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April 15th, 2004

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01:25 pm - Another large update
Setting:Gunmetal Chronicles
Characters:Warne and others

"Where's the last one?" I asked as I pushed myself back up to my feet, advancing with my weapon in my shoulder and my sights scanning for threats. "Right and back." Glancing over my scope and to my right, seeing nothing through the smoldering fire from burning ammo crates and uniforms. "Shit..." Hesitating a brief moment before I made up my mind. "Assaulting." Taking my weapon off my shoulder, still keeping it in both hands, so I can run at full pace. "Warne, no! Shit! Covering!" I put my head down as I went, and left it up to Murphy, Karma and Savin.

The distance between me and the last mortar position passed in a furious blur of snapping and whistling gunfire, the drag of my feet in the sand, my labored breathing and my heartbeat in my ear. Hopping left to right at random to try and throw off the indig aim, hearing gunfire that I couldn't track as I hit the smoke from the third pit and hopped through, clearing a melted mortar tube, and surprising some indigs on the other side. Landing in a crouch and bringing my weapon up to fire, sweeping my HUD crosshairs over the middle man and letting loose in three-round bursts, dropping the guy like a sack of rocks and switching to automatic with my thumb.

The acrid smoke from my own rifle's chemical reactions filled my nose as my rifle's muzzle breathed fire at the remaining pair. Swinging the rifle from right to left and emptying my magazine, cutting them both down like they had been hit by a scythe. My bolt hitting back with a solid clank that reverberated against my right hand. The reaction of the push-back locking system when there was no more rounds to chamber. I had a empty mag, and that was no good. Reaching into my ammo pouch for the nine-milly I had liberated from the now ashes and dust storage depot as footsteps sounded nearby.

I spun right and fired, dropping a indig who looked like he hadn't a clue to what was going on. Hitting him twice in the chest before he could react to my presence. Grunting in surprise as something hard and thin bashed across my right shoulder, spinning around to absorb the force of the impact. I glanced out of the corner of my left eye and saw a indig bringing a hatchet back around for another attempt at my armor. I didn't have time to check my armor for damage, bringing the pistol over in my left hand and disfiguring his face at two inches. Reminding myself to duck back down after staying up too long, bringing my weapon back around in two hands to find the last crew.

The wreck of the third pit was at my back, and the swath of indig vehicles and personnel were in front of me. Shock, surprise and confusion would only last so long before they realized there was a rat in the nest. I needed to make sure that last mortar tube was destroyed. Even one could be devastating to our static position down in the harbor, even if I got killed in the process. There were just some things that overrode personal safety. Alarmed voices called out from ahead of me as a baseball-capped head popped up over the hood of a technical.

I fired twice with my nine, but got only air and the side of the technical. The head disappeared, and I couldn't find the fourth mortar tube. I know it's around here, but not in my view. Did they move it in that short of a time, or...? I reached down, picked up the hatchet, and sheathed it between my web belt and armor. Repocketing my pistol, I undid the hatchetman's ammo vest and pulled out the sides from underneath him, finding his grenades and plucking one of them off to unpin and toss over the technical. Chaos, gotta love it. I found another one on the other side, and tossed that one too. The first one going off with a muffled boom as I snatched the Bulldog out of his dead hands, planning on using someone else's ammo for once.

Pulling back the charging handle, I checked that it was still functioning, even though it was a almost indestructible bastard rifle. Satisfied, I whipped my M17 around my back again, brought the Bulldog up to my shoulders, and charged around the front of the technical. I'm immediately greeted by what I could only relate to as a officer and his staff, moving indigs around to do Murphy knows what. One of them is actually wearing a maroon beret, no gear, no weapon, and shoulder pips. The look on his face is classic, and I think we surprise each other. He hadn't expected the explosions, the casualties, and a Alliance soldier within ten feet of him. I hadn't expected a high-ranking indig officer. Karma, I love ya.

I've got the initiative, with my weapon already on my shoulder, and the lethal intent. Ripping open in full-automatic at the command group and splattering the aide on his right and the bodyguard who jumped in the way to absorb the rounds. I'm a little more persistent then that, though, drilling the officer again as soon as his bodyguard hit the ground. The pistol he had drawn flying out of his hand as he fell away backwards in a bloody mist. I glanced to the right at where my grenades had landed, and saw that I didn't need to light up the mortar tube. The crew, the ballcap kid, and another guy were splayed out all around the tube in a nice, red mess. A ugly tear in the side of the tube from frag as it laid on it's side. That would put the tube out of commish for a while.

I think I knew where the mortars were, and the chances to cause more chaos was worth a second or two. Reaching in my gear for a frag, and jerking back as a burst of weapon's fire sparked off the front of the technical on my right. I stepped back in a big hurry and saw the indig between two parked light armors, waving for reinforcements. I raised my weapon as he reaimed his, a hiss as his shot went past my head and a long gout of fire from my Bulldog as I fired back. I didn't hit him, and he didn't hit me, and we both seemed to have gotten the idea that it was better to displace then to keep firing at each other. Seeing him disappear back behind the rear of a light armor.

"Savin, coming back!" Re-reaching for my frag, hooking the ring of the pin in the Bulldog's charging handle, arming it, and tossing it into the back of the technical. If what was in the back, was what I thought was in the back, it was going to be a big kaboom. I sprinted back with the bastard rifle in both hands, and my M17 rattling about on my back. I only got about ten meters before the concussion of the exploding mortar cases in the back of the technical sent me stumbling and crashing into the ground chest first. I ate dirt, and it didn't taste good. Spitting the shit back out and shaking out my head. Wondering if that was a defective fuse, or what.

"Warne? You okay?" My ears were still ringing from all the gunfire and explosions, and I could barely hear as is. Savin's voice was almost a whisper, and I was seriously concerned about that. I didn't want to lose my hearing. There's no dignity in being deaf, and I needed it as much as I needed my sense of balance. Picking myself up before thinking how bad of a idea it was. Breathing in and out deeply to get myself back under control. Looking over my shoulders at the inferno I had caused, and feeling nothing for it or the people it had consumed.

