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Ohm's Law

Rhiannon surveyed her team from her vantage point at the back of a covered armored half-track.   The six of them were tightly packed into the mobile com unit.  Auley was busy at the onboard computer.  Tala and Fehed were in front, with Tala driving and Fehed on the mounted machine gun.  Chepi and Vittorio sat with Rhiannon in the back.  

She was proud of their precision performance thus far, especially considering the reality that they could not be mistaken for anything akin to a military unit.  Tala, Fehed, and Vittorio all had backgrounds with some sort of armed force services, but she did not, nor did Auley and Chepi.  It felt like a form of validation for her little ragtag band of daredevils to have been selected to provide intelligence for the troops.

Rhiannon redirected her attention to the map they were reviewing together.

       “Vittorio, do you have an idea where we should be focusing our search yet?” she asked the old man.

                  “We should be taking a hard look at Watsa,” he returned quickly.   “It’s within functional proximity of a major railway, and strategically close enough to Sudan for them to receive reinforcements.”

       “Chepi, do you have any intel regarding their movements?” Rhiannon asked her protégé.

                  “There are no outposts in Watsa,” Chepi replied.  “It’s a heavily Islamic area.  I think Vittorio is right — that would be an excellent jumping off point for the ‘Hand of God.’ ”

       “We need to have recon done in that area first,” Rhiannon nodded, placing a push pin on the map, and circling Watsa.  “I’m unwilling to send our troops to that location en masse.”

She radioed General Goredema and informed him of their plans to recon Watsa.  He let her know he would be dispatching a Special Forces Unit to go with them.

On the way there, Fehed laughed and joked over the radio with the Special Forces Captain.  They had served together on a UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia.  Vittorio remained silent throughout most of the mission, only speaking to give reports.  He had not been his usual flippant joking self for a long while now.  Rhiannon and Chepi bantered a little bit, planning how to execute the recon mission.

Arriving 3 clicks outside of Watsa, they were met by two APCs loaded with Special Forces. 
Rhiannon determined the best course of action was to send Fehed in first, leading a group of soldiers from the East, with Captain Damu taking in another from the West, and their team would take along a few Special Forces soldiers to fill the half-track, and then head North.  Fehed turned over the gunnery to Chepi, and disembarked from the half-track to meet up with the Captain so they could divvy up the two squadrons into three units.

The vehicles were situated South of the city, and Rhiannon would have them all move to within a mile of its borders to allow for Auley to work his magic in gathering any insights on their tech capabilities.  Fehed got his team together quickly, and took off in that direction.

Captain Damu radioed her after the briefing.

                  “Lady Rhiannon, our forces are ready to move upon your command,” he told her.

Vittorio broke in on their

                  “I’ll take lead of the soldiers that remain behind with us,” he offered.  “I am sure Tala doesn’t need my help driving, and I have more military experience than anyone here.”

It was hard to argue with the immortal.  After all,
during his career as a soldier, he had served in Asian and African theaters, as well as both world wars. Rhiannon had no choice but to acquiesce to his suggestion.

       “All right,” she grunted, begrudgingly. “Just no actions until I approve, okay?”  But her words caught his back as he had already hopped out the door to usher in the elite team of Special Forces assigned to their vehicle.

                     “Hey, Beautiful!” 
Auley hollered back at her from the terminal, snapping her attention to the interior. “We need to call our guys back now!”

       “Okay, one, tell me why the hell am I making that call,” she shot back, and then added, in a lowered hiss, “...and, two, I told you about flirting with me while we’re on duty!”

                  “I’m picking up cybernetic signatures all over the city — at least twenty.”  Auley informed her, and then followed up with a wink in her direction.  “I was just trying to get yer attention,” he smiled.

Chepi called down to him from her position on the machine gun.

                  “Cybernetics?” she exclaimed.  “How is that even possible?  They aren’t supposed to have that kind of support in this territory!”

Rhiannon was not thrilled with this development.

       “Right now our main focus is getting our people back here and getting a report to General Goredema,” she answered. She stewed in solitude as they headed to meet the General.

If the Hand of God had cyborgs, it meant they were being backed back by a government with wealth.  She knew the Sudanese couldn’t afford cybernetic soldiers, which meant her team was going to have to look into this further to figure out who was behind their funding.

Once back with the main force, Rhiannon supplied an update to General Goredema and his Officers.

                  “Cyborgs?” Lieutenant Bititi questioned. “How did they get their hands on cyborgs?”

Sergeant Jabali, a man of action, stood up and addressed the room.

                  “The real question is,” he paused, looking around at each of those gathered.  “What are we going to DO about it!” he pounded the table to emphasize “do,” leaving a fist print in the metal top.

Rhiannon cleared her throat.

       “Give us Captain Damu and one of the Special Forces units,” she offered the group.  “We’ll take care of the cyborgs.  The rest of you can focus on the standard troops.”

                  “I am entrusting you with the lives of my soldiers,” General Goredema acknowledged.  “We will attack at dawn.”

After the debriefing, Rhiannon and Chepi walked back to the com truck in silence. Chepi knew better than to question the team leader when Rhiannon was in deep thought.

       “You’re sure you can do this?” Rhiannon asked Auley, pulling him quietly aside before they reached the vehicle.

                  “Of course I can!” he huffed.  “You know, I have been doing this for a while now, kiddo!  And as much as you may have that powerful mystic hocus-pocus down, you can bet that sweet behind of yours I’ve got all yer technomancing needs in the bag, luv.”

       “I wasn’t intending to wound your pride, husband,” Rhiannon retorted, cutting her eyes crossways at him, but then added, softening, “I just want to be sure.  There are a lot of lives at stake here.”

Auley stroked her face.

