I was back at the office. It was pleasantly cool. Once again I was leaning back in my chair watching a faint trail of smoke as it was slowly pulled in by the air scrubber. The tumbler of socar was there too, but even its pungent odder could not mask the smell that should have been there. I kicked backwards, tumbling out of my chair, and rolling into a defensive crouch before my mind was able to cut through instinct. Standing in the corner was Naami. A faint smile at my reaction to her presence touching the corners of her mouth. She had decided the information had to tell me was worth interrupting my adjustment to the rehousing. I suppose from the outside it may have looked ridiculous, but I have learned to trust my instincts. They were telling me this information was only going to lead to more trouble. But having gone through two bodies in as many weeks my premiums were bound to go up. And trouble pays the bills.
The Komutail triad working on the beacon we had secured believed they could get a more accurate location of the supply network if they had more to work on. So we were back out in the mountains to retrieve more. On our left flank one of the Chaksa took cover behind a wooded hill. One of the Kealtar peered out from the cover of a bunker, while the Kamael WHD crouched behind a sandbag barricade. The last of their triad, another Kealtar found cover further away by another hill. A Chaksa took cover protecting the Kealtar team from any immediate infiltration. Further up the field from them, a Krakot crouched waiting for the enemy to appear. On the hill overlooking the beacon Naami stood, while Saatar crouched beside her out of sight. At the bottom of the slop crouched the Makaul. The Kosuil of the triad was further away taking cover in a nook of a larger outcrop. The Kaauri had taken a position watching the beacon next while using a bunker for cover. On the other side of this bunker was the last of the Chaksa. The remaining Krakot was prone atop the outcrop near another bunker. Le Muet had taken a sniping position on the wooded top of the outcrop.
Hostile signals flared on our readout. JSA forces were here. We had heard their forces were not venturing out beyond Kurage Station, so it stood to reason this was another of their covert operations. This was confirmed in my mind when I saw that most of the force was comprised of Keisotsu. There was sure to be a number of Ninja hiding along the battlefield. Three of the Keisotsu guarded their left flank, and one of their Ryuken-9 had taken cover behind a bunker on an outcrop. Yojimbo reved her bike nearby. The beacon was guarded by what was likely a mine, and another likely mine was believed to be at the base of the outcrop Le Muet and the Krakot had deployed on. A string of five Keisotsu were crouched behind a large storage container, the missile launcher and HMG covering the corner. Hidden among there ranks was a Kempeitai, and a Domaru. The last Keisotsu took cover further away behind large wooded hill. Guarding their right flank from behind another storage container was another Ryuken-9. There Ninjas could be anywhere.
Yojimbo raced up the field, but was out of sight from any over our over watch units. One of the Kealtar noticed a faint blur moving towards her moments before it revealed itself as an Oniwaban by shooting her.
Yojimbo threw smoke to cover the Oniwaban from Le Meut's sight before racing back to where she had began. The Oniwaban maneuvered around to see one of the Krakot. He fired a single burst from his SMG and the Morat collapsed.
The Oniwaban crept forwards and fired at one of the Chaksa, but it was able to dodge the worst of the assassin's shots. The Oniwaban went into the cover the smoke, and began suppressive fire. Capitalizing on the smoke, one of the Ruken-9 set suppressive fire to protect the Oniwaban's back.
Leaping from behind the hill, the Chaksa rushed the Oniwaban. The Oniwaban dodged as the Chaksa unleashed its flamethrower in attempt to burn him, and the Ryuken-9. The Ryuken-9 shot the Chaksa as a gout of fire came just short of engulfing her and setting off a kaleidoscope of colors from her optical disruptor. With the Chaksa dead, the Kaauri moved from the other side of the hill to try to dislodge the Oniwaban.
The Kaauri's shots missed as the Oniwaban expertly side stepped them to moved into melee combat with the sentinel.
Seeing an opportunity to take out the Oniwaban while it was tied up in combat Le Muet stood from his perch, and fired. He hit the Kaauri. I am not sure if those little constructs can curse, but it sure sounded like this one was trying. I think we were all surprised it was even still moving.
