Log:Array Consortium: Raiding Party
Dropped from a transport, a group of Consortium AT-STs are dispatched to probe enemy defenses around Complex Nine. With a far greater Kespanian presence in and around the complex, it will be vital to ensure its assets are contained so that they cannot be funneled to the remaining occupied cities.
Among howling winds and shivering cold, the blasted wastes of the Ratalla Wilds is where we set our scene.
Twenty minutes ago, the Consortium transport Raptor deposited recon unit BREAKER ten miles north of Complex Nine. While the departure went unchallenged upon the descent, several long-ranged proton missiles made things very interesting near the landing zone. Depositing the walkers thus, Raptor has alighted, returning only if heavy resistance requires it or the walkers complete their mission.
As the ranking officer, Sion is in charge.
It's definitely the kind of thing you have to get used to: An AT-ST has a more pronounced lurch in its walk than its predecessor because of its heavier frame and comparatively shorter legs. It also can't duck like the AT-PT. On the plus side, it bears heavier armor and triple the firepower. The bad with the good.
At the controls of the lead AT-ST, Sion cues her mic as she steers the two-legged mecha-monster around another massive chunk of ice. <Breaker Leader to Breakers, all walkers report in. We're getting close to the Kessies' front yard. Stay sharp out there. We've gotta see them before they see us!>
Freekin, of the long and distinguished Freekin family, bangs a fist on the hull of the AT he's in with Sion. "Copy that Lead, Gunner set, weapons hot, ready to waddle." he replies with a grin and goes through final system checks. Piloting? Hell no, this Freekin likes his legs on the ground, or in something with its legs on the ground. The key here is ground.
David is in the AT-MP, accompanied by a gunner in a helmet. The pilot/driver doesn't know their name, and it's quite a new experience to be operating a walker like this. <<Breaker 3, all systems go.>> he reports, one hand on the cockpit swivel and the other on legs control. <<Lead the way.>> he adds, knowing this walker isn't as great against ground resistance as its larger counterparts on chicken legs.
Viktar sits in the driver seat of the larger AT-ST. He works the controls a bit awkwardly, still getting the hang of the mechanical monstrosity. He cues his mic, <Roger with you.> as he maintains formation with the group, but with appropriate dispersion.
Rikreet was in Breaker Two, piloted by Viktar, and checking over the weapons controls to familiarize himself with them. "<Feels like a different vehicle every mission.>" the Kubaz mutters, his helmet vocoder translating his speech into basic. <"Well let's hope this goes better than the AT-PT's.">
Each crew has the same navigational data - a sequence of waypoints along the northern edge of the complex's security cordon mark infantry concentrations and what appears to be blaster artillery set up along the way. Breaker is to travel the course, collect data, and engage enemy troops only if fired upon or if targets prove themselves able to be destroyed without issue. The first stretch is a two-mile leg across a broad stretch of flat land, which suggests all sorts of horrible traps and whatnot waiting the marching walkers - the good thing is that they're very fast, but on the other hand, even walkers are susceptible to minefields, tanglewires and plain old fellows in pillboxes with shoulder-fired launchers. Be wary.
<We're starting the first leg now. So far, so good,> Sion coms, starting the lead walker across what looks to be a clear stretch of ground. <Spread out! Don't want any collisions if somebody runs into trouble, or some ambitious cannon-cocker to lob one shell that gets us all.>
Freekin looks about the battlefield from his gunnery seat and says directly to Sion, without the comms. "This field is prime real estate for pillboxes lead. If it isn't a minefield, they'll be likely to have troopers with walkerbusters. Best to keep a sharp eye out." with that advice given to his #1, he focuses extra special on the terrain as the biggest threat is the one you miss.
Viktar looks over the the Kubaz and nods, He says this as he slides the operator's technical manual he read this afternoon under the seat. He holds the controls in his gloved hands, staring out the viewport as the massive metal chicken plods forward, lurching as it walks with a mechanical *click* *clank* *click* *clank* He moves the throttle forward upon the command and begins to move faster.
