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Thread: 22nd Regiment. Shackles.

  1. #1
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    Default 22nd Regiment. Shackles.

    22nd Republic Clone Commando Regiment
    Shackles

    Tandel, Outer Rim. One month after the Battle of Geonosis
    1500hrs (local time)
    Day Five


    He had his target steady in the sights of his deecee, the butt firmly in his shoulder, his left hand gripping the barrel furniture. Not too hard, not too gentle. He was lying prone; one leg straight behind, one leg bent, so his body would absorb the recoil without throwing the shot off, just as he had been taught. He fought to steady his breathing as the sights wavered up and down. At this range that much movement would send the shot either way over the target’s head, or into the ground far short. He closed his eye, waited a second, and opened it again only to find his deecee now pointing a bit to the left of his target, so he shifted his hips to adjust his natural point of aim. After testing it again, he was satisfied. And he pulled hard on the trigger.
    "No, no, no!" Pawn shouted as the blue bolt of plasma flew off into the sky, passing a good twenty meters above the target’s head. The shooter at his feet, a boy at the mature-end of his teens, winced. They'd been on the range for over an hour now and he'd failed to put a dent in a single target.
    "Never snatch the trigger," Pawn lectured, standing with the mud-flecked boots of his grey Katarn armour almost touching the boy's ribs, his shadow covering the young Tandellian.

    Tandel’s government had thrown in their lot with the Confederacy of Independent Systems shortly before the Battle of Geonosis, but its populace weren't so keen on the idea. While those few who lived in the capital city were all for automation, major industrialisation, open-cast mining and a droid garrison (both to defend the planet against the Republic and to keep the commoners in line), the majority opposed it. But, as often happens, those in power had their say and less than a month after the Clone Wars had officially broken out, Trade Federation factories and Baktoid Armour Workshop foundries were springing up across the planet. Those not profiting from this new enterprise, in fact those whose livelihoods if not actual lives were being destroyed by it, rose up in protest and were summarily gunned down en mass.
    Thus the Republic 22nd Commando regiment’s Alpha squad: sergeant King and his clone brothers Knight, Rook and Pawn were covertly deployed to Tandel to train those locals who sought to overthrow their leaders. To train them how to fight a guerrilla war.
    The boy took a deep breath and tried again as the commando moved on down the line of rebels.

    Day Thirty
    2600hrs (local time)

    "I thought you RCs always packed deecee seventeen em's?" Chal asked, looking at the bulbous weapon in Pawn's hands.
    The commando almost chuckled to himself. The way Chal used 'packed' and the casual 'deecee'; the boy was trying a little too hard to be a soldier. Pawn cocked his Golan CR-1 blaster cannon loudly and deliberately, "true enough young 'un. But I prefer one of these when I go fishing."
    This simply confused the young man further. "Fishing?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
    Pawn smiled, then realised that Chal couldn't see that due to his helmet. “You’ll see. You’ll see. Just one thing: I go in first.”
    Osik!,” Chal replied irritated. He'd been learning a few choice words of Mando'a from Rook. "You can't protect me forever Pawn. You're here to train us, not fight for us."
    The commando shook his head sternly. "That's got nothing to do with it Chal. That is why I'm not letting you go in first," he said, pointing to the Tandellian's rifle.
    Chal held a Blastech DC-15A rifle; the basic weapon of a clone trooper. Thousands were manufactured daily in Blastech factories across the galaxy and this particular batch had been smuggled in by shady characters in the deniable employ of the Republic. The rifle was accurate, sturdy, easy to clean, resilient to various atmospheric and environmental conditions and powerful. It was also over one point five meters long. Not exactly ideal for what they were about to do.

    Rebel sympathisers had learned that the government forces were planning to hit rebel safe houses in the town of Echost. The rebels had immediately and covertly evacuated all those locations, and then decided to hit the government's own strike team. The government forces had arrived in a couple of trucks. The soldiers themselves were in plain clothes, claiming to be from the neighbouring town of Cartyer when they checked in at the town's cantina-come-inn but their ramrod postures and city accents had set off alarm bells in the innkeeper's mind.
    Thus the rebels knew that there were ten government soldiers and two speeder trucks. All the soldiers had been seen coming out of the same truck, meaning that the second truck was carrying either weapons or droids. One of the youngest rebels had managed to get close enough and sneak a peek under the truck's tarpaulin to confirm the presence of twelve deactivated B2 battle droids and a portable control unit.

    King and the rebel leaders had decided that it was high time they struck back at the government and the seppies, and their newly trained troops could get some operational experience, or 'trigger-time' as Rook called it. So Pawn, Rook, Chal and half a dozen other Tandellian rebels were sat in the back of a nondescript speeder truck of their own, on their way to the Echost cantina.
    The owner had lost a son in the initial anti-government protests and had provided the rebels with all the information he could. Floor plans of his property, which rooms the soldiers were using. He'd even offered to drug their meals but the rebels had advised him against it: if an autopsy revealed drugs in the soldier's systems the government would likely raze Echost and blame it on the rebels.
    "We're going to be storming a building and engaging the enemy at point-blank range," Pawn now spoke to all the rebels in the back of the truck, raising his voice slightly to make himself heard over the truck's out-of-tune repulsorcoils. "That means you need to be quick, alert and on the ball. We don't anticipate there being any friendlies getting in the way, the owner has assured us of that: he’ll be holed up in his room with the door locked, but all the same: check your targets. We don't want any blue-on-blue."
    Chal and the other rebels; four men and two women, all human and all under twenty, looked as confused as each other.
    Rook looked up from the tube-like weapon on his lap. A Golan Arms RPG-8T. "No fratricide."
    Blank looks.
    "Don’t shoot each other."

