I Couldn’t Think of a Title Vol. 2
Lieutenant Tannyx pointed their team to a natural outcrop of cover for the assaulting team to start. Once everyone had their preferred weapon swapping out what they had already been carrying, the five new team members were on their way. Dexuret took the lead having swapped out her Viper for a Mantis and her pistol for a nonlethal one. Heeding the armourer’s advice she grabbed a helmet, never a fan of using them but imagined a headshot would have her knocked on her ass and down for the count. She brought up her omnitool, everyone’s communication access points appearing, she connected them tuning to a channel isolated behind a firewall of her own creation. Securing their conversations for their ears and their ears only.
“I have a good idea of what everyone is capable of but De Sufva is our mystery man. I haven’t a clue to what he can do.
” She began, her helmet under one arm matching the blue and white of the Initiative. “But if we play this right, we can steal the hostage right out from under their noses.
” She laughed, her mandibles spreading for a toothy turian grin.
“Name’s Dex by the way,
” She turned to look at both Kargad and Naryxa. “Cyber warfare specialist assigned to Fireteam Echo. I know between the five of us we have a bag of surprises for them as well.
Serena put on her helmet, weapons already holstered. Her anger fading as she turned her mind to the task at hand. She had gone to the remaining weapons after everyone had chosen their gear, quickly stripping them of their ammo and was currently putting it in Del. She talked to her group as she did so, distractedly, mind focused on the task. ”Serena Mathews, VI and Robotics Specialist. Anjor is probably an experienced guerilla warfare specialist, given that his is both one of the few chosen by the Angaran resistance to represent them and the fact that the Angarans have no professional military to speak of. Expect things designed to stun, disrupt, immobilize, and otherwise make you incapable of fighting back. Firu is aggressive. She’ll prefer ‘offense is the best defense’ and will likely challenge what she perceives as the biggest threat. That’ll be Kargad. She’s a strong biotic but not very good at controlling it. Expect in your face bursts like Charge and Nova, and for her to get up close and personal.”
She finished loading Del, sending the drone to float by her."Khosin is more reserved. He’ll play true defense, maybe counter-sniping. A decent biotic, but he’ll use his to keep us away from Noori. Expect things to weaken your defense to allow him or the others to get in the eliminating blow. Don’t know much about the others, aside from what was on their dossiers. Clyfford strikes me as the more aggressive type as well, but he has experience with this type of scenario. Albeit on our side. If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll be somewhere between Firu and Khosin. In your face, but only if you come to him. Ryria is their weakest combatant. I’d say she’ll hang back and use her biotics to support. Yaganita will probably be more along Khosin’s lines. Hard defensive and support.”
She glanced over at Dex and Hazan, smiling. ”You two still have those Tact cloaks don’t you?”
Kargad snorted at the mention of Firu, with all the inflections of a defiant bull, and grinned hungrily as he slung the Katana shotgun he’d pilfered from the armoury over one shoulder. ”Hah, ‘up close and personal’? I’m starting to think this might be some fun after all!”
He’d been momentarily perplexed by the exercise back at the armoury, ”Not much of a practice without live rounds, then, is it?”
, but was visibly warming to the idea now they were talking shop.”Let her come and get me, then! I was dealing with biotics when her grandparents were still itches in their ancestor’s sacks. Nobody who ever won a fight with me did it by letting me get close.”
He let loose a burst of laughter, that low croaking rumble of stony chortling that seemed common to every krogan. He held his stomach, savoured the joy of the pre-combat banter for a few moments, and then composed himself. Wiped away the ghost of a tear, not because he’d been crying, but because he’d observed humans do it and assumed it to be some form of formality. He exhaled, with mirth in his tone, before he continued on.”Hell, I raised two biotics. This is gonna be literal childsplay.”
Naryxa switched out her own weapons for the pistol and assault rifle. She wasn’t a fan of rifles, but when fast fire was required - it would do her better than a heavy pistol. She stayed back from the fireteam just slightly. Paying attention to the relationships that already existed. It seemed that some of her comrades already knew each other - and she did begin to wonder if their pre-existing friendships would affect them when the real
danger crept in. She then began to think about how that might affect her too.
Seeing people with… their people caused her heart to ache a little. She’d performed in similar activities with her own huntresses. “I just wonder how soon this will all get out of hand… My experience with new teams such as these are that at least one person each side will get carried away. It’s all well and good to discuss tactic and who is likely to do what - but perhaps we focus on what we
are going to do.” The Asari pushed down her helmet, closing her eyes to take a deep breath - hoping she had the attention of her team. “It doesn’t matter how many shots they take, how much biotic power they have… What matters is how they gel, if they trust one another… It only takes one big shot to derail a whole operation. We have to act in complete symmetry.”
