This night had already been chaotic, with the uprising in the adjacent territory’s UGZ, the attack on the village, and the rapid movements of response forces, tired troops making mistakes and negotiations with displaced civilians…but these were headaches Lieutenant Von Metzeler had been taught about, if not necessarily the most experienced in dealing with. He had the knowledge that at the very least, little if any combat would be his problem tonight. Much of the war now was management of the damages and putting things back into place, like putting jars back onto a shelf after an earthquake after the ground ceased to shake. It was the sort of work that was tedious and boring but ultimately most necessary, though Von Metzeler found himself often gazing up at the night sky when his intervention was not indirectly called for, following the odd ghosts that flitted about under the stars.He didn’t do it very often, as he didn’t particularly like acknowledging their new presence in a world that had until recently been refreshingly absent of them. However, they had begun to act rather strangely. A long, serpentine shaped spirit appeared to be getting tugged toward the ground by some unseen current, and smaller spirits visibly twirled towards this same invisible sinking force. It was rather close by, too; only a half hour walk away or so. Von Metzeler didn’t like these spirits, but he was undeniably fond of mystery- he didn’t like not knowing things if he could investigate them, and as the night went on, he felt more and more drawn to it, until…Von Metzeler felt an odd feeling wash over and through him, and heard a bizarre sound from the direction of the otherworldly disturbance.POH.His knees weakened without warning, and Von Metzeler caught himself from stumbling, as his strength returned as quickly as it had queerly departed. He looked to the sky around the disturbance again, and it appeared…empty. The spirits fled, leaving the stars. Von Metzeler looked down again, and beheld the ground growing fainter- mist was fading into view, pooling up around him and the soldiers he was with, and rising steadily.
“Did you hear that?” one of the Ellowian soldiers under his command commented belatedly. “What was that?”Von Metzeler’s curiosity could be restrained no more. “I do not know,” he replied, then looked over the five soldiers with him. “You,” he pointed at a random one, “I am taking the others with me to go investigate that odd sound. Go to Lieutenant Wielzci and inform him that he is to take responsibility over this area until I return. If I do not return within an hour and a half or around that span of time, then he is to send the platoon to where I am investigating, over there.” He pointed. “Is that clear?”“Yes, sir.” The Ellowian nodded, and went off to inform his officer.Moving about the countryside with only four other soldiers could be called foolish when there were rumors of near one hundred insurgents wandering the territory, but Von Metzeler thought it not much a gamble anymore. The Netillians were well and truly alert, and if the insurgents were even still around, if they had any sense, they would have dispersed to avoid the ire of much better armed patrols. This assumption was buoyed by encountering a few other patrols of similar size- exchanging pass phrases, and being on each other’s way. An electric torch shone a path for them, as well. It wouldn’t be a good look then to be skulking about in the darkness trying not to be seen. Something was wrong. Von Metzeler had been in this territory for about a month, and he didn’t know everything about it, but he was rather sure that, in this patch of scraggly woods, there hadn’t been what appeared to be a village. None of the Ellowians were from around here, but Von Metzeler still felt the need to ask aloud, “Was this village always here?” It was a question asked of impotence; he already knew the answer. He was refusing to accept the possibility that it had just sprung out of nowhere. “Perhaps it was built in a day, but for what reason?” He went closer and shined his light on a cottage. It was pale stone, worn, in a style of house that could be ten years old or two hundred. “Built in a day? I don’t think so, sir.” An Ellowian walked up to the wall of the cottage and knocked on it. “Solid stone. And look,” he pointed to another part, “Stuff growing up and in between the bricks. Caked up dirt, dust…this place is old.”“Me and a few others’ve been around this place too, on patrol,” another rifleman added, “I’ve sure as hell never seen this place.”“Strange.” Von Metzeler frowned, then walked towards the side, “Perhaps looking inside will-““You can’t be here.” A slightly accented voice suddenly said.
Von Metzeler whipped the torch towards the voice, and three men in heavy cloaks were before him. They all had dull green hair, and tattoos on their faces. Von Metzeler was reminded of the one on the girl’s face they had met in Sosaldt. A fourth man sauntered up behind them, who was immense. They could have been two and a half meters tall, and half as broad, but he was so wrapped up in coverings that his form was impossible to discern for certain.Von Metzeler was not intimidated. He gave a signal for the Ellowians to ready their weapons, but they already had. “We are part of the Netillian Occupation forces, and this territory is our responsibility. We will not be leaving. Who are you?”The mountain man who spoke before did not bother answering the questions. “You have to leave,” he insisted instead, “Now.”Von Metzeler cleared his throat. “I can freely place you under arrest if I wish it. Most would think this sort of activity suspicious enough to do it immediately. Now, if you would-““You were leaving, good sir.” A voice that sounded like it was being spoken through metal tubes whispered next to Von Metzeler. He whipped around, and for a second saw a face obscured by a startlingly terrifying blackened metal mask of a devil, the rest of the tall, hunched over form obscured by billowing, ragged black rags.“Judge above!” Von Metzeler cried out as he reflexively pointed his sidearm, only to blink and be…somewhere else. He looked around- none of the men he had taken with him were around. Somehow, he was a good two hundred meters from the patch of woods he had been investigating. He was alone, save for…“Rondo!” Von Metzeler recognized Yva’s voice, and he turned to her fully. She was dressed as usual, but she was…far outside of where she should have been, and her face was set in deadly seriousness. “It’s dangerous here, you need to come with me, quickly.”“What are you doing outside of the UGZ?” Von Metzeler asked.“Later.” Yva said sternly, and took him by the wrist to lead him away. -----
You are Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, officer of panzers for the Archduchy of Strossvald, and part of said nation’s military mission to their neighbor and former rival, Netilland. You’d just come from a party, straight into a city fight; and were preparing to enter the mess to provide aid. Upon direct order of your superior in military command, you had come to reinforce the efforts of Netilland to both contain and snuff out this uprising with two tanks and a decent sized chunk of one of your Netillian Platoons. Additionally, you had brought Emma, your ethereal acquaintance- an invisible set of eyes would be handy in the close confines of urban ground, potentially deadly territory for armored troops as much as it was for normal soldiers, especially at night as it was. Granted, you had purposely picked a relatively clean and simple role, not necessarily to avoid danger, but to do your best to both satisfy your Netillian allies, while not frustrating the efforts your newest friends at the same time- the two were, after all, busy fighting it out as UGZ-07 rose up in revolt. Said role was to aid pioneers in clearing a major route through the UGZ, a line of communication for forces to break up the settlement in revolt and make the work of calming the whole affair down easier. There had been jobs to take more direct action, but you were wary of the objectives of the resistance that you would be indirectly aiding by not driving as hard as you could- they wanted to last a few days, and make this uprising a shining beacon to the Military Council of Netilland’s rivals. That required not being marginalized and defeated in the first night.This work required you to maintain a careful balance between the Netillian Army and the National Liberation Front of Ellowie. So, you were taking steps to disguise yourself. You had stumbled into the NLF’s underground staging area, as had Anya; they knew who you were. It wouldn’t do for anybody who had seen you to potentially spread around that you were a back stabber and were now fighting the Resistance. So you had gone to procure Netillian uniform jackets as well as face masks. You weren’t as concerned for yourself in the former as you were for Anya; she had quite a recognizable face. And a recognizable midriff.You had planned this out subtly with Anya in front of your infantry platoon’s commander, Lieutenant Kristoph. Ignorant of your split allegiances, he had no need to know the details of your plans.“Could you take care of passing out the other two Munitions Casters to your people, Lieutenant?” you asked of Kristoph, “The Sergeant and I need to take care of something. Our current costumes might prove confusing at a glance to our current companions, after all.”
“Oh, of course.” Kristoph said blankly. The good thing about the 1st company officers being young and green was that it made them impressionable. They were eager to learn, listen; though when it came time to act Kristoph in particular was impetuous. You went back towards your tank, and explained yourself quietly to Anya on the way. “My driver, Malachi, prefers to keep his face covered.” Anya had asked you why he did this plenty of times. You’d never asked, and she said when she inquired, Malachi had refused to answer. At least, in a comprehensible way. “You know this, but he keeps plenty of spare cloths and such in case his covers get damaged or dirty. I think it would be easy enough to borrow a few.”“…Y’know, I never thought about it,” Anya touched the long scar across her face, that slashed from one cheek to the other, just under her vibrant, green eyes, and gouging out a part of her nose. “It’s a funny thing to maybe be known for this. It’s cool, but also not great, if you get me.”“Not great?” you asked, “Is the part that’s not great enough for you to not want it?”“…I dunno. It’s part of who I am,” Anya ran her finger down the scar, “But at the same time, with how I got this, it’s sort of like being known for screwing up. I dunno. I guess, at the very least, it’s my screw up and not somebody else’s.” She thought for a few moments. “What do you think?”“About what?”“The scar. What do you think of it? I don’t usually ask people because they talk shit about it.” Anya said this roughly, but if she was asking you, you supposed it meant she didn’t expect you to talk shit, it seemed…>”It’s cool. Intimidating. A sign that you’ve been around and aren’t to be trifled with. Fitting for a skilled fighter.”>”It’s cute and sexy.” (Messing with her, of course. Unless you’re daffy.)>”It looks ugly and nasty. But you know that, don’t you? Isn’t that the answer you’d want?”>Other?Past Threads are collected here: https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnhTwitter for announcements and various horseshit is @scheissfunker
>>3629693I cant remember if Metzeler ever met Poltergeist, or was it only ever Richter>>3629763>”It’s cool. Intimidating. A sign that you’ve been around and aren’t to be trifled with. Fitting for a skilled fighter.”
>>3629763>I'd say it's very you. It speaks to your experience and acts as a physical sign that you’ve been around and aren’t to be trifled with.
>>3629763>>”It’s cool. Intimidating. A sign that you’ve been around and aren’t to be trifled with. Fitting for a skilled fighter.”Like a good dueling scar.>>3629687Spooky. Glad to know the wizards aren't supposed to meddle too much in worldly affairs, allegedly.
>>3629763>>”It’s cool. Intimidating. A sign that you’ve been around and aren’t to be trifled with. Fitting for a skilled fighter.”
>>3629763>”It’s cool. Intimidating. A sign that you’ve been around and aren’t to be trifled with. Fitting for a skilled fighter.”I'd also recommend we should lightly scratch our shrapnel scars and ask her opinion on them. >BULLSHIT WIZARDRYNOWHERE IS SAFE
Late I know but I'll tally these and see if I can't get something out. Maybe.Of course, it seems pretty unanimous, with the additional descriptors of->>3630124Dueling Scar!>>3630473Yours is cool, how're mine?>>3629822I cant remember if Metzeler ever met Poltergeist.Von Metzeler was around when Poltergeist was met, but hasn't ever really met him. Poltergeist has mostly kept his meetings mono a mono since, with the exception of womanlet bullying/delivery.Anyhow, writing.
>something out before I sleepWishful thinking. Update soon now though.
>>3629763>”It’s cool. Intimidating. A sign that you’ve been around and aren’t to be trifled with. Fitting for a skilled fighter.”
“Your scar is very you,” was your answer as you continued towards your tanks for the first part of your disguises, “It’s cool. Intimidating. A sign you’ve been through a rough existence and aren’t to be trifled with. Fitting for a skilled fighter. It’s like a dueling scar from a contest with the world, that you walked away from.”Anya smirked and tilted her chin up, like something had lifted her from the sky. “That’s a pretty damn poetic way of talking about an ugly ass face cut. You’re gonna make me blush.”The biting sarcasm was expected, but there had been some appreciation in it. Still. “Humility? From the great Anya?” you shot back. “How hard did you get hit in the head?”“Hey. Even I’m not so up my own ass that I’ll say I picked a fight with the world and won. At least, not until I actually do it.”“Clobbered pretty hard then,” you muttered, but you touched your own light scars on the side of your face, received what felt like ages ago. They were slight, thin, but highly preferable to the actual major injury you’d sustained once, which there was no trace of. “While we’re trading opinions on scars, what do you think of these? Are they a good accent? They’re small, but their story’s pretty memorable.” “Where’re they from?” Anya asked, coming closer and squinting, “Hard to see in the dark. Get under that light up there and I’ll look again.”“When I killed Selgess the Skull.” You’d told Anya about that before, and she knew the story well enough. You supposed the details of the scars slipped her mind, however. “He got a hit on my tank and it put spall into me.”“A hit from the big gun, yeah? Must have been a tough pile of junk to take that. When I saw it, it didn’t look damaged at all.” Anya observed, and you were thankful that you hadn’t ever shared the detail of the turret itself cracking apart…and bleeding.“The Model 32 B is quite sturdily built and armored after all…” you grit your teeth awkwardly at how you wouldn’t really be able to share any details about how that tank was…possessed. That was one boon of its absence, you supposed, to have the bizarre and unusual a bit further out of mind. Spirits and the supernatural were easier to compartmentalize when you didn’t have to worry about their intersection into the physical. When you got closer to the light of a flickering lamp, illuminating a small supply dump near the camp you departed from with a few Netillians rummaging through the lot, you paused for a moment and let Anya inspect your face. When she nodded, you moved along again. “Pretty light for a spall shower.”“I took more in my chest.” You recalled this with a wince; not only had the affair been painful, but were it not for lucky angles and buttons, shrapnel could very well have punctured your lungs or heart and killed you.
“Anyways, I think they’d be better if they were a bit bigger. Somebody could just say you cut yourself shaving or something with how small they are. I guess it keeps you pretty. Maybe the shrimp likes that better.” Maddalyn’s blindness wasn’t a widely known condition. “I’m talking like the ones on Hilda’s face right about here, you know?” she pointed below her eye, “A couple of small ones on the cheek. Big enough to be noticeable, not enough to fuck up your face. Like the one on the other side of her head. Where’d she go, anyways? She never stuck around me, haven’t seen her in a while.”You felt the corners of your mouth sink, and your eyes grow heavy. “She was very sick. I decided to send her away to get better away from the front.” You didn’t share your discovery of her pregnancy. Hilda represented many of your failures and mistakes you’d made in your times otherwise marked by adventure. You didn’t think you were ready to share those failures with the world, not right now, at least. Anya noticed your change of expression, and the small frown she returned with raised eyebrows made you wonder what she suspected. “Alright. Not right now, sure.” Anya was an odd creature when grown more familiar with. The needling and prodding many of your group found irritating from her was a quirk most thought unrelenting, when you spoke with people and they talked with you about the blonde mercenary. Yet that assumption would have been too convenient and simple compared to the truth.It wasn’t much further to your tanks, and when you arrived, you knocked on the back of the tank, and conveyed your request.“Don’t you have your kerchief and goggles?” Stein asked you. “That should be good enough.”“I wear them all the time. I want to be less recognizable for a night. And I want a spare set for Sergeant Nowicki.” You said.“Then give her yours?” Stein suggested.“Use his mask? The one he’s been wearing? I don’t want to be indirectly kissing fairy boy all night.” Anya sneered.“Mal has spares. Just bug him to hand them over,” you sighed.“Eya, Kommandehrrr wenstoh kessyeh,” you heard Jorgen cackle from inside as he squatted down from the basket to call to the front of the tank. Malachi said something back that was incomprehensible to you, but your loader laughed heartily in response. The mockery done, you received the wrappings and masks, and told your people to wait warmly while you procured Netillian uniforms.It was true that your tanks, as practically unique specimens, probably identified you better than your faces did, but they were easier to explain away. In the dark, as well, and the chaos of a fight, against militia, would anybody really know how special your tanks were anyways? With the new weaponry deployed by Netilland as it stood, your tanks could just as easily be Netillian as Valstener. Such a simple fiction could not be done with face and Strossvald uniform.
