ICON New Ramallah

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
On the lonely, winding roads through the Sakir foothills Jaim Tahyadi stood upon the crest of an outcropping, a dozen meters above the road carved out through the gentle slopes. The road leading to the Adwulyah Cosmodrome was quiet and empty, as it usually is, with only sand and wind blowing over the old, cracked asphalt. Occasionally he would let bored, dull brown eyes look up and down the lane, half expecting and half wishing to see a Ramallan convoy or a herder bringing his flock to the valley. His uniform was nearly soaked through with sweat: despite the nanofabric's breathable construction nothing stopped Jade's harsh glow from heating everything she could touch.

He could feel moisture beading along his exposed features: when he turned his neck to glance sideways, new skin prickled and nearly curled at the sudden introduction of heat. His fingers were like lumpy clams that gripped at the AR-K rifle that was slung across his chest. Jaim knew this was a good thing, not boiling in the heat but, being here on the road to Adwulyah was: despite the remoteness he was at least aware of his surroundings. The Specialist was relatively confident in the fact that he was safe, seeing the tiny grey figures of other Home Army soldiers a few hundred meters below was a reassurance too.

With voices crackling away in his ear, Jaim reached up from his rifle with one hand and pulled away the grey helmet ontop of him. Now, he heard the definite roar of an engine coming about one of the curves up the road. It was a dieseler, he could easily tell. Not Home Army, however: he could not determine with precision if it were military or not. The helmet uncovered the comms-bead mounted in his ear now, finally giving his mind a moment's rest as the voices 'escaped' his head.

det' ep te sa'lmokyin

Jaim didn't bother speaking into the mike-piece on his throat, instead simply pressing the AR-K into his chest and beginning the climb down to the road. As he watched the junker burn around the corner, Jaim recognized the angled cross emblazoned on the hood and the doors of the single-cab. Before he reached down to speak to the rest of the squad, the comm-set on his webbing let out a squawk.

"Seithlum Three Eight this is Wahtan Actual, do you have a contact in visual range en route out of the Cosmodrome?"

As Jaim reached the asphalt, he saw the vehicle barreling onward. His Sergeant, Purnama Sur, was speaking quickly and obviously repeating information provided to him by a soldier with binoculars. Jaim stood on the shoulder of the road as the vehicle zoomed by, the smell of fumes and burning carbon hitting him for just a moment until that sense was merely overpowered with heat.


Packed in the back two jumpseats of the Bear a middle-aged man folded through a sheaf of paper and various diskettes, CDs or q-drives. "There's about as many people ready to grab a gun for the Wolves beyond Al Khyraf as there are Arghazi or Gurds waiting to start shooting up a church or mosque." The man said bluntly, drawing a four-fingered hand to a scruffy chin. "You want to make money in a place where it's not about money anymore."

Before the first man could continue, the Salian beside him made a dismissive scowl. "I know the Presidium was likely all over a resource pool in the Far Territories -- but take a look and tell me the Presidium really has the focus to keep people like us on a leash out here." He gestured once out the window.

Across from them sat a balding man, his skin a few shades too peach to adequately describe the 'native' appearance he had obviously been going for when he got off of whatever craft had brought him here. For the two men he had journeyed to see, the businessman was quite unimposing. For Walton, it was quite a culture shock. At first it seemed his two hosts didn't want him to speak back. Walton wasn't eligible for the federal services, he had no clue how to 'read' soldiers.

"There are more problems than just facility security, is all you will need to worry about." The Salian continued on, snatching a piece of paper from the man beside him and offering it to Walton. "I don't really care what budget the Presidium gave you because, as you should well know, they never get their numbers right." He ended, then looked over to the Salian in rugged desert fatigues and nodded.

"We're going to need Offworlders, everyone on this shit hole is already either bought or blinded: you're with the Wolves or you're in the ground." He began, laying the papers on top of his knee and glancing out the window. "If we can't get people that don't get a badge, then turn around and give the gun to a Wolf your little experiment in product control will look like my 3rd marriage."
 
