World War Burst: Part #15

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  • Oxford has changed the topic to: "Kaikki joukot hyökätä muodostumiseen!"

<Oxford> The Gaulian forest below trembles as a stiff breeze rattles the last leaves still clinging to their branches. On the northern faces of the rolling hills, a few patches of snow remain, and the dense clouds above fortell reinforcements by nightfall. A narrow brook weaves through the trees toward the valley below, babbling past a deserted millhouse and under a short wooden bridge dressed in peeling red paint.
<Oxford> Joslyn is jolted from the scene by a sharp cray over her radio: "Bandits, 1 o'clock low!"
<Oxford> *cry
<Joslyn> The scene is almost picturesque - the land doesn't look so different from this height. But business calls, and Joslyn shakes the vestiges of sleep from her senses in a heartbeat. "Showtime, Galm team! Make sure to keep in formation - the easiest target is the one that's alone!" She'll find her XO and fly on her wing as she says this.

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<Oxford> Amelia gives her commander a quick nod when she sees her flying beside her. "Six of'em, top of that next rise," she elaborates quickly, as the other girls move in to tighten up the formation. A chill goes through Amelia's voice as she adds, "Pendant Users, ma'am. Six of'em."

  • Joslyn tries to show as little emotion as she can. "Stick to the plan Galm Team. remove the enemy focus users from combat as best you can - taking their pendants works just as well as killing them!"

<Oxford> "Roger!" replies one of her girls, though she doesn't have time to figure out who before the six enemies spot Joslyn's squad and rocket toward them with lethal intent.
<Joslyn> This doesn't have to be hard. just keep your eyes trained on your target, and trust your squad to do the same. She may be the strongest of the seven…but she's not exactly searching for the opposing CO. She'll just find a girl she can get a bead on and make a run for it.
<Oxford> The enemy formation is roughly spherical, each girl breaking and turning toward individual targets as the opposing forces meet. In seconds, the air is filled with a swirl of bodies as the war's first large-scale engagement between hostile Focus Pendant Users devolves into a chaotic furball.
<Joslyn> The chaos is…a lot worse that Joslyn would have expected. She can't get a bead on anyone, so there's no point shooting yet.
<Joslyn> "Galm team, heads up! Weapons safe until you have a solid target! I repeat, weapons safe if you do not have a target lined up!"
<Oxford> The sky around her is filled with flashes and bolts of energy, crackling through the frosty air. The experience is like watching a fireworks display from the inside. Joslyn sees Gillian go down as the girl lines up for a head-to-head pass only to be shot out of the sky by a second Novgoraadi dropping in from above.
<Oxford> Joslyn sights in on the girl that downed Gillian, slicing toward her. The Nov sees the metal-clad mage bearing down on her and accelerates forward to meet her attack, a ring of razor-sharp crystal shards appearing around her.
<Joslyn> The numbers are tight as it is, and having angels falling from the sky does nothing to help her chances. "XO, make sure Gillain doesn't go splat! Ester, cover me!" She'll rush ahead towards the ring of crystals, an RPG in her arms.
<Joslyn> The RPG is fired over the girl's head, allowing the confusion to serve as a means of closing the distance. From there, her magnetic touch is more than able to rob the girl of her focus pendant - falling might hurt but it *shouldn't* be lethal…she hopes.
<Oxford> The enemy student - enemy soldier, Joslyn reminds herself - stretches an arm toward Joslyn as the Albaean sails out of reach with a Novgo Pendant in her hand. The now flightless User tumbles to earth, landing with a bone-cracking thud in the forest below. Looking over her shoulder, Joslyn sees another enemy closing in on her tail, a fireball wrapped around her fist.
<Joslyn> The flaming assault would be deadly if Joslyn didn't have prior experience with how to deal with the stuff. Elsa's power was prone to exploding easily, which also made it unwieldy. So she'll duck under the fist at the last second and turn the tail into a lead.
<Oxford> As she rotates to bring the fireboxer into a firing position, Joslyn is caught by a brilliant flash as Harriet detonates high overhead. The other Albaean girls raise their arms to cover their faces, blinking to clear their vision. The enemy take advantage of the distraction with practiced ease, but their numbers are noticeably thinned. Joslyn sees Amelia fending off a vicious melee assault with her twelve-foot bloodsword, while Fer
<Oxford> n is rocked by a series of sun-bright explosions all around her.
<Joslyn> There's too damn much going on! All Joslyn can do is try to count the halos she sees as she tries desperately not to get tagged by an attack coming from almost every angle. Macacre is going to get yelled at for this…
<Oxford> As Joslyn turns to help her executive officer, she sees the rest of her squad have the same thought. Fern and Ida sweep in on the struggling combatants and each land a full-power hit from point-blank range, burning the Novgoraadi out of existence right before Amelia's eyes. The older girl waves a thank-you to the passing wingmates - and then her eyes go wide as a half-metre of violet steel erupts from her torso. The XO's blade slip
<Oxford> s from her grasp as the Novgoraadi behind her withdraws the weapon, tossing Amelia's body aside like a ragdoll.

