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  • 📅 May and June 2024 are YE 46.4 in the RP.

RP Reactivated M1: Blood on the Sand

Commissar Farzi

🎖️ Game Master
RP Date
YE 44.2
RP Location
("This is Cobalt 3-1 to Control; reporting multiple enemy IU's in the open, coming from western perimeter-requesting mortar barrage, HE, elevation one-five-zero meters, range two-five-zero-over.")

("Roger that Cobalt 3-1, sending barrage, over.")

The thump of mortar fire roared as a half-dozen tubes sent their deadly 120mm payload as thunderers boomed-their muzzles appearing as brief, brilliant flashes as the snap-hiss of their opponents' return fire-brilliant blue beams that crackled with power-casting strange shadows through the dust clouds as they lanced out. Morris half ducked as one hit the sandbag-sending half-melted sand and dirt spraying outwards. The yeoman next to him wasn't so lucky-his head being turned into a fine, steaming mist as his body dropped like a puppet whose strings had been cut. Cursing as a second volley forced him down-his massive frame making it difficult for him to properly utilize cover. Around him, yeoman were either returning fire or doing the same as him to reload.

Changing the magazine out of his machine pistol-fumbling the ejection catch of the Scythe-the Ancestor's Damned things were a piss-poor excuse for a weapon. Compact, but had lousy ergonomics for loading. Knocking the magazine against his helmet several times to dislodge any dust that might have accumulated in it, he slammed it into place and racked the bolt of the weapon. As he peered over the wall, another volley of brilliant azure accompanied by the distinctive sound of a large caliber machine gun firing; as the rounds cracked overhead the big man sighed; either they were withdrawing or charging. A shout of ("Cover!") as the weapon began to sweep their line-likely catching any poor slob that was foolish enough to expose himself. Doing his best to ensure the contents of his head where they belonged, the Yeoman Sergeant tried to get a visual and was forced down by yet more suppressing fire. Opening a comlink, he spoke in Valhallan: ("This is Havoc 1-1, we are currently pinned in the western perimeter sector four, infantry with heavy weapons support, I say again,") He said, voice calm as he nosed the barrel, ("We are pinned down by Infantry and heavy weapons support-does anyone have a visual, over?") He snapped off a burst before ducking down as more fire was directed towards his position. Looks like he had their attention.

("Havoc 1-1 this is Cobalt 2-7; Negative, we do not positive ID on location; dust-storms picking up, over.") Of course, it was; the near omnipresent dust kicked up by the wind made visibility lousy on the best of days save for the rare few bits of calm when it wasn't blowing, and when it kicked up the storms it generated it played hell with instruments.

On the upside, it usually kept engagements relatively close range-meant the bastards actually had to get up close and personal-which was fine by him.

("Roger that Cobalt 2-7, brace for possible close quarters battle, over and out.") Unlimbering his warhammer, Morris looked to his fellows, one nodding to it. ("Ye really think they'll bae lookin' tae get up close n' personal?") He asked-the yeoman's accent was strange, likely from the Outer Spiral. ("Only if their stupid enough to charge a manned trench line.") He replied, leaning over the trench-no fire, but it didn't mean they wer-whoa! That one was far too close. ("I mean..we're tha' stupid.") The yeoman sergeant fixed him with a pointed look. ("We don't count.") This brought a peal of laughter from them as Morris peered back over-another volley, but nowhere near them. Likely it was meant to keep them on their toes.

Now if only the bastards be a bit more considerate and actually charge them instead of hiding behind the dust cloud like kids clinging to their mother's apron strings....


A few stray shots cause Steiner's EM screen to flash-the offenders were met with a hail of chaingun fire from the twin 35s slung under his right arm-he thought he still saw movement from where the shots came from. A blast from his Helstrom-the I-Beam's arcs created scattered, semi-molten trenches as the blast hammered into what seemed to be some kind of vehicle-but the blast left little to identify. Perhaps the smiths would be able to find something. ("Ancestors damn it,") A yeoman growled as he loosed a blast from his plasma rifle-a brief flash indicating a hit, ("Thurok Fuckers never learn-send em' packin' and they come right back.") Steiner agreed as he let loose another blast from his Helstrom-this was the third time this week they'd been hit. ("They gotta be coming from somewhere.")

("Our scouts have found nothing aside from that abandoned mining facility,") The mechanoid reminded him. The yeoman grunted, ("I know sir, just frustrated is all-bastards keep hitting us n' all we can do is react.") Steiner agreed with that sentiment as he loosed another beam-this constant game of Thurok taunting was beginning to grate-and he knew just how to fix it-at least morale wise. ("Then let us remind them of their folly!") He opened a Company-wide channel. ("Yeoman of the Iron Company-grind this filth into the ground!") He roared-in spite of its almost monotone nature, it carried a ferocity that served to bolster morale. The old sentinel knew it would not be enough-they had to take the offensive-but it would be enough for now...

