The few trees remaining swayed gently in the wind across the flat plain of the Rabat-Salé Aerodrome, the occasional dust devil whipping across the paved strip from the piles of dirt created in the airfield's construction. At one end of the field a few Dewoitine 520s and Hawks of the Armée de l'Air's GC I/3 were under the care of the squadron's mechanics beside a neglected pair of RAF Hawker Hardy biplanes. In front of the 'terminal' building a Handley Page Harrow was slowly being loaded with stretchers and walking wounded by Liberian medics from the back of open trucks. A trio of half-tracks rumbled past the end of the runway towards the interior, stirring up a little more dust in the still air. All in all it was shaping up to be a pleasant afternoon for November in Morocco.
Capitaine-commandant Eléonore Petrisse watched over the whole operation from a deck chair in front of a canvass fly erected at the edge of the runway. Along with a canvass wall tent acquired at the Liberian beachhead it was the entire headquarters of the brand new Rabat Air Detachment. None of that seemed to concern the green clad girl lazing under a parasol sipping occasionally from a glass of cloudy liquid in her hand. With the other, Eléonore tugged absently at her collar's red/blue rank tabs as the last stretcher from was levered from the truck bed into the aircraft. The witch took an unhurried look at her wristwatch; it was frozen at ten past two. Nevertheless she seemed to have been stirred from inaction by the movement, swinging her legs off the chair into a waiting pair of boots all without letting go of her glass. Pulling the umbrella out of the sand with her free hand, she looked over at the tent with distant brown eyes, "Joëlle, prends le Ibrik et venir. C'est presque l'heure."
"Comment l'enfer savez-vous quelle heure il est?" emerging from the tent decanter in hand, the blond sailor towered over her commander's sun shade. Somewhat better more completely clothed then the witch in dress and apron with her rank stitched on, QM2 Joëlle Moreau stepped up beside her 'mistress'. Raising an eyebrow at Eléonore, who merely stared out across the runway towards the sea, the sailor sighed in resignation as Elé ignored the question and took her first step towards the runway. Pausing again, she tipped her glass towards the sound of magical propellers slowly growing from the sea. The Belgigan girl smiled with vacant satisfaction, "Venez, venez! Nous avons des invités."
PO Abigail Lee was one of these guests, Fänrik Inga Krig of Baltland and Lieutenant Celia Baumer of Leberion completed the list. Krig and Baumer where flanking Abigail forming a horizontal line across the wide cement runway that was so hot you could cook an egg on it! Much of the runway's dust dispersed and shifted as the three girls made their landing run, making sure they didn't crash into each other. Unlike Krig and Baumer, Abigail was a little trickster whom was always coming up with new ways to irritate or impress her fellow witches. "Hey hey, Krig! Watch this!" Abigail then accelerated and pushed herself strait up, Krig seemed to be unimpressed by this and continued with her landing procedure. Abigail continued to rocket upward with her Hawker hurricane Mk1 striker making sounds resembling a dieing animal "uh-oh" the engine gave out on Abigail's striker and she started spiraling downward, "Start you bloody striker, START" her yelling was just starting to make her go into panic mode.
(What will happen now guys?)
"Oh for godssake," Lieutenant Baumer grumbled before soaring downward to Abigail's rescue; using her magically-enhanced strength, she caught the substantially larger witch in her arms and steadied her own - or rather, their - descent as they continued forward toward the runway. When it was just underneath she touched down; coming to a stop, she let her 'passenger' down clumsily. "You're welcomed," Celia muttered before moving forward toward the heavily tanned woman she assumed was their commander; who was curiously holding a parasol and flanked by what appeared to be a maid.
"heh, thanks Lieutenant!" Abigail said picking herself up off the ground and following close behind Baumer whom was proceeding toward the tan woman. "My my, what a pretty young woman! though she is a tad short to be our commander, right?" Abigail whispered to Baumer. Baumer gave her a shove indicating "Hey, mind giving me some space?" and causing her to get pushed into Inga. "Vad hälen är ditt problem?" Yelled Inga, her face turning shades of red and purple "Uh..um..I...Uh...Ugn?" Abigail didn't speak Baltlandish (correct me if this is wrong) thus she sputtered the only thing that came to mind at the time. "Ugn...?" Inga was confused at this point as she was calming down, "Why did you say 'Oven'?" Inga asked perplexed. Abigail's face turned a dark shade of red at this point, looking down at the ground she replied "I..um..just said what came to mind..." Looking over to the Lieutenant and tanned woman seemed to just make her more embarrassed as Inga started to laugh. "We best be meeting the commander Inga! No time for laughing!" Abigail said whilst running toward the lieutenant and tanned woman.
OOC: Doc, you might want to give the other character's writers a chance to react on their own.
Inga felt slight annoyance rising as Abigail ran off. Bloody Brit, she swore for herself as she shook her head. For a moment she thought of giving the woman a taste of her magic, but she brushed off the childish impulse. After all, she could hardly be following her example of conduct when meeting their new commander for the first time.
Then again... she looked at the runway under their feet - it was very flat and smooth, and newly cleaned, to boot. She grinned widely as she gripped hold of her magic and pulled the temperature of the tarmac, and the air above it, to as cold as she could manage - instantly, a field of thick frost and ice spread beneath their feet. Baumer seemed surprised, but managed to hold her footing - not so much Abigail, running at full speed as she was, who slipped and fell, banging her shoulder into the tarmac. Inga chuckled as she watched the Brit wince in pain. "Nice tackle," she murmured.
Quote from: stewartsage on May 17, 2011, 09:15:22 pm
OOC: Doc, you might want to give the other character's writers a chance to react on their own.
OCC: Roger that, I just went off the feeling so I will retract.
OOC: That's okay! It worked; just in the future try and keep the control of other players characters to a minimum.
Eléonore watched the cavorting of her new subordinates with dispassion, though the sips of her drink increased steadily with each new event. By the time the woman she presumed was the Baltland Lieutenant froze the runway section over the Belgian had finished the glass off. Holding it out towards her servant, Eléonore took another hearty gulp as the Britannian slid to a stop in front of the two women. Looking down at Abigail, Eléonore cleared her throat before murmuring, "Forgive me if I do not clap in appreciation, Pilot Officer, my hands are rather full at the moment."