She stretched out her arms, pulling back her shoulders and lifting her chin. She took another deep breath, feeling the flow of oxygen travel from her lips, down her throat, and into her stomach. She imagined the very same breath spreading out down her legs, flowing through them. With the image clear in her mind, she came up on the tips of her toes - “we can win this challenge without firing a single shot if we can be smart enough about it” she stood gracefully, her voice soft - and carefully she raised her left leg, resting her foot against her right knee. A simple pose, but it allowed her to take full and deep breaths. She expected her team to think she was a lunatic.
Sometimes she wondered herself, if that were the case.”Huh! Sounds boring,”
Kargad replied plainly, his voice decidedly less soft, “What’s the point of bein’ part of this beautiful cosmic chaos if we don’t get real wild with it? I mean, look at The Initiative: planned to the last detail and- let’s be fun and frank about it- a shit show until, well, now. Embrace it!”
“I agree with Naryxa, even if she said it while imitating a tree.
” She snorted. “We’ll prep a plan B based on how the other team may react to our offense. To start I think a good ole fashioned distraction, dividing the defenders up, and then scooping up the hostage when their backs are turned. We’re fucked if they stick together, considering the uneven team counts.
” Dex said with a gesture at the building. “Typically, we’d have a recon team to scope out the surroundings before blazing in but that’s in a scenario where the enemy isn’t expecting you, specifically.
Kargad creased his brow, and thought with mute effort. The phrasing of that sentence - expecting you specifically
- gave him cause for pause. “Well they’re absolutely goin’ to be expecting me to come barreling down at them, krogans are sort of hard to disguise and we only have the one trick. Maybe we can use that expectation? Get the drop on them. But the drop is me. Drop me on them.”
He paused again, and if a Krogan had the capacity to blush for his awkwardness, he would have. His inexperience betrayed itself, tactics were a new and daunting reality.”I don’t know all the military terms and techniques, or anythin’, but I do know my handsome mug comin’ at them from behind might give some of ‘em cause to face the other way. Does that plan work? Usually I just sorta… krogan my way through stuff, otherwise.”
Naryxa relaxed, her brow furrowed at the mention of her being… a tree in such a way. What was wrong with trees anyway? They provided oxygen and were habitats for many creatures, and they bore fruit. At least the Turian agreed with her. She knew that the Krogan wouldn’t. Krogan were loud and very one-note when it came to battle.
Kargad was so far looking like the possible ego of the group, but all bets were currently off on Serena... “Actually, what is scarier? A krogan dropping from the sky - because then you are then aware and you see the krogan… You can also shoot the krogan… But what if you never see the krogan at all?” She turned to face Kargad, a smirk forming on her lips. “What if you can only hear him?”"Hazan Volintis. Reconnaissance, cartography, marksmanship and CQC specialist. Served my time with the navy back home, now I'm here."
Hazan had replaced his gear with an Avenger and a Katana and was trudging up the embankment with the squad. However, he kept an eye on the compound, his mind working in tandem with his expertise as he drew a mental floor plan of the building, keeping in mind the details he'd seen and hadn't seen. If all were to spec, the building was going to be hell for CQC. Narrow hallways, tight corners and multiple angles to cover, not to mention that it had two floors and a balcony overlooking the area.
As the group approached their starting point, Hazan dropped to a knee and flattened the sand in front of him with his talons. He quickly began drawing the mental map he'd made earlier, separating both floors and marking where the doors, windows and staircases were with simple symbols. Once done, he stood and admired his rough work.
"Alright fellas, that's what I got from inspecting the building as we walked by. The balcony's going to be the least safe entry. Too exposed, no cover, but offers a good advantage if we take over the second floor early, if they aren't set up there. The doors on the north and south aren't good either; choke points that lead into bigger rooms that don't offer much protection for us. West door sounds good for a by-the-book breach and clear, although we're APEX. We're not that typical either."
Dex bent down to examine his drawings. “If we send in Kargad with some backup support through here,
” She pointed at the balcony. “We could do well to divide their defenses immediately, scatter them - while the rest of us ambush where they run, possibly running with the hostage right into our hands.
” Dex considered the idea, “Terribly risky but could end it as fast as it starts.