(OOC): Reactivated is a go!
There's a new voice on the radio. It's not the growl of yet another Mishu with an overinflated ego and a thesaurus to match, howling for the surrender of the interlopers and that the Glory of the Imperial Empire shall Live Through Eternal Aeons. It was female, and spoke with a Nepelesian accent. Someone who fancied themselves a real joker. They probably wouldn't be joking if they'd seen a comrade get their head torn off.

"This is Rabbit-Actual, the squids left open a back door. I'm sure it's part of their master plan for intergalactic domination. Watch your head."

As the eldritch shapes writhed in the dust cloud, as if trying to dance with it, there was a new shape and a new colour.

The colour of money, baby.

Brilliant gold rods extend from the rooftop of the facility and hurtled towards the shapes, billowing away the veil of dust as the 'spears' raced through and into bodies.

The first victim was an ugly toad-like fuck, maw open mid-gloat, making it easier to scream as molten metal flash-fried its center of mass, sizzling its innards as its organs collapsed under the weight of the liquid hot metal and its liquefying organs.

The second was a Separa'Shan, and whoever it had been was long gone and dead, with the NMX parasite half-dessicated and still pumping more of itself into its body, tentacles among its scales. And whatever thing was in its place was now gone and dead as another golden beam punched through, dust blowing away like an omen of death, impacted its midsection, tearing it in two.

This is probably what a religious vision looked like. Rods from the Gods, lifting the veil away to smite sinners.

Alright, Luna, you've definitely been away from merc work too long. You get flowery when you're not shooting enough, see?"

"All friendlies, standby for visual. IFF's on, please don't shoot the merc with the funny helmet at the factory." Was this a factory?
"Havoc 3-2, Mike for all Stations, Anti-armor in position, your approach is clear,, Rabbit. I'll let you know if anything changes." Michelle had planted herself on a ridge, squirming down into her brigandine and allowing her weapon to settle into a relaxed Overwatch position. From this vantage point, no armor support could move around the facility without her seeing it, and her HUD overlayed IFF markers, letting her see what identified as friendly. She took a breath behind her helmet, sipping from her water. "My rifle's kinda sketch, so I gotta make my shots count. Get me clear targets and configuring for laser paint."
Morrispeered back over the lip of the trench; a still-glowing projectile having embedded itself not a foot from his position. Whatever weapon this 'Rabbit-Actual' used had managed to clear out the dustclouds-however briefly bringing the fighting to a halt for a moment and likely forcing that gun crew's head down. A few rolling hills and the detritus of war-broken weapons and shattered men. He didn't see any-a burst from the gun forced him down. Yep, there it was-a few of the rounds cracked overhead as he snapped off one of his own. Upon hearing Havoc 3-2's transmission; the bloody wench was speaking trade-still, maybe she could nail them. ("Havoc3-2, this is Havoc 1-1.") He replied in Valhallan, more for the benefit of his men than his own, ("Got a target for you, guncrew, western trench line-do you have line of sight, over?") The Grandmaster's shout followed this. At this, he signaled his men to get back into position, he spotted-none too soon-the exposed silhouette of an IU, arm cocked back. His machine-pistol barked-the357. rounds stitching a ragged red line across their chest. The hostile fell backward-followed by a boom accompanied by a puff of smoke and a figure rolling out of the hole.

Likely one of the fucker's squadmates. Served em right-the toxic environment would finish what they'd started.

One of the men threw a grenade of his own; a large, fat cylinder-it sailed clumsily overhead before detonating a short distance away-covering them with a fine sheen of dust. The blast was near defining-hopefully it spooked the bastards. More explosions followed as other squads along the trench hurled their own detpacks. More blue beams lanced out-spots danced across his vision causing him to blink as Morris felt the heat of one through his helmet. ("Targets in front of us!") The Yeoman Sergant roared-the squad's rifles bellowing in response...


Steiner let loose another burst from the 35's on his left arm while the shoulder-mounted ones swept for targets-his target; a squad with the misfortune of having been caught in the open. Rabbit-Acutal's attack had bought them a small reprieve-however slight. His optics zoomed in on the figure on top of the radio tower of the mining complex."Rabbit Actual," He replied, scanning for additional targets, "This is Grandmaster Albert Steiner-your assistance is much appreciated-" He was interrupted by a ping on his radar-examining the contact's signature-aetheric-three of them-coming from the southwest. "Rabbit-Actual; we have multiple contacts inbound-possibly vehicular; can you get a visual; over?" He sent a plasma bolt down range; gouging out a chunk of hill and turning it into so much glass and slag...
("Havok 1-1, 3-2 confirmed,") she spoke in cool, easy Valhallan, gently swivelling her weapon into position. ("Target spotted. No line of sight. Switching to ballistic.")

