General Order #427, Re: Fire Ant Jelly

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OOC Date: August 2, 2011
IC Date: March 11, 2128

Lance Corporal Shevchenko declares war on the native ant population, initiating hostilities by blowing up the tree under which they were nesting. He may have been hunting for unobtanium…

Corona Solaris 2 - Base Camp

A wide field of red-gold grass, miles across and miles wide. At the center is a vast lake of serene blue water. Forest-covered steps protect the plateau on one side, while steep mountains rise up on the opposite side of the lake. Two large white tents have been erected a short distance from the lake; three shuttles flank them, as do a row of generators.

Ivan is yelling at a tree at the edge of the camp in Ukranian, incase anyone is familiar with the language. The tone at least is more of exasperation than true anger, but his patience seems to be up with this particular piece of alien vegetation. He kicks the trunk. It doesn't move much. It's a big tree. So that's how it's going to be, tree? Huh? Well. Ivan throws the horribly ineffective handsaw he was using to the ground and starts rifling through his satchel.

A human foothold has been established on Corona Solaris Two. Two white cottage-sized tents, connected by a mesh corridor, occupy a prime spot in the red-gold grass not far from the shore of a large, exquisitely clear lake. According to the science team it is the iron in the soil that lends all of the vegetation that slightly reddish tinge, shifting the color away from the familiar green-on-green that might make it feel like Earth. That and the two suns in the sky are the most obvious alien twists, but grass and sunshine and high mountain air are familiar enough for horseshoes and hand grenades. Two small solar-powered buggies are parked by the three shuttles, and a line of generators have been arrayed along the south side of the camp. For the science teams this is paradise; though everyone has been ordered to stay within half a mile of camp - a line more or less demarked by the furthest perimeter of patrolling Marines - more than a few have scattered. Commander Eisley is not one of those. She sits in the shade of one of the shuttles, occasionally watching Ivan verbally assault the tree with some amusement as a break from whatever she's reviewing on her datapad.

Julia got off duty about 30 minutes ago. She should be sleeping, but when there is sun in the sky, soil beneath your feet and fresh air all around, well… It's nearly impossible to think about curling up on a cot. Besides, Jules hasn't really much slept since she was unfrozen. Maybe it was the news. Maybe it's the fact that she's 'slept' for four years. So, she's peeled herself out of her uniform down to her sports bra and a pair of shorts. Her pale skin is probably going to burn, but maybe she'll be lucky to freckle and tan. She's got her blonde hair down and free in messy waves and her skin shines damn pale and white other than the smattering of tattoos she always carries — The ivy on her leg, the names on her arms, and the equation above her heart. She pads barefoot across the odd grass, half towards the frustrated Ivan, and half towards the commander.

Jet comes from one of the tents, holding a datapad. She first notices Commander Eisley before she follows the other woman's line of sight to Ivan, her brows furrowing at the man. She seems confused about whether to offer her assistance to the man shouting in Ukranian or to go and visit with her XO. Finally the redhead settles upon making her way toward Eisley, wearing a pair of shorts and a tank top generally used in exercise drills. She's had the good common sense to keep a pair of high boots and socks on, just in case anything nasty is out there, waiting to bite ankles. She glances to Julia and nods her head amiably before putting her hands on her hips, tapping the datapad against her thigh as her gaze turns to Ivan. "Commander, are we supposed to remind him that even though it's a tree looks can be deceiving and it might spit venom at him or something?"

There's a cord in Ivan's satchel. He pays it out until he's got enough length to wrap it around the trunk of the tree twice before tying it off. Yeah, take that tree! You've just been decorated by a Space Marine, or something. He futzes about with his handiwork a bit more after that, looks all around like he might be up to something not so good, and then takes off at a jog in a straight line the hell away from the tree. There's no venom spat. In fact, nothing dangerous seems to be happening at all. Then, well, Ivan gets twenty yards off or so and yells, "FIRE IN THE HOLE." Or, in this case, FIRE ON THE TREE. There's a resounding boom and the base of the tree turns to kindling and flying splinters with a crack-snap-pop. A good three feet of the trunk vaporizes in that instant, then the now unsupported majority of it obeys gravity and drops - hits the stump, teeters and tips ponderously sideways. Timber! Down it goes, hitting the ground with a crash of branches and a thunderous rumble.

