Part 18: b: Grummble in the Grummngle
Okay I lied, here is the second part. I thought we'd be going to the Warhol exhibit here, but it's been postponed.
Part 14b: Grummble in the Grummngle
With her new mechanical minion and its operator in tow, Dagny decided it was time to attack Grumm. The helicopter ferried both her team and Team Statutory Rape to their starting positions. Dagny conferred with Ira along the way, and they hashed out a battle plan together. She noticed, however, that Ira seemed listless and uninterested, subdued to a degree she had never seen before. The spark of bloodlust in her eyes was dim, when it was usually as bright as a star. Perhaps the excitement of battle would wash the melancholy from her mind, Dagny thought.
Both teams landed and set off to attack Grumm. Ira's squad, being more nimble, reached their destination first. In the dark of night, they came upon a military storage facility, bordered by a chainlink fence. Praying for a quick resolution, Ira hefted her rocket rifle and crept forward, her two charges unusually quiet behind her. She snipped her way through the fence, and they made their way to the north-east corner, where they encountered a pair of Deidranna's soldiers. A shot from Razor's Gepard and a whistling HEAT rocket from Ira's rifle put a quick end to them, and they took up a defensive position, flinging out breaklights to the southeast and southwest approaches. Another soldier ran up from the southwest to investigate, dark skin cloaking her movements, but a 12.7mm round from Razor's Gepard cleaved her head in twain and she fell to the ground, stone dead.
Razor is colourblind - all enemies are equally entitled to his bullets, regardless of race, creed, or shoe size
A few more enemies approached and were quickly dispatched. The rest, it seems, were wary of approaching the well-defended position. Ira leaned on her rifle, in no hurry to set out into the darkness.
Haywire nudged her.
"Uh, boss, shouldn't we get moving?"
Ira looked at him, her brown eyes large and unreadable. After a moment of silence, she turned away and began to lead them toward the inner compound. She snipped her way through that fence also, and they came upon another pair of soldiers standing beside some storage containers. Ira raised her rocket rifle slowly, and she carelessly spat a couple of HEATs toward them. The rockets lanced their heads, detonating on impact. Brain matter and skull fragments were scattered around.
You'd think a rocket to the head would do this every time, but noooooo
The team crept forward, when, all of a sudden, a pair of shots rang out in the darkness. Both caught Ira in the torso, and she fell to the ground, winded. The pain dulled her senses, and she felt herself sliding toward unconsciousnes, but she managed to cling on to reality, and beat a hasty retreat into the darkness.
How can you still be saying this five months into the game?
She forced her eyes wide and began to bandage her wounds, trying to fight off the black creeping into the edges of her vision. Deidranna's soldiers did not pursue them; only the chirping of crickets could be heard. Razor and Haywire took up defensive positions as Ira treated herself. When she had recovered sufficiently, they set off once more. Ira snipped a hole in the western edge of the inside fence, and they came upon another soldier. Upon spotting them, he threw a grenade, but the tear gas did our team no appreciable harm. The Gepard ensured he would never make such a mistake again.
Razor's pot habit tends toward the egregious. You can't hotbox the whole world, man
Ira loped her way south, hardly bothering to conceal her movements. Her reward for such indiscretion was a grenade, which arced through the air and landed at the team's feet. The minibomb exploded, but did little appreciable harm to Team Statutory Rape.
I imagine that all of Deidranna's soldiers carry their grenades around all the time, primed and ready, nervously awaiting the first sign of trouble. Woe to the man who sneezes
The team got up and dispatched the aggressor, whereupon Ira took out her medkit and bandaged the team up. She worked quickly and quietly, sweat streaming down her face, her eyes scrunched up in pain. Haywire and Razor accepted treatment silently, unwilling to disturb their master. With this done, they set out to finish off the remainder of Deidranna's troops. They found the large majority of them congregating on the rooftops, but the precision sniper work of Haywire and Razor put an end to them quickly.
Under the watchful rooftop eyes of Deidranna's elite soldiers, her containers of American bluejeans remained safe
Haywire darted forward and leapt up onto the roof. He found only corpses, but quickly spotted a soldier on the ground below. He drew his knife and jumped down on her, screaming horribly as he plunged it into her skull, burying it up to the hilt. The woman stiffened perceptibly, then collapsed, twitching. Haywire withdrew the knife, wiped it, and sheathed it once more.
Ira breathed a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile, Dagny and her mechanized infantry were making their way towards Grumm's mine. The robot led the way, ready to absorb any firepower directed toward them. Through the robot's camera, Miguel spotted a soldier and called out to the team. He directed the 'bot's Browning toward their enemy, and depressed the trigger. In front of them, flashes lit up the night sky as the M1919 spat forth a stream of deadly bullets.
Beep boop I fucking shot you
The loud report of the robot's weapon brought Deidranna's soldiers forward. They charged en masse, but Miguel simply kept firing. The barrel of the gun began to glow white-hot under the strain of repeated firing.
