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/qst/ - Quests

”The HQ will serve as a distraction if nothing else. Its defences were still intact, so if we knock down the comms, maybe we can find a counter for that thing.” You say half-mindedly. Your mind already racing, trying to find any possibilities for victory. And one thought emerging over all – I must ensure the safety of my lord, no matter the cost.

Hitting the comm, you try to bring up Carolus over it. His squadron got the bulk of the exo-suit’s fire after all.

“Lord-Lieutenant-Colonel Sambor, do you read me ?” You say whilst your own comms officer struggles to contact the shell-shocked remnants of your force.

Soon enough, you start hearing crackling from the other and some coughs. “I- I’m alive.”

“Can you still fight ?”

“I think so, yea.”

“Good. We’re taking five to reorganize, see what’s left of your squadron.”

“Roger that.” He says through gritted teeth, pain evident in his voice.

Undoing the hatch of your tank, you steadily rise above it, pushing with your arms you clamber out and stand at the top of the turret.

All around you is carnage. Men lay dead or dying in their thousands, the vanguard mechanized units appear utterly devastated, with only about half fighting strength left. Out of Carolus’ tank squadron, just from a quick glance you can see about four or so tanks still looking somewhat serviceable. Your own force fared better, but you are down half your tanks and about half your mechanized elements. The two infantry regiments that had been following you were beaten even worse, maybe a couple companies remain out of the two regiments.

Dust swirls all around you, fresh blazing fires rage uncontrolled illuminating the surroundings as slowly, slowly, the dying sunlight of Noct moves away from your vision. Perhaps ten or twenty more minutes and darkness will engulf this part of the planet once more. Perhaps you will be able to use it to your advantage, or maybe the dropped exo-suit will make a mockery of any attempts to hunt it down.

Watching the horizon, you see as another one of the ever so common flash storms is approaching at a rapid pace, the charged mass already unleashing the bright flashes of lightning. Once the rain kicks up again, it will not stop for about three days, based on the latest prediction you heard before leaving base Roland. You were supposed to have finished by the time it rolled in, as means of cover for your retreat.

No plan survives contact with the enemy. You cannot help but think with self-mocking derision.

Turning your head back, you see the clear path that the exo-suit had made for itself. Knocked down buildings, giant holes in the ground clearly showcasing where it had taken its steps, the ever-present fog kicked up by the exo-suit’s movement.

Eventually your attention is grabbed by the limping figure, one of many, coming closer to your tank.

“Lieutenant-Colonel.” Carolus says weakly, blood and dust staining his protection suit, easily seen scorch marks had licked their way across it, to the point where you can see heat still rising from certain parts of it. “I’m down to two fully functioning tanks and intact crews. Four if I push it.”

“Then push it, we need everything we can get in our situation.” After replying, you continue to watch the pathway of the exo-suit.

“Alright.” He goes silent for a moment. “That came out of nowhere.”

You turn to regard him.

“I mean. Just trying to make small talk. We need to keep things calm and usual; my men are already rattled enough to the point of mutiny. I don’t know for how long I can keep pushing them.” He finally admits his worries.

“We just need to do our duty. Shoot any mutineers if they pop up, that will keep them in line.” Anger rising in your voice you nearly shout out. Non-household troops are so unreliable, do they not know the honour in serving their masters ?

“It will only keep the murmurs down for a moment, sir.” He says with annoyance in his voice. Nobles never liked taking orders from a red-eyed like you. “But many think that with the deployment of an exo-suit and the endless waves of reinforcements continuously flowing down. The battle is lost, that we should retreat back to base Roland.”

I do not care Lord-Lieutenant-Colonel.” With clear threat in your voice, you say. “Keep your men in check or I will keep them in check for you. Any and all decisions regarding the larger battlefield strategic judgements are up to my lord and his wisdom.” You finish with finality in your voice.

“Understood.” Sambor replies and turns away, not awaiting to be dismissed or requesting so.

You will have to inform your lord of this when you return to his side.

But for now, you have more pressing matters that occupy your mind. You have to get to that jammer, if nothing else, it should allow for you to contact your lord and request further instructions.

Eventually your force begins to roll onwards. This time far more silent than before, and you can understand why, if such casualties were suffered in a proper fight, morale wouldn’t have fallen so low, but fighting something that you cannot even scratch that obliterates at least half of your force in less than a minute has terrible consequences for unit cohesion.

All in all, your force had been significantly reduced, but you should, keyword should, have enough firepower left to overwhelm the defenders. Hopefully, just like how the deployment of a hostile exo-suit would put everyone on alert, a friendly one deployed might make the enemy confident in victory, thus making them sloppy.

Opening up your map, you begin to look over it, hoping that Lieutenant-General’s information had actually been spot on, with your force to spread thin, you cannot afford to search over as large of an area that you previously could have.

Watching as your location indicator gets closer and closer to the presumed area, you turn to regard your tank’s cameras and begin looking around. Officially, the area in which you are settling down used to be a decently sized park during the private ownership era of Noct I. Afterwards, the park had been rolled over and turned into a garrison outpost, using the wide area around it as an added means of defence against infiltration. Or rebelling locals.

The terrain here, had Talon not overly modified it, the local area would be perfect for your tanks. Your greatest fear here would still be the cyborgs, if they can close the distance, it would be game over for any of the tanks that got latched on to. Still, you cannot dismiss the potential of enemy infantry, with your numbers so savaged they would now pose a serious threat by throwing missile after missile against you.

Finally coming into view of the main facility, you can see collapsed walls and fallen in rooftops. Utterly destroyed and annihilated buildings litter the surroundings, destroyed wrecks of about five or so dozen IFVs, still neatly parked next to one another stand silent as whatever fires had engulfed them died out long ago, not even a wisp of smoke rises from them as any and all use the defenders may have had were crushed in moments due to the rapid strike unleashed by Talon.

And all around the signs of Roy’s crumble, like a parasite infecting its dying host is a city of tents. Cheap, metal prefabs, quickly thrown down to act as impromptu barracks, and no doubt as a local command centre for at least a few companies, if not regiments in the general area.

A close by engagement or one at the distance ? You weigh the two choices, but it quickly becomes obvious to you which one you will go with.

“All units, spearhead formation, overlapping ranges of fire. Tanks first, mechanized second, be prepared to dive deep once the tanks unleash. Give the enemy no time.” You call out through the comm.

Quickly forming up, your drive hits the throttle to full and you lurch forwards, opening fire to the yet unsuspecting enemy. Sloppy, very sloppy, their scanners should have noticed us forming up. You cannot help but chastise your foes.

Opening fire, your shells land accurately onto the makeshift camp, blowing apart the ramshackle tents. From your zoomed out scope you can see that some defenders were caught entirely off guard, lacking helmets or their protection suits as a whole, their face slow and painful deaths as the toxic atmosphere takes hold of its new victims.

Still, Talon had not been entirely incompetent, those defenders on watch had quickly noticed your presence and began to prepare defences. And soon enough missiles start flying towards you, the vast collection of buildings now serving as defensive positions to your enemies.

Whilst your fire is efficient, but not as you had hoped, the outpost is a military building after all, still, your rounds from time to time due manage to hit accurately and sail into the various cracks, exploding in a shower light, shredding apart what local defenders are unlucky enough to be hit by your fire. Meanwhile, the enemies’ counter attack is entirely harmless, there are some close shaves from time to time, but your tanks and mechanized infantry proceed without any issues, whilst the remainder of your infantry reinforcements lags behind, as they try to rush as fast they can on foot.

Now that you had closed the distance even further, your fire begins to become ever increasingly accurate, to the point where return fire starts to actually dwindle due to your shots finding their marks more often than not. With more and more tens falling down as your rate and weight of fire continues to increase, the local defenders seem to fall into a complete panic, their shots becoming increasingly inaccurate despite the closer distance. Clearly, these are either second line troops or formations so savaged that they may as well be combat ineffective.

This strong initial showing also has another advantage that you are banking on. The increase of your own shattered morale, giving back the fighting spirit to your men.

The tanks come to a screeching halt as your mechanized infantry charges onwards, the APCs firing off their single railgun turrets mounted on each one of them, before also coming to a rapid halt, dropping down their ramps and unleashing the infantry within. Household troops are not as easily shaken as regulars, and it shows as the are the first to lead the charge into the collections of both still standing strong and blown out buildings.

That is when the screaming starts. Whilst the enemy infantry proved to be inefficient, the intelligence of shock companies being present had proven to be unfortunately accurate.

Enemy heavy infantry had emerged out of their hidey holes and began brutal fire. And these troops are clearly not second line garrison force. Their accurate fire, large calibre and sheer numbers quickly begins blunting the charge, forcing your infantry to dive for cover instead of quickly rushing in and overwhelming the defenders.

And then the cyborgs emerged. A quick count gives you about twenty heads, but that is enough for them to slam into your infantry and begin to push them back.

Naturally, your tanks continue to roar as shell after shells is carefully unleashed upon the cyborgs, but most fire misses, or simply causes shrapnel to kick up, damaging, somewhat, but not killing.

“In the name of the Golden Lion, kill them all !” You shout over the comm, as the last of the infantry companies on foot reach the objective and begin adding their firepower.

(POV shift: You are Colonel Vinn Kosmowski.)


The most apt way of describing your situation. No better prose would be found in the greatest musings of the most talented of poets. At least you think so, granted, you hadn’t actually bothered to read any after you managed to get out of school.

Whilst you are making decent enough progress, your forces outside of the spaceport are not as lucky, as such, you’ve got no choice but to take risks.

Light machine gun fire continuous to fire off without rest as your pinned down in yet another chamber.

A large waiting room, with an open floor design and a clear second, third, fourth floors of shops above it allow for the shoppers in more peaceful times to look down upon everyone walking about their business. An excellent place to suck the cash of any traveller. But now, in times of war, an excellent place for your men to bleed and die.

No cover, enemy machinegun emplacements, and hostile infantry ready to snipe down anyone stupid enough to go out there. And we are the fools who will have to go out.

Putting it bluntly, unless another portion of your force that had managed to get in through other main entrances, you have absolutely no choice but to charge onwards until enough people reach position of cover and can deploy some supressing fire.

“Lieutenant-Colonel !” You shout out.

“Yes, sir !”

“Get everyone prepared to charge, power armour upfront, rest prepared to charge the moment they clear the way. Just like the way we busted through at the entrance.”

If only it were that easy. You cannot help but shake your head. At the entrance, you only had to worry about being hit at the front, here however, you would be fired upon from all sides.

You watch as your orders are quickly relayed and swiftly, one after another, your heavy weapons experts charge out into the open, their already beaten and scarred armoured figures move despite many knowing that your orders are the equivalent of simply telling them to go and die.

The figures are immediately locked onto by the enemy, and their rounds begin bouncing off the armoured plating, but from time to time a bullet penetrates, only for the reactive gel underneath to absorb the impact.

However, as they move onwards, even the layered protection is not enough as one man after another falls dead on the floor, their LMGs firing off without stop, the crackling of rifle fire in return finds its perch in their visors, breaking them and eventually cutting the unfortunates down.

Still, you are not named the Stalwarts for no reason, as they had closed their distance and had begun opening fire, forming a circle, they begin hosing down the upper floors, pieces of shattered glass, decorative plants, or more precisely their dying remains, concrete, fancy tiles, everything and anything, once in a blue moon a body falls down, slamming heavily onto the ground, splattering blood onto the black and white tiles.

“Everyone, advance !” You shout over the comm. “ROY !” You scream at the top of your lungs charging outwards, your battle shout is matched by your soldiers screaming at the top of their lungs.

A dozen or so men are cut down in seconds, as Talon forces quickly change their targets and start shooting at your charging infantry. Meanwhile, about a third of your heavy weapons soldiers lay unmoving upon the floor, their vitae staining the floor sanguine. Still, some of your forward elements manage to reach some of the massive pillars, both decorative and actually useful, still, only a single wall can be used to protect themselves, whilst the three other sides are entirely supressed by hostile fire.

Rolling into cover, quite literally, you keep your head down as another spray of bullets misses you and impacts another shop behind you. Turning your head, you notice that it was a woman’s clothing shop. It would have once been nice, but most of the dresses, handbags, shoes, what have you, had been stained by the toxic atmosphere.

Scrambling back to your feet, you quickly begin unloading onto your foes. You will have to supress them, whilst your heavy infantry draws fire, to allow the rest of your force to reach the stairs and escalators. The elevators would be nothing more than kill boxes in a situation like this.

Quickly changing out the magazine, you once more aim down your sight, with the pandemonium all around, you manage to find a moment of peace and fire off a single well aimed shot, blowing out the brains of one of the power armoured machine gunners currently forcing you to keep your head down.

The casing is expelled from your rifle, slowly falling down, the ringing noise of it clattering onto the ground brings you a thought. We’ll win this one yet. Giving oneself to pessimism will quickly break one’s fighting spirit, and you ain’t no coward.

Get your head behind cover once more as the enemy realizes where the effective fire is coming from, you take a moment to overlook the entire battlefield. Dozens of your men lay dead and dozens more squirm around in their last dying moments, only about half of your power armoured troops remain, having given the greatest sacrifice you will not allow them to be forgotten. Because you can see as first of your elements reach the stairs and start making their way upwards, only to be repelled by the waiting defenders, cut down to bits in seconds, yet your soldiers further charge onwards over the fresh corpses of their comrades.

As your men bleed, die, and cry for their mothers, you start hearing the cracking noise of rifle fire, at first you do not mind it, after all, rifles keep going off without end for the past few minutes. But these are different, and it takes you a moment of concentration to realize that many of the crackles are followed by screams, distant screams.

When a body bearing the silver eagle crumples in front of you, the body mangled and twisted from the fall, you suddenly realize that Talon is under attack from another location.

Raising your gaze upwards, you can see two men in protection suits locked in melee, wrestling over the ledge, and based on the sheer damage upon the protection suit of the one bearing the bloodied golden lion, you realize whom just had assisted you. The locals ? The crazy bastards still hold ! You cannot help but smile.

Raising your rifle, you fire off a shot into the fight, it goes wide, missing both of the combatants, but it worked just as you wanted, as the Talon soldier flinches, he receives a kick straight to the chest, straight to his centre of mass. The man stumbles, lays across the guard rail and is punched straight onto the head, before the Roy soldier grabs the disoriented man by the legs and lifts him over.

The screams and the subsequent thump, alerts those soldiers that had still not caught on, forcing Talon to now divide fire between you and the local defenders.

Jumping out of cover, you grab the nearby Roy banner, dropped by one of your dead men, raise it high and charge onwards, firing off your rifle without any real accuracy, as you rush up a set of stairs.

“Come on you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever ?!” You cannot laugh as you charge, you always wanted to say that. Insanity will carry your onwards this day, the gunshot wound on your shoulder tells you that tomorrow said insanity will result in one painful morning.

(End of POV shift.)

“Please stop moving sir !” The medic frantically shouts as you shift forwards to get a better look of the battlefield. The man had been desperately attending to your wounds, especially your now handless arm. But you had been ignoring the pain for a while now, instead concentrating on the happenings on before you.

The battle had been raging intensely all around you. Using your superior vision, brilliant mind, the zoom in function of your helmet, and the heads-up display showcasing your forces as well as identified enemy locations, you do your best to coordinate your forces against overwhelming odds. It had come to the point where you can feel acute pain in your head, brought on by the stress and your endless concentration to even the most minor of details.

Crackling rifle fire besides you draws enemy response as more bullets riddle the destroyed IFV you are now using as an impromptu command post. Your tanks is unfortunately too far away in the current situation for you to relocate to it, and if it tries to come to you, well, that will merely make it the priority target for the enemy.

Perhaps Girauld had not expected for you to show such sheer toughness and resilience, as whilst he bleeds you badly, you are giving as hard as you get. An APC is annihilated on your side by IFVs, for them to only be obliterated by your own tanks.

An enemy charge is blunted by your own troops, anchoring onto the wrecks of Talon’s own machinery, for your own counter assault to be routed, but said assault acted as a distraction, allowing for Amato’s company to strike deep into a weakened front and commence a vicious slaughter to only fall back the moment the enemy reacts.