"Fine. Cover me." I reiterated as I got one foot underneath me, grunting, and then the other. Turning around with the Bulldog in my hands to look for pursuit. I saw none...none that Savin hadn't already taken care of, at least. "Can't keep this up forever." Savin whispered, and I leaned forward to get some momentum and get sprinting again. Ducking after about forty meters as a burst of fire chased after me and hissed overhead. "Shit!" Turning to my left side and bringing the Bulldog around, seeing the squad of six, no, five-Savin got one-and firing on the hop-and-skip. It was nowhere near accurate, but it was a balance of moving and self-covering fire. It kept them on their toes, at least until the Russian knocked them off.

"Coming in!" I hollered as the Bulldog bucked wildly in my hand for another second, and went suddenly dry with a metallic clank. I turned back towards Savin, checked that it was indeed empty, and just tossed it away. I didn't even look back as I leaned foward into a mad sprint for the Russian, seeing the little, almost unoticeable flash of his muzzle as he fired past me. Bounding over the small dune that he was firing from behind, baseball sliding onto my back and twisting around to look back at the frenzy I had caused. "They know?" I breathed heavily when I asked. "I'd say so." Savin's rifle clicked again. A indig rifleman crumpling over at the stomach. "Let's go."

I finally released the empty magazine in my weapon and slapped in another one, jacking the bolt forward, loading a new fourty-round mag. "I got cover. You go." Switching back to semi-automatic and covering the Russian. Forcing a pair of indigs back behind cover, but not pursuing them any further. I just wanted to get away, not score kills. Priority, you know? "Descending." That was my cue. Thumbing over the switch to full automatic, going up into a crouch, firing, getting to my feet, and firing again. Emptying my magazine as I sidestepped the rest of the way towards where the chain rope was. Return fire was starting to concentrate again, and I went down to my stomach to lower my profile as I searched out the chain.

I looked down, and Savin was already on the ground. Gregor was looking up through the front seat of the technical, waving for me to hurry. "Catch!" I tossed down my rifle to Savin, got two hands around the chain, and rolled over and out. Sliding down the chain with so little grip, that I was actually afraid I was going to be part of the scenery when I hit. My ankles, knees and everything from the hip down took the shock of the slowed-down fall as I touched down. Immediatly falling down on my ass as inertia took over. "Ow..." Sharp jabs of fire ran through my lower body, and I jerked as someone grabbed me by the shoulders.

I reached back to fight him off, but it was Savin pulling me backwards before I could get enough force up to hit him properly. "I can walk, goddammit!" Kicking at the ground with my aching legs to get my balance. "Not fast enough." He pulled me up and turned, sending me spinning for balance, and bouncing off the side of the technical before grabbing hold. "What the fuck?!" "Just get in the back!" I grunted at the treatment, and pulled myself in. Rolling onto my back on the gritty, sand-covered floor as soon as I was in. Savin hopping in the back and manning the machine gun. "Go!" Bracing my feet against the tailgate as Gregor spun the wheels and spun us around to leave.

1725 12 October 2014
N/A, Africa

"Warne? Check in, dammit!" I wiped my face of the build-up of sweat, and only managed to mix it in with all the dirt and carbon to produce a grimy, sticky film on my hands. Shaking out my hand in a vain attempt to get rid of the feeling. Just now noticing the voice of Gunny through my earpiece. "Warne! What's happening?" Grunting as I pull myself up, feeling every bone in my lower body cringe and creak in protest. I don't think anything's broken, well...nothing that I can feel through adrenaline. Planting my feet on the bed floor, I push myself back up so I can lean against the back of the cab and sit up. Savin still standing over me with the machine-gun pointed back towards the cliffs. "We're alive." I responded, shaking off the shock of the controlled-fall, and looking back to my left for indigs on the high ground.

"The mortars stopped. Was that you?" He had a anxious edge in his voice, not knowing whether to expect a indig assault. "Roger. We got them all, Gunny. We're on return from the nor-shit!" I raised a hand to shield my face as ejecting brass pelted me from Savin's sudden fire. Orange tracers flying out at targets along the cliffline, and green tracers screaming in from our harassers. Apperantly, someone was on the ball. "Tell ya later!" I told Gunny, and switched back to our fireteam channel. Unable to hear each other's voices from the roar of the technical's engine, and the machine-gun's metallic thunder. I came back in just in time to hear the last half of Savin's instructions to Gregor. Latching onto the side of the technical as Gregor swerved once, and then yanked hard to the left to head further out towards the ocean.

"Fast-movers on the cliffs!" Savin updated me. Not wanting to stand, since I had no machine-gun turret to balance on. I had to scoot over on my sides to the right side of the vehicle, and take a leaning position facing the cliffside. Our attacker's rounds taking a short break from hounding us, now that they had to retrack for distance and speed again. Savin already compensated, and firing again up towards them. At the speeds we were doing, and the differences in height and distance, it was mostly a game of suppression and luck. Getting thrown about as Gregor responded to a pair of rounds against the hood by swerving us around again. I was never one for carnival rides.

"Almost there!" I looked around the cab and forward, seeing the offices and warehouses up ahead. "Gunny, we got pursuit! Can we get some anti-armor support?" Getting whipped around again as Gregor pulled back closer to the ocean. I couldn't possibly hit anything at this range and speed, and my rounds were more scarce. I'm saving mine for more assured targets. "Gunny?" Gunny's response actually spooled out for a few seconds. A few seconds in which I could hear the sounds of hefty machine-gun and rifle fire. Looking in front of the technical, and seeing the black sillhouttes of vehicles moving down the incline towards our buildings. It just gets better and better... "We're fielding a push! Give us a hand, if possible!" "Shittt..." Reaching out, tapping the side of Savin's leg and pointing back towards the fight ahead of us. "Save the ammo!" Tapping the glass to get Gregor's attention as Savin turned the turret around. "Strafe, infantry!" Reloading my weapon. Just one of them days.

"Infantry flanking through the warehouses! Wa-!" Putting my head back down behind the cab as one of the warehouses went up like a matchstick house, cutting off the Gunny for a moment as the sudden heat buffeted the Marines inside the office buildings. We knew that was going to happen, but the risk was acceptable, and the benefits were overwhelming. I just hope noone from our side was outside when it happened. The rolling fireball would make cinders out of you, quick. A second fireball shot up into the sky, momentarily stunning both sides into a quiet ceasefire, followed by a third that joined the other two in licking up at the clouds. I was expecting the fourth any time now, but it never came as we approached. What had happened? Didn't they finish that one? Fuckin' Murphy!

