Log:Black Squadron: Knock Knock

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Black Squad clears a MSR for the Republic Regulars

OOC Date: June 22, 2021
Location: Corellia
Participants: Jessika Pava, Bors Thul, Ektor, Shemar, Ulani Kalgaav, Lofty, Poe Dameron, Black Squadron

Two tanks have landed outside a conquered checkpoint and the ominous entrance to a cave that delves deep into the mountainside. It's evening time, and it's a dark night. Really dark. Thankfully, the tunnel inside is lit, and optics within the tank allow for assisted perception of the battlefield. Poe's voice comes over the local, encrypted network.

<<"PFF..pff.. this thing on?-- Hey, Pretty Boy here. Got command to give us some new toys. Testor is VIC commander for Tank one and taking point. I'm bringing up tail-end charlie with 'Hairdo'. Rekking New Guy Shemar is commanding the ground team;.. have your guys load up on the tanks, we're punching out. Give me a functions check on all weapon platforms gunners, and check in. Per usual, intel doesn't know what the kriff is waiting inside, so.. we're going to find out and blow it up. Let me know when we're ready. Testor, you can move into point.. and stand by to stand by. PSssh.">> The comm clicks back on, and Poe amends, <<" PSSHH over, psshh.">>

Hairdo's repulsors come online and the tank revs with a hefty, motivating roar. WUBBBBBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUB.

<"I'm gonna murder him,"> Major Jessika Pava broadcasts over the open communications network. <"Oh, sorry, is this thing on?"> Releasing the toggle for the system, Jessika takes another look over the control boards surrounding her on all sides. "The starfighter is clearly the superior war machine." The controls feel wrong in her hands, mainly because she's used to operating the throttle with one and the flightstick with the other. It's different now that the pedals aren't yaw, but actual acceleration and braking. "If we were in open field, I'd bet you that you couldn't hit a starfighter with that cannon." The main gun for the tank packs more than enough punch to destroy a starfighter outright, but Jessika doesn't think any pilot would be stupid enough to get caught in the sights of one. ..Almost. "You ever been shot at by a tank?"

And not even twenty-four hours since joining the Black Squadron, Ulani finds herself geared up and on Corellia. No boot camp. No orientation seminar. Nope. Just sign the papers right here and 'War were declared.' Ulani is crammed into her little corner of the tank looking over the controls in front of her. All she needs is a few minutes to orient herself: to study the various buttons and switches. The set-up is different, but the mechanics are usually all the same with targetting systmes. She just needed to take deep breaths and try to focus. This is what she left Kuat to do. Actually doing it, however, might make her heart explode.

'Pretty Boy' makes her grin a little. She might not get used to that callsign anytime soon, but the 'Pssh pssh' onamonapia is a nice touch. The newest of the two new recruits stays quiet, however, and pinpoints the various keys and switches in her head.

<<"I hear you, find what's inside and blow it up, yeah?">> Ektor chimes in from Jessika's tank, clearly having been half-listening, at best. <<"And ooh, baby, fire control is all kinda of alive in here, yeah? Function is goooood to go.">> With a dumb chuckle, he drawls to his commander, "I know, Jess.. it ain't no Y-wing of nothing, but look in the bright side: we're in atmo. Which meeeeans... anything we blow up? Turns into a fireball, yeah? And you bet your ASS I could hit a starfighter with this baby. Just, yanno.. not underground."

<<"Pretty Boy, Buhbors - gun is showing green.">> Bors pauses, brow raised. Is Poe making static sounds with his mouth? The Alderaanian shrugs, <<"Pssht... Over? Psshht.">> flipping a toggle that makes the entire tank begin toning, some sort of overpower warning and it's a mad scramble to turn it back off before looking around and uttering a nervous laugh.

"That button works." wetting his lips before he engages a diagnostic. Totally not because he's concerned about what he just did. Regular diagnostics here. Completely normal diagnostics.

