Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by kingkonrad
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Max saw the Captain come in, already starting to chat to his tech, a rather pretty looking one no less. Why didn't he get pretty girls? Bloody officers, he thought to himself, a smirk on his face as he watched from afar. He got a scared mouse of some sort, but hey, he WAS a good tech, given how spotless this thing looked.

Max might not have had as sharp a set of ears as some, but oh, he could tell what was going on there with the Captain. Clear, concise, to the point about his weaponry though. The command module looked very cool indeed, and he could watch as Silverwind only continued to flirt.
"Honestly. Can you believe this shit?" He gently whispered to Lion Rampant with his head turned, sniggering a little as he tried to occupy himself while he watched his CO turn on the total charm.

With a sigh, Max himself looked back at his GEAR and took his Pebble out, already going through some basic diagnostics for the Lion Rampant and basic running specs. Just like the manifest pad, everything was good here, motors were in tolerance and so was power and all electronics on board. Just what he liked to see. Looking back one more time, the paint was different to the rest he noticed, making him realise. Ah, shit. He was the kid with the newest toy and he didn't even know. Enough to put a paint job on it already. His recon lot had gotten a shipment a few months back, it was probably why they got lucky to have first-dibs on something like this. Well....keep that down, Max thought to himself. Or well, maybe don't. Possibly.

"Bastion," he called out as he caught sight of the lion. "All all right?" he said, thumbing in direction of the felines' GEAR.


Max looked over, nodding and giving a thumbs up, whistling a little as he looked over at Silverwind's GEAR.
"She's not bad!" Max called back, the empty hardpoints showing a rather aesthetically pleasing GEAR, even if it hadn't been painted. In that moment he just took a moment to realise....fuck, that wasn't what he was meant to say. Now saying that the GEAR he had was an object of desire was one thing.....subliminally that came across as something else. Very, very something else. Fuck it, in for a penny, in for a pound he thought, as Silverwind wondered over...

"My, my, my, Captain Blade. The absolute romantic. You two really just hit off there then, hey?" He chuckled with a toned down voice, knowing full well he was utterly stirring the pot here, and well....for that moment at least, Max wanted just one gentle dig. For what it was worth, if Silverwind was more Arvaran than a cyborg he knew the tone wouldn't come across too seriously, as Max looked back up at the Lion Rampant, and then at the vulpine.

"They're proper nice these GEARs, aren't they? Mine's called the Lion's Rampant. She served me proper back when I was on recon duty. Good agility compared to anything else I've tried before, and I've just had the latest OS update on it to bring it line with the rest here. So yeah, they certainly live up to the hype." Max said, tapping the knee of the GEAR, the brown-gold a colour scheme fitting of a feline such as him. While not as daunting as the command mech, it looked like it'd clocked up some miles, even taken a couple of low-caliber rounds in one or two plates that hadn't been changed or replaced. It was completely clean, but the overall look of it was that Max had put it through its paces. The lion looked back at the Captain, Max's look getting a little more serious and back down to reality.

"I've currently got my standard Reconaissance package installed on it, but if you need anything changed from the Manifest sheet, let me know. I know that some officers have a different requirement for what Recon operators should do, so just keep me posted and I'll change this thing up. Oh, and on that note- I know a gal that can do some serious paintwork. She's a reservist...I can't remember where they posted her to, but I can send across her details to you if you want her to do some professional spraying on these things. If you can clear that and if you're like me, can't trust your paw with a spraycan of course." Max added, looking around at his and then back at Silverwind, hoping that even if he didn't say yes, he at least planted the idea in his mind.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by redbaron1234
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Leslie Sobero



Leslie did not spot the Captain walk in , and was a little startle by him piping in. Though given that the invite was to the entire squad, it wasn't too surprising he was here

"Anyhow, sucks I seem to have missed out on all th' socialisin'. But, I'm gonna head.. down? aft? to the ass end?" he gave an amused smile and shrugged "whatever the hell it's called I ain't in the navy, an' try my GEAR on fer size. Gotta make sure that the seat's adjusted properly, an' it's got the right cup holder installed. See ya down there, folks".


"Actually sir it's called the a—" She was cut off by the distinctly sinister laugh the otter let out. She couldn't tell what they were giggling about but the timing was a little worrying. Still, she couldn't help but find the otter's energy endearing.

"I will be trying my best to lend all my skills for this team. If you ever feel like your GEAR or any personal equipment could do with a technical touch, let me know. I am already compiling a list of additions or upgrades to your gear that I will present when we have more time."


"I'm sure we'll get along fine. I'm a little more on the physical side of machinery but I think I'll be working with you more often than not." Idly she wondered if this was the otter when she was cafinated. "But yeah, I'm not a stranger to fixing things as well. " She hummed as the little droid climbed over the tech guru. "Oh neat, that little thing looks like it could be handy"

The bear, well the bear was built like a brick outhouse, and the deliberate nature of his speech seemed to emphasize the strength of his body. His line about bullets practically was out of a movie. "I don't think I caught your name, actually. You sound like the heavy weapons guy? We'll probably end up coordinating a fire support position soon enough," she said.

Looking around, she realized it was too late to grab the Captain or the Lion. She was already forming a list of her GEAR loadout, but she could spare some time. Instead she turned to the Gazelle. "And you are the medic?" She asked, tapping her own shoulder where her combat engineer badge was. "Always glad to see someone like you around. Hopefully we won't need you but," she shrugged, "Better safe than sorry."

Drumming her fingers lightly on the table, she looked around. "So uh, this is actually my first deployment. I'm pretty excited about it. I was about to go set my GEAR up, if you wanted to join me?"
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Ramjammer
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She sat in silence for a good while, her ears swivelling every which way any time someone had something to tell her. The little team was a mixed bunch, but they were at least open with her to some capacity. The Ibex was grateful that they were willing to accept her help. She couldn’t count the number of stubborn soldiers that she’d met who would refuse healing. Their conditions would worsen to the point of being unbearable, and then once they were bedridden had the absolute gall to ask how such a thing could even happen. 

Telling them to pull their heads out of their asses wasn’t much of a prescription, but that didn’t stop Vonys from applying it liberally.

‘As long as I don’t have to go hounding them about it.’ She thought before letting her gaze slide over to rest on Rishun, the other woman’s excited manner of speech and gesticulations drawing her notice.

The little Otter was practically vibrating out of her seat with excitement. Some team, were clearly more prone to talk than others but Vonys didn’t mind and in fact welcomed it. It did sometimes get awkward tending to someone’s wounds in dead silence, though she’d long since come to understand that most people had no desire to talk about anything as they were poked and prodded. On occasion Vonys would have to urge the more seriously injured to talk, lest they slip into unconsciousness at an inopportune time but she didn’t foresee that problem with Rishun at least.

The smaller woman’s manner of speech was...interesting. Peppered liberally with what Vonys could only presume to be Otter slang and other figures of speech. The Ibex appreciated the ease that Rishun displayed in weaving the lilting speech throughout the conversation. She clearly took some measure of pride in her heritage and would not dial it back for anyone it seemed. A respectable trait.

Admittedly, though she kept it to herself, Vonys found Rishun rather funny to listen to.

‘I wonder if she’ll teach me a few words. It couldn’t hurt.’ The Ibex thought briefly. Sociable as Otters were, they were bound to respond better to someone who had at least a passing knowledge of their language. She hoped that the effort would be appreciated, anyway.

Talk that was once pleasant, if a bit stilted took a brief downturn, however. Words even brief exchanged on the matter of just who and what they might come across out in the field. Vonys held no illusions that anyone they ran into would give themselves over willingly, if at all. And that was without the ever present threat of being killed. There was something particular about mankind that when faced with their own demise, drew out their worst.

Mortality was never a subject easy to broach, and while not a fatalist, Vonys had the particular ‘honor’ of seeing what became of people when death loomed at their door.