    "Just like we practiced, one team in through the front, one through the back. Myself and Rook will lead each team." They had spent all yesterday and the morning practicing with empty weapons and sticks lain out on the ground as a life-sized map of the inn's upper floor. At first some of them had laughed at it and goofed off until the two commandoes had posed as government troops and started using their rifle's PEP lasers to stun them.

    The truck rolled up the main street and as it passed the alley between the cantina and a row of houses, Pawn, Chal and two other rebels leapt out and quickly darted into the shadows of the alleyway. Alpha's scout led the small unit quietly along the alleyway, careful not to tread in the trash carpeting the ground, to the cantina's back door. Without a word they stacked either side of the door, just as they had trained.

    Rook and the other three rebels continued along the road to the town square in front of the cantina. The two unmarked government speeder trucks were parked out front, as they had been informed. Before their truck had even finished braking, Rook was out its back, taking a knee and raising the RPG's sight to his helmet visor. He had told the three rebels not to exit the truck until he'd dealt with the truck carrying the droids lest they get burned by the weapon's back blast. He only hoped they remembered as he squeezed the trigger and the rocket shot across the unlit square, lighting up the night as the thermal detonator mounted on the rocket annihilated the truck and its load of droids.

    END OF PART ONE

  2. #2
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    The problem with these stories about the good guys winning is that eventually they stop.

    Aside from that, I like this story.
    If you want to contact me, a private message will work. I am currently on hiatus, but I will respond.
    Featured Quote: “The trouble is that everyone talks about reforming others and no one thinks about reforming himself.”
    St. Peter of Alcántara

    PS: "'Psych' for short. Not Psycho. No o, oh no, no o." Ronin

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    "Go, go, go!" Pawn shouted as soon as he heard the blast. The light from the baradium warhead lit up the night sky and was even visible from their position on the other side of the building. Though they had been told the door would be left unlocked, Pawn wasn't taking any chances and he put a blast from his Golan cannon into the lock, followed by his boot. Chal and the other two rebels followed him in, sweeping their long rifles across the cantina kitchen.

    Rook charged past the burning wreckage of the speeder, twisted and melted metal corpses within sparking, and applied his own boot to the cantina's front door. The three rebels were close behind but keeping good spacing, as he’d taught them. They quickly moved through the empty, unlit bar, the light from Rook’s helmet lamp reflecting off the optics above the bar and a few glasses that had been left on the tables.

    Team One moves in through the front door. This leads to the bar. Lots of tables, chairs and the bar itself. That means an abundance of cover and hiding places. So be careful. We know the enemy are lodging upstairs, but that doesn’t mean they might not stay up for some after-hours drinking. The bar might not be empty.
    Once that’s clear, the north-west door leads to the hallway. Stack either side, check the hall, move in and up the staircase.

    King’s briefing echoed in the minds of the rebels following Rook, each trying their best not to look as scared as they felt. But to them the Republic commandoes showed no fear. They were almost like machines. Everything was done in clear steps, no room for error, always planning ahead.

    Team Two takes the rear as soon as Rook gives the signal. Stack at the back door, take it, and sweep the kitchen. Move to the other staircase and up.
    Chal’s heart was pounding in his ears and his hands were sweaty as he gripped his rifle tightly.
    The kitchen was clear and Pawn was leading them across the kitchen to the staircase. It would take them up to the second storey hallway, while Team One would be ascending from another staircase at the other end of the hallway.
    "No one in the pantry?" Pawn asked conversationally.
    Chal cursed himself and swung his rifle to cover the pantry door. He’d been concentrating on the commando and forgot his own job. Back in the briefing, after King had laid out the plan Pawn and Rook had gone through it in detail with their teams, giving each rebel an arc to cover so that nothing would be missed.
    "Clear," he replied, chagrined.

    Rook’s immolating the gov speeder should have woken everyone in the town, and definitely ensured the soldiers wouldn’t get their full eight hours, but so far there hadn’t been any noise from the second story, and that didn’t bode well. It was too quiet. Either they learned we were coming and pulled out without anyone seeing them go, Pawn thought as he peeked round the base of the staircase, Golan cannon ready to blast anyone positioned at the top, or they’re ready for us and dug in.
    Pawn gestured to Chal and the other two that he was moving up the stairs and they were to follow him.

    Rook had also noticed the distinct lack of incoming fire. Storming buildings occupied by the enemy were usually fast and bloody affairs, but so far they had managed to make it half way through the plan seemingly unnoticed. He almost wished he hadn’t RPG’d the speeder truck. Almost.
    His own Golan cannon was up and ready, the short stock against his shoulder and his left hand holding the weapon’s drum-shaped power pack to steady it. He’d fired CR-1`s before and they kicked like a Bantha. They also ate power packs, so he’d have to keep track of his shots mentally. A dead-man’s click was a difficult embarrassment to live down.

    Pawn reached the top of the staircase to spot a black blast helmet with full-face visor peering round the corner in front of him, above the muzzle of a blaster rifle. He ducked the first bolt, sparks and chips of masonry raining down upon him.
    "Hard frikkin` contact!"
    "Thanks Pawn, be sure to tell me if they hit you."
    and Rook popped up his staircase to find a soldier with a blaster waiting for him too, a Merr-Sonn G3 he noted subconsciously as he fired before his opponent could. The Golan cannon bucked hard and sent out an expanding hail of blaster bolts, taking the gov soldier full in the face...and taking much of the wall too.
    Rook could now hear other soldiers moving further up the corridor. The cantina’s upper hallway was shaped like a letter-C. Rook and team one had come up at the top end, and Pawn at the bottom. They had the soldiers in a nice crossfire. Before another could take the dead one’s place, Rook charged to the corner, stuck his cannon round it and fired off a couple of shots at the enemy in the corridor. There were six of them, seven including the one at his feet; three clustered at Pawn’s end, three facing Rook. His blasts tore through the unarmored legs of one soldier, dropping him screaming to the floor. He hadn’t even noticed it, but the three rebels had moved up behind him and one now leant out round the corner to take a shot. Not bad. They’re learning.

