APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 2 March, 2001



Phil Lemieux

Soldier Jan-class Ryan-0333 surveyed the desert in front of firebase Gamma. There was a rocky outcropping some 2-3km to the east of his position and a wadi line just in front of his positions about 800m. All seemed calm and he decided to make a check-up of his kompany. He called the different callsigns for each squad and the monotone acknowledgement of the Mordreds responded in a lull repetition. He had some 100 Mordred-class shocktroopers under his command. All of them were armed with a 13mm pistol and some heavy hand grenades. Each squad had four 24mm anti-gear riffle, two rapid-fire bazookas, a flamer and three 11mm chainguns that accounted for the 10 GRELs squad. There were 5 squads in the trench where he was surveying plus his command HQ, 5 more in a similar construct beside his position and an advanced defensive position held by the last squad of his kompany. All seemed perfect and he was ready to take on the enemy who was coming in front of his position.

Some 45 minutes ago he had received a curt message from PAKCOM requesting his kompany to move out in the eastern dug-out positions of firebase Gamma. He was the vanguard of the defense but from his trained analysis of the situation he doubted that the firebase and PAKCOM would need more men. A normal officer would have accounted for the surprise or the unseen stealth units but Ryan-0333 was not normal his narrow brain and hypno-trained doctrines taught him that with the known foes and the number of their units and their provenance nothing else could happen. There was no apprehension no tense feelings, just plain scientific analysis of the situation at hand and the response to it which accounted for the prescribed number of troops and defensive formation. Ryan-0333 was sure of the enemy and was sure his battle plan will work, he couldn't think of anything else.

Soldier Mordred-class Mitchka-1234 took the infra-red binoculars and looked at the incoming dust formation he had sighted with his bare eyes. Through the glowing green of the computer rendered image he saw gears 5 km away. From this distance and with this device he couldn't search his memories for the form and identify the threat. So he searched his hypno-database and found the corresponding response to a generic gear threat. He put all of his 24mm anti-gear riffle in camouflaged positions in the sand dunes before the wadi and sent his flamer and the rest of the squad in the wadi itself. Every gun was ready and the slow humming of his helmet mounted sight and powerpack was all he heard until the grinding movement of enemy gears reached their positions. "Hammer to Anvil, enemy acquired waiting for effective engagement range."

"Roger Hammer"

He sighted the scope on his 11mm chaingun and waited for the matching targets. When things got less blurry Mitchka-1234 was able to outline the shape of gears but something was glitching in his unimaginative mind. These were supposed to be Peace River Defense Forces gears, following standard Warrior IV and Crusader patterns. However what he saw was something very different he cycled his chaingun anyway like his training taught him and asked his squad what they saw to be sure that his sights were at nominal functionality. After receiving the same assertions as what he had he contacted Anvil.

"Hammer to Anvil, enemy uses different unit patterns and standard formations than the expected opposition. Request acknowledgement and further info."

"Acknowledged Hammer, awaiting HMS download."

The info that was acquired from their HMS and the sights of their weapons was relayed to the Ryan-0333 CO and the Hammer squad waited for further orders. In the meantime the enemy was approaching fast and the gears became real images not just some blurry shapes. In his little brain Mitchka-1234 found the corresponding patterns and identified the coming gears as OACS-01L/SC Iguanas scout gears with some OACS-01M/SU Jäger behind them. He also recognized some infantry and Caïman APCs marching behind the footsloggers. Range was 2,5km now the enemy was at the edge of their weapon's effective range but Hammer squad's one were more short ranged. Mitchka-1234 was able to make out more troops behind the sand haze as mere shadows.

