Birds Don’t Sing Anymore

Started by Holger Heyerdahl, September 06, 2018, 08:26:30 pm

Maxell Graves

October 27, 2018, 03:34:52 am #20 Last Edit: March 09, 2019, 01:44:16 pm by Maxell Graves
Maxell scoffed at the pilot's suggestion as the Marines made their way into the trees. "You might be a terror in the skies, but securing the ground is a Marine's business. Once we've conducted a proper sweep of the area, I'll be the first to congratulate you on this particular kill." Maxell gave the pilot before him - Turner, by the designation on her uniform - a stern, scrutinizing look. "It's a different thing, isn't it Turner? Looking a man in his eye as you end his life. Takes something harder than just pushing a button and dropping the payload."

Graves leaned in, the brim of his hat nearly jabbing Melody in the face. "You sure that's what your made of? The steel to hear a fellow soldier's death rattle? Or are you too used to sailing the open skies, only hearing that distant thwoomp as you crater the ground below and put the action miles behind yourself in mere seconds?" Maxell held the pilot's gaze, seeing only a reflection of cold, hard steel. Tension hung in the air between them, before Graves broke it with a nod of approval. "Good. Let's go collect your corpse."

Boots crunching in the powdery hell piled up between the trees, Graves held out a hand to stop Melody as he spotted a pinkish splash. Looking up at the tree beside him, he spotted arterial spray. "Go se." Maxell turned around to Melody, drawing his hold-out in her face before the traitor could alert her browncoat compatriot. "This is what you call mortally wounded, Turner? What'd you do, shoot a knife at him from twenty yards?" Maxell snatched Melody's uniform, pulling her in front of him as he pressed the barrel against the back of her head. "Call for them. Tell them to surrender. Now! Or I'll execute you as a traitor on my honor as an Officer." Maxell growled as he looked into the trees, seeking any sign of movement. The briefest hint of disappointment crossed his face as he glanced down at the holdout pressed to the back of the pilot's head. He missed his L85A1.
The bugle sounds - the charge begins, But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horse's breath, As I plunge on into certain death

Iron Maiden, "The Trooper"


"It's a different thing, isn't it Turner? Looking a man in his eye as you end his life. Takes something harder than just pushing a button and dropping the payload," the Officer questioned and Melody couldn't help but clamp down on her jaw and glower stubbornly up at the decorated Officer. This was the second time she'd been asked this very question in the span of just a couple hours. Clearly, there was some misunderstanding between the military divisions about what exactly bomber pilots did or...didn't do. Did they think they didn't know what war looked like? That they just zipped by from above playing games and dropping bombs without the slightest understanding of what was going on below? Sure, perhaps there were some out there like that, but not Melody. She wasn't classically educated, but she wasn't an idiot either.

Even so, it took everything in Mel's power not to attempt to slug the bald Marine across the jaw, which would most assuredly have led to a bullet being deposited directly between her eyes at worst, and the stripping of  her rank at best, and she figured the immense satisfaction at seeing the surprise register across his face probably wasn't worth it. Probably. The effort required to keep still and silent in the face of his barrage and questioning of her character and resolve culminated in the trembling of clenched fists, both of her hands down by her sides. When the man finally moved away, a breath slipped past her lips and her shoulders relaxed fractionally. This man was mighty unpleasant, even compared to Mel.

Still, the bomber pilot shoved her closed fists into the pockets of her uniform pants and stomped after him, making as much noise in the fresh snow as she could and preparing to blame it on her inexperience being down on the ground. The frost crunched and cracked under her boots, and sticks and leaves crumbled and snapped under her heavy feet, hoping to give Holger a general idea of where they were. She was just a pilot after all, she couldn't know anything about stealth or walking softly, right? Mel rolled her eyes at the Officer's back. But again, some small part of her wondered why she was assisting the browncoat at all. Maybe she just felt like he deserved better than being executed by this yī dà tuó dà biàn...

As the man spun about, Melody immediately lifted her hands up, palms facing him, baby blues flickering between his gun and his face, both of them equally distressing. A startled grunt ripped free of her lips, her feet tangling up as he pulled her toward him and she extended her arms to steady herself, hissing in annoyance at the feeling of hard metal pressing against the back of her head. Great. Not only was she in quite the pickle, but now she was physically closer to Maxell than she would have liked.

"I'm not a Traitor," she snapped, just as ornery even with a gun to her head. "I'm a bomber pilot, how the hell am i supposed to know exactly what mortally wounded looked like. I thought he was, clearly I was mistaken. I must not be suited for ground combat," she continued with added venom.

