Author Topic: Big Sky  (Read 3867 times)

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Offline El Pip

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2021, 12:58:20 AM »
I wonder how many other people voted for the violent option in the hope that the subsequent conflict might kill Sled? I know I did.
 

Offline The0didactus (OP)

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2021, 05:56:32 PM »
chhhhhhhharrrrrgggggeeee
 

Offline The0didactus (OP)

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2021, 06:52:07 PM »
==================
STORY FIVE: ADHERENCE
==================

Three Days Later

The recently deceased Captain Helia Costades lay dead in a nearby ditch
Newly promoted Captain Everette Sledd wiped sweat from his eyes and adjusted the goggles on his survival suit, in a hope of getting some better read on the indecipherable readout before him. He tried to focus on the situation at hand, and not the fact that his left side was covered with small specks of his predecessors blood.

"Green square is us," He said.

"Correct sir." Lance Corporal Chesterton said.

"Red crooked diamondy things are infantry formations...enemies...the ones with the cross-hatchy bits I mean."

"Again, correct."

"What does it mean if there's a big x on top."

"Whole smegload of infantry sir."

"And the blue is the rest of the 2nd Regiment."

"As of this morning sir."

"And the diamonds with the pockmarks?"

"Concussion rifle nests, sir."

"Why didn't the map display the one just over the ridge?"

"We didn't know about it this morning, sir."

Captain Sledd examined Captain Costades' body again. "No, I suppose we did not." He said. "So...there could be any number of enemies off to the west that aren't on this map."

"Yessir, could be thousands."

"Crap. but there could also be nothing out there at all."

"Yes."

"Interesting...Well, last question, the red diamond in the Fjord north thats the objective..the Sea-Skimmer."

"The...uh...I believe former objective sir." Lace Corporal Chesterton replied. "Situation has changed since the ambush. I rather think the captain's previous order to regroup along the line of organization, South near Paintbrush Lake, is prudent."

"Yeah, well I'm the captain now." Captain Sledd grumbled.

The situation was disorienting, to be sure. He was in command of a squad of a few hundred, part of an advance landing force given the rather ambitious goal of capturing the largest source of fissile material on the planet...30 kilometers away along a frozen river-valley. If strategic assessments were accurate they were outnumbered perhaps seven to one, by opponents who all looked exactly alike. Whoever the original Soren Soderberg was, Sledd knew at least that the man was no slouch: since planetfall, Sledd had been locked in an unremitting melee with hundreds of his progeny: six foot three Finnish titans with stringy black hair and ice-blue eyes. The assessment released this morning predicted with high confidence that the Soderbergs were already running low on ammunition and basic supplies...but of course the same assessment had failed to record the presence of the concussion rifle nest that wiped out a quarter of his men.

There were several options available to Sledd, but he was in no position to properly weigh them. Instead, he gave the first order that came to him...

« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 06:57:44 PM by The0didactus »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2021, 07:00:08 PM »
I see from the map that we are invading Space Turkey, surely this can only go well.

As for what comes next, the answer is not "what is the best option", but rather what would a lazy, womanizing bastard of a soldier do? The answer of course is nothing. Bayonets are excellent for roasting marshmallows, yes?
 

Offline El Pip

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2021, 01:38:17 AM »
Booo. I am gravely disappointed in this turn of events.
 

Offline The0didactus (OP)

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2022, 09:12:05 PM »
("There's only one option at this point men, while that big red x is distracted, we're slipping down the river-valley and capturing that uranium. They'll thank us later!")

========================
STORY FIVE: CONSEQUENCE
========================

Four days later

Though Sledd had know way of knowing this, his decision was by far the best one he could have made. The Soderbergs had not, could not, have expected this. Decades of concerted planning by sophants bioengineered for tactical brilliance had failed to account for a single moment of blinding stupidity. Sledd had, by sheer illogic, maneuvered the better part of a regiment behind advancing enemy lines. Miles away, thousands upon thousands of Soderbergs were closing in around the field headquarters of the invading Protectorate. Meanwhile, Sledd's division of a few hundred stood on the brink of capturing the most important objective on the whole damn planet.

