PHD #197: A Tiny Little Hostage Situation
A Tiny Little Hostage Situation
Summary: A foot patrol has a little meet-and-greet with local SSLF forces.
Date: 2041.09.11
Related Logs: All Sagittaron logs.
Cora Kaz Tisiphone 

(OOC: Tisiphone's player here. The blockquoted poses were happening concurrent with the negotiations, und zo I've set them apart in hopes of making them easier to follow.)

Since the Cerberus crew has set down in Aera Yazd, a general routine has taken over. Bright and early comes the morning patrol, and the excursion out to that day's pickup location to rescue and/or wait for survivors. Following that, a Marine foot-patrol is sent out, turning over another section of the city in case anyone's left behind who has missed the radio transmissions and the pamphlets. Last but not least, the Vipers get their daily tour, while the heat of the day is too hot for anything else.

This morning, however, the routine has gone amiss. From the makeshift nerve center, there's a sudden commotion of voices, followed by several Marines moving out in all directions at top speed, searching for- "Captain Nikephoros? Captain Nikephoros!" The Private who locates the TACCO looks urgent, though not panicked, as he nods his head back toward Temporary HQ, hoping to guide her back that-a-way. "There's a situation you're required for."

Once she's extricated, he continues, voice quieter and not meant to carry. "Shots fired on patrol. There's been an explosion, and the group is split apart. No known casualties." The 'yet' hangs in the air, unspoken.

Cora is working, because there is work to be done and because honestly she does not really get any more tan that she already is. She is, therefore, easy to be found and quick to react to hearing her name, heading back with the marine towards Tihar camp headquarters, brows faintly tilted in her version of a frown all the way. She tilts her head to listen to that report, frown deepening into a recognizable expression, and inquires: "Where? And who is out on patrol? Who're we getting this report from?"

"Corporal Morisco's in charge. He reported shots fired approximately…" The Private glances down at his watch. "…six minutes ago. There was an explosion shortly after, and visuals were lost on three others in the group. Today's patrol was-" Four other names are listed; the three others comprising the Marine fireteam, and one the TACCO is more familiar with: Ensign Apostolos. "We've got their anticipated route on the map upstairs."

"I'd like to see that map," Cora replies immediately, as she heads in with the marine, "I assume we've already attempted to make radio contact with those unaccounted for?" She seems to take this for granted, moving on promptly to ask, "Did Corporal Morisco give a location? Do we have aircraft in the area?"

"On the ground but ready to fly, sir. Vipers are prepped for patrol, Raptors have returned from morning pickup. The Captain needs the map." The private's target of conversation changes abruptly between the two sentences; he points toward the table the Aera Yazd roadmap is laid out upon, even as he crosses toward it. Several permanent hotspots and points of interest have been marked upon it, large sections marked off and dated; other days' patrols, no doubt. "Morisco thinks they're here, Sir." A chewed fingernail stabs down on a convergence of streets, marked helpfully as 'BAZAAR'.

Over the radio, the sound of a few minor hells breaking loose: brief pops of automatic gunfire, both distant and near, shouts of, "Get DOWN!" and "Target, left high!" and others besides, all running together.

"Thank you, Private," Cora replies to the young marine as further info and map are both provided upon request. She moves towards the table and plants a palm on its surface, leaning over to eye the map as a whole first, before focusing in on the point specified. "Bazaar," she echoes, lips pursing faintly as if she might say more, but she does not, instead looking up and turning towards the radio at the sound of gunfire. "Did Morisco say anything about the enemy?" she asks, "What sort of artillery or organization we're dealing with? I want vipers out to get eyes on the area asap, but I'd like to know whether they should be anticipating RPG fire." She is silent for a brief moment, a finger lifted to drag along her jaw before she nods, "Scramble vipers regardless, just let them know what they're heading into, obviously."

"One RPG shot," reports one of the marines, one half of a headset held to his ear as he multitasks. "Assault rifles. More frakking SSLF if you're asking me, Sir. There's-" He stops short as a voice comes over the speakers, interspersed with more gunfire. "Marisco! Three of us here. They've got us pinned down. The officers and Williams are across the street. Gunfire, I'm hearing sidearms. Six confirmed hostiles. Orders?"