<<"I think should I be mangled and made unable to fly I shall become part of intelligence, ere good will finally come of it. Especially if yonder goal that we must attain is filled to the brim with technilogical horrors most foul... Pssht... Over.">>

<<"Recking New Guy Copies, over.">> Shemar at once directs the 10 troopers he's been put into command of to mount up on the backs of the two tanks. Five up front with himself and five on Poe's tank. That way they can use the tanks for cover, initially, until they dismount with boots on the ground. Hopefully their helmets will give them enough kriffing ear protection because the concussion from the tank rounds is going to rock everyone's skulls.

<<Tester, Hairdo, Infantry are mounted, over.">> Shemar has set his boots and has a firm grip on an 'Oh DREK!' bar, one hell of a big arse rifle on a sling rig and wondering if he's going to have the stamina for hauling the big gun around for hours.

<<"PSSSHHH, good copy on all call signs. Testor, take us out.. I mean forward. You know what I mean. Break--Break.">>

Poe reaches over to Ulani's side to smack a switch down to broadcast over the command net. <<"Old Battleaxe, this is Black Leader. We're commencing with Operation:... Knock Knock. Will advise when we're back in range of comms.. if we get back in range.. over.">>

The repulsortanks burp and sputter as the engines kick over and move into action. Poe points at the switch he had flipped.. "Smack that back up.." He reaches for the throttle and pulls it back, chuckling. "Wooooah this thing can move! Hahaha!" A fist hits the hatch above where Bors is, "We're gonna get some today!"

The ride into the tunnels take them deep under ground, the road-way is wide, clearly intended for a lot of speeder traffic yet.. there is none. As they come about the bend roughly 1 kilometer in, lights from a checkpoint show ahead, and the movement of troopers is clearly seen beneath the artificial light. Closing in at 85 meters, the tanks have the advantage. Stormtrooper scramble to ready their armor, light-armored tanks! They both come online instantly, which meant they'd been regularly maintenanced, and PMs, despite popular myth, were actually completed (preventative maintenance).

<"Next pssh gets a coolant leak mysteriously filling up their starfighter cockpit."> The repulsorlift tank is far more sluggish than a starfighter. It feels like milliseconds of her life are spent waiting for the tank to respond after mashing down the accelerator. Even with the engines and repulsorlifts at full power, the lurch is distinct and Jessika adjusts her shoulders left and right against the harness straps that keep her fit into place in the vehicle. "Maybe we'll get lucky and a TIE tries to fly into the tunnel. You'd fly into the tunnel, admit it." She takes one last glance at the sky before the yawning mouth of the tunnel swallows them up. She can feel the vibration feedback as the closed in walls reverberate the noise of the vehicle.

Lapsing into silence, Jessika keeps her eyes on the targeting scope overlayed into her helmet. <"Checkpoint sighted,"> Jessika announces over the communications net. "Weapons free, Ektor. Target those vehicles first!"

Ulani flicks the switch back up; ending the broadcast but not before "Whoooa, this thing ca---" is sent out onto comms. Okay... now. Deeeeeep breath. Focus. Nope. There is no focusing. Just as she had been warned the day before, it goes from quiet with a few jokes to absolute chaos. Ulani's fingers fly over the console, but it's not fast enough to get the lock on. In fact, she's mis-judged what some of the switches and nobs even do. "How old is this tank anyways?!" She shouts over her shoulder to Poe. And she thought the First Order were bad about keeping their tech up to date.

"Yes! The eponymous some!" Bors laughs, pausing again, "Wait, ere this some we shall acquire, we speak of righteous victory over the foeman? No wild wandering to carouse as Lord Tion does?" he's not sure he could do that. It wouldn't be proper. But they needn't know that! "I would be made to refrain therin I shan't risk showing up the good lord in the ways of properly charming whilst I... Fie. How does he say thus? Get yon drink upon him?" Get his drink on Bors... Get his drink on you fop.

The barrel is traversing even as numbers are appearing on screen while he jabbers on without end, no signals from targeting - will just have to do it the old fashioned way, "They said he was a hero an not to grieve for the two ruin'd legs and the empty sleeve..." trying to time his targeting, "Took him home him home and they set him down with a military pageant and a medal from the crown."