Much of the facility was in flames, its exterior walls cratered and buckled. From a few half-shattered pillboxes, sporadic concussion cannon bursts spayed forth in low, random rumbles. They were running low on ammo, but they were shooting with wild abandon. Desperation perhaps? That seemed likely.  Through the smoke and the crack of cannon fire, Captain Sledd could not discern much...except that he was winning. At least one of his Haymaker battlesuits was still operational, its light anti-vehicle rockets making short work of the Soderberg squadrons still massing at the mouth of the facility. In a few moments, when the smoke cleared, he would lead a detachment of a dozen heavy infantrymen into the facility, capture the uranium, and return to headquarters a goddamned hero. He could practically taste the Champaign, feel the weight of some enormous medal or other pinned to his chest.

Another rocket...another roar...another thump deep in his chest...the clatter of armored bodies falling to the earth a few hundred meters away.

Then Sledd heard the hydraulic thuds of the haymaker trampling away off to the East

...then silence.

...then the slightest breeze.

As the smoke cleared away, Sledd could see the facility gates, beyond the mangled blast doors. A massive, meaty Soderberg corpse here, another there, a small pile over there...no standing survivors, at least, none he could discern. The bastards were damn good at hiding though, and quarters in there would be tight, with plenty of opportunities to get shot from the crumbling facility towers.

Still, Sledd had come this far on impulse alone. He was not about to stop now.

"Hot damn! Big Voice is go." Sledd cried. "They are black on ammo, let's take the gate!"

His team rushed forward in the teeth of sporadic concussion cannon fire, only a few rounds remained, surely, and none struck home. The squad was through the gates in seconds, into the interior facility in less than a minute. Steel doors slid open, a few surviving soderbergs stepped forth, pistols raised, they were fast, but Sledd's bayonet was faster. Gunfire in the room beyond. From where? Sledd saw the barrel raise just a second too late, the gun spat a shard of something deadly through his right arm, before a protectorate infantryman laid his attacker low.

"Thank you, Lance Corporal." Sledd said, examining the bloody hole torn through the fleshy part of his bicep. He winced. He made a fist. Things still worked. Lucky miss.

"You're welcome sir." Lance Corporal Chesterton said, snapping a lazy salute.

"You want some ice on that?" Another soldier said, with a light chuckle. Medical supplies had run out days ago.

A clatter deeper down the corridor...

"We gotta move!" Sledd said.

His team rushed down the hall, meeting only light resistance, two more half-dazed Soderbergs who still didn't seem to fully grasp that their primary uranium depot was under attack. No casualties, no fuss, he could barely feel the sting in his right arm.

"Move move move!" Sledd said, driving his team on through smoke, and a few scattered fires...and into blinding sunlight?

At first Sledd thought he had stepped into an interior courtyard. Implausible in a fortress like this. Then it all made sense: a mortar from a Haymaker had punched a hole in the ceiling here, exposing a large computronics chamber to the outside air. A few consoles smoked and sparked. No signs of soderbergs...until Lance Corporal Chesterton dropped dead to his immediate right, a hole drilled clean through his temple.

"SNIPER!" Another soldier cried, and the squad dove for cover.

"On the roof! Two of them! Mark..." came another cry, then a shot rang out, and another soldier dropped dead.

Another shot...another death. There was precious little cover in the server room.

Captain Sledd crouched behind a steel support beam and unjammed his gun as shot after shot rang out from the ceiling above. Then he heard the dreadful CLANG CLANG CLANG of serial shots against the side of the steel beam. 

They'd picked the perfect position. They'd anticipated this.

He'd have to do something they wouldn't anticipate.

...of course there were really only two options he could think of...
« Last Edit: January 03, 2022, 09:44:25 PM by The0didactus »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2022, 11:52:14 PM »
Though Sledd had know way of knowing this, his decision was by far the best one he could have made. The Soderbergs had not, could not, have expected this. Decades of concerted planning by sophants bioengineered for tactical brilliance had failed to account for a single moment of blinding stupidity.

Truly the most realistic depiction of warfare on this board.

Quote
...of course there were really only two options he could think of...

I am simply shocked that neither of these options is to send wave after wave of his own men at them until the snipers reach their preset kill limits.
 

Offline El Pip

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2022, 01:07:47 AM »
I am simply shocked that neither of these options is to send wave after wave of his own men at them until the snipers reach their preset kill limits.
As long as Sledd leads the way and gets shot first, I support this plan.

Admittedly I've forgotten quite why I want to see the man get shot, but let us not get dragged down with trivial details.
 

Offline The0didactus (OP)

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2022, 07:54:54 PM »
it's tied.
24 hours until his fate is decided
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2022, 08:16:04 PM »
it's tied.
24 hours until his fate is decided

Direct charge up the center it is!
 

