The crew is left to their own devices after the briefing. Argyle paints his bike red. In the morning, everyone gathers in the motor pool. They are met by Lt Stevens, who hands out the assigned equipment:
- Specialized armor for Argyle and Wyoming.
- Rations of salt water, which will counteract the acid attacks
- Rations of antivenom, to treat bites
- IRMSS (Internal Robotic Medical Surgical System)
- A standard trauma kit
- pouches of powder (called Movealong) that will disrupt the powerful pheremones that the Ziticix emit upon death
- aerosol cans called Trailblocker, that will disrupt the pheremone trails that the Ziticix leave throughout their hive tunnels
They meet up with Bravo Team, Sir Caruthers, and the combat cyborgs from Mason’s Tai Chi class out in the courtyard. An ambulance pulls up, and the first one to get out is Puck. He is accompanied by a nervous young girl with long stringy hair, wearing threadbare clothes. Stevens introduces her as Tina, aka The Package.
Everyone loads up and heads out. Along the way, they bring Puck up to speed on the encounter with the Go Fasta Krew. Wyoming spouts lots of information from her childhood, about the world before the apocalypse, and Argyle chimes in on the history of his family.
It becomes apparent that the hive is not more than 50 miles from Castle Refuge. Before long, Beta Team, Sir Caruthers, and the combat cyborgs break off to the sides. Sanchez keeps driving, and gets the crew as close to the hive itself as he can, camouflages the APC, and the crew is deployed.
The crew makes their way up through the hills, and get into position near the hive, which resembles a gigantic fleshy cabbage. They give the signal, and Bravo Team begins Operation Distraction. The sky goes dark as hundreds of man-sized insects pour forth from the top of the hive.
The crew uses their vibroswords to cut open a hole in the side large enough to get everyone inside. Inside, the burnt caramel smell is much stronger. Puck leads Tina through the tunnels. After following their compasses through a series of chambers, they encounter several workers in the process of digging in the rock, and building walls. The workers are happy enough to ignore them, and the crew is happy to reciprocate.
As the crew makes their way into a large chamber, they are met with 6 warriors. Argyle takes cover and opens up with his lasrifle, shaking one of them. Mason fires his minigun, and takes out three of them (including the one that Argyle tagged). Wyoming advances and fires, but fails to connect. Tina begins to panic at the sounds of gunfire around her, but Puck does his best to keep her level. The remaining warriors return fire, but their weapons are ineffective against the crew’s armor.
Wyoming takes a single shot at one of the warriors, shaking it. The remaining two warriors take off and land right on top of Mason, drawing blades as they do. There’s a shower of sparks, but they fail to do any damage. Mason swaps to his chainsword, and bisects one of the warriors. Argyle takes a single shot and eliminates the other one.
Mason takes off like a shot and races across the room is able to take out the final warrior, and the crew douses the corpses with the MoveAlong powder. Argyle retrieves Puck and Tina, and notices the ground is slightly singed near her.
As they move further into the hive, the air gets warmer, and the sounds of the battle outside become more distant. They move into a chamber that is filled with larvae that are being tended by several workers. These are also perfectly happy to ignore the intruders.
They move towards what their inertial compasses are telling them is the destination. The next chamber they enter is filled with larvae, nannies, and diggers, but the threat is the 18 warriors at the far end. Wyoming fires a shot but misses. The warriors open fire and again fail to deal damage. Argyle takes a shot and kills one outright. Mason fires full auto again, takes out two and shakes a third.
Mason advances on the warriors, drawing his sword again. Eight warriors swarm around him and attack, but fail to do any damage. The rest advance, and Wyoming steps back and fires a rocket at the clump of them before they can close on her and Argyle, killing three of them. Argyle fires at a warrior, but fails to do damage.
Argyle fires another burst, and kills the warrior closest to him. Mason goes to work with his chainsword, killing one of the warriors. Wyoming fires and kills another. A warrior advances on Wyoming and lands a solid hit on her. The remaining 7 warriors attack Mason, and again fail to do any damage.
Argyle downs the warrior menacing Wyoming while she recovers. Mason cuts down another warrior. The remaining warriors attack Mason again, and still fail to do any damage. The last warrior that wasn’t attacking Mason jumps on Wyoming, but Argyle is able to kill it. Mason drops another warrior. After that, it’s an easy thing for them to mop up.
Wyoming heals up, and the crew moves on. The next chamber they enter is the largest they’ve seen yet, and in the center is the Ziticix queen, surrounded by nannies and larvae. The queen rears up and hisses. The crew can see that fused to its underside is a human figure. Tina screams, and bursts into flames. The ground and the walls around her are scorched as she rushes forward. The crew takes that as their cue to leave as quickly as possible.
On her way out, Wyoming rips one of the larvae from its egg sac. The nannies attempt to stop her, but they’re woefully unequipped to deal with her. She also fires a rocket behind her to cave in the tunnel. As the crew retraces their steps they can feel the heat radiating behind them. Puck activates his flight power to keep up with everyone else.
Back outside, they can see the remaining warriors outside are in complete disarray. It doesn’t take long for the combined forces to mop up. The crew returns to the APC to find Sanchez manning the railgun, and several Ziticix corpses on the ground. Everyone piles in and they head back to the Castle.