    As the rebel ducked back, a volley of shots from the soldiers following in her wake, Rook gestured that they were all to fire at once.
    "Team One to Team Two. Covering fire now! Move your shebse Pawn!"
    As the end of the corridor was riddled with shots, Pawn, Chal and the other two rebels moved up to the corner. Someone in the middle of the hallway screamed and a body dropped.
    When Team One’s fusillade ended Pawn and Chal leaned out, at the same time as two of the government soldiers who had sought cover in doorways. Pawn’s cannon roared and another soldier joined the three on the floor, while Chal’s shots send the other soldier ducking into a room.
    One of other two rebels with Pawn then moved out into the corner of the corridor on his own as another soldier peeked out. Though Alpha had been training the rebels intensively for a month now, the soldier had years of experience and Pawn could only watch as the young freedom fighter slumped to the floor, a smoking hole in his chest.
    Chal stood rigid, staring at the body. The first corpse he had ever seen.
    Pawn quickly pulled him back as Rook and his team opened fire again.
    "Chal! Pull yourself together!”

    END OF PART TWO

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by PsychoInfiltrator
    The problem with these stories about the good guys winning is that eventually they stop.

    Aside from that, I like this story.
    Well, I'm not going to say too much
    ...just be patient

  5. #5
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    Nice one, again.
    Although it seems that it's gonna be a long one...

    Maybe you should write a story on another group and kill this one.. Psych would be happy..
    Wizard's First Rule - People are stupid.
    Jez Kal'am in IAOP Order of Destruction.

  6. #6
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    "NOBODY FRAKKIN' MOVE OR I BLOW HIS HEAD OFF!"
    There was only one gov-trooper left. Additionally the minor mystery of the inn-keeper's location was also answered. The rebels had got word to him the night before that he should barricade himself in his room but here he was with a blaster pistol against the back of his neck, being used as a shield by the last of the government soldiers. And this one was no fool. They hadn't been able to trick or negotiate him out. The hostage ruled out rushing through the doorway.
    "Can't you just shoot the gun out his hand?" Chal suggested, his image of the four clone commandoes' invincibility wavering slightly.
    "I can do that," Rook said and stepped forward, only to be dragged back by Pawn.
    "Despite what my trigger-happy sibling thinks," Pawn began, "this isn't a holodrama."
    The two commandoes and the five remaining rebels had retreated to the far ends of the corridor, giving the hostage-taker some breathing room.
    "Plus," Pawn continued, "he has his weapon to the back of the hostage's head. The atlas. First vertebra. We can't shoot it from the doorway, and I hope the barkeep isn't stupid enough to try and knock the barrel aside with the back of his head. A shot, either deliberate or ND, will probably take his head off."
    ND = negligent discharge. To accidentally fire a weapon.
    "So what do we do?!" one of the other rebels asked worriedly. It seemed he knew the inn keeper. Pawn hoped that wouldn't become a problem and promote rash action. Rook accounted for about as much rash action as Pawn could handle.
    "We wait."
    "Wait?" Chal and another said together. "But he'll blow his head off!"
    "No. He won't," Pawn replied confidently.
    "You hope," Rook said over their secure comm frequency. "Ten creds says twiberry jam."
    Alpha's scout fought to ignore the comment.
    "No demands," he said to the rebels. "It's a waiting game, see?" He jerked a thumb toward the doorway and the hostage-situation beyond. "I'm guessing he's supposed to check in with his superiors, so now he's waiting 'til he's overdue and they wonder what's up. And we're waiting for Knight to get into position."
    "Did someone say my name?" Knight's voice came over the net.
    Though all clone commandoes were trained to excel in many forms of combat, with myriad weaponry, each had his own specialty. While Pawn was the squad's reluctant scout and twice-reluctant demolitions expert, Rook was au-fait with all manner of esoteric weapons (and his enthusiasm being proportional to the calibre of the ordnance). King was the squad's sergeant, their leader, tactician and glory-seeker. And, for this mission, their liaison with the resistance leaders. Knight was Alpha squad's medic secondarily and primarily it's sniper. And now he found himself in the tower of the town hall, across the town square from the inn, lying prone on a carpet of guano.
    It gave him a perfect view of the whole settlement. Up against a large number of hostiles he knew he'd be able to get off a couple of killshots before he'd have to move from a position like this. That was the problem with towers: they gave great lines of fire but also they were the first place hostiles looked for an enemy sniper. Then they directed heavy artillery onto it. It was often surprising how much ordnance the enemy were willing to expend in order to neutralise a single enemy sniper.
    It gave Knight an ironic feeling of self-worth.

