PHD #413: EVENT - Divided We Fall
Divided We Fall
Summary: With some help, Cerberus brass makes a jailbreak.
Date: 15 Apr 2042AE
Related Logs: All 15 April logs.
Pewter Mark Damon Burke Madilyn Oren Marduk Cidra Bia Polaris Volans NPC 
Main Brig - CEX Areion
There's bars, guards, and corpses.
Post-Holocaust Day: #413

It's been almost an hour since they were thrown in here and the brig is starting to stink.

It's not the bodies — not Commander's Laughlin's bone-white corpse, which remains flexible and soft to the touch; not Captain Williamson's still-ruddy one, his brains leaking out from holes at the front and back of his skull. No, the room smells like shit because the dead men's bowels have released whatever's inside, expelling impurities from within as their final unconscious act. It's almost as if the gods are divesting their bodies of all things unholy, raising them up as temples: though to what is anybody's guess.

1549, says the clock on the wall. And three shadows loom behind the bars, their smooth lines accented by the fully automatic rifles held close to each chest.

Cidra remains out like a light on the floor of the cell. In addition to her blackened right eye and a shallow cut on her temple above it, Good Gracious Bia reports the CAG likely has a concussion from her little encounter with the end of Lieutenant Colonel Baer's pistol. She'll not be waking anytime soon.

Burke looks over towards the corpses and frowns, wrinkling his nose a little, from his hunched over, seated position against the walls. He draws his knees up closer against his chest, peering over the top of them at the other prisoners who aren't leaking gray matter and crapping all over the floor, "Anyone got th' time?"

Mark has been mostly quiet for the last half hour since seeing another person executed. The anger is back and he just seems to be stewing on it. There's no reply apparent to Burke's question but he looks up towards the shadows near the cells, lips pursing.

The shock of the last execution is fresh, but Madilyn deals with it by standing at the edge of the cell and staring down the marines outside, rather than looking at the corpses. "1549, Ensign. Clock right there on the wall," she says flatly.

Adding to the smell of death and waste is the smell of Damon's vomit, already a familiar scent to some. He kept his composure when Laughlin was killed, but after Williamson was shot, he hurled in the corner. He sits on the floor with his back up against a wall, arms dangled on his knees, glumly marking the time until the next execution. The shadows are here again; it's time. He gets back up on his feet. If he's going to be shot, he'd rather be standing for it.

One tall and stocky shadow reaches up to its headpiece, pressing it into its left ear so its owner can hear what's said. The shadow's lips move in something that's undoubtedly a "Wilco, out" before keys clang in the brig's old-fashioned lock. The electronic one disengages a moment later, revealing a pair of hard-looking Marines led at the front by a new face that might be familiar to some: "I'm Master Sergeant Oren, sirs," grunts Areion's Master-at-Arms. "Ami's taking a little smoke break, so it's me who has to do the deed this time. Cover them." The last order is snapped off without hesitation as he begins to stalk the rows of prisoners, looking for one in particular. He finds her without any problem whatsoever: a tall and bony brunette staring straight ahead through her elegant and expensive glasses. "Major," says Oren, snapping off a salute. "Come with us, please."

Unsteadily, Calliope Marshall-Nicander finds her footing, her brown eyes blank as she's pushed forward. Thin lips part in a silent prayer to her gods while Oren reads the charges the hostages now can recite by memory: sedition, mutiny, and collaboration with the enemy.

"Oh gods," someone murmurs from the corner, before he presses his hands to his face and draws his legs to his knees. And — miraculously — the words are echoed by one of the two Marines Oren's ordered to hold her. His tight grip loosens ever so incrementally as he looks at his superior, about to register his protest verbally before a single bullet pierces his body armor and sinks into his heart, rendering that objection moot. Smoke rises from the tip of the sergeant's pistol as he sets it against the major's head. "All honors to your service," he says gruffly.
The rest, you know.

