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» Matho Healb
Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:18 pm by Matho

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Matho Healb

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Matho Healb

Post by Matho on Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:18 pm

Section 1

Matho awoke to a loud bang on the door behind him.  “Come on, get up, we’re about to leave.”  A man bellowed from the other side of the door.  The man’s voice was low and gruff.  Matho sat up, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and stretching to face the door.  He recognized the voice of his squad leader, Commander Fadlan, passing through the halls to wake up the rest of the response team.  Fadlan was an old man, in his forties at least, but still able to command a group of units.  He made a name for himself during the violent expansion of the Asahi Multinational Corporation’s holdings into the slums of the undercity.  While AMC was trying to expand their research programs, they needed more and more room to test their technology.  With the upper-city already at capacity, they had no choice but to move into the slums.  At first, they tried to pay off the residents.  Some of them took the money graciously, and a few were even able to make the move into the Outer Limits.  Others were less happy about the gigantic corporation trying to move into their neighborhoods.  They saw this expansion as an attempt by the AMC to try to control the poor population.  Some took to the streets.  They blocked off the construction vehicles access to the AMC facilities, and refused to disperse until the AMC pulled out of the area.

The AMC refused to back down.  They pulled out their human workers from the area, and started deploying their construction drones.  Man-sized bipedal walkers broke through the citizens’ exclusion zone, and began to get to work.  Nobody knows who ‘threw the first punch,’ but one side or the other began to use physical violence.  The citizens revolted, and raided the construction facility.  Armed with haphazardly constructed firearms and blunt weapons, they destroyed the worker drones onsite, and sabotaged the construction vehicles.  They declared themselves in rebellion against the AMC, and would refuse to comply with orders to leave the facility.  It was at this point that they were officially designated a terrorist organization, and Fadlan, a lower-level operative at the time, was sent in to deal with the threat.  He was able to infiltrate the facility and shut off their means of communication to the outside.  After cornering their leader, he forced him to order his men to stand down.  Within 6 hours, the AMC continued their construction of the first Under-City research facility.

Matho slid off his bunk and started getting dressed.  He slid on his combat fatigues and grabbed his kitbag.  He looked over his things, checking and double checking that he had everything he was going to need.  The unit was responding to another threat by the White Masks, the remnants of the same group that took over the AMC construction facility all those years ago.  The White Masks raided a key AMC office building.  This specific building housed the AI Administration System designed by the AMC.  The AI Administration system held every piece of information necessary to the running of the AMC itself, and was invaluable to the company.  Commander Fadlan’s team was being paid for this job higher than any other operation before it.  That being the case, the entire team was on edge.  Matho grabbed his rifle and pulled back the charging handle.  He tilted the rifle to the side and checked to make sure his chamber was cleared.  The rifle was a standard issue Valkyrie-Type Ballistic Calculation Rifle, VBCR.  The rifle’s ballistic calculator would automatically determine the best angle to engage enemies once a lock was established.  In order to make this system as efficient as possible, the barrel was free-floating, and could be rotated by the onboard computer anywhere in a 30-degree cone.    The VBCR, much like everything in Matho’s kit, was connected to his cybernetic augments.  He slung the rifle on his back and picked up the kitbag.  He was ready for war.

Down the hall, the rest of the team had gathered.  Fadlan was busy giving a speech on the mission, while the soldiers stood at rest, discussing amongst themselves when certain difficulties were raised by the Commander.  By the time Matho joined the rest of the group, Fadlan was wrapping up the briefing.  “With this strike at the White Masks, we will be able to get rid of these terrorists once and for all.” Fadlan continued, “Groups one through three will insert at the top of the building, while groups four through six will draw the fire to the front entrance.  Group seven will be providing ranged fire support from a nearby rooftop, and group eight will move to secure the server room.”  Matho looked down at his boots.  He was in group eight.  Their job was the most important, and the mission’s success would be riding solely on their ability to get into that server room, and secure the AMC’s data.

