Log Title: A Little Chat
Date: July 13, 2007
TP: Vanderpool TP
"...but you know what they say: 'Whether the stone hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the stone, it's going to be bad for the pitcher.'"
- "A Little Gossip", Man of La Mancha''
Cobra Base - Medical Services
Over Kill is sitting upright in bed, talking with Heather. One of the Medi-Vipers is coming over and making a face. "Need to get the thing a bath soon," she comments. "Then we should be able to retrofit it with light cybernetics in a couple of days. It's almost strong enough."
"Well... be nice to the 'thing'; he has feelings too," Pennington insists to the Medi-Viper. "You wouldn't know it by looking at him, but he's really cultured."
Major Bludd walks calmly down the hall toward Over Kill's room in his full battle uniform. He orders the door unlocked and then dismisses any staffers and security personnel who are on duty there. He opens the door and steps into the room.
The Viper chuckles. "You want to be the one responsible for bathing it, be my guest," she says as if that's the worst possible thing in the world. "Careful, 'cause it squirms a lot." Saved by the Bludd. Lucky, lucky Heather.
Over Kill Salutes as the staffers leave. "Hello, sir. Would you like some coffee? Chicken broth?" Always with the pleasantries.
Pennington is about to retort, when the Major arrives. "Good evening," she greets quietly.
"No, Over Kill," says Bludd. He glances toward the door as the Medi-Viper leaves, then turns his gaze to the Tele-Viper. "Pennington," he says without emotion. He glances between the cyborg and the young woman. "Leave us, Pennington."
Ah. Business. Pennington understands. She salutes, then disappears out the door.
Over Kill sinks down. He has feeling that Major Bludd heard about last night. "Sir." he says softly, shutting his eyes. It's going to be one of those days.
Major Bludd watches Pennington leave, briefly allowing himself the slight satisfaction that he at least got a salute out of the girl this time. It's about time he started calling her on her lack of decorum.
"Over Kill, I have a job for you," Bludd says, standing at the foot of the cyborg's bed.
Over Kill sits upright, trembling at the effort. He forces himself to stand at full military attention, his legs buckling a bit. "Sir, yes sir!" He stares straight ahead, military training coming into play.
Bludd smiles. It's not the smile he's been wearing recently, the relaxed, pleased, human smile. It's the other one: the one that's employed by the commander in him, by the tactical mind that can be as cruel as it is sharp.
"I have need to speak to the Joe medic, Lifeline," he begins, pacing slowly back and forth past the foot of the bed. "I can't simply walk in and sit down to tea with him, so I need you to help me draw him out."
Over Kill tilts his head. "I can be refitted with weaponry within the hour sir. I can have my BATs lay down a hail of fire if that is what is needed..."
"No, Over Kill," Bludd says slowly, "that is not what is needed. I need you in your current condition. We're going out to the Brasilian jungle. Reports say the Joes are still active there. I need you to get the medic's attention. Call to him; tell him you need his help. Don't let him bring any of his little friends along, mind. We need to get him away from the Joe camp, far enough that I can question him without any interference from Hawk or the others. It shouldn't take me long to get what I need."
Over Kill considers. "How would I get him away from the others? Unless I just happen to catch him at the right place at the right time...."
"It will require a bit of luck," Bludd admits. "If the situation is untenable, we'll scrub the mission and try another tack. Tell him you want asylum from Cobra. But insist that he alone should come out to meet you."
Over Kill pauses. "I have an idea then. You know how I've been rebelling in the past? This is another BAT revolution. It will take some acting on both parts. I have rebelled once again." He pauses. "I have been stripped of my cybernetics and left in the Brasilian jungle to die, near where I last saw the Joes, by 'coincidence'. Where Heather and I placed the camera. We know Joes are in the area. A Joe medic wouldn't let a creature, even one like me die, I wager, especially one seeking asylum." He rubs his chin. "This could be a chance for me to learn where their base is as well. Even if he kills me on sight, the most we've lost is a replacable clone. If sucessful, we've cornered the pacifist alone and you can interrogate him. A win win situation."