Burke may either be taking things extremely well, or in a state of shock. Either way, he simply nods his head dumbly in response to the time. He drums his fingers on his knees, suppressing the urge to ask someone to double-check on their wristwatch. He opens his mouth to take a deep breath, momentarily forgetting the current atmosphere of the cell, and turns a sickly shade - burying his face in his folded arms. His head jerks up when the marines arrive, eyes wide and he doesn't say a thing as the execution is carried out. His whole body jolts with the sound and he buries his face in his arms once again, murmuring a prayer of his own. A hymn of some sort, under his breath.

"Good to know someone of any importance has the balls enough to show their face down here, sergeant," Madilyn sneaks in as the marines open the cell and before they find their target. Like the others, attention is turned toward the execution squad, as it were. Her features are set and she stands tall, turning to look at the condemned woman, trying to offer a look of sympathy or comfort before the shot - the second shot rings out. When the woman crumples, Madilyn winces and shuts her eyes for a moment…but the little weakness the other marine showed is tucked away in memory.

Mark struggles to his feet, faltering slightly against the pain. He's at least bruised a few ribs being brought down here. When they enter the Captain watches them move for a Major and he shakes his head. That sick feeling in his stomach again as the charges are read and he flinches, not quite expecting that first shot into the Marine. Then the next into the Major. Mark looks directly at Oren. "Bet your family is real proud of you." That tone is biting. "You're a frakking idiot. By this logic, you should kill everyone on this ship to save them from dying. Or just kill kids to save them from a potentially worthless death. You're a real piece of work. Do your uniform real proud." Mark haucks a bloody loogie and spits it right on Oren's chest. Or at least tries.

Damon's response is a little more passive than Madilyn and Mark's. He watches, face blank and pale as the Marine and then the Major is killed, closing his eyes as she crumples to the floor. Another one gone. Then he sits back down on the floor in the same position as before to wait out the time until the next execution, numb and silent. Well, mostly silent. He looks up to the Marines and says quietly, "Hey. Can one of you get me some water, please?"

There's another groan from Cidra as the shot goes off, and her lashes flutter as if she's making some attempt to open her eyes. She fades as quickly as she semi-came to it, however.

As the echo of those shots quiets, an alarm can be heard, distantly, somewhere across the ship. Just as it begins to register in ringing ears, it is joined by dozens more. It sounds as if every alarm that a military ship could possibly be outfitted with is suddenly going off at once. It's really frakking loud.

"I'll see what I can do, Chief. And say whatever you want — it won't change a thing." Oren steps back from the woman's limp body. He doesn't make any move to wipe the blood from his blacks — blood of his comrade and the officer both, which drips from his body armor as he begins to make for the hatch. Making sure to keep his gun trained on anybody who might decide to start something, of course. "Because I'm the one who has to live with — the frak?!" The older man's eyes dark backwards toward the hatch, seeking out the source of the clamor. "Someone turn that shit off — now. If Supply's running a fire drill right now I swear I'll have their testicles out and — " Well, the rest can be implied.

Burke's ears almost visibly prick up at the sound of the alarms, glancing out of the cell and then back towards the assembled department heads. The look on his face is a hopeful one, eyes wide although he doesn't smile - he probably won't smile again for a long while. He does venture another question, however, voice quavering just a touch, "Think they're coming to rescue us?"

"Hub, Hitman Two-One," the other Marine is already saying into his wireless, his voice quick and calm. "Dispatch another squad to the brig, say again, dispatch another squad, over."

Mark lifts a hand to hand and point a finger at Oren's face and insult some more. Why not? He was just told to say what he wanted. But the man backs off and he's not looking anymore. They're gonna die? Die fighting, godsdamnit. That could be a rescue team! Mark steps forward and moves to bring his hand down hard on the MaA's sidearm and put everything he's got into trying to shove the Marine backwards like a running back might lean into a tackle. It probably hurts like shit, and is gonna hurt a lot more, but screw it. All or nothing.

