Lockdown Protocol

Escape from Tarturus

And you thought The Pit was bad...

You see, it all started with a fucking spoon…

 

While the man called Kiroshi sat meditating in his cell, awaiting a later time to spring his plan for escape, Krieger, a German Eurosolo, decided to not return the spoon from his meal. There was a little over 56 hours until the shuttle to take us away would arrive. He wanted to see what the response would be and see if he could clog the minimalist toilet in his cell.

 

The Russian guard hammered on the door, speaking in a thickly accented voice, "Give spoon. Give spoon now."

 

Krieger feigned ignorance, "I did, you already have the spoon!"

 

The guard tried a few more times before the loud click of the magnetic locks were released on the door. In walked the guard, clad in a dark urban camouflage uniform, a balaclava around his neck, Flak vest and a combat helmet on with a stun baton in his hand that had arcs of electricity running along its length.

 

Krieger stepped forward, faster than the guard could respond, hitting him hard in the face. Too hard, it would seem as he face crumpled in somewhat, his body starting to slump backwards. Thinking quickly, Krieger pulled him into the room, out of view of the poorly placed cameras and switched clothing with the guard. He put the corpse on his bunk and stepped out, closing the door before holding the spoon aloft for the camera to see. He looked up above to the higher tiers of cells, then down to the lower tiers, all prisoners in this block were apparently fed at the same time, so he followed the leads of the guards above and below. His new blue access RFID card let him out of the cell tower into an airlock, then to this level's junction. At the junction was a monitoring station for the level, a break room and a small, locked armory. Another guard took his tray and left, apparently to return it to the kitchen. He wandered into the guard room that had a single camera in it, apparently just to see who came in to the room and when they left so the room had poor camera coverage. I guess they didn't think it was needed. There were four guards sitting down with a bottle of vodka, several glasses and cards out, playing a homebrewed variant of poker.

He sat down with them, removing his helmet but kept his balaclava in place, being dealt a hand. He played for a few minutes, not touching the glass of vodka poured for him at first until he looked around and came up with a terribly American plan. He took his glass, stood and grabbed one of the metal food trays, went to the fridge and put a bowl of soup on the tray. He then surreptitiously poured the vodka on the tray and shoved the whole bundle into the microwave, setting it for six minutes.

 

He sat back down, not paying attention to the sound of static starting to build up in the machine and won the next hand quite soundly. The arcing within the microwave grew louder, finally drawing the attention of one of the drunken guards, he got up, muttering something in Russian to Krieger, calling him Yuri, then threw himself to the side as the appliance exploded. While he was fortunate enough to dodge the door as it flew past, the machine malfunctioned badly, sending out a short pulse of an electromagnetic discharge, frying the guards' neuralware processors. The lights in the section went out, even the red emergency lighting. Krieger was lucky enough to not have a neuralware processor in his own skull, though the secret contact on his right eye seemed to have been shielded, allowing him to still make out shapes in the darkness. He made his way out of the break room and saw both armory and monitor station's door were open, the guard on the monitor slumped as well. He hurriedly went back to the cells, the lights on there, but took the chance that the monitor guard was the only one who was watching this section and opened all the cells, leading the inmates back within. Kiroshi, Gabe, Irena, Heinrich and Angelo all got into guard garb, then dragged the bodies back to their cells, closing the doors on them as the red emergency lighting started to come back on. Irena was the only one who could decipher the controls in the monitor station as everyone else geared up from the armory. She performed a quick search of this block of cells, not coming up with Professor Sitomi in this group.

 

Kiroshi stood silently near the monitor station, by the external door. He cocked his head, hearing the heavy footfalls of the trenchcoat-clad administrator they'd had seen before, liking approaching to make his head count. Kiroshi leapt up the walls in the corner, bracing himself above the door like a silent spider. The others moved to the break room, save Irena, staying at the monitors.

