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1 yr ago
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3 yrs ago
Amy Winehouse has been sober for six years. Just wanted to remind folks of this.
3 yrs ago
Apologies to my collaborators, I've been having a rough weekend and didn't get anywhere near what I wanted to get done in posting.
3 yrs ago
Found a bolt in my front left tire today. It must be tire week on the Guild, because others had the same stuff.
3 yrs ago
Hot dogs are already cooked. Might as well just sear them to add flavor.


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Looks groovy to me!
Hover vehicles were a new sensation still; a layout done on the basis of human designs, and conforming to the role of an IFV, so that was familiar.

Rather, it was the way it moved, floating and bobbing, rather than rumbling and rattling. He muttered, "I guess it's a fucking Mercedes Benz war..." got a rueful chuckle by another squadmate that got the drift. His hands went over the equipment, his eyes visually checked on everyone else. He had a carbine in hand, a human-designed but Grathik manufactured weapon that essentially upgraded what they had into something that put them in a similar category of lethality to Salvesh weaponry. The limitations came from being chemically-propelled, but the Grathik and human commanders reckoned that the advantages of familiarity outweighed the limitations of the tech.

The weapons and uniforms were fairly familiar, but dropping down without a parachute or rope and then loading into a hover vehicle? That brought home how different it was, just as the impact of that alien weaponry did as well.

In the course of the ride, he quickly added a single shot rocket launcher, similar to a LAW, to his loadout, same as the others who were replenishing ammo and adding weaponry to their loadout; apparently, they'd felt the same way about the Salvesh fire when it came in as Robson did. When Park told them to get ready to move, he shifted slightly and got ready to hit the buckle that held him down. When the signal came, he was up on his feet and out the hatch fast; the first thing they'd drilled on as soon as the new vehicles came was getting out of them and into the fight quickly.

They had good cover to dig into, in the form of Grathik-built prefab cover as well as the boulevard's fixture itself. Other units were tasked with the clearing, and Squad Park's turn would surely come, but for the moment, they were providing fire support. As soon as the drones and various other cameras and sensors established contact, they would engage, but then the electronic target designation would fuzz as enemy countermeasures took effect. Then the Humans' equipment would gain the upper hand. It came down to eyes, ears, reflexes and instinct.

At least a couple of the enemy were laying down far, effective fire, and it seemed to be striking, as far as he could tell, from an elevated position; close enough for Robson, he didn't need a fucking shave from the enemy. He thought he saw some sort of origin of fire.

"Brown, shift the fire left onto the dildo tower," he was just trying to describe it accurately, "halfway up the shaft!"

Unsure of the enemy's combat dispositions beyond Grathik information sources, he told Park, "Unknown number of sniper quality riflemen, about 700m from us, elevated position," he reported to Park, even as he tried to get better eyes on the enemy, calling out adjustments to the fire...
Stack, breach, clear. There was a rhythm to the close quarters fighting that COMPFORCE troopers were not terribly familiar with but Jenk Beskad was; he'd been in the fighting in Lorya, on Uslam, that was street to street and building to building, holding to cover the evacuation of key leadership and people.

He managed to get on one of the last transports out with fellow Uslamer troopers that made it too.

His squad wasn't all Uslam, but they had enough veterans of the siege that the knowledge was trained into the replacements. But the way the Rebellion was going, he wasn't sure there'd be any Uslamers left in the Uslam Liberators by the time it was done. Every operation, no matter how well-planned it was, resulted in risks that took one more of their comrades away and replaced them with a new face. The Rebellion's recruits had the hearts of nexu tigers, but did not know enough, and there wasn't enough time to get them ready, if there ever was a way to make someone truly ready for war and all its encompassing horrors.

The most worrying replacement, however, was Lieutenant Grann Ulgo, an Alderaanian. Besk couldn't fault that the man tried and might grow into the role despite being a Core Worlder from "a planet where peace and beauty are common preoccupations," but the man wanted to be in the breach team when he probably should have been helping keep the perimeter. There was a time and a place for "Lead from the Front" and this operation was not it. Ulgo wasn't as bad as ex-Imperial officers who often looked at the Liberators and cringed a bit, because they were used to the crisp paradeground and propaganda-vid appearance of the Imperial Forces, which were positioned as a visual prop to the regime's terror -- Stormtroopers in white, walker vehicles, a mass of indomitable force. All the same, he was green.

