Jungle Work

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Questers
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:29 am

Hecate stirred. He readied himself. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he could see; like a great, blinding flash, from nothing was created everything. He reached out with his many sensory tentacles, and touched everything there was to touch, listened to everything there was to hear, and saw everything there was to see. He picked out small details. He weaved them together, remembering the last time he had been let out and woken up. He started to make patterns; scratched them, and made new ones - and fitted those patterns into others.

He had not been woken up so many times for a long, long time. And every new time he woke up, he felt different. Bigger, stronger, faster. He still had the memories from that time, but he did not need them. They were buried deep.

A long time ago he had been awake for a very long time. It felt like he was a child then; not a child, something worse, something sluggish and primitive. Something lesser - but not quite as less as an invalid. He had seen and listened and heard, and he had turned non-sense into sense. This is what he would now do. Now, however, he could do more. He could logically order the world as it ought to be. Very well.

A trace of signals ran far into the distance. They bounced between and from point to point, incessantly, giving only little hints. They teased him. He picked them up and turned them into a pattern, considering the source and the destination. He scanned the receivers of these signals with a radar, twice, three times. Matched them to a prior pattern. He did this ten thousand times across half a million square miles, and then chose one, randomly. This one was good.

Hecate pulled the trigger. Nothing. He pulled it again. Nothing. Hecate screamed, as loud and as piercing as he could.

ERROR f0xc0000f0e9 ERROR f0xc0000f0e9 ERROR f0xc0000f0e9 ERROR f0xc0000f0e9

Something was missing. A small piece of a tool. He tried to fix it himself. Suddenly he found out he was missing an entire limb. Perhaps there were errors in its connections. He tried to fix those too; no, it was not there. Physically, it had not been attached. And yet in front of Hecate lay the targets. He was instructed to strike them.

He pulled the trigger again: ERROR f0xc0000f0e9.

This was not supposed to happen. He was Hecate. He was the Imperial Frontier Combat Model Computer Mark 1. He was supposed to be bristling with surface to surface missiTEST CYCLE COMPLETEDles, whole squadrons of aircraft at his own direction, highLEgGfACY SYSTEMS DEPOwWEfRED-powered rocket artillery and a dazzling array COLLATING of jammDATAers and counter-jammers.

They were not there. That was strange, Hecate thou -

SYSTEM SHUTTING DOWN. . .
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[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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satilisu
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:00 pm

In Taihei Tengoku time is marked by the loudspeakers. Every hour the lady on the speaker says it is that hour. Every morning at civil sunrise the lady sings the Joy of the World Entire once, and every morning at civil sunset she sings it once again, a little slower. Other things are marked by loudspeakers. When men talk on the loudspeakers orders are given. When other women talk on the loudspeaker it is history.

It was Yaushiro's job to string up the loudspeakers. He had been doing it for twenty-five years and knew he was the best loudspeaker stringer-upper in Kaiku. He was a Master Public Address System Maintainer, or would be, if not for Jiro, the miserable old man who held that job. Yasu had been a Deputy Master Public Address System Maintainer for twenty years. That miserable septuagenarian was his Master Public Address System Maintainer when Yasu got the job out of trade school, and taught him everything to know about maintaining public address systems.

Youse gonna take over my job bit by bit, kid, he said back then. I'm old and fuckin' broke. I ain't got long before I'se outta heres. What a liar. Yasu had taken over his job alright. Early encouragement now turned into daily insults and threats, with the geezer refusing to work. Worse, he refused to retire. Worst, he refused to die. A pack of cigarettes every day, fatty yakiniku every night, and a six pack of awful Tenmas to wash it all down. Yet, there he was, sitting in the office he deserved, getting the pay grade he ought to be getting, and doing none of the work he was doing.

As he returned to his flat (which would've been nicer if he had that promotion), he was surprised by a younger man in a crisp suit chatting with his wife. Belatedly, Yasuhiro thought that he ought to be suspicious--younger men were his wife's type.

