Out of Toronto 4.0

LA's After Action Report : Twelve


“Tell my tale to those who ask it. Tell it truly, the good and the bad, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest… is silence. " Dinobot, “Beasties” (1996)

So. In times of crisis it is not uncommom for Penal military brigades, to be formed. Prisoners, or criminals at large were offered “amnesty” or some kind of deal to redeem themselves by being sent out as cannon fodder. It was last seen in the Euro wars.

The French Foreign Legion was famous for not asking too many questions of its recruits. Those who survived their tour of duty were rewarded with French citizenship and new identities, so this was a possible exit from a life of crime. Nowadays they have tightened up their recruiting policy and no longer accept known criminals.

As a cautionary footnote, Criminal convicts generally proved to be very reliable and trustworthy, while political convicts were liable to defect.

That is what working for ascension is like.

My own private penal brigade.

When it starts to get dark and you realized you have no place to go. it is not a good feeling. I had been living at the square, to deal with that feeling. But, this security came at a price. Part of that is a choice I made to buffer between Ascension and the rest of the team, and part of that came from the desire for a warm dry place, with a shower.

It was better then the sleeping arrangements I had in my car.

In light of recent developments, that needed to be readjusted, once Ascension revealed her master plan. It answered the question, what does this AI want. She had access to nearly inexhaustible funds. She had been methodically building toward bringing back Deus. Her time line had been stepped up, but, the Ares Theft, the Hardware, the recruiting and building of a Shadow running team. All of it was toward the advancing of her goal.

She wants me to lead the defence of the Square, during the recompiling. Vertigo to spear head the magical defences. Mellie to sacrifice her sprites and herself to open the way. Once again the technomancers, are being used as part of Deus design to emerge. I wonder how coincidental, finding Lolo, was in retrospect.

I have military saying for you: if they wanted it done right the first time, they wouldn’t have come to me. Gauss rounds are particularly disruptive to integrated electronics, as they are magnetically charged slugs. It was that and the semi automatic action that made it a better choice then the more physically destructive, but, single shot Vigorous Assault Cannon. If things were not to my liking, I could shell the specual projects room, hopefully in time to prevent Deus from escaping onto the Matrix.

We had a small untapped arsenal in Ares manufactured UCAS military hardware. We did not talk about it. We did not use it in field operations. I suppose we could have on several occasions, but I wanted to save it for this day. Armour, Heavy weapons, drones, and pistols all still in their crates, waiting like dragon’s teeth to be planted.

It will be an open fight against several Mega Corps, Ares, MCT, and Renraku. Public Awareness is the price for this job. Elias Winter will not be able to buy a bus ticket after this, with out some back end flagging that name as being wanted for questioning or possibly as a wanted terrorist.

Against, that collection of adversaries there is no way to win in a toe to toe. So we fight this asymmetrically.

In the last season od Desert Wars. A striker team from EVO, a firm more known for it work on advancing meta humanity then known for it’s beefy military, held an oasis blocking the advance of a much larger and better equipped force of three battalions plus supporting elements, from Wuxing. The two major stages of fighting the engagement in the North African desert. The Wuxing leader never committed the resources necessary to achieve a victory. Only when the issue was nearly settled did it assume real significance in the mind of the Wuxing leader. It was in my desert wars season highlight clips.

The technique is to hit with enough force to keep the opponent off balance, and to force them to fight on the theater of your choosing.

I had flagged Vertigo to remove anything she valued from the square, as the Square is place. Vertigo began work on the wards.

I still prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.

I had a talk with Mellie. She understands the stakes. She is an opener, of a different sort.

When at the square, I have always publically deferred to Madam Chairwoman. All the staff know she is the boss. The Mastermind that called the operation. When the dust settles, I may be cast as Madam Chairwoman. top enforcer. Maybe a smart, detail-oriented administrators who oversee the day-to-day running of the evil organization. But, the heavy thinking and the dream to bring back Deus is all Madam Chairwoman. I will not say I am only following orders, but, I cast myself as merely the leader of Madam Chairwoman’s minions when Madam Chairwoman isn’t around.