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Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
as written by Azrican

The tiny hamlet of Beli’tet Annom was a small collection of dirt roads, old goat paths and tiny, squat houses built amongst the choked sands of the Bireh deserts. The rocky, jagged grounds Beli’tet Annom was built upon brushed up against the open, gaping yellow seas of dirt and sand: in many ways, Beli’tet Annom was known as a “coastal town”. Passing the treacherous, swallowing deserts required both preparation and skill, even in the age of interstellar travel and bewildering technology.

Or, it at least required preparation for the Ramallan Home Army. The civilians seemed to have all the proper protocol and procedure when it came to traversing the ‘Sand Seas’ as they were called. It was curious that such a hardy people would have so firm a need to ‘join’ their Scatterran brethren in the Coalition and Hegemony however. Mailer stood with his arms crossed, feet spread wide, and shoulders locked as he peered out across the sandy expanse, figures moving this way and that in front of him. One of them was coming up the slope, boots crunching at the ground and over stone.

“Who said you could get some water?”

The Salian raised his eyes from underneath the fabric adorning his head and shoulder; angry, green eyes stared back at the attempt at humor as he scaled the incline. “We’ve got another site.” Dagger responded dismissively.

As his joke fell flat Mailer’s lips slid into a grimace, eyes flickering over to where a group of grey-garbed men seemed to be standing over a rather large opening in the ground. There comes a point when a man finds enough shallow graves in the desert, one stops being concerned with the events that could have led to where they are now.

“How many?”

“Fifteen, at least. Four adults ten chil -- “

“I’m going to take the Bear back to Al Khyraf.”

Mailer started to turn quietly, eliciting a concerned frown from his comrade as Dagger lodged his feet in the sand and waved a hand. “What’re you doing, Mailer?” He said, taking a few impassive steps as if trying to follow. “We’re two crackers with a fucking truck and a bil in cays man, we’re gonna’ need more guns! And guys!” Mailer didn’t respond, instead tugging the visor down over the soft-shell helmet that was covering the back of his head.

“This isn’t the first hole I’ve found in the Birehs y’know -- Mailer, Mailer! Come the fuck back man!”
 

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
as written by Azrican

New Ramallah, Al Khyraf,


The sounds of the bustling, boiling city was only exasperated by the open sky and sun, typical for most of the planet’s nearly six-hundred day long year. Donkeys squaled, horses neighed and engines puttered from various types of vehicles that flooded New Ramallah’s sand-choked and rough streets. Whether in the Trinatian quarters of the North Bank or the Alibani districts of the Lord's Keep the bizarre nature of the city was enough to keep the security forces on their toes.

This was one of the particular reasons that made operating as a Freemerchant so easy in the realms of New Ramallah and the Outer Territories. So far from the Federate and the pesky micro-managements of the Core, the Freemen were more than able to ply their trades across the stars.

For one Bimari Freemerchant the remoteness of New Ramallah was far more than just another wartorn Sphere world with money to be made. Ayman al Nadir, Zakiraya II of the Gold Order if someone wanted a full name, stood across the street from a Ahloedi cantina: watching a pudgy man balance a cup of tea in each hand on his way back to the Bimari.

Rufsan Matali, held a cup of tea out to Ayman as the Bimari studied the cantina for a few more moments. He took the small cup with a gloved hand, folding the arm back across his armored exoskin and flowing thobe. “What’d you see, Rufsan?”

“There are definitely Khariji in there, mawlana.”

Zakiraya took a long swig of the tea for a moment, traffic moving in front of him beneath a hot sun and stagnant air that parched the very ground the millions of Scatterrans walked upon. Handing the cup of tea back to Rufsan he reached a hand into the long thobe, pawing at the large satchel of cays.


When Rufsan returned to the cafe escorting a robed man, the various faces and patrons soaking in the cantina. The Dalorite ushered Ayman to follow him, towards where the pudgy man had been sitting next to the bar where a group of mercenaries were seen playing a hand of cards.

“See, a lot of Khariji here hah?” He said, stopping at one table in front of Ayman. An angered, scarred Tai-Aya bared his teeth at Rufsan when he comfortably put a hand on the mercenary. An avian growl made the Scatterran fidget a moment, until Rufsan finally scrambled back to the table he had kept open for the two Scatterrans.

Ayman sat after drawing off the long thobe, moving an empty glass to the side as Rufsan sat across from him. The happy man pulled a small skullcap off, smiling to some of the other patrons that only returned with scowls, or rambunctious laughs.