Matho looked down the hall to find the rest of group eight standing in a half-circle, tapping and flicking away at their Personal Information Devices, PID.  He had worked with Group Eight for two years, but it felt like much longer.  He glanced around to his team members.  David Schaefer, the group leader; Phillip Zimmerman and Marcus Keller, riflemen; Mike Weber, demolitions; Thomas Sanger, marksman; and two new recruits, Aaron Kerr and Ed Clark.  He walked up to his group and pulled out his own PID, syncing his cybernetic frequency to the rest of the group.  The rest of the group nodded to him and swiped left three times on their PID’s.  Matho looked down and did the same.  The screen read ‘Frequency Link – Status: Ready.’  A small red button reading ‘Link’ glowed softly towards the bottom of the screen.  This was the Cybernetic Frequency Link System, CFLS.  The CFLS was an information sharing system developed by the AMC.  It allowed the users to share audiovisual data simultaneously in real time.  The wireless connection runs off the user’s own brain implants, literally linking each user’s brain together.  On the commercial market, the CFLS was used primarily by high level managers or civil engineers.  It allowed many different users across the planet to collaborate seamlessly on projects ranging from construction to sales, and facilitated the many rapid-expansion construction projects of the AMC.  In the private military sector, it was used for advanced communication between group members.  For group eight, they had no need for unsecured radio communication.  Every signal was sent wirelessly to the brain of each other member of the group.  Every second of visual data was overlain on each member’s ocular augments, should they choose to watch, and every decibel of audio was transmitted to their cochlear augments, should they choose to listen.  Complex shoot-and-move maneuvers and simultaneous takedown actions were much easier to perform when each soldier saw exactly where everyone else was aiming.  This technology was one of the great inventions of the AMC, and the prime reason Commander Fadlan and his unit was still so effective in his old age.  Group eight would rely heavily on this system, and trained with it regularly.

As Fadlan wrapped up his speech, it was time for the team to deploy.  On the group leader’s command, they all pressed the button.  Suddenly, a surge of information hit Matho like a ton of bricks.  He began to hear multiple tracks of sound, coming from many different directions at once.  His vision began to bleed together with the rest of his team, and his head began to ache from the information overload.  He blinked hard and tried to focus on only his own thoughts.  After a few seconds, the rest of the audiovisual inputs faded away, and his headache subsided.  He and the rest of his team were fully linked.

Section 2

            Matho unclipped his harness and craned his head to look out the side of group eight’s landing craft.  The vessel was an AMC private class landing craft, equipped with hover thrusters, armor reinforcements around the nose and wings of the craft, and a full digital display surrounding the inside of the craft.  The display linked to 53 different high definition cameras mounted on the outside of the landing craft.  These cameras overlap their displays, creating a full 360-degree seamless image for safe viewing of the external combat environment from within the vessel.  The sun was just beginning to set, and the upper-city was still in full transportation mode.  As the craft whipped through the upper-city skies, passing AMC commercial shipping vessels and transportation vehicles, gunfire could be heard from the streets below.  Groups four through six had already engaged the White Masks at the front entrance, holding the terrorist’s attention firmly on the ground level.  Matho tilted his head to the West, and spotted the outline of group seven and their marksman squad.  Every couple of seconds, the muffled report of a modified VBCR could be heard, accompanied by a muzzle flash.  As the landing craft circled the building, the pilot released the controls for the rear hatch.  Matho got up from his seat and took position at the end of the craft.  The group leader signaled for the rest of the team to get ready.  Matho flicked the safety off his rifle and started scanning the windows for hostiles.  The radio situated on Matho’s shoulder flickered to life as Commander Fadlan’s voice came over the comm.  “Groups one through three have breached the top of the building.  They’re going to need some time to get to the lower floors, but it looks like the other teams have most of the White Mask forces engaged at the front entrance.” Matho scanned towards the front of the building again, confirming this to be true.  He glanced back at the group eight leader for orders on what to do next.  The leader tapped the side of his helmet and spoke back to Fadlan. “Group eight is ready to breach,” He stood up and joined Matho at the end of the landing craft. “I can see the insertion point, we’re about 100 yards out, no enemies in sight.”  The group leader tapped Matho on the shoulder. “I want you to lead the breach,” He said. “When we blast through the door, you’ll go in first.  Once the landing area is secured, the rest of the team will hold position and wait for your report.” Matho’s eyes widened behind his goggles.  “Don’t worry, we’ll have your back.”  The group leader could tell Matho was uneasy about this assignment.  It’s not that he wasn’t a skilled soldier, but being the first one in usually means you’re also the first one shot. Despite his uneasiness, he had a job to do, and he nodded in agreement at the group leader.  Tapping the side of his helmet again, the leader replied to Fadlan that his team was ready.

