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File 167798745891.png - (204.21KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_001.png )
1057440 No. 1057440 ID: a4d2ed

This mall is one of the few places where he's allowed to come. In part, because of the high ceiling clearance. In part... it sees alot of movement. I guess they want him to be seen as... normal.

And yet, plenty stores dont let him inside anyway.
15 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 1057523 ID: 853862

Also, get your hands free of those dresses ya doof. Wrap the one you like the most around something heavy (like a rock or piece of debris) and chuck it out the window. You MIGHT find it whether you tossed it later, but thats prolly your best bet for getting these things outta the way right now.
No. 1057527 ID: a7a180

Head for the store entrance. It's not shoplifting if it's an emergency.
No. 1057560 ID: a4d2ed
File 167806326710.png - (192.34KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_007.png )

Andrews starts into the store.
"Wingman. Drop the Cloth. Talk to Dee."

"Uh! Right away!" In my defense, I'm still picking myself up.
No. 1057561 ID: a4d2ed
File 167806371527.png - (189.01KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_008.png )

I guess its no surprise that he would be helping the closest person he could find.

>"Oh, thank you sonny. A little lady, she- uh-"
"Not trouble."

Given all the noise, calling Central is probably useless -- specially on my personal phone. However, I have Dana on speed dial.

>clk!< "Naomi! Are you okay?! Did you get yourself--"
No. 1057566 ID: a4d2ed
File 167806482821.png - (274.06KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_009.png )

"Dana I'm -- Imean, Dispatch! Alpha 14! What is going on, we just felt some rumbles, they seemed like--"
"Alpha-fourteen, I'm still getting the reports. Something at the West Wing of the mall barreled trough -- wait whats going on boss? What? Wait you cant just--"

Hmn, Dispatch must be getting busy with something. In the meantime, I get to hear Andrews being responsible -- gathering people, and calming them by being louder than the ruckus threatening them.

"Attention persons! All will be well. Stay together. A way out will--"

"you cant possibly Alpha-fourteen, new priorities. You are to take whoever you come across and take them away from the ruckus trough a north exit, and nothing else."
"Uh, Dispatch? We're ready, Andrews brought his canister and all." Andrews literally refuses to go anywhere without his full kit nowdays. "We can be of--"
"Alpha-fourteen, the canary is dead, we have explicit instructions for you to save anyone you can and leave the building. Copy?"
"... copy that, Dispatch."
"Good. Do your best out there, Alpha-fourteen."

... there's feds at Dispatch Central. Oh no.
No. 1057602 ID: 1371b2

North Exit?
Okay, we do that, guide people there and out, that is. Aaand as for not wanting us around? Eh, might be a delicate situation instead of one that wants power.
No. 1057612 ID: a7a180

Escort these people to the north, sure, but it's not like your bosses will be in any hotter water if you do happen to get in a fight.
No. 1057620 ID: e51896

lets go!

nothing else? guess we can't take the dresses.
No. 1057623 ID: 853862

How close IS the north exit? Considering how some people may be critically wounded and the structural integrity of the building, time is of the essence here. In addition, if this WAS some kinda terrorist attack - and not, say, a runaway fuel truck ramming into the side of the mall or something - wouldn't it be wise to NOT use an obvious exit out of the building?

Take a bit of initiative and see if you can locate an alternative, closer route out of the mall - like, say, a loading bay or fire escape. Ask any local employees if there's a different exit/entrance they use. If you can't find one within 3 to 5 minutes - see if Andrews has something to make holes in walls in his kit.

Also, what floor are you on?
No. 1057630 ID: f8083d

Relay the orders to Andrews. Dispatch says to route all civilians to the North exit.

At the center of the ruckus is probably something no one is supposed to see. Let's not make this complicated.
No. 1057642 ID: a4d2ed
File 167810813811.png - (206.54KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_010.png )

Andrews pokes me until I open my GPS app. With some nudging, we describe our options to evaluate them.

The mall is, frankly, gigantic. South of us there's a business center, and further northeast a park. I dont like the park, people will disperse and get lost as soon as we reach it.

The North Exit is, unsurprisingly, past the North Wing. I think thats the main entrance if you're coming by bus, Emergency Services must have set a staging area there.

