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It was morning in Wossehnalia, long blue shadows cast far beyond the city by the rising sun, from its scant towering nods to being a beyond any neighbors in this land before it became the Republic of Mittelsosalia. Once, warlords would come to lavish parties here, hosted by an eccentric demigod of wealth who sought to be a true noble, something he thought was the only thing money could not buy. These same warlords were now officers, and their men an army, but there were no parties here to attend. What they had gathered for was an inspection- preparations made with no joy, but a hint of dread. Very few knew what they had been making ready for, but the scale of it all frightened any who bothered to think about it, as it was beyond anything they’d seen or experienced in Sosaldt.

The Army of the Republic had changed little since its earliest days, as far as its vagabond appearance went; but the best vagabonds back then were now the standard across thousands. When the ill-practiced formations were called, despite the stumbling and cursing, there was not a man without the brown and black uniform, without the floppy brimmed cap marked with the Dawn Star of Liberty, the Diadem constellation around it on the flag it was abstracted from. The banners had steadily unified to the modern flag of the Republic, and whilst the change might not have looked impressive on the surface, the universal scale of it had been quite an achievement.

The Minister of the People hoped it would be enough. Her more relevant title of Commander in Chief was ever more relevant but now more than ever, but none would be intimidated by the “Commander” of an unruly mob, which was what Mittelsosalia’s army had been forged from for better or worse. This was all she had now. This was all she was in the world. Like nothing before, she couldn’t afford to screw this up.

The Ellowian Government in Exile, and the High Command that dictated strategic aims in their name, wanted to prepare for longer, to drain Mittelsosalia of what they could to have as much strength as possible for when they took their country back. Signy could understand why, Mittelsosalia might as well have been an upstart bandit kingdom as far as most of the world was concerned, but she refused to be treated that way. Her name, her father’s name, wouldn’t be a stain in history, remembered as some other power mad warlord whose realm collapsed under them. No, she had risen to this place in victory, and victory was again what she’d seek. Ellowie would be forever indebted, and Mittelsosalia legitimized as an ally of liberty, a bastion of Republican dreams in the world.
>>
The beginnings of the mania of ambition? No, Signy hadn’t wanted this, she thought to herself. It was what was right. She was no longer feeble, and neither was this group of people under her, whether they were opportunists or believers, they’d be right to be behind her. It was a feeling she learned to like, still, this new fear she could inspire in people, the knowledge that she worked to create true and massive change in the world, to stymie the cynical march of reactionism that had felled a free and democratic nation. That grand design distracted from how lonely she had become, in her new place in the world.

Her new friends were historians and philosophers, strategists and tacticians. Most of them were dead. Once, she’d imagined them with Loch’s face, in desperation, but now…she held nothing but fury for that man. Burning hatred that he wouldn’t help her where she truly needed it the most, he got her so angry that she couldn’t think. At least try to be more than some formless shadow! You contemptible swine! Knock it the hell off, with this ceaseless mockery of my feelings! Am I a woman to you or a child?!

Grit teeth. Hot tears. She’d sent him away before she had become frustrated enough to shout at him, and she was good and cold now. This was what mattered, not whatever nonsense that still stuck in her head like a vestigial limb. Off with it, if it was going to get in the way. All the aid she’d accept from Loch now was whatever strings he’d pulled for mercenaries and “volunteers,” and that personal guard attached to her. She couldn’t accomplish anything if an assassin blew her brains out. Or cut her throat. Again.

“Generalmajor.” She addressed the leader of the assembled group she was now before, sharply, hands behind her back as her longcoat flapped in the gentle wind. “Your men are the First Republic Infantry Division, yes?”

“Aye, madam Minister,” the man snapped up to attention. He was much more respectful and reverent than most- the First Infantry had been made up of people from the first territories of the Republic, and the man had been a leader in the White Eyes, a group that had been one of Signy’s first supporters when this land was still new and strange. Yet the extravagant title showed the new barrier between them. “Fifteen thousand five hundred and forty eight men are assembled here to await your approval as soldiers of the Republic.”
>>
The weight of that statement suddenly pressed on the Minister’s shoulders. You haven’t had coffee yet. Maybe this General would like to go get some? No, he’s not really your type, not pretty enough, not young enough, not in any way a prince…

And to everybody here you’re the Minister and nothing else.


“M’am?” the General coughed cautiously when Signy had clapped her hand against her face, twice.

“I’m fine.” The Minister looked across the nervous faces of the Soldiers of the Republic, their hats casting shade over their faces, no hopeful glint in that darkness. Not yet. Could they find inspiration in this plain northern girl who had the audacity to call herself a Shield of Liberty? “Let’s get this done. Show me around the battalions, then we’ll have them do a quick drill. There’s a lot to get done.”

The section of the Army of the Republic that was ready for battle had been counted at five infantry divisions and one mechanized/armor regiment, and unless there was a miracle, that’d be all that would be ready by the time she intended to get this war started. Fewer fighters than the Ellowian Army squatting here, far fewer, but she intended for them to have a pivotal role in the coming Alpha Two, so they had to be the best she could scrounge up. It wouldn’t be enough to fight the Netillians, of course, but it was enough, should she and her men be clever and steadfast, to trample the northern confederations that were readying to counter the new power of Mittelsosalia.

Like she’d done once before, she had gone out and met with the leaders of these confederacies. She’d met many of them before. Before, they had insulted her, made fun of her, assaulted her body like she was some wench instead of an equal. Now, they displayed a proper level of fear and respect. In not quite forgotten indignant and impotent fury, Signy had cried that she would kill them for their disrespect- now, they remembered that, and she had the power to carry out threats that had once been made in desperate protest rather than anything that could be actually done.

She couldn’t help but be amused by how a scant few of them groveled. Much less so by those whose disrespect had been replaced by an equal amount of wariness. That was fine, though. She knew her overtures landed on deaf ears.

That was why the deadline she gave them was false. The day they prepared for would be a week too late. There was no negotiation planned, and while they still plotted amongst themselves, these savages would be liberated, a mere footnote in Mittelsosalia’s rise.

-----

“Grandmaster,” one of Ellowie’s faithful in an old and forgotten uniform of the army saluted the appointed leader of Ellowie’s final stand against the East, “The Royal Guard are assembled with their equipment. We’re still waiting to hear the same from a few of the orders, but for the most part, we are prepared for the assault at dusk.”
>>
“Good.” The Grandmaster declared with a clank as he rose, the plates of his armored suit shifting against one another. “Regardless of readiness, send out the command to synchronize time pieces, and to be ready to converge upon the exact time.”

The young man saluted again, and left. The Grandmaster watched him go, and ran his hand across the helmet lying on his table, the grossly flamboyant thing heavy as it was pretty. The children loved it though, just like they loved the armor, for all of how it was a sham. The Grandmaster was no deluded fool. The Royal Guard were not a Royal Guard at all, and for all the implied declaration, did not serve the King. The Orders were no brotherhoods appointed by the Cathedra to keep the peace of the land in a more just time, and the Grandmaster was but an aging man in an ill fitting suit of armor made for another time. It wasn’t for arrogance that such names had been chosen, though. In this grim time with no hope in the future, the vainglorious times that had long passed were the only place to find the inspiration to fight against the combined tide of Eastern Heresy and Western Socialism.

Those twin threats were worth any fight against them, no matter how bitter. The lands of Vinstraga were already being sapped of holiness as the Cathedra had been usurped by the false icon of the Kaiser Alexander, but the wayward churches that had been allowed to exist feebly where the Cathedra once had been were still more tolerable than the Church of the East, whom for all their claim to serve the same Justice, denied the West not only their self-determination, but also their saints and worship, that the Vilja Domkarl, Will of the Saints, the voice of the Judge to his creation, was but a charlatan.

The Socialists supported this destructive heresy for their own ends in a cynical bid for heaven upon earth that they deemed themselves Judge to pass. They allied themselves with this alien doom and forsook their countrymen for a utopia as impossible as it was arrogant. A curse upon them, and for their custody of the Cathedra’s holy men in Vitelia. Their time would come.

Yes, all the pomp and circumstance was but a standard to lead the lost to continue this war. This battle would be a beacon to those in the dark, that it was not all over. For the children, for those who had been abandoned and orphaned…Yet are you not using them as your own tool?
>>
The Grandmaster, Ottoslaus Von Srebo, his very name a symbol more than anything, was kept awake at night still by this question despite having his answers. These answers weighed heavily despite them being all he could offer these poor youth, the future of this fair nation and its people. They could not go into the future a cowed and subject race. A proud death and obliteration was better than to become thralls of the heretic or utopianist.

Better still to live in victory, the Grandmaster thought to himself as he lifted his helm unto his head. Every name that belonged to a martyr for their nation, he had written down, committed to memory each night, for when the day would come that he would stand for each of these souls as valiant, the holy knights in a new age of heroes.

-----

You are Richter Von Tracht, Lieutenant Officer of Panzers for the Archduchy of Strossvald, and Coordinator Official of the Archducal advisory mission to Netilland. Now was the first time you’d actually felt like that in a while, even if you were now moonlighting as a go-between for insurgent groups you were supposed to be fighting against, as well as an indirect agent for the Ellowian Government in Exile and the Republic of Mittelsosalia. Such was the nature of being an Intelligence Office agent on top of all that, wasn’t it?

Much of the leadership of the unit you oversaw, the 1st company of the 5th Combined Light Infantry battalion as well as a few officers and NCOs of a compliment of armored cavalry sent as reinforcements by Captain Magnus Edelschwert to support this operation, was now assembled before you for briefing.
The purpose of this operation was multifaceted. Only you and your inner circle of officers knew of the objective to distract as many Twaryian forces from guarding Dymny from an assault by Eastern Resistance Army forces at sundown, but there was plenty of justification in the other goals of the operation.

“…Gentlemen,” you began in front of a meticulously scribed new projection device (apparently from old Ellowian stock somebody managed to “dig up”) that had been freshly donated by Maenesko, your voice far more confident than the last time you had to give a briefing, “Today, our mission is to give the Twaryians proper recompense for Gerovic’s activities, and to destroy their ability to make large scale, fast and powerful raids into our territory. Our targets in accomplishing that are a forward supply depot, and a motor pool that should contain a significant proportion of their remaining vehicles. With these two objectives neutralized, the Twaryians should be too busy with Insurgents to bother us for some time, especially without another Gerovic.”
>>
You pointed to the marked units of those attended on the overhead projected image on the blank wall. “We will be making a large scale attack ourselves, utilizing most of the company as well as allied assets. 4th and 6th platoons will be making an assault from the north with support of our mortar section, as well as an armored car from Lieutenant Muller’s platoon to facilitate communications, and if need be, provide fire support.” Lieutenant Albert Muller was Captain Wielzci’s 2nd platoon commander, and for how plain his name was, he had come eager to help. “The rest of those assembled here,” 1st and 2nd platoons, your tank platoon, and most of Edelschwert’s commitment, “will be making a large scale maneuver into Twaryian occupied territory, with the goal of attacking a motor pool hidden in a village. The sheer mass of our attack should keep anybody in our way from putting up much a fight- if they run, don’t chase them too far, and if anything comes to us that we can’t fight off easily, we run. This is meant to be an easy operation, and if we don’t do it quickly and brutally we ought not to do it at all.”

Even Gerovic hadn’t attacked you with near a full company himself. He had leaned on insurgent power in what could be a bid of plausible deniability. That wouldn’t be the case here.

“If possible we’ll be trying to capture as much materiel as possible from the targets we strike, but whatever you’re forced to leave behind for whatever reason, destroy. We won’t be executing the operation synchronously, but we will set out at the same time- at three thirty, to return no sooner than six o’clock. Again, if you encounter heavy opposition that you cannot deal with in a simple and hasty manner, you’re to relay that up the chain of command and initiate withdrawal. Are there any…” a few figures moved into the room at the back- one you recognized in the glitzy attire of the Kommissariat…what was he doing here?

“Don’t mind me,” Kommissar Alrik Zohl smiled at you, the green haired man’s cheeks creasing deeply. “I’m only here to satisfy my curiosity. I can’t help but want to keep informed on important matters in the Border Zone.”

What was he doing here? Every other person in the room was now nervously regarding him as well, as he stood against the rear wall, flanked by what must have been an escort from the mechanized guards he was attached to. One was an absolute beast of a man who was clearly a heavily decorated veteran, and not wearing anything awarded by parade attendance, either. Was this intimidation? No, the Kommissar didn’t seem to be trying that at all, other than making the paltry gesture that he could go where he pleased.
>>
Yet without even trying he was getting under your skull. Somehow, his presence prompted that awful itch from inside the head that made you want to hide away, in a disassociating pressure that threatened to spoil your focus. You hadn’t so much as seen him in a long time- was this new?

“…I…I see.” You shook your head, “I was almost done, only taking questions from the men before this operation.”

“May I ask questions?” The Kommissar stepped forward and put his hands on the back of an unoccupied chair.

“…Is it concerning Kommissariat business, or your personal curiosity?”

“The latter.”

“…I’d allow some questions after the briefing, and I’d rather not allow certain information to pass until after the operation takes place,” you dodged the Kommissar carefully. “This is more for the men involved in the operation.”

“Of course, of course,” Zohl shrugged, and took the seat nevertheless as the rest of the room tried to pretend he wasn’t there, and ask whatever queries they had.

-----

“What is he doing here?” you demanded of Von Metzeler irritably, more frustrated at yourself than your second in command, “Have you heard if he’s been prowling about?”

Von Metzeler frowned as he glanced sidelong at the Kommissar, everybody having emptied out of the room and back into daylight. “…I don’t know. It is not as though he is not expected to, but I doubt he has been motivated to search…this may merely be because of your refusal to correspond with him…”

“Like a jilted woman,” you cursed. What should you do about him, you wondered…

>Leave him alone. He wouldn’t find anything, considering he was dressed so gaudily in his dress of office, and interfering with him might be suspect.
>Have Von Metzeler stay with him as long as he was around. He could answer his presumably superfluous questions and be excused as a guide, of sorts.
>Personally confront the Kommissar. You weren’t going to stand for this. (With what, and how?)
>Other?

Past Threads are collected here: https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh
Twitter for announcements and various horseshit is @scheissfunker
>>
>>4378753
>>Have Von Metzeler stay with him as long as he was around. He could answer his presumably superfluous questions and be excused as a guide, of sorts.
>>
>>4378753
We've got our excuses pretty well lined up for not joining his expedition, he just saw us plan out an attack requiring our whole unit and he can easily see that Richter is pretty physically and mentally fucked up.
>Have Von Metzeler stay with him as long as he was around. He could answer his presumably superfluous questions and be excused as a guide, of sorts.

Zohl might poke around the Ellowians too hard without a chaperone and Von Metzeler is already wise to his tricks.
The Kommissar will probably see through this but I'm sure he's aware of our disdain for him. I think he wants to corner Richter alone.
>Other?
There's a chance Zohl might try to kidnap the Twaryian prisoner we caught or extort us into handing her over. Maybe coach Von Metzeler to play ignorant about her whereabouts.
>>
>>4378753
>>Other
With Von Metzeler see what he wants and get it over with as quickly as possible.
>>
>>4378753
Supporting >>4378805. Better to settle this now and get him to leave than him trying to poke around when we're away.
>>
>>4378738
Damn, Signy is turning into an imperialist.

>>4378753
Supporting >>4378805
>>
>>4378756
Switching to >>4378805
>>4378889
>Inb4 Mittlesosalia becomes Netilland 2.0
>>
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Maddy fanart that was made for a friend.
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>>4378919
It was a friend who requested a pic of her naked then, huh.

She cute tho.
>>
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By the way:

>3 highest: Fie 3 times, because she's the only girl who didn't get fucked up because of Richter, so she has to be the strongest, right?

>3 lowest:
>All the Luftpanzer girls collectively, because I didn't play it
>Mathilda, because Mathilda
>The Major, who's so low she's not even on the pic.
>>
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>>4378924
Thanks, and yes actually, this was the reference used.
>>
>>4378795
Give him a tour guide and protect your acquisitions. Even if you're not really doing anything with it, like a hoarder. A hoarder of ecclesiastical property.

>>4378805
>>4378814
>>4378889
>>4378896
Get your backup and address this problem in the face and get it out of here.

Writign!

>>4378919
That's cute! but,
>>4378924
Yeah who would draw her even partially nude-
>>4378950
Oh, right.

>>4378930
Methinks you just have green fever. Also the deck doesn't have multiple cards in it, no three of a kinds allowed. Not until Mahjong at least.
>>
>>4379298
>no three of a kinds allowed
I stick to my ridiculous claim.
>>
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>>4378919
can you link the full pic ?
>>
“I don’t like the idea of leaving him alone and curious for any length of time,” you whispered furtively to Von Metzeler, who helpfully leaned down some. “Can you help me with this? I want to see what he wants and get him out of here, immediately. I’m especially concerned that he might seek out the prisoner I am keeping.”

Von Metzeler gave you a tired look, and said quietly back, “…Perhaps that is reason enough to do away with her, then…Whatever long term plan you had to avoid stashing her in a room, move to the end of it…If you think the rumormongers have fun with you and your retinue, you need not imagine what might happen if it becomes widely discussed that you are keeping a female prisoner of war in your care for an extended period of time for little presented justification…”

A reflexive cringe came before you properly thought of a reply to that. “Yes, well, I’ll be right on that, but that problem comes after this one.”

“…One moment…” Von Metzeler made for Krause, and they had a short conversation, before the mustachioed junior lieutenant left. When Von Metzeler returned, he still spoke in a low and soft tone. “..Frederick will take care of her if the Kommissar comes near…Women like him, so he should be able to take care of her without trouble…”

“Women like him?” You echoed, “How so? Why?”

“…I do not remember…” Von Metzeler indeed had lost his foundational memories with a man you had every reason to believe was his best friend, but part of you suspected he also just wanted to get this over with without any potential objections. “…let us see what Zohl wants…”

With a nod, you looked back over to Zohl, who…hadn’t been watching either of you at all, to your relief. He looked as though he was in a museum with how his eyes wandered over the dingy buildings and frosted roads, dirty snow piled up where there was space for it. “Ah,” he smiled at you and Von Metzeler as you approached him, bowing, “Hello, Von Metzeler, was it? I haven’t seen you since you and your lovely friend dined with me. How is she doing?”

Von Metzeler stiffened. “…Well enough…”

“You and Von Tracht have not been doing the same, though, have you?” He played up a woeful expression as he looked between Von Metzeler’s missing arm, and half of your face. “My deepest condolences, that you are wounded so for the sake of my country.”

My own deepest condolences that I’ll see your country toppled, you thought with spite. “What do you want?” you demanded, “You didn’t come to peek in on our briefing.”
>>
Kommissar Zohl didn’t stop smiling, as he put his hand to his chest and made a hurt coo. “You act so coldly to me, despite my attempts to be cordial. I suppose this commoner cannot demand the favor of my lord, though. I would have thought that my part in placing this UGZ under your sole control,” his eyes flicked all about like a child stepping into a playroom, “Would be more appreciated, but alas. As for why I am here, oh, but you are such a fascinating band. When I spoke with Von Metzeler over dinner, I described to him how I find my fellow man to be the most interesting of studies, and you Strossvalders have been very interesting. Interesting in different ways, and, ah, it is part of the duty of a Kommissar of State Security to investigate the interesting, after all. Interesting things, such as your recent disfigurement…” Zohl’s eyes were dark pools as they drilled into your face, “Did you know, noble Coordinator, that the Twaryians do not use the same chemical weapons as other countries? Their only foes refused to use them, so they have a vulnerability in protection, as well. Similarly, it is rather unlikely that insurgents would have access to flayer gas, isn’t it?”

You remained silent, and looked down your nose at Zohl.

“There is also your history to consider. While you have been here, you haven’t been suspect, no, far from it! Yet it is impossible to ignore your illustrious history, as before you came here, you were not Coordinator, but Kommandant, for a state that has become antagonistic to Netilland’s interests in Sosaldt. You also socialized with their leader, and were gone for a period of time shortly after. You see, Von Tracht, it isn’t that you are viewed as a risky individual, but that in my idleness resulting from your excellent work, I simply must go looking for interesting things. Leisure must be balanced with work, after all. Ah, if the Minister of the People returns, would you care to take her to enjoy dinner with me? She must have quite the mind and soul. Women with her influence are rare, after all.”

“I don’t think so,” you said flatly, “You misinterpret our relationship.” It was a poor bluff, but you couldn’t admit to anything more than past professional service.

Yet Zohl had hooked himself on a tangent. “Women have more interesting souls than we do, Von Tracht. The people of the mountains even believe such, that one compared to the other is like two different bodies of water. Men’s souls are more broad, like a blue sea, while women’s souls are like pools that teem with life. Similar, but so different.”

“…Are you leading up to something?” you asked with a weary frown, “I don’t really want to talk to you, I just want to know what you want so I can help you with it and have you be on your way.”
>>
“Indeed,” Zohl’s smile, that constant irritant, never seemed to fade. “Did you receive my letter with my proposal?”

“I did.”

“And?”

“…I’ve already arranged something for her. I can’t hand her to you.” Another quick bluff, but what Von Metzeler said about having to get rid of her was relevant regardless of whether or not the Kommissar was dissuaded.
Though he didn’t seem to care. With a slight shrug and a sigh, he intoned lackadaisically, “Then I’ll just extend the offer to whomever the transfer is to.”

We’ll see about that. “Was there anything else at all?”

“A tour of this place would be pleasant. Despite what some might think, the desolation is quite inspiring, romantic, even. I would like to see how the transfer has gone, with the transition from the enforcement from penal troops to the combined infantry. The Combined Infantry are an interesting experiment in themselves, after all.”

“…We’ll have to move out in some hours. Lieutenant,” you said to Von Metzeler, “Could you escort the Kommissar? I’ll take care of everything to do with the platoon and the company.”

“…Yes, of course…” Von Metzeler stepped forward, “…The standard patrols will be ending soon, as the men mobilize for the operation, but there is some time before that…”
>>
As Von Metzeler led the Kommissar and the two Guards escorting him away, you cursed under your breath. Couldn’t Zohl have joined Gerovic and Bertram in leaving you alone, but of his own volition? What a pain in the ass. Von Metzeler gave you a glance as he left, as if to say, hurry up. Concerning the girl, of course. Zohl wasn’t actually restrained from doing whatever he pleased, as a prominent member of the Defense Party- if you wanted to protect your prisoner, you’d either have to make it an actual problem for him to arbitrarily find and pick up, or loose her some other way.

What do you care? She’s a prisoner of war, not an innocent civilian, was the logical thought, People must know something of this Kommissar’s character. Do what you’re supposed to do with prisoners of war. She’s not supposed to be your problem. It’s the responsibility of whomever is up the chain, who is probably more able to resist him anyways. Yet, you had personally captured her. Or was it because she looked like Maddalyn, that you were soft on her? Either way, you had to actually decide if you were getting rid of her, and if so, how you’d do it before you couldn’t have a close eye kept on Zohl by a figure you could trust to get firmly in his way close at hand.

>Screw it. Pass her up the chain, it was what you were supposed to do anyways. It was the best you could do.
>It wasn’t proper, but Zohl couldn’t get his hands on her if you just drove up to the border and kicked her over it, could he? Maybe you could do such on your way out on the raid?
>Just keep her under guard with the platoons present here, as you have been. Anything else was too sketchy, even if this was a perpetual indecision.
>Trust Krause to get rid of her, like Von Metzeler advocated. How he did it, you didn’t care. Frankly, maybe you weren’t the right person to handle this in the first place.
>Other?

>>4379445
>partially unpeeled
This is a blue board.
>>
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>>4379465
That is the full pic anon
>>
>>4379522
>Trust Krause to get rid of her, like Von Metzeler advocated. How he did it, you didn’t care. Frankly, maybe you weren’t the right person to handle this in the first place.
I honestly don't give a shit. There is only one red haired girl I give a shit about and she's a country away. I'm more than willing to feed the snapping beast that is Zohl so he'd stop finding our activities so darn interesting, but keeping the poor girl out of his hands is the more noble choice and what are these Strossvald if not noble to a fault.
>>
>>4379522
>>Screw it. Pass her up the chain, it was what you were supposed to do anyways. It was the best you could do.
>>
>>4379522
>>It wasn’t proper, but Zohl couldn’t get his hands on her if you just drove up to the border and kicked her over it, could he? Maybe you could do such on your way out on the raid?
Let him go on his own psychedelic demon-fighting armored car raid if he wants a prisoner so much.
>>
>>4379522
>Trust Krause to get rid of her, like Von Metzeler advocated. How he did it, you didn’t care. Frankly, maybe you weren’t the right person to handle this in the first place
>>
>>4379522
>>Trust Krause to get rid of her, like Von Metzeler advocated. How he did it, you didn’t care. Frankly, maybe you weren’t t he right person to handle this in the first place.
Time to cast the first level IO spell "disappear person".
>>
>>4379522
>Screw it. Pass her up the chain, it was what you were supposed to do anyways. It was the best you could do.
>>
>>4379522
>Trust Krause to get rid of her, like Von Metzeler advocated. How he did it, you didn’t care. Frankly, maybe you weren’t the right person to handle this in the first place.
>>
>>4379522
>>Trust Krause to get rid of her, like Von Metzeler advocated. How he did it, you didn’t care. Frankly, maybe you weren’t the right person to handle this in the first place.

If for whatever reason this doesn't work:
>It wasn’t proper, but Zohl couldn’t get his hands on her if you just drove up to the border and kicked her over it, could he? Maybe you could do such on your way out on the raid?
She won't have time to warn anyone and this will definitely keep her safe from Zohl.
>>
>>4379522
>>Screw it. Pass her up the chain, it was what you were supposed to do anyways. It was the best you could do.
>>
>>4379522
>It wasn’t proper, but Zohl couldn’t get his hands on her if you just drove up to the border and kicked her over it, could he? Maybe you could do such on your way out on the raid?
Suppose our "plans" for her were to use her as a guide during the raid. Suppose she also escaped in the process.
>>
>>4379522
>Trust Krause to get rid of her, like Von Metzeler advocated. How he did it, you didn’t care. Frankly, maybe you weren’t the right person to handle this in the first place
>>4379298
I feel like we've been building to a mahjong death game arc for a while. I'll be disappointed if we don't have a whole thread of mahjong nonsense vs zohl with zero tank related content
>>
>>4379604
>>4379777
>>4379781
>>4379902
>>4380218
Cast disappear person. You're a natural at this Spook thing.

>>4379619
>>4379782
>>4380025
Pass it off to the proper authority. Well, not your authority.

>>4379632
>>4380044
Back over the border with you!

Writing. This was pretty much the last issue before you, you know, actually go out to deal with problems you can solve by shooting them.

>>4380218
>I'll be disappointed if we don't have a whole thread of mahjong nonsense vs zohl with zero tank related content
Clearly he's more a shogi enthusiast.
>>
>>4380383
I know of hot-blooded manga about mahjong, but not about shogi, which makes shogi the inferior game.
>>
Enough of this. It was time for this shackle you’d locked around your ankle while in the midst of a drug-induced hallucination to be taken care of, by your own trusted people. If Zohl wanted a Twaryian prisoner so much, he could drive over the border himself and into demon infested voids. You went back for the garrison quarters and caught up with Krause- he hadn’t quite returned, as you found him in between, though you didn’t assume it was out of laziness. From how he was perusing the street vendors’ wares in this alley, he was on the lookout for something.

“Hey, Richter,” Krause said to you, hands hooked in his pockets. Apparently a salute wasn’t forthcoming, not that you were going to demand one here. “Break away from the Defense Party early, then?”

“Yes. That thing Von Metzeler told you to do,” you looked around to make sure that Zohl hadn’t suddenly sprouted up behind you, “Can you get on that? Right away?”
Krasue frowned. “Has the situation changed?”

“No. I just need it all off my mind. I want to focus entirely on this battle coming up. Make sure everything can go as well as it can, and I need that woman and Zohl’s want for her out of the picture. I don’t care how it’s done. I don’t think it’s best for me to handle right now anyways.”

“That’s alright,” Krause’s gaze returned to the stands, “I was working on that anyways.”

“You were?” A look to where Krause was looking among boxes on shoddy stands. Threadbare clothes, meager secondhand stock repaired to some usefulness with what was available. There was better even in the UGZ at this point, but ragpickers were never out of work anywhere. “I see.”

“It’s a simple magic trick, but a decent one, especially since he’s looking for a woman. Slighter girls can be turned into young men pretty easy, and red’s simple to turn black. The tricky part is getting her to trust me when we can’t speak a single word to each other, but I’ll figure it out.”

“…You make it sound so simple and easy.”

“For me, it is. I’ve had plenty of practice.” Krause tapped a hand on your shoulder, “You don’t have to worry about a think. Frederick’s got this. Let the war thirsty nobility handle the war, and the dirty urban delinquents handle dirty delinquent affairs, yes?”

If you could handle it, you supposed. “Right. Thanks.”

“Keep it together, runt snuggler.”

You paused, not sure what to think of that one, but went on your way without something to spoil your last expression of gratitude.

-----
>>
You were never fond of the city, or anything approximating a city. Too closed in, too smokey or dusty, depending on the place. Then again, the city you had the most experience with was Strosstadt, which for being the economic and industrial heart of the Archduchy was an utterly filthy city outside of the spaces more frequented by the Archduke or the high nobility, which earned their patronage with beauty and sensation rather than raw output.

Just the thing to clear your nerves was to walk about with the preliminary reconnaissance squads, who checked the routes you’d be taking from your territory…and would go a bit further in, should they not encounter anybody who’d disagree with such. They’d been made from the groups that had done plenty of work trying to counter Twaryian raiders before Gerovic took raids to a newer, more active level. It was best to listen when they said they felt you should hide, or move somewhere else.

“Your gut thinks faster than your mind,” A squad leader told you sagely as you crunched through snow, “They work off the same principle, so really, on a good day, we chase them out without even seeing them. Better that way. They’re good shots. At the same time, they won’t take a shot if they don’t think they can get away with it…’course, we work the same way, if we think there’s more of them, though that didn’t happen often.”

“Not getting into a firefight sounds good to me.” You said, the pain in your leg starting to flare up again when you were almost sure you’d gotten over spall flying into it. Not losing any more fingers would also be pleasant. “Not until I’m in a tank.”

“I’m inclined to agree,” the squad leader said, holding up his hand for his team to stop. “A look around here and we should be good. If your leg’s gone bum you shouldn’t be dancing over the border.”

The place you were in at the moment was near devoid of cover. The Squad Leader had said that was better for this. Less places to hide, and when in your own territory or looking over, that was better. In the woods, he’d said, you were much more likely to be surprised and not be able to get away from the worst things to be surprised by. He looked around the white plain through his binoculars, and with a click of his tongue, put them back in their pouch.

“Can never be sure if a few aren’t watching real still-like from the trees or a snow pile. Have to count on getting lucky with how much ground there is to cover, and if they’re spooked enough by insurgents they won’t go around in small groups, or by themselves. There’s certain plenty of shots that go out that weren’t from us, at least.”
>>
The Vengeful Phantoms, you thought to yourself. If you were a Twaryian, you certainly wouldn’t want to go out in mere pairs for anything where those sharpshooters might be prowling. You briefly imagined what it might be like to linger in a land crawling with even just a dozen Bertrams, and shuddered. The leader waved his finger around, and you all started heading back to the UGZ.

“It’s a good thing attack planes aren’t allowed in the border zone, or we wouldn’t have it so easy,” one of the troops said brightly.

“Yeah, until the Twaryians decide to get creative on what constitutes an attack plane. Like they’re creative on what constitutes a mine.”

“Pardon?” you coughed at that.

“Yeah,” the squad leader reaffirmed that fear, “Minefields are explicitly banned by treaty, especially concealed, but they carry the things themselves, we think they use them like demolition charges. It’s just a case of explosives when you think about it that way. I hear they’ll tie a bunch on a rope and sling them out in front of vehicles, or try and slide them under things if they only can get one. Real dangerous when you’re going through close terrain, you know, like you guys will be.”

“…Great.” It wasn’t something you could deny. In fact, that sounded near exactly what had happened to you when you were being escorted back by the Iron Hogs from the last leg of your return trip. This operation would be during the day, but it was true enough that you’d be passing through the woods, where your visibility would be worse, and hiding places for the enemy more numerous, in exchange for your approach being much more masked.

“Hey, you’ll just have to be lucky, right?”

“…” You didn’t know if you were feeling fantastically lucky at the moment. Either your luck would be looking up after all you’d gone through now, or you’d just run out.

-----

The assembled force now under your command, even just half of it, already looked quite fierce as you climbed into the X-51 and poked yourself out the top of the tank. Two infantry platoons, supported by captured assault cars, and ten armored vehicles, with the combined might of your armor platoon and those from Edelschwert’s company. So much force made you feel confident, but you were still wary of what the scout team leader had said about the Twaryians using mines in that offensive fashion- if any of your vehicles were immobilized, the chances of you managing to repair it and extract it were miniscule, considering the quick nature of this operation. Then again, would you need the vehicles themselves after this? You’d be happy to just get out with as few hurt as possible.
>>
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The wide route through the woods in the first place was intended to evade the most likely defensive positions anyways. The biggest threat you expected was at your subunit’s target- the hidden motor pool, where you expected at least a few tanks to be left over from the battles that had taken place. There hadn’t been any neat timing considered to strike both the supply depot north and the motor pool at the same time- just that both were being attacked and raided and then left as quickly as possible. After all, should the enemy be too much to handle in one place, the plan was to retreat anyways.

The best case scenario for you, though, was to manage to strike the motor pool before the enemy could make their vehicles ready for combat, which would probably mean that you would have to strike near at the same time or before the north infantry contingent did. However, if you didn’t arrange a time for them to move out or strike, you’d have to rely on one radio- a risky move, since you’d also have to be operating under radio silence once you set out on this, as to not give listening posts even the slightest early warning.

Yes, rapidity of the strike was what would carry the day, hence why all mechanized assets were combined. Yet you were still wary. The fastest movement would necessitate the infantry being unable to escort the vehicles, which meant anybody you did run into would most likely be able to have the first chance to attack you. Risk and reward. Yet were you willing to take that much a risk for this?

>As Debon said, what was the mechanized assault if it was not fast? Risky, yes, but what of that?
>Keep it slow and careful, dismount the infantry. It gave the enemy more time to be ready for you, but could they be ready for the amount of force you were bringing? Certainly not.
>Other?
Also-
>Agree on a synchronized attack with the infantry attacking the supply depot. That would result in maximum confusion- should you not raise an alarm on the way.
>Make a disjointed attack between the two of you. It would distract the enemy north anyways, a diversion for what was ultimately a diversionary attack anyways.
>Other?
>>
>>4380479
>As Debon said, what was the mechanized assault if it was not fast? Risky, yes, but what of that?
>Agree on a synchronized attack with the infantry attacking the supply depot. That would result in maximum confusion- should you not raise an alarm on the way.

Whole point of this is to catch them while they are unprepared, even if we are guaranteed to come across checkpoints and hurdles with us racing along the road.

That and if the depot gets hit too soon all we will find is an empty garage.