"Christ, ils sont si nouveaux que vous pouvez ici les grincement," Joëlle whispered aside to the detachment commander, still occupied with staring at the girl laying on the ice. After a moment the brunette seemed to stir from her slumber, clear her throat again, take another sip from her glass, and turn to the others picking their way across the ice. Pointing with her glass hand towards the 'terminal' where a confused Harrow pilot was leaning out of his cockpit window at the ice, Eléonore added, "Sous-lieutenant Krig, would you kindly dispel the ice you have made? This is an active runway ladies, please hurry clear and follow me."
Apparently satisfied with that she turned on here heel with a slight wobble and returned the direction she'd come from.
Feeling she had accomplished her objective, Inga reversed the process - the frost and ice quickly turned into small puddles of water. This also had the additional effect of making Abigail soaking wet. "That's not how it works, by the way. I just melt it again." She followed the commander with a slight strut to her walk.
"Oh, damn," Celia frowned, looking mournfully at the puddles on the ground; she has quite liked the reprieve from the heat. She paused briefly to help Abigail up before continuing forward; passing Inga, she trailed closely behind the commander and contemplated introducing herself.
"Oi! You bloody twit, look what ya've don!" Abigail was doing her best to put on the "Strong Englishmen" accent but was failing due to her voice not possessing a low octave. Abigail noticed Inga look over and shoulder and mouth the word "Fool" causing Abigail to pout and run after the woman. Abigail then realized that she wasn't wearing any shorts (cargo shorts) and her face turned a shade of red doctor's wouldn't believe to be humanly possible "Hey hey! Don't any of you have pants I can have!?!?" Abigail asked embarrassed and panicking.
"I do not," stopping and spinning on her right foot to face the pack of girls following after them, Eléonore directed a slightly more focused glare (complete with pursed lips) at Inga and Abigail. She waited a beat then extended her now empty glass to her maid, "Remplir s'il vous plaît, Joëlle."
Removing the stopper from the decanter and filling the iceless glass with a studiously neutral expression, "Oui madame."
Standing firm, Eléonore stared at the gathered girls with only a little more interest then her servant filling the glass. Twirling her parasol on her shoulder, the Belgian witch brought her full glass to her lips quickly draining it's contents. Handing the empty to Joëlle without taking her eyes off the three, Eléonore opened her mouth to give a thunderous denouncement; just in time for the Harrow to roar past on it's outbound flight. Wincing slightly as the wind blew at her shirt tails and beat dirt against her bare legs she made a dismissive gesture. Just a few yards from her chair, she skipped the remaining distance before sinking back into the comfort of the canvas backed deckchair.
Firmly planting the umbrella back in the sand as her companion returned to the cover of the fly with the decanter and a disdainful look at the officers. The three new pilots milled about, uncertain what to do. Eléonore reopened her eyes before again waving her hand, this time as if calling them together. Looking past the girls she closed her eyes again, "Attention! Form ranks an' report for duty s'il vous plaît, we 'av a busy afternoon ahead."
Celia stared at Eléonore for a few moments. Did I just see her skip back to the tent...? She pondered, her eyes reflexively squinting in confusion...
Deciding it wasn't the time or place to judge Eléonore's quirks (and that she was probably in no position to question odd behavior herself), Celia gave a brief salute and spoke: "It's Lieutenant Celia Baumer, ma'am, of the United States Navy..." she trailed off and waited for her companions to introduce themselves.
Inga had, as was quite common for her, totally forgotten about the fact that she still was in her transformed state - thus, her hastily snapped salute resulted in her tearing a wide gash on the back of her right hand where it struck the points of her antlers. "Ah." She gave a slight hiss, but didn't drop her salute, despite the fact that blood was dripping onto her face. "Fänrik Inga Krig, Baltland Royal Air Force. Ma'am. Though you-" she paused for a moment, as she was licking the blood off her cheek, "already seem to be aware of that. Ma'am." She lowered her hand and started licking the blood off it, with a slight frown settling on her face.
"Pilot Officer Abigail Lee, Brittania Royal Air Force! I serve His Majesty The King and his Air Force, the best in the Sky!" Abigail said with a stern, proud voice and her chest puffed out along with the RAF's salute. Abigail was a little startled by Inga's bleeding but held her attention while Inga gave her a cold stare that indicated "What do you mean 'The best in the sky?'!?". 'I will not break attention, I will not break attention, I will not break attention, I will not break attention!' Abigail said to her self with a cold, mindless stare that seemed to dive into the depths of her heart where nothing but darkness resides. Her stare has been like this during attention since The Battle of Britannia, "I will be like her..." Abigail said under her breath which seemed to catch a little attention from the others.
"Ah! That settles which one of you other two is which, since Ms. Krig was obliging enough to freeze our runway," Eléonore set her glass on the rickety wooden nightstand tilting slightly sideways on a rough patch. Deciding to ignore perceived slight against her own king and military (not a bloody good start to the venture), no one got to make fun of Leopold III but a Belgian dammit, she gestured to herself with one hand, "And I am Senior Capitaine Eléonore Petrisse, of the Belgian Air Force. The shiftless woman in the apron is my maid, Quartermaster 2nd Class Joëlle Moreau. Of the Gallian Navy."
The towering blond returned with several manila folders and a clipboard, handing them directly to Elé. Hearing her name spoken, she gave the assembled witches an exaggerated bow before taking up position behind the deck chair. Flipping through one of the folders for a moment, apparently forgetting her unit was still at attention, Elé finally looked back up slightly startled, "Oh yes! Need to know information! Do not bother Joëlle, she's our entire support section so avoid putting too much strain on her. Second, what you see is what we 'ave. The first tent fly 'as what passes for striker unit storage. Stow yours where there is room. My headquarters is in the other fly, along with our mess. If you want a 'ot meal on demand, try I/3 Groupe de Chasse across the field. Otherwise you should be able to smell Joëlle cooking from your quarters at mealtime." At that she waved a hand at the wall tent last in the row.