Laying behind her rifle, she took a quick measurement from her spotter as he used the sights on his Stinger to mark the position. She set herself about making the calculations and adjustments to her weapon sights with practiced ease and precision before she drew a deep breath in and settled onto her ribcage. With a bucking double thump and flash, the heavy Thunderer anti-materiel rifle kicked up a plume of heat and light infused dust as the twin rounds sailed in their arc on the way to the gun crew's weapon. First an alkaline core Beast Killer, used for softening armor and killing exterior crew with the splatter, then a Standard to strike close to the impact and shear through, the plate. She hoped that by making a clean strike across the weapon she could induce a sympathetic detonation in its ammunition, neutralizing the crew and providing just big enough a boom to make the enemy duck. But she saw none of the explosive nastiness she had hoped for. ("Package en route. If someone wants to confirm my kill? Rabbit, if you have a visual on those vics, please share target data and I'll soften them for you.")

As her spotter patted her leg, she slipped backward on her knees, lifting herself and her rifle to sprint just behind the ridge about a hundred yards to a fresh position, one that gave her line of sight of her kill. ("Belay that confirm request. Gun emplacement's down. Looks like I mixed up my load. Thought I was going HE. Weapon's visibly disabled, crew neutralized. Next target.")
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The loss of the machine gun crew-especially in the way it happened-saw the enemy's skirmish line waver and break. Morris had gotten a frontline view of exactly what and where the gunner had gotten hit with. As they crumpled to the ground in a fetal position, a second round smashed into the gun and he winced. Beast rounds were a bad way to go as it was, and a hit like that was even worse. Still, it was like the breaking of a dam; ("Up and over boys!") He roared, holstering his hammer and unlimbered his combat shield; the squads began clambering the trench as the enemy skirmishers returned sporadic fire as they began to retreat; a few put up some resistance-but they were too few in number to make an effective impact.

("We've got em on the run-send em back to their mommas on their shields!") Morris bellowed as he fired another burst, watching as his opponent stumbled


Steiner watched as the hostiles began their retreat. "Rabbit-Actual be advised; hostile units are withdrawing," He sent, as he began assembling his own tanks for a charge-"Signatures are likely evac; exercise caution should you advance, over." Switching to Valhallan, he decided it was time to ensure their 'guests' were sent packing in a more permanent fashion. ("Armored Cohorts advance; tanks up front, infantry in back-sweep and clear, over")

("Copy Grandmaster.") The rumble of combustion engines roared across the landscape as a number of large, boxy tanks began their grinding advance; the yeomen followed in short order and surrounded the tanks' sides and rear to protect them from marauding infantry...

(ooc): Permission to play Luna given by Lunar Rabbit via discord until they return next week.

"Yea, I got your contacts alright 'Grandmaster'." What was this guy, some kind of martial artist? Maybe a kung-fu master? Oh god, was he gonna make her do a training montage and call him 'sensei?' More importantly; what was with that robot voice? Nevermind; you've been doing merc work too long Luna. She'd spotted them; a battle buggy and a pair of trucks? This wasn't like the stories of the mishu she heard-or seen for that matter-where were the overwhelming numbers? The struggle against hopeless odds and horrific monsters?

Nevermind. Focusing on the task at hand, she lined up the 'Moneyshot'-the weapon's coolant leaving frost along the exterior as it flushed the excess waste heat as steam wafted upwarrds. She had probably three-quarters of a clip left; that fucker didn't have the kindness or forethought to actually pack a spare magazine or three. "Yep-three armored contacts coming in; just like that Miner Strike in Abjection." Sighting the rear vehicle-one of the trucks-her finger caressed the trigger, and from the horizon, judgment rained down yonder into the unfortunate victim. An incandescent hail of magnetically compressed semi-molten rods traveling at 4000 meters per second lanced out and in a matter slammed into the front of the truck-pitting its armored hide with glowing holes. Yama-dura was tough stuff, however, it was still just durandium impregnated with a bit of regenerative metal-even with the enhancement it was still just carbon-fiber nanotubes enhanced with metal. Several rounds punched through, with the spray of shrapnel peppering the crew member but dealing beyond a few nasty cuts; however-they did far more extensive damage to the truck. In an attempt to evade their attacker-the Nepleslian watched with some satisfaction as the vehicle suddenly skidded out of control and flipped-rolling several times before coming to a halt on its side.

"Hell-fucking yea!" She cheered as she shifted targets, the euphoria of combat singing in her blood as she lined up the remaining two vehicles. However, that high was soon interrupted; as if sensing the moment she squeezed the trigger, the buggy suddenly swerved left-with her volley going mostly wide and chipping its shitty camouflage paint job. The majority of the rounds however slammed into the truck-while only really denting and occasionally pitting the armor of the other truck-it did just enough to force them to break from their escort. "Grandmaster; this is Rabbit-actual; nailed one of the contacts; a couple of trucks and a buggy-got one truck and the other split off from its friend." Her tone was one of satisfaction; cargo truck or no-she'd managed to knock it out at that range.

"I copy Rabbit-Actaul; I will inform my men of these developments; grandmaster out." Again with the robot voice. He wasn't some kind of killbot gone rouge, was he?
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"NMX running from a fight? Now that's interesting," Luna commented over net.