Aljuz Bireh,

Tires ached and growled over the sands as a 3-ton truck bounced over loose rocks and packed dirt. In the back hauler, a pervading stench of gunpowder and accelerant dominated the confines of the plywood and aluminum structure. The glaring stench of war, body odor and vomit, perhaps some urine, was enough to make most men retch. Yet the eight in the back refused to speak, hardly even breathing could be heard as light would poke and slide under the hanging door that walled the hauler off. Despite the hour of night, Mailer could still make out the rough shape of the seven other figures in the hauler with him: whenever there was enough illumination he could see the metal of AK-76s and bolt-action SKR linerifles catching in the moonlight.

“Dagger.” He whispered out quietly, one gloved hand softly flipping his own AK-54. The weapon was, mechanically, similar to the AK patterns; a gas-operated, rotating bolt mechanism and stamped machining gave these weapons the appearance of a rugged, brutish firearm. The calibers of the projectiles fired, however, were radically different. Unlike the AK-76, chambered in caseless 7.62, the AK-54 provided a lighter weight and better accuracy in exchange with its caseless 5.45 round. In terms of damage the weapons were relatively the same; they were capable of defeating most body armors found throughout the Expanse, minor differences in stopping power made the AK-76 the preferred weapon for an infantryman however.

“Yeah?” The man across the hauler looked up from his AK, his hand activating a small module on the foreguard of the weapon. Mailer held up five fingers to the mercenary across from him, then showing it to the other men. The others that had accompanied them into the back of the hauler when they ambushed the convoy were local militia, whom perhaps just a few hours ago had been managing a farm before their regional commander made a stop on horseback.

“We want one of them alive after we wipe out the mortar site.” Mailer replied, inconsiderate of the idle looks he got from the other men, many spoke pathetic aenglis and relied on brief hand-signals or autotranslated commands to understand the mercenaries.

“Yeah yeah, they just wanna’ take care of these mortars shelling that trading post ten miles up the road.” Dagger replied, one hand deftly racking the chamber of his AK-76. As the sound of a voice passing along the road outside was heard the occupants of the hauler went quiet. The truck burned it’s way up a small hill, struggling against the flakey ground.

The mercenaries stood at the very end of the hauler, the two closest to the door when they heard the sounds of a man trudging against sand to the back of the truck. Mailer instinctively crouched, shouldering the AK-54 into his shoulder as the mercenary behind him held up a quick hand. The Bassessian was deftly screwing a cylindrical suppressor onto the muzzle of the carbine as the latch made a strained groan.

“Dagger.” The Salian replied, holding one hand up as he reached the other side of the hauler door that Dagger was on. He reached down, gripping at the lift handle, looking over to his comrade of no less than 3 campaigns and nodding.

“We open this door, we’re gonna’ go out shooting. Right?” Alright … Three, two, one … “


As the back of the hauler was swung open, the two Junfa men garbed in long thobe stared at the empty the hauler that should have contained ammunition for their mortars and other supplies. Before the next words were uttered one of the Gurdish rifleman blasted a 10.6mm round into the first man’s chest, thunder cracking as the other tribal infantrymen soon launched a brief fusilade into the other man and the Junfa mortar position. Mailer was the third man out of the hauler, behind two other young men firing their AK-77s from either axle: bullets sprayed the sandbag trenches and flimsy yughatti tarps the tribal men had transported their mortars and munitions in.

Mailer bolted away from the truck as he watched two more Junfa drop to the sand, grabbing at bullet wounds and screaming as he found a Gurd kneeling with a bolt-action SKR. “Naql, atlaq alnnar!” He shouted, firing over his shoulder with the AK-54 and motioning to the large foxhole.

The mortar pit was inadequate to hold any larger weapon than the 58mm Soviet piece, but was more than capable of sustained damage. This was a particular reason the mortar was favored by the Alhurriat, ethnic Junfa largely armed against the Alibani government. With this they were more than capable of not only targeting local Gurdish villages already embroiled in armed conflict with their Arghazistani neighbors, but also the central government’s vital railhead arteries only a few miles away.

