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Lessons of our Fathers

 
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Lessons of our Fathers - 5/13/2007 9:50:02 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

Posts: 394
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Hey everyone - I am extremely happy to be back among the Matrix forums and even happier with the play of UFO:Exterrestrials. Most of my posts were for UV PBEMs (and a few HttP posts as well), and am going to try a "DAR" for the game here. I hope folks like the story. After reading the synopsis for the game, the title seemed a natural.

Anyway, the computer is upgraded (wow - a video "card" instead of "on-board graphics??") and the Windows ME system was given a funeral "fit for a king". With all of that out of the way, here is "Lessons of our Fathers."


___________________________________________________________________________________________________

January 15th, 2108…
News blog item…


In a brief statement to the Ilyrian assembly today, CAF director John Smith announced that the first Esperanzan CAF base was declared operational. He made the announcement via video link from the command center of that very same base.
Other states were more reserved in their enthusiasm. Pavel Gryth, the Security Council representative from Patria, expressed, “While we are committed to the course of action agreed upon to defend our planet from these invaders, we are anxious to see the men and women of the CAF be successful in acquiring the alien technology and making it available to all of the peoples of Esperanza.”

His statement summarized the discussions with regard to the location of the first base and the fear that the power of this alien technology would tempt the state where the base was located to using the technology for “other means”. The statement was seen as a not so subtle jab at the Ilyrians for blocking the effort to have the first base located inside Patrian territory.

While details of the base, its personnel and equipment remain classified, it is hoped that the men and women there – who represent the best and brightest our civilization has to offer – can prove successful in helping Esperanza avoid the fate of the inhabitants of Earth.


CAF Base Ilyria…
Hangar #2
15 January...2235 hrs


The face looked up from reading the day’s news and shouted over to a pair of figures near the parked aircraft.

“Hey Andy – how does it feel to be working with the ‘best and brightest?’”

Steve Patrick was happy. He was one of the two Raptor pilots assigned to the initial CAF compliment at the base. Andy Shaffer was the other one. Both of the pilots were friends, and jabbed each other incessantly about each other’s skills – flying and otherwise. They were picked out of hundreds of applicants. Lisa Andrews was the base’s Red Rider armored transport pilot. She chimed into the conversation before Shaffer could respond.

“Why Steve, that’s so sweet of you – asking your buddy to help you answer the question.”

Patrick took the bait and retorted – “Now now, little lady. You just play with your school bus there and leave the dangerous work to the adults.”

Shaffer just shook his head and walked out of the hangar and towards the command center. He had heard this exchange between transport and fighter pilots too many times to count.

CAF Base Ilyria…
Command Center
15 January...2300 hrs


The scientists had just left when Schaffer had walked in. Although they acknowledged Schaffer as he passed, formalities were not necessarily enforced at the base – everyone here was the best at something. Each respected each other enough, even if the nature of the “best” tended to make you think that – even just a little bit – that your best was a bit more necessary than the others who worked with you. Shaffer was here because the director, Mr. Smith (nobody really knew who he was – only that he had full control of CAF and even state leaders deferred to his “recommendations”) had asked for him.

Smith began. “Andy, I wanted to let you know that we are working on improving the cannon for the Raptor.” Smith pointed to a report on his desk and continued. “Although I don’t think the phrase ‘half-assed pea shooter’ will win you many friends at Richards.”

Shaffer conveniently spotted something on the ceiling of the room that held his interest for a few moments.

“Relax, Andy – I agree with you. We’ll see if we can get a ‘whole-assed pea shooter’ for you.”

Shaffer grinned broadly and thanked the director. On his way back to Hangar 2, he passed the laboratory, where the scientists were not happy (although the start of construction of a second lab at the base did assuage their feelings a bit). They had pushed for developing a laser system to improve the firepower of the ground forces. While Shaffer agreed that improved ground fire would be a good thing to have (he even said so in his cannon evaluation report), you first had to get the aliens on the ground.


CAF Base Ilyria
Radar Detection Center…
15 January…2330 hrs…


Another person had been reading the story about the activation of the CAF base. Frank Granz was a radar operator for the base. He was also one of the “best and brightest”. He too was selected from hundreds of applicants. He too, was happy to have been selected. He looked up from his reading and stared at the computer-generated display and thought back…

Patrian Capital building…
12 January…1900 hrs


While not the most lavish of ceremonies in the history of the state, Frank Granz was impressed. He managed not to gawk too much while he listened to various dignitaries of the Patrian assembly laud his selection to the CAF team. He was one of five Patrians who had “made the cut” – but his was the most visible of the assignments. As a detection specialist, he would be the first to raise the alarm of an invader and his words would set in motion the entire resources for the base. It was, however, strangely ironic that he would be the first line of warning for a state that had been seen as cool (if not outright hostile) towards his own state. And that was the greatest irony of all – that it took a threat to the planet to make the threat from another state seem insignificant. Still, there were those who tried to use this new threat to their own advantage…

His meeting with Pavel Gryth was a surprise. What was said during the meeting, however, was no surprise at all…

“We’re all proud of the contribution you and the others will be making to the defense of Esperanza, Mr. Granz.” Pavel Gryth’s voice was as smooth as ice, Frank noted. And just as cold.

“We especially are pleased that Ilyria has put aside their differences and realize that this is a problem to be solved by the peoples of all states on the planet.”

Frank was about to reply when the Security Council representative held up his hand.

“Mr. Granz, you are a hero to Patrians everywhere.”

Frank stammered back a reply.

“Councilman, I hope to be worthy of their support. And yours.”

The councilman smiled.

“I know you will, Frank.”

The councilman’s face lost his smile for a moment as he continued.

“There is just one reservation we Patrians have. While our brothers in Ilyria will be protected by the mighty CAF, we will have no such protection until a second base can be constructed. The cost for the “best and brightest” is not small, no? We have to protect the planet, yes – but I still have a duty to protect our people from this menace as well. Still,” as his smile returned, “that is for the future. And I’ve kept you long enough. Shall we rejoin the others?”

They both walked back to the main reception hall…

CAF Base Ilyria
Radar Detection Center…
15 January…2345 hrs

“…frank…?”

“Frank??”


Frank started as his technician was about to shake his shoulder.

“Jeez, Frank – you do need some sleep. I’m here to relieve you. It’s 2345.”

“Thanks, Jim. Your right – it’s been a busy day getting these systems online…”


Jim Boyd looked on as Frank left. He shrugged, and began running his preventative maintenance checks for the start of his – hopefully quiet – shift.

< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 5/17/2007 3:49:27 PM >


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RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/14/2007 1:46:08 AM   
Faenaris

 

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Love the style, Shadow of the Condor, I'm looking forward to the next part. 

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RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/14/2007 3:21:04 AM   
Arctic Blast


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Man, I enjoy writing...I just wish I was as good at it as a lot of you guys are in this forum. Keep it up, guys!


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(in reply to Faenaris)
Post #: 3
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/14/2007 7:25:49 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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From: Chicago
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(Thanks for the comments. The first battle wasn't - curiously - over a downed spacecraft, but one that landed. And in a very interesting place...)

January 19th…2300…
Ilyria Base communications nexus…


The computer monitor flashed to life as an alert bell sounded. The operator punched in a keycode, and a face appeared on the screen, and began to speak.

