APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 5 May, 1999


The Tales of the Jolly Rogers

Mission Three: The Legend of the Desert Vikings

Bernard David

Previously in the Tales of the Jolly Rogers...

APAGear II, Volume 1, Number 4 contains Mission Two: Nuke 'Em Till They Glow and Shoot 'Em in the Dark! Check it out! You can find more tales of the Jolly Rogers in Bernard's contribution to Volume 1, Number 3 Check it out, too!

Mission Three: The Legend of the Desert Vikings

Chapter 1: Ghosts of a forgotten past

Anna Matthews knocked on the solid, oaken door. Rapping her knuckles across the rock hard surface. " Come in." A voice called out from within.

Pushing the heavy door open with all her might, she stormed in angrily.

" Sir, why did you called off the operation on Abaline Research at the last minute ? "

The man whom she was demanding answer from was staring in the Badlands brooding. Slowly he turned to her. He was nearly seventy cycles old yet his stature and movement did not betray his age. An unfamiliar person might mistaken him for a man half the age. " Patience. Anna, the time is not ripe yet. I still have a few........gremlins to sort out."

Cross with impatience, she walked out of the room before she declared. " Sir, I will accomplish the mission whether you permit it or not!"

The Jolly Rogers had been hired by Abaline Research as an escort force for their latest shipment of 'sensitive electronic hardware' from the borders of the U.M.F to the Badlands Town of Tunahra. After the escort mission, they went downtown to relax and enjoy themselves by getting a 'cold one' ; that is cold, frothy beer at a local pub.

At the pub named the 'Scorpion's Lair' , the trideo was showing the late evening news, " Today at noon, a Norlight outpost near Prince Gable was attacked by unknown forces. Although the attackers' Gears were identified as Northern designs. They bore no markings of any known Northern States. The military is currently investigating in the matter." A footage of the carnage wrought is shown then a wreckage of a Heavy Gear is shown. The wreckage bore a half burnt symbol: A axe with the laurels beneath it. Below the insignia was the word, 'honour'.

John Ogilvy was stunned by the sight, he slammed the tankard the down and whispered to himself. " No, it can't be."

" Lips, did you see that ?" " Why yes.......but it can't be them." They were destroyed cycles ago by the Northern Guard. Maybe it's just a rover gang that adopted their symbol! YES! That's right! Come on, Johnny!"

" I don't think so. Judging from the scene, the outpost was well guarded. Rovers can't do that sort of stuff."

" John." Galahad Lips stared in his eyes, his one good eye squinted while the bionic eye buzzed and whirled. " You are just too edgy. The press likes to exaggerate reports and suckers like you fell for it. That's all, case closed."

The next morning, the 'Rogers went back to the Abaline Research warehouse in Tunahra to escort another shipment back to the U.M.F. As they are about to leave the outskirts of the town, the ominous sound of artillery shells in flight was heard. Then the Behemoth they were escorting back exploded. This was followed by multiple bomb bursts everywhere. The area was enveloped in flames and smoke.

A Orca air transport streaked past overhead, dropping four Cheetah Heavy Gear Paratroopers. Tearing in to the burning wreck of the Behemoth, they seized a canister like object from the insides. Siegfried was the first to recover from the shellshock rushed forth, punching his Gear's forearm spike towards the nearby Cheetah. It sidestepped at the last minute, fired a burst of 20mm slugs which tore into his Razorback's V-engine, causing it to lose power rapidly. The stricken Gear wobbled like a jelly before coming to a halt.

" Guys! I'm in trouble! I have no power!" Siegfried shrieked in terror. The Cheetah moved in for the kill but never made it. A laser beam lanced into it's fuel tank, exploding the Heavy Gear apart. Ray Vahn, John Ogilvy attempted to intercept the remaining three but an artillery barrage landed just in front of them. Seizing the moment, the Orca came down low, skimming just only a few feet above the ground. The Cheetahs jumped into the craft's bay and flew off into the horizon with a blast of full throttle.

Punching angrily on his Gear's leg, Siegfried frowned as he inspect the damage on the V-engine. Hole adorned the right cylinder; like as if someone just drove huge nails into it. Oil dripped from it like gore. " Looks like it's gonna go for an overhaul." He mumbled as he shook his head.

