "Survival of the Muntants"
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