Within a minute, the voice had outlined that a UFO had landed in the ice region of Syrtis Major, near an abandoned diamond mine. The mine was operational until last month (due to the crisis from the aliens), and the planned resumption of operations was delayed by a day due to a surge in the mine’s power grid. One of the maintenance workers had radioed the landing and assault on the mine. His actual message was displayed, only to be cut off in mid sentence – to be replaced by a series of chirps, followed by static.

That was all that was needed to jump-start the new CAF base to respond to the first incursion (that they knew of) onto Esperanzan soil. An alarm klaxon had gone off, and Lisa Andrews was already onboard pre-flighting the transport. Both of the Raptors had already taken off to keep the aliens on the ground, if possible.

Brian Daniels was backing the team’s armored fighting vehicle, or AFV, onto the ramp and into the cargo bay. The four ground support personnel were already on-board. Eva Young would lead the ground team, but a majority of the information would come from the computers inside the “Desert Spirit” AFV Daniels would inhabit until the end of the mission. The time to the mission zone would be about seven and a one-half hours…

January 20th…0630…
Syrtis Major
Diamond Mine Number Two…


The Raptors circled the area. They had spotted the alien craft, and kept a patrol over it until the ground forces could be off-loaded. Steve Patrick, opened up his comm. Link to the base back in Ilyria…

“Raptor One to base. Raptor One to base. On station. Class Two craft on the ground. Red Rider inbound. Orbiting as planned.”

“Understood Raptor One. Execute Tango One upon ground crew insertion.”

“Roger, base. Raptor One out.”


Tango One was a plan for one of the Raptors to stay and provide support for the transport and ground team, while the other returned to refuel and rearm (not necessary on this mission) to be ready to respond to another call.

January 20th…0640…
Onboard the transport Red Raider


Andrews keyed the intercom..

“Three minutes.”

Eva Young tapped her rifle butt on the side of the AFV. A hatch opened and Daniels poked his head up.

“Three minutes Brian. You ready?”

“All set, boss. Computers recycled and standing by. Weapons loaded and ready.” Daniels jerked his thumb at the two rockets over his left shoulder. They were the main punch of the AFV. The magnetic cannon was less powerful, but had much more ammunition.

Young nodded and turned away to her team. Daniels slid back into his seat and the hatch slid shut. One last time, he glanced at the holo-screen projecting the outside area to his console. There wasn’t much to look at, but that would change when the door dropped open.

January 20th…0643…
Diamond Mine Number Two…


Having off-loaded, Daniels lead the team into the mine. He approached a junction of three passages, and nosed out into the opening to get a picture of the area.

“WHANGG!!”

Daniels was rocked back into his seat while the computer stated the obvious.

“Taking enemy fire.”

“No kidding”, Daniels muttered to himself as he traversed left.

While the image came into view, Daniels noticed an acrid odor, and felt the air inside the vehicle get very warm. Just as suddenly, the temperature cooled and the computer made another announcement.

“Armor loss at 60 percent.”

Daniels blinked at that. “One shot?” he thought. “One shot??”

The weapon system locked on to what looked like a giant insect. It appeared armored itself, but the armor wasn’t anything that looked like it could be removed. It was part of the creature.

“Target locked. 51% success probability.”

“Good enough for me”, Daniels breathed. He reached for the firing controls when he heard another explosion.

“Target negated.”

Over his commlink, Daniels heard Young’s voice. Young, having killed the alien with a grenade, spoke quickly.

“Be careful, Brian – we can’t afford to lose you here.”

Just then, the computer in the AFV spoke again.

“Target in range.”

A second alien shot a bolt of green something at Young but missed. Young had already pulled a second grenade off of her belt and tossed it at the new threat. She ducked as it went off, but this alien was still standing.

Meanwhile, on the opposite wall of the entranceway, Travis West peeked around the corner after the blast and saw the alien standing, but was wobbling. He leveled his rifle and put a shot into the creature, which – surprisingly, he thought – brought the creature down.

“Nice shot, Travis”, congratulated Eva. She turned to Simpson and Skufal. "Hold the entrance until we see what’s ahead.”

Both men nodded. Each leaned hard against the wall of the entranceway.

Daniels traversed and got a picture of three corridors. He keyed his mike.

“Recommend we go left Eva.”

Young concurred. “Roger that Brian. Don’t get…Wait! What’s that??”

Young had seen a glint of metal down the center corridor. Daniels checked his image on the monitor.

“Doesn’t seem to be anything, unless it’s holding real still. I don’t think we should chance it, though. Get cover!”

The ground team ducked as one of the rockets flared to life on the turret of the AFV. About ten feet from the AFV, the rocket’s second, more powerful motor ignited and sped down the center passage. Daniels lost sight of it but heard an explosion within a second or two.

They waited a moment, but nothing emerged from the shadows.

“I think we’re clear Eva.”

Eva tapped the back of the AFV twice and Daniels turned left. He advanced slowly, while the four-member team advanced behind him.

Daniels halted and keyed his mike twice.

Young looked down the line of sight Daniels was facing and saw an alien that appeared to be floating. She turned to Simpson and pointed forward. Simpson moved around West and hugged the wall as West stood and covered the move. Simpson looked back at Young who pointed ahead of him, held up a fist, and then opened her fingers. Simpson took a grenade, stepped out and threw it down the left passage. Before it exploded, he moved out of sight. It exploded, and as the smoke obscured the area, Daniels moved the AFV in front of Simpson, pointing toward the alien.

As the smoke cleared, West, who had advanced to behind the AFV, now had a clear line of fire to the alien. It was turning and headed towards them, and West let a three round burst loose. Predictably, they went wild, but the alien did pause a moment. West fired a single shot this time, and appeared to hit the alien.

Meanwhile, Daniels was locking onto the floating alien with his computer announcing that the lock was achieved. Daniels fired, and the alien seemed to explode from the force of the cannon shell as it collapsed to the ground.

After the third alien was killed, the team moved forward into the passage, which – ultimately – led to a dead end. Diamonds littered the floor, and machinery was everywhere, but the team moved back along the passage toward the entrance.

Once they returned, Daniels moved forward and found a fourth alien – another armored one this time. His computer couldn’t lock onto the creature for some reason, so he backed into the corridor while he reset the system. By the time the computer announced it was ready, the alien was making its way toward the entrance.

“Target locked. 57% success probability.”

Daniels fired his second rocket. The creature wasn’t directly hit, but appeared to be stunned as Daniels pulled ahead, uncovering the support team. Skufal couldn’t fire, but


Simpson and West both did. Simpson’s shot went wide, but West’s shot hit the creature. Young finished off the thing with a grenade.

Young keyed her mike.

“Center”.

Daniels moved the AFV into the center passage and came to another T-intersection. Young and Simpson followed Daniels as he headed right along the branch while West and Skufal held the rear guard for them.

As Daniels rounded another corner, a fifth alien – another armored one was detected. Daniels again tried to back up, but the alien advanced. Simpson fired and missed, but Daniels killed it with one shot from the cannon.

Meanwhile, back at the T-intersection, West watched from cover while one of the floaters came from the opposite branch of the T. He aimed and fired. This time, there was no doubt as he watched the creature seem to deflate and crumple to the ground.

