Gavin de Luc

ARMA
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Everything posted by Gavin de Luc

  1. Not all is what it seems......

    Detective Psycho was an appropriate name for that woman, God bless her insane little heart. She called the bluff of the CDC men who she knew somehow would not shoot her and took out the damned spotlight. As soon as that spotlight was gone and darkness returned to the area, Gavin wasted absolutely no time activating cloaking to ensure that his less connected self would not be shot in the confusion. It wasn’t complete invisibility, but it was pretty close. A very attentive person could see a faint outline of Gavin’s form, but other than that the active camouflage was close to perfect. Infrared devices would still pick him up, but as long as the shadow wasn’t completely gone from the area he was standing in the desk jockeys pointing firearms at him seconds ago would not be able to see a damned thing. The detective was talking, but the soldier was not paying much attention at this point. The police officer was not a threat to his life the way the rest of these idiots were, and if necessary he was willing to kill a few or all of them to get his sidearm back. Hopefully it would not come to that, but planning for that possibility made it much easier when and if his hand would be forced. His metal was lifted down, and the soldier deftly moved around the eggheads surrounding it to pick up and cloak each individual piece of equipment that he put back on his body. His leg holster and sidearm, his shoulder holsters and karambits, and his phone and radio were all stuffed on his person. The extra magazines he just left on the table after replacing his sidearm magazine with a fresh one. The last action he dampened the noise of to make sure the jumpy desk jockeys nearby did not jump at the metallic noise, and with that the man headed off in the direction of the detective and back to their people. The dampening was in constant effect on his footsteps, because the cloaking did not cover noises and he knew damn well he was being noisier than usual due to balance issues caused by the triple antiviral. On the walk back, Gavin took his own way to carefully avoid the lights that were starting to come back on behind him with the CDC group and any artificial lights in general to conserve energy. Once out of sight of the goddamned eggheads, assisted by some convenient buildings, he decloaked and stopped the noise dampening almost immediately, it was a waste of energy and the last thing he wanted was the Detective shooting at him because she saw a ghost when he got within earshot of her again. Bare feet smacked against the pavement, and the orange shit had already seeped into almost every crevice of the end of the shitty clothes he was now wearing as well. The first order of business when he regained enough sense to drive, because he was going to have to be the one to drive all of those fucking idiots back, was going to be to get a change of clothes and get as much of this shit as possible off of him. It was a disgusting semisolid that stuck to your body as well as feeling wet and just generally unpleasant. He needed to call his superiors back at some point, but that could wait. If he recounted what had just happened this soon, he would just get angry and the retelling would trigger a massive homicidal urge he wasn’t quite sure he could contain at the present. If he couldn’t contain it, that would cause a … diplomatic incident and he would be back to where he started before he started this whole fucking mess – on the run with no allies with everyone trying to kill him. ARMA was annoying to deal with, but staying in the same place was the best option for him right now. When Rebekah returned, she was going to come back here expecting him to be there and ready – which he would be. When Gavin made it back to a place where he could see the previous area, he saw that his men were starting to at least sit up and cradle their carbines. That was a vast improvement over before, but none of them were up and walking around yet. Gavin noted the location of the Detective talking with her own people before grabbing his own M4 carbine, mostly so he would not forget the damn thing when he left, and hobbled over to the police powwow. ”Anytin’ else ah need’a do on yer end right now, or am ah jus’ good to fuck off an’ scrub tis fuckin’ orange shit off?” Normally he would not give this courtesy, but anyone willing to throw a fucking knife into a searchlight with a dozen or more firearms pointed in their direction deserved respect. Maybe not for their intelligence, but at least professional respect for having guts. And getting him an escape route by knocking out the light, but mostly the guts.
  2. Finding your faith

    February 22nd, 2011. 2200hrs. ”Aren’t I supposed to be the dumb, reckless one?” a masculine, amused voice teased while drawing out each syllable a little longer than needed. There was only an irritated grunt in response, as Gavin continued to replace bandages to the burn wounds sustained by his superior officer. He had already bandaged her legs, and had moved on to her torso and arms at this point which were also pretty wrecked from her act of heroism earlier in the day. Rebekah was a hardass, to be sure, but the longer he had stayed here in this unit… in this war, the more humanity started to slip out. More willingness to go against orders as stated for the purpose of saving more people and reducing the loss of life for not just the military, but for the civilian population as well. How could it not? This was not a conflict of humanity against humanity, but instead a conflict between humanity and a new species that was intent on seeing humanity burn. Sometimes they got there fast enough to stop widespread destruction, but more often the monsters were only repelled or killed after the damage was already done. After so much death was already dealt that their presence made no real effect. They were both trained for one type of war, and were both conditioned for it pretty well. The reality was an entirely different beast, both literally and figuratively. Earlier today was slightly different, because the advance of the monsters had some forewarning and there happened to be some heavy weaponry stationed nearby. A lucky hit with a rocket propelled grenade stunned and disoriented a dragon well enough to get it close to the ground, and once it was near that point it was much easier pickings for follow up shots, shadow blades, and elimination. The beast had managed to set fire only to a neighborhood, and while the rest of the team worked to stop the fire from spreading, their fearless team leader went into the flames to save who she could. Rebekah—Sergeant Lynch managed to get out and save eight people from burning to death in that small neighborhood. She suffered pretty significant burn wounds in the process over a good chunk of her body, and was still just disappointed that she couldn’t save everybody. Not that she was the only one running into the fire, willingly jumping into a needlessly life-threatening situation – mind you, the exact thing that Gavin himself got yelled at for more than once. No, not that. That she was not able to somehow become even more superhuman and save literally everyone by herself. The American, for his part, was generally pretty happy to just be alive at the end of every day at this point. He was never part of a combat role before, and sure he got the same basic training that every other soldier got… but he had never seriously expected to be using it very often. Combat in his old line of work generally meant that something had gone pretty terribly wrong, which wasn’t exactly untrue in his current line of work either. Being on the open field made for weird situations like this one, a random non-medic trained private patching up a Sergeant in the medical tent. Their medic had been killed in an engagement about two weeks ago, and the new one who was supposed to arrive yesterday had not quite come yet. So here he was at Rebekah’s request, trying to apply his minimal training medical assistance to someone who could spasm and break his neck at any moment by accident. Distinct lines between superior and subordinate were still there, but became more and more blurred the longer they were out here. They became much closer than any of them had ever expected, turning into friends and maybe something—no, just friends. Which is why she had requested Gavin to come and bandage her up in particular, because she for whatever reason trusted him to do a good job with it. Lynch started squirming a bit, likely in pain from the fresh burns being messed with. She healed faster than anybody else, but she was not spared the agony of the fresh wounds themselves. Her form was muscular, but still lithe. At roughly five feet, six inches nobody would really expect her to be the powerhouse of not only the team but basically the entire Special Forces wing. Red hair clipped exactly to uniform length shifted slightly with each movement, and Gavin laid a gentle hand on the Irishwoman’s bare shoulder for a moment for what he hoped to be comfort. ”Jus’ a lil’ longer.” the American breathed out as calmly and reassuringly as he could manage. The squirming stopped almost immediately, which was something considering that the pain of having a human being only a few brain cells away from being an actual monkey fiddle with numerous fresh second and third degree burns must have not been the most pleasant experience. “Yuh never did tell me, DeLuc.” Her voice all but mumbled, much lower than the American was used to. He knew what she was getting at, and he had told her. She was bugging him from the first day about it, on and off. Why an American would abandon their home, their chance to reunite with family, and their way of life to go volunteer to join the Irish military in the biggest active warzone of the planet. A country which he had never been to and had absolutely no ties to whatsoever. ”I told you, I just thought it was the right thing to do,” he started, but was interrupted quickly. “Don’ gimme tat shit, Gavin. Nobody’s gonna over’ear yuh in ‘ere. Ah don’ give a shit if yuh tell me, jus’ don’t fuckin’ lie to me. Ah’d tink we’d be past tat by now.” Rebekah’s tone was not accusatory or even irritated, just matter of fact. Silence hung over the room for what seemed like eternity, with Gavin continuing to replace the bandages all over his superior’s body and Rebekah closing her green eyes in some form of meditation. Eventually, however, Gavin spoke up once again. ”I’m not gonna die where I was born.” he started, and then trailed off. He was not interrupted or questioned while he gathered his thoughts to talk more, which he eventually started doing. ”I did manage t’ make it back, close t’ where home was. Lots of… ex-military, ex-police, would have fit right in if… If I wasn’t effected in the… event.” He trailed off again, and he noticed a slight nod from Rebekah but no verbal response. There was another long silence in the room before he continued once more. ”There was a new group that took control of the area, the ‘Humanity Vanguard’ or something. Pure human supremacists, basically. Only made it through them because me’n’my only surviving coworker killed some lycanthropes for them. He got acceptance in their ranks, and I got put on a shitty cargo ship here. If I had stayed, I would have probably died in some alley and there was no way I was turning back towards Colorado. Not after making it so far.” That was the most he had said about his recent past since coming here, and he knew damned well that Lynch would memorize every word of that to ask questions about later in quiet moments. She was exceptionally good at putting those questions to words at a time where her subject was most likely to respond positively to them, a trait which Gavin wished he had. It wasn’t that he was trying to hide anything, moreso that he thought his own recent past was nothing in comparison to what every soldier on the British Isles and Ireland have fought through in recent times. A few lycanthropes and zombies and anarchy spreading throughout the country pale in comparison to a full scale monster invasion and a fight for the right to exist in the new and changing landscape of the world. “Lycanthropes, are those…?” Rebekah trailed off, most likely intentionally, knowing that Gavin had gotten the essence of the question. ”Apparently. We killed ‘em before seeing them transform, but good God were they tougher than normal even still. If we survive the dragons, I’ll see if I can’t introduce you to some. You might finally get a decent sparring partner.” he said, noting that some humor had finally returned to his previously toneless voice. “When we survive the dragons, you mean.” Rebekah corrected, with some forcefulness. Almost as if she was trying to convince herself as much as Gavin. The American did not reply, and instead finished cleaning the wounds and swapping the bandages. He might not have been practiced, but he was careful and while it did take longer for the task to be completed it also meant that no major mistakes were made and the chances for infection were next to none unless they were crawling through mud or other mildly to moderately disgusting semisolids tomorrow. Which unfortunately was a distinct possibility. He just hoped it wasn’t sand this time, because by God Gavin had learned that he absolutely despised sand during his time here. It got literally everywhere on your body and was impossible to get completely out of clothes. ”All done, Sergeant. Anything else?” Gavin asked, as Rebekah was already pulling over a shirt and her uniform jacket over her torso once more. “Jus’ a few more tings ah’d like t’ make yuh aware of.” Lynch responded, standing up with her jacket over her shoulders and already starting to head outside. “If it’s all t’ same to yah, ah’d like to talk’n’walk.” The American needed no other motivation to bolt up and follow after his superior, because even with extensive burn injuries she was still much faster than Gavin was and he did not want to be left in the metaphorical dust, again. Thankfully, once outside it was not hard to miss the indominatable redhead walking across the camp like absolutely nothing on the planet could stop her forward march. It took a little jogging, but in short order the American fell in step beside Rebekah’s admittedly brisk pace and awaited further instruction. One of the pleasant things about his new… abilities was the ability to see in the nighttime as clear as day time. Gavin was taller than Rebekah, but not significantly so. He was put down at a charitable five feet, ten inches… which was true, if you rounded the number. And things were so hectic that nobody really bothered to check an inch or two here or there, which was just dandy for the American who had always been a little self-conscious about his height. Rebekah’s green eyes met Gavin’s steel gray for a moment before she stopped walking and started talking, gauging his response no doubt to what she would say next. They were a decent ways away from the camp, far enough that there was no chance of being overheard by anyone. “Firs’ tings firs’,” she started, her tone betraying absolutely nothing. “Ah’ve signed papers to field promote yuh to Ceannaire, or Corporal. I’ll tell te rest of te team tomorrow, but you’ll be acting as my second for te rest of tis deployment.” Her tone was completely neutral, with only a bit of smugness leaking through that quite frankly confused Gavin more than he was already confused. Why him? There were more qualified people to take that spot in the squad, especially because it wasn’t that long ago that this same group of individuals didn’t trust the American interloper as far as they could throw him – which in at least one case was pretty damned far, admittedly. He must have done a pretty terrible job hiding that confusion, because a smile spread across the woman’s features at the response, and just that simple gesture made Lynch’s face light up and Gavin’s flush. It was a good thing the darkness over their camp did a great job at hiding the latter, for both of their sakes. “And tat’s why. Most soldiers would be hootin’ an’ hollerin’ by now.” Rebekah said with a low laugh. When she continued, though, her tone was much more serious. “We’re both not human anymore, at least not completely. And tese effects are too new fer me t’ know much about ‘em – ahm doing this partially because ah tink your winning personality and cautious style clashes with mine in a way tat will help us become more successful… an’ partially because nobody else knows what your limits are but you. DeLuc, much as I hate to admit it, you seem to be at least somewhat competent at simple tasks such as putting on your pants on one leg at a time or cutting up wing membrane, and I want to empower you to do more of that when you think you can. If we’re gonna save this place, we’re going to need everyone to be contributing at max potential and to be frank I’ve realized I have no idea how to use a shadowcaster.” This was the first time Gavin had ever seen this happen: Sergeant Rebekah Lynch admitting that she did not know what to do. It made sense, because this was not the type of war either of them had ever trained for. She was trained to engage in close quarters combat with enemy human soldiers and destroy them. He was trained to interrogate humans and get information from them. Neither of those things were particularly helpful when your enemy happened to be swarms of giant, fire breathing lizards in the sky who were heavily resistant at worst to small arms fire and people who were not quite human were starting to crop up more and more. Who would know how to use a shadowcaster, for example? Gavin sure as hell didn’t, and he was the shadowcaster! Umbrakinesis wasn’t exactly a new and emerging field in military strategy or tactics a few months ago, so there wasn’t exactly a wide base to draw from when generating ideas. Noting the silence that had fallen, Sergeant Lynch spoke up again. “I also told you early in case you wanted to refuse. I didn’t want to force you into a position that you think you would do poorly in.” Her words came in slow, enunciating every word clearly and her tone was soft and reassuring. It was clear that she believed in him, and the only question that remained was if Gavin believed in himself. Which was a good question, to be fair. One that the American was not sure he could answer at the moment, but as was normal in the military… decisions had to be made very quickly, and he figured it was worth a try. ”I trust your judgment, Sergeant. I accept.” “Ah tink yah misunderstand.” Rebekah said after a pause, her tone neutral. “Ah wan’ your judgment. Do you trust that?” ”If the other option is O’Quinn getting the spot,” the American responded with a laugh, ”Then I trust in my judgment a heck of a lot.” With that, Gavin threw up a salute that was quickly returned. The Sergeant tried to make her face neutral, but a smirk escaped her features anyway. It was obvious she was pleased with that answer. “That’ll be all, Corporal. You’re dismissed. It’ll be a long day tomorrow, rest up for it.”
  3. Not all is what it seems......

