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Long Time Gone Part 20
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 6 October 2004, 7:42 AM

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Long Time Gone Part 20: There is no such thing as a 'friendly' unit today

June 17th, 2550, Reach, First day of the 'Thirty Day Proving Battle', outside Facility #6, 0730 hours.

       Kelso had just briefed his men on the various simulated battles they would be fighting against other Shock Troopers from different Facilities. The best facilities' troops would be given the postings of highest importance. Hans, Gunny, Michelle, Jinx, Trent and Sid were all dressed in their full combat attire and all would be temporarily promoted to squad leaders if their ranks did not already support that.

The 40 troopers would be broken into four squads; Heavy weapons, Support, Mobile and Assault. Chris was part of Heavy weapons with the M2HBA2 and his K48, so were Chambers and Foley as they were the crew, the two Jack Hammer squads and the single mortar crew joined the ranks forming the second biggest squad of 12 Troopers and was commanded by Gunny and Trent.
The three snipers that made up the support squad was commanded by Sid; who Chris had learnt was a qualified sniper.
Six more troopers made up the mobile Section with two Warthogs commanded by Jinx and the remaining 19 Soldiers formed the assault group; lead by Hans and Michelle; would be the ones assaulting of course.

"Listen up people," said Kelso, "I'd like you to met my best friend and someone who taught me how to fight, Hans Grebler," Kelso motioned for Hans to come up to the front of the assembled troops, "Hans here will be in command of the assault squad but listen up he's going to explain the 'rules' and the ammo we will be using, Sargeant."

"Thank you Master Sargeant," Said Hans checking his helmet was on straight, "now listen soldiers, this may be training but you can still get hurt. The ammunition we will be using is standard UNSC training shock rounds, so if you get hit you will be rendered unconscious." Hans removed one of the bullets from his magazine, "armour will stop the shock but only the chest plate, anywhere else, even on the helmet you will be hurt."

Sid stepped up, a par of Sargeant bars on his sleeves; he seemed to sweating, uneasy in front of all the Troopers.

"Oh, with the rules, there aren't any! Oh and before I forget, one last thing," said Hans, "officially after doing the refreshers yesterday you officially became part of the 1st Shock Trooper Division, congratulations!" The Troopers exploded in a roar of rejoice. Sid stood there looking over the troopers, looking at their joyful faces, he unslung his S2 AM Sniper Rifle and removed the magazine

"Alright, Troopers," he begun removing a single round from the magazine and fiddled with it between to fingers, "you all heard Hans about the training rounds well here's another one." Sid stopped for a second, thinking ahead of what to say, "ah, yes. This is the 14.5 x 114mm training round," the bullet still seemed as fierce as the lethal round. "The training round is different to the lethal round because even rubber soft nosed training rounds with the normal speed and velocity would still pierce armour, flesh and bone, so the UNSC saw wise to make this training round, it fires at the same velocity as the normal training rounds; for pistols, rifles and mgs, around 1300 fps, or 400 metres per second compared to the 3000 fps of the normal round. What I am trying to do is show you that if you get hit by one of these it will only shock you, like the other training rounds. I remember being scared stiff by enemy snipers, thinking that the training rounds were the same speed as the lethal rounds." Sid adjusted his helmet, "I still got hit though, it hurt like hell, but I felt better seeing that the sniper got incapacitated grenade!" Chuckles from the men broke out.

"Alright, settle down," said Kelso stepping up next to Sid, "go and see Jones outside the armoury and receive your training equipment, move it out, go! Give them hell!" The Troopers broke into another frenzy, running to the Sargeant to get there ammo and training grenades that emitted a shock wave to incapacitate anyone within its three metre radius. They also received side arms. M6Ds with two times optical zoom which was used via the HUD on their helmets. Chris didn't take one because he showed Jones the one he brought with him from Earth; it had stayed in his foot locker since they got here.