            The landing vessel moved in close to the outer windows on the 23rd floor.  By this time, the entirety of group eight was standing up, rifles at the ready.  The pilot rolled the craft slightly, and put pressure on the turning rudder.  The craft whipped around so that the back door was facing the window.  One half of the team scanned the streets below towards the front entrance, making sure that no stray terrorists were getting curious.  The other half checked the windows to the front.  Matho took a knee at the end of the craft and focused totally on the window they would be entering.  A quick signal to the pilot from the group leader started lowering the back hatch.  Once the hatch had become level, Matho worked his way out to the end of the ramp.  Staying crouched, he was able to fight the strong wind that had begun to howl its way through the back of the craft.  He reached into his kitbag and produced a small cylinder.  The outside of the cylinder was a strong plastic, and was painted black.  At one end was a suction cup with a small opening containing a sharp syringe-like apparatus.  At the other end was a blue indicator light that pulsed slowly.  Matho affixed the device to the window and took a half a step back. After pressing a button on his PID, a high-pitched whine reverberated through the device, and the window shattered.  Matho hopped through the broken window, and landed on the floor of the office space.

            He brought his VBCR up to his shoulder and began to scan the room.  On the left side of his vision, a small notification window began to appear.  The group eight leader was tapping into his audiovisual feed.  The group followed Matho’s lead from within the safety of the landing craft.  Matho stood up slightly, glancing around the room.  To him, it was just a standard office building.  Cubicles lined the ‘hallways,’ frosted glass offices lined the exterior of the wide-open floor.  One such office is where Matho entered.  He glanced down onto the desk and noticed it was essentially devoid of anything.  No computer, no keyboard, no paper clutter, not even a family photo.  Taking another moment to look around, he noticed that the only thing within this office was a desk and a chair.  Perhaps this was a new office, and its occupant hasn’t gotten the chance to move in, he thought to himself.  He moved passed the desk and peeked his head out into the hall.  Nothing.  No White Masks, no workers, not even any drones.  He waited for a confirmation notification from the group leader to continue his sweep.

            Back at the front entrance, Commander Fadlan and his teams were still holding the White Masks’ attention.  The goal of his team was to offer a distraction so that the rest of the groups could siege the tower, but he figured they would be able to make up some ground as well.  The battle had started a half an hour prior, but it seemed there was no end in sight to the White Mask counter-attack.  Two-by-two, stacked pairs of terrorists took cover at the front entrance.  The exterior of the building was stark white, lit up by powerful lights.  A gigantic multi-leveled fountain was situated at the fore of the property, with angular sides and harsh corners.  It was here where the teams had taken cover, and it allowed them to provide sustained fire from the safety of cover and concealment.  After the fountain came three long sets of stairs that curved inward from the top platform.  The front stairs were littered with a mixture of furniture and corpses.  Some from the White Masks that tried to meet the force head-on, and some from the office workers that were killed when they tried to escape.  With the harsh white light providing contrast, the blood of the corpses stood out even more.  As Fadlan squinted to make out any sign of reinforcements, most of what he could see was covered in red.  He ordered team 4 to move up to the edge of the stairwell and to take cover on the sides of the stairs.  From here, he would have them provide fire for the rest of the teams to advance on the side stairs.  Fadlan sprinted up to the side stairs with his team, and peered up at the AMC building.  The harsh red and orange color of the setting sun played against the blackness of the building.  If he was someone who believed in superstition, he might have thought it looked ominous.  Just then, he noticed something was out of place.  On the 22nd floor, a flash of white, orange, and yellow appeared for a split second.  With a thunderous crash, the windows of the 22nd floor were blown out, and a fireball from the explosion that just took place billowed out into the sky.

            Matho felt his feet rumble as the explosion ripped through the floor below him.  He looked back at the landing craft, where the rest of the group had begun to enter through the hole he made.  If the explosion came from the 22nd floor, then the White Masks were attempting to breach the data archive room.  Three notification panels lit up his vision.  The team was moving in.  With the team evenly divided in to two groups, the second team took over the stairwell.  They would make sure that any escaping White Masks could be put down.  The first team, comprised of Matho, the group leader, and two other soldiers would storm the 22nd floor, and investigate the source of the explosion.  The four moved quickly down the stairs, coming to the stairwell entrance of the 22nd floor.  Matho slowly turned the handle on the door and pushed it open.  One of the other soldiers peered through the gap, quickly scanning the room.  Matho saw through the eyes of this soldier that there were about 15 or 20 terrorists on this floor.  They had converged onto the vault door, which now had a large hole in it.  One man entered the vault, and the rest were stationed outside.  Matho opened up the door the rest of the way, and the team of four flooded the room.  One of the terrorists noticed the door opening, but it was too late for any of them to return fire.  The group shouldered their rifles simultaneously, and wasted the group of men.  The four slowly swept the remainder of the room, moving towards the vault with caution.  As they drew nearer, they looked over the dead bodies.  Matho was out in front, kicking a few bodies to see if they would move.  As the group came towards the vault entrance, he noticed one of the bodies was still moving.  Before he could return fire, he saw the terrorist produce a small switch in his hand and raise it slightly.  In an instant, a million thoughts were running through his head, not all of them his.  Was it a second bomb? Will I never get to see my wife again?  Am I going to die here?  We have to stop them.  We have to stop them.  We have to stop them...  I have to stop them.  Without hesitation, Matho rushed the man and tackled him.