    The orange decontaminate was probably the most disgusting thing Gavin had been covered in for years. It wasn’t quite liquid, but it also wasn’t quite a solid. It stuck to hair and skin pretty thickly, and was quite disgusting to the touch. It didn’t make sense, because the rinse was just as uncomfortable and painful as the decontamination box, but the damn water just wasn’t enough to get off the orange shit. The soldier made absolutely no attempt to get the gunk off of him with his hands, and instead was more than content at the time to just raise his head slightly to get it out of his eyes and face as much as possible. When the water finally stopped, the man was again the second one to make a move to the next station. Partially because he was absolutely exhausted, and partially to center himself to ensure no more violent outbursts came out until he was in a position to not be shoot and killed instantaneously for the offense. Death would come for him, probably sometime soon. But not here, not in New York. Not in Yankee country. Not by the fucking Center for Disease Control. A lycanthrope or similarly dangerous monster, sure. A soldier of the Vanguard or the Order of the First Light, sure. A death to be proud of when all was said and done, not euthanized by bullet like a diseased and rabid dog. ”Not today.” he muttered under his breath as he finally opened his gray eyes and forced his aching legs to move into the next room. Shitty clothes were already laid out for him, and he put them on over his orange-coated body without a word. When the cop spoke up about the ‘Viral Wars’, Gavin remained quiet and instead finished slipping clothes on that were entirely too big for him and adjusting at least the pants so they would not simply fall off as soon as he moved two steps. He was too damned old to learn another kind of war. He would stick to organic targets until his inability to change killed him, and that would be that. He opened up the door to the outside without hesitation, to find many more lights were shining in the area, mostly directed at the exit. Well, at least the fuckers respected his ability a bit more since he had just almost destroyed their truck. Gavin raised his hands in an effort to lower his chances of getting shot at and walked out with a very deliberately slow gait. He took the time to look back and get a good, long look at the truck behind him to locate the engine and get a rough idea of where things like the fuel tank were… just in case. Head turned back to the front to avoid looking too suspicious, with hands still up in the air as he continued his slow walk forward. He had no idea the procedure for shit like this and should have probably let the cop lead the way out, but thinking before stupid actions was never exactly Gavin’s strong suit.
  4. Not all is what it seems......

    In and out. In, and out. Breathe. Avoid panic. Avoid losing control. Gray eyes closed to focus on the sensation of hearing slowly coming back and his own hand scoured his body for any signs of blood. There was none, but the first thing he heard when his hearing started to return was sirens. Not emergency services though, it was probably the CDC to clean up this entire mess down here. All the blood and the body parts to prevent people from getting contaminated with the virus. Like Gavin might have been. He had never been sloppy enough to go through this process, but there was a first time for everything. Up close and personal generally meant up close and dead, so the soldier generally stood far enough back to where contamination was never an issue. Not today, given that the triple antiviral was still giving him hell. Still on the ground, he turned over and vomited. Mostly spit and water at this point, but vomit nevertheless. The detective was still standing, somehow, so Gavin was more than content to keep lying there until he was eventually dragged off. Unfortunately for him, the men in hazmat suits and bright, wide lights on their helmets weren’t going to assist in getting him up. Unless four eggheads pointing sidearms at him was supposed to be assistance. He briefly considered making a fight out of it, but the headlights on their damned helmets would make it difficult at best. Even though he couldn’t see their body types, their movements told him all he needed to know. Fucking civilians making sharp, jerky movements in accordance to whatever stupid handbook or two hour training they had on this shit. He didn’t need his powers to kill these fucking animals, but he did need ammo. He couldn’t remember how many shots he fired off at the zombie, but it had to have been at least five. Shaking hands and arms pushed the man’s body up, and as he was being led by the eggheads he worked out an escape plan if it came to that. The CDC men were not disciplined, and did not keep the headlights pointed at him in particular at all times in a way that would prevent him from doing a lot with his power. They left a decent percentage, and at some times a large percentage of shadows nearby and very easily accessible. It would have been so easy to just cut their legs out from under them, especially when he would have had the element of surprise. But he needed to keep his shit together. They had a semi outside, which was… disturbingly fast for an event like this. When exactly was this shit called in again? Two business days was fast for most government agencies, but this was like what, an hour? Two? He was so disoriented with the antiviral he didn’t know, but it seemed suspiciously fast that the damned CDC were here in force so damned quickly. Maybe he should just kill them all and get out. Was that the paranoia talking, or was that just an honest assessment of the situation? If he was completely healthy and focused at that point, he might have just tried fighting his way out. In his current state, however, there was no way he could efficiently make sure that every armed hostile was killed or at least not in a position to shoot and kill him as soon as he started to make a break for it. There was also the fact that there was no way he was running particularly fast or particularly straight at the moment, given that his walk was pretty wobbly as it was. Up the creepy looking stairs and into the truck it was, then. Worst comes to worst he was damned sure he could blow up the damned truck out of spite and at least make sure there was some level of revenge if they didn’t kill him instantly. None of the egghead bastards he had seen were capable of doing that, so at least he had that in his back pocket for now, especially with the complete lack of floodlights. There was a locker on the side, with a voice over some sort of sound system telling them that metal went on one side and clothes on the other. The metal was the first thing that he stuffed in the locker. Extra magazines, his sidearm, and both karambits along with their respective holsters. He also put most of the things in his pockets in the locker, like his phone and radio. For the clothes, he first tossed in his vomit-stained scarf and quickly realized it was in fact an incinerator. There was a noticeable hesitation once that became obvious, mostly because this was the last Irish Army field uniform he still had. If it was the fancier service uniform, he would have rather died than give that up… but since it was ‘just’ the field uniform he was willing to toss it in after roughly thirty seconds of internal debate. Once the decision was made, the contaminated material made its way in the incinerator in short order. Gavin didn’t feel good about it, but he did it and walked into the next area. Darkness was no impediment to his sight, but nevertheless he kept staring straight ahead with his mind was off in space. Old battle scars littered the soldier’s body, mostly old burn markings due to the nature of the conflict in Ireland. Remnants of old gunshot wounds, slashing wounds, and knife wounds also made their mark across his naked form. Lean and muscled, his form was one of someone who was physically active to an extreme but did not go that extra step in making sure their diet was not up to par. When he stepped into the next room, he was not prepared. When the orange liquid shot out and swept the man off his feet and onto the ground shoulder-first, his first instinct was to get the hell out of there. Shadows coalesced and solidified into massive blunt force trauma to the side of the truck. The metal of the side bent noticeably, and some of the hosing mechanisms broke and started spilling the liquid down instead of in a steady stream outwards on the side of the semi next to Gavin. The entire truck shook slightly, and the harsh admonishment coming through the speakers forced the soldier back into reality long enough to not instinctively do it twice to try and bust the side of the truck open. ”I fuckin’ hate civvie pox.” he grumbled to nobody in particular as he forced himself back to his feet as another admonishment over the speakers came out threatening some sort of retaliation if cooperation was not given. Death, Gavin assumed, but attentive hearing to something he didn’t care about while in extreme disorientation and pain was not one of his strong suits. Finally, the stinging orange spray was done and he wobbled into the next room after a small delay. Focus came back unexpectedly, but for the first time in a while he was fully aware of what the Detective was saying to him. This one was just a rinse, but the damned orange stuff was not coming out anytime soon. ”Fantastic.” was the only word that came out of his mouth, slow and enunciated especially clearly. The paranoia and energy of earlier was reduced to just a cold demeanor, with most of his focus now directed at making sure his powers didn’t manifest out of instinct again and get them both killed. In and out. In, and out. Breathe.
  5. Not all is what it seems......

    So this was the way the world ended. He always thought it would be more poetic than this, retching on the ground trying to maintain breath control and to avoid rolling into his own vomit pile. Not that he had ever really cared about getting himself dirty, but damned if he was going to fuck up that old Irish Army uniform he had on. He still cleaned and ironed that thing like he was still in training and had uniform inspections every day, it was one of the few things he had kept his pride in even after everything. It was fitting that it seemed like he was going to die in it. His sense of hearing was muddled, but he heard the words infected and Z, and it came back to somewhat normal in time to hear that something wasn’t supposed to cross FDR and that it needed to be destroyed. Awesome, literally immediately after he and his entire squad took debilitating injections that rendered them completely worthless in combat they were needed for immediate combat. The soldier tried to maneuver his hands to stand up, but only managed to retch and vomit more along with losing his hearing for a few moments once more. It popped back to normal quite painfully just in time for him to hear his name get called by that damned detective. Fuck, he was really going to have to do this, wasn’t he? ”O’Connor.” he managed to gasp out, but only got pained groans in response. The same pained groans that a blurry eyed gaze around saw that all of his squad was doing and that he was likely doing just moments ago. ”Fuck.” he muttered to himself, trying and failing to get up once more before just creating blades on the sides of his wrists to dig into the ground and get him up. Efficient or clean it was not, especially because he put more force and energy into it than needed but it at least got him up on his wobbly feet. His first instinct was to grab for his sidearm inside of his leg holster, but his shaking hands had issues taking it out quickly. His sabre was still in the truck, he didn’t think to bring it out for a detail like this so he continued pulling on his sidearm until he miscalculated again and ended up pulling on it hard enough to not only get it out of the holster but also drop the damn thing on the ground. He stumbled to the side and clumsily crouched down to retrieve the weapon, eventually grabbing a hold of it and getting himself upright. The handgun was the most important thing he held on his person regularly, much more important than other, replaceable weapons and even more important than the old Army field uniform he wore now. Even if it ended up killing him, he was completely unwilling to leave the handgun lying there on the ground. From that upright position, one shaky foot moved in front of the other for now as the soldier fought to stay upright through the intense pain coursing through his veins and the physical disorientation of that came as a result of the injections. The shadows of the structures he was now passing in between and the general dimming of light present as the sun was setting didn’t bother him at all, due to the ways his eyes unnaturally adjusted to any darkness. Ordinarily, a zombie would be a trivial threat to him. In this state, though? 50/50 at best if the thing made it within 10 yards, if he declined to use his powers to slice in half the first thing that tracked across his field of vision… and make one hell of a cut into the building behind them because he would almost certainly default into stronger than necessary rather than weaker. That left the issue of likely killing an officer, which left just the handgun he couldn’t really aim with. In his current state, 50/50 was probably a bit too generous in hindsight. Maybe 30/70. The man was so focused on staying upright and keeping his gun pointed in front of him that he ended up bumping against someone before noticing they were there. Steel gray eyes flickered upwards as his shoulder backed off the… wall. He had bumped into the wooden exterior of a building. Great. The soldier shook it off and went back to putting one boot in front of the other, but in his dazed state he found out firsthand how vulnerable he was in this state when a body slammed into his side and threw him into a damned window to someone’s basement. Gavin’s first instinct was to press the muzzle of his sidearm into the aggressor and fire, which he did before they ended up hitting the floor. In a normal human being, that would have disoriented them enough for an easy kick off or execution. For a zombie, however, the damned thing didn’t even flinch. Two more shots rang out at that point blank range and attempted to kick the damn thing off of him while he lashed out with shadow in the general direction of the monster. He could hear parts of the damned thing falling down on the ground, but still the damn thing persisted. One more powerful kick with both legs sent the damn thing off of him, and the soldier raised his pistol immediately and fired off three shots. The first went past the zombie’s head and into the ceiling, the second hit where part of its skull used to be and embedded itself into the wall behind the thing, and the third hit the damn thing in the one remaining eye it had. From there, Gavin summoned enough focus to decapitate the damned thing with the more than abundant shadow around and crawl backwards until he hit a wall so he could claw his way up and assess the situation. The basement was pitch black, but the Resonance gave Gavin a handy way to just ignore that. The stone walls were cut up several inches deep, and the wooden ceiling was cut clean through a disturbing amount of times. The zombie itself had at least a dozen different parts hacked off of it, including most of both arms and large portions of the head and torso region. The basement itself seemed like it had seen use somewhat recently, which meant that the house was likely occupied. The lack of screaming meant that either nobody was home or this was a multi-story house. Or that the cuts in the ceiling were deep enough to kill someone above it, which wasn’t likely. Probably. Who would even live in this area anyway, wasn’t it all supposed to be abandoned buildings anyway? A quick pat down revealed that the damn thing did try to bite him, but didn’t get through his jacket. That was nice, but now that his adrenalin was starting to wear off the soldier realized he couldn’t hear his own footsteps. He was at least temporarily deafened from the discharges in such a small area. What a fun day at the office. He still couldn't really keep standing without assistance and God knew he couldn't see straight at this point. Gavin always did get the fun missions.
  6. Not all is what it seems......