She wondered, if only briefly, what those supposed ‘bad people’ would do when they were finally pressed into a corner. Would they fight back? Fueled by a reasoning they hadn’t even begun to fathom, intent to take down as many people as they could? Would they beg and plead for mercy that none of them were authorized to give, or just accept their fate with nary a whimper in protest? None of them could even fathom what it was this ‘Silent Line’ even wanted to begin with. Would dying be an honor to them? A glory reserved only for the best among them? They were the kind of thoughts like to drive a woman mad.

Death was not as dignified as many hoped. It was often very painful and very messy. There were many times when Vonys knew full well that she was attempting to piece together a dead body, so fleeting was the time her patients had left. A grim exhaustion would settle over her during those times. There was never any relief to be found at the end of it all, not for her. Merely a distant sense of finality that reminded her of a job done, and the start of another. One death was the same as any other in her book. Men bled, they wept, and they died. One and all.

What distinction could anyone hope to earn from something that came for everyone in the end, Vonys couldn’t say. There was no greater equalizer among men than the cold embrace of the grave.

‘Yeesh, I’m turning into my grandmother over here.’ The woman thought balefully, shaking her head rapidly to clear away the encroaching depression that came with such a way of thinking. She rubbed at her snout, snuffling quietly and tilting an ear, half listening to the Captain’s intent to check on his own GEAR in the Hangar.

‘A good idea.’ She thought, watching Max hustle along behind the other man. Her GEAR would see about as much use as everything in the infirmary, and it was just as valuable if not more so. Being a Combat Medic, Vonys didn’t need all the trappings fitted to her Unit the way another soldier would. Though Search and Rescue work made use of some rather specific loadouts. At the very least it wouldn’t hurt to make sure everything was in its proper place.

The Doe, Leslie seemed to be of the same mindset. Vonys nearly slapped herself for practically ignoring the other woman in favor of pursuing useless musings and offered her a rather stilted response.

“Need me? Well, eventually someone on this ship will get hurt, otherwise there’s no point to me being here, I guess? Not that I WANT any of you to get hurt, mind you. It’s just...It would be boring. Not that you being injured would be entertaining. I’d hate it. A lot.” She coughed loudly into a fist and moved to stand a little too quickly.

‘Smooth. I definitely don’t look like an idiot right now.’ She seethed internally. Vonys drummed up a smile and nodded at Leslie. “But you’re right, we should set up right now. I’ll join you.” Vonys spared Rishun and Fionn a glance. “What about you two? You’ll have to go down there eventually, why not come along?”

Hidden 28 days ago 13 days ago Post by Esailia
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Rishun, standing beside the table with her little mechanical annoyance sitting on her shoulder, smiles at the compliments directed to Scrap, but at that moment she was thinking of different ways to tear its code apart....

"Kh'Langhoa. Thank you, but he is meant to actually go back to his container when I order him Qyii'radey. It's where he recharges and saves power when not in use." At the Ottrean word for home, it scurried down her back and flipped the lid on its container, falling silent. Rishun let out a breathy noise of frustration, a cross between a half-assed screech and a yip, stomping a padded foot on the floor "He is supposed to respond to both!"

She shrugged and took a breath, calming herself Before looking to Vonys, nodding once "Yhe, before I yienahiiek, let's get going. Seeing my GEAR might prevent me from tearing Scrap apart."

She waited for the others to stand, and took the lead towards and out the door...

____________________________________________

Down in the bay, the small group entered in ther own time, with Rishun sprinting across the open space in that bounding run otters refuse to get rid of towards her GEAR. The same size as the rest, and outwardly it didn't have any differences to a stock GEAR. The barely colored exterior didn't help make it stand out either. However, there was something worth noting; an otter was looking at a clipboard, standing by the GEAR's leg. The military clearly thought this out, knowing the only way an otter would get anything across to their maintenance parter was if that partner could exchange thoughts just as quickly.

Rishun slowed her speed, but didn't stop upon getting up to the other otter, and the sound of running caught the engineer's attention, his face lit up.
"Ahh'khkh!"
"Aah'khkh!"
The both exclaimed repeatedly, the clipboard set on the foot of the GEAR so the pair could circle each other happily. It was after ten seconds of this happy greeting did they stop and sit on their hind legs, barely a foot apart from each other to converse.

Rishun: "Uukhma'Shoamhien'mlud'yhezlikh'yunka??................Yhe'yhe'yeh'yhe!"
Engineer:"Uukhma'GEARsiikh........Yhe'yhe'yhe'ney'Chikhousx'GEARsiikh'Uukhma!"

They were pawing at each other's hands accompanied by their yips and flowing language, overlapping each other regularly.

Rishun: "Uukhma'Rishun'yhe'muyn?.............Yhe'yhe'yhe'Yunka!"
Engineer: "..........Uukhma'Z'awwkh..Yhe'yhe'yunka...........Yhe!"


The engineer had gestured downwards with both arms when mentioning 'Yunka', while Rishun's arms hadn't done anything at all. At this point however they started to speed up once they had heard each each other talk, overlapping speech and gestures so quickly that even Ai would be unable to keep up with both accurately. Which is part of why Silverwind would've been informed of Z'awwkh's inclusion on the ship despite his lower qualifications.

The two kept at it for a few minutes, then turned to the GEAR, Rishun climbing up into the highly technological cockpit with Z'awwkh close behind. They resumed their chattering there as Rishun Typed a string into a security panel, flipping various screens on and off, then pulling up holographic read outs.

At one point Z'awwkh flipped around and climbed down the leg again upside down to grab the clipboard again, climbing up and handing it over to Rishun. On it was a manifest of the modules and equipment she had installed currently. Rishun loved to take the stuff that made her feel like God, but it also would expose her to enemy detection systems. Perhaps this mission wouldn't benefit from that...

Manifest Tab

Transfer of: RI-G23 "Hargun" GEAR from Research and Development division to ***redacted***

Request: Lieutenant Rishun Sprinsteam

GEAR Designation: RD-0230
User Name: "Aqua Goddess"

All standard GEAR weaponry and features have been inspected/maintaned as per SOP

Requesitioned Loadout:
Package Designation: Overwatch and information gathering

-Amphibious assault rifle, Underbarrel spear launcher attachment, Sidebarrel spotlights, Handheld/Rear Hardpoint

-Ten(10) aquatic calibre magazines, Left Hip Hardpoint
-ECM(Electronic Countermeasures) pod, Right Hip Hardpoint

-Utility tool pod, Left Forearm
-Standard issue Pile Bunker, Right Forearm

-Long Range Radar dome, Left Shoulder Hardpoint
-ELINT suite, Right Shoulder Hardpoint

-Advanced sensor Suite, Back hardpoint
-Standard issue combat knife, Inside Left Shoulder (Shield)

Other Stores:
-Personal mobile drone kit, Inside Rear Left Leg
-personal weaponry and toolkit, Inside Rear Right Leg

Installed/Inspected By: Technician Z'awwkh
Signed: Z'awwkh
Date: xx xx xxxx
Manifest


She gave a quick nod to Z'awwkh and gave a short reply, punching in the security code again to lock the interface away once more and slipping out of the cockpit. Once back on the ground with her new friend, they started looking around, with Rishun pointing out her squad members one by one and saying their names. For otters this was a common practice, and Z'awwkh quickly returned the favor by pointing out a few of the other of the technicians he knew.
Hidden 18 days ago Post by redbaron1234
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Leslie had smiled at the Ibex's response. "Cool, I'm sure the cooks want us to get out of the way so they can clean up," she said as she stood up. Following the others, it took a few minutes to get to the GEAR bay. During that time Leslie went over her load out in her mind. A 20mm rifle would be a safe bet, given how flexible it was. A chainsaw would also be a good choice to help clear obstacles, along with a combat axe and combat claw. A utility tool pod was also a good idea

The most likely threat that they would have to face would be a man-portable anti-armor launcher. A back mounted ECM pack would help jam the guided ones, though they would have to stay vigilant to avoid dumb projectiles. Though in the hopefully unlikely case that they had to deal with enemy armor, a pair of Anti-Armor missiles on the shoulder would be useful.