Skufal watched the alien fall and ran over to the carcass. He was examining it when the second floater arrived and fired. West tried to fire first, but his shot went wide. The alien had a point blank shot and didn’t miss. Skufal was knocked backward by the force of the shot. Worst of all, a green cloud enveloped the wounded man. Skufal screamed and then went silent.

From down the corridor, Young ran back and saw the alien fire on Skufal. She wanted to get its attention off of West, who seemed to be just sitting there. She raised her rifle and fired. Her shot found its mark and the second floater in the intersection crumpled to the ground, next to the other one.

The rest of the mission was uneventful, and the team loaded Skufal onto the transport. The captured parts would be studied and prove beneficial, but no one on board seemed in a mood to celebrate.

edit - the battle described took 33 turns against seven aliens. I have about 50 screen shots (from start to finish) embedded in a Word document, but the file is about 80MB. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.


< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 5/14/2007 7:36:18 AM >


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Post #: 4
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/15/2007 8:58:39 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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edit: Trying to get a few pics up from the last mission to help with the story...hard to choose

Here's the beginning of the advance up the left hand corridor.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 5/15/2007 5:19:04 PM >


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RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/15/2007 5:28:37 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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In the next shot, the team begins its move into the left hand passage...




Attachment (1)

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"Shouldn't we be leading the shark back to shore, instead of him leading us out to sea?"

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RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/15/2007 5:36:30 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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Around the first of many corners...




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"Shouldn't we be leading the shark back to shore, instead of him leading us out to sea?"

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RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/15/2007 5:44:12 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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The end of the passage looms...






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"Shouldn't we be leading the shark back to shore, instead of him leading us out to sea?"

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Post #: 8
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/15/2007 5:48:19 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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The processing room at the end of the passage. Time to head back to the entrance intersection...




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"Shouldn't we be leading the shark back to shore, instead of him leading us out to sea?"

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Post #: 9
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/15/2007 5:58:17 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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In this last picture, West and Skufal on rear guard encounter two aliens. West reacts when the first one appears and kills it. The second immediately followed up and hit Skufal (he was covering West's back and looking the wrong way when they arrived). Daniels, Young, and Simpson are further ahead in the passage. Young's shoot skill was 38 in this mission, and she got very lucky. West would have probably been a casuality as well if she didn't hit the creature.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 5/15/2007 6:06:13 PM >


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"Shouldn't we be leading the shark back to shore, instead of him leading us out to sea?"

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Post #: 10
RE: Mission pictures - 5/15/2007 6:13:33 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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From: Chicago
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The AAR. Young ended up with three kills (two by grenade and one with the rifle) and 16 points. I added to her agility (51 - 55, AP from 61 to 66), Vitality (51 - 55, Health from 61 to 66), Bravery (37 - 41, Morale from 44 to 49), and two points to Shoot (38 - 46).

I enjoyed this mission immensely. Nice mechanics, and good storylines. Next chapter will be up soon.




Attachment (1)

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"Shouldn't we be leading the shark back to shore, instead of him leading us out to sea?"

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Post #: 11
RE: Mission pictures - 5/15/2007 7:01:07 PM   
robpost3


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Great stuff!!!

_____________________________

The Yankee Motto:
Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make do,
Or do without.
"God Help us, and God, come yourself.
Don't send Jesus, this is no place for children."



(in reply to Shadow of the Condor)
Post #: 12
RE: Mission pictures - 5/15/2007 11:24:12 PM   
madflava13


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From: Alexandria, VA
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Good read!

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RE: Mission pictures - 5/16/2007 4:16:57 AM   
Arctic Blast


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Here's a question I've got for anyone who's playing the game...what IS the deal with the various color clouds that often appear in screenshots?


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Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.

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Post #: 14
RE: Mission pictures - 5/16/2007 7:17:26 AM   
GalacticOrigins

 

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From: Wolf 359
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Color clouds are gasses of various sorts.

Stun, Chemical, Inferno. (all I have seen so far) Oh, and nerve agent chemical toy

Green, as seen above, is Chemical (very bad)
Red is Stun
Inferno is Orange-ish

Some of the other AAR screenies have the stun and inferno. The gas dissipates after a few turns, but do not stand inside it until it is gone!

< Message edited by GalacticOrigins -- 5/16/2007 7:35:27 AM >

(in reply to Arctic Blast)
Post #: 15
RE: A doctor in the house - 5/16/2007 7:54:26 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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Another "background" entry. I should have most of tomorrow to get a few turns in and an entry ready again.


Three months earlier...
Rock Hills University Conference Room #4


Dr. Julia Adamowicz was impressed. The head of the university, as well as her department head were present in the room along with someone named “Smith”. This Mr. Smith had only arrived in the morning – she was told – and he had already commandeered the two most senior men in the building. This Smith fellow must be well-connected indeed.

Still, she continued with her overview.

“The cold plasma therapy will help people recover from infections in a substantially shorter time frame. We have documented evidence,” she pointed to her computer screen, “of a 32% improvement rate in cellular regeneration. The key to the system is the plasma needle.” As she spoke, an image of what looked like a miniature blowtorch was projected onto the computer screens as the briefing continued. “It looks more painful than it is. The 'flame' is nothing more than a helium and air mixture excited by radio frequency signals. The system operates at room temperature, and no contact is made with the affected area. Chemical stimuli are conveyed to affected area, and healing can take place. We have substantial evidence of bacterial inactivation, cell detachment, cell activation, and apoptosis."

Smith finally spoke, and directly to Julia.

“Very impressive, Doctor. This work can save lives – a lot of lives.”

Julia smiled, and began to think her evaluation of this Mr. Smith seemed to be a bit wrong.

Smith turned to the head of the university.

“We’ll take it.”

Julia froze. She recovered and was a bit more vocal with her disbelief.

“You’ll take what?”

The department head made to explain to Julia, but she stepped forward, and brushed past him, almost bumping into Mr. Smith as he made to leave.

“It’s hijacking! There’s no other word for it!! The research was mine and my team’s. The testing was done by my staff. The time and effort we put in to the project cannot be measured. This project was our lives. And you…some government official…stroll in here and claim you can take my research and use it for your own purposes??!?”

Julia finished her tirade – during which Smith watched her intently. He thought for a moment before he spoke.

“Please forgive me, Dr. Adamowicz. You misunderstand me. We’re not taking your research.”

“We’re taking you.”

January 20th…2000..
Hangar #2


Dr. Adamowicz was shocked when she saw Skufal taken from the transport. He was unconscious, from his wounds and from the morphine injected by the stimpaks the ground team used. His burns covered the back half of his body, and – at his neck - part of his armor had actually fused to his skin. The team, led by Eva Young, watched as technicians moved Skufal’s body on its (at that point, it was hard to consider the mass on the gurney a person) way into a sterile chamber at the hospital ward. The alien artifacts were off-loaded, as well as the dead aliens themselves, and taken to the lab.

Julia Adamowicz had recovered enough to head to the hospital ward herself. When she got there, she found Mr. Smith waiting for her. He leaned over and looked at her with a level gaze.

“This,” he emphasized, “is why we took you.”

She looked at him for a moment and walked into the ward, ready to begin the process of saving Skufal’s life.