Bludd raises an eyebrow. Who's the tactician here, him or the cyborg? To Over Kill, he says simply, "Alright. Let's get started, then."
Over Kill is a commander. Of BATs, but still he's got a specialty in battlefield tactics. They are alike in many ways. "Very well. I'm ready when you are.."
Major Bludd peers at the cyborg. "How much walking can you do in your current condition?" he asks.
Over Kill pauses. "About 20 minutes or a mile and a half walk, tops."
Major Bludd opens the door. "Wait here." He ducks out, returning in a minute or two with a wheelchair. "I'm not carrying you."
Over Kill pauses. "Very well." He moves to the chair. "I can move myself then." He looks used to pushing himself around as of late. He grabs a blanket to cover just in case, though he's wearing ratty sweats.
"Let's go, then." Bludd leads the way out of the room and the med building.
Cobra Base - Airfield
- Vector MK 1
Before you is a towering realization of the eccentric yet deadly nature of Cobra's mechanical army. At 25 feet in length and about 15 feet in height, the veichle appears to be more of a creature out of a science fiction film then a BAT transport. The veichle is built to resemble a large, flying dragon capable of carrying a veichle as large as a HISS in it's mechanical claws. The vector is a light blue color with a long, serpentine body fully articulated grey taloned claw like feet and a grey turbine under it's tail giving it rocket purpulsion. It has red, glowing lifeless optics, which can give a visual in 3 spectrums. On it's forepaws and shoulders rests a pair of 50 caliber machine guns. A scaled down model of the original Overlord Vector but still quite a threat.
"We'll take your Vector, here," Bludd says with a frown, looking over the unusual craft. "Take us to the location of the security camera Pennington worked on."
Over Kill nods. "Very well. 14. Take us there." The Vector comes online and opens its mouth. "We should both fit in there. Two seater in the mouth. It jostles more in the belly."
Major Bludd peers at the vehicle with some unease, but climbs into the cockpit after only a moment's hesitation. He sits in the co-pilot's seat and straps in.
Brazil - South America
Over Kill flies the Vector into the area, landing it just out of sight. He commands the Vector to lower to the ground, lowering it's head to release the passangers. "Here we are..."
Major Bludd climbs out of the Vector's cockpit and begins scanning the area. "Where's the camera from here?"
Over Kill motions to a tree. "Two clicks west of here." He pauses. "I can probably walk to it if needed."
He pauses. "It's pretty quiet..I h ope they have't moved on."
"Alright, let's go, then." Bludd starts walking in the direction the cyborg indicated. "If they have, we'll scrub and try something else."
Over Kill nods and starts to move towards the tree. "Let's hope the Autobots have cleared the vicinity as well..."
Major Bludd moves through the brush and vegetation, keeping an eye on Over Kill as he walks. Eventually the pair reach their target: the tree in which a Cobra security camera is perched. He slows as the tree Over Kill pointed out comes in sight.
Over Kill wobbles a bit as he moves, though he seems to be allright as long as he moves slowly. Apparantly he's getting a bit stronger. He crouches under the tree, pulling up his sweatshirt and waits. He breathes heavily, spitting something nasty. Maybe he shouldn't have been out in the rain last night.
Bludd looks around, kneeling down beside Over Kill. "From which direction did they come when they attacked you and Pennington?" he asks.
Over Kill motions "That's the thing. They came from the East, but there was also a Chopper from the northwest. I'm not sure which direction their base would be located."
"Get their attention, Over Kill. Call for help. I'll be waiting back there," Bludd jerks a thumb back the way they came. "Bring the medic that way." He turns and heads back, veering off slightly from the direct path they took and hiding out in the brush.
"Negative, the coordinates are too deep in the jungle. Quicker by foot."
And off he goes, crashing through the underbrush.
Over Kill receives a radio transmission.