He should have let the veterans lead the breach. He got a smoking hole in his chest. The man behind him got the trooper that did it, but the damage was done. Besk got down on a knee, when it was his turn in, as the others moved to secure the first section of interior, slowly and deliberately. He checked the man to see if he was still alive, which meant that he'd need treatment, or if he was dead. Then, establishing that he was killed, moved him aside so they could collect him later.

There wasn't much sentiment in it; the young man's eyes stared up into nothing. The next room in the facility was up, and his squad was already preparing to enter. They could see the sparks from a torch on the other side. Someone was trying to seal it. Besk glanced at the tell-tale sign and then nodded to another trooper, who placed an explosive charge on the door. They'd brought plenty of those. With the charge placed and less than half a minute to the explosion, the Rebels fell back.

The charge went off, the door was blown off its guide-rails, and two grenades went right through like clockwork. When those went off, the squad started to move in, covering corners and looking to make sure anyone left alive didn't get back up. There were a couple of mangled bodies and one screaming officer to show for the effort, but no one was taking chances. A blaster bolt silenced the officer.

Unlike Rebel bases, Imperial facilities had a common layout due to the manufacturing complex behind the Imperial regime; standardization of equipment was an economic measure to drive costs down, which meant that as much as could be pre-fabricated was. That made it easier for Imperial Forces to be familiarized with the layout of a base anywhere.

It meant that you had a reasonable expectation of what the layout was in a given Imperial facility and knew where to go. Besk's squad wasn't the only one in there, Green was also in the building, tasked with command and control. Besk's job was different; powerplant, engineering. Hard reboot of the power systems to give Intelligence a window during which they could slice through using the command consoles. That meant that they were going down a set of stairs, not trusting a lift.

Meanwhile, they could hear the sound of intensifying combat outside. "Tick Tock" here was "Boom boom." The Liberators needed those fixed defenses and fast.
I rewrote my last post. It is slightly different than the first. I have a pet peave about writers who excessively use that, had and have in ways that can be written better. I am guilty of doing this on first drafts, but am compelled to change the words when I edit.

It's all good. I often redraft my first posts too as well.
<Snipped quote by HeySeuss>
Yes to all of the above. The only thing that is very different from what I am accustomed to is the addition of the dismounted .50 caliber MG on the hover rig. It is an innovative use to new technology. Dismounted infantry can now bring heavier weapons into combat at the lower levels.

I would also assume the same sort of rig is available for other heavy weapons, including Mk.19's, M134's and a number of other weapons systems. It's probably a boon to the mobility of a weapons platoon especially.

The Grathik design principle was to make it user friendly to already-trained troops rather than retrain the troops, so there's that as well. It's easier for them to integrate into their tactics that way.
Is the weapons loadout on the APC similar to a Bradley's loadout? Some sort of autocannon and ATM's? I can see there being drone/remote weapons systems in play to reduce the number of crew involved in the operation.

Also, do we have a sense of what the squad loadout looks like? I figure they might well have taken a couple LAWs apiece or similar, or extra ammo for rifles and automatic weapons for this fight.

The operation was far more than just the squad sitting in the bay of a U-Wing transport, the doors left open and troopers in seats ready to drop off them in a pre-trained order, to keep the ships hovering in place for as short a time as possible. There was no light in the cabin, except for a red shade that allowed enough vision for them to move about without bumping into one another. The landscape of the planet below, of metoerite-pocked, dusty tan rock, was muted by the light of three moons.

The ship, one of several, followed the jagged contours of Kol Jagoth's surface, using the cover of an A-wing's jammer to provide a further buffer against detection. Despite the weeks of preparation by local forces, the Empire was not expecting a heavy strike force. Timing and coordination between disparate elements of the task force were crucial to the success of the mission, but that was not unusual in the Rebellion. Stretched resources and constantly evolving strategic and tactical considerations required a constant shifting of resources on an ad hoc basis. Experienced units became used to the need to adapt and improvise.

The larger picture was of a distant concern to Gold Squad, 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Uslam Liberators Regiment who were mostly concerned with the crucial first moments of the planned engagement, getting off the ship fast and hitting the Imperial forces on site hard enough and fast enough to overwhelm the opposition.

None of that was guaranteed. Plans did not always survive the first contact. But experienced helped; Rebel HQ held a reserve of experienced saboteurs and operatives in reserve for crucial strategic operations, but the bulk of the work doing raids and combat fell to Sector Forces, local Rebel guerrilla groups that lived and died by the element of surprise and by getting out before the Empire could hammer them. Where the enemy was weak, they hit. Where it was strong, they avoided battle. When the enemy reinforced, they melted away.

