The night air whipped dry snow across the landing strip of the PanOc-23 base. Theon had been watching the star filled sky and hadn’t noticed the snow accumulating around his feet. One of those stars was the latest Pan Oceanian ship arriving with supplies and something Theon would rather avoid, a Hexaedron agent.
Theon contemplated what loathsome task the Hexa agent would have in store for his team. Lost in thought he didn’t even notice Levin silently stepped onto the landing strip next to him. Theon was startled but tried not to let the Swiss Guard notice.
“Levin… You have to stop sneaking up on your friends like that. You aren’t even wearing your Thermal Optic armor.”
“My apologies sir. Chet said he saw you out here so I came to see what was going on.”
“Chet is an Aquila Guard. I sure hope he could see me, but don’t worry about that.”
Theon was interrupted by the sound of a supply shuttle ripping through the atmosphere.
“Well it doesn’t matter what I was doing, our package has arrived.”
The shuttle flew across the landing strip, stopping only a few meters from where Theon and Levin waited. As the bay door opened Theon could see the Hexa agent standing menacingly at the threshold. He confidently walked down the shuttle ramp as if the cold air had no effect on him.
Theon got an uneasy feeling as he noticed the snow drifts weren’t flowing correctly behind the Hexa. At that moment a Swiss Guard appeared out of thin air behind the Hexa agent.
“Oh great. The Hexa has a bodyguard.” thought Theon.
Before the elite entourage could walk by Theon spoke up.
“Good evening, you must be Miguel Santos. My name is…”
“Fusilier Lieutenant Theon Williams. Yes I know your name. I will brief you on our mission tomorrow at 5:00. Goodnight.”
Without even a sideways glance, the Hexa agent and his Swiss Guard escort headed inside. Theon didn’t know what he should have expected, but at least he had a look at the new arrivals.
“Come on Levin, let’s head in for the night. I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be an interesting day.”
As Mike had mentioned in his report, scheduling and work commitments left two PanO players in want of a game. This seemed good for us, but it lacks the cinematic flare we were hoping for when playing our first Kurage mission. We opted to graciously accept the surrender of one of our local Nomad players by demoralizing his faction with a show of force on their Johnny-5 base. He denied his own surrender, and said “Get off my lawn you crazy kids!”, which I guess is a choice he is entitled to make.
This did NOT sway Mike and I. So we brought the might of NCA & Military Orders down to Johnny-5 and got some military exercises underway. Our mission was Safe Area the battlefield was a zone just outside of the Nomad’s Johnny-5 station. This game may not impact the outcome of the Kurage Crisis, but it was going to show those silly Nomad’s what they would have to deal with if they decided to come after the PanOc-23 base.
Theon stood in front of his squad, contemplating how best to describe the mission that the Miguel had briefed him on moments ago.
Levin stood up beside Theon.
“It’s ok Lieutenant, I’ve got this!”
It was true, the war games were going to be against the legendary Joan De Arc and her team of Hospitallers.
“Damn. We’re screwed.” Thought Theon, but he had a plan that just might work.
“Levin and Nico we are going to use your stealth as a way to flank the Hospitaller squad. Levin your HMG will be a good long range threat so set up on the left to cover our blind spots.”
Theon looked over to the other Swiss Guard, sizing up the Hexa’s bodyguard.
“Nico, your hacking training combined with your TO power armor will come in handing in hitting their fireteam if they get in too close. Take the right flank behind the drop shuttle.”
Theon looked the Hexa agent in what he could only assume was his eyes. It’s always so hard to tell when they wear their damned helmets.
“Miguel, you’re on overwatch duty on the central building. From there you will be able to watch their approach along the right side and if need be get to higher ground.”
The hexa just nodded tersely. It was at this moment that Theon noticed a small man shuffling about in the back of the group.
“Thor... I... I don’t even know why you are here, but since you are, I want you to hide behind the central building. I don’t think the power armor is going to be needing any fixes, but in case things go wrong at least you’ll be centrally located.”
Thor, the machinist, gave a nervous laugh and went back to shuffling his feet.
“Chet, I need you to hang back on the right flank in case we need the extra firepower along that road. We need your eyes out there in case they try to play the same stealth game we are.”
Chet had always been the team boy scout. His military experience and equipment was invaluable to the unit, but his strict moral sense often put him at odds with the rest of the group.
Lastly, Theon looked at his team of fusiliers.
“Diego, you are going to join Miguel on the roof to help cover the open area with your missile launcher. Patch and the rest of us will be up there as well to support you.”
Diego smiled and lifted his missile launcher in mock salute.
“We have the element of surprise on our side so we are going to see how they advance, and hopefully they will fall right into our trap.”
Rockets could be heard flying by the fireteam as they lay prone on the rooftop. Diego only smiled and shot back with such glee that he giggled every time a shot went off. It takes a special kind of person to get in a firefight with a group of Order sergeants wielding rocket launchers. Diego was able to drop two before a rocket made contact with the building edge that Diego was using as cover. He dropped unconscious from the blast, but thankfully he landed out of line of fire as well.