Le Muet took more careful aim with his next shots, and after several rounds finally put the Oniwaban down.
With the threat of the Oniwaban neutralized, the Kaauri ran and took cover in a nook of the outcrop bellow the Ryuken-9.
Once again Yojimbo tore up the battlefield launching smoke along the way. However the smoke grenades fell well off their mark, and she took several tries before the smoke landed where it was needed. With the smoke down, the Kempeitai began advancing, forgoing firing until he was settled behind cover. His shots impacted into Le Muet, whose ‘mate was just able to calm his symbiont before collapsing in a heap.
With Le Muet pulling back from the edge and out of sight the Kempeitai continued his advance and shot Naami. She was not as fortunate as she had been in our last encounter.
The Kempeitai continued his advance until our Clipsos appeared to lay a mine at his feet. Undeterred from his target by this new development, the Kempeitai simply stepped back while shooting the Kaauri as the mine exploded around him and Clipsos attempted to shoot him down. Both the Kaauri and the Kempeitai were still upright at the end of the exchange. But the Kempeitai made sure that did not last long for the Kaauri.
Maneuvering behind the Clipsos the Kempeitai shot her in the back. Le Muet seized on the chance to incapacitate the Kempeitai with his ‘bomb and kicked the creature. He must have kicked a little too hard because all he managed to do was send the little beast tumbling off the cliff.
The other Ryuken-9 left cover and placed another mine before setting suppressive fire along with the Kempeitai and the Domaru.
Forging any reckless actions, the Krakot low crawled to the edge of a cliff so she could see the Kempeitai, and fired on him with her chain rifle. The Kempeitai shot back as he was cut down by the shrapnel but was unable to land a fatal blow.
Saatar moved her team out to engage the Domaru, and managed to wound him. Adrenaline pumping, and spurred on by her previous success, the Krakot jumped off the cliff in attempt to finish him off. Two mines tore her to shreds as the air filled with shrapnel. However the enemy units managed to dodge the worst of it, and her sacrifice was for naught.
Le Muet leaned out to see the Domaru, but caught sight of the Keisostu armed with a missile launcher. Splitting his fire, the Mercenary managed to bring down the Domaru, and hit the Keisostsu as well. However the Keisotsu managed to shrug off the hit, and maintained his position.
Saatar’s triad repositioned itself. The Kosuil took a firing position to cover one of the Keisotsu if they should try to make a run at the beacon. Saatar then began laying down suppressive fire to keep any further attackers at bay.
Yojimbo raced around the outcrop of rocks to end any chance of repairing the Kaauri.
Yojimbo continued forward and took a shot at the Makaul, who just managed to dodge the shot. The Keisostu with hefted his HMG and fired on the Kosuil as he repositioned himself to better guard the beacon. The hail of bullets tore through the Kosuil as her panzerfaust shot went wide. The Ryuken-9 peered out around the corner of the bunker to shoot at Saatar, however Saatar unleashed a spray of spitfire rounds and one managed to clip the Ryuken-9 and bring her down.
As the Keisostu begain further repositioning themselves, another Oniwaban materialized and began suppressive fire.
With Yojimbo momentarily unable to see, Neema moved up to engage the Keisotsu with missile Launcher, and gunned him down as one of one of the missile narrowly missed her. With this Keisotsu down, Neema snuck under the gaze of the Oniwaban. As she crawled out in the open, a rustle in the trees brought new fears of more hidden Ninja, but mercifully no more appeared. Once behind the Oniwaban, Saatar ran forwards, triggering a mine and taking pistol fire from one of the Keisotsu. Her Symbiont wounded she continued running towards the beacon when two crazy koala leaped out at her. Managing to dodge their embrace, Saatar grabbed the beacon.
One the way back we received word that the conflict was winding down, and diplomatic norms were reasserting themselves. The explanation for our continued operation on Novvy Cimmeria was no longer valid. It seems just as the investigation had found its footing, it seemed the rug was pulled out from under it. Though I doubt Naami will care to end the progress we have made. Things were bound to get interesting…