"Tell the vipers to go in as stealthily as they can," Cora amends her orders, "I want a picture of who's where, but I'd rather not tip them we have air support available just yet." As Marisco comes over the wireless she eyes that map and then picks up a wireless to reply, "Marisco, this is Nikephoros. Can you give me a sense of the enemy's disposition?"

"Frakking unfriendly, Sir, what does it sound like?" After a burst of gunfire, Marisco speaks again. "They're pinning us down here. I don't know what the frak they're doing to Williams and the officers, but we can't see a frakking thing. Alley behind is clear. We could-"

"Attention, Colonial Forces." A man's voice, thickly accented, comes in over the speaker, on one of the open, unencrypted channels. "We have three of your soldiers. Cease your firing immediately or they will be returned to you in pieces."

Long distance to Kaz: When you come to, you find yourself in a dimly-lit room — a cistern carved out of the rock beneath Aera Yazd, by the look and smell of it. Your hands are tied together, and tied to the pipes overhead. Your feet are tied together and can touch the ground, but barely. A Sagittaran man checks in, sees you're conscious, and a few minutes later, a few more of his pals join him in welcoming you back to consciousness with their fists. You think you can hear an argument — it may be Tisiphone's voice — echoing down the hallway from nearby.
Long distance to Kaz: One of the men really wants to kill you with the military-style combat knife he's got. He's a smug bastard, you know the type — a real badass as long as the other guy's tied up and can't fight back. The other two tell him to calm down and wait for the random demands.

From afar, Kaz: Eyes are open-wait Check that One eye is open. the other is swollen shut, and then his air is all but knocked out. And there goes his jaw, screaming at him as Kazimir is literally used again as a human punching bag. "Frak-" cursed out even as he's turning his head, only to get hit by another fist-Oh where the hell is he.. One of them-the smug frakker looks familiar. "I take it you guys don't like havin' yer arses kicked when you want a fella to surren-" ouch another jab and a hit to the gut- nice. Oh a knife. Laughing hoarsely-mainly to hide the fact he needs to spit out some blood. t seems he'll be regulated to talking when they want him to, right?

"I meant numbers and placement, corporal," Cora clarifies to Marisco. She listens with a faint grimace, and then begins to open her mouth to reply when that new voice cuts in from the speakers. Her head lifts and she turns towards them. A beat of hesitation and then she lifts the wireless to reply, "Marisco, Nikephoros. You and your men hold fire. Say again, hold fire."

Long distance to Kaz: "Colonial pigs." A thick gobbet of spit hits Kaz's cheek and starts dribbling down it. His dogtags are dragged out by a meaty fist, peered at, then thrown back at his face. "Name and rank. Tell us why we shouldn't kill you. Now." More angry Sagittaran, a male and female voice, echoing down the hallway. Whatever's said makes one of them glance toward the corridor and chuckle.

From afar: Kaz (Bro) groans there, even as the spit hits his cheek and dribbles down. He can slightly feel that-over all the other bits of pain he is going through right now. A shake of his head, and he is looking back to you with that one eye. "My name is Kazimir Meszaros." odd name for someone with a Leonisian accent. "Rank- Lieutenant Junior grade." and there's a half blood smile that he does give to the other. " By th' Libran convention that's all I am required to give you..However.." and there even after having his ass kicked he is still..How do they say- arrogant? Faux bravdo most likely. "I need t' learn whatever it is you all speak…What' th' name of your language?" yes he is asking you lovely members of the SSLF this.

There's a moment of silence before Marisco can be heard calling, "Hold your fire! Stay down, eyes on the alley, make sure they don't come around." Then, with a bit of reluctance, "Copy that, Sir. Holding fire."

"Thank you," comes the accented male voice again, overtop a stream of unintelligible Sagittaran behind him. The words are close; it sounds like a small room. "Do not follow us. We will have our ransom demands as soon as your soldiers answer our questions. Please keep this channel open." With that, the channel goes dead.

"Orders, Sir?" Marisco again. "We've got movement across the street. No shots fired."

