Log:First Order: Fall of Kalarba Part IV
After ten long days of seige both in space and on the ground, the elected leader of the proud Kalarban people has finally agreed to make terms. In a demonstration of power and dominance, the Supreme Leader has elected to accept these terms at the top of the overlook built into the moutainside above Kala City, a tacit mockery of the distant landmarks on the far horizon.
Not everyone in Kala City agrees with this decision, however, and the Vanguard members have been stationed in sniper nests on the steep slope of the mountain as a ward against those who might attempt to interfere with the negotiations (read: total surrender). Hadrix and Duke are in one nest, with Saanvi acting as a spotter, while Artemis and Drath are in the other with Karys as a spotter. There may be a Knight Asset floating around, but for now it's just the Vanguard. Nest is a generous term; it's more like a patch of rock that's level enough to lay down on without rolling down the mountain, and wandering too far off it will likely cause just that if one isn't very careful.
The city spreads out below, but there are many places threats might emerge from in the foothills, twisted shrubs, and piles of fallen scree that hove up against the base of the mountainside.
Today, Drath finally gets to pull out that silenced F-11S Sniper Rifle he had set up for himself oh so long ago. Shortly after that mission on Dxun, actually! It generally just collects dust, but at the moment it's getting use. Coincidentally, the most difficult to notice and the easiest to notice sniper rifles are both in the same nest, so that should be interesting.
Kitted up in his Vanguard armor, Drath is currently laid out on his stomach atop the loosely termed 'nest', his rifle brought up to butt against his plated shoulder and his helmet firmly atop his head. The rifle is freshly and fully charged, and the Trooper himself is gazing through the scope, watching down the mountain in the general vectors anyone might utilize to attack the meeting up top.
Karys is not unarmed, her pistol remains in hand at ready but she takes a position over the squad lead and DL-1991 as they lay ready to engage she steps between them and then down into position to offer herself some cover as she leans out and keeps an active eye on things. It also allows her to gauge the correct position to advise them to shoot.
She adjust the pistol at her side and glances to her companions. Settling to her knees she lowers further so that she is level with Artemis and Drath.
Laid out on his stomach, rifle set up on bi-pod, power packs set in close promixity for fast reloads. <<"Nine-Oh-Four to Lead, clear here still.">> a slightly grumble in Hadrix's voice - keyed up, one can almost hear the adrenaline in his voice while he tries to keep his eyes peeled while his suits sensor systems are keyed up, tracking for movement, the barrel of his rifle being moved to track the reticule in his suit HUD.
Being Hadrix's polar opposite in many ways, Duke lays there quietly, taking his measured breaths and enjoying his time away from the firebase. Clicking a button on the grip, Duke's scope cycles through its magnifications before reverting to the original.
With a shrill, rising whine, the tragetting computer in Artemis' rifle comes online. As Drath suggested, its incandescent glow is a lighthouse in the sea of scraggly bushes, scree, and the roughly hewn face of the mountain but it's not a particularly problematic thing - the enemy is entirely aware that they are there perched on the conspicious landmark. With a twist of a knob, she dials in the weapon, teetering it atop its bipod as she ensures that it is configured to her liking for the surrounding locale. She seems satisfied enough with the latest adjustment that she stops tilting to one side and adopts the usual prone firing position where one knee is bent and the other leg is straight.
<<Copy.>> Artemis says in a clarion tone, her melodic voice sharp and focused in stark contrast to the last few days. <<Stay sharp. It's unlikely that this will go without a hitch.>> She wiggles in her plastoid composite a moment, trying to get comfortable on the uneven terrain before continuing her languid scan of the countryside. <<Report at regular intervals. If someone tries to sneak up on us we need to know.>>
Saanvi's got binoculars with glare-resistant lenses, tucked the shady side of a rocky outcropp next to the sniper's nest. The scopes are great for training on a target but Saanvi's scanning the landscape for threats of th landscape in general to alert the fire power where to train those eagle eyes of theirs. She has little to add at the moment as she scans the landscape slowly and methodically <<Copy>>.
By now the Vanguard have been on the mountainside long enough that the sounds of the city, the sounds of their ships, the sounds of populated areas, have faded from mind enough that the sounds of nature no longer seem dead silent by comparison, and the whistle of the wind, chirping of birds, rustling of small unseen creatures, and so on prevent the area from feeling completely sterile, but it also makes their mission that much more difficult.
The steep rock falls away past the sniper nests, and for now all seems calm.
<<No contacts on scope.>> Drath chirps up over the comms, having taken the right side of the overlook at the nest he's based in. Adjusting himself slightly on the ground, the Trooper takes a moment to get himself somewhat more comfortable before he settles yet again and continues to peer through his scope down the side of the mountain.
