Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by HeySeuss
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HeySeuss DJ Hot Carl

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Gavi and the others were in the hold of a spacecraft after a couple weeks spent in drug-induced stasis after lining up for a 'immunobooster' shot in French Guyana. That was when General Wallace announced what their actual mission was, not Uzbekistan, not counterinsurgency and not working for humans to kill other humans, there was a brief moment when Gavi Benayoun blanked out while thinking, _I could be the first human to kill an alien lifeform._ And then, because Centurion's screenings picked men like him precisely because they were open to new things and system shocks, he digested it and came back down from a mind flashing with possibilities. They had work to do, and it was exciting work. The planet had a name in the Pilavian language, but the troops all called it “Dune” after the Frank Herbert novel that Gavi had read as a teenager, as a lifelong science fiction buff in his off-time from school and during his stint in the IDF. It was a love inherited from his mother and his grandfather. It fit. Like the book, it was a vista of sand and dust, though with hexagonal crystal formations that alluded to some sort of geologic mystery that eluded him – he was a soldier, not a scientist, but it created an intriguing array of crystals that, thankfully, didn't reflect back the murderous light of the system's sun. To him, it was like the Negev – here and there, there were pockets of alien foliage in the waste of a desert, broken up by shelves of those crystals, huge valleys that the Pilavians turned into their warrens. He was on point, but not alone, with his body covered against the dust and the sun, his face wrapped in a camo netting so that only his sunglasses showed above the mask. He was the point, but he was not that guide-- that was the Pilavian scout, what they called in their translated tongue a 'trickster' or a 'lure', attached to his unit that went by Inakel; she was a sterile female, four-eyed and resembling, perhaps, a fennec fox in the sense of long ears, a snout and the shade of her fur. Only one set of eyes was open by day, the other being optimized for nights. She had a weapon of her own, but the Pilavians were not here to fight for the Grathik – this was their homeworld, but they were hunkered down, setting traps. It's how they evolved over the millions of years – they sent lures like Inakel out to divert their predators into the traps. They were bait. Inakel was one of the rare brave ones willing to do that sort of work. And, in a sense, she was still doing the work in that she was bringing the Salvesh, who landed on Dune recently in an attempt to take a vital planet, with a labor force and industrial capability in the warrens beneath the surface, to their doom. A sensor buoy pinged near an abandoned village built in a valley of those crystals, like the old Pueblo Indian settlements in Arizona and New Mexico, in a river valley that was a natural blind spot for the ground-based sensor network, which meant that a squad was tapped to run a patrol of the area. The contacts ghosted in and out of the sensor's detection because of the magnetic interference and the natural cover, and drones were sent up to get eyes on the situation, if possible. When signs of the enemy were located, the drones went on standby as air support while a squad was inserted by high-speed underground rail to a point near where they needed to be on the surface. They climbed up into the dusty sandscape of Dune, with constant realtime updates provided by the sophisticated drone network. And yet, for all the technology, it was the little basics that count. “I smell something.” The Pilavian had some sort of modification that allowed her to speak to the humans in their language and understand when spoken to – Grathik cybernetics not yet introduced for use by humanity. In fact, the squad was out here humping the Grathik-made imitations of human weaponry, reasoning that there was little time to retrain humans on weapons they were unfamiliar with. It was better to send them into the fight with weapons they knew, retrofitted to function viably in the current environment. It was the right call – send the troops in with the weapons they knew and trusted. “There. Good position,” Inakel gestured with a clawed, two-fingered, one-thumbed hand toward an overlook over Village Twelve, the human designation of the area that bypassed the intricate and confusing Pilavian naming, rendered down for military consumption. Gavi nodded, turned around a bit and brought a fist up to head level while getting on the comms, briefly, “Riddler, checking ridge at squad northwest, with the crystals. She says she smells them.” He didn't add that apparently Pilavians had excellent noses in addition to four eyes. Some things, the briefing officers missed, in the urgency of the situation. He made the approach in a crouch that kept him concealed behind the terrain. Gavi and Park knew each other's