"I rather think he's hoping that it will spit venom at him, or something," Eisley muses. For what it's worth she's also out of uniform, much more comfortably - and practically - dressed in a ribbed tank top and cargo pants. The wildlife is probably not going to be impressed by shiny boots and medals, so. "Oh my." When it becomes obvious just what Ivan is planning to do she exhales and closes her eyes for a moment, then reflexively lifts an arm to brace for impact as he turns it into so much kindling, bark, and toothpicks. When it is less a tree and more a stump and log she exhales, a thread of relative weariness appearing for a beat before she shakes her head.

Julia was going to lay down. She was going to tan, burn and freckle. She WAS going to enjoy a lovely day out in the sun and maybe actually let herself shut her eyes and sleep for a moment, her cot's blanket having been drug out with her over her shoulder. But then the other Marine, on duty she hopes, decides to make a tree into a bowling pin. She blinks, standing there, staring wide eyed as the thing begins to fall and she mutters a faint prayer it goes -away- from the cmap. "…What… in hells…?" She breathes out.

The redhead stares with widened eyes over at Ivan's display of machismo and anger, jumping briefly when he demolishes the tree into splinters. She crinkles her nose. "What a sick, twisted little man. I hope that our alien hosts aren't some sort of tree worshipping creatures, otherwise he's just boned us all, I fear." If the woman came out to ask someone specifically about something, she's forgotten it now, watching whatever Ivan's next move will be. She glances over at Julia and smiles at the woman wryly. "Well, you know what it is, right? With civilization having all but ended, the men feel the need to impress the women even more than before! I'm sure that this is only the beginning of the kind of heroics that we can expect as the men fight for their right to breed with only the best of us." The woman bites her lower lip to keep a snerk inside.

It takes a few moments, but in time a massive swarm of the yellow, jelly-like ants begin to bubble up from the grass and spread like a living blanket from the area of the tree. There's also the matter of all that golden red grass potentially catching fire and spreading across the plain if it isn't contained. The lake being 300 yards away doesn't make firefighting particularly easy.

Ivan did it for the lulz. Clearly. Actually, maybe not. When the tree is on the ground (there is still a great huge amount of it not at all blown up) he marches on it like an ant to get to work limbing the thing. Only, yeah, there's for real ants. Lots of them. He notices them bubbling out of the ground when he reaches for a saw. "ANTS OUTTA THEIR HOLES!" He yells before taking a running leap up onto the downed tree trunk and padding towards the leafy end of it. Hopefully fire won't be a huge issue, it wasn't an incendiary just a kaboomy he used, and yes the latter is a technical term.

Eisley slants a look at Jet as she postulates this peculiar hypothesis, one corner of her mouth twitching into what could almost be a smirk. "Let's hope that re-introducing the male of the species to his native environment is not an indication that he will revert to the stone-age level of the environment…" The ants are not precisely visible from where she's sitting, what with the high grass and the low position of sitting amongst it, but those little red and orange tongues of flame and curls of smoke certainly are. This is probably why she sighs and heaves to her feet. "SHEVCHENKO!" From calm to whip-crack in the bat of an eyelash, thus goes the XO. Berating the Marine is not high on her list of things to do just now; there are other problems. Like ants. There is a tiny pause as she tilts her head forward and peers, hard, at the boiling jellified grass, belatedly realizing why it's squirming, roiling, and more importantly moving in that fashion. "You, you." Yes, you. "Go get the fire extinguishers off the shuttles."