But all you are doing is buying time, as one attack succeeds, or you react just a moment too late, the most painful time was when you had still sent forces, only for the position to be overwhelmed and your relief force to be butchered in the open.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that your entire resistance is being upheld by your efforts, and the ever-increasing strain on your mind. You wish Amato could help you, but you’d rather he directs his last two mechs and that special company of his. Speaking of which, the mech had proven invaluable as always in a siege battle like this, sheer force wrapped in a walking metal box, slow, but powerful. And most importantly, acting as a massive distraction allowing you to more easily manoeuvre your forces.

“What’s your name, soldier ?” You ask having sent over a series of orders for a new assault.

“Sir ?” The medic asks.

“Your name ?” You repeat.

“Fawzi, sir.”

“Alright, Fawzi, I want you to return back to our rear, get to Lord-Lieutenant-Colonel Savin, tell him I want him at my location and to prepare a breakthrough. I dare not risk the comms being intercepted.”

You suddenly hear the noise of feet kicking off, quickly extending your hood hand, you grab the man before he has the time to run off. “One more thing, tell him of the Criea campaign, how we managed to win that one.”

You can tell that the man looks at you with sheer confusion, but you let go off his arm. “Go.”

Listening to your words he runs off as fast as his feet can carry him. With this, that cunning bastard should have noticed my movements. He had laid a trap for you, so you will lay one down in return. Nothing like some good old-fashioned misdirection.

“Reading you.” You say activating your comm.

“Aureli-, oh shit !” Vinn swears as a massive explosion rings out, a moment or two of swearing later, Vinn gets his bearings and continues. “Good news, made contact with the remnants of friendly defenders and we have the nuke in place. We’re still fighting with what remains of Talon forces, so I am tied down for a while, but I should be able to send your forces some assistance.”

“Roger that. Keep me informed.” You reply.

“Sir !” One of your soldiers comes over to you. “Open comm, sir. Enemy commander on it.”

With a nod towards the man, you switch the comm.

“This is Lord-Colonel Constance. What is it that you wish to talk about ?” You ask, still maintaining proper decorum, even whilst your gaze turns to your stump.

“Constance, you’re still alive then ? Just as tough as you look, huh ?”

“Please get to the point Lieutenant-Colonel.”

“Surrender your forces, lay down your arms and you and your men will be treated with respect.”

“I can hardly trust the words of one who would dishonourably attack during negotiations.”

“We both know that honour matters for shit in situations like these. Listen well, all Roy forces, we had deployed an exo-suit. I repeat Talon exo-suit is on the battlefield.”

With those words, you can see how visibly disturbed the men next to you look.

“Is it what you described as special measures ?”

“Aye, it is.”

“You know I cannot surrender.”

“And I can’t offer you anything else. New officer came down, things are now out of my hands, I am offering you one final mercy.”

>Time for some risky manoeuvres, pretend that you accept the deal, hopefully it will work and you will not be forced to actually surrender. Sure, you will not be the better man in this fight, but you will be the living man.

>You’ve already begun setting things up. Time for a breakthrough and utter panic. High chance of backfiring, but also a high chance of killing everyone who tried to kill you.

>Laugh. Hit the big red button. Maybe you’ll live, maybe not.

>Just keep fighting, Vinn will wrap up soon enough.

>Perhaps he is right, surrender with honour. As a noble you will not be treated poorly.

>(Write in)
Last thread.

>>Just keep fighting, Vinn will wrap up soon enough.
>You’ve already begun setting things up. Time for a breakthrough and utter panic. High chance of backfiring, but also a high chance of killing everyone who tried to kill you.
>Just keep fighting, Vinn will wrap up soon enough.
What's the difference between these two?
I assume Vinn is coming with us on both?
Also fuck this enemy commander, we warned him and this is the result. Also we have nukes, nukes counter everything. Once we nuke this spot we can set up a trap on the way to the final objective. Either the Exosuit fucks around in the rest of the city and gets bogged down or it rushes to secure the last remaining landing site and we use a spare nuke on it.
One other lore question, what happens to people like our bodyguard if their lord dies? He seems almost Bushido like in his dedication to us.

First option sees you launch a massive counter offensive in hopes of crippling the enemy unsuspecting it.

The second would see you try to maintain the status quo and hold on until Vinn's regiment can return in force.

It is basically the scale of your planned distraction and its objectives.

>One other lore question, what happens to people like our bodyguard if their lord dies? He seems almost Bushido like in his dedication to us.

Depends on the house and how strict it is. In most houses, if the lord dies before the bodyguard, in cases like these, it is only honourable for the bodyguard to commit suicide and follow their lord. Other houses would view this as a massive waste of resources and they'd probably just reassign the bodyguard.

In actuality, these people are bondsmen. Whilst slavery is illegal in the empire, a red-eyed like him would stand out as a sore thumb if kicked out of the house and it would be equivalent of simply sending the bondsman to his death. Since if one is kicked out for any reason, it shows that he cannot be trusted.
>Just keep fighting, Vinn will wrap up soon enough.
I'll vote for this then, our luck in this setting is liable to kill us outright if we try anything risky.

>would be equivalent of simply sending the bondsman to his death.
Interesting. So are there any Ronin type equivalents of bondsmen who've survived by themselves somehow against all odds?

>Interesting. So are there any Ronin type equivalents of bondsmen who've survived by themselves somehow against all odds?

Undoubtedly. They received schooling and training similar to their lords and ladies so as to serve them best they are able, they also received genetical enhancements that are far more concerned about purpose than looks. If some managed to survive, they would most likely be found outside the bounds of the Unbroken Empire, where all rabble rousers, political losers, or starry eyed ideologues go to escape imperial justice and its decrees on stability above all else.
>Just keep fighting, Vinn will wrap up soon enough.
option 2 is just as good as hitting the red button honestly

also, have the captchas gotten harder or has my eyesight gotten worse
>You’ve already begun setting things up. Time for a breakthrough and utter panic. High chance of backfiring, but also a high chance of killing everyone who tried to kill you
You know what ? I'll bite it
Alright, maintaining the status quo wins out.

Please give me 6d100 best of 3.

Update will come tomorrow, since I am busy with the whole returning to collage thing. On better news, Renovatio Imperii will come back this weekend.
Rolled 46, 88, 6, 50, 66, 58 = 314 (6d100)

Rolled 34, 29, 40, 38, 82, 95 = 318 (6d100)

and 1's
Rolled 47, 47, 15, 50, 82, 39 = 280 (6d100)

Good rolls so far
>Renovatio Imperii will come back this weekend.
Yesssss. Though I can't wait to fuck around in Broken Empire Space Edition with our brand new (slightly used) battleship.
It's not a battleship but a heavy cruiser.
Was it? I could have sworn it was a battleship. Or at least not a cruiser, the next ship up from a cruiser. The big one we captured, which we totally didn't waste our fleet on and get valued friends killed.

There are light cruisers and heavy cruisers. The Aggressor class is a heavy cruiser.
The vigilant class was a light cruiser, our Timur was a heavy cruiser along with the missile boat and carrier, I forgot what they were called.
>The vigilant class was a light cruiser, our Timur was a heavy cruiser
They're both light cruisers.
Oh. I stand corrected then.
You still good newb?
“I thank you for your mercy, but unfortunately I will have to decline your generous offer.”

“Staying polite all the while sending your men to their deaths ?”

“Staying rude whilst pointlessly attacking ?”


“I do apologize, but I refuse to enter a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.” You say clicking the comm off. To pointlessly exchange words is meaningless, actions will carry the day rather than negotiations.

Turning back your gaze, you spot that your medic had managed to successfully reach the tanks, and as you had expected, in an entirely open manner. The fact that the man had not been shot shows that Lonsway had undoubtedly spotted him. Otherwise a stray round would have already found its way to your man. Whilst he does not bare any symbols denoting him as a medic, the large backpack on his shoulders informs anyone with weaponry nearby that he must be fulfilling an important role.

Taking the peaceful moment, you think back about your previous campaign, one in which you may have shed more blood than here.

Criea, an arguably worse hell hole than the world literally nicknamed Hell’s end. Too close to the system’s star to be nothing more than a desert wasteland, but the poles had still managed to retain an obscene amount of water, around which terraforming efforts were undertaken, allowing for vast jungles to grow around the area as the first step in eventually greening up the entire world. The local lords there supported Dukart-Roy in the civil war, and naturally you were sent in to deal with them. Bloody guerrilla fighting raged without stop there, direct action had proven almost entirely useless, which left only two options. Bombard the world from orbit, entirely reversing the terraforming efforts and dooming the planet to continue being a lifeless rock, or get creative.

And so you did. It is a simple tactic, but surprisingly effective. Send messengers, safe enough not to rouse suspicions, but exposed enough to get your enemy to think that they had found out your plan. Once a small diversionary force is in place, you quickly pull it back, best case scenario, the enemy gives chase and is obliterated by your other assets, worst case scenario, your force disengages after suffering a few losses. Either way, you strike at the exposed weak point in the enemy lines that you had previously observed.

Granted, this strategy does not always work, but when used in situations where the enemy has the upper hand, or at least they think they do, it works wonders. Rare is the commander capable of caution in the face of total victory, and those commanders terrify even you.

Speaking of weaknesses, you had already picked out your one: A reinforced part of the line, clearly and specifically set up for the purposes of acting as a rapid reaction force, almost entirely made up of power-armoured infantry. Whilst this strips most heavy weapons from most platoons, it does result in a powerful striking force. You had launched probes and diversionary attacks to see how the formation reacts, and they seem to be following your tanks, a force specifically created to halt your breakthrough or any attempts of it. You have to give it to your opponent, he might be foul-mouthed unhonourable commoner, but it seems that he has a talent for tactics if nothing else.

Still, the confidence that comes from it, you shall exploit without any hesitation. Hopefully Earnan remembers the war well. You think to yourself for a moment.

And there is another reason why you had chosen that specific location, as it is one of the main roads leading deeper into the town, as such it is one of your possible escape routes. If put out of position, it will take time for Talon’s heavy infantry to once again entrench themselves there, and by the time that happens, Vinn should have wrapped things up and joined you at the front, or at least you expect so.

Soon enough, your tanks begging rumbling, their threads crushing the ground as the begin to form up, in the most obvious manner possible, firing off all the weapons they have, you cannot assemble your entire squadron, you are stretched out far too thin for that having to cover the entirety of the spaceport, but a quartet of tanks is still a serious threat on any battlefield.

Earnan lines up his tank first, he had a knack for these sorts of aggressive operations that require iron-clad discipline to undertake. And to your surprise, you notice your own command tank line up beside him, it seems your crew is out for revenge, or lacking an officer aboard they simply defaulted to following whichever formations appears to be the strongest.

Either way, your little performance had the expected reaction you had been hoping for, enemy heavy infantry begins to spread out and for a line, preparing to take the devastating strike an armoured spearhead is capable of thrusting out and deflecting it so as to leave you exposed for a counter attack. If only they had bunched up out of instinct, each shell would have felled scores of enemies, alas, what you have will have to do.

“Ninth platoon, strike and fall back at sector 3.” You call to the comm as you had for quite a bit of time previously, the track of which you had lost, your mind entirely occupied around the engagement. “Eleventh platoon, retreat from sector 5 and reinforce sector 4.” Another affirmative arrives and you see the well-disciplined professional soldiery carrying out your orders at the distance. “Platoons twenty and twenty-one, move out from your positions and retreat to a more defensible position.”

Quickly checking the map, you see as your men begin forming a net to encircle any overambitious enemy, but your concentration dedicated entirely to this front, forces you to wince as another tank disappears from the map’s tracker, and a couple more platoons are overwhelmed before they can successfully retreat.

But so far, it is an overall equal exchange, considering the difference in manpower and the relative openness of the terrain.

Your comm goes off.

“I am reading you.” You emotionlessly respond, already wordlessly relaying orders to your soldiers.

“Lord-Colonel, we are in position for a breakthrough attempt.” Earnan says with some excitement in his voice, and if the enemy is listening in, or at the very least tracking comm signatures, they are no doubt just as excited.

“Copy that. Godspeed.” You respond, putting your own response force on high alert. The soldiers near you begin reloading and preparing for the upcoming breakthrough.

You yourself prepare by checking and then double checking your pistol. As much as you’d like to wield your blade, you are in no position to do so with your injuries. Long-range combat will have to do.

With a roar of a storm, the tanks begin expending what ammo reserves they have left without spare. Like thunder the main cannon boom as they unleash their payloads, the muzzles flash brightly as Noct finally moves out of sight, the moment of complete darkness, the moment where one’s visors have to adjust to the rapid shift in the level of lighting. To strike at dusk or at dawn, a tactic known by the ancients on Earth, used once more in a battle multitude of light-years from it.

And just like the rain coming over on the horizon, the railgun turrets give it all they have, the barrels glowing visibly as the night sets in from their endless stream of bullets, risking warping and damage to the advanced magnets and coils in them, but unleashing war on a scale most dread to even imagine, war that is plain and true before you.

The enemy responds in kind, multiple loud bangs and flashes showcase special anti-tank missiles firing off their payloads, the high-yield warheads aiming straight at the charging spearhead, which blunts them to the best of their abilities.

Crack. Crack. Crack. The endless noise of battle is then joined by LMGs and rifle fire. The former going on uninterrupted, continuously flashing and hosing down its surroundings, keeping your infantry in surroundings supressed, whilst they return with the noise of the latter, accurate, short, and sporadic fire opening up whenever an interruption appears in the endless flow of noise.

A light show to dazzle all those who gaze upon it from the safety of their homes, kilometres away, a light show where dozens die each second.

As one of the tanks explodes, its plating and reactive armour unable to keep up with the sheer amount of missiles, has its turret ripped off by the rocking explosion, taking it as his signal, Earnan quickly orders a turnabout, so neck twistingly fast, part of the tank, despite its weight, actually lifts off the ground momentarily before impacting it with a loud thud. You can only imagine how groggy the crew inside must be, if they are still conscious that is.

Tired, weary, bloodied yet lusting for it. The enemy heavy infantry does exactly what you wanted, seeing a chance to put an end to the fighting in a single, decisive action, instead of holding the line and allowing for your force to be ground down through attrition, they charge.

Encouraging initiative is good and all, but expecting it from soldiers whom had been drilled to be disciplined above all else is a fool’s gamble. Had a proper noble Talon officer been here, he could have kept them in check. But your foe is but a man, a commoner whom had risen above his station, and if even you struggled to be everywhere at once, you can only imagine how badly he is faring.

Rising to your full height for the first time in a long time, you can feel your muscles aching as you straighten out your back. Raising your pistol, you watch as the enemy continues on. Charging over a vast open terrain, hundreds of metres in length. But you wait, ignoring the temptation to attack now. No, you must catch them all. And kill them.

Another shattering explosion echoes as the trio is now reduced to a duo. Further spurring on Talon forces, believing that victory is within their grasp. But you still wait.

Three hundred metres. A missile flies above you, impacting the spaceport proper, causing parts of its structure or rain down upon the ground.

Two hundred metres. But you still wait, you can hear the pings of your forces requesting orders, confused as to why they were not part of the breakthrough and are not covering the retreat, you ignore them.

One hundred metres. Practically knife fighting range in the modern era, you can already make out details upon Talon forces, dents in armour, layers of dirt, symbols of the silver eagle hidden by the grime of this world.

Fifty metres. The pinging had now turned almost frantic; however, your soldiers obey, keeping their fire.

Thirty. You calmly leave your cover, pistol lowered.

BANG ! A single shot, and then a myriad of confirmations.

The lead infantryman has his visor shattered by your accurate shot. The sheer momentum of his charge carrying him forwards for a good few metres before it collapses before you, digging out a grove in the ground as it slides onwards, the internal systems beginning an emergency administration in a desperate attempt to save its wearer.

You slightly lean to the left as an inaccurate barrage sails past you, adrenaline pumping, you can clearly see the trajectory of each bullet.

BANG ! And another crumples before you, in an almost subconscious, instinctual way, you continue to slightly adjust your aim, with each kickback, with each protestation of your muscles from the strain of firing one-handed. Nine bullets leave your barrel, nine bullets find the visors of enemy officers, and nine dead bodies collapse, lifeless.

Then, with calm, you simply take a step back into cover, as the six seconds it took you to accomplish this are processed by the enemy. And as your cover is being riddles by bullets, your own infantry unleashes hell, your tanks once again turnabout, opening up their full arsenal.

Due to the close proximity, you can hear the panicked screams and confused shouts of your foes. Paying them no mind, you use your one good hand as a soldier besides you crouches and leans out of cover to shoot, to slowly reload your weapon.