David smirks. "Good thing we have a buster walker." he asides to his co-pilot with no name. When he gets the Freekin report, he chimes in quickly. <<Most of this landscape seems like it could roll around pretty easy if it gets disturbed. Keep your walkers on their toes, ok?>> He moves the missile walker in time with the AT-STs, his seat stabilized against the slightly nauseating rock of the legs.
Rikreet looks at his pilot a moment at that remark and shrugs. "<Luckily, I suppose. But it puts us at a slight disadvantage I feel, were our foes equally equipped.>" He preps the weapon controls in case they come under attack, though the range of movement on an AT-ST's weapons is still fairly limited. He checks monitors for a moment to keep an eye out for any enemies or other unexpected surprises. An extra pair of eyes never hurts.
As the walkers tromp across the land, kicking up clouds of pale dust behind them, rocky outcroppings and boulder piles begin to rise amongst the landscape - as David and the third Freekin Brother pointed out, it's pretty perfect country for ambushes. And there is one such ambush party not far to left of the group, fellows hiding amongst the boulders in the equivalent of Ghillie suits textured and colored to blend in well amongst the rocky soil. Barely visible, yet unable to escape Sion's eagle eye from the high perch of her walker.
<Maybe we've lucked out,> Sion muses, frowning at the terrain outside. <It sure seems peace... /contact/! We have soldiers hidden amongst the rocks, left side! Marking them for you now!>
Having only one weapon under her control, Sion's marking options are limited. She swivels the walker's awkward head-turret and opens fire with those signature chin-cannons. Her 'marking' doesn't leave much to finish off.
"Firing!" Freekin swivels and puts more blaster rounds into the 'marked' zone, making sure anything in there is not getting up after Sion eradicates the zone. "Ok, so, looking out for ambushes. Good call. Good call. We are in the hot zone folks." he resumes his watch, though clearly upset he didn't spot the ambush after SAYING it was a great place for them.
Viktar grips the controls and continues to scan across the battlefield. The giant metal chicken continues to advance, clanking as it moves. <See anything out there?" he looks over to the Kubaz as she continues scan with her. He pushes the throttle forward.
David grins. <<Good job, team.>> he chimes in, before answering Viktar's question with <<Scanner says no. Are we moving?>> which is also a query to the group leader. <<I'm keeping my missiles in their place until we get to the compound, and I can't use the guns until you guys stop murdering everyone out of range.>> he explains. Perks of being in a short-legged walker among giants.
Rikreet looks toward the intended ambush that Sion had spotted, ready to pitch in... and sees it reduced to bits of flesh and carbon scoring. "<...Nope, not anymore at least.>" the Kubaz replies to his pilot. "<Looks like Breaker Leader took 'em all out.>" Walker blasters tended to be fairly effective against infantry it seemed. Rikreet chimes in over comms. <Nice work, Breaker Leader. Could leave some for us next time.>
Time passes, the walkers stalk along, having reduced the recon nest to paste. But as they tromp along, it's clear that though the soldiers were reduced to so much carbonized flesh and bone in a crater, they've gotten off a signal before their ignominious end. The landscape swells and grows rougher still, not so rough as not to be travailed but with some difficulty - the machines trod forth, picking their way along, when from behind something brilliant and red whistles between Breaker Leader and poor Breaker Three, missing the missile-bearing walker only by a few meters before plowing into a nearby embankment. That wasn't a blaster cannon! The heat and shattered stone thrown up suggests something far more powerful, something that very well could make everyone's day /very/ rough.
And it's coming up behind them.