"I need someone who speaks Sagittaran in here now," Cora tells one of the marines nearby, this not broadcast over the wireless, obviously, "Anything they can get out of that background babble I want ASAP. What's the story on those vipers?" To Marisco after a moment she replies, "Stand down, corporal. We're letting them go for now. Did you take any of these bastards out? Search the area see if you can pull anything useful off a corpse if we've got any."

Long distance to Kaz: "Pig. It's not for offworlders." The man's dark eyes flash as Kaz's legs are swept, and the opportunity taken to use him for a pinata a few more times. At least it's fists, and not crowbars, right? As it abates, one of them looks aside and says, "Tell him we've got a Lieutenant and an Ensign." One of the fellows vanishes down the corridor.

From afar: Kaz (Bro) coughs then for a moment. "How am I to tell you how t' frak off.." Oh well the his legs are being swept. Oh damnit. Now comes the beatings. Even as he is trying to clench his abs, the blows-they still hurt like a right frakking bastard. he's gritting his teeth-even if he's strangling down rather guttural cries of pain, given that he's not ready to yell. Not just yet. But he's getting there. Don't worry. "Frakkin' cocksucker.." Ah there it is.

It's a small eternity of six or eight minutes before the radio crackles back to life. In that time, the Vipers are scrambled, streaking over the now-silent marketsquare, and the minigun-and-missiles Raptor is made ready for takeoff. The (presumed) SSLF have, perhaps strangely, not ambushed the remaining three patrol members — and Marisco has nothing to report but blood marks consistent with a bullet strike, as well as assault rifle and Five-seveN ammo casings.

"We'd like your gunboat, Colonials," the man begins. "Fueled up. Crew compartment filled with replacement ammunition and missiles. You'll set it down in the market we caught you at. The pilot will NOT leave until we've checked the cargo. IF you can follow instructions, your pilot may leave and we'll give you your officers back. Are we understood?"

Long distance to Kaz: Some sort of sharp order is given from the corridor, and the morale-increasing beatings stop, the men stepping back from their sport. A thin man, older, with silver-shot hair, steps forward with some sort of remote radio transmitter held in his hands. "Lieutenant," he says to Kaz, holding the microphone out toward him. It's old and shoddy, held together in a few spots with electric tape. "Tell your friends we haven't taken you apart yet."

"Who wouldn' like a gunboat?" Cora replies into the wireless, tone somewhere between dry and flip, "I hear you. But we don't exactly have gunships and missiles lying around, as you may have noticed. And before I put my people to the effort of trying to pull something together for you, I'd like to know who I'm speaking to, and I'd like to hear from my officers to verify they're alive. I'm sure you know the drill."

Wireless muted again, she asks, "I don't suppose the vipers see anything? Have we got any likely hide-outs? within five to ten minutes of the bazaar? Who's been through this area before?" she asks, eyeing the map for any notations made by other patrols through the neighborhood.

From afar: "Thank HeKate. Oh mistress.." murmured before he is spitting blood out to his aggressors. His head hangs down as that dull throb in his arms gets increasingly worse. And so when he's turning his head- eye tries to focus in on the microphone like thing in front of him-before he's looking to the old man. "Go frak a pig, you wrinkly.." but the rest is seemingly a mutter. Yes, they haven't taken him apart yet. Goody. However incase beatings come "Name. Kazimir Meszaros. Rank, Lieutenant Junior grade. Serial: 5463201 November Kryptir Hotel…"

"Nothing yet, Sir," says the marine with an ear to the Viper comms. The map shows foot patrols having ranged out near the marketsquare, but not having cleared it before. No activity spotted in previous air patrols, according to further notes. Added to a few nearby streets in a small, tidy hand are notations and arrows reading 'POSSIBLE TUNNELS -T. APOST'

"You have at least one, and we'd like it," comes the man's response. "Good officers are rare. I'm sure you'd like these back. They sound very." Pause. "Loyal." The sound of footsteps can be heard, as well as more voices nearing. Grunts of pain. Punching. "Lieutenant." The man's voice grows distant. "Tell your friends we haven't taken you apart yet."

