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Posted on Tue Sep 16th, 2014 @ 6:16pm by Master Sergeant Megan Cross & 1st Lieutenant Leo Fox & Ensign Charity Prince
Edited on on Tue Sep 16th, 2014 @ 6:21pm

Mission: The Arena
Timeline: Continued from "Muckin' About"

"All right, I say we not go in there," said Chap, pointing to the lava room. No sooner had she said it, though, than the water began to slowly but surely rise in the room. "But, I'm open to suggestions," she added.

“Let’s move, marines,” Megan barked.

The heat increased by twenty degrees when they went through the doorway to stand on a stone ledge that looked out over lake of molten lava. The stone and metal walls of the chamber were blackened and smooth. A stone bridge snaked out from the ledge to meet at the flattened top of a pinnacle out in the molten lake. Other stone bridges snaked out from the flattened pinnacle to connect to other pillars of stone. It was like Doctor Seuss and Dante Alighieri teamed up to come up with a whimsical vision of divine punishment.

So distracting was the sight that only the last one through the door noticed that the water wasn’t passing through the portal. It was a good thing. If the water would have poured through the doorway instead of filling up the room behind them like a fish tank it would have created a scalding cloud of steam if it didn’t knock them into the lava.

“Should we keep going Top?” Psycho asked.

“Hold on,” Megan silenced him with a dismissive gesture. She looked at Chap and Leo. “Sirs?”

Chap looked up at Leo and suddenly realized she was the ranking officer. Oh, no! she thought. There's no way I'm takin' charge! "Well," she said aloud. "I suppose there's only one way to go. Wotcha think, sir?" she asked pointedly, looking to Leo.

"We truck on ladies." he gestured to the enlisted marines. "Take point. Move forward. Omega 3 pattern." he waited for the marines to push through. "Cross, then chap. Then I'll go last."

"Sounds good to me," muttered Chap as the marines started across the bridge that ran across the lava. "The quicker we get out of 'ere, the better."

He followed carefully last. "I agree. I like warm areas but come on.." he chuckled.

Sergeant Saul ‘Psycho’ Panzer, who had point, stopped in the middle of the bridge and raised a fist, the marine gesture for ‘enemy spotted. Sure enough, coming out from behind a rock was a glowing shimmering shape that resembled nothing so much as a man covered by a sheet. It was like someone was approaching them wearing a classic Halloween ghost costume, but since the shape was semitransparent, it was much more impressive. The only solid thing about the shape was a black rectangle at chest level marked with strange kanji or hieroglyphics. That appeared perfectly solid.

“Should we go back sir?” Corpsman Debra ‘Woody’ Gordon asked Leo. A metal wall slid shut blocking the archway they had come through in response.

"Ay caramba," America 'Muchacha' Montoya grumbled.

“Panzer, you numbnuts, move!” Megan barked. “You’re holding up the line here!” Megan couldn’t believe Panzer’s stupidity. A sergeant shouldn’t make that mistake. The marines were stuck on the bridge in a vulnerable position and were sitting ducks.

"Oi!" cried Chap, pointing to the opposite door where more vague shapes were entering. "Wotcha think they want?" she asked, cowering a bit behind the marine ahead of her.

Leo looked down and started seeing some blocks barely under the lava with some language on them. "I know this is kinda contrary! Look down!" he pointed at some of the blocks with wording. "How much you wanna bet it's a code to open the door?!"

Chap glanced at the Lava, but could not make out what the tags said. She didn't care. Those vague forms were getting closer. "I don't know wot- hey!" she exclaimed as something flew in front of her face. "Wot's goin' on? Oi!" An arrow narrowly missed her right arm. "Those fings are shootin' at us!" she concluded, pointing at the tags in the Lava.

“Get down!” Megan ordered as the enlisted marines dropped prone. “Use your secondary weapons, marines!” Ever since he fought the Borg, Leo Fox had made sure each marine had a primitive projectile firing pistol on their persons. The randomness of solid matter made it impossible to create a power efficient magnetic field to block the shots. Each marine had a small snub nosed pistol on them, but each pistol only carried ten shots. Megan herself carried two, since the pistols didn’t show up on a scan for energy weapons.

Megan fired a bullet into the glowing shape in front of them. It blinked and turned yellow, but other than that showed no sign of being affected. A second projectile shot out of it. Megan dived to the deck to avoid it.

"Well, keep firin'!" Chap ordered. "Oi! I fink they're all shootin'! Look out!" She cursed herself for not grabbing a weapon. All she had was her phaser and they didn't seem to be working at all.

“You heard her marines, open up!” Psycho cried. Flattened against the bridge as they were, the marines couldn’t hit the targets in the lava, but they could hit the one blocking the bridge in front of them. When the glowing shape was hit, it disappeared, leaving only the metal plaque with the hieroglyphics to fall on the stone surface with a metallic ‘clank.’

“Ma’am!” the redheaded medical corpsman known as ‘Woody’ pointed at glowing shapes appearing on the bridges ahead. “There are more of them!”

“Move it marines!” Megan ordered. “Take them out! Stay low so the ones in the lava can’t get you!”

Now all the plates in the lava and all the figures were shooting at them. Chap just tried to stay out of the marines' way and dodge the arrows as best she could. Next time she saw a weapon, she was going to take it.

“It’s like a gorram holodeck game!” Psycho muttered as he fired back.

“Whoa!” Megan cried as she almost rolled off the bridge to avoid getting hit by a silvery projectile. “Look out!”

Unfortunately Chap was right behind her. White hot searing pain laced through Chap's upper arm and she screamed in surprise. Looking down, so spotted one of the arrows sticking out of her arm. "Damnit!" she spat, choking back more severe curses. "Does anyone have an extra weapon?" she wailed desperately. Her arm felt like it was on fire.