    There would be a lot more anger in Gavin’s tone if the reluctance to trust him with something major had been completely unwarranted. He was a bit of a black sheep at this point, and despite his frustration at that fact he couldn’t deny that at some level he deserved that status. He had gotten much more loose with his leadership style over the years, and had circumvented chain of command more than once to the detriment of all involved. His arrogance bled through more than ever before, and frankly so had his selfishness. He had grown more and more comfortable completely ignoring standard operating procedures, as he was doing now calling a higher up he had absolutely no business having the personal cell phone number of at the drop of a hat. He thought it made sense for the situations, but he doubted others would agree when he got back to headquarters. The whole threatening someone orders of magnitude higher up in the chain would probably come back to bite him relatively soon, for one. He heard the detective say that if he followed through with his threat to broadcast the infection over that channel ARMA would never work in the city again, and to that his steel gray gaze flickered over for a few moments before staring back forward into space. When the detective produced the spares, Gavin turned to his men for a moment while still holding the phone a few feet from his face. Noise was coming from it, but he was ignoring it for now and had the input on mute. ”Alrigh’ boys, ah ‘ave good news an’ bad news an’ bad news again. Te bad news is tat we’ve all been exposed to a virus tat will kill us pretty quick. Te good news is that we have triple anti-virals sittin’ ‘ere so y’all will be fine. Te bad news again is that we gon’ be stuck ‘ere for a while, and that yer gon’ be puking yer guts out as soon as yah get the shot. An’ yah might shit yourself, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Y’all are takin’ the police triples, and me’n’O’Connor are takin’ the singles. Unless ye like shittin’ and pukin’ all over yer equipment, I’d take most of it off or at least position yer head. Now, ah’ve never taken te N-virus anti, so tese nice officers are gonna do us all a favor an’ drill a few rounds in my skull if ah end up panicking and losing control of myself. Understood?” With that, Gavin pulled the phone back up to his ear as he fully trusted his squad to follow directions. He unslung his rifle from his shoulder and put it on the ground nearby but away from his head and positioned himself so that he was facing the greater city and absolutely nobody else. Now all that was left was to take the anti-virals for himself, and God was that going to be a shitty experience. Three shots, one right after the other, and one that he had never taken before. The Lycanthrope anti-viral was one he was most familiar with, and it caused generally at least for him a massive fever and made the insides of his veins feel like lava was rushing through his veins. It was familiar, and he was prepared for the sensations which is why he took that one first. The fever would not be immediate and he would not be debilitated from the experience the second the syringe was emptied. He muted the phone for a brief moment after the first shot to update his superior, but put the damn thing right on mute immediately afterwards. ”Sir, te entire squad is takin’ antivirals now an’ whoever comes to first will be yer point of contact for te rest of our stay here in infection city.” The next one taken was the M-Virus anti-viral, the one that turned you into a goddamned zombie. Gavin normally reacted to that one by shaking uncontrollably and emptying the contents of his stomach on the ground. It inhibited his motor function to a moderate degree by itself, but since he didn’t know what the last syringe would do to him he took that one second and immediately vomited on the ground in front of him afterwards. The shakes were already starting, and he could feel that fire coursing through his veins in the most painful and wretched way possible as he took the last syringe and plunged it inside of his arm. The N-Virus Anti-viral, which he had never injected in himself before today was rare. He managed to control the shaking from the previous injection long enough to complete this one and drop the damn syringe on the ground. Immediately after injection, his field of vision narrowed severely and what he could see was so distorted it was barely useful. He also had this sensation of being unstable on the ground, which the shaking did not help at all, and ended up falling backwards and only instinctively catching the fall with his elbows. The sensation of falling down triggered another vomit, but Gavin was able to get most of it on the ground instead of his right arm. Most of it. The phone was dropped involuntarily after the third injection to the ground, still on mute. For someone like him, who was conditioned to use powers basically only when some levels of stressed the act of controlled breathing was extremely important. If he did not do this correctly, Gavin would fall into a panic spiral and end up using his powers to try and make the pain and suffering stop. This would be extremely dangerous, and if someone hesitated in killing him once he lost the ability to control his powers people would die. Probably a lot of them, since his powers were by far offense oriented so even if random manifestations of shadow were manipulated the vast majority of them would turn into tools of killing. He just needed to ride this out and not panic, just like getting pepper sprayed in training. Vision would return, along with motor control. All that he needed to do was not panic and things would be fine… eventually. Probably.
  7. Not all is what it seems......

    At the mention of taking all of them, Gavin tilted his head slightly in confusion. The only way that would ever be needed is if someone was infected with a virus but didn’t know what virus it was. There was basically no way for that to happen, unless you were horribly unlucky and got in combat with a bunch of different infected at once or it got airborne somehow, but that was silly. If that happened everyone would be dead already. When the detective mentioned that they had already been here, Gavin followed her gaze but admittedly as pretty slow on the uptake. Once the hospital and the outbreak was mentioned, however, Gavin’s jaw locked as he started to understand what exactly was going on. He turned back his gaze to the detective, head and posture now completely straight as he was processing the new information. Messing with a virus strain in the middle of New York City was insane, for anyone, and he couldn’t imagine any faction that he knew of doing it. They might have their differences, namely most of the other factions being militant xenophobes or religious zealots, but even those have a sense of self-preservation. He didn’t know about the hospital incident other than the fact that something weird happened there, but that made sense if it was a near outbreak that he wouldn’t know the details. He was able to put the pieces together fairly quickly when the location was mentioned. The airborne part, though, that was new. When the woman was finished speaking, gray eyes widened visibly for a moment as he remembered another detail. ”We need four, and if everyone at the site might be infected I need to make a few calls.” First off was flipping on his radio to the personal channel of his main subordinate. ”O’Connor, ah need yah to bring everyone over ‘ere. Te entire squad is takin’ triple anti-virals. Te rest are takin’ combined and us two are taking the six in the truck individually. ‘ave Reed bring ‘em over.” His voice was urgent, but not panicked. Next, he pulled out his phone. He wasn’t supposed to have the current shift supervisor’s personal phone number, but he got it from Rebekah’s old phone anyway and just saved it in his own. He never had a real use for it until now, because nothing needed this sort of immediate attention before. His face shifted from one of surprise with a mix of panic to one of irritation before the call even started, like the man knew the call was going to be unpleasant before it began. His tone also shifted, from a sharp and fast style to a subdued and seemingly intentionally slowed style so his words were more enunciated. ”Emergency call. If I do this over our emergency channel everyone will panic an’ people will die. Operative Forrest and everyone on his squad needs to have all three antivirals administered to them immediately. There has been an incident of possible airborne viruses near the Harbor…” His men were starting to get into earshot at that point, with Reed holding the toolbox looking container of the antivirals that they did have and certainly did not like the sound of the tail end of that last sentence. ” …Yes, sir, I’m fully aware of what I’m doing.” There was a short pause, and the look of irritation intensified. His words slowed even more, the irritation now clear in his tone as well as his features. ”The alternative is me calling out the same message on the emergency, public channel and it causes a panic. A full review can be done afterwards, once we prevent people from dying.” A pause of roughly ten seconds of silence, and then the phone was pulled away from the soldier’s ear and his steel gray gaze turned to his subordinate, Reed, and he physically took the box filled with the serum that they did have and opened it. ”Detective, did you have enough extra or are we going to have to improvise and call some in?” he asked, the irritation from his tone gone and replaced with a certain tiredness. Just weary acceptance of the current, shitty reality before them at the present.
  8. Combat 101

    August 5, 2018. 5pm. Riding with Gavin for the first time was a shock to many people, and for good reason. It was awfully hard to feel safe while in a car with someone who seemed to barely ever looked at the damn road. He was in an armored up Toyota Tundra pickup truck, originally made to appeal to construction workers with some features like bigger head restraints to fit hardhats and big old door handles that translated really well into the kind of work and punishment that it was being put through now in a military capacity. He could drive with full gear on with no issue, and the damn thing could take an impact with few other vehicles especially with all the armor plating added to it. The issue, truly, was that Gavin knew damn well just how tough the vehicle was and treated it with exactly the irreverence only someone with absolutely no regard for his own safety can give. One hand lackadaisically on the steering wheel while the other is either playing on the phone or even worse leaned over to keep stuff from falling down in the back seat because of the swerving and constant speed changes. It wasn’t that he didn’t know what he was doing, but this was pretty standard practice that he did at least once and to some people a bunch of times if he thought their reactions were funny. Gavin’s reasoning initially was anybody poking around in ARMA would encounter stressful situations, and he wanted to see how they reacted under a safe amount of stress. Of course, 'safe' was a relative term when it came to Shield members in particular. It also showed how people reacted to senseless fuckery from coworkers that puts people in danger. Some people stayed silent because Gavin’s presence was intimidating or they were afraid to speak up for some reason. Some visibly grabbed the sides of the vehicle and were visibly scared but did nothing. Some yelled at him halfheartedly, and a few times he had been cussed out pretty hard for doing this. In short, it amused the hell out of Gavin himself and he was confident he was good enough to put nobody in any real danger especially outside of the city so he did it to try and learn more about the people he interacted with. He originally got the idea from a mandatory training about non-verbal communication, which was not the point of the presentation at all but it gave him some neat ideas because one of the examples used was someone in the passenger seat of a terrible driver. One more reason why giving real world examples to young men stupid enough to think it was a great idea was a horrid idea. The entire inside of the vehicle was stuffed with duffel bags of various weapons and equipment Gavin decided to bring along, and the back of the truck was filled to the limit with duffel bags and backpacks full of ammo and targets as well. Currently in between his legs while driving was his Pattern 1796 style sabre, and Gavin absolutely looked the part of ex-military who had never adjusted to civilian life. A white beater shirt, jeans, and leather boots with weapons strewn about his person like some people hoarded food. Two karambit knives in shoulder harnesses along with the 9mm SIG slipped in the front part of the jeans was just what he had on him, and the crew cut and tinted shooting glasses only made it worse. The only thing that was missing from the Disgruntled Army Veteran set was an Affliction shirt and some mud and dirt stains, but that could wait until later. He was driving out to a field he knew outside the city where he could set up targets and shoot a bit without getting the police called in. Currently in his passenger seat was a magus that ARMA had picked up and tossed with him a week or so ago, a former PhD in Religion before the Resonance hit. Gavin had not gotten to talk to the guy too much since then, mostly because he was put on vehicle repair duty for a bit because of a recent string of battles that had fucked up some of ARMA’s heavier equipment. A lot of the nastier monsters that ARMA squared off against could fuck up an armored car like Gavin could a cardboard box sometimes, and some of that stuff was such a pain in the ass to repair. Anyways, Gavin ended up having the day off and since Rebekah needed to go to some officer training he was volunteered to give the new guy, Endika, combat 101 basically. Gavin couldn’t help with magic, neither of them could, but he could help with the physical stuff and the how-to stuff. Knowing where to hit different things, different tricks and shit. Another reason why the soldier hadn’t had a lot of time to talk to the new guy yet was because of his sleeping schedule, because if there was a night shift to be had Gavin was on it due to his power set. He had woken up, by his standards, pretty early to make this drive and get everything set up. Gavin had been pretty quiet during the ride, partially to gauge Endika’s reactions and partially because he legitimately forgot where the field was and actually was following the GPS on his phone. He wasn’t particularly talkative when driving to begin with, preferring to drive in silence with the music blaring to concentrate on what he was doing. He toned down the music during the ride so it was just low and in the background on a country music station and not as obnoxious as he would normally due to new people in the vehicle and respect for their ability to hear. Now that they were within a half mile or so of the place the soldier figured he’d speak up. Gavin’s accent was a weird mishmash of southern drawl and Irish brogue, which produced a unique blend of unintelligible nonsense. ”Alrigh’, friend. We’re jus’ about tere. I’m jus’ gon’ go over standard basic stuff. If any questions come up or things you wan’ do or try, jus’ lemme know. With any luck, you gonna find something you like out of this big ass pile of equipment behind me. I’ll go over Monsters 101 too, if yah already know the stuff feel free to lemme know and ah’ll skip. No sense in repeatin' shit you al'eady know. The goal is tah make sure if yer out an' about an' one o' those fucks tries to nab yah, you 'ave what it takes to survive. Especially pas' the city, shit gets real dicey sometimes.”
  9. Not all is what it seems......