This here Money Shot was rated for medium vehicles. Let's find out, shall we, Rabbit?

"Yeah, I see 'em, Grandmaster," she says, trying to keep irony out of her voice. The last time she had to call anyone "Grandmaster', she wound up fighting angry brainwashed NMX Neko in their burning dojo. Long story. He wasn't going to make her call him sensei next, was he? She liked shooting guns over punching people. It was just punching people with bullets, really.

Also, what's with the robot voice? She's surprised half the mercs weren't in mechs and chromed out the ass. Not that she'd prefer it that way; there was just something wrong about fighting in a way that was completely free from groundpounding and feeling the recoil as you shoot a tentacled monstrocity.

Alright, Luna, back to shooting tentacle monsters and their zombies.

"Yeah, three armored contacts. Those better not be Ultor Corp vehicles." Ah, Ultor, famous for trying to kill its miners and anyone vaguely associated with them. "Funny story, I think I did this exact shot once."

Pause. Any second now...

"Hang on, readjusting." The front vehicle was smart and kept flailing about in something serpentine and cloud-dust-y, and with the ammo rod feeling a little light, she didn't exactly feel like she'd hit a jackpot. The back bastard would do, zeroing in and...

"Okay, I did this exact shot once." That'd sound cool if in the whole wide universe, there was only one or two people with Moneyshots allowed to shoot trucks. Again, some god's angry judgemental eye beams hurtled through the dust and towards the less maneuverable of the trio. Yama-dura's tough, but if you slam enough molten metal a little over ten times the speed of sound, it stops being as tough. The driver or whatever was probably a big blob of Eldritch flesh if they survived that... wait, no. Blobby gasbags or not, it was going to get reaaalllly banged up when the truck's systems suddenly start going the other way, thanks to the aforementioned hunk of metal going faster than the speed of sound.

"Jackpot." She lets herself grin. Enjoy the finer things in life: freshly shot guns, dead war criminals, wrecked vehicles. "Grandmaster, splash one contact." Do you still say 'splash one' if you're not in a fighter? "One truck's down and the other's driving like it's caught in Funky City traffic."

The robot voice gruffed its appreciation. She didn't see any really wild synths on the way here. Maybe it had a hundred limbs that could fire guns?

She tracks the remaining truck through the dust the buggy's scratching up, but it's a Hells of a job to do when she's not watching the rest of the NMX run. "Grandmaster, I hope your thermals aren't fried. In my experience, NMX don't like running, but they do like leaving behind presents." Do thralls ever have some kind of self-preservation instinct?

When she's sure the latest cloud cover has a distinct lack of tentacles, she flicks the gun's barrel back at the remaining truck. Hat trick time, Luna. Squeeze the trigger and let's see if we can make this truck dance. Another roaring rod sped out towards the truck...
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("You're right. NMX retreating is a rather significant change in tactics. Be prepared, folks.") Michelle settled herself in behind her rifle, zooming in just in time to see the truck shatter under Rabbit's shot. ("Solid kill, Rabbit. Mike's engaging the buggy on the left, chem-laser round.")

She tapped the spotter's leg with her foot, making him aware she was in position as she prepped the rifle and he started giving metrics, letting her do the math and settings. A laser was always faster than a bullet. At this range, that change could be a touch over a sixteenth of a second. No drop. No change due to wind or air temp or dust. So she could be a little more precise. Aim small. Miss small.

("Going for the engine on that buggy. Be prepared to take a prisoner. We need the intel.") With that, she pulled the trigger.

Only to watch the aether reactor's containment be sheared open by a thin stream of plasma, releasing the core in a near blinding flash that saw her yelp and cover her eyes, cussing in every language she knew as the buggy was reduced to a burned out husk rolling across a crater.
Minutes before buggy destruction

Morris and squad had taken cover in a shell crater; as a pair of chirugeons were tending one of the men after a particle burst had turned the upper torso of his hardsuit into glowing slag. Bastards had found a backbone and rallied-bastards had found a backbone and rallied; slowing their rapid advance almost as soon as it began.

One of the yeomen crawled up to the crater's edge, bringing up his thunderer-though the weapon’s bulk and size made it difficult to fight from a prone position. He heard the roar of the rifle as the big man signaled the rest of the squad to take up firing positions. Around them, the chaos of battle raged- the boom of slugthrowers, the hiss of particle weapons, the roaring thump of mortar rounds impacting the solid-sending yet more dust into the air, contributing further to lousy visibility. Above them, the near-twilight sky of this hellish desert world bathed the world in a soft white light lending an eerie serenity to the situation.