Grasping the barrel, you can feel its head from your glove, clicking on the release, you allow the magazine to fall to the floor. Were you a regular soldier, you can already imagine your CO shouting at you for doing so. Not caring about that, you open up a pouch on the belt, with your thumb and pinkie finger, you get a hold of a fresh magazine. Throwing it into the air, it begins to spin, but with a careful positioning of your pistol, you ensure that it lands perfectly. You chamber a round using your own body as leverage, before calmly putting it back in its holster.

Taking a step out of your cover once more and standing above the crouching soldier, whom is now also struggling to quickly reload. You give a dismissive look at the carnage wrought in front.

Hundreds of men, representing the heaviest weapons your foe currently has, lay dead. Their impressive armours punctured, sheared off by the intensity of the fire on occasions, bent and broken, covered in muck and blood.

I need a cigarete. With a sigh you think. Damn this atmosphere. You continue to rest for but a moment, as the first drops of rain begin to bounce of your armour.

Your momentary diversion is finished when you look back at your map, once more thoughts and the burdens of command taking the fore. And finally, something that can make even you smile pop-up on the map. A literal flood of friendly signatures pours out of the spaceport. It starts with a trickle of individuals, but soon in turns into a flood of dozens and finally hundreds.

Vinn’s regiment had accomplished their task, and they are rearing for another go. Just as you had bloodied the enemy too. For a more perfect timing you could not ask.

“Colonel Kosmowski.” You say over the comm as you spot Vinn running out of the building, only to be momentarily baffled as he charges out with a bloodied banner of Roy in his left, firing his rifle wildly with his right. The man is covered in blood, not his obviously, he’d be dead if it was.

“Aye, sir ?” He responds moving onwards without stop.

“Triple Bs, Colonel.”

“Roger that !” He once more responds.

Bash, break, brutalize. He works as a hammer if nothing else. A temperamental, highly opinionated hammer, but a good hammer nonetheless.

And just as you are about to once again give out orders. The darkened skies and the worsening rain are momentarily interrupted by the screams of VTOLs cutting through. Your VTOLs.

“Sorry we’re late, Lord-Colonel !”

“No problem, Colonel, just get rid of this encirclement.”

“Will do.”

Diving underneath the rampaging clouds, what hardpoints still remain are quickly snuffed out as Westre spares none of her bombs lighting up your surroundings, and continuing the light show you had started minutes ago.

You open the public comm. “Lieutenant-Colonel Lonsway, surrender your forces, lay down your arms and you and your men will be treated with respect.” Word for word, you repeat the same demand given to you.

Silence follows, for a moment you think that the man might have died in the fighting, but he soon informs you of his status. “Oh, go fuck yourself. We’re retreating, don’t contest me or we will fight tooth and nail.”

>Let the man off, his forces are bloodied beyond combat effectiveness. He himself will probably be executed soon enough anyways.

>He thinks he can come and go as he pleases ? After this much damage done to you and yours ? Full scale pursuit, run them down.

>(Write in)
Alright, my shcedule should stabalize, sorry for the long wait. Speaking of a long wait, Renovatio Imperii incoming.
>He thinks he can come and go as he pleases ? After this much damage done to you and yours ? Full scale pursuit, run them down.
get his ass
Only just now realized you have come back QM
>Let the man off, his forces are bloodied beyond combat effectiveness. He himself will probably be executed soon enough anyways.
>Let the man off, his forces are bloodied beyond combat effectiveness. He himself will probably be executed soon enough anyways.
We planted the nuke and we still have other points to go.
>Let the man off, his forces are bloodied beyond combat effectiveness. He himself will probably be executed soon enough anyways.
>Soon be executed
A recipe for mutiny if there is any. I hope he does, he doesn't deserve death, and it'll further weaken Talon.
Update coming tomorrow, both for broken empire ground edition and renovatio imperii.
A beast is at its most dangerous when cornered. Thinking so, you decide to simply allow for your enemies to retreat uncontested, bar a few more shots from your soldiers as a sending away gift. Besides, the enemy commander will most likely face execution, if not imprisonment for his little temporary coup. Not like you can blame him, there is no worse enemy than a poor ally.

You step out of your cover once more, simply watching the retreating force as your own command collapses from exhaustion, tired and wounded soldiers whom had been fighting for hours on end without stop take a moment to catch their breaths, check their suits and ammunition. For someone like you, as extensively genetically modified as you are, even with debilitating injuries suffered that would make most men combat inefficient, you feel absolutely fine. Besides the occasional headache, you will recover well enough now that you have a moment to rest your mind. However, as you look down onto your stump for a hand, you cannot help but feel annoyed at the inconvenience.

Best case scenario, base Roland’s medical facilities will have enough resources and equipment necessary to regrow your limb and then reattach it, but that can take up to a few weeks. Perhaps a temporary cybernetic ?

Moving your mind away from you own injuries, you turn back and begin walking over to a tired looking man leaning against a burnt-out tank. The rifle, which you recognize to be of Talon make rather than Roy, a less reliable rifle, but much cheaper, rests against the tank, the muzzle pointed downwards so as to prevent any of the acidic rain from falling into the barrel and causing internal damage.

A muddy Roy banner rests against his shoulder, now fluttering in the kicked-up wind that the storm had brought alongside with it. Its metal pole continuously moving back and forth with every strong gust that blows against it.

“Vinn.” You say stopping a few metres away.

Slowly, he raises his head.

“Aurelius.” He nods.

“Can you keep going ?”

“Not for long. We normals aren’t built to withstand hour long combat without any rest that last an entire day. We still have, what, two more targets ?”

“As far as I’m aware.”

“Hopefully that doesn’t go up to three. The first spaceport had been rather disturbing, at least for me.”

“The dead bodies or the message out of nowhere ?”

“How about both ?”

“Fair enough. What about the nuke ?”

“Secured as best we could, placed it on the second floor, it should level the port and cover the landing zones in debris and damage them as a whole.”

“Explosion activation ?”

“Remote and timed. Set it for four hours, enough for us to get the hell out of dodge, but not long enough for Talon to find where we hid it.”

“Good. How long do you reckon your men need to rest ?”

“Judging by me ? half an hour, minimum. Since we have the spaceport here, there are still some airtight locations where men can settle down to eat and drink. Combat drugs can supresses those urges, but all that does is hide the decrease in our combat abilities for a awhile, but we’ll burn out soon enough if we get into another engagement like this.”

“Alright, half an hour you will have then.”

“Thank you dearly.” You can hear tired sarcasm in the man’s voice.

“I also noticed unknown friendly signatures, the surviving defenders I presume ?”

“Yea. Hold on.” Vinn goes silent, but you can see as his head moves up and down, clearly conversing with someone else. “I’ll let the locals explain, I want to get to a shitter before it is clogged.” With his usual crassness, he rises and moves away.

With an annoyed sigh, you stand there like a sore thumb, taking in your surroundings as rain once falls upon you, lines of rain flowing down your visor, obscuring your vision as the roar of battle is replaced of that of an exhausted force. Hushed conversations, the sounds of mourning intermixed with laughter of those that had survived. It is always a strange mixture of emotions after the intensity of war.

Eventually, you do spot a person approaching you, clearly a local, as you are able to quickly notice the scarring and damage on the man’s protection suit, more importantly, you can see quick and obvious patchworks there, clearly done by hand manually, rather than using expensive technologies, and another thing of note is the fact that the suit itself appears to be old, at least a generation old, the current line of protection suits employed by the imperial military, or at the very least forces loyal to Duke Roy had been replaced somewhere around 20 years ago, with new power armour models already being a norm for frontline troops like yours, it is expected that your protection suits will soon get an upgrade as well.

“Sir.” Comes a rough voice, the man stands ramrod straight and delivers a proper salute. Being so close as you are, having as good eyes as you do, you quickly notice obvious wrinkles around the eyes, visible through the tainted visor. “Sergeant Reynald Sarley of the second Etrius militia battalion.”

Militia ? For a moment you are surprised since the existence of it had not been mentioned in your reports about the local area. Probably because the militia were deemed unimportant for any grand-scale battles. Most likely a holdover from corporation ownership days. You quickly conclude, as the designation of a fortress world would see the planet overflowing with first line professional soldiery, thus rendering militia forces unneeded for defensive purposes.

“Sergeant. Seeing as you had come to great me, I assume you are the highest ranking officer left ?”

“That’d be correct, sir.”

“Good job holding out, but I must ask; what are you doing here ? As far as my reports were concerned, you were not even mentioned.” A bit blunt, but you do not have the time for being overly polite as you’d like to be.

“Not surprised about that. We got mobilized when the rumours of a potential attack started circulating. Local command decided that not having more hands holding rifles that actually know what they are doing when you can, would be a waste of resources.”

“Your experience ?”

“Twenty years. That’s baseline mind you, sir. Those twenty were spent in the duke’s army and here as a local security contractor. Can’t call the army for every petty thing.”

“The rest of your formation is similar ?”

“More or less, sir. We settled down here with two infantry regiments alongside our own battalion. There’s nine hundred of us left from that, but I can guarantee you that the best of us had survived this hell.”

“And I assume you want to continue the fight ?”

“Aye, sir. The invasion was devastating, but that bombardment was far worse. Homes wrecked, families torn apart, thousands of dead. A lot of the men here want to give it their best. Most of us here are veterans that had settled down, grandfathered children, most of whom went off world searching for a better life. So can you give us old timers one last hurrah ?”

Morale will break the moment they learn the truth. But I am in no position to pass over 900 veteran men, especially with the damage I’d already suffered.

“I will take your plea under consideration.” Noncommittally you respond. “For now, I suggest you to take a break and rest.”

“Understood, sir.” Once more snapping at attention, the man responds.

God. I really need a smoke. With that thought, you also begin heading over to the spaceport.

(POV shift: You are Lieutenant-Colonel Linton Linegar.)

The whole battle had devolved into a bloody mess. Well, more on the mess part, and less on the bloody part.

Whilst the initial attack and counterattack had resulted with high casualties on both sides. It had not settled down in a low-intensity skirmish.

Your tanks and the large number of infantry supported by APCs had more or less secured the area around the ruined outpost, with most of the field tents secured by your forces, whom from reports you received had not noticed anything at all worth your while. That means that if the enemy tries to sally out, your tanks instantly blow away anyone trying to move out, with infantry ready to run in and secure the position.

This works on the inverse too, if you try to move in, the retreat shock companies simply tear apart your forces whom move in to secure the intact structures or those collapsed rubbles where your fire cannot provide support, or it would expend so much ammo that it would leave you exposed.

So besides a few corpses here and there, the overall battle had begun a phony one.

And now, you sit still. With an exo-suit in play, you cannot help but feel a sense of urgency. But to rush in pointlessly will simply waste you’re already strained and limited resources. All it takes is just a single moment, one mistake, one overextension, that is when you will pounce.

Patching into the cameras of the remainder of your squadron, you ensure that you can look the outpost over from any and all sides. Your biggest concern now is the fact that the enemy had already called for help, presuming they brought along an advanced enough short-range jammer that wouldn’t interfere with their own messages.

You are wasting time, no other way of putting, had your lord been here, he would have undoubtedly thought of a way to break the stalemate besides sitting and waiting.

A single squad of your household troops begins to slowly and carefully creep up to one of the entrances of the largest building, this naturally draws your undivided attention. And then to your shock, you spot something you had not expected to see.

Carolus is scaling up the wall with some of his remaining mechanized infantry. With the buildings here built for utility and cheapness, they do not posses reinforced windows able to withstand the atmosphere, relying mainly on outside guards and sophisticated sensors around the general area. But it is entirely possible that much of said equipment had been either damaged in the previous fighting, or destroyed by the defenders out of spite and as a means of denying resources, no matter how small.

You are angry, not because Carolus, as a high-ranking officer, is throwing himself into immense danger instead of employing his skills to lead and organize his remaining forces, but because – that madman had not even informed me ! Initiative is good and all, but you have a chain of command for a reason !

With annoyance, you keep your grumblings to yourself, sending a comm signal now may compromise Carolus even further.

“All units, keep up the pressure, I want a breakthrough !” You call out, and suddenly realize something with great annoyance, even with such close distance, your comms return static.

Instead, you smash open the hatch and prepare your lungs as well as your speakers, shouting out the message. “All units, keep up the attack !” This should serve as distraction.

Besides, moments after, the advance team manages to hurl a bunch of grenades, shrapnel and high-explosive, intermixed with flashbangs for good measure. Who knows, maybe some of their visors are malfunctioning.

Alas, the stream of LMG fire quickly riddles the head breacher, ripping flesh, breaking bones, smashing apart the protection suit’s plates and eventually leaving a desecrated corpse upon the concrete steps, the acidic rain, that had come in a few minutes ago, then proceeds to wash it all down and away into puddles below.

If you are using initiative, you better succeed, otherwise I will have you court-martialled. You wish you had come up with the idea yourself, your muscles are atrophying from a lack of usage.

You wince as one of the men climbing up slips, knocking down a small stream of dust and debris, the unfortunate but expected outcome when you use bullet holes as your anchors for climbing.

Luckily, no one seems to notice, especially now that an emboldened enemy rallies out, trying to push back your force even further. Usually, about now, you’d open fire with your main cannons, quickly blunting the assault, but you keep baiting them.

Looking up at the roof, you can see Carolus moving his arms up and down, before drawing out his sword and moving out of vision. It seems that he found a way up.

“Gunner !” You shout out. “Fire !”

The tank moves back after the shot rings out, rocking your body back and forth, resulting in a couple of painful hits for your back and stomach.

“Attack !” Once you call out. Your men fellow household guard, immediately responds and start trying to breach the entrances.

(POV shift: You are Lieutenant-Colonel Carolus Sambor, currently on a daring breach.)

Some may deride you as a womanizer, a pretty boy. But if they were to see you now, you doubt such rumours would persist.

The enemy had not been entirely unprepared, and kept the potential of a breach from above as a potential avenue for your entrance, but it was clearly less guarded than anywhere else once they realized you had no jetpacks or mountaineer equipment.

The guards upon the spiralling stairs had instantly opened fire the moment you got through the door, but you had expected it, and so with your heightened senses were able to dodge out of the way of the incoming fire.

Ducking rapidly under the flashing rounds, you quickly grab the railing and hurl you own body directly downwards, your men will deal with the guards, your purpose is to create a distraction. You hit the floor rolling, allowing you to easily dissipate about three stories worth of height, and alongside your own enhanced muscles, you quickly spring up at an unsuspecting guard.

Having popped out of nowhere, you drive your blade straight through the leader’s neck, withdrawing the blade with one smooth motion. Using the collapsing corpse as a cover, in a blink of an eye you fire off three rounds, each and every a headshot, delivering an instant kill.

With the body collapsing, you jump to your right, dodging a hail of fire, now unleashed by the reacting heavy infantry whom had understood that this is not mere probing attack. You will have to move fast before Talon is able to disengage their cyborgs to come and deal with you.

Bending your legs, you put everything in your muscles and move head first towards the right wall of the corridor, your muscles had been specifically modified for strength and your bones for toughness, allowing you to slam your hand, cracking the wall and bouncing you back to the left wall, messing up the aim of your attackers.

Your hand hurts like hell, but it is not broken, which means you continue with your plan and use your left leg to smash away from the left wall, delivering a kick with your right straight onto the helmet of the power armoured man closest to you. An audible bank rings out as pain rises up your leg. But you did what you set out to do, your hit had disoriented your foe, and with the tight corridor that you currently occupied not being wide enough to allow his comrades to rush forwards, you flash your blade.

The sound of screeching metal rings out twice as two arms fall from your opponent, his rifle impacting onto the floor alongside the arms. A gurgled scream is all that comes out before shock of the injury takes the man.

Reorienting yourself, you deliver a final insult to injury with a full-bodied kick, knocking the armless suit into the awaiting enemies behind it.

Moving low to the ground, you sever the second man’s legs at the ankles, not waiting for him to fall, you jump high and forwards, delivering a full frontal blow to the visor of the third man, your crimson blade vibrates with excitement at the chance to shed blood as it cleanly cuts through the visor, the brain, the skull, and the helmet.

Withdrawing it, you kick back and use the corpses as cover. The enemies are specialized shock troops, regular infantry would have probably routed by now, but they had instead quickly organized themselves and moved away, spraying the hallway with tungsten, forcing you to keep your head down.