"Questions?" Elé retrieved her glass from the stand, keeping an eye on the row of girls while taking another drink. The maid continued to regard them with barely concealed disdain from beside the umbrella.
"Ma'am! When are we to deploy for training and missions, what signal should we listen for, and where are our weapons stored ma'am?" Abigail asked with a stone cold look, she had gotten this look from her former senior officer in Britannia; Doloers Bader, Squadron Leader of the 11th Joint fighter wing: Her Majesty's Witch. Due to the sudden train of thought, Abigail's concentration stuttered 'Pay attention, stand at pay, stand at attention, stand at attention, stand at attention'. The others seemed to notice this stutter as Abigail's foot stomped on the ground once after she had finished talking, ' 'What is she now, a Karlslander?' Lieutenant Baumer thought to herself ' at least thats what Abigail had thought when she caught sight of the Liberion giving her a look. Abigail shook this off and continued to stand at attention, saluting still with that cold stone stare on her face.
"Training? Miss Chandler the front is five miles," Elé swept her hand in arc off the end of the runway where the mechanized platoon still bumped across the cleared ground, "That way. I expect you are all well acquainted with how to fly by now. That being said, part of our mission is to regularly patrol over our lines. At dawn and dusk we'll fly a sweep. Other then that, the air raid signal is a siren over at the operations center and my own voice."
She reached into one of her top pockets and produced a jumble of objects, breaking eye contact with the girls for the first time. Fumbling around, Elé finally managed to pull out a cigarette, light it, and hold up a shining silver whistle. Her speech somewhat obstructed, she continued, "We 'ave only the one wireless, for communication with command. In the air we use 'and signals and whistles. I hope you 'ave not forgotten your basic training, but if so, I think I have the handbook in my quarters."
With a contented puff on her cigarette, she dropped the whistle back in her pocket before removing it from her lips. Retrieving the glass from it's stand it seemed she needed a break before continuing. Suddenly, she stuck a finger up as a dim light came on in her head, "Weapons! Yes! Personally I would recommend keeping your sidearm on you at all times. Other weapons, um, I guess rig something in the equipment tent." Suddenly self conscious, Elé adjusted her uniform tunic as best she could. Only ripping it further. Bleary eyes returning, she looked up at them all again with a faint smile, "Vous êtes tous très beaux, oui?"
While the girls looked on in confusion, Joëlle was quick to refill her mistress' glass and translate for her. Softening her disapproval only slightly, "Orientation flight in an hour. Have your gear stowed and be back then. Dismissed."
"Say... um... ma'am?" Celia lowered her voice and stepped forward a bit, not wanting to let the others hear her, "M-maybe I could brush up a bit on my... basic... skills..." Eléonore's expression did nothing to bolster her confidence but she continued anyway. "Could I take a look at that handbook?" She finished, wringing her hands nervously.
While the bleeding had mostly ceased, Inga's hand was still aching quite badly. While she always carried basic medical equipment with her - one of the "books" on her belt was in fact a very small medikit - but aside from sterilizing it and putting a bandage over it, there wasn't much to do about it - she gave another quick salute to the commander, before marching off.
She sought out her pack, which laid plumply dumped in the middle of the equipment tent - the thickened roof sections along with the rows upon rows of piled-up items and shelving gave the narrow "corridors" a dark, almost murky feeling. Frowning slightly yet reveling in the comfort of poor lighting - no matter the temperature, you couldn't have winter without darkness, it just wasn't right - she opened the pack, in order to ensure that all the things she had ordered brought had in fact been brought.
A good amount of minutes and some quiet rummaging later, having mentally checking all the items she had been looking for off her list and carefully sorted them into a select choice of nearby makeshift shelves, she spread out all the items she hadn't been expecting to find before her, going through them one by one.
A gnome's hat. Bloody idiots, she thought with a smile at the thought of her crew back home, they'd think I'd have time to spend on yuletide down here? And there's no snow here, anyway.
And what's this? A snowman on a keychain? Where do they get the ideas for all this anyway? Smiling slightly again, she hooked the charm to one of the loops on her belt, before continuing.
Reports. More reports. Damn you, people - this time there was no affection in the thought - sending me paperwork? Bloody vamps!
After discarding a fair number of folders of unnecessary papers, she came upon the last two items - an unmarked blueprint folder, and a quite oddly shaped eyepiece. At least, she thought it was one - to be fair, it looked a lot more like a gas mask, what with the various protruding parts, the enclosing design and the enormous lenses. She looked at it again, and then at the folder - they were almost beckoning to be examined further - but Joëlle's words echoed in her head, and she wasn't keen on being late for their first assignment. Or at all, for that matter. She took the folder and stuffed it in beside a number of spares for her unit, and was about do the same with the spectacles; when, again, that beckoning sensation returned. And stronger. This, she felt, was something important.
Her frown returned. However, it only remained for a brief second, before she promptly fastened the spectacles' band around her neck. She would examine the blueprints later - for now, she would follow her instincts and bring them. To whatever good it might do. She stuffed her empty pack into the bottom shelf, and started walking through the narrow corridors of towering equipment piles, looking for the exit.
