They are Smol: Chapter 5

Ha ha what is prewriting? IDK, sounds expensive.

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FOAM was encased in a 7th Generation ship-combat rig.

The 7th Gen rig was fully pressurized, able to keep its pilot alive for up to 4 [days] in total vacuum, provided miniature gimballed ion thrusters for stability and movement in Zero/Micro Gravity, and most importantly to everyone involved right now, had non-newtonian nanite hydraulics woven into each and every armor panel during its’ forging process. This extra boost of distributed power, combined with the Jornissian’s already impressive resilience, allowed FOAM – or any other operator of the 7th Generation ship-combat rig, to grab onto, say, a ship’s hull in mid-flight and just start digging.

Compared to a ship’s outer hull, the soft metal of a private cabin’s door was as sturdy as tissue paper. A watermelon-sized hole just appeared as FOAM pulled her hand away, throwing the metal ball behind her. Smoke – and screams – poured out of the hole from the violence of it’s creation, along with the rhythmic pounding of metal-on-metal.

Amber squad immediately decided someone was dying today, and it would not be the [Human].

“<SUPPRESSANTS, OUT. BREWER, TRAUMA. FOAM, WEDGE.>” KEYRING roared on speaker, as both he and SPOTTER threw in their suppression grenades, and the screaming grew louder. A few moments after the grenades sensed they were in the target room there was a loud BANG, and the dispersal of LED chaff – FOAM keyed her force generators to form a wedge within the newly created hole. The milimeter-thin hard-light wedge was forced straight up, then straight down, bisecting the door. With another thought, her onboard computer solidified with hard light the thin gap in the door, and with her commanded desire the metal split, slamming into the door frame on either side hard enough to dent it. Without a further word spoken, FOAM, KEYRING, SPOTTER and BREWER stormed the room.

The entire operation took less than 5 seconds. It all still went to shit.

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The other side of the door, 5 seconds prior:

Caroline knew that her time had come. She had tried every trick in the book – and a few tricks that were just scribbled in the margins – and nothing had worked. Magnetic wipes, water, dust, insults, blunt-force trauma, renaming the video to ‘not porn’ – in the back of her mind, she wondered if there was some quantum warp fuckery about, and if that was the reason that she was doomed.

Hopefully the OIH’s contingency plans would kick in: blame this program on some desperately lonely nerd in his basement, or maybe russian hackers. Shift the blame hard enough and the Galactic Senate wouldn’t approve a war on humanity, we wouldn’t have to weaponize The Hubble and humanity would live to see another day.

Her hind brain (lizard brain was deemed ‘culturally insensitive’ to our Karnak ….allies.) was still stuck between fight and flight, eyes darting between hiding spots, the window to open space, and even a few of the fist-sized air vents-

With the squealing protest of metal-on-metal, a hole appeared in her door, harsh hallway light pouring in through the smoke.

‘This is it.’ Thought the small, rational part of her brain.

‘FIXITFIXIT’ Thought pretty much every other bit.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAA” Caroline thought, aloud, as she gripped her fire extinguisher in both hands and used every bit of her might to smash it into her terminal.

“[SUPPRESS. TRAUMA. WEDGE.]” Boomed her translation matrix inbetween hits, and Caroline looked up just quick enough to see something thrown into the room.

Police, First Responders and Soldiers talk about times when they were in a firefight, rushing into a burning building, or trying to save someone, and time would slow down. That their hind-brains would flip a switch and process everything, all at once, in the desperate hope to give itself some way to unfuck the situation.

The difference between all these great men and women is that they are trained over years to use that time to it’s best possible extent: muscle memory kicks in and they just do what needs to be done, and everyone gets out alive.

Caroline was a volunteer civilian engineer with a hind-brain on overdrive and a dented fire extinguisher.

‘Dem’s rocks.’ Hind-Brain said. ‘We have bigger rock.’ Caroline’s grip went white-knuckle. ‘We will rock them’. Hind-Brain decided.

Quick enough to cause a major league scout to sit up and pay attention, the fire extinguisher left her hands, slamming into the two rocks, and with a loud BANG they ceased to be anything more than sparkly, painful-to-look-at dust. The momentum of the collision rocketed the extinguisher to the floor, where it finally decided that the relationship it had with Caroline wasn’t worth the abuse and split, taking the visibility with it as it sprayed pressurized foam in random arcs across her room.

It was at this moment that her door ceased to be, and the Jornissian Murdersquadtm pushed forward.

‘No rocks.’ Hind-Brain considered. ‘Them bigger.’ It noticed. ‘Run.’ It decided.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” Caroline explained to the Special Forces Squad, as she attempted to leap past them.

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“<CLEAR.>” KEYRING barked, followed quickly by SPOTTER, BREWER and FOAM. Their helmets digitally edited out the LED chaff, and cycling visible spectrum options took them miliseconds.

It was thankfully due to the Jornissian’s naturally rapid response that FOAM was able to shift out of the way of [Caroline], who was screaming and rocketing right past the team. It was also this quick response reflex that enabled KEYRING to fling his arm out, performing a (what they would eventually find out the more savage version is called a ‘clothesline’ once the WWWF was approved for viewing) gentle block on her path.

