PDA

View Full Version : 22nd Regiment: All In A Night's Work



Ronin
30 April 2007, 08:59 PM
All In A Night's Work is actually set prior to False Flag, but I completed the latter story first.


22nd Republic Clone Commando Regiment
All In A Night's Work

Vollanda, Mid Rim. The Second Year of the Clone Wars.
0100hrs (local time)

The plain was silent, just a little wind swaying the tall grass and the trees at the forest's edge. While Vollanda's two moons bathed the grasslands in pale light, when they weren't obscured by the clouds scudding across the sky; the forest was a well of darkness.
Alpha squad were set up in the high grass at the bottom of a hill almost half a klicks from the forest's edge. Their black mark III Katarn armour was covered with filth, ferns and tufts of grass. The camouflage combined with the dim light made them all but invisible.
The four commandoes; Pawn, Rook, Knight and their sergeant: King, were spaced out at maximum secure comms range. This was enemy territory and open communications were too risky.
Pawn shifted uncomfortably. No matter where he lay or knelt there always seemed to be a rock digging into him.
"Don't let sergeant Whitefeather see you fidget like that," Knight said, resisting the subconscious urge to rub his forehead.
"Don't let the enemy see you fidget like that," added Rook.
"Talking of the opposition, aren't they a little late?" Pawn commented, "You'd expect them to be punctual, being mechanical an' all."
"They're killing machines, Pawn. Not clocks."
The four of them had been camped out at the edge of the grassy plain since sundown and the wait was beginning to get to the squad's combined scout-and-demolitionist.

Vollanda had defected from the Republic to the Separatists (no one in the GAR except officers ever referred to them as the Confederacy of Independent Systems) early in the Wars. Ever since, the seppies had been using it as a staging point for operations further into Republic space, but now the Republic was pushing back the seppies in this sector and Vollanda had become a lynch-pin.
While the seppies fortified their positions and dug in at major settlements, the Republic conducted raids.
Vollanda was now under a GAR orbital blockade but three things prevented a normal siege. Firstly energy shields over the major cities ruled out orbital bombardment. Secondly logistics prevented invasion. With battles raging across the galaxy the GAR couldn't afford the heavy losses that conventional ground assaults would result in. And thirdly that elusive enemy of the soldier: politics. Full-out assault would result in heavy collateral-damage. Which, in civvie-speak, meant dead women and children on the morning holonews putting Coruscanti off their cereal.
Thus the 22nd Republic Clone Commando Regiment's Alpha squad had been covertly inserted onto Vollanda. Alpha prided themselves on being one of the regiment's few pure pods, rather than mongrel squads like Kappa or Sigma.
So far the four had been conducting guerrilla warfare on the seppie forces for a couple of months: fuel depots blown up...landing fields mined covertly...MTTs ambushed in mountain passes...Knight alone had racked up a dozen seppie officer kills with his DeeCee's sniper attachment.

And now they were acting on intel from above: the orbiting GAR blockade consisted of more than just warships. There was also a Clone Intel Division Eve. The 'Eve' was a recent development: a Corellian corvette variant designed for monitoring enemy communications. Studded with antenna and aerials all over its hull, the Eve was lightly armed and required other vessels for protection. Nevertheless, this time Eve had come up with the goods: apparently Alpha's hit-and-fade tactics had been beginning to really hurt the seppies and they were consolidating in a handful of key settlements. This meant transferring forces from smaller garrisons to the key locations. Eve had picked up all this in seppie communications between OOM droid commander units, and that the forces wouldn't be transferred by air for fear of GAR fighter raids from orbit.
Thus Alpha found themselves sat in a grassy field on a cool night waiting for a convoy of STAPs, ATTs, MTTs and Fett-knew-what-else to hover past.
A bush at the edge of the forest shifted and King heard Knight's breathing catch. Each commando heard his brother's breathing as a constant, comforting background noise. Without that constant sound, that rhythmic reminder that he and his brothers were alive, well and together, a clone commando felt extremely lonely. King had heard that even natural-borns experienced the same feeling. Generationals, who spent their entire lives aboard starships, were accustomed to the hum of a ship's systems and the minute vibration of its drives running through the ship. Remove them from their ship and they felt like a part of themselves was missing.