Getting fresh uniforms from the quartermaster of the nearby camp was something you figured would be impossible, and not timely, either. So your plan was far simpler- you’d just “rent” a couple of jackets off of rear line troopers. Their uniforms were indistinguishable, after all, and they’d miss them less. When you approached a few troopers for their jackets and field caps, though, for the price you offered, they simply told you to keep the clothes. You didn’t offer that much. When pressed for explanation, though one said that the one for Anya was free. Asking in jest where your discount was didn’t raise any hoots, unfortunately.Anya tossed you her jacket freely, and put on the new pieces once you were both away from the people you bought them from. “Phoo,” she coughed, “Is this a jacket or a pair of friggin’ socks? Or a pair of briefs? I dunno if I feel good about getting this for free with the smell of it.”Your pieces must have come off of a less odorous person, you thought. You leaned in towards Anya curiously.“…Are you smelling me?” Anya asked incredulously.“No, I’m smelling the former wearer of this jacket. Unless you’re the one that reeks.”“Smartass,” Anya grumbled. You noted that she didn’t button the jacket and wore it loosely off her shoulders. “What?” You gestured towards her clothes. “Yeah, I know, just messing with you.” She buttoned herself up. “I’m surprised you know how buttons work,” You were tempted to say, but Anya seemed to be in business now. Best that you adjust your attitude to match.-----A couple of pioneers linked up with you and led your tanks and partial platoon into the UGZ, down darkened roads and through abandoned gates and guard posts. Even though you were assured the territory up to the forward post was probably clear, knowing that there were underground tunnels unnerved you. Every dark window and alley could hold dozens in their shadows, and you stayed very, very low in the turret. It would have been most comforting to button up the tank and shut everything tight, but that would render you intolerably blind. Anya must have felt the same, as you noticed her hatch wasn’t shut, but you could tell that she was plenty cautious; you barely saw her round Netillian cap over the edge of the cupola. Her hair had been tucked under cloth wrappings and the hat; if she never left the tank, nobody would even know she wasn’t a man.The tightly wrapped face mask was a comforting barrier against the cold. It near made up for the itchy wool of the Netillian uniform. It was a cheaper sort of cloth than Strossvald’s uniforms, and the collar itched uncomfortably. Or perhaps that was because it wasn’t clean or new.
The Netillian troops marched cautiously in front and behind your tanks in staggered columns on each side of the road. They were a far cry from the green troops you’d initially met them as near a month ago- they weren’t quite seasoned soldiers, but with a little more experience, they’d have confidence in their stride and would know the general field of battle well enough to not have the discomfort of a raw recruit running through it. The two squads up front both had Munitions Casters, lightly held in the hands of the most trustworthy, appointed by the squad leaders. The third was with Anya in her tank, presumably. If you had to fight, she might have to fire that from the tank rather than using the cannon. You hoped that would be unlikely, though, with your choice of task.The Pioneers weren’t nearly as tense as your riflemen were, at least. Nothing was encountered the whole way, so their relaxed posture turned out well for them. The forward outpost was a smoky, stained stone lined basement under a building that had half fallen apart; a platoon headquarters had been set up, from the looks of it, with engineering equipment and explosives strewn all over the place. Very dangerous; but from the look of things, they hadn’t been there for all that long, and perhaps hadn’t drawn the attention of the Resistance. A lamp with a makeshift heavy shade lit up the floor but little else, dull orange light warming the subterranean space like the glow of a red hot gun barrel.You went by yourself, leaving everybody else up top, to an officer who could be identified by their shoulder boards- a Lieutenant, it appeared. He was a scruffy sort, with a heavy shadow on his chin and upper lip, and looked like what one would describe as “trouble.” He was given a brief and to the point introduction of yourselves and why you were all here, and he gave you a blank look; you thought to repeat yourself, when he suddenly lit up.“Oh, yeah. You guys. Who were coming here. You’re here, yeah.” Was he intoxicated? “Anyways. We gotta…blow a few things in the way…down. Didn’t think you’d come here but, we can use you. Yeah. To get close. Because there’s stuff around them, people near…Had a few ideas. Yeah. Only had ten pioneers, told them, can’t do this whole thing with only ten, they said, maybe send some help…well, here it is, I guess. Yeah.”“I am here to help you and your men,” you felt the need to repeat yourself. “Yeah I know. The idea was…well, if we try and get close, they got people sniping at us. So it’s too dangerous to try and set up. We don’t really got enough people to go out and get the people covering the blockages, so I figured, we set up a bit of a…wagon, see.” The Lieutenant, who still hadn’t told you his name, swirled his hand vaguely upward. “Wagon with a…thing. So you can push it in. Can see how that works. It don’t, guess we do it the hard way…guess it’s not so hard with help.”
You squinted at the scruffy officer. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re speaking like I do.” An exasperated expression was given to the other three people in the basement. “Can I hear from any of you? I don’t want to occupy the Lieutenant if he’s busy, after all…”A staff officer gestured to you to come over. “You’re wasting your time,” he said before you were all the way over, “Frejik can be beat when it comes to making a bomb or getting something knocked down, but he’s always fucking doped up on anything from morphine to actual fucking poison.”“Try it sometime,” Lieutenant Frejik offered idly.The staff officer shot an irritated glare at the junkie engineer, and shook his head. “Anyways.” He led you over to a wall with a map taped to the wall haphazardly. “Most of this map is useless. The process of turning this into a UGZ and the shit that’s been going on means that most of these ways are blocked up, some buildings are gone, and there’s places blocked off by sectioning walls. There’s one thing that’s definitely still the same, though.” He pointed to a slightly crooked dark line cutting across town. “This road here. Two lanes, good for pretty much any vehicle coming through. It’s been in some disuse, but it’d still be good. Most importantly, it’s decently wide so it won’t be claustrophobic knife fighting coming off it. Air recon says it’s been blocked up in three places, and we’re supposed to clear the way out. Ideally, we’d have a lot more support, but command wants to prioritize taking back the central garrison headquarters, so we just have to make do.”Much better. “What are the blockages?” you asked, “The type of barricade, that is.”“Stray vehicles, construction materials, junk, really. But enough of it that a typical breaching torpedo won’t be enough. We need to use bigger if we’re going to clear this out in a timely manner, and without bulldozers or excavators. Like I said, Frejik knows his way around explosives. He’s managed to rig up a device that’ll work like a big breaching torpedo, and it shouldn’t make a big nasty crater, since it’s shaped a certain way. Frejik doesn’t bother explaining it, you see. We just need a way to push it into place, and in case it wasn’t clear, contact is too heavy out there for us to get close. It’s hard enough keeping a proper perimeter, I’m hearing from those around us.”
“I have brought two tanks and around fifty soldiers, what place would we have in helping this?” you asked. You already had an idea, but you’d rather not assume.“Your tanks are big armored boxes. The bomb’s on a wagon with four wheels. The idea was pretty simple, really. You use your tank to push the device into the obstruction, where we can set it off from afar. Easy, no?”>You aren’t really comfortable having you or somebody else shove around a big wagon of explosives. You’d rather take this slow and easy, and have your troops clear the way for the engineers. Conventionally.>The best sort of plan. Quick, dirty, not requiring particular thought. You could go for it.>That would be alright, but couldn’t you just shoot holes in the obstacles with high explosive shells? It would expend a lot of ammunition, but would probably be safest…>You had a better idea of how to do this. (What?)>Other?
>>3633546>You aren’t really comfortable having you or somebody else shove around a big wagon of explosives. You’d rather take this slow and easy, and have your troops clear the way for the engineers. Conventionally.No, no no no. No. We are not sticking a big pile of explosives next to the nice tank. We will clear the way WITH the tanks so the stoners can blow it up.Tanks and troopers lead the way and take our time.We want slow for the NLF, and we want safe for us.If only we had the automated tank still...
>>3633632And to make this more clear, we should use the tanks to make the area around the barricades inimical to human life if it is such a problem to drag that stuff over there. If that means knocking out every possible rebel safe space then so be it. One Molotov cocktail on a demo wagon and we are goners.
>>3633546>You aren’t really comfortable having you or somebody else shove around a big wagon of explosives. You’d rather take this slow and easy, and have your troops clear the way for the engineers. Conventionally.
>>3633546>>You aren’t really comfortable having you or somebody else shove around a big wagon of explosives. You’d rather take this slow and easy, and have your troops clear the way for the engineers. Conventionally.
I return.>>3633632>>3634303>>3634353>>3634550>>3634553Keep the explosives at a safe distance, please. Definitely so we can't do this as slowly as possible.Writing.
“I don’t think I’m comfortable having myself or my crews so near something that could blow us to the moon,” you said dully, not savoring such a danger especially without the m/32’s golden armor. “We’ll do this slow and easy, conventionally. Let everybody do what they know how to do instead of trying anything experimental.”“HQ wanted this done quick.” The staff officer said.“We’re doing it safely no matter what your superiors say,” you maintained stubbornly, “As long as the road gets clear, it doesn’t matter in the end if we do it in a few minutes or a day, yes?”The staff officer shrugged, thought, then shrugged again. “Guess if less people get shot in this crap hole, then who cares. Case you couldn’t tell you’re more in charge than L-T huff n’ puff.”Such was official, then. In that case, you’d not mind being as ponderous as possible; hopefully the NLF would appreciate your consideration for their objectives. Though if you were to acquiesce to the NLF’s plans to drag this out, would that mean you and your people would have to be in the city for all of it? Or would you be relieved as other units were freed up? You certainly hoped the latter would at the most happen after a day, but even then, you and the others would be pulling an all-nighter, in combat. Utterly exhausting. You’d heard plenty about people fighting in frontline combat for days, even weeks, with little if any sleep as a result, but you weren’t prepared to have that first experience here of all places, where the lines were porous and nowhere could be truly safe, not even the inside of your tank.Your sleep was a small sacrifice for being able to balance between conqueror and resistance, but if it was a deciding factor in whether you lived or died, you weren’t sure how to feel about it.
“If the current perimeter is already overstretched, then my forces and I will secure each barricade in turn, which will let you do your work,” you said, examining the map. “The main effort is north, so that should keep the…insurgents, from attacking in force here. So we should only have to clear them out of their hiding places over and on the road, and not need to fan out too much. That should be simple enough for near fifty soldiers.” From how the map was marked, the first obstruction was only around sixty to eighty meters forward. Still a lot of ground to cover in a city, but not very far to push out from friendly lines. “When we have a path cleared, I’ll send a runner back to tell you.”“I understand.” The staff officer gave a small salute, “I’ll have everybody ready to move when that happens, sir, er…”“Coordinator.” It was a bit a phony rank but it held so much more sway than Lieutenant, especially when it set you on a level field to the junkie, regardless of his supposed skill with explosives.“Coordinator, sir.” As he said it, you had to admit to yourself that the name was growing on you a bit over the past month.It wasn’t quite on the level of Kommandant, however…-----You briefed Anya, Kristoph, and the squad leaders and their assistants on the coming situation.“Remember that this is an urban center with civilians around,” you advised, “Try to avoid use of explosive weapons in spaces noncombatants could be hiding. However, insurgents will probably not be in a uniform, so watch out for anybody carrying weapons. Standard rules of engagement apply. Ellowian civilians are not allowed to carry firearms, any who are will be considered combatants to be shot upon sight. Also mind the insurgents’ recruitment standards. Don’t think you can be too careful.”Said recruitment standards was a reference to the use of child soldiers, which you did know were below, at least, though it seemed the NLF was preferring to use them in the capacity of rear line troops and guards rather than proper fighters. If their objective was to delay, then perhaps they would not use them? If you thought about it, though, could you really say you had an aversion to killing children?...It was rather ugly to say it like that, wasn’t it…“With the environment in mind,” you resumed, “Should you be unable to identify a target that is shooting from a window or the like, if you use a munitions caster to deal with them, use tear gas instead of high explosive shot. I would rather keep civilian casualties to a minimum.”“Who cares?” One of the squad leaders asked with little tact, “They’re dirty lowlanders. They rose up in the first place, who’s to say they’re not working with the armed people? Just sneaking around and counting on being protected by our mercy?”
“Follow my command.” You snapped. “Are there any other concerns not related to adhering to your own military’s rules of engagement?”There was naught, though Anya spoke up. “The Munitions Casters,” she held out her own in front of her, “Do you and your people know how to use them?”“Point and shoot?” One squad leader asked rhetorically.“Not with anybody in front. See this?” She pointed to a port on the lower front of the squat weapon, “When you shoot a shell, extra energy and gas goes out that way. If anybody’s too close to all the shit being spewed out of that, they could get hurt. So be careful. Got it?”A few of the leaders came forward to get a closer look, but it was simple enough to comprehend.“Also,” Anya continued, “We don’t want these blokes we’ll be fighting to know somebody as important as the Coordinator’s fighting here, or else he might become a target with how many listening ears there might be. Will be. So don’t go shoutin’ your head off for Von Tracht or Coordinator.”“What do we say instead?” Kristoph asked.Anya thought for a moment. “B-G.”“B-G?” you asked, “Does that stand for something?”“Butt grabber.”…You should probably go over how you intended to have the troops arranged for your advance rather than linger any further on that..>You were wary of anything striking at your most potent equipment. Fan out the squads to the flanks and rear of the tanks, with the tanks going down the road and engaging threats that revealed themselves. No going into alleys or buildings.>Keep the tanks back, in the rear of the troops. One squad each out of your three total can make their way down the road, clearing out each building on the flank and alley as they go, while the third keeps to the road. The tanks will be more a way to keep enemies out of the open.>The resistance lack proper anti-tank weapons; you would be best served by using your tanks as makeshift shields, leading the way with their armor and powerful weaponry. It could also be a good show of force to perhaps dissuade combat in the first place.>Other plan of action/concerns?Also->You’d prefer a different alias. Propose your own idea. (What will it be?)>Ignore this blatant attempt to provoke you. B-G will be fine, of course.>Point out that you haven’t acted in a way to deserve that moniker. Ask for an alternative from your Retinue.>Other?Real bad delay, I know. I apologize.
>>3636293>Keep the tanks back, in the rear of the troops. One squad each out of your three total can make their way down the road, clearing out each building on the flank and alley as they go, while the third keeps to the road. The tanks will be more a way to keep enemies out of the open.I'd say it is less to keep them out of the open and more to prevent them from ambushing us on the way back and to keep our guns ready for any targets the infantry identify. Our tanks stand by when the fireworks go off and promptly plug up the problem.>Other plan of action/concerns?I don't think the insurgents will just give up if we show up in tanks, they were prepared to do this even without anti-tank weapons.Stress the cautious nature of this operation, especially to Kristoph (and it's not even because we want to go slow for the NLF anyways.). We're fighting at night, in enemy territory and they know we're coming. Don't be afraid to call out targets for the tanks to take care of.>Point out that you haven’t acted (((((WITH HER))))) in a way to deserve that moniker. Ask for an alternative from your Retinue.Too funny to ignore. Push the big red button.
>>3636293>>Keep the tanks back, in the rear of the troops. One squad each out of your three total can make their way down the road, clearing out each building on the flank and alley as they go, while the third keeps to the road. The tanks will be more a way to keep enemies out of the open.
>>3636293>>Keep the tanks back, in the rear of the troops. One squad each out of your three total can make their way down the road, clearing out each building on the flank and alley as they go, while the third keeps to the road. The tanks will be more a way to keep enemies out of the open.>You’d prefer a different alias. Propose your own idea. How about Cyclops since Signy isn't around.
>>3636293>>The resistance lack proper anti-tank weapons; you would be best served by using your tanks as makeshift shields, leading the way with their armor and powerful weaponry. It could also be a good show of force to perhaps dissuade combat in the first place.The biggest threat is enemy snipers picking off our troops and forcing them into cover, and if our tanks are way in the rear the infantry can't communicate to them where they're being engaged from. If the infantry are close to the tank they can immediately take cover and direct the crew to suppress the source of the fire.
>>3636293>Keep the tanks back, in the rear of the troops. One squad each out of your three total can make their way down the road, clearing out each building on the flank and alley as they go, while the third keeps to the road. The tanks will be more a way to keep enemies out of the open.>You’d prefer a different alias. Propose your own idea. (What will it be?)Just Boss is enough.
>>3636293>>You were wary of anything striking at your most potent equipment. Fan out the squads to the flanks and rear of the tanks, with the tanks going down the road and engaging threats that revealed themselves. No going into alleys or buildings.I like the hanging back idea but as already stated, it's dark and our visibility confined to our cupolas is our biggest handicap. If these guys lack proper AT weaponry they're not going to dream of attacking us from the front, they're going to use the cover of the darkness to hit us in the back with something we aren't expecting, better to have the infantry cover that blindspot and keep our guns to front imo>Other plan of action/concerns?Ask the engineers if they have any flares handy, they might be useful for flushing out an enemy exploiting the darkness>You’d prefer a different alias. Propose your own idea. (What will it be?)Green Leader, nice and simple
I am here.>>3636467>>3636682>>3636785>>3637270Tanks at the back, slow and steady.>>3637263Tanks up front, we are bunkers.>>3637481Form a bubble. A bubble wrap of meat.Other considerations will be noted. And preferred names. Will Anya allow any of them? We'll see.Writing after I make myself food.