The marine goes down, then the alarms go off. Oren looks distracted, and for that brief moment that all the marines are turning to look up at the ceiling at the klaxons, Madilyn makes a move for the downed marine's weapon. Mark surges forward, one more thing to occupy their attention, throw off their lines of sight, and hopefully give her an extra half a second or more to get the thing - hopefully the straps won't tangle around his shoulder - and start to turn the tables. From her standing position near, but not directly next to, the squad, she has to take a step then drop to her knees to get the rifle.

"WOOOOOOO!" Though almost lost in the din, that, ladies and gentlemen, is no siren. From outside in the hall comes an unmistakeable cry, and then shots fired. This time, though, they're directed at Oren and his team.

Marduk has arrived.

Damon jumps up to his feet as soon as Mark rushes the Marine. Not that there's much for him to do at the moment, but he'll be a frakking meat-shield for the one of them that has the gun if he has to be. "Is there a mutiny against the mutiny?" he asks incredulously as he hears shots fired.

Burke immediately climbs to his feet when the fighting starts and while a little unsteady he at least doesn't fall on his face. He clenches his fists in front of him in the sort of basic hand-to-hand fighting stance taught by the military but not elaborated upon by any sort of experience.

Oren's sharper than that, you silly engineer. With surprisingly fast reflexes he's raising his gun hand to bring the butt of that pistol down on Mark, aiming to make the man the second department head pistol-whipped aboard this ship. But as he grunts with the effort of repelling the man's assault, his head explodes in a fine pink mist. The man's body drops to the ground to reveal, behind him, a snarling — Colonel Pewter?

"My grandpappy's grandpappy was a farmer," the portly man bellows, clearing the chamber of his shotgun with a snap-click. Beside him stands implacable Ionis, who drills Oren's buddy with three rounds, only one of which hits the target. But it's enough to send the man sprawling to the ground, blood seeping from his arm. "And now this ol' dog's gonna farm some lead 'fore he kicks that godsdamned bucket! Let's go, let's go, let's go!"

Kneeling over the body of the first downed Aerion marine, Madilyn can only look up in what is no less than abject…amazement at the sight playing out before her. Mostly, it's the image of a shotgun wielding bowling ball of a man blasting the gray matter out of Oren's head. "C-colonel?" she questions, standing up to look at the arrival of…some rather unlikely saviors.

Mark finds himself falling onto a Marine that's going down easier than expected. One with no hand. WTF!! He rolls away and off of the man, clutching his sides and growling in pain. "Frak!" he belts, hissing as he tries to roll to his knees to see Pewter with a shotgun. And Ionis. "Sweet shit, man!" he breathes in disbelief. "Where the hell did you get a squirrelgun?!" He has to lean against the wall to stand properly before he can rise. He isn't crippled but he ain't standing tall for awhile.

Damon holds up his arms in front of his face to cover himself from the spray of the Marine's head. Too late, of course; it's all over him. He wipes away at his face and opens his eyes to see their rescuers, and spends a moment dumbstruck in awe. Then gathers his wits about him and follows the instruction to go, go, go.

At the sight of Colonel Pewter and the shotgun, Burke blinks a few times. He opens his mouth to say something, perhaps a thanks or even a greeting, but in the end it's something else entirely. Beau Burke has never sworn in his entire life, not a single bad word. But, well, all he can say right at this moment is: "Holy shit." And with that said, he does what he's told and hauls ass along with everyone else.

"WOOOO!" There it is again. Even over all the sirens, it comes through loud and clear, and the follow-up is louder still, "WOOHOOHOOOOO!" Louder, that is, because there is Lieutenant Gabriel "Fiasco" Marduk sticking his head around Pewter's shoulders. He's got two Marines behind him and… yeah, an armful of guns, which he steps out from behind the CO to let people at. "Merry Frakking Solstice, mother frakkers!" he laughs, "Grab a gun and let's get a Gods-damned move on here! WOO!"

