Flyers in the Sky (Bird of Prey)

GM: Pelmen
Players: Hood, Hiller
Date: 9th March, 2071

Synopsis: A fast response request comes from an unknown Mr. Johnson. Hood and Hiller are asked for some kind of extraordinary 'fall guy' work. An assumed corporation has some interest in spoiling a crucial delivery of liquid chemicals. The team is provided with state-of-the-art equipment for a rapid interception of the truck. In the end, the whole thing can be called a success, though some bad luck came upon the runners on their way.


Briefing

The Serpent's Dream

Hood sucks his teeth for a moment, sounding almost disappointed. "Very well." With little more to be said, he slides his phone shut, already on his way out the door of his apartment, grabbing his coat as he goes, pocsec out and open to map out a route to the cafe, preferably one that involves easy public transportation; lacking a car is really hurting him in the 'getting to the meets fast' arena. Luckily, Denver's got a pretty good commuter transportation infrastructure.

Hiller is contacted by Captain Anders. He told her that a friend of a friend was looking for someone with some experience in rotorcrafts. The job would be quick, but would need immediate response. THe meet to be in "The Serpent Dream." café north of Melodrama in CAS. No wetwork. He also told her the offered reward would be 20K.

Hiller lost her appartment recently and is looking for a decent place for relocation. She's a bit pissed off those days. Bad luck and missed chances. Her first reaction was: 'screw it, clean up the mess at hand before you move on'. But it was Anders who called. She agreed without further hesitation, as if receiving an order. She jumps in her car, grabs some basic stuff and heads out for the "Serpent Dream".

Hood makes his way into the Serpent Dream after getting off at a maglev stop a few blocks down from the location, hands tucked into his pockets, steel-rimmed sunglasses tipped back on his head. He's done this sort of thing before, and has a vague idea of what he's looking for; a guy trying not to stand out, but who also doesn't quite blend in. And, in this case? Someone wearing a lily in his buttonhole. That should make it easier. Cybereyes scan the joint, trying to pick up both the ambience and the Johnson.

The serpent dream made it's name all honor. It was obviously furnished with all kinds of furniture featuring all kinds of serpent leather (or a damn good imitate). Leather chairs, leather cover on the small tables. Some petite lil' girls serving, obviously mostly latinas. All having a nice tan and serving with an, incredible enough, obviously genuine smile on their lips. Not a lower level place that. And there in a corner sat J, the appointed lily in his top button hole and sipping on a mocha. There was a high grade WNG on the table and his clothes smelled of corp. Which one is anyones guess. He waited patiently for his appointed team to arrive.

Hiller arrives at the CAS-UCAS borderline and secures her Honda outside of the Serpents Dream. Very well. Unsure what to expect and with the apparent urgency, she doesn't care about proper clothing at the moment. With her BDU trousers and purple leather jacket she enters the place and is looking for someone corp like - and finds Hood next to one, as it seems. Interesting. "Sir," she approaches the man with the lily, and settles down.

Hood does much the same, though he doesn't bother with a greeting. Hiller handled that part. Besides, he's not smoking or dipping, so he's doing his part with the "being civilized" thing enough already. He just nods as he drops into a chair, looking the guy over but good. Hood receives a brief nod. She met Hood before, but not under 'business circumstances'. She hides that fact and concentrates on the lily man, eyeing him beneath her sunglasses. Hiller is very curious now, for some reason, and she's eager to learn more about what's it all about.

The man looks at them, a slight frown at the dress style of the runners, but then, his job was urgent, hard to expect dressed up people with that. Having examined them for a split second longer, the man, then starts. "The people I represent have a little problem. We have an oposing company delivering goods we do not want to arrive … as is. The customer is to see that his current supplier is not trustworthy. To that effect you have to 'spoil' the goods by adding this…" He shows you a small vial. It has to be dropped into the tanker you have to intercept. No lifes in danger, this is merely production supply. At worst some machinery will cease to function. Is that acceptable for you?"

"Certainly," is Hood's immediate answer; if he's surprised to find himself sitting at this table with Hiller, he doesn't let on. It's entirely possible he's already gotten used to meeting someone at a Denver club, only to have them turn up next to you with an assault rifle on some godforsaken run in the Warrens a few days later. "And I assume you want it to be covert, correct? No simply fighting our way to said tanker? If so, we'll obviously need details - where it will be, when it will be there, how heavy an escort it has, if any. So on."

