Wallflower Session 8: Down To The Dirt

Following the assault on the Stable Reactor Complex, Thunderbird Squadron had noticed a further decrease in opfor activity. During a routine patrol out to the grey towns, they discovered a subsidence in the ground, a large section of hillside that had slid downwards, opening a two meter high, and forty meter long slot in the hillside.

Over The Threshold

After a small mudslide revealed the ground to be somewhat unstable, Pilots Krell and Sen remained mounted, while Pilot Lyndale advanced to the edge of the gap on foot. not seeing any signs of hostility, the mounted pilots advanced cautiously to the edge of the gap. Pilot Lyndale found that the gap held a metal platform running along it, with swivel up emplacements for (missing) mounted guns. She also found a staircase along one wall and began to descend. The platform behind her was supported by an inclined plane, following the slope of the hill.

At this point Thunderbird Squadron believed they had confirmed the structure to be an ancient Union fortification. The structure ahead was split in three, with the central corridor heading approximately East. All corridors maintained the massive proportions of the door, and seemed designed to accomodate large vehicles.

Moving backwards, into the shadow of the door, Pilot Lyndale encountered a long line of deceased egregorians, rendered into husks by the passage of time. All the carapace were marked with a large amount of DEW scarring, with some kinetics.

Also present was a large amount of subaltern footprints in the dust, leading from the central corridor, up the stairs, and out of the bunker. These were theorized to belong to the opfor and their virus-compromised subalterns. Pilot Krell advised caution and stealth, but as scans showed near-nil activity, Pilot Lyndale continued to explore along the left hand corridor.

A Shot In The Dark

The northeast corridor terminated rapidly in a warehouse complex, drifts of torn shrinkwrap and empty shelves, interspersed with a palette of vaguely still edible ancient rations. The place had been emptied abruptly and systematically. While exploring some of the side rooms, Pilot Lyndale's hardsuit picked up an active electronic signature. Something was in a minimally powered state, in what appeared to be the administrator's office.

Forwarding this information as she approached, she heard a barked warning from a synthesized voice, and then a single gunshot. A few moments later, while Pilot Lyndale was seeking cover, the bunkers systems came rapidly online, with the sudden illumination disorienting her.

Outside, the bunker door abruptly resumed it's retraction, sinking downwards at a forty degree angle into the earth, and leaving the soil and mechs of Thunderbird Squadron unsupported. The collapse caused Walking Under Fire, Remember Why You Are Here, and Conquest Of The Mind to fall into the bunker, along with many of the large fungal tree-analogs.

Later analysis of sensor logs revealed that the comms array of the bunker had sent a brief, encrypted broadcast to an unknown recipient during these events, but it was not noticed in the confusion.

All Systems O. K.

While all Pilots attempted to recover, the bunker's mainframe completed its boot up sequence, and began to hail the pilots on an antique protocol.

Hesitantly, Pilot Lyndale replied with their Union credentials, which the base accepted. Careful questioning while maintaining system separation revealed that the base compcon, although in control of the bases systems, was more or less totalled. It would cheerfully respond to almost every query with "My systems are all O. K."

During this time, Pilot Lyndale returned to Thunderbird Squadron, retrieved her mech from where it had wandered down the central passageway while it's onboard NHP tried to comply with its new context.

Following this, the pilots then proceeded down the southeast branch, and found an ancient Union barracks complex, empty and mostly untouched. In the corridor on the approach, a Châu Maze subaltern was found.

It had suffered multiple kinetic strikes, both to the front and back. Further in, the pilots found the command center, guarded by two ancient subalterns, both powered down.

Investigating the command center, they found the core of the compcon, confirmed that the compcon systems were totalled. They also found that the guard post for the subalterns outside was powered down, but the ammo rack had recently had one magazine removed.

Concerning Discoveries

Having cleared the right hand path, the pilots returned en masse to the left hand path. In the room Pilot Lyndale had left, they found a Serenity subaltern, whose closer to human appearance made its integration with the administrative console all the more viscerally upsetting.

The subaltern had it's lower half removed, and a large section of the synthskin covering the chest, in order to patch in a bewildering array of cables that terminated in patched connections to the console.

The subaltern had a small sidearm, recently discharged, and a presumably self inflicted wound, which had utterly destroyed its central memory bank. No reconstruction would be possible.

Completing their sweep, Thunderbird entered the central section, and found a repair bay off the central corridor, with blueprints still pulled up on the screens for a frame marked HA Enkidu. A brief attempt to salvage the data was made, with no success for the moment.

Further progress revealed an even more chilling site. Two hangars of empty combat subaltern frames. All weapons and field equipment are also missing. Rough count showed there were around eight hundred missing warmachines.

Conclusions

The pilots theorized the following order of events. The bunker was discovered by the opfor, and they sent an infected subaltern in. This subaltern was targeted by the base security, and destroyed. This was based on the ammo rack. A second expedition installed the Serenity subaltern, and used the non-traditional access to hack the compcon and gut most of its functionality, before infecting and stealing the garrison and supplies. The security subalterns were left for an unknown reason.

When Pilot Lyndale approached the subaltern, it self-destructed to prevent analysis, which in turn caused the base to reboot, during which the door opened and dropped the pilots abruptly.

Nervous and on edge, the pilot returned to their previous mission.

End Session Eight


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