"Warne, you still out there?" I could hear Gunny, barely. The crackle and sizzle of the multiple fires were providing background noise that threated to mute him out when combined with the weapons fire. "Twenty seconds! What happened to warehouse four?" Ducking my head down again as the harassers on the cliffside tracked on us again. Nothing we could do about them, though. We had to save our ammo for the indig's assault, and that meant relying on evasion instead of suppression. "We needed a escape route out of here..." His transmitter on as he stopped speaking for a short moment. The line being filled with the whine of incoming rounds, and sounds of things I couldn't quite place. "...we're managing here! I'm sending the rest of your unit to four to hold! Do what you can..."

I tapped Savin's leg and used both my hands to point up at the chaser. He didn't argue the point as he swung the mounted machine-gun around and started firing back at the cliff-runners. "Change of plan, Gregor." Tapping at the back window to get his attention, and pointing across to warehouse two. "Go 'round the back way. We're gonna clean-up, and hold warehouse four." Gregor nodded once and turned the vehicle left to get us closer to the edge of the ocean. Savin continuing to fire in bursts at the harassers on the cliff, even though it was just protection against bad luck, then a actual attempt at getting them off us. They'd have to join the main push when the reached the incline, anyways. All we had to do was keep from getting one of us killed before we broke off the running firefight.

I caught a last glimpse of the indig vehicles in front of the office building and warehouse. Some of them burning husks of what they once were, some disabled, but still fighting, and others that were still moving about as best they could without getting shot up, or running into other indig vehicles. Calvary and light armor tactics were obviously not a part of the training, since they seemed to be losing more infantry and vehicles to run-ins and run-overs, then they were to Marine anti-armor rockets and weaponry. It was a shittily organized attack, more then likely set off by a urge to settle the score for the blown mortars, and whoever that officer was I had killed. It was quite the ugly-looking furball.

Gregor took a hard turn to the left around warehouse one, and we immediatly started engaging targets. The indigs that hadn't gone in and gotten burned, were quite surprised by one of their own vehicles attacking them. The remnants of the group that attempted access to warehouse one were cut down before they could bring their weapons up. Gregor's near-crawl speed pass allowing us good stability and better accuracy. Four dead bodies to join the ones that had been barbequed inside. "Warehouse one, secure." Gregor picking it up on the gas, now that the indigs at two had saw their comrades get slaughtered. Taking us out wide, with the vehicle's right side facing the survivors. A high-speed pass with Savin's machine-gun and my rifle in automatic. Raining tungsten and lead into the survivors and through the thin sheet metal walls of the warehouse.

We passed them after a second and headed out towards the docks with two hit, and a empty magazine in my rifle. "Bring us back around to face them!" I told Gregor and reached into my webbelt for another mag, slapping it in as Gregor brought the technical around in a long left turn. "Technicals! Coming around warehouse one!" Someone warned from the office building. "I see 'em!" Gregor stopped his left turn three-quarters of the way through, and throttled up to meet the new technicals head-on, sending me scooting back across to the left side where I thought Gregor would choose to pass them. Kinda like jousting, almost. Bringing my rifle back up at and pointing out at cab level as the two technicals flew past us one behind the other.

I fired in automatic and so did Savin. A second's worth of violence before we were past each other. The indig gunner in the back of the first technical clotheslined backwards out of his vehicle at fifty kph, and tumbling under the tires of the second technical, sending the second's front tires up high into the air as it bounced off the dead body. The second technical gunner's aim completely thrown off as his vehicle lurched up underneath him, slammed back down, and rammed out of control into the left-rear of the leading technical as it slowed to turn back around. The front end of the rear technical collapsing inwards and down as it tried to fit underneath the lead vehicle, lurching the back end up into the air from and sending the gunner and another indig in the back flying out. The lead technical's rear spun around almost a hundred and eighty degrees and fishtailed into a stop as the driver tried to bring the vehicle under control.

"Slow down!" I popped the breach on my launcher, let the empty casing drop out to the bed floor, and loaded another one from my webgear. Savin firing in bursts now as Gregor slowed down and turned the technical back around to face the wreck. Setting my launcher's front sights to one-hundred meters and wrenching myself up to a crouch to rest the rifle on top of the roof. I brought the rear sights up, and sighted the front sights as far back on the lead technical as I could find. My shoulders getting punched back as the fourty-mike round launched from it's tube, spiraled more then enough times to arm itself, and detonated on the ground in front and to the side of the lead technical's left-rear tire. The punctured gas tank catching fire from the grenade's detonation, flaring out from the tank, through the vehicle's bed, setting off the remaining machine-gun ammo, and blowing out the windows and doors as the rolling fireball consumed the vehicle hungrily.

"Technicals taken care of!" Banging on the roof to get Gregor's attention. "Back to two!" Dropping back to a kneel with my back to the cab to reload my grenade launcher. Patting my gear down to assess how much ammo I have left, and grimacing at how low I was getting. Feeling the cool metal cylinders in the mesh of the grenadier webgear that fitted onto the front of my original webgear. Counting only two left, and four magazines of ammo left. I was getting too low for comfort. Just now noticing the fact that a pair of bullet holes had punched their way into the cab of the vehicle to my left. Funny...I didn't hear them passing by, unless it was from a earlier skirmish this technical had been in. Checking myself over to make sure I hadn't taken a hit I couldn't feel out of shock. Savin seemed okay, and a glance at Gregor through the back window said that he looked like he was alright, too. We'd been using up a lot of our Shit Points, lately.

The Russian turned the machine-gun to fire over the top of the roof as we approached warehouse two again. Ripping off rounds at the remnants of the flanking forces as we approached head-on again. Gregor swerving back and forth as incoming rounds peppered the front of the vehicle, and shattered the windows of the cab. "Gregor, stable platform!" Not wanting to move until we had slowed down a bit more. I didn't want to go cart-wheeling out of the back if Gregor did something sudden. I had enough problems without becoming a accident statistic. With good reason, too. Gregor slamming on the brakes and sending myself and Savin scrambling for balance while we slid a few feet further towards warehouse two.