Going back to what she could do to be useful in a fight, a rocket pod on her other shoulder would allow her to lay down smoke and heavy explosives as needed. All the GEARS were equipped with spotlights and there would be no friendly forces to worry about illuminating during this night mission. For that final rocket, knockout gas could be useful in capturing a target.

To round it all out, her shoulder shield would be able to store more than enough rifle ammunition and a few more smoke grenades, and a pistol on her hip, along with a trio of explosive charges would hopefully be enough to cover anything they came across.

She put in her load out to the head technician, and went to work helping them install the load out.



Loadout:
Left Shoulder HP: Rocket Pod, 3 smoke, 3 HE, 1 knockout
Right Shoulder HP: Anti Armor Missiles
L forearm HP: Combat Claw
R Forearm HP: Utility Tool Pod
Back HP: ECM Pod
Left Hip HP: Combat Axe
Right Hip HP: 20mm Pistol, 2 magazines, 2 Explosive Charges
Shield Storage: 10 Rifle Magazines, 3 smoke hand grenades
Hidden 18 days ago Post by Lurking Shadow
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Fionn was buried deep in thought for the rest of the interaction, offering only brief replies when spoken to. The time was getting nearer when he would once again pilot a GEAR. Most would probably view GEARs as a weapon or perhaps a tool. Some might even go as far as to attach sentiment to the mechs, establish a relationship of some sort to some soulless machine.

Fionn sees them a little differently. To him GEARs are like metal golems, unmoving colossus that are animated only by the pilot. An extension of their will, his will. In a way they are similar to one’s limbs. They both require input from a brain, the pilot. They both operate as commanded. They both can both sustain damage, impairing movement if enough is taken. They both can be mended, and if destroyed, can be replaced. As long as the brain, the pilot survives, another GEAR can be obtained much as medical technology allows for some to get limbs of metal.

In this way, Fionn ascribes no importance to specific GEARs, but to them as a whole. GEARs, for the most part, come carbon copy, but given the modular nature they can be customized. The essence of each pilot being captured by the equipment they chose.

One could easily tell that Fionn liked the big guns by looking at his GEAR. For direct fire, 20mm Rotary Cannon works well to riddle an enemy with holes and to suppress the ones that live. If terrain or another obstacle is in the way, a 120mm mortar can bypass that due to the low muzzle velocity. Things that go up, must come down as this weapon demonstrates by hitting the rarely fortified tops of targets. In the case of enemy Close Air Support, some Anti-Air missiles should at the least deter them. If any enemies get too close, a combination of arm mounted shotgun and combat claw would not make him completely helpless. All the other hardpoints will store more ammo so he can sustain combat longer and hopefully outlast the enemy if nothing else.

Sensing everyone else getting up, Fionn snapped out of his thinking and joined the others. It was a brief journey to the GEARs and an even briefer conversation with the tech consisting of few questions with little note. Fionn gave a long look at his GEAR, disliking the clean appearance of it. Free of any flair or scar. It seemed so…sterile. Bland, lacking of any personality, but that is something he’ll have to change. Not through a paint job or adding art, he preferred to carry any scars he may get on the battlefield. If it does not need to be repaired, he preferred to leave it as is. For Fionn, it was better to earn these sorts of things than to have it given. Each wound a testament to his mettle worn like a badge, and in a way for him, it is. It is now just a matter of waiting for the battle, and of course surviving but that last bit tends to be an afterthought.



GEAR loadout

20mm Rotary Cannon, ammo drum mounted to left hip hardpoint

Anti-Air Missiles, right shoulder hardpoint

Breech-loading Mortar, left shoulder hardpoint. 6 anti-armor/3 frag/3 smoke rounds loaded

Automatic Shotgun, right forearm hardpoint

Combat Claw, left forearm hardpoint

Extra 20mm drum, back hardpoint

Extra 120mm mortar carousal, right hip hardpoint. 3 smoke/6 frag/ 3 anti-armor loaded

4 hand grenades (1 incendiary, 1 frag, 2 smoke), shield storage
Hidden 17 days ago Post by Silverwind Blade
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<Snipped quote>


Silverwind made a show of raising an eyebrow and feigning ignorance at Max's comment regarding his conversation with his tech. "No idea what yer talkin' about," he said with amusement, folding his arms. He followed the lion's look to his GEAR and nodded slowly. "They're supposed to be the best," he replied. "Best that we can get, anyways. An' y'all have piloted one before, so if ya have any tips fer the rest of us, then feel free ta spill. As fer a paint job," he mused, rubbing the bottom of his muzzle with the back of his cybernetic hand. "...I'll let ya know. Let's see how this mission goes first, eh?"
He turned to look over the rest of the bay; the remainder of the units' pilots were animatedly engaged with their own technicians, their GEARs underway in being loaded out for the upcoming mission. He hoped there'd be time for tweaks once they rendezvoused with the flotilla and received their final briefing; and indeed, given the assault itself was amphibious in nature, he expected there'd be some need to minor tweaks given the GEARs having to be moved from ship to shore through one method or another, but that was yet to be revealed.
Almost on cue, his pebble chirped a signal, and he excused himself from Max and slid the device onto his left forearm. It interfaced with the electronics in the cybernetic limb, customised by a friend and an investment of several bottles of aged Lantrean Whiskey, and a holographic screen sprang into life in the air above his arm.
The ships's XO appeared in the screen. "Captain. We'll be making our rendezvous with the remaining ships in twenty minutes. A helo from the amphibious assault ship will be landing on the fantail in five, they'll be taking your unit aboard for final briefings. We'll catch up to you at the ship".
"Understood, sir. Thanks for the heads up. I'll have my people ready to leave".
Silverwind turned back to Max with a nod as he shut the screen down.
"Looks like it's about ta get interestin'. Time to round up the kids, we're goin' on a flight".
The fox raised his voice and yelled above the hubbub of the hangar bay. "HUNTERS, FRONT AN' CENTER! WE GOT A FLIGHT INCOMIN'!"

Hidden 17 days ago 16 days ago Post by kingkonrad
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Max could only shake his head, knowing Silverwind very well was a wily fox indeed, just the was he smoothly let it go. Lookig back at the GEAR, he listened to Silver's intial comments, nodding as he commented on the GEAR and anything to do with Max's input.
"Can do. It's nothing an operator like you should have trouble with." Max replied, aware that if a recon operator could take command, the reputable and highly experienced Captain Blade would be fine.

Behind Silverwind, Max could see the deer and bear of the group were alreading begin to already inspect their GEARs over, setting up their arsenals. As a judgy person, Max wanted to see what they had attached, noting that Leslie had taken a focus towards engineering and demolitions, with some AT capability. The ability to fix, as well as blow stuff up to equal measure. Meanwhile, Fionn had gone for a heavy arsenal, a mortar, akin to Silverwind's; but the AA missiles, auto shotgun and 20mm rotary cannon, a weapon that seemed almost impractically large even for the size of a GEAR, made Fionn indeed the boom-boom. In hindsight, perhaps Max could have gone for a slight more anti-armour presence- but no matter, that was what a 30mm rifle did, and with AP rounds, all but the heaviest targets could be breached. An old-school form of anti-tank weaponry, but a relevant one none the less.

His look at the two sterile but well armed GEARS was interrupted however, as the feline saw Silverwind's prosthetic limb come to life, the holographic screen popping up. Looking on, he didn't hear it all, but heard something along the lines that they were going to the amphibious assault craft, and getting taken on board. Silverwind turned back to him, Max attentitive to his comment as he replied.
"Was about to say, it'll be good to find out what the plan is..." The lion looked on as Silverwind gathered the rest of the team, ready to follow the Captain to the incoming helicopter and their final briefing.
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Silverwind raised his voice and yelled above the hubbub of the hangar bay. "HUNTERS, FRONT AN' CENTER! WE GOT A FLIGHT INCOMIN'!"