    But this wasn't quite the classic sniper situation (It so seldom is, he thought to himself). The hostage was one factor. Back on Kamino some of their less palatable training had been in the prioritising of both targets and assets. It was common knowledge that snipers targeted enemy officers. But also their training had included friendly assets. If two 'friendlies' were threatened and you could only manage one clean kill, who did you sacrifice? From a young age the clones had known their own pecking order, from the top down: ARCs, commandoes then standard troopers, further broken down by rank. Jedi were of course above all this.
    But this innkeeper was not a member of the GAR.
    True, but he was aiding the Tandellian rebels.
    He's not a combat asset.
    Again true, but he had provided them with valuable information, putting him in the nebulous category of 'intel asset'.
    The op is screwed. The gov will flatten the town. His value as an intel asset is negligible.
    Not nice. But very true.
    Any fallout if he does catch a lethal dose of duranium to the brainpan?
    Unfortunately the answer was: yes. This innkeeper was known to the rebels, personally in some cases. Even if it was unavoidable, King had told Knight as he climbed the tower that they couldn't afford any accidents.

    Then there was the angle. The only opening in the tower was the crap-encrusted top upon which he now lay, far too high for a shot through the window. He’d have to put it through the building’s roof. Which meant a thermal scope and an ardanium round.
    Where their usual rounds for their Blastech DC-17m were made of duranium (a good balance of muzzle velocity and hardness for common-or-garden sniping), Knight also carried a magazine of ardanium rounds. Ardanium was a metal mined solely, as far as he knew, on the planet Questal. It was unique in that it actually became harder after exposure to radiation. Thus it was in great demand for starship reactors and the like, on both sides of the Clone Wars. When you had a target you absolutely had to drop with one round, but there was cover or armour in the way, Sergeant Whitefeather swore by them. There was of course the issue of radiation poisoning but Whitefeather expected to die on the battlefield before he lived long enough to get cancer, the commandoes with their artificially shortened lives knew they weren't going to live that long and the whole idea was that the target didn't live to such an age. So no one worried about it too much.
    On the positive side the round had to the power to get through the tiles covering the building’s roof with minimal deflection, on the downside was the possibility of over-penetration-of-a-soft-bodied-target: He didn't want his round to pass through the target then ricochet around and end up in the poor hostage after all. That would be bad for Alpha squad's reputation.

    Finally he raised his rifle's stock to his shoulder, fitting the side of his helmet to the cheek-piece, aligning his visor with the scope. He started with a standard view, no filters, and sighted on the window of the target room. A blink then overlaid a thermal scan on the sight's image...and there they were: one gov-trooper and held in front of him one very scared innkeeper standing in, what appeared on the scope as, a puddle of warm liquid. The trooper didn't seem to be supporting the man's weight, so Knight concluded it wasn't blood.

    Both still seemed to be stood in the middle of the room, just off-center so that a shot couldn't bag the soldier through the window, and not close to any of the walls. It seemed this last gov trooper was desperate, but still sufficiently disciplined and switched-on. They were half-facing the door, the trooper would have a good view of the doorway (where the commandoes were most likely to try something from) and he'd catch any movement at the window (such as Rook rappelling down and crashing in, as he had requested. King had been quick to deny that) in his peripheral vision. He wouldn't however be able to predict an AP round coming through the ceiling from an unseen firing point.
    The problem was the angle. Almost any shot Knight could put into the thermal-image of the trooper would pass through into the hostage. He had to wait and hope they shifted position. Or…
    "King. I don't have a clean shot. Pawn. Get him to move a little. Rotate forty-five in either direction."
    "Exactly how do you suggest we do that? [i]Oh please mister hostage-taker would you kindly turn a little for my sharpshooter brother? While you're at it I don't suppose you'd mind surrendering?"
    And that gave Knight an idea.
    "Yes," he replied in all seriousness, "say that. Exactly that."
    "Knight, what the frell?" King demanded.
    But Knight was focused on his target. The two blotchy, multicoloured humanoid images on his scope, like two strange amoebas.
    As Pawn called out to the trooper he stiffened, then spun round reflexively to face the window. It never did them any good but it was something hostage-takers always did: turn to look out the window, as if spotting the sharpshooter would somehow stop the bullet.
    But he turned too far, too fast. The hostage was now between Knight and the trooper.
    It'll do, Knight thought to himself as he shifted his crosshairs to the hostage.
    And fired.

    END OF PART THREE

  7. #7
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    Knight found King chatting with Rook in the town square after the op, with minutes before they evacuated the place. As Knight approached he could see the grin on Rook’s face. His trigger-happy brother made an exit as the sniper approached their sergeant.
    Before Knight could say a word, King rounded on him.
    “You shot the hostage?!”
    “I shot through him, sarge,” Knight protested, keeping his cool; “a clean shot through the bicep, into the hostile’s chest and heart.”
    “You shot him,” King repeated, “Did I not specifically say ‘Don’t shoot the hostage’?”
    “C’mon sarge, he’ll live. And he’ll have an interesting story to tell his grandchildren,” Knight added, hoping to defuse King’s anger with a joke.
    It failed.
    “Millimetres from his brachial artery, Knight. Millimetres. He could’ve bled out in minutes.”
    “But he didn’t sarge. Look, the hostile moved, and the shot presented itself.”
    “I know you were using a thermal scope, Knight. The image through those isn’t clear enough to judge a shot like that,” King continued. This was the first time that Alpha squad had ever had to work with another combat unit, aside from occasional co-operations with other commando squads, and King didn’t want his troops giving these rebels gung-ho ideas that were going to get them killed. “I expect osik like this from Rook, not you.” He sighed. “Just don’t let any of them know what a risk you took,” he nodded toward the rebels as they piled into speeders.