Kaz's pained voice can be heard, a few seconds later. "Name. Kazimir Meszaros. Rank, Lieutenant Junior grade. Serial: 5463201 November Kryptir Hotel…"

The voice continues.. "By th' orders of the Libran Convention- that is all I am required to give…I am an officer of the Colonial Navy-and I will be treated by th' articles concerning prisoners of war…If you want more.." Kaz mutters "I can frakkin' repeat myself till I am blue in the godsdamned face." Apparently he's not fully aware that this transmission is live and feeding to his compatriots.

"Alright, I want a raptor in the air scanning this area," Cora orders the marines, "High enough to avoid detection from the ground, thank you. Have we got any survivors picked up from Aera Yazd still in the camp? Any you can find or get in touch with on Cerberus, ask about tunnels in this general region. Don't let on it's urgent or what for or anything. Oh, and alert the XO to the situation, someone." Then she's back listening to the radio, the mute still on as she directs, "Somebody double-check Meszaros's serial number, see if that matches." As Kaz continues, she clicks the frequency back on and replies, "Meszaros, can you hear me? This doesn't count unless I can verify it isn't a recording."

"Hmnh?" Yes that would be Kaz's voice again crackling over the airwaves "Cor-Cap'n." nice switch there that somehow he has the mental capacity to make even as his head is currently swimming. "I can read you. th' old frak with the thingie is still here..Saya again Captain..I can read you."

"The Enemy Combatant Articles? Oh, Lieutenant." The man's voice all but drips with black humour. "Those aren't for the likes of us. You're happy now — Captain? — I trust? We've got your Ensign over here, if you'll give me a moment…" He utters something in Sagittaran-

"'Don't ruin him yet', he said," says a marine, the summoned Sagittaran speaker.

-and then falls silent for twenty or thirty seconds. "Ensign. Say hello to your friends." Tisiphone's words follow, her voice thin: "Hiii Mommmm, camp sucks, wish you were he-" The words trail off into the distance as the man starts walking again. "How long before we can expect our gunboat?"

"I believe you have one more," Cora points out, "And I'd like them each to describe their current health status," the captain replies, "Don't worry, I promise to find the catalog of injuries you've done them compelling." Her grim expression does not match her sardonic tone and at the question about the gunboat she replies, "At least an hour. I have to convince my superiors these two are worth it, first of all, which I imagine will take some time, and then a ship will have to be retrieved and loaded as you've requested. To whom should I have them make out the card?"

There's another burst of Sagittaran, translated as, "Name, he wants his name," by the Marine.

"Your… Williams is resting, I'm sorry to say, and your Ensign… she's busy right now. Melpomene set a terrible impression for us, I realize, but I assure you: fulfill your end of the bargain, and you'll get all three officers back in useful condition. We want your gunboat, not your revenge hailed down on our heads." The sound of more whisking footsteps, as he concludes: "We'll speak again in an hour, Captain. Please don't force my hand." Silence.

Long distance to Kaz: As the salt-and-pepper-haired man strides away again, the smug, hateful man with the knife steps forward, touching the point of the blade under Kaz's chin to try and force him to crane his neck up. "An hour, pig," he hisses. "So what if I can't ruin you? I can still make you scream." One of the others — who has taken up a distant spot, leaning back against the stone, lighting up a cigarette — mutters, under his breath, "Don't. Ruin. Him. This is important."

From afar: Kaz strains as his chin is forced up, and he merely swallows. "Right." said back to the other man-before he is looking back over to the fellow lighting the cigarette, and eyes are back onto KNife Happy. A ragged sound in his throat. "Mate-" said back. "Only screaming I do, is when I am frakkin' your mother in the ass..Apparently she likes pig squeals.." Alright now that's it..He's holding his breath, because this will get ugly, right? Right.

<an hour or so later…>

It's a long hour, for all involved. It's noon, or nearly so, when the minigun-and-missile'd Raptor flies low over the ruined city toward its landing-spot — the seemingly-abandoned marketplace with a tangle of roads leading out from it. It lands in a storm of grit and dust in the middle of the clearing, obscuring the tense face of the pilot.

"Good. Very good," says the man with the salt-and-pepper hair, over the radio. "We'll be there to check its cargo in a moment. In the meantime, some of your spotters-" For assuredly there are more eyes upon the scene than either side admits to. "-might find this location interesting:" He lists an intersection; it doesn't take long to find it, it being only five or six blocks away from the market.

