Previous threads: >>106198 >>108527 > [x] Try to save her
No. No way. You aren't letting her go, not now, not ever. Doesn't change the situation though. You still don't have a clear shot, and those things are getting closer with each passing second. Shit, there really isn't anything you can do...except...
Oh this is gonna suck.
You take a deep breath and run straight at the beast. There's really no other way. But now, every move has to be precise, everything you do has to work perfectly. Otherwise, she'll die. Otherwise, you'll die. No second chances here. But if you can grab her, if you can get a hold of her, pull her away...maybe it'll work itself out somehow. At least, that's what you tell yourself as you get closer to the hell that'd been chasing you not too long ago.
You ignore the cries of protest coming from the others the best you can. All that matters is getting Merlin out of this situation. The look on her face...it's terror, pure and simple. You can't stand that. You can't accept that. You have to free her. The creature holding her spots you coming and lets out a loud hiss, glaring at you from under the brim of her hat. The sense of fear that simple action instills in you is almost indescribable, but you can't falter here. There's no point in turning back. You've already come too far. So, you steel yourself for what you're about to do, closing the gap with one final push. You reach out to Merlin...she returns the favor...
You have her.
And you have a gash in your arm.
The second you grabbed hold of her, the creature on her back sliced your forearm, sending a wave of pain cascading through your body. Fighting back the urge to scream in pain, you pull Merlin with all your might. It's enough. She's free and in your arms, a little shaken, but none the worse for wear. But this is no time to celebrate. You accomplished the first part of your task, now you have to get through the next - getting to safety.
"God dammit, everyone open fire! Give them some cover!"
The voice behind you signals the release of a mass of light bullets, and the creatures that had appeared shortly after you stopped fall back, their numbers thinning out a bit as various projectiles crash into their bodies. Again, they leave no corpses, they simply vanish into nothing when struck, but for every one that's put down, five more spring up in it's place. This is a losing battle, and you've held everyone else up. They're closing in on you, and there's really no escape. Maybe you should have just kept moving...
"Fall back! Fall back!!"
The new orders snap you out of your stupor, and you comply, raising your uninjured arm and firing as many shots as you can with your own weapon. Your accuracy leaves something to be desired, but under the circumstances, you're not doing that bad. Slowly, the five of you work your way back, continuing down this corridor. However, salvation is still nowhere in sight, and you aren't sure how much longer you can keep this up. Wave after wave descends upon you, getting far too close for comfort...if they grab you, they'll tear you to shreds, of that you have no doubt. But you have to press on...god, it's getting hard to think...
"Here! In here!"
Music to your ears. You whip around in time to see S---ya directing traffic, indicating an open door. Relief washes over you as you all flood into the room. Y--mu and Ci-no slam the doors shut behind you and whip up a hasty barricade. It's not sturdy, but it'll do for now. But you just barely have time to worry about that. The instant you've got your bearings, they're shaken again as an extremely pissed off S---ya steps up to you and hits you with a right cross. The impact sends you reeling, and you collapse to the floor, unfortunately landing on your injured arm. This time you do scream out in pain, and the world swims before your eyes. For an instant, you think you might be on the verge of passing out, but you manage to maintain consciousness, at least enough to hear the white haired woman direct someone to tend to your wound. Then, she rounds on you again.
"You fucking idiot!" she screams, not holding anything back. "Are you incapable of following orders? I told you to leave her!"
That does it. An anger you've never quite felt in your life wells up in the pit of your stomach, and before you know it you're on your feet, ignoring the pain in your arm and jaw the best you can. This is all too much - how could she be so heartless? Wasn't Merlin one of her friends? One of her soldiers? You set your jaw and meet her gaze, resisting the urge to return her punch, with interest.
"You were going to abandon her!" you scream back. "What kind of leader are you, leaving one of your own to die!?"
"If it were me I'd expect my people to keep themselves alive! Merlin expects no different of us!"
"That's life! That's war! And make no mistake, kid, we are at war with those things. In war, there are casualties. I can't count how many people we've lost fighting them, and we almost lost two instead of one there...if you think you can save everyone, you're an idiot."
"No...I can save everyone...I'm the only one who can..."