Beep boop I am better than you in every way
Deidranna's soldiers began to return fire. The team could hear the clanks and plinks as rifle fire contacted the robot's thick armour, and could see scored, blackened metal as grenades, thrown from all directions, temporarily illuminated the machine. But the robot was unfazed and kept on firing.
From behind, Dagny moved to unpack her mortar, when she suddenly realized she had left it on the chopper. She cursed her stupidity, and directed Gasket to begin firing his grenade launcher into crowd of enemies. He did so, to stunning effect:
Grenade launchers have serious range. Whenever possible, replace your regular grenades with launchers
The dead began to mount, but still the troopers poured in. The team was forced to duck under the hail of undirected suppression fire, and Dagny took a shot in the shoulder.
"WHEN THE MAN BESIDE YOU FALLS, PICK UP HIS RIFLE AND KEEP FIGHTING"
The robot was badly damaged by the withering storm of gunfire, and Miguel directed it back behind their line.
Beep boop the fleshbags have harmed me
The team tossed breaklights forward, and sniper rifles began to make their voices heard. Miguel hefted the FN P90 he had been given, fired it into the crowd of enemies, and surprisingly managed to score a kill, in spite of the SMG's limited range. The man's death left him philosophical:
I taught my kid Latin with a Glock 19. Thanks, TFR!
After a brief but intense firefight, more than a dozen corpses littered the battlefield. They pressed onward, toward the mining commission, where a number of frightened soldiers were waiting, kept back as a reserve force. They knew that death was coming for them. Gasket's grenade launcher was put to good use once more:
And that's why you don't wear flammable cologne into battle
With the last of Deidranna's soldiers dead, Dagny stood and approached the mining commission. Inside, she found an affable looking old man, still somewhat shaken from the fighting that had just taken place. She extracted the usual concessions from him:
He also claimed that he had invented the 'Hot Carl,' something which Miguel, being a sexual giant, found dubious
Satisfied that their business in the mine sector was concluded, Dagny ushered her team west. The central manufacturing facility was there, surrounded by a chain-link fence which, as always, fell victim to Dagny's wire cutters. The team moved toward the facility and mounted the wall, while Miguel and the robot stayed below to ward off any would-be attackers. Dagny plunged ahead into the all-consuming darkness, and soon spotted an orange-vest, already on the alert from the clamour of battle he had heard to the east. She was about to slay him, but Gasket was faster, and he drilled a pair of bullets into the man's head.
Those day-glo orange vests really do Deidranna's soldiers a disservice at night
They scoured the roof of soldiers, with Gasket managing to score an excellent shot on a man standing near the edge of the roof. His footing faltered, and he teetered backward, his arms windmilling. He fell, and plummeted to his guaranteed death one story below.
Falling off the roof does more damage. This is one of the other animations that 1.13 added
The roof was cleansed of enemies, but Dagny stayed up top to keep watch, just in case. She activated the radar detector, and saw that several soldiers lurked inside the building.
From afar, she directed Gumpy to bomb open an entrance to the factory. Gumpy saluted, and laid down a few bricks of C4s with remote detonators. He scooted back, and pushed the button on his remote trigger.
A few surprised soldiers were waiting behind the wall, but they fell quickly.
Gumpy is pretty much Charles Bronson now
They began to creep into the facility, but shots rang out, going wide and sailing over their head. Dagny spotted the offender and aimed her rifle, but as she tried to fire the badly-abused weapon clicked, and she couldn't fully depress the trigger. Jammed. She cursed and ran backward, looking for another weapon to use.
Fortunately, Gasket was able to take care of the man, while Dagny equipped herself with a SIG 5.56mm assault rifle. She returned to the edge of the roof, only to find another soldier dashing through the brightly lit corridor. A burst from her new rifle put an end to him:
5.56 ammo is really ineffective at this point in the game. But with enough of it, anybody will go down
Meanwhile, Miguel dispatched the robot into the facility. He managed to slay a few soldiers before the robot started to come under fire.
Beep boop you are filth
Gumpy and the others followed up from behind, saturating the area with grenades and and gunfire. It wasn't long before the facility was deathly silent, having been emptied of Deidranna's soldiers. The sector was still not free completely of the Queen's taint, however, and the team began to scout the surrounding area. Gasket came upon the last soldier behind the bar, heaving his guts up after a particularly brutal night of drinking. As the man wiped away yellow bile from his mouth, he looked up to see a man in camoflauge watching him through his blue-lensed nightvision goggles. The soldier, panicking, reached for his pistol, but the man already had his rifle levelled, and he fired. Two bullets pierced the unfortunate soldier, and he slumped against the wall.
Beer before liquor, never sicker
That was the last of them. Pausing only to reload their weapons, Dagny urged her team forward.
At the same time, Ira's squad was engaged in battle in Grumm's residental sector. They immediately came upon two soldiers standing in the light of a house. The troopers in question were, naturally, slain in short order.
Grumm's homeowners are thankful that they won't have to purchase fertilizer this season
Since her rocket rifle had proved useless over longer ranges, Ira had once again resumed use of her FN FAL rifle. Moreover, the rocket rifle had only served as a constant reminder of the horrors inflicted upon her in Orta, so she felt more at ease being rid of it.