  • Joslyn catches Amelia before she can fall too much farther. But there's not much more the three of them can do here. "Galm team, bug out, bug out, bug out! Disengange and RTB immediately!"

<Oxford> Another Novgoraadi dives toward Joslyn as she struggles along with Amelia in her arms, sending a wave of sonic blasts through at her. The lieutenant's ears pop as the blast passes just inches from her, but she's otherwise unhurt.

  • Joslyn dives to the dirt, hopefully with the other two on her six as she does a sweep of the forest floor, praying there's more than corpses left.

<Oxford> She breaks through a stand of pine trees into a snow-specked clearing. Behind her, she hears a shout of pain in Novgoraadi as Ida knocks the soundmage from the sky. The younger girl stumbles a bit as she hits the ground next to Joslyn, panting. "I…I lost track of Fern…" she gasps. "I think she's…she's still…"
<Joslyn> "Still what? Spit it out!"
<Oxford> The girl collapses against a slim oak, managing only to point back over the hill. Throughout the fight, the furball gradually moved eastwards, leaving the other downed Albaeans somewhere in the hills on the other side of the valley. Already Joslyn can see one Novgoraadi who survived the battle descending into the forest to collect the wounded of both sides, for transport to the field hospital or POW camps.

  • Joslyn does her best to race towards her, rapier in hand. Doubetime if the first person she reaches has a halo.

<Oxford> Ida hurries over to help the wounded XO, though there's not much she can do besides keep pressure on the metallic wrappings Joslyn used to patch the girl up. For the immediate future, though, Amelia should be out of danger.
<Oxford> As she breaks from the treeline toward the enemy User, Joslyn spots a glowing purple spear in the Novgoraadi's hands, still wet with Amelia's blood. The spear-weilder spots Joslyn as the girl is halfway across the field and, grinning, rockets toward her. They close on each other like knights at a joust, knowing that the battle will be over on the first pass.
<Joslyn> Not if Joslyn has anything to say about it. She'll wave her hands to try and keep the girl from attacking. If that doesn't work she'll just deal with the girl's weapon.
<Joslyn> and just like that, Joslyn grabs the lance with an unarmored hand and shatters it, glaring daggers at the girl.
<Joslyn> "Collect your wounded. Leave mine to me, or I will end you." Her voice is low - primal, even. like the very magic she drew from was evident in her voice.
<Oxford> The Novgoraadi hurtles past as her spear is wrenched from her grasp, tumbling in midair twice before her feet hit the ground and gouge parallel grooves in the helf-frozen soil. She does a double-take as Joslyn speaks, as if shocked to understand her words. Then, nodding slowly, she takes a step backward.
<Oxford> *half
<Joslyn> "Go." She'll point towards the nov lines, no weapons in hand, and wait for the other focus user to do so before getting whoever is awake to help her look.
<Oxford> Over the next half-hour, Joslyn manages to gather up the tattered remnants of her squad with the help of Ida. They huddle around a small clearing, some sprawled out on the ground, others shifting their weight from one foot to another as they keep an uneasy watch. All are in various states of injury: Amelia with her metal-wrapped stomach, Harriet still unconscious, Gillian with a broken leg wrapped in a rough splint. They were unabl
<Oxford> e to find Ester, despite their search; the cruelest find was Fern, her lifeless eyes staring up into the slate-grey sky from the bottom of an irrigation ditch. Ida is still weeping off to one side, standing vigil over her wingmate's body. The other girls eye Joslyn, awaiting their orders.
<Joslyn> "…unbelivable…" Joslyn sighs. one MIA, one KIA, and who knows how many pendants got destroyed in the carnage. "Can any of you get airborne?"
<Oxford> Ida continues to stare out into the forest, swaying slightly, until Joslyn repeats the question. She squeezes her eyes shut and then blinks quickly before speaking. "I can," she replies feebly, her voice wavering.