Over Kill starts to cough badly. He seems to have worn himself right on out. He's pretty nasty looking, by a treeside, calling out for help. He is smaller then normal, stripped of all external mechanical parts. Whatever he did this time, he's in deep to be calling the Joes. He hears the chopper sounds and relaxes. "Good." He says quietly. Everything's working according to plan. "Not going to stay conscious long. Tired of slavery to Cobra. Was tired of being their drug slave.. I left. They were not happy. Gave me 20 minutes before they sent the rattlers. Not sure how much longer.. hmm.." He figures sounding disorinted may get the medic down there. It doesn't help h e hasn't had his meds in a while. And he's not lying. He is going to pass out any second now. There he goes.
<Cobra (IC)> Over Kill says, "I hope that does it. Shutting down now."
Major Bludd kneels behind a tree a few hundred metres from Over Kill's position, his good eye barely peeking out from his chosen cover. The cyborg looks weak and wobbly from this vantage point. Had he looked that bad before? Certainly Over Kill isn't acting... it looks too convincing. He waits to see if the medic will arrive.
Within minutes, Lifeline is by Over Kill's side, looking momentarily horrified by the cyborg's non-metallic appearence. "How did you even make it out here??" he boggles, crouching down and taking Over Kill's vitals. Quickly, he opens his medpack, and prepares a shot of adrenaline -- presumably, to inject it into his heart to wake him back up and stimulate his shutting-down systems.
Dammit, this wasn't part of the plan. Bludd takes a closer look at the situation with a pair of binoculars: it looks like the medic's alone. He'd prefer to wait until he's sure, but Lifeline could haul the cyborg off any moment ... or call for backup to help him do so. It's now or never...
Indeed, Lifeline is all by himself. He crouches beside Over Kill, working to revive him or perhaps just keep him afloat. One thing Lifeline *doesn't* do is take Over Kill anywhere. He works on the denuded cyborg right there where he lays.
Major Bludd slowly moves toward the medic, keeping himself hidden and as silent as possible for the first hundred metres, then breaks from cover, running straight at Lifeline and the seemingly-unconscious cyborg.
Lifeline is mostly preoccupied with trying to figure out how to keep Over Kill from succumbing to system shutdown... he just doesn't understand how Over Kill made it out here in his condition.
As he suddenly hears someone rushing toward him and spots a sudden movement, it occurs to him as clear as day: Of course. This was a *trap*! *That's* how he got out here.
With the adrenaline that comes with a sudden realization of danger, Edwin attempts to evade, quickly leaping up... in the back of his mind, though, he's pretty sure it's too late to avoid this trap. He's walked straight into it.
Major Bludd comes running in full-tilt at Lifeline, barrelling into him and knocking him flat on his back. He makes a grab for the medic's radio.
Lifeline isn't exactly built like Flint or Duke or Gung-Ho. While they're built more like linebackers, Edwin's more like... the 'kicker' on the team. He's remarkably easy to get prone, which is probably why he's sent in under heavy cover fire most of the time.
As he's on the ground, he struggles and puts up a bit of a fight to keep that radio. 'Fight' is a poor word for it, though; while he has ample opportunity to get downright vicious, Edwin concentrates more on trying to acquire the radio.
Being wiry and remarkably quick, Lifeline lunges for the dislodged radio, and attempts to call for help. Of course, he can't call for help and defend himself at the same time. So he's at a distinct disadvantage.
Major Bludd snarls as the younger man gets hold of the radio. He swings the back of his fist at Lifeline's face.
Somehow, Edwin's quick enough to avoid getting his face punched in -- but the Major still has a good grip on him, and he can't run anywhere. "What is it you want??" he asks.
"Information," Bludd says with an odd inflection and a quick grin. He doubts the lad's old enough to remember the old Prisoner television show, but it amuses him anyway. He shifts his grip and leans a little more of his body weight against the medic. "I want to know what you know about a fellow called Eli Vanderpool."
Edwin's not as young as Pennington, but The Prisoner was before his time anyhow. At the mention of Vanderpool, Lifeline decides to stymie the Major's efforts as much as possible. "Never heard of him," he says stubbornly.