<<"Gunner, no glory. Over... Psht.">>

"I see em!" Ektor hoots from the gunner's station, a bit before he really should have line of sight.. but whether he's anticipating correctly, or hallucinating, in this case he's right. A dumb chuckle, and he answers Jess, "I *have* flown into a tunnel, yeah? The mining station in.. I dunno some system. Blowing drek up, major." At her instruction, he rapidly tracks the first Order tank to power up.. The poor stormtrooper crew did everything right: the powered up quickly, made an intelligent evasive move.. there wasn't much more they could have done. Ektor's first shell still catches the hovertank squarely, sending it to the cavern floor in a charred wreck of dead durasteel. <<"Rekk, I love my work.">>

As soon as the tanks rumble to a stop or even slow down and are obviously taking aim, Shemar is waving his people to get the kriff off, <"Dismount! Use cover!"> He puts words to action and jumps off the back of the lead tank, keeping himself at an angle behind it so he can see forward but have some proection from return fire, <"Acquire targets! Let's take down these Stormtroopers! Fire at will!">

Soon as his people are dismounted and see their targets, the infantry unit with the tanks starts firing away at the Stormtroopers. Shemar isn't all that familar with the huge arse rifle he's been given to use but he braces it and fires away! It doesn't knock his ass down, so that's a good sign!

Then he's moving forward and keeping to what cover he may as their own tanks advance. The entire tunnel BOOMS with the tanks firing, the concussion felt right through their armor and their chest cavities.

<"GREAT DESTROYER!"> Announces the nasally voice of Mr. Bones, who rides atop Jessika's tank, holding onto the pivoting gun turret whilst stretching a single arm out with its chosen weapon, a F-11D blaster rifle. Pinpoint accuracy catches a stormtrooper in the chest as they made for cover, and the battle droid holds the rifle up slightly. <"SETTING PREJUDICE PROTOCOL TO MAXIMUM. ONE ORGANIC PERMANENTLY DISABLED, PSSH."> The droid adds on, its humor setting activated as well.

"Oh what the hell.. they're aiming at us!" Poe yells in the tank, slamming the throttle forward to move them /just/ in time to avoid being railed by a light turret bolt. "WOAH.. we having fun yet? Haha!"

Republic troopers swarm, following the orders from the Ensign and using cover. Unfortunately, one of the Republic soldiers took too much fire and lost their nerve, running away and getting shot down as a result. <"We have a man down, sir!"> They called out, their medic pulling the soldier behind Jessika's tank to render aid.

Ten (10) infantry remain, and one (1) light tank is still up and moving into position.

"Good hit! Target destroyed! One remaining!" Jessika filters out the rest of the chatter spilling over the speakers around her ears for the sake of concentrating on the internal net inside the tank. The chaos of the firefight outside is brutal, but the shell of their vehicle protects them from anything but the weapons classed high enough to even tickle their machine. "Once you scrap that thing, switch to the medium blaster cannon and start hosing down that checkpoint!" Scanning the multiple cameras providing views around the vehicle, Jessika spots the troopers taking refuge behind them and backs her foot away from the accelerator to ensure she doesn't accidentally expose them to fire while they render medical aid for the injured.

"They tend to do that when you fire on them!" Ulani is thrown to the side with Poe's throttling foward; grabbing onto the console to keep herself from being thrown from her seat. Not that there that much room to fall. She'd just end up hitting the console next to her and likely flicking about two dozen switches all at the same time.

Back to the task at hand. Ulani looks above her, and finally finds the toggle she's looking for. The screen in front of her flickers and rolls into focus and her eyes light up. "There you are." Flick flick. Push. The target locks on and is send up towards the turret. "You're welcome, Bors!"

"Y'haven't an arm! Y'haven't a leg! The enemy nearly slew yah!" the board lighting up suddenly and Bors is moving. "Copy copy, traversing right ten degrees, barrel down aught four." ok so its like being in a big slow, dumpy, three person fighter craft. He'll give it that.

"Manythanks m'lady!" said before switching to comms, <<"Pretty Boy, firing solution provided. Opening fire... psht. Over.">> pulling back a charge lever before he stomps the fire pedal and crimson leaps from the barrel, engulfing the light tank before it balloons and then detonates in flame and molten metal.