As she turns her view around she narrows her gaze and pauses as she sees something, "Well damn," she whispers below her breath. She lingers for a moment and then shakes her head. The helmet moves as she continues to bring her scope about. <<KS-0218 has found no contacts either.>> She pronounces for the two she is spotting for. She sweeps back around to keep an active view.
<<"Negative contact, lead. Quiet so far.">> Hadrix grumbles again, clearly annoyed at the prospect. He settles in again, shifting to get a bit of rock out of the belly plates of his power suit to keep it from jamming into anything. Another glorious day in the corps.
"Nothing," Duke says, still peering down the scope of his rifle. He grunts softly under his breath. His off-hand lifts to grip onto his bicep and he rolls his neck a bit, obviously starting to feel a little bit stove up.
There's a flicker of motion then, caught in the retical of her scope for half a heartbeat. It's enough to catch the attention of her targetting computer for just a moment before it appears to vanish behind a conveniently spaced rock making Artemis reconsider if she saw anything at all. It wouldn't be too much to expect the phantasms of the mind to crowd about such an auspicious place.
<<Possible contact, sector three charlie.>> Artemis calls out over the comms calmly, dividing up the area in to horizontal and distance related chunks for easier sighting. <<Spotter, try and confirm.>>
Saanvi stops and ooooohs <<Note: We should do a check for parasitic or nesting Vynock-It is apparently their breeding season and this could be most problematic when the spawn fledge. I wonder how effective deterrents for this class of creatures is.>>
Fortunately Lead is on it and she swings her gaze away from the local fauna and tries to locate the potential target Artemis has directed her to <<Scanning Indicated sector, standby.>>
It's a clear day, and the view is stupendous. The Vanguard have sightlines for miles around and on any other day this would be an experience that tourists pay through the nose for. As it is, there's a potential threat in sector 3 charlie. Hopefully everyone remembers which direction that grid-square of the AO is in.
The wind picks up, blowing flat over the face of the mountain and sending a few loose pieces of gravel skittering down the slope.
Drath, as it turns out, thinks that's his own Sector Three Charlie! Classic mistake. The Trooper turns slightly, directing his rifle in not that area, and sights down the scope to peer out at the possible disturbance. <<Ninenty-One, negative on sight.>> he chirps out, though that's not exactly surprising, considering they're in the same rough area. Not to mention he's not even looking at the sight spot. Turning slowly, the Trooper scans the area surrounding, searching quietly for any sort of disturbance.
Karys listens to Artemis call out for confirmation and Karys sweeps the sector and can not seem to confirm. The spotter is anything but and frowns a moment inside her helmet. <<Negative, I can not confirm.>> She adjusts the scope, attempting to see if that might help her with the next sweep of the land. She is not one armed so waits to eye what the group at large notes.
Hadrix ends up being a grid-mark off to his left, <<"Cannot confirm lead, repeat grid points?">> His tone less gruff now at the opportunity to actually do something. "What?" shifting his aim, trying to follow where Duke is aiming at, "Where?" continuing to murmur over externals, "Spotter, confirm??"
Clicking to a closer magnification, Duke spots the contact that Artemis noted earlier. << I have a shot. On your order,>> Duke comms, index finger flexing softly and resting against the trigger of his rifle. A breath is taken, and slowly released. Is it finally go time?
Artemis presses her lips flat and knits her brow, both gestures lost on the plastoid composite helm that continues to wear its placid, soulless gaze. Shifting her weight slightly, she sets her scope on the darting figure, her finger resting on her trigger but without squeezing it to unleash the weapon's lethal payload.
<<Hold your fire until confirmed hostile.>> Artemis orders and then draws in a deep breath through her mouth. The air is released through her nose with a hiss. <<Keep your eyes open for other potential targets. We have the tactical advantage and initiative.>>
<<Sector 3 cresh.>>
Saanvi is silent just long enough that it's quite possible her brothers and sisters at arms are loosing patient with the not so good doctor bfore finaly she reports back <<Affirmative. I cannot confirm what I am seeing except it is moving at a fair pace and is roughly human sized but I cannot confirm if it is humanoid or not.>>
As the Vanguard focus in on trying to detect Artemis's target, a pair of speeders come roaring out of the undergrowth, kicking up a cloud of dust in the distance on the opposite side of the foothills from the humanoid shape. They move fast, headed for the mountainside, making substantial noise in the process.