Dismounting from his Jaguarundi Heavy Gear, John approached the wreckage of the Cheetah. Taking off his helmet, he stared emptily at it. Ray Vahn came to his side. " Look!" John pointed at the insignia in midst of the wrecked Heavy Gear: A two headed battle axe, still dripping with blood. Fielded by a laurel and a scroll beneath it with the words--- Honor, Glory and Valor. The insignia stood intact for a few seconds before being consumed by the flames. " They are back......the Desert Vikings are back........" John declared in a hushed tone.

Meanwhile on board the Orca, Anna Matthews was bewildered. Could it be? Was it him behind the controls of the Red Jaguarundi just now? I am so confused. Cycles ago, we were together so close..........until Tykane rebelled. John's unit was ordered to hunt us down, he had Vikter cornered and I, on impulse took the shots that were meant for him. Anna's face cringed with agony at the mention of that fateful event. Then my world went blank. She smiled at the fact that her lover was still alive. At least she felt it that way, not dead as what Tykane told her. Perhaps one day, we will be united again. This time nothing would come between us.

As soon as the Orca landed, Vikter Tykane boared the craft. "Matthews! That was a foolish move! I could have lost you in the process!" He bellowed in anger. " I got what you wanted." She said in a nonchalant tone as she got out of the Cheetah. Tykane narrowed his eyes, nodded knowingly. " All right. But don't ever do such things again. I have lost too many capable men and women to such risks." " Yes, sir" Anna assured him.

" LIPS! I can't fix such a mess that FAST!" Devin complained. He was referring to the damage on Siegfried's Razorback. "LOOK! He busted a cylinder and made a PRACTICAL MESS of the insides!" " Than change the engine." Lips said. " Well, I will do that. But it's gonna take time." " Fine, do it then!" Devin acknowledge by a nod of his head. Turning to Siegfried, he said, " Sorry. Your Gear is out of action for now." Siegfried shrugged his shoulders and sighed, accepting his fate. Both men walked out of the Gear hangar. The rest were waiting for them outside in a battered Antelope jeep. John approached Lips. " An member of the Northern Guard wishes to met us at the border of the town. His name is Gunther Kranz. Colonel Gunther Kranz of the 77th Norlight Regiment. I know him, he's formerly from the Tigers too."

Chapter 2: The Rhino's Horn

At the border, outskirts of Tunahra, a massive regiment of Gears, mobile artillery, armoured vehicles and infantry stood assembled. Emerging from the phalanx was a Murdock command vehicle. It stopped in front of the Jolly Rogers' Elan buggy. Then the Murdock's hatch opened, a man about 7 feet in height stepped out. He sported a crew cut with a neatly trimmed moustache. The words, 'G. Kranz' were sewn on his left breast pocket of his desert camouflage fatigues.

Taking a stride forward, he approached the Elan. " John! It's been a long time we last met." John Ogilvy dismounted the vehicle in response to his greeting, walked towards him and looked at him eye to eye before replying with a weak smile, " Indeed!" Both men hugged each other like long-lost brothers who have found each other after a long time. " Gunther! What bring you here?" John asked. " Well, you know the old Terran Novan saying: Good news spreads slow but bad news spreads fast."

" I see. I suppose I don't need to explain to you what happened here earlier?" " Yes. Come, let me tell you what I know." Kranz pointed at his Murdock command vehicle with his finger and a smile, as a gesture to invite the Jolly Rogers in.

Inside the Murdock, the interior although dark was lighted by multiple command, control and communications or C3 equipment. Kranz ordered his aide, a Lt. Merv Warner to conduct the briefing while he and his staff officers with the Jolly Rogers stood by the holotank. " Gentlemen, we are all aware of the recent raid at the Prince Gable outpost not too long ago. The press concluded that it was the work of rovers; a particularly well organised band of rovers. However a closer inspection shows that the attacking Heavy Gears showed no signs of life expect for one, a Kodiak. It appears that the Kodiak is the leader of raiders." An image of the Kodiak shows up in the holo display. It was armed with a heavy autocannon instead of a light particle accelerator, a massive vibroaxe hung by it's side and the head unit is shaped into an intimidating Viking Horned helm. " This Kodiak is identified as Vikter Tykane's personal Heavy Gear. Vikter Tykane or better known as Colonel Vikter Tykane was then the commander of a Heavy Gear regiment; the 97th Heavy Gear Regiment: the infamous Desert Vikings."

" Years back." Lt. Warner continued. "The 'Vikings turned renegade and were subsequently destroyed at the battle of Devil's backbone just after the War of the Alliance, according to official Northern Guard records. Our mission now is to.......authenticate the re-emergence of Tykane and the Desert Vikings."

