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Long Time Gone Part 18
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 22 September 2004, 4:06 AM

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Long Time Gone Part 18: Training, ain't it grand?

June 9th, 2550, Reach, Day 6 of Training, 6 kilometres from camp, night march 2139 hours
       "Alright ladies, move it!" Cried Kelso to his men and women who had the pleasure of a full equipment night march, 12 clicks, six out, six back. They had just made the turn around point and Kelso was giving them some 'inspiration'.

Chris was at the back with the other K48A2 gunner, both running slower than the rest of the group with the wait of their machine gun, ammo for mg and rifle, rifles, grenades, food, water and all the other crap they had to carry. The two SPNKr crews were fairing better, they had 6 people to spread the load of two M19 SSMs and about two dozen rounds of ammunition along with their other gear.

Chambers was at the front trying his best, to be as good as he could be. Chris was trying his hardest; but the pace was hard going. They reached the 9 km mark and Kelso felt like a run, easy for him as he only had his belt with M6D, some ammo and a canteen. The troopers settled into a nice jog. Kelso took a swig from his canteen, annoying his men who he had ordered, no drinking from their canteens.

"Come on! The Drill Instructor and I can do this all night!" The Troopers moaned in reply, concentrating on the man or woman in front of them.

       Half an hour later the troopers struggled into their barracks. Feet heavy, heads bowed, arms barely holding onto their weapons. Chris was happy for once that he was on the bottom bunk. He didn't have the energy to climb that high anyhow! Neither did Chambers! Chambers got to the second rung of the bunks ladder before he fell to the floor and fell asleep.

Chris kicked his boots off, put his weapons on the rack under his name, took of his armour and decided to be a good Samaritan and place Chambers in the bottem bunk, take off his armour and weapons and then go to bed on the top bunk. Within minutes the entire camp was spitting out z's. Except Kelso, Jones, Fathoms and Johnson who were discussing tomorrow's classes.

"I reckon we give them the Warthog training, they need to get into the habit of being mobile infantry!" Said Fathoms wiping the sleep from his eyes.

"Well I say let the snipers have the full day at the range, they've been getting into me about McAllen and Xavier with the K48s always at the range blowing the shit out of stuff!" Said Johnson looking around the HQ.

"Well we can give the snipers the range, run the shotgunners through the close quarters range. Give McAllen, Xavier and the other heavy auto weapon specialists LAAG training." Said Kelso, not asking as it was his command.

"Yes, sir." Said the other three, they were dismissed and everyone went to sleep.

       Chris held the trigger down and felt the heavy vibration of the Warthog mounted M41 LAAG's fire through the shoulder stocks under his armpits. Chris was aiming at a old L12 Warthog; which was around 250 metres away and was totally FUBAR, fucking useless beyond all repair, or fucked up beyond all recognition, the first one in this case.

The 12.7mm AP rounds drilled into the destroyed Warthog's lightly armour sides, leaving golf ball sized holes as it pierced the armour and hit the ground on the other side.

"Nice, McAllen," said Xavier, the other K48 gunner. Stepping up into the rear of the Warthog Chris had been shooting from and relieved Chris of the weapon, taking it over for himself. Xavier emptied several hundred rounds into the forward engine block. The rounds pierced the electronic motor housing and spat pieces of the engine out the other side.

Xavier stepped down, the LAAG's barrel was still spinning, slowing down slightly. Johnson walked out and examined the two spreads for McAllen and Xavier.

Johnson put his pen into one of the holes in the engine block and lowered himself to the same angle as the bullet had entered and could see out the other side!

"Damn fine, the both of you!" Said Johnson writing some notes in a book. They continued LAAG training all day including anti-air, anti-vehicle and anti-infantry.

       Chambers passed the close combat training in a breeze, he had loaded the blue shells and put fist size holes in every target not even flinching as they popped up in nanoseconds.