    "I- I'm not sure I can do this. I'm not made for this kind of thing," Chal muttered, eyes fixed on his dead comrade in the corridor on the upper floor of the inn. While Rook and the others had hurried the innkeeper out for medical aid after Knight’s shot, Chal had remained in the corridor, while Pawn had inspected the bullet hole Knight had made in the building’s roof.
    "No. You weren't made for it," Pawn replied, "but what choice do you have?" he said, returning to the rebel’s side.
    "I volunteered. I can quit," Chal started, trying to convince himself more than the clone.
    "Can you?" Pawn asked, looking down at the dead freedom fighter. "Do you think that would make him proud? You've got as little choice as I or my brothers do. We don't have a homeworld, we barely have a culture. You have both. You've got even more reason to fight than I do."
    Chal turned his red eyes to look at the commando's anonymous faceplate.
    "Why do you do it?"
    "Because I was made for it."

    END OF PART FOUR

  8. #8
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    Day Sixty Four
    2000hrs (local time)

    Pawn sat next to Chal in the Trast A-A5 speeder truck, along with almost thirty others including the three other members of Alpha squad. Their target was high priority; a chance to really hit the seppies where it hurt, so the rebel leaders had assigned all their best troops and stealth dictated that they all pile into one vehicle. A phrase involving eggs and baskets came to Pawn's mind.
    Their target was a droid control center. The seppies could spare a few hundred B1s to protect their assets on Tandel, but they couldn't keep droid control ships in orbit when they were needed on the frontline. Thus they had constructed dozens of armoured bunker complexes across Tandel equipped with control computers and powerful transmitters to keep their caretaker droid legions working.
    The particular one the rebels were planning to hit was the closest to Tandelai: the planet's capital. Destroying it would disable all the remote-controlled droids for a hundred klicks, and that included seventy percent of the droids in Tandelai.
    This was the real opening move in Tandel's liberation. All the operations Alpha and the resistance had been conducting so far had hit the gov and the CIS: fuel dumps, troop convoys and the like, but once they destroyed this control center it'd be a direct push to take Tandelai. They couldn't give the CIS or the gov time to set up another transmitter.
    Pawn wasn't exactly sure what the resistance had planned once they took the capital. Force the current fatcats to step down, replace them with the resistance leaders? Some of these rebels were pretty firebrand-types. They were good enough at stirring up dissent against the government but he wasn't sure how they'd handle ruling their own world. Most had been farmers, ranchers and other country-types before being forced to take up arms. Still, that wasn't Alpha's concern. Their purview was, King reassured him, to aid in the removal of the CIS-backed government. They also had secondary objectives which they weren't to discuss with the Tandellian Resistance. Firstly To minimise the destruction of assets which would prove useful to the Republic upon Tandel's return to the galactic body. Truth was that the CIS presence on Tandel had dragged the somewhat-backward planet into the present. The seppies had introduced advanced technology, manufacturing, processing and the like. Tandel had become a far more valuable planet than it had ever been before and certain factions within the senate didn't want to see the seppies' hard work go to waste. So Alpha had been advising the resistance to concentrate their efforts on military targets.
    The other secondary objective was more like SOP to the commandoes: The gathering of intel which might prove useful in the Clone Wars itself, not restricted to the Tandellian uprising.

    2500hrs
    Through his rifle's scope the Knight watched the four camouflaged figures sneaking through the undergrowth. If it weren't for the visual enhancements in the scope coupled with those in his HUD the four would have been invisible in the twilight and the thick jungle terrain.
    "King, they're nearing the perimeter fence."
    "Roger that Knight. I have a pair of SBDs in each tower, bricks of B1s within the compound. 16 total."
    Knight looked away from the four sneaking figures momentarily to check a feed in the corner of his HUD.

    Traditionally military snipers never worked alone, with two exceptions: holodramas, and sergeant Garloz Whitefeather. In Whitefeather's case it was rumoured that he had had a spotter but no one dared ask what had happened. Either way, a sniper-spotter team was standard operations.
    But, while the Republic's clone commandoes were trained for such pair work, their kit had done away with the necessity. Each commando's helmet HUD enabled him to check squad mates' POVs essentially giving him three additional pairs of eyes. And their small probe droids were useful for more than just scout-work. Though the initial models had been little more than dumb portable cameras, later models could be set to observe for threats and other pre-programmed images: to act as spotters.

    The CIS facility was, it turned out, more than just a droid control center. There clearly was a control computer there: a huge comm tower extended up thirty meters to punch through the jungle canopy and terminate in a vast mesh dish. But there were also automated maintenance factories, and droid reserves kept deactivated in MTTs and bunkers. The ground in the base looked as if it had been flattened either by a turbolaser blast from orbit or a couple of proton bombs dropped from an airspeeder to clear a patch of jungle. The CIS had then dropped their pre-fab structures, set up a perimeter fence and left it alone. But, jungle being jungle, nature had moved quickly to regain her territory. Vines, creepers and moss were spreading back across the burned ground, and the trees were already pushing at the perimeter fence.
    Knight was perched in a tree not far from the perimeter, with King mirroring him on the other side of the compound, and they had positioned half a dozen probes each no larger than a thermal detonator, in the surrounding trees.
    A droid couldn't so much as drop a nut without them noticing.

    The resistance members had been split between four infiltration teams, and the rest were held in reserve. If the op went Gungan they'd be responsible for pouring fire into the compound to cover the others' retreat.
    Pawn and Rook each lead one of the infiltration teams, Chal another (after being shaken up in that first job in Echost he was actually turning into quite the spirited fighter, Pawn thought). The last was lead by a man by the name of Taiben. Not the best of shots nor the lightest stepper, this was one of those times when concessions had to be made. Taiben was one of what amounted to the resistance leadership. He'd been eagerly learning all he could from King, had insisted on having a key role in the operation and was clearly keen to secure himself a seat on Tandel's next government.
    King and Knight had positioned themselves partly for sniping and observation, and partly to cover Chal and Taiben's shebse.