Hiller answers: "I can accept the general setting so far. But since you asked for a pilot, I guess there are some tricky things. Do we have time to discuss details?"

"Yes. The hard part…", he continues. "Will be to do it unnoticed. We will offer you one piece of equipment to help you. We want it returned in one piece, which is why we added you…", he nods to Hiller, "…to the team. It's a prototype, two seater stealth helicopter. Similar in design to the Yellowjacket. As the truck is already on it's way we suggest that you overtake it with the machine and while you steer the helicopter your colleague will add the 'additive'. Pay will be 20K, if you fail to stay unnoticed, but manage the spoiling 10K. If you damage the helicopter you pay the repairs from your payment. What do you say?"

Hood blinks, once, and even though his face remains impassive, he's clearly surprised. "So, the job is for me to ride along in this helicopter, and somehow add your mixture to the fuel tanks of this truck…unnoticed? I presume it doesn't have any scheduled stops coming up, so I'll be attempting to…you know…essentially hop from one vehicle to the next, or possibly just dangle from one onto the next, and hope it all works out?" He cratches at his chin, shoulders finally rising in a casual shrug. "If you think you can do the flying…" This, with a sidelong glance at Hiller. "Then, well…God hates a coward. Very well. I'm in."

Hiller purses her lips. 'Stealth helicopter', she repeats in her mind, startled. After three seconds she responds to Mr. Lily and Hood. "Deal. Should be no problem, unless the truck drives through a hailstorm. I need some intel on geo-data and truck signatures. And a information about what is stored in the truck. At least if it is dangerous in some way. Explosive, corrosive, whatever."

J nods, with a smile to Hillers words. He then offers her a little chip, "This should cover the entire route of your target with militry grade precision maps. If you want, you can keep the chip after the mission. As a little trinket." He then chuckles at Hoods mimicry and words. "Very well, then. The chip contains the data where the helicopter is parked as well. And as far as I know there ain't no hailstorms on weather radar currently. The longer you wait, the further away your target is…"

"Thank you, Sir." Hiller raises to her feet and turns to Hood. "I drive. Car's outside." Hood shakes his head, looking perhaps the faintest bit amused. "Alright." His attention returns to Hiller, brows perking. "Ready when you are, ma'am. I reckon we're working on your schedule, as I certainly can't fly a stealth chopper. Though I would love to hear ideas on how we get that little vial where it needs to go without the trucker knowin' we're puttin' it there. This sounds like the sort of thing we'd want to have a plan for before we need it."

«Plot» Pelmen says, "The helicopter will be, according to that map be hidden in a little clearing close to the targets route. It's easily accessible by car as there is a little path out there, manageable by car. Other than that, I'll let you do mostly whatever you want from now on. If there's rolls required, I'll give the orders. If there is things to be sensed I'll add my cmments in."

"We can take care of it on the fly. I've everything we need in my car. Helicopter's reach is limited though. We /should/ hurry and talk on the way. If you need anything else, think quickly."she says to Hood in a relaxed tone, but she's pushing the thing. She knows very well that a single minute could drop the fuel level beyond the point of no return.

«Plot» Pelmen says, "Te chip also contains the usual timetable of the truck. By now it is about 20 km's down a 200 km route. Usually. Most of the route will go through hilly or even mountainous wooded terrain. (Making it difficult for a helicopter to traverse on the altitude levels you'll need to fly on for the job)."

"You're the pilot," Hood answers. "Your show." And with that, he pushes back from the table, giving a brief nod to the lily-man. "And if you suggest we move quickly, then let's move damn quickly. Your car, I think." He's starting to walk even before he's finished, and of course starting to fish his cigarettes out of his pocket. It's been a good five minutes without nicotine.

Quick Preparations

Hiller follows. At her car, she does one thing first. She uploads the chip on her internal GPS and orientation system and connects one of her datajacks to a laptop, stored in her car. Thus, Hood is able to have a look on the military grade mapdata himself. Hiller sets several beacons on the relevant spots (take-off point, LZ, truck route). And she adds relevant information about radar stations or military facilities which may be close to the truck routes. Important for the use of sensors or the flux levels. All this may happen on the way to the place where the rotocraft is stored. "What do you think, Hood? How do you manage the drop off?"