Holger Heyerdahl

Holger nearly had another Alliance soldier by the ankle when the Major grabbed Melody and put a gun to her head. A strange thing to do to one of your own allies, but Holger had seen men do much worse. The why of it, however, concerned him. Outside of earshot and their conversation, he didn't know that Melody was being accused of collaboration, but it didn't take a powerful brain to guess that much. Her peril gave him pause, and certainly complicated his plan of harrying them till it was just him and the one with the cape.

Surrender was an option, one that Holger didn't like. His thoughts drifted back to Yorkie's descriptions of the camps and an involuntary chill went down his spine. No. He didn't like that one bit.

Holger's hand hovered near the soldier's leg as he decided what to do. With the Major's hackles up, taking them out one by one would be next to impossible. Or would, at the very least, get Holger killed. A prospect he didn't much like at the moment, despite his requests to Melody not an hour earlier. But if he were to die, he wanted to take as many of them out as possible, without getting Melody killed or Court Martialed. He didn't stop to consider why he cared what happened to the pilot.

So, what to do? Holger had his knife, his previous kill's service weapon, and...

The flare gun.

Holger's hand retreated from its snare-like posture and back into concealment. He got himself into position, squirming his way to remain in hiding while also preparing for his attack. He prepared the rifle in his good-hand, the flare gun in his off. A step back, he leveled the flare gun at the soldier's back. Holger considered the distance. Thought better of it and took another step.

With a smile he pulled the trigger, sending the flare rocketing into the soldier's back, an explosion of fire and sparks sending the man running towards his comrades, his arms flailing wildly, screaming like... well, a man on fire. Holger hoped the scene would distract from him strafing to the side long enough for him to catch another one or two with the rifle. Even if it didn't and they saw him coming, he let loose with the rifle on automatic, trying his best to hit everyone but Melody.

"I'll see you in Hell, you Purple Buggers!"

Maxell Graves

Maxell breathed the frozen air deeply, the smell of blood and human funk filling his nostrils. His trigger finger tested his discipline as it danced across the guard. He didn't actually intend to kill the pilot - not until she'd been interrogated properly and the full depth of her collusion revealed. Maxell wished the blame for that particular brand of corruption and oversight lay solely on the Navy's shoulders, but he knew it rotted away the weak will of lesser Marines as well.

"You know-" Maxell started to chastise Turner before he heard a sound like a gas tank rupturing and half expected to see one sailing at him from the trees. One of the men he'd commissioned ran screaming, his pack engulfed in flames. Drop, you idiot! he meant to shout, but ended up just growling behind Melody's ear instead. Then the gunfire started and - as tempting as he found the idea of using Turncoat Turner for a human shield - Maxell drug the pilot to the ground behind a fallen tree.

Quote from: Holger Heyerdahl on November 07, 2018, 01:24:08 pm
"I'll see you in Hell, you Purple Buggers!"

"Hrrrnnnh..." Maxell groaned as he heard an unnatural pop in his left knee. Glancing down at Melody with more than a little fire in his eyes, the Major growled the day's lesson to his unwilling pupil. "See, Turner? Here's what you get when you sympathize with those who resist order in favor of independence: chaos. Do yourself a favor and stay down." Maxell rolled, unfastening the cape with his left arm and tossing it toward a bough laying broken on the snowy ground. The Major grit his teeth, inhaling sharply as his injured knee made impact with the frozen ground, before steadying his aim where he estimated the next burst of gunfire would originate. Waiting for confirmation instead of wasting his shot, Maxell lamented the lack of recoil as he fired two rounds in the direction of the most recent flash from behind the treeline.

"Ruttin' peashooter."
The bugle sounds - the charge begins, But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horse's breath, As I plunge on into certain death

Iron Maiden, "The Trooper"


"You know-" the Marine began, and Melody was more than ready to begin rolling her eyes at whatever came next. Likely a speech about honor and the good ol' Alliance way. However, before he could bore her to death with his staunch patriotism, the sound of a small explosion and its ensuing flames started making its quick way toward them, carried on the back of one of the Major's soldiers, her shoulders flinching at both the sudden sound and the sight of it. Again her body tightened in surprise, Maxell's growl so near her ear disturbing and off-putting. The pilot began to move to yank herself free of him when he pulled her to the ground with him instead, some part of his body popping on the way down.

"Qing wa cao de liu mang," she hissed at him, adding another infraction to the long list she figured he was tallying up in his head for later. Baby blues glared up at the man who'd reluctantly attempted to save her life, sneering grumpily at the fire in his gaze. Giant bald idiot, she thought to herself, although her inner monologue was pretty clear upon her face.