"Right, thank you commander!" with that, Abigail did a quick salute and quickly exited the commander's tent. "Only an hour, sure hope my gun made it in one piece..." Abigail said to herself whilst walking toward the equipment tent, "I wonder if Bader would like her, maybe as her junior..." Abigail shook the thought out of her head quickly. As she was within a few meters of the equipment tent, Abigail spotted Inga "would you look who it is, the ice princess..." Abigail didn't dare say this loudly as she could imagine what her fate would be, 'I guess I'll just sneak in, grab my gun and be off before she notices me". Once Inga had entered the tent, Abigail quickly followed her in making sure not to make the slightest sound and she quickly spotted what looked to be her gun bag, approaching the bag confirmed this and Abigail quickly snatched it up making sure Inga didn't hear her. "heh", Abigail stopped dead in her tracks when she heard this small chuckle 'I'm dead, I'm dead, I'm so so dead..' Abigail was sure she was caught 'I didn't do anything wrong, I was just getting my gun! She won't freeze me because of that, right!?'. Abigail slowly settled herself and looked for Inga's location 'ah, there you are...' Inga was two shelfs away from her, thanks to the darkness abigail was out of sight... for now. 'I wonder what made her chuckle...' Abigail's curiosity was getting the best of her, she slowly crept toward Inga's location within the tent and made sure not to make a single sound. 'Thats a little snow man right? She was laughing about that? She really is the ice princess...' Abigail seemed to think the snowman to be lame and quickly left the tent making her way toward the hanger. "Thank god I had these shorts with my gun, now I can walk around without any worries!" Abigail had quickly put on her shorts while walking to the hanger, "Oh great! The gun had been taken apart!" Abigail's face lit up due to this. Upon arrival to the hanger she quickly setup shop next to her striker, "Grandfather really knows what I like!" Abigail said cheerfully to herself ignoring the service men running around her. Abigail proceeded to re-construct her Thompson SMG upon the workbench while inspecting every piece of the assault rife, many of the engineers around her seemed intrigued by her skill of rebuilding the weapon. "There all done!", the SMG had been completed and Abigail's face had a huge smile on it with gleeful eyes, "Hey, you down there!" one of the younger men had yelled down to Abigail, "If you want to test fire that, take some of those tin cans and line 'em up out back!" the young man said this hoping to get a smile out of the young witch, "Right, thanks!" she said with a stone cold look to the young man. The young man returned to his work thinking how the young witch went from warm to cold in a flash, 'its nothing personal mate, just orders from Bader...' Abigail was given one last order from Bader before coming to Africa; "When spoken to by any young men, give them that look I gave you and limit what you say to them." "Why is this, Commander?" "Relationships with the ground crew can lead to problems and lower your performance in the air, trust me with this, I've seen many witches get hurt because their minds where somewhere else". Abigail took the can's out back and lined them up like the young man had said, "lets light you suckers up!" *BLAM* *BLAM* *TAT TAT TAT*, Abigail fired in short bursts and then switched to single shot "Ahahahahahaha!" Abigail laughed as she then squeezed the trigger while holding the rifle at waist position *Dutututututututututututututututututut*. She loved it, the sheer power of each round heading toward her target, the sound of the bolt thrashing back and forth, seeing the empty rounds be un-chambered, "Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha!" she loved it! *Tick* *Tick* *Tick* she was out and the service men around where tankful for it, "Oi, Miss. Witch! Do you mind not doing that again? You're scarring some of the guys over there!" Abigail looked at the older engineer, following where he was pointing toward a small crew of men whom had been piecing a bi-plane back together. The crew didn't look to be scarred but more amazed that such a girl could do that, "Sorry mate, I get carried away when shooting. I'll make sure to keep it in the air and pointed at the enemy from now on!" Abigail said, she then waved goodbye and returned inside the hanger. Inside the hanger, she found that Lieutenant Baumer was inspecting the commander's basic training handbook while sitting on the ground next to her Striker unit.
Inga had just about exited the equipment tent when she heard the rattling gunfire of an SMG in the distance. She quickly ran to inspect what was causing the ruckus, but when she spotted Abigail handing a few cans their asses to them, she quickly settled down. I had better go get my own gun, as well, she reminded herself; said and done, she ran back to the tent and after some searching, unfurled the massive piece from its coverings.
The cannon was in one piece, and the coverings were filled to the brim with ammunition lines. There were even some of the freshly designed APHE rounds - those had rolled out of the Karlskoga factory shortly before she left home - alongside the usual AP and API rounds. She loaded one line of AP into the drum magazine, and slung a line of API around her shoulder - most people would think twice before carrying incendiary ammo on their person, but thanks to her thermal control power, there wasn't much of a danger for Inga to do so. The ammo weighed a considerable amount - however, it was nothing like the main load.
Lifting the cannon craved considerable effort, even though she was used to handling it; it weighed well over 100 pounds, and as she wasn't in her transformed state she didn't have the augmented strength that form gave her. After a few attempts she successfully managed to hoist it up on her back - it was almost taller than herself - she reeled from the sheer weight of it, but after taking a few steps she was starting to get used to the balance. She once again exited the tent, albeit with a considerably heavier gait.
Pondering actions, Inga walked over to the hangar, where the servicemen who previously had been roused by Abigail's relentless spraying were now back to their usual jostling state. Searching for a target as she came closer, she quickly found a big, broken fuel barrel - emptied, of course - that was standing close to the very end of the runway. Perfect, she thought with a smile.
A few stares were directed at her as she heaved the thing and started rolling it toward the spot she had mentally designated for it, just behind the marked "takeoff spot" on the runway. When she lifted it up to a standing position again, there were a few more askance glances at her - one weren't supposed to obstruct the runway like that, after all - and when she had returned to where the servicemen were bustling about, one of them couldn't help but ask. "Um. Miss. You mustn't obstruct the runway, miss." She gave him an askance stare, and glanced once at her own single-star officer badge, and then at his own, much inferior, rank badge, before continuing to stare at him, very intently. "Oh! I mean, ma'am. Eh." Suddenly unsure of what to do, he glanced at his coworkers - however, Inga solved the problem by a simple statement. "Target practice. Clear the way, if you would?" A silent murmur about what target practice could possibly have to do with a target of that size and at that distance, until she gripped the cannon and swung it around, training it to her chest - this had the murmur replaced by frantic gibbering throughout the crowd, but at least they cleared away as quickly as they could. Reeling under the weight for a moment, Inga transformed - there simply was no way she could handle the recoil without the augmented strength, and most definitely not on the ground - took aim, and fired a single shot.
The recoil was staggering - she felt as if a professional boxer had slugged her straight in the stomach - but the effect was even more over-the-top. One second the barrel was on the ground; the next, it was sky high, spinning like a downed fighter in the air as it flew off toward the barren plains, finally landing in a small brush beside the runway. The crowd of servicemen was deathly silent as she returned the cannon to its place on her back, returned to her normal form, and walked off to the hangar. "2 centimeters off target. Make sure to readjust aiming standards," she murmured while jotting the same phrase down in one of her notebooks, before entering the hangar and closing the door behind her.
