Joined: 19 Jun 2004
|Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2004 3:44 pm Post subject: Exodus Mini-Op, second half revision 1
|TRES Corp HQ Landing Field, 1109 Hours GMT, January 8th, 2003
The blast doors cycled open as we stepped on the landing field tarmac. Moho looked eager to be gone as he walked to the rear-loading gate of the Chinook. Ventris was a meter behind me, and looking a little relieved that guard duty was over. I stayed behind as Blue Element checked the perimeter and prepared for our evac. The only remotely worrisome thing was the intermittent static I was receiving over my headset.
"Red Element.. pullback..break." The earpiece buzzed as I hit the interrupt key again. The voices of the team were fading in and out. The Commander again looked mildly concerned as I switched over to channel 3 and a direct line to Miranda, our comm wizard. "Mira, comm check, some sort of interfer." Static washed out the transmission. I cursed under my breath.
"Your General is a valiant warrior, his courage is not in doubt." Ventris looked rather penitent for a woman toting body armor and an x-rifle. I looked up to reply when an HE round hammered into the rear engine of the Chinook and exploded, destroying the rear blades and knocking most of Blue element on its collective ass.
"Sniper fire on the perimeter!" I yelled over the wash of static. "All MHI elements, security wheel around the General!" I was running for the damaged chopper even as machine gun fire snapped and crackled. To Ventris’s credit, she was right behind me, x-rifle at the ready as another explosion rocked the landing field.
The whistle of incoming filled the air before we’d covered half the distance. I caught the Commander by the shoulder harness and threw her down beside me. WHAM.. WHAM.. WHAM.. Flash/bang shells went off, blinding anyone near the blast doors and sucking the oxygen out of the air. We’d missed the worst of it, but we were still exposed. I looked around for Lieutenant Ravin and spotted him a few meters behind us, crawling for cover behind a cargo mule.
He wasn’t my problem. Our problem was the huge blast doors, they were cycling closed and trapping whatever was left of the TRES security team inside, not to mention cutting off our only line of retreat. I had my MP-5 off safe as I shouted into my mike. "Call in air! This is Ironhorse calling for air support at Zulu 9-5, any friendly, we’re being hit!" I heard screamed curses as Moose cut in, "Damn gun jammed! Incoming sniper fire! We need to fall back." I ducked right and scrambled to my feet as more shells went off.
It was pretty obvious whoever had us under fire had scoped the place thoroughly. Neither Blue or Red element had a target, and that probably accounted for the lack of return fire. I noticed two of the Blues were down near the crippled bird, probably shrapnel wounds. Of Most Holy, there was no sign. We were in serious trouble and I couldn’t raise MHI air or TRES security.
Ventris was trying to get through to her people with no success while I crouched behind the Chinook. I could hear the sound of helicopters closing in, but something was wrong. I heard more shooting from Miranda and Moose’s position. Suddenly, Wednesday’s voice was in my ear, "Heliborne unfriendlies on North approach, say again, unidentified, unfriendly…" The blast knocked me a foot backward and her voice mounted to a shriek of agony.
"Miranda, hot stinger, fire mission to the north, break, over!" More shells went off, sailing over the Chinook and exploding behind us. Hustler was at my elbow minus his headset and drenched in blood. "Miranda and Wednesday are down, we’ve got spongin gunships inbound, looks like Super Cobras with grenade launchers!" I was scanning for my remaining troops while the reality sunk in, without reinforcements we were toast.
"Where’s the General! Where the hell is the General?!", I spotted Mucell retreating towards our position, firing Miranda’s M-16 from the hip. He’s one of the few men I know strong enough to fire an assault rifle accurately with one hand. He was still carrying the jammed HK. The armor piercing round hit him and spun him sideways in a huge gout of blood. Moose convulsed and fell to the ground. Our spongin sniper was loaded for bear.
"He’s still gotta be in the chopper, boss!" I risked a look into the Chinook’s cockpit, no sign of the crew. The OpFor Cobras shrieked over our position and immediately unloaded rocket pods into the side of the mountain. Imagine the sound of granite exploding at close range, now multiply that by a thousand times. It was loud! Black garbed spongin fast-roped out the door of several hovering Pave Low choppers. This hit had all the hallmarks of the Bharnei Brigade, well-funded para-military spongies.
We were already surrounded. I got off a three shot burst as they rushed us, but they didn’t go down. Must have been their body armor. Hustler took a round to the chest and a seven-foot tall sponge shock trooper in ski mask and balaclava confronted me. What the fuck, he’d come from the rear door of the Chinook?
The tango knocked the submachine gun out of my hand with a weighted riot baton. I felt my fingers go numb. A smaller identically dressed sponge kneed me in the groin while his big buddy got me by the throat. I clawed for his eyes but that just got me a fist to the kidneys. My vision narrowed perceptibly.