It’d be almost peaceful in a weird, alien sort of way if it wasn’t for the fact there was an army of aliens trying to kill them. Looking back as the rest of the squad traded shots based on vague estimates of where the enemy’s own counterfire came from, he glanced at the healers (“How is he?”) Moirrs inquired, even as he let out a shout of (“Hostile, right! Shift fire!”) as more particle fire raked another position. (“He’s stable, but we need to get him out of here.”) The Chirugeon responded, applying another syringe full of detox as the other attempted to plug the hole in his suit’. Applying a thin layer of some kind of foam over the worst of it-steam rising from it as it made contact with the lingering heat. (“Right-we’ll give you cover -suppressing fire!”) The squad’s fire intensified as the duo lifted the man onto the stretcher as the enemy’s return fire became far more inaccurate. Stretcher between them, the duo moved as quickly as their load would allow. Changing out the magazine for a fresh one-giving it a rap against the side of his helmet in an attempt to clear the omnipresent dust from the feed mechanism

He doubted it would do any good as he racked the slide. (“Reloading!”) The yeoman beside him hunkered down, ejecting the spent magazine and replacing it before cursing as he gave several good smacks forcing the stuck magazine into place (“Yer supposed tae reach up er’ skirt smooth lad.”) the grenadier chortled, firing his own weapon, (“No’ jam it up there.”) The yeoman rejoined the fray, with a retort (“And I’m sure them gribbly lovas’ would let me sweetheart my rifle..”) Morris had to keep from laughing-a bit of banter never hurt. Tuning in on his comm in hopes of trying to get some semblance of coordination with nearby squads- immediately his helmet was flooded with chatter.

(“This is Emerald 6-1, requesting-”)

(“Hostiles, left side-focus fire!”)

(“Thunder 2-4 We’re cut off, falling back-requesting covering fire-over!”)

(“Thunder 2-4, this is Sapphire 4-1, we are inbound with armor; gun is hot-over.”)

(“Sapphire 4-1; this is Thunder 2-4; infantry sighted-bearing eastward- two-five-seven-meter-currently sheltered in a shellhole-”) Wait a minute…wasn’t that?(-”requesting canister shot-fire fore effect-over!.”)

(“Roger that Thunder 2-4; One round, canister-sending!”)

Shit. (“DOWN!”) Morris roared, raising his shield over his head as he jerked one of them down-dropping his machine pistol in the process-the rest of the squad followed suit as a boom followed by the scream of outgoing rounds as the aforementioned round sent out its deadly payload-he barely made out the impact as the HE submunitions hammered into the ground around them. His ears rang as he felt bits of shrapnel pepper the front of his combat shield. (“Get me a head count!”) The yeoman sergeant bellowed, before toggling his comms. (“Sapphire 4-1, this is Havoc 1-1; watch your fire; you just fired on friendlies-over!”) As his men rose-shaken by the near miss but thankfully all present. As he peered back over the edge of the shellhole while retrieving his weapon, he spotted a trio of hunched forms. Drawing a bead on them, he was met with a shout of (“Hold your fire!”) before three yeomen jumped into the hole with them. (“You Thunder Cohort!?”) Speak of the Thurok-the trio looked haggard-their armor more chipped, burned, and pitted than most. Two of them carried rifles while the other carried a plasma rifle. Some good firepower as long as the plasma gunner wasn’t stupid about it

(“No, we’re Havoc-Sapphire fired on the wrong target.”) The man swore before peering back over the edge. (“Sorry sir, Got ambushed by infantry-took out our sergeant-no idea where the rest of the squad is.”) Morris sighed-a case of a jumpy trooper firing before he had target confirmation. (“I’d say you’re a long way from home yeoman. You’re with us now, till we find your squad.”) They were probably dead-he didn’t say anything. ("Well, we’ve got armor inbound!") He could almost see the kid grinning beneath his helmet as he spoke; it would’ve been the best news they’d had all day if they hadn’t been nearly killed by said armor moments ago. He heard the grinding of treads as he made out the tall forms of the UMT’s-nine in total-rolling through the thick dust-a few squads falling in behind them.

(“Alright, lads, get with the tanks-give em some support.”) Emerging from the crater as they neared the big man gave a shout over the comms of (“Friendlies coming in!”) before falling in behind them. As they took cover behind one, one of the squads looked at them. (“Welcome to the party boys; gonna send the gribbly fuckers strai-”) A burst of energy fire slammed into one of the tanks-leaving glowing spots and pits on the hull. The real damage came from one bolt hammering into the left tread-metal slagged and fused as the tank slid left-bereft of its tread it was little more than a large target. (“Lost tread!”) He spotted something large and fast-moving rushing past-looked like armor. (“Got a target-southwest-armor-over!”) Someone radioed, (“Roger, dialing in, over.”) The vehicle’s turrets began to track-suddenly a horrible grinding noise erupted from the tank in front of them. (“Engine fire! Engine fire! Bail out!”) The vehicle ground to a halt as the tank’s hatch opened-the crew hastily climbed out-jumping from the tank. (“Get clear in case the ammo cooks off.”) Another tank, this one to the left took several direct hits -the bolts boring through the driver’s hatch and hull; sending a spray of white-hot metal through the crew compartment, followed by a second that tore through the tank’s transmission-forcing it to a halt as its engine strained against it.

The crew didn’t bail-even as it caught fire.

