Log:Black Squadron: Tulsa's Raiders Lead the Way
Poe settles into the banged up tank and flexes his hands. Still soaked from the rain that's falling outside, he experiences a very human shiver climb up his spine. The force tracker on the Republic net was showing that southern forces were converging on the southern bridge, and Poe felt a rush. "Xer?! The gun ready to go up there?"
Outside Poe's tank, Green platoon (Which arrived with Lofty and Stebbs' tank, reinforced Blue platoon, giving them fifteen (15) Republic troopers, two (2) Lieutenants, and which ever Black Squadron operators were still outside. Stebbs had just brought tank 2 to line up with Poe's tank, and Poe was orienting the vehicle south to prepare their trek south.
<<"Republic Forces, this is Captain Tulsa. I need Red platoon, and all surrounding patrols to converge on the southern bridge. I've got word the northern has fallen and it is only a matter of time before our allies come south. Our mission is not an easy one, but we draw the ire of our enemies to us to set the stage for the flank. Reload weapons, bring out our anti-armor missiles.. Follow me..--">> The comms say just before the background noise is filled with the sounds of blasters.
<"Testor, doesn't sound like we have a lot of time. Best round up the troops and let's push out.."> Poe says, from the tank, slapping down a series of buttons on his console, then leaning ovvvveeeeer to Ulani's side to slap down a few more. The repulsor engines roar. <"Snowball, your tank ready?">
Lofty has left the confines of the hovertank which frankly was never built to Talz specifications. His white fur is now wet with Corellian rain water but his significant amount of blubber keeps him warm. A can of Gin-jang Berry Gusher FizzyGlug is slurped up his snoot and the can crushed and tossed aside. "<Stebbs ready, he driving.>" Haozipliirs Stebbs, the Sullustan navigator, fires up tank #2 and gibbers affirmatively in Sullustese over the comms. Lofty adjusts his ill-fitting Republic helmet, cocks his massive Wookiee rifle, and starts trudging along with the tank.
"The gun's ready as soon as I'm behind it, yeah?" Ektor cackles to Ektor as the news if MORE ACTION filters down to him. "Hang on, lemme check munitions, make sure we don't run dry- nothing worse than having sweet marks all around and start shooting blanks.. Arright, power cells are good, let's rekk some drek up, Pretty Boy." The reformed (?) pirate adds over comms, <"Who's ready for a good time, yeah?"> His crooked grin is audible.
It was a brief respite and even that wasn't much of a respite. Just enough time to eat jerky for the first time, get some water, and think about the series of life choices that ended her up here. That haunted look in her eyes is, at the very least, a bit more focused now. So there's that.
"Tracking systems online," she says to Poe as she does her best to leeeeeeean out of his way. She then smiles nervously over to the pair of droids that are in the tank with them. "You guys ready? Is the battlenet still down?" Comm-It and Bee-Bee-Eight both answer with the mandatory droid symphony and Ulani gives a single, affirming nod of her head; her attention now on her console and series of screens. Where the magic happens. "Great. Let's keep them blind and deaf to each other for as long as we can. Sounds like this one is going to be the hardest yet."
The tank's engines come to life rattling Ulani in her seat as she quickly straps herself in and takes a deep breath. "Okay. Here we go."
Shemar, as both Bors and Ulani know, has been resting. A medic saw to him right after the battle and he's been checked several times since to make sure he's all right. Ate some rations, drank plenty of water and refilled his canteen, then napped against a stone wall that was mostly reduced to rubble.
That is, until he hears the tanks firing up. His grimy face blinks, rubs his eyes and gets himself up to his feet. His huge ass rifle has been in his hands or propped up right next to him all the while. And though he hadn't cleaned himself up much, he had /cleaned/ and reloaded his rifle.
The Ensign's boots track over the broken stone and through the puddles. Shemar is soaking wet as well. He takes a moment to wipe his face with a wet hand and double check his rifle again, helmet still on.
<"Rekking Nugget, on my feet. How do you want us? Walking behind, hop a ride on the tanks, or on point?">
Carbine held, helmet on and plunked down right on Poe's tank, as if its' singular purpose was to provide him with a ride into mighty combat.
Gaze upon his steed! Wonder at it! So noble! So lordly, so beyond all else that should one deign to argue with the notion that he should not be riding Poe's tank, over one of the rear quarter sections, then you'd best be prepared to raise thy dooks! Or be Poe.
"Personally, thou shouldst take the advantage when thy can, sirrah. We run to conflict, but we might yet rest while we sprint headlong into madness." Or some other fancy pants tosh that Bors has come up with.
"Good, good, we're gonna need it," Poe remarks back to Ulani before revving the tank up to ensure it was good to handle the stress of driving again. <<"Load up, boys and girls. We are going to get some. Eff-Oh Battlenet is still broadcasting to us and it's showing armor movement to the south. We're going to make a few stops to make sure the southern bridge doesn't get any reinforcements, then we'll hit the bridge.">> Poe slicks his hair back, but the dark curly strands end up falling back over his brow, and his focused look is angled toward the viewport. <"Stebbs, let's step on it, buddy.">
Ensuring the two platoons and Black Squad operators have loaded up, Poe and Stebbs leave the staging area to head south. They follow a road that takes them parallel with the river, and from a distance, they can make out a hellish fire fight between the two forces skirmishing over the rights to the bridge. Poe leads them away from it, down a side road that required the two tanks to fall in line with each other, Poe's at the front.