Rishun and Z'awwkh both jerked their heads up towards the call, and all conversation ceased. She quickly bowed and exchanged a few last paw pats with Z'awwkh "Yheney'Ahh'khkh!" Before bolting off on all fours towards Silverwind across the bay, dodging around the busy technicians and engineers. At one point she had to skid and hop left to avoid being run over, putting on full display the deceptive agility a fit otter had on land.

The driver honked his horn and called "Oi! Use the marked walkways! Tires don' care what your rank is!" Rishun nodded and skipped past, sprinting down between a pair of yellow lines with Safety Sam the stick figure marking it as a walkway.

When she finally slid to a stop somewhat more gracefully than earlier that day, she stood and saluted Silverwind "Gyu'ook, Sir. I got caught up in talking with my technician, I will work on the communications upgrade later."

She stepped aside and fell in beside Max, biting her lower lip as she held her hands behind her back, standing at parade rest. Rishun glanced up at the lion, and in a quite voice asked "We're hunters now? I mean I've hunted fish whichisnopicnicletmetelyou..."
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The lion could only chuckle as the otter ran exitedly, before being told to get back on the yellow walkways. As someone who had often been on board these ships and in airbases, the yellow line was there for good reason. And well, maybe it was exitement overcoming inexperience. Still, Rishun was exited, and her GEAR was certainly capable. Almost SOF-spec for naval wetwork with the aquatic rifle, and while it had a greater number of sensors, it was tailored to a different kind of observation than Max's GEAR would have. More strategic recon, rather than Max's tactical search-and-destroy capabilities. The aquatic rifle was unsuprising, given Max knew the otter's water capabilities far surpassed that of Max's own. And he surfed, for goodness sake- felines and water just didn't seem to blend in nature. Rishun no doubt was exceptionally capable, as her type seemed to be. Still, as the otter fell in, she looked up to Max's tall stature, exitable yet now dialed down a volume. He gave a wry smirk, looking back as she spoke to him. He was already aware of her exitable nature, as he thought of something to reply, knowing maybe now he could get it off his mind before they were a bit more formal and assembled.

"Well especially that we're now a Hunter-Killer team that you and me seem to be in, Rishun. We'll make a good little partnership." Max said, aware the others were coming in, off his formal rest until the others were here.

"If we are working together though...just be careful with that long-range radar set. If we run into anything hostile and it's turned on, your back becomes a giant beacon for anti-radiation missiles. Obvious I know, but the amount of times I nearly got caught out with it when I used one myself to support an AA post....it's a lesson I learned I suppose." Max said, looking on as the others began to slowly come in, before looking back at Rishun. He hated himself sometimes for how he behaved, but well, he was direct. SOF training and his years of service weren't alike Rishun's background no doubt, it made him exitable and passionate but in a very, very different way. More to the point, it made him almost stubborn to a fault, and well, he had to make sure he was on the level with Rishun before they deployed. A personal quirk, given he could have probably done it better, but alas, such was Max.

"I also hear you're incredible with technology and dealing in electronic warfare from your reputation- and I really hope we both get to work together on that. Your mind with drones, my experience in recon....we could be unstoppable. But just keep in mind, don't jump too far ahead with what capabilities you have. Recon isn't about using techology as a crutch, especially if we're the ones holding onto it- when you can't safely deploy a drone or find anything to hack, sometimes you have to play it perhaps....more analogue than digital, if you get my drift. Disembark and get close in if needs be, or do something else to gather information.

"While you might be able to see a wider range of threats, and tamper with them too, you won't have a hard counter to a direct threat if you're an EW specialist. And don't put yourself on the line when it comes to that- it's something I'm happy to do, it takes a lot of experience to get right. That and I've got the 30mm rifle that can hit targets over 2.5km away- so it'll do just that. I imagine you're aware of that fact, if you're getting my gist- but just when we're out there, keep a cool head about you and don't jump ahead when we're looking for intel. Remember, we're both in the business of information, but how we tackle it is very different. I just want to make sure we're on the same level when we're out there. Alright?" Max said, his hushed tones still coming across as heavy, but coming from a good place.

Max knew at the same time, he was trying not to be too far gone right now- he just wanted to make sure Rishun understood. She was a similar age, but he just didn't want her to be too over-enthusiastic in the field and get in over her head when there was something on the other side of the hill that was threatening. At the least, Max knew he could survive a bit longer in a CQB situation and indeed, his rifle was the full-stop to any distant fireworks that might arise.
Hidden 4 days ago Post by redbaron1234
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Leslie Sobero




The fox raised his voice and yelled above the hubbub of the hangar bay. "HUNTERS, FRONT AN' CENTER! WE GOT A FLIGHT INCOMIN'!"


Leslie swore as she was elbow deep in the guts of her GEAR, finishing helping the technician feed a hydraulic line. Thankfully the otter had gotten ahold of the free end in time to let her run to answer the Captain's summons. Standing at attention next to Rishun, minding the yellow line after seeing them get chastised.

She arrived towards the end of Max's discussion with Rishun, and listened in to them talking about their capabilities. After he was done she leaned over and asked. "Hey, you sound like you're pretty experienced yourself. You been in on a few missions before? This is actually my first deployment and I'm still a little surprised I've been selected for this. I hope I live up to your standards," she said with a little smile.
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A bell rang across the space of the naval vessels' hangar, and with a clatter and rumble of machinery the hangar door rolled upward toward the ceiling. The salty gust of night sea air blasted into the hangar and chased out the lingering chemical smells of GEAR maintenance. The brief pause was taken away as the clattering thunder of rotor blades filled the space and a helicopter touched down on the pad, bouncing lightly on its' skids.
"Let's go!" Silverwind yelled above the noise, leading the Hunters to the chopper as the cabin door opened. The loadmaster ushered them all aboard, the fox climbing aboard last.
The flight over to the amphibious assault ship was short, but gave them all a good look at the flotilla of vessels as they plowed through the waves. Even in the dark, their running lights lit them up like alien constructs in the darkness of the night-time ocean.
As the chopper angled toward the flat-top deck of the amphibious assault ship. A duo of heavier transport helos lifted off as their smaller helicopter angled in for a landing, heading in the direction they'd just come. "Going to pick up your GEARs, sir", the loadmaster said over the intercom.

The helo set down, and the GEAR pilots were ushered through the corridors and decks to a capacious briefing room. Officers, ratings and various other personnel were all clustered together, with numerous screens and holoprojectors set up at the far end of the room. Even as the Ghost Hunters filed in, more people followed. By the end, the room had about fifty people assembled. The murmur of conversation continued, and then died away abruptly in a shuffle of squeaking chairs on the floor and boots hitting the floor as the officer in command of the task group walked in.
A smartly appointed and stern-faced stag, captain Heartmann took position behind a lectern at the head of the room.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. You all know the jist of why we're here; hostile elements have taken control of Isenor; a remote island under Anthillan administration. The island is uninhabited on a regular basis, with only occasional visits from research personnel or military personnel. There is a small installation for defence and resupply; a paved emergency airstrip and heliport with a pair of hangars, an operations building, a concrete dock and associated facilities and accomodation".
The screens changed to show an overhead map of Isenor, pinpointing the facilities on the island. The island itself was roughly a flattened diamond shape, with the longer points to the North-East and South-west. The airfield was centrally placed, the runway running along from the south to north, and the dock in the middle of the island. It was a short mass of land, flat and only three miles along its' longest axis and a mile and a half through the middle, and mostly forested - other than where it was cleared, of course.
"Drone recon has shown that the vessels and aircraft noted as coming and going have been shipping in people and supplies. No heavy vehicles have been noted, but several light fighting vehicles up to the level of IFV's have been spotted, as well as fortified positions for containerized automatic cannon, anti-ship, anti-air and anti-armour missiles, as well as heavy weapon positions set up at key points. Armed utility GEARs have also been spotted. Utility aircraft have been observed, but do not appear to be armed, likewise with seacraft, though these may have been equipped with heavy weapon crews and small arms".
Heartmann's sharp, blue eyes zeroed in on Silverwind the the rest of the Ghost Hunters where they sat among the group.
"The main offensive force will be the 33rd; they'll be deployed by air assault to go ashore and take out the mobile defences and secure the structures and the airstrip for a follow-one strike team. The 33rd's assault will follow on directly from a missile strike against the fixed positions as cover. Jamming drones and countermeasures will also be deployed to shield the Ghost Hunters' assault."
The captain informed the rest of the commanders of their specific roles; after that the rest was general information: The weather would be cloudy, with no moon. The sea state calm and the tide going in. It was as good as they could hope for with an amphibious assault. After that, there was only time: a few short hours to prepare.

