Waiting Game

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations!

Previous Story in the Arc: A Kiss Before Battle by Mojiotok (Saturday, April 08, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Counterattack by Belladonna Aura (Saturday, April 08, 2006)

(posted Saturday, April 08, 2006)

Waitron9000 surveyed her comrades. Drakenaur was boiling with rage. Fortunately he had extinguished his actual fires. He felt very much responsible for the loss of Commie Cowgirl, personally responsible.

Professor Tempest was just as angry, but in a cold and--for an Italian--surprisingly unemotional manner. He was talking to his spirits quietly; none of them were visible, but he was talking to them nevertheless. Callignous Storm was beside him at the moment, making repairs to the damaged electrical equipment with grim determination. Shen Fai-long sat looking disconsolately at his hands. Waitron knew he would be better off with something to do, but she could not devise anything. BioHazard Boy sat on the floor and watched him with concern, for once asking no questions and saying nothing.

Detkapena paced back and forth in front of the door like a sentry. Actually, given the tiny creature's abilities, she probably was serving that purpose very well. The barrage against the door continued with no result; the Council had also tried to penetrate the walls, but the CCCP had not made the mistake of putting an impregnable door in a wall of nothing but brick. This was a cube of hardened materials, layer after layer of them. The Council could level this building and still not get inside.

Propoganda Machine had hooked himself into the computer system. He had been the one to send Commissar Untermensch the schematics of the base that had been asked for. Beside him, Spinning Joe and Five Year Plan stood ready to offer any help that anyone might ask for.

Technically, Five Year Plan should have been the one in charge, but no one had a finger on the pulse of this building like Waitron9000, and he deferred to her. When the last of the internal sensors and cameras had been shot out, it was Waitron who had thought of asking the Professor to send his ghosts to tell them what sort of troops were in the building.

Apparently, all sorts.

"They are not really able to tell one sort of Council soldier from another," Professor Tempest said, with frustration. "But they say there are two kinds of mechanical creatures, some 'round winged things,' small and large men with black armor, some of whom carry weapons. They also say there are two kinds of 'black creatures that glow,' one sort masked, one sort apparently faceless, two-legged wolves, and black calamari."

"Squid," Waitron said thoughtfully. "Dark Novas then, and more than one. Warwolves, mech-men and Warcry robots. Galaxies and Voids. Where those are, one can expect many troops armed with Quantum weapons. So they know about our Kheldian comrades. Zip that information into an info-blat for me, would you, Propaganda Machine?"

Even though the channel to Ein Stein was secure and encrypted, Waitron was taking as few chances as possible. They were no longer using voice transmissions, or at least not direct ones. Propaganda Machine was encrypting them, then encoding them into compressed files and Waitron was sending then out as info-blats, hardly more than a quick dit on the channel. It would take a very long time to decode what was sent. By then, it should be a moot point.

She sent the info-blat out, and used the close-range sensor array that was still giving her feeds from Petrograd and Felix. The dit she sent them was of even shorter duration; both of them would see it as print in their HUDs in their visors. It was nothing but a request for a status update. Felix responded that there was no one in his range; Petro that a single trooper had just come down to smoke a cigarette. Earlier he had reported that the Council had briefly examined the teleporters but had done thing about them. "Broken," scoffed one.

Well, that was because one of the first things Waitron had done was to shut off the power going to them. And to the medical equipment as well; she was not going to let the enemy use it, nor think that it was worth bothering with.

An info-blat came through to her; she transmitted it to Propaganda Machine, who sat up straight and began spitting out paper. "They are mounting an assault!" he said. "We have our orders at last!"