AWE Striker #876 drives up the logging road as Hawk adjusts the gear on board trying to zero in on Lifeline's radio signal. "Come on... transmit again."
"Now, how did I know you were going to say that, hm?" Bludd gathers Lifeline's collar in his hand, reaching toward the radio the other man's holding with his free hand. "I have very little patience with people who don't answer my questions the *first* time, boy," he growls, staring into the medic's eyes. "I know you treated him for something serious. I want to know what it was and I want to know when it was."
"Haven't you ever heard of a little thing called 'doctor-patient confidentiality'?" Lifeline says coolly. "Even if I *did* know the guy -- hypothetically speaking, mind you -- I couldn't tell you anything about him, anyway. The information is protected under law." He's still pretty calm, even under these circumstances.
Major Bludd laughs. "You're a regular riot, you know that?" He pulls Lifeline into a sitting position by his collar, bringing the young man's face close to his own. "I don't give a rat's ass about your laws. You tell me what I want to know unless you wanna eat that radio." His gaze flicks toward the object, his fingers attempting to close around the medic's wrist.
Lifeline remains infuriatingly calm. Intimidation tactics don't seem to rattle him terribly much. Naturally, he's not completely unflappable, but it's a matter of finding which of his buttons to push. "Well, then, I guess you'll have to try and make me, won't you," he says mildly. "Because Vanderpool is none of your business."
"I'm *making* it my business," growls Bludd, grabbing the young man's wrist. "Drop the radio."
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639> Wisp flies out from the logging camp quickly, flying a search pattern quickly over the jungle, trying to run scans to see ife she can find a life form or anything, somehow.
AWE Striker #876> General Hawk turns off the road into the jungle itself, finding a path wide enough for the Striker, keeping his scanner going for any sign of a radio signal.
"...I've noticed that," Lifeline says, dark eyes keen behind his tinted glasses, grip tightening on the radio defiantly. "As a doctor, *my* business is keeping my patients alive. Giving you *any* information would be contrary to that business, you see. And *I* don't give a 'rat's ass' if that suits you...or not. Major."
Major Bludd grins suddenly, a sadistic grin usually reserved for those troops under his command who've found his last nerve and tapdanced on it wearing spiked boots. He adjusts his grip on Lifeline's collar, shifts his balance, and stands, hauling the younger man to his feet. "I don't have to play this game, boy," he says slowly, squeezing a pressure point which should cause the medic to drop the radio. "Right now, alive or dead, you're useless to me. You want to be useful to me."
Lifeline winces as the nerve in his hand is pressed -- HARD -- and the twinge goes straight up his arm as his hand reflexively opens, dropping the radio. "Nnngghhh...Is it some kind of *requirement* to be batshit-insane in your org? Vanderpool is a Dutch national...in the past, he's been a patient of mine, but he's not currently under my care."
Bludd ignores the insult, kicking the radio several meters into the brush. "What did you treat him for?"
"I don't see how that's relevant to anything," Lifeline stonewalls stubbornly.
Major Bludd swats the young man across the face with the back of his hand. "What did you treat him for?!" he repeats.
Lifeline winces. "He's a cardiac patient," he admits grudgingly.
"When was the last time you had contact with him?" Bludd asks, his stare not wavering from Lifeline's face.
"With him, personally? About a year ago, that's when I did his operation," Lifeline says. He doesn't look frightened or cowed, just reluctantly cooperative.
Major Bludd says, "What sort of operation?"
"A cardiac one," Lifeline says, looking a little bit evasive. Perhaps he's looking for an 'out', some non-violent way of fleeing this situation. "He had a bad aorta and a leaky valve, I repaired the and placed a stent in there to improve blood flow," he says, feeling slightly surreal. What would this thug know about cardiac surgery? Why would he even care??
Bludd's brow furrows, and he pauses, regarding the young medic with a curious expression. For the moment, he says nothing, though his grip on Lifeline's collar doesn't loosen.
"...What?" Lifeline says, not liking the sudden silence. Is he thinking about shooting Edwin in the head? This, to him, is more intimidating than the strong-handed aggression. "I've cooperated."