Ventris had gone for her sword, but she hadn’t had the space to use it. One sponge tango had her on her knees while another gave her a massage with his gun-butt. She looked unconscious. I fought back with whatever I had left but it wasn’t enough. The big spongin and his buddy half-carried me to the waiting maw of a transport chopper as things started going dark.
I had enough time left to watch as three tangos with submachine guns shot what looked like the General in the back as he lay near the Chinook. Then the lights went out.
Airborne, undisclosed position, 1147 Hours GMT, January 8th, 2003
I shook my head to get the cobwebs out. Whoever had kicked my ass had been a pro. I ached all over. I managed to sit up long enough to watch the little sponge sidekick smile as he removed his ski mask. "That was more fun than I’d figured!" Most Holy grinned and gave me a thumbs up. "How are your ribs, asshole?" "Fucking tender, your Most-Holiness, sir!" I flipped him the bird back. We were sitting right behind the pilot as he navigated the big transport chopper.
The shock trooper spongin that’d half-strangled me was sitting further back from us, minding a laptop and talking over his headset. R.R.T.’s very own Mr. Stay Puft, AKA the Albino Rhino, hard at work. I reached forward and tapped the guy in the pilot’s seat on the shoulder. "General, there’s someone I’d like you to meet." The Asian fellow with the boom mike looked back at us and smiled.
"Domo arigato, General-sama!" He saluted quickly then looked back over his instruments. I made introductions. "General, meet Amish Samurai, formerly of don’t ask and you don’t want to know. Amish, General, General, Amish, somebody tell me what the hell is going on?"
"We’re hauling ass for the state border, boss." Amish tapped a finger on the terrain following radar display. "I’ll take that to mean everything went smoothly?" I looked over my shoulder at my favorite computer geek. "Puft, did the security programs buy our little community theater production?" Puft smiled back. "All the way down to the General getting executed. Everybody evac’ed on schedule. Hopeless and Coral pulled out on foot and Mira, Hustler and Moose are on the Blue team chopper."
"Good deal", though we weren’t out of the woods yet. In fact we were about to end up in the woods in a big way. I slipped out of my load-bearing harness and body armor. Most Holy was doing the same while Puft shut down his electronics and headed for the four loaded body bags taking up room in the back.
It wasn’t pretty and it sure didn’t smell great, but we needed to complete the illusion. I pulled on a pair of new fatigues and Amish put the bird on autopilot so he could help us pack. The body armor ended up in rucksacks while our discarded BDU’s littered the floor. We would leave any incriminating evidence in the chopper. I pulled on a crash helmet and LOX mask while Amish helped the General with his parachute.
Having finished with our gear, MoHo and I helped Amish and Puft suit up. The contents of the body bags were strapped in to harnesses so we wouldn’t have to worry about losing anything after we went out the door at 10,000 feet. I signaled for Puft to depressurize the bay, right before I checked our position on a GPS unit strapped to my right wrist. Looking good.
On Puft's signal, the massive rear doors opened and it was blue sky and us. All four of us went out the door together in a mass HALO jump. I tracked to the North and threw a hump just because I was feeling playful. There was nothing but green forest and an amazing sunset as far as the eye could see.
Puft was visible out of the corner of my eye as I fell through four thousand feet. I pulled the cord and instantly slowed under the opening shock. There was no need to get real low for this particular drop. The difficulty was making the approach to the LZ with all of the trees. Luckily I had GPS.
I pulled on the risers to increase my rate of descent as we swept into a small cleared field, the end result of a wildfire in the area five years before. I hit the quick releases on my rucksack as I came in and managed a plausible paratrooper role after I landed. So far, we were good.
I collected my collapsed parafoil and made a quick check of the LZ, stone cold. Amish was dragging his chute and rucksack into the treeline while MoHo and Puft slung arms and established a perimeter. On my signal, the three of us followed Amish into the woods.
Rocky Gap Preserve, classified position, 0150 Hours GMT, January 9th, 2003
Moose nearly gave me a heart attack as he stepped out of the under-brush he'd been hiding in. "Jesus, Mucell, aren't you supposed to be dead?" He shrugged and smiled as the rest of Blue Element joined us in the shallow ravine we'd been walking in for a good country mile. Moose must have vectored in on the short burst transmission Puft had sent to an orbiting Jihad-sat to confirm our status.
We had already changed clothes again and hidden our parachutes and other equipment in a pre-positioned site before moving to link up with the rest of the team. Our job now was to impersonate your typical band of weekend warriors with quasi-military gear such as you'd find in most any out of the way corner of America.
I motioned to Miranda to take point and we made our way up a rise towards the North. I had figured on a good two to three hours' of steady hiking before we set up a hide site and figured out our pick-up point. Then we'd proceed to phase three of making good on the General's retirement. I had a bit of a surprise planned for him.
