DAEDALUS BIOCORP L8 RESTRICTED
What follows is an artist’s reconstruction of events. As such, internal dialogue is presumed based on contextual clues from all datum collected at the sea cave (36°21’31.2"N 121°54’18.5"W); only Trooper Margarita E. Gonzalez had any records on file: the rest are referred to by their code-names as they referred to each-other. Narrative treatment for future archival reference only, not a literal transcription of events. (For all known details see: KM-1007:REAPER_LOG)
June 6th, 2020: 0750 PST
Rings scratches his nose, the dull silver Water Rats crest on his finger providing an engraved surface for the damp skin to rub against. He flips his IR smartgoggles back down, leaning on his makeshift barrel seat with crate backrest. Normally he doesn’t fidget with his gadgets so much on these campouts, preferring to think of himself as ready within a picosecond’s notice. Something about the salty sea air circulating through the cave and mixing with the crude oil generator’s fumes drove both his implants and nervous system nuts. And not only that, his leg was on the fritz after weeks without proper maintenance in their environment.
Glaring across the cove in the dim haze Rings watches Tiny and Gonzalez canoodling next to the bright orange thermal signature of the generator, tinkering with the fancy VR settings or balancing the gyros or whatever the hell those Trooper shitheads do. Can’t be that smart if they’d bring an ACPA, even a small one, into a place like this. Give Rings the budget for this setup and he sure as shit wouldn’t spend it on an overspecialized retrogade hunk of steel. Just a few gatling placements would have covered the seaside entrance just fine, and they wouldn’t have everybody, cargo included, wheezing away on account of the fucking Power Armor’s battery charger.
Mohawk sidles up alongside him, dropping her bag of equine doctoring supplies into the sand with a thud and wringing her fleshly left hand as she takes a seat on another crate facing the water.
“Well rainbows is uncooperative today, but at least I got through their shots without being trampled,” she says out loud to no one in particular, fishing in her bag’s side pocket for a crumpled pouch of smokables. Rings shrugs and grunts, swiveling his goggles from Gonzalez and her lackey’s diagnostics date to the crude pen behind their pile of equipment, rations, and less-valuable goods. There it was, clear as day: a bioluminescent sparkling rainbow unicorn sticking out from the brown rock like a blade from a ‘borg arm. Flanked by three exotic horse breeds, as though horses in these parts weren’t exotic already, they made an optically striking image of opulence.
Rainbows, as Mohawk called it anyway, was normally pretty well-behaved even without the drugs they shot em up with. Unusually, it was currently trotting and snorting up and down the pen’s barrier washing the rear entrance, where Wild Hair sat next to the treaded forklift, in fractaling patterns of light and color. Wild idly flips through their battered binder of contracts and scheduled arrivals and departures. Rings honestly didn’t care to know how many days they had left of horse-shit-shoveling; It would only make the contract feel longer.
The little RDAK scuttled overhead making its routine surveillance sweeps around the cave. It had taken them awhile to get used to that when they had arrived. Blackwater hires tend to be a paranoid bunch by trade, and sleeping with one of those Spiders crawling around answering to none of them was nigh-impossible the first couple nights. Rings still had more than a few fatalistic thoughts about the poison injector finding its way up their veins roundabouts when they’d have an opportunity to rejoin the NorCal Ecotopia with full credit chips.
“No sleep,” growls Stocky as he raps Mustache on the skull with a Sternmeyer.
“Ain’t we done yet?” yawns Mustache, smoothing his code-namesake before awkwardly turning onto his front and fumbling to put his smartgoggles back on, the speedboat rocking incessantly in the near-dark bend of the Southern cave entrance.
“Heard,” clips Stocky, teeth gritted and eyes squinting at the brightening Pacific horizon.
“Use your words, you’re Stocky not Stoic. Herd of what?” but Stocky was already standing surefooted atop the boat’s captain chair, flashing a morse code across the tunnel to the cove beach where Gonzalez and Tiny were just finishing sealing away the Grasshopper’s internal components. Catching Tiny’s goggles, the diminutive mechanic drops his spanner and hops over one of the PA equipment cases, rushing to kill the generator which was still belching noise and smoke.
Rings was getting nervous; the horses were anything but calming down and it wasn’t hard to spot the kerfuffle brewing at the maintenance pad. The generator was off and Gonzalez was climbing into her cockpit without her usual self-importance when showing off her Trooper training exercises; much moreso on the panicking fight or flight response. Sure enough her voice crackled through their short-band radios
“Stocky thinks*kshhhhh* AV topside, *kshss*wept the coast. Get hors*kshsss* of the pen”
The cove was suddenly alive with fervored rushing to boats, vantage points, and the valuables. Rings, Mohawk, and Wild Hair were heaving their steel rebar traps into softer sand deeper into the cave, making way for the horses to stamp closer to them. The RDAK scuttled to a corner of the ceiling with a sweeping view of the cove. As Rings roughly yanks Rainbows’ harness towards the beached troop carrier, he sees the RDAK’s painting laser narrow on the IR band down to a point where the southern cave entrance opened into the main chamber.
“Why’d it have to be fucking horses!” Rings bellows, giving Rainbows another hard tug.
“Head down,” grunts Stocky.
“I can’t aim if I do that,” replies Mustache, awkwardly kneeling inside the speedboat in full MetalGear and bringing his battered FN-RAL to bear on the edges of the sea arch.
“Can’t aim with no head,” growls Stocky, but just then a silhouetted figure begins to inch down from above the sea arch, dangling precariously. Mustache slaps the trigger and his FN-RAL kicks him back on his ass, the bullets pinging off the cave and rocketing towards the Pacific ocean.
The first shots are fired.