"Could you still contact this guy," Bludd asks conversationally, "if you wanted to?"
Something in the paradigm suddenly shifts. Lifeline suddenly realizes if he divulges any more, Vanderpool's life will be put in jeopardy. The young medic suddenly gets a look of alarm. "You're hunting him down, aren't you...!"
"Answer the question," Bludd says evenly.
"I absolutely can't give you that information," Lifeline insists.
Major Bludd smiles again. "Then you do have it." He clucks his tongue, shaking his head. "Unfortunate. For you." He pauses, a thought occurring to him. "Though, you know," he continues in a more relaxed tone, "a law-abiding citizen like yourself might not want to protect a criminal." He bestows an inquisitive look on the young medic. "Would you?"
"...Criminal? What are you talking about?" Lifeline asks, his brow raising above his glasses.
"Oh, yes," Bludd goes on, bobbing his head, his tone that of an old busybody with some juicy gossip, "your mate Vanderpool's a naughty boy." He grins. "I heard he's quite the embezzler, that old boy." He pauses, tilting his head. "Stealing's still a crime, innit?"
"Don't play with me," Lifeline says evenly. "...He's not my 'mate', he's a cardiac patient. If he's broken the law, then law enforcement can deal with him accordingly. My role is to make him well. Then he can answer for his crimes."
"Oh, all very neat an' tidy, that," says Bludd in a haughty tone. "'Cos law enforcement, they always get their man, eh?" He laughs.
Lifeline clenches his jaw. What a Catch-22. "How do I know you're on the level about this? You haven't given me much confidence up to this point," he says suspiciously.
Major Bludd chuckles. "If he weren't in trouble for something," he says, his more formal diction returning, "why would I, as you so succinctly put it, be 'hunting him down'?"
"Don't know, but clearly, he's worth *something* to you," Lifeline says pensively. "Without assurance that he won't be harmed, I don't want any part of it. I won't be party to injury or death of another person."
Bludd shrugs. "I've brought back live marks before," he says casually. "But if you can contact Vanderpool, you can warn him someone's looking for him. Whatever the reasons might be. And that is something I cannot afford."
"So what are you saying?" Lifeline says uneasily.
"Well," Bludd says, shifting his grip on Lifeline's collar slightly, "if I thought you were going to dash off and warn him, I might be, let's say, disinclined, to let you go in one piece. But if you were to share the contact information with me, I might decide it's reasonable to release you without further incident."
Lifeline sighs, his posture drooping slightly. He doesn't want anyone hurt -- it's against his personal principles. Even so, his urge for self-preservation is enough to spur him to cooperate. (Forgive me, Mr. Vanderpool,) he thinks to himself gloomily, (Because I just sold your soul to Cobra.) "...He checked into the Rotterdam Hospital this week," he murmurs, staring at the ground.
Bludd smiles slowly, though Lifeline can't see it at the moment. "You've got sense, lad," he says, relaxing his grip on the young man's collar. "Good sense like that'll keep you alive a long time. I hope you've got the further good sense to not tip off Vanderpool. I don't think I need to go into detail on that account."
At the moment, Lifeline is at a total loss on what to do. Even if Vanderpool *is* a criminal, he hardly deserves this maniac hunting him down. He stands there sadly, looking at the ground, and wonders how he's going to be able to look at himself in the mirror. "I don't have much of a choice," he mutters darkly.
"Nope," says Bludd brightly, releasing the medic completely and taking a step back. He looks aside at Over Kill, who's lain unconscious all this time. "I guess I'll be taking my cyborg and going, then," he quips. "Thanks for your invaluable assistance, Steen."
"Don't mention it," Edwin remarks bitterly, trudging away and feeling suddenly very unclean. He doesn't have the slightest idea how he's going to explain this to the Joes. Or reconcile this with his personal ethics. Or justify this action as a practicing doctor.
He just doesn't know. All he knows is...a man's life is likely forfeit, and *he's* to blame.
