The Project Chapter 228 Game ON

The moment they became airborne the green battle lighting came on. With Arna sitting on his left, and Allen Truscott. Along with the others to his right, Alex braced himself for a wild ride. There was a smaller scanner screen mounted on a piece of interior framework directly in front of he and the others. It didn't show readout data like the main one Holliqua, Aneejac, and Wildeta watched but it allowed passengers, or in this case, Alex and the reaction force to see what was happening out side. He also could not hear what Holliqua and the other two were saying to each other, but from the things Holliqua had told him they were now going into attack formation. Am indicated target would receive the full force of the ship's entire cannon battery, which was now showing on both screens. They would circle the target, in this case some crude looking shacks, although pretty much of everything on the ground was hidden by the trees, which were now being blasted to pieces. It appeared to be raining heavily so there would be no subsequent fire, but nonetheless, a large area was being cleared. After close to ten minutes over the target, they moved onto the next one and repeated the process.

After beginning their attack on the third target, Holliqua's voice came over everyone's comm's.

"There's something here, more than at the others, I'll be setting down to let you people off, then I will call in support air cover, stand by."

This was it; everyone made a last minute check of their equipment as Holliqua added,

There appears to be some sort of base with three lower levels, however we're not seeing many life form indications, but that doesn't mean there's no one down there. Stand by;"

The moment the ship set down, everyone unbuckled, grabbed any gear or ammo that was on the floor, and moved to the ramp hatch. Guy Basilone was carrying an M-249 SAW equipped with a TA648 ACOG, along with a Benelli M4 shotgun. Truscott carried an M203 grenade launcher attached to his Knight SR16. Alex carried a Knight SR16, along with a Kel-Tec KS- shotgun slung across his daypack. Gehrek carried Tepryx pulse rifle, along with Esnil fusion pistol that reminded Alex of a big Colt horse pistol. Gehrek told him they were big and heavy but did the job when your really needed it.

It was raining when they exited the ship, and immediately moving to cover. Just as Holliqua was lifting off, yellow and green bolts of beam fire started hitting near them. Both Arna and Guy immediately returned fire with their machine guns while Guy lobbed a couple grenades near where the fire was coming from. Allen's second grenade must have hit something important judging from the resulting explosion and screams.

Both Arna, with the Russian RPD borrowed from Jezang, and Guy's LMG continued to record hits, as they cautiously moved towards their front scanning all round. Gehrek wore a helmet that was equipped with it's own scanner telling him where life forms were located. If they were carrying beam weapons that was revealed as well. Pointing off towards their front Gehrek exclaimed,

"I'm picking up a lot activity off this way, looks like they might be escaping into some sort of tunnel."

Suddenly more blaster fire erupted from the jungle, hitting dangerously close as everyone did their best to take cover behind trees. Gehrek called in air support while Arna and Basilone poured automatic fire into the jungle. Alex and Allen watched for anyone trying to flank them, until a guild fighter appeared overhead, and began blasting the jungle where the hostile fire had been coming from. The fire it was laying down was incredible; suddenly figures began to break from cover only to be cut down by Arna and Guy. Truscott and Alex then added their own fire as well, trees were falling, and heavy brush was catching fire despite the rain.

Gehrek then called off the fighter, waving everyone else forward. The whole area now stank of ozone mixed with what smelled like iodine. As the team cautiously crept forward.

"There's an opening just over there," said Gehrek, "My scanner is showing that's where most of the Viggu in the area have disappeared to, however be careful, there could be other escape tunnels. Also, try to locate any weapons they might have dropped, I'm going to need them." As they began a slow search, Alex and Allen came across three dead Viggu ripped apart by machine gun fire. Their beam rifles were lying nearby, along with two pistols.

"These will do nicely," said Gehrek, now watch." Pulling a rectangular device from the satchel he was wearing, along with what Alex recognized as the Golian version of duck tape, Gehrek quickly removed the power packs from the weapons, taping them to the device.

"This is a detonator that will crash the power supplies causing a massive chain reaction. Once I drop it down the hole move away as fast as you can, and get as far as you can, in that direction." He now had all the power packs taped to the device, as he pointed towards what was an access hole.

"All right everyone, get ready to move, here goes." Touching some buttons on the device, which was now blinking, Gehrek tossed the whole thing down the open hole as everyone moved as fast as they could to the northwest. Crashing through the jungle, everyone maintained a loose group formation until the ground seemed to rise then quickly fall somewhat deeper than it had originally been. Behind them, an enormous explosion blasted out of the opening, followed by a veritable Old Faithful fountain of fire blasting upwards close to three hundred feet.

"Holy mother of god!" Gasped Truscott, as he along with Alex and the others scampered up over the crater rim. The fire continued to erupt out of the hole with smoke now seeping from fissures in the ground.

"This way," Called out Gehrek.