Somewhere beneath that intersection, Kaz and Tisiphone are being prodded forward at gunpoint, along a dimly-lit tunnel. Neither of them is moving fast, especially with the unconscious weight of Williams — still having not regained consciousness since the rifle-butt to his face — being shared between them. Now and again their direction will be roughly corrected with a jerk to an arm and a fresh shove.

He can feel himself being moved along, but that doesn't mean Kaz is at all in shape to be moving like he is. Blood is caked on his face and other places-Luckily he's not bled out yet. However he is stopping on the way to take time to puke some bile and nasty-ness from his stomach-which hurts more than normal. Right. Not happy. Not happy at al. He'll even sink to his knees and make sure to get right down in it, in order to wretch some more, before he is being roughly jerked up and shoved along. Eyes, are somewhat closed.

"Sorry.." muttered to Tisiphone as he will try and do better about helping with Williams. Okay, Worst. Detail. Ever. still stands for today.

"Spotters? Us? I've no idea what you're talking about," Cora replies dryly into the radio while with a gesture dispatching air support and marines to get eyes on the area. The Raptor, in the mean time, lands in the place directed, the pilot sitting in the front seat and barely resisting the urge to fidget as he waits. The spotters who surround that intersection wait while a Raptor waaaay up high scans, to try to figure out where the hostages might be coming from.

Tisiphone wasn't ever far away from Kaz, given the savage-sounding Sagittaran that echoed down the corridor from Elsewhere(tm), but it wasn't until the 'merchandise swap' was arranged that the two of them saw eachother. The SSLF is an equal-opportunity terror corporation, apparently — though not carved with knifeslashes like Kaz, she too looks like she was strung up and left to dangle for a lot of fists. "Y'know," she rasps, swaying under William's weight while Kaz sinks down to retch again. "XO said. Said he wanted. Shore leave. Here." Her words are forced out on tiny, painful breaths. "Think. 'f we make it. We kick his ass." No optimism that the end of this tunnel leads to salvation, for her.

Harsh words, from one of the gun-wielding men behind the trio. "Hurry. Faster." Kaz is shoved forward as soon as he starts climbing back to his feet — for surely the best way to make a staggering man move faster is to test his balance — and the lurching tangle of footsteps continue. Up ahead, the corridor is half-collapsed, choked with stone and shattered bricks. Sunlight spills in down a roughly-hewn stairwell.

"Blind trust on your part, Captain? I think not. One moment, please." There's more Sagittaran in the background, translated as, "He says, go ahead, check it," and the reports come in seconds later of six men in battle-armour and assault rifles, closing on the Raptor. Four of them remain outside, roughly circling the ship, scanning the nearby buildings, while the other two climb into the cargo/crew compartment, and begin their check.

"Raptor's reporting they might have them, Sir," Cora is informed. "Picking up biological readouts beneath the intersection."

"Dare I ask what you're planning to do with it?" Cora replies, nodding to the marine with that biological report and muting the comm to add, "Tell everyone there to stand by. No grabbing them early or taking shots at the captors unless I say." Then she's back on the wireless, suggesting, "I don't suppose you're planning to use it to go remind Melpomene how things are done? Trouble in paradise, maybe? It's got to happen now and then with nine wives, after all. Or however many are left."

And there he goes skittering and pitching back down. A nice face plant to go with the butcher's job on him. "Thanks asshole.." The Lieutenant manages, to meekly, mutter. And now he will be trying to get his ass back up. How are you supposed to help someone with a body when you're getting your ass tossed around. "Give me a frakking second.." He's getting up-really and he will move as fast as his carved ass can carry him-which is not very.

Kaz is turning his head then towards Tisiphone. "I really hate this place, and it's people right now.." present Colonial saggie company excluded. "How much further?"

"I see. Sunlight," murmurs Tisiphone, staring blearily at the bright stairwell with the less-swollen of her two eyes. "So. Either they let us go. Or they. Take us up there. Shoot us for an audience. C'mon. Almost there." Drag. Lurch. Limp. Drag.

The footing gets more treacherous for them both — but the armed men behind them stop at the bottom of the stairwell and gesture forward with their assault rifles. Not interested in poking their heads out, themselves. "Climb. Wait at the top. Run and we shoot you."