"I'll see you in Hell, you Purple Buggers!" Holger shouted from a ways away.

"See, Turner? Here's what you get when you sympathize with those who resist order in favor of independence: chaos. Do yourself a favor and stay down," Maxell chastised and suggested, deepening the pilot's annoyed sneer. When he finally rolled away from her, Mel scrambled up a bit and peered over the top of the fallen tree they'd taken cover behind, eyes scanning the area for where the shots were coming from.

"Wong ba duhn," she whispered to herself, turning her head back and forth, taking in both the Marine and the general are of the Browncoat. As it stood now, Maxell would kill him. They'd keep on shooting at each other until one of them was dead and that just seemed a waste. Her eyes settled upon Maxell and she paused a moment. Well, half a waste... There had to be something she could do. After all, prison was better than death, or so she reasoned with herself. Without her ship, she felt utterly useless in this situation. But why? She had had to go through training, just like everyone else. She could be useful on the ground. But how?

Well... she had an idea. "This is tze sah ju yi," she informed herself, nodding in acceptance of her observation and lowering the corners of her lips ever so slightly. "Gorramit," she snapped at herself before unclasping the holder on her hip and slipping her sidearm out. Standing up, Melody grimaced at the situation and forced herself to move, "This is my mess, I'll take care of it!" she snapped at Maxell, hoping to win some favor before demonstrating how much of an idiot she was. Planting one hand on the tree's side, the pilot vaulted over it and ran toward where Holger was shooting from, holding her pistol with both hands and looking very unhappy with the whole debacle. In doing so, she set herself directly between Maxell and the rebel and hoped to high heavens that the Marine wouldn't just shoot her. Or that Holger wouldn't shoot her. Really, getting shot wasn't high on her list of things she wanted to do today. But she figured 'taking Holger out' would save him from being shot and save her own hide at the same He hadn't minded when she shot him, maybe he wouldn't mind if she hit him in the head...gently...

Holger Heyerdahl

As the Alliance troopers returned fire, Holger scurried around a tree and hunkered down. He had maybe half a clip left in the rifle and nothing extra with which to reload. On his fingers, the Nord did a quick count. He was pretty sure he had hit and killed or incapacitated three of them. Still a few to go, and the caped one remained unscathed. That Holger could not let stand. But now the element of surprise was gone. Holger was pinned down and out-gunned. He cursed his impulsive nature or poor luck or both and tried to think of a way he could get the rest of them before they got him.

As bullets pierced the snow and trees around him, showering him with errant precipitation and flying splinters, Holger looked up at the tree that served as his cover. He had an idea. The big man reared back and gave it a giant push. Maybe, with the right amount of leverage, he could topple the whole thing over and capture the Purple Bellies beneath its branches. He summoned every ounce of strength that he had. He thought of the Ancient Gods that his brother Fridjtof prayed to. Magni, Son of Thor, God of Strength. His Viking ancestors, once feared across Earth-That-Was for their ferocity on the battlefield, aided in his endeavor. He felt their blood coursing through his veins, and their hands at his back. The veins of his forehead and arms popped and his sinew and muscles surged. His heels dug tracks in the snow and hardened earth as he pushed with all of his might.

The tree didn't budge.

Holger cursed his rotten luck and just as he gave up on the tree and went to reach for his rifle, Melody came around the side of the tree with a gun pointed at his head. Holger considered his options. He thought of Yorkie, in the prison camp, and how he lamented his time there. Yorkie, he remembered, was very small. Puny, by some standards. Holger was much bigger and stronger. That same Viking blood that disappointed him in his feat of strength would aid him well in the coming weeks, months, or years. Holger left the rifle on the ground and raised his hands to the sky. "Fuck it. I surrender."

Maxell Graves

Spinning balls of molten lead split the molecules of the air before them as they shot from side of the thicket to the other. The flashes of light from beyond the trees where Maxell's steel gaze searched for the rebel's form slowed and came to a stop. "Keep the guī dàn pinned down!", the Major commanded his borrowed unit. Taking a single shot in the vicinity of a large tree near which the last flash fire appeared, Maxell sought to give his enemy the impression that he intended to continue firing blindly. In truth, even if he carried his current favorite model of repeating carbine and a pair of spare magazines, Graves understood the importance of every bullet and wished not to leave himself with little more than Turner and the snow to attempt a defense.

Waving a hand to catch a pair of fur-covered, purple armored Marines' attention, Maxell offered a series of signals that instructed for the remaining handful of the squad to maneuver around the large tree in an attempt to surround their rebel prey. Maxell nodded, pleased with his plan as the well trained fighters followed through expertly. Then, Turner tossed her pence into the pot.