Now why did you say that? There was no reason to, was there? God, it's like a memory you can't quite recall. If only your head was working right...you still feel like you're forgetting something really important...seems like you get a flash or two from time to time, but nothing cohesive, nothing you can make sense of. Your head spins briefly, partly due to the sensation associated with a memory surfacing, partly due to the fact that you've lost a bit of blood due to that gash. Exhausted, you fall back to the ground, giving Merlin a chance to treat your wound. Sak-ya glares at you briefly before spinning on her heel and walking to the other two. They're being quiet, so you can't really make out what they're saying, but you assume they're working on some kind of plan. Hopefully to get out of this mess in one piece...
The voice is small and a little feeble, but anyone would be after nearly being choked to death. You turn your attention to Merlin, giving her a soft smile. "Any time...are you okay?"
She nods weakly, trying to return your smile. She's trying to be brave, but you can tell that it's all a front. She's scared. Can you blame her? Not really, you're scared too. Everything about this place was insane, and she's been here a lot longer than you have. It's a wonder any of them are still alive, now that you think about it. Are there any others out there? Any others fighting against these things? As if to answer your question, Saku-a turns back to you and Merlin, apparently having decided on a plan of action.
"We're moving. Bravo and Delta squads should be at the rendezvous point by now. We'll meet up with them and decide on a course of action from there. With any luck, this will all be over soon. But listen," the tone of her voice changes so naturally that it shocks you a bit, "if I tell you do something, then you do it. No questions. And if that means someone will die, so be it. Their sacrifice won't have been in vain, not once this is over. Am I clear?"
"...Yes ma'am..." You're barely containing your hatred for this woman, but if you want to get out of this alive you'll have to do as she says. She seems satisfied, if a little miffed, with your answer, and gives you a nod, urging you to your feet. You hop manage to get vertical again, and a few minutes later, you're all moving again.
The trip was mercifully quiet. Only some token resistance from the creatures. Eventually, you reach your destination, a large room with an even larger set of doors opposite of the ones you just walked through. As predicted, two other groups are there - one consisting of a blond girl with a large M painted rather haphazardly on the chest of her armor and two extremely similar looking black haired girls, the other made up of a tall girl with a horn sticking out of her forehead, a green eyed girl, and a red head with two tails attached to her somehow. You dismiss the tall girl's appearance as nothing to worry about and instead focus on what Sakuy- is saying...
It's then that it occurs to you. You know them. You know all of them. Names and everything. But you can't remember them. That part of your memory is blocked. But there is one girl you do know for sure. Merlin. You weren't aware of it until just now but you've been calling her by name for some time. What does that mean? Hell, it could mean anything...it could mean nothing. It could mean you know how to bake a pie, there's no way to tell. Still, it's a start, and if you can recognize all of these girls, then maybe, just maybe, you're onto something...
"Good, you're all here," the white haired woman says, looking around the room. "Are we all set?"
"Good to go here, ze!" the blond one calls. What's her name? Mar-...something. Maybe it'll come to you. "Ready to blow the hell out of her!"
"Ready to clear this place out, boss." That's the horned girl...Yu---dammit, it's right on the tip of your tongue...
"Very well. Make your final preparations. We begin in five minutes."
Everyone sets to work. Everyone but you, that is. You don't really have a place here, it seems. All you can really do is stand around and watch. Terrific. Way to make yourself needed...
After a minute of idleness, you break down and turn to Sakuya...another name, good. Anyway, you turn to her and start asking questions. "So what's the plan here?"
She eyes you incredulously, but offers an explanation after a few seconds. "This building is where she's located. The cause of all of this. We're here to end her and end this war in one fell swoop. Delta," indicating the blond and her group, "is going to infiltrate her base and set explosives at strategic positions. Bravo," indicating the horned girl's group, "is our assault team - they'll be cleaning up any opposition we run into. Our group, Alpha, has the most important job - we are to get in and hack her system, learn everything we can about her, and hopefully find a way to make sure this never happens again."
Well, that makes about as much sense as you expected it to, which is to say it made none at all. All that really did was raise further questions - who is 'she?' How did she cause this? How can hacking her system prevent these attacks? Too many questions, not nearly enough answers. You want to ask more, but before you get the chance, Sakuya announces it's time to commence the operation. Looks like they'll have to wait.
"Tch..." You follow the woman, listening to her give some final instructions. It looks like everyone's clear on their plans, but when they notice you hanging around, they ask some questions. Namely, who you're going with. A good question, to be sure. Where would you be the most useful? Alpha, Bravo, or Delta? Sakuya looks over at you, apparently awaiting your decision. Who do you go with?
[ ] Alpha
[ ] Bravo
[ ] Delta
[ ] Stay behind