A fresh start on life
All four players decide to take up the DMG on its offer of new identities, free from their criminal past. The DMG arranges for the public record to show that they died in a helicopter crash while in training with the British military.
- Wils decides to take William Fletcher as his nom de guerre.
- Khady keeps his first name as his new middle name, changing his name to Khareem Khady El-Hashem.
- Aaron anglocizes his name, becoming Aaron Oak.
- Freddie starts his new life as Alfred Dales.
The matter of their death is handled with the usual DMG flair for detail, going so far as to ensure their families received life insurance checks for eighty thousand pounds each from the British military.
Additionally, Freddie ensures that Aaron’s recently widowed grandmother coincidentally wins the second division of the local lottery.
Fast times in deutschland
After training with Gamma Group, the squad is given a months leave to do as they please in Berlin. They proceed to a live it up, taking advantage of the fact that they are now earning real money for the first time in their lives, and they haven’t spent a dime in eighteen months.
There is shopping, trips to various sights and sites, and of course, drunken debauchery.
The four of them buy matching very expensive watches, purely mechanical on the urging of Al who knows that EMPs are far too common in their line of work. Much curry wurst is eaten.
An example evening
The lads head out on the town. Wils is looking to pick up, and finds an okay looking german who is keen to help him pass the time. Khady has some interesting conversations with people, but doesn’t pursue anything romantic. Aaron fends of the advances of several ladies, but enjoys a night of dancing (sober!). Freddie can’t really be bothered with the social needs of the public scene after his time in hacker heaven, but makes sure the friend of Wils’ companion gets home safely.
After the month is up, the players are summoned back to Gamma base to catch a flight to Alpha Base in Nevada. They’re joined there by now-sergeant Penfold, of Response Squad Epsilon. He’s to train with them for the next three months.
Not another training montage
Wils renews his contacts with the mean girls, including spending some down time with Corporal Stone.
Freddie meets and befriends the Infops agent who assisted him in pranking Wils earlier in training.
They train in vehicle and infantry small squad tactics, including using quadcopter surveillance assets in the field.
The players are briefed two days later – they’ll be going into a bunker. Somewhere in that bunker is a flag. At least one of them must make it back to the entrance with the flag. If all of them are knocked out simultaneously, the attempt ends and they must try again the next day.
Penfold implies heavily that they’ll be fighting bots at close range, and gas masks are advisable.
The infamous A.T.A. gauntlet
The morning arrives and they are escorted to what appears to be a small shed on the side of one of the major runways at alpha base. they’re greeted by Major Roberts and a bevy of training sergeants, who open the door and pass them through.
After taking a lift down what seems to be something over 50m underground, the doors open again on a bare concrete bunker, with a room directly in front of them that appears empty.
They duck forward to look out into the hall that adjoins the room, and duck quickly back when they see two turrets swivel towards them. A blast of plasma lances from one and narrowly misses Khady, splashing against the wall and leaving a scorch mark but not much more damage. The turret that just fired has a brightly painted red base, and Wils noticed the other was painted yellow before he ducked back around the doorway.
They’ve also noticed that there’s an unmarked metal plate inset into the concrete between the two turrets. They’re not really sure what it’s about, but decide its best to keep their distance for now. Wils tosses his maglight out into the corridor to see what the turrets and plate do, but doesn’t seem to get a reaction.
Khady moves to take out the other turret, and it shoots taser darts at him, but misses completely, leaving the cables trailing into a pool on the floor.
Freddie concludes that the taser turret probably has a very limited range, so Aaron moves up to the opposite wall and nails it with a burst from his minimi.
Penfold implies strongly that the metal plate isnt something they should investigate too closely, but it might be worth someone running past. He reiterates that he’s not allowed to tell them what it is (having previously run the gauntlet to qualify as a response agent himself). Wils is keen to just throw a charge and demolish it, but Freddie argues for the sake of intellectual curiosity that they should see what it does before they destroy it.
Khady is sent on a mad dash, and retrieves the maglight Wils had thrown out earlier, then ducks back into the room that provides cover. As he dashes past, the plate flips up and a device rockets up on a wire. The device detaches at around chest height and releases a circular burst of plasma that washes out a good 6m from the plate in every direction.
Curiosity satisfied, they move on down the hall. Khady has noticed what looks like a cattle grate in the floor, and the squad cautiously attempt to discern its function from range. Beyond the grate, they can see a large metal box sitting across the hallway, although it is difficult to tell what it could be for.
Eventually Aaron goes in for a close look at the grate to see if its rigged to blow, and discovers a barely visible cord across the corridor at chest height. The cord is attached to a hook on one side, and disappears through a metal pipe in the wall on the other. He guesses its probably a tension triggered trip wire, and Freddie guesses that the grate is probably electrified.
Aaron attempts to cut the trip wire but fumbles his pliers, and triggers the trap. A faint hum is heard, and they toss a bit of a disabled turret onto the grate to see what happens. It sparks away happily, proving Freddie’s guess right.
After a while, Freddie hears three clunks in the distance. Shortly afterwards, two automatons amble around the sides of the metal box past the grate.
The two bots appear identical, both are no more than 3 ft tall, blocky, and appear to be carrying backpacks that glow faintly red. They’re armed with guns that look very similar to the energy projector they encountered on the turret back at the entrance. They’ve also got a faint blue shimmer in the air around them.
The squad engages, and shoot down both automatons before they get a chance to shoot back. While the shimmering appears to be some sort of force field, it’s not sufficient to repel concentrated fire from taser rounds and the armour piercing MP7.
When Khady and Wils jump over the grate to make sure of the kills, a third automaton appears and projects a shimmering wall of force across the hall in front of them, blocking their approach to the disabled bots. This new bot has a blue glow from its backpack, and no gun, but otherwise looks the same as the earlier two.
Aaron and Freddie open up, and break down the force wall with a few bursts of fire. Aaron empties the rest of a burst from his minimi into the shield bot, knocking it unconscious. However, while the wall was up, one of the energy bots recovered from the earlier damage they’d done to it, and moved around the corner from the players.
Khady and Wils advance in tandem and get the jump on this bot, utterly destroying it with combined fire.
The squad moves up past the grate to the room where the bot box is, and start to make sure the other two bots don’t get up. Aaron goes forward to get the shield bot so Freddie can have a look at it, and accidentally walks a little too close to yet another grate in the floor.
This one doesn’t spark though, and instead after a click there’s a hissing sound and tear gas begins to pour out into the corridor. Fortunately all but Freddie are still wearing their masks, and Freddie quickly dons his before the cloud spreads to his position. Penfold was conveniently just outside of the range of the cloud when it was triggered.
A.T.A Progress so far