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This is the way world ends (Chapter art)

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Chapter 19 - This is the Way the World Ends - Wolf Skinners (3024)[]


Outlying Landing Field Skinner
Astrokaszy
0731 Local Time
29th July, 3024


The Doc's question from the night before was still weighing on the Major's mind, but at least he had something more immediate to occupy him this morning. Warrant Bowman was double and triple checking every exposed piece of machinery and the Bridge watch was providing the Major a sensor feed. The last thing they wanted was to have anyone outside the unit see the door open. Everything apparently set, the Major nodded and said, "Okay, Laura, open it up."

"Aye aye, Sir." the Warrant replied, punching the command into the local control panel. The door could be operated from the Bridge, but all had agreed it was better to control at least the first cycle locally.

The whine of the hydraulic pumps could be heard as the huge ram started to take the strain. The rumble of the giant bearings was punctuated by periodic rock falls as the door began to withdraw into the mountain. After two meters, the Warrant halted the massive mechanism, and had her crew recheck everything. While she was doing that, the Major donned a helmet and moved to the narrow opening. Sunlight spilled through it, streaming through sifting dust. On the other side, Sergeant Major Shaan waved him off passing through. The tactical frequency crackled as the senior NCO explained, "Lots of loose rock, sir. You don't want to get beaned. Once it's full open, we'll clear the worst of it away."

The Major gave a thumb's up and turned back to the Warrant. "How's it going, Laura?"

"So far so good, Sir. I'm going to fire it up again shortly."

The next hour or so continued in much the same way, and for their labors the unit was rewarded with a wide open door and unbroken mechanism.

The Major had returned to the Bridge, thankful the elevators were working. "All right, give the Doc the green light to bring his critical cases over." he said as he entered the space. The crew the Sergeant Major had clearing loose rock would almost certainly be done by the time the MASH unit made the trip from the crash site.


Outlying Landing Field Skinner
Astrokaszy
0917 Local Time


The MASH vehicle sped across the salt pan, Stevenson's Vulcan keeping up at best speed. The lightly loaded Recovery Vehicle followed in their wake. Out here in the open, the tighter formation they'd kept on the route to the OLF wasn't strictly necessary. As the trio of vehicles slowed on their approach, Sergeant Laine let out a low whistle.

"Eyes on the road Sergeant, please." one of the officers said.

"Yes sir! Just never imagined..." Laine replied, easing off on the Drillson's throttles.

Drillson Heavy Tank (On Water)

Drillson Heavy Tank (not modified MASH version)

Ground guides at the entrance to the base waved all three units in on to their respective parking places. The MASH, of course, was guided to the elevators and secured to the deck. The ponderous cargo elevator didn't take long, and the Drillson carefully drove to the medical wing on the second deck. Transferring the patients went smoothly right up until the medics went to move Sergeant Ludak's stretcher. When they lowered the wheels, there was a yelp from underneath.

"What the--?" Corporal Barelis asked bending down.

Athena Fury smiled winningly from where she was tangled in the mechanism.

"Shit. Hey, Irene... can you get the Doc while I unscrew this mess?"

"You got it, Alex." Corporal Colloti said, heading for the door.

By the time Colloti was back with the Doc, Athena was sitting glumly on a stool, having received at least one "You're not supposed to be here." lecture already. For his part, Sergeant Ludak was still snoring lightly under sedation.


Outlying Landing Field Skinner
Astrokaszy
1122 Local Time


Doc focuses on the arriving patients first, ensuring that everything arrived as it should and nothing untoward was jarred loose by the ride, especially for Sergeant Ludak. After doing his due diligence with the expected arrivals, he turns to take a look at the unexpected one. Not one to continue the pattern of repeated lecturing, he goes about a cursory check to make sure there wasn't any errant concerns.

After a moments check he huffs. "Well, you seem not too much the worse for wear after that ride. Hope it was worth it, as I think you're going to be far more disappointed than amazed." He shakes he head as he turns to return to his duties, not really wanting to waste too much time on one with way too much spunk. Something about a cat and curiosity can be heard as he paces back towards the medbay.


Outlying Landing Field Skinner
Astrokaszy
1123 Local Time


Colloti and Barelis looked at each other, then the retreating back of the Doc. Shrugging, Colloti said, "All right, I guess this one is up to Top then. You wanna get him, or should I?"

Sighing, Barelis said ruefully, "You got the Doc, so I guess I should get Top. Be back in a few, hopefully with my ass intact."


12:01 Local Time


Sergeant Major Shaan had been in rare form as he described exactly how disappointed he was in Ms. Fury. That ceased being amusing to the two Corporals when he turned to explaining how disappointed he was in them for not checking under the stretcher before the MASH left the crash site. Unlike the 10-year-old, they weren't holding back tears while having the riot act read to them. Their angry glances at Athena when the Sergeant Major turned in his pacing plainly showed their feelings.

Wrapping up, Shaan said, "Barelis, get Ludak where he needs to go. Colloti, you have the Fury watch until this bucket of bolts gets back to the crash site. She does NOT leave this vehicle, clear? You know where the chem toilet is, and hunger doesn't enter into this equation. Understood?"

"YES, Sergeant Major!" the two braced up medics said in unison.

Seemingly satisfied, the grim NCO turned on his heel and exited, silently swearing to himself. Not only would he have to explain the situation to the Major, but also Athena's mother. With any luck, the Major would take that one on...


0930-1230 Local Time


While the medics were dealing with their end of the business, Master Truck was going over the Mark VII Landing Craft on jack stands. He periodically consulted his crew, and Senior Chief or Warrant Bowman, but wasn't convinced it was impossible to move yet. It certainly wasn't going to be easy, and it would probably take help from Captain Harris' 'mechs to make the lift without doing any more damage to the thing. There was definitely some more digging to do at the crash site before even thinking about moving it.

Walking over to Master Truck, Sergeant Blu, the driver of the BMRV, wiped the grease off his hands with a rag. "Hey Boss? She ain't gonna git off her skids without sum wheels, ya know? Ferg'd we cun load 'er up with me backin' Ol' Bessy 'erself an' maybe hoistin' it wid some Mech help? Prefer wid hands, o'course. What say youse?" questioned Blu to Master Truck.

"That's exactly what I was thinking, Bubba." Master Sergeant Toby Johnson replied. "I don't know how they'll get a grip, but I figure Warrant Cushman and his team will come up with something, just like they did for that 'mech engine we traded."


  • Chapter Note : (0930-1230 Local Time) Sergeant Blu sentence written by truetanker.

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