Jumping into the large pit with the Gurd, he motioned for cover as Mailer pulled a grenade from his chest rig and pried the spoon off. Rolling it down the barrel of the mortar, he crawled back out of the pit with the Gurdish rifleman in front of him before the mortar’s base exploded into the sand all around. “Asm, jandi?” Mailer said, patting the rifleman on the shoulder as he spoke.

“Sivan!” The Gurdish man responded, quickly following behind Mailer as he joined the seven other men assaulting the hilltop position. At least a dozen more bodies were strewn about the two other pits with weapons, mostly rifles and pistols, lying in the sand.

“Everyone sound it off!” Dagger yelled, crouching by a bullet-riddled tarpaulin. The Gurdish riflemen all responded to Dagger’s hand signal and shout in sharp language, searching the Junfa strewn about the position where they had fallen.

“We’re good, looks like the place is clear!” Mailer finally replied, leaving Sivan as he was collecting bandoleers of rifle ammunition from several boxes lodged in the sand. Mailer could peer over the gentle slope of the hill and down into a sand-choked valley of dunes and rock, distant lights framing the railway.
 

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
as written by Azrican

New Ramallah,
Amaril, e2591
Sergeant Hadden Babyritsar Kovodnikiere



مرحبا بكم في نيو رام الله

Willkommen in neue türken

Добро пожаловать в новый Рамалле​


A soft, chiming voice spoke over the milling crowds of Scatterrans, long kharffiyehs and Bimari elbis obscuring many faces and features save for the few Offworlders or Kharijis that went between the stardocks and the elevator. The only hardened route onto the surface of New Ramallah itself, what should have been a heavily guarded installation was instead, like much of New Ramallah’s lawless wastes, devoid of much security.

It was a scene similar to this as three robed men stepped off the lift from a Jovian-registered freighter that sat loomed a few stories over the open, transparent ceiling of the dock. It would take them walking several hundred meters before they were out of the shadow of the Jovian muldry, hauler. Several minutes of walking quietly, one of the robed men only turning once to take a passing glance at the red and gold-painted hull and patches of the freighter before he turned back to catch up with his two accomplices. The large figures passed along the idle pair of security droids entertaining an older woman, her tiny form huddled in front of the cumbersome droids trying to repeatedly scan a piece of paper. Moving on, they continued to scan their surroundings for any sense that the impending assault required more timing. When the trio passed a final checkpoint, though abandoned, the man on the right drew the cowl from off his head, the towering Oriyak scanning a hall before his comrade on the right pointed.

"Tam, tsentral'nyye sistemy." The Oriyak said quietly, and the three man proceeded down the hall. On the left, Kovodnik drew a gauntlet up from his side, nodding to the second man through the door before he stood at the doorway. He looked down at a low-light device on his forearm, waiting in silence with the station AI speaking overhead until a soft, blinking green light sprang to life. Closing the door behind him, the Soviet special forces operator locked the door behind him and caught up to the other Soviets. As they entered the small control both overseeing the "western" sectors of the dock, the two drowsy docking staff overseeing the shift-change were surprised to find three armed men at the door. Yet without a shot being fired, Kovodnik and the three GORE operators had effectively taken control of the sector where the large Jovian freighter rested.

Staring out over the chalky, brown and yellow expanse of New Ramallah underneath him Kovodnik spotted one of the Home Army's few JHKU-3 starfighters on patrol, quickly passing by the stardock on a routine observation. He raised his arm back up towards his mouth, hawkish eyes watching the airjet streak past until he spoke into the module.

"Podpolkovnik Stahkanoviere, my nazad k ekspluatatsii Mistral"​
 

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
as written by Ottoman

Kovodnik's team was only one of several that had already infiltrated the spaceport, though they shared with two others what could be argued to be the most important tasks. A good two-dozen GORE operators were spread across the facility, typically in two or three man teams, concealed as civilians or merchants as they moved into position, each of them chiming in as they reached their objectives. Kovodnik simply happened to be the first to do so. It was a credit to their training and their capability that they'd reached all of the designated objectives in such short order, if anything it might throw off the timetable for the operation - but that was a risk that had to be taken, to wait any longer only increased the risk of discovery. Twenty-three minutes ahead of schedule, the first gunshot of Operation Mistral was fired.