***

Silverwind adjusted the cuff and collar on his GEAR pilots' uniform and pulled on his gloves as he moved up the stairs to the amphibious ships' deck. The thunder of rotor blades and whining turbine engines filled the space from the pair of heavy twin-rotor transport helicopters, their stance like big predatory birds, crouching to leap into the skies. The red running lights gave them an even more threatening air.
The fox looked to the rest of the unit, about to speak, but was interrupted by a light-show as the ships launched their missiles, the streaks of light climbing into the skies and tipping over as they headed for Isenor
"All right!" Silverwind roared over the sound. "Mount up, it's time to go to work!"
He lead the squad across the deck in a trot, directing half to one of the hulking twin-rotor helicopters and the other to follow him. They bustled aboard, and were pointed in the direction of their GEARs, stowed in a crouched, ready to board position. All of them were now fully armed and tooled up, just waiting for their pilots.
Silver climbed aboard his machine and strapped in, before flipping the power to STANDBY mode. Moments later the hatch closed to the outside, and he was cocooned in the humming, readout-lit interior of the machine. All external noises were muffled, but he still felt the lurch in his stomach as the heavy-lift helicopter peeled itself away from the amphibious attack ship and banked hard toward Isenor.

"All units, check in," he said over the squads' comm channel. "Listen up; gonna keep this short. You were all in the briefing, so you saw what we were up against. Nothing too outstanding; some civ-GEARs mounted with whatever weapons could be scraped up or improvised - they won't have our C3 systems, drones, or targeting and other sensors. They won't have our armour, powertrains and high-grade systems. And they especially won't have our ECM GEAR or military-grade comms.
"The most effective vehicles and weapons they have are the small number of tracked or wheeled IFVs, and some light utility/combat vehicles. They can hit us hard if we don't move quickly to take them out. Same with shoulder-fired or crew-served heavy weapons. Those are our combat priority. After that; neutralising their power and communications. The objective is to eliminate resistance swiftly, so follow-on units can take the buildings and search them for intel or captives. Should be a walk in the park."
The GEARs mapping and navigation systems told him they were coming up on only two miles out.
"We'll be dropping into the shallows and wading ashore. Sprinsteam, Bastion; you two stick together. Bastion, I want you focusing on anything pumping out counter-jamming, or trying to break through the comm blackout. Sprinsteam, you keep any word from getting out, and fuzz their comms. Target the antenna farms and communications systems in the north-west corner of the island"
"Somachain and Sobrero - engage the hangars, as that's where I expect their heavy vehicles, and any aircraft to be. But stand ready for word from any of us as we spot high-value or high-priority targets. The cruise missiles might've missed something, and your heavy weapons and explosives are our ticket against those targets."
"Proudcrest, you get the short shitty stick; you get to stick with the old man while we take on anything else that comes up. Our main target will be the airfields' operations building, but we'll be aiming for any and all points of resistance en route".
"We'll split up as we head up the beach. There's a Big Eye drone holding above the island at seventy-thousand feet, it'll be acting as a relay for our comms."
A sharp buzzing tone sounded rapidly across the frequency, and the sensation of movement abruptly dropped away, as the view through the GEARs' forward camera changed, the ramp dropping down to reveal the sea below, churned up by the downwash from the helicopters rotors.
"GO GO GO!"
Rollers on the cabin floor assisted the movement of the GEAR to the rear of the helo, and Silverwinds' GEAR stood tall as it dropped for a few breath-taking moments, before crashing into the shallows in a spray of water and a reverbating thump. With elegant, practised, and deliberate movements he swiftly darted aside, 20mm rifle coming up to his machines' shoulder ready and covering for the next GEAR to follow.
Hidden 4 days ago 4 days ago Post by kingkonrad
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"Hey, you sound like you're pretty experienced yourself. You been in on a few missions before? This is actually my first deployment and I'm still a little surprised I've been selected for this. I hope I live up to your standards," she said with a little smile.


Max's ears pricked up, seeing the spotted deer look to Max as he turned his maned head, looking back. First time? Well....Max was gonna push it down inside of him. He could say something bad....no doubt Leslie knew how to make shit go boom or repair things, but this was the job of doing primarily the former to people who didn't think they were gonna get turned into mush that morning. Nonetheless, Max pushed that inner bastard of his down, knowing for now, he had to at least keep himself open before he found everyone saw him as too cynical.

"A few. Not as many as our chief. But I've seen my fair share...you never know what you're going into. I imagine you'll be fine but just remember....you're in the business of making things go boom. A lot. Live up to what you've been trained in and we'll be fine, Leslie." He replied with a warn undertone, looking at her surname on her fatigues, raising his eyebrows.
"Lemme think...Sobero, right? I think I know your parents. I can't remember meeting you, we must have been really young. Engineering firm, right? Mine were more old money, well, if you ask my siblings, sort of everything....I didn't really fit that. I suppose we have that in commmon." He said, before Silverwind came back over, leading the way towards the helicopter that was thudding on the open apron.

Stepping in, the lion looked around at the others, the matt-black darkness filling the sky beyond the glow of LED and various other lights on each of the vessels, the helicopter noisy and shuddering it's way to the amphibious assault ship. The GEARS followed, picking up the GEARS with a chugging groan, yet getting the job done as they were pulled upward into the obsidian abyss and disappearing almost if it wasn't for the flickering of lights from the helicopters, the clouds covering any moonlight from breaching the sky and spilling in something to see. A sight to behold, but not one to think on long, as the helicopter ride was almost over as soon as it began, back to shaky tar on the allied amphibious assault ship.

Another briefing later, and Max had already begun whirring through the opitions. Mostly forest made it hard to breach with a GEAR, but same time, offered protection and break-off points from bigger kettles of fish if they ran into IFVs and the likes. A break for UAV, maybe even missile locks if done correctly, given line of sight could be broken but that worked both ways. It was going to be a fun time to use his thermal imagery, he mused to himself, listening to the rest that there was. A simple forward advance operation, to take down weapons stations, and secure main structures on the site. This was more need-to-know than the last one it seemed- and while Max did wonder why an awful lot more people now knew about what they were assaulting, they probably didn't know the more nitty-gritty details of Silent Line. He made a mental note not to talk to any of these other soldiers in the briefing, beyond the Ghost Hunter team that is, of anything to do with the body-snatchers taking Solernian society's best.

The counter-measures would be good, as would the UAV on standby- but something about it seemed too straightforward. Considering they were assaulting a relatively unknown force, even bombing the shit out of the target with a few Cruise Missiles felt like it would be risky, it was a giant "fuck you" telegraphing that an assault was coming to sweep-up the remmenants. Even if the tech they were up against was less advanced, they could be going into anything- and that was worrying. And a bombing site never a nice aftermath to go through, Max reminiced. Still, so long as the team remained vigilant and he did his job, they would be one step ahead of the things that might be watching them through the trees, as he took in the rest of it. A few hours to mull things over, ponder life's deeper questions probably, then gear up and get ready to really mess some people's lives up so others didn't have to even contemplate such miseries.

