Description: The calm before the storm leads Major Charlie Nash and Sergeant Cassie Cage to the quiet shrine. bracing for what's to come and making plans once things start to truly turn up the heat.
The island has been an...experience, that's for sure. One that has had some interesting effects so far, some rather obvious, some rather understated. But what's been clear is that no one who's been invited to this Mortal Kombat thing is unaffected.
That is no more clear than in one Charlie Nash, the Major trying to find some measure of peace in the cleanest looking area so far on the island. Of course, it doesn't quite work, as the source of his internal unrest remains untouched, the yellow gem currently embedded in his forehead glowing softly as his head remained cradled in one hand. "What the hell..." he mutters to himself, unable to quite quell whatever force is animating the gems, nor the voices swirling in his head that have accompanied it.
Whatever bit of peace that Charlie had been experiencing is rather suddenly shattered by a bright light that lasts only a moment before it passes to reveal Sergeant Cassie Cage, with her cell phone in hand.
"Unless you're planning to pop a zit, it might be easier to just take a selfie or record a video or something, sir."
Cage turns the phone around so that the screen taking from her phone's rarely used rear camera. Leaning in also causes the dog tags around her neck to hang down... including an extra third one that seems to be made of the same sort of crystal.
Well...somehow this is both welcome and the worst possible thing to happen for Charlie at the moment. Sure, being seen in this sort of vulnerable moment is a dangerous thing, even for alllies. But at the same time...he HAD been meaning to get in contact with Cassie since that first night at the commencement.
"....Sergeant," Charlie says flatly, clearly unamused by the selfie-snaping Special Forces member. Looking up, the jewel on his forehead ceases to glow, but remains the impossible-to-miss landmark upon his face. "...I'd ask for a status report, but judging by that..." His head inclines over toward her phone. "you seem to be in decent spirits as ever."
"No offense meant, sir," Cassie offers, her joking tone replaced by a clearly more appropriate one for speaking to a superior officer, "I've been unable to reach my chain of command, and under the circumstances I felt it was appropriate to report to the highest ranking officer on site."
Reaching into one of the pouches on her webbing, Cage pulls out a satellite receiver and holds it out in front of her, "I should have been able to at least open limited communication back to base with this, but something here is preventing even satellite connections. Given that we're not under a heavy layer of brush, that means that there's some form of jamming in place."
There's a brief flicker of some uncomfortable expression on her face before she adds, "And I know they've been grabbing random people, but they've also been coercing some into fighting for their side. I got put up against some sort of... Darkstalker, I'd guess, but she said she wasn't even trying to fight for them. They'd gotten one of the shards into her eye."
Charlie looked at Cassie a bit flatly, at least until she takes on a more appropriate tone, after which he relaxes a bit. "Fair enough, Sergeant. I guess I would be the highest officer here now, unless the brass snuck someone else in while we weren't looking.
He stands up, looking at the receiver Cassie pulled out of her pocket. "Well, that answers one of my questions. So we're mostly cut off here for the duration. Any idea if it's active jamming, or just something natural here?"
He then notices Cassie's expression as she continues her report. "I see. I ran into an aberrant as well, though he didn't give me any indication that he was on their side either. We had...prior history." 'Prior History' meaning two separate times that he tried to murder Charlie. "Shards...anything you noticed about them, Cage?" he asks, an annoyed stroke at the one in his skin.
"If it's active jamming, then they've got a strange system for it. Either they'd need a lot of small repeaters all over the place or a large system able to broadcast across the entire island... we'd see that," Cassie slips the repeater back into its appropriate pouch as she speaks. "I haven't seen anything around here that suggests any sort of tech, so it's potentially natural..."
After a small amount of hesitation, she continues, "...but it could also be something similar to what happened in Metro City. Everyone there was cut off, and given that there's mutants or monsters or whatever running around, that seems pretty likely."
Picking up the shard around her neck to actively show it off to Charlie, Cassie clearly starts to frown, "So far I've seen three colors, that weird lizard guy who he had fighting me was using green, we both appear to have yellow ones, and the monster I was just fighting had red, which is the same color as the shard that Lo P- ah, Shang Tsung tried to hand off to me. I don't know about your's, but mine appeared out of nowhere when it was sort of a life or death moment, and after I won it seemed to feel like it was... stronger. They react sort of just on thought, and... the red might be the strongest, but I'm not sure. I feel like the yellow might be a little more potent than the green."
Dropping the shard to let her tags just hang again, Cass brushes her fingers along the shaved side of her head, "But there's got to be more to it than that, otherwise why would Shang Tsung be throwing the best one at me after I pissed him off? And why would he give a worse one to his lap dog?"
Natural jamming...in other words, nothing that can be destroyed or sabotaged to enable outside communications. That definitely makes things a lot more problematic. "So we're cut off until we can get to the bottom of this then," he says, sighing and remembering the situation in Metro City. He pulls his glasses aside to rub the bridge of his nose.