Suddenly a whizzing sound dropped on them and sand geysers erupted at the same time as cracking sounds were heard. The first blasts fell short of their position but the fire concentrated in the wadis before reaching the sand dunes and falling in straight line on the edge of it. Directly where his 24mm anti-gear riffles were hidden. The artillery barrage took most of his green blips that showed where the other Mordreds were located. Some geysers were filled with blood mist and a demi-GREL fell between Mitchka and his second. The barrage continued and became less accurate with stray shots finding the wadi as the firing platforms reached their minimum range. His slug thrower line was intact but he had lost his heavy weapons. Still Mitchka-1234 held ground since he hadn't received any update on his objective and orders. The gears were now within range of their weapons. He sighted the Iguana's head and opened fire with his rotating barrels. A buzzing sound filled the air as a steady line of tracers reached the heads of the scouting Iguanas. The lenses were armored enough to resist 11mm bullets at this range but antenna aerials and the paint weren't. Soon enough the Iguanas were just a metal mess of scratched painted and baked plastic. They dodged trying to find some cover in the sea of sand but nothing was worth it. They stayed in place searching for the firing positions and hosed them with 20mm shells. The wadi exploded in small peperring sand geyser and was transformed in just another sand dune. Mitchka-1234 followed his training to the letter and moved to another firing position he had found when he established his defensive plan. He sighted again this time at the gyros between the legs of the closer Iguana. Another Mordred had the same target and two streams of tracers obliterated the plastic cover and exploded the delicate mechanics inside. Instantly the gear lost balance and fell like a puppet in the sand. The rocket pod straightened and the pilot unloaded it on the other Mordred position. Mitchka-1237 hadn't had time to move and was atomized in huge sand balls. Mitchka-1234 moved to another position and sighted the joint of the rocket launcher and oozed hundreds of shell in it. The frame was dented and the launcher hang on smoothly. Now the remaining three able Iguanas were reaching a distance where the Mordreds couldn't camouflage anymore. Gear scale grenades were flown into the wadi and huge geysers of sand and deadly scored shrapnel showered the ancient riverbed. Two more more green blips were gone. Mitchka ditched his chaingun and unloaded his heavy grenades and charged the nearest gear. In the meantime a giant gout of flame reached a Iguana that was stomping in the wadi. The huge machine was engulfed in flames and danced like a mad man. The fuel tank boiled out and the gear was rocked by a bright fireball and fell face-first in the sand with burning oil around it. Mitchka's Iguana spun to face him and unloaded his APGL towards the GREL. He dodged most of them but a lucky shot peperred him with shrapnel. He felt the pain as a mean to warn him of his body damage and still charged the metal man. He jumped on the knee joint tossing a grenade there flexed his legs and got on top of the cockpit plunging another grenade in the sensor head cavity. He then jumped off the machine dropping his remaining grenade in the engine bay. He landed popping his two shrapnel ridden knees and fell to the ground unable to move his legs. He got on his elbows and watched the Iguana struggling to rip the grenades off. The pilot was successful with the knee one but it exploded in his right hand followed closely by the one in the sensor head. The entire torso shredded and the rest of the machine dropped to its knees and was slammed to the ground by the explosion in the engine. Mitchka-1234 saw a supersonic radiator grill coming at him and as he was able to make out the serial number he heard his last orders. "Anvil to hammer, you're to proceed with according doctrine and relay further info as to what type of gears are present."

The answer never came Mitchka being a new biological part of an Iguana salvage part.

Jan-class Ryan-0333 manned the powerful telescope of his command trench and watched emotion less the carnage at Hammer's position. Even if Hammer squad was terminated they still were able to destroy an Iguana scout cadre. Mordred-class Mitchka-1239 was rallying to their trench and was supposed to augment Anvil Squad 1 at Anvil 2. This was his main defensive line and two 30mm autocannons were manned by PAK's regulars at Anvil 1a and 1b 250m behind him and his assets. Past the dunes there was gear traps with Claymore type anti-gear mines plus bonfire tanks. All of this was hidden under sand colored tarps that were designed to reflect the same IR spectrum as the local sand did. By the time the enemy gears will fall in the prepositioned traps they will be in range of the anti-gear riffles and autocannons. Even if the gears tried to flank the traps there was Anvil Squad 9 and 10 plus the two autocannons and more anti-gear minefields on the sides. There was also a detachment from PAK tank batallion #1 with HT-68 ready to mop up the superlative gears not handled by his defensive lines some 6 km inside firebase Gamma. All was calculated with manic efficiency common to computers but this was his work. However, Ryan-0333 got no proud or glory out of it he didn't know these feelings he just obeyed orders and craved for the battle coming the only unrational feeling that was inscribed in his gene-code. Soon enough the gears switched from mere silhouettes to identifiable forms. There was a single scout cadre composed of Iguana again that was moving directly at them and another one moving to the east of the second trench. Heading into his flanks and Anvil 1a position. Through his HMS the data regarding the gears defiled with stock weapons layout, speed, armor, ammunition and their role in combat something 3 pages long. He read it with one eye and surveyed the rest of the attacking formation with the other. His analytical mind compiled the info and came up with the plan that was the same as what was setup now. The frontwise recon cadre was some 500m from the traps.

"Anvil Com to all Anvils ready weapon begin targeting. Over"

Through his IR telescope he could make the tiny bright green dots on the five Iguanas in front of him. The first, probably the leader judging from the ornaments on his sensor head dropped inside the trap spiked on steel barricades. The next one fell in the trenchwork but wasn't damaged. The others stopped dead, just where Ryan-0333 wanted them. He reached his mine trigger and punched it three times. The outer edge of the trench lifted 5 meters in the air filled with sand, dust, oil, gasoline and gear parts. Next the bonfire tanks ignited and a giant wall of fire 200m wide shrouded the advancing forces. The flanking cadre spun to meet the noise and flash. They were cut by Anvil 10 fire and the 30mm cannon position. Instantly a loud whizzing sound began and mortar and artillery shells began raining the positions. There were no clear line of sight to an observer or a friendly unit so most of the shelling was random. Still stray shots found their marks and part of the trench exploded in great balls of sand. Small green dots disappeared in his HMS marking, terminated units. The shelling began more astray and the impact spread out meaning that the artillery was reaching its minimum range.

"PAKCOM to Anvil counter-battery activated. Over"

A second whizzing wave began but this time the cracking sounds were far behind the wall of bonfire. He couldn't see the result but normally CB fire was quite accurate knowing the way it worked. However, it only targeted the artillery batteries that had fired. Normal direct fire units wouldn't be affected by that. 4 more Iguana cadres appeared on each side of the 200m wall of fire still this made them a little far for the anti-gear riffles.