Grimacing, and thankful for his helmet, Morris signaled his squad to move up behind one of the remaining tanks, even as the others were disabled, either through engine mishap or enemy fire. The crews that were able to bail did so as the remaining three formed a tight wedge. Hearing havoc 3-2’s confirmation of having a bead on the buggy he looked back to his men; (“Alright-let’s-!”-) There was a flash and explosion to their right-Morris blinked as he saw the twisted, blackened wreckage of a gribbly vehicle rolling across a crater, before sliding to a stop. Two of the tanks, including the one they’d been following, suddenly stopped. The hatch popped open as the commander peered over the copula, making a cutting gesture-(“Tank stalled out-ain’t got no power!”) Morris cursed as a man-a squire judging by the brass trim of his armor rushed over. (“Defensive formation, now!”) The squire barked. (“The hell does he think we’re doing?!”) Someone muttered-the squad assuming a semi-circle around the now immobile tank. More particle fire-this time focused on the tanks-leaving a few scorch marks and pits in the hull. (“Return fire!”) The big yeoman ordered. (“Get this ancestor’s damned thing moving!”) The commander shook his head. (“Negatory sir-got no power!”) He ducked as a particle blast hammered into the side of the turret. (“Then use the inertial starter-we need these tanks operational!”) Turning to the squad-he barked (“Cover them!”) Before running over to the other tank. Comms must be fucked again if he didn’t radio the other squads.

As a pair of crew members clambered out, the tank’s turret began its slow traverse-no doubt the gunner working the manual mechanism as fast as he could. The co-axial machinegun chattered as they stuck the crank in the hole, and began the laborious task of starting the vehicle back up.


(“Grandmaster; armor advance has stalled.”) Steiner wanted to growl in frustration at the news-the enemy’s presence had much abated during their engagement-likey due to the presence of tanks, (“Report.”) A pause, followed by (“Engine flair ups on several-the environmental sealing failed-several mobility kills and at least one confirmed knocked out.”)

Steiner made to reply when his sensors picked up a sudden surge of energy from where the last report of that buggy was. Steiner optics crackled briefly before clearing-that and the yelp was more than enough indication of what exactly had happened. (“Yeoman Andrake,”) He said over the open comm as he advanced with a squad, (“Please refrain from detonating any Aethric Systems in the future; I should like to avoid dealing with the stupidity of a sunjar exploding point blank-let alone one’s foolishness to look it at directly.”) Sighing internally, he changed out the fuel canister of his helstrom. (“Grandmaster here; advancing to armor location.”) Signaling to the squads he was with, they advanced.

Time to sort this mess out…
(I thought it was internal combustion! Goddamn, that smarts! Alright, back on the rifle, Divert shots away from the engine bay in the future, heard an incomong armor call. Spotter and I are moving to engage. Morris, where am I headed?) Mike and her spotter hopped up, already running along the ridge and slightly behind it to maintain cover. While her spotter preferred heavier armor, Mike preferred the security Brigandine. Light, small, more weight she could spend on ammunition and rifles, or let her relatively small (for a Valhallan) frame move faster, reposition and take her shot before the enemy realized she had moved at all. With her love of decoys and observational skill, most attacks were made easy by her choice in armor.

("Unless someone wants to give me a ride so I can make some battlefield repairs.") She slid into her spot, her gun's muzzle dropping into a cleft between the rocks as she started searching for targets just beyond the tank line. Hell, she'd take power armor at this point. Making herself little better than a sniper, but there was that cute little sweet spot on SMX/NMX and Yammie power armor, where the shoulders opened to let the user climb in and out. That nice little rubberized seal just under the lip of the helmet, the soft fleshy substrate held in by that sweet, sweet shot pocket of the trapezius. better than candy to pop a clean shot through there and knock someone's hat off.
"Uh, yikes, anyone bring their shades?" She spent a pretty penny on optics for her combat suit, and it let her appreciate the small mushroom cloud without her retinas frying.

Up until the buggy went up, she made a mental note to send footage of the tanks it had been pouring lasers onto to her ex. How's THAT for tank superiority?

"This is Rabbit-Actual, can anyone confirm any incoming enemy armor? I'll cover your tanks the best I can, but this thing's starting to run dry." Adjusting, she looked out at the bailed tanks, studying the 'clouds' for a hint of tentacles or mutations.
Morris watched as the all-too-familiar form of the Grandmaster trundling towards them. The sound of the engines turning over as the two stalled vehicles finally started; the remaining active one had been forced to halt its advance. With a sigh, he toggled his comm. "Negative Rabbit-Actual; Havoc 3-2 got em', over." He scanned the dust clouds-the fire had lessened considerably, but the occasional shot seared past them; just enough to force them to keep their heads down and not give them a clear shot. ("Armor's moving forward Grandmaster, over!") Steiner grunted in response. His sensors pinged; though he wasn't sure if it was a ghost or not-picked a brief contact. Still better safe than sorry.