<Sorry. There just weren't enough to go around,> Sion replies, actually sounding apologetic. <I'll try to only hit one of them next time. In the meantime, let's keep going with the mission.>
She continues the trek, staying on course. But not for long. The red streaks going past are a great attention-getter. <Breakers, look sharp! We've got tailgaters!> she calls, turning the AT-ST in a circle. <And they don't look happy. No way to outrun them; we've got to meet them head-on!> Which is the thickest armor on the walker, and where the weapons are mounted. <Try to concentrate your fire on my target! We'll whittle them down!>
So saying, she stalks the walker in a circle and opens fire on the one that fired at Three. It's a solid hit from the walker's chin cannons, putting some daylight through some of the forward armor and shaking the vehicle up.
With his driver already turning to engage, Freekin brings the main guns to target the same vehicle Sion marked. He fires, "Engaging lead target." the shots making solid hits but not doing a lot of damage. "Mobile little, *grumbles* Sit still and eat blaster fire!"
David immediately moves to pivot the walker to the other side, considering he'd been behind the AT-STs when they were headed one way, he's now ahead of them between the walkers and the hovertanks. "Take the chin strap, shoot the ground." he tells his gunner. "Throw up a ton of debris to confuse their scanners and obscure us from view. The others should be able to see through or over it." He grins. "And who knows, maybe they'll try avoiding the intentional misses and drive right into one. It's a win-win situation." The gunner nods and when the walker is positioned right and steadied, he opens fire in a strafing motion from left to right, throwing up clouds of debris in the path of the tanks. One or two stray blasts even hit a tank, judging by the actual fiery explosion among the dust clouds. <<That's a hit, I think!>> David reports.
Rikreet makes a noise that's probably akin to a Kubaz laughing. <Yeah, you do that then, Lead.> Rikreet replies in an amused tone. And then moments later they find they have more company in the form of repulsortanks coming up on their rear. <"Kriffing really?"> Rikreet grumbles, knowing full well the weapons he has control of weren't going to do much against tanks. Why couldn't -he- have a tank? Though seeing the cloud of debris thrown up by the AT-MP fire, he does get an idea and lobs a grenade between their current position and the oncoming tanks, blasting away at the terrain. <This oughta slow them down.>
'Kriffing really' is certainly the next thought that goes through the head of driver of the next tank - the second unit explodes after its turret is sheared clean and spews flame from the linkage. Before the vehicle can move out of the way, the Kubaz dumps a grenade from the walker's launcher under the hull - a hull that should be proof against concussion blasts - but somehow, the detonation lifts the thing's nose off the ground and the tank pinwheels through the air and lands /hard/ into the ground, shattering into a hulk of twisted steel and fire. Oh god, destruction! And the third tank is NOT having this, as it banks away at speed and tries to nope its way out of the area.
So there's that.
Tromping across the grounds, the three walkers of unit Breaker has found themselves pursued by a trio of tanks as they investigate their survey course - angry, well-armed, but strangely poorly protected, the machines are not exactly faring well against the machines.
'Kriffing really' is certainly the next thought that goes through the head of driver of the second tank - the second unit explodes after its turret is sheared clean and spews flame from the linkage. Before the vehicle can move out of the way, the Kubaz dumps a grenade from the walker's launcher under the hull - a hull that should be proof against concussion blasts - but somehow, the detonation lifts the thing's nose off the ground and the tank pinwheels through the air and lands /hard/ into the ground, shattering into a hulk of twisted steel and fire. Oh god, destruction! And the third tank is NOT having this, as it banks away at speed and tries to nope its way out of the area.
So there's that.
<Oh, /no/ you don't!> Sion exclaims, forgeting that her mic is voice-activated. Breaker One stops, the chin turret angling for the shot...
Crimson bolts fly forth, smashing into the rear of the repulsortank. There's a noticeable secondary explosion and sudden cloud of dense black smoke pours from the tank. It's not destroyed, but it's slewing back and forth as its repulsorlifts flicker on and off. It's doubtful that it'll make it much farther.