2225 hrs…
Mission Debriefing…


The team had finished dumping their recorder data into the mainframe computer. Tactics would be analyzed, enemy responses and actions studied, and new plans based on the conclusions of both the computer and the members of the team itself. Daniels had already taken the AFV to the maintenance workshop to repair the lost armor burned off by the alien weapon. This too, would be analyzed. Hit location, armor slope, shot trap, damage patterns; all would yield information to improve the chances of team survival - theoretically for the next mission.

If they had the time…


< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 5/16/2007 7:59:59 AM >

(in reply to GalacticOrigins)
Post #: 16
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/16/2007 9:24:18 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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A long post, and I have a few screenshots to post after. I hope you enjoy the read.

January 28th…0344…
The Ilyrian North coast…


The light appeared out to sea. Coastwatcher stations that were manned from the Ilyria-Patria tensions and the now worldwide threat were still manned. Of course, “manned” was something of a misnomer. Computer augmentation, of course, was everywhere in society, and especially in any aspect of the defense of the state. So in a sense, although computers ran contact data through their algorithms, they were the only thing that “manned” these sites anymore.

The radar reflection had just broken the detection range and, since this contact did not have a proper RFID signature that would have been filed and logged in, a contact alert was generated. Of course, the return was small enough that it could be something riding very low on the surface of the ocean.

It could also be something trying to stay hidden…

CAF Base Ilyria…0347…
Radar detection console…


Jim Boyd was the night operator for the base. All of the operators had their hands full here, as every contact that had been generated during the past ten days required a full integration and identification. Boyd touched the screen of the north coast contact (he was, in fact, integrating four other contacts now) and the contact was now a full screen display. Not much was known, other than it was headed south.

Towards them.

Boyd began his code sequences – each lasting milliseconds but enough to compare what was received with what was stored.

CAF Base Ilyria…0350…
Hangar one, onboard Raptor One…


Steve Patrick shifted in the pilot harness. He had manned his plane when the report first came in. The pilots and ground team were responded to alerts nearly twenty alerts in the past seven days. It was understandable – every unknown event in the world these days had potentially devastating consequences.

But Patrick was getting a bit miffed at the constant calls and then eventual stand down. It showed in his voice when he got on his comm link…

“Whaddya say, Boyd? Another spook??”

Boyd, for his part, was watching the contact develop as the computer transmitted code pattern after code pattern. He was about to re-run the sequences when the display changed.

…TARGET SPEED 955 kph…HEADING 165…classification pending…

Boyd typed a command and the display was forwarded to the pilots.

“Heads up, folks – it’s real…”

Something was coming toward them from across the ocean at a very high speed. In the hangars, the ground crews cleared their aircraft and both Raptors launched, followed by the Raider transport.

en route to target…0412…
onboard transport Red Raider…


Lisa Andrews followed the Raptors as best she could. She wasn’t in a hurry – yet. Her job was to orbit at a safe distance while the Raptors intercepted whatever was headed their way. She was monitoring the interceptors’ comm. link, and tried to stay calm as she listened to the Raptors engage the target…

“Raptor Two, Andy – on your display…”
“Raptor One, I see it Paddy. Getting close to detection range…”
“Raptor Two, aspect change to target. Target now bearing 270. Altitude decreasing rapidly.”
“One, I have missile tone…engaging…missile away…”
“Raptor Two, I have missile tone…target still losing altitude…”
“One…standby…standby…”
“Raider, this is Raptor One…confirm one missile hit on target…target is down…say again…target is down…do you copy coordinates, Raider?”


Now Lisa knew she had a point to fly to. The navigation computer displayed the GPS coordinates of her location, the downed alien, and the heading and distance to the location.

“Raptor One, Raider en route. Confirm one missile hit.”
“Raider, confirmed. One, say again, one missile hit.”


Everyone in the air knew one missile hit wasn’t enough to destroy the alien. It didn’t crash. Once again, like last week, this alien landed.

Lisa keyed the intercom, and spoke with Eva.

“Eva, it’s down. My files show another mine at that location. It wasn’t destroyed, it landed. Guess it’s looking for another hole.”

Landing site…0548…


The ground team was in the mine. Like last time, Daniels and his AFV would scout ahead while the others would cover. Unlike last time, however, the team had traded their rifles for shotguns. All were carrying at least 8 grenades each, and everyone had at least three stimpaks.

Also unlike last time, was Skufal’s replacement, Robert Stanton. Stanton was carrying a hand held rocket launcher. Similar to the rocket launcher on the AFV, it was portable, and Stanton had four spare rockets in addition to the one in his weapon. Daniels had welded a rack onto the back of his AFV and twelve additional rockets were carried there. They were too small for the AFV’s launcher, but Stanton had access to seventeen rockets should he need them.

Like before, the AFV encountered an alien as it crept into a main passage. Unlike last time, this alien didn’t fire at the AFV. But this alien wasn’t armored, nor did it float.

Daniels whispered into his mike, as if fearing his coded transmission to the other members of the team would be heard.

“Target – two seven zero. Can’t lock on it…”

West keyed his mike.

“System malfunction?”

“Negative,”
Daniels replied. “System five by five. Target is too….big.”

“Too big??? How big?”

“At least as big as the tank, Eva. Computer is trying to lock onto four separate points, and keeps recycling. It thinks there’s four targets instead of one.”


Young and the others looked at each other. They knew there would be more than one alien in the passages, and if they were all this big…

“Switching to manual. Warning! Target approaching…”

Simpson, who had moved along the wall toward the alien, was still unable to see anything down the passage. But all of the sudden, he had the feeling that he couldn’t move. He shook his head, and refocused.

In front of him, about thirty feet away was a large grey alien with oversized appendages that were probably its arms. Each was wickedly curved like a scythe. It was, indeed, as big as Daniels AFV – probably bigger. When it opened its mouth, it screamed and advanced on Simpson. Simpson fired his shotgun without even aiming it. There was no way he could miss. The shell exploded into the creature, and the creature paused when a shell from West’s shotgun hit it as well. Simpson took the momentary pause to run away from the creature and those arms. The creature followed, moving surprisingly easy for its size. West had pulled the pin on a grenade and tossed it toward the creature. It exploded, and the creature was knocked backwards onto the ground. It didn’t move.

West and Simpson were joined by Young. No one said a word, but none needed to be said.

Young looked at Stanton and pointed down a second passage.

“Clear it.”

Stanton kneeled and aimed. He squeezed the trigger and the rocket shot out a bit and the main engine fired. It sped out of sight and an explosion announced it ran into something.

Young was about to set the advance for the third passage. Young was reloading. Daniels turned the AFV toward the third passage and found himself staring into a second of the giant aliens.

“There’s another one!!” he yelled as he twisted his throttle in reverse.

As Daniels was backing away, Young and West opened fire. Young got two shots off, but both were wild. West hit the creature, and Simpson had already two grenades in the air. Both went off, and the creature went down hard.

Stanton's voice was a bit shaky when he said, “Big bastards, and quiet." He tried to sound more hopeful. "Still, they seem to die easy enough.”

Young turned and looked at Stanton. “So do we. Stay sharp. Pay attention and we’ll all…”

Young seemed to forget what she was going to say. West looked intently at her.

“Eva?”