Hiller's car is a Honda 3220. A shabby car from the outside. Dull ivory color, stained with dirt of the recent winter days. One has to take the back seat. The only one left. One half of the bench in the back has been removed and replaced by some kind of big black box. Obviously something custom made. The whole car's interior is definitely in a better shape than the Honda's outer varnish may suggest. A smooth, dark red dominates the seats and instruments. Some green and red instruments glimmer on the armature. Two small screens, datajacks and several switches are visible as well. Someone has done some proper adjustments to this everyday sports car model.

Hood's eyes run over the map, trying to commit the important stuff - or at least what he thinks is the important stuff - the memory. "Honestly? I don't have a clue. I mean, it's a short route, so that ain't gonna help, otherwise I'd say just wait for the driver to stop 'n take a piss and handle it that way." He rubs his chin thoughtfully. "My preference would be to find a way to get him to stop - block the route well ahead of him, something like that. A fallen tree, a broken down car, something like that. Wait for him to stop, I run up and dump this stuff, and make it back to the chopper. I dunno, though."

"Stopping him would propably get us many other unwanted wittnesses as well. As long as he's moving, we can hide in the truck's own noise for a fast roping. Are you familiar with rope deployment?" Hiller says.

"I am familiar with the concept of it," is Hood's level reply. "And how badly that concept can differ from practice when trying to fast rope between two moving objects. Ten to one I break both my legs and make a hell of a lot of noise doing it, trying to land on the top of a truck, but if you think it's the safest call, well…" He shrugs, and repeats, from earlier, "God hates a coward."

The helicopter looks sleek, small, but it has a dangerous aura to it. You imagine that if those weapons slots were armed, the machine might be quite dangerous. The electronics inside are the finest. Rating 5 sensors, small winch on the 'passenger' side. Obviously a missile guidance system, but without weapons they are no use. Checking the instruments Hiller will find a ruth control system Rating 4, active countermeasures and other nice systems to throw the direct fear, meaning official interference to the wind. This baby will most likely simply not show on the radar. Then Hiller starts the engine. She checks twice to make sure, as there is simply no noise to be heard…

Hiller continues and estimates several corner stones for any further planning: First, she estimates the helicopters reach and deduces possible interception courses, including the point of no return and possible alternative save landing spots. Radio check is proper as well. Trucker tend to use radio for chatter and maybe regular reports on their status. - Most likely the whole strategy will narrow down to one or two possible interception points. And there is one last thing: what time would it be? Bright day, dead of night?

«Plot» Pelmen says, "Early morning."

Hood watches Hiller do her thing with the chopper with the eyes of a layman; he's never been military, and he's never been inside one of these things more than twice. The copter itself seems flashy, to his eyes, but he also doesn't really know what he's looking for to set it apart from other examples of his kin, so he'd likely be impressed with anything. "Anyway. Just tell me what I need to do on this little voyage, and I'll get it done, one way or another. Oh, and make sure you don't leave me down there, if are doin' it by drop. I don't wanna hike back into the city."

"Hood, if you're not familiar with fast roping, we don't try practice today." She turns her head and smirks. "But honestly, this state of the art hornet will allow us to approach unseen and unheard, if the road's free. Maybe you can even keep sitting in your co-driver seat while dumping the vial."

«Plot» Pelmen says, "ANd there is most likely only two spots to do the job. One being a little valley, that's curvy enough to hide your actions as well as making it the driver busy enough not to check too closely. The other is a bit easier on the flying but more easy to be found out."

Hood inspects his side of the helicopter a little more closely, reaching out to poke at the winch, as though expecting it to move. "Well. Like I said, I'm familiar with the concept. It's jus' slidin' down a rope, which I've done plenty of times, only it's from a helicopter. Still. If you're that worried 'bout it, why not use the winch for what it's for? Y'all can control it from…ya know…with your brain or whatever, I'm guessing. You're THAT worried 'bout me holdin' up my end, just lower me or something like that. Gettin' low in the bird itself is…I mean, hell, one wrong move and you got rotorblades in trees, or the truck."