       The Pelican rocked suddenly as it hit some turbulence. In it was the Heavy Weapons team, three other Pelicans were packed with the other 28 members and two had Warthogs suspended from the rear. They reached the main camp for this little outing, which they would fly to every morning unless they were on overnight missions. The Troopers disembarked and told to wait at the assembly area for their camp. There were six other camps involved in this.

Chris noticed that none of the other Camps had trained even a light machine gun team. But they all seemed to have snipers and Jack hammers, only one other camp had a mortar, which was good news; for Chris' camp.

They were told that their camps first battle was against camp #3 and it was a search and rescue. Camp #3 would defend a site where a volunteer from the outside community was to be a hostage captured by the enemy. Camp #6 would have to rescue him and escape.

       "Alright people," said Kelso dressed in full combat attire, "camp #3 is known to train some of the best defenders out there but we train the best assaulters, so I think we can do this." Kelso went over the plan with Hans, Kelso was to go with the Snipers to high ground to get a good over view of the enemy position. Gunny with the heavy weapons was to find some high ground also but to deliver a wave of lead down onto the camp; controlled off course, careful not to hit the hostage... The assault team would fake a frontal assault under the covering fire of the Heavy weapons team and then the Warthogs would circle round back and sneak off with the captive. It sounded easy... and it was...

       Chris had the M2HBA6 set up on a small hill over looking a small camp where other black clad troopers wearing red arm bands to distinguished them between the blue arm bands of Camp #6. Kelso had the snipers, all the Sargeants for most of the platoons during this month were all graduates from what ever camp they were fighting for.

Hans and Michelle's assault team were about 200 metres from the gate, all lying down observing the 'enemy'. The Warthogs were two kilometres away from the camp to the rear, waiting for the first shots. Gunny had given command of his two SPNKr teams to Hans to help disrupt the enemy. Like the training the grenades the SPNKrs fired training rounds that exploded when they sensed an 'enemy' within 30cm, they didn't really explode, explode, they split opened and made a shock wave that lashed out several metres.

       Hans looked over the enemy positions, making notes of where the enemy had positioned its reinforcements, as the snipers had only counted 23 Troopers in the base and this camp's roster said there should be 43.

"Psst, Chambers," said Chris, Chambers scurried over from his observation post.

"What?" He said trying not to let Gunny hear him.

"I got a feeling something isn't right, half of their people aren't there!"

"I know, its almost like it's a trap..."

Chris heard something, something far off, the sound of laughter. He snapped around and looked down behind their position to where the sound came from. "GUNNY! GUNNY!" Chris hissed, the coloured Sargeant scuttled over to the gunner.

"What, McAllen?" He said snooping back to see if Hans had done anything yet.

"I think they're coming round behind us, I heard laughter behind us!" Chambers looked back to see if he could see something and noticed something move in the shadows of a tree several hundred metres away. He pretended he didn't see the figure.

"Chris!" said Chambers through closed teeth, trying to not to look like he was talking, "they're down in that patch of trees, I think they're getting ready to rush us!" Gunny looked for himself and saw a camouflaged face staring back at him, they knew Gunny had seen him and opened fire!

Hans was just about to jump and charge until gunfire erupted near the heavy weapons position behind them. "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!" He yelled into his mike, Gunny's voice greeted him.

"We got the rest of them on our ass! They're trying to assault our position, but we got a fifty so just go and assault their base, we'll use the mortar to help you!" Gunny yelled 'fire!' as a 'plum-PLINK' sound notified the users the 80mm training round was launched. It landed in the middle of the startled defenders' camps, hitting two of them in the blast, they shuddered as an electronic current rendered them unconscious.

Chris had Susan to feed the ammo to the fifty as Chambers used Chris' K48 to shoot at the enemy behind them. Gunny fired at them with his MA5B, trying desperately to stay away from the S2 AM training rounds flying over head! Chris fired another burst and caught a man in a trench around the camp, Kelso's snipers were picking off the Sargeants, but the leader of the Camp hadn't been seen. He must be leading that flanking party! He thought, bringing the crosshair of his sniper rifle onto the helmet of another unsuspecting trooper and firing, it took two-thirds of a second for the round to hit him and knock him out.