In response, you hurl upwards a flashbang. Oh, the suits will compensate for it, no doubt. But it will take a second, and that is all you need.

Having pre-emptively darkened and deafened your own helmet. You wait as the airborne grenade goes off, momentarily washing your surroundings white. As you had expected, the enemy did not cease firing, however, this the best change you have, and despite almost instantaneously eating a shot to the gut, you only stagger for an instant.

Rushing ahead, you unload your last remaining six rounds onto the furthest of the lot, quickly holstering, you suffer another shot to the chest, but once again, the protection suit alongside your own genehancements turn a deadly injury into one that will slow you down, yet it will not stop you.

Once more, with your high-frequency blade engaged, it vibrates away droplets of blood before you once more quench it in it. Penetrating through the side armour, as you ducked and dodged away at a swipe, you sever the man’s vertebrae, if he survives this, he will most likely be crippled for life unless he can afford extensive medical care.

Quickly jumping to the side, you barely scrape by another hail of bullets unleashed by the last two defenders, whom now seem desperate, and whom now realize that nobility rules for a reason, since you are genetically, biologically, mentally superior to them in every single way.

With your concentration entirely upon them, the two still show remarkable discipline, with only one of them opening fire whilst the other keeps his finger on the trigger, ready to shoot the moment the other would require to reload. Still, this discipline is not enough your blade moves at a flashing speed, straining your muscles, both biological and artificial.

The clanging noises of reflecting bullets only echoes for a second before you cut the last two rifles in half. The relatively sensitive structures around the barrels now severed render the weapons entirely ineffective.

Two more lighting strikes later, the last two standing suits of power armour fall loudly onto the floor, blood trickling from their visors and the holes at the backs of their heads.

You have to take a moment to rest, because even for you, killing about a dozen or so men in such tight confines without support is exhausting. With your ears perking up, you can hear your men rushing down the stairs, your performance no doubt inspiring them.

A slight movement in the air causes you to cut your break short as you intercept another blade similar to yours aimed at your neck.

An enemy officer !

That’s the only quick thought you are able to get out before your concentration is entirely upon your duel, which is cut short when a massive metallic fist slams into your chest, cracking your sternum, causing you to cough up blood as damage quickly goes to your lungs.

Being thrown at almost at the start of the hallway once more. You manage to relatively gracefully land onto your feet. Taking short, quick breaths as you take a measure of your opponents.

An enemy officer, clad in power armour, wielding an elongated version of the blade that you use. And a cyborg, hulking in reverence to the person’s side.

The power armour itself appears to be needlessly elaborate, clear distinctions of house symbols upon the shoulder, a massive silver eagle on blue on the chest, made from actual silver mind you, quickly blares out to anyone that this person is at least somewhat important. The symbols of a white falcon set upon gold allows you to recognize that this person belongs to house Olsten, a viscount house in the Dukedom of Talon, but besides the mentions of their mineral wealth, you know little of the house, goes to show their overall importance.

The man of metal standing besides the, no doubt in his mind epically posing person appears to be about three metres tall and covered head to toe in cybernetics, you do not spot even a millimetre of flesh, but what stands out like a sore thumb is the fact that everywhere is painted gold, to the point you think it might actually be gold plating, with a massive white falcon carved out of seemingly single pearl engraved onto the chest.

“Feline of Roy !” Rude. “Come hither and give me a proper duel ! Should I win I will take you prisoner for ransom.”

“And if I win.” You ask supressing the pain, buying time to recover as long as possible.

“Then I will hand over the entire garrison to you !” He says with a laugh. Young chick just out of his nest. Why am I not surprised.

“Well, what say you ?” He calls out.

>Accept the duel, it is only proper amongst nobility after all.

>Decline it, the bastard’s bodyguard already punched you.

>Accept and cheat. Your reputation isn’t the best to begin with anyways.

>(Write in ?)

(End of POV shift.)

“Jammer, you say ?” You ask.

“Yes, sir.” The runner you sent to Linton having finally found you reports. “The last we were there the HQ held, in fact local Talon forces had been utterly routed, but with the exo-suit deployed, we have no clue what is happening there now.

You simply nod at that. “And is the information correct, the furthest spaceport is already blown ?”

“Correct, sir. Lieutenant-General had assured us of such. Oh, he also mentioned that he’d like to sit down with you for proper introductions as befitting gentlemen of birth alongside some tea and biscuits.” You can hear the confusion in the man’s voice.

“I see.” You once more nod. “Thoughts ?”

“We get the fuck out of here ?” Vinn responds as you expected.


“We have our objective. We carry it out, then we retreat.” Amato simply responds.

“Perhaps the local militia are more familiar with the city ? We could use them.” Earnan says.

To that, you simply give him a look. Bleeding heart Earnan, protector of the downtrodden.

You cannot deny that nine hundred veterans are a tempting offer. But unlike the company currently under Amato, those nine hundred seem cheerful enough to socialize, and you doubt that your gag order will work for long, as unlike the dour men in power armour who keep to themselves and their sorrows, the veterans seem more than happy to talk with, give tips and help out your soldiery, it is clear that they are going to be a part of Vinn’s regiment, or no part at all.

But firstly, you have to decide on your objective:

>One last spaceport. Hopefully the jammer will be down by then and you will be able to rally with your loyal servant.

>The HQ. They need your help, no matter how desperate a gamble it may be.

>Should you decide to take on the veterans. They seem aware of hidey holes where local militia forces are holding out, you could try to rally them and see what the situation is then.

>(Write in ?)

Secondly, the veterans themselves:

>It is a calculated risk; their experiences will be needed now. Allow them to join Vinn’s regiment.

>Let them be on their own. They will no doubt find someplace useful to fight by themselves.

>When you say gag order, you mean gag order. Have them all shot.

>(Write in ?)
I'm torn between going for the Spaceport, hoping Linton takes the Jammer, and baiting the exosuit into a nuke, or rescuing as many militia as we can. If we do go for the militia it will at least ease the shock of learning about the bombardment when we're rescuing the rest of their comrades. Fuck it, we have nukes, we can figure something out if things go wrong.

>Should you decide to take on the veterans. They seem aware of hidey holes where local militia forces are holding out, you could try to rally them and see what the situation is then.
>It is a calculated risk; their experiences will be needed now. Allow them to join Vinn’s regiment.

An alternative is splitting our forces, again, and sending the veterans with Amato's men to rescue who they can before regrouping with us at the final spaceport, but I don't like the idea of splitting further and I'd need to see an update on our numbers.
>Accept the duel, it is only proper amongst nobility after all.
I want to cheat but that bodyguard unsettles me. If he's gone we can fight equally.
>Accept the duel, it is only proper amongst nobility after all.
>One last spaceport. Hopefully the jammer will be down by then and you will be able to rally with your loyal servant.
>It is a calculated risk; their experiences will be needed now. Allow them to join Vinn’s regiment.

It would have been so much easier if there was no bombardment and our mission was simply to drive Talon out of the city. It is clear that the locals were doing a good job defending the city before the bombardment and it hurt them far worse than it hurt Talon.
Thinking about this further, why wasn't the bombardment simply aimed directly at the spaceports? Did the fortress not have their exact coordinates or was the artillery not accurate enough for it?

They did, but I do believe I had written, and if not I apologize, that the spaceports are built to withstand more or less whatever is thrown at them from external sources. So even a direct bombardment may not be enough to level one. But when it comes to internal damage, they are not as robust. And since you were sent it, with there being no information if the town is even in Talon or Roy hands, a blanket bombardment was called for to increase your chances of success.
Someone's gonna get a court-martiallin' for all this. I just hope it's not us...

Proper duel and integrating the militia wins.

Need a tie breaker between spaceport and looking for surviving elements.
>Should you decide to take on the veterans. They seem aware of hidey holes where local militia forces are holding out, you could try to rally them and see what the situation is then.
Alright, 6d100 best of 3
Rolled 57, 62, 7, 31, 78, 45 = 280 (6d100)

Rolled 1, 86, 68, 21, 74, 17 = 267 (6d100)

I hate our luck in this setting.
File: Extreme anger.gif (1.43 MB, 220x164)
1.43 MB
1.43 MB GIF
Fucking called it.
Rolled 30, 19, 82, 8, 78, 8 = 225 (6d100)


“We will rally our strength first, the push here had been devastating and if we do not replace those losses, chances are that we will be unable to take the final objective.”

“We going after the militia ?” Vinn asks.

“Correct, or any forces still out there, really. Bring Sergeant Sarley back to me. I am certain he will be overjoyed that he will be joining your regiment.”

“Wait, you’re making that whole bunch of seniors my issue ?”


With a sigh, Vinn walks off to grab his new charge. As always, sometimes there are benefits to higher command.

“Amato. How are your mechs doing ?”

“Near death.” He answers bluntly. “The entire console is red, I have not a single part of the mech reading green. I am half-tempted to abandon them, but since I was able to recently resupply, the ammo is still relatively full.”

“It that case, hop out whenever you think the mech won’t be able to take it. If nothing else, it should be a large increase in our overall speed and manoeuvrability.”

“Understood. I will make sure to inform you if I have to abandon the mechs.”

“Sir !” You hear behind you. Turning around you spot the very same sergeant you had requested.

“Sergeant Sarley, after some deliberation, I had decided to accept your request. You are once again part of the Unbroken Empire’s Armed Forces, under the direct command of Colonel Vinn Kosmowski, the same applies to every man currently under you.” Once more the man stands at attention and delivers a salute. “Fight well, fight with bravery, fight with honour and glory in your heart.” You deliver the usual speech you had received from one of the instructors at one of the numerous military academies across the Empire.

“Sir, yes, sir !”

“At ease. Now, I have some questions for you.”

“I will answer to the best of my abilities, sir.”

“Good. First of all, are you aware of any defensive locations that could still be offering effective resistance, besides the local HQ ?”

The man turns ponderous for a moment.

“I suppose. Once the fighting got going, only the HQ and some more fortified positions were actually able to offer proper resistance, rest of the town was on the verge of being fully overrun, before the bombardment that is. If there’s anywhere folks are still giving it their all, it’d probably be either the underground civilian shelters, administrative buildings, like the city hall, or proper outposts. Though I’d personally not put much faith on the last, those were prioritised for aerial strikes as soon as Talon figured out where they were.”

“And the administrative buildings were either levelled by the bombardment, or overrun before or after it.”

“Most likely, sir.”

“So if we head for these shelters, will friendly forces even be willing to join us ?”

“Probably. You’re blowing the ports, right, sir ?”

“That’s correct.”

“Denial of assets of such a scale means that our situation is untenable. Which means best we can do is either get the civvies out, or evacuate military assets so as to ensure that the civilian population is not caught in the crossfire. Talon’s leadership’s a bunch of bastards for what they did, done and are doing, but even they wouldn’t butcher civilians for no reason.”

“As long as they do not oppose their rule.” You note.

“Aye, there are some headstrong lads jumping about and waiting to join the army, but a good walloping should keep them calm long enough for us to retake the town afterwards. I doubt that Talon would be willing to bear the price of reprisals if they go overboard.”

“We shall have to see. Input coordinates onto the general map and distribute it across out forces. Every location that is, if we can investigate areas of lower priority whilst heading to more those locations you deem the most promising, it will not waste over much time and still allow us to gather some survivors.”

“Understood, sir !” He once again salutes, before running off to carry out your orders.

“Excitable for an old man.” Vinn grumbles.

I am probably older than him. You think, feeling hint of annoyance that you cannot explain towards Vinn.

“To a warrior whom had fulfilled his duty, death on the battlefield is preferable to that of dying from a weakness one cannot fight.” Amato responds.

“The hell does that mean ? I’d rather be dead in my bed after fifty years than this shithole.”

“Prepare to move out, the nuke will go off soon.” You instantly cut it, preventing the usual argument from flaring up again. I swear, this always happens with these two. In moments like these you miss Rosanna, she’d usually be the wrangler when those two fight like cats and dogs, whilst you can quietly sit and do whatever you are doing, simply blocking out the noise.

Moving back to your own tank, you start considering the man’s words. Even if they ring true, it might still be difficult convincing the locals to move out. The army formations are put away from their families for this exact reason, so if proper formations are holding out there, they will be easy enough to rally, but militia forces may prove somewhat difficult. Especially since there are no real defined rules of war. Dropping nukes upon cities is acceptable first strike option before you hammer the are with drop troopers, but that means that your enemy will find acceptable as well. So butchering civilians in their shelters means that it now escalates and becomes acceptable on both sides.

Mutually Assured Destruction, on a galactic scale. Wonder if our ancestors could even comprehend such a thing. You think back to your rather extensive history lessons. Still, the fear of nuclear Armageddon tends to keep such massacres on the down low, no one wants to see their worlds turned into radioactive wastelands like Mars still is to this day.

Opening up the hatch, you hop into your tank, landing a bit heavily onto your seat, missing a hand has made things you could do with ease annoyingly inconvenient. It will take a few weeks to regrow the missing appendage, so you will have to simply deal with it for now.

Looking at your heads-up display, you look at the time, and see that you have about an hour left until the nuke goes off by itself, and you’d rather clear the distance long before it does go off. Soon enough however, your map pings with updates, and judging by the reactions of people around, the same thing is happening to them.

“Right, uploaded the info. Not that I am arguing about it, but you sure about this, Aurelius ?” Vinn asks after requesting a comm.

“What ? Do you not want to be a knight in shining armour going around saving damsels and all those in need ?” With a bit humour in your voice you ask.

“Nah, that’s Amato’s thing. You know, pointless fantasies and delusions.”

“Colonel Kosmowski, were you a noble, I would have already challenged your house for a duel,” With irritation clear in his voice, Amato cuts in.

A laugh echoes from Vinn’s end, paying no mind to the threat.

“You know me, I don’t do things without reason. We will finish the mission, but as I said, we simply lack the strength to do it right now. I want to leave nothing to chance.”

“Alright, not like I have much of a choice anyways.”

“Thank God for the chain-of-command.” Once again, Amato cuts in. “Otherwise nothing would get done if you were given autonomy.”

“Hey-“ You cut the comm. Let those two argue away, just as long as they don’t start shooting at one another, you really couldn’t care less. You have a battle to organize and win.

(POV shift: You are Lieutenant-Colonel Carolus Sambor, preparing to duel.)

You cough heavily, clearing the bit of blood that had built up in your lungs from the impact. Your suit automatically absorbs your expelled liquids, cleaning the helmet as a whole. Rising to your full stature, you try your best to ignore the ache. Luckily, the advanced protection suit combined with your own toughened bones didn’t result in your sternum being actually broken. Your muscles however, still ache from the impact, and even if no bones broke, the impact had still rattled you.

“Alright, I am Carolus of House Sambor, I accept your duel request !” You say raising your blade.

“Ha, ha ! Excellent, I grow tired of slaughtering commoners, show me the ferocity of the lame lion !” He says with another laugh, swirling his blade around as he charges forwards.

And you thought you were a bit pompous.

Rather than meeting the charge head on, you direct your blade so as to parry and easily dodge the incoming strike. With the attack being full of openings, you do not expect to lose that much of sweat dealing with a fledgling like this.

Intercepting the incoming blade, you can feel incredible weight behind it. You are unsurprised by this; the man had put in his entire weight on said strike. Sparks fly, as you intercept the strike, letting the momentum carry the blow away from you as you dodge sideways, easily deflecting the blow.

But it is only now that you realize something’s wrong. He had struck at you with his left, and only his left. The next thing you see is a fist flying straight for your face, with your blade out of position.

A cracking smack echoes in the hallway, you can hear your men scream out in panic as your head is knocked back, the sheer force of the strike bending the helmet and breaking the visor, causing shards of it to cut into your face.

Shocked by the attack, you are still unable to block the follow up. Using the momentum of the punch, he then proceeds to deliver a swift spin, kicking you straight onto the chest, specifically aiming for the already damaged part, further stacking the damage. You cannot cut out the pain even if you tried, as you can now feel something definitely breaking, and the proceeding hefty smack into the wall doesn’t help your back.

All this had happened in just a span of a second, maybe two. Seeing their commander injured, your men level their rifles, only for the cyborg’s arm to peel back, revealing an inbuilt machine gun, now aimed at them. Realizing that they are outgunned, the men hold their fire. And you are happy about that, since otherwise you’d be riddled by now.