Quote from: Melody on November 22, 2018, 12:04:10 am
"This is my mess, I'll take care of it!"

Maxell trained his gun on her for a moment as she hopped up and sprang for the trees. A tremor took his trigger finger, his mind resisting the well-honed urge to squeeze the scaled down instrument of destruction in his hand. Part of him knew the thing to do would be to gun her down now, allowing her to regain some sense of honor in death despite her betrayal to the Alliance. Logic dictated, however, if the cowardly rebel rouser hiding in the trees mucked about and took out his own ally, the resulting momentary shock could easily serve as the opportunity the Marines needed to take the Independent "soldier" by surprise and bring this desperate final stand to an end without further Alliance casualties.

Turner made it to the tree, rounding it with her sidearm drawn. However Maxell managed to let her keep it, he cursed himself for it now. His sights leveled under the top of her head, his eyes focusing on the center of her ear. Bringing the browncoat in wouldn't save her from a Court Martial, but not turning her gun on the closing Marines might save her life. For the moment.

Maxell groaned, his disappointment becoming a fog in the air before him as he saw a rifle tossed before Turner's feet. An approaching Marine kicked the rifle away as her fellows circled around. Maxell picked himself up from the ground, glanced at the gaudy and impractical cape still caught in the branches, and limped forward with his hold out still drawn on Turner. She'd suffer a gut shot now, the visual of which Graves savored as the pain from his knee flared up into his hip. He nodded toward a pair of Marines as he kept his eyes locked on the pilot. A thick, purple gloved hand snatched Turner's sidearm away as the warm end of a rifle pressed into her back.

Quote from: Holger Heyerdahl on November 26, 2018, 08:28:54 am
"Fuck it. I surrender."

Maxell finally rounded the tree himself. Wet snow hung close to the gnarled, aged tree. One fat, visible flake drifted down into the thicket, caught in what black hair still grew on his head and stuck for a moment before melting over the rising heat as his face grew red with anger and effort. He shot a final, disapproving glance at Turner before gazing down at his quarry as if he stared at the largest single pile of go se he'd yet seen in one place at one time.

"Christ. You're one ugly wáng bā, you know that?"

As the soon to be prisoner lifted his arms, Maxell recalled the spray of blood across the snow and the sanguine smell hanging with the cold in the air. The opportunity presented, Graves drove the toe of his boot deep into the ginger bastard's ribs. "Marines! We're taking these two back to base for detainment until Central Command send a proper interrogator. I'll make official requests for commendation for each of you. For your valor in t the honorable service to the Alliance of Unified Planets, you all deserve it."
The bugle sounds - the charge begins, But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horse's breath, As I plunge on into certain death

Iron Maiden, "The Trooper"


January 09, 2019, 03:02:21 pm #27 Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 03:03:53 pm by Lomari
Twenty Minutes Later

It was dark, damp, and smelled faintly of mildew and musk. Every bump on the ground rattled the bones, jostling around duffle bags and spare equipment. The Kappa drove over a log half buried in the dirt, knocking a bag full of what must’ve been empty magazines onto Mel’s head.

“Liu kou shui de biao zi he hou zi de er zi! Ni joo bah jeh! Juh shi suh mo go dohng shee?!” the Alliance Pilot yelled from the trunk of the vehicle, kicking out angrily a couple times and hitting the inner walls of her current and hopefully temporary prison. She shook her head a bit to get free of the heavy canvas bag and scooted up a bit, readjusting her hands a bit to get more comfortable while trying to slip free of her cuffs at the same time.

After escorting Holger into the Kappa, the towering brute and the rest of the Marines had taken up most of the interior space. There had been a spot open next to the man in charge, but he’d opted to shove her in the trunk rather than be forced to look at what he felt was her traitorous face.

“Moron,” Melody muttered under her breath, bending her knees and arching her back as much as it would go. “Why they keep promotin’ idiots like that, I’ll never know,” she continued, grunting with effort as she struggled to get her cuffed wrists over her rear end. “It’s like they don’t want us to win this damn idiot war. Keep puttin’ useless ho tze duh pi gu like him in charge, you might as well hand the keys to the universe over the browncoats… or…whatever it is we’re fightin’ over.” The last word was spoken on a heavy exhale, her hands finally moving over her rear end and settling at the backs of her knees.

The pilot sat up as best as she could and carefully put her feet into the ring made by her arms and the cuffs, finally settling her wrists on her knees and letting out a breath. Well… now what?