>Other?
If the armor bungle the surprise completely then radio the depot team to attack immediately. At least then any enemy reinforcements might split up some.
>>
>>4380479
>As Debon said, what was the mechanized assault if it was not fast? Risky, yes, but what of that?
Speed is crucial here.
>Agree on a synchronized attack with the infantry attacking the supply depot. That would result in maximum confusion- should you not raise an alarm on the way.
Though if they start hearing heavy gunfire from down south then authorize them to go loud prematurely. Maybe bring a bunch of flares with us?
>>
>>4380479
>>As Debon said, what was the mechanized assault if it was not fast? Risky, yes, but what of that?
>>Agree on a synchronized attack with the infantry attacking the supply depot. That would result in maximum confusion- should you not raise an alarm on the way.
>>
>>4380479
>As Debon said, what was the mechanized assault if it was not fast? Risky, yes, but what of that?
>Agree on a synchronized attack with the infantry attacking the supply depot. That would result in maximum confusion- should you not raise an alarm on the way.
>>
>>4380479
>As Debon said, what was the mechanized assault if it was not fast? Risky, yes, but what of that?
>Make a disjointed attack between the two of you. It would distract the enemy north anyways, a diversion for what was ultimately a diversionary attack anyways.
>>
>>4380479
>>As Debon said, what was the mechanized assault if it was not fast? Risky, yes, but what of that?
>>Agree on a synchronized attack with the infantry attacking the supply depot. That would result in maximum confusion- should you not raise an alarm on the way.
Strike fast or don't strike at all
>>
>>4380492
>>4380494
>>4380509
>>4380532
Attempt the synchronized hit,
>>4380491
With contingency in case of bungling it.

>>4380512
The dissenting disjointing.

Writing now.
>>
Wasn’t it time to begin putting the so recently re-learned theory into practice, you thought with a flash of energy. Yes, Debon advised throwing caution to the wind to strike as hard and fast as possible, but the whole purpose of a tank was to be fearless within it, while striking terror into the foe. Like any weapon, one had to believe in those qualities for it to work at all, else the tank’s steel may as well be transfigured to lead, as he put it. Take back your steel! You must do it now, while the Fear cannot infect your heart!

“Radio check, Blade One. After this check, we will exclusively use flags, hand signals and speech to communicate. Respond- Blade Two, Dagger One through three, Cloak Actual, speaking for Cloak One and Two.” All platoons relayed contact one by one- communications within the platoons were their own deal. “We proceed as discussed. We don’t stop for anything. If anybody gets stopped somehow and can’t keep going, you can expect to be helped if you need it, but we aren’t stopping the formation. Make any last preparations. We leave in five minutes.”

“Gee, boss,” Hans said over the intercom as you switched to it instead of a radio you wouldn’t be using for a while now, “Radio silence, my favorite stance. Guess I’ll kick back and take a nap.”

“He’ll jump out again and you’ll have to chase after him,” Stein said, half chastising you.

“He hasn’t been shot yet doing that, has he? Be a pal and give him some of your charms. Not like they’re helping you, right?”

“…Actually,” you said to Stein, off the intercom, turning to your flank where he was hunched over in the turret basket, “Can I get one of those?”

Stein blinked at you. “Are you messing with me, Commander?”

“I’m actually not.” You said dully, “I’ll take any edge I can get.”

Stein stared at you, then reached into his collar and pulled out an impressive string of carved charms of wood, stone, and shell. You knew your gunner was superstitious, but this was quite beyond what you’d last seen of his display of that. “Just one will do,” Stein said, practically in response to your surprise, “It’s just that they, well, have to work for you. They’re different depending on exactly what you want.”

“I want to not be shot.” You said plainly. No, wait. “…I also want my friends to survive.”

Jorgen made some snide remark about homosexuality as Stein fingered through his charms and picked two of them off. “Any edge you can get, right?”

There were a few other things you could think of, but the more you pondered it the more you began to accept that you’d eventually just take every single one of Stein’s charms. You simply nodded, and took them to put around your neck…and realized that they weren’t alone there. Judge Above, you still had that old necklace…
>>
Rolled 2, 1, 2, 4 = 9 (4d4)

“Thanks. I’m about as ready as I can get.” You flipped out your watch. One minute. “Almost time. Driver, are you ready?”

“Deafsroonallcorrrrns.”

“It sure does.” Another look at the watch. “We’re heading up the tail of the formation, echelon left. Gunner, watch to our north east. Driver. Forward.”

The assault group began its movement, a river of metal and soldiery breaking over the snowy ground. A chill ran down your spine as you beheld it, popping out the turret again. You hadn’t been in something like this since Sosaldt- and perhaps, the next time wouldn’t be too far away, should you fight alongside the Silver Lances. The battle with Gerovic had been a desperate, inglorious defense, a fight to survive. Being on the attack was just healthier for the spirit, and being behind all this might…did wonders for the Fear’s attempts to cling onto you as the anticipation before battle began to stroke at your brain.

The forest where you intended to make the initial penetration dissolved into view- an initial glance with your binoculars through the stink of exhaust smoke and kicked up snow flicking over your face and stinging half of it, the other half no longer able to feel such small things. Nothing. Whatever opposition was to face you would not reveal itself so soon.

>Rolling for Encounters
>>
The Twaryians were absent for your initial entry, but from the rear of the formation, you expected the first encounter to happen completely out of your sight anyways, as the mechanized unit began to navigate the loosely spaced trees, weaving widely wherever the foliage grew too thick to reliably navigate without fear of getting stuck. It wasn’t easy driving- even though the undergrowth was barren and the ground was level, many plants were sturdy stemmed enough to remain an inconvenience.

Huddled low in the turret, you flinched as the chattering sound of a Twaryian machine gun blasted off to the front. In radio silence, you had no way of knowing exactly what it was- only the flag signal relayed backwards, Infantry Contact, medium. Enough that they felt they could fight you, maybe delay you, even with the Armored Cavalry’s powerful armored personnel carriers and their unit’s tanks leading the formation. The formation rattled and skidded, crunched to a halt- before, as your teeth grit hard enough you feared they’d crack, the trucks in front began to move again in spite of the gunfire, now being replied to with the crackling of the two centimeter cannons of the APCs. A signal belatedly sent back- Pass, Pass. No objection from you, so long as you kept mov-

CRACKOOWWW!!

The thunderclap of an anti-tank rifle sounded out as a tree nearby had a splintered hole rent in its side. No, you weren’t safe yet- keep moving.

“Driver, forward!” You commanded your vehicle forth, “Keep on those trucks’ tails! Gunner, shoot to the eleven o’clock, beyond the vehicles we’ll be passing!”

“At what?”

“Just shoot, damn it!” it didn’t matter if you hit anything or not, the anti-tank riflemen had to be kept from taking a second shot at anything besides the trees.

“Yes sir!”

Your heart was already thudding in your throat as you retreated into the safety of the turret. It was alright- you were running, escaping.

CRACKOOWWWW!!

“Fire that cannon, damnit, Stein!” you shouted in your gunner’s ear, “Shoot at the shadows if you have to!” The X-51 had no coaxial gun, the only machine gun was in the hull, to be operated by Hans when he was without radio duties while also presented with a target. Hell if you were turning the tank and diverting movement, though. The cannon barked obediently, and though you had no clue where it shot or if it had any effect, the clank of the recoil mechanism gave you just a hint of reassurance that you weren’t powerless. You didn’t even recognize another shot being loaded and firing- your commanding was done, you couldn’t help but hide until you were away from this.
>>
The gunfight began to grow more subdued behind you, not by any decrease in the volume of fighting but by the forest put between you. You finally allowed yourself back out…to see that the armored personnel carriers weren’t following you, they were still engaging the infantry. Damnation- hopefully they’d try and catch up. You wanted everything you could for the fight coming up, not the fight that was this far before the objective itself, potentially alerting the whole damn sector to what you were plotting.
No, you were still far off enough that they couldn’t suspect anything. There very well could have been something else entirely you were suspected of attacking here. You could press on- and press on you would. Yet, your front arc had decreased in power.

“…Driver,” you panted as your heart started settling back into your chest again, “Pass those trucks ahead. I want us in front of their element, alongside the other tanks. I’ll signal for them to allow us by, and for the platoon to follow us.”

Finally back out of the turret, you racked your brain for basic flag and signal lessons that you’d half forgotten, and somehow managed to get the trucks in front to slow down a little. Over some distance, you steadily got beside, then passed them, with the irregular speed the that was the reality of this terrain. You had to appreciate the skills of your driver- you couldn’t imagine driving over this crap yourself at the pace that was being made now.

…Wait, you were at the front of the formation now. A bulge in your throat was swallowed, as you turned your eyes front, scanning the trees for enemies that would hear and see you first- damn that T-16 in your platoon was loud, this close. Was it possible that the enemy would assume it was one of their own? If you were only so lucky- the Strossvald blue on it now, while fashionable, destroyed any doubt a Twaryian would have if it was truly one of their T-16s or the sole one intact that had been captured.

…Suddenly, a barely perceptible rustling in the bare brush off to the front and right. Only a moment to decide that it was something.

>No stopping- keep forward!
>Order your driver to halt; enemy front!
>Evade to the left. It’d ruin the formation, scatter you in the time you wouldn’t have to warn them, but you needed to not be the first hitting whatever this was.
>Other?
>>
>>4380907
>Evade to the left. It’d ruin the formation, scatter you in the time you wouldn’t have to warn them, but you needed to not be the first hitting whatever this was.
It's not an animal, they would have been scared away for a mile from the noise of the tanks. Anything close now wants to be, and we don't want that.
>>
>>4380907
>Order your driver to halt; enemy front!
Reverse even, if it's below gun elevation.
>>
>>4380907
>Order your driver to halt; enemy front!
>>
>>4380907
>>No stopping- keep forward!
>>
>>4380907
>Order your driver to halt; enemy front!
>>
>>4380907
>Evade to the left. It’d ruin the formation, scatter you in the time you wouldn’t have to warn them, but you needed to not be the first hitting whatever this was.
>>
>>4380907
>Order your driver to halt; enemy front!
>>
>>4380907
>Order your driver to halt; enemy front!
If it's within the firing arc get Hans to open up with the MG as well
>>
I am up
>>4380911
>>4381039
Left

>>4381017
Through.

>>4380916
>>4380989
>>4381024
>>4381070
>>4381089
Front!

Update soon.
>>
>>4381542
A question: Does the ban on artillery in the border zone extend to rockets?
>>
“D-D-Driver, halt!” you stammered into the intercom, ducking, “Something to the front right! Enemy, maybe!” No definitely.

“Front right,” Stein repeated, and the turret groaned as it turned. “I don’t see anything.”

“Me neither, boss,” Hans’s voice crackled up, “I’ve got the better weapon for it too. Can you turn this thing right a bit if we’re stopped anyways?”

Your approval wasn’t required as the tank pivoted appropriately. Why were you this on edge from thinking something might be there? You held your head in a palm, and gripped the edge of the cupola above you again. “…Can you shoot up that area? Just do it.” It definitely wasn’t an animal. Animals were frightened away by multitudes of vehicles such as this.

The cannon barked obediently, followed by a few unenthusiastic bursts from the machine gun, but beyond the rumble of engines, there was utter silence both in response and accompaniment. You dared to venture upwards and out again, and looked about- to your left, the tanks and trucks of the left echelons were continuing, barely minding your sudden stopping and shooting. You whipped your head back to your tanks following you- Von Metzeler was clearly inside his tank, but Krause was looking at you from the tank beyond, the X-20; he stared at you with a confused look on his face, put a questioning hand in the air next to him. You looked back to where you’d initially seen the ever so slight movement…nothing, besides the new scars of the area having been fired upon. It hadn’t been your imagination, had it? No, you were sure

“Kommanderr,” Jorgen tapped you in the side, “Lesgaetmoven’.”

“…Yeah.” You straightened your cap… or tried to, as the normal fingers you’d use for that basic action weren’t there anymore. “There was something there, I know it…” More an insistence to yourself than to your men- you knew they trusted you. They just didn’t know if you trusted you. “Driver, forward, again…” You waved your hand to the rest of your formation to move again. It was a nerve wracking delay, but ultimately, a temporary one.

You still kept a keen, but uneasy eye on where some ghost of the forest had spooked you.

A diversion to the plan came when you reached the paved road- theoretically, you’d have kept to the forest, but the left element had assembled on the road, as though asking a question- true enough, if speed was your focus, that road went straight by the village where the motor pool was, albeit with a small detour needed, and it would be a hell of a lot faster than navigating more woods. You acquiesced- You took your place third in what was a new column formed on the road, before you set off again- much faster.
>>
The reality of going on a road though, you knew full well from your time here, both in Netillian and Twaryian territory, was that there’d eventually be a checkpoint.
The formation suddenly halted fast enough that you were almost bucked over the cupola and thrown out of the tank, and you’d scarcely recovered when the front of the formation unloaded everything it could, just after it had passed a large open space and was entering the edge of some woods again.

“J-Judge Above,” you gasped after you’d come back out of the rabbit hole you’d just been spooked back into. The intensity of fire wasn’t letting up- if anything, the response was the Twaryians proclaiming that they were plenty up for a fight. The Combat Car up front had already veered off the road to join the line, while the trucks dipped into the roadside defilade, the surprise of 1st Platoon’s soldiers fading to grim acceptance as they began to pile out. They must have sensed that this wasn’t something they could blow past like last time.

Yet, could you? Fifty per cent of your remaining force being tied up with a checkpoint wasn’t great, but who knew how long it could take to wipe this away? You didn’t hear heavy anti-tank weaponry reporting back, but you did hear the heavy clatter of some sort of heavy machine gun. Every moment counted in seizing what surprise remained. Could you risk heading up with much less than you set out with, to seize the total benefit of going quickly in the first place?

>This might be too great a force to leave behind or try and run by. Get on line with Lieutenant Muller’s tank platoon and destroy the checkpoint forces, whatever they were.
>Lead 2nd Platoon and your tanks through the chaos. If you could catch the motor pool people unawares, the first few volleys of shots would prove more valuable than any number of reinforcement.
>Break radio silence- at this point, you were more than halfway there at this point, you needed to restore proper communications to have a proper picture of things.
>Other?

>>4381547
It does, yes. It's more a concern of size and range than delivery method, though, really.
>>
>>4381563
>>Lead 2nd Platoon and your tanks through the chaos. If you could catch the motor pool people unawares, the first few volleys of shots would prove more valuable than any number of reinforcement.
>>Break radio silence- at this point, you were more than halfway there at this point, you needed to restore proper communications to have a proper picture of things.
>>
>>4381563
Tanq do you mind just marking where we are on the map right now?
Also is all this heavy resistance because of the rolls?
>>
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>>4381571
>Tanq do you mind just marking where we are on the map right now?
Sure. You can't be sure of where Edelschwert's infantry are at the moment, but you left them a fair ways back.
>>4381571
>Also is all this heavy resistance because of the rolls?
It is, but it's not as heavy as it could have been. You are driving right through a lot of enemy territory, after all.
>>
>>4381563
>>Other
Let our tanks push forward, dismount half of 2nd Platoon behind the checkpoint so they can wipe it out ASAP.
>Break radio silence- at this point, you were more than halfway there at this point, you needed to restore proper communications to have a proper picture of things.
Get the Ellowians to commence their assault if they haven't already, that may buy us some time.
>>
>>4381563
>Lead 2nd Platoon and your tanks through the chaos. If you could catch the motor pool people unawares, the first few volleys of shots would prove more valuable than any number of reinforcement.
>Break radio silence- at this point, you were more than halfway there at this point, you needed to restore proper communications to have a proper picture of things.
>>
>>4381563
>Lead 2nd Platoon and your tanks through the chaos. If you could catch the motor pool people unawares, the first few volleys of shots would prove more valuable than any number of reinforcement.
>Break radio silence- at this point, you were more than halfway there at this point, you needed to restore proper communications to have a proper picture of things.
>>
>>4381563
>>Lead 2nd Platoon and your tanks through the chaos. If you could catch the motor pool people unawares, the first few volleys of shots would prove more valuable than any number of reinforcement.

We cannot let a whole bunch of T-15/16s startup ready for us.
>>
>>4381563
>Lead 2nd Platoon and your tanks through the chaos. If you could catch the motor pool people unawares, the first few volleys of shots would prove more valuable than any number of reinforcement.
>>
>>4381563
>>Lead 2nd Platoon and your tanks through the chaos. If you could catch the motor pool people unawares, the first few volleys of shots would prove more valuable than any number of reinforcement.
>>
I am no longer dead/in an rpg session.

>>4381568
>>4381607
>>4381628
Break through, and commence the chatter again.

>>4381591
As before but split forces to hasten clearing the delay.

>>4381645
>>4381646
>>4382025
Keep quiet on comms, bust through.

Going loud on all bands, then. Writing.
>>
Not being able to properly communicate with the unit had been killing you. It was liberating to finally ready your digit…no, another one, not the usual one…to flip the switch to broadcast to the company. “H-Hans,” you coughed, “get on the s-set, we’re breaking radio silence…” As soon as you heard confirmation, you switched from the intercom to the company net. “All elements, d-do you read me..? Cloak, commence assault now. Blade One and Dagger Two, push through this point while Blade Two and Dagger Two are engaging it…” You nearly choked on your words as gunfire crackled, even muffled outside the armor. “Er, belay that, Blade Two and Dagger One engage…” Did you have time to fuck up like that? Pull it together!

“Blade Actual,” Wielzci’s voice crackled over, “I’m taking the lead of the formation. Focus on the big picture.”

“Ah…Affirmative,” you said back, blankly. The intercom, next. “Mal, Wielzci’s…going to overtake us. Follow him.”

The radio was barking requests at you, but their voices blurred with the pinging of bullets off of armor, the explosions and chattering of gunfire…you couldn’t handle it. Not right now. You covered your ears without thinking, and waited for it all to go away…until the tank’s rumbling beneath you took you to a place where the gunfire was finally behind you. You were blind and deaf to everything else…but you could finally open your eyes. Weren’t you supposed to be better now?

“…Dagger Three, report,” you said, only to be cut off right at the end.

“Where the hell have you been?” came the demand and reply, “I’ve been trying to raise you this whole damn time!”

“Sorry, sorry,” You dragged your hand over your face, “I was…anyways. Report. Can you link back up with us? What’s your present location? Casualties?”

“Minor casualties. We’ve suffered some damage to the cars, and we didn’t drive them off until you were good and far. We’re still in position, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody was coming for us now. We’re right on the edge of another sector, so who knows what the hell’s coming our way. I suggest we pull out.”

“That’s fine…” you sighed, “More disruption is good. Double back to Cloak’s position and prepare to support them if they’re still in the field by the time you arrive.” Asking them to remain there alone was unreasonable, as was asking that they close the considerable gap by themselves. For them to just go back was safest. They’d done good work letting the rest of the formation proceed without being delayed.

“Affirmative. Dagger Three out.”

At least he wasn’t as mad at you anymore. Was Lieutenant Muller doing well? And Lieutenant Borscholm? “Blade Two, what…what’s your status?”

No response.
>>
“They’re probably busy, commander,” Stein reassured you, “I saw what they were dealing with. It wasn’t a match for the tanks and the platoon we left behind. They’ll only slow them down.”

“Still though-“

“Kaullet, Kommandaerrr,” Jorgen talked over you in a rough, rocky tone of voice, “Daerrrfenn.”

They were fine? Probably, but…it didn’t feel good to have hid in your hole back there. You’d been able to set your nerves aside earlier, what had been different? Was it because…you weren’t running away, then? Was it so simple as drawing upon your aggression?

You’d find out soon, as you crawled out of the turret again. The village where the Motor Pool would be was coming up- you were down by more than half of your original force, which was now scattered all over the place, but you’d be arriving soon. Given that your objective was to be a diversion anyways, wasn’t this preferable, despite the chaos? For all the mess it meant for you, the Twaryians were likely just as horribly confused.

The formation veered off the road and for where the trees began to thin out…there it was. Almost a klick away, at the foot of the gentle hill. A rustic cluster of stone and wood houses with a plain dirt road leading in and out of it. It wasn’t as disguised as you might have predicted it to be, though. There were ramparts, troops in a state of alert…though you supposed that the actual concealed part was that there would be vehicles here at all. Not that you could spot any right away, though your binoculars, but that was a good thing, wasn’t it? It meant that they weren’t ready for the attack about to come…

>Open fire from here and knock holes in everything before you move in. The best way to initiate a surprise was with the first shot.
>Long range shots weren’t reliable, especially against Twaryian vehicles of unknown type. Close to a closer range, for better accuracy and power with the first volley.
>There was a chance that you could catch the vehicles unready to move, or even respond to an attack- could you risk being greedy enough to make a direct assault with the intent to capture what you could.
>Other?
Also-
>Time to see how well everything’s going. I need four sets of d100 for your people- First two for the northern infantry attack, latter two for the ongoing checkpoint fight. First, for the 4th and 6th, there’s a combat skill bonus of a whopping 80 for their experience and all the fancy gear they have- the armor harnesses will also reduce incoming damage, and for the 6th, there’s a significantly less whacky combat skill bonus of 50 for the stuff they have on them as well as having the support of an armored car. Then, for the Checkpoint fight, you have 1st Platoon with a bonus of 65 with their equipment and support, and then the armor platoon, who benefits from the enemy not having proper anti-tank equipment and thus having a roll unable to be beaten, though it can be mitigated.
>>
Rolled 83 (1d100)

>>4382774
>Long range shots weren’t reliable, especially against Twaryian vehicles of unknown type. Close to a closer range, for better accuracy and power with the first volley.

Not ideal when we don't see what we are up against but our guns are piddly and nothing gets an enemy alert than getting shot at.
>>
Rolled 41 (1d100)

>>4382774
>Other: half the tanks take long-range shots for suppression, half assaults from up close for accuracy.

>>4382817
>Our best trained and equipped platoon fails miserably
A good start.
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>4382774
>Long range shots weren’t reliable, especially against Twaryian vehicles of unknown type. Close to a closer range, for better accuracy and power with the first volley.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>4382774
>>
>>4382774
>Long range shots weren’t reliable, especially against Twaryian vehicles of unknown type. Close to a closer range, for better accuracy and power with the first volley.
>>
Rolled 61, 66, 36, 82 = 245 (4d100)

>>4382817
>>4382866
>>4382879
Make sure your first shot is good.
>>4382862
Split things up.

Also these sorts of rolls are always higher better. Someday I'll actually solidify rules into something constant, but these ones with additive stuff for groups of people are higher better.

Rolling stuff.
>>
Rolled 8, 7, 12, 9 = 36 (4d12)

>>4382923
So, the first couple groups have a combat skill of 50 (Twaryians are rather undergeared compared to you, now), the latter two have a skill of 35. No guesses why the variation might be.
Oh yeah, and the second set of people benefits from the Raider Leader damage reduction for Muller, and the Aggressive Leader for Borscholm.
So,
163-111, 5 degrees of victory
91-116, 2 degrees of defeat
99-71, 2 degrees of victory
73-117, Minimal Effect (The enemy can't significantly damage the tanks, but they have four degrees of damage reduction)
>>
>>4382935
>All that damage reduction against the tanks.
Cripes, you hate to see it.
>>
>>4382935
I see Richter's incompetence is contagious.
>>
Where you were at would be an ideal shooting position…if only the target was closer. The fact of the matter was that Twaryian T-16s, to say nothing of T-15s, might be too durable to reliably engage from here. You had to get closer, and then, with more force to the shells and more accurate shooting, your all important first shots would find better purchase.

…Before you called the attack though, you checked again on the radio. “…All units, report.”

“Blade Two,” you felt a wave of relief when you heard Muller’s voice, “We’ve driven away the Twaryians encountered. Captured some.”

“Dagger One,” Borscholm’s glum voice, “Blade Actual, these soldiers are females.”

“Garrison troops, yes. We’re in their rear lines. It’s to be expected. Were you hurt badly?”

“Ten casualties, sir. They had armored cars with heavy machine guns, bursting projectiles. That was what caused most of the damage. Both of the cars were knocked out by Blade Two, though. Er, Blade Actual…the men really didn’t like finding out they were fighting women.”

“You don’t have to like it.” An official, canned response.

“…No. They really didn’t like it. I think it bothered them a lot.”
“Over in Sosaldt it didn’t matter a lick,” Muller cut in, “If they have a gun you take them down or they take you down. Are you taking any prisoner?”

“No. The room in the vehicles is needed for the wounded. Some of the men want to treat their badly wounded-”

“Then either set them loose or put a bullet in them. We’re not on a summer walk. Get with the program.”

“…As Blade Two says. You need to move as quickly as possible.” You wouldn’t have put it so coldly, but this was how it was, after all. “Cloak, do you have a status?”

“Hard to talk now, Blade Actual. Will report soon.”

Your tactical picture finally had some much needed detail. You could breathe, move again… “Blade One and Dagger Two. Here’s how we’ll do this. The objective is ahead. There don’t appear to be significant defenses,” Why would a simple village have heavy defenses anyways, after all. “But be prepared for that not to be the case. We’re going to advance to five hundred meters, and then open fire on targets and potential hiding places. The infantry will advance and clear the site under cover fire of the tanks. The tanks will move and fire to make sure we can still support you. Is that clear, all elements?” Steadily, the affirmatives and rogers came round. “Good. All elements, commence the assault. Echelon right formation, trucks behind until we stop.”
>>
With a singular roar of the engines, an especially loud cry from the T-16, the vehicles moved off one by one. You continued to look through your binoculars as you bumped backwards and forwards over the ground, the snow no cushion to dips and rises. Whether it was more caution or paranoia you couldn’t say, but you kept as close an eye as you could on what could be seen of the village. There- you saw a pair of people clearly notice you and start to raise an alarm. Now was the crucial time- whether in the minute or so it took to close the distance, something else would be ready to get the first shot off at you…

No. They were prey. You were going to get them. Roughly a hundred and fifty more meters to go, you thought as you spared a look around your general surroundings, and noted the markings on the binoculars compared to how large the village structures were through its lenses.

Nothing was coming out to greet you as you began to slow. You had been as fast as you could, but…you also couldn’t tell where the enemy was if they were hiding-

“Target front, commander. There’s…a pair of guns!” Stein reported with a start, and you looked through the binoculars yourself. They were on the move- not ready yet. A pair of teams were pushing them forward still, between the buildings.

>Your gunner had an eye on them. Stop and open fire, report them to the platoon. (Medium DC, hits one)
>You couldn’t get those guns on a snap shot. Krause had an ideal platform in the X-20, however; shower the village’s arc towards you indiscriminately with anti-aircraft cannon fire. (Low DC, suppresses all)
>Compress the formation and have the T-16 on point. Use that armor for what it was good for until Wielzci could take out both of those cannons. (Significatly reduce gun's hit chances on you)
>Other?
>>
>>4383031
>]>Your gunner had an eye on them. Stop and open fire, report them to the platoon. (Medium DC, hits one)
>>
>>4383031
>>Your gunner had an eye on them. Stop and open fire, report them to the platoon. (Medium DC, hits one)
>>
>>4383033
>>4383052
Fire that gun!
Give me up to 3d100, DC 60, averaged, roll under.
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>4383086
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>4383086
>>
>>4383091
>>4383097
Average of 38. Nice.
Moving along.
>>
>38- Success
“Driver, halt!” you snapped in a mix of excitement and fear, but hell if you weren’t going to shoot out those guns before they could get in position. “As soon as we’re stop-huck!” The tank skidded to a halt, and you tried to gasp out, “Shoot when ready!”

“I have Armor Piercing Shot loaded!”

“Shoot anyways!” you snapped at Stein.

“Shit,” Stein muttered as he looked down the gunsight, “Firing!” The X-51 rolled back a little, then forwards again, and you watched the white streak of the shell’s tracer arc forward…then, through the binoculars, you watched it…knock right through the middle of the anti-tank gun. The crew transporting it were knocked aside, and they got up, mostly unhurt, but their despair at their gun being wrecked was clear.

No time to celebrate victory, you snapped your view to the left, where the other gun was rushing into position.

Schlunk. Another shell loaded. “Aychee,” Jorgen said quickly.

“I can’t believe I-“

“Targett, tarrrgaet!” Jorgen insisten.

“To the left of them, they’re heading for the first set of dugouts!” You glanced left and saw that while the other out commanders were looking for what you were shooting at, they might not have noticed yet- only Wielzci had stopped. “Hurry!” The gun slipped into the trench. “Damn!” You cursed and slapped the top of the turret, “Do you have eyes on the target!”

“Yes sir! Firing!” Stein hissed through his teeth. This target wasn’t a moving one, but it was lower down…a harder shot. Your teeth ground against one another as you hunkered down and waited for the shot…

>Roll up to 3 sets of 1d100, DC 70, averaged, roll under.
>>
Rolled 71 (1d100)

>>4383130
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>4383130
Satan guide my cannon
>>
>>4383138
>>4383140
You ever forget how numbers work and make things easier instead of harder.
That said I'll count this as a win anyways because it was my bad, but I do have raids so I won't be around for a bit now.
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>4383130
>>
File: tcqscene164.png (590 KB, 900x624)
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>57- Success

Out went the shot, the recoil barely affecting you this time as you stared through the glass. Snow and dirt kicked up right behind the gun; the gun crew collapsed behind it, and the gun bucked upwards. Damaged, perhaps not, but nobody was going to fire that soon.

“…Great shot, Stein,” you mixed your gratitude with the praise.

“…I can’t believe I made both shots,” Stein muttered to himself as the shell was ejected, clanking onto the turret floor.

“Sounds like you gave the Boss your shittier luck charms.” Hans snarked over the intercom, and you switched to the company network before you heard any other comment.

“Blade Actual to elements, my gunner has dispatched a pair of anti-tank guns. Keep an eye on that other one, it’s been de-crewed but not destroyed. Dagger Two, continue your advance, assault into the village. Blade One will support you.”

“Dagger Two copies,” Lieutenant Kristoph replied curtly. He must have been in one of the Combat Cars, equipped with short range and crude but durable radios. They were good platforms to lead from, to be true. You expected more defenders to come out, but besides pot shots from the town towards the advancing trucks, there was much less than you expected, after the initial effort with the anti-tank guns. If that was their best defense against what was coming, it made sense that they were laying low…but did it maybe mean that there wasn’t much here? Or that the best effort was being saved until the most decisive moment?

You didn’t have a view of the whole village. That was fine- the platoon was split watching over multiple sections. “Blade Actual to platoon, any visual?”

“…Negative.” Von Metzeler replied first, “Though this village may be occupied by…its original inhabitants, still…we should be cautious in where we choose to fire…”

“I agree,” Krause said, “We can’t just shoot into that village without any sure targets. At least, I sure won’t.”

“At the same time,” Wielzci piped up, “Hiding and making a sneak attack with their best equipment when we don’t expect it would be a very Twaryian thing to do, if they didn’t already attempt that. We’ve revealed our position, and they can use the cover of the village to orient themselves so that our numbers aren’t as decisive. In that case, we need to be the ones firing first.”

You squinted through your binoculars again. There was a truck…and that was all you could see right away. Could you fire first…or would you have to wait until 2nd Platoon got close to the town and could tell you what was where?

>There’s a suspicious target. Fire on…(What)
>Hold fire and wait. If they were hiding, you wanted to keep the initiative for when the Twaryians revealed themselves.
>Circle around the village. Maybe you’ll have better luck from another angle.
>Other?
>>
>>4383781
>>There’s a suspicious target. Fire on…(What)
The truck with the hull MG, keep the AP loaded.
>>
>>4383781
>There’s a suspicious target. Fire on…(What)
The house in the foreground, on the right. It has something that seems like nails holding it together. Also there's a track trail going behind it. And the smokectack has snow on top, which means that either no one fired it last evening, or it's fake. And the door has no stairs to it.
>>
>>4383781
>Hold fire and wait. If they were hiding, you wanted to keep the initiative for when the Twaryians revealed themselves.
>>
>>4383781
>Other?
It's hard to tell but there's either tire or tank treads leading to behind where that second anti-tank gun was destroyed. Maybe that leads to more hidden garages? Have some infantry carefully poke their heads around there.
Otherwise supporting
>>4383784
Until something else decides to join the fun.
>>
>>4383803
Nevermind changing my vote to putting one through that house. I didn't notice the snow on the chimney, although I'm now more interested than ever on what those nails are for.
>>
>>4383803
I'll support this as well for the main gun
>>
>>4383781
This >>4383803 guy seems pretty sharp, let's put him in charge. Third for putting an AP round through the keyhole.
>>
>>4383781
Supporting >>4383803 and
>>4383784
>>
>>4383784
>>4383836
Blast the truck with the machine gun for being an overseas import. (It doesn't have a gun it's just a normal truck)

>>4383803
>>4383823
>>4383828
>>4383831
>>4383836
Shoot that suspicious building.
Alrighty, give me up to 3 sets of 1d100 then, DC 50, average roll under. Not passing isn't necessarily a failure.
>>
Rolled 77 (1d100)

>>4383881
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>4383881
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>4383881
Jeez
>>
>>4383883
>>4383884
>>4383886
We could have used these rolls for earlier...
>>
>>4383883
>>4383884
>>4383886
Nice rolls. Don't worry, it's impossible to miss a house.
Writing.
>>
>>4383883
>>4383884
>>4383886
What the fuck
>>
>>4383890
Hans jinxed Stein, obviously. Shouldn't have spoken aloud about the amulets, the spirits are angry now.
>>
I didn't like the way that snow was sitting on the chimney anyway
>>
File: tcqscene165.png (594 KB, 900x624)
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>Roll Average- 92- You hit the House

“Stein,” you said, thinking aloud, “You see that house next to where the first anti-tank gun was? It looks funny, doesn’t it?”

“…You want me to shoot a house?” Stein easily interpreted, “What if somebody’s living in it?”

“Nobody’s living in it,” you observed, looking again as you spoke over the throat microphone into the intercom, “Look. There’s snow on the chimney, and what sort of house has no stairs leading up to the front door? Or bolts on the front?” They could have been nails, rivets, it didn’t matter. “Something’s fishy. Put a couple of armor piercing rounds through it. Hans, there’s a truck in the village. Do you think you can shoot it up?”

“Tsh, it’s a long shot, boss,” Hans complained, “Half a klick out, maybe a little more? Not going to get great shots.”

“I’ll walk you onto it if need be. Just put holes in it so it can’t drive off.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Shot ready, Commander.” Stein piped up.

“Fire.” The tank bucked backwards, and you watched the shot arc up, then down, into the flank of the house. Stonework burst all about, and fell around the relatively small hole. “Again.”

The next shot knocked out enough of the wall that it tumbled down, and you looked into the clearing dust to see what was inside that you’d been shooting at- though those two shots weren’t exactly square on to what might be inside…

A lump in your throat as you saw what was within. The looming turret, in the dim light, of what could only be a T-16- thankfully not the bulk or larger gun of a T-15, but still. Immobile, certainly, but it could still turn that gun even without power. The X-51 could penetrate its armor, but what a terrible shot angle you had from here!

The turret began to slowly shift towards you.

“Er, Commander?” Stein said nervously as the next shot was loaded.

>Take the shot!
>Evade! The hole in the wall restricted it much more than it did you. Move for another better shot- that house couldn’t be big enough for it to turn, even if it could.
>Try and shoot out more of the house, get some of the roof to fall on it. That could render it blind- helpless.
>Other?
Sorry that this took so long to get out for what it is, I kept changing ideas.
>>
>>4383961
>>Try and shoot out more of the house, get some of the roof to fall on it. That could render it blind- helpless.
>>
>>4383961
>Try and shoot out more of the house, get some of the roof to fall on it. That could render it blind- helpless.
>>
>>4383961
>Take the shot then evade!
>>
>>4383963
>>4383975
Bring the house down.
>>4383976
Shoot and scoots.