Hiller is quiet a professional when it comes to rotocrafts. She really regrets that there is no time for closer inspections on the hardware. But she /does/ make at least a 5 minute pre-take-off check for the basic security issues. "Alright Hood. We've two possible spots for interception and I would chose the one more hidden. A truck is not a sports car. I can handle unpredicted vector changes of the target. And I agree, we use the winch, of course. But I would prefer to have you jump down, for several reasons. I keep the winch loose but narrow. You'll be secured that way and there is no chance of loosing you on the road. You do your job on the truck and I raise altitude within common sense. When you're finished, you'll get a free flight across tree tops.

Hood seems to consider that a moment as he smokes his cigarette, quietly. When he finally speaks, it's with another shrug of his shoulders. "My 'ware doc told me that someday, there'd come a moment when I'd go, 'Ah ha, -this- is why I got my bones laced with ceramic!' It's happened plenty of times before, or so I thought, but this? This is really that moment." One final drag is taken, and then the cigarette is flicked away. "Let's get to it, if we're gonna do it."

Approach

Unknown Flying Object

Hiller offers the second helmet to Hood and smirks. "Alright, quit smoking is a nice thing. Fasten seatbelt and enjoy the ride." A bit more seriously she adds: "And don't bother: I'll take care of your personal security." Hiller connects one of the ports to the first datajack behind her right ear and the instruments immediately come alive. A quick flashing of procedures and routines on the small left screen, then the instruments turn dark. Without any further hesitation she fastens her seatbelt and secures her wrists on the armrests. Then she turns slack. - A deep breath as her body relaxes and becomes one with the rotocraft. The engine is started immediately and Hiller takes control of core systems and sensors. Her voice can be heard over the intercom, a bit distorted: "ETA 17 minutes to estimated interception point. Target not locked yet." Then the rotocraft lifts off ground and heads toward the morning sun.

Hood simply settles back in his seat to enjoy the ride, and of course to contemplate his upcoming death-defying leap from a helicopter to a cargo truck. He should really be running a simsense rig for this - probably a lot of money to be made selling such things to bored sararimen. "This ain't crazy at all," he announces to the cockpit at large, voice cheerful, probably just trying to convince himself.

"Soft rocking for an easy ride," Hiller thinks to herself. The sensors are reaching out into the distant and she takes a deep breath, feeling spread over several dozen square miles of hills, wood and streets. It is a nearly godlike feeling of conciousness.
"Not crazy at all," Hood repeats, drumming his fingers idly on one thigh. "Gonna be fun, in fact. And the payoff will probably take care of almost all the hospital bills. What's three months in traction, anyway? It'll let me catch up on the trid." His head lazily tilts towards Hiller. "Got 'im found?"

«Plot-Page» (To: Hiller) Pelmen says, "You sense a large sensor echo port. It's not carrying a transponder so most likely something natural. Its course roughly parallel with your estimated route. Seems to follow the country's contours, occasionally dipping out of sensor sight."

«Plot» Hiller says, "Pelmen=Like…ah..something 'natural'? Like a dragon or what? :D"

«Plot-Page» (To: Hiller) Pelmen says, "Large. You cannot tell more. But yes, something like that might be possible."

Via intercom: "Ah, Hood, we've something on parallel course, heading the same direction and staying NOE…em…near over earth." A second of silence. "Definitely natural."

Hood locates the intercom switch, keying it. "Natural? Like a dragon, or what?" Great minds think alike, apparently. "Or could it be a flock of geese or somethin' like that?"

"Propably a small dragon or similar critter. Can't tell. The NOE fly masks the signature. Nothing the bird's KI can handle so far. I'll keep an eye on it and try to predict its fly route and possible crossing vectors."

Hood nods, once. For some reason, his shoulders, biceps, and forearms all endure a brief, momentary muscular twitch. "Yeah. Let's not cross paths with a dragon, even a small one, if we can avoid it. Whatever it is, on the same course as us…any chance he's got an interest in this truck, too? Or is he just out stretching his wings?"

«Plot-Page» (To: Hiller) Pelmen says, "THat course is hard to predict, the thing seems to fly fast but it's taking a lot turns, as if using thermal winds so, it's getting closer and away in a quite random way."