 

The door opened and the man moved without pause through them, the silent assassin dropped noiselessly behind him, moving to break his neck, twisting with a sudden violence. He was mildly shocked when the noise was not the soft cracking of bone, but grinding of servos and the sudden shearing of metal. The admin had been a full conversion cyborg, but it fell dead nonetheless. The administrator's clothes were well made and well armored. Kiroshi felt the material, it was similar to his Shozoku and would guard him well. Once more he made the switch, then checked the rest of his gear, making sure to grab the admin's Manager, a large cellphone-like device. It started beeping, requesting a headcount. He knew it was unlocked, having watched this man previously and entered the proper headcount for the block. Also on the body were multiple keycards: blue, green, yellow and black. He guessed the blue, green and yellow were to grant those chosen access to those areas and black allowed the admin to go where he pleased. The layout on the Manager was not very detailed, but gave a better idea of the scope of Tartarus, the station they were located at, likely hiding in the belt, away from prying eyes.

 

Now that they knew where the airlocks and shuttles were, they just had to stay alive and retrieve Professor Sitomi somehow. As a failsafe, Kiroshi has Irena program in a timer to their original cell's locks, unlocking them after a set period of time passes, as a distraction. They'd left two insane prisoners still in their cells; 'Chicken' a polish prisoner who insisted on wearing his briefs on his head, running around while flapping his arms and clucking like a chicken, and 'Tiny' a non-verbal brute of a Russian 'borg. Almost all of his cybernetic options were dismantled, removed and he was left with spindly, barely-working limbs and no lower jaw. He usually sit sits and stares at the birds in the Arboretum during the 7 hour day's hour of stretching limbs.

 

Krieger sat at a monitor station, finishing up a check of the cellblocks occupants. The previous guard had been relieved of his duty by Kiroshi, who, with a snap of his fingers, had Krieger replace. Once they were done and knew where they wanted to go, they contemplated just leaving the station, but thought that might be a bad plan. Kiroshi went to the break room and motioned for one of the guards to take the monitoring station. The guard grumbled and moved to take it, but Kiroshi caught his eyes widen as he looked at Kiroshi again after taking the passcode of the day. The asian assassin blurred into motion, sending a knife-edged strike of his fingers into the guards throat, but not fast enough to stop the guard's hand from falling against the alarm. Irena cut the alarm quickly, putting in a bypass, but a call came in. She quickly told the guards that 'Yuri' spilled vodka on the control panel and it went off. While she was explaining, (to no avail, technicians were being sent), Kiroshi went to the break room, grabbed a glass of vodka and walked back out with it, ignoring the complaints of the guards. Apparently drinking on shift is frowned upon. He poured the contents of the glass on the panel and some on Krieger before walking back, tossing the empty glass back to one of the befuddled guards.

 

Kiroshi took the small group, minus Krieger, back out and down the hallway back towards their cellblock to not be seen by the techs. It did not take long before two guards and a technician arrived to see Krieger, wearing his 'Yuri' badge. He acted a bit drunk and stood up, the two guards flanked him and attempted to butt-strike him with their weapons. Krieger swayed a bit, making the guards miss him as they over-reached and struck each other, falling senseless at his feet. Krieger giggled and stepped over them, walking drunkenly out, leaving the tech to his work of fixing things and explaining.

 

He opened the hatch out into the external corridor and there were two more guards, they also took one look at him and hit him with their weapons. He shrugged back with the blow, using it to assist with his fall and pretended to be out. They hoisted him up and put his arms around their shoulders, hauling him to the barracks, tossing him in a bunk after stripping his helmet, gun belt and flak vest from him. As feigned sleep, they left, several guards were getting ready and went on shift.

 

An hour and several cell blocks later, the rest of the group had finally figured out how to do a broad-range search for the professor and learned he was not in any of the cells… however, the facility had multiple science labs. They found which suite Sitomi used and made their way further up one of the towers of the station, stopping at a barracks to reacquire Krieger.

 

Yūrei had had enough of run-ins with guards at this point, not being able to use his usual methods of persuasion, guile and stealth to conceal such a large group of people. Had everyone go to a sleeping guard and kill them, one of the two not being taken out started to awaken.  Yūrei tossed the pebble he had taken from the arboretum and flicked it almost casually, the stone entering the man's windpipe through the skin of his throat, gagging him in a sudden stream of his own blood. He quickly leapt over, dispatching the last guard before having everyone make use of the guard's steam trunks and lockers, stuffing the dead guards into them.

 

"We rest here for now" he explained, "We have been up for more than a day at this point and need to be sharp before we go further up into the facility." They all dressed in guard's clothing and turned in to rest for a few hours before continuing on.