Turning to John, Gunther spoke in an earnest tone. " John......we presumed they were destroyed until now. That leaves a lot of questions to be answered. How did Tykane had access to such a technological advance is truly beyond our comprehension. I mean how can he rebuilt his unit and find the necessary manpower to staff ?"

" That is a question we can never answer for now." John answered. Pausing for a while before continuing. "To think we presumed the Desert Vikings were destroyed when we cornered them at the Devil's Backbone. We depleted their numbers until they were longer coherent as a unit. But however in the ensuring chaos, a small number of 'Vikings probably escaped unscathed."

" And Tykane with them. Rats! That means he's still around, hiding in the shadows waiting for the chance to get back me for Anna Matthews." " John, you never did forget about her, do you?" asked Lips. " Yeah. Still, Gunther. You need not to bring a regiment here....unless you are mounting an attack on his position if he ever has one." Lips concluded. " Currently, we don't have the slightest idea what Tykane may pull out of his hat. My orders are to establish a base of operation and reconnoitre the vicinity for possible enemy activities." Gunther explained to the Jolly Rogers.

What dark secrets will the Rhinos and the Jolly Rogers uncover in the Badlands town of Tunahra?

Chapter 3: Onslaught!

Within a day, the small town of Tunahra is transformed into an ad-hoc base. Engineering Heavy Gears laboured round the clock; digging trenches and setting up razor wires around the town. The civilians were swiftly evacuated by Orca VTOLs transports. The town hall had all of its windows knocked out and stacked with sand bags, tons of C 3 equipment were brought in effectively turning it into a command centre.

Siegfried's mauled Razorback with Col. Kranz's help received a replacement engine block: a huge V-engine meant for the Kodiak. Installing it would mean the Razorback will have a high centre of gravity thus causing it to be unstable. The problem was solved by reinforcing the Gear's lower legs with heavy armour plates and replacing the secondary movement system's road wheels to tracks. The end result was a refurbished Razorback Heavy Gear that was faster and more agile than the original. Siegfried chuckled at thought of him causing havoc in the midst of the enemy formation. " Not too bad. Not too bad at all !" He grinned hard as he compared his Gear to a nearby Grizzly. Than a warning klaxon broke his fantasy. " Attention! Attention! All personnel, this is not a drill. I say again it is not a drill ! A personnel to battle station!"

At the town's border, cohorts of the Rhinos' Heavy Gears stood vigilant with their weapons ready. The Jolly Rogers, at the forefront of the defenders spearheaded the defence. A cloud of dust that stretched from the one end of the horizon to the other had appeared minutes the alert had sounded. It was closing in on them fast. The Rhinos artillery team comprising of Verder mobile artillery platforms fired a salvo of 8 in. shells into the dust cloud. An incandescent sea of fire erupted amongst the cloud as the defenders held their breath. Then a volley of missiles streaked out like a swarm of red jacket, their target: the Verders. As if by virtue of their skill, the Verders' crew used the onboard sniper laser cannon to destroy the murderous missiles in flight save one. The missile struck home with an earth-shaking bang, causing the unfortunate tank's turret to explode upwards in a great gout of flame. Sending it several feet into the air before crashing onto ground. The Jolly Rogers, unfazed by the pyrotechnical act, cocked their weapons. " MEN! Get ready to.........FIRE !" Galahad Lips screamed into the comm system.

From the dust cloud, came a horde of Jaguars, Hunters, Cheetahs and Grizzlies. Like a savage race of barbarians, they charged headlong into the Rhinos, caring little of their safety. Soon savage hand to hand fighting was everywhere.

