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Out of the Shadows

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Joined: 06 Feb 2010
Posts: 75
Location: The Twilight Isles

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:09 pm    Post subject: Out of the Shadows Reply with quote

From the window of the massive Dropship, the planet Konu loomed closer, a mostly purple orb in the blue-black space surrounding Star Gamma 1023. it was not the first time Thirteen had seen the planet, but the view never ceased to amaze him.

"All units, this is DS Captain Soanso." A voice came over the speakers. "5 mikes to deployment; all crews to your vectors." That was the cue to mount up and prepare to land; Thirteen left the window and walked calmly down the long flight of stairs to the transport deck. He could see the five other crews under his command making their way to their assigned units. Of these, two of them were tanks, and the other three bipedal walkers - mekas as they were commonly refered to. The two tanks were Darkhunter Stealthtanks; light vehicles with built in cloak generators. Painted black and blue, with six wheels instead of standard treads, and a bulky energy weapon affixed to its turret, they were easily and unmistakably identifiable. Identifiable that is, to anyone who saw them, and given their cloak and dagger nature that wasn't likely to happen.

In front of the Darkhunters a pair of mekas stood. Medium sized, painted red and black, with one arm replaced by a cannon and a missile launcher set on the opposite shoulder, the two Covert Mekas looked almost human. They were so tall in fact that the crew had to climb mobile ladders to enter them. Thirteen rather liked their profile: they had form he found appealing. Like the Darkhunters, the Coverts had stealth systems to allow them to hide in plain sight; unlike them however the Coverts used ballistic and missile weapons rather than energy: this gave them an advantage in range but a loss in firepower. Still, they were import to the combat effectiveness of the squad.

The third meka stood alone in front of the two Coverts. It looked like something out of a bad dream, with strange digitigrade legs and a pair of antenna-like fins above its cockpit, and instead of arms a pair of bulky energy cannons not too dissimilar from that of the Darkhunter. The lone Silent Death Meka cut an imposing figure that gave a good impression of its deadliness.

Thirteen oberved as his crews got into their units and powered on, as he himself walked toward his own unit. At the lead of the formation, solitary and awesome, his Shadow Assassin awaited him. In construction the unit was not unlike the Silentdeath, but it was much thicker built: the cockpit was larger, the legs sturdier, double number of fins, and most importantly its cannons were at least fifty-percent stronger than those of the SD. It was so powerful in fact, and so advanced, that only one of them could be built and operated by him at a time. As he climbed the ladder to the open cockpit, Thirteen smiled. Anyone who got in the way of this Meka would likely not live to do so again.

As he settled into his seat and strapped himself in, Thirteen gave a quick glance out the window he had been looking through before. The view of space was gone, replaced instead with purple clouds rushing past, a film of ice forming; they had entered the planets atmosphere.

Thirteen touched the console in front of him and the cockpit lit up as the unit powered up, the front covering closing into place and sealing shut to protect him from the carbon dioxide atmosphere of the planet. The cameras came online, surrounding him with a three-hundred-sixty-degree view of his surroundings, almost as if he were still out in the hangar rather than inside a unit. Various panels came online, showing the status of the unit, and Thirteen ran through his checks.

"Shields at one-hundred-percent power, armor at one-hundred-percent integrity. Weapons online and fully charged, targetting system online, power-plant online. All systems in the green." Having ensured that his unit was fully operational, Thirteen opened communication links to his other units. Another panel appeared on the right side of his cockpit display, showing the units under his command and their status.

"All units, comm check. Report in."
"DH1, all systems go."
"DH2, everything's stable."
"Covert 1, operational."
"Covert 2, ready."
"SD1, powered on."

"SA13, ready to engage." Nodding satisfied, Thirteen was all set to go once they deploy. Just in time, as the speaker came on again as soon as he had finished.
"All unit, we are approaching the planets surface. Prepare to deploy in thirty seconds."

Twenty seconds later Thirteen could hear as the giant engines of the Dropship shifted to face the ground, allowing the huge spacecraft to hover just a short (short being a comparative term here) distance off the ground. As the ship had no terrestrial landing gear, it took to a circular flying pattern, the distance between its underside and the ground small enough that they could drop safely.

"Hangar door opening, all personnel to safety. Combat team make ready to drop." The crew of the ship who were still in sight disappeared to the sealed interiors to avoid being killed in the unbreathable air. Thirteen watched from inside the bay as the massive hangar door slowly opened, pivoting at the bottom as hydraulic jacks pushed it down, the top parting to let in light and a rush of air from the planets surface. In a few second the door was completely open, showing a rough, mostly barren landscape that was tinged faintly yellow.

"Combat team disembark." Came the oder over the loudspeaker, and Thirteen gave his own over the private comm line to his unit; "Let go boys!" Together the team walked or rolled the edge, dropping one at a time to the ground. Thirteen was first, and the impact shocked him a little, but months of practice had accustomed him to it.

Another panel came up in his HUD as the visible quadrant was displayed on a mini-map. The Dropship continued to circle the sector he was in as the rest of the team disembarked, depositing them in a fairly random manner. Once the last unit dropped the door began to close up again, and the Dropship lifted off back into space.