"Ain't everybody on this godsdamned ship a perfidious sumbitch like Kepner," roars Pewter, his habitual chuckle suddenly grim. "Don't y'all just be standin' there gogglin' like y'all just saw Miss September strippin'. Y'all'll get debriefed later — all y'all, hear?" The man hefts his shotgun in his hands as he loosens the buckle on his grey dress pants. For better ease of movement, see. "We're splittin' up — twenty stormin' the corridors and I'll might make some grits 'fore we're through them stairs. Cerberus people, on me — El-Tee Muscle Man's gonna lead, and we just shoot anything we see. Praetorian, Corsie — y'all hold the line with these two boys here and move once we've carved y'all a path." Then, joining Fiasco in that chorus of "WOOOO," his rumbling baritone sets the bulkheads rippling as old man Gravel moves out.

As the brass clear the brig, the sound of sirens only gets louder — sirens signifying malfunctioning airlocks, hull breaches, uncontrolled fires, and the like. It's almost as if someone switched on every single alarm aboard the escort carrier at once, the end result of which is more than loud enough to force words to be shouted, not spoken. The Security Hub itself is a mess of bodies: most Marines inside had been dispatched to the hangar to repel a possible boarding action, and the squad unlucky enough to be there when Fiasco did his thing now lies on bloody desks and slippery floors. There's only one hatch leading out — "And then just two decks down to the flight deck," one of the Areion Marines advises. "We'll be right behind you, sir!"

Madilyn doesn't need to be told twice. Weapon offered, weapon taken. In addition, she points at the downed marines, then at Bia, Damon, Cidra. "Armor…take it. They sure as shit aren't going to be needing it anymore, and you three - two - aren't soldiers." The one thing she does take from one of the downed marines for her own is additional ammunition, claiming the web vest for her own, to go with the rifle she takes from Marduk. The first thing she does is check the magazine, check the chamber, and unsafety that thing. Gravel's a man on a mission, and she's not going to be the one to interfere.

Burke does what he's told, fetching up a rifle and looking down the sights. He checks for ammunition and pilfers another two clips from one of the dead marines; slotting them into his belt before giving the weapon one more check to make sure it's in firing condition. Satisfied, he turns to the others and practically beams. The horror of the cell seems to have seconded itself somewhere deep in his brain to cause him trouble later.

Mark holds the gun like a foreign object. He hasn't nailed a pistol since he had to do his OCS classes months ago. But apparently he's shot a shotgun before. He knows how to work that a little better which is probably evidenced by the look he gave the originally offered pistol. But the man moves with all the agility of an oil-coated swan trying to take flight.

Damon takes a rifle; while he's no real marksman, he figures he's better with a weapon he's at least handled poorly before rather than a weapon he's never used in combat. He fumbles with the dead Marines' armor and eventually manages to get it on himself decently enough. "Ready when you are, sir." His voice lacks its usual high-spirited enthusiasm, replaced instead with grim determination.

Marduk has a pistol in hand, himself, and he slings an extra rifle over his back. It's possible it's just for show, because he fiddles with the strap as he moves, making sure it's placed just so. "You hear the big man, people!" he shouts, "Let's get a move on! WOO! Nice choice on the double-barrel, dude," he approves to Mark as they go before beaming at Madilyn, "And you, rifle? Hot. Chicks with rifles are fiiiine. You should steal a helmet, baby, don't want nothing happening to that pretty face, now do we, WOOO! LET'S GO SHOOT SOME SHIT!"

Pewter gives the Security Hub one last look, his gaze lingering on the bodies piled up in a perverse reflection of that black pyramid on Kepner's table. For a moment, his brows knit together and he looks every bit his age — but then he shakes off his foul mood and forces that boisterous smile back onto his face, running with his body low as Fiasco leads the way.

Down the corridor they go as the sirens scream and scream, their boots pounding in syncopated time on the deck beneath them: only one of them is a Marine, after all, and the rest never learned much of anything about marching in time. And as they run the sudden rumble of firing guns makes itself known, rattling the walls and shaking the ground with the report of flak cannons firing all at once. Fiasco muscles some deckhands out of the way as he runs past, some of whom actually cheer him on before making as if they didn't see shit; Pewter sends another blast of fire through the body of a pilot making for his sidearm. It's easy going until the stairs — where six Areion Marines en route to the hangar bay, having heard the report of gunfire, now dig themselves in behind a barricade of hastily-arranged boxes. "Y'all get to cover!" Pewter orders, making a running dive for the ground to get to a box of his own, his heart hammering in his chest. "Gods damn!" he yells. "Y'all see this shit here, Captain B? This shit here's frakkin' CARDIO!"