Hans jumped up and the mortar fire ceased immediately so not to cause friendly fire, the 80mm mortar had turned it's sights to the enemy trying to run up the hill behind them. Hans rushed the gate to the camp, his 19 troops behind him and Michelle behind him. They ran into the camp shooting at the red banded troopers.

"Chambers!" Said Chris who had stop firing into the camp, "give us a hand to move this over there!" Chambers helped Susan and McAllen lift the fifty and swap sides of the hill. Chris checked the ammo and started firing instantly, spraying the trees with a deadly hail of lead, well training shock rounds...

The Warthogs had arrived and their crews had already cleared the building the hostage was in and was speeding off as Hans gave the all clear to Kelso, just as a new voice came across their radio channel.

"GODDAMIT! Every single time Kelso! God a fifty cal! You'd never used one of them before! Stop shooting anyway! We lost! You one, 39 of my men are incapacitated, stop shooting!" Gunny got the message and told McAllen to stop. Chris let go off the weapon and sat down looking at the weapon, smoke coming from the barrel. Chambers had been in the middle of reloading the K48.

"I want to be gunner next time!" Said Chambers.

"Sure," said Chris, "you can be next after Chambers, Susan" Susan removed the remaining six rounds on the belt for the fifty and placed them in a spare belt box.

"Ok," was all she said standing up and going to see if anyone was hit. The Pelicans landed soon after, bringing medical staff to look after the Troopers who would be unconscious for a good hour. The score was good only one casualty, one of the mortar crew caught by a random shot over from the camp. The other team had done pretty crap and they knew it. The four remaining red troops and their commander had sour looks on their faces. It was obvious by the way he had talked previously that he and Kelso had battled against each other, and by the sound of it, Kelso had one every time!

"How did you know?" Said the Lieutenant, scratching his head, "how'd you know about the flanking?" Kelso looked over among his troops who were recounting to each other the awesome shots they had made.

"Well I didn't, they saw you though," said Kelso pointing over at the 50 cal team who were talking him some friends in the assault group.

"We were so close!" Said the Lieutenant, shaking a mock fist at Kelso.

"Yeah but even if you had taken that position you still had me and four other snipers to deal with over there," Kelso pointed over at a rather large hill that was over looking the Heavy Weapons position, "also we had the hostage before you started your rush to the position!" Kelso let out a deep breath, it wasn't bad for their first battle, not bad at all...

       Camp #3 and #6 had the next day free to themselves; each would face their opposite for the next match, #3 to vs. the loser of the next day's battle and #6 to the victors. All they did was discuss different tactics and ways to set ambushes up. They were to be ambushing the enemy somewhere on ten miles of an old road, anywhere they pleased, the enemy had to march it to complete their objective.

The scores had come in and the entire mortar crew was first with 13 'kills' total, Chris, Chambers and Susan were second with 11 kills total, next came Gunny with 7 and then various snipers and then the assaulters. The only person with a death had a good ratio, 13:1, but it was better to have 11:0!

June 19th, 2550, Reach, third day of the 'Thirty Day Proving Battle', along road way #637, 137 kilometres from facility #6, in the dirt... 2033 hours

       Kelso had chosen an area on the stretch of road in between the start and finish as, at the start they would be as alert as ever and at the end they would be getting more and more fidgety as they neared it, knowing that the ambush came sooner with every step.

The M2HBA6 had been set up in a hastily dug slit trench, Chambers was at the helm with Susan as belt feeder, and Chris; with his K48A2, was closer to the road with Xavier to give the enemy something to think about when they opened up. Michelle had volunteered to be assistant gunner for him.