Give me another set of up to 3 1d100s, averaged, DC 60 Roll under. Less a matter of hitting anything than causing the sort of damage that's hard to just knock aside.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d100)

>>4384046
bang
>>
Rolled 86 (1d100)

>>4384046
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>4384046
come oooon
>>
That's a nice 34 right there
Good job boys
>>
>>4384048
>>4384058
>>4384061
Nice rolls, we should tell the other tanks and infantry what to look out for. Maybe we can get 2nd Platoon to capture that tank while they're digging themselves out?
>>
Alright, I'm alive now. Writing.
>>
>Roll Average: 34- Success

If you evaded, the T-16 might shoot at another tank in the platoon. If you fired and missed, or didn’t hit in a vulnerable place, it might shoot you, and your confidence in this set of vehicles’ armor was…shaken, the dull pain shooting through your leg a constant reminder. No, you had to keep it from shooting. Normally, that was something only able to be accomplished by shooting the tank itself, but in this scenario…

“Gunner, adjust your aim upwards, I want you to shoot the roof!” You said excitedly, “Bring it down on top of it!”

“You don’t want to shoot the tank?”

“Trust me.”

The shot went out, and you kept your eye on that roof, the T-16’s turret turning in the shadow under it, waiting to see if you made the right choice. As though pushed down upon by the finger of a giant, after the shell burst in the roof, first snow slid in, then a few bits of debris, then like dominoes, near a third of the roof. The much crap wasn’t going to be cleared away easily- not in the time before 2nd Platoon arrived.

With a refreshing breath of satisfaction, you switched from the intercom to the company radio network. “Blade Actual, Blade and Dagger elements, I’ve knocked a roof down on a T-16 type tank. Dagger Two, watch out for vehicles hidden in repurposes or false structures when you break into the village perimeter.”

Though, you had to wonder- shouldn’t there be more vehicles here? Maybe taking care of Gerovic had resulted in the withdrawal of Unit Four entirely, leaving behind little in the way of materiel. Granted, you hadn’t come here wanting to engage an equal armored force with having left behind half your people, but…it did give this more the feeling of janitor’s work than anything.

“Blade Actual, there’s been no sign of further vehicles moving in the village,” Krause said, “That was a smart shot, but I don’t think we should shoot more into the village. Any more’s gonna be guessing at best, from what I can see in there.”

“That’s fine. Just watch and shoot,” You let yourself relax.

“And watch for reinforcements.” Wielzci added.

Wouldn’t this be where reinforcements would come from, though, you thought.

“Cloak, what’s your status?” You asked the northern element. “Is your attack over?”
>>
“More or less.” Muller’s armored car officer actually replied in full now, “Minor casualties. The Twaryians fled the place, and we didn’t bother chasing them. They put up a fight at first but once it was clear they were facing two platoons they withdrew south. They’re probably heading through the woods to you.”

“How many?”

“They looked to be around a platoon minus. They got knocked around, so…maybe two dozen. Cloak 2 pushed after them to keep them on the move, Cloak 1 is taking care of seeing what there is in the place.”

“We’re about to commence a direct assault on the second objective. We’ll move north an rendezvous once we’re through. Dagger Three should be moving over to you now.” Speaking of. “Blade Two, Dagger One, how close are you to linking up with us?”

“We’re moving,” Muller said, “We should be-“

Suddenly, machine gun fire. Not towards you, but from the village. You scanned for targets, but you couldn’t see where it was coming from- it must have been an angle you couldn’t see, but the trucks and infantry began to dismount at around one hundred to fifty meters from the village’s edge. Their combat car accompaniment returned fire with their withering amount of machine guns and automatic cannon, as well- this would be going much worse if you hadn’t gotten here so quickly, you realized.

>Time for 2nd Platoon to attack! Roll 2 1d100s, one for approach, the other for clearing. Their Combat Skill is at 55, presently, with all the vehicle support they have, including yours. The presence of tank hunter infantry means that they won't have difficulty with armor in CQC even if the vehicles can't get shots in on them.
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>4385332
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>4385332
>>
Rolled 49, 29 = 78 (2d100)

>>4385334
>>4385336
Not terrible. Rolling against CS 50.
>>
Rolled 4, 1 = 5 (2d8)

>>4385344
Assault- 113-99: One degree of victory
Clearing- 85-79: Plain victory
A relatively even fight, but the difference was made up with support.
>>
Besides token support with machine guns at the initial start of the attack, your armor platoon ended up having little to do. Perhaps it was because of Kristoph’s impulsive and unintentionally independent method of operating, but he never asked for specific aid. The attack rolled into town, replying to every shot taken at them with much more than was given to them, and as 2nd platoon cleared out the village, kicking down doors and throwing grenades in, you saw any remaining resistance crumble. Only once was there some sort of complication- Kristoph had dismounted his car and looked at a shed that his men had pointed him towards. You expected a request for you to shoot through the building, but no. Instead, the tank hunter team came around, with explosive charges instead of their anti-tank rifles, and a muffled crack soon came from the shed afterwards. Thankfully, your effort with the T-16 hadn’t been wasted, you saw as the infantry investigated the partially collapsed building, and there was apparently no need to repeat the earlier performance.

“Village is clear, Blade Actual.” Kristoph reported to you soon after, “Only took a few casualties before the rest ran off- no prisoners. There weren’t many of them here. I guess they didn’t think this place was that important, at least, right now.”

You didn’t know whether to be disappointed or not. Maybe it hadn’t been long since this place had been important. Hollowing out buildings and having facsimile constructions to confuse onlookers was quite a bit of effort for only a few vehicles, after all.

“I’ll look around and see what’s here, and give you my report.” Kristoph said next, “With how many of us there are, I’d expect some help coming quick. I don’t want to stay long.”

>Roll 3 sets of 1d100 for loot. Two from the supply depot, one from the hidden motor pool. The Motor Pool already has the T-16 guaranteed.
>1-40: Basic Infantry Equipment
>41-50: Minor Intelligence
>51-55: Eastern Scripture, bilingual versions.
>56-80: Trinkets and Baubles (The troops find these interesting, but they’re of no use to the group)
>81-100: Support Weaponry (Mortars and Ammunition)
>91-100 (Motor Pool Roll Only): Unmolested Armor
Also-
>Remain in position. You wanted to be enough a threat to actually ensure a significant response would come over, after all, and the motor pool village was rather deep in enemy lines.
>Pull all troops to the Supply Depot location after your allies catch up, evading the enemy retreating from there. That way you could withdraw over the border at short notice.
>Shift your forces north to finish off the enemy fleeing the northern attack while the rest of your elements catch up. Best to do as much damage as possible in as little time, after all.
>Push your luck. Attempt to force a strong response, continue down the road and raid Almny down the road with your mobile force.
>Other?
>>
Rolled 79 (1d100)

>>4385376
>Shift your forces north to finish off the enemy fleeing the northern attack while the rest of your elements catch up. Best to do as much damage as possible in as little time, after all.
>>
Rolled 72 (1d100)

>>4385376
>Shift your forces north to finish off the enemy fleeing the northern attack while the rest of your elements catch up. Best to do as much damage as possible in as little time, after all.
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>4385376
Lucifer! I call upon thee

If we can re link up with the forces we left behind at the checkpoint then I'd say:
>Push your luck. Attempt to force a strong response, continue down the road and raid Almny down the road with your mobile force.

Whole point of this is to grab their attention.

If we can't or it will take too long:
>Shift your forces north to finish off the enemy fleeing the northern attack while the rest of your elements catch up. Best to do as much damage as possible in as little time, after all.
>>
>>4385376
>Shift your forces north to finish off the enemy fleeing the northern attack while the rest of your elements catch up. Best to do as much damage as possible in as little time, after all.
We can decide what to do once everyone's together again.
>>
>>4385376
>Push your luck. Attempt to force a strong response, continue down the road and raid Almny down the road with your mobile force.
>>
>>4385376
>Push your luck. Attempt to force a strong response, continue down the road and raid Almny down the road with your mobile force.
>>
Any civilians hiding in the village? Maybe we can ask them if and when the Twaryians reduced their presence here.
>>
>>4385376
>>Shift your forces north to finish off the enemy fleeing the northern attack while the rest of your elements catch up. Best to do as much damage as possible in as little time, after all.
>>
Finally back. Raid group managed to finally beat this tier (no thanks to me lol) so definitely not as tired as I'd normally be now.
>>4385380
>>4385383
>>4385395
>>4385723
Shift north and finish the stragglers before anything else.

>>4385385
>>4385417
>>4385444
Press while you still haven't run into anything that can resist your might!

Alright, conservative it is. Writing.
>>
>>4385445
Also checking for civilians and asking for history, if any are present.
>>
A report was forthcoming from both units shortly. 2nd Platoon had cleared off the debris on the T-16, and a look in the back of the shot up truck revealed a freshly delivered, pristine cargo consisting of equipment for a mortar battery, and plenty of crates of ammunition. Thank goodness you didn’t shoot it with an explosive shell, you thought. For the attack on the actual supply depot, though…

“They’re saying there’s nothing here,” Muller’s man reported over the crackling radio, buzzing in and out somewhat, “Nothing worth taking, at least. The weapons of the fallen, not really worth it. There was stuff here, but all that’s here now is junk, stuff like boxes of cigarettes, contraband dirty mags…all the actual supply’s been moved out a while ago and replaced with just crates. Who knows how long it’s been like this, might have been like this from the very start, eh?”

A pity. Good thing any loot was a bonus, rather than the actual objective. Yes, you’d told the men that both destroying the enemy and capturing what you could had been the objectives of this mission, not the actual purpose of drawing Twaryians away for the ERA’s attack, but still. “That’s fine. We’ve both captured equipment and denied the enemy assets at the motor pool. While our other element links back up, we’re going to cut off that band you drove off and finish them off. Maintain your position for now. South, right?”

“Affirmative. They went south, through the woods. Careful, Blade Actual. Don’t underestimate that bunch when they’re in good cover.”

“I won’t,” you reassured him, and took your headset off for a moment, let your ears breathe.

In the short while before you would set off again, you had a pair of tanks and their crews, Wielzci’s and Von Metzeler’s, stay behind to prepare the captured T-16 and the heavy equipment crates to be spirited away, ideally with the arrival of the forces that were on their way, but they’d been given the go ahead to flee with what they could if significant enemy forces rolled up. Like they very well could.

“Dagger Two,” you addressed Kristoph after all the men had been loaded up, the wounded left with a few minders in the village with the loot, “To say again, there is a contingent of roughly two dozen infantry retreating south in the woods from a confrontation with Cloak elements. Are you ready to move out?”
>>
“I’m raring to go, Blade Actual.” Kristoph sounded almost chipper- the assault had gone relatively well, as had this operation. He must have been like a working mule smelling the barn. One last task. “With that shredder tank, anybody we run into won’t last long.”

True enough. The X-20 had earned quite a reputation after Anya had taken it out the day of Gerovic’s biggest raid and ripped apart Revolutionary League infiltrators that had been giving the infantry fighting them a devil of a time.

“We’ve hit the places we intended to. Proceed as cautiously as you need to,” you told Kristoph over the radio, “Let’s not be hit badly in the home stretch.”

“Copy that.”

It was easy enough to say that, but it would also depend on the approach. Hunting them down actively would ensure you’d find them faster, and you’d be more likely to not miss them, but if you had a firm idea of where they were going, then you could wait along the projected route and ambush them. That would be an incredible advantage, but if you guessed wrong…they could slip around you, or away. That wouldn’t do either…

>Actively hunt them down. You were a mobile force with armor, even reduced to the current task force. This enemy had no chance.
>Set up an ambush directly south, along the way to the hidden motor pool. Surely the two places were in communication, or linked somehow.
>Prepare an ambush directly in between the supply depot and the checkpoint you’d broken earlier. They would go towards where their stronger forces had been, surely?
>Other?
>>
>>4386056
>Actively hunt them down. You were a mobile force with armor, even reduced to the current task force. This enemy had no chance.
>>
>>4386056
>Set up an ambush directly south, along the way to the hidden motor pool. Surely the two places were in communication, or linked somehow.
>>
>>4386056
>Set up an ambush directly south, along the way to the hidden motor pool. Surely the two places were in communication, or linked somehow.
Get Dagger Three to cover the other possible ambush location since Cloak should be fine for awhile.
Also tanq how long more until dusk(and presumably the assault) right now?
>>
>>4386086
>Also tanq how long more until dusk(and presumably the assault) right now?
About an hour or two. The sun'll start properly setting by then.
Also I forgot to do the look for citizen thing. I'll get that next update.
>>
>>4386056
>Other: look at the map for something else nearby that we can hit, like a telephone line or a bridge
If the depot and the pool were empty, our distraction maneuver was basically unsuccessful. Nobody will spare any forces to relieve a false position. We need to hit something important, or at least pretend we're going to.
>>
>>4386056
>>Actively hunt them down. You were a mobile force with armor, even reduced to the current task force. This enemy had no chance.

Deal with them, group everyone together and we can pick another target for a stronger response.
>>
>>4386100
+1
>>
>>4386100
This.
>>
>>4386056
>>Set up an ambush directly south, along the way to the hidden motor pool. Surely the two places were in communication, or linked somehow.
>>
>>4386062
>>4386100
>>4386112
>>4386224
Active hunt.

>>4386066
>>4386086
>>4386892
Ambush time.

>>4386088
Try to find something else to draw more attention than multiple mechanized elements rampaging unchecked behind the lines.

You won't really find other stuff on the map itself, but you have been around the territory before. Recalling something that wasn't important enough to mark won't be difficult.

Writing.
>>
The group would be hunted down and finished off in an active manner, you decided, but you got to thinking as well- what if your efforts here would be seen as token by the Twaryians? You hadn’t actually done that much damage, when you thought about it. The objectives themselves hadn’t proven particularly significant. Yes, your forces were a significant hostile force within Twaryian lines, they couldn’t just let you have the run of the place, but had you properly caused alarm yet? There had to be something more you could do.

Maybe some more could be gotten out of the locals, who couldn’t be any friends to the Twaryians. You had asked Kristoph if he had found any civilians after clearing out the village- there’d been one family hiding in an underground cellar, and you had decided to let Von Metzeler question them. The Twaryian distaste for Ellowians had to be at least equivalent to how it was vice versa, and they spoke a completely different language, so you didn’t predict to be informed of much. It was better than nothing, however.

“…Blade Actual…” Von Metzeler’s voice crackled as you moved northwards with 2nd platoon, “…I have spoken with the villagers…It was only a man responsible for deliveries to and from the village, nobody else has lived in it for a while…they don’t know how the Twaryians have been operating, of course, but they did mention that there were definitely more vehicles…as of several days ago, most of them were moved away, however…”

So taking care of Gerovic certainly had something to do with it. “Did they say where?”

“…Negative. They do not know very much…but they also seem wary of working with us. I doubt that Ellowian opinion of Netillians or those working with them is very pleasant, after all…even if they do know anything else, I doubt they want to help us…”

“Keep trying anyways,” you said, “Thank you. Blade Actual, out.”

Even if the Ellowians here didn’t want to help what were just another set of occupiers, the fact remained that you had been around this territory. Almny was garrisoned, and a potential place to draw attention, but it was also unfortunately close to Dymny- but, there were other villages along the way, you remembered. Not towns as big as Almny and certainly not as big as Dymny, but places nevertheless. Additionally, if you doubled all the way back to the supply depot, the railroad wasn’t far away from there. Mucking with the railroad was against Netillian interests, but the Twaryians didn’t necessarily know that- chaotic Archduchy element that you were, with a bounty on your head and everything, maybe you’d do something as erratic as Gerovic and destroy the rails north? Or maybe, you could go east from there and raid the town on the other side of the hill? You didn’t know what it was called, it had never been relevant before, but the important part that it was away from Dymny, where forces needed to be distracted from.
>>
Into the woods you went, looking towards where the long shadows of dusk became longer from the west, through the trees, and you wondered how much time you had before the ERA would begin their attack. They hadn’t exactly been specific as to what time they would start, after all, but you didn’t want to linger much longer after they began, if you’d be around at all. As it stood, as far as your men were concerned, your objectives had been completed. They didn’t know the true purpose of this operation. Supporting insurgents of any kind directly, after all, was in violation of at least the Netillian side of the treaties, no matter how Gerovic had violated them in the past. Deciding that you were going after some other unplanned target just to go after it would certainly annoy the men…and they might wonder what was actually going on.

The flickering of shade and sun strained your eyes, as 2nd platoon and the pair of tanks accompanying them (one of them yours) continued the hunt for the displaced enemy. Could they just pop up already, you thought irritably as you looked down at your watch, only for you to hear a warning shout, and one of the Combat Car machine guns begin to bark a chattering call to arms, swiftly followed by a reply from ahead.

You ducked in reflexively, and gestured forward. “L-look for targets, gunner!” you coughed out, though you had a feeling this wouldn’t last long.
>Roll 2 sets of 1d100 for combat. One is for 2nd platoon, the other is for the two tanks. 2nd Platoon has a CS bonus of 55 as before, whilst the armor has a roll only for damage reduction, but the X-20’s weaponry is quite fierce- damage done by the tanks will be doubled because of its presence.
>>
Rolled 80 (1d100)

>>4387257
pew pew
>>
Rolled 94 (1d100)

>>4387257
Aha! Disproportionate firepower ENGAGE.
>>
Rolled 19, 62 = 81 (2d100)

>>4387295
>>4387300
Very good rolls.
Let's see what the easterners think of them.
>>
Rolled 4, 4 = 8 (2d8)

>>4387342
135-69: Six degrees of victory
94-62: Three degrees of victory.
Apparently they've had enough of this whole living thing. Latter dice is doubled against them.
>>
You must have caught the Twaryians utterly off guard- the battle didn’t last more than a couple of minutes, if it could be called a battle and not an outright slaughter. You had ducked your head down for most of the opening, and that was, in truth, most of what had even happened. The barrage of fire from the combat cars, the sound of the X-20 ripping apart the woods with its twinned cannon fire, and the token effort from your own tank- by the time the infantry had disembarked from the trucks, there wasn’t much opposition left to clean up.

An eerie silence fell over the woods as the cannon and machine gun fire ceased, and the infantry looked from side to side, wary, but clueless, expecting a fight and arriving at a battle already won. What few potshots came after were replied to with a disproportionate amount of annihilating force, and when Kristoph sent men up to investigate, they found…nothing but the dead and wounded. Plenty of the latter, many quite seriously, but you weren’t here to take a swathe of prisoners. They were disarmed, and only very basically treated. You didn’t go and inspect things yourself. Much as your goal here was to cause chaos, and that the more Twaryians were dispatched, the fewer both you and the Resistance both had to deal with, this felt…off. Had you destroyed any non-insurgent unit so totally as this one?

“Any officers?” you asked Lieutenant Kristoph as he walked up to the tank to report further.

”One, wounded in the arm and leg. He’s been restrained and stuffed in a truck.” Kristoph looked over at the X-20, “That thing doesn’t fuck around, huh? How many of those do you Archduchy people have?”

“That’s the only one that exists,” you said. Though you wouldn’t mind if that wasn’t the case.

“Glad we have it, again.” Kristoph was rather satisfied with not losing any men, or even having injured from this brief battle, “Don’t want to jinx it though, huh?”

“The officer you captured,” you returned to a more relevant subject that didn’t make you think of twin-cannoned Twaryian meat grinders, “Did he speak New Nauk, by any chance?”
“Didn’t seem like it. Could only tell because he had a different look under the cloak.”

They could be useful, or important. Maybe. Without any Twaryian interpreter, though…

Damn it all, if Gerovic hadn’t killed Eakova, this wouldn’t be such a problem. You really hoped the Intelligence Office had nothing good planned for that scumbag.

“Coordinator, sir?”

“Ah,” you pinched the bridge of your nose and shook your head, “Sorry.”

“If we finished them off here, that’s mission complete, isn’t it?” Kristoph sounded rather hopeful. Thus far, you’d done nothing but win handily. He wanted to keep it that way. However, he would be disappointed.
>>
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“Not quite,” you said, “1st platoon and Edelschwert’s people will be arriving at that village soon. We’ll collect what we got there, first off.”

“Yeah, yeah, but then?”

Well. You could count on the fact that your mere presence and running about was causing chaos, despite the sparse value of the actual objectives you’d cleared out. The Twaryians couldn’t just let you stay around, surely, for fear of you just wiping out more of their people, and ironically making things easier for the insurgents in another way that you hadn’t intended to do for them. At the same time, sunset was approaching, and you didn’t have much time left anyways.

Yet. There were a few places you could think of still striking at. A few small villages around that could have garrisons, loot, maybe. There was Almny, again, but that was quite close to Dymny and might not draw people far away. Then, there was a marked town far to the west. Maybe you could go that way?

Or maybe it was time to go back and not push your luck. You still weren’t sure how you would justify the extra running around to unplanned places to not only your men, but Edelschwert’s men whom had been loaned to you.

>Strike out at another objective/set of potential objectives. (Which?)
>Form a line of defense and hunker down. Be a persistent threat- demand to be addressed. (Where to sit?)
>It was time to go back. The ruckus you’d already caused would be plenty enough confusion, and you needed to be well and gone.
>Other?
>>
>>4387581
>>It was time to go back. The ruckus you’d already caused would be plenty enough confusion, and you needed to be well and gone.
The Netillians are expecting to return to base already, and that's most of our mechanised forces. Plus we don't need to give either the Komissariat or Twaryians any suspicions about having contacts with insurgents.
However if the ERA launches their attack soon enough while we're on our way back this might give us an excuse to form the other half of the pocket.
>>
>>4387581
>>Strike out at another objective/set of potential objectives. (Which?)
The first village closer to Almny. Threatening the city will guarentee a response I believe and then we can turn back.
>>
>>4387581
>It was time to go back. The ruckus you’d already caused would be plenty enough confusion, and you needed to be well and gone.
If removing Gerovic really did get rid of his tanks and other extra supplies from the sector then we've done plenty to aid the ERA's chances of success already.
>>
>>4387581
I think we should hit one more area on the way back, we aren't going to have access to this much mechanized capacity from Mag for awhile, and this is basically the only red arrow heh that the ERA has left in their quiver, we should make the most of it.

>Strike out at another objective/set of potential objectives. (Which?)
Either we hit the railroad and associated checkpoints to draw Twaryian units out of to later put them between us and the hopefully occupied Dymny if we want a big fight.

Or go south and hit those checkpoints from an angle they aren't expecting and set up an ambush for reinforcements either from another sector from the motor pool or from Dymny itself.

At the very least once we draw something significant we can run back to the border if we don't like the odds. They can't seriously ignore this many enemies just rampaging.

>Other?
An excuse for Kristoph: Richter is angry, damn angry in fact. Draw attention to his face and hand. Gerovic wasn't enough, if there was ever a chance for payback it's now.
The Netillians have the advantage here and if we show them just how dangerous this sector has become then we won't have to worry about night raids or Twaryian insurgent puppets anymore, hell maybe not going back over this goddamn border ever again.
>>
>>4387630
Actually shit changing mine slightly, we should hit north
instead of near Almny. If we get too close with this many Netillians then the Twaryians will probably just sit in Dymny expecting that we will come knocking. If we head north then we'll clearly show that we aren't interested in invading and are just here to wreck shit so they can choose to let us or come deal with us.
>>
>>4387581
>Strike out at another objective/set of potential objectives. (Which?)
Once we've linked up with 1st Platoon stop by the railroad on the way back and get the tankhunters to detonate some charges there. Shouldn't do too much lasting damage to the tracks but that should provoke some reaction at least.The northern contingent can start returning to base already.
>>
>>4387581
>Strike out at another objective/set of potential objectives. (Which?)
Hit the railroad, say it's to prevent the Twaryians from sending another train of insurgents across the border for a time.
>>
>>4387581
>Send the wounded and loot back right away.
>Strike out at another objective/set of potential objectives.
The village on the road to Almny. Justify it to Kristoph as taking a compensation for the poor loot we got.
>>
>>4387636
Supporting this
>>
>>4387600
Since people want to continue I'll switch to supporting >>4387636 >>4387641
Everyone else not involved (Ellowians, armored cars, wounded/loot) can leave first.
>>
>>4387636
Supporting
>>
>>4387927
Actually, we could ask for volunteers to continue our rampage. This way nobody will be annoyed.
>>
>>4387931
I like this idea. Hopefully we don't run into the stiffest resistance yet afterwards, though.
>>
>>4387931
There's a balance that needs to be kept IMO, while obviously we want the ERA to have the greatest chances of success we also don't want to trash this part of the border so badly that either the Twaryians decide to heavily reinforce the sector again before we leave or give the Netillians confidence to start another war like the Major was ordering us to not do.
>>
>>4387948
I don't think we CAN trash this side of the border heavily enough without encountering the kind of resistance we've committed not to fight.
>>
>>4387581
>>It was time to go back. The ruckus you’d already caused would be plenty enough confusion, and you needed to be well and gone.
If we cause too much trouble there's a risk the Twaryians will suspect that it's more than just a reprisal raid and will put all of their units on high alert, which is the opposite of what we want. All we want to do is provoke a reaction and distract the forces that will be in the best position to react to the uprising once it starts, which we've certainly done. Drawing more attention than that to this sector will just make things harder for the insurgents.
>>
>>4387581
>Strike out at another objective/set of potential objectives. (Which?)
Hit the train tracks in the north. Gerovic attacked our base and sent a train full of insurgents to attack us, now we attack a base and blow up some train tracks. That sounds pretty justifiable all around, and I am sure the troops wouldn't balk at the idea of keeping more trains full of insurgents from showing up for a while.
Being closer to the border to dash back across if Gerovic's old armor force comes knocking is a plus too.
>>
Long TTRPG game today, I'll count up and get on an update finally tomorrow. Just posting to say I'm not dead yet.
>>
>>4389042
Live Strong, King.
>>
>>4387617
>>4388102
Go home, young man.

>>4387607
Head out for the village midway and more down.

>>4387636
>>4387864
>>4387927
>>4387929
Strike at the northernmost town. At least, that's what I assume was meant by "north instead of near Almny." If I'm wrong in this assumption feel free to correct me, at least, before I post the update.

>>4387641
>>4387674
>>4388142
>>4387927
Hit the rails.

>>4387931
>>4387935
Ask for volunteers to reduce any resentment at being made to linger further,
>>4387630
And justify your own reasons for being motivated to redouble your efforts.

A multi-pronged operational continuation then. Rather daring. Writing.
>>
>>4387717
Didn't catch you in the reply chain, but this is important nevertheless- sending back the wounded and the take, of course.
>>
>>4389551
My bad, when I supported that I assumed it solely meant the rails since it was a target north of Almny.
>>
>>4389551
Is the 'northernmost town' here the one just south of the rails or the one to the east of the hill?
>>
>>4389681
The one marked that is the furthest north- east of the hill. The one by the railroad tracks is also "north," but that is also about the same distance from Dymny as the other proposed village in votes.
>>
It wasn’t time to go back yet, you weren’t done. There were still other places you could strike at- the railway, and the north in general stuck out in your head as good targets that were far away enough from Dymny to not potentially tempt the Twaryians into expecting you to strike the town itself. That, of course, would be suicide; it wasn’t as heavily fortified as Kamienisty was, but it was still plenty well garrisoned and protected enough that you’d be bashing your head against a wall. Not that they knew you had that opinion.

It had to be made clear that you wouldn’t stop your rampage until the Twaryians sent out a force strong enough to stop you. However, motivated as you were…your men might not have been. Kristoph expected to be heading back now, and likely, so did everybody- this had been the stated extent of your operation, but you had to ask them to do more.

“After we rendezvous with the other units and gather at the supply depot,” you resumed, “I plan to continue this operation, possibly until nightfall. We won’t have an opportunity to deal this much damage again, so we have to take the opportunity that we’ve been given. We can do enough that the Twaryians won’t ever come across the border again…hell, that they might reconsider this Border Zone treaty completely, and we won’t have skirmishes anymore, anywhere.”

“…Uh huh,” Kristoph squinted at you, “I dunno, Coordinator, I don’t think that’s gonna happen with Twaryians, even if we flatten the whole sector.” From the look on his face he must have thought you were talking crazy, actually. That was fine, you could be a little crazy, so long as you made an argument for success.

“Look at me,” You rose out of the turret, and pointed at your face with your sole remaining pointer finger, covered though it was with bandages, “Look at this,” you said with growing excitement, as you held up a hand now missing two fingers. How this had actually happened to you hadn’t been officially stated upon- very few knew it was the result of a duel with an enemy of long ago. Here would be your story to anybody else. “We aren’t letting this off here. What’s been done to me, to us, they’ll be paid back in full and then some. The damage we’ve caused today hasn’t been enough to send a message, let alone accomplish the actual objective of castrating their ability to strike at us in force. I won’t demand you come if you don’t want to- once we congregate again, I’ll be asking for volunteers. Anybody else can go back.”

“…Uh huh.” Kristoph wasn’t won over, still. “Anybody can come with you if they want, Coordinator, but I’ll just tell you ahead of time, I can’t. Second platoon aren’t my men. I’ve had the luck to not get them hurt, but I can’t give them back to Abetz if I get them shredded like my guys were in UGZ-07. That’s not gonna be on me.”
>>
“Understood.” Unfortunate, but understandable. “Get the men ready to head north, still.” You withdrew back into the turret, and got onto the Company network. “All elements, go to Cloak’s objective as soon as you can. We’ll be making further maneuvers once we arrive. I’ll brief you in person when you arrive. Those already present, dig in. Blade Two and Dagger One, collect the elements at the south objective and meet us north.”

-----

It took half an hour, and the sun was starting to hang low enough in the sky to tint the white snow orange, but all of the elements involved in the operation returned to the captured supply depot unmolested. The scars of the recent battle remained- muted spatters of blood, blasts from mortar shells and munitions casters, and whatever the armored car accompanying the infantry had contributed. Any enemy dead had been piled in trenches, as out of sight and mind as they could be.

You knew that the longer you took, the more time the Twaryians might have to prepare a forceful response. So, after immediately sending the captured T-16 and the wounded and the loot back in a pair of trucks, you began a new briefing to the assembled leadership.

“The objectives we struck at have turned out to be quite minor. We’ve successfully dispatched them,” you laid out on the simplified map that you all had to crowd around, “But it’s not enough to truly damage the Twaryian operations.”

“We’ve caused significant casualties, though?” Lieutenant Borscholm interjected.

“Not to their most decisive elements,” you countered, “Our objective isn’t to trade manpower, it’s to deny resources. We need to cause more damage to do that, and to that effect, our next maneuver will be to the east, striking at the railroad, to damage it and prevent another stunt like Gerovic pulled with the insurgents in the train,” you pointed on the map, “And further east, to this town here. It’s bigger than the village we struck at, and likely more heavily garrisoned. It’ll be a more difficult target than we’ve encountered so far, but we’ll definitely cause an effect by storming the town successfully.” You looked up, and saw that your decision was…universally unpopular. Even amongst your comrades from Strossvald, you saw dissatisfaction.
>>
“I know that this goes far beyond what I originally briefed for, and what I stated our objectives were…so I won’t order anybody who doesn’t want to do this to go along. I’ll only accept volunteers.” That didn’t exactly resolve much, as you glanced around again. “…I’ll…I’ll meet with you all again in ten minutes. Brief your men and return with whoever wants to keep going. Dismissed.”
Immediately after what was meant to be a dispersal, Von Metzeler and Krause followed you over towards the tanks.

“Are you sure that this is a good idea, Richter?” Krause piped up immediately, “It’s getting close to nightfall. Isn’t that thing supposed to start soon?” Both Krause and Von Metzeler had been apprised of the truth- they were privy to your escapades to catch Gerovic, after all, and knew decently well of the insurgency over the border. “We’ve done plenty. We don’t actually have to wreck the other side of the border to stir up a fuss. We’ve managed to avoid losing much, we should retire from the field.”

“…If you want to go back, you’re free to,” you said sorely.

“Don’t be a jackass,” Krause snapped at you, “Of course we’ll come with you, but I’m telling you that you don’t have to do this.”

“…Actually, I think that he does…” Von Metzeler said slowly, in contemplation, “…Ever since our conditioning was stripped, we’ve been made feeble, and…battle makes us, ever so slowly, less so…if this weakness has bothered Von Tracht half as much as I…there is no wonder that he seeks more battle. I do, too…even if it freezes me with fear…”

“You too, huh,” Krause said, shoulders slumping, “I’d say you’d both gone soft on Ellowians…actually,” he squinted at you with a skeptical glance, “If you’re doing this to impress a woman, I don’t think it’ll work.”

“Maddalyn won’t know of this,” you said firmly.

“That’s not what I…whatever. I’ll talk to my crew about this.” Krause turned to walk away, “What if you don’t get enough volunteers?”

“We’ll do what we can. Like I said before, if we run into anything we can’t handle, we’ll retreat.”

“Alright,” Krause nodded, turning his head to face where his body was, now. “I hope our luck stays strong.”

-----
>>
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When your leaders assembled again, you were gradually informed that half your forces would be heading back. All of the Netillians had chosen to return; they had entered this operation with reduced numbers as it stood, and they wanted to keep it easy. Likewise, Wielzci had spoken with his platoon, and his second in command, and they elected to not push their luck. However, 6th platoon and Lieutenant Rybak…were entirely in attendance. They had something to prove, apparently.

So did Edelschwert’s men. They’d volunteered in the first place, after all. Perhaps they agreed that what had been won so far wasn’t enough to restore what pride had been lost, though their armored cars had been damaged, one enough to impair its mobility. It would be sent back, leaving you with but two. All of the volunteers in tanks remained- so the state of your force was one infantry platoon, albeit a sizeable one, a pair of armored cars and just over a dozen dismounts, and seven tanks. Enough, you hoped, to deal with what was left to face. Any heavy equipment was handed over to the volunteers- people going back would be walking, which was enough to motorize 6th platoon, and also give them a good level of support, with the mortars and the anti-tank section that elected to remain. Hopefully it would make up for how green they were.

As far as execution went…you didn’t expect opposition at a random point on the train tracks. What you were actually concerned about was the northern town, and anything potentially on the hill between you and it. There was also a village further south on the rails, that was an acceptable alternative, but the target you had had in mind was the more significant northernmost town on the Twaryian side of this sector. There was still time to adjust, however.

>Time for phase 2 of the operation. Pick what units to send on what paths/objectives, and who to assign to what task. Damaging the rails won’t take long- but the people doing that are unlikely to make it to a fight over the town, as least, not one that you should be staying for. Of course, if you have alternate ideas, you are free to write them in.
>>
>>4389827
Send everyone to D and just destroy the rails there. Don't want our reduced forces to get split from aiding each other by the hill.
>>
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>>4389827
>Other
Feint that we're pulling back entirely, while stopping to destroy the tracks just before we cross the border. After that cut across the Netillian side until we're clear of the hill and swing back south to hit the town.
>>
>>4389827
On the bright side maybe us shedding our casualties and appearing as a smaller group will get the enemy paranoid that we've split up again.

I'm of two minds on it. If we want to inflict casualties and minimize risk we should do the feint plan which should cause some damage and salve Edelschwert’s boys some.

If we want to truly lure Twaryian forces into dealing with us we should concentrate on D and maybe slowly move up the rails towards Netilland wrecking what we can. If we get a response that's too much we're still pretty close to the border.