“...we’ll all get…”


Stanton saw it first and had the launcher shouldered. A third giant alien followed out from where the second one lay. Simpson watched Stanton and jumped for him, trying to stop the rocket from being launched.

“NO!!! Not here!!!”

Stanton fired, but his shot went wild to the side of the creature, and exploded off of the side wall. The heat blast rocked the team, and Young was back in control of herself. The creature was hurt, as the explosion ripped into its back. It howled in pain and rage and kept coming.

Simpson and West both had grenades in the air. Before they exploded, Daniels came through their headsets.

“Floater!! Behind it!”

The grenades exploded, but the giant alien was still coming. Young had leveled her shotgun but saw the floater aim at them.

“Cover!!”

The team backed away and got behind whatever they could. The floating alien fired, and hit the ground by the tank. Immediately, the green acidic cloud formed. Daniels AFV was taking damage. The computer announced it had lost 9 percent of its armor. Unfortunately for the giant alien, it was about to attack the tank and had no special protection from the acid. It howled again and dropped, dead.

West looked up and saw the floater through the green mist. He threw a grenade that bounced against the walls and landed near enough to kill the floater when it exploded.

Everyone stopped for a minute to gather themselves. Young spoke first.

“Simpson, you and Stanton stay here and cover the rear. West, you, me and Daniels move forward. Daniels, you okay in there?”

“We’re okay. Armor at 91%. Weapons are fine. Moving forward.”

Daniels moved ahead slowly, and Young and West advanced with him.

Stanton watched them as they rounded a corner and were gone. The rumble from the AFV’s engine got fainter.

Simpson punched Stanton in the shoulder.

“Hey buddy, they’re okay. Look sharp, k?”

Stanton smiled weakly and looked down the opposite passage, where he and Simpson waited for any aliens looping behind them.

Simpson heard it first. A rumble, but from in front of them. Not behind them where the AFV had gone.

“They couldn’t have made it that fast.”

He thought a moment.

“I don’t like it. Stanton…get ready.”

Simpson leveled his shotgun and glanced at Stanton. Stanton had his head cocked to one side and was staring towards the rumble ahead of them. More importantly, his rocket launcher was pointing down.

“Stanton?!?”

Simpson was about to shake Stanton when the giant alien rounded the corner ahead of them. Simpson wheeled and faced the giant. The alien rose up and howled. Simpson fired twice – both hits, but the alien swung its arm and hit the still immobile Stanton. Stanton’s body was knocked through the air and flew back about twenty feet. Simpson watched with fascination as blood fountained from the body, spraying the passage walls, the light stanchion, and began to pool as Stanton’s crumpled body lay against the wall of the passage.

Simpson backed toward Stanton and pulled a grenade from his belt. He suddenly felt the feeling he did earlier…that he wouldn’t be able to move.

“Not this time,” he breathed and rolled the grenade forward. He ducked as it exploded. When he looked up, the giant was on the ground. It didn’t move.

Simpson tore his stimpaks and began to try and stop the bleeding.

When the grenade exploded, Young, West, and Daniels were about halfway down the passage. They immediately turned around. Since Daniels was ahead of them, West and Young were able to run to the corner and see Simpson trying to save Stanton. Daniels rounded the corner and stopped. He saw the three crewmembers ahead of him so he turned his AFV back towards the passage they were exploring.

And he immediately saw another giant alien. This time, the alien didn’t howl at all. Instead, it swiped and hit Daniels’ AFV. The claw rocked the AFV when it hit, and made a weird “clanging” noise as well. The three members looked up and Young pulled a grenade while West fired twice. The alien looked over the AFV and Young tossed the grenade over the AFV. It killed the alien, but also damaged the AFV. Daniels reported he was down to 58% armor.

Leaving Simpson (and extra stimpaks) with Stanton, West, Young, and Daniels resumed their move into the passage. Daniels pulled ahead. Young and West trailed about fifty feet behind him. Daniels, turned into a room when his AFV was hit in the side. He immediately turned but didn’t see anything. The computer reported he still had his 58% armor, so he continued into the room.

This time, another shot hit his side, but this time the acid cloud formed around the AFV. Daniels backed out of the cloud with 32% of his armor left. He saw the floater, but wasn’t able to lock onto it because there was debris in his sight line. Until he could lock onto the creature, the weapons could not be activated.

“Floater – on me!” Daniels was hoping West and Young could flush the creature into the open.

Simpson heard Daniels call but ignored it. He was getting the bleeding under control, but Stanton’s chest was caved in. He wasn’t going on any more missions any time soon.

West and Young advanced around a corner and headed toward Daniels, when they saw a floater. West dispatched it with a shotgun blast. At the sound of the blast, the floater that had fired on Daniels moved out from behind the debris.

Inside the AFV, the computer displayed TARGET LOCKED and a small tone sang out. Daniels fired a rocket at the floater and immolated the last alien.

onboard Red Raider…0811…
en route to CAF Base Ilyria…


Stanton was stabilized, and that was about as good as it would get until they returned to base. Lisa watched the team come onboard, closed the ramp and took off. She saw Stanton’s crushed body, the melted armor on Daniels’ AFV, and the vacant looks on the others as the adrenaline in their bodies began to subside. She had a job to do, and she had to concentrate on getting the team back as soon as possible. The two Raptors were still on station, and escorted her home.

Lisa Andrews wondered, however, when the day would come that she wouldn’t have to concentrate on her job after seeing what she just did.

She hoped it would take a long time for that to happen.

She knew it wouldn’t.


_____________________________

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Post #: 17
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/16/2007 9:31:30 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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The first alien...and it has a surprise.






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< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 5/16/2007 9:35:10 PM >


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Post #: 18
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/16/2007 9:33:21 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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The attack on Simpson




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Post #: 19
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/16/2007 9:33:58 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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The AAR






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Post #: 20
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/17/2007 7:08:19 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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January 29th…1000…
CAF Base Ilyria…
Lab Testing area…


Andy Shaffer and Steve Patrick were seated behind the reinforced glass wall. Representatives from the base’s maintenance workshop were also on hand. Brian Daniels, the AFV operator, was there as well. The scientists were about to demonstrate the base’s first of what was hoped to be many technical breakthroughs. Today, Shaffer was going to get his improved cannon. Just how improved, they were about to find out.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the demonstration facilitator began, “reviews of the intercepts of the alien craft, along with Mr. Shaffer’s report force us to accept the conclusion that the Raptor cannon is no longer sufficient to be deployed against the current threat.”

Patrick smiled a bit at that remark, and whispered to his wingman.

“’Current threat’, he said. Ever notice how these lab types seem to be out of touch with reality a bit?”

Shaffer smiled back and responded.

“They’re supposed to be. If they were satisfied with what was real and now, we wouldn’t have any improvements at all.”

Patrick’s face went blank a bit as he tried to digest Shaffer’s answer. The facilitator continued.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please observe the section of the alien craft recovered from the last mission. First, the current Raptor cannon…”

As the facilitator spoke, a cannon mounted on a dolly had been wheeled into place, aimed at the alien craft section. The testing room was cleared, and a lab technician sounded a warning horn three times. Then he fired the cannon.

The cannon whirred and fired at the section. It fired for 3 seconds, and 36 shells had been expended. The room was cleared, and the observers looked at the monitor above them. A camera zoomed onto the alien craft section, which had been dimpled by the cannon.