As they formed up, Gehrek pointed towards the east,

"The main base is this way, around 800 mipa's, I'm getting a beacon signal indicating our main force is on the ground there, everyone spread out a little and be ready no telling who might be coming our way trying to escape."

"Christ! Does it always rain like this?" Exclaimed Basilone, as they slowly worked their way through the jungle, Alex used the long knife Yufic Mooncalled had made for him chopping the jungle growth with ease.

Suddenly they began to hear gunfire ahead of them.

"Ma Duce," exclaimed Truscott, "Don was going to have a couple of them mounted on the 113's, everyone stay frosty they could be driving the bad guys right into our laps." Suddenly Gehrek called a halt,

"Get ready, something's coming." Something was definitely coming their way crashing through the tangle in a desperate effort to escape.

"Hold your fire everyone," exclaimed Truscott, "Could be Oerog trying to escape." Seconds later, they could see movement then bodies moving quickly.

"Hold your fire, hold your fire, it's the Oerogs," he shouted. "Ock, Owe, Ock Owe!" he then began to shout. Suddenly the terrified Oerog's stopped now that they could clearly see who was in front of them.

"Ock Owe! Bo Lop, Bo Lop!" Shouted Truscott as eight Oerog's cautiously approached.

"Tic Kow, Mok Mok, Dol Vim," continued Allen as the creatures cautiously approached

"Shit, I'm all out of stuff to say to them," he continued, "That's about all Patha taught me." He then tried Pidgin English trying to get them to continue on their path. After a lot of pointing, the Oerog got the message and continued on through the forest. Gehrek looked at Truscott and shook his head,

"You humans…sometimes."

The sound of not only automatic weapons fire but grenade explosions grew louder as both Truscott and Basilone attempted to contact team control, finally Allen got through.

"Leader one leader one, this is pack one, do you copy over?"

"Leader one to pack one I copy you what is your location over?"

"Leader one, this is pack one, we are on your nine, a half click out, we are coming in."

"Rodger that pack one bad guys in area be careful, leader one out."

"Everyone spread out just a little and hold up," announced Basilone, "We still might get some unwanted guests." Everyone did as he requested, crouching behind trees. Three minutes later Gehrek exclaimed,

"Someone's coming; I'm picking up six humanoids…with beam weapons."

Suddenly a flurry of activity and shouting began as the Viggu began moving rapidly in their direction.

"They are all coming my way," called out Gehrek, "Open fire.

Everyone began firing as screams were now being heard and bolts of plasma energy began to zip wildly over their heads. Truscott dropped three more grenades in the general direction creating more screams.

"Cease fire, cease fire," exclaimed Gehrek, "I see no more indicators.

As they moved towards the dead Viggu Gehrek warned everyone to shoot them again and pick up any weapons. As Alex bent over to retrieve a beam rifle there was a flurry of activity behind him, turning around she saw Arna holding her knife and pointing at a now very dead Viggu.

"You must be more careful…" Everyone then fired short bursts into the dead then took any weapons. Alex was looking at the short rifle he had taken off the Viggu when Gehrek came up.

"Could I look at that for a moment please?"

"Sure," he replied as he handed Gehrek what appeared to be some sort of carbine.

"Where did you get this?" Asked Gehrek. Pointing to the dead Viggu, Alex replied,

"Off of him." Gehrek took the rifle, then bent down to examine the Viggu who wore a pair of torn and ragged pants and a raggedy shirt. Standing back up, he held up the carbine,

"These are very expensive weapons, Tepryx has only just released these carbines, someone is buying them." Guy came over and showed Gehrek another one of the rifles along with a pistol, which Gehrek also examined.

"This is also brand new and expensive; something is not right about this. Let's hurry; I need to show these to Khoge."

They entered a large well burned over area in which sat the transport, along with a gun ship and two fighters. At the upper edge of the perimeter sat one of the M-113's with someone traversing the cupola a .50 caliber machine gun clearly visible. Alex could see what looked like a crude road heading off into the jungle where sporadic machine gun fire was coming from. They made for the transport, which had large plates forming a semicircle around the base of the loading ramp.

Alex noticed both Major Channing, and Captain Ellen Maysfield talking to Doctor Dyson, Dauc, and Khoge.

"Hey everyone," exclaimed Dauc, "Glad to see you all made it, any causalities?"

"Alex took a bad hit on his chest armor," said Allen but other than that, we are fine."

Gehrek then laid out the weapons on the table,

"Look at these; we just took them off some fleeing Viggu." Both Khoge and Dauc picked up the weapons and examined them. Turning to the other humans, Khoge said.

"This is what we were afraid of, these carbines are state-of-the-art, top-of-the line weapons, only the wealthiest can afford them. These Viggu certainly don't have the credits to buy weapons like this, someone is buying them for these people." Then Dauc went over to Captain Conrad who was talking on a field comm.