Mark can't believe this guy in front of him. 'Dude'? Mark instantly wants to ask the guy where he's from and buy him a beer. But right, yes, back to the problem at hand. "Good times," he grumbles, walking with the shotgun in one hand and the other holding his right side as he walks off with the rear of the pack to follow Pew-pew-pewter and Wooduk. When they come up on fire, Mark ducks down a box, moving slowly as the man is already injured. He sticks the shotgun out from the side of the crate and fires blind.

Bullets prang off the crate Mark fell behind and he ducks his head as he fires. "Frak!" he hisses again to the strain on his ribs. His other hand racks the forestock on the shot gun and he sticks the gun around again, this time leaning a smidge with it to try and aim worth a dang.

While there's something inherently flattering about compliments from a pilot who seems to be about half her age or thereabouts, Madilyn takes it all in stride. "Nothing's going to happen to my pretty face. You just worry about keeping your own ass safe." She's pushing onthe back of his shoulders and following folks out into the hall. The sight of the other marines - and the diving Pewter - sends her dashing towards cover as well. Peeking out from behind the crates, she lines up on the nearest marine and lets a burst fly, striking each time. Combined with Marduk, he drops to the deck rapidly…before somthing stings into her right arm. It twists her and makes her hiss in pain, but it's light - not enough to keep her from engaging more Areion marines.

Contact. Damon tries to remember what he was taught in Basic and the short bursts of training he did with the Marines. But the first time he leans out of cover to line up a shot, he takes a round right in the chest. Luckily, he's wearing armor, so it just sends him back instead of killing him on the spot. Good thing Madilyn told him to strap it on, 'cause he'd never have realized it for himself.

"Oh, believe me, baby, this ass is bulletproof. Made of steel!" Marduk crows, laughing, "But you can keep an eye on it for me if you want." He winks, and laughs some more. He's still laughing as he dives down behind a box, popping back up to yell something indistinguishable and spray fire indiscriminately at the Marines attacking them. "WOOO!" he shouts as one in his general zone of aim goes down, and pops up again to take another shot.

Gracious Bia looks very much out of place with a rifle, but she knows enough about guns to be able to flick the toggle to burst fire and loose three well-placed rounds. The elegant woman doesn't have much to say, but her proud features are grave as she raises the weapon above her head to fire once again. Colonel Pewter seems a bit more practiced with his own weapon, but only just — and when he stands to fire, holding his gun at his shoulder, one realizes why. "Just like shootin' them skeet-birds back home!" the man booms, "'cept them skeet-birds didn't murder y'all's CO and try to nuke the godsdamned Fleet! Up 'n' at 'em, boys!"

The Areion Marines aren't idle. One of them curses as his partner falls, but instead he crawls toward a nearby arms locker to get something heavier for his crew. The others lay down a blanket of covering fire, their rifles spitting rat-tat-tat in quick succession.

Burke immediately drops behind cover when he's ordered to, although the armed marines about to fire at them are good enough incentive for that. Once there, he makes one last check of the trigger and peeks out over the top of the crate and fires a spray of bullets in that direction. Shouting after them: "I ain't never shot a person 'fore, but you'll do! Ah'll just pretend yer th' taxman!"

Mark fires the blast and grunts against teh pain as the 00Buck cones downrange and shred's his target's right arm and spinning him down to the floor in a heap. This is new. He comes back around, charges the gun once more and leans back around to aim at a few Marines getting careless.