>>3639158>Tanks at the back, slow and steady.+1. Just like old-times, eh?
You thought of the formation you wanted, but you had to address your code name first.“I haven’t acted with you in a manner that befits that moniker,” you sulked aloud, “I’m taking a different one. How about…Cyclops? Or Green Leader?”“Why in the hell would anybody call you Cyclops?” Anya squinted at you, her brows being one of the few expressions visible under her masking.“Why indeed?” you led on, hoping to make a small point for a name that wasn’t butt grabber.“And Green Leader? What, because we’re wearing green?” “Names like this don’t have to be literal or particularly descriptive…” you grumbled irritably, “What was one of the Iron Hogs? Illger the Phoenix?”“Illger the Cockroach,” Anya corrected, “Because he doesn’t goddamn die. I would have called him Knife Nose anyways. How about just Boss, if you don’t want shit stuck on you?”“Boss is good.” You were thinking of that being an alternative anyways. Some of your crew called you that, it would hardly be a new title. “Our order of march will go as thus. Kristoph, have your first squad stay on the road, in front of the tanks. Their job will be to engage anything on or around the road until the tanks can dispatch the threat. The second and third squads will respectively fan out to each flank and clear each building or alleyway as we go along, so that we can make certain no holdouts will be left covered up one we send the Pioneers in. Remember, Kristoph,” your eyes flicked to the excitable Lieutenant in particular, “This is no place for glory seeking. Be careful above all other things. It’s too dark, too claustrophobic, and too deep in unknown territory to barge through everything like a bull in a Zhantao dishware shop, alright? For the people in the center, don’t get too far away from the tanks, or you can’t use us as cover or tell us where you’re being shot at from. Don’t stand too close to the front of the cannons, either, when we’re engaged. The pressure from it firing can hurt you. Is that understood?”The infantrymen nodded in the affirmative, but you prompted them to vocalize their understanding afterwards. Then Kristoph was made to repeat your directives- you couldn’t be too sure.“Good.” You could be satisfied for the moment, “I’m going to ask the Pioneers if they have any hand flares we can take off of them. Two electric torches per squad may not be enough, and the flare pistol is for signaling, so to fill in any gaps I’ll try for those. Go on and get in position for when I return, though.”-----
The Pioneers did have flares, and didn’t take much convincing to share. The boon could be seen in every other trooper’s belt as you all marched out to the picket lines before a sharp command from you broke everybody apart. Lieutenant Kristoph’s runners went with their respective squads, while the officer himself and his senior NCO remained with the first, slightly in front of and between you and Anya’s tanks. You expected objections to your incursion in little time, but for now, the only sounds were that of fighting elsewhere in the UGZ, faint as it traveled through and over the surrounding buildings, and the rumbling of tank engine, the crackle of tread on asphalt. It was difficult to keep an ear tuned for disturbances- once bullets started flying, you knew you’d feel better, but now……What were you doing again? You blinked, and for a moment, you felt like you had just woken up. You were in UGZ-07, to your left was Anya, and to your right, a dark alleyway, about ten meters away. For some reason, the formation was stopped. You couldn’t remember why- you didn’t remember zoning out, you had been completely focused, but-Something moved.Without thinking, your hand had snapped up, electric torch held tightly, and you flicked it on into the alley. There was a small, short figure standing down there, who jumped and froze when you passed the light over them. Was that a girl, or a boy? A girl, something told you from…somewhere. For some reason you were awfully certain of that. They had short black hair, and a floppy cap pulled down over their eyes, and a thick, loose sweater- in their arms they had a satchel of some sort- a canvas bag that wouldn’t be unusual at all for somebody to be carrying, but held so tightly?They started walking forward, steadily, then more quickly.>Warn them to stop.>Kristoph and his senior NCO were right by you- tell them to apprehend this suspicious person.>Fire a warning shot with your sidearm.>Other?
>>3639880>Fire a warning shot with your sidearm.
>>3639880>>Fire a warning shot with your sidearm.If that don't stop 'em then they aren't running groceries. Trance flickering is going to get us killed.
>>3639880>>Fire a warning shot with your sidearm.
>>3639901>>3639935>>3640014Give them the rooty tooty point and shooty.Writing then. I'm surprised it wasn't written in to shoot them.
Best to be safe. You pulled your sidearm out of its holster at its waist, a near archaic looking standard issue revolver, and pointed it at the ground near the adolescent, whose pace was quickening. With a swift pow and a flash of light from the end of your revolver, you sent a single shot into the ground near the suspicious young one’s feet. It wasn’t hard to miss, though you had tried for speed rather than a convincing miss. Regardless, it was enough. The scamp gasped, made a little shriek, and tripped over their feet, falling over. The satchel tumbled forward from their hands. They scrambled to their feet and nearly took off without their bag, but turned back and snatched it up before fleeing into the alley. You had thought about firing a second shot, but when it became clear they were fleeing back whence they came, you reconsidered. For all you knew the kid had been carrying groceries. There were stores in the UGZs, sparsely stocked as they were. Though you would have liked the kid to have abandoned their satchel so you could know for certain what they were carrying. “The hell was that, Boss?” Lieutenant Kristoph complained from up front, “Just popping off shots out of nowhere, gonna make me jump outta my skin how things are now…”“There was a suspicious person, I scared them off with a warning shot.” You explained. When you saw a few Netillian soldiers up front along the sides of the road looking back warily, you gave them an all clear hand signal. They were trusting enough to turn back the proper way.“Maybe say a warning next time instead of just…” Kristoph whined.“There was no time.” You holstered your smoking gun after decocking it safely, turning the cylinder about and slotting a new round into the spent chamber after knocking the old brass out the back. “I’ll speak up while shooting if it looks like something serious.”
What were you waiting for, you wondered. You were tempted to ask, but considering that it hopefully hadn’t been very long since you likely ordered the halt, you didn’t want to look like you’d taken leave of your senses. These green troops respected you as a leader and a capable commander, and there was no need to harm that image, not in the thick of a fight certainly. Thankfully, salvation arrived before the wait became agonizing, in the form of one of the platoon’s runners.“Third squad’s cleaned out the place,” he announced to Kristoph, “That place was bigger than you’d think.”“Did you find anything?” you asked.The runner looked up to you, and shook his head. “About a dozen people. We frisked ‘em, didn’t find squat. Do we have to detain them?”You weren’t sure about that. As far as you knew, it wasn’t a part of your objectives. There probably weren’t even enough people around at the moment to properly watch over the quantity of civilians that would be found in an Ubergangszentrum, and you certainly didn’t have the resources to do your duties while also escorting civilians to the rear. Yet, wouldn’t most of them be potential collaborators, given the conditions of their confinement, latent nationalism, and that fighters sympathetic to their cause were actively fighting near them?>Perhaps it was wrong to simply let them be, but what options did you have? Leave them alone and move on.>You could afford to split your forces some. Break off a team from the center group to lead civilians back to Netillian lines.>Have the troops tell the civilians to move towards the rear or risk consequences. Would they listen to those commands? Likely not, but they couldn’t stay within your operations area or near it.>Other?
>>3640305>>Have the troops tell the civilians to move towards the rear or risk consequences. Would they listen to those commands? Likely not, but they couldn’t stay within your operations area or near it.yet>Perhaps it was wrong to simply let them be, but what options did you have? Leave them alone and move on.Shits about to get poppin' they've been warned.
>>3640305>>Have the troops tell the civilians to move towards the rear or risk consequences. Would they listen to those commands? Likely not, but they couldn’t stay within your operations area or near it.
>>3640305>Have the troops tell the civilians to move towards the rear or risk consequences. Would they listen to those commands? Likely not, but they couldn’t stay within your operations area or near it.
>>3640305>>Perhaps it was wrong to simply let them be, but what options did you have? Leave them alone and move on.
Move, or else...>>3640439>>3640452>>3640618>>3640659>>3641034...we'll be upset!>>3640439>>3640709...we'll do nothing.Writing.
“Don’t detain them,” you said for Kristoph, “Direct them to the rear, away from the area of operations. They can’t stay in the way.”“What if they say no?” the runner asked. “Cause they seemed inclined to that.”“Then threaten them with the consequences.”“Like what? Be named collaborators on the spot?”“Uh.” That wouldn’t endear you to the Ellowians at all. Those suspected of collaboration were sent to prison camps without question, and if times were bad enough, you’d heard of them being executed on the spot. More restraint would have to be showed than that. Your people of Strossvald might not have had any particular feelings towards Ellowians, but between them and Netilland there were generations of deep seated resentment. No need to test that. “If the threat of being harmed by collateral damage isn’t enough to sway them, then so be it. Our hands are washed of it if they refuse to put themselves out of danger’s way.”“And if they turn out to be collaborators?” Kristoph asked your counsel. “Then show restraint in how you deal with them.” Every step as though you balanced on a bar. “Let us not delay any longer.” You checked your watch in the interior lamplight of the tank. Near an hour until midnight already. “The sooner we finish the sooner we might be able to rest.” A hopeful prediction, though if you were compelled to stay, depending on when more support arrived…or, the more concerning possibility, if reinforcement arrived, then if you were to aid indirectly with the NLF’s objectives, you would have scant time to rest for days. Every passing hour reducing the efficiency of your troops, while with the resistance fighting a guerilla war, they lacked the tactical necessity of maintaining alertness.Hopefully, there would be replacements for you as the people you were aiding had replaced their other company in the main effort.Idleness led to the mind wandering further, as you huddled within the tank for a moment. Your intelligence suggested a cell of near one hundred fighters arriving. Even so, that was not counting, apparently, those who had executed the uprising. How many recruits were drawn up by the NLF from the UGZ itself? They wouldn’t be lacking for at least decently capable volunteers; in its final years, Ellowie made basic military training a requirement for all of its citizens. Parts of Strossvald did the same thing, but you had heard that Ellowie predicted its manpower problems to be so dire it prepared to conscript women, which would have been unthinkable back in the Archduchy. How well that policy had been implemented was unknown to you, but it did mean that there was a fair chance that the insurgency would find plenty of potential recruits in a UGZ that had risen up.
Yet even with the boost to manpower, what of sustenance? The UGZs were not self-sufficient, they required quite large shipments of food and potable water, even for relatively sparse rationing. Such supplies were now cut off. Even for the few days the resistance planned to bite and hold, did they have the supplies? Did the aid they received from their secret benefactors include basic supplies in addition to weapons and ammunition? The vaunted small tanks smuggled in could not feed anybody, after all. If the Netillian cared nothing for their new subjects, they could form a wall around the perimeter and starve the place out in relatively short order, but whether it was because of politics or compassion, that brutal plan was not being followed…yet.No significant contact yet. Reports from the runners said there were signs fighters had been around, from hastily prepared positions, leavings of abandoned outposts, brass casings from rounds fired earlier but not picked up. Was your show of force enough to drive away the snipers that had been keeping the Pioneers off of the obstacles? That sharpshooters had been around was more than enough to make you sink low into your tank and smash your cap and headset down against your head. Your Strossvald cap had been replaced with a Netillian one for tonight, but you would not have appreciated the extra height of the former’s horsehair tuft at all.“Hey, Boss,” Anya’s voice came over the platoon wireless, which you had on instead of the intercom for now. “I’m willing to bet they’re either gonna hit us at the barricade, or wait until the second one for more people to come over.”“For more people to come over?” you replied inquisitively, “What makes you think that? We can’t hear much of it, but 2nd Company sounds quite busy up north.”“Boss, think how they’d want to do it. If you want to keep fighting a long time, would you put your best strength against your enemy’s best strength? They don’t have to keep a line, or hold for hours, or whatever. They can duck in whenever they want and hit somewhere soft whenever they want to. We gotta be ready for that, even if it doesn’t end up happening that way.”“Alright. How would you act in the enemy’s place, then?” you asked. This might not have been the best place or time for this talk, but you trusted Anya’s instincts; she must have thought that you were at least relatively safe. “There’s a block in the road up ahead, right? Three of them, if the planes saw right. That means, no matter what, we have to stop at each one until the Pioneers clear them out. Fighting us along the way to each one is pointless, we’ve got the power to take them on, we just got here, basically, and they won’t have had much time to think of a plan or get ready to deal with us."
"So if I were them," Anya continued explaining, "I’d fuck with you a bit at the first barricade one the diggers come, maybe not, depending on how well we secure things. Then I’d try and gather up what I could to hit you as hard as I could at the second barricade. Maybe even try and hit you from the front and back, since we’ll be pretty far from our lines at that point. Like chopping a link of sausage off to eat it for breakfast.”“So if we cleared out the surrounding area, we could potentially avoid molestation?” you posited.“Not necessarily. There’s plenty of people without guns that can do just as much harm by just walking around and talking. These people hate us, at least, they hate the uniform we’re wearing. You can’t totally control a place where you’re surrounded by enemies if you aren’t gonna shoot every last one.” “I see. And if you were planning against that exact copy of yourself thinking as the enemy, what would you have us do?”“The blockades only keep the tanks from passing through. If we’re bold enough, we just go right over them and see how ready these guys are for us to charge them. If we want to be slow as molasses, we just hold our ground until somebody occupies our positions. That’d be pretty dickless if you ask me, but if we’re feeling like being extra safe…”You presumed that Anya was talking like that to keep anybody listening in on the frequency from knowing that you might go along with the resistance’s plans of stringing out the battle for as long as possible. Of course, that was part of your goals, but then, your minimal efforts probably wouldn’t garner much reward from your Netillian overseers…>Hitting the foe before they were ready sounded appealing- and striking them off balance here might dissuade more trouble from being attracted in your direction. Don’t match strength against strength, after all.>You preferred to be slow and safe. If you were attacked, then you’d be in the best position to receive it by keeping as cautious as possible, and it would ultimately help the NLF the most as well.>Ask Lieutenant Kristoph what he wants to do. He’s the commander of the infantry, after all.>Other?Also->If you go on the offensive, will you disembark from the tank and join it? Who will you take with you? (Though the tanks should remain at least minimally crewed)Game is on today, there'll be a hefty delay for this update, if I manage to update again today at all.
>>3642439To begin with>>Ask Lieutenant Kristoph what he wants to do. He’s the commander of the infantry, after all.While we're taking a break from doing Coordinator stuff, let's get everybody weighing in and see what we get out of it. I really dislike the idea of having them come to us. Either scenario, I don't see us getting out of this without killing some NLF guys. Naturally, we've got our own asses to worry about too, as already stated: Worst possible conditions for tank fighting and all that.I say we do as Anya says, be swift and hope to catch them before they're ready, maybe break them early. The sooner we smack the bastards and demo the roadblocks, the sooner we're out of here and less chance of a protracted fight developing that could potentially end up hurting both sides more than intended.Then, after Kristoph has shared his piece>Hitting the foe before they were ready sounded appealing- and striking them off balance here might dissuade more trouble from being attracted in your direction. Don’t match strength against strength, after all.>If you go on the offensive, will you disembark from the tank and join it? Who will you take with you? (Though the tanks should remain at least minimally crewed)Against pulling any non-essential crewmen from our tanks (read as: Our butt) for this, unless Kristoph sees the necessity for that much extra manpower when the push. Would suggest we hang back and try using the tanks in some kind of indirect fire role to open up the attack, if at all possible.
>>3642439>>Hitting the foe before they were ready sounded appealing- and striking them off balance here might dissuade more trouble from being attracted in your direction. Don’t match strength against strength, after all.I'm okay with asking Kristoph but I have a feeling he's the "Drive closer so I can pistol whip them!" kind of guy.When we attack the second barricade we can be much more justifiably cautious to High Command because at that point the NLF will be expecting us and the same tactic won't work twice.We're going to be killing NLF and likely losing Midland Rangers tonight. This was always to be expected, but at least with us here instead of Kommissar Kulpable Warcrimes we can mitigate the damage and possibly pass on information that will prolong the conflict.>Stay in the tonkPart of me wants to disembark because the Rangers have already had experience issues, although hopefully they've learned a bit of on the job training by now.
>>3642439>>Hitting the foe before they were ready sounded appealing- and striking them off balance here might dissuade more trouble from being attracted in your direction. Don’t match strength against strength, after all.Might actually reduce casualties in the long run.
>>3642439>>Hitting the foe before they were ready sounded appealing- and striking them off balance here might dissuade more trouble from being attracted in your direction. Don’t match strength against strength, after all.
>>3642439>You preferred to be slow and safe. If you were attacked, then you’d be in the best position to receive it by keeping as cautious as possible, and it would ultimately help the NLF the most as well.ITT: anons fucking up our contact with NLF
>>3643667Nonsense! This is a battlefield, and no self respecting Archcommander of Tankvald would willingly forfeit the initiative to even the most welcome enemy.