For now I'll support >>4389878 the feint plan cause there's still the risk of them thinking we're moving towards Dymny. Hopefully doing that much damage will force the Twaryians into doing goddamn something.
>>
>>4389827
Also onboard with this >>4389878
>>
>>4389980
Honestly I think trying to draw out the Twaryians at this point isn't all that useful given the assault is going to start soon.
Unless they're willing to chase us across the border it's not going to take them that much time to return to Dymny.
Focusing on eliminating all these minor garrisons seems like it'd be more useful to the ERA right now so they can focus on Dymny itself.
>>
>>4389827
Supporting >>4389878
>>
>>4389827
Since we have about the same size force that we took out either targets with, hitting the village at D then leaving a hole in the rails on the retreat should not be a problem.
>>
>>4389827
>Travel to C, then if there's no enemy on hill 22 go raid D. If hill 22 is occupied, destroy that position.
My main concern is retreating past hill 22 from D. I don't want to suddenly discover an AT position there while we're being pursued.
>>
>>4389827
>>4389878
>>4390561
Whatever we choose I'd also like to add on getting our mortars to do a brief bombardment of Hill 22. Hopefully that should suppress any Twaryians if there really are any up there.
>>
>>4390709
They'll be unsuppressed as soon as the bombardment lets up.
>>
>>4390724
If there really is people up there when we make our assault we can just suppress them again. Or just fire smoke on the hill so they can't see crap.
Tanq do our mortars have any white phosphorus rounds?
>>
>>4390733
Also it's going to be nightfall soon so unless they use flares or lights (which WILL give away their position) their visibility is going to drop pretty fast.
>>
>>4390738
Btw this is an advantage to hitting the railroad - we can use it as a guide to retreat in the dark.
>>
I'm alive again.

>>4389841
Obsess over D. D's nuts.

>>4389878
>>4389980
>>4390014
>>4390023
Wreck the tracks then pretend you're going home. Except it turns out the home you're going to is their home. And you're unbuttoning your pants as you walk in the door.

>>4390561
Head for the hill. Then the D.

>>4390709
And dump shells on the hilltop.

>>4390733
>Tanq do our mortars have any white phosphorus rounds?
The light infantry attached ones do not, no. Their capabilities are relatively basic, and their smoke shells aren't phosphorous based. And indeed, when it gets dark, you'll want to be using your lights, but so long as you finish up before then, what's the problem, right?

Writing.
>>
Once all the volunteer leadership was assembled once more, though the only remnant of your own men besides your Strossvalders being the frog faced Rybak was unexpectedly concerning, you swept right into your plan. It was quite an elegant one, if you’d say so yourself.

“First of all, we’ll swing to the east,” you dragged a finger across the map, “And damage the rails here. The panzerjager’s demolition charges should do a good job of making a mess of them, at least, in the short term, and to draw attention.” You looked up at the tank hunter leader, “How large are those demolition charges of yours?”

“Enough to make one of your pieces there look like lobster thermidor,” the tank hunter leader, a broad and tall man well suited to carrying around the heavy equipment anti-tank riflemen needed, said haughtily.

“I don’t know what that is,” you said back, returning to your briefing. You could assume that that meant they were plenty powerful. “After we take care of those tracks in a noisy manner, we’ll go back north over the border…then hook around further east, around that hill over there, and hit whatever that town is. We can be in and out proper quickly, hopefully before night falls. We’ll have the mortars do a sporadic bombardment of the top of the hill to dissuade observers or any unseen support position from interfering with us. Lieutenant Rybak, your new callsign is Dagger One, and you of Edelschwert’s cavalry people…you’re now Dagger Two. Blade callsigns have no changes. Any questions?”

“Has our objective changed?” Lieutenant Muller asked, holding a pinch of snuff to his nose, “You know what’s there?”

“Our objective is the same, but this is reconnaissance by fire,” you said with a matter of fact tone, “Whatever we find there, our aim is to destroy it if we’re able, and to withdraw if we cannot.”

“How d’ we know what we can’t handle?” Rybak asked, his red tint making him look particularly nervous.

“It’ll be obvious,” you said, “and if the situation changes in the thick of it, I’ll give the signal to pull out and have our retreat covered by our armor and mortars.”

“Will we have a time cutoff?” Krause asked next, “Or will we fight until it is either done or untenable, regardless of the dark?”

“We shouldn’t have much reason to stay after the sun sets,” you looked south, wondering exactly when at dusk the ERA intended to start their massive strike. You’d cleared away a lot of obstacles for them, by your measure. The Grandmaster had best be thankful. “Is that all the concerns? Alright. Mount up. We’re leaving as soon as we’re ready, and I want that to be a matter of seconds, if not minutes.”
>>
You were all off like a shot in less than a minute, better than you could have hoped- but the Twaryians had had plenty of time now to potentially react to you. Your best bet was to try and outrun their reaction- the attack on the train tracks wouldn’t be thorough, but it would be quick.

Three quarters of the way over, when the tracks were getting close, Wielzci announced the presence of a tail, keeping well away. An armored car, apparently keeping tabs on you now. From how Wielzci put it, they were keeping far enough away to disengage if you tried to turn and take it on- pursuit was a waste of time. You took that advice, though the feeling of being watched…was unpleasant. Especially considering that car could be gathering a real response to you behind it.

The tank hunters jumped out of the car and hauled ass over to the railway as soon as the trucks pulled up by it, and the tanks formed a defensive half-circle to the southwest and east. They were probably working as fast as they could, but you blinked when you saw them digging.

“Can somebody tell them to dispense with the fanciness?” You asked over the radio, “We don’t have time for turning these railways into lobster.”

“…Blade Actual…” Von Metzeler’s response, “…Blowing explosives on top of the tracks will do little…consider how thick the rails are…”

“Fine, fine…” you sat back and pushed a finger into your cheek…the finger wasn’t there. You settled for your little finger. Back towards the direction where the distant blur of the armored car had faded away again, then all around…south, to Dymny, where you hoped that they were both not there, but also nowhere near you. In an open field like this, the Twaryian tanks held a clear advantage. They could engage you at a range where they resisted your shots, while you could not rely on your own protection against their cannon.

“Clear the area!” the panzerjager squad leader shouted out, and you ducked into the turret. A minute later, the ground shook, as a surprisingly muffled BOOMPH dipped you up then down, and despite thinking that you were safe, a shower of snow and dirt fell all over you in a powdery mist, clumps of soil bouncing down the tank. Something metal clanged down on top of the turret, and Stein and Jorgen both cursed in solidarity.

Peeking back out, you surveyed the damage through binoculars. A set of four small craters now bent the rails up, and had shattered the ties where the charges had been placed, rail spiked forced up, bent, scattered about. You knew nothing about construction and engineering, but you guessed that this wouldn’t take all that long to fix by a dedicated crew- it would mean nothing could go down these tracks until they were repaired, though, and in the middle of the open and with how close to your side of the border you were, it was possible you could interdict such attempts, on top of being able to observe them.
>>
“That will have to do,” you said over the net, “All callsigns, let’s get moving. Mortars, begin bombardment of Hill 22, sustained.” A recent thing you had learned again. A barrage not meant to cause heavy damage, but when a shell was falling every half minute or so, it cut down on ammunition expenditure while keeping up pressure. The danger was, apparently, the risk of staying too long in one place inviting counter-battery fire, and the requisite need for repositioning ensuring that accuracy was an afterthought, but such things didn’t matter for you. Until you were ready to move in on the town, blasting the hill top with explosive rounds before shrouding it in smoke just before you needed the mortars again to support the attack would be enough.

Back over the border you went, letting navigation be worried about by those ahead. You felt the cold bite of winter night looming, and watched the sun turn darker as it sank towards the horizon- towards home. You breathed a long sigh out your nose, and wondered- where were those letters you had sent now? Maybe you could just…turn here and leave, follow them back.

“Boss,” Hans said over the intercom, “Don’t drift off yet, company’s trying to raise you on the net.”

“Feh,” you lazily flipped the switch to listen, “Ri…Blade Actual, speaking.”

“Getting tired?” Krause asked, “The mortars are about to lay down their smoke on the hill. Their commander wants to know if you’ll give them time to move into position to bombard the town, or if you’re going to just move along there. Since we don’t know anything about the positions they might have set up there, or what they have there, nobody will blame us for trying to take a peek before we go all in.”

“…But the longer we take on preparation, the less time we have before sunset,” you pointed out the other part of that statement.

“Right. And preparatory bombardment will let the enemy know we’re coming, on top of there being plenty of cover, since there’s houses…and the fact that there’s likely to be civilians still living in that town. So, personally, I’m not in favor of any preparation save for smoke.”

>You didn’t want to blunder into something you weren’t ready for at the tail end of all this. Sure, you’d scout it out from afar first before charging in.
>You didn’t have time to faff about with careful scouting. You were being tracked, and night was coming. You had to just charge right in there.
>The civilians would know to take cover. Have the mortars move to start explosive bombardment as you swung around to head south towards the town. This had to be brutal as it was quick.
>Other?
>>
>>4391979
>>You didn’t have time to faff about with careful scouting. You were being tracked, and night was coming. You had to just charge right in there.
>>
>>4391979
>You didn’t want to blunder into something you weren’t ready for at the tail end of all this. Sure, you’d scout it out from afar first before charging in.
>>
tanq with the time spent with the Red Arrows and using their radio do we have their frequencies? Not to actively communicate but just to see if there's any reaction on the ERA's side to our excursion so far.
>>
>>4391979
>>You didn’t want to blunder into something you weren’t ready for at the tail end of all this. Sure, you’d scout it out from afar first before charging in.
The objective never really has been to destroy things, sure it's nice but our real purpose has always been about getting the Twaryians to commit something to counter us and take them away from slowing down the ERA when they go to conquer Dymny.

If it looks too tough we can pull back, and if it looks feasible then our subsequent attack, even if it takes longer, should be unexpected by the enemy. Hopefully it also forces the Twaryians to finally poke their heads out.

Can they really afford not to send *something* if we return guns blazing over the border?
>>
>>4392019
You do have their frequencies; if you like, you can indeed listen in, but it's likely you're out of range of much they might be using.
>>
>>4391979
>You didn’t want to blunder into something you weren’t ready for at the tail end of all this. Sure, you’d scout it out from afar first before charging in.
>>
>>4391979
>You didn’t want to blunder into something you weren’t ready for at the tail end of all this. Sure, you’d scout it out from afar first before charging in.
>>
>>4392025
I'd guess that if the Twaryians really have withdrawn Gerovic's tanks from the sector they might not actually have any units with the required mobility or firepower to chase after us?
Without any nearby armour until it arrives from other areas sending those Moskity guys alone against our tanks would be pretty suicidal.
>>
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*cough*
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>>4391985
Get right in there! You're here to win!

>>4391992
>>4392025
>>4392033
>>4392034
Slow, slick, careful. Losing a couple of fingers and half a face cools the head a little, hopefully.

Writing.

>>4392612
Seems legit.
>>
…You could afford to be careful, you thought after not much consideration. It was far from timid to make sure not to blunder into a defeat right when you were doing so well before. If it didn’t look like a fight you could win, you could just pull back as planned. Simple.

“We’ll have an advance party look around the north of the town,” you declared over the radio, “All elements, hold back. I’ll take a combat car forward myself.” The low slung vehicles would escape notice much more easily than a tank, after all, and despite them being painted blue now, they were still Twaryian vehicles. Maybe with the retreating sun the blue would blur into black from afar?

Just about right on the border, you dismounted and put yourself in a combat car manned by 6th platoon’s eager volunteers, people whom some might call collaborators, but honestly, you thought that they were certainly more excited about the return of the Monarchy than the dominance of Netilland. They were all rather young; all of the men in the car with you couldn’t have passed their second decade.

“You’re the coordinator, huh?” the driver stared at you instead of the land in front as you drove along, “What happened to your face? It wasn’t like that last I saw.”
“Eyes front. Keep focused.” You didn’t want to talk to this kid, not when there was plenty else to pay attention to than chatter. “That goes for all of you.” If they wanted somebody to be nice to them they could look to Rybak. For you, they had a job to do. To avoid being noticed, you kept a more steady pace- less snow kick up, less noise, and you did your best to direct to defilade rather than advance straight on. The delay would be worth reducing the risk, though.

When the town crept into view, you ordered them to stop, and crunched forward on the snow to have a look- a breath onto your binoculars’ lenses and a rub with your sleeve’s trim first. They’d inexplicably had crap on them from when you’d taken them out last.

“…Tch,” you weren’t very happy with what you saw of the town, but it could have been expected for how close to the border it was. “Entrenched guns, at least two…” You couldn’t see what type, only that they were definitely there, sunken in the ground under tarp roofs covered in snow. Very difficult to spot from the air. Two guns wasn’t impossible to take on, but what could be further inside the town? This wasn’t like the village, you didn’t have a full picture of the place just from the outside; only the perimeter. The troops were absolutely on alert, though. You’d kicked a nest, and you didn’t see many troops up and walking around. Just the movement of a few within trenches and foxholes. The more eagle eyed and properly equipped for observation among them probably saw you, but you were rather far away to get a real shot at.
>>
…Best not to tempt more snipers, you thought as the chilling freeze of the fear responded to the idea that crept into your head in a lively fashion indeed, almost choking the breath from your throat. But yes, a perimeter of anti-tank guns, assuredly no mines, due to their illegality (and the fact that if there had been any you’d have run over them earlier in the raid escapades), this looked doable…at least, harassing the perimeter would be easy. There couldn’t be much worse hiding deeper in the town. It’d be silly to hide something fierce enough to intimidate you in this situation.

“Uh, Coordinator,” one of the 6th platoon people coughed, the one on the two centimeter cannon in the rear, looking through its magnification scope towards the hill. “I think something’s coming from the southwest.”

“Oh?” You looked in that direction; indeed, from the wispy remnants of the smoke barrage that had been laid upon the hill, something…was moving through it. You couldn’t see it too well through your binoculars, but the shapes didn’t look familiar. Slightly lopsided like the light T-8s, but also somewhat different? Definitely not T-15s or T-16s. They did look like vehicles, with the squat form of tanks. Damn- had you taken too long? If you’d just rushed here, you certainly would have gotten here before those tanks did.

Yet. They were here, and not south. Was that not what you wanted? Also, who said you had to face those tanks at the village? Maybe you could face them on the hill where they were now?

No, that wasn’t necessarily the best idea, you thought again. These weren’t familiar models, and at this rate you’d surely be fighting them right as it got dark. You didn’t have a clear idea of their numbers, either. Their position at the hills told that they must have been positioning to prepare against a further move by you. Maybe a result of that mortar barrage?

It was time to head back, certainly, now. Even if a sharpshooter couldn’t quite reach out to you, a tank cannon probably could.

>Were you supposed to be intimidated by this? Commence the attack. You’d take on the town, its guns, its troops, and these tanks as well.
>Pull back, stay across the border. You were done here. No way would it be worth the risk to press on now.
>Finally, fellow tankers to duel. The town could get stuffed; you’d reposition to advance on the hill and take on these new foes.
>Other?
>>
>>4393068
>>Pull back, stay across the border. You were done here. No way would it be worth the risk to press on now.
Our Strossvalders already said they didnt want to die for Netilland. And this seems like a good way to die for nothing. If they've comitted armor assets here, then their not at Dymny and we've done our job of luring them out.
>>
>>4393068
>>Pull back, stay across the border. You were done here. No way would it be worth the risk to press on now.
>>
>>4393068
>Pull back, stay across the border. You were done here. No way would it be worth the risk to press on now.
Much as tank battles are cool and the boys could both use some "practical terror" >>4393115 makes a decent point. If we leave then those tanks wasted their time getting here and if it took us half an hour to get here from the woods, then it'll probably take them at least that long to get to Dymny when we leave. Hopefully the real fireworks can start before then.
>>
>>4393068
>>Pull back, stay across the border. You were done here. No way would it be worth the risk to press on now.
Major says don’t give the Nettilians any big victories. We could probably win this, especially if the vehicles that showed up are not any kind or real tank, but it would take a bit more doing than the trampling of the garrisons we have done so far.
>>
>>4393115
>>4393312
>>4393327
>>4393444
Mom says I have to go back before dinner time.
This is according to plan, after all. Writing. Doing more than one update a day, finally. Need to get back on the ball.
>>
You put your binoculars back down again. Plenty of energy had been felt in going and doing more, but now? Things didn’t seem so easy, and with your blood a bit cooler, you reconsidered your string of victories. Maybe the Netillians had been keen on going back, but you were plenty willing to keep going- what would happen if you won too much, and your attitude became infectious?

Then, with a flash, what the Major had explicitly told you not to do entered your head. Just a few victories wouldn’t be enough to cause a change like that, would it? No, the uprising to come would be the main cause of upset here, not anything the Netillians did, sure. It still made the bile rise in your stomach nevertheless.

But you wanted to win more. You wanted to fight. Breaking away was the wise choice, but…something in your very blood protested. Not in the mind, where the Fear was ever present, even suppressed like it had been over time, but…elsewhere. This wasn’t about you, though. This was about your men, Hans’s weary request that your comrades didn’t want to die fighting a nothing war in a strange land, the Intelligence Office’s strange plans, and the phantom pain still dully lurking where your fingers had been. It…could wait.

“Let’s get ready to go back,” you told the soldiers around the car, “I’ve seen what I needed to.” Immediately, you got on the radio as you started moving. “All elements, I’m on my way back.” Nothing more. You would announce your intents to end this operation here once you got back to everybody. For all you had difficulty finding anybody who spoke Twaryian, you had no doubt potential listening posts might understand you, and you felt safer just relaying this in person than speaking in code.

Back along those same tracks to get here you went, watching the sun make its ever quicker descent. The Eastern Resistance Army would surely be making its move soon- you weren’t sure whether to hope for their success or not, but you’d done your part in their plans. Those tanks you saw must have been deemed to be the best response to your own force, and far from Dymny as they were, they wouldn’t be able to return right away, especially since they likely wouldn’t bother going back until an alarm was raised at all.

It was good enough.

-----
>>
“That’s about the state of things,” you summarized what you saw to the newly assembled officers, “So we’re going to head back. Sixth Platoon, you’ll take defensive positions near New Jorgenstohn in case of immediate reprisals, but they should know they had this coming for a while. They shouldn’t strike back too hard. Everybody else…we’ll hold in reserve behind Sixth Platoon until the danger’s passed for the night. Lieutenant Muller, Lieutenant…” you choked a bit to feign you couldn’t recall the infantry leader’s name. “Sorry. Thank you both for coming, you were a big help.”

The two Armored Cavalry officers saluted synchronously. “Coordinator, sir.” Muller said stiffly.

Lieutenant Rybak seemed a bit disappointed when he turned away. Maybe he had been hoping for the same manner of victory you had in mind, but his unit had taken losses anyways. They were green- best to recuperate, you thought, for this operation.

“So,” Krause spoke to you again, “What cooled you off? It couldn’t have been that there were tanks. Don’t think anybody’s forgotten that, officially, you went absent without leave, stealing military equipment, and charging into a line of tanks back in Valsten.”

“No, it wasn’t that,” you shook your head, “I think…that it was a fight we could win. But I also thought that it was a fight where the win might not be worth it.” You slumped your shoulders, “It’s…complicated. That, and there’s the other thing.”

“Right,” Krause nodded, and clapped a hand on your back, “Besides, if we get into many more fights without Creampuff, she’ll feel left out.”

You couldn’t help but feel bad for the headache the Twaryians were in for, though, as you went back towards your tank. With what would be happening over the border, your own men wouldn’t be sleeping tonight either, you bet, but all you had to do was listen, and wait.

A far off crack, to the south, and a pillar of smoke suddenly blooming into the air, even from as far away as you were.

“…Let’s get out of here,” you said hurriedly to Krause, “We’re through.”

-----
>>
The last vestiges of the sun were dipping below the horizon, and the stars were out, but you were still in the field, near a clutch of collapsed old stone huts north of New Jorgenstohn, between the town and your old, ruined camp. A furious fight sounded like it was taking place to the south, and you were thankful to be having no part in it whatsoever. Despite your advice for 6th platoon to take up defenses, that was more for if any Twaryians were forced over the border than a concern for Twaryian counterattack. After the ERA uprising, you doubted if they’d be coming over the border in any capacity at all while you were still here. No commander could justify wandering over here after what would happen tonight.

Though really, there wasn’t any shortage of insurgents behind your own lines. You just had the good fortune to be in league with them.

For now you tried to enjoy the night for what it was- Maddalyn’s scarf at your throat, your crews loitering about. An eye was kept out and no fires or lights were allowed, but quiet conversation was. You just stared at the stars, for now, sitting atop the X-51’s turret. Trying to remember constellations you’d forgotten. At least you still knew where the North Star was.

The grinding noise of vehicle motors to the north. All of the tanks had their engines off, to conserve what gas you’d spend today (quite the amount), so you heard it quite clearly. Twaryians wouldn’t be coming from the north- certainly not today. You took a look through your binoculars, and saw the dark, but recognizable shapes of the Mechanized Guards’ armored personnel carriers driving down the road.

“What is it?” Stein asked up to you- others had heard the new noise.

“The Guards unit,” you looked away from the binoculars and down to your gunner, “Who knows what they want. Probably nothing to do with us.”

Despite your hopes, a single APC drew off the road and towards your unit, stopping a good distance away and disgorging the figure you wanted to see again least today, escorted by a pair of veterans.

“Coordinator Von Tracht!” Kommissar Zohl called out, bowing slightly as he came up beside the tank, “How good it is to see you tonight.”

“What do you want,” you growled, glaring down at the mosshead prick political officer.

“With you? Nothing, I just came by to say hello. I also wanted to inform you that I deemed it necessary for this company of the 13th Mechanized Guards to take position at points along the front here. There was a large explosion reported approximately forty five minutes ago, and I requested an Autogyro still in flight peek over the border at it. The Twaryians are dealing with an absolutely massive uprising, it turns out. So, I thought the front in need of reinforcement.”

“I already have men guarding the UGZ and the Colonial Town,” you said blankly, “We’re here as backup.”
>>
“But insurgents may try to flow over the border in unguarded places, and you cannot guard it all, yes? Or perhaps Twaryians will try and flee over to maneuver away? I just thought to help, my good fellow.”

“I can’t stop you.” Taking advantage of the chaos, are you? There isn’t an altruistic bone in your body, you stain on the world.

“I wanted to make you aware of the tactical situation, was all. Ah, and Sector Command says that nobody is allowed across the border, at present. Any who attempt to cross are to be disarmed and taken prisoner, and if they resist, driven away.”

“Right.”

“Good night, Coordinator,” the Kommissar bowed again, “I certainly hope that you’ll be able to count the stars all night.”

“Hmph.” You’d make him count stars, if you could. He wasn’t given any more mind tonight as he left. You just hoped he wouldn’t find some excuse to try and call you for help.
Well, maintenance hadn’t been done on the tanks for a bit. It was about the right time to have an unfortunate breakdown.

-----

The same night…

>The Resistance's Knights of the Royal Guard make their charge!
>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy.
>Von Tracht encounters a Situation.
>Some other fascinating perspective?

The third is basically skipping ahead further- if you’d rather not indulge in any very short dive into an alternate perspective with tank fighting, then you can just pick that and stick with Richter.
>>
>>4393701
Damn all of these seem pretty interesting.
>The Resistance's Knights of the Royal Guard make their charge!
>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy.
Either one is fine for me.
>>
>>4393701
>I'm down for anything really.
>>
>>4393701
>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy.
All options are good but seeing what's happening in the world beyond Ellowie would be nice.
>>
>>4393701
>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy

The first two both sounds good but let's see what's happening closer to home.
>>
>>4393701
>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy.
Honestly though I wouldn't mind taking an intermission and covering both before we move on.
>>
>>4393701
Well, well, well, looks like we lucked out by not attacking at the same time as the ERA. Seems that Zohl is suspicious of us and really has been trying to trap Richter this whole time.

>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy.
Let's see if Von Neubaum and Loch are getting along.
>>
>>4393701
>>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy.
>>
>>4393701
>Some other fascinating perspective?
Away in the corner of a seedy bar in the burgeoning republic, a sauced, newly minted Major attempts to play a broken piano...
>>
>>4393701
>Tensions between rivals spark north of the Archduchy.
>>
The fall guy had never been to Sosaldt before. He hadn’t heard it was a nice place for, well, anybody, but the more fun rumors made it sound like a happening sort of place at least. This Wossehnalia place was way ritzier than he expected out of a place he’d heard described as a total shithole. The castle in the middle, the absolutely massive monolith built on a hill, the honest to goodness skyscrapers that looked really out of place amongst the more typical two story squat wood and brick buildings that made up most of the city. The streets were chock-full of Republic Army folks. An inspection today, apparently, that just got done with, letting the soldiers loose on the bars and brothels.

Normally Roth-Vogel’d like to go and share some drinks with some strangers. There weren’t many Republic Army folks that didn’t have an interesting story, from who he had talked with, but for once he wanted a quieter place. Something different from his usual of loud music, dancing, and brawling, though not any less drinking. He was on duty now, after all, even if he was pretending to be a mercenary. Talmeier couldn’t wreck his shit for being drunk, but now as the senior authority, he had to set a precedent. What a drag.

The place he ended up going to was some place called Die Brauhaus- some Pretender business, that had a branch all the way out here. The only Strossvalder Roth-Vogel had ever met was somebody he wouldn’t have minded killing, but that was a while ago now. Maybe he could have a nice experience with their culture for once. For what it was, which by all accounts, was impersonating what they thought high society was. Stuffy tight-assed role-players. Not that Strossvalders thought any better of the people of Czeiss, anyways.

There were a few Republic soldiers around the place, and a few of what must have been Ellowian folks, by the uniforms you hadn’t seen before- it was pretty good looking, all things considered. The paint was new, the furniture was nice, there was a great big set of glass windows to look in and out of- the place was proud of itself, or at least, the brand was.
Which was why the busted player piano stuck out like a sore thumb.

“Hey, barkeep,” Roth-Vogel leaned on the bar, “What’s up with the piano? It looks like somebody got jammed into it ass-first.”

“That’s because it was,” the lady running the joint told Roth-Vogel, “The Kommandant picked a fight with a Northern Lord while he was here, and he was thrown through the piano. We bought a radio to replace it, the piano’s worth more now. People come to see the Piano that the Kommandant’s Ass was Thrown Through.”

“Heh heh,” the paratrooper slid onto the stool, “Give me three fingers of whiskey, on the rocks. Shot of honey. A couple lemons. You got those, right?”
>>
“The whiskey and the rocks,” the bar lady said, “I’ll have that right up. You know, somebody just yesterday ordered the same thing. Most people around here don’t put honey in their liquor.”

“Eh, to do it right you need a certain kind of honey anyways. Just the whiskey and rocks is fine.” Roth-Vogel paused. “Somebody else yesterday? Who?”

“Some scruffy looking short haired girl.”

“Oh? Tell me more.” Roth-Vogel’s girlfriend was a short haired girl, could be scruffy sometimes.

“She got drunker than I’ve seen anybody get in a long time and had a fit over some old boyfriend.”

“Sounds like she needed a friend, somebody to know for a night.” No, bad Reinhold, you don’t take nudie pics of your girlfriend to keep for later before giving her a good hard shagging right before leaving, so you can make passes at other chicks.

The barkeep laughed. “No, I don’t think she did. Her father was there to take care of her.”

Her father? “Oh.” Suddenly Reinhold had a good idea of who it might have been. He’d been told they’d been here, but…he hadn’t run into the two of them.

“Too bad they didn’t come back here tonight,” One of the Ellowians said a bit down the bar, “Me and the guys didn’t think we’d ever get to meet the Gold Vengeance, judge above, any self-respecting Ace-to-be would want some tips from him.

“His daughter’s one of the best pilots there is, too,” Reinhold mused aloud, tapping a finger on the counter. His drink was placed before him. “You people pilots? I’m a pilot, myself.” A nearsighted pilot.

“Aye, me and these two,” the Ellowian grinned and pointed to his fellows, “Ellowian Republic Army Air Force fighter pilots. You know about Falkenstein’s daughter? How good she fly?”
Reinhold grinned. “Real damn good. As in, you watch what she can do in a plane, from the ground, your cock gets hard. That good.”

“Hah. What are you, her boyfriend? What’s between you?”

“Nah, nah, not at all. It’s just a fact. I’ve been to air shows she was in.” That was a lie. A big one. But it was better for Linda to not know Reinhold was here, if she was around. That was a decent segue, though, as Roth-Vogel looked through his wallet for a few photographs. “Want to see my girlfriend?” No, not the picture of her from behind bent over the bed, looking put upon that you wanted to take a picture of her in such a compromising position. Not the one of her giving head, she’d been really mad after the camera clicked on that (damn if it wasn’t a great angle though, really flattering). The topless one was alright to show, right? “Check this out.”

The Ellowian pilots all came to sit around and with you. “…Uh, this the wrong photo?”

“Nice tits.”
>>
“They are nice,” Reinhold agreed, “Not too big, not too small.” He put the picture away. “Bet you’re all jealous.” Eidan was a nice girl. Not as nice as Winnifred, though. More demanding. She says the name of her dead boyfriend in bed. Not as good in bed either. Not as cunning and mysterious, tragic, a heart whose depths were so thrilling to explore…a mutual feeling of understanding, even in those short few days you were with one another…

“My wife’s way better than that,” one of the pilots said flat out, “…Had to leave her at home, though. Some people lucked out and found their folks over here…not me. I know she couldn’t have tried to flee.”

“Well, you’ll be seeing her soon again, right?” Another pilot said, encouragingly, “Long live the Republic, aye?”

“Aye,” the other two pilots said, “Hey, new guy, let’s drink to that.”

“Long Live the Republic’s a bit stuffy,” Reinhold raised his glass, “How about this? Here’s to dropping in places we’ve got no business being in, and getting out alive.” He drank to that, before anybody agreed, but the people around certainly didn’t object to it.

-----

>>4393707
>>4393716
"Yes"

>>4393720
>>4393743
>>4393764
>>4393773
>>4394149
>>4394794
Time to check out Almize again.

Will get to writing, as soon as my TTRPG game session today ends.
>>
>People come to see the Piano that the Kommandant’s Ass was Thrown Through.”
We ought to ride the next tank with the turret backwards so Richter's buns of steel add a few extra inches to the armour.
>>
>>4395009
>Eidan was a nice girl. Not as nice as Winnifred, though. More demanding. She says the name of her dead boyfriend in bed. Not as good in bed either. Not as cunning and mysterious, tragic, a heart whose depths were so thrilling to explore…a mutual feeling of understanding, even in those short few days you were with one another…

Winnifred needs to return just to drop the pregancy/child bombshell on Reinhold.
>>
Today was a thirteen hour session. Christ.
Anyways update'll be out soon.

>>4395057
>buns of steel
Maddalyn wasn't impressed with said buns.

>>4395718
She told Reinhold that she'd probably never see him again; that would be a cruel thing to lie about, even for a duplicitous spy whose profession is falsehoods.
>>
The Almizean Pact had been formed- secession from the combined city state nation that called itself Plisseau was merely waited for. At this stage, attempts to delay or prevent it were futile, this territory had felt kinship with one another for quite some time, once being a petty kingdom long ago, in days before the Kaiser Alexander; it was only a matter of making the new unity official. The decision had been made, and all anybody could do now was wait for the announcement.

Everybody already knew the outcome, even the lower classes, from whom a large militia had assembled here in Almize to form the bulk of a force whose core was the mercenary companies that had been paid enough to be inclined to fight a real conflict, at least for a little bit, and their moods were entirely different from one another. The latter had nervous anticipation to them, a recognition that, in a rarity for Plisseau’s city states, they might be fighting an actual war. The popular militia reveled in such, though, already doing their best to come up with their best secession slogans in between bouts of early celebration for a victory that not one bullet had been fired for. Yet. They had no uniforms, no identifiers beyond being together and armed, or in the process of arming themselves from crates of weapons, branded with the seal of Archduke Strossvald.

…You didn’t know what you were still doing here.

You didn’t know why you’d been put here in the first place. Was it because of the Sosaldt business? You were a Junior Lieutenant, for goodness sakes, and still were after how long of this nonsense? Coming here and blindly fumbling about, and when you’d finally started to figure things out and have some good fortune, Von Neubaum sweeps in and takes what you had. From what you could see, sitting atop your tank painted in decorative mercenary company flamboyance of green and white with polished brass fittings, your role here was over. Inspect the troops, bah! The mercenaries were mercenaries, and the militia were undisciplined, untrained rabble. Peasants, like your own crew, but without the backbone of training or the elan of true blooded nobility to lead them. Their vanity was misplaced, and their pride unearned.

Your own pride and vanity felt similarly misplaced, though.
>>
What had you done, in your illustrious career, that you could claim credit for? Captured on a train to your first deployment, rescued, followed others elsewhere, and been declared a deserter with the rest. For what, had you fought for all that time? What did you get in return? Nothing. No medals, no glory, and no girls. There wasn’t any resentment towards Von Tracht, of course. He’d compensated you well- you had your gold, but there was the rub- your family was already wealthy. You might have been the fourth, youngest son, but you didn’t lack for money- it was everything else that you wanted- needed. Yet you couldn’t fault anybody but yourself for not getting what you wanted.

It was because you had kept following then, but now, you apparently hadn’t done enough on your own. Here you were, about to go home again with nothing to show for your efforts. Nobody even to validate how much you’d done that went unrecognized. One lady spoke with you, but she dragged everything out of you, and when you really thought about it, didn’t even return interest.

It was so damned frustrating. As far as anybody was concerned, you were just like these men- proud of having done nothing.
Maybe that’s what drew you off the top of that tank and towards that seductive energy, that party over revolution and war. Over something you’d experienced, and not found satisfaction in- or did you not find satisfaction in fighting because you had acted as a shadow? Fought for your life as a reaction, rather than of your own volition?

It was a shift in mood, going from the resignation and weariness of your crews, to the jubilation around the campfires. Despite the difference in blood, in status, everything, you were immediately welcomed…something you hadn’t expected.

“Huh?” one of the militia, from a group gathered around a stone firepit, a young man with an unkempt shadow of facial hair, looked at you as he sauntered up, and so did his comrades. “Hey, it’s one of those mercenaries that the Count hired on. You ready for this fight coming on, brother?”

“I hope I am,” you muttered. You didn’t really want to be in any fight coming on. Also, Brother? Presumptuous, but you wouldn’t shame anybody for being sociable. You might have been highborn, but you knew where you were, and you weren’t in Strossvald. “If I can be more ready than having a tank, I’d sure as hell like to know.”

Laughter. “Yeah, you came prepared. Bet plenty of people are gonna be jealous, eh?” another of the men said, tossing his newly acquired rifle from hand to hand, its butt balanced on the ground. “Riding on that thing, most of us have these…you’re gonna have a big part, huh? Bet anybody’d like to be that important.”
>>
“We’ll see.” Despite the atmosphere, you still felt frustrated. You’d be glum if you weren’t trying to contain how fed up you were with just…yourself.

We’ll see?” The militiaman repeated as he looked to his fellows. “You don’t sound very confident.”

“I am confident,” you snapped back heatedly. “How couldn’t I be? I just don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.”

“He’s right, you know,” a slightly heavyset young man said, “Hey, what’s your name, merc?”

You thought a moment. Not your actual full name, you couldn’t say that here. Your first name, though? That’d do. “Teobaldt.”

“How about just Teo?” the one with the shadow of a beard smirked, “You want to go on over there with us?” He pointed to a bonfire a bit away, about thrice as large as the firepit you were around now. “There’s drinks, girls. Drinks are on us, and the girls…well, just going to say, they’ve been eyeing you up from afar, I can tell you that. My sister has, at least.”