That night the troops were happy, they had almost done a sixth of the training. The first two weeks were the actual training times, when the last four were training ops with the stun ammo and they versed other Shock Troopers from other camps! They were to fight in their training squads from the same camp and try and win the four week ordeal.

The overall mood was enthusiastic, Kelso couldn't be happier, his men had won every time and he was confident they could do it again. Johnson was reading a history of the battles, seeing if they could improve anywhere.

"Ah, sir, I found something we could incorporate into this batch's fight month," Said Johnson handing over the book, "I think we should train a heavy machine gun team. Sure the K48's put out some lead but they don't have the range or the power of the old M2HBA6s." Kelso looked at a picture of the weapon which was first introduced almost 550 years ago, but had undergone extreme modernisation over the centuries.

"Put McAllen and Chambers on it," he said taking a sip from his drink.

"But sir," protested Fathoms over hearing the conversation, "McAllen is a K48 gunner, we should pick someone else!"

"I said McAllen and Chambers, people!" Said Kelso thudding his cup down, the three men had seen their friend, boss and respected peer angry and knew not to continue this argument.

"We'll need a third, sir," said Jones, "some one to carry the 'fifty shells."

"Put someone who McAllen and Chambers know well enough," Said, Kelso thinking, "whose that girl from fifth platoon? You know the one with the M90? I saw her blow the shit through the targets today, she looks pretty good."

"Yeah I saw Chambers talking to her today, they seemed to get along well," Said Fathoms looking over at the girl. She was sitting with some other girls but she was looking over at Chambers' and McAllen's table; who he saw chatting to each other, Chambers was mimicking shooting a gun and blowing the smoke off the barrel. McAllen laughed in disbelief.

"Ok, then, give her a pair of stripes and we'll have the heavy team we need," announced Kelso, "and give 'er a '5C with those stripes!"

"Then what will we do with McAllen and his K48?"

"Leave it with him, he's a damn good shot with it, he's only going to be a gunner for the M2 and carry it but they're pretty light nowa' days."

"Yes, sir" Said Jones writing down what he had to do.

       Sometimes Chambers hated being around McAllen, if he did something, Chambers was always dragged along somehow, and now he was carrying a tripod which weighed 5 kilos and two boxes of 100 12.7 x 99mm Armour Piercing rounds which weighed 2 kilos each; one in each hand, M90 over his left shoulder and his MA5C over his right.
McAllen had the M2HBA3 over his left shoulder, K48A2 on it's sling over his back and MA5C held one handed in his right.
Susan Foley wasn't fairing any better, she had a 12.7mm belt draped around her neck, MA5C over her shoulder, along with her M90 but she also had tow boxes of ammo in her hands like Chambers. But her two new sewn on Corporal bars made her stronger, on the inside and outside.

They were last, they were a good 10 metres behind Walker who was a further 10 metres behind the rest of the troopers who were also enjoying their 12 kilometre run.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck," breathed McAllen as he run, the M2 digging into his armour, hurting his shoulder, "heavy fucking thing. LIGHT MY FUCKING ASS, KELSO!" He yelled over the din of shuffling feet and ratting ammunition belts.

"Well," said Susan, "at least when we get this baby set up," she nodded toward the M2, "we'll cause some serious shit!" Chambers chuckled. But he wasn't chuckling at the fact they hadn't even made the 6 km mark.

"This is bullshit!" He said, "why can't someone else carry the ammo?"

"Probably to the fact that everyone is carrying two 150 round drums for me or Xavier and I heard some will be carrying a 80mm mortar soon!"

       Kelso stood above his exhausted men, noticing that his M2 team had sour looks on their faces, he announced that they had finished the 'basics' and will now be getting into the real Shock Trooper stuff. Notably light artillery; mortars and heat seekers, Warthog piloting and ship assaulting.

The MG threesome was summoned to target range while the people selected for mortars headed off and the others got a thirty minute rest.