All in all, you are happy, as happy one can be in such a situation, that you are inside, otherwise the atmosphere would have already started to burn away at your eyes and lungs. Forcing strength into your limbs, you barely manage to dodge out of the way of a killing blow, the blade screeches as it cuts into the heavy concrete, easily piercing the metres thick material.

With one hand, you rip off your helmet and drop it to the side, spitting up blood once more, you wipe away at your lips. The bastard’s trickier than I expected. You made a mistake. You underestimated your opponent, and now you are paying for it. He’s either not a fledgling, merely acting in such a way to give you a false sense of superiority, or he is just really damn well trained and naturally talented.

“Have you recovered ?” He asks, mockery apparent. Giving your foe time to recover can be considered honourable, or an insult. You feel that it’s the latter.

Oh, now you’re going to get it.

No one’s allowed to be a pompous douche in your presence, that is your style !

Letting your long white hair flow freely, you loosen your shoulders. “It seems that you are not an immature chick, but do not worry, I will make sure that you will eat nothing but liquids once I’m done with you.”

“Brave words for a declawed beast.”

He’s got something right, you’d been fighting non-stop, and the injuries you sustained are not easily healed. Another fight like this, and you are uncertain if you can keep going. You barely got out of your tank, and now this.

You cannot last another powerful blow.

With a roar, one clear, other slightly muffled due to a helmet’s speakers, you both interlock your blades once again. Parrying one another’s strikes, you each look for that one opportunity, that one moment to deliver a decisive strike.

After exchanging a dozen blows in dozen seconds, you knock away the man’s sword, plunging deep, piercing his left leg, the very same one who had broken your bones so painfully. Vitae bursts out, covering your arms as you prepare to quickly withdraw your blade, you feel a scorching pain as you side is cut open, revealing the muscles and veins underneath.

Both of your lifeblood now staining the surroundings, you disengage, drawing distance. The exchange had been equal, but you had really been hurt beforehand.

“A fine exchange !” The obnoxious voice again calls out. “But it seems that I shall be the victor !” With another laugh, the man charges you without rest.

Your chest hurting, side cut, nose most likely broken, eyes damaged you are barely able to keep up with the onslaught of the blows. But finally, your strength fails, as blows after blow capable of kicking up the air forces you on your knees. With your blade held above your head, you just barely deflect an incoming blow, to only be back handed by the pommel of your foe’s sword. A searing pain then soon comes to your chest as a slash is delivered to it, cutting deep, it rips through your protection suit, severs the muscles, veins and arteries, rips through your bones.

Then, that very same blade is placed against your neck.

“Do you yield ?” The same, unbearable smugness now made palpable, asks.

For a moment you think about trying to take the man with you, but your soldiers behind you remind you of your duty as an officer, no matter how much you might dislike it.

“I yield.” Through gritted teeth you say, whilst your vision begins to swim from injuries sustained.

“Splendid, know that today, you had been defeated by the great, amazing and-“

The man’s boasting is cut short as breaching charges blow apart the doors behind his back, rifle fire crackling through the dust and smoke, seemingly bouncing off harmlessly off the cyborg, whom levels his own machinegun and returns fire, pained screams ring out, before the fire stops.

“Ah, it seems that my duel had distracted me from my duties.” The man grumbles under his breath. “Oh, well. Such things happen I suppose.”

(POV shift: You are Lieutenant-Colonel Linton Linegar and you are in a meeting.)

Now that’s a sight.

A cyborg made out of gold holding down a corridor, your direct subordinate, beaten to a pulp and laying on the floor as an equally flashily clad man in power armour lords over him, with more of your soldiers behind even that.

“Ah. I do say, it appears that we are encircled.”

“That would be correct.” You respond. Watching Carolus run in had finally gotten the best of you, so you crawled out of your tank to feel the rush of battle personally. The enemy had seemingly lost coordination for a decent while, so you had naturally exploited that.

You thought that Carolus had beheaded the enemy’s command, but it appears that he had become its punching bag instead. Either way works for you really. Still, getting so far had been damned costly, despite your good luck and abilities. Dozens died just taking individual rooms, which is why you and your trusty six-shooter, with rounds capable of piercing cyborg plate proved useful.

“I do say, it is quite rude to interrupt a proper duel between a mighty falcon versus a lame cat !”

You take a moment to look down at the man’s feet. It seems Carolus had lost consciousness. Good. No doubt he’d have jumped at that despite his injuries.

“I recommend you surrender.” You say, raising your pistol, making sure that it is as visible as possible. It is damned expensive and rare, but when you are intended to be a life-long servant to a great lord, such costs are trifling.

“I had emerged victorious in my duel, and you expect me to surrender ? I swear, you commoners do not know a lick about proper etiquette.” He seems to sigh. “I shall concede my defeat upon the field of battle, it had been my mistake to indulge in my hobby after all. But, if you think you can imprison me, you are mistaken.”

“And if you think you will just get out of here without a fight, you are mistaken. I have thousands of men surrounding the area, even if you get through us, only one of them needs to get lucky. After all, there’s only two of you left.”

“Ha ! That would be wrong ! There are millions of us left ! With a word, my uncle will descend here and destroy you in a single sweep !” He seems genuinely amused. “Now, get out of my way. I shall take him here.” He points with the tip of his blade at Carolus. “Back with me, we duelled on the purpose of a ransom, and I intend to claim it.”

>”Not a chance.” Press the trigger.

>”Fine. Leave.”

>”If you seek duels, my lord or one of his comrades are far greater than that man there, how about I treat your lordship as an honoured guest until they arrive and give you satisfaction ?” BACKGROUND SPECIAL OPTION.

>(Write in)
There will also be an update tomorrow.
>”Not a chance.” Press the trigger.
>”If you seek duels, my lord or one of his comrades are far greater than that man there, how about I treat your lordship as an honoured guest until they arrive and give you satisfaction ?” BACKGROUND SPECIAL OPTION.
He would make an important, if annoying, prisoner. We don't even need to fight him, just get rid of his cyborg and disable him.
Does Linton know that Aurelius is missing a hand? If not I vote for the third option and if so I vote for the first option. You can't have a fair duel when one participant has only one hand.

No he does not.
>”If you seek duels, my lord or one of his comrades are far greater than that man there, how about I treat your lordship as an honoured guest until they arrive and give you satisfaction ?” BACKGROUND SPECIAL OPTION.
The problem with these POV shifts is that you have to go out of your way not to metagame.

Not really, I try to avoid such situations when possible. Just because the MC is injured, that does not mean that there aren't others than can fight in his place. Amato And Earnan are both nobles trained in duelling.
“If it is duels that you seek, then my lord or one of his compatriots will provide you one as such.” You say.

“Oh ? Your lord ?” The man responds.

“That is correct.” You say, lowering the pistol and removing your helmet. Your gaze meets that of the visor.

“Ah. A genetically modified servant.” He regards the cyborg. “I personally prefer something with more firepower myself.”

“Very well. I shall agree, on the terms of this being another duel of ransom. Should I lose the duel, then I shall relinquish my prisoner here and retreat with honour.” Sheathing his blade, the man puffs out his chest, puts his hands upon his sides and proclaims. “It is only just for someone as noble as me to extend such honour to my peers.”

I would personally prefer you in a prison cell. With rising annoyance, you respond.

“In order to inform my lord, I need to disable the jammer here, your men are-“

“Oh fine, fine. I suppose you shouldn’t touch my men as well, and so neither they shall touch you.”

That’s not what I meant ! Calming yourself, you simply turn about putting on your helmet. “Provide medical aid…to everyone.” You say to the nearby medic.

(End of POV shift.)

After taking a quick look at your heads-up display, you activate the rearwards facing camera and lower the brightness.


The ground shakes as a blindingly bright flash goes off, had you not prepared yourself properly, the distance could have potentially rendered you blind, at least temporary, once a grand total of 10 megatons goes off.

Your tank rattles as the shockwave finally reaches you, large chunks of debris raining from the skies as a mushroom cloud forms where the device was detonated.

Again, the battered town is further damaged, those few building that had still held on despite all odds finally crumble and fall. The first town upon Hell’s end, the oldest town. Desecrated, maimed, scarred. Still, this is just the beginning, more damage will be inflicted, more blood shall be spilt, the dead may very well soon outnumber the living.

A whistle comes through your comm. “That’s a big one.”

“Proud of your work ?” You ask.

“As proud as one can be in such a situation, I take what I can get. Bled for the damned thing, so I might as well watch it.”

“To carry out one’s duty is the greatest of honours and the proudest of achievements.” Amato pipes up.

“Amato. I ain’t got cash, my pride comes from the hazard pay I can use to buy booze, drugs and whores.”

“How an uneducated peasant like you managed to climb to the rank of Colonel, I will never know.”

“Cause I am damned good at my job, and didn’t you hear ? I get a lot of hazard pay, that looks good on one’s record.”

“Can it, you two. We’re approaching the first objective, on the comm only when needed.” After this is over, you do not want to see the two of them for a week at least. “Colonel Kosmowski, patch Sergeant Sarley to my comm.”

“On it, sir.”

You wait a few seconds before you the comm once more picks up.

“You wanted to hear from me, sir ?”

“Yes, we’re reaching the first objective, your militia forces will be taking point, I also want to know where potential survivors could hold out in.”

“Roger that, sir. Me and mine will not disappoint you.”

Your tanks eventually come to a halt around a blasted out and ruined building, it appears to have had about three or so floors, judging by the hollowed out remains. What was once a lovely plaza around the area with a fountain, no doubt spewing acidic water, seems to have been blown out. The floor around the fountain and the overall general area seems to have been covered with coloured pebbles and tiles, no doubt depicting something interesting, or important, or what have you. But most of it had been shattered and blasted about, utterly ruining whatever was painstakingly made. Remnants of shattered statues still stand upon pedestals in their alcoves around the building, most have nothing but their feet firmly attached to the ground, some are nothing but smoking craters, but one still remains.

Federal Admiral Frederic Tierney, a great military mind that made his name in the 27th to the 28th centuries, serving directly under High Federal Admirals Amara. Fighting the brutal campaign to ensure the federation’s survival, and its eventual supplanting by the Unbroken Empire. When you had underwent your military training, before you had made up your mind to fight upon the terrestrial battlefield, you had studied some of his campaigns. The fact that the ideals of planning and sufficient logistics could be the most stalwart and stubborn of defences, or grind to a halt even the most unrelenting and aggressive assaults. He willingly gave ground where he could, stretching enemy supply lines and harassing them, eventually wearing them down to the point where they could not resist against forces at least twice their number, well-supplied and rested, eager for battle. On the offensive, his campaigns would be brutal shadowy wars of spies and special operatives, gathering intelligence and striking where one’s foe is the weakest. His conquest had been slow, and not all that flashy, this had resulted in many young officers looking upon Frederic with derision. Perhaps you too thought the same when you were at the academy. But if feels like you can understand the man’s mentality, for after all, you are currently fighting over logistics.

“A military academy ?” You ask.

“Yes, sir. One of the first, uh, civilian buildings constructed by the army once the world became personal domain of Duke Roy. My son studied there, so I had plenty of chances to look it over, being a military academy and all, it has a strong reinforced basement, where the cadets that cannot fight could wait out any serious fighting.”

“Hopefully some fighting age soldiers are there then. Proceed.”

“Yes, sir !”

Switching the camera once again, you watch as the militiamen begin dismounting and entering the academy. Whilst large, it is not too massive, perhaps a couple hundred people could occupy its entire space, but definitely not even a thousand. You wonder if you will even find something here, or if what you find will be worth your time.

You idle for a while yet, awaiting reports as the militia spreads out further, and further. Eventually, your comm does go off, roughly five or so minutes of rapid searching later.

“They’re dead, sir.”

“Everyone ?”

“Yes, sir. The bunkers are unused. The cadets, their teachers and local military personnel, they’re all dead.” The sergeant seems quite disappointed, but you had not expected much out of here anyways, it is only a pit stop for your main objective after all. “It seems that an accurate airstrike blew apart the lower floor, judging by the recordings we found, collapsing most of the building, burying everyone alive. I doubt any survived, sir.”

“And those that didn’t get caught in the rubble ?”

“Probably somewhere within the town, probably dead. Poor kids.”

“Understood, pull out, we have other objectives to investigate.”

“Roger that.”

You do not have the time, nor the will to mourn some young cadets, it is simply the fact that their time had come sooner than expected. If one lives by the sword, they shall die by the sword.

Rolling off once again, you make your way through the eerily serene part of the town, granted there’s nothing but rubble around you, but other than the distant screaming of VTOLs and landers high above, as well as the distant booms and cracks of rifles, you’d say that the scenery is quite peaceful, so far as nothing is shooting at you.

Despite all of this, you run into numerous signs of combat, hastily thrown together fortifications, corpses from both sides left to rot around some of the still standing buildings, the tell-tale signs of assaults to take fortified positions. Burnt out IFVs bearing the symbols of Roy showcase a particularly brutal fight, with hundreds of corpses covering the surroundings and littering the streets. The already marred surroundings around you had clearly been further blemished by the artillery bombardment.

“Sergeant, tell me, how truly grim was the situation before the bombardment ?”

“Before our short-range comms were cut, as I said previously, only a few strongpoints had held on, but I had no clue how long those were going to hold as well. Hell, we had around thirteen, maybe fourteen thousand men defending the spaceport. Now’s there just nine hundred of us left. Most other formations were probably faring similarly. Got to be thankful, I suppose, had that bombardment not come, maybe Talon would have pushed faster, good things that their officers are so damnded incompetent.”

“I see.” You remain quiet on the man’s comments.

The rest of your journey continues in silence, everyone, even Vinn, taking their time, enjoying their momentary peace for as long as they can, before inevitably they will once again be thrown at the gates of hell.

Your infantry jumps to cover as parts of the road are kicked up and a single crack of a rifle goes. A sniper, if the panicked reports are to be believed. The entire formation grounds to a halt as the forwards APCs begin moving to cover the infantry which is currently on foot, acting as a protective net around the armoured column.

You are about to order a strike on the nearest buildings, simply levelling your terrain and taking care of the problem swiftly, when you see the militia’s leader run out, against orders, waving his arms, especially drawing attention to the patch around his arm.

He then stops, stands in place as his head bobs up and down.

“Aurelius, ser-“ Vinn begins.

“I can see. Patch him through.”

“Sir, blue on blue, those are friendlies.”

“How are you so sure ?”

“I know the one who’s doing it, and I also know where he had been appointed.”

“Then tell him to come out in the open, if he is truly friendly.”

“Erm, that might be a bit difficult.”

“Get to it, sergeant, you have two minutes, afterwards I am levelling every potential sniper nest.” Getting tired of the charade, you give your ultimatum.

“Understood, sir !” At the very least he seems to take your threat seriously.

Eventually, through the corner of your eye, you watch as a piece of rubble, upon the third floor, begins to move. Only now do you realize that it is just a piece of camo, covered with actual rubble, giving a perfect disguise due to the reduced visibility brought on by the night and rain.

An inbuilt grappling hook mechanism on the man’s arm of his protection suit quickly fires off and punches through the building material, allowing him to quite swiftly safely descend.

Having finished his performative entrance, as far as you are concerned, the man begins approaching the formation, arms raised, a sniper rifle flung over his shoulder.

After quickly exchanging a greeting with Reynald, he lowers his hands and stands waiting, having a conversation.

“Good news, sir. The damnded best scouts and snipers of the town and its surroundings are still intact and they are willing to join you.”

I was expecting far more men than that. “Tell him that we welcome all assistance we can get.” Hiding your disappointment, you say.

“Unfortunately, he also says that the nearest infantry regiment had just been overwhelmed, the local Talon forces there had been savaged in turn, so they are currently retreating to the outskirts of the town to reorganize, nothing should impose our path for the moment.”

“Roger that, tell the man to fall in formation.” He may as well serve as a pathfinder.

“Suddenly, your sensor goes off as around a hundred pings open up all around, much of the rubble moves, revealing men similarly equipped to the first, each and every with a piece of chameleon camouflage system, damn enough experience to know how to use them.

“My reports failed to mention a scout company present within the city, especially with top of the line equipment.”

“May I connect him to the comms ?” Reynald asks.

“Go ahead.”

“We’re not part of the regular army, Vodyanoy company, our contract got seconded to the Ducal House of Roy after our previous employer sold the world.”