    Definitely something off. The detective was grabbing at some box or other that jingled a bit like glass. He hadn’t caught on to exactly what was happening, but figured since guys were running to their cars it meant danger was pretty close and if they ended up hauling ass that would mean something that could kill was close. The question that came out of the Detective’s mouth was weird, too. They were in the city, with nary an infected in sight and she was asking about anti-virals. Usually the police weren’t this damn squeamish unless there was something in their face, so that was weird too. Make fun of the police all you wanted before the Resonance, but especially in recent times it took a tough person to do that job with all the nonhumans, altered, and infected running around. “We keep a few fer ahmergincies, but Shield don’t usually need tem inside te city. Tere was no reason to believe there were any hostiles in the call but ahm sure…” He was interrupted by the second part of the woman’s question, and shrugged. “Two of each anti-viral in te truck.” When the woman flipped open the lid and showed the triple anti-virals, Gavin shook his head slightly. “None like that. Rarely ever need ‘em, we’re just supportin’ Knights most o’ te time. We’re real good at not getting bit, ah wouldn’t worry ‘bout it too much. Ah jus’ need t’ know what’s gon’ come out.” The soldier shot a glance over to the horizon to track the sun’s steady progression into the horizon before turning his attention back to the cop. It was down enough for Gavin to be solid in a fight now, but if the conflict could wait for another hour or so then things would get a lot easier. The shitty part about being on the harbor, especially a recently exploded one was that there were only pockets of shadow to run around in. Inside the city, it was much easier to get around that issue… but water past the docks didn’t exactly provide much shade.
  10. Combat 101

    “Nothin’ tat either wouldn’t be limited use or ah ‘ave no experience doin’. Could do fightin’ certain species or melee weapons, but I’m only good at the former. Te Resonance spoiled some guys, myself included, pretty hard so ah never had to learn a lot o’ stuff. Tank God ah dinnae turn out to be a mage, ahm too stupid to figure out tat shit. Fire away wit’ yer sidearm.” Seeing some kind of movement out of the corner of his eye, Gavin turned his gaze down toward the road. He had noticed the movement before the sound became audible, at least to him, of the car cruising down the road. As it became closer, the white and gunmetal gray colors became pretty distinctive – Vanguard colors, a patrol coming back to the city more than likely. His outward appearance didn’t change, and he just stood there lazily like he previously was. His gray gaze was following the car as it passed and did not waver from it an inch once he caught sight of it, but otherwise there was no other indication outwardly that there was anything amiss. To be honest, the soldier wasn’t sure that the other man would even know what the Vanguard was so there was no point in bringing it up. There was a reckoning that would happen with the Vanguard at some point, but hopefully that reckoning would occur long after Gavin was dead and gone because fuck fighting the Vanguard. His phone vibrated, then, with a text message so he opened up his phone while he kept tabs on the patrol cars passing by and started typing up a storm.
  11. Not all is what it seems......

    A quick glance backwards led to a slight body shift to get a better look as Gavin happened to notice some odd movements by some of the police out of the corner of his eye. Before he could piece together what was going on, he heard his name getting called out by the Detective and started the walk over. Something wasn’t right, that much was pretty obvious. His left hand was on the forward grip of his weapon, and while the rifle was now slung across his chest his right hand was resting on the back grip as well. Especially for an Altered like him, the physical action was basically useless. In most cases of physical threat, his powers would be strictly better unless circumstances were extremely unfavorable. In cases of non-physical threat, there was no point to the rifle anyway. What the feel of the grips in his hands did provide, however, was familiarity and stability. It was much easier to get into the mindset one needed for dangerous situations when you had particular habits that you did every time. You wore similar gear, carried similar weapons a uniform way, rode similar vehicles and rolled out with similar people. It was very rare to find someone who could wake up cold and rush from complete safety into life-threatening situations with not even mental preparation. Hell, Gavin could never really do that himself. Not really. In situations without adrenalin rushing through destroying all conscious thought he was only brave when the alternative was death or things he valued more than his own life were in danger. His self-preservation instinct had dulled since then, but had far from completely gone away. If the cops were running around scared, it meant that something pretty bad was about to happen. A bunch of civilians could go around screaming and crying about how the local elementary school didn’t put anyone on the honor roll for all anyone knew, that wasn’t really an indicator of much other than they found something new to complain about. Trained and armed, career men and women though? That’s when you knew something bad was about to drop.
  12. Not all is what it seems......

    ”…Fuckin’ great. Why te fuck should off-worlders not ‘ave t’ register? Ah’ve ‘ad Uncle Sam take my fuckin’ pay since day one an’ Ah’ll be damned if ahm lettin’ some freeloadin’ little shitheads come an’ take te same goddamn benefits ah had to pay intuh. Fuck, havin’ unregistered people runnin’ ‘round with no prints, no birth cert, no ID is fuckin’ ‘ell to deal wit’. Now don’ get me wrong, ahm not on board wit’ the burnin’ and lootin’ and pillagin’ tat’s goin’ on, but the idea behin’ the change was solid.” ”Didn’t they know that putting in the law would cause violence, though? Isn’t the entire place run by warlords’n’shit now? It’s not like the police can actually do anything and the military was gutted a while ago with everyone moving across the pond.” ”Don’ hit me wit’ tat hippy dippy bullshit, Reed. We left ‘cause tere was no fuckin’ opportunities and tey wanted t’ do teir own damn ting. Anythin’ over tere would cause violence – I mean yah got a shitton o’ off-worlders and magic in a place where the fuckin’ Vanguard provide most of the shit! Te people who ‘left’, went to only a few groups if they were smart enough to get the fuck out of that shitshow of a military – Silver Wings, Vanguard, or makin’ a merc company. Te only people who know how t’ fuckin’ tie their goddamn shoelaces over there with any kind of power is the Vanguard now – an’ it’s too fuckin’ late fer te outcome t’ be any different. If dey wan’ a purge? Guess fuckin’ what, dude, nobody can stop them!” ”Aren’t OFL over there, too? I mean, the Vanguard aren’t the ONLY ones.” ”Give me one random Vanguard an’ one random Order, an’ the Vanguard’ll rip te fuckin’ spine outta the Order member at least seven outta ten times. Gimme a choice an’ ah’ll take te fuckin’ Order member erry time. Huge chance that they’re a clueless civvie punk who flipped burgers before all of tis. Vanguard are fuckin’ killers, same as us.” ”Speaking of civilians, Gavin, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but the hobo that Eric pointed out earlier seems to have wandered over here. That’s weird.” No, Gavin hadn’t noticed. Whereas before he was more than content to just sit around and shoot the shit with Reed, one of the more quieter guys that would just let the soldier talk and make whatever assertions he wanted with little argument, now he was actually forced to pay attention. They were actually on the opposite side of where the ‘hobo’ was first spotted. At this distance he just seemed like an older man in the most disgusting clothing Gavin had seen all week shambling around, but he was circling the entire perimeter for some reason. Reed was right, that was weird. He was too far away to really approach without making it obvious or wasting a lot of time and energy, so Gavin refrained from moving at the present. ”Yer right. Tat is weird. Call it out over comms an’ keep an eye out fer ‘im. If ‘e’s still ‘ere in five ah’ll make a field trip. Prolly jus’ a homeless guy wit’ nowhere t’ go, though.”
  13. Combat 101

    The pain of getting the shit kicked out of you when the fight was actually going on wasn’t too bad because of all the adrenalin that went through the body that served as a pretty efficient distraction. The immediate aftermath, though, was when the pain really started to kick in. Civilians tended to not know when to stop the fighting, so after the tackle Gavin made sure to keep holding the other man down so as to prevent him physically from getting up and to catch his own bearings. No blood was dripping from him at least that Gavin could notice, which was great. Most of the hits to the body that Gavin sustained didn’t really hurt, which was also great. His jaw, however, was pulsating with pain from the repeated and solid impacts to the area. A quick check inside saw that no teeth were missing or noticeably cracked, which was another upside. Probably a sprain, and there was the potential for some hard to explain bruises in that area but other than that it seemed to be fine. His right hand was hurting, too, but that was likely because he got a little excited and messed up executing that last punch more than anything and likely got more wrist impact than was strictly necessary. Energy wise, though, Gavin was more than fine. His conditioning was top shelf, and it was all too often that his body gave up more quickly than his actual will to continue. Sharp movement came from Dika and Gavin’s first instinct and what he ended up doing was shoving down with force in response. When the other man started speaking in what Gavin could only assume to be Spanish, Gavin had a noticeable pause before getting up due to not understanding what was being said and just keying off the tone. The pause was enough for the other man to push to help soldier get off, probably thinking he was disoriented and not simply misunderstanding. Gavin’s didn’t fight the push, and instead scooted away to give the other man space before getting back up and rubbing his jaw with his left hand. Steel gray eyes trained on the other, older man as he got up with a moderate amount of amusement. The other man was happy as hell for some reason and kept speaking that other language, but at least slipped back into majority English for the moment. ”It’s goddamn unnatural t’ be tat ‘appy after getting punched so much.” the soldier stated, but with amusement instead of edge in his voice. ”Yah got pretty decent instincts, an’ tere are a lot of fightin’ gyms around te area wit’ pretty frequent class. A few months wit’ a decent teacher and you’d fuckin’ crush me and most other guys ya’ll meet since yer fuckin’ seven feet tall an’ ‘ave the reach of a fuckin’ football field.”
  14. Not all is what it seems......

    If that shot at Gavin’s jaw was thrown with a little bit more force, by someone who could keep their temper in check enough to throw with technique his jaw would’ve likely been broken. It turned out pretty fine, sure, but it could have gone a lot worse. If one of those idiots would have actually fired off a round or if the punch would’ve actually broken the Sergeant’s jaw this entire situation would have gone to shit really quickly. Sloppy is what it was, and Gavin looked back for a moment to see a mountain of a man come to haul the youngster away. The phone number of the supervisor at HQ was already dialed and ringing, but a certain paranoia was still present since he was still in the midst of what was for all intents and purposes hostile territory at this point. He was damned sure his voice was low enough to where nobody should have been able to hear what he said, but with so many altered humans walking around these days there was absolutely no way to be sure. This tenseness, however well he hid it, was why he heard Detective Psycho call out that he could have the honor of representing ARMA on the scene. Gavin responded by throwing his thumb up in the air and raising the arm with his free hand and continuing to walk to the outer perimeter. He could represent ARMA away from the crime scene, because God knows his powers were completely worthless in an investigative context and he didn’t have the training not to fuck up evidence anyway. Plus, as long as nobody hostile showed up he got to just sit around and shoot the shit until the police decided it was time to go home. If he was really lucky, there might be time for some donut or pizza runs in between if it was really quiet. Those were the best goddamned shifts, the ones where he could just there and pig out on junk food and nobody could make him do a damned bit of work. You want a monster or twenty dead? Call Gavin. You want a person or group of people dead? Call Gavin. You have someone so important that anyone who comes near them dies? Gavin’s your man. With any other tasks, almost anyone else at this point would be a better option unless it involved a vehicle. A far cry from his earlier versatility, sure, but work had become little more than a legal outlet to vent anger in a violent manner these past months and years. During his time in the military before, he had always felt sorry for the men who would be nothing but felons in any other job – but Gavin had slowly morphed into that very type of individual since the incident. The desk jockey finally put him on the line with the supervisor, and a twisted grin spread across the soldier’s features as he went out to the perimeter with his men at a slow, casual pace. ”Hello, sir. Tis is DeLuc again, but fer once the shit that went down had nothin’ to do with me…”
  15. Combat 101