"That wasn't what I had in mind..." I murmured to myself, pushed off the cab with my elbow, stood, and aimed over the roof. Green tracer rounds snapping in at me as soon as I put my weapon up, punching holes into the steel and aluminum of our vehicle as they tried to find their mark. Savin firing the technical's machine-gun to keep their heads down without being told. I may still have some issues with the Russian, but he was a good soldier, at least. Firing in short bursts at a indig popping out from behind a steel supporting beam, dropping him in a clockwise spin before he could get a round off, and causing him to inadvertantly toss his weapon away behind him before he hit the ground. Firing a pair of bursts at the two surviving indigs who, wisely enough, ran into the open doors of the warehouse to try and find some cover in the inferno. One of the two running back out quickly, covered in flames like he was wearing it as a coat. Ignoring him, since he was dead already, and telling Gregor to take the technical up further.

The flaming indig collapsed to the ground in a heap and started to spazz from Murphy knows what. I didn't have enough ammo for a mercy kill, even if I felt compelled to give him the courtesy. Grabbing a frag from my belt, arming it, and tossing it through the door as we approached and passed it. Waiting at the corner for the eventual explosion, and just having to satisfy myself that he'd taken a wrong turn, and ended up indig cinders. One guy could still be dangerous, but in the bigger picture, we had more immediate problems to deal with. I, or someone else, could look for the body later. Much later, and preferably, someone else.

The way to warehouse three and four was inaccessible from the sides, of course. The way we had designed our boobytrap was to prevent the very same kind of flanking incursion that was now forcing us to find another way around, without going through the battle that was raging in front of the complex. "Now what?" Gregor asked from in front. The chaotic symphony of automatic gun fire, rockets, fuel tank explosions, and the occasional wrenching of metal, nearly drowning us out. I now know what it feels like to be a small animal in a hurricane. How little you actually mattered around a element of such tremendous power. Able to die by the littlest twist of fate, or Murphy, or even Karma, for that matter.

Just had to do what I had to do, and hope today wasn't going to be my day. The odds weren't looking good. "Take us down to the water. We can maybe wade or swim our way up through the back." Looking back to make sure no other flankers were turning the corner to make another try at the warehouses as Gregor pulled the vehicle forward. I glanced over at Savin's personal weapon, hanging by it's strap over his right shoulder. "Gonna get close in there. You can handle with that?" I asked, pointing to the long-barreled weapon. "I'll make do, at least until I liberate a native weapon." Checking my own weapon over once for damage as Gregor slowed to bring us up to the wooden docks. Last thing I needed was rust in the bolt.

I hopped out and so did Savin and Gregor. Immediatly noticing how the flames from warehouse two licked out and over where the ocean lapped against the shore. Pulling up my filter to keep out some of the smoke and ash from clogging up my nose. Unable to help it from getting into my eyes, and causing them to water. Blinking to clear them up as I followed the waterline, trying to see how deep it was down there, and having to settle myself with the fact that I could at least see bottom. This, wasn't the best part of the perimeter plan, but what could you do? Make the ocean burn? Maybe with a oil slick...

Nevermind. I jumped in without warning, raising my rifle over my head to keep it from getting too wet. The water wasn't too badly cold, but it rose up to my stomach and soaked my uniform underneath completely. That'd feel really great when I got out...sarcasm. Nothing like wet cloth underneath armor. Squishsquishsquish...Savin jumping in afterwards, and Gregor right beside him. Trudging through the soft, giving sand underneath our feet, around the thirty or so feet that it took to get away from the flames, and going down low the further out of the water we got out of cautious concealment. Whatever good water of this depth did us if we got shot at.

Emerging completely out of the water rates right up there as one of the nastiest feelings I could recall in a longgg time. Water rushing out of crevices in my armor where it had pooled up and splashing down on my boots. My upper half was dry, save for my sweat, and my lower body was completely soaked. It was a wonderful black-and-white feeling to have course all over your body, even if it was a relief from the heat of the African day. "That was nice...", Gregor commented as he pulled himself out of the water, brought his weapon back down to bear, and ran up beside me. Squishsquishsquish...

"Hakens?" I called over comms, waving for Gregor and Savin to go ahead to warehouse four. Hearing the seperate firefight raging through the warehouse, now that all the other buildings in the complex kept the raging battle in front, seperated from us. "Busy!" A staccato of gunfire peppering his transmission. Lagging just slightly behind the other two as we made our way over the medium distance to the relative cover of warehouse four's loading dock. "It's Warne, plus two. Where's it breaking?" Bounding up the concrete steps, passing Gregor covering back the way we came, and Savin watching out towards where the battle. Stopping short of going in at the roll-up doors.

"Me and Willis got middle, but Tucker and Hall need help on the cats!" Cats, cats, cats...catwalks. Reaching back for Gregor and waving past his head, and to the left side of the warehouse. Pointing at Savin, and pointing back towards the center of the warehouse. Patting myself once in the chest and pointing back to the far right. Both nodded they understood. "Coming in." Rolling around the open door, and bounding across metal gridwork to the catwalks. Rounds pinging off the walls and floor, embedding themselves into containers, or richocheting their way out of energy to rattle to a stop on the floors or whatever they landed on.

I saw Hall as I hopped up the metal stairs, ducking behind the heavy crane control box that he had taken cover behind. Patting him on the shoulder to tell him I was here, and smiling with a nod that it was going to be alright. "Nice to see you!" He hollered over the roar of constant gunfire. Leaning back up for a moment to take off a coupla single shots. "Same!" Leaning out to the left and firing off a pair of shots as I assessed our stretch of area to cover. Much like warehouse one, it was a maze of containers of all sizes, stacked up on pallets in seemingly no particular order. Dark forms ducking in and out from behind them, firing off shots. I saw at least three muzzle flashes from our side alone.

Our own position was exceedingly weak, what with two personnel on the catwalks, reinforced high up on the walls, and running the length of the warehouse for overseers and crane operators when things were normal. Willis, Hakens and now Savin were working the middle from whatever cover they could find. I saw Savin climb up onto the top of a stack of crates to get a better fighting position, while the other two were in a hastily pushed together bunker of smaller crates, firing back down between gaps at anything they saw in disciplined bursts. The only things that were holding this whole defense together, were the indigs lack of skill, and the seven veterans opposing them.