"Don't tell Ektor, but ere I have gained a love of explosions..." side-eyeing Ulani, even as one hand goes to toy with a little sigil hanging from a chain on his neck and his gaze goes to the wreck he's caused.

Just now, as the first shells are exploding in the tunnel, schrapnel flung every which way, and bolts firing from many rifles, that one Rekking New Guy is wondering why he ever left his last squadron. Shemar's probaly going to die out here! This isn't what he trained for! TANKS! But no choice except to be grimly determined, keep pucking up, and keep his head down as he advances and tries to ultilize cover. Watch out for the people he's been given responsibility for.

The noise, even with the ear protection of their helmets, is deafening! As he sees his own people going down, Shemar is about to call for a medic when one of his troopers beats him to it. So he makes mental note of it and he keeps pressing ahead, seeking new targets through the smoke up ahead given off by a demolished enemy tank. The air inside of the tunnel is going to get rekking bad for troops on foot pretty fast.

There goes another enemy tank, blown to scrap! Shemar lofts his huge monster of a rifle, the big reticle linging up to mow down more Stormtroopers! Once again his shot blows a First Order Stormtrooper arse over tea kettle! Another quick glance to keep tabs on all of the actio around him, best he can.

"Blasters, I hear ya, Jess-" Ektor mutters, "They shoulda brought more rekking tanks. I liked blowing those up.." Peering into the viewfinder with his good eye, the reformed (?) pirate concentrates a withering fusilade of anti-personnel cannon fire on the stormtrooper's hardpoint. Most of the white armored troopers take cover in time. Two do not.

Smoldering ruins are all that remain of enemy armor, currently, but the fire fight between Republic and First Order personnel is intense. Through the suffocating smoke and hazy fog of war, blue and red bolts crisscross back and forth, but it's the Republic troopers that show their grit in charging the lines just after Lt. Apollyon took out an emplacement opening the path for a dedicated run. Stormtroopers are overrun, leaving three (one injured). Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, the First Order displays its usual example of discipline.

The three stormtroopers hold what they have, refusing to concede or show weakness in the face of their enemy. The result sees another Republic soldier go down, and the medic laments over open comms. <"WILL YALL QUIT GETTING SHOT?!">

Mr. Bones maintains its post atop Jessika's tank, blasting another trooper, killing them in retaliation for injuring one of the Republic soldiers.

This leaves the count to two (2) soldiers. Poe's celebration of a kill joins Bors, and he yells. "YEEEEEEEEEAH! HAHAHA! That's what I'm talking about!"

<<"New Guy, get your guys to mount up, and pick off the remaining two as we leave. We're moving forward..! PSHHH over.">>

Mounting up was a matter of moving back to the tanks which positioned themselves on the other side of fiery wreckage. Republic troopers fired at the enemy whilst moving back and after climbing up on the tanks. The stalwart First Order defenders were gunned down in conclusion, left to rot at the fiery wreckage and suffocating smoke.

Further into the tunnel and past the half-way mark, they hit checkpoint TWO. This is a reinforced checkpoint with barricades and gun emplacements. A large, heavy armored tank is being powered up and ready for engagement, but again Black Squad has moved in on a unit not prepared for immediate combat giving them the advantage. There are six (6) turret emplacements (Manned by stormtroopers), one (1) light-armored vehicle (Spotted by Ektor and Bors, hidden in the shadow of malfunctioning artificial lights), and one (1) heavily armored, high-powered tank.

<"His name is Nugget,"> Jessika corrects Poe. <"And stop saying pssh!"> Once she has confirmation that all the troopers are mounted up on the repulsorlift tank, she eases it forward while paying mind to the fact that they might have injured on the sides now. The vehicle still jostles as it goes over the uneven terrain caused by Poe's earlier missed shot. Jessika eases the speed to stop it from being a harder bump than it has to be. The tunnel continues and Jessika spots the checkpoint as soon as she's in range to do so. And something she doesn't like. "HEAVY ARMOR AT THE CHECKPOINT. Hit it, Ektor! Don't give it time to power up!" Whether or not they can, the sense of urgency in her voice is meant to compel her gunner to unleash fire.

