2008-02-09: Suffer The Children


Ndugu_icon.gif Charlotte_icon.gif DaphneM_icon.gif

Guest-Starring: Pinehearst Ops Team #1, angry villagers

Summary: Team Pinehearst - its two lovely ladies - sets about to accomplish its part of a deal with Ndugu and his tribe of stolen children.

Date It Happened: February 9th, 2008

Suffer The Children

Deep in Congo…

It is shortly before dawn in some barely-mapped and scarcely-inhabited corner of the Congo. The light is dim and grey, the darkness maintained for the most part by the shadows the jungle trees cast over the manmade clearing. In the clearing is a ramshackle township of sorts that looks to have become permanent, corrugated iron buildings mixed with mud huts and shanties. In the center of it all is a large, squat brick building with a heavy door and what look to be two armed rebels on the roof. Only one is awake, however, the other sleeping off a night's worth of excess in a lawn chair.

The place seems almost deserted save for some cars, a sheltered area piled high with barrels of fuel and machine gun emplacements fitted out with muddy weaponry that looks as though it may jam if one were to simply look at it wrong. The rebels are nowhere to be seen, although evidence seems to indicate they're asleep in their quarters. Security is lax. Lax enough for Ndugu and a handful of his village's 'police force' to creep through the trees on the outskirts of the encampment.

Creeping through the jungle through the nearly non-existent light is another team, approaching the back of the rebel camp: several armed men in black gear, contracted men who might not even know who they're working for. A biotechnical company, surely, is far from their minds. But they know their job and they know it well. The leader, a man slowly aging out of his thirties with light hair and a long, squared face pock-marked by scars, speaks very quietly into a walkie-talkie that matches the ones he gave Ndugu's force — as well as the two unusual girls — confirming their location.

Charlotte gave Daphne a description of what should be expected before they left Pinehearst. Find the children - we should get dropped right on top of them. The girls and the boys will be seperated, most likely, and some of the children may be scattered. And Charlotte asked that the blonde help her collect the rest of the kids into a group area, where they could be teleported out quickly and safely. She then described the tingles, took Daphne's hand. And that was that, really. They reappear thousands of miles away, in the camp. They're behind one of the shanty homes, where a young black boy, maybe 8 or 9, is laying, dead, after being shot. Charlotte gasps in the half light, covering her mouth - her ability brought her to the dead body, but at least they're not in the middle of the camp. The brunette still can't help but squeeze her eyes shut and look away.

Getting dropped on top of a bunch of stolen children didn't sound all that precisely nice to Daphne, nor like a particularly nifty past-time, either. But here she is, anyway, pulling her hand away from Charlotte as she shakes off the foreign feeling of moving not of her own volition. She decidedly likes her way better. As her eyes adjust, she hears the other woman gasp and, though she glances in brief wide-eyed dismay at the sight, Daphne also seeks out the best place to press her back up against and look around. "Hey," she hisses, "This isn't exactly the place to not be keeping your eyes open." This isn't exactly… anywhere if judging by the looks of it.

Ndugu and the small group moving with him pause as the voice hisses through the walkie-talkie. He translates quietly for the others before he lifts it up to reply in English, giving word of his location before falling into silence again. From where he crouches in the undergrowth, he pushes aside a heavy leaf and peers into the camp. The men with him are armed although not as well as the men in black or even the rebels. Ndugu settles the ancient assault rifle strapped over his shoulder with one hand, squinting in the dim light.

A mirror image of Ndugu and the villagers, the team in black watches the back of the encampment with critical caution. The leader kneels on one knee, gesturing at his comrades; they quietly scurry in various directions, weapons at the ready. Although their guns look like assault rifles at first glance (though, if they're doing their job well, no one is glancing at them), but in reality they're elaborate tranquilizer guns. Bonus: they're quiet. A soft fwwt from one of the mens' guns sends a dart flying at the awake rebel on the roof.

Charlotte opens her eyes, looking at the body of the boy on the ground. Feel. Check, that part is done. She takes a deep breath and lets it out. Breathe, also done. And then she turns, sliding her back against the wall beside Daphne. Do what needs doing. "Do you see the children?" She whispers into Daphne's ear, since Daphne took the corner of the building. Charlotte too scans the area - or what she can see - but she doesn't dare stick her head out too far.

Oh, sure, let the bleach-blonde do it, instead. But, apparently Daphne volunteered for pointe by standing there, so she hovers indecisively by her safe-seeming corner a second and then sliiiiides to the edge to get a glance around it. Everything looks dark and sufficiently creepy. Also, childrenless. So she pulls back and looks over her shoulder to Charlotte, a solemn shake of her head the other's only answer.

