The momentum of the Rebellion‘s infiltration was helped by the growing chaos within The Meadows, and to a lesser extent the Finger itself. While ten of its casinos, most of its restaurants, all seven hotels, all five amusement parks, the fabled zoo and sprawling mall, and two out of three of its water parks remained open for the largely unaware guests of the complex, its centerpiece attraction was a warzone.
The third waterpark was closed for an unrelated reason: a genderless cloud of spores had either committed suicide or entered a theretofore unknown reproductive phase in its lifecycle in the water filtration system.
Before the next crisis began, the management had been compensating the most badly affected guests by reducing the price on medical euthanasia packages and offering one hundred free passes to ride the “Go Out Like A Big Shot” mass driver-assisted autotermination service, but things were starting to escalate as a certain percentage of the customers experienced some degree of continued mobility paired with increasing hostility after receiving the recommended medical treatment… and no clarification or further orders were forthcoming from the top.
With the leadership of the casinos trapped inside the gaming commission’s conference room, the security forces inside The Meadows and the contaminated waterpark were left to make their own decisions with no clear heirarchy among the independent squads of hospitality ambassadors. They’d always been independent of each other, to make it harder for any of the individual factions that made up the commission to seize control of the chain of command… each squad ultimately answered to the commission itself. The territorial dispute that Lilliana, Regan, and Leo had witnessed was only the beginning of the stress fractures that began to appear as the crisis deepened.
As it became apparent that the commissioners were being held incommunicado, some of the squads attempted to free them, resulting in a gun battle between the armored soldiers armed with stunners and the unarmored agents of the Lead Soprano’s criminal empire, equipped with more lethal kinetic weapons. Other squads, seeing some of their rivals apparently mounting an assault on the gaming commission, jumped into the fray, which soon devolved into an out-and-out brawl as it became apparent that their stun weapons would not work against each other’s armor.
The brawling Hospitality Ambassadors were, of course, easy targets for the mass-produced gangsters, though they had to deal with their own friendly fire situation as more of the Don’s sleepers agents were triggered by the growing chaos and came looking to fill their orders independently.
And while all this was happening, the tiny strike force with Cicada at its head pushed forward. Her GSMR gun combined with the intel from Galatea really made for an unfair fight. She didn’t even have to aim. The telemetry information was fed into the gun and then programmed into the rockets before they fired. The first waves of resistance were doomed before they even turned a corner and came into view… some of them were even hit before then, as the minirockets could corner pretty well at subsonic speeds.
Even with the security fragmented, word got around about the exploding bullets that could fly around corners, and when all attempts to approach from behind or spring an ambush on the intruders were met with uncanny prescience even from the meat-powered invaders, the security forces started to wise up.
“Blips are going dark,” Cicada said as dots started to disappear from her view.
“Noted,” Dick said as people also dropped off of his display. “Adams, are they blocking you?”
“I… I’m not sure,” Galatea said. “They could just be going dark. I‘ll try…”
“Hey,” Cicada said, watching the moving dots flicker back into sight. “They’re coming back!”
Two groups of them were approaching a t-junction ahead of them. She let off a burst of rounds, calculated to be the minimum amount needed to produce enough explosive oomph to take out both groups. The rounds raced to the end of the hall and split in two groups, turning and zooming out of sight. The group heard them exploding when they reached the interception point.
The blips on her and Dick’s viewers remained unchanged, still moving.
“Negative contact!” Cicada said.
“They’re not dead?” Nick asked.
“They’re not there,” Dick said, whirling around to cover behind them.
85: Insertion 87: Exploding Into Action » »
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