Track of the Apocalypse Ch2 Ficbit – Contact

Huh. There was a rustle that was not just Teal’c twitching. Jack craned his head slowly from side to side, trying to pinpoint the source. Sounded like… inside the maybe-lab. Right. Daniel had said people might be camping out in there even if they weren’t anywhere else. Maybe somebody’d worked up enough nerve for a look.

Sidling sideways a little, Jack peered past the rusty gate. Hmm. Looked like a shallow courtyard leading to more concrete-covered corridors, and who knew how many levels dug underground. There might be a few movements in the shadows, but he wasn’t sure he saw anything besides some blowing leaves.

Hammond cleared his throat. “Well, you may not want to talk to them, Colonel, but someone apparently wants to talk to you.”

Maybe his heart jumped a smidge at that. Maybe. “Yeah?” Jack drawled.

“We’ve been getting an uncoded radio transmission on several frequencies,” the general stated. “Though whoever’s on the other end is paying attention; they’ve narrowed in on yours.”

So Doomtrain had radio on top of everything else. Terrific. No wonder whoever was rustling around in the dark was shy. If those were people back there; though when he squinted, he thought he could see a little light moving around in the concrete shadows. So probably people. Wary, scared people.

Sam glanced toward the rustles too, taking a step sideways so whoever it was would have a good view of their friendliest teammate. Because nine times out of ten Danny made even the nastiest guys with alien tech at least pause and reflect before they started demanding anything. “You think they’re listening to us? That would mean they could break the algorithms-”

“I doubt it, Major,” Hammond said firmly. “From what we’re getting through the MALP, it’s a plain-vanilla radio broadcast. I’d almost call it ham-radio style, if I could understand a word the young lady was saying. My guess would be they’ve only detected that another radio is transmitting.” He paused. “She sounds concerned, Colonel. You plan to pick up?”

Jack sighed, already adjusting his radio; they didn’t usually take the encryption off, but it was an option. Possibly because whoever’d gotten the military radio contract was a diehard Post-Apocalypse Prepper and figured everyone who survived would be hamming it up in Morse. And oh sure fine, nothing beat high-tension radio negotiations with possibly homicidal planetary locals who had the sneaky guts to put a lady on the line to lure in poor, unsuspecting visitors. Though Danny would probably use just the right words to keep the bloodthirsty guys off-balance, and still let the scared locals overhear things that might convince them SG-1 was harmless to them.

Well. Time to make nice with the Doomtrain Overlords-

The lights in the shadows.

Were moving.

Fast.

And it – they – had fangs

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40 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch2 Ficbit – Contact

    1. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions to the whole slow chapter buildup. (Tossing with betas revealed a small problem in the text I just fixed yesterday, so I need to wait on posting the whole thing at least a few days in case something else shows up!)

      Liked by 3 people

  1. It might be little evil, but I laughted. Because really, Jack have it so wrong! Like completly 180° wrong!
    Now, he knows… Hopefully he can get his team to the Doomtrain fast enought. 😐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, er, may have cackled myself. (I am Writer, I am Evil. To characters, anyway.)

      Though just because these guys are trying to eat you doesn’t mean Doomtrain are the good guys. That’s going to take a little more evidence.

      …Evidence is coming. 😉

      Liked by 5 people

      1. “Get on the motorcycle if you want to live!”

        ‘Cept, more in pantomime ’cause language barrier. Plus lots of epic John Woo style steam rifle slinging.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh my, and now I imagine Ayame frantically trying to reach SG-1, because she can’t just sit by and just watch as seemingly crazy people get themselves killed. Of course there might be a language barrier ontop of the encryption but she is trying. Unfortunatley there is also the tiny little problem that SG-1 already met the other locals, the trying- to-eat-your-face-as-greeting kind. So they most likely try and return to the Gate, because that seems like a better idea than getting bitten and killed by glowy super zombies. Although I doubt that its gonna be that easy so… the Doomtrain probably has to bail them out. Thats gonna be fun.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Actually the language barrier is only for the SGC. In this AU I’m running with “Stargate gives you knowledge of the local language when you go through”, instead of “all aliens speak English/Abydonian”. So SG-1 won’t have any trouble understanding the broadcast.

      …Well, understanding the words, anyway….

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Jack is just about to remember the age old adage about assuming…

    Hopefully he’ll end up thankful that the assumptions weren’t before a live audience, and people will just think they’re crazy or idiots rather than asses.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It just goes to show you, no matter how smart or experienced you are, if you don’t have all the information you can still be horrifyingly, laughably wrong

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I really hope she uses that steam bow, maybe with brand new “jet arrowheads” from the top of the locomotive to cover the retreat back to the Iron Fortress. It’s a crying shame that she only got to use it once in the series, despite the creators having taken the time to foreshadow it in episode 1(Ayame was practicing her archery before the Fusang Fortress crashed the gates and turned Aragane into a Kabane buffet)

        Also, given the last lines of the snippet, I think Jack just realized what the lady on the radio was trying to warn them about.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. “Just once, I’d like to meet an enemy that wasn’t immune to bullets.” – Brigadier General A. G. Lethbridge-Stewart.