Serena was thinking about what Dex had said. ‘Specifically prepared for us.’ That meant they would be expecting them to do something like that. Something that was safe and slightly cautious. That played to all of their maximum strengths. She thought back to Kargard’s idea of just attacking straight ahead in a charge. ”That’s not a bad idea…”
She said softly, an idea forming in her head. ”I have a plan. Its crazy, but hear me out.”
She knelt next to Dex, pointing at the drawing scratched in the sand. ”Firu and Khosin have no doubt been telling their team about our styles as much as we’ve been telling our team. Someone has doubtlessly read all our dossiers and has a rough idea of Kargard and Naryxa’s styles. So they’ll expect us to do what our strengths and usual styles are. Dex and I in the back lines supporting or sneaking around. Haze in mid-range or close if he needs too. Kargard rushing in hard and personal. Naryxa darting around, a mobile damage dealer. They’re going to prepare for that.””They’ll keep a sharp eye out for people trying to sneak over the open field around them. Footprints where nothing should be, sounds where nothing is, scanning if they can, etc etc. They’ll expect Kargard to be a diversion for an ambush or us to sneak and get the hostage. So. I suggest we do something they don’t expect at all. We do a frontal assault on the western door.”
She tapped that side in the sand. ”All of us.”
She gestured to Sarah, the small little drone behind her. ”I’m sending Sarah to go watch them and find out where they’re going to put the hostage. She’ll link to our helmet sets so we can always keep a location on the hostage.”
The drone beeped, flying high into the sky and away as it cloaked itself. ”A minute or so before we head out, Del will fly to their roof and get in position to support us when we attack.”
She gestured around the drawn buildings. ”The area we have to go through to get to the buildings is all wide open. They can shoot at us as soon as they see us. Fortunately, they only have small arms and any explosives they have will have to be non-lethal. Nothing with considerable impact. If we stick together, and only go as slow as our slowest member,”
She smiled as she looked up at all the people towering over her. “Which is likely me, given how all of you are giants. If we stick together like that I can keep a barrier up from when they start firing on us until we get to the main entrance. Though,”
she motioned to Kargard and Naryxa, “it’d be appreciated if either of you can use barrier and reinforce mine when that happens. When they all reveal their firing positions, Del will split into three and start using their small mini-guns to suppress three of them and give us an even easier time. When we get to the entrance, Kargard, Naryxa, and I push hard to get to the hostage through the normal route, drawing their attention to us. The three Del’s will be helping us, making the numbers in our favour. While we’re doing that, Haze and Dex will activate their tactical cloaks as soon as we breach and go for the hostage in a sneaky way. If they have any more than two guards on her, the three of us and the three dels will be able to overwhelm those opposing us and support you two. If not, you should have the element of surprise to get the drop on them and secure the hostage. And Sarah will be able to aid you with her omni-lash.”
She sat back on her heels, looking around. ”To summarize, we do a direct assault against the western door, with me and maybe one of our other biotics keeping a barrier to stop them from gunning us down as we rush the door. Del will drop down and start suppressing them if they start firing on us as we run towards them. Sarah is already keeping an eye on the Hostage, so we should always be linked and have an idea of where she is. Kargard will breach first, and Naryxa and I will assault with him to keep them busy and push hard for the hostage. As soon as we breach, Haze and Dex get their tactical cloaks on and go for the hostage in a sneaky way. How is up to them. The three Dels will be with the assaulting team, giving us six total guns on that side. Any questions?””I could always flank them. While you guys draw their fire, I could wheel around to the external staircase while cloaked. Once you guys get their attention, they’ll be focused on what’s happening, hopefully enough to mask a cloaked approach on the balcony. Unless that’s too risky.”
The Asari listened to Serena’s plan. Keeping her thoughts to herself. Reminding herself that this was all an exercise to see how they worked together - and an ice breaker. She would treat it as such. This was all educational - and the most educational of all was seeing how her group pitched their ideas, spoke of themselves, and where they placed themselves in the battle - and how important their own role was in the success and outcome. All of this discussion gave her an excellent insight into the inner workings of her team mates. The picture was becoming clear but she was withholding her judgement for the mean time…
“That’s a very interesting idea, Serena, but what if this is precisely what they’re expecting? What then?” she spoke in a deliberately challenging tone - awaiting response - she wanted to see if Serena could think on the fly.”That’d work really well Haze. Just keep an eye out for trapped doors and hallways. They have a demolition expert and a guerilla expert afterall. I’d be surprised if they didn’t trap it all to kingdom come.”