Knight released his breath as a stazelle bounded out of the forest and across the plain. The moonlight caught the mammal's shiny pelt and large antlers.
Over the comm someone swallowed.
"Anyone hungry?" Rook inquired, "I can slot her, gut her and roast her all in one shot."
"Quiet," King snapped.
Though the forest was pitch-black to the naked eye, it was painted in false tones of green on the commandoes' HUDs. Not quite daylight-level vision, but King could make out movement between the trees. And it was more than stazelle.
The treetops deeper in the forest were moving as something large pushed its way through and eventually the whine of repulsors escaped the forest. First came the distinct high pitched whine of STAPs as a pair shot out of the tree-line: scouts for the convoy. The four commandoes let them go; they were waiting for a bigger prize....
and then came a pair of Armoured Attack Tanks, beige hulls seeming grey in the dim light as clouds concealed the moons. With a crunch of breaking wood four Multi-Troop-Transports broke through the trees.
Pawn swallowed and shifted his grip on his DC-17m. Those four MTTs alone meant Alpha was outnumbered more than a hundred-to-one and he watched as more and more huge seppie machines of war exited the forest and began to float across the plain like gigantic insects marching back to the hive.
They waited patiently as the lead vehicles neared the middle of the field, the ATTs at the sides of the convoy just two hundred meters from the four concealed clones.

"Knight. Light 'er up," King said, giving Alpha's sniper his cue.
But when Knight raised his DC-17m and fired at the convoy no plasma bolt, ardanium slug or grenade flew from its barrel.

END OF PART ONE

Ronin
1 May 2007, 08:05 PM
"Alpha One to Raider. Target painted."

"Raider One to Alpha. Acknowledged. Twenty seconds."

A few dozen kilometres north of Alpha squad's position Raider flight: four ARC-170 fighters tore across the countryside flying NOTP. The ground was a green blur in the HUD of Raider One's pilot: Jolly. He looked to his left and gave a thumbs-up to Raider Two. Night vision and a lifetime of training allowed the four clone pilots to keep a tight formation while flying exceedingly low at top speed.
"Torpedoes armed," announced Yoss: Raider One's bombardier.
"Our six is still clear," Zig replied from behind Jolly.

Raider flight had dropped down from orbit a hundred klicks out and been flying nap-of-the-planet all the way since at top speed. They figured it was best to get in, drop the torps and burn it back to orbit as fast as possible. Sneaking about was more Alpha's territory.
Yoss was glued to his gunnery console. The flight of ARC-170s would fly over the seppie convoy in a split second. And in that split second Yoss and the other three bombardiers, with their R2s' aid, had to find the patch Alpha was painting with a laser designator and drop hell on it. After that it was up to Jolly and Zig to respectively fly them home and cover their shebse.


Knight kept the designator steady. The device itself was a small attachment mounted on the side of his DeeCee's sniper module. Courtesy of Xerrol Arms, it focused a laser of a wavelength imperceptible to the eye on whatever it was pointed at. Apparently the company had plans to develop the technology to a lethal level for use as a sniper rifle. Knight couldn't wait to get his hands on one.

Rook already had his DeeCee's anti-armour attachment fitted to his rifle and he was sighting the lead ATT. Pawn mirrored him by lining up the rear tank. Soon after Raider flight dropped their torps King wanted Alpha to move out, but anything the ARC-170s didn't take out would probably start searching the area, thus they prepared for a fighting withdrawal.
King and Knight would retreat first, sprinting thirty meters back toward the forest while Pawn and Rook engaged the droids, then they too would run under covering fire from King and Knight. The leap-frog would continue until they could fully disengage. Hopefully that meant the cover of the forest and they'd be dozens of klicks away by sunrise and the inevitable Vollandian investigation.
That's if all goes to plan, King thought, scanning the northern horizon for Raider flight.



Jolly's grim expression loosened slightly as he spotted the seppie convoy through his nightvision.
"Yoss?"
"I see her dammit! Torps away!"

Approaching at supersonic speed the droids neither heard nor had chance to spot the flight of GAR fighters. And suddenly the convoy was engulfed in blossoming explosions. All four commandoes were forced to look away as their helmets' nightvision visors were overloaded.
No one heard the four ships roar overhead and break for orbit, though their sonic booms washed over the plain a second after the torpedoes hit.


"Raider Four to Raider One. Jolly, we had a misfire. The torps didn't fire. I repeat. Raider Four misfire."
"Fierfek!" Jolly cursed.
"We're not going round again, are we?" Yoss moaned and Zig watched the explosions light the night through the sights of his rear guns.
"No, buggrit," Jolly swore again, "they'll be launching vultures from the city as we speak. Alpha'll have to deal with it."
Zig resisted the urge to argue. Jolly was nothing if not stubborn and it was his hand on the stick. He settled for a quick salute down at the burning plain as Raider flight shot toward the safety of space.