<I think we can scratch that one off,> Sion coms, sighing in relief. <One less machine to kill our grunts later.>
David, in his short bus, turns the walker around towards the objective again. "We got out of that pretty quick, huh?" he asides to the gunner, who doesn't really respond. Which is fine, it was rhetorical anyway. The walker sets its sights on the complex once again, with David reporting his intent to the AT-ST escorts.
Rikreet was satisfied with the destruction of the second tank at least. <That is entirely what I intended to happen.> Rikreet says over comms. It definitely wasn't a complete fluke after he decided to try roughing up the terrain with his grenades. Tanks seem to be dealt with at least, so all that was left was for the pilot of his walker to set them back on course. Sion's own co-pilot was, likewise, left with little else to do after Sion effectively finished off the enemy tanks.
The third tank augers into the rocky earth; the left side shears free, armor and superstructure spinning away, and the machine smashes into the earth. Flames spew from the ruined hulk, but the tank is...intact, and gray-suited soldiers are now trying to crawl out of the wreckage. Decision time, here: what to do with these lads?
The fight might be over, but it looks like there are survivors. Sion stalks the walker closer... and closer... *THUMP-CLANK*...*THUMP-CLANK*... *THUMP-CLANK-THUMP*. <Keep them covered, Breakers. Don't want 'em pulling a rocket launcher out while we're standing here.>
With the shadow of the mighty AT-ST falling over the two tankers, Sion unlocks the top hatch and steps out onto the roof. "I'd suggest you get back in there and stay. It's likely to get a lot noisier around here before we're through," she points out. "Leave your weapons outside... in fact, tell your friends about this! Put down your weapons and don't fight us, and we're pretty big on letting people live. Don't..."
She turns and gestures to the two 'funeral pyres' now staining the sky with heavy black smoke. "I think you get the idea."
David grins, and it takes a tremendous amount of self-restraint not to chime in with a well placed "Yeah!" after Sion bullies the other team back into their broken tank. <<Next stop, the complex?>> he radios to the other walkers, now seeing no reason not to just run over there and shell it relentlessly.
Rikreet drums his fingers against his controls impatiently. "<Showoff.>" he mutters to himself. On the bright side, they were faring -much- better than they had in the AT-PT's in spite of the increased resistance they were facing.
Like a reversed holoclip of rats fleeing a ship, the crewmen crawl right the hell back into the crashed tank - which isn't so much a tank as a mining skimmer with a lot of armored plates welded on and a laser cannon taken from a fighter or the like trussed on. They hide in the wreck, hoping the scary lady in the walker just goes the hell away.
The next stop is ahead, and these lads aren't going anywhere - therefore, the three proceed along another stretch of ridges and badlands, to where another area of interest is located: supposedly fields of trenchworks, arrayed before the main approach to the complex. It will require some stealthy approach, which one /can/ do from a walker; asending a bluff over the trenches will give you sufficient elevation to view the area from a mile or so away, and hopefully not give away ther location. You just have to scale a steep incline to get there. In walkers. Right. Well, it shouldn't be too hard for the professionals in Breaker, yes?
<Charts are showing a stretch of trenches and positions on the other side of these ridges,> comes the message from Breaker One. <They're close to two klicks away. I think we can come up to just below the top of the ridgeline and get sensor and electrobinocular scans from there without tipping them off. Just watch the terrain... and this hill.>
Rather than futzing about with an indirect course, Sion adjusts the foot orientation and takes the AT-ST straight up the side of the hill! It's a mad maneuver... for anyone with less nerve than the Socorran, apparently. The walker is up the hill and with only its 'eyes' above the ridge in less than a minute.
David raises his eyebrows, and not to be outdone he directs his walker to follow in Sion's footsteps! <<There's hills and terrains?>> he asks, definitely getting the hang of this 'driving a walker' thing now. AT does stand for All Terrain, right? <<On your six, Breaker Leader.>> he adds, knowing there's no viewports in the back of the AT-ST's cockpit.