"Well, we've seen you three can carry the prick of a thing, but can you use it?" Asked Kelso. The three nodded, Chambers put the tripod on the ground and flicked a release, deploying the two rear prongs. Chris hefted the weapon off his shoulder and onto it's mount, putting the lock in so it would not jolt out when firing. Susan opened the top and fed the start of a belt onto the receiver.

Chris gripped the spade handles of the weapon and pulled the bolt back, it flung forward with that good ole' 20th century TWANG. The targets were ranged at 100, 200, 500 and 1000 metres, all would be moving pop up targets. Johnson was at the controls of it all.

"Shooters," he said into the microphone, only talking to the mg team, "scan your sectors!" With that a target popped up at 500 metres and begun to move but Chris was on it immediately the weapon belched flame and Chris felt the weapon shake under its own power as it launched its heavy rounds into the target; which shattered unceremoniously. More targets popped up, 29 minutes and 500 rounds later they had proven to be an effective .50 cal team.

"You did good people," said Kelso looking through the binoculars at the peppered targets strewn around the range, "we'll give the others a hiding at 'fight month' and then you'll be assigned to actual squads."

"Yes, sir, thank you, sir," said the three in unison.

"Get your butts to the barracks, leave the M2 there along with your other secondary weapons," Kelso said this nodding towards the M90s and the K48, "and then we'll show you some AA gear!" The three walked off, struggling with the weight of their gear. They got about 50 metres before Susan fell; over a rock imbedded in the road. Chambers dropped his kit and helped her up, Chris was still walking but stopped and looked over his shoulder. Susan was up again but she was limping, Chambers took the belt of ammo around her neck and her M90 out of kindness. I'll have to look into that! thought Chris thinking about Chambers' earlier quoted virginity.

       Fathoms paced up and down the entire group of 40 Black Clad Troopers. He had a strange missile launcher on a sling over his back and was looking at his watch, he was waiting for something.

Kelso's Warthog skidded to a stop as he hoped out with Johnson and Jones who unloaded some crates from the rear compartment and placed them at the front of the group. Fathoms walked over to the first crate, jimmied it open with his graduation knife and removed a small object, the size of a medium sized cellular phone. He walked up to the nearest Trooper and handed it too him.

"Ok, soldier," he said, "when I tell you, throw that bastard as far into the air you can!" He switched the device on in the Troopers hands and shoulder his missile launcher, taking a few steps away from the troopers, facing the rear of the weapon away from the so they didn't get hit by the back blast. "NOW!" He screamed. The trooper threw the device a good 60 feet in the air. WOOSH! Was the sound heard as the weapon on Fathoms shoulder was fired, a sleek 30cm rocket shot out the barrel and hit the target in a millisecond, literally.

"Clap, clap, bravo Sargeant," said Kelso, "men," the troops snapped to attention, "you have just seen the BTFU, it means something in military terms but it means 'blow the fucker up' to me, and I suspect to you now as well!" Fathoms had placed the weapon on a bench.

"A select few of you will be trained in the use of this heat seeker rocket, the rest will just have to watch and try and make some sense of what we tell them!" Fathoms handed out two of the cellular devices each to all the troops.

"What you have there is a 'hot box', sends out a tracking signal that the BTFU follows and destroys, don't worry, even if it's on and your still holding it the rocket won't fire do too the friendly fire chip inside it, the idea is for indirect fire, as you bounce this baby around the corner, fire the BTFU the otherer way and it will turn around and blow up the hot box, it also tracks heat sources, like Banshee engines, for one example."

       Ten of the Troopers got BTFU training. The weapon was just a tube with a small computer in the middle with two handles for the user to grip it. When the weapon was not it use it compacted into itself and made a cylinder only 40 centre metres long. 12 Rockets were carried by each user in a small pack that strapped across their back or to their packs. The weapon was HUD controlled, even with the computer screen, the weapon's main control method was with the HUD of a UNSC Marines helmet or the HUD on the Shock Troopers helmet which swung around from the left when needed.

For the rest of the day they had rest, they were going to do some night training later with the NV goggles which attached to their helmets and the thermal imaging on their HUD.