Every Jornissian special forces member on squad Amber was in tread-assisted or magnetic-assisted suits, keeping them right where they wanted to be. [Caroline] was in footie pajamas, in Zero-G.

KEYRING’s attempt to halt [Caroline] only turned her forward momentum into angular momentum. Her legs swung up, and hit the ceiling – and then she ran, completing a full 180 turn. KEYRING lightly gripped her arms, and tugged, causing [Caroline} to arc downwards…. still running. She hit the floor, feet squeaking, and started to make her way back up to the ceiling.

“<[Caroline!]> KEYRING said, trying his best to hold her gently as she spun in place. “<[Caroline], relax, please. We’re not->” The [Human] completed another revolution, and KEYRING turned to BREWER.”<We’re gonna need a sedative – she’s not cooperating. We need to move her out, NOW.>”

BREWER began to flick open a few pouches on his armor, falling silent as he read up on [Human] physiology. “<This…may be no good. [Human]s are too delicate for most of my kit here, and diluting the dosage may still cause damage – moreso than using her limbs to stop all momentum. I don’t want to choose between blunt-force damage or chemical damage to bring SISTER home.>”

BREWER, KEYRING and SPOTTER shared a look between each of them as [Caroline] continued to get her cardio in.

“<I uh…My armor is technically the most frail of all of ours. I could just use my body to stop her…. rotation.>” SPOTTER mused.

“<Alright. I’m running out of ideas here, and I’d rather not wait for the [human] to tire herself out. How do you want to do this?>” KEYRING asked, as BREWER joined FOAM in searching the room.

“<You just let her go once she hits the ground, and I’ll remain cloaked until she hits me. Then you can help with subduing her if necessary.>”

KEYRING nodded, and SPOTTER got into position. As [Caroline] finished her 5th and final revolution KEYRING let go. [Caroline] got a few good forward steps in before she collided with the still-invisible SPOTTER with an audible thud.

Confused at running into face-first into nothing, [Caroline]’s hind brain just gave up. Bears and rocks it could do, but wizardry was beyond it. She felt arms wrap around her own, holding her close to something –

SPOTTER decloaked, slowly, making sure to shift into a spectrum SISTER could see. She blinked at the Jornissian – or maybe it was the still-pulsing LED chaff, who could say – teary eyes wide and confused.

His heart melted slightly at the sight.

“<KEYRING….what the hell is this?>” KEYRING looked over to FOAM, who along with BREWER were poking at a thoroughly dented terminal, with what looked like a movie on repeat.

With a shudder of fear, [Caroline] began to struggle. “[DAKI BETRAYAL! YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE LOYAL TO MEEEEEE-]”

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When any special forces squad goes weapons-free, that information is cataloged and relayed back up the chain of command. Initially, it’s for the Lieutenants to review, but it can be kicked up as high as it needs to go. Audio and Visual information, along with all sorts of spectrometer and sensor data is kicked up too to provide real-time information of the on-the-ground reality of combat.

Admiral Var’Shrak, along with Vice-Admiral Ressasi and various other Captains and Lieutenants, were notified when Amber squad went weapons free. The entire bridge was tuned in when the breaching maneuver was executed, and when [Caroline] was….

“<Ok, Var’Shrak, between you and me that was the most->”

“<Ressasi, remember yourself.>”

Vice-Admiral purred in a very motherly way, looking at the monitor on her ship. “<Poor thing.>”

Var’Shrak sighed. “<Well, at least the [human] is safe – we don’t have the dubious honor of being the first race to lose one.>” He cycled through the different perspectives of Amber squad, noting nothing out of the ordinary – until he settled on the operative with the designation FOAM.

She was staring at the [Human]’s terminal. More specifically, at the Jornissian movie playing on a 15-second loop.

In the movie, which seemed to be “The Defense of Malshak-V”, Captain ‘Shsala stood at the foot of the planetary government’s Caste room, rifle pointed at the pirate-queen Hesprres-reh.

The audio was there, but he ignored it – the translations were all wrong.

‘<You savage barbarian!>’ Captain ‘Shsala roared, ‘<The Deaths of millions are on your soul!>’

[I don’t like thing!] the text near her head flashed.

‘<As if a Goddess needs to explain herself to mortals>’ Hesprres-reh spat, blind-firing from the broken dais.

[Nooooooh! no. noh. U mad, u bad.] the text translation said

Captain ‘Shsala kept the fire on, moving with her few survivors from perch to perch, keeping Hesprres-reh and her cronies pinned. ‘<Then we will send you to your lover, Harsak! He’ll enjoy devouring you, eggless bitch!>”

[no you a bad.] The text chirped, before the whole thing looped over again.

<“. . . Ressasi, please review FOAM’s visuals and make sure I’m not having a stroke.>” Var’Shrak murmured, trying to shake away his confusion.

“<I uh. What… what?>” Ressasi murmured, causing a few other officers to switch perspectives.

For a good 5 minutes, the silence on the bridge was broken only by the mandatory status updates of Amber Squad.

“<I need to make a call.>” Var’Shrak decided, opening up a secure link.

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