We're at the third floor, somewhere in the middle of the East Wing.
There should be plenty emergency exits trough the service corridors around here. There should be stairwells there. We can use the atrium at the central block to get downstairs, or see if theres an escalator around here. Elevators are out of question.

The people we have here are mobile, but I worry about five or so of them. One sprained an ankle during the panic, another is an elder, and -- oh god, children. So I'm worried about more than five.

But the main problem in all this might be Andrews. He doesnt fit stairwells. He doesnt fit escalators. Sure, he can just lean into a wall until it drops, but--


.. do we WANT to be taking down walls?
No. 1057644 ID: 1371b2

Closer we get to outside, the better the notion of going through a wall becomes…
But how many breaks can we afford?
And worse, Andrew is ALSO probably our best bet for helping some of those slower civilians…
Changing floors seems to be the real sticking problem.
I imagine even for Andrew jumping off the third story would joy be advised.
…Wingman mentioned the park, but unless it’s immeadiately there once you leave the mall we should be able to go around outside the building, and the park being a major attraction increases the chance the hallways in that direction will be big enough for Andrew.
So that’s more or less my reccomended path.
Go out like you’re headed to the park, keep building on the left-hand side so people don’t get lost or wander off by accident, not sure about the floors problem…
No. 1057647 ID: 8b2d07

Dang dawg, this is quite the situation...

I propose you briefly split - escort as many mobility capable peeps out via the maintenance corridors as you can, and tell them to hole up in the closest business centre (or somewhere nearby, if there's no access). If you feel like splitting up might be a liability right now, though, find the most responsible-ish looking person out of the survivors - preferably staff, as they would know their way around - and tell em to escort everyone else outside via the shortest route possible. Once again, its a risk AND you miss out on an opportunity to scout out and clear an additional way out, so do so only if you believe that leaving Andrews alone might cause 'im to act unwise.

As for those who require assistance in traversal, looks like we will have to brave the atrium area, since that seems like the best bet for getting Andrews to the floors below and using his strength to carry as many people as possible - speaking of, how DID our metal boi get on this floor in the first place?

Before you split (or not), see if you and Andrews can make something to boost his carrying capacity. Like, say rigging a travois out of changing room sheets and clothing rack beams taken from that store you came out of. Or getting a dolly of some kind outta the maintenance corridors. Ensure hell be able to carry all of those with mobility issues, at the very least.

Tell him to get to the atrium and take shelter in one of the stores there, so as to avoid detection by the west wing baddies. Youd meet with him once you finish evac via the tunnels.
No. 1057648 ID: 8b2d07

Whoops, a bit of a correction - didnt examine the map very well. Since the nearest fire exit seems to be to the east, escort movement capable survivors there and tell them to head towards the main road.
No. 1057794 ID: a7a180

Well how did he get up here? If the elevators are out of service have him just jump down the shaft or something. You'll meet him by the escalators.
No. 1057857 ID: f78a37
File 167825718335.png - (313.62KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_011.png )

Andrews takes to a direction, leading everyone trough a service corridor. He barely fits, but does his best to not break everything in it. I wonder why he insists on doing it though.
No. 1057859 ID: f78a37
File 167825724236.png - (211.67KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_012.png )

Once we reach the emergency stairwell, his intentions are clear.
"Wingman. Way down. Way out."
"Oh no dont you dare. The last time we split you broke a nuclear warhead. I am Not letting you out of my sight."

And if its up to me, he'll never live this down.
No. 1057860 ID: f78a37
File 167825738983.png - (236.89KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_013.png )

His .. eye? Sensor lays on a woman in the group. She has a colorful dress and a nametag. I think I saw her before, at an ice cream kiosk.
"Target. Way down. Way out. Way to great carriage point."
"Look... whats your name?"
>"... Mnib?"
"Miss Mnib, you seem pretty level-headed. There's a bunch of responders set up at the bus stop in front of the mall."
"If can not run. Come with."
"Can you take all these people there, miss Mnib?"
No. 1057861 ID: f78a37
File 167825750792.png - (346.96KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_014.png )

>"... I'm -- I'll do my best."
Thats thirty people following her, down the stairwell. We wait until they're all gone, before we make back to the main corridors.
No. 1057863 ID: f78a37
File 167825802788.png - (263.43KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_015.png )

When we're back, all lights are off. Whatever is happening, finally got to the power.

