Part 25: Episode 24: Buscando la Rabia
Today's music: Generic Democratus Music!
Episode 24: Buscando la Rabia
Alone in the Desert. / Backup
I'm Paco. I too was thrown from the ship to the planet's surface. I lost my job, my rage, and now…
They had taken me to a military camp. For what reason I did not know.
Lasers and security code kept me in.
A soldier saw me playing with the gate.
He said, "Um. Hi. Who are you…? Um. Does anyone know that you're…Just a second."
He picked up the radio and spoke into it. "Private Prille to Sergeant Major Sargent. Yeah, do you know anything about an eight foot tall guy in a circus costume? Big yellow fist on his chest… enormous hands? That's right, sir… a circus costume. Yes, he's right here, sir. Well, he doesn't talk much. In fact, he hasn't said a word. He's just standing here looking depressed. He sighs every few seconds. Yes, that's right sir. Of course, sir. I'll send him your way, sir." Looking at me again he said, "Uhh… Sergeant Major Sargent wants to see you. He's on the north side of camp. Please don't hit me."
Norte, sur…I had no compass. So I would wander. I had been wandering the last few years. Another few hours couldn't hurt.
No need to cry pobre brain creature. Paco won't hurt you. Paco won't hurt anyone anymore.
Another soldier on his radio.
He said, "Yessir. That's right, sir. A sand mite, sir. They're crawling in under the perimeter fences…That's a negatory sir. There's barely enough juice in the generator to refuel the transports…No, sir. Of course I'm not questioning your command, sir. I'll see what I can do,sir. Wilco, out." He saw me listening. "Hoah! You must be the walking wall of meat everyone's been talking about. Look, we're in the middle of mounting a major military operation here. Unless you got authorization… I ain't talkin' to you."
Almost nobody wanted talk to Paco without authorization. At least nobody wanted an autograph…pens are so small.
The other soldier was holding un insecto gigante.
"These things give me the jeebies. Small… but deadly," he said. Paco is large but harmless. "One time, we were on patrol near the border of No Man's Land when half a dozen of these suckers leapt out from under an outcropping. Damn near chewed Private Redshert's leg clean off. We pumped about two hundred rounds into them. Redshert caught about five of 'em. No one really likes him much." He looked carefully at the sand mite and said, "This reminds me a little of my ex."
Nobody would speak to Paco except this man, the one who had been radioed.
"Who the hell are you?" he asked. "You don't look like a native… do any of the higher-ups know you're here? It's been a while since I've seen any civvies. I don't remember them wearing circus costumes though, but what the hell. You got no idea the problems we've been through. I don't even know where to start. I guess it was about six months ago, at our main military installation eight clicks from here. The Ringdwellers were sending us ordinances every other week, as well as supplies, equipment, anything to keep us busy and on track. On track of what? I don't know. I never understood why they need a surface army when they all live up in that Ring. Ain't nobody down here but us dumb Terrans. Anyway, about six months ago, the shipments stopped coming. Just like that. No supplies, no orders, and most importantly, no authentication codes for the installation's security systems. Next thing we knew, we were sitting there with expired codes. And when the weekly codes don't match up, central computer ain't happy. The defense grid automatically went on full alert, looking for any intruders in the base. Unfortunately, that was us. We got caught with our pants down. Literally. Major SNAFU. We had to leave everything behind. I mean, I don't wanna sound melodramatic here, but just imagine if your own home suddently attacked you one night. We had to abandon it. Anyway, here we are, six months later, in a temporary base camp, planning to retake the installation… my nervers are still frazzled enough that I'm spilling my guts to a stranger in a circus costume. Listen, you oughta talk to First Lieutenant Bibere. Let HIM figure out what to do with you. Lemme give you his officer's field code or else he won't talk to you. It is… Shadow Cordica Obelisk Watcher Lithium. See you later. And thanks for not making fun of my name."
But he had to make fun of my costume…I know it is silly, but when Krapton Comics fired me all I had was..as they say "the clothes on my back"…which happened to be this.
As I was about to leave he said, "Anything you wanna tell me about? You look pretty down yourself."
I walked away and sighed. He wouldn't understand.
I found Bibere sitting under one of the military vehicles and gave him the field code.
He said, "Shadow Cordica Obelisk Watcher Lithium, CHECK! So what's your story? Did the colonel bring you up here to help us recapture the base? I'm sure you've been briefed on our situation. We got our butts handed to us in a sling by central computer. Pretty embarrassing, huh? But we'll make it all pretty, nicely, and politely. It's just a matter of time. I know we're ramping up to a major operation here… w eneed to stay focused and frosty. But you wanna know what I keep thinking about? You're gonna laugh… but it's beer."
"Donde esta-Where is beer?" I asked.
"I left it in my foot locker in the officer's barracks. In Hindsight, I should've grabbed it before bailing, but at the time, I was sure we were under attack.
"What kind of beer?"
"Beer drinker too, huh? It was a twelvepack of three different types of micro brews. One was robust honey porter. Another was a crisp pilsner. I forget what the other one was."
"Is alcohol anywhere on camp?"
"Fraid not. Private Sump cooked up some bark juice the other day, but the lush drank it all last night… got skunko behind a troop transport."
I was silent. My hopes were destroyed.
"Not the talkative type. That's cool. Why don't you report to Captain Militaratus if you haven't already. His officer's field code is… Watcher Radium Astro Tentac Helium."