“I’ve got a second pistol near my boot,” Megan replied as she crawled forward following her fellow marines. “I’ll leave it for you,” she continued as she took it off her leg and crawled her way forward. “Careful where you point that thing. It has recoil.”

"I will," promised Chap, still nursing her arm. She'd never shot an old school pistol one-armed before, but she'd have to give it a go. There was no WAY her right arm was going to move. She lifted the pistol- she was always surprised by the weight- and carefully aimed at one of the vague shapes coming at them. She missed the first two shots, but the second shot hit a different target. She had more luck with the third shot. "Third time's a charm," she muttered, taking aim again.

Soon the area was filled with the sound of gunfire as the glowing shapes turned yellow and disappeared, leaving nothing but a metal plaque where the enemy targets had been. There was nothing to indicate where the silvery arrows had come from. Megan suspected they were made out of holodeck matter.

Chap kept firing at the shapes and the things in the lava, but the recoil was messing with her aim and lack of use of her right arm made it even more difficult to steady the heavy item. She managed to disable three of the ghosty figures and one of the plates under the lava, even with her limitations. "Ugh, gimme a phaser any day," she muttered, scowling at the pistol.

The marines didn’t have very much ammo, but fortunately they had crosstrained under the ‘one shot, one kill’ philosophy. Thankfully every marine in Leo’s platoon were trained in projectile weapons. The glowing shapes turned yellow then disappeared, leaving only their metal plaques behind.

“They weren’t very good shots,” America Montoya commented.

“That was level one,” Saul Panzer replied.

Sure enough a white glow emanated from each of the metal plaques. Ghostly white shapes formed around them.

“Let’s move it marines!” Megan cried. “Move-move-move! Double time! Let’s go!”

The marines moved, snaking their way across the bridges to a portal on the other side of the massive chamber.

A door opened at the end of the chamber, showing sunlight. "Go through there!" Leo barked as he finished narrowly escaping the lava.

(tag chap)

Leo followed Chap as everyone piled up the stairs into the center of what looked like an arena. He groaned. "Lovely.. we're as screwed as anitmatter in a warp core.." he grabbed a shield casually like he's done this before and started looking around for a sword as a bunch of arrows came flying, he was able to cover himself and Chap before they started hitting. The (redshirt) marines were killed in a matter of seconds as a creature jumped from the stands and about fifty yards away from Chap and Leo.

Leo took a defensive stance. He looked a Chap. "Link with Megan, RUN. Get to cover, get help, I'll try to hold on. No debates." just then the creature charged, knocking Leo on his bum a good ten feet back and then started to grapple and roll around with Leo.

“Come on!” Megan cried as she grabbed Chap’s arm.

Chap watched as the horrible beasty knocked Leo over. She didn't want to leave him, but Megan was much stronger than she was and she was unable to twist free. "No!" she cried, keeping watch over her shoulder as the beast rolled around, Leo struggling with it. "We can't just leave 'im! Lemme go!" she shrieked, struggling to free herself.

“You heard him Ma’am!” Megan snapped as she held the wriggling ensign. “He said ‘no debates’!"

"I don' care wot 'e said!" Chap yelled, still trying to twist free. "I ain't a marine! 'e can't order me around! Lemme GO!" She glanced over her shoulder. Leo was not doing well, she could tell from this distance. "LEO!" she cried, anguish in her voice. She couldn't loose him. Not now. Not ever. "WE GOTTA DO SOMETHING! HE'S GONNA DIE OUT THERE!"

“He will if I can’t go back there and help him!” Megan insisted as she dragged Chap to the door. “And I can’t do that until you’re safe! And since he’s a full lieutenant and you’re an ensign he can order you around Ma’am!”

But they were through the door and back in the temple where they had started. The door slammed shut behind them as Chap was finally able to free herself from Cross. She ran back to the door and threw it open.

There was a very small, empty room behind it now.

"NO!" she wailed, kicking the door as tears streamed down her cheeks. "LEO!" And she crumpled to the floor, wailing in despair.

Megan closed her eyes and leaned against a wall. They had lost every marine she was responsible for, both her superior and her subordinates. This wasn’t just a personal failure, the corps was her family and she had lost four members of it in less than a minute. But Megan couldn’t let herself grieve. Leo had entrusted her with a girl young enough to be her daughter who rumor had it was carrying his child. She had to hold it together in order to carry out Lieutenant Fox’s last order.

Leo heard Chap scream and sobbing. It was the motivation for him to know he had to get through this, for her, for their daughter, for the corps and for the Gladiator itself. After what seemed like an eternity, a few screams of pain from Leo could be heard doing the scuffle. Finally, a loud snap- like a broken neck- sounded. A few minutes later Leo was seen slouched over, all beaten up, looking like the brink of death. Bleeding terribly from multiple wounds all over him, barely a shirt with combage and pants to speak of. He literally got the crap beaten out of him. He got to about ten feet from the group. "Monster's dead.. I need.. a vacation... " With that, he blacked out, falling over like a tree after being cut, face planting into the ground, motionless.

Megan hit her combadge. “Cross to Gladiator! Three to beam up! Lock on our signals and beam us directly to sickbay!” she ordered before crouching over Leo to assess his injuries.

Chap let out a single cry as Leo appeared in another doorway across the temple; this door also snapped shut. She ran across the temple to him, the pain in her right arm unimportant for the moment. She didn't even care that the arrow was still sticking out of it. She knelt by him, stroking his face and sobbing and barely even noticed when they were all caught up in a transporter beam and materialized on the Gladiator, in Sick Bay.


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