    END OF PART FIVE

  9. #9
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    Down in the dirt Chal was now on his knees and elbows crawling through the mulch and moss carpeting the jungle, edging toward the CIS compound's perimeter fence with his weapon held out in front of him. Since they had hit the government soldiers back in Echost over a month ago they had been busy, and Chal had picked up a new blaster: a Baktoid Armour Workshop E-5 carbine. Before heading into the jungle Pawn had told him to leave the DC at camp.
    "It's cumbersome. Too long. In the jungle you're not going to be engaging targets at such long distances. That tinny carbine'll do you fine."
    The three other resistance fighters behind him were similarly armed, and the four of them were clad in DPM fatigues with dirt smeared over their faces. At first they had clad it on thick, almost painting their faces with caked on chevrons and tiger stripes...prompting raucous laughter from the commandoes.
    (DPM = Disruptive Pattern Material aka camouflage)
    "Just enough to darken your skin, cut down on shine and break up shape," Pawn managed between giggles, "you look like a bunch of cack-handed sanitary technicians!"

    Eventually Chal and his team made it to the wire.
    "Pawn, your pet freedom fighter is in position."
    Pawn acknowledged King's voice in his ear with a double click of his own commlink.
    He and his team were already in position at the fence. Two meters high, alternating electrified wires and strands of monofilament thread, crossing it would be a toss up between electrocution or limb loss. Pawn could see where a tree branch had grown against the fence, the bark charred black in places; neatly cut into like cheese in others.
    Part of being Alpha's scout also meant he was its B&E expert, and he'd thought up several ways to defeat the fence while back at camp. Starting with the simplest he extracted a pair of wire cutters from a pouch on his belt kit and, checking the feed from the remote probes to ensure no droids were looking his way, he closed the cutter's blades on one of the monofilament threads.
    He had modified his wire cutters with clamps either side of the blades to hold the wire in place. Once in the past he had clipped some mono-wire that had been so taut that it whipped when he cut it and he'd nearly lost a hand.
    As the blades met it was like a magic trick: the wire cutter closed but the thread wasn't cut. With a sigh he opened the cutters and inspected the fine line the thread had carved into both blades.
    Great! A perfectly good pair of cutters ruined! Since when did the seppies start using decent alloys?
    "Cutters are a no-go," he said with irritation into his commlink. There was no point the other teams damaging their gear too.
    "No problem here," Rook replied, "we've found our way in."
    Pawn checked Rook's POV in his own HUD only to see a wall of tree bark bathed in night-vision filter green, then an elevated view of the seppie compound. Checking one of the probes' views he could see Rook and his team climbing a tree near to the fence and edging out along branches overhanging the wire.
    "Di'kut! You think you're a Wookiee?" Pawn said over the net, "How're you gonna get your shebse back across?"
    Rook declined to reply.
    Turning his attention back to his own team's infiltration he moved along the fence to the nearest post. If they couldn't cut the mono-wire and get through the gap, he'd have to knock out power to one of the electrified lines. Just one, and temporarily, any more and alarms might go off. Unfortunately the nearest post was under one of the compound's four guard towers. Then he saw it. The chink in the CIS security:
    The four towers each stood on four legs, five meters high, straddling the perimeter fence. Two legs in the compound. Two in the jungle.
    What a nice bridge.
    Pawn got the attention of the three rebels trailing him, pointed to the tower and motioned climbing.
    The nearest, a pretty if rather underfed girl by the name of Melina looked at him in disbelief. Atop the tower were two B2 super battle droids, dutifully and repetitively scanning the thick wall of jungle before them, and ever so often checking the compound itself.
    Pawn turned toward the tower and started to crawl toward it at a snail's pace.
    They can either follow me or sit there and be a snack for the mozzies.

    When he finally got to the base of the tower's closest leg, sure enough the three rebels were behind him. Moving low and slow, and with all the foliage on the jungle floor the SBDs never even glimpsed them.
    Now they just had to climb the tower's metal framework silently, edge across and climb down the leg the other side of the fence.

    END OF PART SIX

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    Chal and his team hid behind one of the compound's three bunkers, just inside the wire. They'd been lucky enough that the ground under the fence was relatively soft mulch. Fallen leaves, rotting wood and the like. Slowly, pausing whenever a droid patrol passed or a droid in a tower looked their way, they had scrapped enough of a dip to slither underneath the fence. Still, as Tark brought up the rear his Merr-Sonn G8, slung over his back, had had it's foresight lopped off by the lowermost monowire as he crawled under.
    "Chal is in. Rook is in. Taiben is in. Pawn, what are you waiting for? Dawn?" King goaded.
    Pawn was already under the tower, inside the compound along with two of his team, covering Melina as she edged slowly across the tower's framework, just beneath the two SBDs on sentry. If either had the whim to look directly down they'd spot her.

    Melina Tikaris was no great fan of heights. Unfortunately she also kept herself to herself and hadn't seen fit to inform anyone of her fear. So, perhaps it should have come as no surprise that when, to the idea of sneaking into an enemy military compound and blowing it up, climbing was added, Melina encountered trouble.
    She had shuffled halfway across the tower when she slipped.

    And fell onto the fence.