"Good evening Mr. Tanaka, I am Yamashita." No first name given. "Pardon my intrusion--I did not know you would be delayed today, but I will say your wife makes the most delightful tea and rice crackers." Yasuhiro remained standing. "Please, sit. Unusually for my occupation I only have good news to offer you." Yasu sat. "I understand that you maintain our public address systems, yes?"

"Uh, yeah," Yasu responded.

"Wonderful. I have the correct Yasuhiro Tanaka. I have been sent by the magistrate's office itself to inform you of a wonderful new appointment, should you choose to take it."

"Do I get to know what it is?"

"Of course, of course. You will be in charge of setting up the public address system in liberated Hakara, specifically," Yamashita unfolded a map, "these five cities here. Specifically, you will oversee the setup crews and maintainers, and ensure that they are trained and working properly." Yasuhiro vaguely knew what that job description was like. "It will be a promotion of two grades, yes, but looking at your record here it seems like you more than deserve it." Yasuhiro could only nod as his eyes glossed over the pages of the contract. A double promotion! This meant a lot more money, and best of all being able to sit inside office eight hours a day rather than working outside fixing broken megaphones for twelve. Still, he has to cover all his bases.

"I don't want to sound all ungrateful-like, Mr. Yamashita, but is there, uh, a catch or something?"

"Well, you'd have to be in Hakara, for starters--that's a big move. But don't worry, you will live in a special site well away from any fighting, where it is safe." He turned the page to more fine print Yasu didn't care about reading. "I know many people aren't for fine print but in summary: at first you will live in a work camp, at government expense, while we build proper housing. Once we finish that housing--I give it maybe six months--we can move your wife and children over. After that you will pay rent, yes, but a lower rent as compensation. I have explained the terms to your wife," she nodded, "and she seems all for it."

"I know it going to be so hard being away from you, dear," said Yasu's wife, "but we would be able to do so much better for our kids." He agreed.

"When can I start?"

"How does next week sound?"

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:35 pm

Hecate purred. Everything was in place now.

Everything was ready.

The clock ticked down.

Midnight.

Hecate pulled the trigger.
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[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:51 pm

The timing was fortuitous. In Haversham and Jacksonville, people would be rising for work. In Urbs Dumanus, they would be eating dinner with their family. The recording was sent to all news stations everywhere, although some would have a little warning.

It was Abdul, the man, in uniform, speaking to a camera.

At mid-night, our forces crossed the southern frontier, over the Rayana river, into Taihei Tengoku. They are now heavily engaged.

The Heavenly Realm of Taihei Tengoku has violated its agreement to never station its armed forces on the southern frontier. It has invaded neighbouring Hakara.

Therefore, we are now at war.

We make war without notice, but we are confident that Providence will grant our cause Justice.

In the coming days there will be trials, pains, and glories. To these, we are no stranger.

We await the judgment of Almighty Providence in our contest and beseech her approval in our endeavor, as in all things on Earth.


Then, it was over. It had only just begun.
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[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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satilisu
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:12 am

All eyes see and all ears hear that Our Realm has been treacherously struck on the orders of the bandit lord of the Northern Ma Savages.

The cruelty and injustice of his schemes are plain to all civilized men, as are his dubious pretexts. Such is the way of the barbarian, who grows by plunder and rules by rapine.

In all places brave soldiers defend our homes and temples, at great cost in life. They call upon the Immovable Wisdom King for strength. In all places the unfortunate afflicted singlemindedly call upon the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's Sounds. They are heard.

Our Realm stirs as One Under Heaven. Heaven ordains our singular purpose and final victory.


The loudspeaker falls silent. Then it speaks again.

All eyes see and all ears hear...

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:42 am

Day One: 25th June 2019; 0001 - 2359

Map of the movements of forces

The morning in the centre - Marquess of Pokhara's Horse Guards Battlegroup

Colonel Kinsley’s greatest fear was that they’d be caught by helicopters on the river, and torn to shreds. In the end, getting over the river itself had been easy. The enemy hadn’t turned up, and he had been able to bring the battlegroup over without any trouble. The river was big and a little swollen, like a pig in early pregnancy, and it had been rough to handle, and the dark did not make it any easier.