 

Continuing on later, they went to the mess hall, a group of six scientists, various guards and a few administrators, dressed as the one Yūrei had stolen the armored suit from all were in there eating and conversing. Irena saw a female scientist enter the latrine and followed in after her. Once inside, she asked her if she had any lipstick, the other woman nodded and handed over a stick of "Urban Decay" lipstick, reddish-brown in hue. Irena accepted it, then turned and punched the woman in the face, driving a sliver of bone from her nasal cavity up into her brain. She frowned and stripped the woman quickly, getting into her jumpsuit and smock, clipping her badge on. She looked around, spotting a ventilation grate above one of the toilets and took the next few minutes stuffing the body into it, closing the grate behind it.

 

Irena decided when the scientists left, she would go with them to see if Professor Sitomi was in one of the labs, as well as see what else she could do there to help them all escape.

 

After the meal, Yūrei  and the others went up to the Administration level, where Sitomi's quarters were. The black keycard gave them access to the professor's quarters, but it did not look used. The bed was made, some papers were strewn around, but it did not have that lived-in look. They went over the papers, detailing a prototype Railgun. This was the project the professor must be working on so they took them, packing the papers in pockets, zipping them up.

 

~Elsewhere~

 

Irena was led to a medical research facility on the station, being put to work with assisting an operation on a highly modified gorilla. Its arms had been replaced with large, powerful cybernetic limbs of obvious Russian design. It had a thick torso plate installed under its woven-armored skin. The creature was heavily sedated as they were making some of the last connections of one of its arms.

 

She busied herself gathering data from one of the terminals, no one questioning her presence as she downloaded details of the projects into a datadisk and pocketed it. She then did something quite dangerous. She set up the system to administer stimulants to the enhanced gorilla on a 5 minute timer, to wake it up after having noticed all of its behavioral programming had gone towards aggression. The creature was is a dangerous form of cyber psychosis and would brutally attack anything nearby once it awoke.

 

As she was giving these commands to the system, the rest of the escapees were heading down the lift to the science ward nearby, going into the department Professor Sitomi headed. He was found within putting on the finishing touches of his prototype, man-portable railgun. Yūrei stepped up, "Professor, there has been a situation. You need to come with us. Immediately." He had the prisoners surround Sitomi on all sides, quick-stepping towards where the contact HUD indicated Irena was and walked the group past, hoping she'd get the hint and join them.

 

 

Just as they were passing, the body of a scientist got flung through the observation window nearby, with a shout of, "Oh my god! Its loose!!" Irena quickly stepping out and joining them, "Hurry… I made a distraction!"


Agonized screams of pain and terror could be heard within, alongside a basso roar of fury and the sounds of metal shrieking as it was rent asunder. The prisoners hurried, sprinting towards the hangar bays, a minute passing before emergency claxons started glaring. They ran past the mess hall, a sideways glance caught a glimpse of Chicken being chased by Tiny, Chicken bounding over the tables with Tiny bulling through them, hardly slowing a step.

 

Krieger shook his head as he kept up the brisk pace, "God speed, Chicken…" They barred several bulkheads behind them to slow any pursuit and made it into the hangar bay. They used the access codes gained from the administration wing to unlock a shuttle within the bay, Gabe sliding into the pilot's seat, quickly going through an expedited checklist as everyone else strapped themselves into the crash webbing. The shuttle had plenty of fuel to get it from the cluster of asteroids, back into a retrograde trajectory to make an encounter with Earth's atmosphere, using that to slow the shuttle way down to avoid spending too much fuel.

 

In the days prior to making Earthfall, they were able to make contact with the entity or group that contracted them and given an insertion point with a landing in Dubai's spaceport. They were met on the ground with a limo, another pilot quickly boarding the shuttle after all the gear was unloaded and moved it, and its corresponding transmitter, to another location.

 

A screen was open in the limo with a digitized, non-descript face of their employer, "Quickly done. Messy, but all requested objectives met. I see you brought others with you. Two hundred fifty thousand euro will be deposited into your escrow accounts and you will be put up in some suites near the top of the Burj Khalifa. Await further instructions, you have about a month's downtime." The screen went blank and withdrew back up into the cabin's roof, leaving them with their thoughts.

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