I leaned back in, even as rounds sparked and bounced off the thick hydraulic control box. Willis popping back up with another coupla shots, going back down as the indigs fired on him, and then it was my turn to pop around or up to shoot. It was a easy rhythm to get into, and just took a small variation every now and then to keep the indigs off. Tucker and Gregor would be doing the same on the other side. The fight evolving back under our control, and under our terms, as we now held the ability to keep them back, without wasting all our ammo doing so. I was running ungodly short, I reminded myself. I needed to watch my ammo use, since we might be in this furball for some time. I needed a indig weapon...

"Launching frag!" I warned the others to avoid accidental shrapnel catching. The close confines of the warehouse floor was sure to contain any high-velocity shrapnel, sending it bouncing around like mad, and pity the poor joker who got caught in the blender when it did. I popped the breach open on my launcher, let gravity pull out the used shell, and jacked in another one from my belt. Noticing again at how few of those I had left. Short of everything as I waited for Hall to reload his own weapon. "Hall, cover!" Popping up my front sight and setting it to it's shortest range. Standing back up at the same time as Hall, bringing my weapon up and over as he fired in quick succession at the shapes below.

The spot I chose to fire at was a good one, in hindsight. I was just wanting to launch one to keep 'em on their toes. The weapon kicking back my shoulder as it fired with a shotgun's recoil. Going back down without assessing damage, even though I could hear a scream of pain from below. The sudden ceasing of indig fire was remarkable. For a few seconds, the indigs completely stopped firing. Whether I had killed or injured most of them, or the shot stunned them, I don't know, but I was thankful for the reprieve. "Assault!" I ordered, taking the lull as a chance to push the indigs right on out. Leaving my weapon on semi-automatic as I left the cover of the control box, grabbed Hall on my rear, and sidestepped out onto the catwalk.

This was a stupid, calculated risk, I knew right away. Exposing ourselves and levelling the playing field for the indigs, somewhat. We still had shock and surprise on our side, not to mention better tactics, weapons, armor, training, experience and Karma knows what else. Still, taking chances with people's lives was still a big no-no in the modern-day, media-reliant military. It was especially true when you could take your protected time to root someone out. Then again, that was just as risky, wasn't it? Some indig could just get lucky with a thrown or projected nade, and boom...that's all she wrote for one or two, or even three of my guys. Risk, that's what war is, isn't it?

I exposed myself as I stepped out, knowing the risks as I did it, and having made up my mind that it was better to be rid of these indigs now, rather then later. Sooner the perimeter could be sealed, the sooner we could help the Marines, and vice versa. Going into a smooth, upright advance across the metal gridwork that made up the floor of the catwalk. A relativly quick advance that still allowed you to fire on the move. Muscle memory remembered it well, just due to the fact that we had worked on it, and got smoked on it about ten million times during our infantry re-orientation. Feeling a sudden surge of the superior as my squad, my merry murderous band, went right into the indigs still held up in the warehouse. Almost pitying the novices...almost.

I fired off my right foot as a indig leaned around to fire back at our original position. I don't even think he realized we had moved, and were now about ten feet forward, and at a angle that his tunnel vision would have blinded him to. My pair of harpoon rounds stinging him in the chest and stomach. One of them ripping through his flesh and organs to pass right on through in a jet of red. The second, hitting bone or something hard in or on his body, seperating the harpoon round into a mini-frag that blew part of his intestines out of his side as the round deflected. Moving on as the catastrophically wounded indig splattered himself against the cold, sandy warehouse floor. Having more for anyone else, and more then happy to dispense it. Somewhere, between the ambushes, the deaths of my friends and comrades, the denial of the extraction we had worked so hard to get to, and all the fighting that had led up to this point;I found myself feeling suddenly spiteful for some Karma of my own.

A surge of heat rushing through my body as adrenaline kicked in. Time slowed down as the natural-high settled in for the duration. Swinging my weapon around, finding a indig falling back to another crate, taking my time to aim, and splattering the contents of his skull against a RanCorp fabric container. Hall's weapons fire sounded like distant thunder as I swung for more targets, firing and shattering the glass of a forklift, splitting the harpoon round, and slicing a indig's neck open as he sought cover behind it. Sensing movement along the catwalk, turning in auto-pilot, and pinning a suicidal indig against the aluminum walls with six rounds, even as his Bulldog barked fire back at me.

I tracked again and fired back down into the floor of the warehouse as a desperate pair of indigs stepped out from around the crates they were hiding behind to attack us. Hitting the first in the chest with a pair before he got his footing, sending him down on the ground on his back like he was a tree being felled. Tracking to his partner as he raised his weapon, hitting him in his firing shoulder, and attempting a double-tap, before I realized that I was out. The bolt of my weapon slamming back with a dull clack, telling me it was time to reload, and leaving itself open to help along the process. Assessing my situation as I took two more steps, swung my M-Seventeen around and over my shoulders, and pulled my nine-mil out of it's empty ammo pouch with my opposite hand in one smooth motion.

My right hand joined my left for a good, proper military grip on the weapon. Lining up the back and front sights on the backs of running indigs, firing my weapon dry before I even had solid targets. Pleasing myself that two out of three of them dropped on their fronts where I had hit them. The other one scurrying off, bleeding from the arm as he turned the corner, and back out into the open fields. "Frags!" Ignoring my own command as I pressed the clip release on the nine, letting gravity take it, and following it up with a fresh clip. Slamming it home with a solid clack and reholstering it in my ammo pouches. Catching the sight of spherical objects, grenades, flying through the darkness of the warehouse, and into the open light.

I brought my rifle around and was reaching for a new mag when the frags exploded outside, sending shrapnel pinging off the metal of the warehouse walls. "Savin, Tucker, Gregor. Make sure the outside's clear. Rest of you, look for something to blow this place." Jacking in the magazine and hitting the bolt catch to load the new magazine into the weapon. Idly closing the dust cover and holding the weapon loosely in my hands in front of me. Taking a deep breath to calm myself before reassesing our situation. Feeling the adrenaline still coursing through my body as a pleasant warmth. Jogging forward down the catwalk to assist the three that were clearing outside.