Ulani is lucky enough that she doesn't have to see the carnage firsthand. Not yet anyway. For her, the destruction paints itself on her screen as blips that were there and blips that aren't there anymore. Well, that's not totally true. She has plenty of video feeds that are static-y visions of tanks exploding in all kinds of manner. The more sentient carnage, thankfully, is not something the tank's computers founds as being relevant. At least not until she tells it to be.

<"Good shot, Bors. I promise not to tell him, but if you want to learn demolitions, I can---"> The screens and a series of beeps and warnings pull her attention back, her hands moving quickly. <"Got a bigger target ahead, heavy armour. There's also one hidden to our side and a group of turrets to deal with."> Hearing Tester zero in on the big boy, Ulani is quick to send Bors target up to him. <"Show me what you can do.">

"Dear me, yon beast of metal is a sight most vexing!" Bors grumps before slamming his fist against the hatch above him, calling up to Poe, and for a wonder speaks plainly, <<"Pshht! Pretty Boy! Next time can we invade a bistro? PSHT... Over!"> shifting in his seat with each shift and lean of the tank as it trundles over the harsher terrain. He's forgotten his song, whatever it had been and he's just humming now, cheery as can be with all hell breaking loose outside the metal shell.

He's also using Psht, so Jessika's commands don't reach him on comms. How devilish.

"I reason with mine crooked cap..." oop he found another. "And say, 'Thou art an artless greasy tallow-catch.' yea!" swiveling and adjusting again before he opens up, spying the target on lock buzzing out of position with all the hells of Corellia nipping its heels. "Fie!" shaking a fist at his screen before he blinks and looks to Ulani,

"Some day, mayhap ordinance may beckon me, I shall remember, m'lady!"

Ektor-Xer opens fire on the heavy armor, even before he a swers Major Pava. "Ain't gotta tell me twice-" adding in the next breath, "And watch our ten: there's a light armor in that dark patch, yeah? Who the rekk tried to sneak in a tank?" The next shell is chambered and he readies to finish off the disabled, but not yet destroyed heavy tank.

Mounted and moving onto the next checkpoint, Shemar is a little surprised they didn't take heavier losses than they did. Good sign! As the tanks slow down and begin targeting acquisition, he turns, <"DISMOUNT! Keep to cover! Wash, rinse, repeat!"> He hops down and does as before, calling out targets for his people as they see what they are up against, <"Got to take out those turret gunners!"> That for his troops, not the tanks, which are busy doing their heavier duty things.

The concussions begin all over again like giant Gorax pounding on the most immense drums imanginable within a confined space. The WHUMPS of the tanks firing and the exploding shells thumps the ground so hard it's amazing that the tunnels aren't collapsing. It feels like the very earth is quaking beneath his boots as Shemar keeps moving.

His rifle is aimed and goes off once more, this time missing the turret gunner he was aiming for!

Shemar probably missed his shot because he heard what Tester has dubhed his new Callsign!

The op takes a turn for the serious after the Republic troops show tenacity in not only hitting their targets, but killing all of the emplacement gunners amidst the chaos of a tank battle. It's impossible to hear over the roaring engines and concussive blasts of the Republic tanks. The return fire is limited to the light tank that sprang forward, avoiding certain death from the apt locking and firing pattern from Ulani/Lord Bors. Unfortunately, their fire claims more than the duracrete, two Republic soldiers, including the medic, are consumed by the blast and wiped from the face of Corellia.

Republic forces are down to eight (8) soldiers, two of which are severely wounded, and now two (2) have been added to the KIA roster. Mister Bones voice cuts over the comms to inform leadership.

<<"This unit observes the destruction of two friendly organics. Two armored vehicles remain in the vicinity, priming weapon systems to fire again.">> The battledroid turns its bone-mowhawk decorated head to scan for more secondary hostiles.

"We gotta bring those tanks down or our people are going to eat it.. let's go!" Poe urges from inside his vehicle.