capabilities, and that was why the Israeli was on point, particularly in an alien desert and working with the alien scout attached to the squad. In fireteam B, Hetzenauer tended to feel that he should be the point, though he didn't particularly react well to the aliens the way the Israeli did. Fireteam A was a mixed bag; Algerian, Israeli, Thai and even a Cuban, but they gelled well, whereas Fireteam B was all German and somewhat unwilling to cooperate overmuch with the American squad leader. Park was doing his best, and Park was more qualified than Neuer, the Fireteam leader, to run the show, but try telling that to these guys. In any case, he told Inakel, “Hold here, I'm going to get the look,” even as he dropped even lower and crawled the rest of the way up the ridge. He'd covered up everything that would glint back light, a predator's eyes caught movement easily, and the idea was to move very gently into place and then start looking, hopefully undetected. They were facing the unknown, and Gavi didn't see the downside of the element of surprise here. The wind was howling through the valleys that could be seen from below, picking it up here and there in little plumes that sent grit catapulting into the air in his direction, occasionally hitting his glasses, but he had a pretty clear view of the terrain...and of the enemy position; the Salvesh had an observation post set up, but it was a hasty position without the benefit of Pilavian input on how to make the approaches, which the humans were capitalizing on. They also didn't have the Pilavian rail system to move them about. He was mostly buried in the reverse slope, and his clothing matched the terrain, a derivative of the crye multicam optimized for Dune. His weapon, an earth-tone colored HK416 with a magnifier on the holo, was kept trained on the appearance of hunched forms moving about their position – Salvesh, topheavy, muscular, hunched over; the first thing Gavi thought was I don't want to get close to one of these monsters. They seemed to loom even from a great distance, but they didn't seem aware that they were under observation. Element of surprise, and Inakel had brought them in downwind of the enemy. She was next to him, laying flat on the sandy rock, watching. Perhaps that was something Pilavians like her did; her weapon wasn't out, but she was intent on the prey. Pilavians were good with traps and the like but didn't do actual combat very well -- but here, the humans were the trap. [i][b]”Riddler, I have seven...make that eight, nine, ten hostiles moving in front of me, range is about three hundred and fifty meters. Repeat, ten hostiles, 350m. Looks like they're laying up here.”[b][/i] His English was good -- slight accent, mostly American-sounding, resonant voice. He'd been to the States before, after all. He focused on the enemy movements, whether or not they seemed alert or not – they seemed like they were bored, which was apparently a norm for Salvesh psychology; the males were into a fight, but somewhat lazy about sentry duty and reconnaissance. His voice reflected a bit of a smile he felt as he tried to interpret the enemy psyche, a novel sensation, [b][i]”They are unaware of our position.”[/b][/i] His thumb found the safety and flicked it down one click to semi-auto, but that was mostly precautionary – he was watching them through his scope and trying to keep the count accurate, rather than try to engage them at range.
Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by Foster
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Marlena heard the sitrep, but Despite requiring orders from Brian before doing anything, she just had to get a look for herself before the bullets started to fly; she bounded along the defilades in the reverse-slope of the ridge until coming to a similar vantage-point. They had hostiles, but she wasn't sure what he'd meant by 'ten hostiles' which *could* have meant anything on this alien conflict. Although the situation leaned towards their newest foe of the week, mostly Salveshi slavers. Still, what weapon to use; Rifles or Rockets? 350 meters is on the fringe of 'danger close' with artillery [even if the Grathnik *could* shoot straight in a timely manner](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHUfQX837qc), but still a feasible means of softening them up, still a bit too far for any serious small-arms engagement since 5.56 didn't appear too effective against walking tanks and they didn't have enough rockets to waste on pot-shots, but that's why they were issued bait. The wind kicked some sand up into her face, getting caught in her shmagh; at least it kept her from flinching as she eased her rifle forward. It wasn't an AUG or Kalashnikov, but it handled a bit calmer in her hands than either one in any case. Probably due to the massive buffer-tube in the stock. Still the ease at which the enemy was advancing seemed to disturb her somewhat; this race had been rumored to be exceptional pack-hunters, and surely they weren't so daft as to let a thing like being upwind of their own line of advance go unnoticed.
Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by Gunther
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Gunther Captain, Infantry (Retired)

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Brian listened to the updates from the point team, Gavi and the native, Inakel. As the former Israeli Defense Forces soldier spoke, Brian Park motioned for the two teams to advance to the edge of the ridgeline, keeping low to the ground. He wanted the soldiers to remain hidden and maintain about 30 - 50 meter interval between man. The terrain was too spread out to be all bunched up. Even 10 meter intervals were too close. Brian crawled up between Gavi and the German team lead by Neuer. He didn't care who had the larger penis and this was the worst place to get into a pissing contest over something as stupid as who's in charge. That is a guaranteed one way ticket to dead city and he didn't believe the German team leader was ready for that. Brian spoke in low tones, cupping his hand over his mouth with his head pressed into the sand. "Armadillo tree niner, this is Falcon zero one, over," Brian was calling the battalion's Fire Direction Center. "Falcon zero one, this is Armadillo tree niner, go ahead over," came the response. Although 350 meters is well within danger close for artillery, it was also danger close for mortars. But that doesn't mean you can't use them to help break up an enemy formation. You just simply communicate that fact to he FDC and let them know your position as well. "Armadillo tree niner, Falcon zero one, adjust fire grid November Victor fower zero fife wun two eight, danger close, troops in the open, Victor Tango in effect, Oscar Tango zero eight hundred mils, range tree fife zero, over." Brian gave the current location of the Salvesh squad with the grid coordinates (NV405128), narrowing their location down to a 100 meter grid square. The 120mm mortars used by battalion had a kill radius of 60 meters. To provide a smaller area would be pointless. 100-meter grid square was as small as you need to go with indirect fire. Park gave the FDC their Observer to Target Line (OT 0800 mils) and distance to target at 350 meters. All indirect fire units used a gradient of mils rather than degrees. 0800 miles equals 45 degrees on a lensatic compass. Brian Park used a laser range finder that told him declination in mils and in degrees as well as distance. The Variable Time (VT) fuze would allow the mortarmen to set the fuze on the High Explosive (HE) rounds to detonate roughly ten meters above the surface of the sand. This had the effect of scattering hot molten steel fragments in a multitude of directions. The Battalion Heavy Mortar platoon has six each 120mm guns. They would employ a three gun sectional sheath with an overlapping sheath away from the friendly observer. Three guns would create a 60x180 meter kill sheath. Two sheaths would create a 120x180 meter sheath with the grid coordinate NV405128 as the center of the impact. "Falcon zero on, Armadillo tree niner, adjust fire grid November Victor fower zero fife wun two eight, danger close, troops in the open, Victor Tango in effect, Oscar Tango zero eight hundred mils, range tree fife zero, out." The Fire Direction Computer informed the section leaders on the gun positions as the direction of fire and charge setting for the projectiles. The number two Gunner, laid in the direction of fire and then leveled the bubbles on his site. Meanwhile, the two ammunition bearers readied one 120mm HE round and handed it to the Assistant Gunner. The assistant gunner inserted the tail fins in the muzzle of the mortar ready to fire. The Gunner yelled, "gun two, up!" The squad leader then yelled, "Hang it!" and "Fire!" The Assistant gunner lowered his cupped hands down the outside of the mortar barrel as the HE round dropped to the firing pin at the base of the tube. A loud "Whump!" noise sounded as the propellant exploded, forcing the projectile out of the barrel. "Shot, over," The FDC communicated to squad leader Brian Park when the round left the barrel. Due to the distance to target, the round would remain airborne for approximately 35 seconds. "Shot out," Brian replied and observed the intended impact zone. When the round was five seconds from impact, the FDC spoke, "splash, over." This tells the observer the round will land soon. "Splash, out." Brian scanned the area where the Salvesh squad was located. The round impacted to far to the left. Brian immediately spoke to the FDC, "Right one fifty, fire for effect, over." "Right one fifty, fire for effect, out," the