"Well shit." Jules mutters to herself, and then she's turning like a flash. Most likely, the Commander wasn't talking to her, but she's running full tilt back towards the tents where her boots rest. If she can just get her boots on, everything will be fine and she can pick up fire extinguishers and, hopefully, it'll be well. But boots first. Hopefully the tiny little Marine can out run insane jelly ants.

Eisley's comment about reversion to the stone-age level of the environment and the sudden entrance of the hundreds of ants makes Jet smirk and shake her head. "Let's see if he whips a club out and starts to try to beat them all." She peers toward the ants but seems a good deal more worried by the threat of fire, looking to Eisley as she begins to command, as is per her job title. She nods briefly and puts her datapad down, looking toward Jules' bare feet. "Of all the days you picked not to wear shoes, you chose this one?" She asks the girl, with the vague amusement of someone who has been royally screwed by the Cosmos. The redhead breaks into a dead sprint for the shuttle to try to retrieve a fire extinguisher ASAP.

The fire isn't too bad at the moment, currently little more than a few smoldering patches scattered about. Nothing that a good stomping couldn't handle. The problem of stomping, however, or even getting to those patches to stomp in the first place, is the ants. Or what passes for ants on this alien world. The translucent little yellow bugs run in every direction in a stampede away from the tree, or what's left of it. They're about the size of large, red army ants, but their bodies are almost see through with sickly yellow centers beneath the jelly-like exterior. Camp isn't in any immediate danger, if they are even dangerous in the first place, but ivan as fairly isolated and the various bits of fire aren't easily accessible without braving the horde.

Ivan has a saw, which is a step up from a club, but perhaps hilariously he uses it to take off a sturdy branch to make a club for himself. A club-broom, actually, since it's got the leaves on it still. He takes his club-broom back down towards the stump and starts thwacking at and stomping on the flames and the ants if they start getting up in his business. It's hard to say if he even heard his name being yelled what with the explosion and the ringing in his ears. There's also this fun distraction of smoldering and ant-stampedes. All the while he's half grinning and half grimacing like this is loads of fun, but also really annoying somehow. He's so conflicted. To the ants, he yells, "PLEASE EVACUATE THE AREA IN A CALM AND ORDERLY FASHION. THANK YOU!"
Illyanna has connected.

While -her- ants scramble around to do her bidding, the XO stands by and surveys this most peculiar first -real- problem to be encountered. Her arms cross over her chest, fingertips curling and tapping against her biceps in reflexive motions. As the first person makes it back with fire suppression equipment she gestures in the general direction of the fallen tree, the mighty fighting Marine, and the marching angry jelly ants. "See if you can help him," she directs. "If the ants are a problem, try spraying them - sparingly - with the extinguisher." Is Eisley getting close to that mess? Hell no.

After coming out of the shuttle with three fire extinguishers (and doing her damnedest to juggle them), Jet sets two down on the ground near the Commander's feet. She begins to ready her extinguisher for use, raising a brow at Eisley's command. "Spraying them…? No offense, Commander, but they seem… frenzied already. I think that might be a bad idea." And yet if worse comes to worse, she's probably not going to be able to do much else. Jet stares over toward Ivan with his club-broom, blinking a few times in disbelief. "I hate being right." But her Commander has made her orders clear and the redhead bounds toward the horde, skidding in her tracks when she becomes to the first large wave of them. "They're everywhere!" She cries out, staring over at Ivan before she looks back at the Commander and does what she was ordered, spraying the ants ever so lightly with a mist of chemicals. …Probably just to see what'll happen.

Julia gives Jet an embarrassed, awkward little smirk as she dashes down into the tent are and disappears beyond a flap. The paniced rushing around only takes her a moment to pull on untied boots, but at least her feet are protected. And then she's grabbing the next nearest fire extinguisher and dashing back to the site, but it'll be a bit before she gets there. Jet definitely has the lead on her.