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639 finally gets radio contact from Lifeline again and flies for the location quickly adjusting for a vertical landing to make a passenger pickup.
Major Bludd looks down at Over Kill's unconscious form. "Come on, lad," he says quietly, "let's get the hell out of here before the Joes come looking for us." He lifts the stripped-down, hundred-pound man and drapes him over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. With his free hand, he keys his radio.
Shadow Rattler 001 is not far off either. Engines whisper through the skies as the pilot picks up his cue vectoring the striker toward a distant spot in the jungle...
<Cobra (IC)> Major Bludd says, "This is Bludd: any pilots on station near Brasilia? I need a pickup."
<Cobra (IC)> Nightgaunt says, "En route, Major."
Some distance away, Lifeline emerges in a clearing where Wisp can pick him up. He seems emotionally defeated...drained of his usual vigor.
<Cobra (IC)> Major Bludd says, "Acknowledged, Nightgaunt. Sending coordinates."
Major Bludd picks his way through the jungle toward the Vector's landing spot. Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639 flies downward to the clearing the cockpit opening up quickly to let Lifeline climb in with the tiny pilot.
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639> Wisp adjusts her position to let a second person into the cockpit with her. "You all right? What happened down there, anyway?"
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639 flies up immediately after Lifeline gets in moving away and off on an oblique course not wanting to be followed right back home.
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639> "He was looking for me, specifically...lured me to that spot to get information about someone." Lifeline stares at some distant spot on the horizon.
Shadow Rattler 001 swoops down at the jungle plunging dramatically before coming into a dead hover near a completely different clearing. The wings shift engines supporting the jet as it drifts down to the jungle floor. Both the cockpit and the turret's canopies slide open.
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639> Wisp frowns slightly at that. "Who, and why?"
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639> "Major Bludd," Lifeline says distantly. "He's looking for someone. A former patient of mine."
Major Bludd holds up a hand in greeting to Nightgaunt as the Shadow Rattler lands.
Shadow Rattler 001> Nightgaunt stands up from the control seat, returning the wave. "Do you need a hand with Over Kill, sir?"
"He's not heavy," Bludd replies, gazing up at the pilot, "but I could use some help stowing him aboard, I expect."
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639> Wisp sighs a little and peers. "Who was he asking for information about, I mean. And where are they?"
Wisp's XF-35B JSF #639> "I don't really want to talk about it right now," Lifeline says sadly. He just doesn't want to be interrogated about this. It's making him crazy enough with guilt already.
Shadow Rattler 001> Nightgaunt nods, climbing down as the ladder-steps slide into place. Another set activates for the bubble-turret. "I stowed him back in the turret the last time I had to retrieve him."
Major Bludd nods. "Sounds good," he says, slowly climbing up the steps to the turret.
Shadow Rattler 001> Nightgaunt climbs just over halfway up the turret ladder, hooking his feet around the rungs. "Pass him up to me."
Major Bludd lifts Over Kill from his shoulder and, with a grunt, holds him up so Nightgaunt can grab him.
Shadow Rattler 001> Nightgaunt lets out a slow grunt as he lifts Over Kill up, slowly pushing him into the turret. With a remote command, he seals the turret and locks out the controls...just in case.
Major Bludd brushes his hands off on his uniform, stretching his shoulders a bit. He looks up at Nightgaunt, watching him seal the turret shut.
Shadow Rattler 001> Nightgaunt moves quickly down the ladder, closing it back up. "Afraid the Rattler's not much on passenger space, but there's a cramped seat behind the control seat."
Major Bludd nods. "It'll do," he says, heading up the ladder. "I'll send you my chiropractor bill."
Cobra Base - Airfield
Major Bludd climbs down from the Shadow Rattler's cockpit, stretching and flexing his muscles and joints from the cramped ride. "Thanks for the timely extraction, Nightgaunt," he says wearily. "I'll have someone come fetch Over Kill back to the Med Ward."
Nightgaunt nods once, "I'll keep an eye on him in the meantime."
Major Bludd heads off toward the command sector. "Good lad," he calls over his shoulder.