In the end only one of the rescues ended up with us. Male, thirties, hit his head. Still unconscious, but is breathing. We found a cart in the backrooms and are using it to transport him. Andrews could have carried him, but...

Everything feels weird. This doesnt feel like a gas leak, or terrorism. I'm afraid of calling Da-- of calling Dispatch.

Theres the slight smell of smoke and rubble in the air, and no more of those rumbles and explosions -- just the deafening, slow footsteps of a giant robot walking on his own thrusters, right by my side. He seems worried about something... say, above us, around the North wing. Just a guess. I'm not the one with fancy sensors.
No. 1057868 ID: 15c72a

Large hostile detected, and it's in the way. Hmm. Can Andrews carry both remaining humans? (why did the others not take the unconscious man???) We were told to exit the building, but not what direction. Perhaps we can fly out a window.
No. 1057870 ID: d764c4

Lights being off sucks, no doubt about it, but it might be a blessing in disguise - whatever that thing is, it MIGHT not be able to see us.

See what you can do about the light situation. Using something too bright can give your position away. If you have a lighter or a phone screen - use that, as it'll give others a beacon to go towards. Does Andrews have any nightvision of sorts, by the way? You could always just follow his footsteps...

I suggest we create a distraction - to both divert its attention and observe the way it (them?) reacts to random sounds. Ask Andrews to get something heavy, like a potted plant or bench, and throw it down the atrium to the first floor - aiming as west and below from our position as able, preferably at a glass storefront or something similarly noisy. Sneaking with a giant robot by your side is probably very difficult, so use that distraction to cover as much of your retreat north as you can, taking into account the speed - or lack thereof - of others. (If you spot a quicker, but safe way to the south, like a window or a hole in the wall - through there.) Repeat the throwing stuff down - shimmying north process until you are at the northmost point of the atrium. If at any point you get spotted - see if Andrews has powder extinguisher for putting out electrical/chemical fires, and spray out as much of that stuff as you can for a smokescreen.

Also, take note of any stores you pass by on your way to the exit. Some of them might have something useful, like more light sources and such.
No. 1057872 ID: a7a180

Prepare for ambush? Fall back and watch for falling debris.
No. 1057989 ID: 273c18

Oh on second thought, the large hostile is technically not in the way. It's above us, so either it's on the ceiling or there's a second floor and we can just walk by.
HOWEVER, there are smaller hostiles in the north wing. One seems to have taken hostages.

We know the total number of hostiles from the initial scan, relay the count to Wingman and also that one of them is very big. Probably has an energy weapon. Confrontation will not go well. Also tell her about the civilians on radar near the smaller hostile.

We might be able to rush the small hostile up north and use the cover of darkness to bulldoze it and grab the hostages there then keep moving north, but... I worry the large hostile will take issue with this and attempt to shoot us, through the floor or not. We could potentially avoid that by keeping the small hostile as a hostage of our own?

Wingman might want to tell Dispatch that our way north is blocked by hostiles. Maybe Dispatch knows of another exit we can use; like perhaps they will permit us to knock down a wall in the south or east to get out?
No. 1058238 ID: 6841d3
File 167857048482.png - (413.38KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_016.png )

We come closer middle of the mall. The only light here coming from the crystal glass skylight topping the central atrium's roof. Andrews picks up a metal trashcan on his way here for some reason.

However, there's... something at the ground floor.
No. 1058239 ID: 6841d3
File 167857061539.png - (333.22KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_017.png )

Seems some kind of robot, but it moves with an uncanny swagger and precision... Like its not made to walk, yet it does in spite of its design and code.

Reminds me of Andrews. Somehow.

It seems lightly scorched from fire in places. I cant tell from this distance who's that on its back, but its someone.
No. 1058243 ID: a7a180

Do you want to guess they're related to the explosions? Unidentified robot carrying a civilian in a basket, seems mighty suspect.
Turn that trashcan into a projectile.
No. 1058274 ID: 273c18

Avoid. Do not engage. The enemy has the advantage.

See if you can get into the network. Can it be used to communicate with the other mech? Tell them you are under orders to evacuate and do not wish to fight. Maybe ask what they're doing here in the first place?
No. 1058295 ID: 4ab238

Hmmm.. One possible explanation to this is that the baddies responsible for this whole mess managed to hack a rescue unit, and are using it to transport their hostages and/or wounded around, as well as possibly demolishing walls. If that is the case, I kinda understand the extra caution from dispatch to ensure we wouldn't have encountered it - what if this thing can, uh, infect other robots via networks, maybe? Now that the cat's outta the bag though, and we're on a possible collision course with it, maybe dispatch can brief us bout what this robot on the fritz can at least do?