Serena blinked in surprise at Naryxa’s tone. She had expected questions and counters to her plan, not someone to challenge her like she was the leader. Maybe Naryxa wanted to be the one seen as in charge giving the plans? Whatever the case, she had put the idea out. She would defend it too. “Even if they do expect it, it's still arguably the best option. ”The only way they could really counter it is if they all pull back around the hostage and hole up in one room, and/or try to counter flank us. If they do the former, it’ll be a matter of how fast can we get in there and break apart their defenses, that’s where Kargard can Krogan it up again with us focusing our barriers on him, and getting all our guns in there to purely outshoot them. With Dex and Haze being able to flank if they do it a room with windows. If they do the latter, well, we’ll have to either quickly get engaged with the main group and rush for the hostage while the odds are in our favour, or we wait until we see the counter-flankers and then just take them down ourselves.”
She tapped on the drawing of the buildings. ”If they don’t do those things, we take away their advantages. They won’t be able to predict where our two tactical cloakers will be coming from or going to, or have the luxury of looking for physical signs of a tact cloak and doing a thorough scan. They won’t have the advantage of numbers, especially if they want to protect the hostage. They’ll have to split up. We limit how long they can take potshots at us as we cross the open field to the building. We force them to open up weaknesses that Dex and Haze or us three can exploit.”
Serena shrugged. ”That’s the best plan I’ve got at least. If someone has other ideas, I’m more than willing to hear them.”
“Now that sounds all fine and thought out except for in the very likely case those drones are disabled.
” She held up a talon, then held up two, “Fried or sabotaged. This plan relies way too heavily on your DEL units not being removed. I say we go ahead with the barrier but strictly keep the drones as a surprise and last resort. If anyone of us is shot, we can get back up to move or shoot back but once those drones are hit they’re a liability.
” Dex hummed. “Alternatively, they’d make for some good bait.
”“Had me at ‘Krogan it up.’””They already are bait. Put yourself in the opposite end of that situation. You have six guns shooting at you. Which is gonna be your first target? The armored, shielded,mobile, and ability using three organics or the unshielded and mobile small drones that can fire rapidly and can be taken down with one shot from your rifle? They’ll focus on the easier targets in an attempt to be able to bring their numbers to bear. Giving us more chances to focus them down. Besides, in general the three of us are supposed to be bait, and if they aren’t expecting Del after seeing me load him with ammon in front of them, we should be very concerned about APEX standards.”
Kargad felt a throbbing in his temples, and massaged the craggy canvas of his forehead as he listened to them bicker on. He was reminded of his infant daughters, shaking him awake - which one of our identical dolls is better,
He had to admit, though, it was tough to choose who he wanted to invest his trust in. He admired Serena because she was human - and humans were much like krogans. Dreamers, scrappers, killers. They wanted war, and blood, and glory. If they weren’t so squishy, they’d be perfect warriors. But, being the hulking beast he was, he couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by her faith in her tiny machines - Dex had made a very prudent point. Machines were fickle and prone to breaks, even guns jammed at times. The only thing you could trust in a fight was a clenched fist or something heavy and blunt.
Dex’s plan seemed funner,
and Kargad, relatively free of the traditional Krogan biases (he thought of every race as his people, even Salarians, the smug half-lived bastards), had to respect that nobody knew how to plan a good firefight like a Turian. But then, was the plan too obvious? Does that matter, if you have a good team?”Does them expecting us really make this that much harder?”
, he asked, earnestly. He was no soldier, yet, after all - just a father with wanderlust.“I feel like we’d be puttin’ on a better show if we rolled with the punches. I’ve got fire in my belly, and shit, I know some of you kids’re damned good shots. Why would the original plan fall through just ‘cause they see us comin’? If we hit them hard and well enough, does that matter?”
Dex nodded glancing down at her omnitool, “It looks like we’ve run out of time anyway. Point made, we’ll stick together in a barrier on approach. Then Haze and I will sneak away to ambush the hostage guards, while having the DEL drones as backup. Do what we can to hit them hard, keep them unbalanced, divide them up if we can.
She placed her helmet on tapping the side of it, her voice coming through on their ear pieces. “Keep in contact on our private comms or else I’ll be more than happy to spill the beans on your most embarrassing intranet search engine histories.
” She paused then added, “I’m partially joking.
With that said, as a group they all did a final prep on their equipment and set out toward the killhouse.