Some, like Kovodnik, were deployed with the intention of securing the dock's control centers, the vital objective of controlling communication, but they were bloodless objectives if all went well. They were not the ones who truly enacted the liberation of New Ramallah, it was the auxiliary team around the Jovian freighter who first opened fire. These were measured doses of brutality - kills meant for terror, not efficiency - surgically chosen to sow panic amongst the people here in the starport: a police officer, a customs agent, a father in front of his family. It worked well enough, between the screams and intentional unsuppressed gunshots the paranoia born of the Insurgencies did the rest of the work for GORE, carrying the crowds in any direction away from this unwarranted episode of violence.

"Eto Mangusta, operatsiya vpolnayetsya."

There were stragglers of course, those unable or unfit to flee, whether through physical ailment or the fear of being confronted with one's own demise, but they were of little concern. The throngs had dispersed and the crowds had been driven away, still harried by their supposed predators as the primary ramps of the Jovian freighter began to descend. They revealed the cold, florescent innards of the beast, an industrial vessel with an industrial purpose, though what lay inside were hardly instruments of production. The diesel roar of an A56M engine bellowed from the freighter's maw as the first of the tanks crawled out onto the loading ramp, flanked by echelons of shuffling infantry clad in arid tones, whose bayonets glinted in Jade's harsh light. The T-92 spun to the left once it reached the pavement of the marketplace, the tracks kicking kicking up dust and asphalt in the neutral turn as it moved to establish a perimeter alongside its support, the escort making way for its ward.

Only moments later another drove out of the freighter's hold, a more lithe machine than the first, though its smaller frame was offset by a turret bristling with cannon, the four-barreled behemoth moving up just behind the MBT it followed out of the cargo bay. Its arms were raised to the skies as the turret scanned occasionally, waiting for whatever aerial support would no doubt come once the brief window bought by Kovodnik's team came to a close. The SPAAG taking up a position not far behind the T-92. Two dozen meters away a similar scene had already begun with the second ramp, and beyond it the third. Veritable swarms of infantry moved to push the perimeter further into the docks as a second T-92 rolled down the ramp, advancing by leapfrog for now, though soon enough they would have a genuine armored contingent to assist in their advance.

But for all of these men and women rushing down the ramps in combat gear, a single figure strode out in the wake of that third AFV, polished boots carrying him down the ramp alongside the soldiers of his command. He too wore the earthy camouflage of the infantry, an SrK-2 slung across his chest and a veritable hand-cannon strapped to his leg, but despite his camouflage uniform, his ballistic vest and assault rifle, it was all too evident that this man was not of the rank and file. The other officers wore such boots of course, it was a symbol of the station that they had earned, but it was the navy blue beret of the Party Guard that set him apart, the crimson flash upon it telling everyone all they needed to know about this severe, solitary creature. His commlink vibrated so very slightly as the rolling Oriyak voice spilled into his ear.

"Gornostay, operatsiya vpolnayetsya!"

The tell-tale whine of an airjet assailed the ears of all present as the lonely JHKU-3 streaked back overhead. Only minutes ago it had been assigned to an otherwise sleepy overwatch sortie, now proving witness to the deployment of an armored brigade from they assumed had been a civilian freighter. There was no doubt that its pilot was already chattering frantically away - hopefully with his communications jammed from starport command and control - doing their best to report this unexpected incursion, and the politruk regarded the craft with an unerring, judgmental gaze. He wasn't eager to give the fighter a chance to pull away from the tower's range. A lone finger came up to hold his link firmly in his ear. "Serzhant Orloviere, eto Stakhanov."

"Eyst, podpolkovnik?" The rhythmic rumble of an engine could be heard on the other end of the comms, though the sound was of no consequence to the Lieutenant Colonel, so long as he could hear the other.

"Their sheepdog is onto us. Clear the sky."

"Dak dochna, tovarisch podpolkovnik. Yvesiere! Koalitsiya istrebitel, neizvestnyy tip, na lev-"

Sergeant Orlov's words were soon drowned out as the four-barreled monstrosity nearby barked to life, the relative silence that they enjoyed beforehand was shattered as the cannons ripped apart the air between the SPAAG and the Coalition starfighter, which had come by for another pass - perhaps to identify just who it was that had set upon them. The JHKU did its best to weave in and out of the line of fire, but the Soviet machine and its Salian gunner refused to let up, eager to expend their caseless payload at the trespasser. A brief spark, a subtle shudder, and the starfighter's course straightened, its flightpath leveling out for but a spare moment or two before the SPAAG made short work of this development. Despite the constant patter of boots, the clank of tread and the fluctuating rumble of shifting diesel engines, when the ZSU ceased firing it all seemed so very quiet.