Rikreet was left to just monitor his weapons stations while his pilot attempted to scale that bluff. Unfortunately, the walker stumbles some on the tricky terrain and sparks fly from the legs as it tries to regain its balance. The walker remains stationary for a moment while the pilot checks over some systems and works the legs again before resuming its climb. <This is Breaker Two, think I've got a bad leg here Breaker Leader.> The pilot calls out over comms.
As the walkers reach the edge of the bluff, the crater in which Complex Nine is nestled can be seen some ten miles own at the end of a sunken valley. Arrayed around the mouth of this is a quarter mile of defensive trenches and earthworks, cargo crate hedges and the like; down in the trenches armored men mill about, some of them carrying crates to and from, still constructing the defenses there. It's a curious thing, as if planning for a definitive land war - but the allied forces have air superiority, and the forces here are all infantry. So what's the deal there?
And then David sees it, along with the driver of Breaker 3 - large pallets of seismic charges stand by the top of a trench, being picked up by mining droids and moving out into the fields ahead of the trench line to install. They're plotting for something, it's clear, but...what? It's just not clear at all.
Either way, the mission's been accomplished. Do you return, or if not, what's next?
<Breakers, we need a better look at this,> Sion coms. <I'm not sure what they're doing, but it can't be good for us or the Greys. Dave, stand by on the missile launcher. If I can get down there, I'm going to try and designate targets. Then we need to be /gone/ before they get something out here. Here I go...>
Collecting the electrobinoculars from the storage locker at the side of the cabin, she clambers out the top hatch and steps onto the top of the ridge. Keeping low, she begins a careful descent...
About halfway down she slips, scrambling frantically down most of the face. But a larger rock than most catches her foot, and the ends up doing a full somersault and lands badly on her right leg. She bites back a scream of pain, collapsing to the ground, which if anything hurts just as much as the landing.
Several long moments of deep breathing later, she's able to speak again. <Breakers... this is Lead. I'm down there. I'll start the designation in a few seconds. Just need to get the 'binocs out first...>
<<Standing by.>> David comms back, pulling down a periscope-like system of macrobinoculars. <<Eyes on.>> he reports, looking down to activate the missile launchers. <<Just paint it and say the word.>> he adds, giving a side-glance to his co-pilot. <<How's the other AT-ST doing, by the way?>>
<We're fine. We're all fine here. How are you?> Rikreet retorts to David as he sits back in his gunner's seat, arms folded. He was surveying the scene before them, but couldn't figure out what might be going on at the complex either. <You alright down there, Lead?>
Sion's descent has done more than nearly snap her leg; the force of her fall dislodges a tumble of boulders off the face of the bluff, chunks of dark native stone that cleave free and fall to the earth below. Small clouds of earth and spalling stone are thrown up where they land, but the the most important - and terrible - thing is that the phenomenon has draw the attention of the soldiers in the trenches. Almost as one, at least thirty pairs of electrobinoculars rise from the trenchline to squint in the direction of the fallen stone, and Sion is suddenly the star of a very impromptu show.
That's when the sirens go off.
Sion barely notices the falling stones, still hearing echoes of her own descent in her somewhat rattled head. She slowly gets to her feet, wincing and bracing herself on the rocks behing her...
Just in time for the sirens to start. Great.
<I'm all right, Breakers. Just give me a moment...> And the Socorran points the laser at the most immobile and destructive thing out there: The pallet full of seismic charges. She hits the button and bright laser light pings off the gleaming devices. <Target painted. Fire!>
David locks the distance noted on the macrobinoculars, adjusting the walker into MISSILE PLATFORM ACTION. <<Going in three.>> he reports, at which point he hits the launch button, sending all of the ordnance flying towards the seismic charges, their minelayer droids and the stash on the pallets. And.. everything in between. <<Missiles away!>> he calls out, pulling the binoculars down again to watch the show.