-------

Max walked wtih a certain strut in his pace on the deck, wearing his reconaissance armour and fatigues with his M23 ISS pushed against his left shoulder, his helm in his right gloved hand. There was a certain change to the oddball lion's demeanour. Everything was much more fierce, his game face, his hunter's mind on and bullshit gone. His mane blew in the harsh sea spray, his plate carrier loaded up wtih his usual setup and his specialist M8 silenced pistol and K8 SOF knife on his person. He didn't look like someone you would fuck with, then again, walking alongside Fionn put that into perspective rather quickly. The feline watched as Silverwind turned, before the noise of several Cruise Missiles roared into the sky, the orange streaks of the missiles erupting into the sky and propelling at several times the speed of sound towards the island that was visible in the very far distance. There was no telling how they would react to it...best case scenario, this mission was battle damage assessment or being effectively a paid cleaner with a GEAR on the site, worst case, the bunkers and hangars they had were now hardened and had maybe not been blown to bits. He only nodded to Silverwind, following on his mark.

Max settled his thoughts, following Silverwind as he moved across the deck, now clear to do so as there were no other aircraft or vehicles on it. He slid his helmet onto his head, pulling the strap tight as he ficked the visor down, faceplate removed for the moment being. Max didn't follow Silverwind, instead picking the other helo where his GEAR was stowed away. The three GEARS were tighter inside the heavy lifter's cabin than sardines in a tin can, but he knew they weren't spending long, and getting out fast. Stowing his rifle in the leg of the Lion Rampant, barely accessible from this angle, he managed to just about scoop himself inside, the GEAR closest to the door. Bringing the door shut on his GEAR, he exhaled, the lion in the darkness as he secured himself tight within. The noise of the helicopter was even more noisy for some reason, even inside the GEAR. Perhaps the heavy lift helos had less sound protection to carry more equipment? He didn't think about it, it wasn't on his mind. Just what was to come was, the lion oddly quiet and aloof of it all. His HMD flicked on, as he checked his controls, static in the GEAR's crouched position but a simple electronic check. Before he could even think, the helo was up, thudding against the weight of gravity and carrying them to Isenor.

Silverwind was back on comms as Max heard him pitch in, the channel clear even in spite of the deafening noise from the helicopter. Despite wearing a helmet wtih intergrated sound protection, even Max's ears were gonna ring a little for a few minutes after he got out of his things, perhaps down to his oversensitive ears or something else. Nonetheless, the Captain had a bit more to add, more tactical-level intel for them to take on.

"We'll be dropping into the shallows and wading ashore. Sprinsteam, Bastion; you two stick together. Bastion, I want you focusing on anything pumping out counter-jamming, or trying to break through the comm blackout. Sprinsteam, you keep any word from getting out, and fuzz their comms. Target the antenna farms and communications systems in the north-west corner of the island".

"We'll split up as we head up the beach. There's a Big Eye drone holding above the island at seventy-thousand feet, it'll be acting as a relay for our comms."


Max internally nodded, externally still a little blank to it all and taking on board what was to come. They had recon cover, and from the sounds of it, the teams were dividing and conquering. Well, WO Bastion had a target to go for, and so long as Rishun could negate whatever signals those comms systems they had, they'd be free to move up with the enemy's ears and tongue taken out. The hard option was limpet mining the lot and making more boom.
"Solid copy, Blade. See you on the floor." Max replied, the fact that Max was first out emerging quickly. Activating the motors, the GEAR whirred a bit more lively than it did in it's dormancy, the ramp's dropped away slant revealing a black abyss below that shimmered, oddly enough. And while it wasn't a crazy height, it wasn't the sort of thing anyone would want to do without a reinforced skeleton of metal and composites. Knowing that full well, Max was already prepared as the rollers pushed his GEAR forward, and out the ramp...

Dropping down, the Lion Rampant thumped into the sand and came in with a splash, sinking a little into the ground as Max quickly recovered and his GEAR stood tall. Pulling the 30mm rifle off the rear hardpoint and using the GEAR's right hand to flick the bolt forward again, Max took readiness of his GEAR, his HND and controls exactly as he wanted, the machine in harmony and running a charm. Raised high, the 30mm rifle was pointed forward and up the beach, as Max kept a 360 scan and took heavy steps on the sand, night vision on and looking into the bleak darkness that was the forested part beyond the beach.
"Clear left." Max called out, pushing forward to give the GEARs behind him a clear drop zone, heading slowly but steadily out of the water. While his rifle wouldn't provide rapid fire, a 30mm round in the right place would scare an infantry soldier, or blast them apart. It was better than nothing, he thought to himself, his GEAR primed and ready as he sat in control of the machine, the pilot of his own armoured fist among six.
"Blade, I'm ready to move. Got eyes on a bit of elevation towards our right, there's a ridge I can follow to the north-west and give you guys overwatch from while we move on the comms positions. Rishun, if you're ready, we can push up to there on my lead."
Hidden 4 days ago Post by Esailia
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Rishun made a sound through her nose, creepily though it sounded almost exactly like her usual "Yhe'yhe'yhe"s without her mouth moving at all. There were several otter ventrilouqists in the comedic scene...

"I'll remember. Most of the time I will be focused on my displays, anyway. My team will need to alert me if I need to move." But even as she said it, Max could see a light shiver on her tail. This caused Scrap to pop out of his container and climb to her shoulder once more, though this time she seemed not to mind his disobedience as she absently pet his head, her thoughts leaping ahead to the mission ahead.

As they quickly made their way across the deck of the ship and piled into the heli, Rishun covered Scrap with a hand to protect him from the worst of the salt water spray, letting him settle on her lap after they were strapped into the seats. Her tail wasn't designed to sit very well, so what ended up happening was where the thick muscle of the tail made her sit at an angle. But her mind was still elsewhere, and everyone with more than a few missions under their belt knew that face.

Fear.

She wasn't even aware she was making it as they flew across the distance to the assault vessel, cupping Scrap in her hands and holding him close, as she stared out and across the ocean.
_________________________________________________

The briefing was a blur for Rishun, being forced to store Scrap due to regulations before entering the room she stared at the front screen as it displaced the details of the mission. But whatever was said flew over her head despite her attempts to pay attention. Nothing was helping her rising fear, and as they all bustled out, she tried to catch Silverwind's attention, but it was lost in the sea of departing officers. She wanted to say she was afraid, that she was better if she was on the ship, anything to avoid the fight ahead...

But when she came to walk right beside him as they got back on deck, walking towards their awaiting GEARs....the words wouldn't come. The excitable little otter that seemed to always have something to say was speechless. She was a robot as she mechanically entered her GEAR and strapped in, punching the power switch and watching as she was encased in the Aqua Goddess. Darkness took over with a single red button beside her, and she sat there in the dark for several moments, the outside world so far away now. But as she felt the helo taking off, she took a breath and pushed the button.

All the basic screens lit up and holo displays fluttered into life in front of her. She keyed in her security code and flicked the virtual pad away. Training and habit took over her fears as she quickly got to work setting up comm links with her team mates through Big Eye. She even worked on some of the codes it was running on. Establishing a connection quickly she set one small virtual display to show link lights to all her teammates. If anything went wrong, the green light would flash to yellow, if comms were cut completely, red.

With that done she tapped 'squad all' on the display. Now she could act as a relay booster for God Eye to her squad. If she needed to transfer airwaves power, all she had to do is tap a squadmate's name and her system would reroute processing power to amplify that member's comms to the rest of the squad.

All of this she did as she diverted her attention to listen to Silverwind. Through comms she didn't need to be nervous about her expression or posture, she didn't have to be worried she *looked* like she was paying attention "Sprinsteam here." She replied to the check-in order, and when specific orders came out, she flicked a hand and brought up a map from file, spreading her hands out and manipulating it to view the island in full. Pulling up her ELINT systems as a list of capabilities, she grabbed the Enemy Jamming capability and with a deft motion with her index fingers and thumbs, spread it out into a blanket and covered the entire northwest corner of the island.