Yeah, right. Drinks would be enough. “Sure,” you said, and followed the militiamen as they took you over towards a bonfire- you found a bottle of wine pressed into your hand right off, by a round faced short young woman with dark hair down to just above her shoulders, whose cheeks were flushed with some amount of drink in her, wearing a sweater and a dress in this winter night.

“Heeeyy,” she cooed at you, “You look like you need a drink, soldier man!” She blinked at a militiaman who had looked back to see what you were being bothered about, “Heeey, Al,” she said at him, in her same tone as before, “Is this guy gonna, gonna help you with the thing?”
“Ah,” the one called Al, with the bit of beard, stepped back. “Millie, we haven’t said anything about that…”

A thing, huh. This had better not have been something they wanted to trick you into doing, you thought.

…Though maybe…it was something you could find out more about? People could call you short fused, impulsive, but when you weren’t impulsive it felt like shit just flew by you before you could catch it. To hell with that.

“What’s the thing?” you asked.
>>
“It’s thing about-“ Millie blurted out, but her brother cut her off.

“Hey, hey, Millie?” He put a hand on her shoulder, “Why don’t you go sit with the other girls over there?”

“But I got here fiiirst!” Millie whined as “Al” pushed her away. She went to sulk by the fire again, as Al began to speak furtively.

“Alright, look, we’ve been planning this thing, since…tonight, really, but tonight’s the best time to do it too. See, there’s been a bunch of mercs that just rolled up a couple days ago, probably punks hired by Tirolisch,” Tirolisch was a city state to the north, you remembered- in opposition to the Almizean Pact. This young man’s assumption was absolutely true. “They’re here to intimidate us, and they need to be taught a lesson, that they won’t keep us down. That they’ve only come here to get their asses kicked!” Al shook his fist angrily despite keeping his voice low and hoarse, “We didn’t expect you to come over so early, honestly, we thought we’d have to come and ask you ourselves, but…”

A flash of inspiration. “I’ll do it.”

“Huh?” Al stared at you, “I’ve hardly said anything about it…”

“I only have one tank under my command. It’ll be enough.” The mercenaries being talked about had two tanks- both on the same level as your own, an m/28 converted with a modified open-top turret and a stumpy howitzer. Unimpressive to look at, but it had special shells you could trust. “Tell me more about the plan, the quicker the better. How ready are you to do it?”

“…Uh, come along here.” As you followed Al, your mind was racing. Objecting. Wasn’t this a little too hasty? It demanded a justification. You were set on doing this, it understood, but...

>Come on, use your imagination! The girls are already curious, for once- they’ll be all over you for this. Maybe you’ll take one home- take that, older brothers, with your arranged marriages!
>Why? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. He wasn’t just going to take this whole thing and tuck it into his cap like a feather. This would be your doing, god damn it.
>Take a hike, reason. What have you ever done? You’d think of a reason after you partied a bit. These people already had the drinks out, shut up any doubt with some of that.
>Other?
>>
>>4395939
>Why? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. He wasn’t just going to take this whole thing and tuck it into his cap like a feather. This would be your doing, god damn it.
>>
>>4395939
>Why? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. He wasn’t just going to take this whole thing and tuck it into his cap like a feather. This would be your doing, god damn it.
Watch this little adventure cause the whole operation to collapse.
>>
>>4395939
>Why? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. He wasn’t just going to take this whole thing and tuck it into his cap like a feather. This would be your doing, god damn it.
Time to see how bad of a mess von Walen is getting himself into.
>>
>>4395939
>>Why? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. He wasn’t just going to take this whole thing and tuck it into his cap like a feather. This would be your doing, god damn it.
>>
>>4395939
>Why? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. He wasn’t just going to take this whole thing and tuck it into his cap like a feather. This would be your doing, god damn it.
>>
>>4395939
>Why? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. He wasn’t just going to take this whole thing and tuck it into his cap like a feather. This would be your doing, god damn it.
All aboard the crazy train into Von Neubaum's asshole
>>
>>4395943
>>4395983
>>4395985
>>4396272
>>4396313
>>4396493
Wow you all really want to fuck Von Neubaum. Let his charm never be underestimated again.

Writing.
>>
>>4396959
It's his fault for being such a fuckable asshole
>>
Your answer to yourself came swiftly and easily- why do this? Because, fuck Von Neubaum. You thought for some time that you were equals, that you had things in common, but he’d decided to leave you behind. He came out of Sosaldt with a flock of admirers, and he would swoop in and out of here after having taken a vacation, with the clout you’d worked for. The Intelligence Office agent “overseeing” you had had naught but vague critique, as to what you were supposed to do- like you couldn’t be trusted to accomplish basic objectives. You’d still set up plenty for Von Neubaum to use, for just as much appreciation from that lanky sleepy faced lecher as you had from the IO spook before. Which was dick all. So screw him. He was probably at Count Von Sumpfer’s manor flirting with the Count’s daughter, not caring about how she was just a month over an age that would be scandalous. Well, let him, then. You’d take your share of the glory here.

“First off,” you took charge of this mad operation- you were going to lead this, you weren’t going to be a helper monkey this time, “I doubt any of you know the first damn thing about fighting a battle, so you tell me the plan, but if you want my help, it’s not just the tank- it’s the mind,” you pointed to your head, “The education, experience- I went to a military academy, so I know what the hell I’m doing, right?”

“Right, right, just…we didn’t expect you to be this on board,” Al said, a bit of a quaver to his voice. Good. You were the pillar, now.

As you were led around to a couple people, and then towards a firepit further off to the side with a few more intense folks around it, you went over more things that you knew in your head. You’d always been good with information, so long as it was delivered the right way. You might have been the youngest of four but you still had a respectable cabinet of curiosities, and that sort of thing demanded a particular ability to analyze the world. The Tirolisch mercenaries weren’t just any mercenaries- they were a segment of the Tirolischian Watch, sellswords all the same, but the company in a long term contract with Tirolisch’s ruling family, going back to Imperial times. In fact, members of the family often accompanied the watch for a time. This wasn’t just a gesture of throwing money about to swat flies- it was a deliberate and personal show of force.

You doubted any of these militia would know that. However, it meant that a city-state of Plisseau was getting ready for Von Walen to slap them across the face.

“…What’s the merc doing here?” One of the scarier looking fellows around the far firepit asked, as Al and the other militia led you over.

“He’s on board.” Al said.

“Just like that? I thought you weren’t going to ask until later.”

“I came over to you,” you declared.
>>
“Well, my sis got a bit tipsy and…sort of blurted out part of the plan,” Al said with an awkward ha ha afterwards. “We were going to do this tonight anyways, right?”

“…” The fierce eyed, middle aged man who seemed to be who everybody reported to snapped his glance to you. “You can give us all three of your company’s tanks?”

“First off,” you snapped, “I’m not giving shit. I’m in charge here now. I tell you what to do. Second, we’ll only need one tank.” Von Igel and Von Neubaum were elsewhere- you could try to press the other crews into helping you, but then, that’d be less credit for you, wouldn’t it? Or would it be more?

The man with the eyes of a wolf was unimpressed with your bluster. “We’ll see about that. Why do you think you should be in command?”

“Because,” you said, puffing out your chest despite the fact that you were shorter than most of the people here, “You people don’t know how to fight a war, and neither does any city state in all of Plisseau. Tell me about the last time you heard the Archduchy losing a war. We’re good at it. What passes for a battle between city states up here is a ritualized duel. This has to be serious.” There was a reason your tank was gussied up like a parade float. Yes, the weapons were real, but the battles were meant to be seen. It wasn’t really that the Plisseauans didn’t know how to fight a war, per se, though- it was that these people expected this to be like the usual. “These mercenaries are better at a fight than you. You don’t just want to fight, do you? You want to win, strike the first victory, for Almize and the Pact!” Part of being a good noble officer was such boasting. You waited to see the effect.

Wolf-eyes was too experienced or jaded to be swayed, but as expected, the people more your age or younger resonated with that. This whole celebratory atmosphere was in dedication to such a proclamation, after all. Heh. You could read a crowd, after all. Being pissed a lot off gave you a good well-practiced shout.

The middle aged man could see that you were usurping his place, but he didn’t seem to be objecting. Maybe he was a former mercenary or soldier himself, but he didn’t have the energy that these people wanted- just the intent. “Alright then. If you’re going to tell us what to do, then go on. Tell us what to do, once we give our initial plan.”
>>
It was summarized to you with the aid of sticks in dry dirt. The Tirolisch mercenaries numbered about four dozen, with two tanks. The type had been unimportant to the militia, but you knew they were m/24s- bulky hulls with small turrets and hull guns, no longer used by Strossvald, but popular canvasses for decoration in places like Plisseau. To tell the truth, in armament and armor, they were a fair match for a standard m/28, but they were larger and slower, and more importantly, your m/28 was not a normal one. Also important, these mercenaries were encamped, not entrenched. If one looked out north, they might even see their fires. It was all for show, so far.

The assembled militia had found eighty four volunteers, all freshly armed with Archduchy weaponry- rifles, machine guns, submachineguns, and they were arranged in haphazard messes of groups and teams rather than actual structured squads. There were no antitank weapons, and most of the men (and a few extremely excitable women) had firebottles like anarchist agitators rather than proper grenades. They had had the right idea to strike during the night, but they had thought their superior numbers would carry the day…if the tanks weren’t a factor.

It hadn’t been much a plan, really. Attack in the dead of night when the mercenaries weren’t ready for a fight, hope for the best. That all parties looked to you for any elaboration on that plan was a good…and bad thing.

>There was nothing wrong with a straightforward, simple plan. The ideal beginning to a tank battle was an ambush, after all. One tank, then no tanks- then you had control of the battlefield before the mercenaries knew what was happening.
>What legitimacy would you have for yourself if you made a night raid? Roll up yourself and declare a duel- the tanks drawn away, the plan could then proceed.
>If you had these people on your side, maybe you could make this move more forceful- they could help you “steal” your own tanks, and make a show of force yourself confronting a now much weaker mercenary group.
>Other?
>>
>>4397118
>What legitimacy would you have for yourself if you made a night raid? Roll up yourself and declare a duel- the tanks drawn away, the plan could then proceed.
>>
>>4397118
>There was nothing wrong with a straightforward, simple plan. The ideal beginning to a tank battle was an ambush, after all. One tank, then no tanks- then you had control of the battlefield before the mercenaries knew what was happening.
We have the numbers and tank support, followed by a night attack on unawares opponent.
>>
>>4397118
>There was nothing wrong with a straightforward, simple plan. The ideal beginning to a tank battle was an ambush, after all. One tank, then no tanks- then you had control of the battlefield before the mercenaries knew what was happening.
>>
>>4397118
>There was nothing wrong with a straightforward, simple plan. The ideal beginning to a tank battle was an ambush, after all. One tank, then no tanks- then you had control of the battlefield before the mercenaries knew what was happening.
>>
>>4397118
>There was nothing wrong with a straightforward, simple plan. The ideal beginning to a tank battle was an ambush, after all. One tank, then no tanks- then you had control of the battlefield before the mercenaries knew what was happening.
>>
>>4397128
Make this proper.

>>4397130
>>4397158
>>4397161
>>4397170
Do it dirty.

Writing.
>>
Anything you had to add would be superficial- there wasn’t anything wrong with a straightforward, simple plan- fall on this pack of posers in the night, and shoot them to pieces. Do it fast enough and everything would happen by itself. The most important piece was you, in fact- which was just how you liked it.

“Make sure to get as close as you can. The more you can hit them right at the start, the worse their odds,” you added in unnecessarily to the attentive listeners, “Don’t chase them. Drive them out. When the shooting starts, we all shoot, but most important-“ you held up a finger, “Don’t fire a goddamn shot until I take mine, otherwise it’s all fucked up. Besides that, we should be golden. When are all you lot ready to move?”

“Right away!” A grizzly young man was still buoyed by your shared enthusiasm, “Well, almost right away…”

“Come over to my tank over there,” you pointed, “And tell me when you’re ready. We can’t all flow out at one, after all. A hundred people heading out sticks out like a torch in the night. Once everybody’s ready, we’ll arrange how we get in position.” It was already good and dark, and the moon was slim tonight- a good time to avoid being noticed. That’d be the most important thing- night operations were by nature confusing, so you’d have to bank on the fact that everybody was going to be in a great big mob upon time of attack to simplify things.

When you got back to your crew, you told them what was happening- bluntly, and coarsely. They were the crew. They would do what they were told, by command. That was just how things worked around here.

“We’re going after a couple of tanks, specifically,” you told your gunner, “So have those special plastic shells ready.”

“…Should we be going out alone?” The gunner asked, wrinkling his brow in the lamp light.

“It doesn’t matter. We’re going.” That was the end of that. “Driver, warm up the engine, we’ve gotta be ready to go right away. Top off our gas, too.” If you could help it, nothing was going to go wrong with this. Of all the points of failure, your ass couldn’t be one of them.

-----
>>
It had taken god damn forever for the bunch of militia to exit the city in groups, to go out beyond the villages outside the city walls, two hundred years old, in a flow subtle enough to not draw attention from everywhere. You doubted that the mercenary screen north had anything like spies in the city- part of the boon of working with others in a spy organization was that such potential agents were being tracked, if they had not been exiled in establishing yourselves in Almize.

“I can’t see anything!” some militiaman…no, woman, whined. There was no shortage of confusion in the gathering place, and none of the people knew to shut the hell up for an operation that required stealth. This was what you had, though- you couldn’t be picky.

Just in front of your tank, you stood with an electric torch pointed at the ground, covered in mesh to dull its glare. It would be the only guide for your tank as you trundled forth towards the mercenary camp, drooping willow trees devoid of green, relatives of the ones that lived up further north. All you knew about these ones was that their wood was used in cheap counterfeit to fool the less trained eye for another kind of similar, harder wood- that this sort of tree was called Coffin Willow for being unsuitable for anything but cruddy caskets.

The wind began to howl and whistle over the rippled land, too shallow to be called hills, too full of dips to be flat. Something about old marsh pools that had dried up ages ago. It would hide an advance- hopefully…

>Roll 3 sets of 1d100. DC 55 roll under. Far, Middle, and Close range. The alertness of the enemy will depend on how many failures there are.
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>4397410
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>4397410
Let's try for a 2 now
>>
Rolled 91 (1d100)

>>4397410
>>
>>4397413
>>4397420
>>4397425
Everything's turning up Von Walen, tonight! Coming up short because he's vertically challenged.
Getting on this then.
>>
>Failure x3
Hoping gave you naught. From the start, this was turning out to be an utter mess.

The first stumble was when nervous chattering relayed to you that, somehow some militia groups had strayed away from the group in this terrain. It felt impossible to you that the simple act of staying together was something that could be fucked up, but, untrained militia. That didn’t make you feel any better to realize, at all. Some people asked if you could hold up so everybody could get back together. You informed these ever so helpful sorts that they could buzz off and keep moving. The only thing you had on your side was initiative, and balls fit to burst. Hesitating and collecting yourselves…you had the idle thought that spending any time on that might convince you to turn back.

Then, a further cause for concern. As you moved forward, up, down, up, down, through this terrain that felt like climbing up and down the same flight of stairs over and over again, you noticed militia straying ahead- you snagged whoever was near to send them after the wayward fighters, but you knew it wouldn’t be of much use. Chances were that this was happening all over what could laughably be called a formation.

Then- a mistake from you, your own people. You went up and over, then almost stumbled into a cold, stagnant pool from a shallow dip that still had rainwater or something in it- you caught yourself, congratulated yourself…then remembered that the tank was relying on you to guide it too late.

It bumped you from behind as it churned its way up, and you tumbled face first into the frigid, filthy water. With a gasp you forced yourself up, in this knee deep water, soaked from head to toe, ready to fucking kill something…and you heard the tank behind you.

You barely perceived anything but frantic splashing, the sucking feeling on your boots with every attempt at a step, as you scampered for the edge, each heartbeat telling of the tank about to come down into this sudden drop. You reached the edge as the tank splashed by you, soaking you again, and you spat and choked wretchedly.

“You fucking fools!” you cried out loudly to the gunner hanging out over the turret.

“Sorry, milord!” came the gunner’s reply. You couldn’t hear it as anything but sarcastic, as you caught your breath, and felt the water and winter air chill you down to the bone.

Where was the torch…you patted yourself, hoping against hope it would just sprout from your hand…where was your fucking torch? You’d dropped it in the water, hadn’t you? Who were you calling a fucking fool, huh? You ground your teeth together, gripped the edge of the pool and felt the mud in between your fingers, the water running down your face…thank the Judge Above you weren’t fucking crying, not that you’d be able to tell at this point. Nor would you be able to tell if you pissed yourself in fright. “Fuck. Fucki.

“Sir?”
>>
“Keep moving,” you said, “Keep moving!”

But there was a loud slurping at the treads- a noise you dreaded, and the tank began…to settle. In a panic, the driver must have revved up, which did the trick; but, goddamnit, the process of fighting against that pool was about the loudest thing you could have done.

You looked through the filthy binoculars again hopelessly, towards the light of the Tirolisch camp- and your heart sank to your soaked boots. They definitely knew something was up. Both of the m/24s, now pointed in your direction, searching. The dark was your only friend left.

“Hey,” you called to your gunner, “Stop the tank and let me in.” You climbed up, and settled into your seat, pushing yourself over the open top of the turret and into your proper place. A holster on the inside of the turret contained your headset, its cables- you plugged those in. Good thing you hadn’t fucked up by being knocked into the water with those on, at least. One hundred fifty meters from the enemy…maybe one hundred. Maybe less. You were close, and not yet fired upon. Yet those tanks were ready, and if you missed your shot or didn’t get a good hit on one, you knew that this howitzer didn’t exactly do a good job of not revealing itself, the smoke tending to blow back over the turret and choke you and the gunner. The m/24s were bulky hulls, with a gun in the casemate and the small turret only containing a pair of machine guns, but these later models likely had more armor than a high explosive shell from the 8cm howitzer could break. The plastic shells could certainly do it- if you didn’t just nick the things.

At the next rise, you ordered the driver to halt, and for the gunner to line up his sights. At least you’d have the first-

A series of cracks. Then a few more. Mercenary footmen began to run about the camp.

“…You’ve got to be fucking…kidding me…” you exhaled wearily. Some group that had wandered ahead had started shooting- and now what the Tirolisch had only suspected was confirmed, by a force far smaller than what you wanted to start any attack with.

There wasn’t anything to do about it now. You’d come this far already.

>Combat will begin proper next update- for now, choose your first shell to load.
>High Explosive Shell
>High Explosive Plastic Anti-Tank Shell
>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
>Bertholite Chemical Shell
>>
>>4397540
>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
>>
>>4397540
>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
>>
>>4397540
>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
Blind them and prep a plastic shell for whoever pops out of the smoke.
>>
>>4397540
Also how nasty is that chemical shell we have?
>>
>>4397540
>Smoke-Incendiary Shell

Honestly Von Walen should thank his lucky stripes that it didn't go any worse with those rolls.
>>
>>4397540
>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
Guess one good thing about Ellowie is that Richter actually has competent people to work with.
>>
>>4397540
>>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
>>
>>4397540
>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
>>
>>4397540
>>Smoke-Incendiary Shell
Looks like we're firing a smoke-incendiary shell
>>
>>4397567
>>4397568
>>4397574
>>4397645
>>4397660
>>4397674
>>4397863
>>4398447
Smoke them if you got them. Prepare plastic afterwards.
Getting to this finally, I overslept a ton so I'm not going to have this up near when I wanted to. Oh well, if you still play this you're probably nothing if not patient by now.

>>4397577
Bertholite Gas isn't all that deadly of a chemical weapon, relatively, since it works by combining with water in the eyes and mucus membranes in places like the lungs and throat to create acid corrosive to these sensitive tissues, incapacitating if not killing those who breathe it. A proper mask will nullify its effects entirely, but given the ritualized nature of combat, most mercenaries don't have such protection.
TL;DR It's Chlorine with a small amount of minor additives; Strossvald's Bertholite shells for panzers aren't mixed with phosgene.
>>
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If you were going to lose your advantage with the first shot- then best for you to regain it with that same shot, you thought. Into the gun breach, you slid a white and red capped shell- when it struck, it burst apart into many hot burning fragments that gouted dense white smoke all over. Its primary purpose was to provide smoke cover, but burning fragments had plenty incendiary effect too. The smoke was what you wanted, however. To blind the target, and then to quickly prepare a shot for if they advanced through to fight you.

“Gunner, target…”

>State where you want to place your shot.
>>
>>4399061
Tank on the right, lower hull
>>
>>4399061
Right, Gunners spot
>>
>>4399061
The ground in front of and in between the two of them, unless the wind is blowing, in which case the ground in front of and upwind of them.
>>
>>4399106
That's something important I somehow forgot to include right before.
The wind's blowing from the right, decently hard.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d3)

>>4399064
>>4399066
>>4399106
In the interest of keeping things moving, I'll roll off here. The number is the respective post.
>>
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>>4399168
Hey check it out it's the return of our old friend the hit grid.

Give me one roll of 2d2 and one roll of 2d100 for scatter. The gunner skill is 50, for this first shot. Subsequent shots will have higher skill from ranging. Any roll over 50 will deviate by that amount on the grid.
>>
Rolled 2, 1 = 3 (2d2)

>>4399185
>>
Rolled 35, 100 = 135 (2d100)

>>4399185
>>
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“The lower hull! Splash the front, so that smoke’s sure to blind them.”

The howitzer kicked back and blasted smoke all over the two of you, and you held a scarf over your mouth to avoid choking on the worst of it, unable to watch the shell arc out until the very end. It…bounced under the enemy m/24, where it burst irritatingly far from where it would actually be useful. You grit your teeth. Couldn’t one damn thing go well tonight?

“Prepare to fire, gunner!” you snapped back into what you could shakily call focus, loading a high-explosive plastic shot. These were supposed to be very effective on armor, especially light armor, and outdated armor like these m/24s, that were decently resistant against 3.7cm fire but certainly not against this, was said to be particularly vulnerable to the concussive effect.

The enemies were wasting no time in picking out where you’d fired from. This tank was open topped- you couldn’t count on protection from machine gun fire if you didn’t hunker the hell down. This next shot, you had to hit, before four machine guns were hosing you down, let alone the main guns being laid on. You bet that the right one would be firing first while the other pivoted.

“Gunner, aim for…”

>Declare target.
If you're really set on using another shell type I can retcon that, but the time's probably passed for any funny business.
>>
>>4399237
Right tank, center of mass.
>>
>>4399237
Left, Gunners spot
>>
>>4399237
Do we get an advantage for shooting at the same tank, tanq?
>>
>>4399254
You get an advantage in general- ranging the shot and all, to the tune of ten more skill on the roll. The two tanks are close enough to one another for that.
>>
>>4399260
Ok Iet's hit the left tank gunners spot then
>>
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Alright then, you people know the drill. 2d2, 2d100. Scatter's reduced by 60.
>>
Rolled 1, 1 = 2 (2d2)

>>4399280
>>
Rolled 49, 68 = 117 (2d100)

>>4399280
>>
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Rolled 1, 55 = 56 (2d100)

“The left tank! The gunner position!” You slapped the turret, “Hurry up!”

“Yes, sir!” the turret cranked to the left, and with another kick and rush of hot, stinking smoke, you kept your eyes pried open no matter how they stung to watch that shell go out. If this didn’t hit, you were fucked

The glowing spot smacked right on target- a surge of joy, but for an instant- as the other tank, slowly wreathed in the smoke burning under it, bucked with a cannon shot, and its machine guns spat towards you…

>Enemy DC 45 roll under for both, degrees of success apply.
>>
>>4399309
Von Walen's luck is really cursed huh?
>>
The shot slammed into the tank with a sickening crunch and clang of steel, and you wrenched your eyes shut, hoping that if you prayed hard enough, you’d open your eyes and not be dead…you were deaf for a moment, before a singular word rang clear, despite your ears hearing little more than the pounding of your heart.
“Fire!”

You didn’t waste any time jumping over…jumping over the side of the tank, the bullets cracking around you, and as you hit the ground and began to ran, there was a sudden head at your back, and a deafening-

KRAAAGCHKK

It carried you off your feet, and you plunged into another shallow pool, a thick sludge of mud, hot shards of pain in your back, your arm, everywhere…but especially your right arm that you’d landed on, twisted…it burned, and you could but grit your teeth in searing pain as you tried to wrestle yourself to a sitting position.

Over the side of the shallow you peeked again…your tank was there, the popping and booming of its ammunition cooking off still sending streaks of flame out. The turret was gone- and you felt hot tears fall down your cheeks. Why? Why? Why was it always you that this happened to!

You wanted to stay in that hole and close your eyes, open them to this all being a bad dream. You didn’t see any of your crew- any of the crew that had accompanied you, whose names you barely knew, who you didn’t speak with unless necessary- now, you needed them more than ever…you were alone, there was still a tank up there, this was supposed to be your time!

No, please, great arbiter of Justice and Order you bellowed inside your head, Please! This is my time! It’s what I deserve!

>Get up and go. You didn’t have a plan- you had a pistol and a grenade. The only thing you could do was go forward and finish this mess while that bastard tank thought it had won.
>Look around as you went up. The militia might be getting the shit kicked out of them, and you needed better equipment. You knew they had no shortage of gear, at least.
>Find a militia group. Lead them. Would they still listen to you without your tank? It was your last hope...
>Run back with your tail between your legs. This had all been a mistake…
>Other?
>>
>>4399322
>Get up and go. You didn’t have a plan- you had a pistol and a grenade. The only thing you could do was go forward and finish this mess while that bastard tank thought it had won.
lol we're not going back without paying back our losses or die trying.
>>
>>4399322
>Get up and go. You didn’t have a plan- you had a pistol and a grenade. The only thing you could do was go forward and finish this mess while that bastard tank thought it had won.

We prove ourselves or die boys
>>
>>4399322
>Look around as you went up. The militia might be getting the shit kicked out of them, and you needed better equipment. You knew they had no shortage of gear, at least.
At least get better gear if we want to play hero.
>>
>>4399322
>>Look around as you went up. The militia might be getting the shit kicked out of them, and you needed better equipment. You knew they had no shortage of gear, at least.

He'll just die alone at this rate, and we can be redeemed if we grab some heavier weaponry that can do actual damage.
>>
>>4399322
>>Look around as you went up. The militia might be getting the shit kicked out of them, and you needed better equipment. You knew they had no shortage of gear, at least.
>>
>>4399322
>Look around as you went up. The militia might be getting the shit kicked out of them, and you needed better equipment. You knew they had no shortage of gear, at least.
>>
>Look around as you went up. The militia might be getting the shit kicked out of them, and you needed better equipment. You knew they had no shortage of gear, at least
Wow, get fucked.
>>
>>4399326
Run away, be thankful for your life.

>>4399332
>>4399333
You didn't get your balls shot off, did you? Finish this fight.

>>4399341
>>4399343
>>4399348
>>4399359
>>4399360
You're not done yet- but you're going to need a bit more than your limp dick for this.

Writing.
>>
At first I thought it might be a mistake not to press the attack with Richter, but if this was the kind of luck we had lined up I'm glad we got while the going was good.
>>
Was your arm busted, you thought with alarm, as you tried to move it? You couldn’t tell, it was just hellish to try and actually use it, but if you just let it hang there, it didn’t feel so bad…it’d be luck you really needed. Luck you still needed some of now, because you were going to go finish this. Yes, yes you could run back. Be lambasted for your failure, but live. You’d look like a stupid food and an incompetent coward. Nothing would change.

You couldn’t stand the thought of that, you thought as you ground your teeth down on your lower lip and felt blood flow. A small pain among the numerous pricks all over, the gashes you felt in your back and the wooziness in your head.

Yeah, go right back, flee with your tail between your legs, be known among these people as the fuckup who fired them all up only to get them killed! You had more pride than that, didn’t you, you loser? No, you were going up and over. Finding something more than the pistol and grenade you had in your belt. At least a Firebottle, then you could at least hurl that at the remaining tank and have done your part. You heard it still grinding about ahead, its machine guns spitting death. If you didn’t take care of it, the militia would surely break.

Pulling yourself over and keeping low, every step uneven from the numerous nicks all over, you let the darkness envelope you as you headed towards where one of the militia groups had, stupidly, fucking up everything, engaged early. Even if they were gone, their weapons wouldn’t be- maybe you’d get lucky…

>Roll 3 sets of 1d100. What you find will reflect that.
>1-35: A 7.5mm Hagen Rifle. Strossvald’s standard infantry small arm.
>36-50: A 9.3mm Messer Submachinegun. Strossvald’s Submachinegun, a bit dated but plenty effective.
>51-80: A Firebottle incendiary. Easy to mass produce by basement chemists, even easier to use. Chemical reactions between the filler and the paper wrapping mean you don’t even have to light it on fire before throwing. Just throw it and watch.
>81-90: More grenades. Lashing a bunch of grenade heads together, you knew, gave one enough explosive force to do plenty of damage in the right place…
>91-100: Write-in. (Within reason. Against all odds, you’ve found something extraordinary that an exceptionally lucky militia member got from a far from usual box)
>>
Rolled 100 (1d100)

>>4399389
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>4399389
>>
>>4399392
Yeah ok.
>>
>>4399401
Lol so what's the best AT gear we can get?
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>4399389
>>
>>4399402
Maybe we can reach into the mists of time and pull a panzerfaust out? It would be pretty good for this situation.
>>
>>4399402
It's a write in my man. I'll tell you if you can have it or if it exists.
That said the best things Strossvald has are in the realm of anti-tank rifles, rifle grenades, and demolition charges. Obviously you can't find the first bazooka ever invented or something like that.
>>
>>4399409
A bunch of satchel charges then?
>>
>>4399415
If you want.

So then,

>>4399392
A string of demolition explosives. Heavy duty, close and personal use.

>>4399400
Bog standard rifle.

>>4399406
What you really ought to have dragged with you out of the tank.

Writing!
>>
In the next dip you rolled over, you fell into a pile of bodies- both dead, and those that still groaned with some life left to them. You couldn’t pity them- you needed their things, now. For courtesy’s sake, and your nerves, you mumbled an apology as you felt through their things, found…A rifle, that was expected, and better than a handgun, but wasn’t ideal. A submachinegun- the Old Messer. Reliable, trustworthy. The rifle could get bent. You had more experience with this weapon anyways, and trusted yourself more with it. This would be close quarters, and the automatic fire gave you confidence that you could punch above your weight. Now, how about a Firebottle, one of these people had to have one…

…Hey. “Hey. No way…” you pulled a blocky trio of satchels from under the arm of a militiaman, “Oh, thank you, thank you!” you nearly squeaked to yourself. You knew what these were, and you had no clue why this random guy had them, but they were just what you needed. A pair of demolition charges, ten second fuse, made to blow up fortifications, and bunkers…and if tossed on a tank, or under it, it was plenty to take it out. Most of your training with these had involved avoiding these, but being the other party in said drills meant you knew how to use them, as well.

You were no expert fighter. No crack shot like Von Tracht had been, not a known fencer like Von Metzeler, but you had passed basic marksmanship and assault courses. You were better than anybody here, at least.

Another shake of your bum arm. Still strained, still painful, but it could move- and that would have to be enough. You hung the three satchel charges’ straps over one shoulder, and checked the ammunition of the submachinegun- put the two spare magazine pouches onto your belt. Took a deep breath. Time to be a hero. Again. Better get something for this shit…

It wasn’t that you weren’t afraid. You were fucking terrified. The thought of going back now, though, was even worse. The only thing that hid that you had been crying was that you were soaked through, and the same meant that pissing yourself hadn’t done much either. All you had left to do was die, at this point.
>>
Up and over. Skidding down again, and then peeking over the next hollow. The first tank you’d hit was smoking in place, the gun caved in and ruined, the hull bent- at least that had gone right. However, some rifle armed mercenaries were starting to take up positions around the tank. You’d have to get near to use those charges you had- nearer than those mercenaries would let you.

Quick, disjointed thinking. You were by yourself- it would be easy to close the distance in the darkness and confusion. You also had three charges- three chances to toss one under that tank, or on top of it. Without those mercenaries near it, you could make this a sure thing.

…Carrying three satchel charges was pretty heavy, you thought. Maybe you didn’t need all three of them? You had about thirty meters left to the tank- about five riflemen spread out in the space between you and your target, two far away, three close. What to do…

>Start shooting with the submachinegun They were close enough to have a decent shot of hitting in a surprise attack; and you knew that inside that tank, they wouldn’t notice you just shooting a gun.
>Clear the way with satchel charges, literally blowing a path forward. It might spook the mercenaries away, and you only needed one bomb to take out the tank.
>Sneak as close as you could and throw your grenade at the closer troops. They were the ones actually in the way, after all.
>Try and crawl forward. Visibility sucked- and the night was your best friend, but if you got caught, you’d be screwed…
>Other?
>>
>>4399447
>Sneak as close as you could and throw your grenade at the closer troops. They were the ones actually in the way, after all.
>>
>>4399447
>Sneak as close as you could and throw your grenade at the closer troops. They were the ones actually in the way, after all.
You're low to the ground, use your manlit height to your advantage and sneak!
>>
>>4399447
>Sneak as close as you could and throw your grenade at the closer troops. They were the ones actually in the way, after all.
>>
>>4399447
>Sneak as close as you could and throw your grenade at the closer troops. They were the ones actually in the way, after all.
>>
>>4399447
>Sneak as close as you could and throw your grenade at the closer troops. They were the ones actually in the way, after all.
>>
>>4399449
>>4399450
>>4399452
>>4399454
>>4399456
Pretend to be a snake. A decently good snake.

Writing.
>>
The moment anybody started shooting at you, you thought spitefully, everything went wrong. You couldn’t take the fact that nobody was shooting at you right now for granted. The less noise you yourself made, the better. It’d be risky…but less so than picking a firefight, especially with a tank nearby. It might not be able to hear a long soldier’s gun from in there too easily, but all it took was for somebody outside to ask for their help, and you were utterly screwed.

You put your gun on your back, and crawled forward on your belly with your stick grenade in hand. Who could say- maybe your more compact size would favor you here. Let anybody mock you for it if they wanted to, it’d be what saved you here, as you felt the cost bite of frost with each dry, dead blade of grass that brushed across your face. Gunshots,

explosions….the cannon shots sometimes erupting from the tank. You didn’t have the benefit of time. All you had was what good luck was left, as each flicker of fire from the scattered burning remnants of the white phosphorous smoke cast little lights all over. The smoke, at least, added to the confusion. The night and chaos would carry the day for you, or you’d die.

It was surprisingly easy to move once you’d recognized the fact that you either had to do this or perish…

>Roll up to 3 1d100s, averaged, DC 70. Bonus from being compact and from smoke.
>>
Rolled 34 (1d100)

>>4399480
>>
Rolled 34 (1d100)

>>4399480
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>4399480
>>
>>4399482
>>4399483
>>4399485
It might be too early to say Von Walen's luck is here. Writing, though.
>>
>27 Average- Four degrees of Success!

You could barely see above the grass as you crept up…froze, as an unseen soldier bounded just ahead of you, but you were beneath notice…for once, you were thankful. It could have only been a couple of minutes, but each second dragged beyond reason when you watched the mercenaries, who would have looked so stupid otherwise, in their blood red and blood, with their stupid feathered hats, but now they were ready to kill, and Judge Above help you if you were going to be killed by a parade mercenary, damn it.