    Hand to hand was something Gavin probably should not have mentioned at all, partially because the other man was probably a good six inches taller and certainly a good chunk heavier and partially because the soldier was always fucking terrible at it. Still, it was worth seeing at what level the new guy was at to see who to send him to for further training if that was where he wanted to go with it. Wordlessly, the southerner pulled out his sidearm from his jeans and set it down on some of the closest duffel bags. He also withdrew both of his karambit blades and tossed them beside his sidearm, leaving the shoulder harnesses for the knives still on. His instinct in any fight was to grab and abuse weapons, so he sure didn’t want one on his person for this. He also tossed off his shooting glasses to the same location, and as he walked slowly to where the other man was waiting he considered his options. Dika’s arms and thus his reach was also significantly more than Gavin’s, which meant that unless the other man was an idiot and rushed in to negate that reach advantage the soldier would have to close the gap and eat some hits in the process. If he tried to turn this into a grappling contest, there was a very real chance he’d be put to the ground before he got in the clinch. If he got that far and discovered the very real chance that he was not the stronger of the two due to being both shorter and lighter by a decent margin he was just fucked. That meant his only real option was striking, and avoiding that danger zone where Dika could swing at him but Gavin could not swing back because of his shorter reach as much as possible. The mostly flat open space was an area where he had served as a training dummy before, and the ground was sloppily patched back together after every time two pairs of boots absolutely ruined it. Well, mostly his boots being slammed into the ground with enough force to make holes, but y’know. The little things. The soldier but his hands up as his steel gray gaze met the other man’s and silently counted down from three using his right hand to indicate when the bout was going to start. When he hit zero, both men just stood in their stances and stared at each other for about five seconds. So, Dika wasn’t going to rush forward and blow literally every advantage he had. It was worth a shot waiting, at least. To use a boxing analogy, Gavin was a slugger style fighter. He was very strong for his size, but lacked finesse and mobility but making up for it in sheer one hit power. The Irish in particular were known for this type of style, taking a slow beating and missing telegraphed single punches until they could land that one punch that would end the fight instantly. The soldier moved in quickly, and rolled with the punches both figuratively and literally. The initial move inside was met with a strong right to the chin that thankfully did not hit fully due to a good head movement to take the edge off. Still, it was a solid shot and would have probably dropped someone who couldn’t take any pain. Dika had longer legs, and seemed to realize he needed to keep his distance. Gavin had some difficulty hitting anywhere up high, so he just kind of absorbed hits to the face to counter with body and arm punches. None of them were the type of knockout blow Gavin was trying to throw, mostly because he was constantly too close to the other man for him to get the proper kind of arm extension for a bomb. There were some perks with being smaller, chief of which being that once the smaller one absorbed the hits to come inside he was at an advantage because he needed less space for a full extension of the arm and had less area to protect. There was no way that up close and inside Dika could protect his entire torso, it was impossible. One thing Gavin noticed, though, is that the other man seemed for some reason very wary of when Gavin got in close enough for a takedown and moved noticeably faster to avoid the possible grapple. It meant that the civilian thought that the soldier was better than he was, and as soon as he realized this about forty-five seconds into the fight he decided he would take advantage of it. Overestimating your opponent was just as dangerous as underestimating them, especially when the time for a reaction was a split second at best. So far Gavin had taken probably more than a dozen punches to the face with about five solid hits, and given roughly two bomb shots to Dika’s torso and one on his leading arm near the bicep. While the shots he gave Dika wouldn’t take most reasonably determined people out of a fight, they would hurt like hell and make it harder to move around and breathe. Neither of them connected fully, so there was no knockdown yet. The shots the other man had given Gavin, however, especially all of them combined would have dropped the average person pretty easily. The soldier’s advantage here was simply that he was pretty experienced in getting the shit beat out of him and was much more used to absorbing punishment than the average guy off the street, so while he did stagger with some of the more solid hits he always kept his guard up and recovered by moving aggressively inward as fast as possible to prevent another punch with force. His plan would require taking a pretty solid hit because he was not precise enough to execute it cleanly enough to prevent it, but Gavin was completely fine with that. He lunged forward with a left jab and ate a return punch to the cheek as he crouched down to trick the other man into either reaching down or punching downward at him. While the soldier crouched, he looked at the feet of his opponent and threw his head down to throw every ounce of momentum he had for an overhead right. Against taller guys this sort of thing was particularly effective, because the punch started from under their immediate line of sight and ended above it swinging downward. A semicircular, vertical bomb to the chin that was damn near unavoidable if the enemy’s lead hand was extended in some way like Dika’s was, and if you could keep your shit together long enough to set the damn thing up. It was one of those moves that unless the user was a real professional, the fight was ending one way or the other very quickly because it was hard to recover with grace after putting your entire body weight behind it for any sort of timely defense. It also left the user so open to a counterattack that if it missed the aggressor was just fucked. If it connected, the opponent would either be knocked out instantly or dazed enough that the football style tackle to the ground that Gavin attempted immediately after throwing the punch was almost certain to be successful in ending the fight.
  16. Not all is what it seems......

    One of the male police officers damn near lunged at him for dare calling his boss a name. Neither Gavin nor his men reacted visibly, because with any interaction with the police and ARMA the blame always fell upon the side that went to shit first if things went south. Justifiably so, because they were at least in theory supposed to be allies and working toward common cause. In the past, it was more true, but while there were wonderful and competent members of both ARMA and the police forces left… the still far too recent casualties from violent events have left their toll and lowered the quality overall of both organizations by a noticeable amount. Still, there was supposed to be this fundamental understanding that within city limits the police had primary responsibility for all mundane activities and ARMA was supposed to play a supporting role. The opposite was true for supernatural and magical threats, and outside the city Shield Division generally took primary command. It would take a special breed of moron to not understand that a bombing was not a supernatural threat and the police had primary command by default. Assistance was all well and good, but when push came to shove the officer in charge of the police forces could order ARMA to vacate the premises and ARMA would have to obey the order. Gavin had originally suggested that the police take the outer perimeter, but Seiko amended that for Shield to be out of the debris zone and presumably to avoid fucking up their crime scene. That was fair, quite frankly, and had he been in her shoes he likely would have done the same thing. ”O’Connor, set up Fireteam 1 and 2 on te outside perimeter. Fire second.” he barked, not raising his voice in volume but instead in intensity. His men were moving out when the special breed of moron made his move, and while they turned back to see what the commotion was Gavin just waved them off to go do their jobs. He could handle this, and if there was any bloodshed it was easier to do the paperwork if he was the only one involved in it anyway. Forrest was no longer his concern, but when the rest of the green as grass Knight Division idiots unholstered their sidearms Gavin physically moved in between them and the police forces and just lost his shit. His voice raised slightly, but only slightly, but his voice was dead calm despite the amount of barely suppressed anger being present in the voice and his face when he pulled away his shemagh so when he turned to the Knights they could see how close he was to that edge. His hands left his M4 entirely and he shoved it to rest in the sling towards his back so it was out of easy access, ensuring the cops he had his back turned to had no valid reason to shoot the man with no weapons in his hand. ”Can one of you fucking degenerates please explain to me why you tought it was a good idea tah point yer goddamn guns at the New York City Police Department?” At that, the remaining Knight members sheepishly started lowering their firearms. Gavin had lost his shit previously with most of them, but that was screaming and yelling. This was a new kind of anger, because it not only jeopardized the life of himself and his men but the entire working relationship ARMA had with the police department that was absolutely fucking vital to anything at all getting done. There was no yelling and screaming now, just the most aggressive calmness that was possible for him to output. ”Now, since all of you apparently ‘ave too many fuckin’ chromosomes tah remember basic fucking jurisdiction, let’s have a brief refresher course. Mundane threats – which includes fucking everything not supernatural in nature are te primary jurisdiction of te people you were just pointin’ yer goddamned guns at. Knight Division has primary jurisdiction over supernatural threats.” he paused for a moment, and raised his left hand slightly to about his neck level like he was particularly bad at raising his hand in class. ”Now, can someone please fucking explain te last time a lycanthrope bombed a structure in the city. Anyone? How about a zombie. Any zombie bombings happen recently, or ever? Dragon bombings? Troll bombings? Anyone? No?... You’re all fucking dismissed. Get the fuck out of here and back to base, I’m going to radio HQ and let them know you’re coming and what happened. Tat’s a direct order, you braindead civilians.” The only time he raised his voice in the slightest from his original tone was at the end, where he raised it significantly when he saw the hesitation in the movement and eyes of the other Knights. They ended up leaving, though, for whatever reason whether it was the yelling or the fact that Gavin had made it damn clear Shield was not backing them up in any altercation with the police. With that out of the way, Gavin turned back to the fuckery that was happening behind him and walked up briefly to Seiko to say briefly: ”Ah’ll act as friendly witness an’ sign whatever papers are required t’ process Operative Fuckup down ‘ere.” With that said, the soldier crouched down to get eye level with the pained Forrest and said in a low voice that Gavin thought only the other man could hear: ”It’s a good thing yer parents are dead, because tey’re spared te knowledge tat teir only son grew up to be te biggest fuckin’ failure in New York City.” The younger man lunged at Gavin with the punch that ended up getting the soldier pretty solidly in the jaw, then, and got a hard headbutt to the nose in return which sent the younger man reeling. Blood was coming out from his nose, and the soldier had definitely tried to break the damn thing. The older man stood back to his whole height and made a show of dusting off his chest before turning back to the detective. ”Add assault an’ battery t’ a private citizen t’ te list. Apologies for te fuck up, I ken assure yah tat it will be taken care of, severely.” With that, Gavin turned away to head out to join the rest of his men and pulled out his cell phone to make a quick call to Headquarters. He had memorized every identifying unit of the Knights that had come down before they left, so even if they tried to weasel their way out of it discipline would come down fast and hard.
  17. Not all is what it seems......

    Zombie evidence, huh? Gavin moved slightly to intentionally bump into the taller man to his left as a way to get close enough to not be overheard when he heard that little note. ”Was that in the dispatch?” he whispered after pulling up his shemagh to cover his mouth momentarily and when the man shook his head no there was a slight tinge of anger that spread throughout the soldier’s body. Not super intensely, at least for him, because he recognized that he had dug his own metaphorical hole in instances like this. An owner does not tell a dog why to attack, only who and when to attack. As he approached the woman in charge and Forrest, Gavin’s demeanor and body language was very relaxed. His bare right hand was lazily holding the grip of his carbine, pointed down and to the side and most of the weight being held up by the three-point sling across his chest. As he got close enough to stand beside Operative Forrest, the man could not suppress a grin at how uncomfortable the kid looked at the female officer just making him feel like the piss-ant scum that he was. The woman tried to posture herself, and she did it very well at least physically. She didn’t have the sort of legendary command presence he had seen before, but her body language and stance told him everything he needed to know about her. A veteran of the force, likely combat experienced who had been there long enough to get over the petty bullshit and just project the type of aggressive confidence Gavin appreciated. The man didn’t speak until he was side by side with the others, and by then the woman had introduced herself. Seiko, he remembered that name, and so did Forrest by the look on his face. ”It seems yer reputation precedes yah, Detective Psycho.” Gavin started, keeping a completely straight face when the Knight Division in earshot gave him a look like he was an absolute madman for saying that to her face. In the past, he would have done that just to break the ice and get rid of some of the tension. Truth be told at this point he had just made a mistake and didn’t care enough to correct it or acknowledge it. It was a wondrous thing how easy it was to not visually and bodily react to an error when you just could not care what happened to you. ”Te guy tah my right wit’ glue in his hair is Operative Forrest.” he continued, voice completely controlled and formal nearly to the point of parody like he was giving the side effects warnings to an experimental medicine in a commercial. His… unique mishmash of an accent was still present but subdued due to the effort he was taking in controlling his voice. His steel gray eyes remained locked with the Detective’s and his stance, while much less authoritative exuded just as much confidence and much more arrogance. The slight backward lean and putting his wait on his back foot as well as the complete lack of a formal handshake or any sort of visual indicator of a greeting for either Forrest or Seiko was probably also noted. ”Ahm Sergeant DeLuc, and while the zombie stuff is ahm sure very interesting, ehm, unless it has the potential to be an active threat in the near future ah dun tink it’s particularly relevant to our purposes at the present – especially because you’re going to send us a report on it if anything could present a threat to the city I’m sure.” His gaze shifted to Forrest, then, as he continued without missing a beat: ”If tere are no inside threats, Ah’ll go ahead and set my team to make a secondary perimeter facing outwards while Forrest does… the Knight thing I guess. If tere are threats inside the perimeter, first I’d question te positioning of yer men and second I’d need whar and what.” The look of complete anger and hatred on the kid’s face at the insult and Gavin waltzing in to take the spotlight from him was so satisfying. The kid knew it was impossible for him to win a verbal confrontation in this moment due to the rank difference, and he couldn't win a physical confrontation because they were surrounded by police. It was so wonderful to watch him just impotently seethe in the corner. The soldier turned his gaze back on the policewoman, though, and awaited instruction. He didn’t come here to start a fight, not this time, so he was more than happy to play by the rules as long as he got the amusement of getting under Forrest’s skin the entire encounter.
  18. Not all is what it seems......