There isn't an answer to Cora's inquiry for some time. It's not until the Colonial pilot is left to climb out of the Raptor and starts to jog off toward the edge of the market, and the six men start arming the minigun, that he speaks again. "Might makes right, Captain, and fresh resources are difficult to come by. Surely you understand. I wouldn't think to bore you with the details of our little squabbles…" Indistinct voices in the background, the Sagittaran translator shaking his head in frustration. "So far, so good. You should be seeing your precious officers in a moment."

"What, run through what you took from the abandoned colonial armories already?" Cora asks, tongue clicking against teeth, "You ought to be more careful with your supplies. There aren't really more where those came from, after all." She nods to the marine who reports the pilot has gotten to safety, and adds, "You've finished your checks. I want to see those officers now, if you're hoping to fly that ship out of here."

Trip skitter, and there he goes, waiting at the top. Kaz, doe shis best to help with Williams, as he just stands there. There's almost a look back to the guy behind him, before he is looking forward. "I can't run if I wanted to, jackass.." Okay so it's a weak word that's given. A dry heave, but at least he's not bowling over again. "Just shoot me already if you're going to do it. I'm too tired right now to resist." Also too stabbed. Eyes squint in the light before he's leaning in a little, trying to raise williams into a more comfortable position on his shoulder. "Frak me.."

"Don't fall over. Don't fall over," Tisiphone mumbles, as if by repeating it she makes it easier for Kaz to follow. On a wincing sigh, a few more words are sneaked out, barely audible. "Might haveta run." She's looking around at the rooftops and just above them, trying desperately to spot a friendly face. Or bird. Or both.

Click-clack goes one rifle in the stairwell, then another. No bullets follow.

"I'm not hoping to fly it out of there, Captain, I am about to." One of the six men at the Raptor has settled into the pilot's seat, and seems to be preparing the gunboat for a hasty lift-off. "Your precious officers should be waiting for you where I said they would."

"Tell the men guarding the officers to run along," Cora replies into the wireless after verifying, "And you can have your precious Raptor. Much good may it do you until you die of radiation poisoning in a month or so. Say hello to darling Melpomene for us." One of the marines positioned on a roof near the intersection peeks out over the top enough for Tisiphone to see, and then a fireteam or two on the ground begin advancing towards the building slowly.

"I won't.." Kazimir murmurs as he keeps a good hold of Williams. Sadly, Kaz is devoid of seeing anyone moving in on them, or their position. Right now he is trying to keep his head down so as not to have his eyes throb due to the sun light. Also- being stabbed in this heat? Miserable. "If they do shoot me, can you tell them in their language to at least burn my corpse?" He wants HeKate rites.

"Does it. Look like they listen. Just because I'm Sagittaran?" comes Tisiphone's weak crack to Kaz, throwing a wry look from one bruised face to the other. "Don't. Worry. They burn everyone." She refrains from adding that the lucky ones are dead before it happens.

"Home to your trough, pig," comes a voice from down the stairwell — the smug bastard with the knife, the one who enjoyed his time with Kaz ever-so-much. "Go. Forward. Leave. Or we shoot you." Perhaps 'or we shoot you' is the SSLF's version of 'please'. A few shooing gestures are made with their rifles, before they start to back down the corridor. It's only a few steps before they're gone from sight.

"Done, and done, Captain," says the man with the salt-and-pepper hair. The repossessed Raptor takes off, a little unsteadily, and climbs only a short distance before it heads south, toward the bomb-flattened downtown. "A pleasure doing business with you. I trust I won't be hearing from you again." The sound of more Sagittaran in the background is cut off as the radio goes dead.

"Move out, meet up back at…" the translator says, trailing off with a shrug. It's as far as the transmission went.

"No, you won't," Cora replies, even if the radio has gone dead. Those marines move in to surround the building and then enter, circling around Kaz and Tis and Williams, checking down that tunnel even though the Raptor can already verify the pair with the rifles have moved off. The pilots are relieved of their Williams-burden, and hussled off to a Raptor that is landing nearby, having appeared almost from nowhere, having been hidden nearby.

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