Vodyanoy ? You had heard of them, a special part of Streltsy PMC. A special section dedicated to dealing with problems. Ruinously expensive. Why would some corpos waste so much cash to get the entire company on retinue ? Much less so pass it off to the Duke ? Some part of a greater scheme no doubt, but politics of high nobility do not concern you, at least for now, you will take what you can get right now.

But one question does come to mind. “This spaceport here.” You send over the data. “Do you have anything to do with it ?”

“No. We have no clue who’s set up there, but we did track them entering the town days prior. They had proper confirmations and stuck to themselves. Scary fellows, best stay out of their way.”

“Since you are joining us, form a perimeter around my force, I don’t want anything surprising me.”

“Roger that.”

Suddenly, your comm is entirely flooded by a stream of messages, requests, and just general chatter. Judging by how your crew just jumped, and everyone outside, they all got an earful of dozens upon dozens of voices talking at the same time. Quickly shutting off from any and all open comms, you quickly silence the voices. What the ? And then you see, a request for communications from your ever-faithful servant.

“I am reading you.”

“My lord. Objective secured, enemy short-range jammer disabled.”

“Excellent, we can finally coordinate properly. Did you run into some issues ?”

Linton goes silent for a moment. “A minor issue, my lord. A Talon noble had defeated Lord-Lieutenant-Colonel in a duel. I was able to convince him to stop actively resisting in exchange of a promise for a duel for ransom. If he wins, he takes prisoner the loser, if he loses, he releases Carolus and disengages from the field.”

“Can you not shoot him ?”

“I can, my lord. However, that would inflict heavy casualties as the enemy shock divisions are still relatively intact.”

“Can you overwhelm them ?”

“Most likely.”

“Casualties ?”

“High Hundreds at worst, low hundreds at best.”

“Send me the location.”

Quickly looking it up, you realize that Linton is located in the same direction as your last direction, so swinging by is entirely possible.

A duel, huh ? You regard your stump.

You could definitely fight, you’d be at a disadvantage, but winning regardless would definitely net you a lot of prestige, prestige you can use to pull some favours. WINNING THE DUEL WILL RESULT IN EXTRA INFLUENCE.

The most steadfast bet would be Amato. He would fight with honour and principles in mind. Though that will no doubt limit any potential advantage he could achieve.

Earnan is another option. You had seen him fighting, and he fights to kill, his aggressive style of duelling fitting the battlefield far more than proper halls of grandeur. The chances of either side killing or crippling one another will no doubt increase, but you could always bet that your foe would be unprepared for such aggression.

Then, there is Vinn. A commoner. As long as your foe doesn’t know it, you could slot him in. The man has…next to no honour, he’d fight cheap and dirty, whether or not his experience and fighting style will be enough to overwhelm your foe, remains to be seen. If you are going to try and pull something, perhaps goading out useful information during the fight, Vinn’s your best choice.

>Accept the duel request. (Whom shall duel ? Aurelius/Amato/Earnan/Vinn)

>Decline the duel, let your servant deal with it. That is why you have him after all. Sure, your standing will be hurt, but this is war.

>(Write in)

Then of course, there are your targets. Should you assign someone to the duel, they will take a bodyguard to get there as fast as possible and return to your formation.

>The ruined outpost. Might as well come with all the pomp and ceremony as possible for the duel, it is on the way anyways.

>The spaceport. Bypass the outpost and strike the target, maybe detaching a force as needed.

>There’s a lot of confused chatter coming from the HQ, but it is still holding as far as you can tell, for how long however, you would have to get there to figure out yourself.

>There are still other potential locations housing more soldiery that you could rally, that’d be the best use of your time.

>(Write in)
>>Accept the duel request. (Whom shall duel ? Aurelius/Amato/Earnan/Vinn)
Earnan. Aurelius is at a disadvantage, Amato is the most tired as he hasn't had any rest for roughly 36 hours now (correct me if I'm wrong on this, QM) and Vinn is a commoner.
>There are still other potential locations housing more soldiery that you could rally, that’d be the best use of your time.
Remind me, QM, is there one spaceport left on our list or two? We just blew up one spaceport and we got the strange message when we reached the other one. Did Linton destroy one?
>Accept the duel request. (Vin)

>There are still other potential locations housing more soldiery that you could rally, that’d be the best use of your time.

>Remind me, QM, is there one spaceport left on our list or two? We just blew up one spaceport and we got the strange message when we reached the other one. Did Linton destroy one?

One is left.

There were four in total. You blew one up. You got a weird message at another, and the local defenders blew up one at the start of the battle when they lost it to Talon forces. That leaves one more spaceport up in the air as far as you are concerned.
I'm changing my choice for the second vote to:
>The spaceport. Bypass the outpost and strike the target, maybe detaching a force as needed.
This is our only remaining objective. As soon as we complete it our mission is completed and we can return to the fortress.
>Accept the duel request. (Whom shall duel ? Earnan)
>There are still other potential locations housing more soldiery that you could rally, that’d be the best use of your time.
>Accept the duel request. Amato.
We don't want this guy dead if his claims of being the nephew of some important Talon commander are true. We do need to tell Linton to make sure that he doesn't leave with our subordinates either if he wins, regardless of who we choose.
>There are still other potential locations housing more soldiery that you could rally, that’d be the best use of your time.
>The spaceport. Bypass the outpost and strike the target, maybe detaching a force as needed.
>There are still other potential locations housing more soldiery that you could rally, that’d be the best use of your time.
>The spaceport. Bypass the outpost and strike the target, maybe detaching a force as needed.
The Spaceport is Talon's objective too. Once we destroy it there's less motivation for them to bring down troops, and we can grab some breathing room to search for more survivors, which are second only to preventing Talon from bringing more troops down.
Uh, meant to just choose the spaceport as the objective.
6d100 best of 3

Update will be tomorrow, I will try to update on both Saturday and Sunday
Rolled 29, 52, 89, 85, 57, 82 = 394 (6d100)

Rolled 83, 24, 29, 1, 73, 9 = 219 (6d100)

Rolled 14, 52, 68, 47, 59, 39 = 279 (6d100)

off to a good start, except for one
83, 52, 89, 1, 73, 82. Not bad, except for the crit. This setting is cursed, I swear we get 3 or 4 critfails for every crit success we have.

“Yes, sir ?”

“Take your tank and a couple of APCs, I want to see Carolus before me with a handwritten apology for his failings. Do what you must Lord-Lieutenant-Colonel.”

“Roger that, sir.”

“Vinn, Amato.” You hear affirmative clicks through your comm. “We’re going to rally more survivors, then we’re moving onto our last primary objective.” Once again, affirmatives click through your comm.

“Sergeant Sarley.” You say changing the frequency.

“Sir ?”

“Have our new additions scout ahead of the main force. I am a man that dislikes surprises and I don’t want to see any. Also, prepare yourself, I want more local forces rallied.”

“Understood, sir. I’ll get right on it.”

And now, we wait.

With your force once again on the move, you start plotting out a course that will let you snag a couple more potential survivors, that should add to your overall firepower, without diverting you overly far away from the last spaceport.

It is a compromise of sorts, not necessarily allowing you access to the most promising of locations, but also not wasting your time by forcing you to backtrack to your main objective.

The local jammer now being down, you also hope that rallying nearby survivors will be easier, as such, you are searching through every possible frequency for any potential information. Added to the fact that you have a general idea for any strongholds that might still be out there. Still, just to be safe, you had decided against responding or sending out signals yourself, lest you run the risk of getting caught by someone monitoring connections.

Through the corner of your eye, you spot as the cloaks upon the backs of the mercenaries continue to shift and change, trying its best to match the terrain. Once spotted, the active camouflage system may as well be nothing more than a simple pattern set upon one’s clothing. But once they do stop moving, they become an infantryman’s worst nightmare. You could still track them down by the flashes of rifle fire, but all it takes is for the sniper to manoeuvre out of the way and just sit still. Making it a nightmare to try and track these men down.

Not to mention, with a zoom in of your camera, you do notice that these mercenaries must definitely have friends in high places. ZMR-4 (Zamrick industries modular rifle), the newest iteration given to scout and recon forces. The rifle’s barrel is capable of extending outwards, increasing overall energy output, reducing the rate of fire, but increasing the speed of the ejected bullet, giving a solid range of around 5 kilometres, with enough force to smash through light vehicle armour at around ranges of 1-2 kilometres. The very same barrel can be shortened to turn it into a proper rifle with a magazine of 30 rounds, allowing for much needed rapid firepower if the sniper and his spotter were to be cornered or forced into a running skirmish. Still, the more moving parts, the more delicate the weapon and the more expensive it is to produce. You could easily purchase around 200 regular infantry rifles for the price of one ZMR-4.

And there’s an entire company equipped with them. You had grown…distant. To the intrigues of nobility, as vicious and merciless as they are, you are a military man who follows orders. Rising higher through the ranks would see you having to fight off your own rivals with hidden subterfuge, words with double meaning, favours exchanged and called that would see you involve yourself in even more troubles and so does the rabbit hole go. As for your true enemies that you have to fight with bullets and blades ? Probably less than ten percent of the time, if you are being charitable.

Still, the army has less intrigue and backstabbing than the navy. That being your only real consolation.

So, as you had grown used to, you shelve your questions, that may result in you falling deeper than you’d ever want.

With your tuning, you finally hit a contact on the short-range comm. Bringing it int focus, you concentrate on what’s being said.

“Mayday, mayday ! This is the fourth artillery company, were surrounded on all sides by Talon forces, our guns cannot fall to their hands ! Requesting assistance !”

“Sergeant, was there an artillery company stationed nearby ?” You ask switching the comm once more.

“Yes, sir. Local bunker network specifically set up for artillery and handling counter-battery fire. There was an artillery company there, alongside four or five infantry companies as a garrison force.”

“Then get us there in the fastest way you know.”

“Roger that, sir !”

Once more, your entire formation begins to move faster, whilst still maintaining a healthy amount of caution, allowing the Vodyanoy to move on ahead of your force. Let the mercenaries do their job, that’s what they were paid to do, after all.

Soon enough, the rather common, as of late, noise of rifle cracks becomes ever increasingly audible.

Quickly responding, your infantry begins dismounting, meanwhile the mercs begin firing off their grappling hooks, quickly scaling the husked out buildings, seemingly content with the terrain, despite the fact that it is quite literally collapsing around them as they move up it.

“Command.” A heavily accented voice says. The man clearly had learnt Vatan, the universal language of humanity, as a second language. Even though it is a constructed language incorporating many elements of the original most influential members of the federation, it is only wide-spread upon the worlds with exceptionally robust education systems, or for any person signing up to military service. When it comes to the fringes of humanity, as it is the nature of such matters when mankind is separated from itself for a long time, many usually default to their original native languages, or create entirely new ones for their needs. You yourself had learnt Italian and Latin alongside Vatan.

“Reading.” You respond.

“Hostile forces in perimeter, local defenders are falling, some of the guns had already been sabotaged.” The mercenary says.

“Enemy force and disposition ?”

“Five, seven infantry companies. The bunker complex is entirely surrounded, the defenders had fallen back to their secondary line and are hard-pressed.”

“Roger, decapitate enemy officers, keep relaying information on enemy movement.” Quickly switching to your entire command channel, you once more begin. “All units, enemy forces in the area, rapid dominance. I repeat, rapid dominance.”

Quickly swarming through the surroundings, your infantry begins unleashing hell upon the unsuspecting enemy, the confusion is further enhanced as enemy officers’ heads continue to pop into vast fountains of red mist.

The final nail in the coffin arrives when your own tanks enter open terrain, and begin to speed forwards. Granted, your ammunition storage is, dwindling, but what you have is more than enough to throw the enemy into a panic, especially judging by the fact that the men before you are as equally dirty and tired as the local defenders, meaning that they are still lees combat effective than your own force.

Your threads are greased by the guts of half a dozen men as you drive over those that had not reached the trenches in time, said trenches, now supressed by your very presence are quickly overwhelmed by the rest of your infantry striking onwards.

Seeing their chance, the defenders then proceed to rally and strike outwards.

Bang after bang quickly proceeds to cut down those trying to flee or reorganize. You watch as one of the enemy officers rushes out, grabs the silver eagle flag, and quickly drops it as the blue is quickly stained red by an accurate shot that pierces straight through the heart.

Eventually, your railgun turrets begin spooling down, before slowing coming to a halt as smoke rises from the barrels. The front two railgun turrets now read entirely 0% in terms of ammunition. Quickly activating the ammunition feed system, you order the back turrets to transfer your ammunition to the front turrets, whom now read 30%. Better than nothing, but still concerningly low.

“Lord-Colonel, the locals have been organized.”

“Understood sergeant, how are we looking ?”

“We’ve got about two hundred infantry and about twenty light self-propelled artillery pieces. Threaded variant.”

“Anything heavier ?”

“Negative, sir. Look like only light elements had been stationed here.”

You begin considering your options, with some long-range capabilities, limited as they are, you had managed to replenish your infantry elements, at least somewhat.

But as you are continuing to look through the comm frequencies you finally hit on something. The voice is distorted and unclear, but a few moments of concentration later, you are able to bring it into focus.

“…p̷̡̘̥̭̺̦͔̒̊̀e̶̖͑͒̋̈̔a̷̬͖̞̱͈̽̓͛̽̂̚t̸̥̘̯̳̙͚̪̪̔̇̆́́͐̀̆͋ͅ…I repeat.” Finally, a clear voice can be heard. A calm, collected one at that. “The regional HQ in under attack by a hostile exo-suit and Talon forces. The situation is untenable, all units still within the town are to disengage and evacuate. It had been my greatest pleasure to command such courageous men as you. Let the galaxy hear the lion’s defiant roar. That is all.”

The voice once more disappears, and your entire formation comes to an abrupt halt.

An explosion of a scale you had not seen yet erupts, shaking the ground and cracking the highlands themselves, you watch as entire sections of the town collapse downwards as the very structural integrity of the highlands is compromised, centring from the general direction of the regional HQ. It had not helped as the sheer scale of the explosion had knocked down your forces, lifting up even a few APCs, though luckily not flipping any over. You had been far enough from the epicentre to avoid the brunt of the explosion.

What in the-

Before you have a moment to consider the consequences of the explosion, another one goes off. Much smaller than the first, but a massive boom nonetheless. Quickly checking your map, you determine that this one had come from the spaceport you had decided to leave be. Whomever was there had clearly heard the message before you and decided to pull out.

Things might get a bit more difficult. After all, as far as you can tell, your force is the last fully combat effective and organized formation still remaining within the town belonging to House Roy. At least one worth going after.

“All units, we are moving onto the final location, prepare to move ASAP.” Keeping your voice even, you start giving out clear instructions, something that’s drilled deep into the bones of any soldier, following orders. As long as you can keep your men distracted upon their duties, they shouldn’t consider the possibility of an exo-suit coming over to finish them.

An explosion that large. Maybe the exo-suit and what elite elements Talon had got entirely wiped out. You hold onto a small hope, but you damn well know that simply hoping onto something will not make it true. So, you already start planning contingencies, just in case.

(POV shift: You are Lieutenant-Colonel Earnan Savin.)

That was one damn nasty explosion.

You could feel it deep into your bones as even your tank rattled from the blast, the crack that had formed in front you had proved itself to be far more threatening than even enemy bullets. Whilst you can see the bottom, you’d rather not test your luck and go down it.

Turning solid 90 degrees, you begin following down the crack, until you finally reach a place where the crack tightens. Gingerly, carefully, with a little bit of wincing, you look on as your multi-ton machine goes over it, the APCs, just as nervously following you.

Clearing the crack, you quickly begin speeding off.

You loosen your muscles and move them around; it had been long since you had a proper duel with anyone. With the issues back home, you had purposefully avoided returning home, being a tank commander had resulted in you seeing little personal combat. Even though duelling had been a hobby of yours, one of the many reasons why your father is on the verge of disinheriting you. If they cannot put up a fight, then they should keep their mouths shut. You cannot help but think with annoyance.

It has been so long since a good fight, that you can feel your own blade vibrating, even though you hadn’t yet activated it.

Taking a deep breath, you try to centre yourself for the upcoming duel. Once you win this, you will never allow Carolus to forget who had saved his ass this day.

“Sir ? We’ve arrived.” One of your crew members calls out.