FDC let Brian know they would adjust their direction of fire so as to have the rounds impact an additional 150 meters to the right bringing the impact a distance of 400 meters from the observing squad. The mortar platoon went through the same drill the number two gun went through. The gunners had levels the bubbles at the same time as the number two guns. The squad leaders issued instructions to create the overlapping parallel sheaths. The Salvesh reacted by running away from the initial impact. Since they were roughly eighty meters from the initial impact, they were heading towards the spot, Brian Park anticipated they would move to. "Shot, over." "Shot, out." and "Splash, over." "Splash, out," Brian responded then yelled to his squad, "Keep your heads down! Hell is incoming!" Five seconds later, six each 120mm HE mortar rounds impacted in and around the ten-man Salvesh rifle squad. The impact of the rounds shook the soil around the human squad. Vibrations reverberated through the sand causing it to shift with each explosion. A heat wave from the blast cascaded up and across each person's face. It was like being slapped by a short duration heater. Three seconds after the initial impact, another six rounds impacted and then another three seconds later, a third volley impacted upon the Salvesh squad. The Salvesh physiology may be hardier than the human build, but even they weren't impervious to the hot shrapnel produced by High Explosive mortar rounds. At four hundred meters, none of the shrapnel would have reached the humans, only the heat from the concussive blasts. Since the initial mission was to prevent the enemy from detecting their location and to keep the Salvesh away, there really was not need to engage with small arms fire. The Battalion mortars wanted a Battle Damage Assessment on the fire mission, "Falcon zero one, this is Armadillo tree niner, Bravo, Delta, Alpha, over." Brian observed the target area and communicated the damage assessment, "tree niner, zero one, BDA stands at tree Kilo India Alpha and possibly seven Whiskey India Alphas, they are limping and bleeding, heading north east, over." "Roger out." The Salvesh continued to bug out of the impact area, never knowing where, if any Grathik Mercenaries were in the Area of Operations (AO). But the Salvesh would take away the effects of the Mercenary's indirect fire capabilities. "Anyone want to see what _they_ look like?" Brian asked the squad." It was his intention to leave two to four men in an overwatch position from where they were at the moment and take another team down to the impact area to observe the enemy up close. It would be hazardous to take everyone down in one move. There could be an additional squad of Salvesh moving into the area.
Hidden 4 yrs ago 4 yrs ago Post by HeySeuss
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"Maintaining overwatch position." Still, Gavi didn't focus in on the strike location too long, but rather kept an eye over the areas around it -- the noise and smoke were bound to bring out any other enemy elements looking to probe it. Gavi and Inakel stayed rooted in place -- the Pilavian because that was, perhaps, her instinct and the Israeli because he was a well-trained soldier. That showed when the Pilavian made a hissing and growling sound, and he turned to his left, the side she was looking to, with his rifle to see what it was, bringing the weapon in line with the hunched over horror-form of a Salvesh up close. He could never remember the conscious decision to squeeze the trigger twice, being as it was total reflex, but he remembered the mess of bone and alien blood, bluish rather than the red of Terran viscera that sprayed up. The Salvesh crumpled with the nervelessness of the dead into a splayed pile of awkward limbs and body laid at a strange angle, while Gavi did the calculations -- the direction the beast came from didn't appear, at first glance, to have a place where such a large thing could hide and the Salvesh wasn't detected earlier. He crept forward, along the path the Salvesh took and found what he was looking for; a moment later, a grenade pin was pulled, the spoon released, the weapon dropped and the hatch closed on the Salvesh's hole. "Fire in the hole!" he called over comms, even as he found his way back to a cover position. There was a brief thump of an explosion and silence, which is when he reported, "Riddler, be advised, made contact with single Salvesh, found tunnel system it emerged from. I put a grenade down the entrance."
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