("All units, contact south by southea-") He was cut off as a massive flash followed by the boom of thunder-the sudden overpressure clearing the field and revealing, however briefly the charred, twisted remains of an NMX truck and crew. ("They hit an Ancestor's damned ion field.") Somone commented in awe; Static electricity was a near-constant danger on the world, as there was no humidity in the air to diffuse it-the result was occasionally units would stumble into fields of charged electrions; causing a massive discharge that even the smallest struck with the force of a hundred cannons and wreaking havoc on man and machine like-they'd alleviated the problem through the use of simple lighting rods. The mechanoid suspected this was the case, aided and abetted by those damned particle cannons they were so fond of.

No hail of enemy fire followed-either they'd retreated or were all dead; provided they could find the bodies.

("All units, this is Albert Steiner; enemy forces routed or destroyed; commence a sweep of the surrounding for survivors and salvage, over and out.") Switch to trade, he addressed the 'Rabbit-Actual.' "Rabbit actual, if you would be so kind as to come down here-I would like a word with you." Morris simply snorted and picked up a pistol out of the sand; standard slug-thrower; small caliber and magazine fed. It's thin frame made him feel like he was going to break the damned thing; still, it'd make a nice present for the Missus once he got it properly cleaned. Keeping it pointed to the ground, he attempted to eject the magazine; only for it to discharge sending a bullet into the ground. A brief silence followed by a few chuckles as he finally got the thing cleared and unloaded. Steiner glanced down at him. ("Be mindful of errant discharges when handling enemy equipment, Yeoman Sergeant.") The big man could've swore he heard a cheeky note when the Grandmaster addressed him. Giving him a salute, he returned to fiddling with his prize...

Around the settlement, Yeomen began the tedious, and gruesome task of clearing the detritus of war; broken weapons and shattered men.
"Copy, Grandmaster." She almost added that she charged extra for getting chewed out, but she'd seen the fading heat sigs of friendlies and the flaming tanks one fucking buggy had left in its wake. She saves that joke for later.

From up the structure, something bounded. Not unlike, y'know, a rabbit leaping into the air to evade a predator. It might have flown with enough modifications, because there were enough parts that tried so hard to be an atmo fighter jet in sleekness and build, but the jump jets didn't go off until the figure was halfway down. It might be something stolen off the Yamataians, because it didn't require a gigantic fuck-off fuel tank or choke up a bunch of unrefined smoke, but it was too unsubtle to be truly Yamataian. This was someone who wanted to draw fire.

She might have jump-jetted the rest of the way, but she wasn't going to go leaping into a sandstorm where an alien race that enjoyed doing horrible fucking stuff to dead corpses might still be camped out. Leaping over it was also not advised when half of NMX were angry tentacles. Not that she didn't trust whatever sensor sweeps Grandmaster was doing, just that the NMX really dedicated their life to being wherever you were sure you double-checked.

Just in case they did, though, the Moneyshot had at least six hot loads.

Whoever was put on guard duty where the sand was still particularly angry might debate if the two antenna rising out of the sand looked like shark fins or rabbit ears.

"Grandmaster, approaching your position." She's fairly confident a merc ripping into her with a full mag wouldn't do too much, just in case any of the mercs patrolling thought she was NMX.
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("Havoc 3-2, redeploying to overwatch,")

Michelle sat against a rock, setting her weapon into her lap as she tapped out a few commands on her wrist screen. ("Looks like we got a sandstorm moving in from the east... Hey, if anybody finds any bug sugar, honey or the like, I got some dried Essian plums and I kinda want to try something. And if someone wants me on BDAR duty, I gotta know now. I'm up on the ridge. Gods, I want a smoke.")
'Ancestor's damn it.' Steiner thought-checking in with other units as he checked his sensor net. Sure enough; a sandstorm was rolling in-he could make out the lighting in it. ("All units, be adivsed; Sandstorm is currently inbound; all forces collect the wounded and fall back to designated shelters; leave the dead, over.") There'd be plenty of time to salvage equipment and bury those who had fallen. The living were his concern. "Rabbit actual," He said in trade as he headed towards one of the downed super-cargo carriers that served as the central base and manufacturing complex, "Report the central facility-marking on your hud-over and out." As he neared the entrance to the mech gantries, he watched as the yeomen retreated from the field in an orderly fashion, carrying wounded upon combat shields, stretchers, or even on their backs. Combat vehicles, at least those that had survived the engagement trundled in as well. It would be another long night of repairs-at least the storm would provide some reprieve.


Morris had just crossed the threshold of one of the many airlocks into the central complex, slamming and sealing it shut behind him. As the airlock depressurized and their armor was sprayed with decontaminant-he took stock of the men around him-out of the three dozen or so, including the stragglers they'd picked up, just over half had survived, a quarter of them unable to move under their own power. When you were a sergeant, you expected it; didn't make it any easier. ("Alright, get the wounded to the Chirugeons,") He said as he hooked his hammer to his belt, ("And get some rest while you can.") With a sigh as they all filed out of the airlock-a few bits of chatter here and there, he proceeded down the hall that would take him to the barracks. As much as he wanted to visit his wife, he had a report to make.