I appear.>>3642532>>3642574>>3643172>>3643663>>3643816Charge!>>3643667Slow and steady.As well as->>3642532>>3642574Get Kristoph's take- even though as he's aggressively minded, he will likely have no objections to going on the offense. And stay inside the tank, yourself. Try to aid the troops as best you can with the tanks, but, since they won't be going past the first barricade until the engineers clear it, it's dubious how much they can be of help.Getting this started.
“Lieutenant!” you poked your head out of the tank and called to the infantry officer, “Come over here, we’re having a change of plans.” The eager Netillian was immediately curious, and approached, whereupon you explained Anya’s theory of where the NLF resistance currently was, what they were doing, and their plans to receive you.“Then we have to attack!” Kristoph gasped with excitement.“Yes, but, hold for one moment and let me finish.” You had to get this out quick before Kristoph vibrated out of his skin. “You won’t have tank support, but we’ll try out best, if you can direct any foes into the lines of fire. Climb up here so you have an idea of where this can shoot.” You pointed the rough angles after he did. “Like that. Don’t hesitate to use your munitions casters, but keep those gas masks at the ready for tear gas. That’ll be your most potent weapon in room clearing. Hit them hard and fast, knock them off balance, and if you do it well enough, we probably won’t be seen as worth the trouble to mess with. I’ll also want you to send a runner back to tell the Pioneers they can come forward. With that in consideration, do you think you have the manpower to carry out this operation?”“Of course!” Lieutenant Kristoph’s eyes were bright, “They won’t stand a chance! The bayonets of the Midland Rangers will be dull by night’s end, I guarantee.”He started to slide off, but you grabbed him roughly by the shoulder. “Wait. Just don’t push too far ahead, alright? The tanks won’t be able to help until the barricade’s down, so don’t go beyond the second barricade at the absolute most. Don’t be lured into a trap like in the woods.”“…Yeah, of course.” Kristoph’s personal failings had resulted in a hiccup in operations last he was in the field; hopefully he had learned from it. It certainly didn’t make him less excited as he told the runners where to go, while also heading forward himself. Leading from the front, hm? You hoped his impetuousness wouldn’t be the death of him.As Kristoph directed his men over and around the barricade, the light infantrymen fixing their bayonets and slipping their gas masks around their necks for easy access (fighting in a gas mask when there was no gas around was a miserable experience), your gunner brought up his concerns.“This gun doesn’t elevate high enough to get the top floors of those buildings you pointed out,” Stein said, demonstrating by cranking the gun upwards, “Second, maybe the third floor if it shoots right. First floor, and ground, we won’t be able to help at all. Maybe the other tank will have better shots.”You confirmed such with Anya, though you advised her to be careful firing blindly. Civilian targets and all. She had other concerns, however.“Hey. You sure you don’t want to keep a leash on that guy? Or make me keep a leash on him?”
“Subordinates can’t be babysat forever,” you pointed out. “…Though I suppose this will also be a test of how well we can trust him.”A shout came out from up front, dozens of voices crying in unison, “Blood, Grit, and Fire! Glory to the Banner of Tomorrow!” This was followed by a mighty chorus of shouts and hollers, as the men presumably stormed forth. Not as good as Archduchy slogans, you supposed, especially since the Banner of Tomorrow was now firmly grasped by the tyrannical hand of the Military Council, but if it fired them up…As the steps of the Netillians grew fainter, you became acutely aware of your lack of covering infantry. It would be fine, you thought- Anya’s idea of how things would be laid out made sense. You wouldn’t be under much threat from individual attackers so long as the Pioneers didn’t take too long to come up. In an environment this closed in yet also free to be moved through, sitting in place for too long would attract much more attention than stray agents of chaos happening to spot you.It was only a few minutes before, just ahead and over the barricade, the clattering racket of submachinegun fire, immediately recognizable as coming from the Netillian “bastard” guns (rudely named for how ugly and simply constructed they were), split the nearby quiet. You snapped up in alertness, and from a window up and to the flank, you heard more shooting, but also a THWUMP from a munitions caster firing, followed by the thick smoke of tear gas pouring from a window on the left side. So it began.>Roll 3 sets of 1d100 to determine how the three squads do. Innate bonus will be 50 against 35. Higher is better. The results will have their bonuses added to them before being compared against the enemy’s.Bonus/Penalty Calculation for those curious. Of course, I can never decide on mechanics. Eventually I'll codify them proper.Netillian Light Infantry-+30 base+10 for Munitions Caster Equipment (Also halves cover bonus from defenders)+5 for Large Squads+5 for Aggressive Leader on AttackNLF Militia-+30 base-10 for lack of equipment+10 Cover for Urban Defense (Halved from 20 due to facing Munitions Casters)-5 for small squads
Rolled 59 (1d100)>>3646041
Rolled 12 (1d100)>>3646041
Rolled 10 (1d100)>>3646041
Rolled 78, 36, 28 = 142 (3d100)Those are some unpleasant rolls. But, you do have a general bonus!>>3646068>>3646077>>3646090>109>62>69Though these three rolls will be adding to 35.
Rolled 5, 5, 2 = 12 (3d5)>>3646216>109-113>62-71>69-63It could be worse. As a reminder, factors of ten affect damage taken, but the casualty rolls are still d5s for each combat. However, aggressive leader trait from the commander increases damage taken and dealt by 1, depending on if they were the lower or higher roll (the higher would not take increased damage, for example). Everything is within 10 of each other here, though- so only the base roll plus or minus the aggressive leader will be made. Basically, 1 more hit from the first two, and 1 extra dealt to the last.Writing after rolls gotten from this post come out.
Rolled 3, 3, 6 + 1 = 13 (3d7 + 1)Oh, have to roll what the mortal wounds are too from each casualty count. It's d7 (whatever abomination of a die that would look like) because you get a chance to not have any mortal wounds if it hits on 1. Likewise, for the third one which only took 2 hits, and also because qst can't handle multiple dice types, it's 1-2 being no mortal injuries, 3-4 being 1, and 5-6 being 2. For fun, if it's 7 then Kristoph gets wounded instead.The order is from 1st to 2nd to 3rd squad, naturally.
The fighting increased in intensity; you’d certainly hit a buildup, but from the sound of fire crawling along the street, and to its flanks, though as it proceeded along the bend, you felt helpless to actually aid it. You had Anya shoot off a few indirect shots in assistance, but without any knowledge of where it would be most helpful or hurtful, you couldn’t shoot anything in a place where it would actually be effective. All you could do, as the fighting died down, was wait.Emma remained in her can at your side. You’d take her out if you felt she’d be needed, but that time might be soon, depending on how Kristoph’s assault went…A runner came back after most of the shooting had died down, to alleviate your worries. By the time he arrived, the pioneers had come up and were beginning their work. It would probably only be about ten minutes, by their estimation, before they could blow the obstacles into chunks small enough to simply drive over and through.“Report,” you ordered the runner.“We’ve made it to the second barricade,” the runner panted, having gone some way. “They weren’t ready for us, and we ran the insurgents off. Beat them pretty good, but we took a lot of casualties.”“How many?” you demanded.“Fourteen. Six of them are toast, or will be real soon. For people without uniforms or machine guns or much at all, they’re fighting damn hard.”“Rrrgh.” You grumbled discontentedly. Fourteen casualties; that reduced your infantrymen’s combat capable numbers by nearly a quarter. “Is there any further sign of the enemy?”“A few places. The Lieutenant says he’s gonna go after them. Says that they won’t be dealt with unless we chase them out of the area completely.”“He’s going to?” You echoed, “Is he…not waiting for my permission?”“Uh.”“Damn it all,” you muttered, “He’s better not screw up.”>Roll another set of 3d100, same bonuses as before. The enemy’s weaker now- they only have a bonus of 25.
>>3646408Three sets of 1d100, rather.
Rolled 85 (1d100)>>3646408
Rolled 6 (1d100)>>3646408
Rolled 3 (1d100)>>3646408Come on dice, Daddy needs a new pair of Netillians...
>>3647040Shit.And now Daddy needs some new feet too.
>ITT: anons fuck up our contact with NLF AND take a ton of casualties
>>3647278To be fair, if the Netillians are going to be our enemies eventually we want both the NLF, Netillians and Twaryians to take a bunch of casualties here.Gotta keep this war spinning, Archduchy got bills to pay.
>>3647300All according to keikaku
Rolled 85, 57, 5 = 147 (3d100)Late night potential update. Going to at least roll NLF rolls.>>3646705>>3646734>>3647040Oh dear. Gonna need that bonus difference of 25, I see.Well, as stated before, those rolls have a bonus of 50, compared to 25 for these. So it'll be against->135>56>53
Rolled 1, 2, 2 = 5 (3d5)>>3647417What do you know, a bit of luck for you. Mind you, Kristoph's aggressive trait means that if you win, you don't take the extra damage. Convenient.>135-110>56-82>53-30And, damage! Factors of ten increase damage to either side- the first will have a bonus of two, plus one, the second a malus of two against you, and another, and the third, a repeat of the first. Is Second Squad about to have a bad time? Let's see.
Rolled 8 - 2 (1d8 - 2)>>3647420>4-1>2-5>5-2--->11-8Certainly could have been worse. Anyways, we'll simplify this casualty roll a bit- the number on the d8 minus two is who gets to go back in a box.After that, I'll get an extra late update out.
“Charges are set, Boss,” a Pioneer informed you, referring by your code name. “We’ll blow ‘em on your mark.”“As quickly as possible.” You said firmly.The Pioneer nodded. “Hey, fifteen seconds!” You switched to intercom feed on your throat microphone. “Fifteen seconds, get ready to move quickly.”“We heard, we heard,” Hans shot back irritably.You ducked back into your cupola, and counted on Anya being quick enough to know your intent. With a mighty KR-KHRACK, you watched through the cupola vision blocks as the barricade ahead vanished beneath a great plume of dust and smoke, the clunking tumble of stray bits of debris bouncing off the walls, off the tank, and falling back to the ground punctuating the echoing boom. You didn’t wait for the cloud to clear up before you ordered your driver forwards. “We can’t leave them alone for any longer, not at the rate they could be losing people,” you urged Malachi forth, “If there isn’t a way after this, we’re making one.”However, in spite of jarring bumpiness and hangs, the demolition charges had cleared away enough of the blockage for you to continue forth down the road. You looked back to watch Anya’s tank struggle over a section before making it the rest of the way through. You went quite a ways without seeing any of your infantrymen, until you happened right upon the second barricade, beside which you saw light infantrymen stationed, taking positions, and looking mightily relieved to see your tanks rolling up. They were further than you expected, but Kristoph had taken your directive seriously- not one step past the second barricade.You recognized Kristoph’s senior NCO watching over the road, and called him over. “Give me a sit-rep.”“We’ve destroyed or routed any insurgents in the immediate area. We chased them a fair ways- I don’t think they’re coming bacl,” the Senior Enlisted (relative to the unit) reported, “We’ve taken heavy casualties. Did the runner before make it to you?” You affirmed that they did. “Add another eight to the casualty count.”
“Damn it.” You swore, “Where is the Lieutenant?”“He’s taken command of second squad. Their squad leader was killed in the first push, and this second push wasn’t any better for them. They’re down to three men, not counting the LT and a couple runners he took with.”“How is your ammunition?” you asked next.“We’re near dry on the munitions casters. Besides that, it’s been a lot of close in fighting. Grenades are spent, so are the sub-guns. We can still fight but we burned through our load really quick.”You went over the casualties in your head again. Fourteen earlier. Now eight more. Twenty two- your casualties now totaled half the force you came here with. In so short a time…“Boss?” the NCO addressed you, and you looked to him once more. “We drove the enemy around here out real good, I’m sure, and if you’re right about how they’re taking this fight, we can count on not being attacked here now, but…if you’ve been countin’, almost half our guys are either stone cold dead, about to be, or in no shape for a fight. Since we’re basically done here, you know, after the Pioneers take out this next pile of shit…you don’t mind, maybe, having us call it a night here?”>That’s not my decision to make. We remain until command decides we’re not needed, and since they called us here in the first place, who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong. But we’ll be overstretched if we push much further- we’ll hold here until relieved or reinforced.>You’re right, we can’t sustain these casualties and this momentum. I’ll speak with the local commanders and tell them we have to withdraw after this barricade is destroyed.>There’s one more objective left, soldier. We aren’t going anywhere until our job is completely done.>Other?
>>3647453>>That’s not my decision to make. We remain until command decides we’re not needed, and since they called us here in the first place, who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong. But we’ll be overstretched if we push much further- we’ll hold here until relieved or reinforced.
>>3647453>>That’s not my decision to make. We remain until command decides we’re not needed, and since they called us here in the first place, who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong. But we’ll be overstretched if we push much further- we’ll hold here until relieved or reinforced.See if we can get any medical aid to be pushed up the road. Or get the trucks we came in to ferry the wounded back so we can at least save some of them.
>>3647453>That’s not my decision to make. We remain until command decides we’re not needed, and since they called us here in the first place, who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong. But we’ll be overstretched if we push much further- we’ll hold here until relieved or reinforced.
>>3647453>You’re right, we can’t sustain these casualties and this momentum. I’ll speak with the local commanders and tell them we have to withdraw after this barricade is destroyed.
>>3647453>>That’s not my decision to make. We remain until command decides we’re not needed, and since they called us here in the first place, who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong. But we’ll be overstretched if we push much further- we’ll hold here until relieved or reinforced.See if we can't get the people we assigned to guarding the party to come over and maybe get Kelwin to take over the from Kristoph given the casualties amongst the squad commanders. Not to make another assault but just to prevent a counterattack
>>3647453Also just to check how far is the past barricade from here? Presumably it's still manned plus reinforced by whatever guys who managed to get out of that fight with us?
>>3647453>That’s not my decision to make. We remain until command decides we’re not needed, and since they called us here in the first place, who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong. But we’ll be overstretched if we push much further- we’ll hold here until relieved or reinforced.That being said, we could at least try to ask for something over the radio, some extra ammo or medical attention maybe.
>>3647534This, party should be winding down
>>3647576>Also just to check how far is the past barricade from here? Roughly two hundred meters or so. It's a relative ways, and beyond visibility since the road sort of curves off.>Presumably it's still manned plus reinforced by whatever guys who managed to get out of that fight with us?The NCO isn't implying very much made it out of the past fight. As for what's actually there, you don't know!
>>3647453>That’s not my decision to make. We remain until command decides we’re not needed, and since they called us here in the first place, who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong. But we’ll be overstretched if we push much further- we’ll hold here until relieved or reinforced.Place our tanks in a prominent defensive position. If the really want to come back they should see what's here.Also when we tell command we should insinuate that these barricades were heavily guarded and the third one is likely the toughest to crack.
Alrighty.>>3647474>>3647479>>3647480>>3647534>>3647601>>3647745>>3647649Hold until relieved.Additionally, ask for resupply and evacuations over radio, give report, dig in.>>3647519Let's get outta here.Writing.
“That’s not my decision to make.” You informed the NCO dourly, “We remain in the field until the local command decides we’re not needed anymore. They called, we of all people were sent, so who knows when we’ll be replaced. Stay strong, anyways, and hold fast. It’s true that we’re very stretched out and understrength, but we will at least hold until reinforced or relieved. Pushing anymore in this state would be of too great a risk.”The NCO looked unhappy, but raised no objections as he silently saluted and departed with the faintest of sighs. Despite being a “senior” NCO, just like much of the Netillian component of the Midland Rangers, he was quite young, and most likely this sort of combat was a new experience to him. Before now, your assigned company had done little but embark on mild counterinsurgency raids and patrols. This past week had been the most engagements they had ever had consecutively, and this battle certainly the most brutal for the platoon. After you spread a general order to entrench in your current positions and made ready for Anya to use her tank to escort the Pioneers forward, you sent a request back to headquarters, telling them of your progress first, but following it with mention of your heavy casualties, and the need to use your trucks as medical evacuation transports, and for ammunition to be brought up.The response you got was frustrating, perhaps even infuriating. “We have borrow those trucks to support the main effort north. They need all the help they can get.”“…Those are our trucks, assigned to us from Kamienisty’s logistics compliment. I request that you send them back over to my troops, as they were requisitioned by myself to support my troops. At the very least, free up one of them to help transport our wounded to the rear.”“That is not possible. The northern front is the main effort- your sector is of tertiary importance. You have tanks, make use of the already extensive support you have for yourself, Coordinator.”You couldn’t do anything but grit your teeth in response.“Coordinator.”“Yes, sir.” You said stiffly to the battalion staff officer you spoke with; a different on to your own battalion, you had arrived ostensibly to aid them, as a favor from your company’s battalion commander to this one. “Will the lines at least be proceeding to the territory we have driven through? So that we may proceed with some security to complete our mission.”“You are the front.” Came the harsh response. “Hold your current position if you cannot make it to your next objective. Clearing that road is important, but not as important as other objectives at present.”