John Ogilvy and Ray Vahn stood fast on their ground in their Jaguarundi Heavy Gears. Both men fired bursts of rockets from their Gear hand held rapid fire bazooka at the incoming foes. But there were just too many of them. A Cheetah armed with a 20mm auto cannon in one hand and a vibroblade on another wove left and right, skillfully avoiding John's shots. At the last moment, it lunged at John's Jaguarundi. A slash from it's blade severed his bazooka's barrel. With a swearword, he gave the Cheetah a knee jab and a elbow on the head, crushing it like tin foil. A barrage of auto cannon slugs tore in his Gear, causing some damage but not enough to stop him. Unlimbering his back mounted 30mm auto cannon rifle, he squeezed off a long burst, sprayed it in an arc. Two enemy Hunter Heavy Gears went down in an explosion of flames and debris. Ray Vahn was faring no better. He had just expended his rapid fire bazooka on a mob of hostile Cheetahs. Using the empty weapon as a club, he swung it back and forth in an effort to keep the invaders at bay. A Jaguar Gear charged forward in an attempt to disarm him. Swinging the bazooka at the charging Jaguar, the blow ripped off the head of the hapless Gear. Taking the chance, the rest of the enemy Heavy Gears pounced on him. A surge of adrenaline raced through Ray Vahn's head, turning him into man possessed. Grabbing one of the Gears' head, he crushed it like a walnut mercilessly. Swing around, a elbow jab from him crushed a Cheetah's chassis. Drawing his Gear's vibroblade, he sprang forth. Wrapping a Hunter under his Gear's arm, he stabbed it repeatedly. Throwing the metal carcass aside, he continued his path of destruction by throwing himself into the fray nearby.

Lips and his strider crew had their hands full. Enemy Heavy Gears were swarming the monstrous strider. The Fire Dragon's two auto cannon turrets blazed away at the crazed metal mob. For every one that fell, two more would take it's place. " Lips! If we continue to fire the guns like this, they will overheat and explode!" the gunner warned. "SCREW IT, SOLDIER !" exclaimed Lips. Both barrels glowed red as rounds after rounds erupted from it. Galahad Lips braced himself for the inevitable as the strider's system warn him of the overheating auto cannons. But it never came.

Three Heavy Gears smashed into the horde and threw themselves in front of the beleaguered strider. Consisting of a Razorback, a Panther and a Snakeeye Black Mamba type Heavy Gears, Lips instantly recognised who they were. It was Siegfried, Pierre and Ivy! The trio fought with a fervour only to matched by the most stoic defenders. Siegfried laid down a barrage of suppressive fire with his Gear's Gatling cannon. The enemy gears spread themselves in an attempt to avoid the incoming fusillade of heavy slugs. One unfortunate Hunter, unable to duck in time was ripped apart. Pierre dug his Gear's foot into the sands, taking aim at the nearest enemy and fired a burst. The target, a Jaguar Heavy Gear. Three tightly grouped shots tore into the centre torso. It doubled over, kneeled into the sands and stood still. Ivy prone her Heavy Gear down took aim. She coolly fired her sniper laser cannon with an uncanny accuracy. Despite the crossfire going on around her, she remained unharmed as she picked her targets off.

Chapter 4: The Cu Chulainn

The commander of the attacking force, Vikter Tykane watched the battle raged before him from a high point. An itching urge to join the fight was bugging in his head but an even greater emotion of logic overridden the feeling. " So many opponents but yet not one, not even one is worthy of my skills." He allowed himself to taken back into the past.

Nearly four decades back, he was then but a lieutenant in the Northern Guard regiment, the Terra-Novan Celts. He was also their duellist. His first Heavy Gear was a Hunter which he dubbed the "Cu Chulainn" after an Irish folklore hero from Earth. Armed with nothing more than a two handed vibro-axe and a fast V-engine. It was designed to closed in on the enemy rapidly. Once closed in, he would eliminate the opponents in a series of savage of hacks. But to kill a fellow duellist is an unforgivable act in the name of a duellist's honour. Thus he defeated them by destroying their movement systems and engines. After all, an immobile Heavy Gear is as good as a sitting duck.

Inter-regiment duels was a hot subject at that time, every Heavy Gear regiment in Terra-Nova wanted to be the best in the whole planet; regardless of North or South. Regimental duels between both sides were often organised in the name of improving bilateral ties. Duellists from the North and South clashed in short-lived but violent duels in the bid to find the who's the best. Then came the " Force of Arms" tournament, Heavy Gear duellists representing their regiments from all of Terra Nova come to meet on Mount Carneghore, a plateau situated in the Badlands. The sparse, barren plateau was transformed into a coliseum to accommodate this gladiatorial event known only to the military. Tykane was already a raising star in the circle of Northern Duellists, his superiors promised him a massive promotion should he topped the tournament. Young, zealous and eager to prove his skills to his commanders, he resorted to under handed means to win the match.

Ignoring the all rules of a proper duellist, he injected a variety of stimulants to "enhance" his skills. The drugs clouded his sense of logic and reasoning but it also endowed an unholy endurance into him. He was transformed into Death Incarnate in flesh.