Mines had been laid but not on the road, they had been laid around the edges of the road for when the enemy scattered to find cover. The SPNKr crews were station off to the left flank about 200 metres, intelligence had told them the 'enemy' had several vehicles. As the ambusher they weren't allowed to bring the Warthogs, they were only just aloud to bring the mortar but they didn't plan on using it to fire 'normal' rounds they brought it to launch flares up to disrupt the enemy if they tried to use night vision or thermal. As they ambushers they would wait for the flare to reveal the enemy and open fire.

       Chris and Michelle dug a small foxhole, just enough to cover them both if the lead got really heavy, they had ripped up a small plant and placed it near the deployed K48 to break up it's outline should a scout decide to take a look.

"How many kills you got?" Said Chris, he had put a mark on his helmet for every kill he got the other day, well it was drawn onto with a pen and it wasn't onto the helmet itself. It was written on the 'cover-all' easy to fit camouflage that attached to their uniforms at certain points, it was worn under the webbing and armour, it also comes in a variety of schemes, and they were wearing the dark green camouflage with brown outlines. Every trooper had a pack of the camouflage back at base which they would take on any normal mission but this wasn't normal, it was training.

"Oh I didn't get anyone," said Michelle looking down at the ground, Chris and Michelle were both sitting in the fox hole, "never got the chance to too, I was going to shoot this guy but you nailed him with the fifty!"

"Ah, I see," said Chris, "well there should be some targets here for us to shoot!" Chris looked back toward the way the enemy would be coming, "they'll be here soon and we can't even see our noses!" Michelle chuckled at the over used phrase. Michelle reached for her pack and removed her NV gear from a black case, fitting it too her helmet.

"I still can't see my nose!" She said.

"That's because the actual goggles are covering it," Chris said in a not so happy voice.

"What's wrong?" She asked lifting the goggles up no they're mount.

"Nothing, nothing, just having a shit day, I got a lot on my mind, sorry." Chris recalled the metal image of the unit they were facing, the guys at Camp #1 were supposed to the best night ops there is, but Kelso claimed that he 'taught him everything he knows' at the Commander of this force. Chris also recalled the incident two days ago, with the M6D handout, the M6D he had got of Alison.

Chris hadn't thought much of Alison, she was as far as he cared, someone he would never see again, not like he cared, she didn't like him so it was a lost cause. Michelle was there for him though, she cared, she liked him, he liked her too! Michelle let out a sigh, disturbing Chris from his thoughts.

"What is it, Michelle?"

"See we're so much alike! You act sad and I ask the same thing, I'm sad and you ask it!"

"That isn't really a problem!" Said Chris almost too loudly.

"No this is," she sighed again, "after this my platoon will be shipping out, somewhere just outside Zeta Doradus, there seems to be excessive Covenant patrols around there."

"So, how long will you be gone?" Said Chris looking over at her, she was rubbing her hand against the body of her rifle.

"I don't know" she said bluntly. Turning her gaze to space, point somewhere above them, "I'm going there, somewhere," she said pointing to a solar system with a visible sun. "We shouldn't be there long; we're to be a boarding crew from some ship, 'the Pillar of Autumn', ever heard of it?" Chris shook his head.

       The two talked for what seemed an hour which was only ten minutes before the first report came in.

"KELSO!" Came arough, voice.

"What? What is it, Fathoms?" Fathoms was with other Troopers, Fathoms had joined the group today; to say he played a part in this batch's Thirty Day Battle.

"THEY'RE HERE!" Said Fathoms in a hoarse whisper.

"What have they got?" Said Kelso, not sounding too serious, his men had beaten these guys numerous times. One thing about the troopers from Camp #1 they were all male. The base commander was a sexist and still didn't believe women were worthy to fight beside the males of the race, when he meets this batch's females he might change his mind...

"We've counted two snipers, three SPNKr teams, they have the mortar, about 30 assault troops by their equipment and they have NV on!" Fathoms tried to push himself lower to the ground, he was sure they had seen him but it was all his imagination.

"OK, we'll let them get within 80 metres and then I want you and your men to throw flares along with the mortar illumination rounds." Kelso had it all planned in his mind, it was going to be a good experience for his men.