    Her scream split the quiet night air even as the compound's sirens came alive.
    "See to her!" Pawn shouted to the other rebels and he rolled flat onto his back under the guard tower, slapping the anti-armour attachment onto his deecee. With the butt tight in his shoulder he fired directly up at the tower above.
    The tower and the two SBDs in it vanished in a huge explosion, raining shrapnel down across the whole clearing and scorching Pawn's armour. As Alpha's demolitionist he had seen, and he had to admit he had enjoyed, countless explosions. But he'd never been quite this close before.
    "PAWN!" someone called out over the net.
    "I'm alright I'm alright!" he replied. And even as he picked himself up he could see things were turning to osik. Melina falling onto the fence, or her scream… something had set off an alarm. The compound was now floodlit by lamps on the fence posts, a klaxon blared and the air was thick with blue and red laserfire. The other three teams were engaging the remaining towers and the patrols of B1s, and the sharp crack of Knight and King's rifles punctuated more droids dropping.

    The two rebels with Melina were out of their depth. Pawn could see that her right leg had been cleanly severed above the knee. He could see the rest of it laying on the ground the other side of the fence.
    And the blood.
    The sandy ground was stained dark as it gushed from her leg and one of the rebels, medpac open, futilely tried to stick a bandage over it.

    The human body contains around five point six litres of blood. Lose more than fifteen percent and you can expect to feel it: dizziness, cognitive impairments, headaches. Fifteen to thirty percent and your heart races, your skin will pale and be cool to the touch. The loss of thirty to forty percent and you're in the danger zone. Blood pressure drops, heart rate increases further. Over forty percent and you're at death's door.
    And Pawn estimated there were a good few pints spilled onto the ground already. The femoral artery, the main blood vessel in the leg, had been severed and Melina's life was pissing out of her at quite a rate.
    Kneeling by the stump he tried to ignore her pale face and the fact that she'd fallen silent, and he drew his pistol.
    "What the frak!" one of the rebels exclaimed, thinking Pawn meant to put her out of her misery. The commando pushed him away and told him to cover them: the exploding guard tower had got several droids looking in their direction.
    Pawn dialled down the power setting on his pistol then placed the barrel against the stump of her leg. He knelt hard on the inside of her thigh. Partially to staunch the flow, partially to keep her still.
    He'd heard that the security police of the Corporate Sector Authority used a vicious technique on suspects to extract information and confessions: using a blaster on a low power setting to sear the flesh. They called it The Burning.
    Pawn hoped to apply the same principle here as he squeezed the trigger of his DC-15s, sending a shot across the open end of the woman's leg and eliciting an ear-piercing cry from her. The two rebels looked back at him and he shouted at them to keep firing at the droids. Two of the compound's bunkers had opened and were spilling out more battle droids.
    The shot had charred the raw flesh but it wasn't enough. Pawn fired again and again, focusing on burning the wound over, deaf to the woman's returned but weakening screams and the fire-fight raging around him.
    He blinked to clear his vision, he was sweating heavily and hadn't a clue if he'd saved her or simply made her last moments excruciating agony. Either way she seemed to be out cold.
    Pawn then called to the rebels, directing one of them to keep kneeling on her thigh, to get a fluid line into her...and to stay with her.
    "Pawn!" King's voice boomed in his ear.
    He realised that his sergeant and brother had probably been calling him for the past few minutes, but he had been totally focused on Melina.
    "Pawn! You're the one with the damned bomb! Get to the control bunker!"
    "Had a slight medical emergency sarge. And its a charge not a bomb!" but he was already looking toward his objective: the bunker at the centre of the compound, the antenna tower rising above it.

    The four teams had entered the compound almost equally spaced around its perimeter, and had quickly dealt with the B1 battle droids on patrol. Also only one of the guard towers remained standing, the two B2 SBDs atop it pouring fire down and keeping Taiben's team pinned. But more and more B1s were deploying from the bunkers. The rebels also had signalled their own reinforcements to move up, but the whole battle would end pretty much immediately if Pawn could get into that control bunker and plant the charge. Unfortunately that meant fighting through all the droids he was hoping to deactivate.

    END OF PART SEVEN

  11. #11
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    Psych would be happy..
    No, Psych would not be surprised. Psych never said he would be happy.

    On another note, Ronin, you seem to be reusing an admittedly perfectly good name.
    If you want to contact me, a private message will work. I am currently on hiatus, but I will respond.
    Featured Quote: “The trouble is that everyone talks about reforming others and no one thinks about reforming himself.”
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    PS: "'Psych' for short. Not Psycho. No o, oh no, no o." Ronin

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    Originally posted by PsychoInfiltrator

    On another note, Ronin, you seem to be reusing an admittedly perfectly good name.
    Yup! I often do this. Often the different incarnations have some links, though they're (obviously) not the same person. This is, what? The third Melina Tikaris? And there's been a two or three Jedi called Jarex Kadnessar.

    Anyway, offline the story is into Part Thirteen now and I'm expecting it to end soon...around Fourteen.

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    Default (Part Eight's just short...)