Abruptly, there's a shout from further up the slope. Shortly after, anyone who turns to look will get a view of a man's body being held out over the side of the balcony. "DO IT," echoes down, and whoever is doing the holding does. The unknown finely-dressed man falls back and begins an uncontrolled tumble and roll down the rocky incline towards the snipers' nests, crying out with each impact.
Faint instructional-sounding words are exchanged over the sound of his outbursts and the oncoming rush of the speeders.
Why does everything always have to go to shit all at once? "Always quiet quiet quiet, then suddenly everything at once." Drath murmurs over his externals, the Trooper taking a moment to scope out those speeders off in the distance. Reaching back with his free hand, the Trooper pats the maglocked F-11D on his back, then chirps out <<Firing a warning shot. Recommend open fire if they continue.>>
Easy way to determine hostiles from enemies. Whether or not they're determined enough to continue forward when being shot at. A red bolt of plasma energy quietly emits from the silenced rifle, and with only a light buzz in the immediate area, the bolt flies out and hits the hill between the speeders, clearly marking that as the point of no return if they continue.
Without a sniper rifle Karys turns to look up at the figure held over the side and as he starts to fall she lets out a sound. << I am attempting to catch target from above, KS-0218.>> She speaks quickly over the coms, dropping her scope and quickly holstering her pistol leaves her little time. Karys rushes forward, reaching out her hand to grab for the fancy dressed man falling ass over end from above them. As he slams into her arm, her other reaches out and the trooper grounds as she tries to dig her feet in but here is no room, no time.
Karys and her target spill over the edge of the nest and both begin their descent down the mountainside. She tries to keep a grip on him and throw her hand back and up but her fingers slip off the edge of the next, jerking and arm a bit from her attempt to save them both. The ground is going to be her worst enemy today.
It's not long after the tumbling of the man off the balcony that the other figure on the balcony disappears, reappearing from an entrance in the mountain side not far up from those sniper nests. It's cloaked in black robes, with the hood up, and picks it's way down the mountainside down a well worn path. It stops briefly, leaning back with both hands on it's hips, then folding forwards as she continues to watch the rolling of the man down, right hand coming up to push the hood back, Erisi exhaling out a long breath, cheeks a bright rouge, hands soon going to her thighs as she leans and calls out, "Make sure that arsehole is dead!!!!" She calls down, sucking in a deep breath then as she hefts up her robes and begins picking her way down further to go and see to the hopefully dead body herself, "Or I'mma take him out myself and I don't know what I'll set on fire at this bloody rate, I swear ..." That last conversationally to herself while huffing and puffing, bangs a sweaty mess swept to one side, her dramatic makeup making her look like an angry trash panda as it runs into crooks and nannies around her eyes.
A fancy dressed man, likely cast over by the Supreme Leader. He would have tried to just bash the man away from the nest. But that is not an option as Karys lashes out, and is drug over the edge.
Without a thought, Hadrix engages his suit servos to aid his grip, one hand locking onto the nearest solid bit of scree to anchor him as the other shoots out to grab her by the back her armor cuirass, giving a low grunt as he yanks back, the cloth of the man's clothing tearing loose and hanging from the woman's fingers,
<<"Gotcha, Eighteen.">> hauling her back to stable ground.
<<Attempting to disable target,>> Duke says, tugging his rifle tighter against him. He sniffs sharply and peers down the scope. A slow, steady breath is exhales and that be-gloved finger squeezes the trigger. The rifle barks, kicks up, and sends a piercing bolt flying toward the 'hiker'. It slams into the target's arm, taking a huge chunk out of it and leaving a yellow-hot, glowing hole left in its place.
Echoing Drath's sentiments, Artemis just scowls and shoulders her rifle close, dragging her armor along the rubble to trace along the projected path of one of the speeders. With the pyro-knight already throwing diplomacy to the wind, there's little consequence to the squad's actions now and the squad lead throws aside any trepidation for the delicate nature of politics..
<<Weapons free until targets disabled.>> Artemis orders over the comms as she steadies her own breath, trying to trace the speeder's projected path by pivoting the barrel on its bipod stand. Kapew! The trooper squeezes the trigger and the bolt soars for nearly a heartbeat before it glances along the flank of one of the speeders, damaging the fins. The gyro is unable to keep the vehicle and it twists with a screeching whine before careening out of control. It crashes with a snarl of metal.
<<Good catch, Nine-Oh,>> Artemis spares a glance as the man's exertion catches her attention.
Saanvi's trying to get a better visual on targets but is unable to, <<Unable to identify targets-it is moving too fast.>> A weapon is tugged out but not the rifle-there are already two snipers with her and so she returns to tracking the commtion-or trying to anyway. She is careful when she shifts her stance. It's unclear if she saw Karys slip but it is clear she is well aware of gravity's aithority here.