Offline The0didactus (OP)

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Re: Big Sky
« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2022, 10:33:04 PM »
================
STORY SIX: REVERENCE
================

Left, around the column.
BANG BANG
Captain Sledd squeezed off two shots into the torso of one Soderberg Sniper.
BANG
He felt the shot before he heard it as the other sniper fired back and caught him full in the throat...

The pain was incredible, transcendent really, it knocked him full outside of himself.
As his body fell backwards into the dust and broken glass, and his squad fired back, round after round, Everett saw himself from outside himself: powerful limbs useless, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. Jaw clenched, chest working furiously as his lungs rapidly filled with blood.

In that place outside himself, he could think. The pain was happening to someone else, someone that was not long for this world. He knew this was true...even if, by some miracle, the firefight died down, and his squad could rush to his side, there were no medical supplies that could deal with an injury like this. Blood would continue to pool in his chest, he would fight for air that would never come, his thoughts would slow to a crawl...then stop entirely.

...only a few thoughts left. Better make them worthwhile.

Everett Sledd thought of the mission. A success. He had very little doubt his men would take the facility. Without a steady supply of fissile material, the military installations of the soderbergs would be overrun in weeks: the planet would be firmly under the command of the Protectorate in months. After that: who knew what would happen. Certainly not Everette Sledd. Maybe this world, with its tolerable temperatures and sophisticated laboratory complexes, would become a major research hub. Maybe the Soderbergs, with their extensive genetic know-how, would become close allies of the government on Siyeh. Maybe...but maybe the whole thing would come apart in a few years. Impossible to say. Not worth dwelling on.

Everett Sledd thought of Earth, that utopia his distant ancestors had abandoned three centuries ago. Humans were scattered through creation now, building tiny communities on a dozen worlds so far apart in space they were, for most purposes, in separate universes entirely. No world could really be called home...with a few exceptions, no human had ever really been outside in centuries: felt the warmth of the sun on naked skin, swam in the sea, lay down on whistling grass...this was sad. He could not stand to think on this for long.

And so, Everett Sledd turned his thoughts to an academy class...ten years ago now, at least. He didn't remember a damn thing about the class, of course, but as his thoughts slowed to a crawl and darkness gathered at the edges of his consciousness, he seized on a ephemeral recollection: a pretty girl, in the front of the class, who'd caught his attention one dreary day. What was her name again? He'd talked her up at a concourse social event, but didn't have the nerve to speak for long. More than the green dress...it was that smile... it has hard to find the words...

such a pleasant memory, that smile...worth it...all worth it...

***
Nine days later, Herschel System
***

The Maui dutifully circled the moon of Musette, bathed in the grim grey-green glow of the gas giant Lucretia. They'd been in low orbit for nearly a year, watching small mining settlements drift past while the team aboard the survey vessel performed diagnostic tests for the benefit of roving mining bands scouting for more patches of duranium on the surface of the desolate moon. It was thankless work, but critical to the future of humanity: all Protectorate efforts, civilian and military, ran on the stuff.  Still, Ivana Fedotova felt her science division was capable of so much more. The Maui, along with companion geosurvey shuttles Iberia and India, were built by the society of colonial explorers for deep space survey, part of a small fleet of scout ships ultimately constructed to scan the starways for a second Earth.

...the war against the Technocracy had slowed that effort considerably. Every spare crate of maintenance supplies, every drop of hydrosorium fuel, was necessary in the fight to neutralize the Soderberg menace. Most of the fleet was grounded while the invasion of the Burnell system was underway.

...or at least that's what Lieutenant Commander Fedotova presumed, until the transmission from the surface of the moon came blazing through.

"The maintenance tender will arrive within two weeks, with orders from Siyeh. You are to make the Maui's science division ready for transit in the meantime, your orders are to prepare for a long mission to deep, deep space." Commander Cho said, from the surface. "I will assume command of the ship and the fleet upon arrival of the tender."

"Any idea where we're going sir?" Fedotova said, maintaining her composure, if only just.

"That's all I know, scout." Her superior replied. "Though I assume if they're willing to spare the supplies, it must be important...and I assume if I don't already know, it must be secret. I can tell you're intrigued."

"Just happy to be on the move again." Fedotova replied. She couldn't help but smile...
« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 10:44:57 PM by The0didactus »
 
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