“Affirmative.” You said in a clipped, stern voice. “Out.” You leaned back in your seat and sighed, rubbing your gloves against your masked face, scratching an itch on your cheeks. There was a strange divide inside your head- on one side, you wanted to be angry, but another side felt like a cooling blanket that kept your head level. A calm you always felt when times had been at their worst, a reassuring presence like a steady breeze on a sweltering summer day. A warm campfire in the midst of driving sleet. The most distant your fruitless conversation with headquarters became, the more stoic you felt, but it wasn’t as quick as it used to be, you couldn’t help but feel…The wounded were collected in spare rooms in one of the cleared buildings a good twenty meters from the barricade, so they wouldn’t potentially be disturbed when the Pioneers blew up the second makeshift wall. Some were clearly beyond help, but so long as they drew breath, they would at least be given whatever small comforts could be afforded. Especially since your main method of moving them to a better place had been confiscated from you. The pioneers arrived once more, and you watched them work disinterestedly. So long as the wounded couldn’t be transported back, you were fixed in place having to watch over them as well as the general area. Perhaps you could assemble teams of stretcher bearers to facilitate the work and make yourselves mobile again? You considered this, watching Anya disembark from her tank from the corner of your eye and walk over.“Hey. Boss.” She said, muffled by her masking face wrap. “I’m sick of doin’ nothing but sittin’ with my thumb up my ass. I realize we’re stuck here while we’re down so many, and lookin’ after those that ate it, but doesn’t mean everybody has to sit around. Let’s scout ahead. Just a few of us. You, me, maybe a couple more, not too many. Just to see what’s down the way.”“On foot?” you leaned out the cupola, “The Pioneers should have this out of the way within…ten to fifteen minutes? We could take the tanks instead.”Anya shrugged. “Either way. I don’t wanna sit here and do nothing.”>This is a funny way of getting me alone with you, but very well. You and I, let’s go take a look. More than that will make it harder to avoid detection.>I agree, I’d rather not sit on my hands. Let’s take a few people and go scouting. (Who else? Or alternatively, you can exempt yourself or her from the group, if you wish.)>Let’s wait until the barricade is cleared. We can check the road at least just as easily with our tanks, with the benefit of being safe behind their armor.>Staying in a well covered and dug in position is to our benefit right now. I’m not feeling very daring with the punishment we’ve taken.>Other?
>>3648836>I agree, I’d rather not sit on my hands. Let’s take a few people and go scouting.
>>3648836>>Staying in a well covered and dug in position is to our benefit right now. I’m not feeling very daring with the punishment we’ve taken.
>>3648836>I agree, I’d rather not sit on my hands. Let’s take a few people and go scouting.Maybe ask for volunteers, if all the gung ho troopers haven't been killed that is.
>>3648836>I agree, I’d rather not sit on my hands. Let’s take a few people and go scouting. (Who else? Or alternatively, you can exempt yourself or her from the group, if you wish.)Us and her, no one else here can be trusted we need to find a rebel, SOMEHOW not get shot by them and pass along the information we learned from Colonel Dickless about how the Netillians are going to ambush the rebel tankettes and their general plan along with a way to contact the NLF in the future.It is important to note! We should not tell the rebels who we are. Just a friend of a friend.Also to note that when our NCOs object to this, we tell them they've done their part now we can do ours, and it would be difficult to get an accurate picture in a snug steel can.
>>3648836>>I agree, I’d rather not sit on my hands. Let’s take a few people and go scouting
>>3648836>>I agree, I’d rather not sit on my hands. Let’s take a few people and go scouting.See who's willing to volunteer;maybe take from the crew if we have to.
>>3649914Only go with Anya; try and find a "friend.">>3649775>>3650141Ask for volunteers-if none apply, see if you can get any from the crews.What, is Anya too scary to be alone with at night?>>3648855>>3650070Take a few people and go scouting...who? I'll presume that since it's not specified that you're fine with whoever.>>3648975Sit tight and wait.Seems like you're heading out, after asking if anybody else wants to go. Writing.
Bit late, but when we get back, or during our trip, we should try to ambulate who we can and if possible use the tanks as makeshift carriers for those to wounded to move. Sitting around exposed at the furthest point in the line is a good way to get encircled and destroyed by the not so happy insurgents whose friends we just killed, regardless of our intentions.
>>3650279+1. I agree with makeshift carriers and dune-buggies.
“I agree,” you roused yourself, “I’d rather not sit on my hands. Let’s take a few people and go scouting. We’ll see if there aren’t any volunteers we can take.”“Not too many, remember,” Anya advised again, “The more moving around, the easier we’ll be to spot.”“Only two or so,” you reassured Anya, “It won’t take long to find that many anyways.”Except you turned out to be incorrect. More than a few troopers were wary of their enemy now, and admitted that they’d rather not, given the choice. Perhaps it was for the better- these were inexperienced troops, and even though years of hunting and hiking had given you a light step when you needed it, who could say how stealthy any of these light infantry could be? A few wounded, when you visited the people caring for them in your scan for volunteers, offered to help. They were turned down for obvious reasons, but if they were feeling energetic, then perhaps they could be useful.It was clear that the wounded couldn’t sit around here forever. Even though the troops seemed confident they had run off the insurgents for good, if somebody came around and leaked information about your weakened state, an opportunistic rebel commander could smell blood in the water. Yes, if that event came around, then the wounded would be a terrible burden. So you offered the wounded who could walk an outlet for any energy they had left- to return back behind friendly lines, with minimal escort. You had some breathing room, and it would have to be exploited while it lasted; while the insurgents were still reeling from your attack.As you quickly arranged for this to happen, you thought about what the NLF would think, should they discover proper your involvement here. Would they see this as a necessity, or a betrayal? Best for them to not find out at all, but…“Why here…?” a voice in the makeshift clinic interrupted your thoughts, and you looked to its source. A man who had been shot up badly, slumped against the wall. His bandages were deep, dark red in the dim lamplight, the room only illuminated enough for the caretakers to do their best. They had done their best here, and it was far from enough.Unfortunate. A tragedy. Yet one of countless. A speck of reality you’ve seen before, many times. Remember? This was different, somehow. Similar, maybe even the same, but now, there was something else, that was reaching through the cold.“I can’t feel my legs…I can’t feel my arms. Hey, you…Hey.” A different voice. “Look at me…Who’re you? Where…were you?”“A moment,” you said, still thinking on if you should say something to the first man. You knelt down to them- touched them, but they didn’t respond. When you looked back to the source of the other person talking to you, you heard only wheezing from them. It didn’t seem like they could say anything at all, with that wound to their throat. Then who…?You were outside again.
“Boss?” Lieutenant Kristoph brought you back to the present as he requested your attention. ”I heard about your plans for the injured. What about the wounded who cannot walk?” “Ah. I was thinking that they could be transported with the tanks. Not comfortably, but we don’t have many other options.” Business preceded befuddlement. “The amount of people we would need to take off defense to bear them on stretchers, if we had enough sent up here, would compromise out position, and doing it more slowly could impede us. The tanks are decently intimidating and quick. I’ll see what I can get done.”“Thanks, boss.” Lieutenant Kristoph still had plenty of fight left in him, but you could tell the casualties suffered had made him wary, by the cadence of his voice. Getting the welfare of the wounded off his mind would be a huge help, you could tell.In addition to setting the plan up with the tankers, the visit would also let you see if you could pick volunteers from your crew for the scouting job, since you hadn’t managed to attract anybody from the infantry. Ideally, your own loader and driver would be applicants. Malachi was…something, you weren’t sure what, but he was a very capable fighter, while Jorgen was a Yaegir, for whom fighting was in his bones and blood, as well as being a veteran himself- a warrior of the forests, with whom perhaps you had some shared capabilities given your practice in the hunt-“Nah.” Jorgen said to your offer as you climbed up and opened the side hatch of the turret, though your request for volunteers came after you explained their next job in hauling the wounded. “Fewer sebetehrrr.”“How about you, Mal?” you called down into the hull, “You want to head out into town and see the sights?”“Noaehdahme.”“…Well, if things go well, yes, you won’t be needed,” you figured you interpreted that jumble correctly, “But I like to be safe.”“Kaehpwountehnksaffer.”“…I’m sorry?”“He’d keep the wounded and the tank safer!” Hans cleared things up.You supposed that was a decent point. “I won’t force anybody to come with Anya and I. Though my caution is understandable, isn’t it?”“Go, enwhen itsounds lehk you’re ehn trouble, wehgoh.” Jorgen rattled out with a grin at the end. “I suppose that would work,” you acquiesced. Hopefully either you wouldn’t face trouble immediately, or you would last long enough for the help to come…So it was that you and Anya started on your journey on your lonesome. Anya was certainly equipped beyond what would be expected of a person- her munitions caster and its ammunition hung from her shoulders while she held the Reich submachinegun in both hands, and at her waist you noticed a pistol that was standard of tank commanders.
“Help me a second,” Anya said before you moved further, “I need to adjust a few things. Hold these things.” She gestured to the Munitions Caster shell carrier slung about her. You did as she asked, and she tightened parts of her kit. “So I don’t make too much noise banging about.”“Of course.” You well understood the value of minimizing noise, especially that from one’s harness banging about. Anybody who had ever been on a march knew the racket a ruck could make.“Thanks,” Anya said as she finished adjusting her gear, “You ready?”“Of course.” You said to Anya’s back as she started off regardless of the answer, but she paused a few moments after.“Hey.” Anya said as she was facing away, at the edge of your precarious, sparsely manned lines. “It’s not your fault.”“Huh?”“Just figured you might need to hear that. I dunno.”No, you didn’t understand. “Why would I need to hear that?”“You came out of the room with all the wounded muttering about unworthiness or something.”“You must have been mistaken.” It didn’t sound much like something you’d do, your mind said to itself.Anya shrugged irritably. “Whatever. Let’s get going.”So you both went, going from dominating the streets to skulking in the dark as Anya let you quietly into the next building past the barricade, and up towards its roof.>You sought to find, in addition to simply looking around…>Just enemy positions and the lay of the land. Simple, quiet observation.>An insurgent, but to try and garner favor with the resistance- you could exchange information and perhaps make your own remaining job here easier, after you came to an understanding that you wanted to let bygones be bygones and help each other…>An isolated individual, to capture. A prisoner should give up intelligence more safely than charting out the whole way.>Other?Additionally,>You went out equipped with…>A carbine. You trusted your longer range shots more, and you didn’t anticipate being in enough trouble to need an SMG.>A submachine gun. Just in case you really need to ruin a few days.>You took Anya’s submachinegun off of her- maybe she didn’t think she was overloaded, but you felt that that much gear wasn’t really needed- it could be divided between you.>Other?
>>3652471>>Just enemy positions and the lay of the land. Simple, quiet observation.>A submachine gun. Just in case you really need to ruin a few days.
>>3652471>>An isolated individual, to capture. A prisoner should give up intelligence more safely than charting out the whole way.>A submachine gun. Just in case you really need to ruin a few days.
>>3652471>>>Just enemy positions and the lay of the land. Simple, quiet observation.>>A submachine gun. Just in case you really need to ruin a few days.Though if an opportunity appears who knows
>>3652471>An isolated individual, to capture. A prisoner should give up intelligence more safely than charting out the whole way.>A carbine. You trusted your longer range shots more, and you didn’t anticipate being in enough trouble to need an SMG.We are kind of spent at the moment, and as much as I am anxious about smoothing things over with the resistance we still need to look out for ourselves first.
>>3652471>>Just enemy positions and the lay of the land. Simple, quiet observation.>>A submachine gun. Just in case you really need to ruin a few days.
>>3652471>An isolated individual, to capture. A prisoner should give up intelligence more safely than charting out the whole way.>Other?Once we are done with that prisoner we give them the info about the Netillians. They might not believe us but at least we tried. Especially if we just tell them to pass the message along. The resistance can decide whether to use it or not.I don't think we can successfully toe the line so much as to not fight them at all anymore, but giving them some Intel about the situation should help.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>3652497>>3652784>>3653241Observation>>3652549>>3653040>>3653638Capture somebody for intel. With other steps.General consensus is to lock and load for damage dealing, but split on operational terms. So we'll roll. 1 for former listed, 2 for latter listed. After such, I write.
It was decided, just before you both went silent and transitioned to using hand signals for any communication, that you would seek out a potential prisoner to capture while out on your reconnaissance. Your eyes could tell of many things, after all, but the enemy’s mouth could tell you so much more. It also presented, perhaps, a chance to help the cause of the NLF. Could you play both sides after this? Well, hopefully, Drachen would not be frustrated enough by the actions taken, and you had taken enough precautions, to get away with it this time. You’d find out. Or would trying to help here be what revealed your presence?Anya insisted on leading the way, and you were inclined to let her, but it seemed her night senses weren’t as keen as yours were. She nearly stepped in a pile of crunchy looking detritus, but you pulled her back just in time. She was much better about watching her feet afterwards, and had produced something from her pockets you hadn’t thought of- a small, miniature mirror, looking to have been cut out of a larger one and rimmed with tape. She peeked around each open door, and didn’t bother opening any unless they obstructed your path up. Somebody could be hiding in the closed doors, yes, but the moment things got loud, you would have to call off this scouting mission- and doing so when you’d just started it would be embarrassing. So you had no objections to how this was proceeding.While in the first building, Anya peeked around the corner with a mirror- and bid you go back. Once you were a fair way from the door you had retreated from, she explained in a whisper:“People. Trying to hide. We shouldn’t be on the list of things they’ve seen if somebody were to come ask.”“Of course.” You whispered back.Upwards in the building you went; in a past life, it was some form of office, judging from the fixtures, but in the UGZ it had become another tenement home, if not a very crowded one, judging from the spare bedrolls per room, the debris that indicated makeshift kitchens and serving rooms. A sad state of affairs for a city, to become such a dump. It was six floors high, and the roof was flat- the final stairs led to an access for it, where you and Anya could slink about the top and peer for some ways over all the sides.
Anya let herself be distracted for a moment by the night sky above, before pointing you off in one direction and walking in the opposite. Once you both cleared out the roof area, you linked back together and took advantage of the height. This building wasn’t the tallest in the city, but it was one of the taller ones, so you could look down over a decent bit. Anya pointed out movement to the north- you took a peek with your binoculars, and when the shapes moved into lamplight (the electric street lamps still lit in many places, in defiance of the fighting), you noted that they appeared to be civilians, as they moved away from the recent fighting in your sector, and appeared to care less about staying out of sight than leaving the area. Away from Netillian lines, though? You supposed they had little reason to trust their conquerors, though it made you think…“Anya,” you said quietly to your companion, then thought yourself a bit silly for not coming up with a code name for her. You’d think of one on the spot. “Fluffy. What do you think about the chances that somebody without a gun running around here could have had one, and just thrown it away or hidden it?”“Sergeant is better than Fluffy.” Anya amended her given name as quietly as you’d given it. You should have thought of just using her rank. There were countless sergeants about. “Anyways. That’s just how it is, isn’t it? They won’t reveal themselves just for our benefit. If and when we try and nab somebody, we’ll either have to catch them armed, or roll the dice on getting a random scamp. Or maybe if we catch somebody carrying…somethin’ important.”“Like what?”“Dunno. A bomb, maybe.”“A bomb?” you coughed. “Really?”“Something I heard from one of the Ashes who was trying to get chummy with the NLF when they were poking around, before all this. They were looking for youngish kids to run stuff around. Kids are less likely to be searched, so they give them bombs in innocent looking stuff and have them cart them to where they’re needed. They’re not usually the ones setting them off, tho’. They just move them around.”“I see.” You mused, “I may have shot at one earlier.”“Yeah, I figured, when you said what they were. Like I said though, they’re not usually the ones setting it off. If they were one, they’d have to think they’d get a nice pat on the ass for it, I think.”“So if we get close to a kid carrying something, we grab him?” you asked.