"HIT IT AGAIN!" In her peripheral vision, Jessika can see the light tank maneuver out of the way of the blast from the second New Republic tank. It's response is to decimate two troopers and destroy the part of the wall they had been standing near. She knows as long as the armor is active, this whole operation is in danger. Jessika's gaze keeps locked onto the heavy First Order tank to make sure a firing solution for Ektor is maintained. <"Nugget, get your troops into cover behind us until we clear this armor!"> They don't need to have more troopers taking collateral damage just because the enemy is focused on the destructive machines bearing down on them from inside the tunnel. She wishes they had smoke cover to deploy for them.

This time, their target moves off screen after a very well-aimed shot instead of exploding. Huh. That's annoying. Her head jerks to the side as the six blips of turrets blink out one by one in rapid fire. It's a few less problems to deal with, at least, but it does litte to settle her stomach when a blast takes out some of their own.

She nods to Poe without looking away from her work. "Right!" But the tank has moved further into the darkness and in the precious seconds she has to find it again, she fails. "Where are you... where are you?" Bors will be on his own this time, armed only with the knowledge of where the target /had/ been moments ago.

"Hitting it again!" Ektor audibly grins back at Jessika, as he lined up a beauty of a shot on the sluggish heavy tank. "Annnnnd-" the reload mechanism clicks green, and he fires in the same instant, annihilating the larger war machine. "Boom, baby."

Two fall from the tank that he missed and Bors's face is gray, lips pressed, and body shaking. Throat bobbing and even his singing stops, looking to where the light tank is moving. "Bastard..." no targeting data incoming either. Slippery rekker. He moves and works pedals and adjusts his heights.

"Bastard. Have thee now, artless, feckless cad... Show me thine face and thine ailments be cleansed." teeth gritting before an excited "HAH!" as targeting systems flash green and he stomps the fire pedal again. The focused beam of the turret creating a single glowing point before metal ripples and the target is destroyed in a burning hail.

"Sons of bitches..." Still angry.

As soon as his teammates trash the turret gunners, Shemar is looking for more targets. Only things he sees though are armor up ahead not yet fully disabled. Nothing he can do about that!

Jess's order comes over his coms clear, <<"Rekking New Guy Copies, over!">> Shemar doesn't acknowledge the Nugget part, not yet. He raises an arm and swaps to his fire team's coms, <"Back off! Use the tanks for cover and MOUNT UP!"> As he starts to fall back himself, Shemar grabs one of his fellow troopers who got shot and he helps the other to make it back to the tanks.

The somewhat dwindled infantry unit saddles up!

Moving on from the last checkpoint was bittersweet. They were two less than they began with, and there was no hope of bringing them back from that fate. Alas, such is the nature of war, a fact that everyone could feel cut to their core. This must have had some impact on the team, because reactions to the next checkpoint were not nearly as sharp as the first two.

Incoming fire rains in, literally a wall of heavy laser bolts and small arms. Immediately, two Republic soldiers get caught in the chaos, blasted off the side of the leading tank, never to rise again. A third is injured, and cries out in agony that they'd been shot.

The incoming tank fire misses, and thankfully, impacts behind both Jess and Poe's vehicles, leaving collateral out of the equation. Poe's voice cuts over the comms, <<"It's been a hard fight, but it isn't done yet. We still have fight left in us. Crush this last checkpoint for our fallen!">>

Two (2) light-armored tanks block the path out, and eight (8) stormtroopers fire from behind barricades, doing their best to make these Republic soldiers die here and NOW!

"Good hit. Target destroyed." Jessika moves on towards the next checkpoint with a somber mood, but no less a determined attitude. Once they come in range, Jessika immediately begins to orient the targeting scope on the light tank located to the left. <"Testor's taking left tank."> She doesn't bother repeating it to Ektor. He can hear it over the comms and he can see what she's got marked through the scope itself. Jessika maneuvers as best as she can in the tight confines to get the tank a little farther to the side so they aren't clustered up with Poe's tank. Just one of the tanks being hit would be enough to cause major injury to any of the individuals riding along with them. They've already lost enough to this fight.