Standing from your seat, you undo the hatch, taking in the surroundings, the rather panicked and disturbed look of two camps. Talon and Roy, nervously facing each other, hiding behind cover with their rifles raised. The banners of the dukedoms, even soaked in the rain, continue to flutter in the wind. And in the middle of it all, still sitting unmoving upon his seat, sits a man in exquisitely decorated power armour, and beside him on the right stands a gold-plated cyborg, standing at attention, overlooking the surroundings. On the man’s left, kneeling and bound in chains, is the mended, exhausted figure of Carolus, still breathing heavily from injuries sustained. Barely conscious, he continues to kneel, his head lowered, and whether or not he can truly regard what is in front of him, you cannot tell.

And in front of this scene stands Linton, his hand not far from his pistol, a seat prepared next to him, whilst he himself stands beside it.

In the middle of the gathering is a large crack, recently created alongside another cobweb of cracks.

Naturally, with a bit of swagger in your step, you approach the meeting area, calmly taking a seat next to Linton.

“Ah, so you are my newest trophy.” An arrogant voice calls out.

“Unfortunately, no. I am rather here to redeem my fellow companion from your custody.”

“HA ! He had confidence as well, and now he awaits ransom. Worry not, my friends, once I emerge victorious, I think I shall purchase a ship from the ransom money, I shalt even name it after the two of you !”

God, this man in unbearable. This is why I signed up for the army.

“Then let us cut short out conversation. And let us converse with our blades.”

“A man to my heart ! Very well, show me your skills !” Rising from his seat, he quickly unsheathes the blade, you return the same gesture.

“Tis a proper duel for true gentlemen. None shall interfere in out duel for glory. Shall I emerge victorious, though shall become my prisoner.”

“Shall you lose, you shall set my comrade free.”

“Agreed.” You both respond at once.

The two blades ring out as you, in a blink of an eye, exchange a blow. Strong ! You, with some panic, think as you have to grit your teeth.

The surroundings quickly begin to clear up, both Linton and the cyborg bodyguard taking their leave, whilst your own soldiery, keeping their distance, wave their flags and shout their encouragements. Your side in particular are braying for blood, wishing for their humiliation to be avenged.

Alas, you are entirely on the back foot. The man continues on with his vicious assault, something that you’d like to in duels, but being on the receiving end, you have to admit, is rather uncomfortable.

You interpose against the incoming blow, dragging both swords down, impacting the surface you cleanly cut through the concrete, your blades encountering next to no resistance as they kick up the now loosened bits and pieces.

Spit covers your visor, as an unexpected blow had come straight for your throat, forcing you to cough up.

It is a momentary distraction, one that you only need a second to recover from, as your body quickly compensates from the blow, supressing the pain, quickly restoring the flow of air and restoring your throat’s original position.

But a second, in a duel like this, is all that your foe needs.

Quickly shoulder checking you, the man forces you backwards, onto uneven terrain, caused by the cobweb of damage, the slippery ground does not help as you end up losing your grip and slamming onto the floor.

Shock goes through your body as the high-frequency blade goes through one of your lungs, tearing it apart and rattling your organs.

Still, the attack had seen your foe overextend.

Grabbing onto the man’s hand, you force it further down, causing even more to flow out of the wound as the uncomfortable metallic taste floods your mouth.

You bring your own blade straight for the man’s throat, to which, he quickly ducks and tried to dodge, but such close distance, and with him being forced into place, he cannot move fast enough. Cutting though the reactive suit underneath, you spill blood in return for your own injury.

It is not a fatal injury, but at least you had silenced the bastard for a moment. Despite all of this, you had come the loser in this exchange as you deliver a kick before the blade rattles you to death or your foe decides to move it about, further sealing your fate.

Quickly scrambling backwards, both of you take a moment to catch your breaths, as weak as they are.

You are going to need immediate medical attention after this, win or lose.

The man certainly has something to say, but blessedly remains silent, instead clutching at his throat.

The fight’s not over yet.

(End of POV shift.)

Your force quickly rolls over to the last of the spaceports.

A heavy lander had settled down a few moments, that being the reason why you are rushing so badly, perhaps too badly.

“Confirmed, Gideon tanks are moving out of the lander !” Westre nearly screams your ears off. With the short-range comms once more active, you can maintain proper contact with her.

“What of the enemy force ?”

“Shock troop companies are present with-, hold on, they appear to be entering the buildings, I lost sight of them, currently can see a few companies’ worth of infantry trying to dig in outside, no clue how much they have inside.”

“Can you dive closer ?”

She remains silent. “Maybe, but Talon had already set up AAA in positions, it would be extremely risky for me to move in.”

Switching your comm once more, you contact your special operation force. “Mercenary, report.”

“We’ve made out way through the cracks, currently directly under the spaceport proper, motion sensors are going off without stop, presumedly at least a regiment’s worth of infantry above us. I think what last force Talon has had been gathered here.”

“Can you deal with it ?”

“Affirmative, charges are set, we should be able to breach in time to coincide with your assault. We should be able to hold long enough to allow you inside without extensive casualties sustained.”

I’ve got to make a decision fast, lest they find my signal.

>Even though it is risky, those Gideons are the most exposed they will ever be. Order Westre to risk AAA fire. WARNING: FAILURE MAY RESULT IN ROSSANA’S DEATH.

>Air parity will have to do, just order her to keep any enemy aircraft off your back. Wit hher force exhausted as it is, you cannot allow her to split her force.

>(Write in)

Then, the spaceport itself.

>In for a penny, in for a pound. This the last stronghold that you have to take. Your men are in place, send them once more through the breach.

>A tepid response might be needed. Send a testing force alongside the mercenaries. You cannot risk a full-on assault, that would leave you far too exposed.

>(Write in)

Of course, there is the matter of the duel.


>It is a duel of gentlemen, not barbarians, it would be best that none should die.

>Victory is not everything, information however, is. Try to get what you can, even if you risk defeat.

>Fuck honour, my lungs are burning and I don’t want to die. Let the battle commence.

>(Write in)
>Air parity will have to do, just order her to keep any enemy aircraft off your back. Wit hher force exhausted as it is, you cannot allow her to split her force.
>In for a penny, in for a pound. This the last stronghold that you have to take. Your men are in place, send them once more through the breach.
>Air parity will have to do, just order her to keep any enemy aircraft off your back. Wit hher force exhausted as it is, you cannot allow her to split her force.
>In for a penny, in for a pound. This the last stronghold that you have to take. Your men are in place, send them once more through the breach.
>Fuck honour, my lungs are burning and I don’t want to die. Let the battle commence.
We don't want to lose both our subordinates. It seems like the 95th have been wiped out, which is a damn shame. Fucking hell I hate these critfails and I'm certain we're going to get another one too.
I need a tie breaker for the duel.
>Air parity will have to do, just order her to keep any enemy aircraft off your back. With her force exhausted as it is, you cannot allow her to split her force.

>In for a penny, in for a pound. This the last stronghold that you have to take. Your men are in place, send them once more through the breach.

>Fuck honour, my lungs are burning and I don’t want to die. Let the battle commence.
Our dice is kinda shacky due to being 6d100, let's roll with this. btw what's the character bonus in the 1st option ?

>btw what's the character bonus in the 1st option ?

Reduced DC, positive modifier for the roll. That is because the ch specializes in this and has experience in duels to the death, as such if that is what they do, they naturally get a bonus.

I'll probably keep it up for a couple more hours before requesting rolls. I will try to update today, since I did promise two updates.
Okay. Cheap and dirty.

6d100 best of 3
Rolled 32, 88, 9, 19, 67, 82 = 297 (6d100)

another 1
Rolled 51, 50, 74, 4, 85, 71 = 335 (6d100)


> Players keep picking the dishonourable option whenever its presented to them, even when we're playing a noble.
Even the most noble of societies show their human nature when put in dire situations.
A fair duel is not a dire situation.
File: 1661279443636374.gif (348 KB, 300x169)
348 KB
348 KB GIF
Rolled 50, 18, 57, 30, 48, 100 = 303 (6d100)

“Vinn, have your force prepared, we will only have a few seconds, perhaps as much as minute before Talon gets its bearings. Close the distance and secure a beachhead. This is our final objective, I do not care about the costs, I want to see results.”

“Roger, I and the boys are rearing to go.” After a curt response, Kosmowski begins to quickly get his troops in order, to the best of his abilities seeing as how there are new unintegrated elements he has to keep in line.

“Amato, I know your mechs are battered, but they will have to fulfil their roles now that enemy armour is on the field. Get their attention and keep it for as long as you can.”

“Understood.” With just as simple curt word, Amato cuts the comm and his last two mechs begin shambling their way to spaceport, one cumbersome step at a time.

“Westre, keep the skies clear. This is the last spaceport still functional upon the highlands, I have no doubt that Talon will dedicate any and all air assets that they need to ensure we do not destroy it.”

“I’ll try my best. But the skies are already difficult to maintain, so you better hurry.”

A general alarm rings out, or at least you think so based on how the enemy begins to move, as soldiers begin gathering, drawn by Amato’s mechs, whom begin exchanging long-range fire as they approach.

Missiles explode against the already beaten and scorched surfaces, shatter armour plating barely holding on despite the odds begins to scatter about, exposing the already damaged components beneath.

Shot after shot, boom after boom, the mechs advance, the two titans of war marching into an incoming sea of rage, unfaltering, unstopping.

Your own forces sit with anxiousness clear in their body language. The tanks have to be drawn out, with there being six landing zones, able to house two heavy landers each, the enemy could have upwards to 12 tanks in one lander. An entire armoured squadron, possibly, an entire armoured regiment had already landed and are organizing themselves for a potential sally forth. That is not even mentioning the deployed shock companies that can pose a serious threat to any and all forces that close the distance.

You will have to be cold-hearted. Allow the enemy to reinforce the line so that you could map out their positions. Detonate the charges and acquire a potential breach curtesy of mercs whom do dirty work like this for corpos and nobles on the daily without asking any questions. Crush the overextended tanks whose crews had probably been lambasting for days if not weeks and months without seeing any action, or more precisely, any potential hot-headed noble whose orders will be followed to the letter.

And for all of that. You must present bait. A man, whom, well, you are uncertain if the word friend would be entirely accurate, but at least you are close enough to speak casually and on the first name basis.

A man whom you are now sending to his potential death.

(POV shift: You are Colonel Amato Kamaunu, and you are fulfilling your duty.)

Hitting the button, you disable the alarm; its endless ringing had grown quite incessant and distracting. The damage inflicted onto your mech may as well be beyond repair at this point. It would probably be easier to simply scrap it for spare parts and make a new Heracles instead of repairing yours.

You rock in your cockpit as a round smashes eerily close to where you are, breaching the weakened armour, causing the internal protective systems to activate.

Now, instead of the constant warnings, the mech’s computer now screams for you to eject and evacuate. But you cannot do so yet. The incoming fire is pitying compared to what Talon truly has hiding. Simple shoulder missiles, autocannon rounds unleashed by dug-in IFVs and anti-material rifle fire from mounted cyborgs.

Talon is definitely taking your threat seriously.

A screech momentarily deafens you as the external sensors shut off. Your vision is blinded by a bright flash as one of your M.A.G. cannons explodes, cooking off internal ammunition storage meant for it, blowing out the side of your mech.

Gritting your teeth, you ender a chain of commands and with the assistance of inbuilt gyros manage to stabilize yourself despite the damage.

Many would have refused their orders, or ran by now, but not you. Since your earliest days, the ideals of duty, honour, and obedience had been instilled deep to your bones. Perhaps your largest rebellious streak in your entirely life is the one you are currently experiencing. You were destined for a naval positioning. But you have to admit, your childish side won out and you went against your Grandmother’s wishes and listed as a mech pilot instead.

“M- My lord.” A weak voice comes through the comm. The last of your men, with whom you had fought and bled for the last thirteen years, to the point where they had all sworn fealty to your name. “Honour…in life.” Through crackling static, the final words are spoken.

As the mech besides you explodes in a violent shower of flames and sparks. The towering behemoth crumbles and falls. A loud noise of ripping, bending metal comes even to your cockpit, even when the external sensors had deafened themselves.

“Glory in death.” You respond, finishing your house’s motto, before quickly turning your attention back to the battlefield, tracing the shots that had perhaps put the final nail into the coffin of your regiment.

A collection of ten Gideons, their barrels still spewing smoke from the ends of their barrels stand in the open, seemingly self-assured in their own superiority and success, not even bothering to run for cover as they would should your mech be fully functional.

Rapidly imputing a long string of commands, you push your mech onwards, manually compensating for the difference in weight it is now experiencing. With your centre of mass lowered, you move with out stop, firing off your last functioning M.A.G. cannon whenever you are able.

Soon enough, the console before you reads that the last shell that could be fired was, whilst the Gideons themselves continued to pelt you without stop, but had closed the distance.


Another blinding flash knocks you to the side. Facing away from the line you had just been charging, the last moments of your external camera showcases another formation of tanks, before it itself cracks and breaks, alongside the rough impact you had just received. But before you can hit the ground, those, no doubt sneering, tanks upon whom you wished to unleash your fury fire off their own volley once more. Rocking the mech backwards, crumpling your cockpit, as what little armour remains buckles from the sheer force of the impact.

(End of POV shift.)

You watch as Amato’s mech, burning, crippled, but still defiant falls to the soaked ground, splattering the gathered acidic water.

“Bearings ?”

“Confirmed.” Your gunner responds.

“Range ?”


“Chance of disabling in one shot ?”

“Eighty-five percent.”

“Acceptable.” You had not been idle this whole while. You had observed the tanks and plotted the course of your shots. Your worst fears had come true, an entire regiment is deployed here, whilst you only have half that, and only because your own squadron had been reinforced to double strength thanks to your familial connections. “All units. Operation is a go.”

With the order given, your men emerge like vengeful spirits out of the heavy rain and the ruins now haunted by the dead. Your unnervingly silent approach is broken by the roar of your main cannons.

Shoots aimed specifically at the weakpoints of Gideons structure fly true, smashing right into the gaps, disabling the ability rotate one’s turrets, knocking out threads, leaving the tanks exposed to the follow up volley, delivering the final, vengeful killing blows.

As for those few that managed to react in time ? The shout of artillery quickly dashes their own hopes of survival. The guns you posses are light, and perhaps a single shell may not be enough to disable a tank. But what about two ? What about the fact that both strike right on the tank itself ? The result is plain and simple to see, as some tanks cook off their plentiful ammunition reserves and explode outwards. Large pieces of the machine flying high into the sky, or covering the surroundings in shrapnel deadly to most that were too close to the impact, presuming it had not killed them beforehand.

And the barrage does not end. Dispatching what you can from the armoured duel, you begin hosing down the surroundings, assisting your own infantry advance, as more and more shells roar above you. The crews there had gotten quite good at their jobs when they were forced to fight for three days straight.

With only a hundred or so metres between the advancing infantry and the enemy’s first line. An explosion rocks deep underneath, ripping apart the ground itself, creating a series of holes into which confused, scared, panicked men stumble to their deaths. The entire line breaks as your own infantry impacts, Talon’s heavier elements, thanks to Amato’s distraction, being specifically retargeted by the mercenaries underneath.

Speaking of mercenaries. Their grapples quickly sail outwards, biting deep into the reinforced surroundings, propelling them upwards. Appearing like spectres, with their cloaks still rapidly changing their pattern in a desperate attempt to remain stealthy, they look like an odd mixture of moving ghost-like and almost mirror figures. With a concentrated effort of their ZMR-4s making short work of any heavy infantry still on the field.

A flaming wreckage also smashes heavily onto the spaceport itself, rocking its very foundation, but despite the damage inflicted by the overwhelming impact, the port still stands. The stout, ugly building easily absorbing all of the damage inflicted upon it.

The skies above you are naturally a show of flames and lights. Not having the mind to spare anything, Westre is unleashing what missiles she has, even forcing Talon pilots into the equivalent of knife-fights by engaging her frontal mounted railguns. Falling into a bizarre dance with no rhyme or reason, you would call it beautiful, especially with the red lasers appearing and disappearing every second or so, causing a shower of fireworks, those being guided missiles, detonating as they are overcooked.

Turning your gaze back to the ground, you watch as first forward elements of the foot sloggers, the men whom perhaps had fought the most exhaustively of any other, breach into the spaceport proper, Roy’s Lion proudly roaring upon their tightly held banners. Before the men, and the banners too disappear from your sight, to lead the way onwards through another brutal engagements, to lead them through hell, and to hopefully guide them back home.