"Anvil Com to all Anvils hold fire, don't reveal positions. Over" He waited a good time watching the gears searching for cover that wasn't there. When they were about to find the trenches Ryan-0333 ordered the firing to begin. A single volley of 24mm shells flew from the trenches and dropped 8 Iguanas square in the cockpits. The remaining gears dodged the other shells and hosed the trenches with pack gun fire. Some even tried out the 30mm cannons but they were too far away. Some stray shots destroyed two more before more cadres joined the fray. The GRELs reloaded with fresh clips while the gear advanced with covering fires from their cadre mates. Ryan-0333 primed his own anti-gear riffle and sighted an Iguana in front of him. He hadn't had time to fire that the next reloaded salvo took the left shoulder and engine carter out of his target. The gear raked with NNet convulsions and fell awkwardly in the sand. He reaquired another target and fired at the knee joint of a Jäger. Its right leg was blown from the rounded leg to the hip. The gear fell to the ground but trained his autocannon on his position. Ryan-0333 ducked for cover and 30mm shells took out his radio, the structural sandbags and his telescope. The firing continued and he kept low. When the clip was empty he leveled his gun and fired in the vulnerable cockpit exploding the entire gear from catastrophic compartment secondary explosions.

Now the entire firing field was flooded with Jägers, Iguanas and the odd Spitting Cobra. Stand-off range was beginning to thin and though the GRELs seemed outnumbered they didn't flinch and held ground. Now the ranges were closer and flamers and rapid-fire bazookas were brought to bear. The occasional burning tongue took out the 8 Spitting Cobras that managed to come this close. These were going to be a problem since they were able to shrug off 24mm HEAT warheads and cope with bazooka rockets. The flamers were able to do some damage but they were disappearing at a rapid rate. In all this mayhem Ryan-0333 made out some Caïmans from the left flank accompanied by infantry. These were bad things, only flamers and bazookas were able to dent their armor. However, they were slow and lumbering compared to gears, easy targets. Streams of tracers darted from the Caïmans and bit at the trenches. Green dots disappeared again. Some string of tracers replied to the Caïman but they were aimed at the infantry which dropped for cover and were pinned down. That's the only thing the chaingun armed Mordreds could do for now. Ryan-0333 was caught off-guard by a trench penetration to his right by two Jägers and a Spitting Cobra. The HAC wreaked havoc inside the GREL formation and half of its trench force was obliterated before the Anvil 1b autocannon responded. The three Jägers fell apart without their sensor heads and engine backpack and the Spitting Cobra was peppered with shells doing the infamous deadman dance. He fell sitting on the trench edge and unleashed a gigantic rocket barrage at the autocannon that drowned the trench in sand dust. At Anvil 1b things got grim and the autocannon fell silent. Before the Spitting Cobra could get up heavy grenades rained on it accompanied by two 24mm shells. The gear disappeared in billowing fireball and what emerged was a scrapped metal form smoking and bleeding hydraulic fluid. In its last action the pilot dropped a gear grenade to its feet and sent 4 Mordreds outside of the trench in tiny bits.

Things were beginning to be less happy even if he didn't feel it that way. His entire right trench was gone or the better part of it and he now had the majority of the enemy focusing on that part. Moreover he had the other trench soldiers fire on his position as well as the Anvil 1a autocannon trying to contain the tide of enemy gears that took cover in his trench. He dropped behind ammo crates put his anti-gear riffle on the bipod and unloaded his clip dropping 2 Jägers. He reloaded and fired at a Spitting Cobra through the bloody cloud of his GRELs. He blew off the Spit's heads and the metal giant stood there motionless. All of his green blips with him in the trench were gone. There was only him and his riffle but he had good cover and virtually unlimited ammo. He fired at a Jäger to his side and blasted the machine's knees and then the cockpit. He now had to reload but two more Jägers were coming his way blasting with their autocannons. The shells ripped the sandbag walling and the trench filled with the surrounding sea of sand, engulfing its ammo crate cover. He recovered a firing stance but was greeted with APGL ammo. He got lucky and shrugged off some shrapnel. He fired the head out of the Jäger's torso and the gear stumbled on its belly. He reached the hulk and took cover behind it. Three Jägers were charging in front of him autocannons blasting. His wreckage cover disappeared in a hail of armor splinters and shell shrapnel. He was pierced and blood oozed from everywhere. He add some stamina left and aimed his riffle at the front gear's torso, the riffle never fired exploding in his hands instead. He was flown back 3 meters or more into the trench his body a bloody mess of bones and viscera. He didn't sensed his legs but was able to prime his three heavy grenades. When the lead Jäger came to stomp him he let go the fuze pins and sometime after his death the Jäger's leg exploded in tiny bits, the gear striving for balance and falling on his left side.

The rest of the trench offered a good standing but was quickly overwhelmed and bloody GREL vs. gear close combat ensued. The 30mm autocannon at Anvil 1a was taken out by long-range autocannon rounds and heavy rockets by three Spitting Cobra. The MILICIA armored fist continued towards the barrackment of firebase Gamma.

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APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 2 March, 2001