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<Joslyn> "never mind then. Carry Gillian. Amelia, take Harriet if you can. I…I'll take Fern."

  • Joslyn sighs as she keys the mic. "Glory 1, this is Iron Maiden, CO of Albean Air Flight Galm Team, Sector Alpha Bravo Sixer. Please Acknowledge."

<Oxford> Stranahan's voice doesn't reply immediately, and tense seconds pass before her response comes in: "Roger, Galm Actual. What is your situation?"
<Joslyn> "Confirm splash five novgaardi focus users, a sixth retreating towards their lines on foot. We've one MIA, one KIA, down two pendants, but I snagged one of theirs."
<Joslyn> "We…if there's any way we could get a transport over, we've only got two of us who can get airborne."
<Oxford> Ida seems reluctant to leave Fern's side, but eventually limps over to where Gillian lays and helps the girl up. The injured girl winces in pain, biting down hard to keep from crying out. Amelia barely manages to get to her feet, but pauses over Harriet's unconscious form as she tries to figure out how to pick the girl up without bending at the waist.

  • Joslyn helps sling the unconsious girl over Amelia's shoulders as she picks up fern's body. She'll make one last check for vitals before slinging the corpse over her free arm.

<Oxford> The voice on the radio pauses long enough for a hasty discussion, then replies, "Negative, Galm, area is still hot. Will vector support units to nearest landmark, over."

  • Joslyn turns the mic off long enough to swear a bit. "Roger Glory 1. I'll still need a heading and distance to that landmark."

<Joslyn> "I…umm…well, I kind of didn't do so well in the orientateering course."
<Oxford> "…Copy. Our last know location has you approximately 15 kilometres south-east of base. There should be a small village nearby; see if you can get a visual."
<Joslyn> "…watch over them, Ida. Make sure no one comes close." Joslyn will go as high as she can, straight up, praying that no one goes after her as she tries to spot the village.
<Oxford> Joslyn doesn't have to go too high before she sees what looks like a tiny hamlet nestled between the hills a few kilometres to the south. The village can't have more than two-dozen buildings, most of them of brick-and-mortar. The largest seems to be some kind of church, with a bell tower standing tall among the low structures.

  • Joslyn plummets back down before she can be spotted. "Got a visual, Glory. 3 or 4 clicks south of us. It'll take a good hour or so to make it there, though. minimum. you think they'd take us in?"
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<Oxford> "Negative - assume all Gaulian nationals are hostile until proven otherwise. I'm dispatching reinforcements to that location; there may be a delay. Find shelter and sit tight until they arrive. Over."
<Joslyn> "…" Joslyn just stands there, dumbstruck. This was absolute madness in every sense of the word. "ETA on the welcome wagon?"
<Oxford> "Unknown, Galm - estimate 60 to 120 minutes." Stranahan's voice doesn't display an ounce of anything other than cool professionalism, but her words paint a different picture.
<Joslyn> Well it'll take at least an hour to make it there, and waiting outside town for an hour shouldn't be too tough so long as they don't cause mischief. "Roger, Glory. We're oscar mike to that location, will be camping just outside of town to avoid contact with civilians. Just make sure Colonel Macacre knows what this cost him. Galm Actual over and out."

  • Joslyn turns her radio off as she looks at the other girls.

<Joslyn> "…We've got a long hike ahead of us. 4 kilometers south to a tiny town. We camp just outside until a deployment comes to fetch us in an hour or two. Any questions?"
<Oxford> They stare back, their faces running the gamut, from fear to anxiety to grim determination. But most evident is exhaustion, physically and emotionally. Finally, with a faint grunt, Amelia levers herself forward and heaves the unconscious Harriet over her shoulders in a fireman's carry. "No, ma'am," she says, as she brushes past Joslyn and lurches unsteadily southward.
<Oxford> /session