Either way, since we don't yet know what it is capable of, engaging it in direct combat would be quite adverse not only for its "cargo", but us as well. As much as you want to keep everyone safe, you are not a counter terrorism unit, and are not equipped for carefully pacifying suspects, let alone giant robots, LET ALONE with a saddled hostage - unless you improvise, of course, but that's last resort. Besides, that person doesn't seem to be threatened directly - not yet, anyway. Still, proceed with the projectile distraction plan, and try not to let it outta your sight while you head on north.

How does your GPS module distinguish between civvie (green) and foe (red) marks, by the way? Are they marked as such by dispatch? Do they give themselves away by having weapons equipped? See if you spot the northmost blip from the atrium. If not, try quickly sneaking upstairs via the maint tunnels while the trashcan does its ruckus (without andrews and the wounded, obv) and see if you can scout em out - dont engage, of course. Hopefully they would be distracted enough to not spot us.
No. 1058317 ID: dbc5dd

Throw a trash lid at the bot Captain America style.
No. 1058422 ID: 7dd757

Do not engage, you could hurt the presumed civilian.
No. 1058496 ID: 6a7a35
File 167876267309.png - (279.71KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_018.png )

Up the fifth floor to our right -- I believe thats where the north wing is, one of the food courts? -- I can see some smoke. Might be what Andrews was detecting earlier. I think Andrews agrees with me, might be another rescue unit, but theres something ... wrong about it. maybe I should call Dispatch, before
No. 1058497 ID: 6a7a35
File 167876270071.png - (175.79KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_019.png )

No. 1058498 ID: 6a7a35
File 167876273747.png - (277.95KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_020.png )

... whatever Andrews was trying ...
It didnt work?...
No. 1058518 ID: 11f5d4

Welp, that was... Kinda awkward? Luckily, it seems like the other robot wants to communicate. I'm not very confident about entering an unsecure network like that, though...

Apologize for tossing the trash can - you thought you saw a hostile. Ask them what are they going to do with that civilian, and where exactly they are going. This robo sounded kinda... Confused? Maybe it thinks we're on their side, or they recognized us from our past deployment? We can use their confusion to our advantage. I think we need to hold off telling them to stand down and surrender for now, because thatll most probably snap it back into bad guy mode.

With that being said, we need to remember that there ARE other hostiles around, and they've definitely heard the can landing. They might not be nearly as passive as that guy, so we need to get moving and stay alert. Have Wingman move northbound with the wounded and hide in of the stores, so that shell be able to see Andrews, at least.
No. 1058700 ID: dbc5dd

Why are you lugging around that civve?
No. 1058986 ID: b66130

Well you can't look like more like a target even if you tried
No. 1059084 ID: 68c1e6
File 167928727838.png - (163.96KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_021.png )

Andrews goes silent and nods his head -- I take my clue to bring this injured man out of here.
No. 1059085 ID: 68c1e6
File 167928739669.png - (195.88KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_022.png )

... but when it comes the time to go down the north corridor, I cant. Andrews and I are in this together, I can get away from the firing line, but I wont leave him alone.

I notice the person downstairs gets off the other guy, they seem to know each other. I cant tell what they're saying from this distance. They just.. stare at each other. I get worried.
No. 1059088 ID: 68c1e6
File 167928761178.png - (187.48KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_023.png )

I start flipping trough my phone while they are busy with each other. I'm hoping some news somewhere knows whats going on.

I remember seeing something about a gas explosion at a condo building a few blocks from here. A C class single family place. One apartment destroyed.

I didnt connect the dots at the time.
No. 1059091 ID: e5709d

So, is this a serial bombing? A message? An industrialized error?
No. 1059098 ID: 273c18

From the comms it sounds like we could just walk out of here, since in the dark the foreign force would assume we're the heavy unit. Or maybe it would be better to ask the heavy unit to tell the others your red IFF is an "error" and you are friendly. Then tell him you're going to cover the north while he covers the south. Once you're up there you can just keep going.
Tell Wingman this.
No. 1059137 ID: 0825b9

Since it looks like that bot won't attack us - as long as we are recognized as its battle bro - this would be a great opportunity for Andrews to finally descend to the ground floor. Still, make sure to keep your eyes trained on that thing at all times.