As one speeder goes hurtling into a death spiral, the other keeps right on trucking, heading in towards the base of the mountain where surely the rider will be forced to move ahead on foot due to the large rock piles surrounding it. Prime Minister Rolstinn, unfortunately named and destined, it seems, continues his downward journey after slipping Karys's grasp and nearly dooming her to the same fate, and finally rolls to a stop at the bottom of the slope. He does not appear to be moving. The unidentified figure, after being hit by Duke, takes up a beleaguered defensive position against a boulder, using the side of the rock to brace what now emerges as not a walking stick but a very long rifle. A trio of blasts thud into the area around the sniper nests, one of them smacking back at Duke.
Almost as soon as he fires that warning shot, there's a commotion behind him, and Drath turns his armored head just in time to spot Hadrix catching Karys as she begins to fall down the cliff. It doesn't carry over the comms, but there's a brief sigh of relief. Turning his attention back to the matter at hand, he chirps out a <<Nice catch.>> over the comms. The Hiker, as it turns out, appears to be a Deadly Assassin, and that other speeder just keeps on coming.
Making a snap decision, the sniper turns his rifle towards the Deadly Assassin who just opened fire on their position, and fires out a silent bolt of plasma energy that careens harmlessly into the boulder the man is taking a defensive position behind. Take that, Kalarba!
Grunting as the armor is slammed into her front as Hadrix hauls her back up, Karys hears Erisi as she's just getting back into the nest. The curses below her breath inside her helmet and before she can get her feet beneath her and she's hanging just a bit still her first hit misses him. Then she unloads two more shots on his prone form and catches her breath, her adrenaline singing in her ears as she finally taps Hadrix armored bicep in wordless thanks.
She settles back, giving room to those that have rifle and finds a position that will give her a better view of the sniper if possible. She checks her powercells and gets into position on one knee to duck back into cover as the Trash Panda Knight closes the distance. not far away. "Knight." She greets the woman.
"Ho-ho-holy crap woman, you completely over-killed on that, I LOVE it!" Erisi pants out in breathless appreciation of Karys, wide smile blossoming on her sweaty face, "Lady Trooper." Greeted back, Erisi crouching down to catch her breath, elbows on her knees, hazel eyes scanning just as the assassin hiker takes shots at the trio of people she considers her friends despite never hanging out with them, eyes narrowing. Not today, hiker! However as she reaches out she ends up setting a bush on fire nearish to the assassin, maybe some grass, lichen, heck, a rock gets warmed up and tiny bugs no doubt think this is the second coming of Ant Man, but she misses her mark, "Oh shoot, shoot. I mean, I guess /something/ on fire is better than nothing ..." Reasoned as she exhales out in exhaustion from her mountain side-shuffle, "Maybe the heat will irritate them."
The pat on the arm is met with a simple, short, nod of the head as the big trooper settles into shooting again, <<"Have shot, firing...">> Hadrix notes as he has already returned to sniper duty, left shoulder rolling as he lifts his torso ever so slightly to adjust his aim before pressing the firing stud. Destabelized blaster energy is belched from the barrel, creating a tracer line behind it as it speeds towards his target, striking and igniting the poor son of a frog-dog, whoever they are.
<<"Confirmed strike">> then biting a toggle to send a private word to Artemis.
"You...laser brain..." Duke growls, utilizing the most damning curse available in the Galaxy. He rolls out of his sniping position for a moment and holds a hand to his now-bleeding shoulder. A loud groan can be heard crackling through his vocoder before he pulls himself together and crawls back into position back behind his rifle. He grits his teeth and peers back down the scope. In a state of agony, Duke fights it off as best he can, re-acquiring his target.
Pulling that trigger once more, a bolt sails through the air and slips right between his attacker's eyes, sending his head lolling backwards before the rest of him follows suit. <<Target eliminated.>>
<<Medic on Seventy-Seven.>> Artemis calls out as she scrambles to a knee, attempting to get a better view of the locale across the shrubbery and uneveny, craggy terrain. Nothing but the specter of a feeling lingering like a worm in the back of her mind. Eyes narrowing behind her visor, she flicks her tongue across her lips. The result is alkaline and vaguely sticky, somehow polluting her entire mouth with just a single swipe.
<<Focus and regroup.>> is the growl that follows from Artemis as she tries to keen her senses to anything. "Perhaps that's it." The trooper mutters to herself.