If he were to speak to me that way, perhaps I would find the rage. He turned my way and said, "What the hell do YOU want, you hogtoed, spineless pile of gutrot?!"
No…my rage was still drowning in cerveza. I slowly gave him the field code.
"Holy hound dog! This walking ham hock knows my field code! Call me 'Darla' and slather me in kidney butter! Get your fat lumbar to Major Tweedy immediately, juggle head! His field code is… Shadow Photon Integer Tentac Eternal."
This Major Tweedy was sitting nearby one of their vehicles.
He said, "Look, we're in the middle of mounting a major military operation here. Unless you got authorization… I ain't talkin' to you."
"Shadow Photon Integer Tentac Eternal," I said, doing my best not to mispronounce.
"Shadow Photon Integer Tentac Eternal, check. Guess you're clear. Man this has been a witch of a day. The generator's been malfunctioning, we got sand mites sneaking in under the perimeter fence, and now there are reports that a little native girl from a neighboring village has wandered into the abandoned installation we're about to attack. Why can't those Ginkgos watch their kids?"
Another soldier ran to get Tweedy's attention.
"What is it Private?"
"Private George went desert happy, sir. Ran off whooping and hollering into the Dessicati Canyon."
"As you were, Private. Damnit, that's the third deserter this week. You better report to the lieutenant colonel immediately. Let him decide what to do with you. Lieutenant Colonel Irdgaff's field code is… Astro Neon Gambit Eternal Radium."
Along with superhuman rage and gigantic hands came superhuman metabolism. Already, the cheap booze that Rictus had used to flood my brain was losing its effect. I had to save that girl. I had to find the rage.
I had climbed the chain of command to Lieutenant Colonel now. These officers were inside a tent, planning the operation. I found Igdraff inside, but was stopped by his Sergeant.
"Don't speak to Lieutenant Colonel Irdgraff unless you've got field code authorization."
"Astro Neon Gambit Eternal Radium."
Irdgaff heard his field code, looked up from his work and said, "You're a hero… aren't you? You're here to save us with your super powers, is that it? Well, there's no need for your heroics here, my friend. I assure you. I have everything under control. Look around you. These men need hope. They need purpose. Retaking that installation is the only thing keeping this army together. If you fly in there, fists swinging, easily securing our objectives, how do you think that will make them feel? I know what you're thinking… You're thinking about that little Gingko girl who wandered into the base. Well, saving her is a lost cause. Even if she somehow avoided the hover mines, the sentinel lasers most certainly will have cut her down. I can't let one dead girl interfere with this operation. Do you have any idea what's at stake here? The Ring Dwellers are out to lunch. Perhaps permanently. If we reclaim this installation, we will become the major super power in this region. So don't interfere with my operation. I mean it. Let Command Sergeant Major Heten know if you need anything. His field code is Gambit Radium Obelisk Watcher Lithium."
What? They will just leave the girl for dead? That makes me….a little upset.
The man behind the map had to be Sergeant Major Heten. He was the only one that I hadn't talked to yet.
"Who the hell are you? Do you have field code authorization?" he snapped at me. I gave him the code.
"With the constant security breaches these days, I'm surprised your field code checks out. These soldiers behave like children. Here's one example of our weak security. Every time the power generator drops below the yellow line, the perimeter fence downgrades to half power, which triggers an alarm. That's why a sand mite managed to get in here half an hour ago. The generator should be checked each and every time the alarm goes off. It's the only way to insure security. If that alarm goes off one more time, I swear, I've got half a mind to check it myself."
I tried to get a look at the Sergeant Major's PDA.
Stealth is not Paco's strength. I would have to figure out a way to get it that involved destroying things…
I found the generator
But could I find the rage?
More of the alcohol had left me. Not bad for a warmup. As the generator lost power, the sirens went off.
The plan had worked. Heten had gone to check up on the generator. I studied the map and noticed "Today's code Cordica Astro Gambit Eternal" in the lower left corner.
I also grabbed the PDA beside the map.
The notes CAGE, from today's code worked. Now I had both the location of the base and the gate code.
And off I went out into the Dessicati Desert.
(This is Paco using Tumbleslam, the weapon given as a reward for the bipidri. Aside from being incredibly powerful, it is also almost impossible to screenshot.)
They had no chance against the fist!
Even raptor-looking things with laserbeam tales were no match!
I had found the base. The laser towers were still very active. It seemed almost impossible that the girl had made it in alive, but I had to try!
I charged past (and sometimes through) the lasers and made it into the base.
Floor mines blocked the way.
I avoided the floor mines, but the door would not open.
I would have punched the door down in a fury, but this cheery little insect caught my eye.
I took my new friend and went down a different hallway only to be greeted by a laser turret! How rude!
I smashed the control panel for the turret.
As long as there was no alcohol left in here, I would be ok.
I also raged on this panel. Somewhere, a turret cried out in pain. It comforted me.
Paco had no need for pathetic guns.
A dead end. The elevator doors would not budge.
I could probably get the doors open here.
Who leaves Cyclic Sensor Arrays sitting around?
A second intruder…in the elevator room! I didn't know how the little girl could have made it through the laser turrets and floor mines, but I had to check.
I barely made it inside the elevator.
At the bottom of the elevator / Backup
End: Stay tuned next time as Stiletto explores an area that definitely isn't a Star Wars spoof.