    “Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.” – Col. J. O’Neill.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Purely as a matter of preference, it would be funnier if they started interpreting the radio broadcast.

    “Well that can’t be right.”
    “What are they saying?”
    “It sounds like they’re saying ‘you are surrounded by man-eating zombies’ it must be a local colloquialism.”

    *Kabane rush in*

    Liked by 5 people

  7. /And it – they – had fangs–/
    As so it begins.

    Please let there be a Wazatori in there just to mess with Jack some more. Not only are these parkour zombies instead of shamblers (well most of the time) but some can even use weapons.

    Jack: “Hollywood, you have lied in so many ways to me!”

    /*EG* to steambow discussion/
    Interesting thing on a re-watch of that segment of ep 4. The Bushi were using regular ammo resulting in the Kabane mostly being knocked back until enough shots hit a cage (hence the mass volley fire) but the steam bow’s arrow was embedded in her target’s upper chest (we see it on the side so no idea if it hit the cage) but the Kabane wasn’t moving at all.

    Now we know from Hunter weapons that you can kill Kabane with means other then the HEAT rounds/jet bullets and Kurusu’s coated katana. You just need enough ‘oomph’ and a tough enough projectile to smash through the cage. I’m willing to bet steam bows have that force, it’s just that they have a far slower RoF compared to a steam rifle.

    Based on some reddit discussion I found and the official concept art the thing seems to work more like a steam-powered crossbow instead of a traditional bow.

    The bowstring is loose when Ayame is pulling it back while there is a specifically designed holder for the butt of the arrow to rest in. The rest of the bowstring goes into the center of the bow where the steam engine is. She triggers the engine, the string winds back very fast and Bang.

    GIF of the firing sequence.

    Also explains why she’s shown practicing with a traditional bow. Even if the steam engine takes care of providing the force needed to propel the arrow, she still needs to be able to aim this thing along with having the strength to deal with the recoil. Which would be far from insignificant considering the weapon can at least knock down charging Kabane.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That almost looks like an actually feasible design… except I’d put the steam port facing the opposite direction, because where it is that looks like a good way to get a face-full of hot steam. Still, interesting trying to figure out exactly how it works, and how good it could be. Might be fun to try making a version of it using industrial compressed air instead of steam (as the “easy” current alternative), just to see if it could be made to work.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Back when the previous story was snippeted, I recall digging up an image of the backpack on the Kabaneri wiki. Look at the tanks, and where the lines run.

        There is more that one reasonable explanation of what does what.

        I like the explanation that that the tanks are a compressed air system, that can be refilled from the train’s compressed air lines.

        Which is to say that I prefer thinking that the guns and the bow run off compressed air.

        A real working version? Realistically, I understand that regular bows can yank things like that lock of hair, and the bow on the front of the clothes. Regular bows and cross bows are triggered by releasing at the back. This almost looks like it is triggered front and back at the same time. If that is the case, the technique for using it should be a bit difficult. My instinct is that this system has serious challenges as far as working and not ripping off finger tips is concerned.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hm. Looks like I was wrong about what radio gear the Kotetsujou might be carrying — for voice transmissions, they *have* to be using a continuous-wave generator of some kind. Which is doable for a big train, just means that they’re ahead of the curve on getting the alternator down to a manageable size, compared to RL-Earth’s equivalent tech level.

    And Ayame is worrying about complete strangers. Never change, Ayame-sama, never change…. 🙂

    I have to wonder what Kurusu will think when he gets his first sight of SG-1 (probably making a fighting withdrawal from the Kabane horde). The cognitive dissonance between “these guys are obviously skilled and experienced” and “how the BLEEP can ANYONE be so STUPID?” will probably give him a migraine. 🙂 I wonder if he’ll figure out that their training and armaments are geared towards fighting other “bushi,” rather than Sprinting Zombie Hordes?

    For SG-1, the good news is that P-90s are pretty good penetrators, compared to most weapons of similar caliber. The bad news is, there’s no way they have enough ammo to deal with what’s coming for them, even with good trigger discipline.

    And here’s a horrid thought: what happens if Teal’c gets bitten? Junior might protect him from most “normal” bio-weapons, but anything made by Ma’chello… Not to mention those gene-rewriting bugs that nearly got him in Season 1 (2?).

    Liked by 1 person

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