"Quite impressive Inga, I'm sure the neroi are frightened now!" Abigail said jokingly, she sat on top of a workbench placing more bullets into her empty round drum. "Right, I'm sure they are..." Inga wasn't really in the mood for Abigail's jokes, Abigail placed the round drum magazine on the workbench after having hopped off. Abigail then proceeded to inspect her striker unit, "Ah, quite beautiful, isn't she?" she said while running her finger down the weldding lines, "I'm going to need some more space on here soon, getting filled up!" she was now inspecting the red upside down teardrops which indicated kill count of the pilot and the striker. Abigail had fought in the Battle of Britannia before joining up with the other witches in Africa, her kill count impressive for a sergeant was 5 large type neuroi and additional 3 large type durring her night patrols in 1941, "I'm going to need two more if I want to finish this row..." Abigail thought deeply about this, it was her primary goal in life to pass up her former commanding officer, Bader, whom had achieved taking down 80 large type neuroi "I will surpass her...I will become like her..." Abigail then broke her train of thought as she caught sight of Baumer signaling or at least attempting to. "No no no, Lieutenant! Its like this!" Abigail placed her index finger on her head then started to tap; one, two, three... go! she made a fist, into a strait hand, and pointed her arm forward, "Do you understand now?" she asked the still confussed Lieutenant 'Its going to be a troublesome operation, isn't it?' she asked herself as she returned to the workbench picking up her SMG and ammo. "Let's get set-up ladys! The commander will be here shortly!" she then started to prepare her striker unit "don't stall on me this time, you bugger!" she said quietly to the striker unit, patting it like the old friend it was.
OOC: Break up your posts a little bit please Doc, just to make them easier to read.
"Oui, Lieutenant. Look for a little pamphlet ontop of my 'ammock," Eléonore closed her eyes, as if adding a final note of dismissal to the assembled witches. As they each drifted away it seemed the Belgian was going to remain asleep in her chair for the next hour. However, Joëlle stayed at her side looking straight ahead across the airfield. Another minute passed before Elé removed the smoldering cigarette from her mouth, dropping into the sand before speaking, "What do you think of them?"
Joëlle wiped a damp hand on her apron and shrugged dismissively, "The Liberian's too quiet, the Brit too loud, and the Balt is..... I don't like her."
"Opinion duly noted Quartier-maître," Elé replied with a soft chuckle, never opening her eyes, "Might as well tell General Juin we've got the bodies 'e promised us. Allez, allez!" Rolling her eyes, Joëlle presented a decent salute before turning on her heels and returning towards the head quarters tent. Periodically the rattle of small arms and the single crash of a larger caliber cannon interrupted her thoughts. Through it all the drunk Belgigan didn't even wince at the noise or crack an eye to make sure the situation wasn't getting out of hand.
Exactly forty five minutes after the original meeting had dispersed she finally arose from her deck chair, turning bleary eyes towards the equipment tent. With a sigh Elé left behind the comfort of her umbrella's shade and the reassuring coolness of her Arak. When she finally finished shuffling across the sand into the shade of the canopy, with a few loud curses directed at her maids rearrangement (cleaning) of their quarters she began to gather her kit together. The target of her ire made her own reappearance; Joëlle hurried over to the end table to retrieve the warming glass skirts swishing and be-ribboned hair fluttering in the soft breeze she cupped her hands, shouting across the airfield, "Four minute warning! FOUR MINUTES!"
OOC: As nobody seems to be taking the charge here, I might as well. Also, Stew - could we possibly get some kind of map for the base? Would be nice to know where what is and so on. Same goes for the eventual battlefield.
Inga was busy toying with the mystery spectacles hanging around her neck when the gallian maid's voice cut through the doldrums within the hangar's enclosing walls. She eyed her striker unit for a second or two, groped the sheaths and handles of her melee armaments to make sure everything was fastened properly, then turned around and made for the headquarters tent - with a step considerably lighter than before, now that her cannon had been unloaded at its designated spot beside her Striker.
Approaching their dozing commander, she noticed the increase in heat as she exited the hangar - particularly, the blackish spectacles absorbed more heat to be radiated onto her chest area than she had expected. As casual as ever, she transformed, pulling the temperatures of the airspace around her to a more comfortable 14C. "Frankly, Ma'am," she began as she passed beneath the shade of the tent covers, "I cannot understand how you can take this hells-be-damned temperature. And this is not even summer. What could it possibly be like here in July?"
Realizing it might be seen as a bit wasteful to use her magic constantly - not that it mattered for her, with her reserves - as well as the danger of material damage due to her horns - she eyed her bandaged hand in memory - she pulled heavily on the air and humidity inside the tent, creating a half-meter sphere of clear ice resting on a small pedestal on the ground right by her feet. She undid her transformation, and sat down on the spare space available on the frozen chair. The others better get here soon, she thought as she again gazed upon the shape of their sleeping commander, or this is going to be the most boring four minutes of the year.
Celia was attempting to doze in a particularly well-shaded corner of her tent when she heard indistinct yelling emanating from someplace not too distant. She was about to dismiss the voice, roll over, and continue her quest for sleep when she realized it belonged to Joëlle - and finally made out what she was saying. Four minutes?! Until we deploy? What's happened - have neuroi been spotted - ? Celia's mind raced as she pulled on her shirt and jacket, threw on a pair of boots and slung her enormous rifle over her shoulder before sprinting out of the tent and heading toward Eléonore's.
Entering the canvas structure, she was pleased to find it far cooler than her own tent - of course, it was the working of Inga. Realizing she was only the second one there - and that the commander was sleeping - she momentarily relaxed a bit and headed toward Inga's ice-sphere. Leaning against it, she looked at the young blonde and spoke: "Do you suppose we should wake her?" Celia began, before noticing the liquor beside her "Or try to wake her...."
"You had better learn one thing or two about commanders," Inga muttered to the Liberion witch. "For one, bad idea. Leave that to the maid. Second..." she went on, whispering discreetly in the liberion witch's ear. "She's not asleep."
