A military cargo flies under the cloud layer. Rural Chinese houses pass below. No markings.
Inside, two pilots chat. American accents…
“The visual barrier is problematic…85%”
“It'll be enough…Traffic control hasn’t even raised a finger yet.”
“Its dangerous. Lets err on the side of caution and plot around Maccau.”
Inside the fuselage of the plane, there are no people, nothing, just an empty cargo area with closed bay doors and a single crate.
“I said fly us around Maccau. Divert course bearing 165…”
The other pilot doesn’t move.
“Sorry John…” The co-pilot takes out a pistol and aims at the pilot’s head.
Outside the cockpit, a bang echoes…
In the cockpit, the pilot drops a total immersion system over his head.
Outside the plane, a hatch opens and a laser targeting system
lowers, a green laser paints a point on the ground on the ground of a small town.
The plane opens its cargo bay…
The cargo crate drops out.
A parachute deploys and it slows. The crate drops into an abandons building, perfectly into the roof, right on the target of the laser.
The plane diverts and flies away.
The crate seals breaks, steam vents out.
VARIABLE MOTIVES / WORMWOOD
<A complex episode>
Kobotai approaches Greg and asks him to check on any references to Wormwood. Anything that could be connected to National security. He has 30 minutes.
-- Wormwood, Artemisia Absinthium has been used for centuries as a moth repellant, general pesticide and as a tea/spray to repel slugs and snails.—
-- Project Wormwood is a small program run by IPS Radio and Space Services and established at Learmonth Solar Observatory to participate in the first two phases of Planetary Defence.—
--Premier Ezine for the Underground Heavy Metal scene.—
-- “The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. “
--Project Wormwood, Pioneer Industrial scrapped project during World War IV. Change in internal affairs policy and degrading relationships with AE results in termination of exported high-tech Japanese military project. No further details on the Public appropriations committee website.—
Kobotai freaks. Greg pushes for information. Kobotai mutters, “That project was killed.”
Greg pushes into Pioneer; he finds information on someone’s email indicating that someone had requested access to Project Wormwood. Odd sine they could never figure out how its insulations system worked. Another file has a requisition order to release American owned property by Pioneer. Since the technology is ten years old, it was allowed.
A final report is an email from a warehouse supervisor about the American military men that picked up the crates from Project Wormwood, “Not sure what they plan on doing with it. Those kind of androids are a political hot potato, even if they look as ugly as that one did.” When Greg tries to find a name attached to the military, he finds only one…Holden, the same Colonel that leaked Nuclear Weapons to the media.
Section 10 are doing whatever when they are picked up by the Botanachi. They will be equipped and debriefed enroute. Kobotai is back at base and the group is all given memory players.
“The following message was transmitted to the Joint Staff Council’s security network at the A-Wing of the Defense Agency.”
The voice changes to a deep bass.
“Wormwood has fallen. Japanese self-worth collapses by their own decadence. Their greed finally dripping over the rim for all to see. Spilling the blood of their victims, those who have no voice will scream. In an effort to facilitate the future already set, certain individuals much be removed. At 0900 your time, a high-ranking Chinese official of respectable stature will be eliminated. Fingers will be pointed, accusations thrown. If a country refuses to acknowledge the sins of its past, then new sins must be inflicted upon it. This will mark the first trumpet, more will follow. This is not a warning…it is fact. Record this, document it. Its more than what you gave them.”
Back to Kobotai. “That message is two hours old. When it was placed on the Defense Agency’s network, it immediately caused the Defense Agency’s AI to inform the Minister of State for Defense and increase military readiness across the board. Fifteen minutes later, Admiral Campbell on the Aircraft Carrier Bill Clinton reported the same message transmitted to their red-level security channel, immediately prompting an increase to DefCon 4. The message was unimportant at this point—the security breaks resulted in the military reflex action. This knee-jerk response probably wasn’t a good idea if the Chinese government also received the message. The JSDF informed the Prime Minister 35 minutes ago with an amendment from Admiral Campbell. Upon reaching DefCon4, all planes stations around the American Fleet and those stationed at the military base at Sasebo were recalled. One didn’t respond. It’s a Leo-nard Class IV transport plane utilizing a visual barrier system to mimic the profile of a Rossini Airline flight. It was supposed to fly to the military base in the Philippines. Three hours into its flight, it diverted and flew over southern China. It remained there for 20 minutes before turning back. It promptly ditched into the South China Sea. Recovery teams from the Bill Clinton are there now. However, they claim it was transporting simple electronics.
It seems clear that someone managed to get Project Wormwood on a flight and drop it into China. Wormwood was a Project by Pioneer, designed for America but scrapped when Japan’s policy changed on technological properties. It was a Hunter-Killer android—a humanoid combat unit. It does not look human at all but it does have a humanoid basic shape. Its technology is rather old by today’s standards. Even if therm-optic camo system isn’t perfect. However, it is good at what it does.
It’s on its way to kill Deputy Minister Wang from the Chinese Public Safety Department
Section 10 infiltrates into a small Chinese town. They find the crate parachuted into a small house and the droid killed the family. What they don’t know is the machine is still there. Among its primary programming is a mission to frame Section 10 for its attacks. The group realizes the truth when the Chinese military quickly moves in. Section 10 and 9 already informed Wang of the assassination attempt but he has no pull with the military to pull them so soon. Section 10 getting captured in Chinese territory would create almost as much damage. But who told them. Their mission was leaked. All who could know was Section 9 and 10, the Prime Minister, and maybe the Admiral on the Bill Clinton. Section 10 remains hidden. When the Chinese attack chopper closes in, the Wormwood droid jumps up and takes out the rotors, causing a massive fireball on the street below.
Section 10 steals a military car and escape from town before being captured. Sharron contacts his Asian ally, Nano Chang who works for the Chinese intelligence network. Nano is obviously upset Section 10 is in China but realizes it feels like a setup. He organizes a meet. Section 10 believes the robot is heading towards Hong Kong, where the target is under guard.
Section reaches the highway to Hong Kong and a limo drives up. Nano picks up the group and they drive on. However, Wormwood tracks the group. It stops in front of the limo and plants itself into the concrete. The limo slams into the robot, flipping the limo onto its back. Sliding on its roof at 70 kph, the limo skids out of control. The robot jumps on top of the flipped car, and starts tearing into the undercarriage to get at the people inside. Greg and Nano jump to safety. Ben jumps out but rolls into oncoming traffic. Roy shoots through the opening created and jumps out last. Ben grabs another vehicles and they escape.
Section 10 realizes the truth that the machine is tracking them. They decide to lay a trap. When they arrive at Hong Kong, they contact Wang and inform him of the plan. When Wormwood ambushes Wang in his office, it accidentally attacks a cyborg made to look like him. Section 10 and Wang’s guards jump in and destroy the robot once and for all. With China’s public security’s assistance, Section 10 is smuggled out of the country.
Episode 9: Variable Motives / Wormwood
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Episode 9: Variable Motives / Wormwood
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