"Squad Three, redeploy to our west, over near those buildings."
I can see my commander from here, Gear's hand extending to emphasise his orders. His Jaguar's head swivels, single glowing sensor taking in all that it sees silently, processing it for later usage. Despite the heaters inside the Hunter, I shiver.
"How ya holdin' up kid?" It's Marshall, one of the veterans within the unit. I sometimes wonder how he can continue to put up with being in the field, scared shitless half the time, bored out of your mind for the other half.
"Okay, I guess..." I'm sure I sound really bad because my voice rose a couple of octaves there. A chuckle filters into my headset by way of reply.
"Just stay close to your leader. Wouldn't want you nuggets doing anything too stupid." Even though no one else can see me, thanks to both my Gear and helmet, I blush. Being a rookie has major downsides a lot of the time.
"Cut the chatter people. Squad Two, what's the word on recon?"
There's silence, blessed silence for a short time. It gives me enough time to ask the Prophet for guidance and salvation. I really don't want to die. It's kind of funny then, that I was sent to the 101st, what with them being really into paradropping. Casualty rates are high. That's why I was sent to join them I guess. Fresh meat.
Still, any posting that allows me to fight the enemy is good enough. Especially if it's in the defence of my country and religion...
"Commander, we have incoming units on a bearing of two-four-niner degrees, distance of three klicks and closing. Multiple blips, mostly infantry I'd guess." Despite the fact that they're out in the open and vulnerable, the recon squad leader's voice is cool as polar ice. If it weren't for the fact that my Gear would mimic me, I'd shake my head. These guys are real pros.
"Alright, get back into cover. All squads, check weapons."
I frantically emulate my squad leader, scanning the light autocannon as quickly as possible. He checks the trigger, I check the trigger. It only takes a few seconds to inspect all of it, but it feels like hours. A cold bead of sweat runs from my forehead down my nose.
"Stay close to me." My squad leader is speaking, touching my Gear's left arm. I nod my head, hoping my Gear does the same. The commander speaks again. I can hear the sound of hovertanks in the distance.
"Squads, lock and load. Fire at will."
By TN 1915, the Colonial Expeditionary Force had achieved enough victories on the surface of Terra Nova to establish a foothold. Although the tide could swing either way at this point in the war, many felt that the Terranovans were slowly being beaten back into smaller areas where they would be exterminated. As such, the CEF was determined to make it a reality.
Starting from the areas around the badlands, teams of HT-68 hovertanks and GRELs began moving north and south, capturing resources where possible, destroying all if not. As they moved north however, the CEF discovered larger pockets of resistance. In a final effort to crush the spirit of the Northerners, they set their sights on Sorrento, religious capital of the North.
Unluckily for the CEF however, many smaller towns and villages lay in their direct path, ideal staging grounds for and Northern units to spring ambushes. Not wanting to waste the lives of their most trained soldiers, the CEF deployed freshly grown GRELs - though unexperienced, their numbers would surely have a great effect.
So it came to pass that on Winter 12, 1915, Northern Intelligence received reports of a large enemy column moving towards Cathe, a small town about 50 kilometres out from Sorrento. The town had recently been evacuated, though supplies had been left behind by some erroneous mistake. As a result the 101st Heavy Gear Regiment, the Screaming Eagles, was ordered to send a detachment of its Gears to repel the invaders. Though sorely stretched across a large front, the regiment was able to muster fifteen Gears, including their Duelist, Senior Ranger Jak Mayens.
By the time they had arrived, the enemy column was almost upon them. Though still weary from their journey, the unit set up and waited to close the jaws of the trap, prepared to sell their lives as dearly as possible...
|Time of Day:||Daylight|
|Attacking Force:||329th Hovertank Regiment and 577th Mobile Infantry Regiment|
|Defending Force:||101st Heavy Gear Regiment|
|Attacker Objectives:||Capture the town and break morale|
|Defender Objectives:||Prevent the town's capture and maintain morale|
Northern forces should be deployed in a reasonable amount of urban cover as they have had time to set up. They are prepared to fight to the death, but even the most fanatical warrior does not wish to die. Although outnumbered, they more than make up for it with their deployment and with their heavier weaponry.
CEF forces should be deployed in the open as they are not yet aware of Northern forces.
|Each enemy Gear killed||2|
|Capture of town||3|
|Destory enemy tank||2|
|Kill infantry squad (1)||1|
|Each Gear surviving||1|
Note: For every 5 Gears destroyed, all forces are at -1 to all actions. This is cumulative so after 10 are killed, all actions are at -2
Total Threat Value: 19,157 TV
101st Screaming Eagles
Total Threat Value: 13, 284 TV
Marshall's Gear lies in the broken dirt in front of me, holes torn all the way through it. He died protecting my Gear from a barrage of GREL launched rockets. From my new hiding position I can see blood pooling on the ground. I swallow and hope that when the time comes, I will go as bravely.
"In the name of the blessed Prophet, stand and face me!" The roar is so loud and close to my ears. My breathing is rapid.
Raising my gear and looking over the wall, I can see Senior Ranger Mayens in his Nemesis Jaguar. My mouth dries out.
The Gear is seriously hit. Scorch marks and holes have been punched through the legs, smoke is trailing from the V-Engine. How he can still fight onwards is beyond me. I freeze in disbelief.
In his left hand, Mayens is holding the Regiment's battle standard.
Flicking my vision my eyes widen. A hovertank. Still active. The main turret begins turning, aiming squarely towards Mayens. Even with his considerable skills, our Duelist has only a vibroblade left. The standard cannot fall.
Before I can tell myself how idiotic it is, I am running towards the tank, lifting my sorely depleted autocannon. Shells race from it's barrel, tracers lighting up bright green paths as they speed towards the target.
But I am still too late.
The particle accelerator fires, lancing through the chest of the Duelist's Gear. There is no scream, just silence from the machine. But that is the opposite for myself.
With a cry of anger, I trigger my unused rocket pack, tears staining my vision is the small rockets burst from their housing. My comrades are mostly dead, killed by these invaders. I no longer fear death, for I have become death incarnate.
The tank is engulfed as the generators ignite in an immense pyrotechnics display. Spinning to acquire my next target, I find none. All lie dead before me, I am master of death...
I lower the cannon and slowly turn back to my Duelist. Amazement fills me as a voice filters in weakly over the comms.
"Not a bad...display...for a rookie..." A gurgling cough, probably due to internal injuries can be heard.
"Sir..." Surely the Duelist knows he is mortally wounded?
"I made...a promise...Never let the standard...fall in battle." I can imagine the popular pilot smiling. "A Duelist's work...is never...done..."
The Jaguar, mirroring the pilot with which it has accompanied for several cycles begins to sway. Slowly but irrevocably, it begins falling, first to one knee, then the other. Yet the standard still flies. I slowly make my way to the flag and help support it.
"It's okay sir. I promise it will not fall. By the Prophet I promise."
The Jaguar's head looks up at mine and nods once, slowly. Then finally, in a last silent movement, the Jaguar is able to collapse, Duelist and Gear locked together in death as in life.
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