Ulani looks upwards to where she knows Bors sits at the turrets, catching the chance in his voice. Crimson brows furrow together and she turns back to her screen to see his wrath unleased on the tank she had failed to locate for him. Now her screen is showing the carnage of their troops in front of her and Ulani's eyes go wide. Republic soldiers crying out in pain and others... not making a sound at all. The enemy gets the drop on them. The mood sombre. It's a lot to take in for a young woman whose never seen battle before.

'Are you done playing Rebel yet, my Little Lani?' It's a soft but crual man's voice in her head. He isn't laughing. More disappointed. 'Stop this nonsense. Return. Now.'

Both hands clutch either side of her head, her eyes shut tightly. No nonono...

Poe's voice cuts through the noise and the static, speaking into her ear and guiding her back into the present. <"R-Right... okay..."> Taking a deep breath, Ulani manages to lock on a target in time for Bor's next opportunity.

Ektor 's dumb cackle is audible throughout the light hovertank as Jess highlights the next target, and he guides the powerful cannon into the mark and firing. "Lookit that, Jess: ain't a fireball just so much more *satisfying*?"

Another shifter pulled and Bors's gunnery seat reclines some while the turret traverses and a scope slides back for him to look through. <"Dids't though know that there is a full relined suite? How very plush!"> hands flying over controls as he takes breaths, making a note to record names.

<"Damned thing!"> damn-ed not damned. The sunrise blaze from cannon barrel superheats ground and air, mist from flash boiled moisture turned to steam before a runnel is pushed through the ground ending like an exclamation point at a pot crater in the soil. The target brought out of the line of fire by a burst of maneuvering repulsors that sets Bors's hand slamming against a console.

<"No glory, coming around - Tion light the bastard up before I get someone else killed!">

Oh boy. It's ugly. Shemar shouts orders over his trooper's coms, <"Get that wounded back up on the tank!"> There may not be alot they can do for him without their medic but one of them may be able to slow the bleeding until Mr. Bones can see to them after this last checkpoint. If the trooper lives long enough.

<"DISMOUNT! Stick to cover!"> As before the remaining ground pounders leap from the backs of the tanks and take up flanking positions to gets lines of sight for firing, but still using the tanks as best they might for limited cover. It's better than nothing as they continue to press the advance through the deep tunnels through the mountains.

Once more the amazing WHHHOOOOMPS boom through the tunnels as the tanks fire, reverberating up their their bones as the shells pound. Now he's getting the hang of this onslaught, Shemar slings that big huge rifle and lines it up, firing into the midst of the remaining Stormtroopers. He nails at least one of them, the shot cutting the fellow litterly in half! Eew. Maybe it'll inspire his remaining fellows! <"WE GOT THIS! FINAL CHECKPOINT!"> Trying to rally the last of his fellows still on their feet.

His own face is grim. The incoming fire is ripping his people to shreds! Somehow Shemar is still on his feet.

<"ANOTHER WHITE SHELLED ORGANIC HAS BEEN DEACTIVATED!"> Calls out the bone-mowhawked Battledroid riding on Jessika's tank. Tank shots are fired from both sides, shaking the very ground they were all on, shaking loose dust from high above where the supports for the tunnel held, despite the stress. One tank is reduced to a tower of embers, the repulsors giving out and collapsing the armor to the deck.

Another avoids a well-aimed shot through an intuitive evasion tactic which Poe mirrors in-kind, avoiding another round intended for them.

"WATCH OUT, WE MIGHT DIE!" Poe heralded, before making the motion to adjust their path with a sudden lurching motion to their right. "WOW.. that was close!"

The firefight between soldiers is not going well despite the Republic's best efforts. The Stormtroopers show the grit their renown for, tagging Republic soldiers in return and killing another, then injuring someone else who cries out. "WE ARE GETTING PICKED APART, SIR!" One private cries out to the Ensign, the Operator placed in charge of leading them.

