A short story style battle report from the Strike Zone: Wotan campaign by the Beasts of War.
For some reason the Su Jian unnerved Ziya. The way it seemed to sway slightly, shifting its weight, ready to strike. Most remotes just stood, unmoving, until they were spurred into motion, but the Su Jian was in constant motion, even while it was waiting. She new that it had something to do with the fly-by-wire programming, where the unit was in a constant dynamic state allowing it to change direction in an instant, ready to pounce, just like a real tiger.
She had requested the Su Jian as additional fire support. This time the mission would succeed. It was only a few hours before when the Father Knight Yeager had stood over her stunned body – and had used his close-proximity to hack her personal area network (PAN) downloading vital tactical and logistic information from the Yu Jing command network. Once that was done – he had no further interest in her and simply left. The Yu Jing Evac team had arrived shortly after – a quick shot of stimulants had banished the effects of the stun pistol, but not the sting of defeat. In only a few hours she had reassembled a team and now they stood ready to move in on the Nomad data terminals on La Forja Shipyard.
There was however a problem. A squad of Nomad Corregidor security had arrived on the scene and were moving to secure the consoles.
“Movement” The voice of the Bao Sniper, cool and without emotion, came across the coms. She had deployed the Sniper team ahead of her main force. The sniper had an excellent view of the concourse and with his multi-spectral visor would easily be able to see and deal with any threats. She flipped the Point of View Camera from the Bao onto her visor. The spectrally enhanced display was disorientating at first with its added layers of colour, but she saw the colours of shadows moving as a small team of 3 Nomads troopers moved along a wall, keeping it between them and the sniper. They reached a corner, there was no where to go now, but out into the open. The Sniper dialled in the magnification on his sight ready to take the shot, then everything went black. He quickly dialled back the scope, a cloud of inky blackness filled the entire concourse, blocking the snipers view.
“Targets have deployed Eclipse smoke. No shot, no shot!”
How could they have Ellipse grenades? Ziya mind rushed through the possibilities – only Combined Army and Tohaa forces deployed such weapons. A sudden whoosh filled the air followed by the howl of a fireball throwing smoke into the air and screams over the com.
“Man down, man down. Hostiles incoming. They have a heavy rocket launcher”.
She shifted to the tactical display, two red dots flickered and then died completely, while in the real world beyond the display, their bodies writhed in flame as the accelerants deposited by the HRL burned through them. The Pheasant “Sān” team leader was dead, as was the Kaung Shi assigned to security. The threat indicator showed 5 blue dots, highlighting them as Wild Cats. They had used the cover of the Eclipse smoke to move across the causeway, past the snipers field of fire and behind the building, allowing them to engage the snipers support team. A single Bao still stood, his boarding shotgun useless at this range. Whoosh, another pillar of smoke filled the sky and the Bao’s icon blinked out.
“Contact!” shouted the Celestial Guard, Forward Observer unit, Ziya had deployed above their position on the 1st level of the walkway tower. Above him on the top most level a Chiya Yokong remote, stood guard, its high powered flash pulse ready to blind the incoming Wildcat team.
Whoosh!!! The tower shook and the smell of ozone and accelerate filled the air. The signal from the REM went down. Whoosh!! The burning form of the celestial guard fell burning from the walkway, landing in a burning pyre in front of Ziya.
Then all went quiet. With no more targets the Wildcat assault stopped – but they were on the move. Ziya checked her weapon – an almost instinctive action drilled into her since her training with the Zhanshi, before her move to the Celestial Guards. Clear barrel, check ammo, calibrate scope. The sequence of drilled events lasts only a few seconds but in instantly cleared her mind. He team had been deployed in a “Guǎngchǎng” or square, behind a target Red civilian ground transport. A Crane rank in its impressive armour stood ready with his multi-mode rifle ready covering the left flank. A prone celestial guard with smoke launcher, stood at the corner of the vehicle, covering the right. Ziya’s own postion overlapped the Guard giving her a clear line of fire over the crouched form of the Su Jian. Finally Xi Zhuang stood ready, his two Mad Traps either side him.
The sounds of more distant gunfire filled the air. Multiple shotgun blasts answer by a high powered pistol.
“Bandit engaged. Sniper under fire, Sniper under……..” the com went dead.
The Wild Cats drew closer.
They approached carefully spreading their line into a zig zag deployment, a smart move to avoid being caught in blast effects. Ziya suddenly went cold, and realised the depth of her mistake!
