Episode 4: The Siege of Echo Valley

Started by HumanHyperbole, March 09, 2021, 03:24:47 PM

HumanHyperbole

March 09, 2021, 03:24:47 PM Last Edit: March 10, 2021, 08:15:11 AM by HumanHyperbole
It had been two hours. Nothing but scrambling, ducking, shattering glass, splintering wood, and ricocheting rounds. Words were hushed or shouted. Tensions were high. So was Professor August. Alan was still hiding in the closet, attempting to proof calculations and check the real time mapping data as it came in. It was a massive amount of raw data. Distance between random rocks orbiting them. Some big, some small. Some were satellites and derelict vessels.

The data wasn't just a gold mine for spacers and scientists, the ability to every precisely locate the orbit of derelict vessel in range of the sensor array could be a BIG payday for scavengers. Especially those who might not care if the cargo still technically belonged to someone else. Doctor August was thrilled and couldn't help but get up and pace around as he flipped through the data on his handheld computer. Alan shouted for fresh sets of printouts to be shoved through the crack in the closet every fifteen minutes.

Connected to their network Jo was plugged into all the data coming in. Additionally, he would be able to log all the protocols necessary to try and replicate the program if he ever wanted to. The scientists were certainly eccentric, and getting them into deeper danger than advertised, but they were being open with their data as promised.

There were still lingering questions. Like how did those two Russo mercenaries convince the locals to call up their militia? Promise of pay? Or perhaps there was something else. Maybe there was more to the relationship between the academics from the university who's campus was hundreds of miles away, and the people who lived in the outlying mountains? The autogyros started to peel off one by one, but were shortly replaced by fresh aircraft. The locals, and their outside agitators/allies were ready to settle in for the long-haul.

It was now up to the crew of the Revenge and their dubious guest star to decide how the Siege of Echo Valley would end.

Melody

"Well, this is fun."

Melody crouched next to an overturned table pressed against the back of a couch with her side arm drawn, her free arm idly keeping Missy and Jo huddled together like a mother hen protecting its brood. Of course, she'd never have seen it like that, but an argument could have been made for such a visual. The pilot sighed heavily and looked around, listening to the cacophony outside and taking stock of their current situation. Two hours of this. While it was tedious and grated on the nerves, it did tell them that the attacking forces were more keen on a ranged victory than they were at getting into a dog fight or tussling up close. For now.

"Any ideas? This is your territory," she asked, looking over in Holger's direction and raising her brows. Mel was a pilot, she dropped bombs, fought other aircraft, and ferried his sort here and there. This sitting in a trench, hiding behind a barricade, and waiting for the opportune moment to strike...this was all Holger's wheel house. Going outside seemed like a big no-no, but waiting for them to shoot the lodge into a poor excuse for cover didn't seem ideal either. And their constant barrage was keeping her from getting to the Revenge and Her guns.

Melody, Holger, Breene, and Izak. She knew they could handle themselves in this situation. But it wasn't just them. The doctor and Jo were stuck in here as well. Alex and the other one... well those two she didn't find herself caring much about, if she was honest, but her non-fighters did matter to her and she needed to either get them to safety or get to work on making the outside a little less hostile. "Oi, do you have a basement?" she asked Doctor August.
Dialogue Color: Brown

Holger Heyerdahl

Melody was right, this was familiar to Holger. As was the wooden stock of the rifle he'd taken from Breene's offer and now had laid across his lap. He was no sniper, but there wasn't a gun that Holger didn't know how to use. There had been opportunities for a pot shot or two, but behind a table, behind a couch, at ground level was hardly a sniper's delight, which, again, he was not. "A basement would not be a good idea. You said this is my territory, Melody, and trenches are my territory. Trenches are below ground, like basements, but trenches have ways out. Basements do not have ways out. What we need is a way out." He stroked his beard thoughtfully, his eyes wild as he thought through the scenario.

"The real question is why they have besieged us. They have us outnumbered..." He counted on his hands everyone in the room and settled on a number, then his gaze went vaguely in the direction of their attackers and he seemed to be trying to count them as well. "Few to very, very many. They should just overrun us. It is what I would do. Or maybe blow us up." Holger spoke of his and the crew's demise matter-of-factly. This was war. People died. He would prefer not to, but the possibility hung thick in the air.