The difficult part of tracking the ants is that they kind of blend in with the grass, not to mention their small and therefore under the grass to boot. Swatting and stomping fire seems to work well for Ivan - at least at first. Then there's the burning. Not burning like fire, but burning like a chemical burn on the soles of his feet. Is that normal?

The spray from the extinguisher almost immediately sends the ants reeling and running in the opposite direction. It's hard to tell if they're dying, since flailing about and running hysterically seems to be their default mode at the moment, but they at least are running in a different direction, now.

If you don't like hot feet, don't join the Marines and step on fires to put them out, right? Wait… Ivan starts to clue in about the heat. It takes a moment but he starts to figure it out. It's not rocket science. If his feet get hotter even when he's not stomping out flames then there's something seriously wrong. He stops to glance down that way. Uh. In that moment of uhing the burn intensifies. He needs a plan, and he needs it fast. The best he comes up with is dancing in place. Ow. Ow. Ow. OW! There is much swearing in Ukranian.

"We have no way of telling our chemical weapons will work against alien insect life, Chief. But in this case, I'm willing to experiment." With someone else holding the canister and pointing the nozzle. All the same, Eisley seems vindicated by the ants' behavior, though whether that was a calculated guess or something better educated will probably never, ever be determined. She's busy watching Ivan anyway, and when he stops swatting and starts doing the shuffle she frowns and finally picks up a canister as well and follows after Jet, letting her clear the preliminary path out toward the tree.

Jet sprays with the extinguisher just long enough to repel whatever ants she thinks are in her way before she starts to trying to extinguish the smaller blazes. Her attentiond divides equally between watching Ivan hop from foot to foot like something out of a Tex Avery cartoon and guaranteeing that there are the fires don't become an actual problem. Sweat begins to bead on her brow. "Shevchenko, do you need assistance?" She asks Ivan, having picked up on the man's name a scant few moments ago - and assuredly, this question is asking with a smart alecky edge. Jet watches Ivan for a minute, trying to quash all visible area fires. In her determination, she loses the ability to make a snappy comment somewhere along the lines and falls silent.

A cursory, one legged hopping glance is all it takes for Ivan to see the root of the problem: his boots are dissolving away beneath his feet, and his socks along with them. Yellow goo fizzes and bubbles around the gaping holes in the bottom of his boots as the squished ants apparent acid juices do their work. H. R. Geiger would be proud. It continues to eat away at the soles of the boots and his socks, and finally his flesh which begins to blister and peel rapidly. It shows no signs of stopping.

Jules is, truly, the smart Marine. She's practical, and she's not going to waste more fire extinguisher fluid than necessary on these ants. Since Jet has that in line, and poor Ivan really looks like he's in a hell of a lot of pain, she yells across the field, "Marine! Get out of the area and get the boots OFF!" She tries to make it an order, though it's not really her place, and she dashes back for some water and a cloth. Cleanse the area, get the pollutant off the wound, then they can focus on other things. But her goal is now to get Ivan's feet clean. Yum, blistering Marine feet.

OMG THIS IS TERRIBLE is basically what Ivan's wild eyed look translates too when he realizes there's acid eating his feet. He does what comes natural, which is to flop onto his back onto the trunk of the tree and tear his boots off. "Somebody piss on my feet!" He uh, requests but then he kinda realizes that he's surrounded by girls and looks crestfallen and immensely pained. Why? He explains through gritted teeth. "This is very (ukranian expletive) uncomfortable (ukranian expletive).

Those explicatives don't really need a translation. Some words are almost universal in any language, and this might be one of those occasions. "We need to get him to the shuttle," Eisley states, as if this weren't the most obvious thing in the world. "Help me." This is further narrowed down to Jet, fearless leader of the chemical weapons committee, though she sets her own extinguisher down and slides in to try and help the Marine back to his feet. Uncomfortable as that is, the sooner he gets back to camp for treatment, the better.