Squinted, emerald eyes traced out the starfighter's disintegrating carcass as it fell, flaming, back to earth, only drawn back to the task at hand by the sound of distant gunfire, this time from the east. Kunitsa must have begun. Without waiting for confirmation of such, Ilya reached again for the comm-link, moving away from the ramp and to the side as he spoke into it. "Vnimanye, all forces, this is Sova-1," An SGA officer gave the Party Guard a quick salute as he laid a map - a copy of a local atlas - out on a crate before the Politruk, operational markings and locations of import scrawled and designated upon it. Stakhanov's spare hand came up to the map, fingers tracing out his position, and comparing it with the deployment zones that Kunitsa and Gornostay had cleared. "Secure your perimeters and prepare to assemble task group Rapira at phase line Hadden."

A stern, weathered finger was drawn to a singular, central point in the facility, withdrawing only as the Oriyak spoke. "Tovarischi," The commander mused, taking a moment to check the time on his pocketwatch, having drawn its chain from within his vest. "GORE has bought you an extra twenty minutes - I expect the elevator in our hands that much sooner." A firm thumb snapped the watch shut, its engraving still as crisp as the day it was made.

For our dearest,

"Do not disappoint me."
 

Tiko

Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Administrator
Mentor
Nexus GM
as written by Azrican

By the time a dull klaxon had sounded through the dock control, Kovodnik and the other operators were quick to disengage all the necessary controls as the Soviet forces seized the star-lift. While the din of automatic weapons still rang through the corridors of the dock, Kovodnik led his small team at the front through the darkened hallways and avenues of the massive structure. A few decks below, the growling moan of a T-92’ss engine dominated the access-path as the Oriyaks made for the lifts. Seizing the star-port would be irrelevant if the GORE units deployed had not made it groundside by the time the communist armor had taken control of the docks. Before they had left port-control, Kovodnik and the operators had made sure the Jovian freighter was given the wide breadth it needed to overwhelm what few guards managed to offer resistance.

Then, to allow their comrades ample time, Kovodnik and the team had allowed three nearby ships to disengage their magnetic lockings. By the time they reached a suitable window, which was really nothing more than a transparent plate of metal, they would understand the effectiveness of their decision.

A Carolingian schiff was already beginning to crawl its way towards the ground, derelict and tumbling through the long fields of waylines and FTL spoolers, and also making any attempt for the Home Army to quickly respond to the incursion nigh on impossible.

Initiative was in their hands, and it would not be wasted as the three men sprinted to the lifts to begin their journey groundside. It was a race against their man-made asteroids at this point.

“Podpolkovnik, nachat vtoroy etap: we are on the lift down, begin ground bombing within the hour.” Kovodnik replied into his forearm, waiting until the two others had readied their weaponry before joining them and watching the door close with a hydraulic shriek.

“Vogon, eh comrades?” One of them replied, drawing the cowl off from his head revealing the Oriyak’s narrow features and rouge, hawkish eyes.

“This war’s just beginning, tovarisch. First this world: next, New Empyrea.”


The lift down was punctuated by silence, and an errant cough here and there as the inky, bleak expanse of the cosmos slowly bled away into the sand-choked, sun-bleached atmosphere of New Ramallah. Kovodnik stood quietly facing a large window, the picturesque view afforded could have been captivating if the distant figures steaming away from the star-port weren't growing closer.

One of the operators lifted an arm out from beneath his cloak, gloved fingers reaching to the window to plant his palm on the cool ceramic. The three men watched on in silence as the shapes revealed themselves, stark and powerful, as Soviet strikecraft. Thirty minutes later when the lift had breached the cloud ceiling and the sandy, wind-blown flats and deserts of New Ramallah could be seen, the incredible scream of engines soon overtook them as speeding hornets zoomed by twisting cloud and air behind them.
 
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