Then I heard it. The hair on the back of my neck stood up as I motioned for everyone to freeze in place. The darkness seemed to deepen and swell as forms like oversize wolverines coalesced and surrounded us. "Ferals!"
"Stand-down, everyone, weapons down, check safety's." I slipped my own Glock-19 pistol out of its ballistic nylon holster and dropped it at my feet. You did not fuck with Ferals if you could avoid it.
I had to hand it to Most Holy, nothing phases him. Alien assassin hunting you for miles so it can sadistically torture you while your friends' watch. He's been there, done that. Go one on one with spongin Jell-O creatures in a Wal-Mart. No need to repeat himself there. Now he sauntered over to the nearest Maenad without so much as a second-glance.
"You always had a flare for the dramatic, Shard." MoHo struck a waterproof match against the upraised edge of the Feral's claws and lit his cigar. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"NyARRR, not so happy with you, the Triumvirs are. Why the attack on friends?" I stepped within a foot of claws that could turn me into coleslaw without any real effort. "We needed a permanent way for the General to leave, ah, sir." I wasn't sure on the appropriate mode of address, so I played it by ear.
"MoHo is on every spongin hit list from here to New Delhi. His options are either a one-way ticket ride to exile courtesy of VRDET or permanent armed guards covering him the rest of his life. This way is better. The spongin all assume somebody else pulled off a hit on one of the Jihad's best. MoHo walks away clean and the only casualties are a few bumped and bruised TRES egos." I'm no judge of feral facial expressions but I thought it sounded good.
"Mayhaps human... Rarrrr, we will be watching you." The Maenad I could only assume was Shardik the Feral turned and disappeared into the warp followed by the others. MoHo drew on his cigar and motioned for us to move on.
Central Michigan, classified location, 0850 Hours GMT, January 17th, 2003
The C-130 "Hercules" landed, raising clouds of dust as it taxied in from the runway at the airstrip. My team and I were on-site, wearing strictly civilian dress so as not to raise any questions. The strip was technically civilian owned and operated but the entire area was relatively friendly and full of people who didn't ask questions and were more than happy to mind their own business.
Most Holy was wearing civvies too and he shook my hand as the big transport plane throttled down and rolled to a stop. "I assume this is my ride, Corporal. You'll do me the favor of informing General Jeracho that he is now in command of M.A.U.L?"
I released his hand and saluted. "Sir, on behalf of the citizens of the Midwestern United States, thank you for your service." I took a step back and smiled.
"And this isn't exactly your ride." As the roar of the plane's engines subsided a deeper growl echoed from the massive cargo hold. The rear doors of the Herc dropped opened and engines roared as a lone biker on a Harley fat-boy drove out of the plane and wheeled up to the General. "These guys are your ride."
For once, the General was speechless. "Half, is that you?"
"You bet your ass it is, General sir." Sergeant Major Half Holy jumped off his bike and pounded the General on the back. "I rounded up a few old soldiers and assorted drunks and pukes. They ain't the old G-team, but they'll do." Most Holy smiled. I watched as he saddled up an identical hog, giving the stylized chrome picture of Grimace on the gas-tank an affectionate pat.
"What better way for you to leave, than the way you entered, sir." The pack of MAUL warriors past and present was all around us. I had a sense of the rightness of the moment.
I saluted again. "Sir, good luck." MoHo poured on the gas and laid down a ten-foot streak of burning rubber as he and the reformed G-Team roared for the horizon. "And though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." I turned to my team. "Let's go home, I think we've earned a vacation."
Peoria Illinois, MAUL, War College, 1234 Hours GMT, January 20th, 2003
Evaluation team reports findings at TRES target site
CINC Most Holy confirmed KIA
MAUL MHI Security Team missing, presumed KIA
War College to await complete report
Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Location: Groton, CT
|Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:53 pm Post subject:
|Great stuff! Only a couple of (hopefully) minor nitpicks, because I'm the resident TRES Corps guru, which I hope won't cause you too much trouble.
TRES Corps HQ doesn't have an exposed airstrip, save for a small dirt airstrip looking like an underutilized municipal airport a few miles away. Helicopter traffic typically lands on the base's parade quad, so that's where your insertion can take place.
The real airstrip, like much of the rest of the base, is located inside the mountain with the entrance on the north face. The blast doors are of course camouflaged, and there's a retractible platform that extends the length of the strip. It's a rather harrowing landing, much like a carrier landing, except carriers don't typically have mountains over their heads. Anyway, the opening scene of the second segment can take place here, on the extended platform.
Only other thing is that there isn't an "official" Triumverate chamber in TRES HQ, though that can easily be ignored so I don't know why I even mentioned it.
Map of the facility, if needed, can be found here.
But overall, good stuff. As Zib said, it's highly cromulent.
Nemesis the Feral (NYAR!) --
Maenad of the Holy Albino
Lazy Slacker Art Boy
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