While shots ping off the crates around her - missing, thank the gods - the marine Madilyn had set in her sights starts to dash away in an unexpected direction. That's why her shots trail just behind him. That, and maybe a little of that blood staining out into her dress grays. With the sudden change of heart of the Areion marines, Madilyn's thump flips the rifle selector from burst to auto, and peeks around the crate to lay down the rest of the clip in suppressing fire, going for the torsos of the charging soldiers.

Burke lets out a shout of pain as a bullet strikes him, tearing a deep cut through fabric and flesh before pinging against the bulkhead behind him. He hits the ground with a wince, falling partially out of cover but not about to let up firing lest he end up dead on what could effectively still be called his first CAP. He trains his weapon on the same marine and let's loose once more. Glory, glory.

There's a lot of rounds going overhead, and Damon's not exactly trained for these sorts of situations. So he's just popping up and firing more or less randomly now, trying not to get his face shot. And while he's decent enough wit ha rifle that his shots end up somewhere near the intended target, that's not really helping to reduce enemy numbers.

Pewter makes this look easy. Evidently the old man's done more things in his pre-retirement leaves of absence than sit in a boat and fish; now, he pops up from behind the crate and looses a booming shot from his gun before popping back down to reload. Every so often he'll pause to pat the good doctor on her back, slamming his massive hand against her shoulderblades when he sees her targets go down. No words from him, not now — he'll let the earsplitting report from his gun do the talking for him.

Now, from the nearby arms depot emerge two more black-clad soldiers, each bearing a light machine gun, while the one who's summoned them struggles to set up a recoiless rifle behind the crates leading up to the stairs. And still the sirens blare and whine, while above the cacophony Commander Kepner's voice can be heard —

"All detailed Marine fireteams, this is Kepner! Report to the Flight Deck to repel boarders! Now!"

Fiasco, for all his bravado, clearly isn't really trained for this either, unless you count video games. He does a lot of popping up, shooting as many bullets as possible in several seconds, and then ducking back down again. He is very successful at the 'using up lots of bullets' part, at least, and his rifle magazine clicks empty. Rather than reload, he goes for his sidearm instead. What he is also good at is talking shit. Or at least at talking constantly. How much sense any of it makes is debateable. "Take that motherfrakkers!" he yells, "And that! Word to your mother! Yeeeah I bet you haven't eaten that much lead since Rudy's toxic cock this morning you stupid sons of bitches! WOOOO! FIRE IN THE HOLE! Holy shit, boys and girls, that guy's got a frakking rocket launcher or something! Take him out, take him out! And then grab it, I wanna try that bad boy! Come on now! For Gods and Glory and the all-mighty Gemenon Templars, WOOOOOOO!"

Damon doesn't even see his target go down. He doesn't even know that his target went down. All he knows is, he saw the flash of gunfire the last time he popped up for a split second, aimed his rifle roughly in that direction, and squeezed the trigger. And that's exactly what he plans to keep doing until either all the enemy Marines are dead or someone shoots him, because he's just running off of pure adrenaline and fear right now.

"Recoiless rifle, LMGs…priority targets!" Madilyn howls out at the others. As if all that brass around there needs to be told that the ones with the bigger guns should be going down first. Apparently the fire she's laid down has kept them from hitting her, but not everyone. So, back to burst, one more in there she feels, before she has to duck and change magazines. The marine leveling the Karl is the one she puts in her sights.

Colonel Pewter grunts as he's flung backwards, bullets from the machine gun catching him right as he ducks for cover. His right leg collapses beneath him as he slams to the ground, and it's all he can do to cock and fire his shotgun above his head while Bia tears apart her uniform to make a makeshift bandage. Gravel, evidently, isn't having any of it — but when Good Gracious gives him that look, even he knows not to protest.

The Marine with the recoilless rifle manages to slot in his shell and drop down to cover. Just a few more seconds before he can fire — just a few more seconds —

Marduk yells and shoots and shoots and yells and then abruptly falls back with a shout that is, for once, not exuberant. "Frak!" he curses, hands raised to his head, where blood begins to gush. "SON OF A BITCH IF YOU MADE ME UGLY I WILL END YOU!" he shouts, and frantically reloads with blood-slicked hands and then lifts the gun to fire wildly at their opponents, without even looking, really, just raising his arm above the crates.