Rocks tumble down the cliffside, giving their position away, and then suddenly there's an entire trench of heads popping up and looking their way. Rikreet lets out a sigh. <Somehow, I think they know we're here.> And then missiles fire out from David's AT-MP. Well if they didn't know before, now they -definitely- would. Rikreet grips his weapon controls incase of a counter attack.
AT-MPs are expensive machines, squatter than their recon brethren and less arored, but the payload's the thing, the thing that makes them shine. The thing that's terrified and surprised soldiers of all stripes since the days of the Empire. The walker's legs automatically brace as the launchers fire, and a wall of concussion missiles hurtle through the air, lances of explove death trailing columns of twisting smoke. Every single missile lands in and among the trenchworks about the pallets of seismic charges, erasing men, collapsing trenches, and filling a two-hundred-yard section of the defenses with dirt and and body parts. A great cloud of dark dust is thrown up, summoning a fearsome display of directed firepower, and demonstrating that explosive artillery of any kind is not to be denied. Even in this modern day.
Good job on David. He's harvested a little mushroom cloud.
And that is all to the good, for the sheer volume of particulate thrown up into the air sows chaos indeed, but also keeps the crews of the blaster cannons towed into the trenches - the cannons that were, at first, not seen - from properly sighting in. The red -hot lances of explosive plasma that whistle through the air and strike the face of the bluff dislodge a great deal more stone and ratchet up Sion's anxiety a good hundredfold. They're shooting right in her neighborhood, after all! But she'll be able to scale the bluff before the next salvo...
It's... /awesome/ what David's missiles do. It really is. The word gets trivialized a lot, but in this case it's entirely accurate in the oldest and grandest sense of its definition. Sion is left with her mouth hanging open at the sheer destruction the missiles unleashed. <...Nice shot, Dave... I think you definitely took out the demolitions over there,> she says, a little breathlessly.
And then the counterfire starts. Close by. One of the shots is close enough to her feet to knock Sion down and shower her with shards of rock. Now is definitely a good time to get out of here!
She whirls and scrambles back the way she came, the electrobinoculars still in her hands. <On my way, Breakers... I'll be there in just a second!>
It's a little longer than that, but fear and explosions are great for speeding up the Human body, the explosions of a few latecoming rounds in particular that shower her with more stone. Sion reaches the top of the bluff within moments, her helmet and hair askew, her shoulder plating scraped and dented, and much of her armor below the chest plates shredded. <I'm okay! And we should get out of here!>
David is quiet for a little bit. Then.. <<Yeah, I thought so. Nice spotting, are you okay?>> he replies to Sion. <<And I saw you climb back up there, I just didn't see you fall down.>> he adds. <<So don't sugarcoat it. Straight to the medbay as soon as we're out of here, yeah?>> he instructs. <<We're waiting for you.>>
Well, that was heavier fire than Rikreet would have liked to see. He fires a few warning shots in return as the pilot turns to bring the walker back around. He wasn't going to hit anything at this range, of course, but it might send a message at least. Unfortunately for Rikreet and the pilot, however, getting down was... tricky. Too tricky. The AT-ST loses its footing and tumbles down the cliff, landing on its side. Moments later the two occupants crawl out of the roof hatch. "<I hate walkers.>" Rikreet grumbles.
Gold star for Rikreet, lads! His pressure under fire cannot be denied. Nor can his snark - but it isn't long before he and his gunner scale Sion's walker and cling to its head as the two remaining machines take off across the landsape. Happily enough, Raptor is in the area, and it doesn't take long for the walkers to load up into her bays after a few concussion warheads and laser bursts discourage pursuing ground forces. Raptors: ugly as hell, scary transports when properly equipped. Along with the machines and rescued crew, there's a sullen-looking Kespanian tanker crew sulking in one corner of the hold under guard. So, though the group is minus a walker, the whole thing has certainly not be all for naught.
It just depends on what intelligence will be able to be gained...