"Make sure everyone understands we need all the weapons they find."

"Will do," replied the Captain.

"Where are the two teams," asked Truscott,

"The first team is moving towards a secondary base down that trail."

"The second is clearing the base below us. We've got two more potential sites left," said Khoge, "I'll call Holliqua in and have her take care of them as we just about have things wrapped up here." Then Guy Basilone asked,

"Maybe it's just me, but something doesn't seem right, this whole operation seems too easy."

"Well it's been anything but that," replied Dauc, "There have been injuries, thankfully no deaths but in answer to your question, these Viggu make good thugs and guards but quickly fold when professionals like us descend upon them. However, I am disturbed by them having use of these advanced weapons. So far we've been very lucky, we have fighters patrolling out in space but so far no one has shown up, but we are ready should anyone attempt it." Khoge then addressed Allen.

"By the way, have you encountered any of those Oerog's?"

"We ran into some who were fleeing in panic as we were making our way here," explained Allen.

"I managed to speak to them but only briefly before they continued on their way, haven't seen Patha though."

"Well I think I'll have Ontana Stauell join your team," added Khoge, "Come up into the transport and get dry along with something to eat until Holliqua get's here. Ah, here she comes, Ontana, over here!" A figure dressed in Guild battle armor changed directions and came over to where Alex and the others were standing.

"Everyone, this is Ontana Stauell, the only Elvin member of our guild." The moment she pulled her helmet off Alex could clearly see her slanted eyes and pointed ears.

"I heard that there were humans were starting to populate Z'ha'dum, but apparently it's now called Endor or something like that."

"So where have you been hanging out at?" inquired Alex.

"For the last eight yeans I've been serving as the law on Sedor and Hinol. The Trading Company finally got a regular team to finally handle both planets. I'd been complaining for a couple yeans that I wanted to move onto something else. So, when Dauc contacted me about this job I jumped at it." As everyone congregated around a table, on which a large bowel of eabak and trays of yama bread and zaca Alex asked her,

"I happen to be a personal friend of queen Breca, and her brother Kiggham, yet no one's ever said anything about an elf belonging to the bounty hunters guild"

Ontana filled a bowl with eabak and tore off a chunk of bread, along with pouring herself a mug of water, all the while eying Alex suspiciously. Sitting down on a nearby crate, she ate a few bites then said.

"You know the queen?" Alex nodded,

"Kiggham too, in fact, just recently we took him to Endor for treatment, he suffered severe injuries from a bad fall."

"Endor, why there?"

"Because there is now a sizeable Elvin population there, it's called Dinocki, up in the Winding Stair Mountains."

Ontana guffawed,

"I really have been away too long, you have to tell me more."

"Good," he replied, "Because you have to tell me how an elf got involved in the guild."

That would have to wait as Holliqua was setting down in front of the transport. Moments later, she was hurrying up the ramp. When she saw Alex, she rushed over giving him a big hug and a kiss, then said.

"I understand I'm to take you and the others to another location where you will join up with the first team."

"Apparently," replied Alex.

"Well I need to speak with Dauc and Khoge for a moment; you and the others get aboard." Everyone finished up eating, and grabbing more ammunition. Guy grabbed two satchel charges along with more grenades before heading over to the gun ship. Ontana sat next to Alex and fiddled with her plasma rifle until she saw the knife he was carrying.

"Could I look at that?" He looked at her then shrugged. Handing her the knife she studied it for a moment then handed it back.

"Yufic made that didn't he?" Alex smiled,

"How did you guess?"

"He's one of my uncles, I have one as well but it's on my pack over there along with my bow."

"It's certainly a small world isn't it," he snickered.

"I guess," she replied.

"So tell me how you broke out of the mold and ended up here?"

"Not much to tell," she replied. "My parents were farmers, pretty much everyone on Deneva is. My mother died in childbirth giving birth to my brother. That happens very rarely with elves but it does happen. Naturally, my father was devastated, and after that just didn't want to do much anymore. Yufic tried helping but my father shunned him. I ended up helping Yufic, in exchange for food. He taught me how to use a bow and knife so I could provide for my father and I. One centon I was hunting over near where the transport ships landed and got talking to a fellow by the name of Datt Licon. He was a contractor for Oxynia. Well anyway, he said he needed someone to keep an eye on goods that were being brought to the landing site. Anyway, I agreed. After that, things seemed to work out. Oh, we had a thing going for awhile but it never amounted to anything. One centon when we were on Sedor I saw a notice that they were looking for someone to act as a security guard. I thought about it, grabbed my gear, said goodbye to Datt and took the job. Later I was told I had to join the guild so I figured why not."

"Anyway, the guild has been very good to me, got better training, made more credits as well as friends so here I am."

"After this thing is over, we need to talk," replied Alex.