From the start of the tournament, he brought his opponents down in a matter of minutes. Even the seemingly best duellist of the South was cut down like corn by this berserker. His savage, inhuman fighting style stunned the judges. Nearly all the duellists pitted against him was killed. The Cu Chulainn stood in the high sun, bathed in the gory glory of a psychotic killer drenched in crimson lubricants and red fuel. It seemed to heaved its chest up and down like a living being. There was nothing more to be said, he was the sole victor of the tournament. After the effect of the drugs had worn out, a sober Tykane requested a video playback of the event. He was shocked by his own inhumanity. Was it really him? Or some dark spirits from Hell had possessed his machine? Whatever it is, it is going to haunt like a ghost..............

The rest of his life was later a blur. He called after that he rose in rank meteorically. In four years time, he was commanding his own Heavy Gear regiment, the Desert Vikings. Under Tykane's dynamic leadership, they became a crack unit. The 'Vikings were masters of frontal assault and close combat. No strong points were too hard to take, no fortresses were too strong to breach. "For Honour! For Glory! For Valour!" was their famed battlecry. And Tykane was ever at the front, leading his men on. None were prouder than him when the Northern Guard named the Desert Vikings the best unit in the North. Then the War of the Alliance came. The 'Vikings was the first Northern unit to be deployed at the frontlines. They fought valiantly against the Colonial Expeditionary Forcesand suffered grievously as a result. In fact, the war decimated them to the point that a handful of companies were all that's left of the proud regiment. The Northern High Command then concluded that it would be a severe blow to the Northern morale should the 'Vikings continue to fight at the frontlines and risked being wiped up in the process. So they ordered Tykane to pull back from the front. The Desert Vikings thought that they will be welcomed as heroes of the war, only to be reassigned to other units and be forgotten of their heroism. Tykane himself had fallen out of favour with the High Command. He was cast aside and neglected like an old toy.

After the War, his request for the reformation of his former unit was turned down flatly. To make matters worse, the Northern Guard officially disbanded the 'Vikings, saying they fought to the last Gear in the Battle of Baja; they were thus completely destroyed. Many former members were by the news. To them, it was a lie. A lie that was a gross betrayal to their unit and to the ones that were killed defending their homeland and to their commander, Colonel Vikter Tykane!

An upset Tykane visited his Gear in the hangar. It was stored together with the surplus gears left behind when the war ended, waiting to be decommissioned. The Cu Chulainn in it's second form gleamed under the spotlights: A Den-Mother II type Command Heavy Gear. He clambered up in the cockpit, snuggled in and began to brood over his sorrows. Closing his eyes, he allowed himself to be taken away from this cruel and materialistic world into a world where he and his men would bask into the glory and the honours bestowed by the Northern Guard after war. Suddenly his sense of logic screamed. " Get real! You are but an instrument to them..." Suddenly he sat up, became erect. Slamming his fist onto the side panels. " Bah! What wishful thinking!" He muttered. " Now I am but an useless old man. They have no use for an aged commander. I have nothing now." He sobbed silently within the sanctuary of his Gear's cockpit. Then as if the machine could sympathise his plight, it powered up. A hum slowly enveloped the cockpit, beeps were heard as the Gear's CPU erupts into life. The main display in front of him came on-line; a wondrous sight beheld before him. The Desert Vikings assembled in columns of a metallic phalanx. " SIR!" The united voices of the 'Vikings echoed like thunder through the cold walls.

Chapter 5: Counterstrike

" Gunther!" John Ogilvy shouted into his comm system. " What?" Gunther Kranz answered. " This is no good! The 'Vikings are swarming us like army skags and there's no way to fight them off!" Just as he finished saying. John's Heavy Gear's 30mm auto cannon ran out of ammunition. Dumping the weapon aside, he frantically searched around the carnage ridden battlefield for an abandoned weapon. Setting his sights on a wrecked Grizzly, he moved towards the metal carcass with haste. Prying open it's dead hands, he liberated an undamaged 40mm heavy auto cannon. A pair of hostile Hunter Heavy Gears roared past him, attempting to slash his Jaguarundi with their vibroblades. He barely dodged in time. Training his auto cannon on them, he fired. A solid "thumping" noise akin to that of a jackhammer was heard as the heavy slugs ripped into the Hunters. Both of them were blown apart instantly. A familiar Green Jaguarundi approached John's red Jaguarundi. Resting it's palm on the red Heavy Gear's shoulder, Ray spoke. " Ogilvy! Am I glad to see you!" John examined his partner's Gear. He was shocked by the state. It was pockmarked with cannon scars, vibro blade slash marks covered the upper torso. The battered Heavy Gear looked as if it was falling apart any second.