Jet looks unsurely over at Eisley, hoping that the commander isn't going to command one of them to actually piss on the man's feet. The redhead even looks somewhat chastised for having been a smart ass considering that Ivan's feet are burnt, blistering, and showing no quick signs of improvement. Jet seems reasonably relieved when Eisley doesn't in fact instruct her to take a whiz on Ivan's feet and instead drops the fire extinguisher where she stands before moving over to Shevchenko and Eisley, trying to help Ivan support his weight on his feet. Once again, she's devoid of snappy comments, instead completely focused on helping the soldier that she was once poking light fun at.

Since the girls are getting Ivan back towards the tent, Jules has just run ahead, after giving her own order for him to remove his shoes, and pulled out two bottles of water, a cloth, and a medical kit. "Clear a bed!" She snaps at those in the room, getting Ivan a place -right- by the door so they're ready to treat him almost immediately.

Ivan tries to macho it out some, but he's got to either walk on his toes or way back on his heels so yeah, it's hard to look cool when you're hobbling like a broken footed fool suspended between two women that are basically the only thing between you and a faceplant. While he's walked to the tent, he talks because that's good for keeping one's mind off horrible pain and such. "This is nothing. I tell you." Pause to swear. "In country this time, I rigged a pepper bomb and-" Ow. Surely that ended in another misadventure, but he's back to Ukranian again and it's all nasty sounding.

Yes, because nothing says macho Marine like being walked out of burning fire ant jelly by two women. Even if one of them is the XO and one of them can probably understand what he's saying when he goes off on those tangents. Eisley seems fairly unconcerned about the attempts at distraction on his part and, in fact, vaguely encourages them. "A pepper bomb. Really. Were you trying to exterminate a pine tree that time?" She -almost- sounds like she's genuine and sincere in this inquiry. "How's that water coming, Bradshaw?" The rinsing can start before they actually reach the tent, and a delay now to wash off some of the ant goop might help things later.

Jet looks reasonably interested in Ivan's story telling before she winces at his cursing. If she does understand it, she's doing an admirable job of not letting everyone know what an abhorrent potty mouth Ivan is. She pats him on the back as she helps to lead him back to the tent. "Pepper bomb, hmm? I used to be fond of cherry bombs, myself. What were you doing?" She asks, smiling easily enough. Her attempts at conversation to lure Ivan's mind away from the pain are admirable, at least. "I have to admit that I wasn't actually expecting you to start beating the ants with that tree branch earlier, but it was impressive. If this were caveman days, you would have your pick of us, probably. I don't think you're going to be dragging anyone home by the hair tonight though."

"I got it, we get his shoes off though!" Julie calls, tumbling back outside of the tent with her arms full of several bottles of water and a long white towel. She'd look like she was ready to go to the beach, still just in a bra and shorts, sporting her tanning skin and tattoos, if it wasn't for the worry on her face and the boots on her own feet. She kneels down, using the near end of the towel to protect her hands as she tries to guide the boots off the big Marine's feet. "We gotcha, big boy."

"I got it, but those socks should come off too!" Julie calls, tumbling back outside of the tent with her arms full of several bottles of water and a long white towel. She'd look like she was ready to go to the beach, still just in a bra and shorts, sporting her tanning skin and tattoos, if it wasn't for the worry on her face and the boots on her own feet. She kneels down, using the near end of the towel to protect her hands as she tugs the socks away gently. "Okay. Bring him in."

"Pepper bomb. See, there was always these same skinnies coming to the base, wanting reparations for dead goats." Ivan explains between pained breaths, "But they are the ones killing them. So we made this thing to discourage them… for their own safety." Pick of the bunch? Socks? Medical treatment!? The story is forgotten for the time being. He just starts grinning like a crazy person. It's not a happy grin. It's more a baring of teeth and a grinding of molars with his lips peeled back to reveal all. "You ladies are the best. I can't decide. I pick all of you." Good thing there will be no dragging or attempts to, or probably much walking.

