Village of Grey Havens
1301 hours 08 December
The advance elements of the Immortals entered the village on foot, the heavily armed ground troopers alert to anything taking a pot shot at them. All of them were veteran troops and this lack of action was starting to get worrisome. The home world of the Lancers was supposed to be a slash-bill nest if you screwed with it and right now… they haven’t been shot at.
The leader of the Immortals, Anatoli Spanac knew it wasn’t going to last… and when nothing jumped them at the crossings, he was damn sure it would happen here. He was not to be disappointed….
Mikey Johns looked out an upper window of her shop at the end of Main Street. It had a clean line of sight all the way out of the village, sitting at the T intersection of the main drives into the village. She was a veteran of the FedCom Civil War and had spent time in a infantry battalion pulling anti-insurgent duty in Skye before helping to retake New Avalon. Getting out after that nonsense, she had emigrated to Centarus as the world was regarded as a peaceful place and a good location to retire to…
Then the Word of Blake came here in 3068 and she spent a good amount of time being an insurgent until the world was freed in 3072. The following years had been good and moving to the Far Side of the planet had been a blessing to her. Its peaceful environs and the laid-back nature of those who lived on this side of the world had been a godsend for her. Her shop, a general store, had flourished in providing for the locals and she made many friends here- to include the folks over in the research base to the east.
So when the world wide warning order came out about invasion, there had been initial panic on her part. She had long ago stopped being a professional soldier and the concept of fighting again sickened her. Those thoughts only lasted a short while though… and Johns eventually dug out old gear long packed away… along with her Federated-Barret rifle.
Contacting Testudo Base, she informed the friend on security there that she and others in town would be waiting for whomever showed up. The friend told her to be careful and not be a hero. “Being a hero is for the young… I intend on being old for a good while yet….” Was her reply.
So the forty six year old former soldier scanned the field of fire from her second story window through the scope of her heavy sniper rifle. If there was an enemy trooper out there, she would see him… and if he was in the right spot, the bastard would die. A dozen others in town had stayed to defend too. None of them had heavy guns but hit and run tactics didn’t call for them.
High above, a quartet of drones overflew the village and watched events unfold.
The Harvies watched the screens within operations as they showed the battles on the Landing side of the planet and the feed from the drones in operation here. The Senior Harvie could only smile at the initial success of the base projects…
In addition to working on various battle armor technologies, the facility also engineered various technical solutions to Drone Warfare. Chief Harvie had been intrigued by the reports of the WoB Drone machines and had started working on applying what was known to various other platforms.
Drone Tech wasn’t new by any means… but for whatever reason, many a Successor State just didn’t use them. Due to the lack of good AI, the electronic counter measure issues of the modern battlefield, a lack of good platforms… they just weren’t used. Eric saw it as a giant oversight, and he had convinced Colonel Tinney to let him experiment with it concurrent with the battle armor trials… and the combat aspects were about to come to fruition.
Three of the drones carried a pair of one-shot streak Inferno launchers. These were designed to hunt tanks and infantry formations. The fourth was a spotter drone armed with an enhanced medium laser and probe. That one would be the lead drone when looking to find armored vehicles…. And it would be this machine that would spot the formation advancing up the road towards the village store.
Johns sighted down her rifle. She had seen the weapons trooper then his companions… and she noted their spread formation. It was good movement skills, she had to admit… but it wasn’t going to save them from her rifle. Or from Heather Mack’s assault rifle in the cottage down the street. Sighting in, Johns slowed her breathing and let herself relax as the sights settled on the chest of the machine gunner advancing up the road.
Counting to five, Johns squeezed the trigger on her Federated-Barret. Rewarded with the boom of the round discharging, she saw a large blossoming of blood on the chest of her target. The big heavy rifle was very good at making a mess of personal body armor back in the day… and it demonstrated here that it still could.
Heather opened up with her rifle a few seconds later… her shots adding to the chaos of the moment.
On the receiving end, the enemy troops scattered, the one shot by Johns crawling slowly behind cover. Too slowly, as rifle fire from yet another location on Main Street struck the man, ending his efforts. The Immortals returned fire, the heavily armed infantry unit being disciplined in their actions. All of them had fought in city fights before; given this was a village and they hadn’t taken fire on the way in, the cardinal mistake of letting one’s guard down happened.
Johns sighted in on another trooper. She’d get this second shot then it would be time to move. It was rare a sniper managed two shots from the same hide, but she would get that rare event. She was back far enough in her house to not reveal her position and her first shot had been a surprise one. Scanning downrange, she saw a head pop up over a wall then duck back down. Smiling, she aimed an inch below the top of the wall.
Her rifle was very powerful, the weapon having a long history of service as a heavy sniper rifle…. That it also functioned as an anti-materiel weapon, able to defeat light vehicle armor- or the less solid material of a light cinderblock wall, was a plus. She fired, confirmed the shot’s impact and then moved, heading for the back door of her shop.
There was another hide to get to and she was certain the enemy would not treat her kindly- that last shot had exploded the troopers head like a grape.
The Immortals, realizing they needed some armored support, called in their APCs to lend their machine guns to efforts. Within two minutes, a pair of Rhino Armored Personnel Carriers roared into view on the road. The troops on the sides of the street began directing the APC to put fire into various building they were taking shots from and the vehicle crews did so with gusto.
As they were attempting to root out the defenders, the drones up above took notice and the anti-armor ones went into action. Swooping down from on high, the Franklin Labs Model T Dante Anti-Armor drone bored in on the unsuspecting fighting vehicles below.
The drone, a highly advanced VTOL carrying a pair of improved Streak Launchers loaded with inferno munitions, darted in and when within range, achieved lock with a launcher and opened fire. The two missiles with their highly flammable contents slammed into one of the Rhinos. The incendiary missiles did their work well, the flammable gel setting the vehicle aflame and forcing the crew to bail out- the engine of the machine no longer operational as the gel managed to get inside engine vents.
The second armed drone streaked in not long after the first one and dumped its initial payload on the squad being supported by the now-burning APC. Its weapon system also achieved lock and fired, the inferno missiles eliminating the squad of troopers in a fiery embrace of napalm gel. Other troopers nearby opened up on the attack drones as they retreated, their weapon fire managing to damage one and causing it to trail smoke.
The Immortals, realizing the danger above, were ready for the third drone and forced it to abort its attack run. The aerial assault had been successful in slowing them down, even costing them troops. But the message was clear- there would no longer be unopposed advances. Between insurgents and drones, their advance on Testudo would not be so easy.