A short story battle report from the Strike Zone: Wotan campaign by Beasts of War
Ziya Hai took a moment to look up from her position, and she realised her mistake. Her stomach churned in defiance as her occipital lobe failed to make sense of the curving horizon. Like many space facilities the Nomad Forja platforms main habitat was mounted on a spinning curved ring with the city like structures literally on the floor of the hull. Ziya understood all of this… her stomach however did not.
The gravelly voice of Xi Zhuang came from behind her, “Keep your eyes on the streets, and try not to look up”. She threw an icy glance over her shoulder at Xi. He may have been a battle hardened special operative, but she was in command of this tactical squad, and she must not show weakness to her subordinates.
Ziya cast her mind back to the mission briefing. She had only been posted to Wotan recently and knew that her promotion to mission lieutenant was not due to her merit but rather the Yu Jing ambassador to Wotan trying to incur favour with her father Hai Xen, a prominent party member. The mission started as a simple intel. Infiltrate La Forje base and gather intelligence on the Nomads after the recent incident from two data terminals. Once her team had deployed a complication arose. Intel had reported that a PanOceania special forces team had also deployed in the area. She updated command and new orders came through – hunt down and capture the PanO Lieutenant and mission specialists to retrieve intel from them. Intel had also identified the PanO Leutentant – a Father Knight, who went by the name Father Yeager.
“Target Acquired”. The Bao Sniper’s voices snapped her attention back to the moment. She had deployed a small “Sān” team, lead by an Imperial Agent Pheasant Rank and backed up by a Bao with Boarding Shotgun for close range security. The Sniper had deployed on a tall walkway tower with an excellent view of the central promenade – it was all straight from The Art of War.
She raised her hand in a fist and her tactical “Wǔ” team tensed ready to move. The Imperial Agent: Crane Rank cast an impressive shadow in his heavy armour. His gaze shift slightly to examine his Assault Hacking Device on his left arm. She flicked up her tactical head up display into the visor of her face plate. The enemy unit’s locations showing blue – her units showing in red. She always thought it ironic that the PanO units probably showed energy units in red, but in the Yu Jing Empire, and in the ancient Chinese empire, Red was a lucky colour.
“San, Zǒu!” – The crack of a high velocity rifle cut through the air. The blue dot in her display remained strong. Another crack rang out and yet once again the blue dot remained intact.
“Target has evaded. Target lost.” said the cold voice of the Bao, an edge of frustration in his voice.
“Move up and require” she barked into the com. The Crane slowly looked back at her, and she could almost sense his disapproval through his faceplate.
Two shots rang out, almost simultaneously. A red icon flashed in warning.
A woman’s voice of the Pheasant curse over the com “Man down! We have a Sniper on the catwalk! It’s a Nisse!”
Ziya flicked up the Point of View (PoV) camera from the Pheasant onto her visor. “Use the cover from that ad tower and truck to move up and engage”.
Red dots began to move as the Pheasant and Bao moved up, keeping a large ad tower, advertising GoGo Marlene! Ziya watched through the PoV camera as the Pheasant caught a PanO Fusilier unaware and cut her down with a rapid burst from her Red Fury. “Hostile Neutralised. We’re in position on the Sniper.”
“Zǒu!”. The Bao with the Boarding Shotgun moved around the edge of the truck, his shotgun roaring – and then crumpled like a sack of rice. A fountain of blood sprayed from his back as a high velocity hollow tip round tore through him. Ziya grimaced at the sight of what the two-stage double action round did as it flattened into a disk and blasted a hole the size of her fist through the Bao. The Pheasant Rank didn’t pause – she raised her Red Fury and stepped over the Bao firing up into the walkway.
Another shot rang out and Ziya watched as the PoV camera pivoted back and fell, coming to rest with a view of the Bao’s body next to the Pheasants.
“Xian He, Zǒu!”. The Crane looked back at her – “The Sniper has our position marked” Her remarked in a cool voice – no hint of fear, just distain.
Ziya repeated, almost shouting “Zǒu!”
The Crane bought up his Multi-Mode Rifle, thumbing the selector switch, and moved forward. Ziya and her team followed in their precise, well-practiced formation. As they moved Xi Zhuang’s goat-like MadTraps shadowed them. The Crane ranked lead them behind a walkway tower and through tight alleyway. The threat indicator in her visor flashed as the Crane rank stepped out of the alley, hugging the corner of cover. His Multi rifle barked, but was me by the boom of the Nisse’s HV round. A shower of sparks splayed of the Cranes armour as a shot glanced off. That however was just the snipers snap shot, the next two were precise and blew two huge holes through the Cranes heavy armour.
One of the younger Celestial Guards began to panic “What do we do now man! We’re hosed! What do we do now!”.
Ziya felt an icy hand on her throat, suddenly the multiple feeds through her visor overwhelmed her…. “Lay down supressing fire, and fall back to the DZ”.
The team paused then sprang into action. Two men started laying down fire down the alley ways. A warning flashed and a new threat indicator flashed up, right next to one of data consoles, she knew that meant PanO had accessed the data. Then she notices the nearest blue dot moving. The threat indicator flicked up highlighting him “Father Knight Yeager”.
“Don’t worry, he comes anywhere near us and my Mad Traps will stick it to him!” Xi grinned.
“Target engaged” shouted the suppression Celestial Guard on the left side. His combi rifle continued to fire answered by the combi rifle of the Fusilier. The sound of metal on metal and the smell of burnt circuits filled the air.
“I got him, but he took out the Mad Traps”.
Ziya went cold, this meant the Father Knight could….
A roar of the Knight’s high velocity Spitfire tore into one of the Celestial Guards, throwing him to the floor. Ziya froze for a second, knowing just around the corner was death. She slung her combi, pulling out her stun pistol.
“We take him alive, that’s the mission!” She motioned with her hand and as a co-ordinated group Ziya, Xi and the remaining celestial guard turned the corner. The Knight held his giant sword aloft, as the Celestial Guard ran around the corner. In one swift motion, he fell in two pieces as the sword neatly bisected his torso. Even as the guard fell, Ziya raised her pistol and fired, catching the surprised Knight full in the face with the stun pistol. He fell back, swaying almost link a drunk man.
Ziya stepped forward ready to finish her mission. Xi shouted a warning, and the Father Knight suddenly regained his senses, pulling his own stun pistol. Ziya and Xi rained fire on him, but it just bounced of his armour. The Father Knight’s own stun pistol blazed white and Ziya suddenly tasted ozone, the visor burred out and her muscles stubbornly refused to obey her as she fell to the ground…. The last thing she remembered was a shadow over her, and the almost mechanical deep laugh of Father Yaeger.