Section 3
            Matho’s eyes snapped open.  He turned his head to look around the room.  He was on the floor, his back on the ground.  The room was covered in darkness, and his ocular augments couldn’t adjust to the dark.  He struggled to sit up.  Looking to his left, he saw the bodies of the other members of group eight.  He crawled over to one of them and pulled his helmet off.  The man’s eyes were bloodshot and rolled up into his skull and blood dripped down his face.  Matho turned the man’s head over to find the source of the wound.  He recoiled in shock when he saw that the backplate of the man’s skull had blown completely open.  Matho had heard about this before in training.  When the brain can’t process all the information the CFLS provides, it goes into overdrive.  With all the stimulus happening at once, your brain begins to have a meltdown, and in extremely rare cases, the skull can be blown outward by the intense heat.  He laid the man down and tried to get his bearings.  He was hyperventilating, he couldn’t see in the dark, and his heart was pounding fast.  He couldn’t find the group leader, and he had no idea where the rest of group eight was.  His radio was also damaged, and he couldn’t get a hold of anyone on his CFLS.  He looked around at the wreckage and tried to stand up.  He fell onto the body of the terrorist he tried to stop.  The man was still clutching the device, his face bloodied and ragged like the other members of group eight.  Matho collected himself and pushed himself up.  He reached for his sidearm and found it, and limped into the Vault.

The harsh white light struck him immediately, and he blinked hard to maintain his sight.  White lights circled the entirety of the spherical room.  Coming from the vault door, there was a platform extending out into the middle of the sphere.  On this platform stood a mass of data storage banks, all chirping and whirring, with LED indicators flashing to convey information that Matho didn’t understand.  He was definitely in the right place.  He walked forward, holding his pistol at a low ready position.  The pain from his eyes forced his vision to become blurry, and he barely noticed the black figure in the room with him.  The man walked out onto the same platform as Matho, and greeted him warmly.  “Welcome.  I see you’ve met my compatriots.  I hope they didn’t give you too much trouble,” The man laughed.  Matho blinked hard again, trying to sharpen his vision.  He was barely able to make out the facial features.  He had a thinner chin, with a pointed nose and white hair.  The right side of his face seemed to be covered in black dots, each with a red LED pulsing within them.  Matho raised his pistol at the man and ordered him to stop moving.  He complied, raising his hands in surrender.  The man opened his left hand slightly to reveal a data chip.  “On this chip,” He started, “Is all the information on the AMC servers.  I haven’t touched a single file.  On this chip anyway.  The rest of the data on those servers is gone.  I’ve erased all of it.”  Matho tried to focus on the man’s figure.  If he had to shoot, he would need to make it count.  “I would like to turn myself in.  The White Masks are dead,” The man spoke.  Matho couldn’t believe it.  He didn’t believe it.  He took a few steps forward and ordered the man to get on the ground.  The man started to lower his hands slowly.  Matho still couldn’t make out much of the detail of the man.  He yelled at him to stop moving, but the man didn’t comply.  In an instant, he shot his right hand out towards Matho.  He felt a shock of pain as the man overloaded his electrical systems.  He collapsed on the platform and went silent.  The man slowly walked over to his limp body and scooped up his pistol.  He checked the chamber to make sure a round was loaded, and he set the data chip into Matho’s bag.

He grabbed Matho by his chest rig, and began to drag him down the platform to the vault exit.  The man seemed to be augmented himself, as Matho’s weight was no issue for him.  As he was about to cross the threshold into the office space, the second half of group eight stormed the area.  The group leader was in front of the rest.  “Drop your weapon!” He barked at the man.  He raised Matho’s sidearm lightning fast and fired 10 shots within a second.  The rest of group eight dropped to the floor dead, and the man carried Matho out of the vault.
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Matho
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Name: Matho Healb
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