With the team now assembled on the ground, Thirteen gave them the first orders.
"Alright boy, Stealth systems online. We head north." With that he activated the cloak generator on his own unit, the familiar whine as it came online and bent the light around itself. Around him the rest of the squad did likewise, their images distorting then disappearing completely as they cloaked, and in no particular formation they headed north.

Thirteen looked across the barren landscape with just a bit of worry; the time he had spent in combat had taight him to always be wary when on the ground. Crossing a sector took a few minutes, but soon they reached the edge of the quadrant they had dropped in. As the GPS system updated their location, numerous shapes appeared in the sector beyond their. Thirteen could now see a base and several vehicles ahead; checking his mini-map, their positions were indicated by orange dots: Bandits, ruthless, if simpleminded, fighters that opposed and attacked anyone that came near them.
"All units close ranks. Hold your fire and advance."
"Understood sir." Came the acknowledgements.

Thirteen check the 3D positional display: his Silent Assassin displayed as a blue dot, the rest of his squad as green , and the Bandits in orange ahead; the display indicated that there were approximately five enemy vehicles and about as many structures. Of the vehicles he identified a single Ares Meka, two Behemoth Tanks, one Striker Assault Vehicle and one Akimo Meka. The base consisted of a small ore refinery, two powerplants, and two missile turrets. A cakewalk.

"Boys, these muppets have no idea we're here." Thirteen said over the comm line. "Lets take this nice and slow."
"Roger that command."

"Move into position and wait for my command to fire. I'll take the Ares; SD take one of the Behemoths, DH 1 and 2 take the other; Coverts 1 and 2 take the Akimo and Striker."
"Orders understood, moving to attack positions."

They continued to advance, coming into the base unnoticed and unhindered, stopping as the found firing postions."

"Covert 1 to Command, in position to attack the Akimo with Covert 2." Was the first indication that came; natural considering the Coverts longer attack range.

"Gotcha Covert team." Thirteen sent back as he and the rest of the team advanced slowly on their intended targets. He smiled to himself as he snuck right by the two Heavy Tanks. He could almost reach out and touch them, and they just sat at idle, not knowing how close their end was.

"DHunter1, DH team in position to attack Behemoth 1."
"SilentD, I've got Behemoth 2 on my screen."

"Copy that. Thirteen advancing to target, standby." Thirteen continue forward, the Ares that was his target coming within the effective range of his weapons shortly. He kept moving closer, until he could see the scratches in the units armor, almost hear the hum of the energy cannon that formed its left arm. At such close range, his SA's energy cannons would cause much more damage than normal; necessary, since Ares had notoriously tough armor.

Once he was in position, Thirteen signaled his team to attack. Suddenly the air was full of the sounds of weapon fire: the Coverts cannons speaking in conjunction with the scream of their missiles, the Darkhunters and Silent Deaths weapons emitting a high pitched whine, and the cannons on his own unit letting out a thunderous report.

The sounds of the attack were at once echoed by the effect on their targets:
the Coverts shells and missiles overwhelming the Strikers shields instantly, allowing the rest of the attack to stike the units hull, sending it up in a ball of flame when they destroyed its internals;
DH1s energy cannon struck the Behemoth's shields, not enough to hit the actual unit but enough to weaken its shield to the point where DH2s weapon could hit, the plasma beam melting the armor of the tank on contact, reducing it to a twisted, molten heap;
the lasers on the Silent death lacked the armor melting effect of plasma, but they made up for it by being just as effective against shields as they where against armor, the one-two punch enough to let it lance through the tank and destroy it;
The lasers on Thirteens Assassin more than enough to overwhelm the shields of its victim, the first shot pausing queerly in midair as it struck the shields, then suddenly shooting forward to sever the units right arm missile launcher, and clearing the way for the second shot to punch its chest, setting of an explosion that sent the remains crumbling to the ground.

As the squad opened fire, their stealth systems were disrupted, and the units morphed into vision; the units temporarily unable to move while they recovered, and the energy weapons requiring time to cool down before their next attack; but here did the Coverts show another advantage: their weapons were much quicker to reload than the others were to recharge, and they turned and sent a volley at the Akimo even as it began to move to retaliate, breaking through its shields and striking its leg and cockpit.

The defensive turrets were quick to turn and fire at the sudden threat, the two towers sending a missile screaming towards Covert 1; its shield bare held the dual blasts off as they struck.
"Covert team, go white! Get out of there!" Thirteen said into his comm line, a moment later the two mekas faded from sight, leaving the turrets without a target, and defenseless against enemies at such short range. "DH and SD teams, take those turrets out!" Without bothering to recloak, the units converged on one of the towers, Thirteen attack with SilentD to break the structures shielding and weaken it, the DH team firing on it once the shields were down to finish it off. The missile pod fell to the ground even as its base exploded. Then, like a pack of hyenas, the team closed in on the second turret, its last desperate shots going vearing wildly off target.

With the base defenseless, the rest was just mop-up. The team took its time and eliminated the remaining structures by focusing their attack on them, the Coverts able to come and engage freely. Soon all that was left of the base were smoldering wrecks, and the stealth team reactivated their cloaks and moved off to hunt across the planet.
There are three kinds of Aces:
Those live for pride. The Knights.
Those who read the tide of battle. The Soldiers
And those who seek strength. The Mercenaries.
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