                  “Don’t worry about me, shug,” he assured her.  “You just make sure that between those Special Forces guys and your team that someone is responsible for keeping those buggers off me, and I should be able to handle it, no sweat.”  He was already programming his armband, setting up the viruses he would need to shut down the cyborgs in the charging center.  During his hack of the cyborg command center, he had uncovered the plan to attack a train station the following day.  The enemy only had one final cycle before the oncoming raid to get all their cybernetic units up to full power in preparation for the attack.  This offered the teams the perfect window of opportunity.  If they were going to get this insurgence put down, it was now or never.

Fehed and Captain Damu lead the unit that would be taking Auley in to hit the charging center. Except for Auley, the entire group was made up of Therianthropes... mostly large cats — lions, jaguars, cheetahs, and ocelots.  In order to minimize detection, they crept through the city streets as silently as possible in cat form, with catlike stealth, vision, and senses.  The other werebeasts of the SFU were comprised of a were-owl, a jackal, and a couple of hyenas, so every one of them was accustomed to stalking prey at night.  This first wave of strike force was so large in anticipation of the strength they might need to counter the power of the cyborgs if there were any from among their number that might not be charging at strike time, though that wasn’t expected to be a large number.

The second strike group was made up of mages and psychics, lead by Vittorio.  Their job was to create a diversion within the city so that the other team could commit all their energy into taking out the cyborgs.

Rhiannon, Chepi and Tala remained just outside the boundary in the getaway ride — an APC outfitted with an EMP cannon, in case things got hairy with the cyborgs.  Rhiannon stayed on the trigger in communication with both units, with Tala at the wheel, and Chepi at the ready with a fully charged magic staff, eager to blast any enemy soldiers that came near.

The Therianthrope group
rendezvoused at an abandoned warehouse converted into a charging center for the cybernetic soldiers, and descended upon it with full force.  They took out the human soldiers with ease, while Auley plugged into the charging unit and uploaded the virus components to the charging cyborgs.  Machine gun shots rang out in the warehouse.  It seemed three of the units had not been charging.

                  “Get Down, Stay down, Don’t move!” Auley screamed at the beast force, who promptly scattered in a variety of directions.  He placed his right hand firmly against the charging alcoves, and aimed his left at the oncoming cyborgs, channeling a massive bolt of static charged lightning from his outstretched arm. The cyborgs seized into instant convulsions, then fell flat.

                  “Damn!” Fehed shouted to Damu from behind the rack of servers where they’d both ducked for cover at Auley’s command.  “I didn’t know technomancers were capable of that!”

The Therianthropes got to their feet and collected themselves, counted casualties and assessed injuries, then headed out to the extraction point.  Fehed and Damu had to carry Auley between them, as the large Celt was worn out from generating the large blast.

On the other side of town, Vittorio and his crew were having a ball terrorizing the militants who had overrun the city.  Using little more than the power of illusions and mind altering suggestion, they had created mass hysteria, transforming the locals and the occupation alike into a writhing throng of teeming, widespread panic.  As soon Vittorio he received the all-clear radio signal from Rhiannon, that entire lot pulled up stakes and headed toward the extraction point to join the rest of their team, leaving a of cluster confusion in their wake.

Once the entire mission complement had converged again, they all loaded up into the APC and headed out of the city just in time to see General Goredema’s troops marching upon it.


Additional stories from this world, in chronological order:
| In The Beginning  |  Escalation  |  Project X  |  The Woodshed  |
| Meet the New Boss  |  Back To Reality   |  The Interview |
| The Turing Test  |  Ohm’s Law  |  Hero’s Anthem |


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2014 04:17 pm (UTC)
I loved the group dynamics shown here. The dialogue was really well done, too. :)
Oct. 21st, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Oct. 22nd, 2014 02:35 pm (UTC)
I'm just awed by your complete world building. Is this a novel? Your dialogue is always snappy and forward moving and fun to read!
Oct. 22nd, 2014 10:18 pm (UTC)
I have tried writing a novel based on this world for Nanowrimo, but I have not been able to finish one thus far. But i do have extensive notes regarding the world.
Oct. 23rd, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
(Also, I am very glad you enjoyed it, and thank you very much!)
Oct. 22nd, 2014 09:00 pm (UTC)
This was so well-imagined and carried out, with great details and dialogue.
Oct. 22nd, 2014 10:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I love these characters so it is easy for me to write their dialogue.
Oct. 23rd, 2014 01:15 am (UTC)
Nice to see Auley in action here... very cool that he turned out to be quite the badass! He's definitely a much more interesting character than I would have originally guessed. We didn't get much of an impression of him when we first met him. I guess this story was mostly to showcase him... we didn't get to see much of the others, and Rhiannon seemed a little not quite herself. I hope we get a chance to know how Vittorio's situation will resolve itself soon enough. I miss his snark, though, I'm glad he got to let loose a bit in the city, at least. Good fun, this!
Oct. 23rd, 2014 03:16 am (UTC)
Thank you, I really enjoy telling stories from this world and I am glad you enjoy it and the characters.
Oct. 23rd, 2014 06:49 pm (UTC)
I enjoy reading about this world of yours as well as the characters...quite fascinating...hoping to see them in action again soon..;)..Good job..:)
Oct. 23rd, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I really do enjoy writing these characters.
Oct. 23rd, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC)
they had created mass hysteria, transforming the locals and the occupation alike into a writhing throng of teeming, widespread panic.

I like this technique-- essentially you have the enemy fighting itself. The locals may be caught up in it, but there is little you can do with an occupying force in their presence.
Oct. 23rd, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
it is unfortunate when civilians get caught up in the plots of madmen, But at least some do get out. Thank you for reading.
Oct. 23rd, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
Very cool. Love the idea of the Therianthrope squad.
Oct. 23rd, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you therianthropes are subject I enjoy
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )