War is War [Closed]

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War is War [Closed]

Post by Blackrock on Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:29 pm


PROLOGUE

“TWO MINUTES!”

”TWO MINUTES, MAGGOTS! TWO MINUTES!”

You nervously check your wrist watch – less than 120 seconds separate you from the bloodbath below. Your eyes wander to your left, then to the right. Strapped in next to you stand other recruits, dressed in the same uniform as you; having the same anxious expression as you; nameless and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things…just like you. You look down at the suspicious rifle handed to you by the quartermaster, resting between your legs. The tension is in the air, everyone can feel it.

“It is time to show that you are worthy of the trust the Legion has placed in you! I’ll keep it brief, maggots, you sorry lot are not worth my time!” – the sergeant exclaims – “Hill 3241 is the objective of the day. Why it’s important and what’s happening doesn’t concern you – all you need to know is that you have to make your way up that hill! AM I CLEAR?!”

Not waiting for a reply, the gruff sergeant continues, his footing solid, despite the irregular maneuvers of the ship, and his left hand firmly gripping a handle above him.

“We’ll be landing at the foot of H3421. Your brothers-in-arms are shedding their blood even as we speak. You are to support them and lend assistance in any way you can. If you make it to the top a sergeant will come to take you to your regiment. I gave you piles of shit a paper before we came aboard. Read it now! It contains the number of your regiment and the rally point’s letter.” – a short pause – “And if you don’t make it, at least your corpse will pave the way for your fellow soldiers. Thus, even your worthless existence will have some value. Now prepare for landing! 30 SECONDS!”

You unbuckle yourself and check the paper. 107th Alexandrian regiment, rally point G. 30 seconds and everything you’ve trained for in the last few months will become reality. Everyone around you is a stranger. Your comrades from training have been packed aboard other ships, a common practice amongst recruits. No attachments, the brass says. You try not to look at the other faces in the ship, knowing all too well that most of them will die within a few minutes. With that bleak thought still lurking in your mind, you feel the constant vibration receding…

…and then the ship lands.

The next second feels like an eternity. Everything is still, calm. As if the war around you was some long-forgotten memory, a dream. What thoughts race through your mind, only you will know. The emotion you felt at the verge of your first true battle, only you will be able to feel. One thing is certain – thoughts are brushed aside and emotions are suppressed; instinct takes over.

Eternity is short and the moment passes, substituted by the sergeant’s roar.

“GO! GO! GO!”

You grab your rifle and get to your feet. The battlefield outside awaits. Life or death are within your grasp – which will you seize?



Last edited by Blackrock on Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:12 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Blackrock on Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:30 pm

Marek Zogin was making his way towards the other end of the trench, he was already sweating like a pig and the day was far from over. He had the urge to take the damn helmet off for just a few seconds, but the frontline was near and the risk of stray shots was ever present. The sound of shells exploding was all around him, drowning out all other noise. He noticed the man he was looking for and after one final dash found himself next to him.

“Sergeant Zogin reporting, sir!”

“Get down, sergeant” – lieutenant Radisson replied

Not dwelling too much on the order, the sergeant went to his knees and leaned on the trench’s wall. He unstrapped his helmet, and allowed himself a sigh of relief. Pulling down his balaclava, Marek looked at the lieutenant. Radisson was in his late twenties, a tall, imposing man with broad shoulders a wide chest – the perfect build for an officer. His voice was a pleasant deep bass, which could turn into a tremendous roar during a firefight. All in all, it was one of the better men Marek had served under over the years.

The lieutenant was examining something, most probably a tactical map. He marked something on it and then quickly folded it, placing it in one of his pockets. After that he turned towards the sergeant, studied him briefly and noted:

“You haven’t shaved.”

“No, sir.”

“Amend that at the first possible opportunity.”

“Yes, sir.”

Indeed, the sergeant had neglected shaving today – for the first time in all his years as a soldier. The assault had begun earlier than planned, leaving the men with little time to grab their things – let alone eat or look to their hygienic needs. Hill 3241, the lieutenant had told them the other day, was of strategic importance not only to their regiment, but the division as a whole. It overlooked the outskirts of the city below, giving the TL ample opportunity to shell their positions with artillery fire. H3241 was located on the left flank of their division, while the 107th made up the very same flank. Their battalion was in the center, which meant their neighbours to the left would bear the brunt of the assault; nevertheless, they played a key supporting role.

After days of preparation, the assault was ready to commence. It was to begin at 0700 hours, but things didn’t go according to plan. On the very right flank of the army, kilometres away from them, the League had launched a surprise attack. Needless to say, it caught the entire army off-guard and the communications chain was rapidly falling apart. And while the outcome was far from certain, it was hard to judge from the bottom, the immediate consequences were clear. The troops were rushed from their trenches somewhere around 0500 hours, having to go up against the heavily fortified TL position without artillery support. Only two or so hours after that did the big guns sound...but it was too late for the many mangled corpses that littered the field.

Not that anyone wanted his opinion (or Radisson’s for that matter), but Marek was beginning to realise what would follow next. During his years on the front he had, sadly, seen such an occasion often enough. The hill was protected by four lines of well-fortified trenches, each smaller and more tightly-packed than the rest. The plan was for the first two to fall by noon – the first would be decimated by artillery fire; the second would be taken in the chaos following the initial attack. In practice, it was already noon and they had taken the first line of trenches just now. The artillery fire was not enough to smoke the TL bastards out of their positions. Marek saw two things in this: first - despite their plans, the remaining trenches would have to be taken using only infantry – a bloody affair; second - the reinforcements which were scheduled to arrive at noon would find themselves in the direct line of fire. If all had gone according to plan, the recruits would be able to move up the hill, unhindered by the canons located in the second line of trenches. Luck wasn’t willing to cooperate it seemed...

“What’s the situation, sergeant?” – Radisson asked

As usual, his voice was calm, relaxed...despite them being some 200 meters away from the frontline.

“First, second and third squads are advancing, as per your instructions.” – Marek stopped to catch his breath – “Fourth and fifth squad have been pinned down by enemy fire.”

“There’s nothing we can do about that” – he sighed – “Kirenko’s men on the right need to make a push before our boys can move up.”

“Your orders, sir?”

“I’ll go to fourth squad and see if I can’t get them moving.” – he paused – “And you sergeant...go to the captain and tell him we could use some help. We sure could do with some of his reserves. I’d tell him myself, but they’ve jammed the damned signal again.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Zogin....it’s good to be serving with you once more.”

“Likewise, sir.”

Marek snapped off a quick salute and headed towards the captain’s dugout. He hadn’t failed to notice the slight hesitation in the lieutenant’s words. They both knew that the captain was well aware of their current situation; he had experience enough to know that something had gone wrong when the front had barely inched forward in the span of an hour. The simple truth was that there was nothing for the sergeant to do. He had to take command of his new squad, but it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen. Neither the rally points had been set up, nor had the approaches been secured. How could they, when the fucking frontline was a stone’s throw away?

Now he, like many other “ghost” squad leaders, found himself totally useless. Marek couldn’t stand that, he despised idleness. He would gladly take up his rifle and join the others at the front, but the lieutenant wouldn’t let that fly. Another gun or two weren’t going to change the outcome of the battle and there was no point in wasting NCO’s when something could be found for them to do. Even if it meant a runner’s task. He sighed. At least Radisson hadn’t changed his attitude towards him; the lieutenant’s station hadn’t gotten the better of him.

Some six or so months ago, a junior lieutenant had found himself in command of his platoon and Zogin had been assigned as his platoon sergeant. From their first few fights together, the sergeant saw that the man clearly surpassed him in both character and grasp of military knowledge. It wasn’t long before Radisson had been promoted and Marek found himself serving in a different platoon as a squad leader. And now he was back...a small joy, but in times of war that often made the difference between carrying on with the fight and a mental breakdown. He would no longer be serving side by side with the lieutenant, but at least he would be in the same unit, with (mostly) the same people. That was as close to a family as he had out here. Now he only had to live through this to savour it.

As he was making his way to the captain, the sergeant already saw the first wave of recruits running up the hill. Green as their uniforms, he thought, with minimal chance of survival. Despite what he had been taught as a kid, despite the propaganda – the reality of war had showed him that there was nothing “worthy” in this practice. The brass didn’t have the resources to arm every random Joe who decided to enlist, that’s why they only outfitted those who showed some promise as soldiers. Brutal, but effective – a fact which all men and women soon learned.

Despite his best efforts, Marek couldn’t help himself and shouted at the passing recruits.

“Keep your fucking heads down! Look for cover, check your sides! “

Whether they heard him or not was an entirely different matter. They had probably heard such orders more than enough, but it wouldn’t hurt if someone reminded them. Hey, one of the brighter ones could get it into their propaganda-filled heads that a glorious charge leads to death, not victory. Busy with such thoughts, Marek almost failed to notice how quickly he reached the company’s HQ. He had passed through the conquered enemy trenches, the former front-line and, finally, their own fortifications. All that in less than half an hour; strange – when he made his way up the hill, under enemy fire, it seemed like he was travelling to the other end of the world.

Finding himself in front of the company’s dugout, slightly larger than needed and well-built, he quickly checked himself. Deftly, the sergeant adjusted his belt and pulled the rifle sling so his weapon was closer to his body. He couldn’t do much else – the blood, dust and mud would have to wait. With that done, he quickly walked in three quick steps and snapped off a salute.

“Sergeant Zogin, second platoon, reporting, sir!”

Only after saying that did he notice that the captain wasn’t there. The only other people besides him were a guard and the company’s XO, senior lieutenant Mann. The lieutenant narrowed his eyes, inspected him carefully, frowning slightly at his stubble, and finally spoke:

“Report.”

Bastard. That was Marek’s only thought. It was well-known that Mann was a pedant, even under these circumstances he would keep a man fresh out of the frontlines at attention. It wouldn’t cost him anything to simply mutter “at ease”...but no, a rat was a rat no matter what uniform he wore. In fact, there was a rumour that the good lieutenant had been demoted after he fucked up somewhere up the chain of command. It made sense, since he was in his mid-forties and should have had ample opportunity for advancement.

“Lieutenant Radisson has failed to make any real progress up the hill. First, second and third squad have pushed the line forward, along with units from first platoon. Fourth and fifth are pinned down and cannot make any progress until third platoon can overcome resistance on their right flank.”

“What is the last known location of the lieutenant?”

“He was headed to fourth squad. That was some thirty minutes ago.”

“[i]Some?[/b] Be more specific, sergeant.”

“I need to check my watch, sir.”

“You have my permission.”

Bastard, Marek thought again. He probably felt high and mighty now...what a piece of shit. Regardless, he checked his watch and returned his left hand to his hip.

“27 minutes ago, sir.”

The lieutenant didn’t answer, but leaned over the table in the middle of the dugout and began marking something on the map. They didn’t have computers yet, they were supposed to arrive some days ago but never did, and so all officers had to resort to the old-fashioned method.

“Sir” – Marek began with some hesitation – “Lieutenant Radisson requested assistan- “

Mann raised his hand to silence him.

“Lieutenant Radisson’s concerns have been noted” – the old bastard cut in – “The captain saw to that before he departed. A squad of the company’s reserves are preparing as we speak. Join them and reinforce Radisson’s position.”

“Yes sir!”

“Sergeant...come here.” - he beckoned to him with his fingers

Marek approached and looked at the map.

“Do you know what this red line here is?” – Mann tapped at a thin red line which was straight, then curved inwards and then curved outwards, becoming straight once again.

“It’s the frontline, sir.”

“Good.” – he tapped at the curve – “Tell the lieutenant that I want this line straight! If his neighbours can do it so can he! Am I clear, sergeant?”

“Yes sir!”

“He has two damned hours to sort this mess out!” – Mann raised his voice – “I want results, sergeant, get to it. Dismissed.”

“Yes, sir!” – Marek saluted and turned on his heels.

After leaving the dugout and taking a deep breath, he began looking around for those reinforcements. It wasn’t long before he noticed them gathering to the left, some ten men along with their sergeant were making last-minute checks of their weapons. Marek approached them and nodded at their squad leader; he hadn’t met the man before.

“You’re Radisson’s man, right?” – the stranger asked him

“Yeah, name’s Marek Zogin. Pleased to meet you.”

“William Johnson, likewise.”

They shook hands and briefly discussed their next course of action. Everything was already cleared up and planned ahead by their superiors, but it was common practice for sergeants to sort out any small details between themselves. It was also nice to be talking freely for once; they were both of the same rank so military protocol wouldn’t get in the way of communication. After they sorted it out, Johnson signalled at his men and all of them set out in a steady jog. Marek pulled down his protective goggles and gripped the rifle firmly with both hands – he was now a faceless, nameless soldier, like all the others around him.

Steadily, they reached the first line of conquered trenches. They stopped for a breather, crouching behind the trench wall; Marek cautiously lifted up his head and surveyed the area. The artillery barrage had stopped for now, at least in their area of the front – it seemed to have been concentrated to the west. Some 300 or so meters from them, slightly to the right, the sergeant noticed fourth squad. They were still pinned down; an enemy machine gun, safe inside its bunker, wasn’t giving them any rest.

“Do you have any grenades, sergeant?” – Marek asked

“Afraid not, mate, we’ve been out ever since this shit storm started.”

By that he probably meant the whole assault on Fort Hope, the nearby city, not the hill itself. It wasn’t a surprise really, everything apart from a rifle was hard to get, especially when the key battles were fought on a different part of the front. They’d just have to wait for their turn – either until supplies arrived (highly unlikely) or the operation was won and they had time to stop and restock.

“Suspected as much” – Zogin sighed – “let’s get to the lt. then, he’ll know what to do.”

“Brandis, Williams, Keno – give us covering fire!” – sergeant Johnson ordered

The three riflemen ran up to the edge of the trench, positioning their weapons on the wall and nodded at their sergeant.

“On my mark....one, two – GO!”

A few soldiers vaulted over the trench, after which Marek followed, pulling himself with one quick action of the left hand. He sprinted towards the location of fourth squad, from where Radisson had ordered his own men to provide covering fire. The lieutenant was without a doubt a perceptive bastard; he had probably seen them even before they made a dash towards his position. That’s what Marek liked about him – always one step ahead.

Fourth squad were pinned down behind the burnt down remains of a tank. It was probably a remainder of the last battle for this hill, the only difference being that the attackers and defenders were reversed. That was last year and since then nobody had bothered to remove this piece of scrap. Time and flame had done their job and by now it was too late to discern which side the tank had fought on. Nevertheless, along with a few bigger rocks, it provided enough cover for the two squads. That was as much as they could get in a barren place such as this.

Marek slid to a halt right by the lieutenant, taking cover behind the machine’s carcass. The remainder of Johnson’s squad followed, along with the sergeant himself.

“That’s all the captain could spare?” – Radisson wasted no time with protocol

“Yes, sir. That’s all Mann was willing to give.” – he stopped to catch his breath – “The XO said you had two hours to advance.”

“Mann...”- that was all Radisson said, the change in tone was subtle but Marek had learned to discern it. It was a sign of deep spite and resent.

Their conversation was cut short when one of Johnson’s men, from the small group left behind to cover them, grunted loudly and staggered forward as he was running towards them.

“Fuck!” – someone shouted

Luckily for the soldier, his momentum was enough to drive him forward, so when he fell, he was quite close to the squad’s position. Quickly, his comrades dragged him behind the tank. The two sergeants, along with the lieutenant and some soldiers gathered around him. He was alive and well, considering the circumstances; a stray shot had caught him in the ankle.

“Do you have a medic with you, sergeant?” – Radisson turned towards Johnson

“No sir, ours was dispatched to another squad.”

“Damn....we don’t have one either.”

Marek was about to cut in and shout out for the “doc”, as they called him, but suddenly remembered a horrible truth – he was no longer amongst them. Their medic was the first to fall; a sniper had picked him off just as they were leaving the trenches. In the first minute of the fight; a clean shot to the head – he probably didn’t even realise what had happened. Those TL bastards sure knew which target to take out, Marek though bitterly; the doc’s medical bag had probably given him away. Hopefully he was in a...quieter place now, the sergeant remembered that the man had never quite gotten used to the booming sounds of the artillery.

In the meanwhile, Johnson had taken off the soldier's boot and began examining the wound. The sad truth was that none of the men around had any medical training, so they had to rely on what experience they had gleaned during their years on the front.

“Projectile’s lodged pretty deep in” – Johnson said – “I reckon it’s shattered the ankle.”

“There’s nothing we can do about it, sergeant” – Radisson said – “Do what you can and leave one of your men to guard him.”

“Yessir.”

With that, Johnson tore off a piece of his sleeve and did his best to dress the wound with it. It wasn’t much of bandage though and the black cloth was quickly soaked with blood. Then one of the soldiers (an old warhorse) suggested using a shoe-lace to tighten it and the sergeant wasted no time in heeding that advice. Since nobody was going to use the wounded’s boot any time soon, it was obvious where the laces would come from. One of the men removed them and handed them to Johnson. He pulled on the laces until the injured man cried out in pain, after which he hastily tied them in a knot.

“Best I can do” – he mumbled

The next thing they heard was the sound of a mortar shell exploding on the other side of the tank. By instinct, Marek dropped to the ground, but the damage was minimal – they were just a bit shaken. He leaned on the side of the tank and looked around, making sure everyone was fine.

“They’ve got our positions, sir” – he told Radisson – “we can’t stay here forever.”

“I know sergeant, I know” – a slight note of uncertainty crept into his voice - “I’ll give Kirenko 15 more minutes to get his men moving, if they can’t break through until then we’ll have to move.”

“Move where, sir? Back or forth?”

“Sergeant...” – a thin, sad smile crept across Radisson’s face – “This is the Legion, there is no going back...”
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Crimson Saint on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:19 pm

Kristoffer James Weiss sat quietly aboard the drop ship. For the most part, he ignored the yelling sergeant, though he did notice that it was a very similar speech to the many he had received during his "training". It was a shame that the higher-ups had the gall to call such a basic course "training". It was little more than a tutorial on how to shoot a gun without injuring yourself, and a few lessons on how to not get killed the moment you got to the battlefield. Most of those who made it through the training were still too weak - both in mind and body - to be of any use in even the most evenly matched firefights. Some of them might make decent meat-shields, but even that was doubtful. Still, they were here, and maybe one or two of them might be able to rise to the occasion. Crazier things had happened.

Despite his criminal background, Kris had been put on a drop ship with a mix of recruits from several other backgrounds, though most were probably civilian. He thought the UP military would have taken the time to put the criminal recruits on their own ships, but things had been rushed - apparently due to unexpected developments on the field - and the recruits had been placed on whatever ships would hold them. They would all be mixed up on the battlefield anyways, so it didn't change much. In fact, if anything, this at least gave Kris a new set of faces to look at. Less ugly faces.

In particular, Kris noted a young-looking red head sitting opposite to him. He was surprised by how young she looked. She couldn't be past her teens yet. It was a sad state of affairs when the Legion had to rely on schoolgirls to win their battles. She probably had more official training than him, but he could tell by the look of her that she wasn't a born fighter. He doubted she'd make it for more than a few moments once they landed.

Kris could smell the fear in the air - fear and sweat. Most of the folks around him would be dead in a few moments, and they wasted their last moments worrying. It was pathetic. Half of them would probably die huddled behind some rock, sweating, cursing, and shitting themselves. Maybe if they wouldn't spend so much time getting sick over their fear of dying, they might actually have a better chance at living to see the next day. Regardless, as long as none of them managed to get Kris killed, he didn't really give a damn.

Thirty seconds!

Kris' heart began to pound. It wasn't fear though, it was excitement. He loosed his buckle as he eagerly waited for the drop ship to land. As he waited, he looked around. Those around him seemed scared shitless, and most had faces whiter than any he'd seen before, with knuckles of a matching shade. Some of them seemed to be having trouble with their belts. Either they were too terrified to control their shaking hands, or the buckles on the Legion's drop ships were beginning to fall apart. Most likely both though.

Finally, the ship landed and the door opened. As the recruits piled out of the ship, Kris lost track of the redhead, though it was mostly for lack of caring. As soon as he could get out of the damn ship, Kris was on the field and running towards the battle. He could see the hill that was his objective, as well as the scene as the Legion tried desperately to fight their way to its top. As he ran towards the front line, Kris picked out a rock behind which he could take cover, while still giving him enough visibility to see where the enemy was, and also where his allies were. Bullets whizzed past him and buried themselves in the recruits behind him. Those who hesitated as they exited the ship seemed to get picked off first. Kris ran in a slightly zig-zagging pattern in an attempt to make himself a more difficult target.

Soon enough, Kris found himself crouched behind the rock he'd chosen. The sound of a mortar shell drew Kris's attention to a group of soldiers huddled behind a burnt-up tank. A machine gun seemed to be trained on their position, and the mortars weren't giving them any breaks. Kris peeked up over his rock. He had a clear shot to the machine gunner's bunker, but he the gunner himself was safe behind his walls. Nevertheless, Kris took aim and fired off a few rounds at the turret, hoping to pull its attention for long enough to give the other soldiers time to act.

"Here goes nothing."
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dio the Awesome on Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:33 am

Angelica Raye Brooks sat on her bunk in the grunts quarters, foot locker ajar. She slipped her shades into the box and idly stared at it. Sergent Mayes, the drill sergent, would arrive shortly to escort her to a drop ship. He kindly gave her a few extra minutes to attend to her prostetic arm. Maybe it was because she was not only a woman in the Legion, but still had the will to fight after the accident. With a practiced motion, she depressed a mechanism on her left hand, and popped it off of her wrist. Angelica grabbed a replacement from her foot locker. It was made from the same dull metal as the rest of her arm, but instead of ending with fingers, it was only a palm, and a special holder for her rifle. She snapped the holder onto her wrist. Suddenly there was a rapping on the door.

"Private Brooks! Get a move on!" The sergent barked. But then he gave her a slight smile.

Angelica clipped her rifle onto her wrist and quickly stood at attention, "Yes sir!" She shot him a salute.

Using her right hand, she flipped the rifle strap over her shoulder to reduce the strain on her arm. Her left arm had become strong over the years lifting the prostetic metal. Too bad all that strength was useless. She hurried after the sergent who shoved her onto the nearest dropship. "Good luck... Brooks." Mayes whispered to her before he was lost from sight.

---

"One minute, one minute!" The nameless sergent tried to yelled over the howl of the dropship. "We will be landing in one minute, and I want every one of you rushing your asses up that hill!"

He paced up and down. Angelica nervously checked over her left arm. It felt like the hairs were rising on end, only there was nothing there. She did her best to ignore the phantom sensations. The sergent granted her wish, as he turned around to pace some more. "Alright! Thirty seconds, unbuckle and brace yourselves to hit the ground running on my mark!"

Angelica struggled to undo her straps one handed. Most of the other recruits were half standing while she worked away. It proved to be a blessing. The dropship suddenly took a nose dive, sending recruits hurling towards the front of the ship.

"WHAT THE FUCK!" The sergent manage to roar over the screams of the soldiers.

The pilot half turned to loook at the sergent. "Shell coming in! Ha--"

It was too late.

A TL artillery round hit the rear of the drop ship; the pilots sudden dive not enough to get them out of harms way. The screech of metal, a white flash, the smell of charred flesh, and the rip of wind assaulted Angelica's senses as the rear of the ship was torn off by the shell. The dropship flipped over once, sending the recruits tumbling out. All except Angelica, who was lucky enough to still be strapped in. After just one somersalt, the ships nose slammed into the planet crushing the cockpit completely.

Dazed and confused, Angelica mindlessly followed her commanding officers last order. She fumbled for her straps, and after a few unsuccessful tries, she managed to free herself from the restraints. Unfortunetly she didn't realize the ship was positioned at an odd angle and without the restraints, gravity sent her tumbling to the ground. The pain in her knees brought her back to reality. The ship was laying at a 30 degree angle, halfway burried in the ground. Aside from the occasional broken body lying at the front of the ship, she was alone. The pilot was dead, burried under a pile of dirt and steel and the sergent was nowhere to be found.

Angelica stubbornly gripped her rifle. "We will be landing in one minute, and I want every one of you rushing your asses up the hill." She repeated her last order. Using the straps as hand holds, she climbed her way to the back of the dropship and through the shredded metal hole the artilery round made. Angelica suddenly saw a large pool of red. Stunned she touched her hand to her face. It felt warm, and painful. When she looked at her fingers, they were smeared with blood. A piece of shrapnel had left a deep cut just above the eyebrow. Blood kept flowing into her eye, as so she had to keep whipping it away as she moved. Keeping low she worked herself away from the crash site. The immediate area was littered with several bodies, possibly from her own dropship. She searched each one until she came across a medic. He was dead, shot through the skull and still clutching his bag. She quickly opened it up hoping for some FAP. It was empty, save for a roll of gauze. She sighed, but removed her helmet anyways. She wrapped the bandage around her forehead three times, and tied it off. It took her some time using only one hand, but eventually she managed it. Angelica popped her helmet back on and at last looked to the hill.

It was a long climb, but already several recruits were making their way into position. She checked her rifle and briefly fingered the hole in the stock. It helped her remember the guns previous owner, and the ever present danger. Angelica swallowed, and ran to catch up.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:39 am

Benjamin O'Connel half-limped, half-jogged up the ramp to the waiting shuttle. The loading warrant officer glared at him, as he was almost late. The man looked like he belonged in a poster, with his chiseled square jaw, steely blue eyes, heroic posture, and even his geared looked spotless, and new. Ben had the urge to wipe the smirk off his pretentious face as bellowed at him.

“Get in the shuttle, you worthless piece of garbage. Before I beat the shit out of you!”

Benjamin smothered a laugh at the pompous pretty boy, and slumped down into his seat. Master Sergeant Bryan Deckard had hit him pretty hard in the last official hand-to-hand 'training' session. His cracked ribs were healed, but sore, and his ankle still gave him painful twinges. Ben had enough and turned the 'demonstration' into a 'free form sparring' session. Deckard was an absolute bastard, delighting in tormenting his new recruit. Warrant Officer Dennis, as the name sown into uniform said, was cut from the same sadistic cloth, but with little of his bastardized toughness and skill.

Ben mumbled to himself, “I would eat you alive, you scarless coward.”

The rumble of the bird was strangely comforting, reminding him of heavy machinery at this workplace. Despite the cacophony and sour smell of rank fear, the heavy vibration tugged his tired eyelids down.

It was a deep black void with tiny pinpricks of light. Matte black shapes could be seen blotting out the tiny light from time to time. The silvery explosion of a gate activation showed more matte black shapes coming out, flaring orange as they moved quickly. Streaks of light and electrical discharges flared, sometimes causing green and blue-white explosions. There was a feeling of deep dread. Spectacular explosions started, flaring like supernovas. Green and purple suited figures flung into deep space with every ship rupture.

Finally, one side seemed to be winning, or rather surviving. A heavily damaged ship from the winning side suffered another explosion, rupturing and spilling gas everywhere. Engines flared orange but it fell out of line with its comrades. Not for long, only a mistake that would take a few minutes to correct. Too much time needed for the Starlight to survive. The remaining enemy ships targeted their last prey, launching everything before fleeing like the cowardly raiding weaklings they were.

He could see it, laser discharges melting through the hull, venting more atmosphere, Gauss slugs perforating and converting into plasma balls as each impacted the great hospital ship's hull. He could hear the screams of the patients, the shouting captain and the roaring, desperate crew. Too much damage was being inflicted.

He could imagine his father standing in one of the emergency bays, triaging and throwing sailors into survival pods, jettisoning them. The rest of his team doing the same as oxygen leaked away, and absolute cold crept in. They would just keep saving as many as they could before the main engines would lose containment, annihilate the safeguards, and immolate the rest of the ship. It was like a bad movie, stuck on repeat.

A blow to the helmet woke Benjamin up. The disapproving face of a sergeant glared down at him.

“Get off the fucking shuttle. Take that hill.”
“Huh?”
“You heard me, recruit, get your ass moving!”
“Yes, Sir!”

Ben stood up and grabbed his gear. He could hear the sergeant mutter something. “Jesus, is that guy really a recruit? Covered in blood and dirt stains and sleeps through everything...”

Ben yawned, and started trotting down the ramp. It stank of death, vaporized earth and blood. He instinctively started a crouch run with rifle held towards the hill. The fear from his nightmare kept him low, and out of sight.

“O'Connel! Over here!”

The familiar voice of his partner in crime through boot rang out from behind a tree. The poor man had the name of James Jamieson. He was hunkered down in large shallow hole that was probably made by some kind of artillery. He wasn't alone either, with two other greenies. One had his ass sticking out like a sore thumb, just begging to be shot off. Ben almost laughed out loud at the fact that they were only in vague visibility of the hill in question. Just off the boat, and this operation had already turned into a cluster fuck. He started crouch walking with the rifle pointed towards the hill, hopefully the hill in question. There were a couple in the vicinity. This was the kind of thing was why he got kicked out of school in the first place. Sleeping and not paying attention to the important details in this case almost made him wish he hadn't gotten some revenge before he left.

“Ah, well,” Ben muttered to himself as got closer. Sliding into the hole, he smacked the ass down on his way with the butt of his rifle. The ugly, dirty face of Jean Barque looked back at him in impotent rage and embarrassment. Jean had already learned he was second string in both creative revenge, and straightforward force.

“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, and I am not going to be carrying you when that is full of holes. Jamie, what the fuck are we supposed to be doing?”

He smacked my thigh as if to ask about the briefing.

“Ha ha. I hear gun fire, but don't see it or any 'superior' officers. I am supposing that it's that one. What the hell are we supposed to do?”

“Hell if I know. Sarge disappeared a bit ago.”
“Gimme the hooch. Don't make me take it from you.”
“Driven to drink already? Knew you were an Irishman. You owe me.”
“Fuck you. That triple distilled moonshine isn't fit for drinking. It is fit for a few Molotov cocktails.”
“You really owe me now. You almost got kicked out last time you started 'experimenting' with flammables?”

Ben was tired of the forced nature of the banter, and just pinned his much smaller buddy down and yanked off his shoes. Shoving one large hand into both boots and pulling out three small glass flasks, Ben quickly strapped them into grenade webbing.

“We need to do something, cause getting court martialed for sitting in a worthless shitty hole for cover all day isn't quite my thing. Time to get moving. Toward the gunfire.” Ben suppressed a shiver at that thought, and started by keeping a few moving shields between him and the gunfire. He couldn't get revenge by dying first.

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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Spectre on Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:48 pm

The muted electric and mechanic ringing throughout the ship hung low beneath the sound of the barking Sergeant Major.

The recruits stood shoulder to shoulder in a rectangular formation before the loading door, anxiously. Some probably weren't even listening to their superiors as they briefed them on their situation upon landing.

"The Legion has put it's trust in your sorry asses to take Hill Designated 32 41-" the sergeant exclaims – "Why it’s important and what’s happening doesn’t concern you – all you need to know is that you have to make your way up that hill! AM I CLEAR?!”

Everyone, without hesitation replied in their simultaneous battle cries- "Yes Sergeant Major!"

He gave a smug look, and started pacing across the loading bay.

"Our Landing Zone is at the foot of Hill 32 41, where they've been pushing at all god-damned day, and dieing to do so. Your direct orders are to bolster that push to seize control of the point. You've all been given your orders in paper- and I know it's probably hard for some of you to make out the funny symbols and actually fucking read it, but the success of this objective depends on your dip-shit's comprehension of said ordinance, and the balls you slam to the wall once your boots hit the dirt!"

He gave a slide of his feet as he stopped pacing and about-faced, making his way back.

"So, you should have already been assigned your regiment to reinforce, and rally point G. So as soldiers you shouldn't have to ask any dumbass questions once those doors open in 30 seconds, am I right?"

and again, in time with everyone else, standing next to two greens like himself, 'Doc' Delphi barked- "Yes Sergeant Major!"

His heart raced.

Sergeant Major Buckley layed into them one last time before the sounds of artillery and small arms fire were going off beneath the ship,

"So that door will heave open in thirty seconds! I want to see the enemy's blood! I want to see you young fire pissers exercise some personal, swift initiative and kick some ass! Got it?!"

"Aa-ooh!" the soldiers complied readily

"Good! You have ten seconds before you get the fuck off my ship!" He belted, as the cadre left the loading floor as the rest of the soldiers geared their emotions together for the electric hum of the door swinging open.

-"This guy is ridiculous..."- was the only thing in Delphi's mind, and probably about half the others' who were paying attention. Feeling his heart race, he exhaled slowly, listening as the muted bombs, rifles, and machine-guns crescendoed into an orchestra of death and destruction.

The red lights at each corner of the large loading door flickered three times in succession as the ship shook to a halt before flashing to a bright green, hearing the door swing open, the last words some ever heard were

"Go!- Go!- Go!-"

----------------------
Delphi gripped his rifle tight to his chest, and hoofed it off the loading bay into the dark dirt of the scarred terrain beneath them. He wasn't paying much attention to the people around him, only the people in front of him, as he moved with them fluidly to find cover- albeit bad cover- behind natural rock-facing before it lead out into a series of trenches. Bullets ricocheted repeatedly in a non-repetitive rhythm from the stone and dirt around him as he pressed himself, trying to 'be smaller' against the small mid-head height cut hillside, likely created from a good shelling. That was the first and only thing he remembered.

The step off the boat he couldn't remember, it was all a blur. The steps he took, and how he took them were nothing but white in his mind. He just went. His training, and instinct took over as they were all under heavy fire from two bunkers across the way opposite the set of trenches and dugouts they were on. The main problem was- that the place they were in cover, was about twenty meters from any good cover within the trenches. There were about ten soldiers crouched, and leaning against the rock-wall Delphi was behind.

Between people randomly blindfiring a few pot-shots, someone shouted after a few second, which felt like hours-

"We've got to rally in the trenches! You half provide covering fire and we'll send a few at a time to run to the trenches. Ok? On my go, you five bring the pain!" the guy was a green, but seemed to have a good handle, pointing out the five that were to provide covering support.

"Doc-" he started,

"Yeah?!" Delphi replied, ducking a bullet 'buzz'.

"I want you and these two to go first, okay? Once you get in that trench, give the rest of us some support so we can get over there."

"Got it, gimme the word!" He replied, as the other one shook his head, his rifle close to his chin in excitement. He gave of a couple numbers and gave the 'go'.

Right as he heard fire, Delphi surged his thighs and legs with as much energy as humanly possible for him at that point and sprinted the rough twenty yards, leaping large divots from small explosives. He didn't hesitate to take pot-shots as his comrade did, which quickly lead to his demise. Since he was the first to run, he wasn't looking behind him, but he damn-well heard it. He didn't hear the exact shot that rang out, but he heard the sound of the guy's throaty 'cholt' and his body hit the ground and slide a bit with his forward momentum.

A string of swear words raced through his mind as he took the last few steps before diving into the mostly barren trench. He then felt the force of his other comrade hit him in the leg as he landed in cover as well. He was apparently also thinking the same exact stream of swear words, as he was repeating them quickly out loud.

"We got it, Come on, Get your rifle up!" He didn't wait for the response, but he slammed his recycled rifle to the top of the trench, and layed into it, aiming straight for a few exposed heads and bodily shapes. He probably wouldn't hit anything, but it was enough to draw fire. Well- more fire. He only had time for a burst shot before he had to duck, and repeat from a different location, stepping down the line a few steps and popping back up to fire his weapon.

Before he knew it there were about six in the trench. That meant immediately in his mind that four of the others from behind the wall didn't make it. They weren't safe by any means, but at least they were with a majority of the rest of their unit.

"Is anyone hit? Everyone okay?" Delphi called out to the others, most of them shoulders to the trench wall, others taking shots.

"Negative- We're good!" they collectively called.

The same guy who had 'lead' them from their cover before rallied them within a small bunker, moving and firing to it to get a better sense of what was around them, and their rally points.

"Do we have any Sharpshooters?" one kid raised his hand. Get to the other side of the opening there and get a good sight on the MG fire. Fire at will, obviously, but don't take the shots if you're unsure. Make 'em count."

"yea" the kid nervously said as he nodded his head and jogged to the other end of the bunker, outside to the other end of the trench which hadn't taken fire for a few moments. The rest set up shop inside the bunker while there were two on the left side in the trench, drawing fire. Apparently, after a few moments, the sharpshooter really let them have it, because the heavy MG fire had halted momentarily, notifying that they had been hit, and being replaced momentarily after.

"A-wooh!" some of the soldiers called as they heard it...

Delphi was in the bunker, next to the new buddy of his- LCpl Rudolff. He was the one giving the move suggestions. there were three within the bunker, spread out, taking the brunt of the fire, where the Sharpshooter was on the right, and two riflemen on the left. It was dark in the bunker, and it was made mostly out of the terrain- with sandbags, lays of canvas cover, steel sheets, and heavy stone made just enough of a little covering to call it a bunker. The trenches spiderwebbed out from the bunker, and they needed to get going. Confirmed kills didn't matter, survival did, and pushing the hill did. They were looking at the front line. They had landed in a bad place, on one of the far ends closer to rockier, more uneven cavernous terrain. The foot of Hill 3241. The first set of bunkers were only scratched, not taken... they needed to push.

"Rudolff- We gotta keep pushing to those bunkers... We can't sit here. You know that,"

"Yeah- we gotta reach out further out to the west to link up with the rest of our squad to see if we can't get some assistance. They're in the next set of trenches over."

"We gotta go, then, and fast."

Heavy waves and volleys of fire and artillery landed everywhere around them. Utter chaos- it was hard to even hold a conversation to the person next to you- especially if you had to speak a few words and fire your rifle at the same time. Their opposing bunker was crippled, but not killed off. The MG fire held of for a brief moment again.

Delphi waved to the two in the trench to move into the bunker, and let them know they were going to move, and fast, through the trenches to the next set of dugouts where the rest of their squad was.

They began their dangerous trek to outside their bunker, and into the trenches, which weren't much cover from anything but enemy gunfire. Artillery was hammering away, and dwindling numbers- and hope. They kept their heads down, as the MG fire rained down upon them again. Movement was slowed, and it seemed to be raining dirt clods and fine sand and ash.

They seemed to be doing alright for their landing. Their friendlies were in sight, and they had only taken average casualties. The commanding officer from the squad was waving the rest of them over, hurriedly moving his hand and ducking back into cover. They seemed to be providing ample cover and distraction for the moment as the six rushed through the trench like cockroaches, heads down, guns in.

As the six were within ten yards, an artillery shell hit the inside of the trench just before them, opening it up to the outside, cutting down the two in front. It was the sharpshooter and a female rifleman. The other four huddled and scurried back into cover, before periodically sending one across sporadically, between periods of drawing and being relieved of the MG fire.

They were linked, their numbers were chopped by almost a quarter. Now- they needed to move in- and up the hill.

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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dominique on Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:58 pm

All seemed quiet within the confines of the hold.
It was odd; she was aware that people were moving, talking, that the blur of a figure to her far left was barking out orders, but for all Grace Jennings knew, he could have been repeatedly making a bap-bap-bap sound. His words just wouldn't sink in, none of the sounds around her would, and all she found herself doing was hang almost lethargically into the restraints. The belts dug into her skin, pressed against her chest and with her full bodyweight leaning against them they even restricted her breathing, yet she simply couldn't get herself to find her footing and stand up straight, using the metal wall behind her for support instead.

A tremor shook up the ship violently, and with it, it shook the frail body of the female wannabe-soldier. She allowed it without protesting, half-closed eyes still gazing at a very steep diagonal downward. The restraints allowed very little free space; most people wouldn't even notice how she passively slumped; already admitting defeat in a battle she wasn't even part of yet.
The illusion of weight pressed heavily into her breast pocket, and Grace felt an imaginary burn as if the paper inside was aflame. She wished she hadn't brought the pictures; while they were the last reminder she had of her home, her family, her entire past, it seemed that very connection to her loved ones was what got her in this downtrodden state right now. Grace didn't even need to look at the images; she had seen them so many times the faces depicted on them were permanently burnt into her mind. And all through the past year they had brought her comfort; that was, up until yesterday. When the news had arrived.
When the news had arrived.

Hearing of Kai's death had been a shock, but not a surprise. After not hearing from him for a year Grace had prepared herself for the worst. And the worst she had received. It had been the third time a close relative had preceded her to the afterlife, and the second time she had held a letter in hand with the official seal of the UP. She'd calmly folded the letter, then torn it into as small pieces as she possibly could. With the slowest movements had she disposed of the snippets in the bin, then moved to the bed. Only to fall apart and cry like a little girl for hours on end.

Another shiver; the ship protested audibly, and this time even managed to awaken Grace from her catatonic state. She blinked a few times, dazed. Another snarl from the sergeant - she briefly wondered what it was he had ordered them, then found herself sinking into dark memories again.

News of Kai's death had hit her harder than Grace could have ever participated. The letter had not only brought the pain of losing a brother; it had come accompanied with the lingering hurt of the loss of her father, her mother, and the ever-enduring absence of her eldest brother Derek, who still resided in the Legion... somewhere.
Up until then, joining the Legion had seemed the perfect, and only, solution to Grace's problems. Now she realized it had been a false truth, and an error she couldn't correct. For six months it had seemed the perfect escape and the only logical next step, but now the harsh reality came crashing down on her, and the ugly truth had caught up; that she had no home to return to, no family. The Legion had been as close as a home as anything - the knowledge that somewhere, her two brothers were fighting for the same cause had made her feel linked, united... not alone. But all that ended with the loss of her brother Kai, and she suddenly found herself painfully aware that joining the Legion force was the worst mistake she could have ever made. And it had terrified her.
Fear had turned to panic that turned to aggression which, in turn, had almost made her run away altogether. Only her own pride and that of her family had kept her from doing just that - and now she wondered if pride really had been a sentiment worth letting herself be herded into this death trap for. Still, Grace was beginning to feel a dull feel of acceptance slowly creeping up on her, annihilating that instinctive need to rebel against her imminent demise. She had already lost nearly everything and everyone she cared about. Could death really be so terrible?

A third time, the descent of the drop ship was interrupted by an abrupt vibration - but this time, an external source was to blame. An explosion, undoubtedly closeby, sent it spinning, altering its course. It brutishly dragged Grace from her lingering thoughts, and her eyes widened as she fell back and grasped for something to hold onto. Her hand inadvertently grabbed hold of a nearby arm, causing her neighbouring soldier to look up, at first disturbed, then with a mixture of confusion and an awkwardly soft expression as he realized the presence next to her was female. And significantly shorter than his six foot something stature.
Grace quickly let go and averted her eyes, grabbing hold of the sling that wrapped itself diagonally around her torso and came with the added weight of the PR-15, a weapon she had grown accustomed to over the past few months. The familiar pressure against her hip had even, dare-she-think-it, become comforting.

Thirty Seconds!

Grace finally managed to catch the aftermath of something the sergeant had said, and, catching up at an accelerated rate, the severity of the here and now dawned in on her. Her eyes shifted from side to side, catching glimpses of the faces of those nearby her. Most of the expressions were hard, nervous but ready. Some of them shared the concern she had felt, but all of them seemed ... willing. More willing than her, anyway.
Grace pulled at the sling, tugging the rifle into a readied position. She noticed people around her reaching for the release of the belt that kept them from tumbling all over the ship and automatically did the same. Not a moment later the ship reduced speed and adjusted to a perfectly horizontal position, hovering on the spot for a moment before crudely connecting with solid ground. Clicks rapidly followed one another as soldiers unleashed themselves and made their way out the vehicle before the large, steel door had even fully opened. It slammed into the ground and soldiers swarmed over and out, with the noise of war streaming inside. Grace got dragged along with the mass, but was one of the later ones to leave the confines of the airship. She came to a halt at the very threshold, overlooking the area. She knew better than to stand still; six months of training screamed at her to run low and find cover, yet there she was - staring out at a battlefield far more intimidating than she could have ever imagined. Her legs seemed to freeze in place, and her hands, knuckles white, clenched around the rifle in a complete daze.
The sight of the scene that unfolded before her was simply too overwhelming, and Grace dumbfoundedly stared wide-eyed at it, taking it in without really accepting it as reality. All she heard was her own breathing - in, out; shallow breaths that soon sent her head spinning.

A brusque elbow in her back both woke her from her catatonic state and a large man glanced over his shoulder, then shook his head warily before rushing outside and out of her sight. Embarrassed, Grace cast down her eyes, and confusedly wondered why her legs refused to participate. A masculine, though strangely high-pitched sound made her face jerk upwards again, just in time to watch the giant of a man clutch the side of his broad neck. Crimson liquid pooled between his fingers and he staggered forward. Instantly, the sound of bullets whizzing past and near her caught her attention, and she closed her parted lips, jumped sideways like a startled deer, then hurdled herself into the open.

Boots landed unevenly on churned ground, making the young redhead stumble and fall into a squat. Her left hand pressed into the ground to help her find her balance, her right still clutched the rifle into a readied position, haphazardly trying to find the trigger so it would become less of something to hold onto and more an actual means of defending herself.
Her knee had connected with the ground hard, and she felt a dull pain shoot up her upper leg. Her delicate face contorted into a pained grimace and she tried to shift her weight to her other side, then realized she was focusing on the wrong thing. Men came running past at touching distance, nearly knocking her off her feet altogether. They shouted with urgent voices, bodies close to the ground as they moved in a disorganized manner to her right. Confused, Grace's eyes trailed to where they had come from. Eyes grew wide when earth began to spit up like small geysers erupting from the ground, creating a trail that followed the men at a faster speed than the men could possibly muster. Shrieking, Grace fell back and scrambled back towards the ship, pressing against the side wall in a panicked heap. The rattle of gunfire rushed past her, the torrent staying just far enough to keep her out of harm's way, and relentlessly caught up on the trio of soldiers. As metal tore into their bodies two fell into a forward dive, bodies splayed on the ground where they would remain, motionlessly. The third soldier and a remarkably fast runner somehow succeeded at outrunning the bullets' eager pursuit and found refuge behind a rocky outcropping on the field where he sat down, pressing his back against the stone wall behind him, chest heaving with his laboured breaths.
Grace, from her huddled position, watched him in horror, then glanced upwards, towards the hill and towards the source of the bullet rain. But all she could discern was the extremity of a low, gray slab of concrete buried into the foot of the hill. No doubt the hazardous downpour had originated from there, and the only reason why she had escaped the fate of the two soldiers lying face-down in the ground was that, like she couldn't see him, the wielder of the heavy arms couldn't see her either.

It was then that the soldier noticed Grace. He stared at her for a good few seconds, not quite sure how a lone little girl had managed to make her way onto the battlefield and still be alive. But as soon as the urgency of the situation struck him his eyes dashed to his side, checking something beyond Grace's vision. At the same time, she felt a vibration in the steel she was leaning against - the ship was ready to lift off after unloading its living cargo. With hurried movements he motioned for her to come over; without a moment's hesitation Grace complied and half crawled, half ran towards him.

With a stare of utter disbelief he watched her cover the short distance between the abandoned ship and the protection of the protruding rock in a rather uncoordinated fashion and come to a halt right next to him.
"Are you insane?!", he managed to utter inbetween rushed attempts to catch his breath. He rested his elbow on a slightly bent knee, lowering his head as his inhales and exhales gradually became more rhythmic. Sat on hands and knees still, Grace watched him with confusion, then scrambled closer to the rockery as gunfire sounded dangerously close beside her. Her heart was racing and she tried to swallow away the upcoming panic, one of her hands clawing into a sturdy weed that protruded from between the stone's crevices. The side of her face pressed against the cold vertical surface, which had a strangely calming effect on the young soldier. In silence, she took in the appearance of the soldier before her. His face was dirty, roughened by the lack of shaving and marred by a scar on his right temple. His head was clean shaven for as far as she could tell; unlike her, he had been issued with a helmet. He was older than her -then again, most soldiers were- but no more than in his mid-twenties. Her eyes wandered down to his uniform, lingering at the name tag embroidered above his breast pocket.

"J. Bennett.", she murmured, reading aloud, which resulted in another confused look from the soldier next to her. Only a moment, then he realized what she was doing and automatically looked down, running his fingertips along the sewn-on letters.
"Heh, that's my old man, actually. The name's Matt-", he grinned, then shrugged. "--Matt Bennett, obviously."
Grace opened her mouth to return the introduction, but was cut off when Matt sprang up into a knelt position, carefully glancing around the corner. Grace resisted the temptation to do likewise, intelligent enough to be aware that two heads sticking out were more noticeable than just one.
Matt cursed audibly, staring straight ahead in deep thought for a few moments, then turned to the red-headed recruit.
"How much do you know of the situation here?", he inquired, urgency evident in his voice. It made Grace feel even more insecure than she already did, and she averted her eyes for a second, then shrugged lightly, replying; "Not much, I just landed. I - uhm.." her gaze flashed upward momentarily. "We're supposed to take that hill."

She tried to ignore the ill concealed expression on Matt Bennett's face. It was obvious he was feeling empathetic towards her, but was at the same time well aware that she wasn't going to be a strong addition to his recently decimated team. After a moment's consideration however it seemed that he was going to accept the situation as it was and simply work with what he was given and leaned over to a still somewhat shaken Grace Jennings.
"You see those men to our left?" He nodded to a hot spot, a considerable distance away. Endless gunfire hailed down upon the abandoned corpse of a tank, and without a doubt there were numerous men hiding behind it, unable to move.
"They're stuck while that MG is still active. It's taking out recruits by the dozen and keeping the pro's from doing anything useful at all. We need to take that machine gun out. Now look to the other side." This time, Matt actually pointed in the direction. Grace followed the line of his index finger, trying to discern what he was talking about. Her vision was obscured by the irregularity of the terrain and the scattered fires drawing a smoky curtain over most of the battlefield.
"There's another platoon out there, covering the right flank. But without the support of the guys to our left, there's fuck-all they can do."
He eyed her up and down. "You're no heavy weapons expert, are you.", he concluded with obvious disappointment. Grace grew visibly smaller, shaking her head quietly. "No, all I got is my rifle.", she responded solemnly. Then, as a realization hit her, her face lit up. "Actually, I got these too.", she continued, and unbuttoned the top half of that dull green uniform she wore. Lifting one side of her jacket, Grace revealed a neatly packed line of small grenades, worn and dated but definitely functional. She almost felt embarrassed to show them, somehow convinced that it had been a silly idea of her to bring them along - after all, they hadn't been part of what the Legion had issued her - but when she saw the instant effect it had on Matt's mood a surge of confidence raised her spirit.
"No way.", he exclaimed, extending a hand towards them, then realizing the invasiveness of such an action and merely smirked cheekily.
"You're the last one I expected to be carrying explosives on them, but I sure as hell am glad you are!"

With renewed vigour he turned to the east, away from the gunfire and towards the outskirts of the battlefield. Rubbing his jaw in thought, his eyes dashed all over the terrain, and Grace found herself merely waiting, anxiety building within. She was by no means feeling at ease, but the self-assured demeanour of the soldier beside her had a positive effect on her and at least took away some of that all-encompassing panic that was so eager to grab hold of the young redhead.

"Right, so we need to find a way to get up there.", he mused, more to himself than to Grace. "The left's a definite no-go, but if we can only make it to the -- " Matt didn't finish his sentence, instead perused the playing field some more, and Grace found herself searching with him for possible safe spots. But he beat her to it, and eagerly pointed out a narrow incline behind a slope, barely visible from this angle and impossible to see from the hill itself.
"There - sixty yards max. If we make it to that spot, we got the hard part over."
Grace, still incredibly quiet, smiled half-heartedly.
"That's all, huh." she replied feebly. Matt cast her an examining look.
"Don't worry, just stay low to the ground and run like crazy. You'll be there before you know you even started running."
Nodding, Grace did a poor job of looking like she believed him, but tried her best to conceal her lack of hope for a positive outcome. "Right. Let's do this then." It was her best attempt at trying to sound like she knew what she was doing.

"Gotta wait for the MG to swerve first. If they're onto us we won't make it five steps outta here."

Lowering his brows, a grim expression took hold of Matt's face, and Grace saw how he inadvertently glanced back at his former companions. It was an odd realization, to know that the death of others was no reason for him to stop trying. And it shouldn't be a reason for her either.
"Just tell me when.", Grace nodded, trying her best to sound confident. It tore Matt's gaze from the two lifeless bodies, and he resumed checking the bunker. Grace was only able to see the gunner's target; bullets still continuously bit into the burnt-out tank. The noise drowned out most other sounds that surrounded them, and for a while, Grace didn't even notice the murmur of an approaching engine. But when a shadow glid over the pair of them, only to rapidly descend towards their hiding place, both soldiers immediately jumped into a readied position.

Another drop ship more crashed than landed upon Alexandria, and instantly got the machine gun's attention. The endless gunfire mercilessly found the large door before it even opened, and Grace imagined with horror what would happen to the recruits inside when it did swing outward.

A tug on her arm reminded her of what she was supposed to be doing, and when she looked over her shoulder she found that Matt had already set off in a crouched sprint towards their next hiding spot. For a moment Grace considered staying in the relative safety of the stone barrier she hid behind, but knew that such protection was no more than an illusion; if she stayed, she was bound to die sooner or later. And so, with a push of her right foot she launched herself out into the open.

Grace didn't even dare to look up or sideways. Simply running after the soldier in front of her was all she focused on. He didn't run in a straight line, zig-zagged here and there and Grace haphazardly tried to mimic his behaviour. She couldn't even see the safe spot anymore; it had looked so obvious from their original position but now all she saw was scorched earth, scattered fires and corpses strewn on the floor like grains in a chicken coop. Panic welled up inside her when she realized Matt was running much faster than she managed to, and she attempted to pick up her pace. But not a moment after he fell and rolled onto the ground - it almost seemed accidental until he disappeared from sight entirely. Scattered gunfire sounded behind her; not the MG - although she couldn't be entirely sure at this point; all Grace really heard was the pounding sound of her heartbeat. With a clumsy dive she launched herself after Matt, rolling more over than next to him into the small pit, panting ridiculously for having run such a short distance.
Like a sniper he lay flat against the ground as a few scattered bullets rushed over them - mere rifle fire; the MG had either not noticed them or not deemed them worthy of taking out.

"There they are." he nodded briefly to their right. "Fifth platoon."
This time Grace managed to pinpoint their location, even if still at a considerable distance away from them. They were now slightly to the bunker's right, and the one time she actually dared to lift her head high enough to see, she noticed just how ridiculously close to it they already were. Close, but not close enough.
"Look."
She pointed out a crumpled heap of metal, no doubt once part of an airship or land vehicle. It lay abandoned somewhere half way up the slope that separated the two of them from the compact gray building from which the LP mercilessly mowed down recruit after recruit.
"We'll go there, it'll get us close enough.", Matt nodded, then looked around. "We just need to wait for the right moment."

And such an opportunity occurred only moments later, when the fifth platoon, led by Lt. Kirenko, forced by sheer pressure, began a surprise advance towards the trenches.
Men, scattered in groups of three or four began to push forward in an all-or-nothing attempt to take the right flank. Rushing in short bursts from one cover spot to the next, they rapidly gained grounds on the side defence on the hill. The opposing side responded to the surprise advance of Kirenko's squad, but slowly; the platoon had covered a large part of the area before the larger part of the rifles had turned to them and the groups of soldiers were forced to stay put and open fire. It was their fortune that the MG refused to turn towards them. Or perhaps it was unable to do so.

Bennett jumped up.

"This is our shot, go. GO!"

The next run was longer than the first. With every footstep Grace became more convinced that the machinegun wielding TL would see them and swing the heavy weapon their way - that the overwhelming force of riflemen in the trenches ahead simply had to notice the two soldiers doing a scattered run for the bunker no matter how good the distraction. Her boots felt ridiculously heavy, her rifle slammed into her upper leg with every step because she had failed to grab hold of it properly. Any moment a bullet would catch her in the knee, in the side, in the head. But by some miracle she managed to keep on running unscathed, and with every step she saw the protruding scrap metal come closer, to the point where Grace actually believed they were going to pull this off. Just a few more steps an--

Heavy artillery struck a dent into the battlefield no twenty yards to her left, and what little military instinct Grace possessed had her instantly drop to the ground. The explosion made her ears ring, and all sounds were instantly pushed out of hearing distance, leaving nothing but a dull but persistent high-pitched buzzing, drowning out everything else.
Rolling a good four times before coming to a belly-down halt had Grace dazed for a moment. When she pushed herself up on her elbows she instantly looked for the other soldier, finding him a few feet further ahead. He looked like the explosion had hit him from closerby - an obvious mark on his right shoulder was spreading rapidly.
He gestured with a quick incline of the head for her to come over, and Grace eagerly followed suit, crawling on her elbows towards him. They had been lucky to have reached a small crevice in the earth, leaving them invisible to those hiding in the trenches straight ahead. However, it also made getting up and resuming the assault nearly impossible and Grace didn't even dare to lift her head and see just how dire their position was; the fact that she hadn't even been issued a helmet suddenly made her feel painfully vulnerable, and rightfully so.

"Keep your head down.", Matt hissed at her, attempting a few times to lean up and cast a glance at the hill ahead of them, but just as quickly withdrew when every time his boldness was met with instant gunfire- albeit it not directly aimed at them. Grace, who was lying with two arms in front of her and her body as flat against the ground as she possibly could, turned her head towards him, cheek pressed against her arm as she looked up at the man next to her. His face was tense and alert, and for a moment Grace felt a pang of jealousy for not sharing that same keen battle instinct he so obviously possessed.
"We're not gonna be able to move. Give me one of the grenades, I can throw it from here."

Fumbling to unbutton her shirt, Grace rolled to her side, wrapping her fingers around the first grenade in the strap, carefully removing it. While she was no expert, she was capable of using these, if only because of the many times her brothers had shown her before they had set off to fight for the Legion. With a strangely steady grip she handed it over to Matt, who weighed it in his hand for a moment, eyeing the device with interest. He whistled.
"An oldie - they don't make 'em like this anymore!" , he nodded approvingly. Matt moved into a push-up position, turning his face towards Grace for a minute.
"You lay low, I'll take care of this.", he informed her, flashing a teeth of almost perfectly white teeth, which made a sharp contrast with his dirt-stained face. Grace nodded hurriedly, watching anxiously as his head turned back towards the distant noise of automatic gunfire. She found it impossible to estimate where the MG was pointed to, or how far away it was in general; still partially deafened everything around her sounded surreal and distorted.
Matt jumped up with unlikely agility, position upright to perfect his aim. His left hand joined his right, ready to remove the safety pin . Grace watched his eyes narrow in concentration, everything happening in the slow-motion of a hyper-focused moment.

But full speed returned when abruptly, a single bullet ended Matt's risky attempt at clearing the path for the platoons. A bullet, a ricochet no doubt, fled in an upwards angle underneath his helmet, grazing the soldier's left temple. Narrowed eyes went wide, pursed lips parted in a gasp of pain and surprise and his confident demeanour wavered, his hand remaining where it was, clenched around the explosive device. The hesitation was sufficient, and the moment Grace heard the dull sound of guns being fired, she knew it was bad.
Bullets penetrated the soldier's armour, forcing him in a backwards motion to the ground. More gunfire went overhead even as he fell, his arms spread helplessly by his sides. Grace, just aware enough to stay low, turned to him, checking the severity of his injuries. But his situation was dire, very dire.

He attempted to speak but even if she had been able to hear him over the constant ringing in her hears that just wouldn't recede, blood bubbled up from his mouth before he as much as managed to utter a single word. His hand weakly lifted, he attempted to move, then surrendered to a gurgling cough. Tiny drops of blood sprayed into Grace's face, making her recoil in horror, then his eyes rolled back and faded to sightlessness.
"Fuck. Oh shit." Covering her hand with her mouth, Grace stared wide-eyed at the lifeless body of Matt Bennett. She simply lay there, resting on her left elbow, staring for what could have been seconds, minutes, or even longer. But with every passing moment she realized that sooner or later, she would have to do something. And instantly, she reached over the battered corpse of the soldier and removed the grenade from his grasp.

Grace swallowed hard, eyes narrowing as her mind was torn between what she wanted to do and what she knew she had to do. The grenade lay heavy in her small, slender hand - uncomfortable and alien to her and she clenched her fingers around it only to spread them just as quickly again. They weren't going to get a better shot than this, and the longer she waited, the bigger the chance that she would find herself riddled with holes when stray bullets found their way to her hardly safe position. There really was no decision to make here, what she had to do was obvious. Her eyes wandered back to Matt, whose eyes eerily stared off towards the sky. She realized there was one thing she had to do first.

With angry movements she unclipped the strap around his chin and tugged the helmet from his head. The thing was a great deal too big for her head and in the end she decided to just wear her beret under it to keep it from sliding over her eyes. Ignoring the fact that the thing hadn't managed to save Matt's life, she felt a little more secure and with a regretful expression rolled the dead soldier away to provide herself with an optimal position, crawling several feet further to the right. Last thing she wanted was to show herself right where Matt had fallen.

"Hummm...", she mused when she had found a sufficiently good position, really not feeling all too confident about the situation. Her body tensed in preparation, then, as soon as the MG ceased fire to reload, she sprang up and arched her back, readying her arm into a throwing position, index finger of her left hand curled around the safety pin. The split second she had to locate her target, Grace felt courage abandon her. The distance that separated her from the building suddenly felt like miles, the horizontal gap in the bunker so small it seemed impossible for the grenade to actually fit through. Images of the explosive bouncing off harmlessly, injuring either herself or no one at all all passed her mind. Suddenly it seemed pointless to even attempt something with such a small chance of succeeding.
But by the time she realized this, the grenade had already left her hand.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dio the Awesome on Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:21 pm

The sounds of battle still rang clustered in the air. Rifle shots, artillery, and men dying. Her men. The war hadn't ended because she got scraped up. Angelica touched a hand to her head. The blood had coagulated and was now caked to her eyebrow. It was time to survey her surroundings.

The ship had crashed into a section of the UP trench, the freshly churned earth probably cushioning the impact. There was a long dash up the hill, through the MG fire and artillery. She looked around. There were no survivors left from the crash besides her, and by the looks of things, most other drop ships had elected to stay farther back. This left the bulk of the remaining UP forces far from her position. Alone she hustled doggedly in a straight line towards a crevice in the hill. It wasn't long before an explosion burst out of the ground about fifty feet in front of her. She could feel a rush of heat from the explosion, right before she was showered with dirt. She stumbled and fell. Luckily her combat instincts took over, and she rolled behind a small rock. MG fire hit the ground where she was laying moments ago.

The rock she was behind was only about four feet high, and less than that across. She curled into a ball, back pressed against the rock. A few bullets ricocheted off the rock, providing just enough cover. Only now she had nowhere to go. The second she stepped away from her hiding place, she'd be cut down. She waited for several minutes, feeling very exposed.

A muffled explosion suddenly caused a lull in the battle. From her position Angelica peeked around her rock as slightly as she could. While she couldn't quite see the bunker from her position, a plume of smoke rose into the air roughly where the active bunker was. This'll be the best chance I get. Angelica thought as she dove from her cover. Using elbows and knees she quickly crawled into the crevice she was aiming for.

The hole seemed to be a natural depression in the hill, that was hit with some kind of explosive. The effect made a natural cave like shape that Angelica could stand up in and be sheltered from enemy fire. Angelica peered upwards. At this distance she could make out TL grunts taking pot shots at the recruits getting out of the drop ships. It was time to return the favour. Angelica set her rifle down for a moment, and taking great care she constructed a mound dirt at the mouth of the crevice that would shield her from the enemy view. Then she pulled out a her small canteen of water, pouring a small amount on the dirt, keeping an eye on the trench lines to make sure her actions went unnoticed. She put her canteen away after taking a drink herself. Momentarily she wondered if she should clean her wound, but that would only cause it to bleed more.

The dirt she was using for cover had now become sufficiently damp. Using her fingers she made a hole through the dirt mound where she could stick the muzzle of her rifle through. With any luck this setup would give her more time before the enemy located her position. It was time. She clipped the rifle onto her hand, and the scooped up a handful of loose dirt, smearing it on her gun, dulling the metal. She pressed her gun into the hole and peered down her sight. There were five enemy soldiers firing from their trenches that she could see from her position. She called upon any scrap of information she was given during her advanced snipers course.

The fir shot is yer best shot. They don't know yer lookin' at 'em, so they don't think they need to be cerful. Make yer fir shot a kill. She remembered her training office say in his thick Tharconian accent. She waited, breathing slowly. Suddenly a target presented itself. A TL recruit stopped to load his weapon in the open, not even ducking his head in to take cover. His mistake.

Angelica breathed out and held it. What if.. No. It was too late now. Angelica refused to let herself think of the mans family. This was war. She squeezed the trigger.

All Angelica saw was the man flip backwards into the trench. She didn't allow herself to see any more than that. Quickly she ducked back down before they could make her position. Then she noticed her hands were shaking. That TL guy was probably dead. His head was in her cross hairs when she pulled the trigger. At this distance there was no pull on the bullet, no wind to blow it off course, and if the UP excelled at one thing, it was making weapons that could kill.

She had to calm herself down. There was more work to be done. Let the guilt wash over her later. Not now. Not in the middle of the battle. Using a finger she pressed down on the gash on her forehead. The fresh wave of pain caused adrenaline that brought her focus back. She readjusted her rifle, and re-assumed her position. Looking through the sight, she saw the remaining four men all looking her way. Her heart froze, until she realized they didn't know where she was exactly, just the general idea. They'd wait for one more shot, then return fire. Angelica studied them, trying to pick out the one who was most sure of himself. She focused on a gruff looking man, who was always looking down his sight, teeth gritted. Exhale, pull.

She rushed the shot. The man winced, but he did not fall immediately. Angelica pulled herself into the crevice as dozens of rounds hit the mound of dirt she was hiding behind. The shot must have hit the man in his armour. Whether the wound was fatal or not was out of her hands, it now depended on the TL medics. Now that her position was made she'd have to move on... But move on to where?

She was still alive, and that was enough for now.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Blackrock on Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:16 pm

Zogin kept his body pressed against the metal surface of the tank, each second spent under the barrage of machinegun fire felt like an hour to him. Rat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat….on and on the hail of shots went, the gunner’s supply of bullets almost limitless. The recruits had begun rushing in, some in groups, some in pairs, some trying their luck alone (the most foolish ones)…but most of them were quickly joining the growing number of corpses strewn across the field. At one point a lone recruit wandered into the sergeant’s field of view, he began firing at the machine-gunner, no doubt trying to get his attention.

“Idiot” – Marek muttered

It wasn’t the first time some greenhorn would try to pull that trick. Most often than not, the MG wouldn’t even take notice of him and even if it did, the TL hadn’t placed those men behind the formidable weapon randomly. The gunner was usually quick enough to kill the troublesome recruit and resume to the juicier targets. The increasing stream of frightened, disorganised recruits didn’t make his job any harder, new targets were always in sight. It was bad, Marek thought – despite the big number of recruits, the gunner was trained to recognise his targets; he knew full well how a real soldier of the Legion looked and would do his best to keep them pinned down. After all, they were the only ones who could pose any threat to him.

Once more the sergeant painfully realised that, despite his best efforts, his fate lay in the hands of another. Lieutenant Kirenko was the man who would make the difference between victory and death this time, but it was more than that which bothered Marek. He had never quite gotten used to it over the years - the notion that the success or failure, the competence or incompetence of another would ultimately decide whether he lived or died. He understood it perfectly, others depended on him as well, but it never meant he liked it.

Suddenly, without any warning (as is it the case with such things), a muffled explosion was heard. Well, at least the sergeant clearly discerned it from all the other noise, he had gotten used to it by now. Only a second later did he realise something else – the bullet-storm was over. He stuck his head out, very cautiously, and looked at the bunker. It was quiet. He squinted a bit, narrowing his eyes on the machine-gun. It wasn’t moving, it was still. He then quickly returned to the safety of the steel giant’s carcass, turning his head towards Radisson and nearly shouted.

“Lieutenant! The MG’s down!”

Radisson nodded quietly, a pleased expression on his face. Crouching, he moved past the sergeant and took a peek of the field. He then returned and leaned on the tank, allowing himself a short sigh of relief.

“Excellent, sergeant – we can now advance. But...”

“Sir?”

“Kirenko didn’t take it out. There would have been fighting in the trenches by now if his platoon had broken through.” – he looked leaned forward and looked again, before speaking once more – “It’s hard to say...”

It really was, from this position they could only see the solid, concrete frame of the bunker and the trenches that ran along the front. What happened further to the right, it was hard to tell. Not that it mattered, they had their own task to complete, their own war to fight.

“Now’s the time, Zogin. “ – Radisson told him

“Your orders, sir?”

“There’s no time to lose, they’ll reinforce that position unless we hurry. We have to hit them now; hit them hard.”

“Yes, sir.”

Radisson turned towards his men, his expression growing grimmer, his already imposing frame growing somewhat larger. When he spoke again, there was no sign of his calm, pleasant voice.

“Legionaries! The enemy machinegunner is dead; the bastards have nothing to hide behind now! Now is the time for bloody payback, for every one of ours they took, we’ll butcher three of theirs! On my mark!”

The men looked up, a fire starting to burn in their eyes. Only a few seconds later, the lieutenant took out a small metal whistle, looked at it for a brief moment and roared:

“Charge! FOR THE LEGION!”

With that, he blew into the whistle, producing a loud, piercing sound. It would alert his other squads of what was to happen. And indeed, it wasn’t long before other legionaries jumped up from behind their hiding spots. Huddled behind their rock, shrub or piece of scrap...frightened and nearly broken, those were the men that made up the platoon a few mere moments ago. Now...now, they were something different. Now they returned to the glory days of old.

Despite knowing better, Marek slipped into a state of ecstasy. He couldn’t help it, none of them could; not even the stoic Radisson. Now they were lions once more, born and bred for battle, the greatest soldiers mankind had ever known. Now all the old songs, the posters littering the walls, the speeches about the iron soldiers, who broke, never bent; now they all seemed real. For a few minutes the harsh reality faded away. It was pushed aside by a haze, a red mist of pain, anger and, most of all, pride. It was both intoxicating and frightening to behold.

Marek didn’t remember the following minutes, everything was a blur. He ran, all of them did, towards the TL trenches, bayonets at the ready. He probably fired a few times, from the hip, he didn’t remember. A few men fell, they always did in such cases, but he didn’t pay attention to that. He was now a god of war, an avatar of bloody vengeance and he would take down as much of the bastards with him before he died. Even the din of battle was far away, in his head only the glorious battle hymn could be heard.

”Through blood and fire, sweat and steel the Legionaries will prevail...”

At one point he reached the trenches and nearly dived in. He couldn’t remember details, faces, movements – only the blood at the tip of his bayonet. One man, masked and faceless like him, tried to bring up his rifle in defence, but Marek slashed him across the stomach and stabbed in the chest. Just as they taught them back in school. Another came and then another; the TL soldiers were taken by surprise and quickly overrun. Not even their superior combat skills could help them match the Legionaries’ wrath. He remembered delivering a powerful blow with his leg to a man, or was it a woman? She tried to stand up, but he wasted no time – driving the bayonet through her fragile, unprotected neck.

He then stabbed at another faceless soldier, calling out something – most probably swearing. After that...it was a haze, but something brought him back into the real world. A blunt blow to the back of his helm, he staggered forward but his reflexes were as ready as ever. Even before he turned, his elbow shot back, striking his attacker into the stomach. He then spun quickly, coming face to face with a broad-shouldered, powerfully-build TL soldier. Not wasting any time, Marek brought down the butt of his own rifle onto the man, making clear contact with his temple. The other swung quickly, nearly hitting him, but the sergeant ducked just in time. He delivered a quick blow to his enemy’s stomach, not having room to use the edged side of his weapon.

The sergeant’s next move was to go for the head again, but the TL soldier landed a devastating blow to his wrist. Marek felt a bolt of pain course through his entire left hand, dropping his rifle in the process. He roared wildly and plunged towards the other’s weapon. The TL soldier was strong, but his movements were somewhat uncertain, the sergeant managed to rip it from his fingers. After that, something unexpected happened, Marek didn’t have time to understand what his enemy had done but a second later they both found themselves on the ground. Kicking, biting and swearing in the mud and blood.
At one point the sergeant found himself on top and knew he had won. He couldn’t explain why later, he just had that feeling in his gut.

“You fucking bastard, die die die die!!!”

He kept punching the other soldier in the face, making a bloody mess out of it. When he delivered a punch with his left, injured hand, he felt that same bolt of pain again. This flared his anger up even more. With both hands he grabbed the other’s muscled throat and strangled him then and there, feeling as the last signs of life were smothered at his fingertips.

The sergeant took in a deep breath, his lungs desperately screaming for oxygen. He pushed himself away from the corpse and leaned on the trench wall, large drops of sweat dripping down his face. He coughed and took in deep breaths again, only start coughing once more. The battle frenzy receded and was replaced by another feeling. Fuck it, he was getting old.

There were times when he wouldn’t feel this tired after a charge and a heated hand-to-hand battle. Still, it was natural...we all would get there at one point, even the steel-spirited Radisson. Raddisson...that name reminded him something.

“Fuck!” – he nearly called out and jumped to his feet

Frantically he looked around, almost having forgotten the fighting around him. The trench was free from TL soldiers, they had either withdrawn to their third defensive line or been slaughtered during the charge. Marek’s eyes continued darting about, until he located the lieutenant’s burly figure. Slightly stooped over, Radisson towered over the body of an enemy soldier propped up against the trench wall. It took the sergeant a moment before he fully realised what was happening, but when he did – a strange sensation began creeping up his stomach.

Wordlessly, with no swears or curses, Radisson was mutilating the body. With a helmet held in his right hand, he kept bashing the dead man’s face. On and on he went, his flexed muscles visible under his clothes and armour, until both the helmet and the soldier were battered beyond recognition. Marek thought that what he had done to “his” enemy was bad, but the lieutenant took it one step further down the path of brutality. Pieces of bone, brain, blood and God knows what else were all over that part of the trench – a grisly scene. Finally, Radisson delivered one last blow with the lump of metal that had once been a helmet and sank to his knees, breathing heavily.

At last, the sergeant averted his eyes from the horrible sight. Unintentionally they wandered to the lieutenant’s right, where the trench ended and the field which they had just crossed lay. And as if from some heroic poster, he saw sergeant Johnson’s corpse – with his hand outstretched; even in his last moments he was trying to get to the trench. Or perhaps that is how death found him, forever binding his body into that pose.

Quietly, Marek approached. As he came closer, he understood the reason for his colleague’s demise – it was pretty evident. There was a sizeable hole in his skull; the shot had went right through his helmet. It was the worst of deaths, really...just when his enemy had been within his grasp, at the tip of his fingers they had shot him down. It was delivered from close range to penetrate the helmet thus; the TL soldier who had done it was probably standing right in front him. And then it all made sense.

He turned his head towards the mutilated corpse, the lieutenant and finally – the helmet. Johnson’s body was helmetless, Marek had assumed it had been blasted away by the force of the shot (he had seen it happen before), but no. The helmet which Radisson had used had an instantly recognisable hole in it, even amidst all the blood, there was no doubt it had come from a TL rifle. So this was the reason for the lieutenant’s behaviour; he didn’t like losing men, good men...the sergeant knew that well.

Marek refrained from speaking, what was there to say? His eyes continued looking around, up and down the trench. The signs of the recent charge were all too evident. Bodies were strewn all over the place. Many littered the field, some, like Johnson’s, lay just before the trenches. Most wore the typical recruit green, others the traditional Legion black. In the trenches, however, things changed. The black made way for the Terran League’s white and grey; colours which made the bright crimson of blood stand out even more. In death, the lifelong enemies lay side by side; their views and differences stripped by the only thing certain in a human’s life.

Some were face down into the mud, others were lying on their side; some clutched at their stabbed stomach, having twisted in agony before succumbing to death; some had tried to crawl away, leaving a deep red trail behind them. Recruit, Legionary, TL....it made no matter. In death, they were equal. In death, they were tranquil.

A long lost thought sprang into the sergeant’s mind, a quote from an ancient, very ancient, philosopher. Something about the dead being the only ones who would see the end of wars. True or not, he couldn’t say. But these men and women had seen the last of Alexandira, that was certain.

Those were the dead, however, the living still endured. Battered and bloodied they roamed along the trench, looking after their injured comrades. Here and there, crouched over a fallen brother they would try to administer whatever aid they could. And for those who were too far gone, well...they would be there in their last few minutes of life, offering some small amount of comfort when the end came. Victory was always bittersweet, the sergeant thought, the enemy came away bloodied, but so did they. No war was without casualties, no battle was without deaths – regardless on which side one fought.

In such a melancholic mood the sergeant found himself, the scene of death and carnage overpowering any other thoughts. However, there was still a battle to be won. The Alexandrian sun was high in the sky, shining brightly on both those dead and alive. The day was far from over.

This was very soon reminded to the sergeant, in the form of a bullet whizzing over his head. Instinct once more kicked in and he found himself on the ground before he could think on what had just happened. Crawling on all fours, he moved towards Radisson. The lieutenant seemed to be his old self again, cautiously looking over the trench wall.

“It’s not good, Zogin.” – he told him in a slightly raspy voice, after he returned to cover and looked at the sergeant – “The squad leaders inform me that we’ve suffered a lot of casualties during the charge. We had no choice though; the trench had to be taken.”

“We’ll fill in what we’ve lost with the reinforcements...assuming we manage to keep enough of them alive” – Marek replied

“The recruits? Bah...” – Radisson frowned slightly

“A soldier like him” – the lieutenant continued after a time, inclining his head at what had once been Johnson – “is worth ten of these greenhorns. Don’t be fooled sergeant; the recruits won’t win us this battle.”

“We all wore the green beret once...” – Marek tossed in

“So we did, but I’d much rather have real soldiers here, not potential ones. If only-“

Radisson stopped mid-sentence, signing for the sergeant to be quiet and tapping at his ear. He was receiving a message over the comms system. Judging from what the lieutenant said earlier, Marek deducted that the signals weren’t jammed at the moment. The device responsible was probably located in the bunker and had been damaged during the explosion. Speaking of which, they still didn’t know who was responsible for it...

“It will be done, Captain.” – Radisson said solemnly, after that he looked up at Zogin again – “Captain just called, gave me some news from the front.”

“Sir?” – Marek asked inquisitively

“First off, I’ll tell you what our neighbours informed me off, just before the TL opened fire.” – he cleared his throat – “Kirenko’s men are in the trenches, they’ll take care of the bunker. He’s suffered minimal casualties and will help screen our assault.”

“Sir, what about the bunker?”

“What about it, sergeant?’

“Who took it out, sir?

“Kirenko wasn’t certain...some soldiers report it was a recruit, but details are murky at best. We won’t be finding out until this thing is over, if ever.” – a short but detectable pause followed, a sign that that Radisson had put that subject aside.

“Now, the captain told me that our neighbouring companies to the left have pushed through the TL defences, they’re attacking the third trench-line even as we speak. Most of the enemy is tied down to those positions, so we’ll have an easier time here. Our role is still a supportive one, but that may change soon enough. So stay sharp, Zogin, this thing is far from over.”

“Yes sir! Your orders, sir?”

“I’m going to signal the other squads to begin moving out; we may as well use the communications while we still have them.” – a pause, after which he added – “You stay put, sergeant- you’ll advance along with me and the reserves.”

“Yes sir.”

Marek looked over at what was left of the reserves, they had lost their squad leader and had one of theirs injured. With one or two more probably dead already, he couldn’t be certain. He assumed that Radisson would rely on him to lead them if they needed to split up, the chain of command could never be left vacant. For now though, he felt just as useless as before. The greens which were running up the hill, from all sides, would be his men one day. Well, some of them – what soldiers would he get, he wondered. There was no way to know.

He then cautiously peered over the trench, the TL fire towards them had so far been erratic – Marek assumed that the enemy was still shaken from having lost the second line of trenches. He ducked immediately, as another round of shots was fired in his direction. What he saw gave him no comfort, the terrain was growing steeper, the TL forces more tightly-packed...Radisson was bloody right, this battle wasn’t over just yet.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Crimson Saint on Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:30 pm

No matter how many bullets Kris sent to the machine gun, the gunner ignored him. It made sense. Kris was obviously no threat to the man behind the gun, but it was worth the try, if even just to fire off his gun. Nevertheless, soon an explosion signaled the destruction of the machine gun. Kristoffer looked around for the source of what he assumed had been a grenade, but failed to see it. Still, the gunner was down, and the soldiers behind the tank were beginning to move. Finally, they were charging the TL lines.

Kristoffer moved out from behind his rock and began running towards the trenches ahead of him. Noticing what looked like officers in the group moving out from the tank, Kris loosely followed their group. Bullets flew past as countless soldiers charged the trenches. Men died left, right and center, the living often having to hurdle over their fallen comrades in order to keep running. The smell of blood and explosives mixed with the sounds of battle and of dozens of broken and dying men. Kristoffer soaked it all in and relished it. The excitement of it - the rush - was the most exhilarating thing he'd ever felt. He felt no fear, but no particular bravery - he merely desired to fight and to kill.

Within what seemed to be an instant, Kris had reached the trenches. Legion soldiers were pouring in, completely overwhelming the TL soldiers. Without hesitation, Kris jumped into the trench and viciously attacked the first enemy he saw. The soldier barely saw Kris coming, and barely put up a fight before Kris pushed his knife through the man's throat. Pathetic. Kris had been hoping for a good fight, but this first kill was too easy. Soon enough though, Kris found himself brawling with one of the larger TL soldiers. The man attempted a stab at Kris with his bayonet, but Kris dodged, delivering a powerful counter blow to the mans face with his elbow. The man fell back on the ground and Kris jumped on top of him, knife blade aimed for the other soldier's face. The man stopped Kris' attack, grabbing his arm. For a moment, the two were locked in a contest of strength, neither one gaining an inch. Using his free hand, Kris thrust a fist into the man's ribcage, knocking the wind out of him. With the temporary advantage, Kristoffer thrust all of his strength into his knife hand, driving the weapon through the man's eye into the brain, killing him almost instantly.

Kris only took a moment to recover before jumping back into the fray. Adrenaline fueled his blind rage as he did his best to rip apart any TL he could see. Some died too easily, and some refused to die until he was sure that he'd killed them at least twice. He could taste the blood as it spattered on his face, he could hear the dying screams of the men all around him. He felt truly alive here. But just as the fight seemed to reach its climax, it was over. The remaining TL had been pushed out of the trench, and the Legionaries busied themselves about securing the position and tending to the wounded and dying. Kris slumped against the wall and began to clean his blade, waiting to see what would happen next.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dio the Awesome on Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:24 pm

From her hole, Angelica heard some men shouting nearby. Then a sharp whistle cut through the air. She peered around cautiously, to see a number of men in black armour charging the TL lines. Back to the dirt, she took a deep breath. Hand to hand combat was not her strength, and in a blood bath like the one about to take place in the trench she probably wouldn`t last long. Still. If she didn`t die here, she`d die when the TL over ran the planet. Quickly she slammed her rifle into the mouth of the crevice. She fired several shots at the TL line, providing cover fire for the men at the front, before she let out her own scream and ran to join the push.

It did not take her long to reach the trench. Already the ground was littered with dead bodies from both sides. Doggedly, Angelica pressed forward. Up ahead she could see the savage forms of the Legionaries in their black armour. There would be little for her to fight if they pressed on at this rate. Suddenly a hand wrapped around her ankle. A Terran League soldier stared up at her. He was missing half of his face. A round must have hit him in the jaw. The force of the shot rendered flesh and bone, leaving a dripping mess of blood and muscle hanging down loosely. Angelica screamed and put two rounds into the mans back. At this range, the bullets easily pierced the armour, and his guts. Some people don`t realize what happens though, when the bullets hit the other side of the armour. There isn`t quite enough force for the bullets to pierce two layers of armour, but there was still more than enough remaining to bounce back through flesh. A single bullet fired at close range will bounce around in the armour scrambling organs. Angelica tried not to imagine intestines being reduced to the consistency of swiss cheese, as the man vomited blood onto the ground.

The TL soldier stopped moving, and slumped back down. Unfortunately, her actions attracted a second Tl soldier, who turned on her. He smiled when he saw her green jumpsuit, and moved in for what he assumed would be an easy kill. Angelica turned to fire, but she had trouble manoeuvring her prosthetic arm fast enough, and her enemy was able to knock her weapon off centre. All that she managed to do was fire several rounds into the wall of the trench. She felt an armoured fist strike her face, knocking her onto the ground and dislodging her weapon. From a prone position, she looked up as the man swung downward with his deadly bayonet. Angelica raised her left arm up just in time. Her arm shook from the blow, and were she any other person the force of the blow would have severed her hand off. The TL solider looked puzzled as he stared at the gash in her jumpsuit, expecting to see his enemies blood, not metal. He died with that expression on his face as a bullet struck him in the forehead, sending his helmet flying down the trench.

Angelica turned to thank her rescuer, but instead she felt herself hauled up roughly by a figure in black. The Legionary shoved Angelica against the wall and delivered her a rough slap. She heard a feminine voice growl, ``Get it together recruit.`` The Legionary then marched off without another word. Angelica rubbed her face a moment. He nose was bloodied from the TL`s assault. She shrugged it off and ran to join the fight.

---

The battle was won. By luck or by design, Angelica didn`t see another enemy soldier until the trenches were declared won. Well, none that could fight back anyways. She joined a small group of other recruits who would deal with the mortally wounded. It was brutally effective, and perhaps the UP designed it this way. The Legionaries would run ahead, killing anything in sight. They had the experience and the blood lust to get the job done. The new recruits would follow behind, there was the occasional pocket of TL resistance, but for the most part they simply were put more bullets into the dying. More than a few could still fight back however, resulting in some close calls, and even casualties among the recruits.

After the fighting ended, Angelica spent several moments to collect ammo clips off of the dead. When she felt she had sufficient supplies, she felt hopelessly lost. Her last order was to take the hill. She`d done that, but without the squad she `landed` with, she had no idea what to do.

Then she noticed a group of Legionaries chatting in a cluster. She approached them tentatively, scoping out their rank. There was a sergeant and a lieutenant among them. She swallowed, and hoped that they wouldn`t see it out of line if she asked for orders. She marched forward, keeping her rifle down. She waited for a lull in the conversation, before stepping up to the sergeant. Angelica snapped to attention and held a salute, ``Sirs!`` She said, addressing both officers while trying to maintain a tough sounding voice, ``Forgive my impudence sirs! My drop ship was shot down shortly before landing, killing my CO. Requesting orders sirs!``

Angelica held her breath hoping she wouldn`t get reprimanded.


Last edited by Dio the Awesome on Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dominique on Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:16 pm

Grace didn't wait to see if the grenade she'd flung at the TL had had the desired effect; not a moment after she had released the pineapple-sized explosive the female soldier had dropped to the ground, pressing as flat against the earth as she possibly could- more out of fear of the MG finally noticing her than for concern that the shrapnel could harm her if she didn't get out of its way.
She was probably one of the last ones to discover that her unlikely throw had significantly tipped the scales in the Legion's favour. Her focus was entirely on the small dent in the ground where she was now lying, stomach down, face pressed into the dirt and staring sideways, breathing long, panting breaths as she looked at the sightless eyes of Matt, whose head lay inclined to one side just slightly, giving him a martyr-like appearance that only added to the unfairness of his death. His death, and not hers.

Men were shouting, a high-pitched whistle traversed the field, faint and distant but piercing and more forward than any of the other overwhelming noises that surrounded her. Feet trampled the ground nearby in such amounts that they could actually be heard over the incessant rattle of gunfire and distant explosions. They were advancing! The cease of the machinegun's endless noise had obviously been permanent. But while Grace was oblivious to the breakthrough she had initiated in this far too drawn-out battle, she was incredibly sure that, as a soldier, she should be joining the rest of the Legion.

Clenching and unclenching her fingers as they dug into the dirt she considered her options, all the while listening intently to what was happening around her. She felt a strong resentment upon contemplating rushing ahead - no longer out of fear, but more out of having to abandon the corpse of the real hero beside her. It was painful how aware she was that without him, they wouldn't have made it all the way up there, and therefore, wouldn't have been able to throw a grenade in a surprise attack, which in turn had led to an opening for the platoons behind them to assault the next line of defence of the Terrans. Oh, who she even kidding, if it hadn't been for Matt Bennett, she'd probably have died the moment she'd decided to take cover at the side of a departing airship! She owed him her life, and leaving him behind now seemed such a massive paradox Grace briefly even contemplated dragging his lifeless body with her. She couldn't just abandon him.
But by all means, she couldn't stay either.

A burst of decisiveness got the redheaded soldier -now with helmet- struggling up on her knees again. Almost thoughtfully she examined her surroundings, still hunched as she peered over the small barrier in front of her. The bunker looked oddly abandoned, with small trails of smoke billowing up and out of the shooting holes. Grace could vaguely discern some scorch marks on one side, and for a single moment she felt a small spark pf pride over having somehow succeeded at managing to take out such a lethal hurdle in such an unlikely way, but a second later reality dawned in and she silently scolded herself for daring to be so arrogant. Returning to the matter at hand, Grace leaned over the maimed body and reached one hand to the side of Matt Bennett's neck. Her fingers met with a lukewarm, liquid substance, making her face contort in dismay, but her fingertips continued to run along the surface of his skin, finding the metallic chain from which two dog tags hung. She pulled at the chain, tugging the tags out from beneath the layers of cloth and armour. Weighing them in her hands for a moment, she proceeded to remove the second one, attaching it to the chain she wore herself. A bloodied fingerprint remained on the worn looking surface of the tag, darkening the imprints upon the small plate. The chain itself she tucked back safely under the soldier's shirt - if they did bother to collect all these bodies later, they would know who he was.

A moment longer Grace let her hand linger against the collarbone of the soldier, knitting her brows together, then got up with obvious reluctance, keeping her eyes fixated on the corpse. She didn't want to forget what he looked like - she wasn't sure why, but to Grace, it seemed vital that she would remember this soldier and what had happened to him.
The awkwardly placed moment of quiet contemplation was rudely interrupted when one of the men rushing past her slowed his pace. It would appear he had purposely ran right up to her, but Grace, of course, was not at all aware.

"Soldier.", he initiated the conversation, receiving a disturbed look from the redheaded soldier at first, until she realized she was facing someone of higher rank.
"Sir?"
Grace gave him a somewhat doubtful salute. The man looked older than most of the soldiers on the field, in his thirties at least, although the marks on his face made estimating his age difficult.

"Are you the one who threw that grenade?"

"Ye-ah--". Grace replied, then recomposed herself and repeated, this time more confidently (and more appropriately): "Yes, sir."
He eyed her up and down for a moment, and Grace could almost feel his reluctance to believe the fragile looking soldier had made such a vital breakthrough. In the end, he gave her a curt nod, and took a step back to scan his surroundings again.

"Good work."

Grace smiled meekly, eyes shifting inevitably back to her lifeless companion. It felt wrong to not mention him, and she parted her lips to explain what had happened. But before she could say anything, her superior turned away from her, casting one glance over his shoulder.

"Right, get going then, it's hardly safe 'ere."

And instantly, he was off again, absorbed by the swarm of soldiers, recruits and proper military alike, that was overrunning the second line of trenches. They were one step closer to victory, and her chances of surviving this ordeal had just increased... even if just by a little bit.

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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Guest on Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:14 pm

Benjamin O'Connel jogged behind his fellow recruits towards the sound of gunfire. The cracking of rounds leading them onwards like a damned siren's call. Smoking holes and pitted wreckage grew more frequent, and all he wondered about was how damn far away did he land, considering it had been about ten minutes of jogging. When he could hear the familiar sound of humans screaming, squealing like stuck pigs, it brought back some old memories, bad memories. The silver lining of that particular explosion was that he got a job out of it.

Ben's ability to rely on muscle memory for basic actions like running was good for allowing him to ignore his body's protests, but horrible in the fact that now he was thinking about the past, again. Still, the metallic, coppery smell of too much blood spilled was unmistakeable. Ben choked back a little bit of bile rising in his throat as the image of a man he tried to save appeared in his mind.

The man whose name he never learned had been in the wrong side of a demolition accident. The sight of his fear filled green eyes looking down at his own impaled body was a horrifying memory. His blood had been splashed everywhere, and the four pipes that pinned him to the half-finished wall also dripped some blood. Ben had vomited at the sight and the sound of man whimpering, still alive. He had watched that poor bastard die horribly, gurgling blood, and then passing out from the loss of it.

Ben's gut churned as he approached the first trench. The whining of high pitched noise of burning metal in the air suddenly seemed much more terrifying than in training. He could hear the blood pounding in his ears. He started getting out of breath, hyperventilating slightly at the memory of blood everywhere. The smell was the worst. His hands started trembling, spasmodically clutching his rifle. Suddenly, he was glad to be in the back and that no one could see him.

Something slammed into his shoulder, and caromed off with a high pitched whine. Then, warm and salty liquid sprayed across his face. It tasted salty and had that metallic tang of copper. It tasted like blood, but the bitter taste was something new, CNS fluid.

“Fuck!”

Ben screamed as he collided with the falling body of another recruit. He didn't remember the kid's name, only that he was sixteen, and was Frank's friend. His brain was overloaded, and shut down, running simply on training. He blinked and his eyes darted around. His left arm darted to stop his spin with the kid's falling body, instinctively grabbing him into a modified fireman's carry and sprinting towards the trench. More rounds whined by, almost close enough to singe his fast. He slid down the edge of the trench with the kid's limp body.

Frank was the first to reach him. The slim man was shaking in grief and rage. A hail of bullets briefly passed over head, as if a warning. Frank snatched the kid's body from Ben, and started weeping and trembling. Ben froze against the side of the trench, paralyzed. He felt like he could barely breathe, and adrenaline was coursing through his veins. Frank was followed by a small Asian man in black armor. Frank grabbed the lip of the muddy trench and screamed as he jumped out and rushed at the bunker. The black armored regular made a speed dash to grab the cracked recruit's foot, but missed by inches. Thirty seconds later, Frank was slumped to the ground leaking blood.

“Idiotic recruits. You three follow me. We will be assaulting that bunker in five minutes all along the line...” Ben glanced at the black armor, and barely refrained from saluting. The man had bent down and ripped the tags of the fallen kid, reading “Cardson, huh.”
“Get moving recruits.”
“Sir, yes sir.”

“O'Connel, you're up with me.” Ben jogged to keep up with effortless pace of the smaller man. “Pull it together recruit. If you fall apart, so will the other two.” They jogged for a bit, and Ben was able to relax. Something about the man, Sai, was reassuring. He was able to get his panic under control. Despite the fact that he had gotten two men killed. About thirty yards later, they ran into another knot of recruits with another black armored regular standing at the back.

“Corporal Takeda, sir.”
“Private Emmerson.”
“We are ready to engage the enemy, sir.”

The corporal cleared his throat, and began to speak in his gravelly baritone.

“This is the first time at the front for most of you. We need to take that bunker that is holding us back and killing our comrades. As long as you see me, or O'Connel here,” The smaller man smacked the shoulder with the bullet hole in the uniform, and continued on. Benjamin suppressed a wince from the impact against the growing bruise. “We shall guard you, and lead you to glory. Emmerson will take up the rear, and will make sure that if you fall, you shall be remembered.”

Sai gravely saluted all the recruits, the air of formality at odds with the battlefield. The recruits instinctively saluted back, following their training. Ben started at the delayed realization that the corporal had just killed him, and started. He whispered a few curses to himself, and crouched down. He clenched the rifle so hard that his knuckles popped. His knees trembled slightly. Ben was felt the fear, and felt something else more, rage. This was going to kill him. More adrenaline started flooding into his veins, more than before any big fight. Ben was going down swinging. At least, Sai had positioned them so there was only a minimal arc of the bunker's machine gun fire.

Ben glared at the impassive corporal Takeda, who was staring at his watch. Everyone else muttered amongst themselves. Some joked and others were praying. The most irritating thing was the hope in everyone's eyes when they looked at him. He glared back and they looked down. He was green just like the rest of them. He was going to die for these idiots when they charged the damn trench. Sai glanced up from his watch, impassive as always, and over the trench.

“Hold.” Emmerson fidgeted at the order impatiently.

Ben was stuck with a stupid expression on his face when he realized what had happened. There wasn't anymore machine gun fire.

“Thirty seconds.”

The seconds dragged on, and yet never had it passed so fast.

Sai motioned for Ben to position himself in front of the trench and leaned over. “You have the best crouch run kid, I noticed it earlier. Grow a pair, I will be right next to you.”

“With all due respect, fuck you.”

“GO!”

Sai took off like a rocket. He was in a dead sprint, and Ben struggled to try and keep up. The man was like a professional running back, not only covering more ground, but in a rolling side stepping cut. Bullets whined by. Ban glanced around, his fury overriding his fear. Five other charges were occurring. A few rounds slammed against his weak armor, luckily bouncing off from the oblique angles. His shoulders and ribs were going to ache like hell tomorrow. He was ten feet from the trench when Sai stopped firing his rifle, and slung it back while drawing out what appeared to be a short sword and a pistol.

Ben would have laughed if he could do more than breathe. Sai killed two enemy soldiers with precision and pure ruthlessness. There were ten more in the immediate vicinity, and they looked angry. Damn, Sai is fast. A few poorly aimed shots ricocheted around behind the black killer. Two mottled white and grey soldiers began charging him from behind. Ben sprinted and slid down into the trench, bowling over the first soldier. A quick downward hook bounced the fallen soldier's brain around in his skull, bringing the familiar glazed look of unconsciousness with it.

Ben slide back, letting the TL bayonet slip by his face. He kept sliding too, and fell on his ass. His rifle bounced away at the same time.

“Shit.”

A desperate grab yanked the rifle barrel closer while his boot lashed out against the weak articulation of the knee. The other soldier pulled the trigger, and only some desperate twisting allowed Ben to dodge the shot. It gouged out a hole in the trench, and he could feel some warm bloody mud spatter against the back of his neck. Ben pulled the rifle closer, and lashed out with a foot. It hit the TL soldier against the helmet, twisting it sideways. The man screamed as his nose was crushed and dislocated. Ben got to a knee, pulled the rifle and the man attached to it even closer, and use his second bayonet to pierce through the strained neck articulation. He shakily stood up, and glanced around. Green had never been so comforting.

“Count off and scavenge.”
“O'Connel”
“Emmerson”
“Jamieson”
“Barque”
“Chelsey”
“Glinski”

Sai was covered in blood, and Ben noticed the sheath for the sword on the small of the back for the first time. Sai turned and shot the unconscious man at Ben's feet through the throat.

“Recruits, never forget to finish them off.”

Ben managed to find two unfamiliar grenades and slung them in the combat webbing with a few more magazines of ammo, and a TL rifle. His was broken, the firing mechanism had taken a round in the fighting.

“Emmerson, find Lt. Raddison. Report our position and our casualties. We need new orders.”

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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Blackrock on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:23 pm

Zogin looked up at the recruit who addressed them. She was not very tall, had a slim build and, after a second the sergeant noticed, had a prosthetic limb. He bet there was a story behind that, but now was not the time, nor the place for such things. Most importantly, the fool was standing straight and upright, in an idiotic attempt to please the “officers” in the middle of a fucking battle. One glance at Radisson was enough for the sergeant to know what the next course of action should be.

He grabbed her by the shoulder, the right one, and forced her down to the ground, shouting in the mean time:

“Get the fuck down, recruit! This is a battle not a ceremony!”

Marek then looked at Radisson, waiting for the lieutenant’s reaction. Experience told him that, at this point, neither of them could do much. As a recruit, the woman was not assigned to their unit, or their regiment for that matter. Not even the colonel could give her others; she was in a totally different branch at the moment.

“I can’t do anything about that, recruit” – Radisson said – “As you know, you aren’t formally part of the Legion yet. I have no authority over you.”

The young commander looked at Zogin, the sergeant noticed the hesitation on his face. It was not an uncommon situation, by far. Those recruits who had something between their ears would soon flock to the veterans, looking for advice and, frankly, protection. It was a difficult situation though, the brass – the political corps to be precise, would have none of it. The recruits were scum until they survived their first fight, not worthy of support. The fact of the matter was that, any frontline soldier who thought thus was nothing short of a fucking bastard. Those type of men didn’t survive long…people like Zogin and Radisson made sure of it.

“What are you good at, recruit?” – Radisson asked after giving the matter some thought

"Sir! I was highly ranked in the advanced sniper course sir!"

“A sniper, eh?” – Raddisson looked at Marek.

The sergeant threw another glance at the recruit, examining her rifle. It was second-hand, stock quality…nothing special. Her gear was of a similar grade, in short – nothing that marked her as a marksman. It wasn’t surprising, but Zogin couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastards. Still, a sharp eye was a sharp eye; regardless of rifle they could find some use for this one.

“Very well, recruit” – the lieutenant declared after a brief pause – “You can’t take any orders from me, but you can still follow us…out of your own free will” – he smiled sarcastically.

“In addition, I’d advise you to remain here for the time being and to keep an eye on the enemy positions…strictly off the record, of course.” – he then turned towards Marek – “We have to go sergeant, time’s not waiting on anybody.”

“Yes, sir” – Zogin said

He got to his feet, patted the recruit on the shoulder, muttering a “good luck, recruit” and vaulted over the trench. He pulled up his mask, once more covering the majority of his face and hurried after Radisson. All the fight seemed to be happening on their left, as that was where most of the TL shots were aimed at. The pair soon found themselves behind a rock, big enough to provide cover for both of them. The sergeant cautiously peeked out of his hiding position, looking about; a minute or so later, Radisson did the same.

They had now left the trench behind them. The other squads had followed suit and were making their way to the top of the hill, Radisson and Marek were, once more, slightly behind the first line of troops advancing. The machine-gunner was concentrating on their neighbouring platoon, which was also advancing up the hill. This gave them an almost enemy-free final stretch to the trenches.

“We could flank them, sir” – the sergeant voiced his thoughts.

“Wait, I don’t like this “– Radisson cautioned

Marek then looked behind them, towards the ruined bunker. Kirenko had his men moving up as well, a small detachment seemed to have been left behind to secure the fortified position. Tracing their movement carefully, Zogin noted that the other lieutenant wouldn’t be waiting a lot longer – his troops were already halfway up the hill; in contrast Radisson hadn’t yet told his men to make a full advance.

“Damn!” – Radisson declared quietly

No sooner than he had said that did the sergeant realise what was happening. A second, hidden up to this point, embrasure was revealed in the bunker right in front of them. A moment later, they both saw the machine-gun’s muzzle. A squad of TL troops sprang up from behind the trenches and they opened fire as well. The first line of Kirenko’s men was mauled down on the spot, before the others had a chance to react.

“Damn it, sergeant!” – Radisson growled – “They were waiting for us from the very beginning, we should have seen this coming.”

Not giving Marek time to respond, he began trying to contact the captain. The sergeant, on the other hand, tried to get a better view of the situation. He looked up from behind the rock again, but what he saw didn’t improve his mood. Once again, they found themselves pinned down, but this time – Kirenko’s men were in the same shitty situation. Both platoons were firmly pressed into the ground by the machine-gun and its supporting TL troops – they had a better vantage point, the element of surprise and the hilly terrain to boot. They couldn’t rely on a flanking attack this time, they were supposed to be the ones flanking!

The situation on the left wasn’t too bright either; he saw plenty of troops – regulars and recruits, trying to break through with limited success. The number of greenies was frighteningly decreasing; he saw a lot of them strewn on the ground. This took him only a few seconds to determine, but it was enough for the TL to lock onto their position. He ducked back down as soon as he heard the first shot whizzing past him.
A hail of shots followed, all mercilessly falling on the rock. After a few minutes, the defenders gave up on them and began seeking out other targets. In the mean time, Radisson had gotten through to the captain. He turned to the sergeant and said:

“Good news, Zogin.” – he cleared his throat – “I asked the captain for artillery support, he promised to get a battery or two to fire on the TL position.”

“Will he manage?”

“He’d better. The higher-ups want all fire focused on the centre, but it would do no good if we can’t break in from the flank.”

They had to raise their voices, as the bullet-storm around them was growing fiercer. The stray projectiles bashing their rock increased steadily, as more and more defenders began firing on their platoon.

“We can’t stay here, sergeant...a few more minutes and we won’t have much of a rock to hide behind.”

The sergeant knew he was correct. A focused and sustained fire from the machine-gun would no doubt make short work of their cover, the projectiles were increased to brain-staggering speeds and the kinetic energy was more than enough. And the gunner would get tired of waiting soon; he’d then start clearing out any would-be hiding spots.

Just as they were preparing to leave however, Marek noticed another legionary running up towards them. Based on where he was coming from, he assumed he was probably from first or second squad, further to the left. The man deftly dodged the bullets heading for him and with one final lunge found himself behind the rock, next to Marek and Radisson.

“Private Emmerson, reporting!”

“What’s the situation, private?” – Radisson asked

“Corporal Takeda sent me, he reports that our segment of trenches is captured and requests new orders.”

“Give me a report and make it quick.”

Emmerson gave them a quick rundown of the situation, where his unit was, what casualties they had sustained and their last known whereabouts. Radisson frowned slightly once, but said nothing. After that he considered the next course of action for a few moments and turned towards the private.

“There’s nothing to it, private. We have to capture that hill. Captain said we’d receive some artillery support” – he inclined his head at the bunker in front of them –“Tell Takeda that once the barrage hits, you are to advance.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Good; me and the sergeant will provide you with covering fire. Get ready to go on my mark.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Oh and private, tell the corporal he has his own squad leader. Don’t come running to me next time, there’s a chain of command you know.”

“It will be done, lieutenant!’

“GO!” – Radisson replied instead

He and Marek leaned out from behind the rock and opened fire on the TL position, instantly drawing a stream of shots their way. Emmerson used that to his advantage and quickly sprinted back the way he came. When he was a good distance away, the two men returned to the safety of their rock.

“Sergeant, you go – I’ll cover you. Head towards fourth squad; you saw their position, correct?”

“Aye, sir. Slightly to the right and behind the rocks there.”

“Good man. Go!”

The sergeant took a deep breath, saturating his lungs with oxygen as he prepared for the dangerous sprint ahead of him. It was something that he had done many times and yet, he never could shake the nervous feeling off. He wasn’t really afraid of death, he dealt it and saw it daily...but the...uncertainty of it all made him nervous. Nothing could be done about that though; it was as inevitable as taking a piss.

He jumped to his feet and raised his leg, preparing for the first stride...and then he heard a loud explosion very near. Instinct took over and he fell to the ground, his stomach pressed against the ground. He could feel the tiny pebbles on his cheeks and forehead, even through the black mask. The explosions continued. A symphony of shells, shrapnel and dirt drowned out all other sound, in that moment – that orchestra of death became master of the battlefield. And master of their lives, of all of them. And just as suddenly as they had begun, the explosions stopped. As if they had never been.

In the following moments everything was silent. If you were to ask a soldier what “silence” really meant, they’d tell you that it was exactly these moments. When both sides lay face-first on the ground, waiting for the dust to settle....hoping for or dreading the next barrage. When everything was quiet and still; when only the rolling pebble or the flickering of a flame could be heard. That was silence. That was serenity.

A few seconds later Marek heard Radisson, he was urging him to get up. He did as he was ordered and also heard that the shots had stopped for the time being. A quick glance at the enemy positions revealed why. For the first fucking time today, the artillery had done its job. The bunker was a mess; it seemed to have been a direct hit. The trenches around it were in no better shape, they were thoroughly ploughed.

“Change of plans, sergeant” – Radisson’s voice sounded rasp, either he was very happy or very tired; or both – “We have to act now, go!”

Zogin sprang to his feet and hurried towards the line of TL trenches, Radisson was just behind him. Even though he couldn’t see him, the sergeant knew exactly what his commander was doing. And, just as he was expecting, he heard the sound of Radisson’s whistle. Those legionaries that had yet to charge would now know what to do. No motivating speeches this time, no battle-cries....they were all tired and pissed off. The day had been long and the casualties were many.

And as the sun steadily descended westwards the last stage of the fight for Hill 3241 was about to begin.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Guest on Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:44 pm

Ben leaned heavily against the side of the trench. A few of the recruits were trading fire with the enemy in the trench farther up the hill. He still winced at every crack that showered mists of dirt over his head. His ribs hurt. His ankle was throbbing, and he was too afraid to look down, or take off his stolen boots. There was a distinct possibility of not being able to get them back on. He grumbled to himself cursing Deckard. His shoulder was numb, and the only reason he knew it wasn't dislocated was the fact the he could still move the attached limb. His legs still burned from that first charge, and his bastard commander, Corporal Takeda, was idly cleaning a sharp sword. The man did not appear to be out of breath, wounded, or even sweating. It was infuriating. Ben's foot kept tapping.

Another crack rang out. More dirt clods turned to mud in his sweaty hair. Thirty. Ben had been afraid a minute earlier, after they had just taken the trench, but now he was just getting pissed off. Crack. Crack. Crack! A recruit whooped in glee, obviously celebrating a hit. Corporal Takeda sheathed the sword under his back just like a ninja in a B action flick, and then casually began flipping a knife he materialized from somewhere. A few more recruits joined the firing line as the same recruit whooped again at his second kill of the day.

Takeda looked at him with steady eyes and shrugged nonchalantly. Apparently, Ben had been accepted by the corporal for the earlier thunder run, and had no more to prove. Ben rubbed his aching shoulder in reply. Takeda actually cracked a slight smile and laughed softly in reply. Ben restrained a head shake. The corporal was just confusing. Another shot slammed nearby, and sent more painful vibrations through his thoroughly battered ribs. Ben snorted like a bull with blood in its eye. He went up into a crouch, slinging the rifle into a firing position. More dirt showered over, like he was some target. Thirty. Ben gritted his teeth and made a decision.

He stood up and looked over the lip of the trench and rested the rifle on the ground, scanning for the one asshole who kept firing a shot right above him every thirty seconds. It was like a metronome, but slow. A shot whistled by his ear, and he saw the bastard shooting at him. He looked young, and terrified.

“He should be.”

A few more shots whistled by him. Ben didn't blink even at the few near misses, and just aimed. Even a mediocre shooter could hit the target after aiming for a few seconds. Twenty five, Twenty six, twenty seven, twenty eight, twenty nine, thirty- crack.. The idiot took a round through an eye, and slumped against the lip of the trench. It didn't help the rage welling up in him. This was hell. He was sent out with shit, into a meat grinder that had no real discernible value. He wanted a colonel's blood, a general's head, an admiral's balls, not the heart of a petrified private who probably shat himself ten seconds ago.

Ben sat back down. Mushashi made the knife disappear as Emmerson trotted up, immune to the badly aimed shots flying around him. Mushashi did exude invincibility, but even Emmerson seemed unconcerned with the situation. Fuckers... Big brass balls, though.

“Lieutenant says we are getting some fire support. Artillery barrage ends, and we take the rest of the hill.”

The corporal nodded, and cleared his throat. He opened his mouth to speak and was cut off before he could began. Crump-boom, crump-boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom. The nose increased as the artillery corp poured it on. The small Asian actually looked surprised for once, but a slight shrugged and the expression melted away as if it had never been. Ben blinked, as if to make sure. “Yep, definitely mistaken,” he mumbled to himself. He patted his shoulder again, feeling the combat webbing around a small glass object. Ben had completely forgotten about the molotovs. The liquid mix should have soaked the cloth within them by now. A devilish, frightening smile crept across his face, even causing Emmerson to recoil a bit. A lighter came out of a pocket. He flicked open the old fashioned zippo, and idly started to light it over and over.

Jamieson ducked down from firing. He was jealous of his friend Ben, already being heroic. He wished he still had the whiskey. Fear was gripping his heart in a vise, and the battering his ears were getting from the artillery wasn't helping any. Jamieson could feel his pulse in his fingers, and his hands were shaking. He was one of the best shots in his class, and yet he couldn't hit anyone. Jamieson had seen his best friend's head shot, the way he just waited as the bullets flew around him until it was time. Jamieson questioned himself, felt his emotions breaking him down. He looked left, at the scared eager green troops. A third of them had already died in the last attack. “Not many will survive,” he muttered to himself, his voice shaking. Why weren't they breaking down, why?

Jamieson let the rifle hang on its combat strap and sank down with his knees in front of his face. His hands covered his eyes. He couldn't take it. It was simply too much. He glanced right and saw something more terrifying. Ben had a lighter and the liquor he had turned into molotov cocktails. Jamieson felt his heart stop for a few seconds. He didn't even notice the sudden stillness, the lack of air beating at his ears. He couldn't breathe either. Allowing Ben to have access to fire was like giving the codes to a kinetic bombardment to an anarchist. An apocalypse awaited.

The corporal belted out a single word. “Charge!


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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Crimson Saint on Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:11 pm

Kris had been waiting eagerly for the fighting to start up again. It wasn't long before the TL troops had moved back to the third line and begun firing back at the Legion. Within a few moments, shots were whizzing back and forth between the opposing lines. Kris closed his eyes and listened, trying to get a mental picture of the battlefield and where enemies were firing from. After a few seconds, Kris peered over the trench, resting his rifle on its lip, and fired off a few rounds at the first enemy he saw. Kill. Kris ducked back down as enemy fire stirred up the dirt next to him. He moved over a couple feet and popped up over the trench again and fired off a few more rounds at an enemy. Miss, but it scared the shit out of the guy. Risking a few extra seconds exposed, Kris waited to see if the enemy soldier would peek out again. Bingo. Squeeze trigger. Kill.

The next few moments followed suit. Trading shots with the enemy, Kris managed to pick off a few men while remaining unscathed. Just as he was beginning to tire from the monotony of it, he picked up a few words from a nearby conversation. Something about artillery. This could be interesting - if the TL took a few artillery shells, maybe the Legion could finally move out of the trenches. Kris felt his blood warming at the thought of another melee. Soon it would boil over, and blood-lust would set in. Kris welcomed it with open arms. There was no feeling quite like the exhilaration of a good fight. It was never a matter of who was better trained, bigger, or faster. No, what it came down to was each and every second. There was no victory in the past, none in the future - the only victory came from the moment, and who was better in that deciding second. The thrill was so much more when the stakes were life and death. No feeling could be compared to that of feeling the life drain from your opponent as you defeat him. The more Kris thought on it, the more the feeling took hold of him.

As if in response to Kris' desires, artillery shells began to pound upon the TL lines. With each hit, a new note sounded in a cacophonic symphony. The violent melody painted a picture of destruction in Kris' mind. The pounding of the shells mimicked the beating of his own heart. It was a strange bliss that overtook him, but a welcome one. Kris felt no rage, no hate towards his enemy, merely a surrender to primal instinct - kill, or be killed. This was the order of things. This was nature at its truest. Politics and sides were simply a construct - designed to allow humans to take part in this natural phenomenon, whilst still keeping their illusions of morality and dignity. Kris didn't need these things, he was at peace with nature, and his place in it. He was a predator, held above other mammals by his own cunning and ability, not by some archaic notion of a "higher purpose". In a way, he pitied those who felt the need for such things.

A loud shout pulled Kris from his musings.

"Charge!"

Kris joined the other soldiers as they poured out of the trenches. The artillery had stopped, and now the sounds of automatic weapons filled the air in its stead. Kris dodged fire as best as he could, firing back whenever possible, as he ran just behind the soldiers in the front of the charge. There really wasn't much distance to cover, but the rough terrain, uphill slope, and the fire from the TL-controlled trenches compounded to make the sprint a difficult one. Kris did his best to enjoy himself, taking pleasure in every successful kill. Still, his body and mind both longed to jump into the trenches and grapple with the closest soldier they could find. These desires, laced with adrenaline, pushed Kris onward. Soon, he would satisfy them. Soon, he would have blood.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dio the Awesome on Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:26 am

Angelica felt herself being pulled to the ground. She took one knee alongside the sergeant and half mumbled an apology. She listened to him over the sounds of the battle, and it felt like she had been dealt a blow to the chest. She was alone in this maelstrom of blood and bullets. Immediately Angelica felt foolish approaching the officers. Of course they wouldn't want some greenhorn in their unit, she'd probably just get someone killed anyways.

But then the sergeant gave her a ray of hope. He was essentially disobeying orders by giving her leave to follow them, but it was all the instruction she needed. Stay put, watch the enemy positions, follow the charge. "Thank you sir." She called after him as they moved off.

Angelica scooted closer to cover, taking up a firing position. She kept one eye on the sergeants group, and one eye on the TL line, ready to provide covering fire. This time her life didn't matter. This time there would be no ducking back behind cover. This time she would gladly lay her life down to those who where more skilled than her. This feeling of purpose invigorated her. Angelica slowed her breathing to a crawl and waited; alert but not tense.

She watched her men, her charges, advance on the enemy position. The lack of TL troops made her uneasy. The lieutenant must have felt the same way as his unit came to a stop. Suddenly out of nowhere a line of TL soldiers popped out of the ground. Some were yelling, some had their weapons locked on the UP forces. For Angelica, the world seemed to slow down. She saw the UP lines hit the ground to hide from the hail of bullets. She saw the TL soldier cascade down the embankment, some firing their weapons, others not. The Legionaries began to fire back. With a practised movement, Angelica focused her sights on a TL soldier, one who was standing still, and firing. She didn't bother to line up her shot, as soon as his body was in her cross-hairs, she squeezed the trigger.

The round didn't hit the soldier, instead it hit his weapon. The round buried itself in the firing mechanism, rendering the gun useless. The force of the impact knocked the man to the ground. She quickly turned her sights on a soldier running five feet to the right. She fired erratically, not taking time for each shot now. The man toppled to the dirt, but she couldn't be sure it was her doing or not. Her next shot took a man in the knee. It pierced the armour, shattered bone, and shot a mist of blood and marrow into the air.

She ducked her head behind cover and began to reload. Out of nowhere, a deafening roar enveloped her, causing her to drop her ammo clip. Instinctively she dropped to the ground as flat as she could and buried her face in the dirt. Several more rounds of artillery pounded into the earth, but she couldn't be sure who was shelling who. Finally quiet overtook the battle field and Angelica dared to peek over her cover. The TL lines were a mess; broken soldiers lay strewn across the hill. Large craters dotted the hill side, still smoking.

The sound of the now familiar whistle pierced the calm. Angelica knew that the last push was at hand. She retrieved her cartridge and finished loading it. Her eyes once again found the sergeant, he and his men already clambering up to the TL lines. After taking a deep breath, she jumped over her cover and ran to catch up with them, hoping her efforts would meet the Legionaries standards.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Gabe on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:45 pm

The droning hum of the dropship's engine was nearly drowned out by the nervous chatter amongst the recruits aboard. The aircraft was starting it's final approach. As it did, a Legion Staff Sergeant stood from his seat and hushed the apprehensive soldiers aboard. Alex was already aware of the mission. As his platoon had made ready, a second lieutenant made a similar speech at the dropship staging area. That seemed like hours ago.

The faces around him were unfamiliar. For whatever reason, the recruits were mix-matched with others from different training groups. Soldiers fresh out of sniper school, infantry training, combat medical, and engineering school were randomly mixed together. All had different training, but all were the same aboard the vessel. This first battle would prove their worthiness, regardless of their training. Seemingly detached from his current situation, Alex imagined the nightmarish amount of paperwork that must go along with assigning those who survive to their respective units. He snapped back to reality when the craft shuddered violently.

Alex gripped the H-shaped harness that secured him to his seat. The craft hadn't been hit, but rather, engaged it's air-brakes as it neared the end of its descent. The Sergeant at the front of the craft shouted one last time, and stepped out of view. The hydraulic doors hissed as the safety locks were disengaged, and cabin pressure equalized with the outside air, sending a small burst of dirt, dust, and the distinctive smell of warfare into the ship's interior. Alex unbuckled himself and checked his weapon one last time. It was a piece of shit, but definitely serviceable. His time working civilian-sector as a salvage reclaimer set his standards for 'broken' much lower than most people. The general surfaces of the rifle were pitted and chipped, with scratches of varying degrees strewn throughout. The internal mechanical parts had recently been refurbished, but hurriedly so; a telltale mark of the UP's re-manufacturing process.

At last, the ship touched down. The gunfire outside overpowered the sound of the ship's engine, even from this distance. Alex, as well as another fifty or so recruits, poured from the vehicle's loading ramp. Not even 10 seconds into the initial push, a hail of greedy bullets showered on the closely-packed group. Surely a mix of opportunism and sadism overcame the gunner in the distant bunkers at the sight of such easy targets. Alex had been fortunate enough to find himself abreast the main group, and quickly dove into a makeshift foxhole. Others ran ahead, another two stumbled into the same cover as Alex, but the majority had either been cut down or faded from view among the various features of the battered landscape.

The gunfire seemed to be everywhere at once. Groups of recruits would post up and begin to move, only to be cut down. Smarter groups would split into two groups, one providing cover fire while the other moved and vice versa, but even that tried-and-true tactic seemed to have a coin-flip chance of success. Judging by the looks of it, Alex's ship had put them only a few hundred meters from the enemy's second line. Directly north, the bunker sat on a corner of two trench lines, spewing death at the UP's advancing efforts. Northwest of his foxhole, a network of destroyed vehicles, war-worn rocks, and broken bodies dotted the approach to the hill. Many groups found themselves in this avenue, trading fire with the trench ahead, advancing as they did so.

As Alex surveyed the area, the two other recruits in his foxhole vaulted over it's edge and made for a metal hulk about 20 meters ahead. Alex quickly laid his weapon over the edge of his cover and fired at the enemy line, although at this distance it would be impossible to tell where to shoot in order to effectively cover the bold recruits in front of him. Realizing they were his best bet for survival, Alex followed suit, sprinting towards the dilapidated structure. As he shouldered the new cover, it was clear that this was...or at least was part of an aircraft's fuselage. The cold metal creaked and pinged as a volley of bullets ricocheted off of it's opposite side. Alex didn't like this for a few reasons, the first being that the lightweight metal wouldn't hold against enemy fire for long, and the second being that he would now have to expose himself to fire more fully in order to survey his advance or provide covering fire.

Alex felt an unusual apathy for the situation at hand. Until a year or so ago, his whole world was a daily cycle of mundane, repeated tasks. This was by far the most violent thing he had ever witnessed, combined with confusion, hopelessness, and panic. Somehow the young recruit still felt detached from it all. He knew he needed to survive, and what it would take, but there was no emotion behind it. His attention was broken when a dull thud broke through the air. It wasn't particularly loud, but rather distinctive. Some sort of explosive had gone off. Alex leaned from his cover and looked North, catching a glimpse of smoke and dirt puffing from the enemy position. At the same time, gunfire from the nearby UP troops increased, and the faint sound of a whistle in the distance reached the recruit.

"I think we should move now." Alex said, barely raising his voice. The other two recruits who were ahead of him acknowledged the idea, and took off straight for the trench.

Alex pursed his lips in frustration. "Those two must have been friends or something." he thought to himself. They had shown a degree of disregard for Alex, who was basically watching their selfish asses. Wasting no time in trying to support who he could, he made an advance towards the hill. He bobbed and weaved among the obstacles, taking special care not to fall or lose his balance. The rifle's stock was poised under his shoulder, ready to be raised and fired should the need arise.

During the last few minutes, or hours, or however long it had been, Alex had worked up a sweat. The only real physical strain was all the running, but the environment around him was choked with smoke, displaced dust, and a mixed stench of hot metal, blood, and fire, which seemed to make it ten times worse. His jumpsuit had become a darker shade of green, and the beret served little purpose other than to stave off sweat from reaching his eyes. As he reached the threshold of the trenches, he took cover on the near side wall. Troops were already making their next moves up the hill; it seemed that Alex had missed out on the likely melee that had occurred as the UP forces overwhelmed the trench. As he leaned on the wall, he rolled up the sleeves of his jumpsuit and removed his beret, allowing himself to cool off for a moment. His arms were still freshly shaven, a common practice in engineer school. The sweat showed brightly on the bare arms, and was quickly wiped away. The last thing the recruit needed was to have his rifle slip from his grasp because his hands were sweaty.

Alex kept his sleeves rolled up as he fitted the green beret to his head again. As he made his way over the wall, a small group of black-clad soldiers conversed, likely about their next move. Alex decided now was a good a time as ever to fit his bayonet onto the rifle. The enemy was close at hand, and it would be embarrassing, and equally fatal, to not have a proper close range weapon should the need arise. As he fiddled with the half broken bayonet-lug on the rifle, he overheard another recruit who had approached the Legion group. He glanced as she was seemingly reprimanded by a Sergeant, who forced her into a more defensible stance. A moment later, the recruit was addressed by a burly Lieutenant who probably ate people about her size for breakfast every morning. Pretending not to listen, Alex checked his magazines and weapon again, and took the time to reload. He had only fired a handful of shots since landing, but a full mag was better in the event of a pitched fight.

After the group of Legionaries left, one gave the girl a reassuring pat on the arm as he advanced with his group. Alex brushed past the girl without saying a word, and decided to follow the Legionary group further up the hill. He wasn't nearly as bold, or perhaps naive as the recruit he had just seen talking to them, and decided to keep his distance while still being able to cover them. Everything seemed still for a moment, and something was definitely wrong. Alex lowered himself into a prone firing position, and hugged his cover as close as he could. There was no sense in moving forward alone.

Just as the thought left his mind, a line of TL troops simultaneously posted into firing position and began a barrage of suppressive fire. Rounds kicked dirt and dust into the air as the recruit fired his own weapon back at them. He hadn't taken time to see if he was hitting anything, but he knew that he had to fire back. He had wished that he could make himself less of a target, to somehow sink himself into the ground. His forehead grew light with adrenaline as the exchange of fire escalated, and was suddenly interrupted by a deafening series of blasts from above.

An artillery barrage shook the hill, drowning out everything else. Alex's ears rang as the blasts became silent. He wasn't sure if the barrage was over or if his own sense of hearing had been damaged by the explosions. He reflexively stood up and moved forward, seeing the opportunity the barrage had opened up. As he did, a single TL soldier peeked over the trench wall and drew his weapon at Alex. Still advancing on the hill, Alex let off two shots, knocking the soldier back down. When he stopped his own advance, Alex had moved to a position parallel to the Legionaries who had moved up first. He glanced at them as they made ready for their next move. Silence still enveloped the field as smoke and dust stirred in the fighting position further up the hill.

Alex leaned from his cover and tried to place another volley of fire, but his weapon jammed. He immediately cursed the piece of shit weapon as he put his back against the burm. Another rifle lay only a few meters from him, but it was in a no-mans land, completely exposed to fire. Instead of risking it, the recruit quickly began to remedy the weapon himself. The weapon's receiver came apart easily, as it was designed to. After a quick spot check, Alex noticed a guide pin that was bent, causing the magazine to not feed properly. He worked furiously, now faced with being unarmed against a nearby enemy. His deft hands extracted the jammed bullet, then used it to bend the damaged pin back into place. He then dropped the useless bullet into his cargo pocket and reassembled the rifle, taking care to brush out dust and dirt to keep matters from getting worse. After a quick pull of the charging handle, the gun was primed and ready to kill again. Alex steeled himself for the inevitable assault.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Blackrock on Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:30 am

“Move! Move! Move!” Radisson urged the men that passed him by, pushing each of the Legionaries in his reach, propelling them onward.

Standing upright and defiant, he looked like some hero from the war posters, unwavering and unbending. Marek considered that from his, less glorious but much safer, position from behind the remnants of a fallen tree. As strange as it seemed now, this hill and the other ones around it were once lush and green; he remembered that from his early days as a soldier, during the first Alexandrian War. The countless artillery barrages, supply trains, tanks and millions of iron-shod soldiers’ boots had taken its toll though – war seemed to leave nothing green and pretty behind. Everything was reduced to the all too familiar brown – bleak, bland and hopeless; the colour the men saw every day, from the protective trenches all the way to the ground which seemed to spring up and embrace them in the final moments of their short, pointless lives.

“Come on sergeant! We’re with the reserves, with their squad leader down they’ll need someone to guide them!”

Marek sprang to his feet and followed the lieutenant, as he made his way into the damaged trench. The TL had been pushed back by the initial wave of Legionaries and were now retreating towards their inner defenses. The sergeant looked around when they found themselves in the trench proper. Radisson had taken to one knee and was explaining something to two other sergeants, both of them squad leaders; he was anxiously pointing at something scribbled on a piece of paper in his hand. Around them were three other squads – fourth and fifth, as well as the reserves which were formerly under Johnson’s command.

The men were busy tending to their weapons and using the few minutes of calm to gather their strength before the final push. The long sprint up the hill had left many of them winded, Marek as well; another reminder that he was getting too damned old for this shit. He reloaded his own rifle, noting to himself that he had to watch his bullets; this had taken longer than anticipated. The sergeant adjusted his mask slightly, allowing his sweaty face to feel the cool, afternoon air. He didn’t like the damned thing, but it protected from elements well enough, it was just another annoyance he had stopped paying attention to over the years.

After finishing with the two squad leaders, Radisson beckoned for Marek to come. Coming closer, the sergeant saw that the “piece of paper” was actually a fairly large scale map of the surrounding trenches. A couple of red dots littered the map; a few of them were hastily crossed.

“Listen here, Zogin.”, the other man began, “This is our part of the trenches, as you’ve probably guessed. According to recon teams, the red dots are where the enemy artillery is. The positions are rough and we can’t be certain, but we have to make do. The map itself is from the last war, when this position was still in our hands. The TL may have changed the layout, but I doubt it; still, we have to be careful.”

“First, second and third squads have got their objectives. They will be acting on our left, so watch your fire. Fourth and fifth were supposed to attack here and here”, Radisson pointed at a few spots on the map, “but they’ve already lost enough men; I’ve sent them together, that way they’ll complete their tasks quickly and, hopefully, with less casualties.”

Marek opened his mouth, but Radisson cut him short.

“What all that means is that we’ll have to deal with the two guns which fourth squad was supposed to take out.”

The lieutenant pointed at two of the red dots on the map. Judging from the piss-poor map, they weren’t that far away and were more or less straight ahead. But something in his gut told him not to rejoice in such a hurry. These maps were made more than a decade ago; who knows how much had changed in that time? Well, if his lot in life was any indication – not much…but still…The UP weren’t dumb, the bastards were actually quite ingenious and would surely have messed with the layout of the base. In fact, knowing how devious their tactics and officers were, the sergeant was surprised that this battle was going, more or less, straightforward.

He didn’t know what to make of it, but then again – that wasn’t required of him. Smarter men were most likely already pondering on the subject, trying to figure out what the League was up to next. Their passiveness here probably had to do with the attack on the army’s far right flank…maybe it was a diversion – but which one? The hill and its defenders or the unexpected attack? It could either mean that things could go very badly or somewhat acceptably. The latter was always a bonus in this line of work.

Zogin sighed, all this brainstorming was going hard on his already weary mind. And he had more immediate concerns to deal with. He pocketed the empty magazine which he had just changed and gave his superior a nod. They were ready.

“Sergeant, take point; the rest of you follow him, be careful and check your corners. You two”, the lieutenant pointed at two Legionaries, “bring up the rear. Let’s move out!”

Hugging the right trench wall, the sergeant began advancing. He hadn’t worked with these men before, apart from Radisson, but he was certain that they had his back. After all, why would the captain keep them as reserves if they weren’t competent enough? The sounds of fighting raged all around them – explosions, shots, shouts and screams. Most of it came from their left, where the main strike force had probably broken through, but there was plenty of noise coming from the right. Fourth and fifth squad were giving them hell...he hoped; the alternative would be unpleasant.

After what seemed like centuries, which was less than a minute in “real time”, Marek found himself at a junction. The thoroughly trampled path through the trenches forked to the left and right. Still close to the wall, he halted, signalling for the others to stop, and turned back to the lieutenant. Radisson was looking at his map, with a displeased look on his dirty face.

“The left bend wasn’t supposed to be here”, he hissed.

Well, it was here and there was nothing they could do about it. Marek remembered that someone had once told him: “War is 99% improvisation after the plans have fucked up”. Adapt, persevere and overcome. That’s how it was supposed to be.

Radisson took half the squad with him and moved over to the other wall, on the left. As he did that, a loud noise drowned out all other sound. Artillery, Marek guessed at once. Judging by the proximity of the blast, it was probably on the right, just behind his corner. Meanwhile, the lieutenant had taken the left and, leaning slightly to his right, peered from behind his cover. He then turned his head and nodded to the sergeant – clear. Now it was Marek’s turn. He did the same, but what he saw was different. Just as he suspected, the artillery and its crew were right there, readying their next shot. There was also a force of about six or seven other men, guarding the position. A head-on assault would be suicide.

The lieutenant had a plan however; he gave the sergeant the order to fire at will. Once more Marek peered from behind the wall and, looking down his sights lined his weapon for the kill. His target was one of the artillery crew; the man’s broad back was slightly bent as he was imputing new parameters into the targeting computer. The enemy were either too focused on what they were doing or distracted by the fighting around them to notice Marek and his men – he had the element surprise.

Not wasting any more time, the sergeant pulled the trigger. Bang.

What happened next was always hard to describe, as events happened simultaneously. The man he had just killed, with a shot between the shoulder-blades, slouched forward; his head hitting the metal table and his blood spilling on the computer he was working with. In the mean time, the defenders each moved for cover – some crouching where they stood, others using the trench walls. Those who had a clear shot at Marek opened fire, forcing him to hide behind the wall. If the sergeant was looking on, he’d also see the officer in command of the position bringing the butt of his rifle down on the computer’s case, smashing it to bits and forever denying access to any information the device might have held.

Knowing that time was of the essence, the sergeant continued shooting while behind cover – he was providing covering fire for the lieutenant and his part of the squad. Radisson was quick to capitalise on that and lead his men to the left. If he was correct in his assumption, then it would lead him to the flank or rear of the enemy group, catching them completely off-guard. He’d better bloody be right, the sergeant thought, as there was no way he could force the enemy away from here.

For a minute or so they continued trading fire, neither group managing to gain the upper hand. Suddenly he heard someone shout out something, but the din of fighting prevented him from hearing what. A second or so later though, he heard the all too familiar and unpleasant (in this case) sound of a PF generator overloading. Too close for comfort.

Grenade.

“GET DOWN!”, he yelled, pushing away the man behind him.

As he hit the ground, the deafening sound of the explosion reached his ears. Even though he had done the best to cover his head, the sound waves passed through flesh, bone and helmet alike. He knew that he couldn’t stay down for long and staggered to his feet, his head still ringing like hell. With a blurry vision he turned around only to notice two TL soldiers approaching; they were coming to finish the job. Whether due to hesitation or something else, they were late with a second or so, anymore than that and they would have found Zogin and his men still strewn on the ground. Luck, as always, played its part.

The sergeant didn’t think, he didn’t have the time for that. He merely pulled the trigger and felt as the bullets left the weapon. From this range, the enemy had no chance – both men fell to the ground, killed where they stood. Not wasting any time, he looked at the enemy position and noticed the chaos there; the lieutenant had hit them from the other side. There was still a loud din in his head and he couldn’t hear properly, so Marek simply turned back to the other soldiers and cried as loud as he could.

“GO!!!”

Like a well-oiled spring, he leaped from his crouched position and sprinted down the trench. The enemy officer had turned over the table where the ill-fated computer had been and was now using it as cover. The moment he peeked out to aim, Marek fired on him but didn’t succeed in delivering a kill. The bastard was too damn fast. So instead, the sergeant opened fire on the table itself, adding a few holes to its already dinted exterior. It seemed to be made of a more resistant metal, because it managed to deflect the first few shots; but the stream of bullets did its job.

The two Legionaries moving up behind him shot at two soldiers on the left, quickly bringing them down. The next men they saw were Radisson and the other half of the squad. The position seemed to be clear; the enemy were dead or dying. Marek quickly made his way towards the officer and just as he expected, the bugger was alive. One of the bullets had pierced his armour; around the kidney (it was easy to see the blood on the white uniform), but he was still alive. Upon a closer look, his insignias revealed his was a senior lieutenant. Radisson seems to have noticed him as well; he made his way there quickly.

As they got near, with one last defiant effort the enemy officer brought his rifle to his cheek and blew his brains out. At that close a range, the shot took away half his face. Blood, bones and whatever else he had inside his skull splattered on the table his was leaning on. It was a gruesome sight and Marek didn’t wish it on anyone. One of the Legionaries, a younger man, made some sort of gurgling sound and then vomited all over the place. It was the first time he really saw what war was like.

“Damn it.”, Radisson muttered.

The other lieutenant had made sure that no vital information would fall into their hands. The computer was fucked, as was the lieutenant himself. They would have to be content with the fact that they took out the artillery crew.

“All clear?” he asked

“Clear!’

“Clear!”

“Clear, sir!”

The statement was echoed from all around the trench.

Marek was about to say something, but Radisson cut in again.

“Wait for it, sergeant. There was a dugout back the way we came from, we didn’t have time to examine it. Let’s go back and see if we’ll find anything.”

They made their way back to the dugout; the lieutenant posted two men to guard the entrance and headed in with Marek and the rest of the squad. The lighting was still working, but that was about the only thing which signified that this place was of any military importance. It was a small, empty spacee. The targeting computers governing the artillery placement were probably here, as well as any ammunition and the like. They had all been cleaned out, however. Hell, even the officer’s bed (which was bound to be here) had been taken. This wasn’t a rushed job.

“I don’t like this, sergeant”, Radisson began “all of it is too organised. They were expecting to lose this position, a withdrawal this thorough would have taken at least a day if not more.”

“The men we just killed had no intention of leaving – the officer wasn’t fighting with the mindset that he’d survive. He trashed the computer before he was even aware of our forces.”

“Panic, sergeant, panic. We can’t always think straight when bullets are flying over our head.”

“Panic and then patiently blasting a hole in his face? With all due respect sir, that doesn’t sound like a man who might panic.”

“True, Zogin.”, Radisson sighed, “You’re probably right. This was a force of volunteers probably, their only purpose – to slow us down.”

“Then we’d better not waste anymore time. Sir!”

“That’s what I like to hear”, he patted the sergeant on the shoulder with his heavy hand, “You heard the sarge, men. MOVE OUT!”
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Crimson Saint on Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:31 pm

Kristoffer managed to get to the TL trenches before the enemy had fully retreated. Kristoffer jumped into the trench and grappled with the first TL he could find. The enemy soldier had seen him coming and was ready for him, catching Kris' arm just before the blade of his knife pierced the man's temple. The soldier through a punch at Kris' jaw, but Kris blocked the punch, simultaneously throwing his knee into the enemy's gut. The man lost his grip on Kris's knife hand and doubled over. Reacting near-instantly, Kris rolled across the man's back, grabbing hold of the man's head. Standing up strait behind his opponent, Kris pulled the man up by his jaw, exposing the soft flesh of his throat. Without hesitation, Kris ran the blade of his knife across the enemy's jugular. The knife had been sharpened just the day before the battle, and it sliced through flesh like butter - even with almost no pressure applied. Blood sprayed out from the fresh wound. Kristoffer was satisfied. For now.

It was fortunate that this encounter had been satisfying, because before Kristoffer knew it, the trench had been taken, and the Legion was preparing to continue the push. As much as he hated the wait, Kris understood the need to move carefully. Perhaps in time, he could even come to appreciate the finer points of tactics, but for now he had one objective. Survive. And Kris would survive, in the best way he knew - by being the fiercest predator on the field. Once he'd survived this battle, he would be given a place in the madness. Then the tactics of it all would become relevant. Kris glanced over to one of the Legion regulars. The black uniform was much better than the green jumpsuit Kris now wore. It was infinitely more intimidating as well. Intimidation was an important factor in battle. The more an enemy feared you, the less likely they were to be able to think straight - to counter your attacks.

Kristoffer once again pulled himself from his thoughts. As a child, he had a habit of drifting off in thought. He'd always hated it about himself, and he'd managed to control it to some extent, but he'd never totally conquered it. And here he was, doing it again. Kristoffer glanced around, looking for something to occupy his mind while he waited for something to happen. He noticed a few Legionaries - a few of them officers - discussing plans and such over a map. Kris watched them talk. One was obviously the superior, shown simply by the way he conducted himself as he spoke to the others, as well as how intently they seemed to listen. For a while, Kris simply watched, waiting to see what would happen.

Finally, a few of the men split off to join their own units, or so Kristoffer reasoned, and the other men, one being the apparent leader, seemed to be preparing to move. Kris knew he wasn't a part of their unit, at least, not for all he knew, so he kept his distance, but decided to follow them into the nearby passage. He realized that, by keeping his distance, he wouldn't be directly in the fight, but he was now curious as to what they had been planning. Besides, he was a little winded after climbing the hill, and a short respite would be welcome - even the greatest hunters know when it is time to rest.

Kris followed a fair distance behind the squad as they progressed through the trenches. He was close enough to see what was going on, but far enough away to not be noticed. He watched as they came to a split in the path. He began to regret his decision to stay out of the action as he heard gunfire on either side, but it was too late to join the fray now. He would continue to watch this squad. Their leaders seemed confused for a brief moment by the left passage, but they continued moving regardless. He watched as the Legionaries opened fire on an enemy position. Again, Kris longed to be in the fight, but he watched patiently. The enemy threw a grenade, and Kris took cover. He got back up just in time to see two TL soldiers approaching the ally soldiers. Immediately, Kris pulled his rifle to his shoulder, and was about to fire on the soldiers when they dropped dead. One of the Legion had fired first. Kris was disappointed he hadn't had a chance to take the shot, but he soon got over it. This was war, and he couldn't expect to get every kill he set his eyes on.

In a few seconds, the firefight was over. Now the Legionaries seemed to be checking the area. Shouts of "Clear" sounded off from all areas of the trench. Kris could see the look on the other soldier's faces. Something was off. Still, they all performed their duty without question, so Kristoffer continued to watch from a comfortable distance - far enough to be out of the way, but close enough to jump in if things got interesting. The two in charge seemed to be checking out the dugout in the trench, and from what little Kris could hear, they sounded displeased. Soon enough Kris heard what he'd been waiting for.

"MOVE OUT!"

Now, perhaps, things would get interesting.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:18 am

Benjamin O'Connel charged ahead recklessly for the third time today. Other than the fact that this kind of action was going to kill him, it was somewhat exhilarating. Actually, that's a total lie. It just the adrenaline rush kicking in. His armor was somewhat heavier and more unwieldy as dents and stress warped the crap he was wearing. Unlike the Asian typhoon in front of him, he was getting hit, a lot. Good thing they are just glancing shots though. Benjamin rolled his ankle, the left unhurt as he stumbled over a rock. Even through the adrenaline, it hurt, just like his ribs, right shoulder, right ankle, and various bruises beginning to accumulate over his body. He had been in fights like this, not even paying attention through the middle of the fight. If it hurt through his haze now, it would ache like the ninth circle of hell after.

Ben darted after Sai, who slid into the other trenches. It was a good trick, laying down with the feet pointed at the enemy while firing. It riddled the entire right side full of red, leaking holes. Men and women coughed blood and died. He made it look so easy, slaughtering them like that. It chilled Ben's blood watching Sai, as the men did a backword roll into a crouch blood. Ice ran up his spine as he heard the metallic rasping as the sword was unsheathed. Sai was fast, too fast. His sudden acceleration simply slid him past the first man to react to his presence. These TL soldiers were weak, too weak for this machine of death. Ben could hear the poor bastard's spine grate alongside metal as he slid in and fired over Sai's soldier.

Everything moved in slow motion, except for Sai. The small man didn't seem human. The man's whose throat he opened like a fish was twisted by his momentum, spraying blood into the eyes of his next victim. Sai surprised as Ben knelt down into a proper firing stance. The man ran up the side of the trench, leaving the one on the right stagger in a perfect line of fire for the rookie. Ben cracked out three shots, each on opening a hole in the poor bastard's chest. Blood spurted out, and Ben crouch ran three steps to turn into the strange fork that wasn't on any maps. Sai was running like some hero out of a bad kung-fu movie hero on the sides of the trench; another corpse dropped clutching a missing arm, and blood fountaining from the hip seam. He was going to take the rest of the trench himself, all four lambs waiting for the sacrificial pyre. Ben blind fired as the rest of the men slid around behind him. The private didn't slow and just ran down the trench. After a sharp turn he disappeared, and the men heard a scream. The private returned a moment later, clenching his nose.

“Ugh, they should have dug a real fucking latrine.” The rest of the greenies laughed nervously with Ben, what else could they do? It stopped abruptly as Sai sheathed his sword with an audible click. The man was frowning in disappointment. Whether it was pity for the lives he extinguished, or their inability to give him a challenge was up in the air. He leaned against a wall, and cocked his ear.

“Private, go find the Lt. and find our new orders.”
“Sir.”

He slid over the ditch like monkey, and started jogging. Ben winced in anticipation of gunshots, and realized there weren't any. Sai simply frowned, and motioned for his culled ranks of greenies to search the bodies. Ben started walking and stumbled. The adrenaline receded like the tide and the pain began.

“Fuck.” It hurt. He limped over to the last man he killed and looked into a face younger than his. What the hell? He collapsed heavily into a sitting position at the new surprise. The poor bastard looked like he was only seventeen, at best. Ben looked at his hands next, and saw no calluses. The boots came of next, and something clattered out. He picked it up and looked at it. A common memory stick, probably letters and pictures from his family. Maybe it would have something interesting, and it went in a pocket. The feet were raw, no evidence of the calluses from marching too much. Pogue?

“Corporal Sai!”
“What?” The man walked over his frown deepening.
“Don't they usually go through boot camp like us? He has no calluses, no scars, the kid's definitely kid. Can't be old enough to enlist for them, right?”
“Hmm.”
“Corporal Sai.” The private whispered in his ear.
“Men,” The stentorian bellow echoed softly. Heads turned at the increasingly gravelly voice. “Form up, and take a drink.” It was a command. Sai conversed softly for a moment, while the men moved into formation.
“Time to move out.”
Ben couldn't repress a groan.

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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Gabe on Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:37 pm

Alex steeled himself for the next move. Just as he had turned the safety off on his weapon, the order to advance was belted out by the burly lieutenant to his right.

“Move! Move! Move!” he shouted, poised over his cover. He was imposing, fearlessly standing upright among the others. His unwavering authority brought a sense of security to the young recruit, who raised his rifle to a ready position as he advanced into the next row of trenches. The weapon was front heavy, reminding Alex that it wasn't the same as the Sentinel Carbine he'd used in engineer school.

A mix of recruits and armor clad Legionaries vaulted over the wall into the next trench line. Alex found himself in the front of a line of troops leading deeper into the network. One of the Legionaries behind him ushered him forward, pushing him by the shoulder.

"Keep moving recruit, we gotta keep the pressure on them!" he barked. Alex thought about the seemingly invincible lieutenant on the hill below. He'd charge ahead without a second thought. Alex gritted his teeth as he rounded the corner. The group was surely just on the heels of the previous TL occupants. Bearing that in mind, the recruit loosed several shots down the next line of sight, unsure if there were in fact hostiles in that direction. A pair of TL soldiers fired back as they backpedaled deeper into the trench network. The shots struck the ground just in front of the recruit, splashing more mud onto his clothes and rattling his nerves. The Legionary behind him continued to push him forward, firing his own weapon at the retreating enemy. As he did, Alex slipped and fell, only to be stepped on, and stepped over by the other recruits who had followed them in.

Alex had only just picked himself back up when an explosion shook the adjacent trench. Gunfire had been going on all around him, but the explosion was felt more than it was heard. His head was still ringing from the artillery barrage from before, but he sensed that something big was going on just over the next trench wall. The group ahead was now out of sight, so Alex retraced his steps from where he had initially gone into the trench line. This time, he went straight in behind another group of Legionaries and recruits who were already trading fire with the enemy. He drew his weapon up, hoping to provide whatever cover he could, although he was again unsure of what was waiting ahead of the group. Just next to him, a large framed giant of a man with numerous scars grunted with disapproval. Alex said nothing, only wondering what had just happened. He looked like the type who may have joined the Legion to escape the law, or perhaps get a new start on life. Either way, he was gruff and intimidating, and almost certainly had seen his share of violence before.

Alex sidled his way down the trench into the newly captured position. A large field artillery piece and its crew had been taken out. The same lieutenant from before was consulting his NCO about their next move. As they spoke, the other Legionaries checked their weapons and ammo. A smashed computer terminal was the only other feature in the dugout; everything else besides the artillery had been cleared out. Nobody seemed to either care or notice when the would-be engineer examined the remnants of the destroyed computer. Alex flipped the safety switch on his weapon and laid against the flipped table where the computer had rested.

TL technology was smaller and more sophisticated than UP computer systems, but this was just amazing. The entire housing was only about ten inches across, with a small projector, although smashed, likely providing the targeting data. After prying off the outer casing, Alex noted the inner workings of the device. It had no storage unit, and only a small amount of actual usable components inside.

"Clever" Alex thought "Purposely over-simplified to prevent us from stealing their targeting algorithms, likely relayed from some central source. I bet this was serialized to only work with this particular artillery piece too, in case they weren't able to destroy it before we showed up. Very clever indeed."

A slap to the back of the head brought the recruit back to reality.

"Hey! We're moving out, leave that shit for the final sweep. We've still got work to do." The Legionary didn't necessarily have authority over the recruit, but Alex respectfully conceded. It was then that he realized the man with half a head lying dead and broken beside the table. Alex had been so transfixed on the amazing little machine that this small slice of hell sitting literally right next to him seemed unimportant. Alex had seen plenty of violence today, and had possibly even killed someone himself, but the numb feeling of trading fire with the enemy at a distance was nothing compared to seeing it's effects up close.

"Sir" was all he replied, with a slight nod to the Legionary beside him. The order to move out was given. Alex prepared himself for another round of fighting. The brutal image of the dead enemy soldier...so close...so personal looking, loomed in his head. Alex had not fully appreciated the gravity of his situation until now. His boring life on Solcrun was over. If he didn't want to end up like the dead man next to him, he would have to sharpen up.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dio the Awesome on Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:30 am

In the commotion Angelica felt a strong hand push her into the next line of trenches. She was no longer alone in fray. Several other recruits were milling around her, giving chase to the fleeing enemy. Where the charge was headed exactly she was unsure, Angelica just aimlessly pushed forward. The enemy forces she encountered were already dead or dying. Where ever she was, the fighting seemed to be going in their favour. As she passed by a corridor, motion caught the corner of her eye. She turned and looked to her left. As she looked down the trench she saw two TL soldiers crouched at the end of it. They opened fire. Angelica wheeled away from the corridor, raising her prosthetic arm reflexively. The action probably saved her life as she felt a hard impact vibrate up her the flesh part of her arm. The rest of the bullets hit the rock and dirt wall, spraying debris into Angelica's face. She felt something hard strike her forehead.

She spun in the air, and hit the ground hard. The dirt mixed with sweat and blood covered her face and eyes, blinding her. She desperately clawed at her face with her right hand trying to regain her vision. There were footsteps all around her, then gun fire. Angelica pushed her back against the trench wall, still blinded, still bleeding from numerous cuts on her face. She sat there frozen, unable to move, unable to think. Then there was silence.

---

"Angelica Raye Brooks! My God what have you done!" A shrill voice rang out in the backyard. Angelica looked up surprised, her tiny hands covered in blood. Her left hand clutched a small scalpel, dripping with gore. In front of Angelica lay the family cat, it's stomach was ripped open. Off to one side the organs were neatly removed and organized.

Angelica's mother grabbed her wrist roughly and pulled her to her feet. "Angelica did you do this?"

"Bella didn't suffer. I wanted to learn." Angelica replied innocently.

She felt a sharp sting on her face, then again as her mother slapped her twice. Angelica jumped back, not hurt, or upset, just confused. What had I done wrong? TL soldiers stormed the backyard. One of them put a bullet round through her mothers skull. Blood was everywhere. Angelica collapsed with tears in her eyes. One of the Tl soldiers approached her and began shaking her shoulder.

---

She heard sound once more. "Recruit." It was distant, as if coming from another world. Suddenly there was a cold liquid on her face. "Recruit!" The call was heard this time.

Angelica tentatively opened her eyes, and got splashed with more water. She blinked rapidly as the droplets ran down her face washing out the grit. The person shouting became clearer. It was a Legionary dressed in black. "Alright recruit on your feet." He said as he drug Angelica up. Once she was on her feet, he leaned her against the wall. She felt a thick substance get smeared on her torn up cheek, it stung. He applied the same mixture to her forehead to stop a bleeding gash. It smelled like a hospital. The gooey paste did its job killing germs and speeding up the healing. But most importantly, kept the blood in her body.

"You're okay kid. Now you'll get back in the fray if you're worth a damn. Only real fighters make it off the killing fields." And with that the medic was gone, off to treat the next casualty.

Angelica stood there for several minutes, still shook up from the near death experience. It was the second time today that luck and her prosthetic probably saved her life. She looked at her arm, and sure as shit there was a large chunk out of the metal frame missing where a bullet glanced off. Her tongue involuntarily went to the wounds on her cheek, causing fresh pain. The flesh was torn in three places. I'm not going to win any beauty pageants now... She idly thought. She spat out a mixture of blood and dirt and saliva. He mouth still tasted of blood, but the FAP seemed to have stemmed most of the bleeding.

She regained her composure and moved towards the corridor once more. Cautiously she poked her head around the corner ready to pull her head back at a moments notice. The two bodies of the TL soldiers lay in a heap riddled with holes. Angelica sighed in relief and jogged steadily onward headed in roughly the same direction as the Legionary medic. By the time Angelica reached the third trench line, the artillery battery was already being stormed. The sound of a grenade reached Angelica's ears.

She wandered through the trenches without opposition. The position was won, the white armoured soldiers now covered in red blood. She saw the sergeant from before talking strategy with the lieutenant. She kept her distance this time, and checked her ammo. She felt embarrassed. She hadn't fired a single round in the last charge. Stupid fucking mistake. She felt the side of her cheek with her tongue again. God it stung like a bitch. The red hair woman must have been a sight to see, covered in dirt and blood, with a permanent grimace etched on her face.

Another recruit entered the dugout. He walked over to the destroyed computer console like it's gravity sucked him in. Angelica watched him step over a corpse like it wasn't even there. Either he had the biggest stones, or he just didn't notice the bloody mess. After a few moments, a Legionary approached the man and slapped him in the back of the head. She didn't hear what transpired, but she assumed it was an order, well, as much of an order as they could give recruits. The man moved away from the console, and began preparing himself. Angelica decided it would be handy to have someone to watch her back from now on.

After sizing him up she realized it may have been a mistake to choose him. He was not impressively built as some of the other recruits. He was cute, but maybe too cute, like a boy who tried on his father's suit. But the rest of the recruits were already in small clusters of survivors. They had all probably fought together from the base of the hill to this point. The man child in front of her was the only other recruit by themselves.

She walked up to him, "The Legionaries really grind your ass don't they?" She smiled at him, her face must look like a fucking mess, "Name's Angelica, you flying solo?"
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Blackrock on Fri May 27, 2011 3:14 pm

Marek and the lieutenant were making their way outside, when a young corporal – from the squad of reserves – almost bumped into them. It took the still-green man some seconds to get his bearings, but he spoke soon enough, hiding his momentary confusion deftly enough.

“Sir!” he began, “The rear guard have noticed a few recruits tailing behind us…”

“So?” Radisson seemed unimpressed “Let them follow, God knows they shouldn’t be walking around the trenches blindly”

“Yes Sir!” the corporal saluted and began to turn away

“Corporal” the lieutenant added “one more thing – just because they stay behind doesn’t mean they have to be useless. Keep an eye on them and if you see any slacking off, give them a good kick. I don’t want any idle hands. Am I clear?’

“Yes, lieutenant!”

“Then go! You have your orders!”

After that he made his way out of the dugout, with the sergeant following close behind. The rest of the squad - wearing the same black uniforms, with their faceless masks and goggles reflecting the last rays of the sun, were gathered around. They had checked and reloaded their weapons; they had steeled themselves for another wave of blood and death. Victory was close at hand, the thundering sounds of artillery were fading one by one, as more and more batteries were silenced. They could feel it, but they also knew that the chances of them dying on the final stretch were great. What thoughts, what troubled expressions lurked behind those masks? – Marek wondered as the squad began moving out again.

Radisson led them onwards, having them move in a column of twos as they traversed a relatively long, straight stretch of the trench. By this point, the map was of no use, as the trench was supposed to lead to the next placement after a series of turns. Instead they got this long, long exposed corridor (Marek termed is thus, although he knew it was wrong) of doom, where they could easily be boxed in from the back and from the front, with no cover whatsoever. With such uncertainty constantly gnawing at his mind, he continued moving with the rest of the men until they reached another fork.

This time, in addition to a left and a right bend in the trench, the narrow path also led onwards. The first two legionaries checked their sides and, as if letting out a sigh of relief, called out:

“Clear!”

“Clear-“

The sound of a bullet burying in his skull cut of the rest of his words. The man fell to the ground a second later; the shot had passed straight through his neck (an unprotected part of the body, which their older model of armour couldn’t protect) he was probably dead before his body even hit the dirt. The rest of the squad got down and hugged the walls almost immediately after that, looking around in a state of barely contained panic.

“Tin cans!” someone cried out

The sergeant cringed, biting on his lip until he felt the salty taste of blood on his tongue. “Tin can” meant that whoever was waiting on the other side of the right bend was encased in the new model of TL armour. They called it “Knight”, a reference to the steel-clad warriors that had been the terror of Earth’s ancient battlefields. The name meant little enough to Marek and others like him; they only knew that they had been well-trained, armoured warriors that slew each other in the name of some abstract ideal, if the writings were to be believed. To the sergeant though, they were something much more simple – cold-blooded killers, armed and armoured with the state of the art weapons of their day. In this, they hardly differed from the TL soldiers that had just killed one of his comrades.

The sound of another round of bullets snapped him from his thoughts and he looked around again. Radisson was next to the corner and was shooting, rather pointlessly, at the TL soldiers on the other side. Marek ran up to him and took to one knee, taking a peek of his own. There were only two soldiers, but even they could annihilate their squad if they didn’t act quickly. The bastards seemed much like any other regular TL soldier – with their white and grey armour, but if one were to look, they would notice a few differences. For one, the armour was a bit bulkier and it had a number of oddities which an expert could easily identify. The barrier of alloy wasn’t enough to make it dangerous though, it was the invisible part which was deadly. A field, projected by a generator integrated into the armour, which could easily stop any bullet, surrounded the soldier. It was a so-called “kinetic barrier”, which absorbed kinetic energy and rendered PFR weapons useless.

To top it all off, they were armed with higher grade rifles as well; they had custom-made bullets assembled for them, much like a sniper’s weapon. The TL propaganda called them “the soldiers of the future”; well piss on that, Marek thought, the future could only be seen if you weren’t dead.

One of the men tried to take a few shots at the TL soldiers, but he took too long a time to aim and the expertly drilled killers on the other side were merciless. He fell dead as well, joining his fallen squadmate in death. The bastards were costing them dearly.

“We can’t afford any more casualties!” Radisson cried out

The lieutenant reached for his belt and pulled out, to Marek’s surprise, a grenade. A fucking, real grenade. He activated it and tossed it from behind his cover, a look of bitter triumph on his face. He nodded at Marek, who knew what they were supposed to do. The nearby explosion followed, overcoming their senses but they had no choice but to get up and open fire.

Naturally, a conventional grenade wasn’t enough to kill a man in “Knight”-grade armour. But the weakest link, in any weapon, vehicle or organisation, no matter how perfect it is, is one and the same – the human. The shock that would follow the explosion was enough to disorient the two men, long enough for Marek and Radisson to get a shot.

His heart pumping, the sergeant closed his left eye and aimed down his sights, aligning his rifle with the man’s mouth. It wasn’t exactly an easy shot, but experience and above-average (for UP standards at least) training allowed the two to make every tenth of a second count; they knew how much they would have to compensate for their quickened pulse and in what moment to pull the trigger. In this, they were damned lucky, for the only other alternative was engaging them in melee combat.

The projectile that flew a second later pierced the protective goggles of the TL trooper, followed by his skull. It was the only flaw in the new armour design and why it was still a prototype; a glorified one, but a prototype nonetheless. The protective field interfered with one’s vision at close range and that is why a soldier couldn’t be fully covered by it. The reason for this was unknown, but Marek was hoping their damned scientists wouldn’t find it out soon.

The lieutenant was a good shot as well, his target was likewise dead. Taking a quick look around he signalled for the rest of the men to form up on him. The squad was bruised – two dead, and three men were injured during the fire-fight, one of them to such a degree that he couldn’t move. Radisson left the three of them behind, along with one more so they could defend themselves if need be. (as highly unlikely as that was, the lieutenant wasn’t prepared to gamble) They would also make sure none of the recruits “got lost”.

“Where to, sir?” Marek asked after sensing the other man’s hesitation

“Forget about going left, our other squads are taking care of that.” he said.

A pause followed, during which the lieutenant considered his options. After a few moments he looked up again and told the sergeant.

“Listen here, Zogin. You take half the men and take this passage” he pointed at the one going straight, “the rest of us will go right.”

“Yes...sir” he hesitated slightly “With your permission, sir...”

“Go on.”

“Well...if they came from there” he nodded at the two TL soldiers lying a few feet in front of them “there could be more. I think it is best if I came al-“

“You think?” an unpleasant intonation entered the lieutenant’s voice “I think you have it wrong, sergeant, I do the thinking. You obey.”

“Y-yes sir.”

“Move.”

Radisson split the squad into two smaller groups again and led his men off to the right. Marek wasn’t pleased with that, but there was nothing he could do. He had risked much by questioning his superior’s order. He knew better than that, it was a sound tactical decision...but he couldn’t help the fatherly feeling inside him. Radisson was younger, almost by ten years, and he had grown as a man and a commander under Marek’s gaze. Granted, he was now much more than him, in both regards, but when did one’s heart see reason?

When the instructor’s training kicks in, Marek sarcastically thought. Now was not the time for stupid feelings, the only thing they did in situations like this was getting someone killed. And it would be a damned shame...no, it would be fucking unlucky to get killed when victory was so close. He couldn’t help but look at the two casualties they had given. They didn’t have time to take care of them for the time being, so the two men lay where they had died, separated by a short distance but bound together in eternity.

Shaking his head slightly, the sergeant looked at his men and ordered them to move out. He took point.

The trench continued going straight for a while, before opening up into a square-like position. All of them were weary and nervous, so when they came upon it they immediately stopped. They all pressed their backs against the wall, or assumed a crouched position. One of the younger, less experienced, troops fired a short burst. This snapped Marek from his momentary, unexplainable frightened state. He looked around immediately, eyes wide.

Needless to say, he felt ashamed at once. For both his passiveness and jumpiness. Here he was, entrusted with the lives of more than half a dozen men and what did he do? Cower like a bloody greenhorn! Hopefully, none of the others saw what a sorry state he was in. Calling on his training and experience once again, he focused himself to see this through.

“What the fuck was that? WHO SHOT?” he growled

It was a defensive, selfish reaction. He turned his fear into outright anger at the newly “graduated” Legionary (this was probably his second or third battle).

“I-I did, sir” a young, sill unformed, voice said

Marek turned around and saw a mirror image of himself in the masked soldier standing two men away from him, although he wagered that under the goggles and cloth there was youthful face to be seen.

“Next time you shoot without an order or a cause, I’ll make sure you never shoot again! AM I CLEAR?”

“Y-yes, sir!”

“Good” he turned around and spoke, this time at all of them.

“Stay here, I’ll take a look.”

He did that both to reassure his frightened troops and himself; as way to prove to his own conscience that he was not afraid. He expected to see some sort of resistance, hear a bullet wheezing over his head, or feel the unpleasant, but familiar, sensation of a shot hitting him. But there was nothing of the sort.

It was empty.

This was the artillery placement, true enough. But there was nobody here, no troops, no officers – nothing. They had already pulled back, taking everything but the cannon, tables and few scattered chairs lying about. The sergeant motioned for his troops to come.
“Secure the perimeter” he ordered them when they approached.

While they did that, he looked around to find any clues of their whereabouts, but there was literally no trace. After seeing that he would get nothing here, the sergeant took one man with him and entered the nearby dugout, from where the artillery piece was commanded. It came as no surprise, where they found it empty as well. Just like the other one had been, just like this whole damned position had been. What where they even doing here? What was the cause for all these unnecessary deaths, when the TL had pulled back anyhow?