Hiller is pretty serious since the take-off. If Hood watched some topgun movies or similar trash, he might suggest that she is indeed a combat pilot, and not a crazy stock car driver with some roto-skills.

Hood squints slightly at his cybernetic vision enhancement kicks in, peering out the cockpit carefully. "Yeah, I can't tell what the hell that is," he finally admits. "Could be Lofwyr, could be a damn big flock of birds, I dunno. If it stays on track with us, though, I'm going to start to get a little worried about the implications."

After a few seconds: "Well…it /is/ an able flyer. Definitely natural and fast - using geographical features and thermal updraft. I concentrate on the route ahead. We proceed the mission for now."

Near over earth, Hiller flys the stealth helicopter en route. She tries to keep the own signature as low as possible. If the helicopter has visual contact to the UFO five kilometers away, she would reduce the flux rate as far as possible without losing track on the truck's route. If the active sensors are necessary to keep an eye on the UFO, she keeps the flux rate at a necessary rate.

"Your call," is Hood's only answer, though his eyes stay focused on the dark spot on the horizon. If it really is a dragon, he wants to know about it. And wants it to go away, of course, but either way, he won't be taking his eyes off of it until he has something else to do.

The Valley

Following that route will soon mean to dive into a valley. Turbulences will start to make the ride quite rough now. And Hiller has to start earning her money. To an unexperienced person the quiet air outside looks calm and relaxing. Hood will learn differently now.

Suddenly, heavy bumps shake the air vehicle. It is like drifting off road without warning. The helicopter is hit straight ahead by updrifts, followed by airholes. Air is moving with the early day. But Hiller manages to keep the helicopter at fast speed in a save line.

"Aaaand here we go," Hood intones, to himself. The turbulence doesn't seem to bother him overly much, though he does notice it - he got into Denver originally somehow, so perhaps he was already expecting it, having familiarity with the various thermal imbalances that the mountain air can provide. His focus is still on the potential drag, until it can't be seen for the valley, and then his attention returns to work. "How far out?"

"The valley stretches out ahead for 2 miles. I assume the target within that reach. But it's still hidden from scanners, due to geographical features." Hiller replies with a cool voice.

Hood nods, once, lifting a finger to drop his sunglasses down to the bridge of his nose. "Time to suit up, then?" he wonders aloud, turning to start figuring out how the winch harness works.

[Break]

«Plot» Pelmen says, "Okay…at the time I had to leave the two of you to your misery, you were in 'final approach' to your designated target, a truck with some fluid container. Hiller had done a last sensor scan to find the truck while Hood was preparing for his little stunt to fill a vial of 'additive' to the truck. I'll send Hiller the results of her scan and will thn wait for your actions."

«Plot-Page» (To: Hiller) Pelmen says, "You can see the truck ahead. It's in a good position even though it constantly has to turn due to curves in the valley. There is no unduly high trees, though for a nice little while, though you expect some nice turbulences when flying so low."

Boarding

Hood the fall guy

"Line of sight in twentythree seconds. Get ready for boarding, Hood." A small light at Hood's cabin door turns to green and he could open the door now. The winch is located outside of course. "I'll fall behind the truck and lower to 8 feet above the target. You have to jump down and on your clearance I raise to 60 feet. I'll keep the winch loose but short."

Hood chuckles, darkly. "When you say it like that, it almost sounds like it has a shot at working." He doesn't get ready just yet, though. "It occurs to me we have no idea what's in this truck, and no idea what our employer wants to put in it. Something truly nasty could happen - for all we know, it's a truck full of ammonia, and we're adding bleach - so we may have to well and truly beat feet. I don't think that guy would risk a vehicle as advanced as this if it were possible for it to be destroyed on such a minor job, but you never know." And, with that, he opens his door, immediately hit by whipping wind, and reaches out to tug a bit of slack into the winch, and then goes about the business of harnessing his ass to the thing.

Hiller starts to concentrate on the estimation of the necessary flight vectors: target speed, altitude change, curves, natural obstacles, upwind estimation. "If you have to release the harness, keep me informed. Maybe it is a good thing to cut the wire if your job takes longer than a couple of seconds. I'll withdraw and standby in vicinity," is Hiller's last remark. Then she concentrates on the flight route.