"Target destroyed! Next one!" Jessika adjusts the targeting scope over to the last light tank of the bunch. Hopefully they'll be able to take care of it before it can unleash another salvo and put even more New Republic troopers in danger. Jessika continues to ease the tank forward, though. It's better they get closer to the checkpoint and draw more of the stormtrooper fire. She hopes it's an intimidation tactic as much as it is anything else. Anything to ease the burden of those on the ground. The repulsorlifts kick scattered dust and dirt to every side, and the reverberation of their thrumming state is still enough to trigger feedback through the controls she uses to maneuver in the tunnel. As always, she keeps near to the left.

More death. More screams ringing in her ears through the comms that are quickly cut off. And some... aren't so quickly cut off. She resists the urge to take the helmet off of her head, but Ulani is unable to get herself to focus. All the while, that voice in her head is demanding an explanation.

She doesn't answer it. Her hand snaps out to the side, slapping a few of the toggles downwards, flicking a few up. It's a choreographed dance of her fingers in preparations for the next volley. Throughout it all, the greenhorn is looking more and more pale. "I'm sorry, Bors."

"Jess: we're so good it's almost scary, yeah? No lie, I might go out blindfolded next time to give the Hutt-suckers a better chance. Cause DAMN we're pounding these shell heads, yeah?" Ignorant of the terrible toll the brutal battle has taken on others of the squadron, the idiot goes on live comms to crow, "Black SQUAD."

Still reclined, watching scopes, Bors continues to rotate the turret, following the missed target, face set and eyes narrowed, until Ulani speaks, "Nay, Lady. Nay." the explosion of the other, taken out by Ektor and Jessica allows him to put a blast down the line of Stormtroopers, heating armor and blasting soil into the air but no troopers.

Its only after that moment he looks to the kuati woman, "Almost through, m'lady. We shall be past this soon. Yea thou doth well, remember that. None to chide!" eyes back on his scopes once more.

Shemar hears the wail of one of his troops, <"HOLD positions! Use the tanks for cover! There's only a few of them left and then we are DONE! Don't break now!"> Putting words to action he himself steps out from behind the edge of Jess's tank and fires away, striking another Stormtrooper solidly with a flash of a red bolt from his heavy rifle.

<"Mop up!"> The Ensign is /not/ enjoying himself, no. Not at all. But Shemar does his best to try and keep is few people fighting grimly and not fall back.

The dust is choking. Smoke, materials cooking off and not nearly enough ventilation to keep up with the combat. Eyes stinging, nostrels caking and streaming, face dirty, he's not a pretty sight as he continues to fight. This aint what the pilot boy signed up for but it's what he's got. Just hold on.

A Wookiee-made "Auzituck" gunship comes puttering in just beyond the exit of the tunnel where black squad is fighting. The engines go BRRRRRRRRR as it lands. Lofty is in the pilot seat, with his co-pilot the Sullustan Stebbs in front. The boarding ramp lowers and a squad of soldiers begins to disembark. Lofty unhooks himself and follows. "We attacking!" the massive white Talz toots through his snoot. He pauses a few meters from the boarding ramp to raise his big Kashyyyk long gun and fire at stormtroopers. BOOM.

The last tank goes out in a fiery display of tank-to-tank combat, leaving the secondaries as the primary targets to engage. Unfortunately, Bors is unable to get a good firing solution on them, and the Republic soldiers are losing heart in the fight with so many fallen.

Then it becomes clear that outside the tunnel, serious fighting consumed the outpost beyond. Republic forces had not intended to leave Black Squad stranded to hold the tunnel; a back up plan! Uncanny! Among the forces landing outside, one is in the Auzituck, led by a massive white Talz. <<"Friendlies to your twelve, Black Squad!">> Calls the sergeant over comms, just as Lofty's green blast sends a stormtrooper flying, airborne, to smash against a far wall. Republic soldiers follow the huge Talz, firing into the barricades and destroying the last of the defenders at the checkpoint.

The soldiers begin to open the path for the tanks, one of the sergeants communicating that <<"The Old Battleaxe wants you further down the road, Black Leader. There's enemy armor in the next town, and it's giving us hell. We got it from here!">>

<<"Roger.. thanks for the assist. Snowball, load up your team and let's head into town, buddy!-- Testor.. take us forward!">> War.. war never ends.