Without warning, he rose up from cover, took aim, and fired a quick shot, then ducked behind cover again. "I do not think I hit him, but I also want him to remember we are here." He smiled wickedly. He didn't want to say this specifically for his comrades, but he wanted to keep his adrenaline up. He might need it. "I think they want something. So, we must wait until we know what it is that they want or we have a way out." He redirected attention back to Doctor August. "Do you have a way out?"
Dialogue Color - Orange

Joakim Soong

Two hours ago:

"Want me to take some back to the ship for testing?"

The inflection in Missy's voice was like a tractor beam, pulling Jo towards her gravity of juvenile bickering more suited for a high school setting than a conversation between adult colleagues. He had no desire to revisit that place after their last outing together, but his sleep-deprived brain found it difficult to resist the siren call of her mean girl snark.

He could already feel an uncharacteristically catty response forming on his tongue, but fortunately they were saved by a gunfight.

"Fortunately" and "saved" being very relative terms here.

***

Now:

Jo found himself huddled next his Stepfordian arch nemesis and their captain. Now, instead of being back in high school, he felt like he'd traveled even further back in time; he was on a first grade field trip, starring Melanie as the firm but fair teacher watching over her class and Missy as the bratty kid he had to sit next to on the bus. Even the tablet he was clutching felt suddenly oversized in his hands. He might as well be playing Pocket Beasts for all the good he was doing right now. Turns out, being fired at wasn't great for his concentration.

"Oi, do you have a basement?"

"Yes, that's where the research equipment is," Jo chimed in, finally seeing an opportunity to be helpful.

"A basement would not be a good idea."

Not so helpful then. Jo fell silent again, listening to the exchange between the military folks. He wished he could contribute somehow.

"I think they want something. So, we must wait until we know what it is that they want or we have a way out."

"Not to state the obvious, but they probably want the chip," he leaned towards Melody. "Or the research. Or both. Just an, uh, educated guess."

He turned his attention back to his tablet and pretended he was doing something useful on it and definitely not just waiting for the situation to unfold.
Dialogue color: teal

Missy Etheridge

If Melody was acting like a brooding hen, Melissa certainly looked like one, puffed up defensively, all ruffled feathers and saurian hostility.

"It take you two hours to come up with that?" she snapped at Jo. It was thoroughly unfair, she knew, but the two hours had felt like ten and she was already on edge without being crammed in behind a table with him, and not even a tablet to distract herself with. Her ears were ringing from Holger's shot, her shin ached where it had gotten bonked against the overturned table in the scuffle to get behind it, and her stomach was insistently reminding her she'd never gotten to even try the dubious breakfast before the shooting started.

Still. That was no excuse to be rude. Missy was trying to be nicer to Jo after all, no matter how much he clearly hated her. She'd even agreed with him about breakfast, and offered to test it for him! After a brief pause and a heavy sigh, she gritted her teeth and said stiffly, "I apologize. That was uncalled for. We're all a little tense." Swiveling to find Breene's hiding place, she added, "You know the chip's background best. Anyone after it who could get here this fast?"
Dialogue color: Cornflowerblue | 6495ED

Talk less. Smile more.
Never let them know what you're against or what you're for.

William Breene

Breene was sitting in the tub of the cabin's bathroom. A pistol in each hand, he was trying to do another of his therapist's rhyming relaxation exercises.

"Dance, prance, chance..."

He popped up into the small window of the bathroom over the tub, pointing both pistols out the window he let loose two rounds from each weapon in rapid succession. It looked like maybe one round pinged off the steel frame of one of the improvised helicopter-ish vehicles. The smuggler threw himself back down into the tub as the retaliatory rounds started to spray the room.

"God damn it!!!"

Willy looked at the pistols, the slides were pulled back indicating he'd emptied both mags. He dropped one of the empty pistols and started loading the other. Then, he switched to the other loading it in turn as the rounds peppered the room. He let out a slow, controlled breath.

"Pants...plants...ants..."

The blonde doctor was shouting a question to him from nearby. She wanted to know who might have known about the chip and gotten here this fast. Breene thought for a moment and the obvious answer came to him as he racked both pistols.

"Russo."

He whispered his answer dramatically. After a second the snarky Irishman remembered she probably couldn't hear him when he was speaking cinematically so he shouted his response again:

"It's the Russos! No idea how he recruited the locals! The whole county would have to hate the professor's guts for some reason!"

This actually seemed pretty plausible. The question was: How had the Professor and his colleague earned the ire of all the outlying villages?

Izak Archer

Today had certainly taken a turn for the absurd. But unfortunately for Izak, he could not do much unless the enemy got close. Way closer than Melody would more than likely have wanted them to be. Of course, it did not help much that he was watching from the bedroom while Breene was in the Bathroom and everyone else was in the other end of the cabin.