Hood, once he's secured in, turns his attention to looking for the actual truck itself up ahead of them, vision magnification and all actively working to try and spot the target, and then figure out just what kind of momentum he's going to need to hop down from a speeding helicopter. "Yeah, will do. It occurs to me that it might be safer all around to simply not use the harness, but if you think you can avoid any pockets of warm air, other turbulence, shit like that, and not accidentally yank me up, well…"

Hiller takes on the last curve and the truck appears ahead: "LOS at eleven o'clock. Going down" She reduces the helicpter's speed and lowers altitude to 2.5 meters above the truck. The rotor causes heavy wind and the narrow valley still causes harsh bumps. But the bumps are balanced by the state of the art piece of hardware and the rigger onboard. As far as possible. "We're on the mark. I'll give you ten seconds for boarding. Make your decision quickly. Wire fastened or cut."

Hood either doesn't want to, or simply doesn't judge they have the time, to alter the plan any further now that the copter's over the truck. Instead of responding, he takes one last, deep breath, and then his hands go to the frame of the little, intimidating exitway in front of him, for support, while his feet brace for the half-jump, half-unguided freefall. Two and a half meters down; should be a cakewalk, right? Should also break every bone in his lower torso if he judges it wrong. The wind wips around his face and upper body, and then, all of a sudden…he's gone. He's made the jump, for better or so, trying his damndest to hit the back of the truck, and from there, carry on with the run. Did he judge it right?

In her virtual world, the beast of prey that is the helicopter, hovers above the running deer. Still unnoticed hopefully. Hiller is drawn into the rush of adrenaline that comes inevitably with the melting of senses and hardware. But this is not a combat mission. And her disciplined brain urges the mix of inhuman and human instincts of the VCR away. There are no weapons onboard. Just a very precious piece of cargo made of flesh. And she cares for Hood like a mother would cradle a young. She tries to do everything possible in order to help Hood. And the moment he jumps is like a painful feeling of loss to her. Strange world, but familiar nonetheless.

The truck suddenly starts to drive erratic as the driver sees Hood dangling from a chord in his back that ends in … nowhere…, as he cannot see the open door from his place. You can see he is all wide eyed and almost crashes his truck at one of the many turns.It's a truly painfully embarrassing thing to hang there as the truck starts to swerve in it way, he comes dangerously close to get swatted by the side of the vehicle too.

Hood doesn't soar like an eagle, or even glide like a flying squirrel. Nah. He basically just falls like a rock out of the cockpit, and ends up, having not quite made it, dangling there, in the air, like a worm on a hook. That, of course, is what the driver ends up getting to see. "Yeah, I think we've been made," he utters, dryly, to himself, as he gives a couple vicious yanks on the line supporting him, the universal signal for 'winch me up before I smack into a cliff or a truck or a copse of trees.'

So, Hood must've missed the truck, if he's dangling now. The winch was meant to be loose unless he falls more than 3 or 4 meters. But anyway, she follows Hood's judgement and winches him upward. Through the helmet commlink: "We're spotted. A second try for boarding or a temporal retreat. Your bones, your decision. We're supposed to continue the mission even if we get spotted."

Hood is a little bit more reassured once he starts getting dragged out of dangling hell, at least enough reassured enough to speak over the commlink. "Yeah, we are indeed. And, since this just became a lot less about stealth and a lot more about simply completing the bare minimum? I think it's time to stop the truck. Even if we back off and take another go at it in five minutes, when the shipment turns up fragged, I think our little transportation professional down there will remember to mention to his bosses that he saw some pretty strange shit."

Hiller winches Hood up another 4 feet, then she makes a small dent and tries a rather risky maneauver. She settles Hood down on the truck with a heavy bump. The moment he hits the roof, she looses the winch again, thus giving Hood freedom of movement. Hiller's slack body gives a sigh of tension, some sweat on her forehead. Then she quickly 'steps back' from the narrow perspective on the winch and Hood and concentrates on sensors and mission data again.