But sometimes, a bigger stick was required for actions where the enemy forces were of a known quantity or quality, or the position was hardened. Sometimes, the risks were necessary. In this part of the Galaxy, near Hutt Space, the quick reaction force, or force sent to plug the gaps and add extra muscle were the Uslam Liberators, the same regiments that gave the Empire a bitter three month siege that ended with the remanants of the Uslam Defense Forces being evacuated.

1st Liberators were still fighting a guerrilla action on Uslam, despite the pressure. The 2nd were now fleet troops, broken up into platoon-sized elements across a number of ships in the Rebel Fleet in the Outer Rim.

Occasionally, more than one platoon came together for larger scale operations; Kol Jagoth's political prisoner camp was one such operation.

It was a large ISB holding facility for political dissidents with COMPFORCE recruits training nearby and getting experience in the field hunting escapees and running realistic patrols in a low-intensity environment, providing muscle as a local garrison, which was a necessity because Kol Jagoth was also mineral rich and had <insert mineral> mining and refining operations that were vunerable to sabotage by insurgents and escapees. The security risks were worth the profit margin to certain conglomerates that helped certain officers wet their beaks. Occupational safety was not a concern; such work was brutal and had a high turnover rate from accidents and punishments. That helped keep the operating costs down -- it turned out that seasoning green troops with guard duty and patrols was cheaper than workplace safety; it made sense with the margins.

These were enemies of the Empire who were not coming back.

Intelligence determined that certain individuals needed to be rescued. The work that went into it was reconaissance by local guerrilla networks which had way more eyes than guns, counting heads, noting times of patrols and patterns. Reporting the raw data out to Intelligence, who then compiled maps, charts and timetables. They had operations officers working on the plan. Those beings determined, based on the gathered information, that a small extraction team would not be sufficient given the size of the security force and the risks involved. It was a stark choice; bring enough firepower or go home.

The decision was made to use assets on the planet, but also to bring in infantry. The Uslam Liberators were considered "light infantry" and were ship-based. They had a degree of firepower, capability to be landed by various means from their ship and delivered, if viable, with fast armored speeders called Freerunners, that could carry a squad apiece into the fight with heavy weapons in support. But they were not a match when the Empire brought in slower but much heavier walkers and started a sustained bombardment.

The Liberators knew that, they'd been there. But Task Force NEXU command then brought in starfighter support from the 7th Roving Line, which was essentially a heavily refitted cruiser called the "Kashyyyk" that carried three squadrons; Buccaneers Squadron (Blue), Gambler Squadron (Red) and Gunslinger Squadron (Gold.)

What it boiled down to was a battalion of troops, a flotilla of small ships protecting the Kashyyyk along with Blue Squadron, Red providing top cover against TIE fighters and anything else in the air and Gold hitting selected targets.

Weeks in the gathering of resources, staging of logistics and, of course, acquiring sufficient transport for the people being liberated from the Kol Jagoth camp. Only a couple people were being extracted from the planet via a fast courier for the task, they were key individuals. The rest would be lifted if possible, or given the option of joining the Rebellion's local forces and dying with their boots on.

It was considered a 'recruitment drive.' The Liberators were tasked with taking the perimeter and securing the compound while Intelligence's technicians sliced the command center (once taken by Liberators) and started opening up barracks. Meanwhile, there were COMPFORCE troops that might come back from patrols and they were to be dealt with. The idea was to hold long enough to spring prisoners and then extract. Violence of action was expected to carry them through.

The upshot was that when Besk felt the U-Wing brake hard, he knew the cabin light would come on without looking. He knew that they were descending as soon as the braking started or it would have taken him by surprise - it was not a gentle landing, but a stop in mid air and a sudden stomach-clenching drop even as he yelled, "GOLD READY!" There was no exhortation about the Force or any quippy battlecry, there was a focus on getting out of the vulnerable vehicle as quickly as possible so it could get topside and start supporting from the air with laser cannon, repeating blasters, manned by door gunners, and additional rockets added on as a modification for close air support. The doors were extra large compared to stock and folding benches reconfigured to make it easier for a squad, nine beings, to land quickly under fire, without door gunners having to get out of the way, and without benches blocking access to either side.

They hit the dust of Khol Jagoth already with the weapons firing and explosions going off, inside the compound and headed for their designated strongpoint.