Eisley tsks quietly, a chiding little cluck of her tongue. "We'll pretend that you're delirious with pain and that we didn't hear any of that, Shevchenko." That expression is pretty frightening, after all. Once some of the ick has been washed off he'll be helped on into the tent and onto the nearest cot, which by now ought to have at least one of the science team and/or the medical group hovering around it, positively vibrating with the glee of the opportunity to do something productive. This makes Ivan the third Marine to be injured in the field; he's falling behind! "And down you…" Once he's settled she steps back to give everyone else some room and to keep herself out of the way, though she does lurk to watch. Meantime, she twists a wrist and activates her comm unit. "General Order #427, dated eleven March, whatever local planet time is: do not step on the ants."

Jet shoots a look over Ivan's head at Eisley, seeming amused by Ivan's comments about him picking them all. She lowers him down onto the cot and takes a few great steps back as Eisley does, taking in a breath. "Order noted, Commander." The redhead wipes sweat from her brow and clears her throat gently as she surveys Ivan's burns and winces, but doesn't comment on it. She turns to Julia and nods to her. "Thanks for your help. I'm Chief Petty Officer Jet Stanwick. Good to have you with us. I don't get out of the archives much, but since we landed, I thought I'd take in the scenery."

Julia finishes with the water, and then she's content to hand the Marine off to the med techs along with what is left of the bottles. She then looks over to Jet, a hint of embarrassment in her features at the fact that she's barely dressed, but in for a penny, in for a pound. The little, tattooed Marine flashes a hint of a smile over in the woman's direction. "Staff Sergeant Julia Bradshaw. It's a pleasure. No problem… I just wish I hadn't been off duty when this happened. It's a bit… awkward." She looks down to herself.

It actually seems to help quite a bit. The water alone dilutes the acid to the point that it no longer eats away at his flesh. After a bit of cleaning up, the soles of his feet are raw hamburger, but they'll heal quickly and easily with a bit of modern medical technology.

Never get off the boat. Ivan settles in for treatment and all told, outside of some swearing, he's a good patient. He's surely been injured before in many fun and ultimately non-fatal ways so he knows the routine. He puts on the charm a bit, crazy Ivan charm, because that's how you get extra peanut butter rations when you're layed up in hospital.

When it becomes clear that the nurse has this well in hand Eisley steps back and turns to make good her escape. The crazy Ivan charm is clearly not going to work on her, but she did all but grab him by the hair and drag him to a cave, er tent, herself. Anyway, there are fire extinguishers to send someone to round up, and hostile ants to be dissuaded, and someone really ought to go collect the firewood that the bonkers Marine worked so hard to explode.

"It's not awkward. It would have been awkward had Eisley made us pee on him." Jet winks at Julia before shoving her hands into her pockets and taking in a deep breath. "Right. So, I'm going to go to put the extinguishers back and then… go do some work. Nice, peaceful cryptography that is not about ants." The redhead salutes her commanding officer and nods to the others. "See you later, Shevchenko, Bradshaw. Hopefully no one will get burnt the next time we meet…" With that, the redhead ducks out to go gather extinguishers and presumably keep a low-profile… until the next time.

The shortie Marine looks back towards the departing women, "Take care, CPO… Sir…" She calls to Jet and Eisley, and then she creeps a few steps forward and lingers near the side of the poor, injured Ivan. He might have seen her on patrol once or twice. Despite her lacking dress right now, she is a Marine. Just newly out of stasis, and protectively worried, she'll linger at her fellow Marine's side instead of going out into the sun. She didn't need a tan anyway.

Ivan salutes the departing then just leaves his hand on his forehead, clamping down over his brow for a squeeze to remind himself that there's nerve endings other than the ones screaming in his feet. "Ma'am, thanks for the lift." He'll grit, but then he's all growling to himself and being all injure-y.

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