I spoke to Emily. I tried to explain, but she has never read The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats. I am reminded of Kane, he has a reputation being crazy and a team killer, he typically hops from country to country finding expendable teams to work with. When, I began working at the square, I was never sure to whom Emily owed fealty. So, I began a slow and awkward campaign to turn her to my side. If I had more time, she might have been ready. But, I was out of time, so with her lights out and into a cab ride home.

I sent my car away with a load of things that should not be left as spoils on a battlefield.

Sentry drones with light machine guns, went online.

Vertigo and I dressed in Light Military grade armour. Bulky, and not subtitle, but the armor was probably lighter then the type worn by the troops arrayed against us.

Then I began reinforcing the doors with the freeze foam ‘Glop’. When I served, I had used Barrier Foam. This was a milder product, that I could repurpose to use that way.

The timer ticked down.

Torq and Dr. Jeep were in position.

Somewhere deep in the resonance, a place well beyond my reach in the matrix, at a place so deep that those who can travel there call it heaven, ascension relayed that opening of the way was beginning. It was bright sunny day, with a gentle wind from the west. It could have been mistaken for an ordinary day, until strike teams arrived.

The timer ticked down.

Last minute instructions to Vertigo, to be out the back door as soon as the outer “wall” was opened. Torc available to cover her escape, and had Dr. Jeep ready to make a get away. She should make it though the day, given those odds.

There is a case containing twenty packed Ares Light Fire 70 pistols and a case of Heimdal missiles, sitting in the special projects room. To be found to link Ascension with the Ares theft. Neatly beside it is a ARES branding military helmet taken from the body of a trooper on the last run. It will survive being inside the inner walls as planned. Ares should be upset at Ascension, after this.

They broke though the wall, and I dropped back, and sent the signal for Vertigo to exit.

I was not leaving yet, I was going to hold the position, deliberately in the building, and stayed in the building as long as I can. I was to hold the defenses until the timer ran down.

Sprits rushed in to attack the special project room wards, followed by drones to help dismantle my glop barriers.

I dropped back, and blew the front off the building. It was a deterrent so they are going to be cautious, and angry that Ascension cost them.

The timer ticked down.

I work up the rest of my drones, and brought online the rest of my explosives.

The timer ticked down.

I gathered the Gauss RIfle, and the HVAR.

The Ares Vigourous Assault Cannon, is left ready to be found by the post event investigation. I would have loved to have taken it but, this next step required mobility and two heavy weapons is recipe for reduced mobility. It was also in theory easier to replace then the gauss rifle.

The timer ticked down.

The timer ticked down.

Then the unexpected happened.

Ascension fled and burned the agent commlink. This was my cue to leave.

I have deliberately left enough ARES weapons and an ARES branding military helmet behind, so they will know Ascention’s operation was the one that stole them. Thus making Ares twice as mad at her.

Ascension is on record as the Chairwoman, funded the operation, Mr. Winter (now flagged as a Terrorist) was her clearly her subordinate, so by extension she is directly implicated as the ‘Mastermind’ behind the operation.

I do not know what the AI equivalent of lying low is, but Ascension will have to do it.

Even while leaving, I deliberately flattened the square except for the special project room. flashy, destructive and hopefully expensive for all the megacorps involved so they are motivated to follow up on Ascension.

In a trid, just blowing something up isn’t enough, proof of one’s apparent badass bombing technique can be seen when the bomber leaves himself barely enough time to escape the blast radius, usually just enough so that as he’s walking away, he’s silhouetted by the explosion itself

Well, that is not me. I had a near fatal explosion. The shock wave from the detonation blew me off my feet and into several immovable things.

But, due to the armour I survived and I staggered away the confusion.

When I was safe, I sent “shāh māt” (the King is dead) to the team so they knew.

“If crimefighters fight crime and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?” —George Carlin

So should if you happen to meet the terrorist Elias Winter, remember he is dangerous, especially to himself.



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