AWD #037: Meanwhile Back On Aerilon
Meanwhile Back on Aerilon
Summary: Cole's Aerilon Adventure continues with mob mentality fun. (NPCs by Dropkick)
Date: 12/Feb/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Lazy.
Somewhere on Aerilon
Resistance Encampment
February 12, 2005

Sleep comes and goes with infections, so even the sleep that comes can be fitful. But when Cole awakens in the evening, by a fire, there is the sound of flesh on flesh nearby — and not the kind the promotes warmth and knowing looks. Its the sound of a fist hitting flesh. There are murmurs to follow from that direction in the fading light of the night, another small fire lit where the sounds are coming from. Whatever is being discussed over there does not sound like a uplifting current of energy, though it certainly does seem to be important judging by the tone of the voices.

Cole drags himself into a sitting position from his borrowed bedroll, dragging a hand down his face to scrub away the cobwebs of fitful sleep and dapple of sweat that dampens his brow. He's gone mountain man down here, his scruff of a beard masking some of the wince on his features as he slowly becomes less asleep and more awake. Vaguely the sound registered of fisticuffs nearby, and he pushes himself to his feet to go investigate as if he's some how dubbed himself the keeper of peace in the small encampment.

Heading over towards the other fire, it becomes clear that the sound of flesh on flesh isn't a group struggle. A group of uniformed Marines and Naval personnel, most of them bearing the patches of a local armored unit, have congregated in a semicircle at a tree. A few steps around to the side and it isn't hard for Cole to see that they have a blonde woman in her early thirties, in a similar Marines uniform wearing the pins of a Staff Sergeant, secured to a tree. Very secured. Her wrists are bound twice over with handcuffs to a branch above and on the other side of the tree. Zipties have been used to secure her head to the trunk, as well as her thighs. She's been shot through a kneecap with a belt used as a tourniquet. A Marine Corporal, another female, has bloody knuckles and seems about ready to hit the prisoner again. Most of the crowd is egging her on to do it, but she seems to be waiting for something. Like an answer. Bleeding from the ear, nose, and mouth, the prisoner doesn't seem capable of much at the moment.

"Whoa, hey hey hey." The sight is enough to rouse Cole not only into full consciousness but into motion as well. His left arm is still in the makeshift sling made from a woman's paisley scarf, but other than that he moves quite freely. "What the frak is going on here?" Turning himself shoulder first, he edges into the ring of the crowd, interposing himself between the tethered woman and the Marine Corporal.

The group of enlisted quiet as Cole enters the 'ring' and puts himself between the Corporal and the prisoner. "Turns out we were wrong. There ain't humans working with the frakkin machines. Bitches just look human. Godsdamned things are copies of each other. You wanna move the hell outta the way?" The Marine gestures for him to move as she steps forward. Behind him, the prisoner can be heard to whisper for help. It sounds pathetic and rough. Like any other person who had been beaten that badly. Given the bleeding from the ears, regardless, this person secured to the tree is in need of medical attention. Fast.

The pilot holds up his good hand, staying the overzealous marine a moment longer from tending to her punching back. "Just a sec there. Let's say, for the sake of argument because I don't feel like arguing, that I believe you. Hands down, this is a walking-talking-frakking machine behind me, tied to this here tree. So now you've actually /got/ one of these things. Not only GOT it, but damned if it's not your prisoner. Hot damn, guys. That's the stuff medals are made of. PROMOTIONS." Cole tries to remain a cool cucumber, despite the fact that his skin is fevered. "I'm talking moving on up to Battlestars, hot showers, fresh meals. Really making a difference in this war, ya know?"