This narrower street had buildings on each side, some two.. three stories high with intimidating windows and vantages. It isn't until they arrive at the city park that alarms begin to trigger about the proximity of armor in the area. Unaware of the Republic's arrival, three (3) light armored tanks and some twenty (20) stormtroopers are moving toward the road Poe and company just arrived from. Imagine their surprise at realizing two tanks just pulled into the open with guns bearing down on them. <<"Three armored vehicles, and a LOT of personnel. Find cover, guys! Tanks.. move up and let's engage.">> Poe yells, making the engine of the tank burp as he accelerated ahead to get into range.
There are ample places here for cover, and Green/Blue Platoon are rushing for them to engage the platoon of Stormtroopers at mid-range!
Before the mission continued, Jessika had made a suggestion to the leader of their operations using the famed and mystical part of her brain most men didn't understand: the logical part of it. Having brought her rain equipment, there was no reason that a General of the New Republic was walking around and not surrounded by the protection of armor, especially since the last thing they needed was to lose him to something as simple as pnuemonia from being soaked and cold in the middle of combat. Saddling up on the tank, Jessika rides it with one leg tucked under her and the other stretched out. Her blaster rifle is slung across her lap underneath the drape of the poncho. Might as well keep it dry until all the combat starts.
They're not going to have to wait long for the combat to start. The paranoid tickle at the back of her mind has her scanning the tall, skinny buildings two or three times in a row. She always works in a counter-clockwise square, checking one window and then the next. She checks the alleys. She checks the rooftops. She checks anywhere her field of vision can check. <"Heads up, troops. Scan your sectors."> It's a few tense moments of passing the narrow streets, but that tension is broken by the sudden wail of a klaxon announcing their prescence. <"DISMOUNT, DISMOUNT! FIND COVER!"> Jessika slides right off the side of the tank to land on her feet, and the poncho lifts with the motion of her arms to expose the blaster rifle.
It reaches out through the rain and touches someone. Barking and punching a hole through the rain with it's red lance of death, a stormtrooper inside the park pitches over with a carbon-scored, flame-licking hole punched straight through the cuirass of their chest plate. Jessika's moving to cover quickly after.
Lofty hustles out of the tank he was riding in, making a fine target with his bright white fur covered in a hodgepodge of poorly-fitting armor pieces. The Talz goes behind a small building and uses the corner of it for cover. He raises his big rifle, aims, and KA-CHOOOOM! A bolt of green energy sends a stormtrooper flying arse-over-teets into another duracrete building.
Ulani monitors the feed they are receiving from her successful breaking into the First Order battlenet. A simple game of 'You Can't See Us, We Can See You' allows them to navigate through the city. All the while Ulani is scanning the area as they pass, looking for surprise targets. With all these buildings, alleyways, and rubble, they can be anywh---
"Ah! Affirmative, I see them!" Ulani is faster this time, having grown accustomed to the control in front of her as well as the ebb and flow of battle. Enough that as soon as the enemy tanks are within her range, she has a lock on one of them for Ektor to do with as he pleases.
And we all know how he pleases.
<"Ah, correction there, Pretty Boy, I'm only reading two tanks incoming-"> Ektor drawls lazily, before unloading the repulsortank's main gun at the first of the FO armored targets. Cocky bastard that he is, the Tionese pilot is also an excellent shot, and his prediction comes true in a plume of fire and smoke rising from the ruin that had been a cutting edge light tank, moments before. <"See?">
Hitching a ride on the tanks suits him just fine. Shemar hops up and rests while he can, as Bors suggested and Poe ordered. He keeps frosty and watchful until they are hearing of upcoming contacts. Then he's hopping off with the rest of them, moving like his wound doesn't bother him too much now. Lugging that big rifle.
Shemar goes to cover with the others on the double. He takes up a position in the ruins of what was once a concrete wall and lays the A280 over the top to help him brace it. Looking down through the computerized targeting recticle, he skims the sight over the Stormtroopers ahead. As soon as things start to break loose, he fires off a shot.
The red bolt leaps across the distance and blows a trooper into - literally pieces. Those pieces are thrown about and hit the wet ground. Smell that charred meat! The dance is on
"Oh. Quite the salt brine soaked gourds we've found ourselves in." frowning to himself, "What the blazes do they call those things." peasant food, often the most delicious food. But the name escapes him. Quite the pickle Bors has found himself in twice over, eh?? EH!? It's all a fine ride up here on the tank until that little moment when OPFOR armor and infantry come into view to spoil the bit of relaxation he's managed to take.
Bugger all, he was going to have a ration bar. Bugger. All.
He's already slipping down the tank before Jessika has started to bellow, sending forth a burst of plasma darts to create steam contrails and blacken stone or in the case of one poor sot - melt plastoid and flesh, knocking the trooper flat like they'd been smashed across the torso with a log while running at full tilt.
"Mother guide that one to gentle rest." expression grim and mourning. <<"Black Seven, splash one.">> not in space but some instincts pop in at the strangest times.
Poe has to adjust the tank to avoid being hit, and the battery fired in their direction WHISTLES by to smack the side of a building behind them, erasing the wall with a concussive impact. Dust and smoke mingle with the rain as another missed shot stops short of Stebbs' tank, leaving the duracrete pocked up and smoking.
Despite the tanks focusing on each other, the personnel fight is blistering on. Blaster bolts crisscross in a mesmerizing fashion as the Republic begins to dominate the trade off, but not without taking casualties of their own. "MEDIIIIC!" Is screamed from one of the members of Green Platoon just before a soldier from Blue Platoon is picked apart by three different laser bolts. They smack the ground in a clatter, not to rise again.