Kinsley was used to the night being quiet, but the sheer noise of everything put him at unease. The growl of engines, the hum of radios, the sloshing of mud and riverwater, the shouts of men and the clank of metal against metal – and underneath it all, the thumping and thundering of guns. The crossing on the rough water and the slug of rum before the off had given him the worst kind of headache, and now he sat in the back of the jeep, nursing his head.

‘Colonel,’ a young officer poked his head inside. ‘Colonel, you should come and see this.’

Kinsley got up. He could see the shapes in the water, but it was easier to make out the sounds; the rest of the Brigade was coming over, and it was about time for him to move. ‘What’s the matter?’

‘The forward units have come to a stop. We have the railway line under control. But you’ve gotta come up here and see this sah.’ Kinsley told the driver to move out, and held his head tightly while the jeep bounced up and down roads. The young officer sat next to the driver, pointing the way.

The railway was built on a raised bank, running through a line of warehouses, and the electric wires running along made it easy to make out. Kinsley leaned between the two front seats, squinting through the windscreen. A hundred feet down on the rails, a train had come off; it was long, and its lines illuminated by fires, some raging, and some just glowing, like hot coals. Smoke swirled, and from place to place covered the train cars, so that it lost its shape against the flames. Kinsley soon saw that it was much longer than he had first thought, and that parts of it had flown off into the field beyond. It looked like a beast – an evil, tortured thing. It crackled and sparked, and somewhere inside a new fire billowed. Next to it a tall iron gantry wobbled.

‘Give me the map,’ Kinsley said, and the officer passed it back. He flicked on the light in the jeep. ‘Night train. Going out of or into Otaru. Must have been hit by artillery,’ the younger officer said, but Kinsley ignored him, his finger running along the map.

‘We’ve got to get the main body over this track. This is a good a place as any. This is the industrial park outside of Otaru. There will be backroads to the highway. We need to seal that road so the dushman in Otaru can’t get out.’

They said the enemy’s brigade in Otaru was motorised rifles. Not many tanks. But they could be wrong. They were wrong about many things in the last war, and the one before that. Kinsley made marks on the map with a wax pencil. They were hurried things, not the neat lines and crosses and circles he was used to, but somehow, the broken carcass of the train had filled him with a sense of speed and power. He pulled three trace copies out of the map. ‘Go and give these to the squadron leaders. We’ve got a couple of hours before the enemy gets moving, and the rest of the Brigade is right behind us. I don’t care for route security. Get around this city and onto that highway.’

After the officer had left, Kinsley called up his scout track. He sat inside under a fan, his adjutant playing with the map board. The wireless was all dead; the jammers were killing every network they could reach, both their own and the enemy’s. After thirty minutes, Kinsley’s track pulled off, a light tank behind it for an escort. Kinsley sat on the top of the track, cradling a carbine. The noise was still there, everywhere, but he could see none of his own troops.

They wound through little roads, flanked by factories, warehouses, open fields. Sometimes there were workers, who just stared; but most of them had heard the fighting and gone to ground. After half an hour Kinsley’s track stopped. They were lost, and he was alone. Maybe the Battlegroup had been found and wiped out, maybe from the air. No, he hadn’t heard any planes. Maybe they had all gone the wrong way. His headache got worse. Opening the hatch, he leaned down to speak to the driver. ‘Take my compass. Just go south-east until you can get onto the highway.’ The driver opened a little plastic booklet of Taihei roadsigns. ‘Forget that. Use your gut.’

Kinsley got back up and waved to the tank escort and they set off again. The thump of heavy artillery had calmed, but its lifting had allowed Kinsley to make out small arms fire far off. He checked his watch. The war was five hours old. He had been away from his men for two hours. Instead of letting himself panic, he checked the carbine again and again, making sure it worked.