Holger Heyerdahl

Holger sat in the back of the personnel carrier, his wrists chained together, then connected to a brace that wrapped around his torso, which was in turn connected to a chain that dangled down to his ankles, which were chained together. The whole apparatus was bolted to the floor. Holger tested the strength of the chains every so often, seeing what he could get away with. Though the remaining marines all had weapons trained in his general direction, their fear of him was demonstrated by all of their refusal to sit within arm's length. Instead they crowded closer to the door. Holger seriously doubted he would be able to break free of that which held him, but the purple bellies didn't seem quite so sure. And that was exactly how he liked it.

One marine in particular, who sat closest to the giant, seemed nervous. Holger stared at him. "What are you looking at, boy?" He said, the threat clear that Holger had better like the soldier's answer... or else.

"N-n-nothing." The soldier said with no small amount of stammer.

Holger scowled. "So I am nothing to you. How is it that I am nothing? Come closer and say that."

"Shut up, Independent scum!" A marine who conveniently sat much further away shouted.

Holger ignored that one, focusing in stead on the one closest. He leaned in just a bit, drawing the purple bellied man in. "Come. Come. I cannot hurt you. As you can see, I am leashed. Like an animal." Holger said, indicating the chains. It was relatively safe for the marine to come closer. "I have something that I wish to confess."

Egged on by some of the other marines, the nervous one did lean in, though only a little.

"The two men that I killed. They were your friends?" This received a small nod, to which Holger cast a mournful shade to his face. "I am sorry."

The soldier was taken aback. "Y-you're sorry?" He blinked. It was obvious that no one in this great, galactic conflict had apologized for the actions they undertook in the name of their cause, at least not to this particular Alliance Marine. "Gosh. That's- thanks. I'm sorry, too, you know, for you getting arrested and going to a POW camp."

Holger laughed. "That is an unfortunate thing; the arresting and the camp." He said. "But that is not what I meant. I am sorry because I did not kill you before I surrendered. And now, when I survive the arresting and the torture and the starvation and the disease..." Abruptly, Holger jumped up out of his seat and lunged at the marine. Holger knew that the height of the truck and the restraints would prevent him from actually reaching his prey, but he counted on the unexpected attempt would be met with a scare, if not soiled pants.

It had the desired effect. The marine cried out and squirmed away from the Nasty Nord, "Please no!" Is the closest approximation to the words that escaped with his girlish scream, though the pitch made it hard to discern.

At the end of his leash, Holger smiled. "I am sorry that I will be forced to then find you and kill you." And for once in his time since the fighting had started, Holger found himself agreeing with his enemy combatants, for they all found the entire exchange hilarious.

Maxell Graves

"This is Major Graves. I am hereby commandeering this Kappa in order to transport two prisoners back to base. There's been an incident, and we lost a couple of good Marines back there." Maxell grit his teeth as he was interrupted by the beginning of the Ruckus in the passenger area of the amphibious vehicle. "The Kappa unit will be free to return to your command post once files are reported properly. No sooner." Graves hung the handheld transmitter back on its mount before bellowing toward the back of the Kappa.

"Corporal! If you lose control of your bladder I'll see to it you're formally reprimanded for disrespecting that uniform! You're a Marine, gorammit! Act like one and subdue your detainee if he refuses to comply! What kind of èr bǎi wǔ is RTC allowing out of the New Parris Isles these days?" Maxell leered through the security window separating himself and the Kappa's driver from the rest of the crew and their prisoner. "Matter of fact, if the mangy hún dàn moves again you've got my permission to employ use of a sonic rifle. Sure, it's new tech and not quite working as intended but maybe he'll be more compliant once he's loosened what's left of his bowels and finds half his guts on the wrong side of his pìgu."

Once back at camp, Maxell directed the driver to hold momentarily and called upon two of the base's security forces to accompany him to one of the Kappa's storage compartments. "Got somethin' special for you boys." The Major pounded a fist on the sealed hatch, probably as much to torture the compartment's occupant as well as to alert the driver to release the seal. The hatch released, revealing a downright disagreeable Melody Turner within. "You know what that is? A woman? A Navy pilot? Neither. What that is, is a traitor, and I expect you to treat her as such." As Melody was rather unpleasantly removed from the 'trunk', Maxell ordered the Kappa's driver to transport the prisoner to detainment with the rest of the captured rebels while Melody would be escorted by the security personnel toward a waiting room where an intelligence operator would be along to interrogate her... eventually.

For his part, Maxell imagined the aged Scotch and finely wrapped, premium cigar awaiting him in his office - after he finished filing his report, of course. In the meantime, he simply followed along behind Melody and her escorts wearing a smug, satisfied smile.
The bugle sounds - the charge begins, But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horse's breath, As I plunge on into certain death

Iron Maiden, "The Trooper"

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