"Let's go.. line up the next shot.." Poe calls to Ulani, but not in a demeaning or hateful way. He was eager to eliminate the tank problem they had before it became a different kind of problem; one that killed them! "Xer, you ready?!" Poe hooks a hand/arm behind Ulani's seat like he's about to just look behind to gander a path backward, but instead he one-hands the 'wheel' and begins to turn it over and over to take them to the tank flanks! This left Stebbs to act as the stationary defense and cover for the Republic troops.
<"GET TO COVER!"> Jessika screams it again. The buffer in her microbead keeps it from translating at that volume over the net, ensuring no screeching feedback is sent through the ears of the troopers currently taking fire from the stronghold position of the stormtroopers. Showers of duracrete rock kick up and explode from the sides of the buildings around them as return fire comes in and decimates the ground around them. Jessika hears outcries of Republic troopers taking fire in return. Many blaster bolts singe the air, leaving behind an acrid scent of burnt ozone that doesn't mix well with the weighted down, dusty smell of the rain that patters on the ground and makes everything slick. She doesn't think riding on the tank will be possible soon.
<"Stay away from the buildings and make sure your cover isn't flimsy. When that enemy armor opens up, you don't wanna be buried under rubble or punched straight through."> Jessika doesn't prone on the pile of rubble that's a mixture of chunks of building and more finely ground sediment, but it provides a perfect place to brace the barrel of her blaster rifle for stability. She seats the stock into the pocket of her shoulder and wraps her left arm around herself and under it for the extra support, left fingers gripped around her right biceps. Despite the weather and the overcast skies decreasing visibility, the one thing she's appreciated about the First Order is that they're all about pomp and appearance.
The pristine white of armor stands out because their rank and file ground troops insist on looking ready for the parade field at all times. She makes sure one's out of regulation when she practically takes the stormtrooper's head off, showering the nearby with bright flecks of spritzed arterial blood that wasn't instantly cauterized by the round passing through the trooper's head.
Lofty keeps up the pressure on the stormtroopers. KA-CHOOOOM KA-CHOOOOM goes his rifle, the round igniter chamber thrumming with every shot. Even for an alien his size, the blowback of the blunderbuss nearly bowls him over. His lower set of eyes close against the harsh light of various explosions. "<<Waru Ithatu ndungu!>>" Stebbs can be heard gibbering over the comms. Loosely translated, it means 'three fat potatoes' in reference to the three tanks they have encountered. Lofty stumbles behind the corner of his building as spumes and chunks of concrete pepper him.
For a precious, precarious moment, Ulani's various lines of sight are blocked by a cloud of dust as the environment suffers as many casualties as the organics do. It clogs her visual feedd and leave her only the vague lines of the targeting system which she's able to read easily enough, but the grumble from her chair is indication that there's some difficulty. The enemy tanks move too quickly, skittering from range like so many monkey lizards, and her lock fails before Ektor can take his shot.
She doesn't allow herself to get hung up this time. Ulani swivels her seat around and reaches above her head, flicking a pair of switches off and three more on the opposite side switch on. An auxiliary feed flickers to life: one that feeds her temperature read-outs. It's grainy and not as accurate, but it will do until her visuals return. Hopefully in a few seconds.
"I'm ready!" Ektor hollers back at Poe, good eye narrowed on the gunnery display. When the heavy cannon is ready to fire again, he doesn't wait for a target lock, before eyeballing a long range shot at one of the FO light tanks. His gauge is good, but the driver of the enemy armor is good at their job and evades the incoming cannon fire. "Reloading," he calls as the power cells recharge the main gun with a growing thrumm.
The rock wall, such as remains of it, proves useful to steady the A280 and let's Shemar aim it with more precision than it being unsupported. He bears his teeth in a feral grin at the first shot and tracks another trooper...
But one of the Stormtroopers has come up trying to flank their position along another wall! That Stormtrooper pops up and shoots, hitting Shemar from an angle the wall doesn't block. The bolt hits the Ensign in the left leg! "Ahh!" Teeth gritted, he hauls the big ass rifle off of the cinder blocks and fires on that surprise trooper. <"I'm hit. Some of the Stormies are try'n to flank us, over."> Shemar could try to fall back to a better position but his leg is going to slow him up. His current cover may be compromised. He gets off a shot and nails the trooper that shot him. Ut oh, he hears about the enemy armor about to fire upon their position and that decides him.
The big rifle is lugged and Shemar drags himself up and throws himself over the slightly higher wall a short distance behind him. "Unph!" Then he's got to untangle himself and get the rifle back up for the next shot. A few other who'd been near him also change positions for better cover. Nothing hanging over him that could be blown and fall on top of them. Check. He leg feels like 'rek and Shemar tries to ignore it.
Just an Alderaanian Lord on a Satunda night, lookin' for the fight of his life!
"Odds bottikans!" LANGUAGE. BORS.
Ducking and pushing up against the tank while plasma fire narrowly evading giving him more scars. To his right leg. Passed just by it. Why -that- leg?! "Is that leg cursed?!" bouncing away from the combat vehicle to find some masonry to put between himself and the incoming blaster fire. Taking a breather, Bors grumbles and leans out for just a moment,
"Bounders! Say I unto thee! FIE! FIE foul leg-shooting ruffians! Be thee knownst as naught but trollop spawn!" blaster barking and turning a trooper to one side, stumbling them. Oh that might've been to far.
"Well not all of you! Sorry! I just got away from mine self!" another shot and the one he'd turned (the leg shooting CAD) is bucked up into the air and sent skidding to slide no more. "That one especially though! Extra FIE on that one! Leg shooting swine!"
But he's a maaaaniac! Maaaaniac in the zone! And he's blasting like he ain' never blasted before!