Savin's rifle clicked a few times, and fell silent. Looking over for the okay, which he gave after a extra, cautious moment. Returning with a thumbs-up, and finding myself grinning in the ass-kicking that we had just laid out. I wouldn't fully assess the damage that had been done today for a while, but the immediate impact of the last, minute(?), hadn't escaped me. Turning back to the bloodied bodies that were laying all across the warehouse floor like something out of the movies. Shivering as I felt adrenaline start to fade. "Warne, you alright?" Tucker asked, obviously seeing me shake for a second. Adrenaline was rough that way. The immediate effects were amazing, but the come-down made you feel weaker then when you started. "Yeah, i'm fine."

1745 12 October 2014
N/A, Africa

I covered my ears as Savin clicked his detonator, and the outside end of the warehouse crumpled inwards, crashing towards the ground as the remaining explosives took it's support struts out from under it. Gravity doing the majority of the job as it caught hold of the ceiling, sending it tumbling down along with the upper part of the sides in a stretched-out wrenching of metal. Layers od dust puffing out of any place it could as sudden air pressure change forced it in and out. Bringing my new Bulldog down from where it was rested on my shoulder, and into both my hands as the spectacle ground to a whining halt. "That should do it." Hakens commented.

My rifle now hanging around my shoulders, over my back. Liberating the weapons, grenades and ammo off the indigs inside before we rigged the warehouse to go down. Collecting a bastard rifle for myself, one for Savin, and grabbing two bandoliers of my own before the left-overs went towards refiling the rest of the squad's ammo supplies. The indig's heavy use of ammo had drained the bandoliers of a bit of their ammo, but it was better then what I had left in my assault rifle. Maybe one-twenty rounds, altogether. Enough to get by in a tight spot. "Come on. Let's see what we can do up front." If anything. The fight outside was still raging as strong as ever. Murphy, how many of them were there?

"Gunny, perimeter secure." The cold void left by adrenaline was filling back up with the heat of the African sun, equalizing my body underneath all this armor, clothing, and gear. Feeling disconnected from the fight, even though it wasn't more then fifty feet away from me. Giving Gunny the seconds he'd need to get free to respond, but as that time came and went, I started to wonder, and worry. "Shit..." Double-checking that I was on the right channel. "What's wrong?" Willis asked. Waving for him to be quiet as I tried again, waited the same amount of time, and came to the conclusion that he was either hit, or too embroiled to respond. We were on our own initiative again, and that was actually no more discomforting then anything else that had happened today. If I didn't know any better, i'd think I was getting used to this shit.

"Gregor, take Willis to our technical and strip the ammo. Hide the weapon, if you can." We'd need the seven-six-two for our machine-guns, and the weapon itself was too heavy to be carried by infantry who needed to stay mobile. The two of them nodding before they set off back towards the water. Risky to send two back out there, but that was war again, wasn't it? We needed the ammo..."Come on." Waving for the others to follow me. We'd see what we could do when we got up there. Even with armor, and a decent protective position, the Law of Murphy said someone was going to get banged up. I was surprised not to see the corpsman running around in the Russian's truck while we were back here. That spoke volumes, good or bad.

I patted the corner of the office building as we reached it, telling them to stay close to cover as we went up the middle of the two to get inside. Getting forced flat against them and down when indig machine-gun fire raked at us from outside. The black smoke of the dead vehicles was a unnatural fog from the ones already damaged, and the ones that were in the process of getting knocked out, or were soon to be knocked out. All I could see further out was vehicles, vehicles and some dead bodies. It was a graveyard out there, and I thanked someone that I had been born on the right side of this particular conflict. Going further down in a crouch at a detonation of a rocket against something ahead of us. Trying to figure out what was going on, and what I could do, but in the face of anarchy, all there seemed to be was chance and the adjusting roll.

"Come on. Stay close to the walls." I didn't need to yell over the dim of the ongoing fight when I had squad comms. Waving back towards Savin and Tucker, the two furthest back. Waiting for them to get up and start moving forward before calling for covering fire, and ripping off about twenty of my Bulldog rounds down the way. Tucker brushed past my shoulder, and ducked on in the side door with Savin a step behind him. Holding up a hand for them to hold their fire as more indiscriminate, incomning fire hissed and whined it's way past us, digging into the sides of the building in puffs of grey dust, or going past as visible green tracers. I still wasn't sure if someone saw us, or if it was just panicked fire at our own muzzle flashes.

I waited for Tucker to place his machine gun out of the adjacent window, returning the covering fire we had gave him and Savin. "Next. Go." Raising my weapon and ripping off another ten or fifteen rounds down the way, and immediatly going back flat against the wall as Hall and Hakens sprinted past, and through the door on the right. Gunny had been in the left building, when I had left him to go after the mortars. Choosing that as my building. "Coming in." Pushing off against the wall as three automatic weapons opened up to the outside. Staying low as I bumped into the corner of the door, and dragged myself in. Exhaling my held breath at leaving the hurricane of hostile fire out there. "Reinforce the Marines." Waving for Tucker and Savin to go on up the stairs. Just now noticing the Marines with the machine-gun in the stairwell.

"We almost fucking shot you!" The guy doing the assisting griped as my guys went past. ""Yeah? Well keep up the good work, then!" Heading up the stairs, stopping, and turning back to the two pissed-off Marines guarding the door. "I got two more coming in with some ammo! Be good little devildogs, and i'll let you have some!" The gunner raising up his off-hand, and extending a finger in response. Grinning and bounding up the stairs to the second floor. Crouching down as I came up to the second floor stairwell, and crouching down inside the doorway. Good thing, too, because it was a frenzy up here. There was dust and plaster all over the place from where indig fire had gone through walls, the floor, and through windows against the back wall. "Jeezus..." I breathed, staying where I was for a moment to look for Gunny.

I could at least see why the corpsman wasn't running back and forth to the Madison. The corpsman had gotten hit already. Seeing the red cross on his helmet as he laid on his back on the shag floor. I couldn't tell if he was dead or alive. Four Marines were ducking up and down, taking shots, displacing to another window, and generally trying to hold off the intruders while avoiding getting shot themselves. A Marine, his arm bandaged up in sterile white and natural red, was on his stomach, looking after another Marine who was just as immobile as the corpsman. "Hey, Marine!" I waved and tried to whistle to get his attention. The guy turning his head to look back at me after the third try. "Where's Gunny?" He shot me a look I couldn't quite place, pointing at the guy he was working on. I got the picture...