As they watched, the first cannon had been removed, and what looked like a variation of the same cannon was wheeled in. A second alien craft section was also placed in front of the first one. Shaffer looked at the new cannon as it was brought in.

“Only one barrel?”

The facilitator replied, “One will be sufficient, Mr. Shaffer. Everyone, would you again be seated?”

The lab technician sounded the same warning horn three times and fired the new cannon.

This time, only one shell was expended

The observers again looked at the monitor. This time, a fist-sized hole was punched through the section. As the section was moved away, the same fist-sized hole was in the section behind the first one.

Patrick whistled softly.

“Kind of like kicking the door down instead of knocking politely.”

The facilitator ignored Patrick and continued.

“We concluded the design of the cannon was fundamentally sound, so our efforts were to improve the shell. The shell weighs 2.32 times the weight of the CSX-100. We also have improved the charge explosive to allow the same muzzle velocity as the CSX-100. Unfortunately, with the added weight, we recommend reducing the ammunition load to 75% of the current amount. We believe this reduction will not be a significant factor on any mission success rate.”

Daniels asked about improving the AFV with the same type of cannon.

“Mr. Daniels, we have plans to do so once we have the necessary resources. Our next project, however, wil be an improvement to the current stimpak.”

January 30th…
CAF Base Ilyria…
Command Center…


The meeting had adjourned over an hour ago. The Security Council of Esperanza stipulated with the funding of the CAF that monthly updates be reviewed. This allowed any member state to increase their funding of the project. With the successful mission at the diamond mine at Syrtis Major, the state had approved an increase of 6.7% to the project. Ilyria, of course, was the primary beneficiary, and had approved a huge increase of over 25%.

Of course, there would be states that would not be as magnanimous. Alien incursions into their territory that were not successfully driven off or – worse – ignored by the CAF would result in a rethinking of whether continuing to resist the aliens was a good thing. Three such states were making their displeasure known with a reduction of funding.

Seathopia, for example had reduced their funding by the same 6.7% that Syrtris Major had increased theirs. Thermos had dropped funding by 8%, and Patria – who had been the most vocal of the opponents to the location of the base in Ilyria, had reduced their funding by almost 16%.

All in all, Smith thought as he reviewed the transcripts of the speeches each representative felt he or she had to make with their funding announcement, the results could have been worse. Two soldiers were in hospital, but they both would be returned for duty within a week. The base had lost no aircraft, had successfully responded and eliminated two alien invasions into Esperanzan territory, and had bodies of three different alien types to research. A new lab was close to being built, and improvements in their own technology were on the way, but to see the benefit of them, the CAF needed time. Just how much time they could count on was anybody’s guess. Smith knew they wouldn’t be able to detect, let alone respond to, every alien attack. He had to make the state leaders understand this was a long war. So far, he had been able to achieve this, but how long would the states trade lives and territory for time?

(Here is the summary screen for January)







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Post #: 21
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/22/2007 5:52:20 PM   
Kane

 

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 I like it too much. Please don't stop.

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Post #: 22
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/28/2007 6:23:49 PM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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Hello everyone - sorry for the delay. I was down with "walking pneumonia" - although there wasn't much "walking" about it (btw - liquid codine is the worst tasting stuff on the planet. Period. ). I'm back and catching up with a lot of stuff, not the least of which is the game. A short update, and a new AAR will follow in the next post...

22 February...
CAF Base Ilyria Command Center...


Mr. Smith had just concluded the call with the new base commander. Building and equipping a second base had put a serious drain on their resources. Defending his decision to the Security Council as to where to place the base was easierr than imagined. The states that had increased their funding were either satisfied with the progress so far, or were hoping their increase would improve their chances at getting the second base. But Smith had reasoned that placing the base in a state that had decreased its funding would be tantamount to holding the CAF hostage. So the decision was one made based on the ability of the two bases to support each other. It would not make many happy, but Smith knew it had to be done this way.

CAF Base Ilyria
Workshop Alpha...


The technicains were about finished. A scare had occurred when the agent had leaked, but the scientist's hypothesis that the agent would be lethal to the aliens only was proved true - albeit in an unorthodox manner. Data sheets were now available on the nerve gas grenades and each of the ground team was reviewing them and watching the vid-simulations of the bloom pattern upon detonation.

22 February...
Patrian Capital building...


CAF Base Seathopia
Status Report

"The base on the Seathopian coast has the capability to intercept an alien craft. Together with the base in Ilyria, this allows three Raptor class interceptors to vector on to a target increasing the probability to force a landing and ground team interdiction.
Radar detection is fully operational, and ancillary systems are progressing at a rate within parameters..."


Pavel Gryth set the report back on his desk. As the Partian representative to the Security Council, he had heard Smith's report in person, and was chagrined at being out-manuvered. His hope at getting the first base in Partia was lost when Ilyria was chosen. His hope at getting the second base again fell short. Worse still, the Seathopian representative had pledged to increase the support at the next review - within two weeks. Of course, now that the Seathopain state was tied into the CAF network with this new base, decreasing funding to "his own" base was something the Seathopian representative would be loath to do.

Of course, the CAF would need that funding next month. As Smith had admitted, the second base, along with improvements at Ilyria, had drained the operating capital to a point where there was a danger of research and opetations being held up.

Gryth sat back and thought about that...


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Post #: 23
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/29/2007 4:21:28 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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>>screen shots follow<<

28 February…
Crash Site Delta…Southern Polar ice cap…
Syrtis Major…


Eva Young was ready to go – a bit different from her first mission a month ago. That too, was on the ice in Syrtis; or rather in the ice.

“Seems like a while ago,” she muttered.

Peter Simpson was on her left, and nudged her with his elbow.

“What’s that, boss?”

Eva looked up at her team member.

“Ice. More damn ice. Why don’t these things like warm areas?”

Sharon Hill overheard the exchange on the other side of the bench seat.

“Population. They want to be unobserved. This way, they can develop their base on Esperanza in secret.”

Hill was on her first mission, and had arrived a week earlier. With Travis West in the hospital for another three weeks, she was the fourth member of the ground team.

Young looked at the newcomer.

“You really think so? I had no idea.”

Hill smiled, while Simpson rolled his eyes and said nothing. The other two members of the team, Stanton and Daniels were in their own world – Stanton with his beloved rocket launcher and Daniels inside the AFV that was still operational since the first day.

Crash Site Delta…
1103L…


The ramp dropped and Daniels moved out. The AFV barely cleared the ramp when the team heard Daniels’ voice inside their helmets.

“Floater…”

The alien was about 50 meters in front of the AFV, but did not fire. From experience, the team knew these aliens fired a projectile that exploded into an acidic mist – eating away almost everything it came in contact with.

Simpson crouched and approached the opening. Hill started to do the same, but Young grabbed her arm.

“Wait here,” she admonished. “It can’t see us – yet.”

Actually, Young was surprised that an acid cloud hadn’t exploded inside the craft. Surely the aliens were intelligent, and had to know that there wasn’t going to be anything good coming out of the plane…

Simpson squeezed off his first round, which went right. He fired a second shot almost immediately after that. The alien had time to turn and face the plane before Simpson’s shot hit the creature, and it fell to the ice.