We will win this one yet.

(POV shift: You are Lieutenant-Colonel Earnan Savin.)

Shit, it hurts. Your lung is not in a good state. Not a good state at all.

You had exchanged a few more blows with the peacock. And he had proven annoyingly able to put up a proper fight. Clearly, his swordsmanship instructors were far superior to those whom thought him etiquette.

And now he’s blissfully quiet. You chuckle at the thought that you achieved more progress in making him a proper gentleman than his teachers ever could.

The duel had been raging for a few minutes now, an extensive amount of time given the conditions you are currently after. It is a simple fact – the more you waste here; the stronger Talon will get. Even though you’d prefer to see this duel to its proper end, you have also your duty as an army officer, your duty to your subordinates and superiors, and that duty trumps your own duty as a noble.

“Sir.” You say into the comm having broken away and parried a strike.

“Speak.” Linton responds. Trying to stand as still as possible.

“I will try to position the bastard the best I can. Put one in his back.” Gritting your teeth, you kick outwards, forcing some distance and repelling another aggressive attack. The man seems to be a bit peeved over the fact that you silenced him.

“You sure ?”

With that question, your own gaze shifts to the gold-plated cyborg standing perfectly still if he were nothing more than a statue. His pair of glowing red eyes being the only thing that moves, never leaving his young master out of his sight. And of course, there are still other Talon forces behind him as well, all hiding within cover, waiting for the first shot to ring out and for the situation to devolve into a battle once more.

“Do it !” You practically shout, having delivered a punch and begun to wrestle with the officer.

In a single, clean motion, Linton draws his revolver, and without much aiming fires it off, just as you loosen your own grip and try to dodge to the side.

And the shot flies wide.

Scrambling to your feet, you jump back as the golden cyborg delivers a crippling stomp upon where you just were, cracking the ground from the awesome power of the impact. His shoulder now bears a hole as the penetrative round punched right through it. But unfortunately, it does not appear that it had inconvenienced him in any way, shape or form.

Having pushed his charge away, the shot you ordered had not hit the intended target, but you managed to get something right as you scoop up Carolus into your arms.

Sickening pain comes from your side as a bullet impacts it. Talon soldiery, having realized that you just broke the duel, opening fire once more. Your side responds in kind. Ducking and dodging shots whilst delivering their own.

“How’s the jammer ?!” You shout, jumping into cover.

“Bit busy !” Linton shouts back as his revolver’s cylinder rotates without stop. Putting shot after shot into the cyborg, missing more often than hitting as he tries to desperately dodge the two massive fists flying straight for him.

You unholster your own pistol, aim down the sights, and start unloading upon your once opponents. Round after round flies off, the shots being bounced back by the power armour. But your tactic works. Not wishing to risk any more harm to his liege, the cyborg disengages and uses his own body to protect the power armoured figure.

Moving into cover himself. Linton sports no less than five gunshot wounds that seem to have penetrated through the layers of protection, and many more that had not.

“We had broken it. We could be as thorough as we’d like, but it would probably take hours, days even to get that thing up and running again.” Breathing heavily, he responds.

“Good, that means we don’t have to stay here any longer. Carolus need immediate medical attention, proper attention. And so do I.”

“Wait. If that man is as important as he claimed, we might need him.”

“Why ?!” You ask in bafflement.

“When my lord succeeds. The strategic value of the town will be next to none. What do you think will stop Talon from just bombing us from orbit out of spite ?”

“The fact that we are a small enough force to slip by their notice ?”

“The fact that we are the only force to slip out, is notice enough.”

“Then let us contact the Colonel.”

“Agreed. My lord will know what to do.”

>Support the proposition. You could use some guarantees. Not to mention the potential information the man could have.

>There’s no need. You’d rather just have your force rally sooner rather than later.

>(Write in)
>Support the proposition. You could use some guarantees. Not to mention the potential information the man could have.
>>There’s no need. You’d rather just have your force rally sooner rather than later.

We can't parley now that we already cheated.
>Support the proposition. You could use some guarantees. Not to mention the potential information the man could have.
We capture him we might get away with this. Might.
>Support the proposition. You could use some guarantees. Not to mention the potential information the man could have.
Caught Covid in the form of a nasty flu. If I feel better I will update before the end of the week.
That's a shame, hope you get better soon!
QM in the end did not get better. RIP Newb.
File: 2o00kr-1103501430.jpg (15 KB, 370x370)
15 KB

I'm back. Hopefully I will no longer be unable to even get up from the bed.

6d100 best of 3

I will update this quest and Renovatio Imperii tomorrow.
Rolled 47, 70, 80, 7, 44, 53 = 301 (6d100)

Rolled 84, 79, 62, 84, 76, 41 = 426 (6d100)

Rolled 71, 34, 65, 39, 96, 25 = 330 (6d100)

Rolled 61 (1d100)

Huzzah! Rolling for QM's continued health.
You wait and watch as Linton hits his comm and you yourself also connect to the command frequency.

“My Lord.” Linton begins. “Lord-Lieutenant-Colonel Sambor is secured. Enemy jammer down. We can disengage as need be.”

“But I doubt you’d just contact me for a progress report like this.” Aurelius calmly responds.

“Correct, my lord. With the strategic value of the town decreasing by the second, I fear that Talon high command might authorise an orbital bombardment. As such, I believe that I had found a means of preventing the bombardment, at least when it concerns our formation.

An enemy officer, thanks to his loose tongue we had learnt that apparently, he has an influential uncle. Perhaps influential enough to ensure that any orbital strikes are put on hold.”

“Can you secure him ?”

“It will be difficult, but possible.”

“Then do it. Secure the target and rally to my location as soon as able.”

“Your will be done, my lord.”

You watch as he clicks off the comm and turns to you. “Looks like we still have some fighting to do.” The noise of spent casings falling down echo as he tries to quickly reload the revolver.

“That we do. Half my lungs are wrecked, so I don’t think I’ll be of much use running around anymore.” You respond, sliding in a fresh magazine into your pistol.

“At least you got his throat, something to keep in mind.”

With a pained chuckle, you rise out of cover and begin unloading your pistol.

Your bullets sail accurately and being impacting the gathered Talon forces, most of your rounds bouncing off the now riled up cyborgs of the assault companies, occasionally a round or two find their way into the weakened parts of the armouring of some of the power armour, but whether or not they kill still remains to be seen.

The situation however, is vastly different than the one you received back from the reports in one exceptionally important way. Whilst it is true that both sides are taking cover and exchanging fire. The enemy is no longer hiding within reinforced military-grade structures meant to shrug off tank shells, or light artillery fire.

And your tanks are all in range, with their barrels lowered and prepared. The only thing, being the risk of hitting your own side, is now gone as well.

It does not take a military genius to realize that it would be wise to duck and perhaps cover one’s head. As your pistol clicks empty, you do just that.

Point-blank tank shells of two squadrons, well, closer to one after the casualties sustained, open fire without stop. The automated loading system struggling to replace the expended shells at the pace demanded by the gunners of the tanks.

The power armoured infantry also doesn’t get off scot-free, as the railgun turrets whine becomes ever-increasingly audible as bursts of fire quickly become indistinguishable single whole, the barrels spewing out so many bullets that they begin to glow red hot, becoming glaring beacons in the dark looming surroundings of the devastated town.

“There !” You call out over the comm, noticing the giant golden cyborg, moving at an unnervingly rapid pace away from the battlefield.

“Infantry ! Intercept at those coordinates !” Linton shouts out. “Tank !” You hear his muffled voice, no longer on the main comm you’re using. “Targeting solutions, follow my viewing trajectory. Shoot to supress, I repeat, shoot to supress !”

One of the tanks, probably Linton’s own command, raises the main barrel, you watch as it slowly adjusts itself in the most microscopic way; slightly raising upwards as it tracks its prey, moving onwards to the left.

Then with a bellowing roar it fires. The shell screeching as it cuts through the air impacts heavily in front of the cyborg, whom you now notice is carrying its charge. With surprising grace and dexterity, it is able to neatly side-step the impact and continue onwards unnerved. For only another shell to smash into the ground, again causing a display of incredible agility. But one working entirely just as Linton intended.

The few moments of delay were all that was needed. A cyborg is fast, a cyborg entirely concentrated on retreating, is faster, however it is nowhere fast enough as an APCs dragging along a cargo of your best heavy weapons experts, currently maglocked to its top.

A withering fire is unleashed thanks to the bravery of the men whom had undertaken such immense risk of exposing themselves so openly in the middle of an active battlefield.

Realising its mistake, the cyborg can do only one thing against the two or so dozen missiles, at least the only thing if he wants to keep his lord alive. To sacrifice itself. Roaring, it unmasks the machine guns hidden in its arms, firing them on full blast, butchering the very same men whom delivered upon it its final deathblow.

Couple of missiles are blown apart, as the wild, desperate assault catches them. But it is not enough.

Another rocking explosion, one of so many today that make it look puny, sends shockwaves around the surrounding area.

“Come on ! We have a target to secure !” Linton gestures for you.

Taking another pained, deep breath, you simply nod and once more reload your pistol.

(End of POV shift.)

“Hostile down !” Your gunner reports moments after your tank fires off another shell. “Enemy armour appears to be in full retreat !” He continues excitedly.

Your plan had worked out a lot better than you had hoped. The enemy, after the initial bloodying, instead of regrouping and retreating – so that they could move back in to overwhelm you with superior numbers after they would get back their bearings. The enemy commander had instead decided to push forwards regardless of losses sustained. This bold strategy had proven to be less than effective. With the destroyed wrecks of their comrades still blocking the way, the enemy had to push onwards, which slowed them down and allowed at least two of your tanks to hone in on one of them. Once a tank pushed through, it was annihilated before it could open fire in most cases. By the end of it, whilst you had lost two tanks, the enemy had lost at least another squadron, a top of the losses previously sustained.

Still, the situation is not entirely ideal. Your ammo for the main gun is depressingly low, alongside what can only be described as fumes left within your railgun turrets.

“Vinn, situation report.” You call out after hitting the comm.

“We’re breaking through.” The man’s distorted voice comes back in reply. “If you could open up more entrances, that’d be appreciated !”

“Understood. Push on and secure the objective.”

Disabling the comm, you take a look around your surroundings. A line of defence, a rather improvised one, had formed in a crescent around the sides of the spaceport made up entirely out of Gideon wrecks. Alongside a collection of hulked out APCs and IFVs and piles upon piles of corpses further add to the difficult terrain. And behind that terrain, stand enemy tanks sitting and waiting for your own counterattack, so that they could unleash the exact same pain that you had wrought upon them.

But you have another advantage that they do not.

“Westre, I want eyes on enemy Gideons, get coordinates to the artillery company.”

“Roger, dispatching a jet for scouting duties.” She quickly responds, the sound of combat all around her.

And now, you wait. Taking a moment to organize a double spearhead to move around both sides the moment the barrage begins to hammer down onto Talon’s positions.

A single screaming jet, moments after, breaks through the clouds and begins to circle the surrounding area. Enemy AA and triple A begin firing off without stop into the heavens as the pilot begins making evasive actions, before once piercing the skies and hiding behind the layer of clouds.

Soon enough, you hear the tell-tale sound of whistling shells, quickly afterwards followed by a continuous noise of explosions.

“Squadrons, move !” You command, and your tanks obey.

Smashing right into the wrecks, your tanks begin pushing onwards, the inbuilt fusion reactors being strained as the engine draws an ever-increasing amount of power in order to move the hulks.

Eventually, your tanks begin breaking through, their overcharged engines hurling them forwards the moment the resistance that had held them back is gone.

With the accurate barrage still on going, your tanks are able to move onwards without being contested. The massive kicked up dust cloud interferes with your sensors due to the background radiation and heat. That means that you have to close the distance.

“Artillery, halt barrage, I repeat, halt barrage !” you give out a the order as your formations begin to line up for the upcoming fight, your APCs and those of Vinn’s skirting the surrounding area, hugging onto the spaceport’s walls. If nothing else, you’ve opened up the extra fronts that you were requested of.

The dust cloud does not last long the moment the barrage ends, thanks to the intense rain, and the very second you start noticing the silhouettes: “Squadron, fire !” You order over the comm.

Once more, your veteran crews utterly devastate the confused and still disoriented enemy. Talon’s discipline doing nothing to make up for one’s lack of experience.

“Incoming hostile jets !” Westre shouts over the comm, spoiling your momentary victory. “Ground forces, get to cover !”

Switching your camera to gaze upwards, you watch as enemy jets dive deep, your own air forces unable to intercept due to enemy numbers and what enemy AA remains active.

Your own forces begin to spread out, their laser turrets cutting through the skies with each laser unleashed, but the enemy jets continue their dive.

A swarm of missiles is unleashed, the enemy begins breaking off, as dozens of missiles are detonated mid-air, and even as you manage to wound and down three jets, the missiles that remain still impact.

You are thrown around within your own tank, as a couple of missiles impact and rock the tank.

“Status report ?!” You call over the squadron’s comm.

A minute or so after, you rapidly find out your losses. The enemy jets had primarily targeted your tanks, but a couple of APCs and their crews were caught here and there, but with the majority of your infantry within the spaceport, they had been untouched, at least by the airstrike. As for your tanks, three more had been utterly wrecked, with a few more damaged. Overall, not the best, but also not the worst airstrike you had experienced.

“Aurelius !” Vinn calls over the comm. “Enemy still fighting tooth and nail, but we have the nuke in place, we can get the hell out of here.”

“Is the nuke entirely secured ?”

“As best we can without clearing out the entirety of the spaceport !”

>It’s a risk you’re willing to take. No doubt the enemy will continue to increase their air assets in the area, you’d better get out now.

>You’re so damned close and you won’t allow hubris to trip you over right at the end. Clear the spaceport, then extract. Hopefully the enemy won’t be able to land any more forces.

Either case, you can also dedicate forces to see if they cannot get Amato out of the destroyed mech, and see if he is alive. It will take time and it will expose the rescue forces, either way, there are tons of armour that you would have to dig through which may cost too long.

>No man left behind, it will take time, but you will get Amato out.

>The man’s probably dead already. You’d rather not risk your entire command for just one person.

And naturally, no matter what, you will have to get out of town.

>Move South, the same way you came, it is probably the longest way meaning that you have to go through the town again, but it should provide the most cover and since you’d be covering ground you know, it should be the fastest. Not to mention, it would be the best way to return to base Roland.

>Push North, it is the fastest way to get out of town, no doubt Talon expects you to take it, so at least harassing will be common, but you will hopefully be long gone before they can bring to bear a force capable enough to fully overwhelm you.

>Push East, you will move further from base Roland, but that might be what you need to throw the enemy off. A series of cave networks are also situated that way, so presuming you don’t get lost, it should be the safest way. Afterwards however, it may take you a while to return back to the fortress.

>Move West, a direct push for base Roland, the terrain there is also the most exposed, not to mention you’ll have to move through the parts of the town you had not fully explored.
>You’re so damned close and you won’t allow hubris to trip you over right at the end. Clear the spaceport, then extract. Hopefully the enemy won’t be able to land any more forces.
>No man left behind, it will take time, but you will get Amato out.
>Move West, a direct push for base Roland, the terrain there is also the most exposed, not to mention you’ll have to move through the parts of the town you had not fully explored.
>It’s a risk you’re willing to take. No doubt the enemy will continue to increase their air assets in the area, you’d better get out now.
We stay here we die, they'll overwhelm us.

>No man left behind, it will take time, but you will get Amato out.

>Move West, a direct push for base Roland, the terrain there is also the most exposed, not to mention you’ll have to move through the parts of the town you had not fully explored.
We have nukes. Anyone that wants to follow us can do so through nuclear hellfire. I'm worried about that exosuit though, if the 95ths sacrifice was enough to take it out. Might be better to head to the remnants of where they were and check for survivors.

Then again our luck is shitty enough to kill us no matter what we do.
Alright, securing the port fully wins. Amato will be hopefully dragged out and you shall push west.

6d100 best of 3

and I would like a simple 1d100 best of 2 to see if Amato is still alive.
Rolled 68, 83, 7, 63, 23, 77 = 321 (6d100)

Rolled 67 (1d100)

Rolled 3, 97, 90, 90, 40, 34 = 354 (6d100)

Rolled 27, 49, 46, 21, 32, 91 = 266 (6d100)

Rolled 21 (1d100)

This roll is a rollercoaster

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