    Over a year later, and he still hadn’t permanently snapped and gone feral. Not that he didn’t come within an inch of doing so on many occasions, and not that he didn’t sincerely want to snap the necks of half the people he interacted with these days… but since the Blood Moon he had always been kept so busy he didn’t exactly have time to sit and think too hard about it anymore. The city was in absolute shambles for months, reflecting the pain and brokenness that Gavin himself experienced in a twisted form of comfort at his worst. The difference, however, was the city could be rebuilt and he couldn’t. He was never fixed, and never went back to what he was before. The best he could do is do a field stitch of what he could and hope it held for long enough for him to either heal or die. So far, much to his chagrin, death has not taken him just yet. The reaper had been given some really great opportunities, too, it was just that each time he had a headache or wasn’t feeling well or something. On this particular day, the soldier was responding to a call on the radio asking for him and his men to head to the Battery Maritime Building in support of the police and Knight Division. The Knights were understaffed before the Blood Moon, and never really recovered fully in Gavin’s opinion from the event. Shield was not hit nearly as hard due to being outside the city for the vast majority of it and some too far to even assist at the latter stages, but the Knights were right there in the fighting and so were the police. So was Gavin himself, but that was another story. His once acute dislike of police has dulled over the years, specifically spurred by that Blood Moon event that made him appreciate them to the point of neutrality instead of open dislike and contempt. Now, he sure as hell wouldn’t go out of his way to hang out with cops or anything, but at least he had gotten past the point of intentionally being difficult to them just because they were police officers and he saw them as an inferior and more blustery imitation of the military. While that all might be true, they were doing the best with what they had and it wasn’t like there was a military anymore to join. Also, the killings got to be really bad at times for the police in this city. For months and months the violence level was just absolutely absurd and so in turn was the police fatality rate. It had gotten better, but the tension still remained. Dispatch said something about the Ferry’s history Gavin didn’t particularly pay attention to, because it had nothing to do with location or anything useful he needed to know. He was going there to make sure the dipstick dandies in blue didn’t get themselves killed, and that was the end of it. Same thing Knight should be doing but didn’t have anybody nearby to do, and if the police ended up finding the guy who blasted the place he was probably expected to come and do the breach on his house too. It was all the bad parts about being a mercenary but none of the pay associated with it. Gavin’s vehicle, an armored up Toyota Land Cruiser, was holding six men including himself who rushed to get into full kit for this call. His vehicle was the third and final vehicle to show up, and the only one to not park in Gavin’s opinion basically on the crime scene. It was one thing to disrespect the police after they have proven they can’t handle something, but it was another to be so goddamned lazy that you ran over potential evidence and then blamed them for fucking it up. Maybe it wasn’t too close, Gavin was certainly no crime scene expert, but he did see at least some debris that were definitely sat on by at least one of the vehicles at the perimeter. The soldier stopped the vehicle clear of even the furthest debris and unlocked the doors for everyone to head outside. The other vehicles were smaller, so they were the only Shield unit there. Unless there were any detectives there from ARMA, quite Gavin seriously doubted because it would be an absolute waste of their time, that meant he was taking orders from a cop for the time being. If he was lucky, he might get to see a power struggle by some stupid Knight Division guy try and wrest control of an investigation. That was always fun, and even moreso when the Knight Division guy realizes a little too late that Gavin didn’t give enough of a damn to help in the least unless the police officer assaulted someone. The soldiers of Shield came out of the vehicle in full gear, wearing silver thread battle dress uniform, typically of whatever military they served in, and running around with M4s in their hands and sidearms in a leg holster on their dominant side. Gavin himself had taken to wearing his old Irish Defense Forces uniform with all of his old patches including the Irish flag and Army Ranger Wing patch still attached as well, since his rank was the same anyway in ARMA. Sergeant, it had a nice ring to it and relayed the type of grit that Gavin so appreciated. The military look did wonders for morale and intimidation factor, especially among the low level criminals often encountered, and Gavin himself quite enjoyed being able to put back on his old uniform so he had encouraged the practice quite a bit among his men in particular. It was on the colder end that day, so people wore face masks or in Gavin's case a camouflage scarf used tied around his nose and below. He used to authorize and even encourage skulls to be worn in the masks, but that had since been officially discouraged inside the city because it freaked out civilians a bit too much and made them seem too 'hostile'. Each man just wore their own solid colors or combinations of colors, but in general no scary looking things were advised within the city on any of their gear. Which was absurd, because the primary purpose of having those scary things and painting one's face before going to war remained the same since antiquity -- to give the wearer of the scary mask or war paint the confidence they needed to get the job done. It was morale booster only and a goddamned tradition especially amongst the American military before the Resonance, and no enemy worth their salt would give a shit what scary images were on their opponents -- sure as shit lycanthropes and their monster ilk didn't care either. Now he's stuck wearing this damn shemagh around his neck and face, and it just wasn't the same. The Shield soldiers in the group typically wore extra magazines on their duty belts or a webbing rig across their chest, and some including Gavin had taken to strapping at least one magazine to their non-dominant leg as well to have an extra bit of sidearm ammunition in case the mages showed up and fucked up their primary weapons like assholes. The city was not as safe as it used to be, regardless of what the shithead politicians said, and live fire could and would occur within city limits with more frequency than before even now. All clusterfucked together and barely surviving, and people just turned to violence to secure their own shitty place in this world. Case in point, the bomb maker here. The place was supposed to be abandoned or something, right? What the hell was even the point? After closing the doors and locking the vehicle, Gavin led his other five men up to the first police officer he could get to and just barked authoritatively: ”Take us to your supervisor, if this is going to be a clusterfuck we might as well just get it over with now.” He could see the Knight unit guys who came before him already way ahead of him, including the unmistakable horrible haircut of Operative Forrest, the most pretentious and cocky piece of shit in the entire organization. One of these days Gavin was actually going to rip his throat out, and a quick look around saw that he was actually the highest ranked ARMA member in the area. The rest of the Knights he never had an issue with, it was just that Forrest guy and his female partner who couldn’t control him for shit that would be the issue. He already had to punch the damned kid once in the face, and even that didn’t shut him up because it didn’t kill him. At least the cop complied with the strongly intoned request Gavin gave and was promptly leading them to whoever was in charge there so he wouldn’t be too far behind them. He wouldn’t wish that particular moron on his worst enemy, let alone someone legitimately busy trying to do their job. As the officer motioned to the people he was supposed to talk to, Gavin raised his voice a bit in a caustic tone to interrupt the Forrest kid talking and announce his presence at the same time, all the while scanning the area with intense and mildly bloodshot gray eyes. Four Knight, Six Shield, and what looked to be several dozen police officers. This was going to be a clusterfuck and a likely waste of time, and for once Gavin briefly wished he had listened to the other information about the place to see whether it was even worth staying for. A waste of time was better than the alternative, though, because if all the police died he'd be stuck doing their job next as well as Knight Division. That would be the point where Gavin handed in his papers and retired to go die in a hole somewhere, because fuck that shit. "Shield Division 'ere tah provide most likely unneeded protection an' fuck up yer crime scene the usual amount. Y'all know the drill by now I'm sure."
  19. Combat 101

    ”Hwhat?” was the immediate response Gavin made when he stood back up with one of the duffel bags in his hand at the stare he was receiving. ”It’s kinda pointless t’ ‘ave te firearms out if yer never gon’ carry. Te bags over tere,” the soldier said, pointing to some on the left of Dika, ”’ave some ‘and to ‘and stuff in there. It’s less gen’rolly useful in a scrape, but can be used as tools more an’ definitely have their niche. If yer main concern is not hurting bystanders, that’s the best yer gonna get in terms of weapons.” ”Ah like blades meself, great fer seatbelt an’ glass cuttin’ and door smashin’. Much more general use sort of ting, and good at rescue sort’a stuff. Tere’s also shit I dun ‘ave ‘ere but is still nice to get the fuck out, like pepper spray an’ flashbangs an’ shit.” Gavin paused for a moment and adjusted his jeans slightly, and rested his right hand on his belt buckle and pistol grip on the front of his pants before adding: ”If yah want to give any o’ those a whirl, feel free. Got a bit o’ everyting in dere. If’n ye wan’ specific hand to hand unarmed trainin’, ah kin only give yah te bare bones basics, but can definitely refer yah t’ some real good people fer tat. Fer physically normal people like me and as far as I know, you, I’d recommend not getting into hand to hand without some sort of advantage. If’n ah ever git inter melee range with an unharmed human, let alone altered er infected, ehm, let’s jus’ say tere was some fuck ups along the way.” Gavin was a muscular man, but even before the Resonance was less than confident in his hand to hand abilities and lost bar fights as much as he won them. He lacked the killer instinct, then, and lacked the ability to tap into his more primal aggression. After the Resonance, where nobody could tell at a glance whether someone was altered or not he was even more hesitant to come in close in any combat situation. He was big and strong for a normal human, sure, but even then he was not top shelf and was acutely aware of that fact. When you added into altered humans, lycanthropes, orcs, and god knows what else into the mix that were orders of magnitude stronger and could snap his arms like twigs there were compelling reasons to stay as far away from threats as possible.
  20. Combat 101

    Gray eyes were trained on the other man with an expression that teetered between neutral and unreadable. He didn’t say anything, though, regardless of some of the awkward stances that were tried out. Trash talking was reserved for a certain level of skill, because early on it didn’t do anything except hinder or stop entirely progress. When his question about his revolver came out, the soldier just nodded when Dika mentioned it was a weapon that could endanger people around him even if he did hit his intended target. Just the quick look at the speed loader had Gavin guess either .44 or .45, which would both go through an unarmored target with little issue. When the other man asked whether carrying a firearm was even worth it, though, Gavin decided to speak up. ”That depends.” Gavin started, his tone a lot more neutral than might be expected. He ejected the clip and racked the firearm to eject the live bullet in the chamber and sat the magazine and the pistol back down on the duffel bags. ”If yah choose not to carry at all, tat’s your choice. Ah dinnah read yer file too close when it came to magic, but it didn’t look particularly offensive to me. You may ‘ave ‘eld somethin’ back from them, which I respect, but I would recommend somethin’. Gun, spell, knife, sword, em, yer fuckin’ silver tongue if you have one – just get somethin’. T’ere are some damn good mages who get on withou’ any of tis rank-and-file equipment, but tey also have enough in ter kit to manage withou’ it.” Gavin paused for a moment to look back at the truck to visually ensure that nobody had taken any of the bags of weapons before continuing, his tone still as neutral as he could make it. It was clear that this guy did not respond particularly well to confrontation, and doing so was pretty pointless at this juncture. ”Yah might not care when it’s just you. Yah might not care when it’s nameless others. Read ten tousand dead due tah radiation poisonin’ or two thousand dead due to a barricade fallin’ apart and zombies coming in. Unless you’re a fuckin’ sociopath, though, friends and family are different. Now, maybe you don’t have anybody to protect. Maybe you aren’t willing to kill under any circumstance, even if you did, and tat’s your choice. Just understan’, tere will likely come a time where tere are consequences for tat choice. How long until the next great disaster? Whar tat line o’ thought never made sense to me, was inaction causes as many deaths as action when shit ‘its the fan. Walk by on the street a guy an’ ‘is family gettin’ robbed, ignore them. Robber tries somethin’ a bit too far, doesn’t really matter what. Man fights back. Robber kills man, wife, child an’ takes their shit and leaves. Sure, yah didn’ kill anybody, but sometimes there isn’t anybody else to change a situation but you. An’ learnin’ dis,” Gavin jerked his head to the duffel bag of handguns, ”Helps you change situations. Much easier than tis.” he continued, drawing both of his karambit knives from their shoulder holsters momentarily in reverse grip before sheathing them again and crouching back down to start putting away the firearms and magazines laid out on the duffel bag. He had said what he wanted to say, and figured that the other man’s stance wasn’t changing. It was hard to do a rah rah bleeding heart sort of talk when you didn’t actually believe it yourself. Fighting for truth, justice, and the American way was great and everything… but Gavin never really did that. He joined the college for free college, never got it, and once he got to Ireland he attached himself to the biggest and brightest personality there and just never left. Part of that deal was watching her back regardless of all the dangerous, stupid shit that she decided to do and Gavin embraced that. Somebody had to be driving the car and making sure they didn’t all crash and die, and somebody had to be watching the situation with full intent to alter it if things hit the fan. To be frank, there was no way in hell that Gavin would be risking life and limb for people who were too ignorant or unwilling to make good life choices on the frontier such as leaving as quickly as possible and not staying put until surrounded when a zombie horde comes if he had never left the States. From a personal safety standpoint, it was beyond stupid. Especially for someone with a power set that was not conducive to self-preservation. If he had it his way, even now, that sort of stupid shit would be left to the lucky jackasses who hit the genetic lottery and could create earthquakes and tsunamis and move at the speed of light and shit. He had grown to enjoy it a lot more than he thought he ever would, but in the back of his mind it never quite left his notice how absolutely fucking dangerous it was.
  21. Combat 101