Simpson’s voice now came through the headsets.

“Clear!”

Young almost threw Hill forward and began to run herself.

“Egress! Break right and left. Daniels?”

”Headed for the trees boss.” Daniels drove the AFV up a small hill to check for creatures in the forest.

The forest proved uneventful and Daniels swung his vehicle south and down the hill – parallel to the transport craft. Hill and Stanton broke right as they left the plane and Simpson and Young broke left. Both teams moved forward along the side of the plane.

As Daniels drove forward, his computer called out a warning.

“Unidentified movement…bearing 140 degrees…”

Daniels stopped the AFV. A green plasma bolt shot over his tank and exploded ahead of him. He turned to face his attacker, and his computer called out another warning…

“Unidentified movement…bearing 140 degrees…”

“What? But I’m…”

His thought that the computer malfunctioned was cut off when, from ahead of the teams, a shot headed to the left side of the plane. Hill, who had turned to watch Daniels’ vehicle get shot at was hit squarely in the chest and the familiar acid cloud bloomed into being. Although her armor took some of the force of the shot, she still was in serious trouble. The acid was starting to condense on her armor, helmet, and faceplate. She screamed, turned and ran back to Stanton, who dropped his rocket launcher and had a stim pak ready to go.

As they crouched behind the wing of the transport, Young stepped out and saw the floater aiming along the left side of the plane. She pulled the pin out of a grenade, and tossed it in the air. This time, it exploded before it hit the ground, and literally shredded the creature with shrapnel. Whatever was left flopped down onto the ice in front of a building.

Simpson and Young were on the move to the building as soon as the explosion occurred. They made it to the side of the building, and assumed a combat stance, each looking the opposite direction from each other.

Stanton, meanwhile, had used his second stimpak when he dropped it and pulled the new “medkit” from Hill’s backpack. The ground team had two of them (the second was with Simpson). Stanton activated the kit and followed the onscreen directions. When he finished, there was no trace of injury left on Hill and she was regaining consciousness quickly.

Meanwhile, as Stanton was tending to Hill, the remaining team members continued the mission. Daniels had approached the alien that had shot Hill when the computer voice reminded him he had his own alien to worry about. He rotated the AFV and was able to lock onto a third floater with his computer sights and killed it with a cannon shell.

At the building, Young and Simpson were planning what to do next when the wall they were hiding behind exploded. They both moved around the corner of the building. As they did so, Daniels took up a position opposite the shattered wall to greet whatever came out. But as Simpson and Young neared the end of the building’s outside wall, an alien came around the corner. This was an armored creature, and was as surprised as Young and Simpson were. The alien fired wildly twice, then threw it’s weapon on the ground. Simpson recovered enough to grab one of the new nerve gas grenades and throw it at the creature. This time, there was no explosion, only a small “pop” and a gas cloud began to form. Both of the humans watched the alien take a step towards them and simply drop over – dead.

After clearing the building, the team found the spacecraft and began to take positions for an entry into the alien ship. As Young approached, the door opened and another armored alien stepped out and fired. Young was hit and knocked on the ground, but she could not find any injury. As she silently thanked her armor, Simpson threw a nerve gas canister and the gas cloud formed around the alien. It got off another shot before falling to the ground.

Young stood back up and stepped toward Simpson, a smile on her face.

“This armor ain’t half ba…”

She was catapulted forward and landed at Simpson’s feet. The back of her armor had been burned through and she was bleeding. Daniels fired off a rocket and exploded the last creature, but Simpson was looking at his leader lying at his feet.

He scooped her up and began a jog back to the transport. He hoped he would be in time…



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Post #: 24
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/29/2007 4:24:04 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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Stanton and Hill egressed right and moved up the left side of the plane...






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Post #: 25
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/29/2007 4:25:00 AM   
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Simpson and Young moving up the right side of the building...






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< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 5/29/2007 4:26:38 AM >


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Post #: 26
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/29/2007 4:27:06 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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Young and Simpson surprised. Young fires off a nerve gas cannister on the next turn.




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Post #: 27
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 5/29/2007 4:28:00 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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Sorry - I screwed up the other shots - still getting back on my feet, I guess.  More to come...

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Post #: 28
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 6/1/2007 4:31:59 AM   
Shadow of the Condor

 

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Hi - Mission 6 complete. AAR and screenshots will be up probably tomorrow. A new hero emerges as a rookie does very well... Also wil be a bit more intrigue from the Patrians...

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Post #: 29
RE: Lessons of our Fathers - 6/1/2007 8:47:12 AM   
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March 1st…
CAF Base Ilyria Command Center…
1211 hours…


Frank Granz was as happy as the next man – or woman – on the base. The update from the recent Security Council review was well received by everyone. The second base that was made operational was well on its way to helping defend the planet from the alien menace.

Everyone had been concerned when projects and manufacturing had to be put on hold while the Council debated how it would fund this month’s activity. Everyone knew the second base had to make a contribution as quickly as possible. And it had. The base had only one interceptor – but it worked with the interceptors here at Ilyria to help bring down two UFOs during February.

But – it had missed one. Now that there were two detection stations, attempts were made by the two to triangulate on any intruder. Granz had reported a contact, yet Seathopia (he still couldn’t believe Seathopia had been chosen for the second base…) refused to confirm the call. As such, only a single interceptor had been sent out, and it had found nothing. The interceptor was the newest one.

The one in Seathopia.

Investigations revealed the incident was “one of those things” that tend to go wrong when technology stretches its wings. But Granz wasn’t thinking about “one of those things.”

The UFO had disappeared over Patria.

Granz forced his anger back down, and wondered. He was a very intelligent man, and he knew he couldn’t take any overt action, but he had to make the CAF leadership see that the base in Seathopia was a mistake…

March 2nd…CAF Base Ilyria…
1320 hours…

“Checking circuit A3…”


Granz and Jim Boyd were finishing up a calibration check on their detection array. They were planned to be “off the air” with their primary system for no more than twenty minutes. It was no cause for concern, however, since layering was the watchword at the base. Even the detection station had a fully available spare system – to maintain coverage should a failure occur; or, as in this case, when one of the stations was down for maintenance.

Switching systems was a relatively simple task, as a single pushbutton control from the front panel assembly activated optical switches and routed the second system to the antenna array – not unlike the freight yard switching of old Earth.

But what Boyd didn’t know was that Granz had pushed the switch control twice, and had set up a “monitor” for the second system. Which meant that no power was being transmitted by the antenna – rather it was looped back around into the receiver of the second system. The result was a normal display and readout. No threats were detected.

But the CAF wasn’t even reliant on the duplicate systems inside the Ilyria complex. Seathopia was – for the first time – acting as a secondary detector for the Ilyrian zone.

Granz had no knowledge of what was happening in the world of the aliens. He didn’t know when the aliens would fly into the planet’s atmosphere and invade at one place or another. He just knew they would be here sooner or later.

And today, it was sooner.

1324 hours…

The commlink came to life as the operator from Seathopia frantically called her counterparts at Ilyria.

Granz was still inside the access panel of the first system working on the beam current focus of the transmitter when the call came in.

“Ilyria – don’t you see it??”

Jim Boyd keyed his transmit panel and responded.