A couple of the Marines laugh. "Are you serious?" one says. "Getta load of this guy," another laughs, but the sound is spiteful. Like the rest. "You see any battlestars rollin around tanks, buddy? Or any at all, for that matter?" the Corporal laughs in his face and shoves him hard aside, trying hard to take a heavy swing into the gut on the woman tied to the tree. A Sergeant tries to grab Cole by the collar and tug him aside. "We've already got one of her copies dead. Rumors are they never talk, they just take it until you kill em. She's got intel on our unit though, so we're waiting to see what she says before we ice her." The Sergeant doesn't seem to be in much of a mood to argue. But in the eyes of the woman, past the tear streaking down the cheek bleeding and ziptied to the treetrunk, there is pain there.

"Soon as you get me to that long range radio I've been asking for, I'll prove it." Cole is tugged aside, not much he can do physically against the group of marines and naval personnel. If he can't fight the mob mentality verbally, the woman doesn't stand a chance. "But none of that will mean jack shit if we can't prove it. Then it'll just be killing one of your own, and instead of medals, it's brig time." He finally glances at the woman tied to the tree. "Fancy frakking technology. Crying and bleeding like that."

"Oh that's you?" one of the Marines asks. "Right." A PFC, no more than 17 or 18, turns and heads off. "Lemme grab the pack." Apparently its arrived. The Sergeant still holds to Cole's collar, though. "Orders are to waste this thing as soon as our attack plans for the evening are done. She's been with us for the last four weeks. There's no telling what else she knows, but if she isn't talking, we can't waste our chances by keeping her around any longer." The Corporal picked up a tree branch on the ground and cracks it across the prisoner's ribs. The crack is audible, and not just the one from the branch. And finally, with that hit, the prisoner screams in pain. She tries to double over but can't wailing a cry out into the evening air. That sound is either genuine or extremely good imitations of such.

Cole tenses at that sound, but he doesn't move to pull away from the grip that keeps him anchored at the collar. "Helluva thing." He mutters, then looks away under the guise of following the private that skitters off for the wireless. "Whose orders?" He wonders aloud. "You have the other one? The one that used to look the same as her?"

The prisoner is trying to squirm to protect herself from another hit, but the way she's secured makes that impossible. If she's fake, she certainly sounds human. The prisoner gasps through her sobs, trying hard to keep from straining her broken ribs anymore. "What was your mission?" the Corporal asks the prisoner, the tone indicating impatience. This is probably not the first time she's asked the question. The prisoner just tries to refrain from angering the ribs anymore. Those eyes lift back to Cole and there is the same pain there as she mouthes to him, begging for help. The Corporal uses the branch this time to crack across the wounded leg and the prisoner tenses, her scream caught in her throat as she tries to choke down the pain. Oh Gods, that had to hurt. The Sergeant looks back to Cole after the hit and a chuckle from him. "Us, no. The el-tee already shot the other one. It was a capture from a battle this morning. Lieutenant said to kill this thing. They're not worth the time. Like we said, the rumors about the people helpin the skinners? They don't talk. They don't buckle. They just die and come back. So frak this bitch, yanno?"

"Then what's the rush?" Cole lifts his good hand, scratching at the side of his nose with the nail of his thumb. "Tell you what, seeming how I outrank that el-tee of yours, I'm going to go ahead and tell you to belay that order. You ever hear the phrase you can catch more flies with sugar than vinegar? Maybe if we spare her ass and I can bring her back to Admiral, she'll be so damn grateful she'll spill her guts faster than you're trying to do for her."

The Sergeant chuckles. "That's cute. You want us to ignore the orders of our Marine officer over that of a pilot we don't even know. Sorry buddy, but that's not going to happen." The Corporal grabs the prisoner by the hair and yanks her head back, whispering in her ear. It strains the ribs and the gasping begins anew while the branch is used to ever so gently tap at those broken ribs. That PFC comes trotting back up with a high powered radio set, not unlike that Marine JTAC on the Orion uses. "Here. should already be tuned, man. Have at." There doesn't seem to be much concern about the mention of an admiral.

"Yeah. Well." Cole doesn't expressly say 'your funeral' but his eyes roll towards the sky as he takes up the wireless set. "Bravo Sierra One One Four, this is Captain Aristides Cole, looking to hitchhike a ride home. Bravo Sierra One One Four, do you copy? Over." The wireless is quiet while the signal bounces, perhaps on deaf or nonexistent ears. "Hey you, you got a name?" Ari asks the bound woman.