Watching comrades injured or being picked apart, its enough to dishearten. But later, no time to be maudlin now and he attempts to tuck back and narrow his profile while seeking his next shot.
The firefight is heated, but the Republic is coming out on top despite suffering another casualty, and another wounded soldier. The medic had just arrived in time to see the formerly wounded soldier get shot in the face, now someone else screams "MEDIIIIIC," and they're on the other side of the line. "STOP GETTING SHOT, DAMN IT!" Screams the medic, who at this point is out of breath, but huffs it out and runs toward the call, passing by Jessika's position.
"DAMN.. a miss!" Yells Poe, who has finished maneuvering enough that it threw their enemy for a loop. Stebbs' tank fires, the concussive discharge displacing the rain around the tank as the shell smacks one of the two remaining light tanks prompting it to combust and explode.
Six (6) Stormtroopers hold their position as the final light tank aligns to fire on Poe's new position. Poe glances toward Ulani, relying on her skill to lock the shot. He knew Xer wouldn't miss again.
The New Republic armor opening up reverberates through her entire being. She feels it like a punch to the chest, but she doesn't focus on it. There are some downsides to being in close proximity to armor, but the upside is that they're not going to be swarmed by enemy troops or armor. <"Green, send a squad of your troops around to the flank! Blue, send left! Make sure we don't get any of those stormtroopers hitting us from the side again!"> She barely has time to notice the pitched battle between the tanks given the chaos that is the hail of blaster fire being exchanged from one side to the next. Large chunks of the pile of rubble she's using for cover kick up at times, and Jessika more than once feels a few rattle over the top of her helmet.
"Rekk!" She says it to herself more than anyone else. The squeeze of the trigger and the buck of the blaster rifle against her shoulder winds up doing nothing more than carving a burning pitch into the grass of the park. It's quickly put out by the cascading rain that sweeps across their impromptu battlefield. Later, when she's got a moment to herself in the fighting, she'll think about the families and the children that played in that park and how it will never be the same. For now, she focuses on trying to sight up another of the few remaining troopers. <"Keep at it! There's only a few eff-oh left and the park is ours!"> Lugging herself up and off the rubble, Jessika dashes forward around the rubble with the hard tap of her boots and the jostle of her web harness around the armor protecting the most vital parts of her body. It's raining, but a mixture of adernaline and exerted effort work to keep her warm underneath the poncho.
Lofty fires one shot but the Wookiee rifle kicks like a bantha and nearly flies from his grip. The blast cuts a Stormtrooper in half. Meanwhile Stebbs' tank blows an enemy hovertank to smithereens with explosive gases erupting like a Strombolian explosion in the volcanoes of Sullust. "<<Yakua ku!>>" Stebbs says over the comms, translating as 'the chicken died stone dead.' Meanwhile the massive Talz goes blundering after Jessika Pava as she surges forward.
Lurching in her seat as Poe veers the tank away from death, a hand presses to her headset; cries of Republic and First Order troops start to fill Ulani's audio feed. Several voices cluttering up her thoughts and giving a soundtrack to the visuals that are slowly returning to the monitors in front of her. It's a cacophony of cries, frantic orders, yells of frustration. Through it, she can barely hear Shemar's pained voice reporting they're being flanked as well as... is that Bors voice somewhere in that clatter? Who else would say 'fie?' Or maybe it was 'die?' Maybe it wasn't him.
No time for it. The tank barrels out of the dust cloud and her visuals are back. Paired with the heat registers, Ulani flicks two switches back on and a hum whirls around her. A melodic beep-beep-beeeeeep sounds as green cross hairs turn to red. "Got it!" she exclaims to Poe over her shoulder then: "Ektor!" As if the guy needed to be told.
"I see em," Ektor drawls as the gunnery console illuminates the position of the remaining enemy armor. With a clean target, all he had to do is track the direction.. anticipate the next maneuver.. lead them juuuust a bit, and, "Boom, baby!" he crows at a telling hit. "Hey, Poe: we just had a quickdraw duel with a couple tanks, yeah? HA." A dumb chuckle follows. Ektor is not thinking about the future of families in this park. "Thanks for the light, control," he adds to Ulani's station. The lazy, smiling voice sounds like he hasn't a care in the sector.
Things got a little chaotic there. But then no more Stormtroopers are trying to flank their position. Shemar doesn't get any more shots directed at himself immediately and he fires away, taking another trooper down in a flail of arms before his target hits the rubble. The armor WHOMPS and WHOMPS again and again all around and it's just as well he's got some ear protection. Shemar can feel the concussions through his own body, through the ground he's braced himself against, through the thunderclaps of air pressure that sheets the rain almost like waves to buffet them.
Then he's seeing Jessica moving forward and hears her orders, <"You heard Tester! Let's move it!"> Shemar covers Jess's advance, then leapfrogs to move up in postion himself. Then back down behind cover. As soon as others further behind him leapfrog up, he's covering them next.
The last of the Stormtroopers are going down. There aren't many left.
Yakua Ku? Could Lofty be of the Royal Kha'Dajien Skirted Yahsksmen?!
But his world doesn't reek of trees. Nor are their Yahsks really large. But they do smell like rotting nerf carcasses.
Bors keeps down, listening to the panic, rage and screams. Brows knit - feeling it spread. Panic is dangerously contagious. So he allows himself a breath before he lifts up in cover to sight down the scope of his carbine, "Father walk hand in hand with me as I make unto myself a base creature." the first bolt flies free and shatters a thigh plate even as he speaks, "Mother I am open to thee and welcome the peace that naught else can give." the next short on the first tail is a similar story, ending the trooper who has fallen to clutch at their leg.