Ndugu and his group begin to move into the camp around the same time. They may not be special forces operatives but they know the jungle and they know how to be quiet when they need to. Their own weapons raised, they do not fire yet - taking the hint to remain silent lest they wake the enemy. Ndugu leads the way, moving towards the brick building with purpose.

The rooftop guard twists and falls, palms spread around the dart protruding from his chest. It's the dull but heavy thud he makes when he goes down that causes the other rebel to stir in his lawn chair. Although it seems, for a moment, that he's going to spring into action with fine-tuned senses, he grunts and lets his head hang down onto his chest, hands lightly resting on his assault rifle.

The camp is quiet, save for the thrum of animal noises around it.

The American team creeps forward further, led by the front man — Waits — who orders them to spread out as they approach. A few of them slip past Daphne and Charlotte as they go, doing their part in peeking through the shanties through slivers in the corrugated metal. In their search, a lighter-sleeping rebel wakes up inside a hut and, spotting the intruder from the black-clad team, throws open the door.

There's a sudden onslaught of gunfire in the pre-dawn camp. So much for the quiet.

Charlotte will take point! Just a different point - the other side of the building. She lifts her own radio to her lips, murmering softly as she presses the button. "Ndugu do you-" but the gunfire cuts her off, causing her to lift her finger off the radio. Suddenly asking Ndugu anything is irrelevent - there's shooting. Now she's asking everyone. "Does anyone see the children?" Knowing full well that they must be found before they are shot, Charlotte steps over the boy's body once more to slip between two shanties, and hopefully find a way where she can see the main area of the camp better. Perhaps the children will come out running?

A gunfight makes the night complete. As the soldiers step by, Daphne steps back until she's more on Charlotte's side. She glances around, though, and spots the teleporter on the move. Buzzing forward quickly, she lays a hand on Charlotte's arm, "Yo, you should stay back here. You know, away from the shooting. How else am I supposed to find you once I've got little kids hangin' off me?" Makes sense to Daphne, who would prefer small children didn't come running out into gunfire. Instead, she'll go running—down one side of the camp, causing tent flaps to fly, so she can reach a more solid building and check in any windows, cracks, anything.

When the shooting starts, Ndugu and his small team do not hesitate to fire back. Unlike the specialists, however, their weapons are not tranquilizers. No, they carry good, old fashioned killing machines. The rifles bark noisily in the night as they find cover and take aim, trying to provide cover while Ndugu continues towards the brick building. He moves swiftly in a half-crouch, rifle pointed out before him.

Charlotte is yanked back a little, nodding to Daphne. "Just hurry, please." She says, even in the semi-light the blonde can tell that Charlotte is very concerned. Rightfully so. She's left alone then with the dead body, waiting for Daphne to let her know where to go. In the meantime, however, she peers around the corner at the 'point' again, after a glance to the dead body. Hopefully no rebels will see her, because as one can tell: she doesn't do very well in the whole 'violence' situations. Still, she dares to peer.

And inside the heavier, sturdier, more secure building — bingo. Through the viewpoint of a small, rectangular window covered by netting, is a dark room where children — as young as five, as old as sixteen — are lined up on cots. They're starting to stir, some leaping up faster than others after the gunfire. For half of them, their trained reaction is to grab weapons of their own, some of them straight from underneath their makeshift pillows.

All over the encampment, rebels are waking up and firing at everything they can see that isn't one of their own soldiers. Some climb on the take cover behind the vehicles scattered about, some behind shanties, in doorways. Their aim may not be precise, some of them are sluggish, but they are quickly fuelled on by anger, shouting. It wakes them up fast. The man on the roof of the center building is certainly very awake, staggering near the edge to immediately take aim at the first thing he sees, which happens to be an out-of-place swathe of wild platinum blonde. His first slew of bullets goes too far to the left. The second might not.

Daphne is testing at the netting separating her from the kids when the noise of gunshots gets rather close indeed. A splatter into the dirt to her side and then the familiar whizz of something speeding—only, since that's a bullet flying past her ear, Daphne takes the cue and ditches her spot by the window. It's likely she can beat this guy, but she'd rather not have him firing off rounds every time she ducks into the building, so the speedster doubles back in her loop, picking up a few rocks along the way. She's no ace shot, but enough of them tossed at him at high enough speeds and, hey, maybe she'll get lucky. Either way, her next move is into the window, shredding netting as she goes until she's by some kid's bed. Some armed kid. Seriously, they start firing on her, too, and she's getting a raise.

The man on the roof is spotted and, given that he's preventing the children from being saved in short order, Ndugu turns his attention to him. He stops his approach, moving behind a barrel set towards the middle of the compound to check the rifle in his hands. Satisfied, he levels it against his shoulder and squeezes off several rounds towards the rebel on the roof who happens to be firing at Daphne.


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