…There they were. Nothing between you and them. You dared to roll to the side to put your head above the grass, to see if anybody would see you…nothing. With shaking hands, you began to unscrew the bottom cap of your stick grenade, letting the little ceramic ball fall out the bottom, a cord threaded through it.
The closest you had come to death before was when a band of imperialist insurgents in the Blumlands had captured your train, surprised everybody aboard, and captured them. You thought to raise a fuss then- you got clocked in the face, when the burly trooper who did it very easily could have run you through with a bayonet. Since then, in all your misadventures, still nothing compared to how close you felt death today.

Could you please defy it a little longer, you thought, holding your breath as you felt the soft click of the igniter being triggered, as you pulled on the cord at the bottom of the grenade.

They were coming back together, you noticed as you prepared your throw. They thought they were safe- they thought they’d won. It was a toss-up, before, if you’d nail them all with this grenade. Now, it was practically guaranteed…You gave the grenade a good toss, then…balled up on the ground. You were low, but the stupidest death now would be if your own grenade cut something small and vital.
>>
A sharp crack, choked cries of men who hadn’t realized they had made a mistake in letting their guard down, and you didn’t pause for a moment as you crawled forward, the satchel charges bouncing along by you. Three of them…just one could take out this tank, you thought excitedly. You could just toss them as a bundle and blow the thing into the stars.

Yet. Maybe you should throw them about more, if you only needed to throw one by the m/24? Right here, you could turn the tide of battle. There was still a chance for you to come out of this covered in glory. Either way, it’d have to be quick, now. That grenade blast wouldn’t have gone unnoticed, and you had to get out quick- and ensure that your charges worked, too. The thirty second fuse wouldn’t be suitable- ten seconds. The minimum time.

>Huck all three charges at the tank. Get up and run. This would be a big blast.
>Throw the charges around. It’d be like artillery came down. Your best bet to win was to frighten off these mercenaries, and you had to think about that, not about how much of a wreck the tank would need to be reduced to.
>Take your chances. Slide a thirty second fuse charge under the tank and sneak off. You could make a better move from elsewhere, still concealed.
>Other?
>>
>>4399507
>>Throw the charges around. It’d be like artillery came down. Your best bet to win was to frighten off these mercenaries, and you had to think about that, not about how much of a wreck the tank would need to be reduced to.
>>
>>4399507
>Take your chances. Slide a thirty second fuse charge under the tank and sneak off. You could make a better move from elsewhere, still concealed.
>>
>>4399507
>Huck all three charges at the tank. Get up and run. This would be a big blast.
>>
>>4399507
>Throw the charges around. It’d be like artillery came down. Your best bet to win was to frighten off these mercenaries, and you had to think about that, not about how much of a wreck the tank would need to be reduced to.
>>
>>4399507
>Throw the charges around. It’d be like artillery came down. Your best bet to win was to frighten off these mercenaries, and you had to think about that, not about how much of a wreck the tank would need to be reduced to.
>>
>>4399507
>>Throw the charges around. It’d be like artillery came down. Your best bet to win was to frighten off these mercenaries, and you had to think about that, not about how much of a wreck the tank would need to be reduced to.
>>
>>4399510
>>4399521
>>4399526
>>4399534
Cause Chaos!

>>4399518
Make real sure that they can't even regret what they've done.

>>4399511
Be a clever dick about this.

Give me 2 1d100s for how much those other charges make an effect on- higher is better.
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>4399544
>>
Rolled 5 (1d100)

>>4399544
>>
If you’d made it this far…best go as far as you could, right? You prepared the timers of all three- clicked one, and threw it to one side, did the same with another. Where they landed, you didn’t care. Anywhere was good in all this. The third, you deliberately threw for the tank, before you hopped to your feet and ran as fast as they would take you the other way. Hopefully your own stupid uniform would confuse anybody looking to shoot you as you ran away, submachinegun bouncing on your back.

BHOOM! The first bomb exploded to your right, and a shower of dirt fell all over, accompanied by panicked shouts. Hands clapped over your ears didn’t keep them from ringing, especially not as the second blast went off. Muffled, in a pit; it must have gone off in mud, judging by how it splattered all about in heavy clumps. Finally, though you couldn’t watch it and admire it, you heard the charge that you threw beside the tank blast away, and then…you couldn’t help but turn around for just one moment, and feel a smirk, half self-satisfaction, half relief, as you saw what you’d wrought. It hadn’t been a direct hit- your throw had lacked the focus for that, but one side of the tank was now sunken forward into a crater, its tread and wheels in ruins on its left side, and everything tilted uselessly down into the earth.

You stayed a little too long. Somebody popped out of the flank hatch, swearing, and noticed you gawking.

“Hey!” a sharp shout came from them. A woman. You barely turned around to run again as you noticed her draw a revolver, and the hot streaks of bullets cracked by your sides as you ran into the darkness again.

You hadn’t won yet, but you turned around, put your hands on your knees, and caught choking, rasping breaths…you hadn’t entirely fucked up. You just had to find some militia and-
>>
“Get back here, connard!” that same female voice. You snapped your head up, and stumbled backwards as a single shot did little more than startle you. Sprinting as she was, of course she couldn’t hit anything…damn, was this bitch persistent.

Conasse!” you snapped back in what little Emrean you knew before you started running yourself, but she caught up to you and tackled you into the next shallow, another one full of fucking mud.

A confused tangle, and you separated from one another. You had grabbed her gun in the mess, but it had been emptied of shots. Your submachinegun was on your back, still- your pistol at your side.

The woman crouched across from you, at the other end of the hollow. You couldn’t see very well at all, of course…but you could tell she wasn’t one of those mercenaries. Somehow, she was fancier. Your tussle in the mud had splattered you both with filth, but the soft glint of gold thread shone from distant firelight. You were both just…staring. Waiting for the other to move.

>Pull your pistol. Say you’re taking her prisoner, whoever she is.
>Rush forward and sock her one. You wouldn’t have time to pull a gun, you were barely ten paces apart.
>Negotiate. (How? If you aren’t sufficiently crude, it will be translated into Walenese.)
>Other?
>>
>>4399570
>>Rush forward and sock her one. You wouldn’t have time to pull a gun, you were barely ten paces apart.
>>
>>4399570
>Rush forward and sock her one. You wouldn’t have time to pull a gun, you were barely ten paces apart.
Is it unusual for someone to be speaking Emrean around here?
>>
>>4399578
>Is it unusual for someone to be speaking Emrean around here?
Not particularly. Plisseau is close to Delsau, which speaks a mixture of Emrean and Imperial. In Plisseau, it's common for more upper-class members of society to be fluent in (and prefer speaking in) Emrean as a more "refined" language. Naturally, Von Walen knows this well. He's been around here a while and he had an awareness of high society before anyways.
>>
>>4399585
So she's probably part of the family those mercs are contracted to then.
Also any major reasons why the nature of warfare in Plisseau is so different from Sosaldt even though on the surface they may seem similar politically?
>>
>>4399570
>Negotiate. (How? If you aren’t sufficiently crude, it will be translated into Walenese.)
Tell her to give up. Both their tanks are gone now and if she lets us capture her we can keep her out of the hands of the rabble.
>>
>>4399597
+1
>>
>>4399592
>Also any major reasons why the nature of warfare in Plisseau is so different from Sosaldt even though on the surface they may seem similar politically?
While they're both indeed extremely loose conglomerate states, Plisseau actually has proper unity. Sosaldt was (well, before Mittelsosalia) a chaotic mess of individuals with little in agreement as a collective other than they don't want anybody messing with them. There was no such thing as an Army of Sosaldt or a Governing Authority of the Wastes, but Plisseau, while it is a bunch of city states and their surrounding territories, does have a unifying polity in case of external threat, which is part of how it has survived in its present state. Though literally none of the city states like the Council outside of when they absolutely need them.
As far as conflicts go, the main reason for difference is level of development, and feeling of identity. While Sosaldt's highest developed sectors are the city states in the south along the coast, that similar level of development is rather consistent throughout Plisseau. So trying to wipe each other out just...won't work. They've still got plenty of disagreements, hence the segregation between the ceremonial and actual warfare where they aren't daffing about in parade dress. Sosaldt had plenty of peacocking as well, but the lack of identity meant that if somebody became the new boss, there wasn't much issue with it. Meanwhile, in Plisseau, there's high families and established guilds and the like which make things more complicated. Nobody has a mock war over who gets to rule a city, though such things settle quibbles over boundaries, debts, commercial rights, insults and dishonors...et cetera.
>>
>>4399597
Backing this. Exaggerate our numbers, but not the quality of our troops because anybody would call that bluff.
Running forward and throwing a punch sounds too risky considering Von Walen sucks and so do our rolls.
>>
>>4399681
Also if she calls our bluff THEN we can rush forward and sock her one.
>>
>>4399570
>>Rush forward and sock her one. You wouldn’t have time to pull a gun, you were barely ten paces apart.
>>
>>4399681
>>4399683
I'll support trying to negotiate first as well then socking her if things break down.
>>
>>4399681
>>4399683
Supporting, she probably has the clout to understand how ransom works.

It took me a little too long to realize Walenese isn't a Vinstragan language.
>>
>>4399573
>>4399578
>>4399705
Punch her!

>>4399597
>>4399599
>>4399681
>>4400361
Talk to her!

>>4399683
>>4399861
And then punch her so she knows her place.
No wonder Teobaldt Von Walen is a bachelor.

Sorry the wait, writing.
>>
“…Hey,” you led off lamely, “Give up. Both your tanks are blown to hell, and there’s three hundred guys with guns swarming all about to blast the hell out of the rest of you. I’ve got your ass- and I’m the only one who can keep the mitts of the rabble off you, so you’d best come along quietly.” If this didn’t work, you’d charge forward and sock this woman right in the jaw. You couldn’t possibly lose a fistfight to a woman.

The woman looked to the sides- seeing If any help was on the way, surely. “Who the hell are you to say that, some jumped up sellsword?” She asked in a slightly northwest accented voice, “If I surrender myself, I bet you’ll just rape me. How stupid do you think I am?”

You didn’t even know what this bitch looked like. “Who would want to rape your stupid ass?” you snapped back, “If I wanted to do anything I’d just beat the crap out of you. Stop being a pain in the ass.”

”Bastard of a pig!” the woman hissed at you in Emrean.

Two could play at that game. “Public toilet!”

She recoiled at that. “Your accent stinks of southern shit.”

“And your sounds like it was shat out of a Delsan Mosshead’s grassy cunt,” you shot back, “Are you a Von Tirozschen? Call me a jumped up sellsword if you want, but I’m the only one around who’ll know what you’re worth.”

The woman kept looking back and forth, but you could see back towards the camp, the fires from there and from behind where your tank was now giving plenty of visibility into the night for how bright they burned. Nobody was coming your way from the Tirolisch. No matter how she stalled, nobody would be coming to help.

“…” She still didn’t unready herself from a position to potentially dash forth, and you kept your guard up. You already knew you won this waiting game, but she must have been as hopeful as she was stubborn and hotheaded.

She saw something from behind you, and finally, she sank down to her knees and raised her hands, allowing you to take your submachinegun from behind your back and keep it pointed towards her. The shuffling steps, then the puzzled chattering- they were certainly Almizean militia.

“What’s this?” one of the group asked as they came over the rise and looked down at you and this other woman. “…Hey, it’s that guy.”

That guy is Teobaldt, and I took care of those tanks for you and captured an important Tirolisch member of the ruling family,” you said heatedly.

“We thought you died when your tank blew up like the rest of your people did.”
>>
“Obviously not.” You raised your arm and an open hand, “But it’s true that I’ve lost my tank…and my crew. We’re winning here now is the point.” The fire had resumed in intensity since your excursion, and you noticed movement ahead- pressing away from you. The mercenaries wouldn’t want to die for this- they’d be retreating without the unquestionable advantage of their tanks even against a group of incompetent militia they could likely hold their own against. This wasn’t the sort of fight they had come for. “Give me a couple people to escort myself and this prisoner back. She’s important, so she can’t be harmed.”

“Who are they?” an unintelligent sounding militiaman asked.

Time to take a wild guess. “Brigitte Von Tirozschen, the Count of Tirolisch’s niece.”

A few soft ohs- you had no clue what Brigitte looked like or anything of that matter, this was just a plausible guess on somebody who could be here.

“Quit gawking, a couple of you, come back with me. We’re almost done here anyways, I’d rather get this woman away from here before anybody thinks they can come looking for her.

-----

When you were marching back, barrel of your gun in the uppity noblewoman’s back, you had the idea to start to be prideful- that you hadn’t been utterly defeated, that you had come back alive…and your heart unexpectedly sank when you realized…there was nobody to boast to. Your crew had all perished, and despite the fact that you barely knew them, barely even tried to talk to them…even if it had been a matter of class courtesy, they had treated you with respect.

What were you to do? Ask one of the other crews to shower you with praise? When you had come back by yourself? You had sallied forth as though you were the only one to act…and now, only now did you realize…you were alone here. The peasants had assumed you dead and gone, but they had continued fighting anyways, not even assuming you had any part for the miracle of the tanks being disabled. All that was specially done for you, in this time before anybody else was coming back, was a treatment of the wounds on your back, though they had apparently mostly clotted anyways.

So this was what victory felt like, you thought as you were given use of a shed with a pair of benches in it to use as an ad-hoc prison, the same toughs you’d come back with, posted outside the door by you. Hollow and empty. You had left your weapons outside as well- you could take this woman on with your bare hands if need be, but for now…your only possession in the world stared back coldly across the shed at you, under the oil lamp flickering above.

She was as dirty as you were, and she wasn’t very good looking. The better side of ordinary, with large blue eyes and black hair down to her neck, the back portion tied into a short braid. Slimly built- your height, round of face and of features of said face.
>>
When she finally spoke, it was an indignant, “I’m not Brigitte. I’m Bernadine.”

A roll of your eyes, slumped back against the wall as you were. You couldn’t care less.

“You know what you’ve done, you bastard?” She pressed on.

“I’m not a bastard,” you said testily, wearily, but uncaring of what a pair of idiots outside might overhear. “I’m Teobaldt Von Walen, fourth son of the Von Walen household. I am of blood ennobled in times even before the Archduchy.”

She ignored that lofty introduction. “You and that lot will have caused war. You attacked a presentation of force at night, in an attempt at an ambush, and now a daughter of Von Tirozcshen has gone missing in the aftermath. I hope you’re ready for a reckoning.”

“I don’t care.” You said blankly. Let it all blow up, blow up in Von Neubaum’s face. This was probably what the IO wanted anyways, and since you didn’t have a tank or crew, Von Neubaum’s pretty face and gangly arse might have to actually do the work of a panzer commander.

Von Tirozschen wasn’t finding any weak points, and that was…bothering her. She glanced side to side, again, as though reinforcement would merely step through the walls, before making an indignant look.

“…Alright, let’s make a deal, if you don’t care so much. Let me go, and I’ll let you do whatever you want to me. That’s good, right? Whatever you want, and I go free without a fuss.”

You squinted at Bernadine, and felt your cheeks sink. “…Really? You’re down to this? I guessed real lucky when talking shit.”

“I don’t care what you think of it. I can’t be found…captured,” Bernadine spat, “This was supposed to be something important for me. The thing I was trusted with, and your shithead bunch crawled up out of the night and ruined everything. Now I’m some hostage. I can’t think of anything more humiliating than…than failing like that.” Her eyes flashed at you, “So what’ll it be, huh?”

A slow inhale, and exhale from you, as you stared back at her.

>Fuck it. Whatever. You were tired and frustrated. Anything you wanted, right? (What do you want?)
>Who did she think you were? Besides, that you had a hostage was all you could claim from tonight. If you let her go you’d legitimate have nothing to show for all this. She wasn’t going anywhere.
>Other?
>>
>>4401119
>Who did she think you were? Besides, that you had a hostage was all you could claim from tonight. If you let her go you’d legitimately have nothing to show for all this. She wasn’t going anywhere.
Von Walen may have his faults but I don't think he shares Von Neubaum's vices.
>>
>>4401119
>Who did she think you were? Besides, that you had a hostage was all you could claim from tonight. If you let her go you’d legitimate have nothing to show for all this. She wasn’t going anywhere.
>>
>>4401119
>Who did she think you were? Besides, that you had a hostage was all you could claim from tonight. If you let her go you’d legitimate have nothing to show for all this. She wasn’t going anywhere.
>>
>>4401119
>>Who did she think you were? Besides, that you had a hostage was all you could claim from tonight. If you let her go you’d legitimate have nothing to show for all this. She wasn’t going anywhere.
>>
>>4401119
>Who did she think you were? Besides, that you had a hostage was all you could claim from tonight. If you let her go you’d legitimate have nothing to show for all this. She wasn’t going anywhere.
>>
>>4401119
>>Who did she think you were? Besides, that you had a hostage was all you could claim from tonight. If you let her go you’d legitimate have nothing to show for all this. She wasn’t going anywhere.
>insert joke about how she already fucked us enough tonight when she blew up our tank
>>
>>4401132
>>4401140
>>4401143
>>4401152
>>4401157
>>4401462
"Who do you think I am?" A question with many unflattering answers.
Writing.
>>
A short and choked bark of laughter. “Just who do you think I am?” A forced wheeze, and you rested your elbows on your knees, your chin in your hands, “Shut the hell up. Nobody in the damn world would be so stupid as to take that up.” Not even a flicker of temptation for what she must have had in mind, to manipulate you with baser desires, but there were none to inspire. Not now, least of all. It was pathetic.

Bernadine Von Tirozschen made a twisted sneer at you, as though to prepare a dreadful insult, but she fell over on her side and couldn’t hide the sudden misery. Boo-hoo, you thought, we all lose at some point, and if they were you, they didn’t stop losing. Were you enough of an idjit to give up the one thing you’d walked away from this all with for some messing about that better men got for nothing? Like hell. Nah, you had more than one thing right now. Principle wasn’t very much of damn anything, but at least it was something.

You already got screwed by her enough tonight anyways when she took you out. Judge above, if anything, keeping that under wraps was motivation enough to keep her locked up. The one thing you had over Von Tracht was that you weren’t being beaten up by a woman.

-----

January 24, 1933- 0643 Hours

“…ctual, respond, over.”

“Hrmgh.” You rubbed your eyes and yawned…were reminded again, that your fingers were gone. Tried to stretch out in the confines of the tank, the cold through the night having made its way well into your bones in spite of your jacket and gloves. You didn’t know when you nodded off, but it couldn’t have been for more than an hour. The situation over the border had required a constant state of alert, that lasted throughout the night.

“Blade Actual, respond, over.” The voice again in your headset. It sounded like it came from the camp headquarters, from radios that they must not have had just yesterday.

“We’re not using those names anymore…” you grumbled, without actually transmitting anything. A look around. Jorgen was asleep in his seat, but Stein was leaning against the gunsight, awake enough. Barely. You thumbed over the button on your throat microphone to begin transmission. “Speaking. Send it. Over.”

“We have a problem.”
>>
That was exactly what you didn’t want to hear right after a nap. “A problem?”

“It can’t be talked about over this net, you’re requested back here. Sector Command wants you.”

“Over what?”

“The uprising down south.”

“I’m aware of it,” you said with another yawn, “I already have people keeping watch, and they haven’t reported any developments.” Not that you couldn’t hear the developments throughout the night and even now. “How urgent is it?”

“Urgent.”

“Alright. Send over a staff car to pick me up north of New Jorgenstohn. Out.” You paused for a bit to see if there was anything else, but that was all. “Hey.” You shook Stein’s shoulder, “I’ve been requested back at base. You all hold here, and do what Von Metzeler says once I leave.”

“Mmmrgh.” Stein didn’t seem to be listening to you, but that wasn’t of particular importance at the moment. Not with the fighting nowhere near you at present.

Your legs were killing you- it’d take some time before a courier would be coming to get you from the UGZ-09 anyways, so the opportunity was taken to stretch your legs- and fully appreciate that you weren’t either of the two parties beating the stuffing out of each other down south. From what you’d seen of the Orders, even if the Grandmaster had more waiting in the wings, this fighting would be ugly. Not something for the history books, not anything that the Twaryians would want to boast about either. Had the use of child soldiers truly been because of manpower, you wondered suddenly, or would the political controversy the Twaryians might suffer be more damaging than any armed adolescent’s best efforts? The Grandmaster didn’t strike you as that cynical, but…perhaps it was another’s idea.

A pace around the tank…around the other tanks as well. You’d spent near all the fuel available to you yesterday in your operation to (unofficially) support the present uprising, but a lot of that ended up being to drive about. Causing chaos, surely, but you couldn’t know the full effects until the next you communicated with the Eastern Resistance Army. That your part was first was a relief in a way- there was nothing further for you to do now but wait, and maybe react, but…if Sector Command was taking notice of this uprising…
>>
The brisk wind had perked your senses again, and with a start, you noticed a soldier napping against the walls of the ruins, but it wasn’t one of the crews- he had the black trousers and grey-striped helm of an Ellowian trooper in Netillian service. Most likely, one of Sixth platoon.

You kicked at his boots. “Hey,” you said sharply, “Wake up, what are you doing here? Get up.”

The young man jumped up with a fright and fell on his side, looking at you wide eyed. “Ah, Coordinator! I, uh,”

“How long have you been here?” you demanded.

“Well, I came here…I dunno how long ago, but you were resting, so-“

“Then you should have woken me up!” you snapped, now quite alert and awake. “Judge Above, what did you come here for?”

“A message for you, Coordinator, to be, uh, taken at your convenience.” You stared at the young man, and he coughed meekly. “There’s somebody who came over the border to request a meeting with…whoever was in charge. So not the Lieutenant, but who’s above him. You know, you.”

“…Yes?” you tried not to sigh with exasperation. “Who is this somebody? Nobody’s allowed across, now especially.” That was how it was supposed to be, but such was laughable to enforce, or even follow, as you were well experienced with. However, anybody trying to visit peaceably was subjecting themselves to rules- and the rules were quite stringent.

“A Twaryian,” the 6th platoon trooper finally got to the point, “They came around unarmed and said they wanted to make a deal.

What a development this was, you thought after you blinked away the surprise. The enmity combined with the language barrier meant that communication with the Twaryians at your level was almost unheard of. That they were coming to you spoke for itself, though…did you necessarily want to meet with them? You had no obligation to, after all.

>Sector Command might have requested you…but they didn’t own you. Go and meet with this Twaryian representative. You could certainly “make a deal.”
>Whether or not they wanted to make a deal, it was too bad. They weren’t allowed to meet with you, and you had an urgent request to respond to.
>You weren’t beholden to Twaryi or Netilland- but you were curious of if you could hear from the ERA. Maneuver into a position to try and hear from them on the networks you were familiar with.
>Other?
>>
>>4401862
>You weren’t beholden to Twaryi or Netilland- but you were curious of if you could hear from the ERA. Maneuver into a position to try and hear from them on the networks you were familiar with.
Let's see what this is about before we report to command
>>
>>4401862
>Sector Command might have requested you…but they didn’t own you. Go and meet with this Twaryian representative. You could certainly “make a deal.”
We can always ask him to wait while we "consult with the higher-ups". He might come useful in whatever the Command wants from us.
>>
>>4401862
>>Whether or not they wanted to make a deal, it was too bad. They weren’t allowed to meet with you, and you had an urgent request to respond to.
I doubt the Twaryians have anything they could possibly offer that we'd be interested in except to help deal with our rebels if we help deal with theirs. Unfortunately for them our rebels are well under control.
>>
>>4401862
>Sector Command might have requested you…but they didn’t own you. Go and meet with this Twaryian representative. You could certainly “make a deal.”
>>
>>4401862
>Sector Command might have requested you…but they didn’t own you. Go and meet with this Twaryian representative. You could certainly “make a deal.”
>>
>>4401862
>Sector Command might have requested you…but they didn’t own you. Go and meet with this Twaryian representative. You could certainly “make a deal.”
No need to make a deal necessarily but knowing what they want and that they're desperate enough to send someone across may be useful while we talk to Command later.
>>
>>4401907
>>4402153
Talk to Terrorists.

>>4401949
I have to put you on hold to talk to my boss.

>>4401946
>>4402160
>>4402173
>>4402194
Time to pick a briefcase.

Writing.
>>
Sector Command might technically have been in command of you…but they hardly owned you. Most of your activities here had been done without even telling them, and that was in the official capacity, to say nothing of your Intelligence Office and Insurgency related acts, of course. So they could wait on this “urgent” matter, while you went down and had a chat with this Twaryian. You weren’t agreeing to a deal, after all, just that you’d listen. If you spoke to Command later, you’d have a better picture of the situation this way.

Conversely, this person might be useful for whatever Sector Command wanted from you, as well. It was important to consider- you were neither of their allies. Both of their interests had naught to do with yours, in the grand scheme. The Intelligence Office’s scheme.

“Alright,” you reached down to the stammering soldier and helped him to his feet, “I’ll come with you. Did you walk here?”

“Ran here, Coordinator. The Combat Cars have to stay around the town, Lieutenant said.”

No wonder he was tired. They should have sent a car. “Hold on a moment,” you told him, “I’ll call Lieutenant Rybak, we’ll get back faster if a car comes and gets us.” That and you could make somebody else drive you somewhere instead of walking. Something everybody could appreciate.

-----

The combat car pulled into town, and Rybak was ready to meet you right as you got out.

“Coordinator, sir,” he swallowed hard, “I expected you to be here sooner, to be honest…”

“You’re all still green,” you brushed off the delay, “Next time don’t be afraid to use the resources you have.”

“With respect, they’re your resources, sir,” Rybak said hesitantly.

“Debon says,” you quoted recently read theory, “That resources unused when necessary are in service of the enemy. I gave over the vehicles, they’re your responsibility to use as well as protect.”

“Er, sir.” Rybak frowned and saluted. He had a look on his face like he was tired and really didn’t feel like getting advice right now, but then, his amphibian look gave that impression constantly. “Anyways. The man’s over…” he took a few steps and waved towards a house, “…Here.”

“The Mayor’s…the Old Mayor’s house,” you remembered, “Is anybody living there now?” There had been a change in administration that you’d overseen, and you hadn’t seen the old mayor since.

“Sure. Why wouldn’t that be the case? The Mayor don’t live there though. Anyways, I put him up in there with a couple of my men. He can talk New Nauk, mercy of the Judge Above.”
>>
“That’s a relief,” you said back plainly. The only Twaryian besides Eakova you’d spoken with that you could actually talk to had been Gerovic, and you would be happy to never share a word with him again. Maybe the third time would be the one who was nice to talk with…though you doubted it, given the bounty on your head and your record of what you’d done to earn it. So long as he wasn’t an assassin, though you’d be satisfied, you thought as you walked through the door.

The Twaryian wasn’t tied, cuffed, or anything of the like- you had a thought back to when you first met Anya, when Honnrieg had gotten soft on her and she casually pulled a razor from her waistband just to show you she had it the whole time. This time was different in that this Twaryian was a visitor, not a prisoner, but all you’d ever heard of Twaryians was that they were both zealous and sneaky- you couldn’t make yourself relax. Or was that the Fear?

The two Ellowian soldiers he was speaking with certainly seemed relaxed enough, though they had their rifles beside them.

“…the winds of the sea are poor for most crops there, and the storms are more intense blowing in than most anywhere, I would say,” an oddly accented yet near perfectly cadenced voice flowed from the Twaryian’s lips as though he were reciting verse- he sounded as though he had been tutored, you would reckon, despite that he must have been in his middle thirties. “But the mountains of that north peninsula have the most beautiful view of the seaward sunrise one can ask for. The climate is much milder than the northermore in Naukland- I would call it my own paradise…ah,” he slowly leaned backwards and shifted deeply set, grey-blue eyes towards you. A cap covered his hair, but his face was out and about. His nose curved down sharply despite its short length, and his lips were thin and cracked, but he had a warmth to his expression. “Another of your wayward flock. Who are you, young man, who comes dressed in the your people’s old garb. Do they allow you to do that?”

“I am not an Ellowian,” you said, “I am Coordinator Richter Von Tracht. You asked to speak with me?”

The Twaryian raised a wispy eyebrow. “Coordinator, I am Sascha, and I am a strannik, a pilgrim to the people of the world, but mostly, to the brave sons and daughters of Twaryi. You do not look like I last heard. What has wounded you, and when? My niece was rather taken with the artistic rendering of you.”
“How and when I was wounded doesn’t matter.”

The Twaryian called Sascha nodded, frowning. “I see, I shan’t pry, then. Pardon me, you were not arriving quickly, so I struck up conversation with these young men. I was telling them of my home, you see. Would you like to have a seat?”
>>
“I don’t have the time,” you said back, remaining standing, “I came to hear what you want to negotiate over. I don’t expect that you have much time, either, given that you have come here.”

“My flock are in danger, indeed, but when the need is this dire and the solution comes about in a meeting of minds, the way mustn’t be clouded by desperate haste. The matter I have come to resolve, of course, concerns this recent fighting.” Sascha pivoted his body and legs towards you, and leaned forward seriously, “Those that resist our occupation violently have risen up in great force, and they have trapped a great many fighters, but also those who aid them, against our border. Disruptions have delayed and frustrated any response, and my flock are in danger of being overrun. You also occupy this land for a greater purpose- you may not be Ellowian, but you presently serve Netilland, whom we not so long ago had an alliance with to find greater victory. I would ask for some of this fellowship between nations to be remembered, in these dire times. I have come to request that the trapped soldiers and whom they escort be allowed over your border, to be conveyed back to our side of these lands soon after.”

“…You want to march your people over the border to avoid being crushed by the insurgents of the Eastern Resistance Army, then march them right back over the border to your lands?” You summarized and repeated back to the Strannik, “Out of the goodness of my heart, presumably.”

“Oh, no. I am far from naïve, Coordinator,” Sascha waved his hand back and forth, in a small and gradual motion, “This generosity would be recognized, and until it is officially recognized as such by those in charge of this region, I would be willing to be a guest under your protection, as would the commanding officer of the Dymny garrison, until terms are finalized. Is that satisfactory to you?”

“Just you and the garrison commander? Not all of the troops that would want to avoid destruction?” You pushed on that note- frankly, with relations as they were, just letting them walk out and back in seemed ridiculous.

“The soldiers are willing to place themselves in your debt, Coordinator,” Sascha said without a change in his relaxed and warm tone, “Not to place themselves at your mercy. You ought to know the pride of a soldier quite well, yes?”

“I think the Sector Command would be in charge of deciding that, not me.” Pressure where you could apply it- you were still on your guard.

“Pray do not be coy, Coordinator,” the Strannik tilted his head and half closed his eyes, as though you’d told a mediocre joke, “We both know you are of the Archduchy. The Sector Command is your master as much as the Church of the Caelus is mine. You’ve plenty the influence to make this decision, or I would not have bothered speaking with you.”
>>
He wasn’t wrong- and despite his seeming disinterest in haste, you knew that even a delayed meeting with you would be much quicker than arranging one with higher command. “Noble of you to offer yourself as a hostage,” you cleared up a point you were confused by, “But you place yourself of similar importance to a garrison commander. What makes you so important?”

“Mmhmhmhmhm,” Sascha smiled tightly and laughed lowly, “I may not appear it, but not so long ago, I was a deadly warrior indeed. I was feared by mine enemy and loved by my comrades, and I became quite famed. However, to live in battle so long is a fleeting blessing, despite that those so blessed believe it to be eternal…until they are finally felled. I came to realize that I could help many more with counsel, and that it was preferable to resolve differences with words and understanding, if at all possible. I could not do that, and also rely upon fortune and the Judge Above to guard me as a great warrior at the same time. Else,” he closed one eye, “I may have taken that bounty upon your head. I wonder if you thought yourself as blessed as I once believed myself, or if you still think it, hm?”

In short, he was an important person- though you had no way of verifying such, he didn’t sound as though he was lying. He had neglected to say his surname, but that hadn’t concerned him. He must have thought there was no others like him to be confused with.

“And what is your plan,” you said slowly, “If I refuse? Your people’s plan?”

“Then they and their allies will fight ferociously, and you will learn that you would have done well not to have underestimated them, though I did my best to avoid such a circumstance.” The Twaryian said this plainly, as though you were merely asking the time- not a statement of pride or a boast, merely a fact. “So what do you think, Coordinator?” Sascha asked, “Have I presented acceptable terms? Or would you like to propose a different agreement?”

>You could come to an agreement- though not necessarily that one. (What would you agree to instead? State any additional/modified terms.)
>Flat out refuse. You had no obligation to make a deal- just to hear him out. You wouldn’t waste his time further- send him away back over the border.
>It’s not your decision to make, you’ll have to insist. You have to go talk with Sector Command about this.
>If his intent and that of his people were genuine, then you’d agree to these terms...A hint of funny business and that was off, though.
>Other?
>>
>>4402856
>Other: What are those "allies" and "escorted" you speak of?
Sounds like the RL at first, but why escort them?
>>
>>4402856
tanq just to clarify from the sounds of it if we don't agree then the Twaryians will try and break through our lines to escape the ERA when he talks of underestimating his troops?
If true that sounds like a big o'l threat to me.

>(Lie) It’s not your decision to make, you’ll have to insist. You have to go talk with Sector Command about this.

Just to delay him a for a little while we "pass" this up the chain. I'm worried that Zohl will stick his nose in that we're making deals with the Twaryians, that we'll be disobeying orders by letting people through and mostly that letting his forces through will let them attack the ERA from a different angle.

The only positive I see is that it might give the ERA the chance to quickly seize Dymny and dig in if that was their plan before retreating into Netilland. But they'd probably get more from destroying the enemy they've trapped.

>Other?
We really oughta let the NLF know what the fuck is going on and come up with a plan for them to extract the ERA if they do retreat here so we aren't put into the awkward position of arresting the Grandmaster ourselves, with Zohl watching.
>>
>>4402871
Supporting. Wasting the Twaryians time as much as possible and keeping them out of the fight seems like the best option.
>>
>>4402856
>(Lie) It’s not your decision to make, you’ll have to insist. You have to go talk with Sector Command about this.
See what the Netillians have to say before deciding whether to bring it up or not.
Tell him that Sector Command might not be our actual master but we're not risking any diplomatic fallout between Netilland and Strossvald just so his people can get off scot-free.
Anyway if they try to force things ultimately it's the Zohl and the Guards who are going to face most of the heat which no one is going to shed a tear about (plus it's helpful for Alpha Two)

Also ask him a question:
Both of us know that Twaryi and ultimately Caelus will not be satisfied with just their part of Ellowie since they consider us westerners to be a bunch of heretics in need of enlightenment, by the sword if necessary. Why should we let his flock go when every dead Twayrian now is one less that we will have to face when the time comes?
>>
>>4402856
Supporting >>4402871
Say it's not just us on the border right now so Command has to agree in order to make sure everyone on the Netillian side besides our guys comply with it.
>>
>>4402856
>Flat out refuse. You had no obligation to make a deal- just to hear him out. You wouldn’t waste his time further- send him away back over the border.
The Tywarians can put down their arms and walk over the border any time they please. This "deal" is just an attempt to get a better outcome from a situation that they already can walk out of with their lives at any time.
>>
>>4402871
Seconding. The guy didnt even offer us anything besides to "officially recognize our generosity." Wow, it's fucking nothing.
>>
>>4402856
>Other
What can the Twaryians actually offer Richter as compensation that he would actually want?
>>
>>4402871
>>4402885
>>4402898
>>4402921
>>4403146
No really I can't do anything. I'll go talk to my "superiors" to be safe. And let you stew here a bit. Potentially talk to some other people too.