King's lungs burned as he pumped his arms and legs, blaster bolts tearing into the turf around him. Ten meters to his left Knight was also sprinting for all he was worth and behind they could hear the thwump! of their brothers firing anti-armour rounds at the remaining seppie forces.
In unison they turned and dropped prone, fighting to steady their weapons against their ragged breathing and adrenaline-shakes.
"Rook. Pawn. Go go go," Alpha's sergeant called out as he surveyed the enemy. Raider flight's strike had taken out over half of the seppie vehicles. All but one of the MTTs, all of the HAGs and a large number of the ATTs were scrap.
But that still left six tanks and one troop carrier.
As Rook and Pawn ran past them toward the forest King and Knight gave them covering fire...though at this rate they would run out of AA rounds before they made the tree-line.

Knight, more comfortable with his sniper attachment than AA, braced his rifle against his shoulder and grunted as it kicked. It sent a shell into the side of an ATT manoeuvring round a burned out multi troop transport, punched through its weaker side armour and detonated within. The tank's repulsors failed and the gutted wreck dropped to the ground, smoke billowing from the turret hatch.
"King. Knight. Go go go!"
And they continued to leap frog away, carefully taking shots at the pursuing tanks...further back the MTT's hatch creaked open and its rack of droids extended out from the depths of its gullet.

END OF PART TWO

Ronin
2 May 2007, 06:07 PM
One hour later
Pawn winced as Knight wrapped a bacta-soaked bandage tight around his brother's arm. Pawn had been a bit too close to a blast from one of the ATTs' cannons as they had fled into the forest, and he'd got scorched. By the time they had reached cover there were only two tanks still operational, but those two had opened up with their missiles and tore up the forest around the clones, driving them deeper and deeper into the woods.
Pawn, nursing his right arm, had lead them into a gorge within the forest and the terrain had forced the seppie tanks to give up the chase.
Thus they took a few moments to dress their injuries, reload with what meagre ammunition remained, and fill their canteens in the river snaking along the bottom of the gorge.

Pawn nodded his thanks while Knight covered the scout's bicep with a replacement section of black bodysuit. The Katarn armour plate over that part of his arm had absorbed the brunt of the blast and was now scrap but Knight tucked it into Pawn's backpack nonetheless. If the seppies hadn't suspected Republic commandoes were operating on Vollanda before, after the hit on the convoy they sure would. Especially if any of those droids had had the brains to call it in to their HQ. Still, they packed up all their waste: empty ration packets, spent power packs. Never get sloppy and leave a trail, sergeant Whitefeather had lectured them, Even after making a strike and announcing your presence, fade back into your surroundings. And that meant putting as many klicks between them and any remaining droids as possible. Even as the seppie tanks had been pounding the forest, B1s were deploying from the MTT and moving toward the forest.

With clouds now filling the sky, the bottom of the gorge was pitch black and they had to use their nightvision for everything. Rook was on stag watching the mouth of the gorge, leading back up into the forest, while the other three were forty meters down it by the river.
Every five minutes Rook double-flashed his helmet's tight beam lamp down at them.
All clear.
"How you doing, vod?" King asked, sitting on a fallen tree next to Pawn.
"Not too bad sarge," he replied, flexing his arm confidently though he was clearly in considerable discomfort. "I've been checking the topographics and I think we're maybe two klicks from the eastern edge of the forest."
King suppressed a sigh, "so we're running out of trees to hide behind? What about this gorge?"
"Watercourse sarge, obvious E&E route," Knight commented. That was another thing Whitefeather always hammered into them, use the terrain to your advantage but don't rely on it too heavily. Remember that what looks like good cover to you looks to your enemy like a good place to search.
Pawn nodded before continuing. The clone's photographic memory had gotten him the dubious position of Alpha squad's scout. "We're really just in a gully at the moment, leading down into the gorge proper a klick in that direction. The gorge itself runs pretty much east-west."
King was about to answer when something flashed repeatedly in his peripheral vision.
Rook flashed his lamp over a dozen times then began crawling as fast as he dared back down toward his brothers, only speaking when he was sure he was within the secure ten-meter range.
"Tinnies. Must be the ones from the MTT. What's our play?" Rook asked, already sighting his rifle back up toward the gorge mouth and the forest, finger inside the trigger guard.
"No wets?" Knight asked quickly, scanning the opposite direction and the cliffs to both sides with his own weapon. If they were only being pursued by droids they should be able to evade them easily enough, but if there was a living officer directing them then things were worse.
"Didn't see any," Rook responded, his eyes never leaving the mouth of the gully.
"Okay Alpha, move out. Knight on point. South to the gorge. Pawn behind Knight, me and Rook'll cover our shebse."
If they were being tracked by live, well trained enemy, they’d have been inclined to avoid the river…but with droids on their tail it was worth risking it.
As Knight and Pawn began to move off a B1 battle droid, its beige metallic body seeming bonelike in the low light, approached the path leading down into the gully. Both King and Rook tracked it with their rifles. If it made a step into the shadows of their hiding place, they d have to drop it and run. The skeletal droid stopped at the edge, scanning the muddy path with its optical sensors. Rook was pleased he'd crawled rather than ran back from his lookout point; no discernable tracks. B1s were equipped with sensors comparable in power and resolution to the human eye, with no particular benefit in low-light conditions so, if they were lucky, the droid would just move on.
But tonight hadn't exactly been a lucky night.
Before it even managed to plant its raised foot on muddy slope down into the gully, King's single shot blew a smoking hole through it's torso, the blue plasma blast exiting through the droids backpack in a shower of sparks and shooting off into the underside of the tree canopy.
Almost as soon as the sound of the blast had echoed off though the forest they could hear the sound of cheap servos: more droids on the way.
Hoping Knight and Pawn were having better luck down towards the gorge, King and Knight turned and moved off.