"I am wicked so that my own need not. Give to me the guilt that the enemy lacks and give me peace that they will go to your arms and that thou shalt gather me up when my mission is done and I will be content to know if thee think I wicked or redeemed at the end of my path." another long breath and he is down again.
Poe chuckles when Ektor does; their viewport dominated with the smoke and remnants of the final tank as the last of its munitions catch and explode. "They should've stayed home, haha!" Poe answers back, changing the 'gear' and making the tank sputter a bit. "Alright.. we're moving right along. Just need to--" Poe begins but is cut off by Stebbs tank, which chases down the remainder of the enemy personnel, making use of its blaster cannon to gun them down in quick succession. Lt. Talbot's voice cuts over the local network. <"Last of the personnel are down, Commander.. what now?">
MEANWHILE AT THE SOUTHERN BRIDGE
<<"Captain, sir.. the reinforcements aren't coming.. are they?">>
<<"Hang in there, men. We hold the line.. no one retreats!">> Captain Tulsa's voice is pained but defiant.
<<"Sir, we're getting picked apart.. We don't have drek for that /AT-AT/.">>
<"Testor, load the troops up.. we need to move out."> Poe says, a bit more urgency in his tone. The team had a moment to breath, reload, and treat their wounded. Two Republic troopers were dead, thirteen, not counting officers, remained.
<"Get the wounded mounted up. Let's get the fallen secured. Five minutes! Let's go!"> They don't have the time for anything much longer than that. Jessika glances down at her blaster rifle to check its charge and then bundles the thing up and under her poncho again. Her arms let it hang from the sling and she moves across the pavement towards one of the dead Republic troopers to help get them into a bag to be sealed in. The medic helps, and Jessika glances directly over at her. "What's his name?" It's part quiet banter, part information she stows away for later. Once he's secured, Jessika helps heft him up and onto the tank. With the second one taken care of as well, Jessika glances around one last time. <"Alright, everyone load up! Let's move it out!"> She's the last one up and on, adopting that same position of one leg tucked and the other stretched out for balance as the tank moves.
Lofty steps on a dead or dying Stormtrooper as he hustles through the battlefield back to Stebbs' tank. "Mount up!" he toots through his snoot, climbing on the back of the hovering mobile artillery. "We got med-evac for wounds?" he warbles. The answer is probably a negative. As for the AT-AT, well... he wishes he brought a missile launcher.
By the end of this mission, Ulani is going to be married to this tank as she rarely leaves it. The headset comes off, just for a moment, to allow herself the relative silence of the armour's internal systems humming. Slouching in her chair with her eyes closed, the young woman is wordless and motionless for several minutes until Comm-It beeps towards her.
"I'm still here," in a voice soft and away, not wishing to talk louder than the steady boop of the systems and the hum of the engines. "Just... organizing my thoughts, that's all." Head rolling to the side, she looks over to Poe in the driver's seat. It is getting harder and harder to remember him as the guy on the bench eating a sandwich far too late at night.
She says nothing to it, though, and when the time is nearly up, she sits upright in her chair and puts the headset back on; the hellish sounds of war filling her ears again. "Okay. Ready."
"Fire control is all charged up, let's go kick some face in, yeah?" Ektor answers Poe, having stuck his head out the top hatch in order to stand up straight and get a meaty pop out of his neck. A long contented groan follows as he ducks back inside and slouches into the gunner's seat. "Let's bring the boom and get this party rolling, yeah? Er.. hovering. Parties can hover, you know what I mean." Among the worst of all hellish sounds of war: being trapped in an enclosed space with Ektor-Xer Apollyon.
Then it's suddenly over. Shemar's limping but there are no more targets. He swings the big rifle and stays alert, watching the medics tend to their dead and the wounded. Ugh. Then he's moving to get his arse parked on a tank, ease his leg. A quick breather.
While he's there, a medic hops up next to him, "Let me look at your leg." Shemar nods, "Sure thing. Appreciate it." The thigh armor plate is removed, the fibreweave peeled back and lifted just enough to clean the burn, get some antibiotic cream on there. Takes a bit longer to peel and get the bacta patch on there, tape it and get the armor plate resecured. "Thanks a lot."
"No problem." Then the medic hops off the back of that tank to go hop onto a another so he can help patch somebody else up. Shemar adjusts his rifle, checks the charge and gets a better hold with his free hand ere they pull out.
Things are about to get real messy, likely. Warmup's over!
Huffhuffhuff, Bors is moving with the fall-out order. Jumping to grab a strap or hang stanchion on the side of the armor so that he can scrabble up, <<"Lord General... mayhaps we need return Lord Tion to his chariot, whereupon he might unleash proton charged ire upon the foemen?">>
Yes. Bors is opting for fwaboom.
<<"If naught else, m'lord, we're going be needing higher calibers to attend to this matter.">> settling on, helping pull aboard and secure any of the wounded being brought up with him. At least he wasn't shot in the blasted leg again. He needs to get extra padding there, that's for certain. Some thermo-kinetic plating for certain
<"Let's move out,"> Poe intones over the comms, a more serious look on his face as he takes the lead to drive them toward the mayhem at the southern bridge. <"A good call, BuhBors, but we wouldn't have time to get Tion in the air. Stand by..”> Poe crosses over to Ulani's side again to flip the switch from local comms to Allied comms. <<"This is Black Leader to Black 10, come in; over.">>
There's a moment of static as the tank bounces over the terrain.