“Diego is down! Stay alert we haven’t even seen a Hospitaller yet!”
Thinking that everything was clear after Diego went down, a Black Friar ran up to the left flank. The black friar hadn’t even caught his breath when Levin came out of Hidden deployment and shot him where he stood.
More than a little perplexed Levin radioed to the group.
“He... He didn’t even try to find cover.”
“Hug that wall! They now know we have a hidden troops. If we expose ourselves early the Hospitallers are going to tear through us.”
Miguel watched as the Hospitaller fireteam moved out from cover on the right side. As he looked down his sniper scope he noticed something.
“It’s Joan. She’s in the open, I have a clear shot! I’m taking it.”
The sound of a sniper rifle shot could be heard echoing off the buildings. The bullet found its mark and tore a portion of Joans armor as she dashed to cover. An HMG wielding Hospitaller returned fire. There was a brief moment where Theon thought the cocky Hexa agent would get away with his brazen choice to take one a full fireteam of heavy infantry alone, that was until he heard a sickening crunch. Miguel’s limp body slumped to the floor, blood leaked out of the HMG round that found its way.
“Hexaedron command isn’t going to be happy at the resurrection costs for this mission.” Thought Theon with a bit of smug satisfaction.
From his hiding place Nico reported in.
“It looks like Joan is a little pissed at the Hospitallers. I... I think they are chanting spirit cheers. She IS magnificent to behold on the battlefield, like a beautiful swan surrounded by four squawking ducks.”
“Oh, they are attempting to patch up one of the Order Sergeants. He’s pulling out his medpack... wait that’s not a med-injector.”
“OH GOD! He just shot him with his pistol! What kind of doctor is this!?”
Theon took a quick breath and began issuing orders.
“Patch! I need you to help Diego out.”
Patch shuffled prone along the rooftop toward Diego.
“Oh man he’s really beat up and bleeding out fast. I’ll do what I can.”
After what seemed like hours, Patch sighed and looked back at Theon.
“I’m sorry Lieutenant. He’s gone.”
“Damn it! ... Chet I need you and Nico to start moving up that flank. We are going to be pinned down here until those knights are dealt with.”
“You got it!”
Chet maneuvered closer and lined up a shot against the exposed Hospitaller doctor. After a brief firefight Chet tucked in closer to the drop shuttle he was using as cover.
“I’m sorry sir, these knights are a pain to deal with! They already took off a panel of my armor!”
Nico looked out at the knights who were perched against the wall of a building to avoid being seen by fusilier team.
“I’ve got this.”
Nico silently stepped out to get a clear view of Joan. Before Joan could react, several shots were heard hitting their target.
“She’s gone.” Nico whispered hoarsely.
“Nico... Nico are you crying?”
“Shut up Chet!”
Nico then took aim and dropped a Hospitaller holding a boarding shotgun.
The remaining Order sergeant let out a primal scream and ran directly toward Nico. Two rockets shot wide and one bullet from Nico’s gun stopped the yell mid-stride. In what appeared to be a half panicked attempt to help his comrade, the Hospitaller doctor ran toward the shotgun wielding knight. Nico took him out before any doctoring could be done. The next Hospitaller doctor attempted to stop the hemorrhaging of his colleague, but Chet and Nico fired together and the doctor fell to the ground next to his friend.
Nico exhaled loudly. He hadn’t realized he was holding his breath.
“Lieutenant, the right flank is clear.”
Theon gave a quick look at the remaining fusiliers and gave the signal to stand up and proceed toward their objective.
“We’ve got the rooftop console secured. Nico secure the far console and Chet guard the console near the drop ship.”
“Levin, I need you to guard Thor as he attempts to reach the far left console.”
“Sir, there is a Hospitaller guarding that console. I’m going to try to make him retreat to cover!”
Levin ran toward the far console while Thor took cover behind the central building. As soon as the Hospitaller was in view, Levin opened fire. The knight dropped to the ground with little resistance. Levin took a quick look around.
Before Thor could make it out into the open a lone order sergeant popped her head around a corner.
Levin’s lightning reflexes cut the battle cry short. Theon quickly assessed the situation and spoke over the comm link.
“It’s over. Stand down.”
Theon sat alone in the mess hall back at the base. He was deep in thought and hardly noticed that someone walked up and stood in front of him. He absentmindedly looked up, then quickly stood up at attention. Before him stood Joan de Arc.
“Good work out there Lieutenant. You’re tactical maneuvering was an example of Pan Oceanian excellence.”
“Thank you ma’am.”
Joan gave brief nod and headed back to her hospitaller group, probably to start a very difficult training regime.
I had a lot of fun playing this game, even though it was brief. Mike is still learning how to run a 5 man heavy infantry link and it showed in this mission. I’ve been very happy with the double Swiss guard lists that I’ve been bringing as of late. The ability to flank or apply pressure to an area really helps to control the flow of the mission.
Good game Mike, I’m sure next time Joan will inspire her knights to heroic deeds!