    When Dika pulled out his revolver, Gavin’s expression turned expressionless within an instant. He let Dika talk without interruption, and opened his mouth to speak after the man finished but then immediately closed it and turned back to rifling through the duffel bag and pulling out various semi-automatic handguns. He didn’t recognize the model of the revolver, so he was going to withhold comment until he got a good look and probably disassembled the thing to see what condition it was in. The stuff he had and brought with him he knew damn well what shape they were in and that they were decently made, so he was going to just go with his original plan. ”Alrigh’, part of this is just going to be tryin’ out some shit and seein’ what feels comfortable. No matter what you get, tere’s goin’ to be tradeoffs an’ downsides. No round is perfect, and you just need to pick someting dat fits what yer usin’ it fer. Firs’ off, though, put these in.” Gavin reached in the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out a small, unopened plastic container filled with these ugly colored orange earplugs. He took two of them and stuffed them in his ears before placing the now opened container on the bag nearest to Dika, maintaining his squatting position and gathering ammunition and more firearms. ”The firs’ one you’re gonna try out is a Beretta M9. Nine millimeter caliber bullets. Dis is what the United States Army and Air Force used before the Resonance. Not te most popular firearm, partially ‘cuz it’s big and didn’t really fit in the hands of the smaller guys and women. Shouldn’t be an issue for you, tough. Accurate, wit’ te lowest stopping power out of all the calibers I’m gonna have you fire today. The main thing with these are the caliber is super common and will always be available. Recoil is very little, an’ te caliber is what I personally carry in urban areas mostly because of the fact that the power behin’ the round isn’t enough to blow through one person and kill the guy behin’ dem too. Smaller rounds, so more magazine capacity. This one shoots 15 before a reload.” Gavin pulled a magazine from one of the nearby backpacks and slapped it in the pistol before standing up and turning to Dika, keeping the barrel of the pistol at all times going downrange. ”Tere’s a safety lever right ‘ere at the back lef’ of the firearm, which you need to flip up so the red is showin’, like this. Then you cock the hammer down and you’re ready to fire. I’m not going to do that part, partially because I need to figure out whar te fuck de rest of my nine ammo is. Te first shot is double action, but I tink dat’s fuckin’ pointless to teach new people… or even most people, so I’m going to pull the slide back to chamber in the first round to avoid that, like this. Hold it close, pointing away, and get all your fingers on the damn ting and pull back. You only have’tah do tis with the first shot, so you dun ‘ave tah do it again. Tis gun fires slightly down from whar the sight is, which is another quirk yah need t’ learn with whatever you carry every day. Every gun fires slightly differently, but I’m gonna go into stance real quick t’ show yah.” ”There are a couple you can use, but this is the general one we’re gonna work with because it works best with the body armor you hopefully have if you’re in any kind of firefight and transitions the best into hand to hand if you’re attacked. Knees slightly bent to absorb recoil and allow easy movement. Recoil isn’t an issue for a nine millimeter, but will be an issue as we move to others. Stay square to the target, with your feet basically shoulder width apart or slightly wider – whatever feels like gives you balance. Your shooting foot, in my case my right foot is going to be very slightly behind my left for further balance. Then you lean slightly forward while extending your arms out like this. Your dominant arm, in this case my right is slightly flexed and pushes the gun out. Your non-dominant hand, in this case my left is my supporting hand and pulls the gun back in. Your aim is to make the firearm move as little as possible with pushing back out and in. There’s some shit with breathing cycles and stuff too, but that’s for shaving off inches from your target groups. This is more than enough to start out with.” At that point, Gavin flipped on the safety to the handgun and held it out for Dika to take. ”T’ bullets inside o’ tat are ‘ollow points. It expands on impact, and mushrooms to create a huge exit wound in comparison to the entry one, if tere even is an exit wound. Nasty fuckin’ things, bu’ illegal in most militaries before the Resonance. Completely legal before and after for police and civvies, though. For nines like tis, t’ ammo adds sorely needed stopping power. It’s wha’ I personally carry ‘round in urban areas. Ah’ll go over maintenance and cleanin’ an’ shit when we get back to the house if yah want, but ‘fer now it’s best to start shootin’ to see what we’re workin’ with. When yah pull, don’t use yer entire finger and squeeze – don’t jerk the trigger.” Gavin procured four more clips of ammunition fairly quickly and just tossed them on the nearest duffel bag to Dika as soon as he found them. There were two other pistols from the top of the duffel bag that the soldier pulled the Beretta from. A Smith and Wesson M&P Shield .40 caliber handgun, and a Springfield Armory 1911 .45 caliber.
  22. Combat 101

    ”Racist, huh?” Gavin repeated, his tone a little surprised but coming back with an edge. ”Let’s scroll down the list, ten, shall we? Lycantropes. Animal intelligence at best. Kills anyting tat moves. Monster. Dragons. Animal intelligence at best. Kills anyting that moves. Monster. Zombies. Animal intelligence at best. Kills anyting that moves. Monster. If you want to negotiate the fuckin’ Dayton Accords with them, by all means. You won’t get to try more tan once with those tings. Any goddamn ting tat came over ‘ere after the Resonance wit’ animal intelligence is a monster.” he paused for a few seconds, and continued: ”Anyting with the ability to speak and understand speech can be reasoned with if you’re so inclined. Goblins. Orcs. Selkies. Other shapeshifters.” there was another slight pause as the soldier jerked his head slightly in Dika’s general direction. ”Mages. You want to fuck around and negotiate with tose, be my guest, but tat’s not what I teach at ARMA to people if you couldn’t guess by the large piles of weaponry I have access to.” ”I teach people ‘ow to survive when shit hits the fan and you need to use tools like the contents of those duffel bags behind me. Tools created for the sole purpose of killing other human beings, quickly and easily. We’ve repurposed a lot o’ it so it can hurt and kill damn near anything, because tat’s what we need to do. When tere’s a lycantrope rampaging around a borough, you need to kill the damn thing before it kills or infects everyone in the town. Now, whatever place you end up at does not mean that you need to be a ground pounder. You do not need to be the warheads on foreheads guy like my dumb ass, but the fact of the matter is tat shit happens. And, unfortunately enough, we’re far enough out of the city that you appear to be stuck with me for the foreseeable future.” At that point, Gavin brought the vehicle to an abrupt and total stop at a seemingly random point. ”Chance o’ gettin’ stuck with tis heavy ass truck is pretty high if we go off-road. So we’re just gonna haul the shit over there.” he said nonchalantly as he pulled out the keys and unlocked the doors. He opened the door and left his sabre leaning against the driver’s seat as he went to the back and seemingly picked out completely random bags to pick up. Two backpacks, one slung over each shoulder and two duffel bags in each hand meant he was carrying a good amount of gear. It was also pretty obvious that one trip was not going to suffice for dragging all the stuff out. ”Grab what you can. Which bags shouldn’t matter. Unless someone fuckin’ stole my targets, tey shoul’ still be out tere.” Some would question the wisdom of leaving an armored vehicle filled with unprotected deadly weapons sitting around completely unprotected in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere, but Gavin was not one of them. There would be nothing obstructing his view of the truck on the field at the top of the small hill, so that was good enough for him. Once past the incline and up on the hill, it was pretty clear that the area had been used before. Shot up targets were set up, along with crude mechanisms to allow the targets to move side to side and up and down the field. Shell casings littered the part of the field away from the targets, and around the targets there were bits of clay and of course bullets in the ground every which way. There were stacks of metal targets in various shapes and sizes. All the ones currently attached were human shaped, but there were certainly some monster shaped ones lying around. ”Alrigh’, we’ll start wit’ ‘andguns.” Gavin said as he appeared to pick a completely random spot to drop all of the bags and start rifling through them. He was roughly twenty meters away from the nearest target. ”’ow much yah know ‘bout firearms? Do I need to give the overview or yah got the basics?” Compared to Rebekah, who took great effort in making sure she still knew how to interact well with civilians and ordinary people, Gavin looked like a gorilla trying to speak to a human in comparison. He was much more chaotic, both in actions and mannerisms. He was exactly the sort of person that exemplified the gap between military/police and civilians. Whereas Rebekah's first thought was ensuring the transition of someone to the next stage of their life, Gavin's was always just rattling the cage to figure out what sort of person he was dealing with. Other combat types tended to enjoy it, but the civilians rarely did unless they had a few screws loose to begin with. Instead of changing and adapting, Gavin was content to just do the same things and was more than happy to stay on his end of the gap all the while thinking himself even at a subconscious level 'better' than those who had never entered combat in service to a cause they believed in. Rebekah's resume and list of accomplishments dwarfed his, but between the two of them Gavin easily had the bigger head and ego about it. Neither were the types to go around bragging about it, but Rebekah shifted her mannerisms and demeanor to suit the situation and Gavin just refused to even try. He was a soldier, he figured, so why even pretend to be anything else? That wasn't what he was paid to do. Simple as that.
  23. BLOOD MOON - Empire State Building