“Nah. They won’t know nothin’ important. Grab the person they’re making the delivery to, maybe. Or who they’re picking up from.” Anya shrugged. “If we find one. Who knows, we might not have any luck.”“Mm.” you made a grunt in agreement, and looked to the next building along the road. It was a bit shorter, but it was only by about half a floor or so, and nice and flat like the roof you were on now. If you made a running start, you could probably jump it- definitely, in fact, with a bit more analysis and estimation. Staying off the ground as much as possible could only help your chances of evasion- especially in staying away from the eyes of the citizenry much less inclined to be jumping between buildings. “Come here,” you tapped Anya on the shoulder and showed her the building, and the quite small gap- these two buildings were practically pressed together, and the gap between them couldn’t have been more than a couple meters. “See this? We’ve seen about all we can up here. Let’s move to the next one by jumping this gap here.”“…Uh.” Anya looked to the roof across the way. Then down to the alley, the ground. “…Uhhh…”“It’ll be safer than going back down and onto the street. We’ve seen people moving around down there.”“I know, I know, but…” Anya kept looking at the ground, and you saw her sway a bit on her feet. “This is…really high…” Six stories was really high? There were buildings in Strosstadt that were ten times as tall. Yet, her stance was stiff, and you could swear she hadn’t breathed since her eyes had touched upon the ground below.>This was no time for hesitation. Pick her up and make the jump- it was an easy one, after all.>Egg Anya on- was this actually something she was afraid of, considering all she’d been through? Come on.>Well, you certainly couldn’t do this if she didn’t want to jump- make your way down again, it wouldn’t be that much a hassle. Jumping off of buildings was probably stupid anyways.>Other?
>>3654254>This was no time for hesitation. Pick her up and make the jump- it was an easy one, after all.Sixty stores is pretty fucking tall.
>>3654254>>This was no time for hesitation. Pick her up and make the jump- it was an easy one, after all.
>>3654254>Egg Anya on- was this actually something she was afraid of, considering all she’d been through? Come on.
>>3654254>This was no time for hesitation. Pick her up and make the jump- it was an easy one, after all.If all the other dumb ideas didn't kill us, why would this one>“You came out of the room with all the wounded muttering about unworthiness or something.”Poor Richter's going to end up suffocating in Roth-Vogel's homicidal corpse hole and cafe, isn't he.
>>3654254>Egg Anya on- was this actually something she was afraid of, considering all she’d been through? Come on.Tell her we wouldn't ask her to do anything we would not do, and if she is worried about her short stature disadvantaging her in this case, we can go first to prove it can be done and catch her if she needs it.
If we are jumping, at least split some of Anya’s equipment with us. She seemed a bit weighed down and it will do her no favors here.
>>3654254supporting this >>3654969
>>3654254>This was no time for hesitation. Pick her up and make the jump- it was an easy one, after all.I'd rather we confidently jump with her that have her miss by accident on her own.
Getting back from air show, might not be updating for some time.In the meanwhile though, give me a single d100 roll to see how well you stick the landing since you're grabbing and going. It's easy enough for you to not fall to your death, but landing well with the extra weight of this thing and all her junk might not be so easy. Lower better.
Rolled 79 (1d100)>>3655902
>>3655908Handling the ladies as smoothly as we usually do I see.
Alright, I am back round. Update soon.
This was no time for hesitation- not on either of your parts. The longer you had to think about this, the harder it would be. With a ruffle and the clunking of equipment, you swept Anya up, your arms around her back and under her knees.“What the hell are you doing?” she hissed. She’d find out the answer soon enough.You took her back about ten meters, eyed your target, and…contemplated how much it turned out you missed carrying a small woman in your arms, even if this wasn’t the one you’d sent a questionable declaration to, and was much more dense of body even accounting for the weight of equipment. Only for a moment, as you got your running start and leapt forth into the air. For but a few moments, you felt the bliss of flight, like when jumping from a tree in youth-before your destination reached up to meet you.While the leap was easy, the landing was less so, and you failed to account for Anya’s weight properly in adjusting your own stance. One foot came down, then the other, but the first was twisting off balance before the other could compensate, sending you and Anya tumbling forward. Several moments of clunking pain later, both of you were tangled in a knot of your limbs, your equipment and harnesses, and a pile of dusty litter that had been in your path.Anya coughed twice, then made a hoarse accusation of the volume that one could easily tell, would have been far louder if she didn’t feel constrained by the situation. “Are you fucking retarded?” she demanded, her eyes narrow, and her breath quick, shallow. “…Urgh, I think you ripped me open.”“Huh?” You blurted cluelessly at first, but when Anya groped around her side, you understood. “Oh. Hold on, let me look at it.”“I’m fine,”Anya hissed, “Get your arm out of my bandolier. And quit humping my leg.”Hmph. You were doing no such thing. It did take a minute to get the two of you out of the knot you’ve tied, the effort being much more complicated when one of you had to keep watch with Anya’s sidearm while the other freed themselves from a particular tangle. You didn’t know how much of a ruckus you’d made with that jump, but one could never be too careful.An inspection of Anya’s wound, after your insistence, revealed that it had opened some from the impact. It would be fine for now, since the bandage atop it had been clean (and no longer was, of course) her wound was unlikely to get worse, or fester, at least not before you could get fresh attention on it. “I’m sorry,” you felt the need to say after you let Anya’s jacket fall again. “I thought it would be better this way.”“Well.” Anya heaved herself up, brushed herself off, and checked her weapons. “I wouldn’t have jumped, probably, so whatever. I’ve had worse.”
You’ve always had worse, you thought. “Alright. Let’s get moving again. Hopefully nobody heard our dynamic crossing. At the very least, nobody will have seen it, unless they’re looking skyward the whole time. I certainly didn’t see anybody peeping from the rooftops.” Your theory as to why they didn’t was buzzing overhead- reconnaissance planes may have been lightly constructed and armed with naught but radios and cameras, but even in the artillery-restricted region of the Border Zone they could feed vital targeting information to mortars.…That hurried along your journey down the building.This building was much like the first, though with more closed doors and fewer places where Anya reported seeing people. She almost seemed disappointed by second floor, but you noticed something she didn’t.“Wait,” you stopped her, “Look at this.”Anya did. “A scrape in the wall?”“Look at it from this angle. It’s a murder hole. Somebody was setting up here, but they’re gone. They didn’t leave anything, from what I can see. They took the time to take everything with them, bullets, food, water, the lot.”Anya absorbed this new information and put a gloved finger to her masked chin. “So they just booked it, and pretty soon after we stopped at the barricade, I guess. Maybe they figured they couldn’t fight anymore. Talking to some of the Netillians, they did say they beat the insurgents pretty bad. Maybe the figured this wasn’t worth losing any more blood and powder over.”“They could be waiting at the third barricade, maybe.”“Maybe. But think of it from their perspective. Do they really want to possibly be hit from two sides? The UGZ is surrounded. We haven’t heard of anybody else clearing these barricades, but the rebels don’t know that. If I were them and didn’t know much I’d see one angry bunch of bastards on one side and a whole lot of other side, and think that I’ve got better places to be.”“That would certainly be convenient.”“Yeah, but we won’t know for sure til we see, yeah? Oh, also, no more fucking jumping. Not that the buildings next to this one look like you could. I checked around.”“You’re that concerned about it?” you sighed, “Well, if we can’t repeat that stunt, then I suppose it doesn’t matter.” Maybe if you found a long plank, or a ladder, or a similar tool to provoke what you assumed was a fear of heights. Though, perhaps, if you moved on the ground straight for another building with a similar gap and height difference…
This second place you looked through went on without consequence, and you had to move to the third in an ordinary way, but this place was different- a large basement with stairs led down, almost inviting in its suspicion. A familiar sweet tinge touched your nostrils as you stepped downward, and you held Anya back, exchanging soft whispers.“Blackflower. Either what’s down there is a drug den or a brothel. Stay back.”“I have a gas mask, doofus. Besides, there could be something hidden there. Criminals are good at hiding things and all. I should come with.”“You can cover me from up th- what was that?” Your ears perked to the sound of steps outside. Soft, padding footfalls, and you and Anya sneaked back up to see what it was. It came from outside- in the alley behind the building’s front facing the road.Anya peeked outside first. She signaled to you to also look- it was an adolescent child, with a heavy looking satchel. They were moving from south to north- away from the road.Your partner made a gesture- suggesting that perhaps, you either grab them, or that you ought to track them.>You were already investigating the basement brothel, or drug den, or whatever. Best to avoid acting too early, even if this was an easy opportunity.>Assault and capture this adolescent- if they knew nothing, you could still inform them of things- and they’d be less likely to potentially harm you.>It would take you pretty far off track, depending on how far they would go, but try and track this carrier (if that was what they were) to the person they were delivering to- that person would be much more helpful to apprehend.>Other?
>>3656995>>Assault and capture this adolescent- if they knew nothing, you could still inform them of things- and they’d be less likely to potentially harm you.
>>3656995>>Assault and capture this adolescent- if they knew nothing, you could still inform them of things- and they’d be less likely to potentially harm you.I'd have said follow them, but we're wearing Netillian colors right now. Someone would notice us and call for help.
>>3657107To add, if the kid doesn't know anything then tell them about the Netillians plans and head down into the brothel with Anya. She has her mask although we may want to either ditch or scuff up our uniform to make it look like we scavenged it somewhere.
>>3656995>Assault and capture this adolescent- if they knew nothing, you could still inform them of things- and they’d be less likely to potentially harm you.
>>3656995>>Assault and capture this adolescent- if they knew nothing, you could still inform them of things- and they’d be less likely to potentially harm you.See if their satchel has anything important in it. We can always backtrack to this basement anyways.
>>3657008>>3657107>>3657124>>3657308Mug a child.You really aren't good with kids. Writing.
A clenched fist gesture to Anya- Get them. You wanted to know what was in their head- and what was in their satchel. Following them might have potentially given a greater profit, but dressed in Netillian Uniforms, the deeper you went into insurgent sympathetic territory, the more dangerous it became for you as a single bystander could alert all of your surroundings. No, this was the better, safer option. Take them, interrogate them, feed them information and then head back down into the sugary depths of the Blackflower den. Anya darted out and kidnapped the adolescent with such swiftness that her target didn’t even have time to shout or scream before a hand clapped over their mouth and the other clenched around their throat, and they were dragged back before you. The youth’s satchel was immediately searched, of course, and it revealed what could only be expected at this point.“What is this, a kilogram and a half of explosive material?” you lifted the block up and down in your hand- a pull string was wrapped around it and screwed into what appeared to be a detonator. In a moment’s time, it could be used. By this child? Assuredly not. Hopefully not. They were a small girl of only eleven or so years old, and the idea of using them as bombers themselves was ludicrous.Anya cared little about the prisoner being a child or a girl, from how she treater her. Anya’s hand hadn’t loosened at all from its pincer grip on the kid’s throat, and Anya followed your question with an ugly threat. “Listen you,” she was making her voice intentionally raspier, maybe to disguise it, or maybe to sound more intimidating. “I’m gonna let you talk, so you can answer our questions. Scream, shout, or do anything but talk nice and quiet,” Anya withdrew a long, dinged knife from her belt, “And I’ll cut open your belly and string you up by your guts. You think I won’t?”The girl fainted.“Great.” You chastised Anya as she let the girl fall forward. “I’m surprised you didn’t frighten her to death.”“Whatever. We can take her inside where nobody’ll interrupt and wait for her to wake up. Long as it’s not downstairs.”“Blackflower doesn’t do anything to children,” you pointed out, “…Don’t ask me why, that’s just how it works.”“Well, maybe I want to talk and not through a gas mask.” Anya proposed instead. This was an acceptable excuse- it was quite difficult to speak through a gas mask. Poltergeist might have spoken through his own early model gas mask like it was not there, but you didn’t even know if he had a mouth to speak with, and didn’t just talk directly into your head like so many other odd things. A tangent- the point was that it was better not to be restricted by a gas mask when possible, and you could hardly find an excuse to disagree.
You and Anya found an empty room upstairs, which Anya quietly closed behind you before getting your help in moving a heavy desk in front of the door that opened into the room. There would be some warning if you were walked in on. It took the girl a few minutes to wake up, during which you rummaged through the other contents of her satchel- spare ammunition clips, medical supplies- all sharing a cramped space with the bomb. No maps, though. The young lady would have had to been quite familiar with the UGZ to navigate it.The girl stirred- she was a rather plain, ordinary looking little girl with scruffy brown hair down to her neck, large eyes, and a dirty face that was the cause of confusion concerning her gender, though what you assumed had been a coat in the darkness turned out to be a dress with trousers worn under. She opened her eyes slowly, but they flew open when they beheld you- you preemptively held a finger to her lips.>Politely inform her that it wouldn’t be very smart for her to make any trouble. Even if she was a child, she still made herself an enemy of Netilland. She had to know that, in uniforms as yours, she couldn’t expect to be treated as anything but a collaborator or insurgent.>Apologize for her treatment at Anya’s hands- it’s been a rough night, and you just want some help. Ask her what her name is, and how she’s doing- try and make a friend.>Tell the girl that you’re not enemies of Ellowie- but she has to keep some secrets. In exchange for some of yours, she could tell you some of hers. Make it an exchange.>Other?Also, after picking your method of approach->Ask anything in particular?And>If you wish to “leak” or “share” any information with her, what in particular?Keep in mind that, as a little girl, there's plenty that she might not know, or understand the concept of, and that sort of thing.
>>3657346Don't you try to pull a Riz on me.>Apologize for her treatment at Anya’s hands- it’s been a rough night, and you just want some help. Ask her what her name is, and how she’s doing - try and make a friend.>Ask whether she knows what that detonator string does.I hope NLF didn't start to use kid suicide bombers.I'll leave the rest of the questions to anons, unless I think of something later.
>>3657421>Apologize for her treatment at Anya’s hands- it’s been a rough night, and you just want some help. Ask her what her name is, and how she’s doing- try and make a friend.>Ask whether she knows what that detonator string does.
>>3657421>>Apologize for her treatment at Anya’s hands- it’s been a rough night, and you just want some help. Ask her what her name is, and how she’s doing- try and make a friend.
>>3657421As for questions:-Where was she going-What was she going to use the bomb for-Name of her group or is she a local here
>>3657421Even if she lowers her guard to us I don't think she's actually going to spill any detailed locations, she'd probably just lie if pressed.More general questions by other anons are good.>Ask anything in particular?Has the NLF been evacuating the civilians of the city using their tunnels?Can she run a message to her boss?If we had to contact a rebel, what would be the best way to do it?>If you wish to “leak” or “share” any information with her, what in particular?How Captain Becker is going to ambush the NLF tankettes with vulnerable decoys and hit them in close quarters with anti-tank rifles.Netillian resources are being primarily devoted towards the push to the center of the city. And that their First Company is being replaced by a more seasoned Second Company.
>>3657467>Don't you try to pull a Riz on me.???Anyways. >>3657875Time to maybe amend your history with children. By not shooting them to death.>>3657467>>3657541>>3657669Do you know what happens if you pull that string?>>3657876Where are you going? Do you know what you're doing with the package? Are you from around here, or did you come here with friends?>>3658580Have people been leaving out the tunnel? Can you run a message to your boss of this juicy info, and if we wanted to talk to your friends, how could we do it?And share info.Alright. Writing in a bit.
>>3660013>???Next you'll say punching little girls isn't the optimal communication strategy.