Burke quickly squirms back behind cover, favoring the side that wasn't recently shot by a mutinous marine bent on mayhem. Behind cover, he checks the rifle once again and deactivates the burst mode and switches it back to single-shot. He leans his back against the crate he's hiding behind for a second, gives his rifle a 'you better not fail me now' look and then kneels up again to shoot. He takes an extra moment this time, peering down the sight with the intent of hitting his target somewhere that counts. He closes one eye, wraps his finger about the trigger and squeezes.

Great, of all the times for her rifle to be on the verge of clicking empty, it's right as the marine with the Karl manages to settle down behind cover. "Frak! Empty!" Madilyn calls out. She pulls herself tight up behind the crate she's been using for cover, and yanks out the exiting cartridge, tossing it aside with a metallic clang on the deck. From that web vest, she pulls free another magazine and slams it in place.

"Godsdamnit!" Mark grunts out at all the incoming fire on him. After the last shot missed, sending rounds into the wall, Mark ducks back and racks the shotgun once more. The man is obviously hurting judging by the sweat and red color of his face. Power through it, man. He finally swings around once more, a little further out and takes aim at the Marine with the bazooka.

Another blind burst, another machine-gunning Marine down. Damon is still blissfully ignorant of his kills, and continues firing over the crates haphazardly.

"And now my frakking hand! These hands are frakking works of art you goat-frakking…." Fiasco trails off into totally unintelligible cursing, some of which sounds more like Gemenese than Standard. He is really not pleased about being shot. That guy with the Karlstov? GOING DOWN. He hopes, anyways.

Bad luck — that the crate Pewter's chosen to hide behind is the first to disintegrate. Areion's machine-gunners have done their work well, laying down blankets of fire heavy enough to puncture the box's thin metal. The Colonel takes another two rounds in the chest and grunts in evident pain, blood spurting forth from his grey uniform to cover Bia's hands with his blood. Whatever the man's about to say will have to wait — and indeed, it takes all his strength to raise that shotgun for another unaimed blast. As for Bia, she's done all she can for him. Grabbing her rifle, the CMO goes back to the business of dealing death, a task for which she is distinctly unsuited.

For all that, the Areion Marines aren't doing too well either. Having already lost five of their number, the three wounded men fight on with implacable determination, fully aware of the consequences of failure. The bravest among them shoulders that rifle and stands, exposing himself to the full weight and force of his enemies' fire as he pulls the trigger on that weapon…

Burke perks up a little as the bullet seems to strike home, but he doesn't have time to see exactly what happens. As the explosion rocks the corridor, Burke lets out a sharp cry as a chunk of shrapnel slices through the air and clocks him square in the side of the head. He bounces off the bulkhead, lolling about in a semi-conscious stupor for a moment before he picks himself back up to his feat. He almost doesn't realize he's climbing out from behind cover, slinging the rifle alongside him at his hip and firing it in the direction of the enemy.

The explosion does more head rattling than anything else, knocking Madilyn around a bit, bashing her head against the crate while she tries to reload. But even as the sound and heat wash over everyone there, there's two very distinct sounds coming from those last marines: both of their rifles simultaneously seem to click empty. Taking that - along with her freshly loaded rifle - as as chance, she rises from behind the crate and advances on them, laying down rifle fire.

"Ahh! Frak!" Damon yelps as he's struck by shrapnel, though he's safe from the main blast. Leaning heavily against the crate, he pushes his rifle onto it so that it's resting on its side and just squeezes the trigger. His left arm dangles to his side, limp and useless. "I'm good," he says through gritted teeth. "It burns like a frakker, but I'm fine."

Protip: spending a lot of time screaming at the enemy and firing wildly is not the best way to avoid being shot lots of times. Also, failing to duck when shrapnel starts flying? Good way to get hit by shrapnel. Fiasco is definitely living up to his badass posturing, in terms of the number of hits he's taken while still retaining consciousness, but he's finally forced to put down his weapon and duck out of sight, trying to contain the bleeding that is happening in several parts of his body. His beautiful, beautiful body.

