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Creation Date: January 28th, 2009 11:59 PM
Kilgs Kilgs is offline
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  #1 New March 27th, 2009 12:18 AM
311-992 on New Batu/Guadix Drift
The auditorium smelled like cold, wet towels that had been left in the corner for days. It was warm though with a couple hundred inebriated and energetic bodies swaying to the beat of music coming from the front of the room. The music was being pumped in by a cheap amplifier set on the old stage. It wasn’t strong enough to fill the room with sound but it was loud enough to be heard over the shouting and posturing of the students. The auditorium had seen better days and the old stage was cracked in several places despite being ferrocrete in foundation. All of the seats had been ripped out of the floor many years ago, making the floor an open pit of humanity. The entire neighborhood had the feeling of being looted in a riot and left to rot. Which was the antithesis of what had actually occurred here.

“No sign of Kitten yet.” The feedback from earbud squelched for a moment in her ear and she poked it twice to settle it down. The answer came back metallic-sounding from the distance. “Hold position. She’ll be there.” Like there was any doubt of that, Remella snorted. The entire auditorium floor, about 2,000 meters square, was full of garishly dressed and bedecked idiots just waiting for ‘her’ arrival. Perched on a small ledge that ran the length of the chamber about 3m off the ground, she hung her legs over the side and pretended to take another sip of the gim-juice in her hand. As her head tilted, a strand of electric blue hair fell into her eyes which did not improve her mood. She shook it out of the way and swung her eyes around the room professionally, taking in everything she could in the gloom.

In a crowd of a couple hundred, there were only about a dozen individuals she was concerned about. There were three at the main entrance, red tabards and bearing headsets, they were definitely armed. There were about six others spaced throughout the room keeping an eye on things and the heavy cloaks they were wearing likely covered hardware.

She scanned back to the stage and the two men standing sentry at opposite ends of it. Similarily dressed, she couldn’t see their faces through the red visors but the Sirelli 10mm SMG’s in their hands were displayed openly. The other, the worst one from her point of view, was concealed in the broken and hanging scaffolding in the ceiling. Where it once held lights and effects equipmrent, the years of disuse had turned it into a spiderweb of metal and cables. The sniper was up there, she had seen him crossing over to it earlier in the night, a long black bundle tucked under his arm. He would be the one that could cause the most trouble when things got started.

The people milling about were primarily in their late teens to early twenties, students or street punks for the most of them. She saw some gang colors bandied about in the crowd and sighed. Why was it always the worst causes that brought people together. The different groups down on the floor, jumping to that hard beat, wouldn’t look twice at each other in the street. The students, from several nearby academies, were dressed well in the latest fashion. Their electric hair and shimmering accessories contrasted with the grim look of the gangers.

Punctuated only by colored glyphs and symbols, the street gangs were keeping an almost visual line around them. The students were honoring it as if it were a velvet rope and the gangers didn’t seem too keen to cross it either. They may all have been here for the same reasons but there was still the lingering fear and hate between the two groups. She took note of several of the gang-glyphs near to her. Weyr had shown her some of them before she headed out and she recognized the sigils of the three gangers nearest her. The Diggers, according to Weyr, were one of the larger hate-gangs in the Empty Quarter of Downgraft. In existence for over twenty years, they had capitalized on the plunging economics to bolster their ranks and targeted their blame on the externals.

A shaft of light shot from the back of the room and spotlighted the red podium in the center stage. The music cut off without a warning and the entire room screamed in unison. The sound was strong, being right on top of it as she was, and she huddled back against the ledge-wall to cover her earbud.

“Showtime.” She whispered into the air, knowing that the earbud would pick up the vibrations from her throat.

“Roger. All units prepare. On Kite’s signal.” She hated that call-sign.

The light shifted around as a figure strode out from behind the plastic red curtains hung for the occasion. It was an older man, dressed conservatively but with a red cravat over his yellow shirt. He walked up to the podium and held his hands in the air, waiting for the clamor to die down. It took over a minute for all the voices to shriek their last and he stood patiently as he waited. He was an older, distinguished looking type with a short beard and broad features. Grayed hair helped with the image of the benevolent director of the show. As the sound whispered off, he turned a large smile to the group and shouted, with enhanced audio, into the room.

“WELCOME!” His voice echoed for a moment and then was carried away by a returned surge of human noise. “Welcome for this most important of nights, tonight.” His voice amplified up over the crowds enthusiasm. “Tonight we have brought young and old, rich and poor, all of you from different walks of life and pursuits. You don’t know each other and you have nothing in common… except one thing. You are all HUMAN!” The crowd roared in agreement and Remy began to tuck her legs under her on the ledge. The muzzle of the snub-nosed SMG dug into her back but she ignored it. Now was not the time to be adjusting gear.