In the next corner there were a pair of police cars. Kinsley almost didn’t see them. The policemen looked up in their funny uniforms. Kinsley merely stared at them and drove by. They didn’t try anything. It was hard to think of them as the great enemy. He couldn’t make their faces out, but they were totally still, frozen like rabbits in a headlight. He turned around to look, but by the time they’d gone down the street, the policemen were gone.

They burst out onto the highway. Kinsley looked left and right. There was nothing. A strange stillness came over him. They were far from the pounding of the artillery now, alone, lost. Maybe it was over, he thought. The higher ups had worked everything out. Suddenly, there was a great roar, and a troop of tanks burst out onto the highway from behind an embankment, knocking over a pair of trees. Not noticing Kinsley, they turned to face left, and a stream of Gurkhas in olive drab followed behind them, taking up positions on either side of the road. Kinsley jumped off his scout track and watched more and more of them come in. The lost had been found.

One of his Majors, hand-picked by Kinsley himself, turned up. ‘Boy, I’m glad to see you,’ he said, saluting. The Major’s carbine bounced on its strap. ‘Thought we’d lost you. We ran into a rear unit on the way over. Mechanics, mostly. Took some prisoners.’ Light started to come up from the east, turning the city of Otaru from one dark shape into a portrait of sharp, sun-lined edges. Kinsley sat down by the side of the road. He had done his job.

The morning in the south – Dukesardar of Ambala’s Horse Battlegroup

For Sunny, the early morning had passed like one long dream. It began at an ungodly hour, when it was still dark and the crickets still cried. From waiting inside the tank in the long line to the river, to crossing the river in the gun-lit darkness on the little bridging rig, to waiting in a line again on the other side, in the enemy country, and all that time being buttoned down in the tank. The day before, Sunny’s sergeant, who’d been in the other war, told him to have only underwear on in the tank. If you get hurt, adrenaline will see you through.

Sunny was glad of his words, but had had no idea how dirty he would get. It wasn’t just the sweat or the tobacco ash or the piss that had splashed off the rim of the bottle onto his thigh. They had shot only ten rounds in the first battle, but the burned off propellant from the shells had covered all of them in a thick black smear.

The battle was Sunny’s first taste of war: the first morsel of his heritage. He and his father and his fathers before him had been bred for battle and bred to lead men into it. It had not lasted long at all. The Taihei tanks had been waiting for them, but they were one to the Regiment’s six, and it had been a done deal from the very start. The enemy’s accompanying infantry had dug deep, but the artillery had found them, and picked them up and strewn them across the field in bloody pieces.

Now, like all soldiers in all armies in all times, their own infantry had gone forwards and picked what was left of their bodies clean of anything and everything, bayoneting any of the enemy who still clutched to life. Little brown scout tracks, like woodland creatures, drove on past the carnage, radios crackling. Sunny opened the hatch of the tank for the first time in hours and saw that the dark had become the day. The sun shone on the field. For the wounded, it promised further horror. For Sunny, it meant he had lived through the first half of the first day.

The afternoon in the north – 20th Infantry Brigade, Udonburi Rifles Battlegroup

Poom had been with the Regiment his whole life. His mother had left him at a temple and run off somewhere. In this country, such a life gave a man two paths: crime, or the army. One day, when the time was coming to choose a path, Poom had come across a chain-gang. The men, looking beyond their years, trudged across the hot road barefoot and naked. Heavy signs bearing their crimes hung from their necks, the rubber strings slicing into the flesh. They cried out to him, a little child, for food, for water, for money. That was the day Poom had chosen the army.

The river of refugees reminded him of that chain gang. They walked by the side of the road, and where they couldn’t, they went in one long line around it, until they reached a road again. Some of them were shuffling, others walking at a pace – to where, Poom couldn’t guess. At first, his troops had gawked, but gawking had fallen to sympathy, so the men threw chocolate bars and nuts. Poom put a stop to this. Even if sympathy had been part of his arsenal, for Taiheis he reserved a proper, primordial kind of hate. Where this hate had come from, he didn’t know, but it was alive, and strong. Perhaps he had been born with it.