Mark fires off his shotgun right as Marine Two belts off his round. The 00Buck slams into his face. Mark barely has time to see the hit before the incoming round explosdes behind him. It sends a chunk of the bulkhead down, knocking his head hard and drawing some blood. The man falters, nearly dropping his shotgun. But hearing the mechanical -click- of a gun going empty, the subtle and happy-go-lucky ChEng uses the shotgun like a cane and rises up. He racks the gun once more and moves forward towards the Marine's position with the squirrelgun at his hip.

Pewter's thrown to the deck as the Karlstov's round explodes mid-air. His already homely face is bleeding from the right side, and he looks askance at his nicked-up right hand. But still the rugged old geezer stays on his feet, swaying back and forth as he pushes himself up from behind that crate. "We've got 'em yellow-bellied lilies now," he hollers through gritted teeth, wheezing as he leans back against the bulkhead. "Hold the line, soldiers, hold the line!"

Burke seems almost dazed as he peppers the enemy marine with fire and watches him fall to the deck. With the threat over for the time being, he lets his rifle clatter to the floor and mumbles, "Dang ol' taxman." At that point, he toddles over to one side and succumbs to the head injury. At least for the moment.

As the Marines lie dead and strewn about, Mark just stands there with a bleeding head and a smoking shotgun. Standing in his coveralls, the man's face is full of contempt. Despite only glancing a round off the target's chest, the Chief Engineer wipes the blood from his forehead with the back of his hand and smears it off on his orange coveralls. "Don't frak with my friends, assholes," he spits. He racks the gun once more and walks back over to help tend to the wounded.

Marduk stands as the last of the marines finally go down, wobbling a little. He's still bleeding from the head in what looks like a pretty serious fashion, his hands are so covered in blood he fumbles his pistol and has to bend to pick it up, straightening unsteadily. "Alright, badass motherfrakkers, let's get the Hades out of here," he says. "Woo!" It's a little subdued, probably given the pain he is obviously in, but he seems to regret it, and after a second summons up, "WOOO!"

Madilyn leaves the treatment of the injuries to the doctor back there. With all the marines from Areion down on the deck plating, she does what she can to re-arm and re-outfit. More armor, heavier weapons, more ammunition. "Amen to that. Lead the way, flyboy," Madilyn says of Marduk. "On second though, you tell us the way, and I'll lead," she tells him. The upper sleeve of her dress grays is soaked in red, but the adrenaline is flowing; she can't feel that hit yet. Aside from that, only the mussed up hair and the drip of red from around her eye where her head struck the crate on the explosion gives any trace of the fight.

Despite bleeding from six different wounds, Colonel Pewter manages to push himself free of the wall, his eyes closing as he gives himself a moment to rest. Only a moment, though, as from behind the sound of clattering gunfire draws his attention. Then the vanguard of the frigates' crew bursts down into the corridor, hastily reloading as they scream out status reports over the constant howl of sirens.

"Gravel?" one of the Corsair's men asks, rushing up to check up on his old CO. "Andy — Andy! Snap to — is that a shotgun?"

"Frak y'all," the old man grumbles, breaking into a tired and bloody grin. "All y'all wagabouts and miscreants for bein' — " Gasp, heave. "Late to the party. Where's the rest?"

"Blasted to shit but all accounted for," comes the instant report, along with a few canisters of shot. "Looks like you're going to need this, sir."

It's only now that Pewter opens his eyes, his gaze sweeping from his wounded but loyal men to the haggard pack now bringing up the rear to the eight big brass ones in his old friend's hands. Something like fondness mists the man's expression as his unbloodied hand grabs the ammunition he's offered. And then, without a word, he's pushing away from offers of help to stump down the stairs alone, not waiting for anyone to follow, his shotgun trailing behind him while all around Areion shudders and shakes.

1603 hours. All's well.

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