The COMFPORCE fire team on watch in that quadrant, holding down the area saw something different from the typical Imperial propaganda vid of Rebel troops, who were often cast to look like Huttese palace guards, thuggish and dirty and mean. These Rebels wore camouflage uniforms and load bearing equipment over loose smocks, colored for the dusty tan terrain they were working in. They had helmets, they had goggles, they had blasters with optics. A lot of this was modified by ingenious quartermasters trying to keep their people ready to fight, and a lot of it was sourced hiking gear and private market stuff, which was sometimes much better in quality than the Imperial Issue stuff, even for COMPFORCE, who got the cream of the equipment. One thing the vids got right was just how many of the Rebels had beards. The idea was that you didn't shoot someone with a beard, because the Imperials shaved. It was a rough and ready rule of thumb that made ex-Imperial military types nuts. The Liberators didn't care and it saved the Rebellion money on shaving kits.

They shouted to each other over the din of battle, no longer worrying about being overheard, but in a shorthand that was meant to quickly and clearly convey only the necessary communications; "Shift fire!" "3 at 12!" and so forth.

The last thing they'd see was the blast of coordinated fire as Liberators fired in their assigned sectors, carefully coordinated by experienced NCO's. The Assault Troopers were there to get seasoning, but instead wound up cooked. Similar fights were breaking out all over the base. Comms were reserved for coordination between units, but so far, things were on schedule. The platoon had a specific objective; once the dust cleared and the COMPFORCE troopers were confirmed dead, they shifted into the corridors of the command facility while other units took up position as blocking forces. This was where the casualties would happen, the cornering and the breaching, the chaotic close quarters fighting.

Besk knew that the plan involved the Liberators taking on the Imperial forces within the compound and clearing the way for the Intelligence guys who would prance in and start disabling security systems. It didn't mean he had to like it.

Like, love, hate, he brought enough sonic grenades to the party and they came in as soon as the grenade went off, taking surprised COMPFORCE troopers by surprise, but he didn't expect the luck to last. This was going to be a hairy one, especially as soon as someone decided to use their head and suck the Liberators in rather than come out to meet them...

"Shit!" exclaimed Robson, from behind cover, as the suppressive fire came in from enemy positions. They were a squad of combat veterans, but the way the fire came in with hypersonic booms and tore forth chunks from their position was a new and unpleasant experience, even as the debris rained in on them in dangerous splinters and other hazards. They'd been prepared for the scenario of having the observation position compromised, but not quite prepared for the kinetic energy behind the enemy's attack.

Nonetheless, he quickly stowed his equipment, the light fifty, onto a grav platform that the Grathik designed to assist infantry by lessening their carried individual loads. It was derived from the concept of programs that were shelved by various militaries for lack of the technology base to follow through with a viable piece of equipment for battlefield use.

Just as the Grathik mounted heavy machineguns on drones that could be converted over to manned use by humans, they also equipped humans with these cargo units.

It made a difference; Robson was down to his rifle and the equipment necessary to fight for several hours, while leaving anti-material rifles, anti-tank weapons and the like to be carried by an autonomous vehicle that essentially was their pack animals...the first time they heard one talk, it was dubbed, "Donkey!"

And then some joker reprogrammed their squad's Donkey to sound like Eddie Murphy.

"Now I'm a FLYIN' donkey!" it sang out as the last gear was loaded on and it sailed down on counter-grav tech, the same exact tech that the squad's emergency escape equipment had. Once Robson had his carbine ready and saw others making their jumps, he made his; it felt like a parachute drop, something the Grathik added so as to psychologically reassure humans used to parachute drops. It was a gentle, rather than steep descent.

Donkey let them concentrate on setting up their perimeter, concentrate on their movement and freed up people that'd be humping heavier gear from even worrying. Indispensable, because, down on the ground level, they could focus on the rifleman's job.

That job was vital, because now they were on an alien street, on an alien station, with alien buildings blocking a lot of the line of sight, which provided alien soldiers concealment. The sounds of other fights off in the distance were present, but the silence of their position was overwhelming...
I would also add that in the event of having to descend from a height, they do have an emergency fall protection system built into their gear that the Centurion troops discovered works for when they need to soften a landing from a tall building. Might be faster than using ropes, but accomplish the same thing. That is in addition to other emergency systems for loss of gravity, loss of atmosphere and so forth, inherent to a habitat station. None of these technologies are tuned to their full potential, the Grathik cranked them out with the idea that they needed to adapt these systems to where the Human troops are, not to where they could be if they trained. But humans are adaptable, and so they probably learned about this equipment and have already started to pick up a few tricks.

Like the emergency landing system.
Maybe I should edit my post to reflect the portability of the .50 cal on a drone using hover capabilities.

Sounds like a plan!
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