2050-02-15 Recommendation for Recognition of Distinguished Leadership
Generation Kymera Delta Squadron
United States Navy
San Nicolas Island Base, Channel Islands, California
From: Ens. Quillroy
To: Cdr. Ezra Stone
Subject: Recommendation for Recognition of Distinguished Leadership in the Face of Adversity for Lt. El Ray
Dear Commander Stone,
I felt it was my duty to give my account for the events of Operation Gunrunner and recommend Lieutenant El Ray for commendation. He’s a hero and my guts are tearing me apart to think of him suffering just to save our hides.
With all due respect to Lieutenant Hopper, she wasn’t fit to lead our team. We were at a point where one of our team threatened mutiny.
“Wrong.” says Lt. El Ray. “We cannot let Sabotage create a rogue army of cyborgs. We took an oath to fight for our country against deadly threats in hopes that one day we can come out of hiding and be accepted. If we don’t follow chain of command, we won’t even be accepted by our fellow soldiers. Hopper is a perfectly capable commander and, as soldiers, it is right you put your faith in your commander.”
Well, I’d had enough right there.
“You’re going to let us die just to prove a point?!” I shouted right in his face.
But El Ray just looked me dead in the eye and sternly said “you were the one with something to prove.”
“You–” I curb my anger thinking about what he said. “You’re right. I wanted so badly to rank up and see our squad become better fitghters that I… I jumped in too quickly.”
“You think that’s bad? I didn’t jump in at all,” says Al-7. “At least you actually thought about the change in command. I just stood on the sidelines.”
“What do we do, El Ray?” Daart asks.
“You follow orders,” he replies.
“Your vote of confidence is appreciated, Lieutenant,” Hopper says. We didn’t realize it but she’d been listening in for who knows how long. “I’m glad you’re all falling in line because one of us is going to face Sabotage when he arrives. Therefore, we must all know the plan of attack when facing him.”
We went over all the gear on Sabotage’s cybernetics and the equipment we can use to disable him when once of us broke through. The HK’s would locate their targets with infrared and motion detection, so Hopper wanted us all together so that the HK’s would be all together. We were operating under the assumption that the HK’s would attack the first four targets they spot n the same way the training bots back at our base work. Whoever the unlucky four were, we were to hold them off for as long as possible with long range attacks and trickery while the fifth member of our team made a bee-line to Sabotage.
That eerie stomping was outside of the building only moments after this final review. We take our position in the center of the warehouse behind crates containing AI turrets intended for tanks. We figured it’d provide the best armor. The stomping is inside now. I can sense from the echoes through the corridors that they’re thoroughly covering every square inch of ground in both floors of the offices as they make their way towards us like a landslide of robotics washing over cheap office carpeting.
They’re in the corridors connected to the warehouse.
First they spot Daart. His poison is useless, but his boomerang is effective with both its electrical charge and ability to hit multiple targets. Even so, I can’t let them gang up on him and I jump in the fight firing arrows as fast as I can and launching quills at any targets behind me.
Albert VII is targeted next. Just like in training, he utilizes his Bag O’ Tricks. You see, sir, the training bots can’t tell the difference between a banana cream pie and certain projectile munitions, so the more Albert flings pies, the more they defend against them. Sometimes he gets lucky and splats on one, and it messes up their mechanical junk too.
Finally Sabotage enters with the remaining units. He laughs at us before proceeding to inspect packing slips on the crates. That’s when El Ray sneaks away from the fight altogether and escapes through a door in the back of the warehouse, unnoticed by Sabotage and his army.
“Get back here and fight, coward!” Hopper shouts. It’s enough to draw the attention of the hunter-killers though.
Now it’s four against the four hundred. It was bad, sir. We may be better fighters, but we couldn’t hold out forever. It was grueling and they kept coming in larger numbers.
“Now we die for nothing because El Ray abandoned us,” Hopper says.
“No… It’s not true!” Daart cries. “How can you say that?!”
Seeing Daart was as gut-wrenching as watching a kid lose a puppy or somethin’.
Hopper slices through three bots at once with her laser kitana swords. “Look with your own eyes! He knew the bots would only target four of us and he let us take the fall!”
“If there’s one fault of El Ray, it’s being a goodie-two-shoes. El Ray would never abandon us.” I say.
“Yeah! You don’t know him well enough to make that call, sister!” Albert VII adds. (I’m not getting him in trouble am I? I thought it was funny he called her sister instead of ma’am.)
BADDDDDDDDDDOOOOOM! The walls, the ground, and probably a five mile radius all rattle with the thud of deep bass, sort of like the opening instrumental track of Plunderhedz album Garbage Culture only way, way, way louder (and that’s saying a lot, sir, since Plunderhedz claim they’re the loudest band in Loathecore).
When we clear the cobwebs out of our mind, we notice not only is every single HK motionless, but Sabotage himself is squirming, with only his human arm moving.
A big roll up door cranks upward. It’s El Ray lifting it. In an asphalt lot behind him, atop an oversized trailer, a monstrosity of a machine pulsates with an eerie, deep hum. It looked like a hideous mechanical flower slowly going in and out of bloom.
“Lieutenant El Ray, what is the meaning of this?!” Hopper barks.
“Applied Dynamics has been in development of an EMP Bomb for some time now. I spotted it when we arrived, ma’am,” El Ray says.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Daart asks.
“After what happened with the drilldrones? I knew this was even less reliable tech,” says El Ray.
“You knew that and you still disobeyed a direct order?!” says Hopper.
“I did, ma’am. And I will have to accept the consequences of that,” replied El Ray.
Hopper looked like she could kill El Ray with her glare, but we’d never know for sure because the whirring of turbines drew all of our attention away.
Sabotage was using his human arm to operate the manual controls of a jet pack. We rush towards him. We don’t even get within ten feet when launches clumsily up with such force that he tears through the ceiling as easily as tearing paper.
Hopper flew to follow him, in spite of the hopelessness of it. Cool as it is that she can fly, she can’t keep up with a jet.
“El Ray, sir, I’m happy to be alive and all, but it seems pretty hypocritical lecturing us on being good soldiers and following orders if you go and pull a stunt like that,” Al-7 says.
“No, I don’t think so.” he replies. We’re confused.
“See, I always saw myself as more of a leader than a follower,” El Ray continues. Sick burn, for a goodie-two-shoes. We all had a laugh, but in all seriousness, we might’ve all been dead if not for El Ray disobeying orders, sir. There’s talk he might be reprimanded somehow. I felt it was my duty to give my honest account of Operation Gunrunner before command took any such action.
- File #GK03-500130 Z://~Hopper/personal/observations.txt
- Agent Hopper
- Daart Personal Log GK04-500211.txt
- NROTC Cadet Daart
- Operation: Antidote Mission Briefing
- SNI Administration
- El Ray Personal Log GK04-500207.txt
- Lt. El Ray
- 2050-02-09 After Action Report
- Lt. El Ray
- Orders from SOCOM to SNI
- FADM Ernest Halloway
- Operation: Gunrunner Mission Briefing
- SNI Administration
- El Ray Personal Log GK04-500213.txt
- Lt. El Ray
- 2050-02-14 Sabotage CBI Mental Contemplation Log
- 2050-02-15 After Action Report
- Lt. El Ray
- 2050-02-15 Recommendation for Recognition of Distinguished Leadership
- Ens. Quillroy
- El Ray Personal Log GK04-500216.txt
- Lt. El Ray
- 2050-02-18 File #GK03-500218
- Dr. Kim Mera, Ph.D