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hiller (#10245) rolls Intelligence for "Passive Sensor test (INT)": 1 2 2 4 5 5

Hood is in the middle of starting to lay out his own plan over the commlink, one that involves an uphill stretch of road, where the truck will of course be much slower, some sort of blocking mechanism, such as an abandoned vehicle or a felled tree, forcing the truck to stop, and a quick, stealthy run in by Hood to dump the additive…and then he's suddenly bouncing down into the top of the truck, so all that really makes it over the commlink other than, "Alright, here's the plan," is a lot of pained cursing. Once he's on, though, he's not looking a gift horse in the mouth; he wants to not be attached to a helicopter very badly at this point, and it seems the only way that'll happen is by getting this little vial into the truck. Scrambling for a handhold, his eyes rove, looking for any sort of valve or cap that can be unscrewed to dump the stuff in.

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hood (#6856) rolls Stealth vs TN 6 for "Bein' stealthy, it seems.": 1 2 5 = 0 Successes

The truck driver for now drives relatively calmly. It seems he lost Hood out of his sight. The truck drives much mores table. And over the radio, Hiller can hear a voice, most likely the truck driver say, «Holy shit… I really need to stop drinking before a delivery day… Must have had a bad case of split second sleep…I've seen a guy fly past my truck.» Another voice replies, «Yeah sure Joe, sounds like you've had a real nice party last night… Better not tell that your boss or you're really rid of your license. Been the third silly thing this week you saw…» Then Hood bumps onto the trucks trailer and bumbly as he seems to be today he makes it swivel from the impact. «Damn, what's this… I've got to investigate this…», can be heard on the radio, then the truck starts decelerate.

"Hood, the driver is suspicious. He's radio contact to another trucker. The name of the target's driver is Joe. - Release the cable and I'll retreat. You stay on your own. Try to keep hidden. Maybe he'll just head on without greater concern."

"Copy," is all Hood answers, a hand darting back to hit the quick-release catch on the harness rig, letting the winch cable go free.

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hood (#6856) rolls Quickness: 1 1 1 2 4 5 7 7 8

He's got more important things on his mind at the moment; he felt the truck start to decelerate, but he also found himself a good little spot to dump the vial. He scrambles, pretty damn quick, over to the cap, unscrews it with a few brutal twists, and uncaps the vial, upending it over the hole. Or once Hood manages to complete somthing smoothly today. He quickly opens the tank hatch and fills the vials content into the tank. There is a smell like oil or coolant from the tank. The tank is closed again quickly again.

Bird of Prey

The moment the winch cable is released, Hiller concentrates on mid- and long-range sensors again, going through some standard checks out of military routine before she would wuickly withdraw from the 'drop zone'. But…

«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hiller (#10245) rolls 5 for "Active Sensor": 1 1 4 5 11
«Auto-Judge[VALID]» Hood (#6856) rolls Intelligence: 2 2 3 5 5 10

"Hood!" sounds Hiller's alarmed voice. "Hostile natural object decending from straight above! A huge thunder bird!" And since the eagle is right on top of the helicopter, Hiller tilts the thrust aprubtly. She moves backward, 6 o'clock. Her goal is to either prevent a collision or to distract the beast from Hood. Depends on the bird's awareness of the stealthy rotocraft.

A loud screech can be heard from above. As the huge beast comming right out of sensor shadow due to the high valley borders thrusts down to catch itself a tasty morsel. Hood. The thunderbird is however unaware that there is a helicopter between it and it's prey. So is gleefully hurtling down towards the rotors. The good news is, the sight of the beast makes the truck driver press the pedal. ALl thoughts of flying men driven from his memory. «Fucking shit! A Thunderbird!», can be heard over the radio.

"Thunderbird," Hood announces calmly over the commlink, very well aware of just how bad a situation he's in at the moment. The truck's accelerating, he's about to get seen by the truck driver for about the tenth time in two minutes, and now a giant eagle wants to eat him. This is why he likes wetwork gigs so much. His plan is pretty simple; not be anywhere near the truck when that thing comes down. If it's after him and only him, well, he reckons he'll have a better chance in the woods than out in the open. To that end, he tenses his legs, manages a couple steps, and leaps his ass off the truck, away from the passenger side, trying to make it to the edge of the road and thus roll on off.

Hiller struggles hard and tries to prevent a collision. For a milisecond she contemplates the use of active countermeasures like decoy flare, but she decides that it is too late.