0530hrs (local time)

After fighting through the dark gorge for almost three and a half hours they climbed the sheers southern face of the valley. Throughout the trek-come-battle they had swapped roles to give each other time to reload and catch their breath while others fought rearguard. At the moment it had been twenty minute since their last engagement it seemed like they were in the clear. But Pawn never quit worrying until seems like became is.
As they scrambled up to the rocky edge of the gorge they could see the sky lightening though there were still clouds overhead. Exhausted, their muscles crying out for rest, they ascended carefully. They had decided not to exit via the end of the gorge some two klicks further east: if any of the droids had reported in during the night's fighting the end of the gorge would be prime ambush territory.
Knight slowly raised his mud-smeared helm to look over the edge at the terrain beyond. The forest was now far behind to the west and he found the terrain had turned into rolling hills of bracken.
And not a droid in sight.
Easing himself over the edge he scanned their surroundings through his rifle's scope.
"Clear."
And the others followed him up, Pawn still favouring his injured right arm. He turned to King with a complaint on his lips only to find King holding one hand to the side of his head and all their comms came alive.

"Valiant to Alpha. Come in Alpha." A cultured Core Worlds accent.
Pawn groaned, "shoulda stayed in the gorge."
"Alpha One to Valiant. Receiving you loud and clear. Over," King responded.

The officer was suddenly cut off by a gruff and instantly recognisable Corellian.
"And just where the [expletive deleted] have you been, Alpha? Wez been trying to contact your lazy arses for hours!"
"Definitely shoulda stayed in the gorge."
"E-and-E boss," King replied. He hated it when anyone put Alpha down. He especially hated criticism from sergeant Aricoza.

"Oh really? Well, no rest for the best. Command has a new mission for you. You're to infiltrate Wirrula: the capital, and bring down the shield. Youze got twenty hours. Valiant out."
Knight looked toward the city. West. The complete opposite direction to which they had fought through the night.
King took a deep breath, "Alpha! On your feet soldiers! Pawn. Pick your face up and take point. Knight, cover our shebse. Rook. I want stazelle steak for breakfast. Oya!"

THE END

Crymoon
5 May 2007, 10:47 AM
As always very nice, Ronin.
I'm slowly running out of compliments and will shortly have to copy old ones over and over again. It's got the mood and action and suspence - everything a good story needs.
And the best it has a great start and even better ending.

Ronin
5 May 2007, 06:20 PM
Thanks for the comments on both stories Crymoon! :)


To all:
a few members have asked about some of the terms used in ...A Night's Work, so here I'll explain them.

Shebse - Mando'a for arses.

Tinnies - slang term for droids.

Wets - slang term for organic lifeform/live enemy.

E&E - Escape and Evasion (running and hiding from the enemy ;))

Lieutenant Paladine
10 June 2007, 01:20 AM
Wow. I have nothing else to say so I will repeat it.

Wow.

Ubiqtorate
14 October 2007, 02:07 PM
You know, from what I've been able to gather about Aricoza, I'm not sure "cultured" would be the word I'd use to describe his accent.

Great story, though. And short, too - that's an underrated quality in good stories.

Ronin
14 October 2007, 06:42 PM
Thanks Ubiqtorate!

And the 'cultured Core Worlds accent' that comes on the comm first is one of the orbiting Republic ship's officers, not Aricoza. :D

johnnyputrid
15 October 2007, 06:23 PM
Well, if you consider 'Corellian gutter-trash' to be a distinct culture, then Aricoza does indeed have a cultured Core world accent. :D