“We are ALL human. Destined to inherit the stars and all that lies between. We have spent thousands of years out here in the black, striving forward with innovation and shedding our own blood to get where we are today. But are we recognized for that? Do others see what we have accomplished and give credit where credit is due? NO!” The crowd roared again, all of them being swept into his rabble-rousing speech. Remy had heard enough of them in her time and she shook her head at the response from the crowd. The man swung his hand over the audience.

“No, instead we face the loss of industry, jobs, wealth and our very dignity through the machinations of the externals! They have been invited into our empire and they bring nothing but misery. You all know what I am talking about. Each of you has felt alien influences on your future and your family. We stand here,” he gestured around the room. “In the heart of the Ley Sector, which was once a vibrant home for humanity. Now it is wreckage and ruin… first the industry left, then the jobs disappeared and finally, the people left. Downgraft’s future was here! It was a place of prosperity and of hope. But the externals, the bugs, have taken it away from us. All of that stops now. The Batu system has suffered under these externals and our allies have stretched forth their hand to come to our aid.” He gestured back into the curtains.

“The Humani Prime, people. Race-patriots and heroes in the Imperium have come to our aid. We have a very special guest here tonight. She has travelled many light-years to be here with us today and does with great risk. A savior of humanity, she has been driven underground by the very species that we seek to drive from our system. The Imperium does nothing as humanity becomes second-class and she has fought her entire life to change all of that.” A figure moved at the edge of the curtain and Remy saw the two guards perk up and focus their attention. It would be soon.
“It is my great honor, my great hope for this planet, that I introduce a true hero to you all.” He gestured backwards towards the curtain and the figure began moving. Remy’s hand tightened on the spiral harness hidden under her fax-cloak, the scaffolding hung loosely above her. “Humans! I give you the Margrave Ellima Dav Gorn!”

The crowd erupted as the woman strode into view. Flanked by another pair of crimson-garbed minders, she moved smoothly towards the podium. She was tall and graceful, her body was spare but filled the black suit that she wore onto the stage. The spotlight flickered over her and two matching crimson tears flashed from her earlobes. A touch of red here at the throat and there at the waist, she was dressed to perfection. Short dark hair, tight against the scalp framed the face that Remy had studied for the past three weeks. Impossible to see from here, her tight smile of satisfaction at her role in the universe, the blue eyes, and the spear tattoo against her cheek. The Margrave Dav Gorn’s face was festooned on political grids and e-lets everywhere. A political icon of the Humani Prime party, a segregationist and so-called race patriotic organization dedicated to driving the many externals into dust. The Party had blossomed under her patronage so far from the War. She had spearheaded campaigns on a number of worlds just like this one, using the problems of a system’s people to hammer home her point.

Remy whispered quickly as the woman took the podium to uproars and applause. “Kitten in play. Two additional spears on stage.” She checked the chrono at her wrist and readied the countdown. The two bodyguards weren’t her problem so she swiftly unwrapped the ejection portal on her belt and kept it covered from her neighbors. They were all on their feet anyways. “Spears counted.” Kestrel’s voice was sharp and she nodded to herself, a small smile at the InVitro’s role in all of this. Something always changed in an operation like this, a number of years in the service had taught her that. No plan lasted more than a nanosecond once the guns opened up.

The voice of the Captain buzzed in her ear. “Acknowledged. Countdown, 3-2-1-mark.”

01:00:00. Remy hit the fob on her chrono and watched as the numbers started racing. The seconds began to fly as she cast her gaze upwards. She could see the silhouette of the sniper tucked into a wedge of scaffolding. He was leaned back against one of the girders and the rifle was pointed straight in the direction of the podium. The crowd’s noise and lack of light hid him almost perfectly against the ceiling. Remy’s eyes gathered enough shed light from the spotlight to pick him out but she doubted anyone else in the audience would be able to. The Humani Prime Party had strong feelings about the use of gen-tech on pure strain humans. She checked her neighbors but they were oblivious to their surroundings, all of their attention focused on the stage.

00:33:13. Hundredths of a second flashed by as Remy leveled the mechanism against a girder that hung perpendicular to the sniper’s position. Even now, the others would be moving into position if the op hadn’t gone completely gel. She put a hand on the power-cell at her waist and flicked it on. At eight seconds, she would be ready to go.
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