“Hello there,” you tried to make your voice soft and unintimidating for this small girl- though you doubted that with a Netillian uniform and your concealing of your face would make that count for much. As long as you contrasted Anya’s threat to disembowel her you’d get at least marginally more headway. “Are you alright?” The Ellowian girl (well, the smaller one) was shut up tight, and pulled her green scarf up over her nose and mouth, her eyes wide but cast downward. The answer to your question was not coming, so you spoke some more. “I’m sorry that my friend said those nasty things to you. We aren’t going to hurt you, it’s just been a rough night and we’re all on edge. What’s your name?“Mommy always said to never talk to strangers. Daddy said to never trust anyone who don’t show their face.” The girl whimpered to herself, and by extension anybody listening to her.“Your mom and dad sound like they have good heads on their shoulders. Not the types who would let their daughter be walking around in a place like this, in times like these.” No response. Was it wrong to soften your voice? “Where were you going that was so important? It’s very dangerous outside.” Nothing. “Won’t you answer any of my questions? I know you must not like Netillians very much but we do want to watch out for you, and it’s hard to help you if you won’t talk to me.”“What if you’re lying? I don’t know no Netillians who care what happens to me or anybody here.” You certainly couldn’t argue with the runt’s personal experience, but what could you do but try and hash it out some more?“This is pointless,” Anya said from across the room, leaning against the wall. “She won’t say anything. I say we throw her out the window and find somebody else. Somebody’ll talk eventually. There’s no reason it has to be this little piece of crap.” You weren’t sure if Anya was playing up an antagonistic role or being serious. She did, after all, manage to get in deep with the Ashes, so it wasn’t as if she made a habit of being cruel or callous to children.“You’re not helping,” you returned fire, “Don’t listen to…” Netilland didn’t employ women in frontline roles. Should you pretend that Anya was a man? It was pretty dim, you supposed, despite Anya’s tone of voice being quite far from male, and in looser clothing such as she was in one could argue she looked like a scrawny boy. “…him. We won’t hurt you, I promise.” The girl didn’t seem like she believed you at all. “Pinky swear?” you raised the corresponding digit. The girl didn’t cooperate, so you took your hand in hers and tied your little fingers together. “There. Nothing bad will happen to you, or may the Judge Above smite my soul.”
Of course, words were easy enough to conjure, but getting this girl to trust said words would be something else. Perhaps if you started with the nature of her cargo. You picked up the package of explosive material, with the pull cord wrapped about it. “Do you know what this is?” No response, but you anticipated that. “Do you know what happens if you pull on this string hard enough?” Nothing. “It’s already very dangerous to be out and about right now. This is a bomb, not only is it unsafe, especially if you don’t know how it works, it’d be even worse if the wrong person caught you carrying it.”“I know how it works…” the little girl said sullenly, “I was told to be careful and to never, ever pull on that string.”Maybe that was a line you could follow- she was speaking in defense of her friends. “Whoever told you that at least considered that, but I don’t think it was safe regardless. Can you tell me anything about who you’re carrying these things for, and why? It must be a very good reason.” “…” Nothing. Of course. “What if we wanted to talk with your friends? No tricks or anything, just go and share a few words.” “…”“If I wanted you to tell your leader something, could you do it?” The girl blinked at you, still burying her face in her thick woolen scarf.“Is that a yes or a no?” The girl had clearly demonstrated she could talk, she was just being stubborn. “Won’t you answer any of my questions?”“I’m not sayin’ nothin’.”“Not even your name?”The girl made a defiant face at you. “Not like you told me yours.” You supposed she had a point, there.>You couldn’t very well break your promise and threaten anything out of her. Try and gain her trust a bit more, at least. (How?)>This was why you didn’t like kids. Bind her and leave her behind, she’s useless. >If she didn’t want to say anything, then fine. Let her go. But leak the information you want the NLF to know to her first.>Coerce information out of her some other way (How?)>Other?
>>3661463>You couldn’t very well break your promise and threaten anything out of her. Try and gain her trust a bit more, at least. (How?)Facemask down, tell her our name is......Liemanner.
>>3661463>>3661482This seems like a fine idea.
>>3661482>You couldn’t very well break your promise and threaten anything out of her. Try and gain her trust a bit more, at least. (How?)This works. I'd say normally just give her the info but she might just not tell anybody without some kind of trust forming.Say that we're going to give her everything back after we remove the detonator from the bomb (assuming they didn't somehow booby trap that.) If! she promises to pass along a message to her friends. ESPECIALLY since the info we are telling her could very well save their lives.
>>3661463Supporting these >>3661482 >>3661774
>>3661463Also, is Emma's can in the tank or in our possession?
>>3661947She is in your possession. Hopefully you know better than to leave her unattended around your men.
What was the phrase everyone use underground again, maybe if we say that itll have her open up.
>>3662348Are you forgetting something...?
Alright.>>3661482>>3661606>>3661835>>3662923Unmask yourself, say you're Liemanner. Nothing could go wrong.>>3661774>>3661835>>3662923Give all her junk back- disarm the bomb.>>3662348"What was the passphrase again?"...Okay.Writing.
The NLF had a pass phrase, didn’t they? You thought you’d heard one, but…well, it hadn’t stuck, whether or not you were directly told. The inescapable feeling that you knew was there, but if the words would not come to your lips you certainly couldn’t say them. The next best thing, you supposed, was to dispel at least a part of the youth’s mistrust in you.The face mask was pulled down and the goggles lifted, to show your face- the girl became an order shyer in expression after that. Was that a good thing? “Alright, sure. I’ll tell you my name then. Here’s my face, too, so I’m not somebody who can’t be trusted. My name is Liemanner.” You glanced at Anya, and her eyebrow twitched, though little else of her expression could be seen behind her mask. “That’s a weird name.” the Ellowian child said.“It sounds weird by itself.” You admitted. You used the small delay to think of another name. “My first name is Loch.”“…I’m Philippa. My friends call my Filly.”“Can I call you Filly?”“No.”Baby steps. “You’re not telling me your last name so your folks don’t get in trouble? Do they live near?”“…”Apparently your level of trust wasn’t good enough for that yet. “Alright. Well, Philippa, I can’t let you carry this around in good conscience.” You waved the bomb at her. “So We have to get rid of this.” You pulled a knife out and dug out the detonator case, carefully. The trigger itself was a simple design, and you explained it to Phillipa as you worked. “When this string is pulled, it does something like lighting a match inside this metal tube here. After a few seconds, maybe five to ten, depending on the type, that reaction goes to a very sensitive explosive. See, this explosive right here?” You gestured to the white block, “Don’t try this, but if you have it by itself, you can light it on fire and it will just burn, and not blow up. Well, if it’s what I think it is. The point is, it doesn’t blow up unless something else blows up next to it. I don’t know the specifics, but that’s why there’s a little explosive inside this switch. That’s how it works.”Philippa couldn’t be forced to listen, but you thought at least some small conversation would be to your benefit. A cursory examination told you that it was a simplistic pull type fuse- easy to disarm, and if you were to guess, intentionally simple, to the point that there was no safety mechanism. A test of the tension told you that there was a lot of slack in the cord, at least. The chances of accidentally yanking it out were minimal. The fuse was put into your pocket, and you repacked the girl’s bag- munitions and all.
“I’ll be giving the rest of this back," You told the girl, "and you can go free. Before that, though, I want to tell you a few things, that you should tell your friends in the resistance, the NLF, I bet. It’s important. This information could save their lives, so make sure to spread the word, alright?”Philippa frowned at you, but whether or not she believed you, she was going to hear this- and hopefully, she would tell somebody, even if she didn’t have any ability to go right to the top. She did, however, have some sense of curiosity.“Why would you tell me something like that? You’re a Netillian.”No need for her to know the whole truth. “That doesn’t mean I agree with this war, this occupation, this fighting. Ask a few Netillians what they think of all this sometime, and what they think of the people in charge. You might be surprised. Now, listen carefully.”Philippa shut up, and let you talk.“One of the commanders here is a man called Captain Becker. He’s here to support and replace the people who’ve been fighting here since the start; he’s the leader of the 28th Infantry Battalion’s 2nd company, the company being reinforced is the 1st company.” You could see that Phillipa was beginning to lose focus under all the jargon. “To put it another way, new people have come, and they’re better at fighting. Their leader is called Becker. Now, he wants to recapture the Garrison Headquarters. The Netillian base at the center of town. You know what it is?” Philippa nodded. “Good. There’s another thing he wants to do, though. He wants to lure the NLF’s small tanks they have into a trap and destroy them, preferably at close range with anti-tank rifles. Just make sure to tell that there’s a target painted on the tanks. Do you understand?”“…Becker, more, stronger people, traps for the tanks.”“Good girl. Off with you, then. Come on, Sergeant, help me unblock the door.”Philippa loitered a moment after you had moved the obstruction and opened the door, waving the girl out. She stepped forward, hesitated, then said quietly, “A lot of people were moving up…that way.” She pointed north, “Away from here. If you stay around here, you should be safe, where nobody will shoot at you.”A change of heart? Now it was your turn to ask a question said before. “Why are you telling me? Aren’t I untrustworthy?”“You still are.” Philippa said, sulking. “But if you’re telling any truths, then I think you don’t wanna fight…and if you don’t wanna fight, then there oughta be more people like you around, and not getting’ killed.”“I appreciate that.” You said as warmly as you could, and gave the girl a pat on the head, then pushed her on the back out the door. “Now hurry back.”
Philippa ran off as fast as you’d seen a little girl go, and her steps echoed down the stairs. Anya’s eyes followed her in the moment she was still in the room, and her eyes lingered where Philippa had left her sight. She sighed, and sank into the wall. “What’s wrong?” you asked, “Not keen on going to the basement now?”“Either you have some weird-ass plan,” Anya muttered, “Or you’re actually fucking retarded.”“Oh?” you didn’t bother directly asking why, as you had a feeling Anya would make the nature of her criticism known.“Liemanner. What the hell is wrong with you? Didn’t you tell me yourself that Drachen was in Sosaldt? That’d he been there a long-ass time? If anybody in this fucking place is going to know who Liemanner is it’ll be that guy who we disguised ourselves to keep from finding out we were here.”>If he finds out we were here with the Netillians, then so be it. At least we were here helping him, as far as he can say for sure.>You don’t think that girl will actually remember the name I gave her, do you? There’s too much to muck up all the information coming in. We’ll be fine.>Drachen must have anticipated that this could happen. It’s a reality of playing for more than one side. If he assumed we would drop everything and join his team, sacrificing the other numerous benefits we could provide him, then he was wrong. If our actions tonight are enough to sour the potential he sees in us, then so be it. Division would have been inevitable anyways if he’s like that.>Oops.>Other?
>>3663647>>Drachen must have anticipated that this could happen. It’s a reality of playing for more than one side. If he assumed we would drop everything and join his team, sacrificing the other numerous benefits we could provide him, then he was wrong. If our actions tonight are enough to sour the potential he sees in us, then so be it. Division would have been inevitable anyways if he’s like that.
>>3663647>Drachen must have anticipated that this could happen. It’s a reality of playing for more than one side. If he assumed we would drop everything and join his team, sacrificing the other numerous benefits we could provide him, then he was wrong. If our actions tonight are enough to sour the potential he sees in us, then so be it. Division would have been inevitable anyways if he’s like that.Would she have preferred we go by Lou Tenant?
>>3663647>>Drachen must have anticipated that this could happen. It’s a reality of playing for more than one side. If he assumed we would drop everything and join his team, sacrificing the other numerous benefits we could provide him, then he was wrong. If our actions tonight are enough to sour the potential he sees in us, then so be it. Division would have been inevitable anyways if he’s like that.Double agents need to do plenty of shit to maintain their cover in general after all.
>>3663647>>Drachen must have....Partially it's a way to let Drachen know we aren't COMPLETELY double crossing them. The NLF intelligence seems to be pretty goddamn good, the moment we led some of the Midland Rangers here they would know we somehow had a hand in the Netillian counterattack, there was no way to hide that short of not coming here at all.And if we didn't come here then that preemptively adds evidence from both the men under our control and High Command which would have put us under a magnifying lens when we DO have to start acting more suspiciously.Further, if we told her our name was Richter then anyone who questions her would know the Kommandant was here. If anything it was the right name to put out there, because only Drachen would know what that entails. It's a deliberate message.Trust me, don't I look like someone in control of his own sanity ?
>>3663685Agreed. If the NLF really wanted to know they would already know that our unit, and probably Richter himself, was involved in this fight. Dropping this name at the same time that we gave that little girl useful information to help the NLF just serves as a little acknowledgement to Drachen that we were forced to be here but we're still helping out the NLF when possible.
I told you you'll fuck it up anons. I warned you.
My alzheimers is kicking in. Did we ever do anything with The Kaiser's seal that Loch gave to us?
>>3663647>Drachen must have anticipated that this could happen. It’s a reality of playing for more than one side. If he assumed we would drop everything and join his team, sacrificing the other numerous benefits we could provide him, then he was wrong. If our actions tonight are enough to sour the potential he sees in us, then so be it. Division would have been inevitable anyways if he’s like that.>>3663685>>3663979Thanks for justifying my stupid idea anons.
I made another dumb thing for the thread before it dies
Alright, I'm here now. Page 10, but we're at the top of it, that's enough for...another update, sure. At the rate I've been at lately.>>3663650>>3663658>>3663663>>3666205Reality strikes, and this is just the way it's gotta be.>>3663685>>3663979They already knew anyways, right? Look, we intended to do this, we're even telling him, he's got to appreciate that!It was all a trick to make Anya dress properly. Writing.>>3666161It was hidden. Not in a place you can readily get it back, either.>>3667956I appreciate the onion-esque layers in this. At least he's not here, right?
“…Well, Drachen must have anticipated this could happen,” you said in your defense, “It’s the reality of playing for more than one side. If he assumed we would just drop everything and throw in with him, sacrificing the numerous benefits of working alongside the Netillians, then frankly, he was wrong. We haven’t done terribly much to hinder him, if it’s enough to sour the potential benefits from continuing our relationship, then this wasn’t going to work out anyways.” Anya continued to look right at you as you went on, “Furthermore, of all the people who will hear that name, it’s likely only Drachen himself will know who it is, and who would give themselves that pseudonym, right? That way, we’re letting him know, while avoiding controversy with anybody lower than those who absolutely need to know. We had no choice but to come here, otherwise, we’d have too much attention for skipping out, and then how much help would we be? Also, the NLF seems to have pretty good intel-““Alright, shaddup, I get it,” Anya interrupted you, “Sorry. Clearly you’ve got a plan. As long as that’s the case, I’ll trust you with it. Just, if I don’t know what the hell you’ve got planned, it’s hard for me to help you, and I didn’t know what you were doing here. Just saying, trust me too, right?”Truthfully, half of your rationalizations had been retroactive. It was a gamble, but with words atop to make it seem less of one. Would Anya still trust in you if your gambling didn’t continue to pay out? Such was why there was hesitation before you said, “Right.” “Glad we read each other then.” Anya started shoving her face mask down to put on and tighten her gas mask. “I’ve never had a whiff of whore’s bliss and I’m not interested in learning what it feels like. Give me a moment to make sure this is nice and tight.”“Whore’s Bliss?” you echoed, “Blackflower, right. We found a cache of it in that raid we did a few days ago. Perhaps this basement was one of the buyers?”“If you want to smoke up a whole place, yeah, you need a lot of it. It’s not really that expensive, especially if it’s like Sosaldt and there’s nobody saying you can’t have it.”“How do you know that?”Anya shrugged. “Taking inventory on deliveries, even the ones the client says not to check out, not like everybody doesn’t peek anyhow. Deliveries including payments handled separately, records, stock and paperwork. Everybody does odd jobs in Sosaldt. Or did. Dunno how much has changed since I bounced.”“I see.”“Alright,” Anya pointed you forth out the door, her gas mask muffling her voice “You lead the way. This piece of shit screws with my sides vision.”“Peripheral vision.”“Whatever. I’ve got your back, alright?”You nodded, and took the lead.
Besides the sweet herbal tinge of Blackflower, there was a soft light as you approached. An electrical lamp, from the flicker, in spite of some colored glass or shade having been applied to change its hue. In the first room, peering around the corner, you spied all that you expected from a seedy underground parlor- the curtains of beads and sheer, dim lights and deep shadows, and incense burners that spread the bedazzling scent about the place. They appeared, at a glance, to be near freshly supplied. Somebody was keeping these burners going, leaving the lights on.You signed to Anya. Anybody home? She pointed for you to breach on one, two…three.There was not a sound but faint electrical flickering and your bootsteps as you checked the first room, then the rattling of beads as you checked behind curtains, in booths, and found…nothing. Back room, Anya signed by pointing, Staying here to watch door, will follow if trouble. You nodded to her, and pushed the door to the onward rooms. They spread out like forks in a path- some assuredly to private quarters, others to management and storage, perhaps restrooms amongst them…of all the places you thought you’d be making tense clearings of, drug dens and brothels were not among them. You expected the harsh scent of cordite and the raw touch of upturned earth and smoke in your nostrils, not Blackflower, which to be fair, served to mask the possible fouler scents about the place. Perhaps Von Metzeler, with his fascination with police work, would have been more expectant of this environment. The private quarters were small enough to investigate swiftly. Just large enough for their purpose, and perhaps lodging for the workers, as well. Given the amount of communal housing in the UGZs, perhaps such was even a luxury. Despite the inhabitants being gone, there were signs of more permanent life here. Old magazines and newspapers, pictures and small, framed photographs. The odd prayer book- Ellowie had some semblance of the old Church left over, due to their standing alongside the first Kaiser instead of against him. The Cathedra, those who sought to see the High One’s justice on the world as well as the hereafter. You knew little about them, but that Ellowie was one of the few places where there were holdfasts of the old church outside of the east beyond the Reich.Even living in a pit with the stink of a drug twisting their minds, some were still holding on to some hope, reminding themselves of what was, and what hopefully would return.