It was likely going to be a long day after that sandstorm cleared...
"You fucking knuckleheads!" Tacho cursed over the communication channel, "I swear if we get caught out here in the center of this storm and end up feeding these squid uglies because you are too slow, I will take the first bite myself out of spite!" The sandstorm's effects had closed in on Tacho and her recon team as they made their way back toward the central complex. The Norian's v.9 Krysis Crixa Power Armor could have easily flown back in the storm, but instead, she was there on the ground with the rest of her team. She had the chain that was hooked up to the Universal Medium Tank that had shit the bed slung over her shoulder and was helping the string of knuckleheads behind her pulled the hulk back to the complex.

It probably was not their fault, a bunch of Advanced-Type Mishhuvurthyar and a Squad of the Neko-looking ones had blown the tread off enough to completely screw the thing, normally they would have just put another tread on it, but the base of the tank had been too torn up, and they top half buckled downwards, to even think about it. "Come on Mason, Come on," she urged the yeoman behind her.

The outing had been more of a disaster than anything, but at least they had confirmed there was more of the enemy out there. The tank had the scars to prove they would mean business on future encounters too. "Tacho to Grandmaster, we're about a klick out, visibility is shot and this Tank looks like Morris sat on it," she reported over the communications channel as they came into range. "This rock is a spinning chasm of the underworld, even Njord is better than this hole," she said in disgust. "See you soon, at least I will, IF I DON'T FEED MASON TO THE GODDAMN UGLIES!" the last transmission was obviously more for the men behind her than it was for Stiener, but that was how she operated.

"Keep formation!" she yelled in a commanding tone when she detected some of their group had moved off too far from the tank on her armor's scanners.
"Tacho, this is Havoc 3-2. Heard, I'm rerouting your signal, now. Can't guarantee visibility in this storm. I'm laying down fire to trigger any ion fields in your path. Watch your step. I'll guide you folks in." Mike offered an apologetic smile to her spotter.

"(Havok 3-2, Command, we got friendlies in the storm shadow, I'm gonna guide them in. Looks like some Norians got caught in the shit. Bouncing their signal to you now, and laying down fire. Slugs only. Just making sure they don't get zapped.)"
"Thanks, Havoc 3-2, Just one Norian out here though...if I am even that anymore. The rest are all knuckleheads. I owe you a bottle of Njord Slayer's Mead when we get back." Tacho came back over the communications channel. It sounded like there was a cargo freighter landing in the background, but it was only the sound of the sandstorm that had started to catch up to them. Thankfully, they were almost back.
Steiner listened to Tacho's grousing, and sighed-internally-wondering why in the ancestors' bollocks her squad hadn't left the damned tank behind. Resisting the Urge to facepalm as "Rabbit Actual" did her best gribbly impression-gliding just beneath the dust storm like that, and was nearly shot by one of the guards before he stopped him. "A moment," The mechanoid told the woman, "Get yourself inside, I have something to address." Not waiting for a reply, he trundled out towards the sqaud of morons that had decided that pull a tank up by hand rather than leave it for a recovery vehicle after the storm had passed. Moving with a swiftness that belied his bulk and mounting a lighting rod-a few rather obnoxious ion fields later, combined with a few replaced lighting rods and a burst with his chaingun to sweep a few others, the grandmaster pulled up short of the group. "You ancestor's damned wench," Steiner growled to Tacho as he stopped them short. "Leave the UMT until a recovery team can be dispatched after it once the weather has cleared-get yourselves to a shelter-that is an order."

He was less than pleased with the Norian's actions, but at the same time equipment, even damaged was a precious resource, "Tacho," He said over a private as he turned to follow the squad, watching as Havoc 3-2 cleared another ion field that he had missed, "I understand your desire to retrieve any damaged equipment-but you and your men's lives take priority." He paused for a moment, before continuing. "In the future, unless it is of the utmost importance that such equipment does not fall into the hands of the enemy you are to abide by this; understood?" Like she'd have a few choice words about his chastizement, but at the same time she'd-hopfully-understand his reasoning; that couldn't replace experience-nor losses easily.

Not with internal interference from the remaining Valhallan leadership.

Looking back to the destroyed tank, he sighed, scooped it up, and tucked it under his arm, keeping his cannon free. "I know what I said." He stated, expecting some smart-assed remark from the alien, "But Given the effort you already went to, may as well at least ensure it is outside the facility so recovery is easier." The old sentinel felt like a hypocrite, but at the same time, he did not like his men's work to go to waste. Gesturing for her follow while ensuring that all friendly contacts were pinged and marked, Steiner made his way back to the facility-keeping an eye for trouble.

The storm followed ever closer, howling and booming with all its fury-hopefully they'd get inside before it hit...
"You get me a bottle of that stuff, Tacho, I may just find a little gay in me. Cause that heaven on my tongue, sweet as a lady's touch!" Mike gave a laugh into the comms. "I can, and I will kiss you."