Posted by: Opinicus | January 4, 2012

Reavers: Chapter 1 Landfall

I know this is supposed to be musing and observations on D&D and other Role Play topics, but with so much of that originating from fiction, I thought it would fit in if I tried a short story.  This is the first Chapter, a science fiction tale with Norse inspiration.  May have more chapters in the future.

 

Chapter 1. Landfall

“We’re coming in fast! LZ is Hot! I repeat the LZ is hot!”  The pilot’s shrill voice screamed at us over my helmet vox as we huddled in the cramped hull of the Condor drop-ship.

Sergeant Thorgrim growled at us immediately after.  “Check your gear boys, we’re doing a fast drop.  Keep your heads low and hit the ground running, I want my team intact when we get to the objective!  Look alive Reavers!”

The pitch of the the engines went to a high pitched whine as it moved into a hover, our eyes glued to the red light, waiting and dreading when it would turn green, signaling the imminent opening of the hatch that was at our feet.  I caught my hand shaking and in the time I took to steady it, missed the light changing, and suddenly the floor slammed open.

The frigid air of Ithicus Prime greeted us with the sounds of gunfire and explosions. We were then ejected from our harnesses to the ground below, our boots crunching the thin layer of ice that had formed over the mud and gravel.

“MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!” We scrambled for the nearest source of cover, a crater left over from the orbital bombardment of this sector. Suddenly a lance of blue-violet energy flashed over our heads, slagging the cockpit and severing one of the four thrusters on the Condor.  The loose thruster launched off like a rocket into the air as the rest of the vehicle lurched to the side, tilted, then slammed into the base of the crater with the torturous sound of grinding metal, all the while the remaining three thrusters burned blackened holes into the frozen ground.

“Command! Come in Command! There’s a Las-tank in this sector!  I repeat, a fucking las-tank in this sector!  Wasn’t all enemy armor taken out over here?”  Lieutenant Hodir screamed into his vox.

“Damn it! Okay men, intel’s made a fuck-up as usual, and they want us to clean up their mess.  Grimnir, Rolfson, you flank it from the left!  The rest of us will draw it’s fire and you plant a det-charge on that son-of-a-bitch!”

“Roger that LT!” Rolfson acknowledged.

“Dergarde, you’re on point!  Watch for infantry.  Okay Reavers, grab your nuts and lets do this!  The Valkyries only fuck the brave!”

Dergarde popped his head over the cover and gave the all clear.  Sgt. Thorgrim growled and ushered us forward.  We ran from cover to cover whilst more beams of energy split the ashen sky above us, blasting more and more drop-ships full of our brothers to the halls of Valhalla.

Cresting a shallow rise, we spied a Centurion-class spider tank, crouched under a camouflage canopy. The energy coils along the barrel of the las-canon bright with pent up energy as it tracked something through the air.  A small team of men were around it, manning an external radar unit and keeping an eye out for enemy infantry, namely us.

Sgt. Thorgrim motioned us down. “Alright boys, it’s looking shitty, that spider’s got a shitload of armor, one det-charge might not even be enough.  Fortunately that’s made them confidant that infantry can’t hurt it, and we’ve got lots of det-charges.  Grimnir, Rolfson, you boys in position?”

“Awaiting your command Sarge.” the reply quickly came over the vox.

“We’ll throw Mjols first, wait to the count of five, then move.  Affirmative?”

“Roger that Sarge — count of 5.”

I drew and primed the grenade in question, and looked apprehensibly at the now glowing plasma coil inside.  Their official name was the AX-34 Charged Plasma Grenade, but only us Reavers are ever issued them; they have a nasty reputation of premature detonation and a relatively slow priming time. But they were devastating and had an electrified explosion which fried unshielded electronics. We’ve dubbed them the Mjolnir Grenade, after the legendary lighting hammer due to the very electrical visual of the detonation.  The risk involved were outweighed by the benefits.

“Okay boys, We primed? Good.  Pins out and thrown on three.   One…Two…THREE!”

I pulled the pin and hurled the loathsome thing with all my might and watched half a dozen other glowing grenades arc with it over the crest of the rise.  We charged after them to press the advantage of surprise, firing our MA-Rifles, striking down stunned soldiers, and yelling battle-cries the whole way.