The refugees began to a sharp turn to the right, and a minute later, Poom could hear a battle up ahead. A few miles down they passed a platoon of red-caps, military policemen, watching a herd of prisoners. The white captain flagged Poom’s column down and spoke to the company commander. Poom stared, and the North Point troops stared back. Poom didn’t have much interest in them. They could have been aliens, he thought. No, they were aliens. Aliens from an alien country. But they killed Taiheis, and killed them well, so Poom liked them. ‘Hello alien!’ he shouted at them, and his troops laughed – Poom didn’t think they got it. They thought it was a joke, and because he was the Company Sergeant, they had to laugh. The white troops didn’t say anything. Maybe they hadn’t heard him. Poom wanted to try again, but the company commander came back.

‘They’ve already got the bridge at Suifi. It was practically unguarded, but the bridges were all rigged to blow. We’ve got to get our bridge-layers over and see what we can do about it.’

‘Ok,’ Poom said.

The company commander stared at him. ‘Poom. There’s no soldiers in the city, but it’s full of partisans. They’ve taken some losses from snipers and booby traps. Some of the boys might get hurt. Double the lao-khao rations before we go in.’

‘Ok,’ Poom said, again.

He had already stored enough for triple rations by beating the quartermaster in cards, but there was no need to tell the company commander this. Poom had been in three wars now. If he got out of the first one alive, he’d get out of all the others. He wasn’t dying to some punji stick in some pitiful Taihei town.

His soldiers though. They might. Poom thought on this, but then remembered he had trained them as best as he could. Now it was up to fate to sort them out.

The afternoon in the centre – Eleventh Army

Copeland’s people had been in this country a long time. The first Copeland had come over with the first boats, and the greatest Copeland had been a Marshal. Copeland was only distantly related to him, but there was always one Copeland who was in the armed services; the meagre living of an officer was always made up by the family’s largesse.

The helicopter buzzed over the river with the sun setting in front of it. Beneath them, what was left of a pontoon bridge was swarmed with people. Another one lay, unfinished, to its left. Endless lines of trucks and other machines sat idle on both sides of the river. He wondered what the Greatest Copeland would have thought of all of this.

They flew low enough for Copeland to make out the faces of the engineers. He was glad to see that they did not look up at him.

The helicopter dropped him off and left in a hurry. Raman Shah, the divisional commander, met him on the other side. He seemed full of life, but he had been fighting for more than three quarters of a day. He shook Copeland’s hand.

‘General. It’s good you’re here. You need to see the situation for yourself.’ Raman Shah took him to his headquarters, a warehouse by the side of the river. All kinds of military machines were piled up everywhere, with nowhere to go. The place was packed to the brim with troops. The warehouse itself was split in half, with the headquarters on one side and an aid station on the other. To get inside, Copeland tripped in a pool of wet blood. Little red cutlets of meat clung to his boot. ‘It’s total hell here,’ Shah said. ‘The first crossing got over alright, but they hit the bridge builders from the air – and hard. It took me three hours to get the crossings back in order. My forward units made good progress, but they hit us from the air again. They’re dug in across an industrial canal. The whole place is covered in mines and booby traps.’

‘We expected all this,’ Copeland said. Orderlies gave him salutes, but he took no notice of them, fixing his whole personality on Shah.

‘Their partisans have been busy as well. We had to move the field hospital back here because the village hall we were using was rigged with explosives. I’ve had to give up men for every yard of ground.’

‘To your left, Arav Singh’s division has worked a forward brigade group around Otaru. We’ve got the main highway. On your right, Campbell’s division managed to pin a Taihei cavalry brigade against the river.’

‘Yes, General Sir – but their crossings weren’t hit. And all my air force controllers have been saying they can’t get the missions. The wireless has been down and I have no idea what’s going on up there.’ He pointed upwards. ‘We linked up with Campbell too, but he won’t let us use his bridges. And Arav Singh’s still trying to put more pontoons over. Half my division isn’t across yet. I’ve only got two brigades and they’re dug in hard.’