“Seathopia, be advised our system is showing normal returns. We do not, repeat, not have a target in our area.”

“Ilyria, you’ve got to see it! Signal strength is approximately 34 decibels, and code algorithms have an error probability of ten to the negative ninth. Second system here coming online to confirm. Recommend Alert aircraft be launched at your station.”


Jim was a bit puzzled, but not panicking. False returns had been a problem, and the crew at Seathopia was new… but that algorithm lock …what did she say…“Ten to the negative ninth??”...a less than one-billionth of a chance for an error? The only way that was possible is if one of the aliens were landing right on top of the base itself…

He pressed the transmit panel.

“Seathopia, I suspect you are locking onto our transmit signal. Stand by – setting system two to monitor. Confirm algorithm lock in ten seconds…”

Boyd pressed the control for the optical switches. Instead of setting system two into a monitor mode (which it already was), the system obediently went into standby mode.

Which meant that system one would go to “online” mode.

The system Granz was working on.

With the beam current panel open.

Granz didn’t see the flash arc that occurred. He didn’t see much of anything, as the system immediately shutdown. Had he lived, he would have appreciated the irony of his actions. In discrediting the Seathopia station, and at the same time losing his own life, he had served his home state of Patria in a way Pavel Gryth could have scarcely hoped for.

Not that any of that mattered to Jim Boyd right now.

Boyd reacted almost immediately when he realized that system one had shutdown and system two was in standby. He had, with the press of one button, left the CAF home base with absolutely no radar detection capabilities. Once he realized that, his training kicked in. He hit the Alert button and the two Raptor interceptors at the base were being launched. They would provide radar coverage while the base radar was restored.

Once the alert was confirmed, Boyd fed a card key into a reader and opened a plastic cover.

“FRANK??!??”

Pressing the button it exposed, Boyd shut all electrical power to the radar systems off.

“FRANK!!???”

He ducked back into the transmitter room and stopped in his tracks when he saw the body slumped over the access panel.

1329 hours…onboard Raptor One…

“Raptor One, control. Base radar failure. Climb to 4000 and illuminate. Raptor Two, control. Climb to 12000 and illuminate.”


Steve Patrick replied.

“Raptor One – roger…illuminating…”

He heard his wingman, Andy Shaffer, confirm the order as well as Shaffer climbed to a higher altitude. Shaffer never got there.

Once Patrick’s radar was operating and synchronized with his onboard computers, his threat display chimed out a warning.

“Contact! Bearing 225, heading 090 at 800.”

Shaffer illuminated at 6,000 and also confirmed the alien craft.

1736 hours…en route to crash site Foxtrot…

With their ground team leader hospitalized, Peter Simpson was leading his first ground mission. He wasn’t too concerned about the odd nature of the detection. The Raptors had easily downed the alien, and he was leading what would be a textbook clean-up mission. He was glad to have Olaf Skufal back with them. Skufal was one of the first ground team members. He was wounded on the very first mission into the diamond mine in the ice. Simpson and Skufal were friends, and Simpson was sure Skufal’s luck would be better this time out.

Simpson was less happy about their new member. Brian Edwards had been a bit of a klutz when he arrived, and had been left behind on all of the missions so far. He did have to, however, get some experience on a mission, so he was here today.

Simpson keyed his mike and spoke.

“Okay, gentlemen, let’s get these bastards today. Everyone comes back unhurt. We clean up and get home. Roger that?”

All of the members responded, even Daniels in his AFV. Daniels was Simpson’s real security blanket. Daniels would scout, and had done so brilliantly on all of the previous missions. Simpson only hoped Daniels’ luck held out.

1739 hours…crash site Foxtrot…

Simpson keyed his mike again.

“Daniels – take a peek. Edwards, sit tight. You just stick with me, okay?”

Edwards never looked up, but keyed his own mike.

“Roger, boss.”

The ramp lowered, and Daniels moved out. Immediately, he saw two aliens. He reported back to Simpson, who was watching a portable display of the AFV computer.

“Pete, looks like the aliens are those mind attackers. Remember those big muthas back in the mines?”

Simpson edged forward off of the ramp and threw a nerve gas canister at the first of the two aliens. They were far enough apart that one canister would not affect both of them. While the canister spewed its green cloud, the first alien didn’t seem to react. Simpson took a regular grenade and threw it at the second alien. It exploded, and a fraction of a second later, there was a second explosion.

Edwards was on the ramp with Simpson, and he was getting another grenade ready. Simpson was about to say something when the second alien charged Daniels and swung its giant arm at the AFV. Daniels reported some damage, but was able to hit the alien with his cannon shot. Edwards finally killed the alien with a shotgun blast.

Meanwhile, the first alien in the green cloud was still standing still. Skufal rounded the opposite side of the transport and began to move forward with Simpson. Stanton and Edwards stayed by the transport to keep guard.

Daniels started to move, but a third alien was found, and it rushed Daniels as well. This time, grenades from Simpson and Edwards slowed the creature and a rifle shot from Edwards finished the thing off.

Simpson was actually impressed with the shot.

“Nice shot, Edwards. You’re doing fine.”

Edwards, didn’t respond, but nodded and moved back to keep watch with Stanton.

Daniels moved out and Simpson and Skufal were behind him.

Edwards was looking the wrong way when the message was getting through to him to simply stop fighting. He shook his head and cleared his thoughts, just as a fourth alien was approaching him. He backpedaled to the transport, while Stanton sent a rocket flying harmlessly over the alien. The alien came on and Edwards managed to get two grenades on the thing. Edwards had managed to kill three aliens on his first mission.

Meanwhile, Daniels reported there was an alien ahead, but it was retreating into a corner passage. Suspecting a trap, Daniels stayed away from the passage, and his computer was able to scan and lock onto two additional aliens. Daniels, however, didn’t wait. He launched one of his own rockets and killed both aliens.

CAF Base Ilyria…

Simpson felt good. He visited Eva at the hospital ward, and filled her in on the mission, especially Edwards’ success.

CAF Base Seathopia…

Kelly Thorndale was relieved. She learned the mission was successfully completed with dead aliens and an intact ground team. She was happy that her report helped defeat the closest penetration to the CAF base area.

CAF Base Ilyria…
Command center…


Mr. Smith was reading the report on the radar system. An autopsy was being performed on the body of Frank Granz, but the initial cause of death – electrocution – seemed to be confirmed. Smith closed his eyes and reflected on how this day unfolded – and his team’s reaction to it. He knew there’d be days where the unexplainable happened, and the important part was how the team handled it.

The alien had been detected late, to be sure. But the interceptors and ground team performed flawlessly. Smith reasoned that the base had survived its first of what would be many such chaotic days. At least today, the enemy failed. Smith knew it when the emergency procedures worked as advertised; Steve Patrick and Andy Shaffer knew it when the alien ship fell to their missiles; Peter Simpson and his ground team knew it when the last artifact and alien body were recovered. Even Jim Boyd, saddened by the death of his friend had to admit the events of the day had ended favorably for the CAF.

They were all wrong…

< Message edited by Shadow of the Condor -- 6/1/2007 8:53:06 AM >


_____________________________

"Shouldn't we be leading the shark back to shore, instead of him leading us out to sea?"

(in reply to Shadow of the Condor)
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