Saanvi gives a growl of frustration, <<These specs are worthless. Has anyone eyes on the number of targets or nature of targets?>> Then she hears Drath's report <<Please confirm that all targets have been eliminated.>> She keeps looking still not any more effective with the binoculars than she was previously. At least she manages to stay on task and not admiring the local wildlife.
All seems to be well on the mountainside as the assassin is gunned down, the two speeders destroyed, the prime minister dispatched, and a single scratch to show for it.
Until the beating of leathery wings is faintly heard on the air, and in the distance a murder of vynocks flaps into view, explosive charges strapped around their long, serpentine tails, dotting the sky with murderous intent. They're moving fast and AGAINST THE WIND.
The majority of the threats are taken care of while Drath is busy shooting at that rock. The Deadly Assassin Hiker goes down, the second speeder in the distance goes down, and the Prime Minister with the unfortunate name gets melted all over some rocks. All in all, the Vanguard is doing pretty good at their usual type of gratuitous violence.
And over the hills in the distance, a swarm of Vynocks appears, each one with an explosive attached to their tails! <<That's an interesting delivery method. Wonder if we could do something similar with seeker droids.>> the demo expert chirps over the comms, taking a moment to push himself up and into a kneeling position as another suppressed shot rings out of his rifle, bringing one of the Vynocks out of the sky with a thump. <<One down.>>
"Glad to be of service. It seemed prudent to be sure he would not get up." Not overkill, simple protocol - at least in Karys' mind. Not that she was vexed she nearly fell over the side of the mountain for a target that was obviously intended to drop to his death. As the wings death swoops in Karys lifts her pistol and aims down it, the first shot takes one out as two others drop from the air. Hopefully the explosives will fall short and if not hopefully they do not detonate on impact.
She switches targets, her second shot going wide and her third not doing much better as she calls out. <<One down>> But she's wanting how they spiral to the ground.
"Supreme Leader, the Prime Minister is dead, one of our Troopers made sure of it." In all her excitement Erisi didn't immediately let Kylo know, but once she's caught her breath she's standing up only to hear that flapping of wings, giving the Kylo Man the downlow on the now for sure dead fellow with a touch of her ear to activate that comm thing, watching and choosing which of the flying menaces is going to feel her fiery joy. A tap of her fingertip to her ear and she turns the comm channel off, raising both hands as she focuses her gaze on the largest of the group of flying meals on wings, "Oh no, totally, I mean ...when I burn things I really want to make sure there's a good char, you know, all the way through." A flex of fingertips and a slight golden hue to veins beneath her olive flesh, eyes narrowing as she sets the Rynocular on fire, the creature letting out a sonic screamy sound as it arches back mid-air in pain, membranes burned away from the bones of it's wings, creature careening down to the ground with a FWUMP, "Like that." Beam.
"Gotta be..." Hadrix mutters, low enough only for his externals kick in, sighting at the flying mine-bird-thing that is incoming,
"Kriffing" Small, agile, flappy, scaly. Why do there have to be so many breeds of mynok out there?
"Kidding me..." squeezing off his shot, the destabelized bolt sailing under a wing. <<"Target missed.">>
With the newly-arrived aerial threats, Duke pushes himself up with no small measure of pain. Steadying on knee, Duke lifts his rifle and takes a shot.
<< Incoming! Focus fire and scatter if they get too close!>> Artemis commands before raising her weapon at an angle to the sky. The shot is quickly lined up, and once she has assent from both her gut and the targetting computer, she squeezes the trigger. The lethal payload is unleashed with a savage kick in to her shoulder that Artemis has braced for. Instinctually, the flying lizard dips to the side with unexpected celerity allowing the bolt to careen in to the air like a haphazardly cast flare.
"One," Artemis growls between gritted teeth as she takes a step back, crouches, and lines up for another shot.
Saanvi braces her hand and leans forward, squeezing the trigger even as one foot slices on gravel made by centuries of erosion. She sucks in a sharp gasp and presses herself flat against th sunkissed and weatherd stone, not daring to send off a second shot until she finds more secure footing.
The fire (figurative and literal) comes in hot from the mountain troops, but through it all, one determined Vynock perseveres on leathery wings, flapping high and diving down at high speed through the hail of blaster bolts to deliver its payload into the side of the rocky cliff-face above them. Fortunately, the payload is not large, and it doesn't bring down the whole mountain. Unfortunately for Erisi and Saanvi, it does bring down a few sizeable rocks that smack each of them on their way down to join the piles of scree below. As the smoke clears and the dust settles, no new threats emerge on the horizon.
"We're done here," Kylo's voice replies back to Erisi from her commlink. "Bring the others and let's get off this planet." It was almost a peaceful resolution.