She quickly threw Enemy Interception onto the entire island, and then went back to Big Eye, tagging it with her Friendly Moniter capability. It would alert her if anyone mentioned keywords related to her squad. She checked their location, and engaged the wheels of her GEAR on time right behind Max. Go time.

Rishun's GEAR landed with a heavy thud, splashing salt water a good twenty feet in all directions, and she pushed forward to stick behind Max as he spoke directly to her "Copy that Max, I'm on your six and good to go." She called out, setting her GEAR to follow behind him, pulling out her aquatic rifle. Even if it was less useful, it could still kill infantry.

As a last precaution she pinched Enemy Spoofing from her list and dropped it over her squad's landing site. At best anything they would detect, her focused spoofing would make them look like a few friendlies that were tagged as 'investigating'. She was ready to imitate a 'comms down' signal back to them if they tried to make contact through her jamming.

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Fionn was finishing his cursory check of the GEAR, not being knowledgeable enough to give an in depth inspection considering his role is more about taking things apart than putting them together, when he got the call. The briefing gave a few more details than what was divulged earlier. The enemy seems to have a cheaper composition than what the 33rd has, which generally means they are likely to be more numerous. They have had the opportunity to fortify the island and dig in, expecting an assault at some point. On the other hand, visibility will be low and deployment should be smooth offering the advantage of a surprise assault. Assuming the sneak attack succeeds, that should buy them a decent amount of time where the enemy would be thrown in chaos and negating, at least for a while, the advantage they have playing defense. Then it will be up to him and the 33rd to capitalize on that, using every second they have to pacify any threat before they can reorganize.




Fionn moved with a calm demeanor on the outside, though was feeling anxious on the inside. He questioned whether the intelligence was correct or if they missed something. He questioned how effective the cruise missiles would be, if the targets were more fortified or in a different place than thought. He questioned his own ability and if he would succeed. Seeds of doubt were sown in his mind, and it bothered him. It was not till he boarded his GEAR, feeling alone, that he turned to a habit he formed. A sort of ritual to extinguish his pre-combat jitters. Taking a few deep breaths to calm his mind, he silently recited a prayer, directed at no one in particular while weaving a few intricate knot patterns in his fur. The complexity of the pattern only lets him do a few on the transport, but a few is all he needs. The knot, consisting of four interwoven corners is supposed to be a ward or protection against harm, and while he is not entirely convinced on the validity of that, it is a familiar comfort to sooth his nerves. There also is the fact that he is still indeed alive which is a point in favor. Overcoming the feeling, he turned his thought to the coming trial.

Nearing the drop, he got his orders from Silverwind. Neutralize hard targets and vehicles that remain standing following the missile strike, likely around the hanger. The number of explosives between him and Sobero should be more than enough to deal with whatever survives. As for any soft targets, a couple burst from 20mm should riddle a few new orifices in them while Sobero can pick of any targets sticking their heads out of cover after being suppressed.

Following the others, he had a few moments in the air before his GEAR touched down. The heavy mech more falling with a thud than with grace as the other, lighter ones. After taking a moment to inspect his spare 20mm drum, not wanting any mud or dirt jamming the feed, he scanned the map quickly once more to figure out a few routes to take to the strip. The flat terrain will make cover outside of the forest rare, the trees offering the best way to hide movement.

@redbaron1234

“Sobero, we have limited time before the enemy recovers. I suggest we go through the forest; we can rush through some cover to the hanger before we are forced into the open and take advantage of the chaos they'll be in. From there we can decide how to make the approach depending on what is still standing. If you're ready, let's get a move on, unless you have a better path.”

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Max swiped one of the displays on, the obsidian black turning to a faint dark green with the UAV's overall picture of the island below. From 70,000 feet, it was a very hard image to make out, but the UAV's orbiting pattern gave a total overview of the island and was unknown to anyone down below that it was even there. Well, unless someone had an excellent radar detection set, but that wasn't on Max's mind. The cruise missiles had already made a dent here enough, so it wasn't like they knew they weren't under attack. He looked over at the path on the Northern side of the island, the ridge protruding up but mostly forested with the UAV's heavy zoom, still coming out well given the configuration of this UAV's lens. The comms towers were visible- a set of civilian mobile phone masts and various technical masts in view, as he multi-tasked a little and zoomed them in for a moment to see the overall setup that they had. There was some sort of large vehicle next to it, and a couple of small buildings with a small dirt track leading down the small hill to the flat environs of the airstrip- but from this high up, Max couldn't make out how many enemies there were. Most importantly however, the towers were on a relative peak on the ridge' spine- and had a large area of exposure all around it, recent log cuttings it seemed. It was no matter to Max- if they could establish themselves on the outskirts of that cutting with some view on the site and deploy his personal UAV, he could take a better view on what to do when they were closer. The resourceful Lion knew that sometimes that was just the way it was- technology could do so much, but not more than that.

Bringing it back, he restored it to default, aware that himself, Silver and other team members would be able to peek through the UAV's camera for observation. He engaged a few other sensor packages, notably that of his GEAR's multispectrum sensor to start pitching into whatever Rishun's EW programmes would pick up. While Max wasn't an EW specialist, he was the killer-element of their hunter-killer partnership, and that meant keeping an ear out for whatever Rishun's more strategic-level recon could do. While on his end, he had the 30mm rifle and observation skills to then eliminate said target, permanently. Bringing his rifle high, Max looked up to the ridge, then turned his GEAR's head back toward where Rishun was behind him as he raised an arm.

"Try and keep close, Sprinstream. The route looks pretty thickly forested all the way..don't go right on top the spine, and watch your footing. We have the advantage of darkness and being off the beaten track, so we may stand a chance of avoiding detection while the rest get the heat. Let's try and keep it that way." Max said, putting his hands back on the 30mm rifle and moving up the beach fully, the water now fully removed from the GEAR's legs and lower body. He felt powerful in this thing, but was full well aware this wasn't going to last long in a fight against higher-powered weaponry. It might keep the bullets at bay, but not the 20 mil rounds, he reminded himself. They needed to get moving, and Max knew it was go time for his team.

With a slight clamber, the Lion Rampant was striding between the thick trees of the hill-slope, the reconnaissance operative keeping an eye out over the forests slightly below, where Fionn and Leslie were looking to move up. Engaging the FLIR element of his imagery system, he kept it on another display and peered over using his GEAR's specialist optical zoom, his HMD allowing him to switch between either as appropriate. He took it in, seeing nothing of interest, as it was all blue-cold. The trees made it much more difficult, but nonetheless, he couldn't see any hidden IFVs or positions.

@Lurking Shadow@redbaron1234
"Somachain, Sobero, me and Sprinstream have overwatch, we are on your right hand side. I can't see any significant thermal signatures from here in the forest in front of you, but that doesn't mean there isn't anyone, or anything waiting for you down there that's hiding. We'll be out of view when we're closer to the comms facility, but we can get back in range when you need fire support and designation from us." Max added in comms, as he looked back towards Rishun's GEAR, taking a moment to survail the area ahead. The ridge didn't give enough elevation to fully see all the way to the airstrip, but he could see the large smokestack rising in the distance even without his IR, the heat signature clear beyond those trees of the fire it had started there.

Taking a look back on the ridgeline, he gently started moving along again, the feline's GEAR pushing through thick shrubs around the bigger conifers. It was never graceful going anywhere in a GEAR, but nonetheless, Max did make it look as low-key as a twelve-foot mechanised beast could be in quietly moving into position. On the plus side, the hydrogen system of a GEAR to the motor systems made it less noisy than an IFV or a combustion-powered vehicle, yet the hydraulics when really exerted could be screeching, let alone the noise that came from the footstepss. Still, with the distant fires and the fact that Max and Rishun were coming from an angle hard to expect, it pushed the ball in their court a little further.