An uncomfortable silence settled inside the tent and she kept it - until a thought surfaced in her mind. "You really are enjoying this cold, aren't you," she said with a smug look at Baumer, taking some pleasure at the sight of the tiny beads of meltwater droplets running down the Lieutenant's side. Back home in Baltland, most people would simply be annoyed at Inga's cold tendencies - they had enough of it during the winters as it was, they said, and kept rebuking her about it whenever she used her talents during the warmer part of the year. Finally someone who appreciates my magic beyond the simple function as a way to keep warm in winter, she thought.
"Well if everyone is going to take their bloody time I'm just going to go off first!" Abigail stated to the Lieutenant and Fänrik after which she jumped into her striker unit. Many of the service men running around took notice that Abigail was going to fly with her cargo shorts on when she had not done so upon flying in, "Oh bugger, forgot to take these off..." she said to herself while tightening her belt, "Guess I'll just fly with them today!" she said this with a little bit of concern due to the shorts covering some of the striker where her legs are.
She had done it in training before so she soon shook off the uneasy feeling and started up her striker, startling a few people with a loud BANG! "Oh, you bugger! None of this nonsense!" Abigail yelled at her striker which had then settled into a low hum, "There, now off I go!" and just like that she sped toward the runway with impressive speed for such an older and run down striker unit. She was soon in the sky with her rifle on her back and aviator glasses glued to her face along with a wide smile stretched across it as well, "Wahahahahahahahahahahaha!" Abigail laughed at the top of her lungs while circling over the base, she loved her father's engineering just as much as her grandfather's while in the sky!
In the Air
Having taken off ahead of her companions, Abigail was afforded an excellent view of the cotton balls from hell produced by the thumping ack-ack guns bursting to the east over the Bou Regreg.
On the Ground
With a rumble, Elé reappeared before the two junior officers with her striker's already attached and turning over. To the casual observer she seemed shockingly sober and surprisingly displeased, "Right! Where are your strikers, mademoiselles? We should be in za air by now! If zis was an actual attack our intercept window would be drastically reduced!"
Saluting briefly to Elé, and providing a nudge to Baumer in case she didn't catch her commander's drift, Inga took off in a trot toward the hangar to get her striker. Quickly, however, this turned into a dash across the open airfield, and when finally her wits caught up with her halfway across the tarmac, she drew upon her magic and transformed. The boost in strength allowed her to run in great leaps, like some freak two-footed leopard; in less than ten seconds she were across the airfield, and a few more later she was in the hangar all but jumping into her striker.
Since her magic was already up at full blast, the engines roared to life with a ferocious howl, almost tearing the lock of its holder to pieces; luckily Inga had sense enough to disengage it before it shattered. She drew the throttle down low before grabbing her cannon, then leaned forward and taxied dexterously through crowds of servicemen running about finicky - what WERE they doing here now, anyway? - before blasting it back to half as she cleared the hangar gate. The impressive acceleration of the unit shot her up in the air before she even had crossed over to the runway, and she did a roll or two before settling into her "flyer mode", her focus and cool melding her mind into a razor-sharp blade.
She did, however, still have a bit of trickster in her. The engines howled like mad wolves in the wind as she maxed them out in a short burst - unlike most pilots, however, she didn't fear for her unit's integrity as she did so. One of the better parts of being both engineer and test pilot, Inga thought smugly as she went about the second part of her little "special trick". Enveloping herself in a bubble of freezing cold air, she blasted past Abigail at an unhealthy speed; behind her droplets of water were condensing out of the air, drawing a most flashy rainbow trail behind her path, sparkling slightly before fading out as the water evaporated again. A waste of magic, perhaps, Inga mused, but definitely cool enough to be worth it. A grin formed on her face as she sped down and settled into a hover a bit above the Britannian witch - the cold still lingering for a few seconds, making sparkling flakes of snow fall beneath her unit. "I see everything is in order up here, Abe. Nothing out of the ordinary." Smugness perpetuated every single word of the last sentence.
In the Air
Now the vague black shapes of Neuroi were visible, dodging through the flak bursts, on a bearing that would take them right over Rabat.
Celia, who had been concerned before, entered a state of near-panic at the sight of a sober Eléonore - Damn, things must be bad if she's quit hitting the bottle - and hastily followed Inga out the tent. The hot air hit her like a brick wall, however; as Inga moved toward the hangar in literal leaps and bounds, she lagged behind, limited by her heat-weakened body and slightly dazed mind...
Jumping into her striker, Celia took off through the open doors and down the runway; by the time she took to the air, the others were mere specks in the sky - Inga was the only distinguishable one, and that was only due to the rainbow she seemed to be trailing. Mumbling a few exasperated words under her breath, Celia began her ascent toward the others.
Inga, Abigail, & Celia
Now a large type Neuroi, with a long thin body and evenly spaced 'wing' stubs was clearly visible as it hurried towards Rabat. At its flank were two smaller, almost barrel like 'fighter' Neuroi. As if to remind the witches of it's presence, a beam lanced out from the 'large' Neuroi's fuselage and passed cleanly through the group.
With the rest of the squadron sortied, Eléonore revved the engines of her own Dewoitine as she taxied onto the field. The regular fighters that weren't out supporting the advance were being turned over by their own scrambling pilots as the base siren began to wail and would soon take flight join her witches in the air. Hefting her Hotchkiss, she rushed down field before practically throwing herself into the air. One of her ears twitched. Not a good sign. As she climbed towards the direction of the flak fire she could see the rest of the detachment was still observing the oncoming alien war machines. Her eyes widened as the beam passed through the formation. Without a second thought, she pointed her machine gun to the side and fired a burst to hopefully attract their attention. Waving an arm towards Rabat, she turned herself towards the wide open city.