"El-tee says to smoke her," a Lance calls, lifting his smaller radio from the belt. The Corporal steps back and goes to get a pistol from someone in the crowd as the prisoner stares at the ground. The pain she's in looks like its immense. Meanwhile that radio signal shoots out past the atmosphere and into space. The question from Cole has the prisoner whisper something hoarse. A movement closer and she might be heard, "Staff Sergeant Nina Flekavik. Marines. Aerilon. Oh my God, help me."

Cole doesn't so much as take a step in her direction as lean that way. "You can help yourself. Just start talking." Did she say god, as in singular? Odd. Ari's eyes round out silently imploring her to say anything to delay her execution. "Bravo Sierra One One Four, do you copy?"

The prisoner stares back at Cole, that same amount of pain there. "I don't want.. to go.. not..guilty," she gasps out before coughing, spitting up blood across the tree trunk and onto the ground between them. Her body, wracked from the pain, begins to hang more limply. That Corporal racks the slide on the pistol and glances up to the Sergeant still holding Cole. He shrugs.

The radio cracklees back suddenly, "Copy your transmission." Its said quickly, the voice instantly recognizable as this nasally jig from another Raptor squad. "Give us your position and status, over."

Aristides' shoulders sag with palpable relief at that voice. He quickly rattles off his position, then, "Injured but mobile, Schnoz. Godsdamned, glad to hear your annoying ass voice again. I'm with friendlies and we have a POW. Requesting rendezvous coordinates for an extraction. Remind me again what fleet orders are regarding prisoners who may have enemy intel?"

The Corporal presses the gun to the temple of the prisoner and those eyes close. More tears. If this is an act, its getting pointless. Why bother? It won't change anything. The Marines and Navy personnel don't seem to care though. The reply comes back, though, and its hollow. "Uh, we don't have one that I know of," says the voice. "Sir, we have instructions to let you know that we'll be getting a pick-up ready ASAP. We can't say when, but we'll attempt contact fairly soon for pickup. Be prepared for a package, over."

"Copy that, Schnoz. I'll try the line every two hours for you to horn back through. Safe flying. Captain Cole, over and out." Ari clicks off the wireless, and hangs his head. He should be joyous, and yet, he just seems to be waiting for that trigger to be pulled.

The Corporal just smirks, watching the prisoner react like she is. "Frak it." Then comes the sound of the pistol firing. Almost nobody jumps. The sound of the gunshot is still fading when the Marine is undoing the belt from the tourniquet on the prisoner. The item is yanked free before she gives the prisoner another solid kick to the leg followed by a punch to the ribs. More sickening cracks and a choke. …a choke. "He wants her, he can have her." The Sergeant shoves Cole to the ground next to the prisoner, the gunshot's wound more apparent. They put a bullet through her other leg.

The corner of Ari's eyes twitch at the retort from the gun, and he glances up out of morbid curiosity. Curiosity that requires a double-take as the woman is freed. He has no time to react before he's shoved down next to her, hissing as he has to catch himself by the palms which jars his injured shoulder. There is no comfort given the woman, he just busies himself by dusting off his palms and getting back to his feet. "Well. That was fun."

She's still attached to the tree by her two pairs of handcuffs and thick zipties, but nobody is beating her anymore. She coughs up more blood and the wounds are bleeding a bit each. There's a new trickle of blood from her ear and nose, the prisoner's eyes glassy and confused. There's still intense pain there, too. But she doesn't look at Cole anymore.

All that is left to be done is sit down by the base of the tree and light up a cigarette. He's had to ration since being down on the surface, and he's damn near out. The rescue couldn't come soon enough. "Looks like it's going to be a long night." He says to no one in particular of his plans to sit watch over the prisoner at least as a deterrent against further abuse.

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