    The girl had less shock than expected. Probably either seen bad enough to be numb or was a veteran of police or military. He didn’t recognize her, but then again there were a lot of people at ARMA he would not recognize by sight so maybe that as well. Ripped up clothes, it looked like the woman was running for a while. When she mentioned the shaman, Gavin just nodded his head slightly. In a situation like this, it was probably beneficial in an ideal world to just out that he was a mage and give orders… but y’know, some kinds of fanatics look at the end of days only as an opportunity to drag some of their most hated infidels down to hell with them instead of even trying to survive. The soldier had also gotten the absolute shit kicked out of him far too many times by smaller women to even think about underestimating someone due to their appearance. Especially when his energy was not nearly enough for a prolonged fight. When Lian shook his hand and introduced herself, Gavin couldn’t suppress the smirk on his face. She was definitely either a lunatic or a veteran, and to be frank at this point either one of those was fine. Even better still, she decided to hand over a nice protein bar. Not the most tasty things in the world, especially that brand, but there was absolutely zero chance of Gavin complaining at all. He opened the thing up and devoured it greedily without a word, figuring that if it was poisoned it was just his time. He needed the energy to sustain any sort of fight, and this risk was more than worth getting it. As Lian started to explain the situation, Gavin froze momentarily and reached for his firearm instinctively when he heard a noise from down below. It was a voice from another woman, telling them both the ways down. That was fine and dandy, and the soldier was about to open his mouth to say something when he was interrupted by another noise, louder and more immediate. One of the doors a bunch of floors up was just torn open, and the sound of heavy footsteps on the stairwell god knows how many stories above was loud. And continuous. One set of footsteps. Then two, then three. It kept coming, and they kept coming down. They smelled prey, and were ready to claim it. They were racing down the stairs, and within a minute easily they were going to reach the ground floor. Holy shit, how many of them are in this building? Gavin couldn’t keep count with how the noises and echoes blended together, but he had to act now. He moved over to the elevator shaft and smashed the key that would bring the damn thing up one floor to meet them. ”Lian, this is very important, so please listen. When this here elevator comes up, I want yah to jump in an’ close the door as quick as possible. Then I want yah to press down, so it goes down to the bottom floor where the others are. Before the door closes, ah’ll try to slide mah pistol an’ a clip of normal rounds in the door. When yah get intah the elevator movin’ I wan’ yah to destroy every single light inside of the damned elevator. This is very important. I need the elevator in complete darkness when it comes down tah the bottom, okay? Go on ya shit. We’re makin’ it outta ‘ere.” Gavin had four silver bullets left, and spent all of them shooting the lights out of the ceiling of the stairwell. He moved towards the open door and started screaming: ”Wheeler, take the civvies and fuckin’ run! Ah’ll stall them. DO NOT TOSS THE ‘NADE. I’ll hold them off for long enough for you to escape. You have two minutes, fuckin’ shove off yah yankee cunt!” The soldier kicked closed the door, then, as glass and bits of the lights fell down all around him. When the elevator came up, he threw his 9mm into the elevator with his last clip of normal ammunition for Lian. Eight rounds, more than enough to take out some lights if she actually did it. If she did, it meant there would be absolutely no blood trail leading to the other survivors. If she didn’t… well, it would be a little dicier. What he was planning to do certainly wasn’t orthodox or advised, but it was the way he could think of to make sure the hounds didn’t just smash down the elevator and kill everyone down there. Gavin needed something to mask the scent, and in this area specifically. There was a few stray lights still flickering, and with a word and a gesture Gavin cut the cord on those until he was in complete darkness. The slavering, growling, and charging mass was getting close enough to be deafening, but they were not in eyesight yet. Just before they did, something clicked in Gavin’s head and he adjusted the plan at the last moment to use less energy. If he had to teleport, chances are whether he was out of danger or not he would be unconscious at the end of it. He could just jump down the shaft instead, and it would allow him to stall longer at the cost of his joint health. That was a trade he was willing to make, and at that point he didn’t even notice what state the elevator was in. He sprinted to the back of the room and decided to enlist a bit of help to focus himself. Gavin was not a particularly religious man, but at a time like this it was not the time to make enemies. Psalm 23:4 was one of the few that he had memorized, so it would have to suffice. Steel gray eyes remained locked on the stairwell, waiting for the first rush of lycanthropes to run through. ”Fiú dá siúlfainn i ngleann an dorchadais, níor bhaol liom an t-olc agus tú faram le do shlat is do bhachall chun sólás a thabhairt dom.” By some miracle, or act of God the lycanthropes did not come into leaping range until Gavin was finished with the prayer. He immediately slammed his palms into the ground with a wail of ”Balla na Geallta!” which brought multiple rows of spikes both in the space in front of Gavin and in front of the door out. It left him with enough breathing room to make a break for the elevator but he did not do so immediately. He needed to keep the spikes up long enough to mask any scent around, and the impact from the fall would likely be enough to shatter his concentration. There were two thing in particular that were amazing about lycanthropes in general, their amazing regeneration ability and their complete lack of a sense of self-preservation. These went hand in hand, because one allowed the other to exist. These monstrosities were damn near fully impaled on some of these spikes, but recovered quickly and fully just to pounce once more. Some of them bite into the spikes and their regeneration was paused, but most of them just suffered superficial bleeding wounds with fur and muscle tissue being thrown around every which way. Each time one pounce on Gavin’s wall of spikes, it took extra effort to maintain its shape against the impact. It didn’t take long for him to realize he could not maintain this for the two minutes he promised, but he would get as close to it as possible. The strain was more than he expected, but the plan itself he hoped was sound. The general idea was to make sure the lycanthropes cut themselves up enough so the entire ground was soaked with their blood, fur, and muscle tissue. This part was already being accomplished, with their repeated and ineffectual attempts to kill Gavin or breach the door through the spike wall. The soldier’s general thinking was that if the room was absolutely drenched with lycanthrope blood, guts, fur, and other body parts it would be damn near impossible for them to smell or detect anything else. It would also be mighty hard for them to hear a damn thing over the frenzy that would occur when the spike wall wore off, especially with more lycanthropes seemingly heading down. In front of him now was about a half dozen, though it was kind of hard to tell with all the movement. On the way was God knows how many more, so Gavin had to finish this pretty fast. The lycanthropes were probably attracted down here in the first place to the smell of people around, so hopefully eliminating that smell would prevent them from finding the basement area. There was also the chance that the people down there would mistake Gavin falling down for one of them and kill him, but he liked his chances of surviving a gunshot wound better than fending off six – now turning into seven with a new arrival lycanthropes in an actual fight rather than just the lowest energy stall he could manage. The stakes made it so he did not have to manufacture anywhere close to the surface area of a wall or something similar, which conserved energy in a nice and sneaky way. The soldier soon found himself at the edge of the elevator shaft, looking at about a floor’s worth of falling over a very narrow area. This was going to hurt, and could possibly be fatal if he smashed his head on the way down. ”Alright, Becks… Let’s see if’n I ken ‘member how yah taught tah fall… Yer gon' be so pissed when yah see how fucked up I come back to yah.” he muttered to himself as he took one last look over to the lycanthropes and the growing pool of blood on the ground before deciding he couldn’t really stall any longer. There was more of them coming, he could hear the doors smashing open on different floors as well. God damn it, this really was hell on earth. Right before the fall, Gavin made the decision to prioritize magic over his physical well-being. He needed to accomplish two things aside from landing without dying: making sure the sound from his fall was localized enough that it did not extend to the lycanthropes up above and causing as much blood as possible to spill before the magic ran out up top to make sure the stink of their own kind was overpowering enough that none of them followed him down and finished him off. The impact would make damn sure he couldn’t keep the shadow solidification going a story above, so he had to make that blood splatter before he landed. To achieve that end, he muttered to himself ”Claíomh suas.” while making the requisite movements, fall safety be damned to make the stakes turn into blades and move upwards until his concentration broke, which would be momentarily. From that point, a moment before impact, he muttered to himself: ”Ciúin.” and did his damndest to maintain that concentration to ensure his impact was as localized as possible. He was so focused on it he barely had time to put his arms in front of his face when he impacted the top of the elevator in a crash, denting the top of the thing slightly. The wind was completely knocked out of him and he was probably bleeding a bit, but thankfully his head managed to not bash against the walls of the elevator shaft and kill him. The howling up in the stairwell where he was previously became deafening very quickly, but the fact that one of them did not immediately jump down to smash him meant that his strategy maybe worked. The bit about his own safety fell apart within moments of that, when Gavin crawled over to the little door at the top of the elevator that he was banking on to get down there. Turns out, it was locked and had a little keyhole that he couldn’t exactly do anything with at the moment. Probably to stop idiots from getting on top of the elevator, funnily enough, but at this moment the ‘safety feature’ may have just doomed Gavin to be dog food. As soon as he realized his mistake, he stopped moving and remained as completely still as he could. The moment one of those animals dropped down, Gavin would he killed or crippled from the impact more than likely and a goner. The only thing left to do at this point was lie down and silently pray, given that his last minute and greedy shift in plan may have just fucked him over for the last time. The smash on top of the elevator would have been heard by everybody on the bottom floor, because Gavin did not dampen the sound downwards… only upwards. He had no real way to self-identify without making more noise, so he made the decision to just stay silent and hope he didn’t get shot at. Funny how these things worked, and this was a prime example of why the Sergeant was absolutely never allowed to come up with the fancy battle plans that his Shield unit came into battle with. All Gavin knew how to do was string together moments as they came, and at some point his lack of solid planning came back to bite him in the ass. Luckily for him, at least, adrenalin was still pumping in strong enough for him to not feel any pain from that fall. He wasn't at zero percent yet, but he didn't have enough energy left to fight off one lycanthrope let alone teleport at this point without actually killing himself in the process. He saved energy, sure, but it sure as fuck wasn't worth it at this point because he could get absolute jack shit out of it. The real question, though, was why the fuck was he assigned to help local law enforcement today? If he lived through this, he would personally strangle the pencil pushing bastard who put him on this assignment. Why the fuck didn’t the eggheads at HQ know that something was going to go this insane tonight? Fucking red moons and lycanthrope packs, how the fuck did this all go without any warning? Who the fuck could possibly stand to benefit from this hate orgy of violence?
  24. BLOOD MOON - Empire State Building

    There were some words Gavin was hoping to hear when he asked the question of numbers, but ‘army’ was not one of them. Before he left, there was something mentioned about a door behind the woman that was probably worth checking out as long as nothing ran down the steps. The damn stairway still had its lights intact for some reason, or at least most of them, but if a rush of lycanthropes happened to run down they might actually have a better chance in a smaller space than just running outside, at least for a small stretch of time. ”Ah’ll be down ‘ere in a minute to check out the door. If it’s nothin’, we’ll just get movin’ on. Gimme a sec.” he communicated before turning back and locating the cop. It wasn’t hard, funnily enough, since he was nearby listening in anyway pretending to search through a counter. ”Officer.” Gavin started, to make sure he wasn’t misreading and the guy was going to pay attention. As he said that, he sheathed both karambits and pulled out a portable ward from his belt to hand the guy. His tone was a bit softer than usual, but still firm and clearly a voice that was meant to give orders rather than start a conversation. ”Ahm gon’ go down there for a bit, if shit hits the fan jus’ twist the cap and trow. Smoke grenade tat makes the fucks lose yer scent. If tey come from the outside, toss it and run down the stairs. If tey come from the stairs, toss it and go outside. If you hear gunshots, leave. If civvie ovah tere is right and tere’s a safe spot down there, I’ll post up a big ass arrow in front of the door so y’all know to come down. Got it?” The officer nodded his head, and the soldier clapped the man on the shoulder before heading back to the stairwell and passing through. Now, at this point Gavin looked anything but friendly. Black leather boots, a black cloth motorcycle jacket, and city camouflage military-style pants were damning enough, but add a very noticeable amount of blood splattered all across his clothing and it was probably not a stranger’s first inclination to assume that he was a good guy. He had a holster with his pistol inside on his right hip, and a sabre in a sheath on his left. His left hand was across the hilt of the sabre to ensure that it didn’t just collide noisily with every step on the way down, and his karambit sheaths were hidden under his jacket for the time being. No use walking down a set of stairs to a scared civilian with weapons drawn looking like he did now, that was definitely a recipe to getting shot. ”Let’s check out the door.” he enunciated as clearly as he could as he made his way down the stairs, his steel gray eyes trained on the woman at the bottom. When he got to the last turn, Gavin opted to just lean over and jump the last set of stairs to the bottom because he wasn’t about ready to lose his boots to a miscommunication at this point. He landed on the ground with a bit of a thud and some of the more recent blood spatter fell off of him and onto the floor. Absolutely disgusting, that was, and he could still feel some of it dried up in his hair. His left hand still rested on the hilt of his sabre, but he tried to do it in as non-threatening a manner as possible. With his right hand he extended it because even in apocalyptic situations people needed to have manners and introduce themselves with handshakes. It didn’t matter that his hands were dirty as hell from dirt and mud and blood. It was just how things were done. ”Sergeant De Luc.” he said, gruffly. There was no use in going further than that with strangers, especially when artificial light was still surrounding them. The last thing he wanted was a knife in his stomach in a position where he couldn’t retaliate for being close enough to 'those damned mages'.
  25. BLOOD MOON - Empire State Building

    A couple seconds passed, and nothing happened except Gavin’s ears kept ringing. Damn it, is this the day that God decided to piss on him and give him tinnitus? Just because he left the damn ear plugs at home because this night was supposed to be boring and he forgot them did not mean he deserved a life-long irritation to add to his long list of the same. Granted, life-long might be five minutes at this point but an injury was an injury. When the phone lines finally worked again he was going to get absolutely screamed at. They had training on what to do if the situation escalated, but damned if Gavin paid a lick of attention to that overview. He wasn’t entirely sure he was even there, because if they weren’t doing roll call there was no point in him being there to hear Lycanthrope 101 with a bunch of civilians. There was probably an emergency rendezvous point somewhere random and dumb that he was supposed to go to in case of trouble, and if he paid attention in the training he might have even known where it was. If for some godforsaken reason it was the Empire State Building, he was going to fully play his movement there as intentional. His luck wasn't that good, though, was it? But it was too late for that now more than likely. The radio chatter would just be a chaotic mess at this point with no useful information coming through. Just when he moved his left hand to turn up the volume, though, he heard a female voice yelling from the staircase. She had a weird accent, not yankee but something else Gavin did not recognize. She yelled for him to not shoot her, and the soldier couldn’t help but roll his eyes. How the hell was he going to shoot her if she was in the stairwell and he was outside with no line of sight? There was, sadly, no such thing as an annoying seeking bullet so that was out of the question. The woman yelled again while Gavin was trying to think of a response that wouldn’t get himself shot, asking if he was friend or foe. To this, the man just sighed and holstered his gun. If a civilian so scared out of her wits that she can’t figure out the damn monsters can’t talk is still alive and that close it meant that no danger was around. ”Ahm gonna git the rest o’ mah team in ‘ere and try an’ get some supplies. Do yah got a safe space set up close or do yah need to move out?... Sittin’ ‘round with no cover is jus’ askin’ tah die.” there was a short pause as Gavin pulled out his other karambit and started spinning them both in his hands just as a nervous habit while walking towards the door opening and thus towards the exit. ”If yah ‘ave any food, that’d be fuckin’ awesome by the way. Tacos would be great. The crunchy ones, none o’ dat soft shelled shit. Also, do me a favor an’ don’t shoot me when I pass through in two seconds. Ah’ll be back in a sec. Don’ die in the meantime. Remember, no soft shell.” He momentarily sped up from his usual walking pace to get past the door quickly. He wasn’t going to waste valuable and very limited energy blocking the door under the assumption that terrified civilian would shoot anything that moved. He wasn't entirely sure that the cop was ex-military, so decided against hand gestures and decided to just walk outside and talk. Too risky in case he misunderstood and either didn’t do anything or fired shots. The cop was the first one to react and move over, and thankfully it seemed like nothing happened since he went in. The officer briefly asked what was up with the gunshots, and Gavin responded by raising his voice a bit so the others could hear. ”Lycanthropes inside probably. None left on ground floor though. Possibly more in building up high, but I can guard the stairway. At least one survivor, I’ll see if I can’t get her up here without shooting me while we’re at it. I don’t know if the survivor is armed, but sounded like a civvie so stay away from the stairwell unless yah wanna get twitch fired on. Ah’ll try and get in’tah contact with some guys on the radio while we’re pokin’ aroun’ too. Let’s go.” Three others in that group. A late-middle aged man and his high school aged daughter, and a younger police officer. So far, they were too spooked to really question anything that Gavin did which made his job a lot easier. Funny how easily people were willing to trust a random dude covered in blood just because he walked straight, talked loud, and wasn’t drooling. Less than two minutes later, Gavin was right back at the entrance to the stairway. He made sure nobody else was around, and he was out of line of sight of anyone on the other side. He was standing upright, still twirling his twin karambits to have something to do with his hands. He hadn’t turned the volume on his radio up, partially because it was unlikely to be clear because of the suspected recent magic usage… but mostly because in a situation this bad it was almost better to have no idea what was going on. If everyone in the city was dead, his entire organization wiped out… did he really want to know that right now? Better to just keep moving and doing things rather than let fear and anxiety catch up to you. And keep talking stream of consciousness to the confusion of everyone around you and the comfort to yourself. Y’know, the normal stuff. ”Alright. Ahm back. Any idea ‘ow many furries there are in this convention or nah?”