BOOM!! The deafening roar of a fully automatic assault “boarding” shotgun roared. The Celestial Guard stood firm but sparks flew across the surface of the Su Jian as the “buck-shot” spread. A gash appeared in the side of the Su Jian exposing the polymer bundles of artificial myomer muscle.
Then everything happened at once! The Wild Cat pushed forward, his shotgun roaring. One of Xi’s Mad Traps ignited its rocket propelled boosters and flew over the vehicle, exploding with an odd squelch noise as it deployed its payload of adhesive foam. The Celestial Guard on point crumpled and the Su Jian threw itself forward out of danger. Ziya was suddenly overcome with a sense of weightlessness, as the shotgun burst lifted her off the ground. She never felt the impact as her body hit the ground, she was dead.
Xi watched her fly backwards, he knew she was dead even before the tactical display informed him. The Crane rank standing point in front of him, suddenly disappeared under a wave of grey foam, that expanded to cover him, before making an odd crackling noise as it solidified! His other Mad Trap suddenly launched and a cry of protest was drowned out by expanding foam as a Jaguar was frozen into place.
“This is Xi Zhuang! I am assuming command. Deploy the Su Jian!!!”
Barely had the words left his mouth when the cat like robotic form of the Su Jian left forward. Its Spitfire rang out. The Wildcat with the shotgun receive no mercy despite being immobilised in the adhesive foam from the Mad Trap. It just made him an easier target. The Su Jian didn’t even pause. The spitfire continuing to fire, cutting down the Wildcats one after another. A stray rocket exploded in the “sky” above them as the wildcat pitched back his chest riddled with bullets. The Wildcat commander, in a desperate move, threw himself over nearby crates, crashing to the floor behind them.
In one fluid motion the Su Jians form changed, parts flowing over each other as what was its arms hit the ground becoming the front legs of the Su Jian’s High Mobility for. Xi ducked as the Su Jian raced straight at him and bound over his head. Is spitfire roaring as it engaged a Jaguar. The jaguar grunted in pain, not even looking down at his shredded abdomen and his intestines began to unravel. He lifted his pistol and fired again and again. The Su Jian bucked under the fire. A wall of Eclpise smoke suddenly appeared, and just before he disappeared being the wall of night, Xi caught a glance of their assailant. Señor Massacre!
The Su Jian continued to move running straight at the Jaguar – Xi wondered if its programming had finally been overcome as at ran with abandon into the fire, but then its purpose became clear. Its mouth opened to roar and a cloud of flame shot forward engulfing the Jaguar and disappearing into the cloud of night towards de Castro. As the flame met the night it’s light simply disappear, but Xi knew it continued forward. The Jaguar writhed as the fire consumed him, but even as he fell his pistol rang out one more time, the bullet hitting the Su Jian straight in the source of its roar. Fire and smoke billowed out of the Su Jian’s head and with a deafening boom its head exploded. The cat like form stood for a moment, then toppled forward like a puppet with its strings cut.
Out of the smoke rolled Señor Massacre. Knife between his teeth, stun pistol in hand. He raised the pistol towards Xi. Their eyes locked.
“Burn! You fraker!” Xi’s under barrel flamethrower threw out a jet of flame even as the Stun round hit him on the chest. Massacre screamed and stumbled, his form almost appearing to melt in front of Xi in a pillar of flame, and then suddenly start to jerk back and forth as his caseless ammo cooked off, like fire crackers on the new year. Xi still stood! His arms tingling from the electrical shock of the stun pistol.
There was a sudden movement, a blur of a dark cloak. Xi spun about his combi rifle firing as he turned. A flash filled his vision, his limbs became heavy, like lead weights, dragging him down. The tattooed face of a Maasai Hunter stared down at him – not mocking him, but with the respect of a true hunter. He drew his long hunting knife and in a swift motion drew it across the neck, in a coup de grace, of the Celestial Guard he had stepped over, before stepping towards Xi.
As the Maasai began to hack into his command and control personal area network, Xi heard more gun fire as the Kuang Shi, loyal to the Empire to the end, threw themselves into battle. The last Kuang Shi rushed the Wild Cat Lieutenant with abandon, his stun pistol firing wildly. The Wild Cat back peddled as his armour took hit after hit from the pistol before finally getting a final shot at the Kuang Shi…. As the Kuang Shi fell a feminine voice sounded from the Kuang Shi’s back pack “五四三二一”