Hood's ass goes flying through the air for what feels like the fifth time today as he makes his action movie-worthy leap off the truck, hitting the shoulder without appearing to injure himself all that badly, using the momentum to tuck down into a shoulder roll into the brush and shrubbage along the road. He moves fast - real fast - once he's in it, too, staying as low as he can, until he finds a bush big enough for himself to tuck up right under. Once there, he stays put, drawing his pistol out from its usual spot and performing a quick, silent brass check. He's never shot a giant eagle before.

"Damn it!" Hiller can be heard in a sharp tone. "Hostile 1 barely missed the transport. It seems t'be just a hunting bird. Hood, what's'r staus?"

"Hiding," is Hood's only, reluctant reply. He has no idea how the bird hunts - vision, sound, scent, guesswork, but he's not going to take a chance on any of them. After the one communique, he falls silent, and keeps as still as he can.

Any answer is a good answer. And 'hiding' is more than Hiller hoped for. She concentrates on the valley ahead and behind again. What's the truck doing? Where's the bird and is there anything else with relevance to the mission at the moment? Hiller catches her virtual breath, so to say.

As you both hide in your position, the huge eagle that just lost his prey, releases his frustration in a deed that no doubt gave the bird it's name. A lound thunder is heard a lighting ball projects harmlessly into some trees oposite to Hood. Hiller has quite a nice view on the lighting ball as it sails in relatively save distance past the helicopter. Nothing but another minor bump arriving with the machine. The bird then flies off. Over the radio it gets obvious, that the driver thinks all the happenings where things caused by the mighty bird. Flying men totally forgotten.

Extraction

"I think it's time to go home," Hood announces over the comms, staying under his bush well after the thunderbird's flown off in search of something else. "If your fuel status allows it, find a clearing nearby, and tell me where it is. I'll jog over, you can pick me up, and then that'll be that. I'd prefer not to deal with that winch anymore, if at all possible, but if we must, we must."

She watches the bird with awe and with maximum detail. Hiller has never seen such a critter before. Only when the beast is out of a 200 yard zone, she moves on, circling above Hood's position between scrubs and trees at a 50 yard altitude. And unless there are other wittnesses around: "I'll lower the winch. Hang on and secure."

"Very well," Hood sighs, finally crawling out from under his bush and holstering his pistol again. He's pretty glad he didn't have to try to take out an overgrown Awakened eagle with it, all things considered. "Winch away, and then let's scram."

Hiller winches Hood up quickly and stays in place until he's in in one piece. "How're you doing? Are you hurt?" She turns her head, obviously she has left the VCR at least partiallay.

"Not that I'm aware of," Hood answer, shutting the cockpit hatch on his side once again, and getting that winch harness off as fast as possible, like he can't wait to be out of it. "Probably going to be pretty sore tomorrow, I expect. Either way. The whatever that was is in the truck, and that's about as much as can be expected."

"Excellent," Hiller gives a brief grin. "Not so smooth for you, but by the numbers. The bird gave us excellent distraction. Well done." With an appreciative nod, she continues to fly back home manually.

"It never is," Hood answers, with an indifferent shrug of his broad shoulders, to the comment about it not being smooth for him. And that's generally been pretty true the past couple days. He stays silent for the rest of the ride home, having little to do inside a helicopter - he can't fly one, and he has no particular desire to learn, though even if he did, it's not like he could tell much from a rigger slumped over and jacked in - simply staring out the cockpit and keeping a rather vigilant watch for anymore thunderbirds.

Half way back J contacts you over the radio. "Well done… Incorporationg that bird into the gig was a genius strike.", he says. "Made more than up for the previous blunder. His gaze on the display goes to Hood.", then back to Hiller in appreciation. "I will wait with your reward at the clearing you started from."

And so things come full circle. She returns the bird, gives a report and returns back home, still with hot blood from this precious rendevous with the stealth bird. To Hood, she offers a stern and serious handshake, but would skip any chatting.

Hood doesn't seem to mind the lack of after-action chit chat. Instead, as soon as he's got his credstick, he's beating feet home, likely to take a long shower and put ice on various parts of his anatomy that he injured in all the time spent between earth and sky today. He let Hiller handle the report, obviously not one for talking about a job once it's done, even with the gent who commissioned it.

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