Coming up to the cutting, Max gently put his knee down, seeing the ridge drop in elevation then back up to a small hill where the comms towers were. They were still some distance out, but given that they couldn't see the entire surveillance and communications post, Max wasn't willing to go any further. There were still some trees between them and the clearing, so Max was confident that himself and Rishun would be out of harm's way, and very hard to spot without thermal imaging equipment given how much brush they had. The optical sensors revealed a little more of what he could see, but given the trees, that was still poor.

"Hold on here a moment...get yourself knelt down. I'm gonna dispatch my drone up here- feel free to patch in." Max added, flicking through the setting through his GEAR's interface, the quadrotor detatching from the charging point on his GEAR's lower back and elegantly being taken in his right hand. The quiet motors span up, as Max kept the 30mm rifle held in the GEAR's left, gently pushing his right hand up. He didn't raise it too high so as not to push against a nearby tree, knowing full well it wouldn't be the best idea to treat one like a post to lean on.

With a gentle release of his right claw, Max took over the drone's controls, hooked up to his HMD. His vision shifted, going from the HMD of the GEAR's controls to that of the drone's camera interface, giving him a direct view as it buzzed lightly above the two of them. By using a joystick that was co-wired connected to his GEAR's optical vision in this static mode, he could control it elegantly, the control of the quadrotor fluid to him like a glove. Max was no technical wizz like Rishun was, who would probably race something like this for fun, but he could use it like a trained operator could. It was an indispensible tool, and even with the advanced tech that Rishun would have brought along, a device like this had plenty of capability given how straightforward it could be utilised.

With a gentle push of the throttle, the UAV was up even further, out of his hand and giving Max a first person enhanced view over the hill ahead, a bird's eye view in the most literal sense. With a quietening whirr as it rose upward, the drone was off and higher into the distance, Max seeing the large cutting around the communications towers and signal antennae.

There were a lot of fallen logs and tree trunks across the cutting around the site in a near-circular form- like the area had been felled to allow for the site's installation and improve signal. A GEAR would stick out like a sore thumb, Max mused, but a rather tall lion might get away with it if he had to get closer. That wasn't on his mind, not until he found out what was actually there at least.

Circling around, the quadrotor UAV saw the other side of the hill, where he caught eye on an infantry squad on patrol, flashlights on. That made it at least 8 around this comms post or at least going into, and they seemed to be following the track on the far side of Max's current observation stop, actually going up to the comms post. Shit, that meant...well, they were coming from the airstrip. They seemed hurried, almost like they were in a rush to get out of there and up to the site. Behind them, another two were coming from a different angle, albeit not on the track at all- like they came out of the forest, on a patrol. They were on the other side however, and likely hadn't seen the insertion of the GEARs on the beach nor up here on the ridge. And as for the site itself? The large vehicle was bigger than Max wanted it to be, or at least, more armoured. The IFV sat there, as if it was an overwatch to blast any target apart that might charge up the hill, and no doubt while it wasn't very advanced and lacked any of Max's fancy night-capable imagery, it would make a big dent in any GEAR or soldier going up that hill. It had an ATGM setup too, so it'd be able to one-shot a GEAR if it got the track right. The lights were on in each of the two buildings, and there seemed to be active communications equipment, including a satellite dish mounted atop one of the portacabins. As for how many were inside, he didn't know- but it could be another five, if Max had to make a guess for how many would be able to actually fit in there.

"Shit, Rishun...this isn't great. You seeing this? Got any thoughts?" Max asked, the lion flying the drone a bit higher in overview and fixing it in position.

"Way I see it....we'll need to think about our approach here. That infantry team couldn't have seen us, but they seem to be moving in fast for some reason. Potentially to reinforce the position...or something else. I give it a few minutes before they get to the main buildings. The two man team, I can't make that out, but I would guess that's a patrol around here. There's also an IFV up there that will turn us to paste if we come closer...it had an ATGM on it, so definitely at least one of us. While they've got to face their gun downhill, it'll blast us apart before we make it over. Then there's the matter of the fact that while that comms station needs to get disrupted, it would be incredibly useful to break into there and get as much intel on who's chatting on the phone, if you get my gist. That would sabotage it without even using an explosive device. Your EW capabilities are good, but even I know nothing beats a hacking programme run in a core server network. Not a lot of time to do it in though." Max commented, his tactical nous thinking more out loud than anything else, likely stating the obvious. It was the thing that made him able to put the information that he had obtained into practice, and then use it like a scalpel to really hit hard.

"Right then...we've got a few options still. Add your thoughts to mine, if you like. I'll ping across the option routes to your display using our interfaces.

One, I go in with something to hack their network from your inventory and sneak into the site using the fallen logs and fact that their angles aren't all covered, without my GEAR. I can take advantage of the fact the rest of our team's about to blow stuff to bits down on the airstrip, and the squad here might not be expecting an attack from our angle. Nor will I get seen, if they haven't got NVGs...which they don't seem to have here. Maybe even a diversion from you would work best, in order to draw them out back down that track and give me room to do what I do best. All I need is to get a computer connection, and you can then turn that network inside out. Very risky for me given it'll be just me and my rifle, but it would mean you can keep your distance and the intel gain is likely to be the best. I can handle it, but....let's just say I don't want to be on that hill on my own when it goes FUBAR."

Two, we sit here and wait, paint some targets with the laser designator and ask the others to send politely send some mortar fire onto the IFV to disable it. We then go loud, and while I snipe, you would need to get close-in and run amok on that hill, with me joining on the other side. We'd do that hopefully without blowing apart the main buildings. Probably better than option one for our risk, but it might compromise the others down there if they use that mortar, and that might lose us some intel or access to the network. The mortar might cover our tracks, mind you."

Three...we go all in. We take this on ourselves and I snipe that IFV with an AP shot and the squad with a regular set of rounds, then we take out whatever is left in this area using 40 mils and our heavy weaponry. We hit hard, and thin out anyone we see. Raise hell, basically. We've got the firepower to do it and information to inform our strike too. Question is, if we do that, how many more are gonna come charging up to us if we don't relocate fast enough? We'll be completely compromised, potentially unable to cover the other team too. But it's always an option, given we've got a force multiplier in these GEARs."

"Feel free to suggest anything, Rishun. If you've got anything up your sleeve that might give us the opportunity to do any of those options better, now would be the time to suggest it." Max added, his long ramble once again more like an out-loud mental ponder of the situation they were in. From the various observations he could see, any option seemed viable if executed correctly, but given fuck-ups were the mother of all options, it could all go to hell very quickly.

The lion smirked a little however, guessing that the otter's overexcited nature would probably find Max's over-analytical and observant character to be at a wavelength approaching her attitude. Adjusting his comms set, he was back on Silverwind's squad channel, wanting to report in their position and shift in location.

"Captain, this is Bastion. We've got overwatch on the comms site and are at a few hundred meters out, we've made it undetected. We can handle it, but I'm sending you a few options I've evaluated for what you want our approach to be on striking it. Change it as you will boss- we're good to go and execute that on your order." Max called in, altering his HMD view out from the UAV's view to the optics on the GEAR, looking across to Rishun's Aqua Goddess behind his, waiting and ready.

Deep down, Max felt like this was back to old times, back to what he did best, but he had a feeling that the stakes were a lot higher. Like if they didn't do this correctly, the consequences were a bit worse than a terrorist organisation getting away with a bunch of money or a few people getting killed. It felt like it'd be much more significant- the lead they had here on Isenor was a substantial piece of the puzzle to unravelling the Silent Line, or at least Max hoped it would be. So getting this right would be important- and while Max knew the risk of what an operator like him would do, it was more Rishun's GEAR that would be in the line too. He never wanted to put someone else on the line that might not know just how serious this could get, but then again, they were in this situation together for probably a good reason. He adjusted his mane's hair at his chin with his hand, patching back into the UAV and providing general overwatch of the comms site, taking it in and looking for anything new that came into frame. The lion was aware that while if he was on his own he might do things differently, he had to follow the Captain's command and make sure they did things by the book.
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