As the beam streaked across the sky, Inga revved her engines on instinct as the rainbow trail behind her was vaporized by the passing ray. "Get a move on!" she shouted at her companions, before raising her Bofors to aim. She took a shot on one of the smaller neuroi before lowering the barrel slightly; if all was as she believed, her old tactics needed a bit of a refresh. Slowly raising her speed for a few seconds, she took a clear heading on the smaller neuroi she had just fired at; then, she drew her sword, meshing her shield into it like a massive spike. She fired a few shots at the bigger neuroi, to serve as distraction; then, her engines roaring like an enraged lion, she charged - raising her throttle as fast as she could.
The Bofors was a cannon with substantial range, being able to pick off targets miles up (or across) the air from where they were fired. Inga's aim was true over the comparatively short two miles; her first shot tore into the lead 'fighter' Neuroi. For a brief moment the core itself was exposed, cracked and weakened by a fragment of the shell! However it's side was already knitting back together when the followup volley dug into the shell of the biggest one. It gave a brief rumble but seemed otherwise unaffected by Inga's attack. As the witch charged on the unharmed 'fighter' pulled up above the top of its fellow. In that instant a dozen beams lanced out from the three Neuroi.
A few were targeted at the group that hadn't yet begun to move; these lacked any real power though. Abigail's and Celia's shields deflected them handily. Still climbing behind her witches, Eléonore was missed completely by the beam attack. Inga wasn't quite as fortunate. She'd closed the range to about a mile when the first beam hit the left striker unit and smashing the corresponding leg. Inga pitched over on her side with the loss of power, nearly loosing her grip on the sword. Several more beams passed overhead. A pair from the damaged fighter's followup volley stayed on target; one turning the Bofors breech into slag while the other struck her hard in the torso just above the belt. The black and red trio kept up their fire with the two fighter's concentrating return fire on the smoking, diving, Inga. The rapier slipped from her grasp, finally allowing her shield to return to protecting her body from any more hits.
[spoiler]Sorry Nej, but charging level at three healthy opponents without shields on call isn't really a good course of action. Consider Inga, if not unconscious, no longer capable of flight or fight but potentially able to redirect her shield into cushioning the eventual impact.[/spoiler]
Celia's heart sunk when she saw Inga get hit and go into a dive. She considered making an attempt to catch up with her and pull her out the the nosedive; but Inga was simply too far away now, there was no way she could close the gap between them in time. With hesitation she turned her attention back to the neuroi; raising her rifle, she took aim at the now partially-healed crack Inga's Bofor had formed, and fired.
A flash of bright red, burning her chest.
Then, the sky, streaking by.
Well. That's not how it should've worked.
Inga's mind was fuddled; she mentally tried to take note of the course of events, but nothing quite seemed want to stay on her mind, as it were. Very confusing.
Something was annoying her, however. She couldn't see properly. Something must've happened to her vision. Or has it? Inga wasn't sure, but it was all very much annoying. This was a battle situation, she needed to be able to function properly!
Then she was reminded of something; a considerable chunk of mass hanging around her neck, that had taken the Neuroi beam head on. Yet, it was intact. Somehow. More importantly, however, it was a pair of spectacles. She fumbled about for a second, ignoring the beams streaking by her, and slid the spectacles on.
This is not how it's supposed to work.
The world was sharp, sure enough, but it was a brighter red than a tomato. Everything, the sky, the ground - even the Neuroi themselves! - were; or so she thought, until another beam streaked by her.
The beam didn't have any color at all. It was just heat - supercharged heat - visible to her eyes by years and years of magical practice, manipulating the substance with with her magic.
Another beam came, falling square on her face; layering her shield to the glasses, she took the hit.
In all of half a millisecond, she felt it; the tremendous, ridiculous temperature kept between the double lenses of the specs. Instinctively, she reacted to it like she always had done with extreme heat - yet this time, focusing it, shaping it as she forced it away. Reflect.
From her eyes, as it looked, tore through the sky a blinding red beam, one that made the ones fired around her seem pale in comparison. And it shot back square at the neuroi that had fired it.
This is most definitely not how it's supposed to work.
Oh well, screw that.
"Bloody snow queen had to go and be stupid, didn't she?" Abigail was not impressed by Inga's actions and started her sharp decent toward her. "If I have to use THAT today, i'm seriously going to give her a beating!" Abigail was refuring to what she called, "One Shot, One Kill", an ability which charges a single bullet to fire at a speed access to hypersonic (mach 5). Abigail continued toward Inga watching her 6 o' clock for enemy fire, she gave some covering fire for Inga as the enemy concentrated its fire on her "If this gets out of hand I might just have to use it..." Abigail was about 50 Km out from Inga at this point, she was cutting it close.
The distance between Abigail and Inga was closing fast but the distance between Inga and the ground was closing even faster "Her velocity is to high and gravity is taking effect, I'll have to use it to close the gap if I want to make it in time..." Abigail was pretty smart when it came to physics and mathmatics. She figured out that by using "One Shot, One Kill" she could propel herself with the recoil and close the gap in no time if done right, causing them to fly at a speed close to 80 Kmh when magic suppressers are in place. "HERE WE GO SNOW QUEEN!" Abigail screamed as she charged and fired her "One Shot, One Kill" at nothing but air causing her to propel just as planned and at the speed she wanted, "Thank you Mr. Einstein! Thank you Mr. Galilei!" Abigail yelled as she caught Inga and did a sharp turn toward base.
With a loud thump, something crashed into Inga's back with incredible force - almost knocking her already-fuddled mind out entirely. She didn't regain her senses until well half a minute later, when she realized that Abigail was carrying her. "You know," she said dryly as she was coughing a bit from the shock, "I appreciate the thought and all, but one, that was unnecessary as I can *cough* land on my own, and two would you mind making it less of a tackle in case you have to do this again? Also," she continued, coughed again and wriggled out or Abigail's grip, yelling upward as she started falling, "MIND THE ENEMY FIRST, I'VE GOT SOME FALLING TO DO~"
However sure her words had made her sound, however, her magic reserves were not very well-filled, that was for certain; the maneuvering window was tight if she was going to escape without any further wounds than those she had already sustained. This stuff is gonna hurt like all the hells when I land, Inga thought grimly, before focusing at the task at hand.
Theoretically it was a pretty simple thing to accomplish; now that she was almost square above the base, it was even simpler. Just harden her shield, heat up the air and swivel down in a combination of hot air balloon and parachute.