>>4402861
Clarify who you're talking about.

>>4403170
What can you actually give?

Writing.

>>4402871
>tanq just to clarify from the sounds of it if we don't agree then the Twaryians will try and break through our lines to escape the ERA when he talks of underestimating his troops?
>If true that sounds like a big o'l threat to me.
One might assume that, but the tone he's using isn't much a threatening one, from what Richter can hear. More of a "I can't say what might happen" circumstance, though one might interpret that to be plenty threatening itself. After all, turning north to break through potentially a much stronger enemy (assuming they don't know exactly what is at the border or nearby) than mere insurgents and their toys would be a big gamble.
>>
>>4402968
>>>4402871
Also you, though the minority.
>>
“When you talk about your allies, and people being escorted, who are you referring to?” You had a decent idea of who they would be, but you wanted to make sure. “The Revolutionary League militia?”

“Yes, but I refer to all of the forces under arms there as allies. The ones they escort are noncombatants. Troops who are not meant to fight, officials and laborers, the like, as well as those who one might believe would be harshly dealt with by the insurgents. When one uproots themselves from a town they have occupied for a while, there is quite a bit more than the front line soldiers, after all.”

“I see.” There were more than a few people in Dymny that were just support, after all. Quite a few. “In your deal, I don’t see much in the way of compensation. Official recognition of generosity? That sounds like a fancy name for nothing.

“I am hardly a higher ranking officer or representative,” the Strannik sounded hurt, “Would you rather I try to lure you with promises I cannot keep, or even have any say in whether they would be presented later? All I say is that such an act would surely be noticed by those with the power to express proper gratefulness. It is a distasteful sin to use deceit for one’s gain, after all.”

“Is that so,” you said flatly, “I’d like to ask a question, then. It isn’t related to the situation, but it is to this so-called fellowship you mentioned earlier. I have met a Twaryian in the past- I wasn’t aware of how you lot viewed the world before, but I’ve learned some in my time here. You consider all of us on Vinstraga to be heretics, in need of enlightenment, by the sword if necessary. Is that true?”

“You put it rather bluntly,” Sascha said, with eyebrows raised slightly, looking amused, “but yes, the reunification of the Judge Above’s faithful is very important. By the sword if necessary, perhaps, but I do not believe such is necessary. I shan’t bother trying to engage in theological debate over it, but we both know of the dreadful situation this continent is gripped by in regards to its faith. Are you so attached to the shattered chaos that Alexander imposed in his wake? These sects that have strayed further from Order than the Cathedra did?”

“Anyways,” your religious affiliation wasn’t something you felt necessary to go into. It wasn’t of an unordinary sect in Strossvald anyways- simple and basic right and wrong, as far as you were concerned. “We both know that Twaryi, and Caelus, will not be satisfied with what has been taken already with such a belief, will they? So, logically, why would we do you a favor like you ask, when every one of you is potentially a soldier to be arrayed against us later, when the time comes?”
>>
“If one were resigned to conflict as an inevitability,” Sascha folded his arms over one another, slowly, “Then yet, that would be the assumption, wouldn’t it? Certainly, many view it that way, but you assume that a gesture such as I propose would change nothing in regards to that attitude. I suppose, that you have some justification in such an opinion. Twaryi is not accustomed to compromise, in our tumultuous history, but that is a learned custom, and not an unshakeable principle. Regaling you with a list of injustices would be pointless. However, if you also think that the ongoing cycle cannot be broken from, or have no desire to shift away from it, so be it. If you are so sure of what is to come, however, I do not understand why you would try to avert it.”

What lofty ideas he seemed to be trying to put in your head. However, you didn’t have an interest in cooperating, regardless of what this Sascha believed. So you’d stall here- go and see what Sector Command wanted, but keep your foot in this door. More importantly, you also wanted to see what the National Liberation Front of Ellowie thought of this. Whatever you would do, you also had to consider Zohl’s presence on the border now. Even if you wanted to help Sascha and the Twaryians out, Zohl would likely notice, and use it against you, not to mention what Sector Command would say about you doing such a thing. They had been hands off, but if you became a problem by directly disobeying their directives, who could say what might happen to you or what you were trying to scheme here.

A bit of that would help as justification to Sascha to avoid flat out saying no, though.

“You might think different, but it really isn’t my decision to make, at least not with all the factors I’ve brought up. There’s the fact that my people are not the only ones on the line right now, and I have to keep diplomatic matters between our nations in mind, after all. Sector Command will know best about that. I’m going to talk with them before deciding anything.”

“Very well, then,” Sascha leaned back upon the couch he was sat upon, “But this opportunity will not remain for long. Nobody is of the mind to wait for your decision at your convenience, after all.”
>>
“We’ll see,” you said, turning for the door. “Soldiers, keep this man in custody until I return. He isn’t to go anywhere.” Sascha had no objection to that as you went out, to tell Rybak the same directive, as well as your new destination, to be driven to with the car and your new courier by indirect volunteer- back to the UGZ-09, where your headquarters was and thus where you’d actually talk with Sector Command, or prepare to speak with them, but also where your nearest links with the NLF were. Granted, you didn’t have a way to contact them reliably, but they surely were aware of this- and how important it was. Drachen had said that next you needed to meet, he’d reach out to you, so you could but hope that the elements of the NLF in the UGZ (that you had willingly let operate freely) would find the time and place to get your attention about this.

-----

The sun hadn’t risen, but it was getting brighter as the combat car rolled around the UG, not passing into the place, as your actual camp proper was outside, despite 1st company utilizing plenty of structures inside the place. You’d tried to get some shuteye on the way, but Twaryian engines had a tendency to be noisy things and so sleep was not well facilitated. You’d get some coffee or something. Judge Above, were you going to rely on that abhorrent bean water now?

There wasn’t time for even that, as it turned out. Waiting at the clutch of tents that comprised the field HQ, as the small escort and cars that signified a higher officer had come by. He was not difficult to spot. A narrow faced, bony cheeked man in his early fifties, with wings of grey at his ears underneath a mostly brown haired head and small spectacles on his nose, was dressed in the braided décor of a Netillian army officer, though it lacked the showiness of a Kommissariat uniform. Deep blue shoulder boards with pairs of silver crosses…what did that mean, again?

A reminder was not long in coming. The officer approached, and saluted stiffly- his air was such that you felt compelled to return it. “Coordinator Von Tracht. I am Oberst of this Sector’s General Staff, Colonel Sevlach. We have not met, but I come representing the will of Sector Command.”

You remained at attention as he paused, but you had naught to say.
>>
“Of course, on the subject of the current events south of the border, you are to deploy sufficient forces to resist any attempt by the Twaryian Army or any affiliated forces from disrupting the security of the occupied territory. Intrusions at other times, of course, have been barely acceptable as a reality of a porous and undermanned front, however, at this time, you are to treat matters as if we are on alert for a potential invasion. If any Twaryians approach you to escape or try and maneuver, they are to be disarmed and taken into custody. All that will be accepted is surrender. Otherwise, they are not to be allowed over. Neither are you, however, allowed to initiate battle at this point, or cross over the border. I’ve been informed by diplomatic channels that these times are, suddenly, extremely sensitive."

A press up on his small spectacles. "The Twaryian garrison of the town just south, called Dymny, as well as some other units, have been isolated. Talks are in progress over the surrender of these units to guarantee their safety, but I iterate again, if they attempt to negotiate aught but complete surrender, they are to be refused. I would have conveyed this to the commanding officer, yet,” the Colonel looked around, “It seems you do not presently have one. This will have to be amended in time, but for now, you are in official command of 5th company. Similar instructions to lock down the border have been relayed to all units in the Border Zone- they are presently all preparing to move. Ensure that you have sufficient forces to carry out this task. That is all.”

>Any questions for the Colonel?
>Understood- you’ll have people sent on their way right now. (Who? At least half of your force is the minimum necessary, considering Zohl’s help. Displacing him on the front may be an option with more commitment.)
>Other?
Also-
>Wait to be contacted by the NLF in the UGZ?
>Go back out to your place in reserve at the front, to wait and see what happens from a place you can directly act.
>Go back to Sascha with more things to address. (What sort?)
>Other?
>>
>>4403956
>Any questions for the Colonel?
So just to make sure that if the Twaryians launch an assault to force their way across we're authorized to use force right?
Currently our tanks are low on fuel and in the field right now, can Sector Command authorize resupply for us?
>Understood- you’ll have people sent on their way right now.
Everyone except 5th to guard the UGZ. Don't displace Zohl though, let his unit be the meatshields.

>Go back out to your place in reserve at the front, to wait and see what happens from a place you can directly act.
See if we can establish contact with the ERA, plus send a message to Rybak to tell Sascha he can leave already.
>>
>>4403982
Also tanq mind showing on the sector map the rough positions of all the units on the border right now?
>>
>>4403982
Seconding all
Of course we're happy to send out all our units immediately, but our fuel, Colonel, it's so low...who knows if we even have enough left to fight properly if the Twaryians try to force a crossing?
>>
>>4403982
Supporting this.
>>
>>4403956
>Supporting >>4403982
By the way, how does a combat car look? Is it something like a technical?
>>
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>>4403997
Sure thing. It's inexact, but such is the nature of the situation. Suffice it to say, attendance is in no shortage right now.
>>
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>>4404133
>By the way, how does a combat car look? Is it something like a technical?
Sort of. "Car" is somewhat a misnomer, unless one were to go off of an armored car, which is really more a truck more often than not. The BM5 Combat Car is a heavy duty motorized support vehicle, made for giving fire support to mobile troops, especially raiders and reconnaissance. It's not something I've fully made, but I do have a sketch of it. As one can see, it's not a small vehicle.
>>
>>4404299
How about Edelschwert's guys , are they being held in reserve? Obviously they don't have the infantry to guard the border.
>>
>>4403982
Mostly supporting this for now, maybe change it to the Colonial town to be a little closer since they want us on the border. If questioned we can say we want to be able to react quicker to any invaders from their as opposed to down the lines.

But later if there is a way to get Zohl to move to another part of the border that would be best if we want to get the ERA across without implicating ourselves. Maybe some kind of distraction from the NLF to open up a gap for us to pretend to deal with, or to lure Zohl away.

I don't know yet, too many unknowns especially in what the ERAs next moves are.
>>
>>4404312
That is the case. They're being held back as a rapid response group, given the aforementioned lack of manpower to truly cover an area.
>>
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>>4403982
>>4404045
>>4404058
>>4404133
>>4404322
Pretty clear support for this plan of action!
I'll be writing later this evening. In the meantime, grilled items.
>>
>>4405385
loli loev burg
>>
>>4405385
>doesn’t even get a kiss goodbye from the love of her life
If she is always this messy of an eater I suspect I know why.
>>
>>4405394
>loli
What did he mean by this?
>>
>>4405385
This burger is probably the best thing that happened in her life, and it's sad.
>>
>>4405385
>I'll be writing later this evening
Kek.
Anyway one question. Does Zohl command his company directly like what Richter has been doing the past few weeks or do they have a nominal company commander like what Kelwin fulfilled while he does his Kommissar stuff?
>>
>>4406309
I started writing! Then I ended up crashing. It'll be out soon.
>Anyway one question. Does Zohl command his company directly like what Richter has been doing the past few weeks or do they have a nominal company commander like what Kelwin fulfilled while he does his Kommissar stuff?
Zohl is a Kommissar of State Security, and his responsibilities extend to investigation of morale related affairs and party solidarity- he isn't supposed to command whatsoever, not even in an advisory capability like you technically have been abusing this whole time. However, he does have the political clout and influence to take command or to perhaps influence orders. If you had picked the 13th at the start of this arc you'd have had to deal with him a lot more.

>>4405602
>If she is always this messy of an eater I suspect I know why.
t. engaged to a slobberer
>>
“Understood,” you said stiffly, “Though I have a couple of questions. Firstly- if the Twaryians do launch an assault to force their way across, we are authorized to defend ourselves with force, correct?”

“Correct,” Colonel Sevlach nodded a firm and efficient up and down motion, “Only if they initiate battle, however. It is vital to the efforts of the diplomats that you are not baited into initiating any violent conflict.”

That was everything you needed on the topic of rules of engagement, the broad strokes you had to be concerned with, at least, but you pushed in a little negotiation, as well. “My only other question is, considering that my forces have just spent a large amount of fuel, and given the severity of what is happening across the border…would you be willing to authorize opening of further fuel reserves to my forces?”

The Colonel’s very slight squint told you everything before he opened his mouth, despite being such a small movement. “Coordinator, fuel is needed all over the Sector, let alone all over the front. I’m afraid that you will have to make do with your present reserves up to and not until the moment that the worst possible scenario comes to pass.”

“Would it not be better to invest the reserves so that the worst possible scenario doesn’t come to pass?”

The Netillian general staff officer was not swayed. “In terms of risk assessment, and my knowledge of operations from being on the General staff, even before passing the suggestion to one with the authority to make it a decision, no. You instruct and support a Light Infantry Company, regardless of what toys you have joined to it. This is a formation explicitly created to require no fuel whatsoever. Fuel is reserved for properly Mechanized units, the most powerful of what we have access to. You have your reserves. You have some fame as a resourceful commander. I trust I need not speak any further.”

“…Yes, sir.” Your will to fight against that decision vanished. “That is all. I’ll commit the proper forces immediately. As much as can be spared, and I’ll return to the front as well.”

“Very good.” The Colonel saluted, and you saluted back. “Good luck. So long as you keep up a strong front, you can trust the diplomats to do the hard work of resolving this.”

“I certainly hope so,” you said back, and to be honest, you wouldn’t mind at all if the bureaucrats saved you this particular trouble.

-----
>>
All of 5th battalion, 1st company’s men save for the “5th platoon” (which was more volunteer police force for the UGZ-09 than officially organized platoon) were marched out of the UGZ-09 to assume their place on the border- which, you were informed, was now being heavily manned. A stretch of territory normally mostly trusted to the 5th Battalion was now reinforced by contributions from three other units. The 13th Mechanized, as you were already aware, would be to your east, while 22nd Penal Battalion was deploying a pair of companies to your west. Further east, the battalion you had aided in the UGZ-07 uprising was also taking position on the border. It was the most mobilized you’d ever seen the Border Zone, which was normally sparsely manned exactly to reduce tensions, though with all the skirmishing you weren’t sure if that was a boon or not even now.

Nobody looked happy about it, of course, but they should have been thankful they weren’t marching out into the darkness. It was still dark, but it was a dark morning, and by the time they arrived at the front the sun would rise. Before you began your drive back, you made the last necessary step of calling New Jorgenstohn, speaking to Rybak and appraising him of the situation- and telling him to send Sascha back over the border. Yes, you could just take him prisoner. He did indicate that he was important, but taking a man prisoner who had come over to negotiate, regardless of whether or not you wanted to acquiesce to his wants, smacked of a lack of principle, let alone honor.

Should you have stayed to see if the NLF would contact you? Maybe. However, even if they had plans, with the situation on the border as it was, it would be very dangerous for them to act. As far as you ever knew the resistance only flourished in the Border Zone because of its mandated lack of mobilization, something that in this instance was utterly reversed. Instead, you planned to try and listen for any attempts the Eastern Resistance Army might make to contact you. Whether or not you could help them…would be figured out later.

When you got back, you had Von Metzeler listen in on the company radio. Hans, your own radio operator, on the other hand…you had discretely turn the frequency to the one you knew the ERA used for their own radios, incredibly few as they were. You’d most likely be out of range of all of them, but it was good to at least try on that. Headset rested upon your crown, you sat back and listened, though there was nothing to hear. Sometimes, a fragment of something would bounce in, but for well over an hour and a half there was nothing for you to grasp. The sun had well risen now- it was near ten thirty and you’d heard nothing, not from High Command, nor from the ERA, or anybody. It was starting to put you on edge- ironically not from the Fear, but the simple anticipation of doing…nothing, and as far as you could think, not being able to do anything.
>>
It was then you were suddenly shouted at from outside the tank.

“Lieutenant, sir!” One of Von Metzeler’s crew shouted, “Something’s come up in New Jorgenstohn!”

Those words startled you so badly you fell out of the turret seat, crashing to the bottom of the tank with a swear, before climbing back up with Jorgen’s help- though the Yaegir saw fit to mock you in barely comprehensible slang as he did so.

“…Yes, what is it?” you asked the crewman, “From New Idiot Town?”

“New Idiot…what?” The gunner coughed, “What are you talking about? Anyways, another person came over the border.”

“A Twaryian?”

“Dunno. The person on the net was saying it was some lady absolutely covered in blood. Says they requested you by name.”

…You hadn’t exactly made that common knowledge over the other side of the border, but it wasn’t like your identity was a secret either. “Did she say who she was?”

“No. But they said that you had meet with her immediately.”

“I need to remain here,” you supplied easily, “Have her sent up here in a combat car. Rybak should know to do that.”

“That’s what they were doing, apparently.”

“Good,” you relaxed a little. Lieutenant Rybak was capable of learning after all, then. “I’ll be ready to receive them.”

When the combat car arrived, the person in the back was barely familiar under the smears of gore all over her, but she exited the car as though nothing were out of the ordinary- she didn’t seem injured.

“….Are you alright?” you felt compelled to ask what you steadily realized was Mabel, King Wladysaw’s…head maid? You didn’t know what the hell she was, but she was obviously not an ordinary servant.

She was dressed plainly, but it was all covered in both the grime of rapid travel as well as blood and gore in various states of aging. It was even all over her face, her hair, and up to her elbows she was caked so much in red that the stink of iron came off of her like a parody of a fancy scent. Her wide glasses had one of its lenses cracked, and underneath the blood and filth it appeared that Mabel’s clothing had been damaged plenty- what looked like a silk bullet-resistant vest poked through tears in her blouse.

“This blood is not mine,” she said plainly, “The situation is less than ideal, Coordinator.”

“I noticed.”

“Come.” Mabel beckoned you away from the others, before pausing. “Do you trust the men around here?”

“With my life and more.”
>>
Mabel’s response to that was to lead you away still, but not quite as far as she might have been tempted otherwise. She wasted no time speaking her mind once you were somewhat away. “The Grandmaster has gone against the explicit advise of His Majesty. He was not supposed to act upon this in this way. Not yet, at least. His Majesty can give him no support, but he doubtless expects it, unless he is fool enough to want an encore of a past tragedy.” She took her spectacles off, and the cool focus in her eyes made you wonder if she actually needed them. “You did quite an effective job of disrupting Twaryian operations, but the scale of the Grandmaster’s actions has caused what may become a serious diplomatic incident.”

“I’ve heard.” You said, “Sector Command ordered all units to hold firm on the border and prevent anybody from passing, while negotiations for the surrender of the trapped garrison forces happens. I can see that hasn’t prevented all crossing, though.”

“I exploited my connections,” Mabel said, obviously referring to calling you by name when she came over, “To summarize the situation, while the Grandmaster has secured the town, the use of a very large improvised explosive combined with overwhelming numbers and his so-called Royal Guard…the best equipped and skilled of his lot…allowing him to carry the day, he has faltered in finishing off what he has driven out. An offensive to crush them went poorly- his Orders…let us not mince words about what they are. Child Soldiers are ineffective in the offensive, especially now that the shock of the initial attack has worn away. More importantly, though the incident with the entrapped Twaryians may pass, that still leaves this concentration of the ERA trapped, and ready to be reduced. Trapped between the Netillians and their enemy just as they meant to do with the Dymny garrisons. No matter how much damage this ill-conceived battle may have wrought to Twaryi, the cost would be unacceptable if the ERA was once again to take such losses as at Lodjaw.”

“I presume His Majesty wants me to do what I can to save the Eastern Resistance Army.”

Mabel gave you the first hint of a tired glance. “That is obvious. However, you do not have the means to do that.”

“Probably not.”

“However.”

“However?”

“You are not alone in those who have been requested for help,” Mabel continued, “His Majesty has acquired an audience with Drachen of the so-called National Liberation Front. There is precious little time for a proper plan. However, there are a few proposals. Part of my mission was to inform the Grandmaster of them. One, is to allow the Eastern Resistance Army to retreat through your territory. That would be the simplest, though you would likely have to take them into custody…and hold them until His Majesty can acquire them again.”
>>
“…There’s a Kommissar already suspicious of me watching over this,” you nodded east, “That sounds extremely risky.”

“That leads to the second proposal, from the NLF.” Mabel brought up next, “They have not failed to notice the identity of the unit on the border- this Mechanized Guard. It was involved in an operation that destroyed one of their armament caches, and Drachen thinks an opportunity for reprisal might be at hand. If the buildup at the border left their rear open, he theorizes, a sudden breach from an attack on both sides of the border there would allow the Eastern Resistance Army to slip in.”

“Then they have to both disrupt and break apart one of the most elite, most well equipped units in the Netillian Army.” To say nothing of the nature of how well equipped they were. You doubted that plan could work, even if the equipment gap wasn’t present.

“Drachen seemed confident. I do not share that confidence, though apparently his plan involved the use of a well-established tank commander, he did not speak of whether or not he had this person’s approval.” Mabel was blunt about her opinion, “His Majesty’s proposal of a forceful alternative…if the first suggestion proves untenable, is quite risky…but perhaps worth ensuring the integrity of the Eastern Resistance Army, in its escape. Such is to provoke an incident with the trapped Twaryians, and in the ensuing struggle, take the ERA into custody as well. I am aware of the command to avoid provoking a fight- ideally, it would not be known that a fight was provoked by you, of course. The confusion of this would aid the ERA’s escape much more easily, though it would certainly cause trouble with Twaryi. A great risk.”

“None of these plans sound like something you’re happy with.”

“I am not in a place to make decisions. Only to carry out the commands of my master, His Majesty.” Mabel was as toneless as she had been this whole time despite the reverence inherit in those words. “You are the unspoken for aspect, however. Each of these plans would require your aid. So, as quickly as possible, you must decide what you will do.”

>You need more information to make a decision. (On what? Ask freely.)
>What choice did you have? For the good of Ellowie, the ERA needed to be rescued. Somehow. (Agrees to aid- not necessarily on the plan, yet.)
>None of these plans would be good for you, or threatened your position. You couldn’t help. Not in this one. The ERA was on their own.
>You had another, probably better plan…(What?)
>Other?
>>
>>4406649
>What choice did you have? For the good of Ellowie, the ERA needed to be rescued. Somehow. (Agrees to aid- not necessarily on the plan, yet.)
In any case we should tell her to inform Wladyslaw we'll do our best but he should temper his expectations.
Also try to get into contact with Drachen ASAP, through the UGZ or whatever envoys the NLF sent to the King.

Whole bunch of questions both IC and OOC:
What's our fuel reserves right now back at base? IIRC we have one or two fuel trucks so at least we should be able to top up our tanks.
Where is Mabel heading after this? Back across the border or heading north to His Majesty?
Can she give us an update on the ERA's positions on the map? Are they all stuck around town or what?
Does she know the status of Twaryian reinforcements? Once they start showing up the garrison will be less inclined to break north.
Any additional frequencies we can use to listen in on the ERA?

As for plans I'll leave it to the next vote though there's some ideas in mind already.
>>
>>4406649
>What choice did you have? For the good of Ellowie, the ERA needed to be rescued. Somehow. (Agrees to aid- not necessarily on the plan, yet.)
Risky but we have to make the attempt
>>
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>>4406739
>What's our fuel reserves right now back at base? IIRC we have one or two fuel trucks so at least we should be able to top up our tanks.
Can hit this one up right now. You do have the fuel to operate with your present tanks. Beyond that, no, unless you mix and match gas-using assets.
>>
>>4406811
Correction, 6 is enough to use with your trucks- just not the entirety of everything that drives.
>>
>>4406649
>What choice did you have? For the good of Ellowie, the ERA needed to be rescued. Somehow. (Agrees to aid- not necessarily on the plan, yet.)
>>
>>4406649
>What choice did you have? For the good of Ellowie, the ERA needed to be rescued. Somehow. (Agrees to aid- not necessarily on the plan, yet.)
What >>4406739 said. We've come this far and we'll try to do what we can to help, but Drachen and the High Protector will have to be made aware we're not running at 100% after our raid and there's a rather bothersome green snake on our patch at the moment, likely keeping one eye on us, so the scope of our involvement in either plan can only go so far.
>>
>>4406649
>What choice did you have? For the good of Ellowie, the ERA needed to be rescued. Somehow. (Agrees to aid- not necessarily on the plan, yet.)
>You need more information to make a decision. (On what? Ask freely.)
-Ditto on the radio frequency question, if we can't communicate then we are doomed to fail.
-ERA force composition, are they mostly on foot? That will effect how long we need to keep the border open if we aren't arresting them.
-Twaryian remnants, any idea what they are composed of and where they are held up? Is the ERA strong enough to push them close against the border even if they can't destroy them?
-Does the ERA have mortars? There might be a plan here if we get them to fire over the border and frame the Twaryians.
-How long can Dymny hold out?

I have two plans in mind that need working on, one involves sacrificing Zohl in a high risk plan involving just our personal tanks and the other in sacrificing our command here and risking a diplomatic incident between the countries, but hopefully one that won't escalate into Netilland invading Twaryi.
>>
>>4406739
Just want to add one more question, where are the negotiations being held? Are they happening on the border?
>>
>>4406739
>>4406779
>>4406861
>>4406883
>>4407055
Not much a choice, but it must be done, whatever it is. In addition, questions.

Writing.

>>4407105
>Just want to add one more question, where are the negotiations being held? Are they happening on the border?
You were not told, but they would presumably be happening at the singular official crossing and meeting point in the western border zone- which is in a city that is nowhere close to you anyways.
>>
>>4406649
>You had another, probably better plan…(What?)
I somehow have no doubt Mabel can personally assassinate Zohl (maybe with our cooperation). Then there's nobody to be suspicious of us when we take ERA into custody.
>>
>>4407176
Yeah assassinating Zohl is actually one of the potential plans I was thinking about, but I want to see the rest of the answers first.
>>
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There wasn’t much of a choice here- in your mind, for Alpha Two to work, you needed the King of Ellowie, regardless of what anybody else thought about his right to the throne, on your side. To have him on your side, from how you viewed things, you needed the Eastern Resistance Army. They had to be rescued, for the good of Ellowie.

Somehow.

“I’ll help,” you said quickly, “but…I’m unsure how to help you as best I can, yet. I need more information, and right now, my hands are somewhat tied. I can’t commit all the might I have to a purpose like this, and there’s a mosshead kommissar keeping an eye on us. My involvement can only go so far.”

“Mosshead Kommissar,” Mabel repeated with bland disinterest, “No matter. What information did you need? I will supply the best of it that I can. I’ve been made aware of as much as I have discovered myself.”

That was good, because you had no shortage of questions.

“Where are you going after this?” you asked first, “Back over the border, or to His Majesty King Wladysaw XI?”

“I am…” the first hint of uncertainty you’d ever seen from this maid, “…in an unacceptable state to present myself to his majesty. However he is relying upon me to collect this information and the dispositions of those involved to help organize a proper response. You are the final person I must meet before this.”

“I see. Do you need help?” you offered, not noting that a train to Perlowieza would take a long time- did this mean that the King was nearby?

Mabel shook her head. “I am plenty able to go where I am needed in a timely manner, unaided.”

So that was that. “Can you inform me of the rough locations and compositions of the ERA’s forces? Are they mostly foot troops? Are they in the area around Dymny?” Aerial recon was near impossible on this level of alert. Maybe in calmer times an Autogyro could sway over the border to get a quick look, but now, you had heard the distant drone of fighter planes high in the air, solely to threaten and deny one side from deploying anything but warnings to one another. No reconnaissance had been relayed to you, certainly.

“Do you have a map?” Mabel asked back. You produced the one you carried in your field satchel, and she unfolded it, and gestured rapidly over areas of it. “Approximately in these areas,” she began, “Is where…give me a note pad and writing utensil. Good. Now,” she laid the map on the ground and then sketched a quick copy of a portion of terrain in the small notebook, “This is an approximation. Of course. When I was last there, the Grandmaster’s Royal Guard, as he calls them, had broken apart the isolated Twaryian troops into two halves, but after the initial shock of the attack, the attack as a whole has lost momentum, despite the capture of resources by the ERA and the cutting off of these Twaryians from their supplies and ammunition.”
>>
“What are this Royal Guard like, again? And how are they doing now?” you wanted an exact telling of their current status, though you had heard before that they were well equipped, you weren’t told the precise details.

“They utilize the very best of what the Resistance can provide. Captured armor, vehicles modified in hidden workshops. Very well trained. They also have a battery of light guns, and an anti-tank battery. I know not of the exact make.” Asking a Maid what kind of light guns they were was rather like asking you about make and model of light guns. You simply assumed they were either from an old Ellowian arms cache or stolen from the Twaryians. Probably of eight centimeter or around that large a shell. “However. The necessity of their power being used has taken a toll. Their numbers are reduced. Five tanks have been reduced to two, and roughly the same proportion of reduction is true of their armored trucks and assault troops. The artillery is likely going to run low on ammunition soon, for what few guns they have, but who can say if other weaponry has not been seized. I would be surprised if such wasn’t the case.”

So while the best time for opportunity had been exploited, undoubtedly, the damage to the best troops had blunted the force of the attack going further. “Besides them, it is mostly the Orders, I presume?”

“Proper fighters have been distributed to the Orders to help coordinate them, and they are all at least minimally equipped,” due to your contribution of arms, presumably, “However…they are still at least sixty per cent adolescent soldiers, and the rest hardly elite fighters anyways. Yes, they are entirely on foot. Besides them, there the Vengeful Phantoms, finally called into action by the voice of the Grandmaster, whom is the only one they are tempted to listen to. As many as he could call upon. They are terrifying individuals, though, again…they have helped to hold and deny areas, but are not ideal for taking them. Such is simply not how they fight.”

“Mmhmm.” You took all that in, “You don’t happen to know how soon until Twaryian reinforcements arrive, do you? I have heard that the ERA has caused disruption to them on that front…”
Mabel shook her head. “Not at all. That negotiations are taking place at all speaks of the level of disruption, however. Also to the level of the Grandmaster’s commitment. This is undoubtedly him betting everything upon this operation, otherwise the Twaryians could not possibly be as flustered as this.”

Still not much information. To be fair to Mabel, she was soaked to the bone with blood and spackled with crud. You weren’t going to demand that she know everything- as it stood, she knew a huge amount. “I’ve tried listening on the radio frequency that I recall the radios we used being on. I haven’t heard anything. Do you know any of their frequencies? If we can’t communicate with the ERA, that might lead to problems.”
>>
“I know a pair of ones used only for emergencies,” Mabel continued writing- a look over her shoulder (not hard- she was only an average sized woman) revealed them to be the radio frequencies- then a list of what were obviously ciphered code phrases, but she must have felt it only necessary to write very few. “They should not be used for communication. Remember the presence of listening posts on both sides of the border. The risk of them pinpointing these particular transmissions, triangulating them, attempting to decipher them…it is very low, but still a risk, and a risk that grows the more the frequency is used. I would advise extreme caution.”

“I’ll remember that.” You said as Mabel finished writing. Whether or not it was necessary for her to write in clean, neat and fancy script was less an issue than that she hadn’t cared much that she had smeared gore all over your notebook and pencil. Not that you were a stranger to blood, but…still. “What of the Twaryians entrapped? Do you know what is left of them?”

Another shake of the head. “No. I do know what they have lost. Apparently, the Royal Guard entered battle with tanks that did not expect them to have the assets they did- they were lured into an ambush where the Royal Guard’s anti-tank battery neutralized the Twaryian tanks. So that element has been dealt with, but I know naught of others.”

“Naught of the others?” You tried for whatever you could get, “So just the infantry and garrison, then? What about the Moskity?”

“I do not know, but the motorized troops would have been of a grade far higher than most of what the ERA could bring to bear, so I doubt they are surrounded- though they may be attempting to deal with the disrupted surrounding areas.” Mabel was holding something back- you didn’t know what, but it was something she was trying to avoid. It couldn’t have been tactically relevant, though, but you had noticed a change in her expression when you mentioned the Garnizon- an ever so slight tautness edging in on her frown.

A desire to change the subject. You didn’t need to go down further on that route. “You mentioned artillery, and captured assets- mortars, perhaps?”

“Almost definitely.”

That opened up a few potential plans. Another plan was also being dusted off in your head- one where you noticed how similar Mabel was to Anya, as far as her build seemed- though Mabel was somewhat denser and was taller. That, combined with her ability to avoid trouble, to infiltrate, and the blood she was covered in- there was hardly any concealing that she was a trained and experienced killer, much more than an ordinary serving woman. It was an idea, that maybe Zohl could stop being a problem…but would she agree to that? Was Zohl a big enough problem to gamble upon resolving…that way?
>>
“One last question,” you said, “How long could they hold out? In and around Dymny.”

Mabel thought for a moment. “Give me one minute.” She thought some more. “That depends. For how much longer they could hold their present lines, where they are adjacent to the border itself, perhaps one to three days, depending upon the speed of which the Twaryians resolve the disruption of reinforcement and how much the ERA conserves their present supplies. Once that is done, however, and they are isolated…they will be out of energy, out of ammunition, exhausted. I would not give them more than two days beyond that to be utterly annihilated, and they would have no chance to break out. If it is anything like Lodjaw, if the Twaryians have learned since that- and they have- they will not allow anything out of the net once they have formed it. The response to this sort of attack was disproportionate at Lodjaw, and it will be even moreso here.”

In short- at best, one day. This day. The next day, perhaps, as well. Beyond that was uncertain except for the fact that it would be the beginning of the end. Then the ERA would be terribly wounded by such a defeat- as well as the reprisals that would be conducted. It wouldn’t be the end of them, not considering how vast the occupied territories were, but in the Border Zone…almost certainly.

It was time to decide on a plan to avert that.

>The Handoff Plan- allow the ERA to retreat to your lines when they felt the pressure. Take them into custody, to turn over to the King and his Gendarmes- risky for you, but safest for the ERA.
>Drachen’s Plan- to coordinate a dual-strike upon the Netillian Mechanized Guards unit and break through the border there. Your help here would be token at best- but it would mean the ERA could come over with relative impunity.
>The Border War- initiate a false-flag, a provocation, anything to provoke the Twaryians into attacking you and giving justification to respond. This would aid the ERA in escape more directly than the Handoff and allow them to escape through you without disruption, but you and your men would have to fight…and potentially disastrous diplomatic repercussions.
>Other?
Obviously any elaboration can be written in- including any desire to attack and murder certain individuals for whatever reason.
>>
>>4407326
>Other
Basically this is a combination of all the plans depending on how events play out.
So Drachen still has that whole bunch of Revolutionary League guys who come across on Gerovic's train right? Time to put them to use.

Get the NLF (and maybe with Mabel/ whatever the King can spare) to assemble a strike force to eliminate Zohl. With him gone that should allow us to proceed with the Handoff Plan way more smoothly without the Netillians getting too suspicious.

Now the backup plan would be if they don't manage to get Zohl. In the case the NLF should get the Revolutionaries (or their own guys dressed as such) to launch a false flag assault on the 13th, try to coordinate it with any remaining ERA arty remaining (or even lend them those Twaryian mortars we captured yesterday) to make the Netillians think the Twaryians are the one trying to hit them from both sides. In this case then we move to the Border War scenario.
>>
>>4407319
Yeesh, that's a bad position if I've ever seen one.

>>4407326
I just realized Zohl might actually know Mabel if he saw her in the palace.

