Hot on the heals of the first installment, my Corp mate has penned another battle report. This one was the first Planetary Conquest battle we got in to together with our new Corp. It was against Seraphim Initiative and… well I’ll leave him to explain what happened next:
“We just need to hold for a few minutes and wear down their clone reserves by 20 to hold this installation.”
The orders seemed simple enough, and the job paid well. As an added bonus Sicling and I would be fighting alongside a group of mercenaries we were trying to join. Looking at my dwindling clone reserves I hoped that this would be one of those battles where everything came together in our favor.
Before I could do a final check of my gear, our comms crew finally came through with information on our opposition. One glance at Sicling and I knew we were both coming to the same conclusion. She spoke first: “Ah, guys. This isn’t going to be as simple as you think.”
“Nonsense, just hit them hard, fast and camp them in their base” the commander shot back.
“No. ” I replied “You’re not getting it. This is our old merc. group, and these are their best mercs. You need to revise that strategy.
Sicling and I gave up at that point. Not the first time some arrogant shrapnel magnet wouldn’t listen. At least the contract was for a sniper team. Glancing over my inventory I selected a prized rifle I had found on the battlefield. It’s former owner’s initials emblazoned on the stock read “Thales.” I’d never had the chance to meet him, but he certainly did know how to modify a sniper rifle. Sicling was doing the same, having found a few of her own recently. It really was a shame that nothing else came even close to its potential.
Our MCC was nearly in position now and all of our brethren had gathered. This was a much more impressive sight than I was accustomed to seeing. Bright yellow, striking red and black, and opalescent green hues of their suits gave the seasoned eye a look deep into the prototype models of various corporations. Instead of a silent pre-battle reflection, they laughed and put wagers on who could get the final kill. I took notice of my 5 remaining clones in storage, this needed to go well or I might just have to go back to freelance work.
Instead of the usual canned speech, it was replaced by our squad leader barking out our deployment location and a final strategy enforcement. As my helmet brought up the battlefield, I again knew that Sicling was thinking the same thing. With this large of a battlefield there would be no camping their base. They could spread out, divide our forces among several hot zones and our over-eager commanders would be all too willing to give them exactly what they wanted. But it would work to my advantage at least. Sniper fire could cover just about everything.
We all jump as the bay doors open, perhaps an impressive sight should someone be watching from the ground as 15 merchants of war fell from the sky with inertial dampeners active. Nearby the impact zone was a perfect hill for Sicling and I to setup shop and we both start running to get into position. From out of nowhere a friendly LAV speeds past and flattens my partner. I wince, I know that she’s alright and back in the MCC waiting for her AI to complete the transfer, but still. The offending knuckle dragger only offering a pathetic “She ran out in front of me” as an excuse.” I stand for a moment caressing an AV grenade at my hip pondering just how far my bio enhanced arms could throw it, when I felt a hand grab my wrist. “No.” Sicling said. “Just no. I’m still picking chunks of the last guy out of my armor and in case you forgot, it’s sort of why we’re unemployed.” I smile to myself. “Fine, but if I see him in quarters later I get to be very unfriendly.”
We creep to the top of the hill and survey the field below us. As we anticipated things weren’t going even slightly as well as our commander had hoped. I take aim on a heavily armored soldier heading to intercept our ill fated LAV driver, slowly exhale and caress the trigger. Even through the well designed stock of the weapon and the nanite infused armor plates on my shoulders I can feel my shoulder separate from the massive kick of the weapon. “Great.” I think. “I’m never going to hear the end of this one.” Burying the pain I focus down my scope, only to see my target still running, if maybe a little lower on shield strength.
“Hey Sicling,” I call as I squeeze another round. “Do they seem reluctant to die to you?”
“Yea,” she replies. “I feel like I’ve been hit by a train and they don’t seem to care one bit. How inconsiderate.”
I focus on a new target trying to dart behind cover and let loose another round. To my great satisfaction I see the suit go limp and the rather macerated remains of a helmet roll away.
“Got one!” comes the call from Sicling.
Too many times in battle we had found ourselves tracking the same targets and it seemed that once again we had both selected the same trophy. “Alright, tandem it is.” I call back. “Call the target and I’ll call the shot.”
“There, in the rear near the missile battery. I see someone kneeling and from the looks of it he’s looking for support from orbit.”
“Got him,” I call back. “Mark!”
Our training takes over and the shots ring out in unison. The dust around us soars up like the wings of an angel and we both watch our target tumble backward a few meters from the impact. That should buy us a few seconds, but we need to haul ass. Even the desolate landscape seems to be against us for even as we turn to run to a new position, snipers from the attacking forces begin to take pot shots at us.
“Two more kills and we can leave this place people. Get it done!” We hear from our commander.
Sicling and I quickly run to a nearby resupply point and send our precious rifles back to the MCC. We grab more readily affordable sniper rifles and turn back to the battle. Sicling arrives back on her point first and arrives to a hail of gunfire from a grunt with an assault rifle. I try to cover her, but I’m too late. Another clone lost, and this time I really did screw it up. As I round a higher point to exact a bit of payback, a friendly trooper lobs a well timed grenade and removes the problem for me.
“That’s it, they’re done here for now. They’ll have to regroup tomorrow and try again.” The commander calls out.
Not a moment too soon, as a rather unpleasant tank was heading our way. At least we knew that no matter whom we fought for or against, once profitability became too slim, they would always retreat.
I spend a moment surveying the communications facility we had just defended. Apparently things had taken more than just the predicted “few minutes” we had been led to believe. The logistics mercs had done their job well. Modern day necromancers with nanite injectors could revive and heal up even the most grave of injuries in seconds. I feel a stab between my shoulder blades, “Hey stranger, ” Sicling chuckles. “No wonder you shot like hell, your shoulder is a mess.” The pain quickly dissipates everywhere in my body as the injection of nanites I just received begin to work their magic. “Don’t think this makes up for you crushing me with your dropship, ” I chuckle back.