Enough sentimentalism. You had the offices to clear out, finally. No sign of people thus far, but that in and of itself was suspicious. Somebody bothered to keep this place maintaining appearances. Why not just have it dark? Did somebody leave the lights on? Were the lights left on for a reason, and why was the Blackflower kept burning? It wouldn’t serve as any deterrent for the completely male Netillian frontline, and could even hinder the female members of the National Liberation Front. The office, unfortunately, was similarly empty of items of particular interest and outside the norm, though you did notice that there were fans and ventilation- presumably for keeping Blackflower smoke out while in business, but all of those had been turned off so the place had the same scent as the rest of the basement.>Perhaps there was nothing here after all. Nothing worth looking for, at least. Go on and leave, to finish your scouting mission.>There had to be something here- you’d find it, even if you had to tear the place apart. [Brute Force method, time consuming]>Maybe you were missing something important, something that would help your search. [Look for something specific, in a specific place, or do something to help find anything out?]>Other?
>>3668267>Maybe you were missing something important, something that would help your search. [Look for something specific, in a specific place, or do something to help find anything out?]If anything it will be tunnels. Check the floors, what's it made of? Rugs, loose floorboards, stacked boxes that appear full but are light and empty. They cleared out the civvies with the rest of the city. The little girl was wandering near to here, maybe this is where her pickup came from. Vents and fans might be for the tunnel too. >Other?Electric wires lead anywhere besides out from the street? Maybe flick the light on/off see what happens.Blackflower might be to mask other smells besides the obvious.
>>3668374>maybe this is where her pickup came from. One hopes not>>3668267Regardless, I support >>3668374
I return.>>3668374>>3668597>>3668826Look for tunnels- might be under things, or around things. The vents are too small, as a slight detail, to be able to convey anybody. Follow wiring, try turning lights off, look for other smellz.Writing.
Perhaps you were missing something simple, but important. There was definitely something to find down here, there was too much suspicious for there to be nothing. You stepped back and forth on the floor, consisting of wooden boards; noted their sound. Probable a solid foundation floor beneath, as could be expected of a basement. Any rugs or odd seams in the planks would be a point of suspicion, as would the squat, low beds in the personal rooms. Good thing you had an electrical torch- the dim light would have made looking for small giveaways more difficult. As you poked around, you had time to think- a benefit of security given by the tomboy at the door. There was little reason for the blackflower to still be burning and the lights to be on for nobody. Perhaps if you turned the lights off for a bit? No, that would probably alarm Anya to do suddenly. Best to focus on the other sense first- the possibility of the sweet scent of the smoke masking a more telling scent. In spite of its dirty social purpose, the brothel didn’t actually seem dirty itself- little if any filth to need to cover the smell of. What sort of smell? Well, a chemical workshop would certainly stink while in use, but you got the feeling that explosives weren’t being made in the UGZ- the NLF had come from elsewhere, rather than springing up here. They probably got all their supplies moved in, rather than made on the spot. Explosives, perhaps? Indeed, some explosives stank badly, others were more neutral in scent, while others like Hexogen had no scent at all- it would depend on what was being dealt with.If they were trying to hide the smell of something…the most effective place to mask with the smell would be…“Ah, the burners.” You said to yourself, and moved back to the smoldering blackflower dishes in the main room. There were also decently colorful rugs here- if there was something here, you surmised, it must be here. Would the smell being masked be different, or alike, however? You went over and tapped Anya on the shoulder. “Hey,” you whispered to her, “Do you know of anything explosive that smells sweet?”Anya shrugged. “I dunno. Isn’t the stuff in dynamite like sugar or something? Not that you should sniff it.”…Perhaps. That girl hadn’t been carrying dynamite, though. On the other hand, it was possible she didn’t pick up or deliver here. That certainly would have been preferable, if only if it meant a little girl wasn’t heading into a brothel, no matter how empty it was.
Only one way to find out. You lifted a colorfully patterned rug that lay under a shelf where a blackflower incense burner let its smoke into the air, and were reminded of the patterns of the mountainfolk. Bingo- right there, was a small hole under a set of planks, to lever something under and lift up. Your knife would do- but you got Anya’s attention once more, to watch over you in case what was lurking beneath was a loaded pistol pointed out the trapdoor.Anya pointed her submachinegun as you levered up the door with your knife, and popped it open a ladder- and more than that, the unmistakable stink of…gasoline? Not particularly what you expected, but it was certainly not something meant to be down here. A ladder went down, about three meters, beyond concrete and into another room. This room had a lamp on too, though it was yellow-orange instead of the brothel’s pinkish lavender light.A minute of listening. Silence. Your compatriot tapped your shoulder. Me first, she signed, but you shook your head. Before Anya could object, you were hopping down, submachinegun at the ready as soon as you landed. The quiet before had hinted you wouldn’t need it, but now you were sure, as there was nobody down here. What there were, though, were stacked crates of bottles. Red barrels of gasoline. Crates you recognized as ammunition, with faint traces of painted numbers that had been filed or sanded off. Atop one of the ammunition crates though, indeed, a small, mostly empty box of the same explosive blocks that the Philippa girl had been carting around. This was a cache, and not a small one. From the look of things, it had been used, but more importantly…there were scuff marks on the ground, gaps where larger things and boxes should have been, and a partially open door. Anya climbed down beside you, presumably after hearing nothing and surmising it to be safe for the moment. She seemed to have the same concern you did, and walked past you to the door before peeking around both sides of it. All clear she signed, but there was a possibility it wouldn’t be for long- the stuff here was in the process of being moved out.>Note it and have it secured later. It would be a nice prize to add to your report; something the Netillians could appreciate.>It was too dangerous to have near your men. Any random civilian could huck a Firebottle- you would have to set this all aflame, or otherwise destroy it.>Wait around some- if there would be people coming back, perhaps you could capture them, or stick them up for information. Then again, said people could be armed and up for a fight…>Leave the place. The NLF would be allowed to keep this cache and its supplies- given that they were moving this materiel out, and likely wouldn’t be tempted to use it on you or your people.>Other?
>>3669061>>Leave the place. The NLF would be allowed to keep this cache and its supplies- given that they were moving this materiel out, and likely wouldn’t be tempted to use it on you or your people.Maybe mark the place out for the Netillians after the battle in case there's anything left, plus giving them at least something to investigate.
>>3669061>Leave the place. The NLF would be allowed to keep this cache and its supplies- given that they were moving this materiel out, and likely wouldn’t be tempted to use it on you or your people
>>3669061I want to say stick around and capture someone, but we're pushing our luck with just two of us. Plus who knows how many people are coming back.>Leave the place. The NLF would be allowed to keep this cache and its supplies- given that they were moving this materiel out, and likely wouldn’t be tempted to use it on you or your people.This is sort of assuming we pull back the unit for the night, not unreasonable considering 50% casualties. >Other?Is there any paper around? Jotting down a quick note of what we told the girl and leave it someplace very conspicuous like in front of the lamp. Maybe sign it as "Sichel" who from what Drachen was saying believed the King would bite it. I dunno, really all I want it to do is catch the eyes of the NLF who walks in here.Maybe take a quick note of the type of ammo they have stored down here?Grab a block of explosives? If only to figure out the type they are using?
>>3669071>>3669075>>3669077>>3669091Letting them go, leaving a note, asking "hey we've already been through a lot, peace out?" And other investigations.Since we're at the very bottom of the board I'll save the update for these votes for next thread, but in the meantime, I've got something else ready.
A soft coating of flakey snow had fallen over central Strossvald. In its sprawling capital of Strossstadt, the snow ranged from grey to white depending on whether the snow had fallen over the smoky and polluted industrial district’s factories where soot stained the stones of the buildings themselves. Where the populace still bustled to and fro, winter not having slowed business, nor the ceaseless processions of automobiles and trolleys, whose bells rang clamorously as they stopped and started on their routes, snow piling in black and brown slush at the edges of the roads as it was pushed out of the way by cleaners. Or, in the more idyllic outskirts, where forests and meadows had escaped the ravages of industrialization and the crowding of civilization. The further out from the city one got, the quieter, but no less well-appointed, for the city was wealthy and so were its adjacent townships by virtue of such. It was in the latter, the outskirts, where near a pond whose surface had not frozen, where a lone fisher sat by the edge, their pole balanced lightly in their hand, a heavy jacket and hood protecting them from the cold, that would have been disagreeable to most activities involving sitting still for a long time.Hilda had arrived in Strosstadt some days ago, feeling like a vagrant carrying a missive to Richter’s parents, requesting they house her. She didn’t like asking for help- she had never expected to receive it in the past. She could fend for herself, but arriving in the bustling station, wandering through the cramped streets between the high towers of the capital…she was in much more a mood to sullenly accept the hospitality of the Von Tracht family, small as it was. Though she hated to impose, so she wanted to do some work, some errands- but both the mother and father had insisted that the maid and butler both had everything under control.Hilda was pregnant, they insisted, she shouldn’t have to do any work whilst in their household; and she was sick, focus on getting better, they said. The worst of Hilda’s flu had fled her now, but she didn’t want to socialize with Herr and Frau Von Tracht, or loiter in their large house (even if it was quaint for nobility, apparently, it was still quite a house in Hilda’s eyes). It wasn’t that they were unfriendly, or unaccommodating, but rather that they were, and so much so. Apparently, Richter hadn’t ever been the sort to have many friends, and that had ever concerned them, especially his mother, and of course they would help a friend of his……But did friends pine for friends? Did they fantasize and dream about them? Would a friend force themselves on another friend? Richter had apologized for his wrongs against her, and Hilda knew he had forgiven her for hers, but forgiving herself was proving to be much more difficult.
The hustle and bustle of the city wasn’t to Hilda’s tastes, and she could not help but feel that every person she passed was staring at her past her mask. The quiet outskirts, and especially the outdoors where few were going these days, was much more to her liking. She could take her mask off out here, and let the skin and scars on her face breathe, feel the cool air on them once more. It was a small thing to ask for a fishing rod and tackle, she’d fished plenty before back on the river near her home, and while by the pond, whether or not anything bit, she could sit and let minutes turn to hours, perhaps let hours turn to days. Mayhap days turn to weeks, to months…Her blackened arms and legs, and the further marring to her face, it did still tingle with dull pain from time to time, but Hilda refused to let anybody know. Von Tracht’s parents would likely call a doctor, and the doctor would poke and prod at her before throwing his hands up, or wanting to test things…no, Hilda preferred a little bit of pain to what would inevitably just be an annoyance with little result. The pain could be ignored, the peace of the outdoors and the idling away of time was good medicine, and Hilda felt good feeling the day pass around her. Yet what refused to let her be no matter where she went, was the specters of the past. As she often did, Hilda dozed off fishing…but this time, she was returned to that day.She had rescued him, cradled him in her arms, been so careful to keep from hitting him on the doorframe, or any furniture, and had laid him on the bed and locked the door. She watched over him…watched him for a long time. Until she thought about where she was, what she thought she would have to do…and was overcome. She couldn’t hold herself back anymore. Her lips touched his, and she squeezed her arms around his back like she wanted to wring the life from his body. Yet, for all the satisfaction she felt kissing him, she wanted so terribly for him to kiss her back…It felt just as good in the dream. No ghost to disturb her, to mock her. No little voice that, while welcome elsewhere, was not so here. Just her and him. When she undressed, she wanted so dearly, for him to see her and be attracted. When she climbed atop him, she wanted so much to feel his hands upon her. In this dream, she did not stop as she had in the all too real past. Yet even the dream was not so compromising as to allow Hilda to make love to more than a sleeping body.
When Hilda woke again, she felt empty. No more room for self-hatred, nor sadness for not having. Just another stain to hide away, to try and let float away on the wind as she picked up the rod again and cast out the line once more, to a different place where maybe the fish, made slow and lazy by the cold, would feel more up to biting. What a shitty dream. A shitty dream befitting the person whose head it had appeared in. Given the chance to do it all over, of course a selfish creature like her had taken him like she had some right to him. At least it was over.Yet in the next hour, Hilda saw a sight that made her wonder if she was still asleep. Before that, she heard it. Somebody slinking about nearby, crunching long dead leaves and snow beneath their feet.“Who’s there.” She called out dully, before looking proper. “…”“I have been looking for a while,” the man walking up said. He was quite similar to Hilda, if she were male, with the black hair and tall nose, tall, though he lacked her scars, and her glare, and wore a patch over an eye. “Dear sister. Are you well?”“Bertram.” Hilda said with no tone, jerking the line a couple of times. “I thought you had gone to better places.”“Jude Above, Hilda, even I am not so heartless that I’d abandon my own flesh and blood forever, never to check up on how she’s doing. Your friend made himself startlingly difficult to track, and when I decided to perhaps investigate his home for some clue, I finally find you. Yet what are you doing here?” Bertram came closer, and saw Hilda’s face better. “…What happened to you?” he said darkly, taking his eyepatch off and revealing a dark, black eye that stared beyond what was normally visible. “Who did this to you?”“…” Hilda closed her eyes. “It’s nothing I don’t deserve. That I couldn’t have avoided. Leave me be, Bertram. Whatever happened’s already happened.”“That Von Tracht fellow, you were with him, no? He allowed this?” Bertram touched Hilda’s face, where the darkness would have been most stark, where the skin greyed. “I will see him suffer.”Hilda’s eyes widened. “No, don’t….! Don’t hurt him. Don’t…” Her face fell and she cast her gaze at the ground.“Oh?” Bertram’s eyes went slim, “Why not?”“…”“…I see,” Bertram crossed his arms and cocked his eyebrow. “So he managed to melt that stubborn heart of yours. For what cost, though? Why are you here and not he?”Hilda’s shoulders sagged, and she put the fishing rod upright in the ground again. “…He’s happier with another. I don’t deserve him.”
“Hah.” Bertram gave a bark of amusement, “Deserve? Hilda, Hilda. That’s not how the world works. Either you take, or are taken from. Are you satisfied being one who has everything taken from her, even her heart? If you feel for him, then go and take him. Deserving is dictated by who takes it all in the end, who stands over the others after the dust is settled and none are left to oppose the will of the winner.”Hilda’s melancholy vanished, and she stood upon her feet, her teeth grit. “I am not you.” She said with the edge of flint and her eyes like ice. “I am not some beast who exists to consume and not care a bit for anybody but myself.”“But I do care for people other than myself, Hilda.” Bertram put a hand on his sister’s shoulder. “I do not need much to be happy. A roof over my head, a belly full of food, perhaps some beer from time to time, and the winds of the wild. Yet, I also wish for the Archduchy to be healthy, as a good countryman, and I wish for my sister to be happy, as a good brother. A good brother like I’ve failed to be when you needed me most…” He raised his hand to touch Hilda’s long scar upon her face, trailing his finger down it with a sad tilt to his mouth. Hilda pushed his hand away. “I don’t need you now, and you don’t need to do right by a me that’s so far in the past. Leave me be, if you’ve done all you’ve come here to do.”“I have done all I can here,” Bertram admitted, with a sigh as he stepped backwards a few paces, “But I do need to do right for you…and certainly not a you that is far in the past. Hear me, Hilda. Nobody is allowed to maim you so and be unpunished. I will not harm his body, at least…but those near him..?”“…”“Don’t look at me like that, Hilda, I only want to help you, and I’m thinking of ways to do it, you see?” Bertram smiled and turned to leave, “But if you want to stop me…good luck. Don’t forget who taught you how to shoot.”-----Thanks for participating/reading, folks. Next thread will be up next week.
>>3670512> I will not harm his body, at least…but those near him..?Well Maddy has plot armor, so I guess Anya is going to get shot because we treated Hilda like shit. Nice to see we have once more karma houdini'd ourselves out of the consequences of our actions.Assuming anything actually comes of this.
>>3670530>Well Maddy has plot armorI wouldn't be so sure of that, anon...
>>3670497Our parents are the best. We must not disappoint them.>>3670502Hilda has got it worst of everyone.>>3670512Remember when you decided it was not worth it to heal Hilda? REMEMBER IT ANONS?