A vicious firefight ensued as soldiers heard the report of Razor's Gepard. They streamed out from between the houses, and began flinging grenades at Ira and her companions. Cloaked in wispy trails of mustard gas, safe behind their gas masks, Team Statutory Rape returned fire. The grass was greased with the blood of the fallen, but still they kept firing. Razor cycled through all six HE grenades in his launcher, stopping only to reload.
Now THIS is combat
The onslaught was beginning to overwhelm them. Ira, under the cover of her compatriots' rifle fire, drew her wire cutters and snipped a retreat through the fence behind them. Firing a stun grenade to distract their enemies, Razor and Haywire followed her through the hole. From their shadowy hiding spot it was easy to slay any curious soldiers who wandered too near. As it turns out, there was also a soldier trapped inside a maze of boxes; Ira put a merciful end to him.
"Journal Entry 4, Day 12: box maze impossible to escape... perhaps the way out is through them..."
Ira snipped another hole in the southern portion of the fence, and they emerged once more into the open darkness. Creeping north stealthily, they found a host of Deidranna's troops waiting outside one of the log cabins. A breaklight sailed out and struck Haywire in the chest, and a grenade followed.
If JA2 is to be believed, explosives are mildly injurious at best, so feel free to ignore bomb threats, riots, wars, and suchlike
The team retreated back aways, where Ira patched them all up. Brimming with hatred and praying for righteous vengeance, the team approached their aggressors from another angle, and wrought havoc on them.
You'll note that Razor is so tough he didn't even take damage from the earlier grenade
Ira let her rifle fall as she saw the last of the enemies go down. She was tired. There was so much fighting, endless fighting. She didn't want to go on. She knew that she was supposed to meet up with Dagny for a final push in the last sector of Grumm, but she felt as if she were dragging a boulder around, so great was her fatigue. What was the point? Another sector taken, another city conquered, but what was the result? A step closer to Deidranna, perhaps? She didn't care. Even the allure of consuming fresh human flesh did nothing for her. She was disgusted by her nature, wanted nothing to do with it anymore. Her head bowed.
Haywire and Razor were watching from behind. Razor approached and laid a hand on her shoulder.
"I know you saw something in Orta there, something that fucked your head up. I don't know what it was. But you gotta keep going. You gotta keep going to stop Deidranna from setting up more places like Orta." He stopped, at a loss as to what more to say.
Ira smiled without looking at him. She picked up her rifle and trudged toward the last unconquered sector of Grumm. Razor was still concerned, but followed nonetheless.
The two squads met up to the northwest of the sector. Dagny caught sight of Ira and raised her hand. Ira walked forward slowly and saluted lazily. Dagny spoke:
"I trust everything went well? This should be easy enough with all of us here."
Ira looked at her blankly. She replied, and her voice sounded more hoarse than usual, and distant, as if being dredged up from the bottom of an abandoned well:
"Yeah, it went good. Let's just get this over with."
Dagny nodded and directed Ira and her men to cover the western approach. Meanwhile, Dagny's team ventured forth into the darkness. Miguel was the first to spot an enemy, and he raised his P90 and spat a long stream of fire at him.
Much as in Counter-Strike, the P90 is the weapon of choice for all nubs
More soldiers appeared, shadowy forms obscured by trees. Team Gumpy laid into them with their sniper rifles, and Miguel directed the robot to begin firing in their general direction.
The fight was fast and fierce. Deidranna's soldiers managed to pepper Dagny's squad with both mustard and explosive grenades, but by and large Dagny and her men remained unharmed. Not so for their enemies:
Conveniently, the garbage bin is right beside for easy corpse disposal
And with that, Grumm was fully in Dagny's control.
Sometime later, a survivor of Dagny's onslaught limped into Meduna and informed Elliot of what had transpired at Grumm. Sadly, Elliot had not learned his lesson about giving bad news to the Queen, and immediately rushed to the throne room to give a report to her:
You probably know what happens next
The team set up camp in Grumm and passed the night there. The grey light of dawn fround Ira wandering amongst the scores of corpses. Already industrious townspeople had emerged to drag the bodies of the fallen away to a nearby mass grave, and to loot their belongings. Ira paused to examine one of the fallen troopers. The young man was staring wide-eyed at the sky, his hand still clutching at the belly-wound that had killed him. His fair hair was in disarray, and little trickles of dried blood sullied the corners of his mouth. He was attractive, Ira thought, or would have been, were he still alive. She met his gaze.
Death. That was the sum total of Ira's purpose. Wherever she went, she brought death and destruction. Perhaps it was of beneficial sort, as Razor had suggested to her the previous night, but it was death nonetheless, ugly and crude. This young man here could hardly have been older than eighteen years, still a boy, but Ira's presence had meant death for him. What would happen after Arulco was freed? She still felt the craving for human flesh, for the grisly texture of bones crunching beneath her razor sharp fangs. Was she to continue killing, to continue bringing ruin to pretty young things like the boy before her? How could that be right?
Perhaps she would be better off dead. With that thought guiding her, she stood and sauntered off toward the south.