>The Handoff Plan
>After that, invite Zohl to a private talk, ostensibly to exchange a female prisoner for a favor. Be consistent and make a show of how we don't want to do this, but have no other choice, or Zohl might get suspicious.
>On the way to the talk we get attacked by insidious insurgents and barely escape with our life. Zohl doesn't.
>>
>>4407340
Supporting this
>>
>>4407326
God, I both like and don't like all of these.
Before anything
>Other?
Ask Mabel what plan the King has if the ERA are arrested. Is he depending on us in keeping most of them? Previous policy has been us sending our prisoners to Sector Command.
Her answer will basically dictate how I'd choose this. If getting arrested means wiping out their best soldiers then it may not be an option after all.

My idea with the Border War was that we just captured a still black Twaryian tank along with our combat cars. If we can stage it like we destroyed a few of them on our side of the border + a mortar attack from the ERA it might be enough of a flimsy excuse to cross over to that first pocket.

I just can't see a scenario short of completely routing the 13th Mechanized that lets the ERA escape to the NLF.
The most likely event is the ERA getting arrested, and if Zohl is still around then the only people probably getting sent to our custody would be the kids. Which is better than nothing I suppose but the ERA's best would probably be systematically separated and destroyed.

>>4407340
It's a good plan for Zohl, if he asks why the change of heart maybe we can say this one killed a few of our Strossvalders or something so we don't feel as bad and we really, really need a favor, maybe we're looking for the bastard that disfigured us and Zohl can get us access to him. And maybe Mabel is disguised as the prisoner so when he gets close...

Keep in mind he's going to be escorted in at least 1 armored carrier with some of the best troops Netilland has inside. I still don't know if I support killing Zohl yet though. Very risky.
>>
>>4407340
I like this, supporting. We have to deal with Zohl and the Handoff Plan seems the best for not escalating the tense situation at the border and also relieving pressure for the ERA. We can take up prepared positions to fire upon the Twaryians with so it shouldn't be too dangerous of a fight.
>>
>>4407776
I don't think Zohl would destroy the ERA - after all, they're enemies of Twaryians and followers of the Netillian puppet ruler. But we can be quite certain that he would detain them who knows where, and they won't be in place for A2
>>
>>4407776
>>4407889
I was thinking if we manage to retrieve the Grandmaster successfully we could ask him to convince some of the Vengeful Phantoms to go after Zohl? Having a bunch of Bertram-like guys hunting for his head doesn't sound fun. Or maybe we could get Emma or even the Major involved (if we can justify that Zohl is enough of a threat to potentially reveal Alpha Two in advance), I dunno.
>>
>>4407340
Supporting. Actually for bait we have something even better than a prisoner to lure Zohl out. Remember those Kommissariat papers we captured from the Penals and handed to the IO? Send a message to Zohl saying we've come into possession of them and due to their extremely sensitive nature a face to face meeting would be absolutely essential. Plus we should also discuss what we could get out of it by returning it to its rightful owners....
>>
Pretty sure Zohl is going to suspect something right off. We are doing a sudden 180° out of nowhere. We've made it pretty clear that we wanted to associate with him as minimally as possible behorehand
>>
Taking a brief hiatus this evening to resume tomorrow evening- though this is a weighty decision so I don't mind giving it more time.
>>
>>4408293
Agreed which is why I still think we should try to hit him now rather than later when he's exposed on the front.
>>
>>4407332
Get a posse to lynch Zohl, to facilitate Operation Hike the Ball.

>>4407340
>>4407346
>>4407812
>>4408211
Do the Handoff- eliminate objectors after the fact in a false ambush. Do your best to be convincing in that you actually want to be near him- by necessity.

>>4407776
Ask the maid about the plan- the arrangements of handling the troops.

Writing.
>>
Conked out in the middle of writing, but update should be out soon.
>>
>>4409863
?
>>
A final question for Mabel, the stench on her clothes and body only mildly distracting considering the weight of the events occurring. “If the Eastern Resistance Army are taken into custody, what plan does His Majesty have? The usual policy with prisoners is to send them to Sector Command,” save for strange circumstances, such as you perpetrating abductions, “is he depending on us to keep them for him?”
“No.” Mabel said, a relief to you. “He will have the Gendarmes hold them. Though he is subordinate to the Netillian Army in such matters, His Majesty has…built some connections, and is well suited for diplomacy. Once he has them, they will not be out of his grasp again easily, without his consent.”

“Alright then,” this would be far easier in the long term than you could have hoped, then, though the most volatile space would be the time spent before the ERA decided to go along with the most conservative of the plans. “I think the first of the plans we discussed will be the only one I can reasonably go along with. Tensions on the border are such that a false flag could lead to all-out war…and I have much a reason to want to avoid that, as should Ellowie.” You would bet everything you had that if the Major found out you gave the go ahead and were fully responsible for a false-flag attack and a major border incident that even led close to the explosion into war Gerovic had been trying to spark in the first place…no doubt she would flay you alive. “My men on the border can take the ERA “prisoner” as they come over, and we can hand them off to the Gendarmes, and the King, to hold. So long as I don’t have to wait too long to accomplish such a handoff. There’s only one problem with this plan, though.”

“Which is?” Mabel followed along, though that was just to keep you talking from how level her voice was. She must have already guessed what the problem was, considering you had just been lamenting it earlier.
“Kommissar Alrik Zohl. He has to go, or he’ll make himself a problem I can’t deal with. He’ll ruin this all, so he’s going to have to die immediately after the ERA are taken into custody. I have a plan to deal with him, to lure him out in a relatively isolated state, but I’ll need the NLF’s help for this. He and I have to be ambushed, you see. I’ll barely escape with my life. Zohl won’t.”

“So an assassination.” Mabel summarized bluntly. You’d have rather it be called a doling out of justice or a necessary solution, you thought with a wince, but said nothing. “So he will simply come when called? I imagine you must have to lure him with something he wants. If you were on friendly terms he wouldn’t be a problem, nor would you want to kill him.”
>>
Yes. That was a problem you hadn’t given too much thought. “Well. He is a repulsive person, and has repeatedly asked for a female prisoner- I could finally begrudgingly give him one, as an olive branch, an exchange for his help, that I would now need.”

Mabel didn’t react to what you found distasteful, but she immediately pointed something out, looking to the south, “I do not think you will tempt him with such bait. If he wants to have a female prisoner, there are plenty from that Twaryian garrison unit across the border, trapped and potentially ready to be plucked.”

“…You have a point.” A muttered and weak admission. What else did you have, though? Zohl knew you hated him, coy as he acted about it. He’d surely see a sudden shift in disposition as suspect. Even an utter fool would. What you lured him with had to be enough for him to actually want enough to come to you, and discrete enough to want to hide from, say, taking the whole company over. Then- a flash of inspiration. You did have something. Or rather, you had had something, and there was no proof to say you no longer had it. Those Kommissariat documents, that you had handed over to the Intelligence Office, stolen by the mercenaries and penal troop deserters.

That you had recaptured those had never been announced, but you knew their contents- assuredly, so did Zohl. Getting that sensitive information back would certainly raise Zohl’s clout…no, no, it was more than that, you knew faintly of the rivalry between him and some other Kommissar in the area- the Kommissar whom these mercenaries had deserted and stolen information from. What a temptation this would be, with that in mind! A victory for Zohl, and a chance to highly embarrass a rival, all while maintaining valuable State Security…unless he didn’t care about that. Then, you’d have to hope that a chance to make amends with one another would seal the deal. Perhaps…yes. For you to suddenly reverse your principles concerning women would just be suspect even if it worked. A matter of security and information, though? Of realpolitik? Surely that was a place you could reasonably bend. You did represent your home nation, after all, and he, Netilland…

If it sounded half as good to Mabel as it did in your head, surely this would work. You related it to her.



“It isn’t bad.” Mabel judged without excitement. You presumed that such would be as good as you’d get from her. “I recommend not arranging a meeting until a proper location and allocation of force is arranged. It will be conveyed to you when the time comes. Drachen should have no objections to sending a force to eliminate this man.”

“…It is important that I have plausible deniability,” you reminded.

“Of course.” Mabel blinked, “You can be wounded in the process, but your uniform and face should be plenty to set you apart from the rest.”
>>
“I was hoping to be extraordinarily lucky and manage to escape without a scratch,” you said raising your right hand to look at it, an attempted clench with your missing fingers merely wiggling stumps back and forth.

Mabel held little pity. “Take it like a man. If you want to fool anybody and remain unscathed, then you will have to rely on actual luck.”

“Great.” You sighed dejectedly. As long as they didn’t, say, wound you in the face more, or do anything to put you out of action or mutilate you, you couldn’t complain too much. A decent trade for finally getting rid of Zohl, and ensuring relative security in this handoff operation. At least, delaying the hands of anybody certain to be decisive for long enough for the King to take action.

“Expect the information the NLF wants you to have…by the end of the day,” Mabel looked at the sun’s position, “Potentially earlier, but no later. I doubt that the ERA will attempt to retreat into your territory until then- or have been informed that they will until shortly before. With the passive stance being taken, all we can do is hope that them, and us, suffer a bad run of luck before then.”

“All right.” You searched for anything else to talk about- but anything else kept Mabel here longer for no reason, when she needed to convey everything she’d discovered- and that you’d planned- to everybody who had to know about it. “You didn’t need a ride, right?” Though Mabel was soaked through with blood and filth…she wouldn’t be using normal routes anyways, you supposed.

“Correct.” Mabel said, “Make sure you are ready.” She left on her way before you could say another word.

It’d be hard not to, since more than ever before in this odd series of events that was your assignment as Coordinator, your current job was to sit in place and stare across the border.

-----
>>
Hours passed idly, with little change in the sounds echoing over the hills and plains. Whomever wasn’t napping from being up all night had relaxed, and the fog of uncertainty had been cleared by relaxation- a strange confidence that, after the uncertain first hours, nothing would be happening since naught had occurred right away. Normalcy being returned to, for what it was.

Yet your chance for rest was stolen away by the anxiety of waiting for news. Safe as you were here, you were also blind. Agonizingly blind, for all that the far off sounds hinted of what was occurring. It made small talk with the crew hard, and you couldn’t help but apologize, as you kept a steady ear on the ERA’s emergency line, just in case things collapsed far before any expected time.

Nothing. Nothing but static. So sorely tempted were you to send out a message, a request, just a simple hello; but Mabel’s advise still rang clear in your head. Wait- the plan demanded that you wait. Improperly timed initiative would spoil everything. It was for the best. If you wanted to not sit about you would have gone with any other plan.

…Still though.

>Down to two tanks, was it? The Royal Guard must have been having quite a time…
>Almost half the fighters the ERA had were child soldiers. Could you even imagine that?
>Wait, listen; your time would come sooner rather than later.
>Other?
Those are perspective shifts btw, or the choice to not do one.
>>
>>4409967
>Down to two tanks, was it? The Royal Guard must have been having quite a time…
>>
>>4409967
>Wait, listen; your time would come sooner rather than later.
>>
>>4409967
>Wait, listen; your time would come sooner rather than later.
>>
>>4409967
>Down to two tanks, was it? The Royal Guard must have been having quite a time…
>>
>>4409967
>Down to two tanks, was it? The Royal Guard must have been having quite a time…
By the way do we get any Valour points from yesterday's raid?
>>
>>4409976
>By the way do we get any Valour points from yesterday's raid?
You did not! For whatever reason. Perhaps you didn't get into enough of a fight?
>>
>>4409967
>>Down to two tanks, was it? The Royal Guard must have been having quite a time…
>>
>>4409969
>>4409974
>>4409976
>>4409989
Give me a look on the other side.

>>4409971
>>4409972
Get me to disc 2. Disc 3? Probably 4.

Writing- shouldn't be a long mini aside anyways. Depending.
>>
Twaryian Occupied Ellowie Border Zone- Dymny Area

Once, you were a soldier. A proud servant of the Republic of Ellowie, the eternal, whose people stood head and shoulders above their neighbors in all things. Several years ago, you had fought your last- or so you had thought. A service record of two years was cut short as a penetration of your tank by a hidden anti-tank gun severed your lower leg halfway down the shin.

The Republic had no place for cripples, but your heart still yearned to serve. Your wife, sweet and dear as she was, couldn’t understand. Raise your two daughters, she had tried to reassure you- were you not happy to have them all? You were- you were happy beyond words that you were blessed with such a family.

You couldn’t be happy with yourself, no matter how you tried.

Then, the Republic fell. The army fled where it was not defeated, and the dreadful enemy took your homelands. Your wife, your two daughters, six and four years old- you at first went with them, to flee to the west, but your false foot dragged with every step. Your daughters looked back to the home they were sent running from- and you found yourself looking back too.

Zofie noticed. You’d been married for eight years when you were hardly past your second decades, of course she knew what was in your mind, even if she didn’t understand why. She tried to keep you from leaving. Brought up how you’d always wanted a son. Said how the Republic had taken care of you, and would keep taking care of you and the family. You hoped you’d had given her a son, that night those pleas were made- but the next night, the call of your homeland could no longer be ignored. It was time for you to return to battle.
You are Zoldak. Such was not your name- merely an old word, that was what you were now. As the homeland had called you to fight once more, when you left your family, so too did they call…and so did they have to be driven from your mind, so all that was left was Zoldak. No matter how you tried, though, Zofie remained.

Months later- the day of battle had come. You had not been present at Lodjaw, though you had participated in a few skirmishes. Recently however, you had been drawn back. Told to train others. Promised that you would find yourself in the field in the time of greatest need. Doubt plagued you, but you trusted the Grandmaster, met the fellows of your “Royal Guard.” Though you were neutral on the subject of the Monarchy, most of the others were very happy with such a title. A combination of clever thievery and hidden workshops had equipped you once again with tanks- Twaryian T-8 types, partially rebuilt, given new turrets that were larger and did not make the tank so lopsided, with thicker frontal armor to resist light guns and anti-tank rifles, wider treads to accommodate the new weight. They were ugly machines, but they were better than most could hope to expect fighting alongside the Eastern Resistance Army.
>>
The attack had caught the Twaryians off balance. The Royal Guard had defeated the enemy wherever you found them, and your spirits had soared like never before. The armor that the Twaryians had sent against you were vanquished, and when morning came, Ellowie commanded this battlefield, while the Twaryians were confused all over, you had heard.

Yet the new offensives hit snags. One of your overloaded garage-built tanks had broken down last night after damage to the engine sustained by anti-tank rifle fire and had to be abandoned to confused and desperate amateurs to attempt to repair. Two others had been struck by anti-tank gun fire and knocked out, one set aflame. So perished Wlad, your elder and the commander of the tanks, and Tomasz, an eager and inexperienced tanker. As Jozef labored to get the broken T-8ERA to come to life again, only you and Lanze were left. Lanze had been a tanker who completed training but could not fight in the war that sundered Ellowie. His tank had a patriotic slogan across its front- The Eagle Shall Never Falter! Lanze himself was faltering, though, from his first experience of true combat. Mortar fire had been present throughout much of the day, and despite starting the operation well rested, none of you had slept a wink throughout the night and day. Losing comrades had rattled Lanze’s already tired mind- but he tiredly insisted upon continuing. You suspected shame rather than confidence, but then, perhaps you were alike that way.

The Grandmaster, knighted of King Wladysaw the…somethingth, and a good man, had not sent further commands to the tiny tank unit you were now in charge of, reduced to less than half its original strength. Merely a guideline- to take opportunities, and to keep yourselves alive to serve the cause. Simple enough, though the fact that all Royal Guard units had been equipped with radios meant that you were the most coordinated of the lot. The effort to separate the two halves of the remnants of the Dymny Garrison, after they had been driven out of their town, however, had exhausted the strength of the tanks as well as the elite mobile infantry. The artillery and anti-tank units were whole; but they were now supporting other elements. The Orders- which you were not sure how to feel about. The zeal was there, but the discipline…you had heard ugly things, and seen things when taking Dymny. Things you didn’t think adolescents were capable of- but the hatred was in their hearts to do it, you learned. Their will to fight was not tempered by sternness, their lust for violence untamed and wild like young beasts.
>>
You didn’t want to return to Dymny. It would likely be where the remains of the mobile Royal Guard would be called, once reinforcements for the easterners came through, but the Orders unnerved you, now, even more than the Vengeful Phantoms. The Vengeful Phantoms were a collective of asocial, certainly unstable marksmen and snipers left behind as a spiteful gift to the Twaryians by Republic Army High Command. The Orders merely looked like dusty, pink cheeked children. Pockmarked young teenaged boys and scruffy young girls.

An unknowable few, sometimes, somehow, murderers and rapists and who could say what other beastly things, under the innocent mask.

It was time to stop dawdling. The Grandmaster was commander of the Royal Guard- it was possible the rate of your unit’s depletion had shaken some nerve, but you knew enough of the flow of battle to know that now wasn’t the time to sit about and wait, whether that was to continue fighting, or to prepare for another scenario.

Your unit was interposed between two halves of the Twaryians. To the north was the stronger pocket numerically. Only some of the Twaryian line infantry, mostly their unskilled Garrison troops- but also, the majority of their support, supplies, everything they had managed to extract from Dymny, be it manpower or materiel. To your south, a portion of line infantry that had done admittedly heroic work in fending off the ERA’s efforts to catch their weaker elements. For their efforts, they had been isolated now, but the most ferocious of their defense was surely spent. They’d been the main target of the artillery this whole time, and though they had fended off repeated attacks from the Orders, the Vengeful Phantoms had also picked at them. What was left was like a starving lion- weak, but fierce.

The Anti-Tank contingent watched the crossroads south, where it had been reported reinforcements were coming- apparently, armor was on its way. It was their duty to fend off these reinforcements, and the Royal Guard gunners were well trained Ellowian regulars, well equipped with five centimeter cannons from a hidden pre-conquest cache, capable of destroying near any tank but a feared T-15. The composition of the armor coming was unknown, though- perhaps they would need aid?

>Try to coordinate with the Royal Dragoons to continue reducing the South Pocket- the weaker one, as tired and beaten up as all of you were. You could count on the help of the artillery with it, too.
>Pressure the Northern Pocket- stronger, and best to meet strength with strength. Who could say what might happen if the two pockets combined because the north regained its energy?
>The pocket wouldn’t be destroyed quickly. Your own forces weren’t capable of it. Head south- delaying the enemy relief would be more effective than attacking their isolated portions.
>Other?
Also-
>What is the name, the slogan, or similar thing, painted across the side of the tank?
>>
>>4410205
>Try to coordinate with the Royal Dragoons to continue reducing the South Pocket- the weaker one, as tired and beaten up as all of you were. You could count on the help of the artillery with it, too.
We can't fend off reinforcements indefinitely, so the best course of action is to crush the remaining resistance before they arrive and free up the forces tasked with it.

>What is the name, the slogan, or similar thing, painted across the side of the tank?
"Until it is done"
Or "Remove slony"
>>
>>4410205
>Try to coordinate with the Royal Dragoons to continue reducing the South Pocket- the weaker one, as tired and beaten up as all of you were. You could count on the help of the artillery with it, too.

>What is the name, the slogan, or similar thing, painted across the side of the tank?
Zofie
>>
>>4410205
>>Try to coordinate with the Royal Dragoons to continue reducing the South Pocket- the weaker one, as tired and beaten up as all of you were. You could count on the help of the artillery with it, too.
>What is the name, the slogan, or similar thing, painted across the side of the tank?
Judge,King,Motherland
>>
>>4410249
That's more of a Twaryian motto
>>
>>4410205
>Try to coordinate with the Royal Dragoons to continue reducing the South Pocket- the weaker one, as tired and beaten up as all of you were. You could count on the help of the artillery with it, too.
Not like these are state of art tanks we have here.
"Until it is done" works and maybe have Zofie on the inside of the turret with the number of days Zoldaks been gone chalked below.
>>
>>4410205
>>Try to coordinate with the Royal Dragoons to continue reducing the South Pocket- the weaker one, as tired and beaten up as all of you were. You could count on the help of the artillery with it, too.
>inscription
żołnierz ellowski wiedzie do dynmy
the ellowian soldier will lead to dymny
>>
>>4410205
>>The pocket wouldn’t be destroyed quickly. Your own forces weren’t capable of it. Head south- delaying the enemy relief would be more effective than attacking their isolated portions.
>>
>>4410205
>The pocket wouldn’t be destroyed quickly. Your own forces weren’t capable of it. Head south- delaying the enemy relief would be more effective than attacking their isolated portions.
>What is the name, the slogan, or similar thing, painted across the side of the tank?
A spurred sabaton, in the spirit of the Grandmaster and Zoldak's missing foot
>>
Apologies for the wait.

>>4410219
>>4410241
>>4410249
>>4410703
Coordinate with remaining motor assets.

>>4410706
>>4410943
Go south to deal with reinforcements.

>>4410219
"Until it is Done"
Or a racist slur

>>4410241
Go with the sappy move of naming an inanimate object after your wife.

>>4410249
A Reactionary at heart, in these trying times.

>>4410540
Until it is done. Days until it is done. Things that have been done.

>>4410703
A language very few speak anymore in these lands- not since the days of Alexander's heirs. Despite the collaboration of the kings, the imposition of cultural unity laws was universal.
Not that it was perfectly executed as one can see in places.

>>4410943
A metal boot for a wooden foot.

What a canvas you've made of this vehicle. Are you sure you weren't meant to be an artist? A poet? Writing.
>>
Authority laid in your hands like it never had been before- the most pressing problem, to you, was this isolated pocked of troops that had fended off repeated attacks. Much as you’d like to fend off reinforcements from the south, who could certainly be more dangerous…the reinforcements would not stop flowing. The more enemies you surrounded, the more of the ERA’s own that had to mind them, leaving less to defend against the increasing enemy outwards.

You climbed over your tank, carefully, putting your false foot first- it did well for walking, but acrobatics were either slow and involved or clumsy as they were quick. You wouldn’t be running anywhere either- but that was what the treads were for. After you got out, and squatted a few times to stretch your muscles, you looked over the tank- painted white, splotched with grey in the pattern of old Ellowian Republic Army camouflage. Written in darker grey- words. Old regulations had only permitted a single name or slogan, written small. The size regulation was hard to shake, but without any superiors watching over to enforce the rules, you had turned your tank into a veritable announcement board, each written a different dull day of waiting for the tanks to finally be used.

On one side, the proclamation of the ERA and the Grandmaster- a call to times of old. Judge, King, Motherland- there were a fair few followers of the Cathedra in Ellowie, but you didn’t call yourself among them. Your spouse did, though. Upon the other side- a phrase in old Ellowian. You didn’t know very much of that at all, since that language had largely faded away with all the others with Kaiser Alexander’s mandate of New Nauk, but Wlad had scribed it saying it had been a declaration of your mission. Wlad was dead now, though. Who could say what it said now?

Below the Old Ellowian, there was a painted picture of a sabaton, in white against a grey splotch. A token to the Grandmaster, who dressed himself head to toe in armor like a knight of hundreds of years past- something you and the other tankers were amused by, but you’d seen his eyes through his helm once; and you could tell that he didn’t wear it for himself. That earned him some respect- that, and the boot was a memorial to your departed foot. On the front of the turret, finally, there was painted a final declaration- Until It Is Done. Twaryians didn’t know New Nauk, but that message would be facing them as long as you fought, that they might know what sort of war they had begun.
>>
On the inside, the name you couldn’t forget. You’d tried your best to be nothing but Zoldak, and to set everything else aside. Maybe you’d written it to help with that, or maybe, in some moment of doubt, you had refused to commit fully to the obliteration of self. Whatever the reason, you couldn’t remember doing it, but by your position inside the turret was written the name of your wife. Under that, lines-tallies. Strokes you didn't recall either, but every time you looked again they were more numerous.

By comparison, your sole remaining allied commander’s vehicle was acetic in decoration. “Lanze,” you called up to the other tank, Lanze leaning backwards against the cupola- a feature installed in these tanks that the normal T-8s lacked. “We need to prepare to attack again. How is your ammunition and fuel?”

“Huh?” a distance you didn’t like, as he squinted and blinked at you. “Uh, green, since we got the things from Jozef’s tank.” A heavy yawn.

That same tiredness wasn’t something you could deny, and after your own yawn, you said, “…We need to finish off the southern pocket of resistance. I’m going to call the Jansien and his Dragoons to help us do that. We’ll have the artillery guns on call too. If any others catch on, that’ll help.” Few of the orders had radio equipment that was still working. There had been an effort to give every unit coordination capability, but inexpert use meant that some sets were broken by accident. What remained was relegated to the most important places. “Not that we should need their help.”

Lanze blinked again. “But, we lost Wlad and Redhair busting through last time…what if they have more anti-tank guns besides the ones we dealt with?”

“We can’t just leave them be. Besides, the last Orders that attacked them said they didn’t have any left.” It wasn’t that you didn’t share Lanze’s concern. It was that paralysis of decision was exactly what you were fighting against now. “Worry more about anti-tank rifles now. One last good push will knock them over.”

“Knock them over…” Lanze repeated, with the same faraway look on his face, before he regained focus, “Do you think they’ll surrender?”
>>
In a normal military context? Yes, Twaryians were theoretically capable of surrender, even if you hadn’t seen it happen at a large scale during your service. They were devoted to a cause, and held spite for your kind, but most weren’t unthinking zealots with no value for life. If they thought they could get away, they’d try that up to the hilt, but if they were well and truly buggered?

Yet this wasn’t a normal context. This was a rebellion, and though the Twaryians wouldn’t know the depths of what had occurred to their captured in Dymny by ill-disciplined and vengeful fighters, they’d certainly taken plenty of abuse from the Orders along the way, and nobody had surrendered to any of the Royal Guard yet. Then again, you hadn’t yet run down anybody cornered and exhausted yet, either.

“Maybe.”

Then the next question. “Will we…accept that surrender?”

Wlad had been utterly uncompromising on the matter of Twaryians- he would have said no, for the sake of his personal vengeance he could no longer carry out. Tomasz hadn’t been a soldier, just a capable amateur, and the idea of Republic Army Honor was foreign to him compared to destroying the enemy. Jozef…had once confided in you that he was sexually stimulated by the haughty attitude Twaryian women expressed. He was also a mercenary after having been discharged from the army for delinquency, having returned recently.

However, even if Lanze had never seen a battle while the Republic Army still fought. Instilled with certain principles, like you had been in the past. Did you still believe in those same principles, for this? Were they even practical in this situation?

>They could surrender, but they likely wouldn’t. You’d have to put them down regardless of how either of you felt about it. It was kill or be killed.
>You had no clue how you’d deal with prisoners, but yes, the rules of war dictated that the surrender of an enemy be accepted and no further harm come to them for it.
>If they tried to surrender, it would be a trick. You’d have to make your heart as ice- the Twaryians have certainly already done so.
>Other?
>>
>>4411875
>Any who surrenders is one less we have to fight. Any who surrenders and isn't harmed is one more incentive for the others to surrender. We can worry about what to do with them later. Maybe force them to build fortifications.
>Also, being seen as merciless killers is bad PR.
>>
>>4411875
>You had no clue how you’d deal with prisoners, but yes, the rules of war dictated that the surrender of an enemy be accepted and no further harm come to them for it.
Let's see them actually surrender first.

Also damn, Dymny must have been six different kinds of shitshow after it was conquered.
>>
>>4411875
>You had no clue how you’d deal with prisoners, but yes, the rules of war dictated that the surrender of an enemy be accepted and no further harm come to them for it.
>>
>>4411875
>You had no clue how you’d deal with prisoners, but yes, the rules of war dictated that the surrender of an enemy be accepted and no further harm come to them for it.
>>
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>>4378735
>This quest is still going and going strong
>The Witch Apprentice quest that started along with it the same week back in 2015 died 2 years ago and died for good
>>
>>4411875
>>You had no clue how you’d deal with prisoners, but yes, the rules of war dictated that the surrender of an enemy be accepted and no further harm come to them for it.

>>4412232
Tanks beat witches - that's sort of what this quest is about after all
>>
>>4412232
Join us, this is sorta Witch's (Absent) Husband Quest
>>
I am back.
>>4411889
We have an example to set- an example maybe the others among them will follow. which would make things easier.

>>4411953
>>4412080
>>4412176
>>4412273
What do we do with them? Who knows, but you know the rules and so do I.

Writing.

>>4412232
The QM for that did recently announce he was coming back though!

>>4412280
...Alright, time for thread 1 of the newly rechristened Witch's Absent Husband Quest- Someday they'll actually tie the knot.
>>
>>4412602
>In before the Dragoons ignore us and just shoot them all
>>
“We will,” you said flatly and simply. You’d have to see them actually do it first/ “I don’t know how we’ll deal with them, but it’s the rules of war that if they surrender, then that’s accepted.”
“Do the rules of war matter right now?”

“They do.” Zoldak was certain of it- even if you were still not sure why he…you, were. “Any who surrender are one less to fight, and if that works, the others might surrender too. We can worry about what we’d do with them later, what matters is to neutralize the threat.”

“…Alright, yeah,” Lanze nodded, “Do you think Jansien thinks that?”

“He learned the same lessons as we.” You only hoped he hadn’t forgotten them in the face of these times. “Get ready. Have you taken a pill?”

Lanze blinked wearily again. “Uh…no. I don’t want to. I’ve heard they make you…act strange.”

“They might. But if you’re feeling too tired to fight you’ll need it.” You weren’t quite at the place to need one of those little white-grey speckled tablets. Not yet. You’d heard that some of the people who were minding over the young members of the Orders had given the kids the drugs early to assuage their fear. They weren’t supposed to give them to the children at all, you remembered the Grandmaster saying- but the Grandmaster couldn’t watch over everybody at once. In the best case, it was just a rumor, albeit one that Lanze was clearly concerned about.
“I’ll take one when I’m tired.”

“Take one now.” You made the suggestion an order. The pills didn’t kick in right away, and you were about to head into battle. “I’m calling the Dragoons now and getting their help. We should be away in five minutes.”

You made the laborious crawl back into your tank- once inside, you pulled your own crinckled packet of two of the pills from your jacket, and gave them a contemplative look. It wasn’t Pervitin- this was some new drug that had been made after you were discharged. Pilot’s Salt had been in use by Ellowian pilots for some time, but it was known to be addictive. You’d been told this substance was synthesized to both improve long term effectiveness and also to be significantly less damaging to the body. What hadn’t been told but you’d learned anyways, was that this drug hadn’t completed testing before being put into emergency manufacture and deployed. The large stockpile the ERA had found was all they had, though.

Later, maybe. You put the pills away. “Gunner,” you called across the turret to one of the other two crewmen in this tank, “Wake up.”

“Sngrggh. I’m up. I’m up.”

“Hm.” You slipped down to the turret floor, fiddled with the radio. “Dragoons, this is the Cuirassiers. Over.”

“Send it, Cuirassiers.” Jansien’s voice crackled back, heavy interference blending in. These radio sets were what could be found, not what was ideal, despite Ellowie’s pride in its electronic developments.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d3)

“We have to handle this southern pocket. I’m taking what’s left of us down to finish them off, and you’re helping. I’ll have the Cannons soften them up with a few rounds first.” Cannons was the artillery, of course, but as an attempt at misdirection for potential listeners, the anti-tank guns were called the Howitzers. No plan had been made for what to call the newly captured mortars, but you weren’t in contact with them anyways.

Silence from Jansien, as though you’d done something untoward.

“Dragoons, I’m not hearing you, over.”

“I heard you. I don’t agree with this plan, the Orders are supposed to handle this.”

“But they haven’t.”

“And I bet you’ll go in by yourself and force me to follow you so you aren’t alone.”

“Yes.”

“You better hope this goes well then. Wlad’s last bad idea put him in the ground, and I don’t want to end up the same way.” Jansien said heatedly.

“It’s just one last holdout,” you tried to reassure Jansien, “The Cannons have been at them all morning. I’ll be heading directly south in three minutes. Will you converge with me?”

“At the point of contact,” Jansien said roughly back, “This better not finish us off at the same time.”

“It won’t. Contact me once you’re moving out. Out.” You couldn’t blame Jansien for being frustrated, he had proportionally taken as much damage to his unit as your unit had, and the man he had been coordinating with had been replaced by you, whilst the Grandmaster fought fires elsewhere, or was quiet for whatever other reason. The attitude didn’t matter- that you had his help, did.

Three minutes passed. Jansien spoke promptly and on time. “We’re ready. Cuirassier?”

“We’re moving out too. See you at the objective.” You bent down and switched to the platoon network- this really was a pain of a setup. “Cuirassier, we’re moving. Watch the nine o’clock, echelon left. Follow me south, we engage on sight.”

“Roger that, Cuirassier.” One could dispense with numerical designators when it was just one and another- not really, but it was what you and Lanze were doing anyways.

The Driver had already been warming the engine. Upon hearing the order to move, the T-8ERA lurched forward with a jumping kick over of the engine. The power plant was not fond of the extra weight placed upon it, but these tanks didn’t have to work long anyways. Just long enough.
-----
>roll is for encounter
>>
You and Lanze rolled out with both of you peering out of the tanks. This was a practice the Twaryians didn’t do- they didn’t value visibility over the small risk of being wounded. Such was all that alerted you to the first encounter with the southern enemy in this attack, though. That, and the tingling in your toes that you felt whenever a fight was about to begin- a tingling even in your wooden foot.

You ducked back down, and over the tank, a bullet cracked by- not particularly close. An overconfident Twaryian thought they could take you out, but now, they had drawn your attention, and ire.

“Contact front, right, two o’clock,” you announced over the radio, “Two squads. They went down to ground.” A probing force, presumably, looking for a way out. The ground you’d found them in didn’t offer them much cover in a firefight- they must have gotten hopeful after not being attacked by your tanks for long enough, but you knew this wasn’t all of them- certainly not.

The lack of Anti-tank rifle fire in the initial shot told you plenty- this bunch didn’t have ranged anti-tank weaponry. Going down to ground helped them avoid you, but they couldn’t hurt you unless you got close.

Yet, they also couldn’t hope to catch up to you.

>Remain in place and make this a fight- leave no stragglers behind you.
>Drive away. If the enemy dispersed themselves, they were doing your job for you, weren’t they?
>Ask the Dragoons to come over early and help you. You couldn’t be too careful with what few assets you had left.
>Other?
>>
>>4412848
>Ask the Dragoons to come over early and help you. You couldn’t be too careful with what few assets you had left.
Best to concentrate our depleted forces together and defeat them in detail.
By the way what guns are these ERA T-8s using?
>>
>>4412865
>By the way what guns are these ERA T-8s using?
The same gun the original captured tanks were using- which is to say, a four centimeter cannon. Enough to defeat light armor while having a decent explosive charge behind it. The driver also has access to a newly installed machine gun, but there is no coaxial secondary armament- T-8s armed with four centimeter cannons didn't tend to have any machine guns whatsoever (machine gun armament being upon a separate type) and are crewed by two men instead of three, so the platform's being pushed a bit.
>>
>>4412848
>Ask the Dragoons to come over early and help you. You couldn’t be too careful with what few assets you had left.
>>
>>4412848
>Ask the Dragoons to come over early and help you. You couldn’t be too careful with what few assets you had left.
>>
>>4412848
>Ask the Dragoons to come over early and help you. You couldn’t be too careful with what few assets you had left.
>>
>>4412848
>>Ask the Dragoons to come over early and help you. You couldn’t be too careful with what few assets you had left.
>>
>>4412865
>>4412886
>>4412890
>>4412897
>>4412922
Call in the help- the enemy was here, and that was what you were here for.
Writing.
>>