Theoretically, that is...
The practice of it, however, involved advanced balancing acts and physics, staying conscious despite the shock of breaking a fall from terminal velocity in her state, as well as the sheer insanity of opening the chute barely 40 meters above the ground due to her low reserves. Well, she thought as she saw the ground approach at an alarming rate, it's gonna be a close ca-
The feeling of her magic and her body trying to force themselves apart was indescribable. The pain wasn't particularly bad, but worse was the entire thing about all the blood in her body deciding to reside in her footsoles for a good number of seconds. The shield-chute had taken the brunt of her fall, though - and now she vented as much magic she could straight into the air between her and the shield, heating it up for the second stage.
A hard pull turned into a light yank, before finally settling into the slight touch of lift she had been aiming for. Good, she thought tiredly - a reminder of how low she was on power - Now, where's the gro-
Just as she looked down for the first time since she started falling, her legs hit the dusty ground. It wasn't too much of an impact, but she was totally off balance; thus, she stumbled and fell well and hard, dropping her cannon in the sand with a dull thump.
She lay there, head in the dust, for a good minute before she started feeling the blaze of the sun, prompting her to rise and drag the cannon with her. Her walk was a stumble, until she realized her striker was still fastened to her legs; unclasping the unit, she took the entire package and started lumbering toward the hangar.
Two minutes later, she had commandeered a desk, and placed upon it her broken cannon and the spectacles; as well as returned the striker to its holder. As she sat down in the folding chair she'd brought along with the desk, her magic went clean out.
Her horns popped away, and as the strength her form brought with it left her, she felt pain. Thirst, hunger, tiredness - but most of all, pain. Her chest bore a massive burn, her leg felt like someone had stabbed it with a hot poker - and her head was steaming. She reached out - a glass of water was on the desk as well - and managed to gulp the whole thing down before everything went black. With her last inch of sense holding on, she put the glass down somewhere - she couldn't see, it didn't matter - and slumped back on the back rest of the chair.
I hate it...when...this...
In the Air
Celia's burst reopened the previously healing wound, leaving the cracked core exposed. She was taking increasingly accurate fire from the other two Neuroi.
Inga's reflected beam bore straight back at the 'Zeppelin' blasting straight through the lower left front and out the top. The Neuroi stopped dead for a moment, then with a squeal shattered into thousands of glass-like fragments that rained down over the desert. It's two companions continued on without stopping.
Abigail was out of position now, far below the enemy and only taking sporadic fire.
Eléonore had climbed high and above the action, cursing the disintegration of her command. The Balt was down, crawling off back to the field, hopefully not too badly wounded. Something to attend to once she got back on the ground, before pestering command for a few of the new portable radio sets she'd heard were coming down the pipe. For now, she positioned herself above the remaining two Neuroi. Hefting her ancient machine gun up the Belgican tipped forward into a dive. As if on cue the trailing fighter began to disintegrate, hundreds of miniature black diamonds reforming out of the material. For several seconds a soft red glow was easily visible among the mass. Eléonore didn't hesitate to pull the trigger, hosing the glowing patch with 11mm Lebel rounds. Her minimal effort was rewarded when the tide of diamonds stopped cold. Then burst as the exposed core shattered, blood red slivers falling to the earth.
On the Ground
"Bloody hell!" the RAF Aircraftsman exclaimed. Pretty much everyone else had already dove for the air raid bunkers and slit trenches when the sirens went off; LAC Peters wasn't the sort of man to run off and leave a job half complete. Especially when it was leaving one of the detachment's big transports a hanger queen. Instead, he now found himself facing a different sort of problem. Peters hastily recalled the edicts issued by the witch DCO in preparation for their arrival... 'if found injured, take to the field hospital and summon me'. Peters eyed the girl suspiciously, "Right. Hospital."
Something was touching her back.
I told them to stay away from me when I'm working. This subordinate didn't seem to have gotten the hint, though, so she made an effort to explain her stance on the matter.
"Bort...från mitt skrivbord..."
She didn't get any further than that. Speaking was hard, but even more than that - it hurt, even the mumble she just about managed.
Even so, the touch remained; perhaps somewhat jolted for some reason. This wasn't ordinary. She opened her eyes - or tried to, at least. They resisted. She pressed on. A few seconds later, the world lit up - and her mind was dragged out of her dreamland back home, pulling itself back to reality's African warfare.
Black spots covered her eyesight like giant flies, but she managed to get a decent overview of the situation. I am being carried. By a repairman. I am not some broken piece of-
Her thoughts trailed off as the massive burn on her chest reminded her of its presence. Fine. I am...wounded. This... She didn't finish the thought, mostly due to the fact that she wasn't quite able to formulate any complicated sentences in her current state, even in her head. Instead, she opened her mouth and drew a ragged breath - before using her every bit of energy to force the words out of her mouth. "You. Rank. Name. Need to know. You. Responsible for my equipment. While I am. Down. Tell me. So I. Know who. To force into serfdom. If anything breaks. Or is. Gone. When I. Back. Up. Understood, soldier?" Focusing her every bit of consciousness, she managed to find the man's eyes, and stared into them with every bit of officer spirit in her body.
On the Ground
"Airman ma'am," Peters wasn't terribly impressed by the injured girl's threats. While an officer, and one with a fierce glare, he still remembered the tiny Captain's laconic warning, "Leading Aircraftsman Hamish Peters, No. 4 Air Ambulance Detachment, RFAF ma'am. Orders from Captain-Commandant Petrise ma'am, take you to hospital and inform her. Nobody'll touch your equipment, t'isn't our job after all."
"Your word. On that. If. So much as one screw...is...gone..."
The swarm of black flies finally overtook her vision, and her consciousness shut down.
Celia, who had landed and hurriedly uncoupled from her striker unit some time ago, was currently on a mission to find her commander and Abigail, who she had lost track of during that melee in the sky. The current condition of Inga also weighed heavily on her mind; imagining what damage may have been inflicted on her body and wondering if she'd pull through intact caused a sick feeling of unease in her stomach.