Sitting beneath the window, he had a mirror in one hand and a broomstick with a hat on it in the other, trying to judge the type of firepower they had.

"I am definitely investing in a revolver the next time we stop over somewhere," he said to himself.

After three or four attempts he was able to surmise that they were using pistols and probably rifles. Standard stuff for out here, but nothing he could do jack about from the far end of the house by himself. Especially at the current distance and with how spread out the...villagers...posse...mob...whatever the hell they were calling themselves were. Whether or not they had enough to actually surround the cabin was irrelevant. Ditching the broomstick but keeping the mirror, he crawled out of the bedroom then shut the door behind him, then took a moment out of site of the windows to barricade it with a smaller bookcase he found in the hall. It wouldn't do much about bullets, but it would make it hard to get in for a while at least.

Dropping back down to the floor, he began crawling his way down the hall, and passed the bathroom just after Breene nearly got Swiss-cheesed.

He looked back at him while he was yelling, shook his head and started crawling forward again. "Well, maybe we can kill that idiot this time?" Izak shouted back. He continued out the hall until he was within earshot of the rest of the group. Sitting up he braced himself in the opening of the hall to make himself as small as possible. He the placed his shotgun in his lap.

"Well everyone," he started, only to be interrupted by a bullet flying in and taking out a plate on a shelf. Izak exhaled heavily and continued, "Three things, first, they don't seem to have anything heavier than a couple of large caliber hunting guns. Second, I suggest we charge Breene double for the circus he's unwittingly walked us into. Third, we have access to enough stuff in here to make some fun surprises for them, if anyone is willing to lend me a hand."

Melody

"Yes, that's where the research equipment is," Jo answered, and Mel looked at him with what could have been considered some kind of pride at his quick response in such a stressful situation. Of course, on her face, it simply looked like the most marginal raising of her brows and the smallest twitch of the corner of her lips.

"A basement would not be a good idea... Basements do not have ways out. What we need is a way out," Holger countered, and she sighed heavily. He was right, of course. She needed to get to the ship and hop on the turrets. A few seconds of some rapid return fire would clear this right up.

"Do you have a way out?" Holger asked their host and she looked in the doctors' directions, waiting for them to inform them that they had some kind of secret tunnel carved out just for this very eventuality. The doctor didn't seem to be that great at making friends, after all, and she was sure his...eccentricity, had been the core of problems before...

"Not to state the obvious, but they probably want the chip," Jo murmured as he leaned towards her. "Or the research. Or both. Just an, uh, educated guess." Mel nodded, tensing noticeably with each bullet that made its way into their hideout, her arms still held out slightly to keep her chicks under the safety of her wings. "I hate these chips," she muttered, eyeing what she could see of Breene from his bathtub bunker. She hated him too. Just a little.

"You know the chip's background best. Anyone after it who could get here this fast?" Missy asked, Mel's chest puffing out just slightly. Even their reluctant doctor was actively looking for information or solutions. Maybe the blonde wasn't so bad. Well, she was bad, yes...even Mel couldn't pretend she wasn't. But maybe she wasn't so bad. Maybe...

"It's the Russos! No idea how he recruited the locals! The whole county would have to hate the professor's guts for some reason!" Her gaze slid over to the doctor again, now that Breene had joined them in the main room. Sort of. She could think of a few reasons why locals might not be fond of this professor. She had only known him for a day or so and she wasn't very fond of him. Then again, she supposed she liked him better than Breene. But that was very swiftly changing. Soon, they'd be tied. In any case, knowing who was after them didn't matter so much to her as how they'd get out of this situation. She'd deal with the who once they were safe.

"...I suggest we charge Breene double for the circus he's unwittingly walked us into..." Mel nodded curtly at Izak's suggestion, once more staring daggers in Breene's direction. "Third, we have access to enough stuff in here to make some fun surprises for them, if anyone is willing to lend me a hand." Leaning back a little, at the expense of Jo and Missy who were nestled behind her, she crossed her arms over her chest and frowned in thought.

"If we can get me to the ship somehow, I can start shooting these buzzards out of the sky. Otherwise, I'm at a loss. Ground tactics aren't my thing. All I can think of is to let them use up their ammo and then have them bottleneck at the door and take them out there," she returned. "But I'd feel better if we got Jo and the Doctor to the basement. Just while we sort this out," she offered, looking at Holger, and then the two behind her.
Dialogue Color: Brown

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