"Wonderful..." I said to myself, rubbing at my nose, looking back down the stairwell, and then back in the room again. I didn't see Savin or Tucker. Hunching over and hurrying across the room, pushing myself forward on my stomach beside Gunny and the Marine looking after him. The Gunny had a hole in his left side, I could see that well enough. Not even bothering to ask how it happened. He was alive still, that was something. I reached over, pushed at the corpsman's shoulder with my free hand, and felt the stiff resistance. Dead. "How bad upstairs?" "Better then down here!" I looked up, and could hear the fire from upstairs still. Couldn't figure out how much stronger it was, though. Tucker had undoubtly went up to help out, and I imagine Savin had went up on the roof with the other marksmen. At least they knew where they were best used at.

Gunny was incoherent, doped up on morphine. Wondering who had given it to him, and whether or not they knew what they were doing with the stuff. Reaching up and rifling through his gear for his M-seventeen mags. Catching the glare from the guy looking after him. "I need the ammo. I'm short." Locking eyes with him for a moment, knowing that, in his eyes, I was stealing from his Gunny. A kind of protective jealously that we often times latched onto people we liked. Breaking the look after a long moment, and just focusing on his equipment as I took out his magazines, rolled onto my side, and put them in my own ammo pouches. The Gunny had no launched grenades, though. Must have been salvaged already. Damn...

"Who's in command now, you know?" I asked as I replaced the empty grenade in my launcher with one hand. "Fuck if I know!" Putting my head back down flat against the carpeting as a particularly vicious volley of fire cut through the building. This wasn't the best spot to hold. "What about the convoys? Heard anything?" I asked after the fire passed over us. Looking up at the Marines in the window as they pulled themselves back up, and got back to the fight. "Ask Madison! I'm a little busy here!" "Right..." I pulled up my keypad, and changed to the evac channel. "Madison, Echo-two, status of the convoys, over?"

The response from Madison was slow to arrive. I seriously don't know what they had on their plate to be so unresponsive on everything. I swear, they were the worst comms crew i've ever known, Navy or Army-wise. It wasn't like they had indigs bearing down on them. "Echo-one is a half-hour out. Echo-three is about fourty, over." The speaker was calm and relaxed. What was he worried about? No Hind's in the air, and a bunch of Marines and soldiers taking the brunt of the attack for them. Not like they were in mortal danger of anything but a well-placed mortar round, which, I had taken care of for them with Savin. "We ain't gonna last ten minutes if they keep on the pressure!" Not even wanting to know how much ammo the Marines had left. I was doing fine, but I had salvaged for my supply. "You're just gonna have to hold for a bit longer." Easy for them to say...

I weighed the effects of telling them about the convoys, but decided against it. Last thing they needed was knowing how much time they likely had left to live. I had been holding onto hopes of them rolling down the incline any minute now. Let them keep thinking that. It was motivational in it's own, sick, twisted way. "We got the ammo, Warne. Coming back." Gregor's transmission jumped over onto my channel, as it was programmed to do. Flipping channels again to warn them about the dangers of re-entering the building, and getting Hakens and Hall over to give them some covering fire when they arrived. "The vehicle the corpsman used last time, where is it?" I asked the Marine taking care of Gunny. Not seeing it when I was outside.

"South-east side of this building." Pointing back to my left. "We wedged it inbetween the two buildings and rigged it with a tripwire Claymore." "Where's the wire?" "Det cord. I think they hooked it up to a water pipe. Why?" Wiping plaster off of the top of my helmet as incoming rounds peppered the back wall behind us. "Gonna take these guys back to Madison! Bring the dead and wounded into the stairwell, alright?" The Marine nodded. "Be back in five!" Pushing my rifle back up onto my back, cradling the Bulldog in my arms, and crawling my way back to the stairwell as flat as I could. Coming up into a crouch as I went through the doorway, and bounding down the stairs. "I'll call you!" I waved to the Marines on guard as I passed them.

"Hakens, Hall, covering fire. I'm going out back." I stopped short at the door and called. Waiting to see the two muzzles sticking out of a window and door. "Got ya covered." I leaned my weapon out first, checked for targets, saw nothing in the chaos..."Going!" Slinking through the door, staying close to the wall and sprinting down the length of the building. Putting my back to the wall of the office building as I turned the corner, getting followed by little hornets, and green tracers tracking on either me or the muzzle flashes of my guys. Starting to seriously believe I was better off not using covering fire in all this mess. Then again, maybe it was actually working?

I took a second to catch my breath, turned, and saw Gregor and Willis jogging back towards me. Waving for them to come to where I was standing. Gregor had a box cradled in both arms, and Willis had a buku amount of green bandoliers hugged to his chest. That looked like more then I remembered seeing in the technical. "Good haul, you two." I complimented them as they approached to my left, bracing against the wall to catch their breaths from the run. "Thanks..." Gregor panted, pointing towards Willis's bandoliers. "We scrapped some of the dead bodies for extra ammo. Mostly Bulldog ammo." Gregor lifted his visor and wiped the sweat off before it got into his eyes. "Those things are like candy around here. Who'd fuck thought we'd see so many on indigs?" I hooked a finger back up the office building. "Ask Savin." Gregor smirked, and Willis raised his eyes up to the sky in a 'that figures' look.

"You two go ahead. Hakens and Hall got ya covered." I tapped the side of my helmet where the mic was. "What about you?" Willis asked. "I'm gonna snag the Russian's vehicle. We need it for medical evac. Dispense that ammo as best you can, and keep your head down. It's a fuckin' furball up there." The two nodded and went around me to the corner, looking back at me for a second before turning back to the corner, and calling up Hakens and Hall for some covering fire. Watching them out of concern until they went around the corner. Waiting long enough to not hear the panicked cry of man down. Satisfying myself that both made it alright before going about my own business.

I was actually surpised by the fact that it's where he said it was, and that he'd gotten the tripwire right. Lots of stuff gets garbled in this business. Finding something actually right, is a amazing thing. I wasn't complaining, hopping up on the back of the vehicle and over the cab to get to the front. The Claymore mine was clear in sight on the hood. I'm sure a blind indig could have seen that one, and I suppose that's how it worked. They would have seen it, recognized it for a trap of some sorts, and found another route around. Damn, but that was actually smart. I defused the Claymore as easily as pulling the explosive cap out of the top of the curved, rectangular shotgun mine. Hopping down to the ground with it, digging it's four kickstands into the ground, and rearming it for defense's sake.