<<"Black 10 here, sir, send it. Over.">>
<<"Need to scramble a squad, coordinates to follow. We have a heavy hitter down on the ground causing a lot of chaos. Danger close, I say again, /danger close/. Do not miss. ETA? Over.">>
<<"Five mikes, sir, depending on the climate, over.">>
<<"Roger, Black Leader out.">> Poe reaches back over and slaps the switch back down. <"We have five minutes to slow that AT-AT down, distract it, or something. Tracker from the network Techie hacked shows forty-five troopers with their backs to us. This will be a fight from hell.">
Stebbs' tank begins to malfunction and drops back suddenly, leaving Poe, Green and Blue Platoon, without support armor (for this round).
The tank arrives at the scene and it's surreal. An AT-AT looms at the mouth of the bridge looking toward the Republic's defense. Stormtroopers are /everywhere/, and laser bolts go in every direction. A rocket fires from the Republic's side, smacking and scoring the side of the massive FO AT-AT, though ultimately, it does nothing. The AT-AT fires into the gaggle of a defense and comms indicate heavy casualties following the massive blast.
<"Rekk it's hot in here all of a sudden.. we have the jump on them. Find cover and spread out. Testor, stay away from the tanks.. we may die.">
"Target the leg joints..you'll have to manually do it.. these things are a huttsucker and a half to keep in sights... as far as the joints go." Poe tells his team and points ahead.
<<"Testor, have someone paint that big boy for Javos..">>
Jessika isn't oblivious to the comm traffic exchanged between Poe and Suralinda. She's got time to ruminate on it while they approach, but more importantly she's got time to dig the laser designator out of her kit. <"Green and Blue, deploy into positions of cover. Focus fire around the face of that thing. Try to give them a light show. Maybe it'll help keep them a little blind while our tanks try to target the legs."> Jessika slips off the tank without a word and begins the hump towards a higher location. She needs a clear line of sight on this thing. Luckily, she's able to locate a service access on the outside of a building to haul herself up. Despite the fatigue of winding around the steps in full battle rattle, Jessika ignores the burning in her muscles in favor of getting to a vantage point.
When she's finally on the roof, she sticks low to avoid silhouetting against the sky. Hunched down, she rushes across the duracrete with little claps of water kicked up from every slap of her boot into puddled moisture. Rather than brace up against the edge of the building, Jessika goes prone in the middle of the roof and simply angles the designator up. <"Testor to Peeb,"> She broadcasts over the net. <"Target is designated. Holding position."> Now to pray the AT-AT doesn't turn the building she's on into rubble like some of the other ones in the vicinity.
The tank Lofty is riding on makes a grinding sound. Then a sound like a blurrg giving birth. "What you do?!" The driver, the Sullustan navigator Haozipliirs Stebbs, replies back in Sullustese, "Ndiui niki, Nii ndirí muinjinia!" The gist of it is that Stebbs claims he is not an engineer. After restarting the repulsors and pulling some shrapnel out of the micrograv knots the repulsor field stabilizes and they are on their way. Lofty the Talz horns in on the turret however, somehow fitting his massive girth into the gunner's seat. He's a crack shot and AT-AT knee joints are hard to hit.r
Ulani has certainly worked on components for AT-ATs and several other Imperial and First Order nasties in her years. But seeing one right in front of them against a sea of troopers.... she's stunned. Terrified. Pure and simple. ".....Poe...?" That would be panic rising up. Fast.
Her hands feel like lead as they try to get a manual lock onto one of the legs. It's like a really, really bad dream where everything feels like moving in glue. For a moment, the console in front of her looks completely foreign and even the beeps from Comm-It go unheard.
<"First of all, Buh-Bors: rekk you, and don't call me no 'Lord Tion'. Rekk that Hutt-sucker, he's what you get when a bantha eats ten crates of peppers and gets the runs. Then gets lit on fire. Second- I know you ain't *trying* to be the biggest tool in the bag, you're trying to be nice and drek, but come on: nobody needs to be a lord or lady to be worth their skin, yeah?"> An unusually lengthy tangent from Ektor, who doesn't sound angry, but neither does he sound amused.
The work at hand and the scope of the odds against them bring a crooked grin back to his scarred lip, after a brief grimace. "Arright.. *this* feels more like the old days. Get us in range, Pretty Boy: I wanna punch the big rekker, yeah?" An irregular surface, a chaotic battlefield, long range, and no target guidance lead to his first eyeballed ranging shot missing clean, burning past the armored behemoth with nothing worse than a bit of blackened paint.
By the First Light! An AT-AT. Shemar lays eyes on it as they come around and his stomach sinks like a rock. Oh boy. Soon as the orders go out, he's hopping off. A few limps to favour his leg but it's not hurting too bad. He pushes, keeps moving and ignores pain, looking to move from cover to cover. Get away from the tanks that'll draw fire. He glances back, makes sure his various team mates on the ground are moving as well.
A lick of his lips. How could they get so dry in all this rain? That sure is a lot of Stormtroopers, but they're all facing the other way, looking across the bridge. Ensign Shemar keeps moving, trying to get as close as he reasonably can, then settles behind another fallen wall to shift the big rifle into position.
Soon as he has a target lined up through his recticle, Shemar starts firing the A280. Bolts start flashing out, stabbing at the Stormtroopers who suddenly get a surprise! One down, lots more to go! Shem doesn't bother to declare dropping a trooper. He keeps the coms free for more important things, ears sharp.
No lending Jess support this time. Shemar doesn't see where the Major goes. He keeps firing away! He doesn't talk much.
That's a lot of troopers.
That's a lot of AT-AT.
"Confound it all." Bors is away from the tanks, without much to serve to laze a target. But it's a target rich sort of area. "Blast." What's a man like him to do at a moment like this? Screaming, pain, casualty report. Without so much as a whit of more than fallen masonry or some durasteel bins to put between himself.
<<"I was simply extoling thine ability with ordinance.">> corners of his mouth dragging down as he speaks, Bors leans towards the edge of the duracrete foundation he is calling home, far enough to peek an eye around one corner. <<"No jibe. Just thought thee one of our better options if we could get thee to thy ship.">> his first shot follows trend, winging a trooper as he spreads fire, the second blast going wide of the mark.
<<"But as thee wish, m'lord.">>
Naturally, as things begin to pick up, Poe shifts the wrong gear and all hell breaks loose. The engine sputters, there's a mechanical sound coming from the back, and they stop.. out in the open. "DREK!" Poe screams, trying to move the gear but only generating a GRINDING noise. "BEE-BEE EIGHT.. BUDDY.. WORK YOUR MAGIC, WE'RE JUST SITTING HERE!" Ulani's scared? Poe laughs nervously.. "Well, might as well use the time wisely, right?! Let's go, lock onto those joints!" Poe rubs his hands together nervously as he watches the AT-AT flip about in a slow walk.
Its heavy head adjusts, obtaining firing solutions, but it fires prematurely, obliterating the ground right in front of Poe's tank. The concussive kinetic energy from that put Poe back against his seat. "WOW!"
MEANWHILE, Stormtroopers split from committing to the bridge. Twenty (20) turn toward the platoons that arrived with Black Squad and begin to move into position to attack. Meanwhile, Jess will probably delight in observing the lightshow the platoons put on for the AT-AT, managing to disrupt their visual scans which contributed to their first miss.
<<"Black Ten to Black Two.. we got a positive feed. Hold that while we break atmo, over.">> Javos' voice sounded strained, which meant she and the team were approaching at full speed.
<"Black Ten, Black Two. Holding designation. Bring the boom."> There's nothing for Jessika to do but lay sprawled out in her position, designator aligned with the AT-AT. Her legs are stretched out behind her, feet flat on their sides with her toes pointed out. Nothing, save the destruction of the building, should keep her from keeping this thing locked.
Lofty is finally settling into the gunner's seat of the large laser turret when the tank lists to one side again. Repulsor problems! "<<Fix it Stebbs!>>" he toots through his proboscis. Stebbs replies "<<Nene nikiraunwo! tigana na nii,>>" which means 'leave me alone, the rooster is broken' in Sullustese. Fed up, Lofty uses his four eyes to his targeting advantage, taking a good long calculation on how far his blaster bolt can travel. And then his claw depresses the flight stick's trigger. THUUUUUUUUUM goes the massive artillery blast. It streaks through the air and blows a hole right in that AT-AT's knee. Like a Tatooine yokel on a womprat. "<<Hit!>>" He toots triumphantly through his snoot.
Ulani? Scared? No, no, no. Nonsense. She's petrified.
The grinding of the tank's gears and the sudden halting of their only means of protection jars makes the bad dream worse. A living nightmare. For a heartbeat, she's unresponsive until the BOOOOM! almost grazing their nose and Poe's exclamation literally jolts her. It's not a dream. Wake up! You're going to die!
"R-Right!" The mess of flickering lights and buttons rearrange themselves in front of her; starting to make sense once more. Shaking the lead from her fingers, Ulani leans turns off the assisted targeting completely and goes full manual. Sweat beading on her forehead, she maneuvers the cross hairs over each of the joints with shaking hands. Then "It's disabled!" She can hear the enemy chatter. They are running a diagnostic which provides just a small windoww. "I think I can..." Finally, green to turn red once more.
A delicious bullseye for the lucid gunner above. "Target locked!"
His squadron mate's apology (and the life or death battle, too) had disarmed Ektor's brief ire, right up until poor Bors offered that last respectful 'm'lord'. <"There! Right there, you just did it again-"> Ektor's entirely unnecessary chatter clogging up a live combat channel gets cut off as the massive heavy battletank is jolted by a near miss, smoke and dirt rising or falling to obscure his view. Pivoting the turret in the direction the massive walker had last been seen, while waiting for his view to clear, he gripes aloud, "Can you believe that guy? I like him and all, but rekk me sideways with a spanner, nobles is just the dirt worst, yeah? OOH, I see it!" Lofty slows it down, Ulani highlights a target, and Ektor finally shuts the hell up and gets back to one of his few useful talents: taking orderly, precise things and making a mess of them. The support, a steady hand, and a bit of luck combine to let the Firehawke's main gun blast out the stabilizers at a critical juncture of the AT-AT's front leg. Together with the damage from Lofty's shot, the monstrous walker topples forward, still intact, but backside up. <"HA. Bombshell, you are gonna love this view when you fly by, yeah? The mark is mooning you. HA.">
At least they aren't getting mobbed by all 40 or 50 Stormtroopers at once! Only about half of them have turned and are shooing in their direction. Shemar keeps his head and his everything else down behind what cover he's got and keeps firing away. Another Stormtropper is burned, and drops. He quickly scouts out another position of cover if too many of them start cooking his location and he needs to move.
A quick glance also to check on others to see how they are doing, those that he can see. Soon as there is the briefest lull, Shemar pulls the A280 and rolls over, squirming on the ground and then getting up onto his boots to make a short sprint.
There! Fresh cover achieved, a new angle showing him a better view of some of his targets. The AT-AT looks like it's taking some hits!