The Mjolnirs detonated with a static-ey crack. Jagged tendrils of superheated plasma lashed out from each grenade in all directions, slicing and searing the troopers   into steaming chunks.  The optic ports on the spider-tank spat out sparks as their circuits were overloaded, but that didn’t stop it from revving it’s twin Requiem cannons.  It sprayed the area in front of it with a deluge of explosive rounds.

Whilst designed as an anti-vehicle machine gun, the armor piercing bullets were of such a calibre that they proved devastating on flesh.  Fenrir, who was right next to me, was caught in the abdomen and was blasted in two, his hot blood misting the air.  Eric in the front took several rounds to the torso, and there wasn’t much left to identify the remains with.

We threw ourselves against the front of what remained of the sandbag wall after the Mjolnirs had their way, and laid low under the line of fire above us.  To our left, we saw Grimnir and Rolfson, satchel charges in hand, running towards the tank, staying so low that their chins almost hit their knees.

They ran under the tank, ripping off the adhesive strip on the charges as they did.  Quickly they slapped one onto the weak inside joint of the front leg and prepared to apply another to the other leg.

That’s when I noticed that the sparks from the optics had stopped.

The bottom side optical turret swiveled around and noticed the two setting up charges.  The tank started shifting around, making Grimnir and Rolfson dive for cover.

With it’s attention distracted, I sat up behind cover and began emptying my magazine at the optic turret, hoping to distract or blind the damn thing.   Unfortunately the magnetically accelerated ferrous-tungsten did little to the armored eye.

The spider-tank, focused on Rolfson, and as he was scrambling to his feet, he stomped on the poor bastard’s back, slamming him prone on the ground, shattering his spine and rupturing his innards across the frozen gravel.

By now, Grimnir had gotten out from under the tank.  He dove for cover whilst triggering the planted charge.

A wave of force hit me in the face as I continued to spew bullets at the tank’s eye ineffectually.  Small fragments of metal pinged off my visor as I was hurled to the ground.  The sound dampeners in my helmet tried to compensate for the thunderous explosion, but my ears were still ringing afterwards.

Getting up, I saw one of the legs on the tank was completely disabled.  Metal plates ground against each other, giving a distinctly hideous groaning.  Orange hydraulic fluid splattered the floor like the lifeblood of a wounded animal.

The Centurion limped in a circle, trying to find a new target to shoot, but by this point it lacked the agility to track us.  We ran up to it and began slapping more charges onto the cracks in the Titanium-ceramic alloy plates of it’s armor.

The hatch at the top of the tank then opened.  “Wait! Wait! We surrender!  Fuck!  We surrender!”  The two operators of the tank started climbing out, waving their hands in the air.

Sgt. Thorgrim gave them one look, and promptly perforated them with a burst of fire from his assault rifle. “Fucking PDF cowards.”

“Command, this is team Gamma 12.  Laz-tank is neutralized.  It’s status is immobilized but functional.  Team strength is down by three, request further orders…understood Command, over’n out.” Lt. Hodir disconnected with Orbital Command and looked at us. “Okay Reavers, we are to regroup with team Gamma 22 at these coordinates.”

He uploaded the information onto our HUDs.  “And once joined, we’ll proceed on with the mission.  The way should be clear of resistance, but stay frosty, Intel’s full of bullshit anyways.”  With that he lifted his visor and spat on the tank.

 

Like most of us, the lieutenant looked familiar, as we were all cloned from the same genetic stock, but his veteran status was evident in the greying hair and wrinkles around his eyes.  One doesn’t grow old as a Reaver without learning a few things.

We hiked for about an hour, sticking to frozen riverbeds and bombed out valleys. For once, the intel on the area was correct, and we encountered no resistance. Chatter was limited, and no one spoke of anything other than to point out possible dangers.

Eventually we rendezvous with the G-22 team. They were originally a larger squad than us, but they’ve obviously seen some heavy action as they were down to half strength. Lt. Hodir took over command as all the command personnel from G-22 had been killed when they were dropped into a mine field while under sniper fire.

“Alright, listen up Reavers.  Our objective remains the same.  We push to the edge of the city and take out any heavy ordinance we find. As soon as High Command, in their almighty wisdom, deems it safe enough to risk dropping in some armor, we’ll get reinforcements. At that point we’ll be serving as a skirmisher screen for the armor as it heads over to F sector to engage the enemy’s flank currently engaging the groups there.”

I could tell that this was going to be a long day.

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