With a sigh, he left the fucking thing behind and went outside, looking around. All his men were reporting the same thing: “clear”, “clear”, “clear”...

What was Radisson doing? There was no sound of gunfire, in fact – now that he thought on it, there was no sound at all...it was quiet. Of course, it wasn’t a lack of all noise, just the important ones, which to a soldier where the sounds of artillery booming in the distance. It could only mean one thing: the TL defences were broken. The battle was won.

And then his hopes were dashed to pieces when, with the corner of his eyes, he saw movement. They were coming from the front, where the trench lead deeper still into the enemy’s defensive circle. A counter-attack...at this decisive moment. He gritted his teeth and was about to give the order to fire when...

One of the men, nearest to the enemy threw down his weapon and rushed to meet them...

Then shouts of joy where heard...

And then Marek Zogin, his mind numb from the death, carnage and responsibilities thrust upon him, realised what everyone had already done:

These were Legionaries.

Clad in their black armour, they were not much different, but he quickly distinguished their insignias – they were part of the same regiment, but of a different unit. Again a master of his own mind, the sergeant moved briskly to meet them. From the other group, another man stepped forward and made his way towards him. They met halfway, extending their arms to each other. All this was done as the other soldiers were busy cheering and hugging one another, the threat of death gone, if only for the remainder of the day.

“Sergeant Matuchek, third platoon, second battalion.”

“Sergeant Zogin, second platoon, first battalion.” he said as he shook the other man’s firm hand.

“Bloody great to see you here, sergeant.” Matuchek said “We were afraid that we might meet pockets of enemy resistance still here.”

“We feared the same; we had no way of knowing how the assault was progressing on our flank.”

“They were a tough nut to crack, we gave many casualties...” he sighed, Marek noticed his tired voice just now “couldn’t have done it without you boys though, you kept them off our backs.”

“I could say the same!” Marek forced a laugh, but neither of them was in the mood for that.

“Where’s your platoon leader? With the other squads?”

“No...he’s with the other part of this one, investigating the far side of the trench” he inclined his head to the right, where Radisson was supposed to be.

“Better go check on him then, my boss will probably be arriving soon.”

“Very well. Have you got a medic with you?”

“Yeah, have you got any injured?”

“Further back. Three of them. I’ll send one of my boys with your man; I’ll take one with me and leave the rest here.”

“Alright, sergeant. I’ll take of your boys, don’t worry. We’ll secure this position then move on to check on the other junction.”

Marek gave him a nod and turned around, signalling for one of his men to follow. Apart from the two passages – the one where they had come from and the one from where the other unit emerged – there was another one leading to the right. Hopefully, the lieutenant was somewhere there.

With heightened spirits, Marek moved at a slow jog, a great weight having been lifted off his shoulders. The other Legionary ran just behind him, the sergeant couldn’t read minds, but he was damned certain he knew what the other man was thinking. “Finally!”

If the other squad had come from a different battalion altogether that could only mean one thing. Not only had they broken through the third trench-line, they had passed through the fourth, captured the enemy HQ and sent out squads to secure the rest of the trenches. The battle was well and truly over, at least as far as he and his men were concerned. Unless something had happened with the lieutenant...

With that thought gnawing at his mind, he quickened his pace. Soon, he came upon the squad and saw Radisson’s broad back crouched before the opening of an enemy bunker. The lieutenant turned around, ordered them both to get down with one swift movement and motioned for Marek to approach. The other soldiers were gathered around, some to the bunker’s left, others to the right – they were deathly still and silent, and though he couldn’t see their faces, Marek felt their anxiousness. They still hadn’t heard the good news.

“Take a look” Radisson whispered.

The sergeant did as he was ordered and what he saw inside truly surprised him. Not only was the bunker full, it had officers inside. Six guards and three men that wore plain, combat uniforms, but weren’t dressed in their armour. It made it easy for the two to distinguish their ranks.

“Is that a bloody major?” Zogin hissed.

Radisson simply gave him a nod.

There was a lieutenant and a captain along with him; the whole fucking frontline chain of command right here. Within their grasp. They were busy peering over their fancy digital maps; Marek loathed them. Even with all their technology, they still couldn’t win this....they still struggled for every damned inch of ground. Technology was nothing without the resolve to wield it. Fucking bastards; he almost spat.

“What are we going to do, sir?” he asked instead.

The lieutenant didn’t answer, he merely took his last grenade from his belt and brought it close to his face, as if studying it.

“No...” Marek almost cried out “If we capture them...”

“What then?!” it was now Radisson’s turn to hiss.

“These men, like all the others, are volunteers” he continued “they know they are dead. And they will do everything in their power to slow us down, while their own forces retreat. They have already bled us dearly and for what? A stupid piece of rock!”

He took a deep breath, calming down.

“I do not want to risk more men in this fire-fight; we will lose at least one in this situation. They won’t go down without a fight. You know this.”

Marek nodded. The lieutenant was making perfect sense.

Not waiting anymore, Radisson activated the grenade, rolled it down the stairs and smiled wickedly. It was the smile which avenged the hundreds of lives lost today. It was the smile a helpless man had, for he knew no amount of killing would bring the dead back. And yet, for the moment, it was enough.

Someone called out from inside, when they realised the death trap they were in. But it was too late. The one nearest to the exit ran out, where he was mercilessly gunned down by the lieutenant. The explosion followed not a moment after. It was done.

When they entered a minute later, there was nothing to suggest that there had once been people here. Just broken remains of machines, pieces of bone and chunks of flesh lying around...and blood, blood everywhere. Everything which was of use, living or artificial, had been destroyed.



The battle for Hill 3421 was over.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Crimson Saint on Sat May 28, 2011 5:35 pm

Kristoffer followed the squad as they made their way into the next set of trenches. The relative quiet of the last few moments set him on edge. The long section they were now in didn't help the feeling. Kris knew better than to give in to such feelings though, and he buried them under thoughts of finally getting out of this damned uniform. The Legionary black appealed to him more now than when he had joined. More than ever, to be truthful. Soon enough though, he would earn his uniform. Until then, he'd enjoy himself as best as possible.

Kris was brought out of his thoughts by sounds of gunfire. The squad had reached the end of the corridor, and Kris could see another fork. From what he could tell, one of their men had been shot, and they were planning how to take the corner. Kris heard someone shout "tin cans" but he wasn't sure of what the term meant. By the looks of it, it meant something unpleasant. He watched as another soldier tried to shoot at whatever it was, failed, and fell to the ground next to the first casualty. Shortly after, the lieutenant in charge pulled a grenade, and he and his man finished of the threat.

Kris watched as the squad split up and moved further down the trenches, leaving their wounded behind, plus one guard. Curiosity got the better of Kris, and he decided to ask about whatever it was that had been such a major threat. Slowly, he made his way to the guard.

"Afternoon, sir' the man was thrown off by Kris' casual demeanor, 'if you don't mind my asking, what happened here?"

After a moment of giving Kris a strange look, the man proceeded to explain.

"We ran into a couple armoured units around that corner. Damned shields make the sons of bitches nearly impossible to kill with standard PFR weapons."

"What does it take to kill 'em?"

"A shot to the eyes, or a weapon that'll get through the shields, knives work well if you can get close. Don't they teach this stuff to you greens?"

"Guess not."

Kris walked over to on of the corpses still lying on the ground where they had fallen. One was lying face up in eyes open and blank. Kris stared at him for a moment. The soldier was young, probably only just in his twenties. Kris knelt beside him, silent. Pangs of a long-suppressed memory stuck his mind like a pincushion. Again silencing his emotions, Kristoffer closed the man's eyes and stood. The man was no stranger to death, but this one had struck him. The soldier was unknown to him, but he knew the scene well enough. How many times had he closed the eyes of a dear friend, the life already drained from them?

This was no time for foolish thoughts. There was a war being waged, and sentimentality was a weakness. Kris was surprised by the emotional burst, but it was over now, and he would be more careful to guard against them in the future. Leaving the scene behind, Kris moved down the trench in front of him. Passing by a medic, who was headed in the other direction, no doubt to the wounded men Kris had just left behind. There was a lightness in his step that told Kris the fight was over. Walking into what looked like another artillery clearing, Kris was sure - the fight was over. The hill was won.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Gabe on Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:36 am

"The Legionaries really grind your ass don't they?"

A familiar face stepped forward, half smirking at what had just happened between Alex and the Legionary. It was the girl from before, whom Alex saw getting reprimanded by the burly lieutenant.

"He's correct though, I should be watching for enemies." Alex said, noting the more experienced men at the dugout perimeter, watching for a counterattack.

"Name's Angelica, you flying solo?" she asked, sounding strangely casual. Her face was cut in a few places, with most of the wounds looking fresh. Alex blushed a little as he tried not to stare. As he did, he looked over his shoulder and noticed the group of Legionaries exiting the dugout.

"I'm Alex. And yes, I haven't been working with anyone in particular. I think we are more suited to supporting these Legionaries than trying to go on ahead." he replied, gesturing towards the departing squad. With that, the two started to follow. Angelica stifled a small laugh at Alex's manners. She was clearly amused that he was more concerned with politeness than the ongoing battle situation.

She nudged her new compatriot as he she pointed at her cheek "All I'm looking for is someone to watch my back so that this sort of thing doesn't happen again." Alex fought the urge to stare again, despite the recruit's obvious nonchalance towards her almost disfiguring injury. His combat prowess was certainly lacking, but Alex agreed to the proposition. Plenty of examples lay dead on the hills beneath them, showing the result of trying to be self reliant.

"I understand..." he said trailing off. It was hard to think of what to say; establishing trust in such a place and time was something Alex wasn't accustomed to.

The two stayed towards the back of the column of Legionaries advancing down what must have been the last layer of trenches. Artillery fire in the distant flanks was dying off, signaling victory. The lull inspired a bit of confidence in the recruit, which was quickly doused with a spike of panic when a small fight broke out at the front of the formation. Both he and his compatriot drew their weapons towards the fork in the path. A moment later, a grenade went off and a pair of shots rang out. Alex looked at Angelica, unsure of what just happened. She nodded her head towards the trench ahead, as the squad split down the multiple paths.

The two approached the fork and moved to the East. Another familiar face was conversing with a Legionary about the soldier's who'd ambushed the squad. At their feet was a dead TL soldier wearing unusual armor. As the pair passed it, Alex paused for just a second, but got an ushering nudge from Angelica to proceed forward. Just like the destroyed computer before, the armor system was intriguing, but now wasn't the time to stop and study it.

Ahead of the pair, the lieutenant led a team down what seemed to be the last passage in the trench network. The young recruits stacked up with the Legionaries, and proceeded down the passage. Alex could faintly hear several men talking, but the ambient noises around him drowned out any chance of making out what they were saying.

An air of intensity settled over the group. Alex's entire body seemed to tighten with anticipation. He let out a quick sigh through his nose, followed by a deep breath in an attempt to relax himself. His head quickly snapped back to Angelica, who simply returned the intense look of anticipation. Why was this happening? Intuition? Alex didn't understand why or how, but every soldier in that particular area of the trench felt it. Something important was happening.

Alex almost jumped out of his skin when the sergeant from before sidled past him. His entire head seemed to tingle as he settled down again. The sergeant paid him no mind, and settled next to the lieutenant. They spoke for a moment before the lieutenant pulled a grenade from his vest. Alex shouldered the opposite side of the trench for a better view of what was going on. He caught a glimpse of a sick smile as the lieutenant rolled the grenade down the stairs. Alex raised his weapon in anticipation of a runner, but the lieutenant who deployed the grenade took care of that too. As expected, one man made his way up the stairs, but was gunned down just before the grenade exploded. Dirt and debris belched from the earthy stairway, along with the last cries of its occupants.

Alex felt as if something was wrong. Today had been the most violent time of his life, yet he felt almost nothing. He knew what would be 'normal', or 'expected', but his genuine feelings were nothing outside of neutral. He looked at Angelica again, wondering what would happen next.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Blackrock on Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:56 am

Two hours after the fighting was over and things were a fucking mess. To the sergeant, it seemed like the chaos had just begun. Winning the battle was one thing, but now they actually had to organize the scattered bands of recruits into their companies. Many were dead, missing, injured, lost and God knows what else. Recruits from different dropships had joined up together in the midst of the fighting, but their papers directed them to entirely different rally points. Speaking of which, the rally points weren’t even where they were supposed to be; the operation had planned on setting up nine of those – from A to J, but all that had went down the drain.

And of course, as always, such “logistical inconsistencies” had to be sorted out by the commanders in the field – men like Zogin and Radisson. For now, following the Captain’s orders, they had improvised and set up the rally point at the last artillery position, which they had taken earlier. The lieutenant from the other battalion spoke with Radission briefly, before returning to deal with his own problems. The headaches of the day were far from over.

Marek had propped himself by one of the trench walls; he had removed his helmet and mask underneath, allowing his sweaty face to breathe. Having buried a hand in his wet hair, he was using the few minutes of respite he had to go through the events of the day once more. It is often said that a man hardly thinks during a fight – he only has to rely on his training and reflexes; for the most part, that was true, the sergeant had discovered. Only after the dust had settled, and the sounds of artillery and gunfire were only a memory, could you sit down to consider just how damned lucky you are to be amongst the living.

The day had been bad from the start. They were rushed from their trenches, thrown against a heavily fortified position; artillery support came too late to be of any real use to the dead that already littered the field. And, as usual, one fuck up followed the other and that meant the fresh recruits found themselves thrown directly against the TL machine-guns. Life as a greenie was hard, there was no doubt about that, but this was no test or “baptism of fire” – it was a massacre. After the second trench-line fell…things did seem to improve, but the close-quarters fighting saw even more of their boys getting killed.

There was nothing you could do about it….War is War – those were the only words he remembered from his father. He was still mostly an infant then, but he vaguely remembered the man’s grim expression and the deep sadness in those words. They seemed to haunt him in the Military School as a cadet and when he actually saw fighting first-hand, he immediately recognised their truthfulness. And after each battle, after each bloodbath survived, those words came back to him.

And yet...did it have to be this way? He shuddered slightly at that thought, years and years of propaganda and a deeply-instilled nationalism since the cradle made it hard for him to accept such thoughts. But....was the League that bad? Their soldiers were well-fed and equipped, the average trooper was much better trained than anything the UP could throw at them. These were not rebellious thoughts, damnit, this was the truth! Marek saw it daily.

Regardless of what they taught the kids at school nowadays, it only took a soldier a few hours on the battlefield to see just how bad the situation was. There was no denying it, much to the sergeant’s dismay. He realised that, despite everything, deep within himself he saw no hope of success. The Iron Legions, the glory of the United Planets....words, words that belonged to the past....they were no longer...

“Get up, Zogin!” someone called out

The sergeant jumped to his feet and found himself face to face with Radisson. He hadn’t been sleeping, he hadn’t even closed his eyes – but he had been focused so much on his own thoughts, that everything around him had become little more than an abstract landscape.

“Time to move, sergeant. Captain just called in and ordered us to start gathering the recruits.” he looked at his wristwatch “We’ve got two hours to get this sorted, so we’d better start now.”

Marek looked up, the sun had mostly set behind the hills in the west. It would truly be dark soon – a perfect way to avoid the enemy, but also a sure way for some stray greenie to get lost. The sergeant stooped to pick up his helmet, lying nearby, and looked at the lieutenant again.

“It shouldn’t be that hard, sir, there’s not many of them left...”

“Cut it, Zogin” Radisson shook his head “It’s not our place to judge such things. We only have to gather the recruits – no more, no less.”

And yet, Marek could see it in his eyes, the lieutenant followed a similar line of thought. Many pointless casualties had been given today, for questionable strategic gain.

“Yes sir.” he was about to turn away, but then added “Any news from the captured HQ, sir?”

Radisson looked at him for a long moment, and then sighed. He wasn’t really supposed to discuss such matters with his underlings, but he had a slightly different relationship with Marek.

“Little important information...” he paused for a second “But everything suggests that the unit stationed here was little more than a battalion...”

The sergeant couldn’t help but cringe. A single battalion had held off the combined forces of an entire regiment...and the hill was not that steep, for the terrain to play such a huge role. A three to one ratio almost always guaranteed a victory, that was an old military axiom. And they had barely won this fight...

“Regardless, our orders remain. Get to it, sergeant. Gather the recruits.”

Marek was certain that Radisson said that as a reassurance, he just wasn’t aware who the lieutenant was trying to motivate.

“Yes, sir.”

With helmet on his head once more and rifle slung over the shoulder, the sergeant headed towards the center of the artillery position. He waved over a few of the corporals and ordered them to disperse throughout the nearby trenches and direct the recruits to their respective rally points. In the mean time, he climbed a table (the TL made them sturdy enough) and cupped his hands.

“RALLY POINT G! RALLY POINT G! GET HERE RECRUITS, ON THE DOUBLE!” he cried out.

As if an echo, he could hear other similar cries coming from the nearby positions.
“Rally point E!” “Rally point H!” the different sergeants announced. Like the shepherds of old, they gathered their herds.

While Marek stood on the table, his vantage point giving him a better view of the surroundings, he couldn’t help but turn back to the events of the day again. He was like this every time after a battle, but today there was something more...it was different. And as much as he tried to deny it to himself, he knew the reason for that.

The muscled TL soldier he had killed in his hand-to-hand fight earlier....after his helmet had been knocked away, the sergeant saw a face which could barely be called a man’s. The young teenager had probably been sixteen, seventeen at most. And yet...he had stayed behind, knowing full well that he was going to die. Such devotion was not unheard of, especially amongst the ranks of the Legion; and yet, they often did it because they had little choice. The League needn’t resort to such sacrifices...but, this young lad had stayed behind.

Was it because he despised the Legion so much - Marek and all others like him? Had the TL made such a successful policy that even the young wanted to see the end of the United Planets? Or was it a deeply-rooted national duty, instilled since birth? The sergeant had always thought (he had little choice, the propaganda machine had made certain of that) that this was the mark of a Legionary. That the League’s forces were mercenaries at best, with no honour or oath...

But the realisation that really disturbed him that this war turned all men into one thing, regardless of nationality or beliefs – killers. Radisson, Johnson, the lad he had killed....every single man and woman here, including him, was a trained murderer. And, it seemed that both sides had the same kind of soldiers – loyal, honest, devoted...so where was the difference? Why had the rift opened so long ago?

Another shudder, another sigh. Don’t ask soldier, obey.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Crimson Saint on Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:17 pm

Finding a place in the post-battle chaos was difficult. Kris simply found a spot by a wall, where it was relatively calm, and went about cleaning his weapons. No one paid him much attention. Most of the Legionaries were busy carrying out their duties, and most of the greens were either coming to terms with what they'd been through, or desperately searching for someone they'd lost in the battle. Scratch that, most of the greens were dead - the few survivors were now wandering about, waiting for someone to tell them where to be. Looking at their faces, you could see that most of them had never been in a real fight. A good number probably joined up out of some vague sense of duty instilled in them by the propaganda machine. Kris wondered how many of them really believed it all.

“RALLY POINT G! RALLY POINT G! GET HERE RECRUITS, ON THE DOUBLE!”

Kris retrieved a worn piece of paper from his pocket. Unfolding it he read, "107th Alexandrian Regiment, rally point G." That was it, that was where he was to go next - rally point G. Kris quietly made his way over to the place where the shouting had come from. He soon found himself standing in front of a table, upon which stood a Legionary - the origin of the call Kris had come to answer. The man had an introspective look to him, that of a man who'd seen his fair share of winters and done more than his share of killing. Kris respected him, in a way. This man was a soldier, and not at all a bad one, if looks were anything to go by. If this was the man under which Kristoffer was to serve, he looked forward to getting back onto the field.

"Recruit, Weiss, reporting to rally point G, sir!" The man on the table gave Kris a nod as he announced himself. Kris began to look around as he waited for further orders. Others gathered around the table. Kris watched each one of them, looking them over in detail. None of them greatly impressed him, with the exception of one who had a prosthetic limb - Kris admired the fact that she continued on despite an obviously debilitating injury. Still, overall, Kris saw few there with whom he would trust his life, however, the choice was not his, and he would do what he could with whatever situation he was placed in.

A couple of the gathering recruits looked back at Kristoffer, often appearing off-put by his scrutiny of them. No doubt a few of them found him an imposing figure, standing tall over most of them. It was evident merely by looking at their faces that few had seen as much death previous to this day as Kris had. Then, most of them had probably never seen a real fight, let alone one where someone got killed. Kris wondered how each of them would come to terms with what was going on. Very few people, in his experience, had the natural capacity for such violence. Most found it revolting, or disturbing, a necessary evil at best. Very few saw it for what it was: a natural, integral part of life. Violence and death were simply aspects of human nature, and the faster one came to terms with this, the better.

Before long, those who survived to the rally point were herded onto transports. Just large trucks with seats in the back. The Legion made sure their colours were emblazoned on the things. Kris found himself a seat in the back, and waited as the other recruits filed in. Kris leaned back, silent, and closed his eyes as he waited for the truck to begin moving.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

Post by Dio the Awesome on Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:48 pm

The sounds of battle gradually began to die down. Recruits and hardened Legions alike, it seemed, look a deep breath and marveled at their own survival. Angelica sat hard on the ground next to Alex. She watched him carefully during the last push; he seemed like a worthy soldier. Collected, precise, dependable. What was left of her prosthetic limb hung lifelessly at her side. She checked it over for damage. There was a deep gash in the forearm where she took the bayonet, a bullet hole above the elbow, and good number of scruffs that were just superficial. Angelica grabbed her wrist and popped off the current attachment, then rooted around in her gear for her actual 'hand' and snapped it into place. Then she heard the call, "RALLY POINT G!" She looked up instinctively. Another recruit had been watching her, his eyes met hers, then glanced down and to the left at her arm. She gave him a wave, the hand bobbed rigidly back and forth.

By this point Angelica had forgotten which rally point she was supposed to go to. They were all going to the same place anyways, and getting to G didn't involve much walking. She shouldered her weapon and ambled over to the table. "Recruit Brooks! Reporting to G sir!" She half shouted to the sergeant. He seemed to give her a nod of recognition before directing her to the trucks. She faintly heard Alex sound off behind her before they were both herded off to the transports.

The insides of the transport reeked of blood and damp earth and sweat. Men, and some woman, pushed against each other to find a seat, eager to get away from the killing fields. Angelica was more or less shoved into a seat beside a Legionary, a corporal.

“Your face looks like shit.” He informed her.

Angelica turned to face him, “Oh you noticed?” She shot back.

The Legionary chuckled, “Let me see what I can do for it.” Open placed a satchel in his lap and begun to rummage around. Oh good, a medic. In a few moments he pulled out a needle and thread, along with a bottle of liquid that was mostly empty. He lilted Angelica’s head to the side and poured the foul smelling liquid all over her cheek. Ceraliphine. Looks like I’m luckly to find a medic with real drugs, Angelica noted to herself. She could feel the whole left side of her face going numb already. He went to work quickly, the needle closing the gaps in her face.

“Done!” The medic announced, feeling proud of himself.

Angelica tentatively used her hand to feel what kind of job he did. Okay, he has the tools, but no skill. He made the stitches too far apart. I guess at least this way the scars won’t be TOO noticeable.

“Thanks.” Angelica tried to smile, but she could feel the tightness in her face. Too much movement would tear the stitches.

The opportunity for conversation was lost anyway, as the engines of the truck roared to life, drowning out idle conversation and the moans of the wounded. The truck began to bump across the churned earth leaving behind the forgotten dead.
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Re: War is War [Closed]

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