    Rook and his team had been sneaking along the wall of a bunker, behind the backs of a brick of four B1s when Melina's scream had split the air, closely followed by claxons. As the droids had turned toward Pawn's position Rook and the three humans had cut them down in a hail of blasterfire.
    They had then all looked away as the exploding guard tower lit up the night.
    "PAWN!" someone, either Knight or King, called over the net.
    Rook was speechless. None of them had ever been even seriously injured. Nothing more than a few blaster burns, and they were always picking shrapnel out of each other. And here was Pawn going out in a blaze of glory.
    Rook almost died of jealousy.
    "I'M ALRIGHT I'M ALRIGHT!" the whining scout's voice came back eventually, though he probably didn't realise he was shouting.
    Things were rapidly going FUBAR as Rook saw two of the compound's four bunkers open their blast doors and vomit forth B1s. Along with the control bunker at the centre that left one other. Rook hoped it was empty but he didn't bet on it.
    Not to be outdone by Pawn Rook fitted his grenade attachment to his DC-17m and put a couple into the nearest crowd of B1s. The three humans on his team were trailing him dutifully, keeping good spacing. Not entirely unlike droids he thought as he strafed toward an MTT. Most of its maintenance hatches were open and he could see through the front that it was empty so it seemed safe enough.
    Once he almost tripped on the broken, blasted ground...and then it rose up beneath him in a shower of dirt.
    this is it! he thought as the earth beneath him exploded up. A landmine in slow motion.
    A landmine with red eyes, antenna, a cannon and four legs.
    As the dwarf spider droid hauled itself out of the ground Rook rolled off its dome-shaped body. The Commerce Guild used dwarf spider droids for subterranean infiltration and so they were exceedingly good at burrowing, considering their size. But Rook had never known them used as hidden reserves like this. And he might never see it again, he thought as the quadruped droid planted one of it's feet down hard on his chest. The Katarn armour creaked under the weight.
    He reflexively dropped his deecee: with the grenade module still attached he couldn't use it at point blank range. The grenades didn't arm until they'd flown ten meters. Besides, he didn't want to die on his back, crushed under a droid's foot.
    Drawing his pistol he fired rapidly up at the droid's opposite legs. He didn't want to bring the whole thing crashing down on him.
    The droid began to raise another foot, moving it to smash down on his helmet.
    As it raised the foot, it put more weight on his chest and with a loud CRACK! his chest-plate gave way, followed by a couple of ribs. Pain exploded in Rook's chest and he cried out.

    END OF PART EIGHT

  14. #14
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    Nifty tactic.

    I only knwo of two Melina's of yours, actually.
    If you want to contact me, a private message will work. I am currently on hiatus, but I will respond.
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    PS: "'Psych' for short. Not Psycho. No o, oh no, no o." Ronin

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    One of the droid's eyes exploded in a shower of sparks as a rifle shot from King found its mark. Then suddenly Chal and his team were there. Two of the rebels grabbed the leg on his chest and heaved at it, trying to get its crushing weight off his chest while Chal and another kept the other leg from stamping down on his head. Eventually they managed to lift the leg from his chest and they rolled the droid over but Rook was too busy breathing to pay attention as they finished it off. His chest was on fire and he could feel the broken ends of his ribs grating as he sucked in air despite the pain.

    Chal aimed his carbine at the droid's exposed, unprotected belly and poured shot after shot into it as it's legs kicked, helplessly trying to right itself. Eventually it black smoke poured from its guts and the hole of its right eye and it ceased moving. Popping the power-pack from his weapon he quickly inserted a fresh one from his webbing, tugging on it to make sure it was in well. Surveying the area for threats he knelt by Rook. Another rebel was already working on the clone: removing the broken pieces of chest-plate and gingerly probing his chest with his fingers. Rook was breathing in pants through gritted teeth, his face set in a rictus of pain. The rebel administering first aid turned to Chal with a grave look on his face.
    "Ch-," he started then remembered protocol. "Liberty Two to Alpha One. Alpha Three is down. He's in bad shape. Immobile. Please advise."

    King, still perched in a tree beyond the perimeter, watched the scene through his rifle's scope. What Rook needed was a bacta tank. And the only place they'd find those would be the city.
    Via their commlink he had Knight direct the rebels in checking Rook and doing what they could for him. They listened at his chest: he was a lucky son of a Gundark because, though several ribs had given under the droid's weight, his lungs hadn't been punctured. They then got some tryptazocine into him: it'd take the pain away but leave him conscious enough that they'd know if he deteriorated.
    Two of the rebels stayed with him while Chal lead the others toward the bunkers. Two more spider droids had surfaced and were cutting Pawn and Taiben off from the control bunker.

    Pawn aimed carefully and sent a grenade arcing into the last remaining tower, then quickly ducked back as the two dwarf spider droids brought their cannons to bear on him. Bolts churned up the ground and more drew sparks from the bunker he hid behind.
    It seemed that all the compound's droids were now active and out engaging the commandoes and rebels...though he was sure that the control computer would also be diverting nearby droid forces toward the compound. ATTs or a pair of MTTs coming crashing through the jungle, loaded up with droidekas would end the offensive all too quickly.

    He stood only twenty meters from the entrance to the control bunker but it was twenty meters thick with droids. Taiben and one rebel stood opposite Pawn, they too sought shelter from the hail of enemy fire. Both were bloodied, Taiben had a field-dressing over his arm; the young man at his side had a badly bandaged leg. Pawn's own grey armour was now almost black with burns from explosions and blaster fire.
    He motioned that they should hold their position.
    As he leaned out once more he had to duck back immediately as a cannon round sent molten plasteel fragments flying from the bunker side.
    Buggrit, he thought to himself, and pointed his deecee's grenade module not around the corner, but at the bunker opposite. The grenade shot from his barrel and ricocheted off the wall with a loud CLANG!, detonating amongst the droids behind him.
    It was then that Chal and his team joined up with Taiben. Pawn couldn't make out what the resistance leader was saying but suddenly the five Tandellians broke cover and charged at the remaining droids.
    "Karkin' IDIOTS!" King shouted.
    But there was no stopping them. No sooner had they moved out from behind cover and one of the rebels fell, two smoking pits in his gut, screaming in agony.
    Pawn took a deep breath and sprinted for the control bunker. They were idiots, they'd probably all die, but he had to make use of the distraction.

    END OF PART NINE

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