See if there's a ramp nearby for Wingman to go down, ideally without coming into contact with the hostile. Maybe from within the backrooms? One tactic would be having Andrews stalling the bot with chatter whilst Wingman and the civvie safely abscond to the ground floor. It'll have us break sight with Andrews for a bit, sure - but tell em to sit still and ask him to follow once you get down.

If the other hostile is upstairs and north for now, then they shouldn't be a problem - for now, atleast.

It's best to start figuring stuff out after we've reached safe distance away from the carnage site. But, yeah, it's possible that the rabid ravin robots we're encountering currently are the same ones from the apt explosion. What is more concerning is a possible media coverup - I mean, really, a gas explosion? That's classic black ops shit. Most likely the powers that be would want us stay shut about today's events once we make it out... but then again, things aren't always as they seem
No. 1059165 ID: a7a180

I can't understand a darn thing you're saying, Andrews.
So there's a missile/artillery barrage from the south and the government is lying about it. Staying with the civilians and escorting them north away from the explosions still recommended. I think.
No. 1059192 ID: da1de3

The handwriting is atrocious.

AD-20-101: battle-brother. Object throw ACK.
AD-20-101: spot near bogey?
FCKGW: many bogey. all hours. bogey fire.

FCKGW: tight / flight(?) path from io idik(???) south
AD-20-101: ROE state?
FCKGW: ROE safe. Zero escalation.
FCKGW: medium colat zero new neutro

The wiki mentions Andrews understand airforce lingo, so "io idik" must be 10 klik
No. 1059588 ID: 560aca
File 167987403740.png - (188.39KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_024.png )

"Wingman. Two level down. Meeting at middle. Go."
"Andrews -- You wont be getting rid of me like this!!"

And thats my cue to run into one of the corridors and find a path down. Thanks to mr. Shopping Cart here, I cant just use the frozen escalators along the atrium, that's a bit of a hazard with this guy.

In the meantime, he uses his rocket legs privilege to approach the other mech guy.
No. 1059589 ID: 560aca
File 167987440068.png - (370.13KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_025.png )

And while I'm busy on my way... well, I was surprised to hear the girl's voice over the comms. Andrews had the decency to keep me on the loop, I guess.

> "H-hey..."
> "Payload?"
> "You. Look... mister fireman? I'm okay. You don't need to... Falcone is okay. It... they're just trying to keep me safe, please don't..."

She's disheveled but lucid. And sounded scared.
No. 1059590 ID: 560aca
File 167987463929.png - (247.37KB , 1024x576 , HWC06_026.png )

Soon I found A reason why. I met them as I tried to re-enter central atrium, but from the ground floor.

> "That's enough lady."
"Eh? Mall cops? Why are you even--"
> "We've been keeping that thing at bay for the last hour. We've been trying to get that woman away from the machine, and we're not delivering you to them either."

It has NOT been an hour at that point, I should point out.
No. 1059591 ID: 273c18

That is very sus. Wingman has no path, go join her and get a better look at the "mall cops". Possible infiltration? Ask the "payload" lady for her story. How long has she been at Falcone's side?
No. 1059606 ID: 94f0d9

Check if these mall cops show up on your gps. It is indeed kinda sus how they managed to get a drop on you - despite you checking for pings n stuff. Not to mention, it seems like they let out a little lie by accident? Looks like you are gonna have to keep your guard up around those dudes, but dont do anything drastic yet.

That being said, if they were in cahoots with the terrorists, theyd probably eliminate you then and there if it wasnt for Andrews being nearby. Ask them what their plan of action is, and lie to them - for the purposes of keeping them from panicking and restoring peace, winky wink - that counter terrorism units are coming to handle the situation. Tell them that you are heading for evac (dont specify where exactly) and that your job is to extract as many civilians from the site as possible - therefore, they are free to join. Reassure the lady on the Falcone that more specialized help is coming, and suggest that she remains calm and stays by the robot's side as much as possible.

Andrews, escort Wingman and the wounded dude to the north as planned. Keep watch on the (other) robot and the cops, pick up Wingman with her cargo and run as soon as you see any sign of hostility.
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