Mother... he has to use the fresher... He wasn't even in the tank that was missed. Wasn't even close! But the thermobaric pressure of the detonation is enough to heat up his armor before he realizes he's airborne, for about a meter, and crashing against rubble with 'HOOF!' of breath forced out of him.
He keeps firing though, silent besides a gasp or two to try and get enough air in his lungs to stop gasping for it with the boiling hand pressing on his chest. Half-falling to get back to a shooting kneel, Bors coughs and tries to shake his head clear. Trying not to think of the tank and the companions within as he opens fire anew.
Another figure in mud splattered, rain shining, white armor is caught in the hip - falling to their knees from the shock, and Bors is forced to recall Rule Number 2
Because it's that moment you think that they're done, and you take a blaster bolt in the back of the melon. Nope. No. He'd get it in his leg. The trooper's head snaps back and they tumble over in a boneless heap. A small nod and he dips back again, leaning to peek again before his next foray.
The tipping sound of the walker is suddenly dwarfed by the sound of its impact. The ground shakes violently, buildings shake violently. The planet.. shakes subtly. A WOOOOOOOOSH of kinetic energy sweeps out from the impact of the AT-AT as it slams into the duracrete and settles there in a death rattle of mechanic failures and alarms that go off from its internals. It's safe to say the personnel inside are in a bad way; if they survived, they're not happy.
Poe screams.. <"THAT WAS A HELL OF A SHOT, SNOWBALL! HAHA!"> "Nicely done, guys!.. and looks like our tank is BACK online." Poe forces the gear into place, the grinding apparent, then begins to back them up away from the AT-AT.
<"I see it, Tion. I haven't seen a more welcome sight in my life. Stand by for ordnance...">
<<"EVERYONE.. TAKE COVER!">> Poe screams into the comms, but his voice suddenly cuts out, and all sound goes silent.
Four fighters burst from the storm clouds above, a Y-Wing at the tip of the flying spear. When they appear to reach supersonic speeds, the Y-Wing discharges a bright white-blue light that arcs perfectly to the target Major Pava has painted with her laser device.
Upon connection, the sound returns, and massive waves of kinetic concussive energy expand out in a huge circle that displaces the rain and water from every structure in view. The walker is consumed by a blinding flash of light, with an explosion that stretches to the sky. Stormtroopers caught in the open are /vaporized/, and Republic troopers hunker down and hold out for their lives as debris and all manner of energy sweep over them.
Coming off the climax of the explosion, the rain seemed to have paused for some reason, but resumed now. Only a jagged hunk of metal remains from what had been the walker, and when people can hear again, the cheers of the Republic soldiers. The battle was won. The city was won. Captain Tulsa and his Raiders from Red Platoon cross the bridge in a hurry to finish off what survived of the First Order. Poe's tank, and even Stebbs' tank, have been moved by the blast.. but it seems like.. everyone is going to be okay.
<<"Battleax this is Black Leader. The city is ours, over.">>
Lofty closes all four of his eyes - not just the light-sensitive bottom pair - as the AT-AT is bombed into oblivion. The kinetic force is enough to rattle his tank. His bandolier of FizzyGlugs is so affronted that a few of the cans burst with a KA-PLINK and then the sad sizzle of carbonated sugarwater leaking all over the gun compartment and Lofty's pristine white fur. Cans of Shuura Fruit Squirt BubbleZap, Wroshyr Sapwater Splash Fizzade, and Boaboo Fungus Fizz FizzyGlug are all unfortunate victims of the bomb blast. The Talz's fur looks like a tie-dye nightmare.
The world stopped. A suspended moment in time where all sound was gone and the galaxy held its breath. Then, in an exhale, it all came flooding back; a wall of oppressive sound and fury that hit everything in its path.
Ulani doesn't quite remember getting thrown against her console, but she has the minor scrapes and bruises to prove it must've happened at some point fairly recently. The tank has been moved. Maybe even partially spun around, but her screens have a good view of the hulking remains of what used to be an AT-AT. She blinks at it in disbelief, collapsing in her seat.
"That was... awful." She manages to say with relief in her voice. Then she glances over to Poe and then up at the gunner's seat. "You had that under control... right?" Surely they did. Surely. Another breath is released and she feels like she might pass out. But doesn't.
"Black Squadron." Said in almost a laugh. How did she end up here?
"Rekk em up, Bombshell- OW," Ektor hollers, his cheer cut off by a metallic clunk as an enthusiastic gesture collides with the turret interior. "Black SQUAD-OW," the detonation rattled him around again. "HA. Control? New girl, there ain't no such thing. Heheh. Control, she says."
Oh boy. OH BOY! Here it comes! Shemar looks up into the sky as the Republic fighter craft break into view, <"Come on, come on!"> Then he sees that blue light detatch and start sailing down ... Oh DREK. <"COVER!"> He's probably /way/ to close! All that edging up to get closer to the Stormtroopers for better shots? Oh DREK!
Up he pops and turns to RUN his ass off. Hurt leg? What hurt leg? If that A280 wasn't attached to him by a strap, he'd have left it. There's better cover just up ahead! A low, double thick wall. If he ca ...
Faceplant. Rubble trips him and down he goes flat. Other people don't have time to run for over either and have to hunker down where they are. It's just as well. Shemar wasn't going to make it in time. All hell rolls over him. The shockwave lifts him up and just about flips him like a pancake! "Oooph!" The air is knocked out of him but there's nothing but the concussion wave.
And then it's past. Shemar is staring up at the sky. Hey, the rain stopped. After a moment... no it didn't. But hey, he's still alive and his ears are ringing. He can't hear anything else.
<"Hey Nugget,"> Poe calls out over the local channel. <"..welcome to Black Squad.">