Putting his glasses back on, the Major gets a better look at Cassie's 'dog tag' shard. He frowns a little, stroking the gem in his forehead again. "Make that four colors, Sergeant. The aberrant I fought had a blue one," he adds. "...any other effects you felt once the shard...reacted?" he asks curiously, rubbing his head a little as if nursing a headache.
He tries to mentally parse everything Cassie's told him so far. It definitely doesn't make sense if what she's saying is right. "There's clearly some kind of drawback...have you seen any other fights here so far? Maybe we should be observing them in action outside of our own sphere."
All of this is really just a huge problem, as far as Cassie is concerned. And even ignoring the whole fight for your life thing, being this out of touch isn't really something that somebody with as many social media accounts as she has is used to handling. Even when she's been on missions, at least she's been able to keep in touch with command on occasion.
"...Well, it feels like just having it I feel a bit stronger in general, but like it's also able to help you out in other ways for a little bit just based on instinct. I felt like it made my reactions a lot better, and I swear it might have done something to my bullets once."
It takes a bit for some of the puzzle pieces of what she's had to deal with to come together in her thoughts, but soon enough the lightbulb goes off, "Ah, and there were a lot of those robed monk guys holding the monster I was fighting in place. They had spears. While we were fighting, they made themselves kind of scarce, but after she couldn't fight anymore, one of them told me to 'Finish Her,' just like Shang Tsung shouted when his statue tried to kill me. Only this time nothing happened. I wasn't interested in murdering someone because some shit stain in a robe told me to, even if she had tried to eat me."
Charlie furrows his brow at the latest tidbit that Cassie mentions. So it seems like they really are expecting people to fight to the death, if they're encouraging people to 'finish' their opponents. "What's the point of it...especially if it means losing one of their own if they end up losing?..." Charlie muses out loud for Cassie's sake.
Standing up, Charlie brushes his vest down a little as well as his pants. "Sergeant, I want you to keep an eye on the other fights you see around the island. Don't draw attention to yourself, but try to get a better idea what the hell is going on with these shards. This whole thing is stinking more and more, and we can't make any kind of move until we know more."
"I'll see what I can do, but I'm not sure how much I can move around without drawing attention. I made kind of a memorable splash on our host the night we arrived," Cassie offers with a bit of a smirk, letting that prick on his throne know what she thought of him, especially now that she knew the stakes involved in all of this, had been one of those things she would have enjoyed letting the Twitter world know about, if her phone had any reception.
"I do have a suggestion, though, we might want to see what happens to people who lose that aren't dead, and maybe see if someone on... our side killed anyone."
Their 'side'. It's a strange idea right now, and Charlie hasn't seen enough to let it sink in further that it's supposed to be an Earth vs. Outworld thing. But it's definitely something that they'll have to watch out for. "Good point. But the easiest way to do that might be to eye the fights still." Looking back the way toward the castle, Charlie sighs. The whole thing is just so potentially messy.
"Anyway, we need to rendevous with any other special forces people that might be on this island too." He considers... "Reconvene in a few days down by the beach, so we can get all our ducks in order. Pass that along to anyone you might cross. That goes for anyone on our 'side'. matter of fact. Got that, Sergeant?"
Cassie pulls herself up to attention as Charlie provides his orders, offering a curt, "Yes, sir," almost on instinct. "I'll see what I can find out, but this is a really bad spot, sir. As far as I can tell, Shang Tsung is the one handing down the orders on this tournament, and it's pretty clear he's in the other side's pocket. There was talk about Elder Gods and shit like that, so maybe we don't have to worry about cheating, but..."
Cage lets out a quick sigh as she shakes her head, "I don't think this is going to be a fair fight, so try not to lose your head, because I don't think we want an NCO as our ranking on scene."
'A Bad Spot' is putting it lightly, something Charlie doesn't put into words, but the expression on the Major's face is clear on that point. "See if you can hear any gossip or talk about Shang Tsung too. You have a point he's clearly got his own motives, and anything else we can know about him will be useful. Hopefully we can avoid another Jedah at this point."
Sighing, the airman shakes his head, turning back to Cassie. "I'll try to keep it where it is. You do the same, Sergeant." Straightening up, he brings himself back into rank with a quick "Dismissed," before relaxing again. Clearly he's going to need more time before he's ready to leave this shrine himself.
"Will do," Cassie offers, taking on a bit more of a casual tone as she tries to cut through some of the tension. No need to leave all of this on a rough note like it is.
Being dismissed, Cage starts to make her way back toward the more populated regions of the island, quietly mumbling to herself, "Great, Johnny gets a free island vacation and it's some reality show fighting tournament, I get called in on a leaky boat to have a crazy old chinese wizard try to get me killed."
Log created on 20:03:44 09/26/2016 by Charlie, and last modified on 22:30:40 09/26/2016.