The indigs didn't seem very interested in trying the flanks again, at least for now. If they really pushed it, they'd break us into little bits, but I wasn't going to be the one to tell them that. Finding myself have to throw my Bulldog in the back, and my rifle in the front seat to be able to squeeze through the open driver side window. The key still in the ignition, oddly enough. I guess they didn't want to have to dig up the guy with the keys when it came time to evac someone. Cranked over easily enough as I turned the key. Starting up with a weak roar that was unimpressive, to say the least. Sounded like it was dying, sputtering like it was. Every vehicle in this screwed up place sounded like it was dying. Come to think of it...you could say that about this whole continent.

I backed the vehicle out carefully, trying not to hit the sides of the two buildings with the mirrors or fenders. Pulling the vehicle back out and around. Turning it to face back towards warehouse one, and driving it up to the corner, making sure not to let anything stick out for a observant indig to spot and give it away. "Evac vehicle up. Prepare to cover." I gave them warning beforehand so they could get back into firing positions. Hopping out of the vehicle, recollecting my weapons, and moving to the corner. Putting my head out slowly to look into the chaos, and jerking it back quickly. I'd seen enough. Situation hadn't changed. Switching channels on my keypad. "Marines, i'm coming back in. Don't shoot." Switching back my channel. "You guys ready?" "Yup."

"Cover!" I called out, turning the corner, keeping low. Moving as fast as I could while sticking back to the wall. Shielding my face with my left arm as return fire kicked up plumes of dirt on the ground by my feet. Diving back into the office building's bottom floor, and leaving the tempest behind me once more. Luck was going to run flat-out if I kept doing that. Waving at the Marines in the stairwell that I was fine. Coming back up to the doorway to lean out, and give Hakens and Hall the thumbs-up that I was okay. "You got wounded in that building, bring 'em down to the door." I told Hakens. Getting a short double-click of static as he confirmed and went to it.

I bounded back up the stairs, stopping in the doorway once more. "Evac's outside! Drag 'em over here!" Waving for the Marines tending to the wounded to bring them over. Three more live Marines had joined with a wounded comrade each. I hated what this was gonna to do to our already dwindling combat power. Grabbing onto the first wounded Marine's shoulder armor, and helping to drag him in. "Go on down! Wait for cover!" I told the Marine helping him out. Glancing down at the guy's badly-burnt right leg. Not even wanting to know what had done that to him in all his armor. Grabbing the next guy in the same manner, reiterating myself to his caretaker, and doing the same for the third. All three of those were in shitty shape. One of them looked critical, with his neck slowly seeping blood, and his buddy hanging onto the IV in his teeth.

"That's it?" I asked the Marine who was helping Gunny. He nodded as he pulled him into the stairwell. "Two of my guys are going to cover you!" I had to raise my voice over the reverberating boom of...something. "You get down to the door, just call for cover! They'll hear you, alright?" The Marine nodded. "Good luck!" I whacked the guy's shoulder armor in a good-natured departing gesture and turned back to the room. One of the Marines in the window had his arm bandaged up since I left, but hadn't stopped firing. I checked back as the Marines went down the stairs, and saw that all their ammo and anything that could go boom was stripped clean of them. Crunch time had officially arrived.

I waited for a downgrade in the return fire before making my move into the room. Rolling with my back to the doorway, and on in. Sticking close to the wall and slinking my way up behind the Marine on the furthest right window. Waiting a moment before skulking over behind two more Marines, and stopping in the space between one occupied window, and one that had been abandoned due to lack of manpower to occupy it. I waited for any rounds to whip their way through before standing up enough to look out and over the windowsill. There must have been at least twenty abandoned vehicles down there. Smoke from engines, burning metal and fabric rose up from most of them like funeral pyres. Indig bodies strewn in every possible place and position. Some with bullet holes through them, others torn to pieces, and more looking like they hadn't even been bloodied, but still just as dead. The first wave had gotten fucked up.

The later waves had apperantly learned, and were sitting back about two-hundred meters with machine-guns, RPG's and rifles. Pelting our position with some pretty intense volleys. The crashing of the heavy sniper rifle no longer sounded. Either out-of-commission, or out of ammo. Either way, it wasn't helpful. The staccato roar of both side's weaponry occassionaly interrupted by one, single crack that I was sure belonged to one of our marksmen. If they kept their distance like that, and didn't throw us another flank attempt, or didn't rush us outright, or...we just didn't die before-hand, we could rely on the snipers to take most of them out. The battle was in our favor, so long as we didn't run out of ammo, which, was extremely likely at this point.

I pulled my head back and checked my rifle. Ignoring the plaster and cement that rained down on me, dislodged by rounds hitting the opposite side. Bringing up my front sights, setting them for two-hundred meters, and standing back up to take aim. Kicking my shoulder back as I launched a grenade out to the nearest technical, and hitting the windshield and hood almost equally. The ball of fire, and cascading explosion of glass and metal, shook the vehicles to each side, sending their gunner's aim bucking wildly for a short moment. "Got any more of those?" One of the Marines asked. Going back down, I patted down my gear for another, and reminded myself that that was my last. "I'm out!" I answered as I cracked open my launcher's breach, and removed the empty canister. Lowering my weapon's total weight by a little, and making it easier to shoot straight. Standing up straight enough to take another shot out.

Green tracers crashed into the wall between my window and the Marine's next to me as I fired. Ducking down instinctivly, as if the next was trying for my head. Hearing no hissing sound as one would do, but taking caution, anyways. Firing in semi-automatic to conserve my ammo, raking the indigs in the vehicles as best I could at this range. Sparks flying up from the metal of the technical from my rounds hitting marks. Ducking back down again at the fire from muzzle flashes turning back in my direction. Putting my hand over my helmet to shield it from debris as more plaster and dust fell down on me, and invisible and visible rounds shot through the busted window. "This is fuckin' nuts!" I called out to the guy on my right. The Marine ducking back down to reload his weapon, nodding with a grin.

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