John opened his eyes wide. He was amazed by the fact that Ray Vahn's Gear was still functioning after it's been through hordes of enemy Gears and storms of metal slugs. But he was only too ecstatic too see his friend and partner to survive such an intense fighting. Pointing his auto cannon at one direction, Ray Vahn fired a burst over the horizon. John turned and saw a squadron of Jaguar Heavy Gears coming for them. A laser bolt streaked out of nowhere and lanced the lead Jaguar. This was followed by an eerie whistle of rockets descending onto the enemy squadron. The salvo forced them to scatter as individual Gears swerved left and right in an attempt to dodge the rockets. Cresting over a sand dune, Siegfried's Razorback and Pierre's Panther let loose a hail of cannon shells at a nearby trio of Jaguars. One was unfortunate enough to be torn apart literally by the intense weapon fire. The remaining two split apart and flanked Siegfried's and Pierre's position. Siegfried tried to bear his Gear's gun on the incoming Heavy Gear. He was too late, the enemy had came to close to be fired upon. The Jaguar rammed him with a shoulder block. The Razorback fell backwards and tumbled down the dune. Siegfried was thrown all over his cockpit as his Gear rolled down until it came to a stop at the foot of the dune. " Son of a Gun!" He cursed. " What the.....AHHH!" Siegfried screamed at the image before him: the Jaguar was poised over him with it's weapon pointing at his Heavy Gear's head. Narrowing his eyes, he thought, "This is it!" Just before he consigned himself to fate, something caught the corner of his eye. The rocket launcher is not yet emptied! A salvo of eight rockets still remained in the launcher. Grinning wide, he squeezed the rocket fire trigger. The rockets instantaneously erupted from the downed Razorback and slammed in the Jaguar's face.

At the side of the dune, Pierre and his adversary, also a Jaguar had engaged in close combat. Lobbing a grenade at him just before it closed in. Pierre dived his Gear down barely in time. The explosion threw up sand and grit, obscuring his vision. A fist came out of the dust, Pierre reflexively shunted the blow aside. Grabbing the arm, he drew the Jaguar near his Gear. Raising his auto cannon, he nonchalantly fired several shots into it's torso. The Gear jerked from the impact of the shell before collapsing onto the sands in a heap. The last Jaguar 'looked' left and right, the Jolly Rogers had surrounded it. " Guys. You know, I am not getting any life signs from that Gear in front of us." Ivy voiced out. " Where are you, Ivy ?" Ray Vahn asked. A laser blast emerged from the sands below where the Jaguar stood. It fell back as a dark figure rose from the sands below. Ivy's Snakeeye Black Mamba then executed a leg sweep on the Jaguar, causing it loose balance. As it fell, she swiftly drew a pack gun from her side and fired a burst at the falling figure. Turning to her comrades, she asked. " How's the fight proceeding?" " I don't know. Looks bad though. So far I have not received any orders from Gunther about any orders to pull back yet." John answered. " Rogers, this is Lips. We have not lost the fight. In fact, we are....in the process of winning." " What? I thought we had our asses kicked here there and everywhere!" Siegfried exclaimed. " Not anymore. The invaders worn themselves out while trying to beat the snot out of us. Now if you don't mind, lend me and our good Gunther a hand now." "Sure! No problem!" the Jolly Rogers agreed together.

Tykane clasped his hands together. " Seems that that the automated units are losing the fight. They simply lacked the initiative and swift thinking of a human mind. Still they make quite a formidable opponent." He concluded. " All unit, this is your commander. Retreat at once!"

All of a sudden, the enemy Heavy Gears stopped fighting and pulled back. Both Gunther and Lips were surprised. Letting a breath of relief, Gunther commented. " We have won. They were close to defeating us. Another attack like this, we are a goner!"

The Rhinos were down to a third of their strength and a large number of the regiment's Heavy Gears were damaged beyond repair. Later at night, Col. Gunther called for a meeting among his officers and the Jolly Rogers at the town hall. " Today, our unit had taken heavy losses in the fighting. I have many capable men. I know it is upsetting. But such is the reality of war. Let us observe three minutes of silence as a mark of respect to these fallen heroes."

Next Time

Now the Rhinos and the 'Rogers survived the Desert Viking's frenzied assault...barely. What will they prevent another ? Be sure to read the next chapter: The Wolf!

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APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 5 May, 1999