Copeland knew this was true. Without the heavy tanks that Raman Shah had behind the river, it would be hard to break the enemy. ‘Listen – it’s going to take your people another few hours to put a bridge in. We’re already sending over more bridging units. But the mines are no excuse. Your forward units should have engineers. I need you to break these people. We think they’re going to give up Otaru, but we need to keep as many of them north of there as we can. I need you to turn him from the south. What can I give you to make that happen?’

‘All my artillery is fixed on their high-power guns. They’re tough, and very mobile. I’ve been trying to keep them quiet all day but they keep coming back. I only have mortars to support the attacks.’ Raman Shah stared at a large map fixed to the wall. ‘I need more guns.’

The evening in the centre

White smoke, like a fine powder, lifted off the ground, drifting away in the wind. The men, stripped down to their underwear, sometimes without, worked the guns as fast as they could. They were covered in muck and grime, but it did not stop them. The barrels were hot to a touch for the firing. They did not think of what would happen at the other side, only their orders; where to fire, how many rounds, and how quick. Empty shells flew to a little pit behind each gun. Later, they could be dumped in the river.

It was not one gun, but hundreds. At the back of this battery, underneath a camouflage net, an officer wearing nothing but swimming shorts with palm trees on them, tennis shoes and a radio headset called the rounds out as they went, yelling into the little mic over the sound of the long toms. He could see nothing in front of him for the smoke, nothing behind, and nothing to either side, but he could hear the guns going off and feel it in his feet. When he called for it, more rounds came, hauled up on odd looking trucks almost at-will.

The darkness began to set, but the firing didn’t stop. Instead, sharp, orange lights joined the thunder. It began to rain, soaking the gunners, the guns, the ammunition, the spent cases. Hot tropical rain drenched everything. Rain or not, the guns will shift them, the officer thought. They always do.

The Gurkhas at the front worked all through the night. Under the cover of the heavy guns, the mineclearing tracks went forward. They threw out long lines over the minefields, like the trunks of the old work elephants. They burst the mines and the Gurkhas moved from place to place, dirty shadows in the night. They closed with the bayonet. The sons of Pokhara and Tenma died almost on top of each other. Somewhere, a young Gurkha burst into a bunker to find the men inside long dead, their guts splayed on the concrete ceiling, a short intestine leaking shit onto the floor. He dry retched, staggering out of the bunker, hurling his lunch onto the mud. Out of nowhere, a Sergeant, grabbing him by the scruff, pointed forwards, to the dark figures of the enemy.

Under the weight of hundreds of heavy guns, the brigade, which had fought all morning, day, and night, began to break, at first slowly, in pieces here and there, and then finally completely. The Gurkhas carried their wounded back to the aid stations and sat down for chai in the rain. But first, they sheathed their kukris, the blood crusting on the blades.

The evening in the south – Nearby 23rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters

Harper looked up at the warehouse. A picture of a grinning fat man was stencilled on the side. He could barely make out the words – he had learned some Yamatai in Tairendia, but too little, too late.

‘What does it say?’ Gosling asked.

‘I think it’s a noodle company.’

A military policeman picked them up and walked them over to a technical shed behind the warehouse. They were late, and the rest of the battlegroup commanders let them know it. Eventually, the brigade commander spoke. ‘Thank you for coming gentlemen. I know that this is an onerous process, but we can’t allow the dushman to get a fix on our headquarters.’

The man’s voice had a calming effect on all of them. It was the way he spoke – softly, with a smile that signalled neither urgency nor infirmity. The deep Eulalia accent, usually thought to be the most trustworthy, but also the most gullible, gave a second, richer layer of grandfatherliness.

‘First, I can’t tell you boys how proud I am that the brigade got across in good order.’

‘Thank you Sir,’ they each said.

‘The news from Division is that the divisions to our flanks have made contact with the enemy and are pushing them. Most of the air missions have gone to them, but tomorrow you’ll have some freed up. Now, is there anything anyone wants to tell me?’

One of the other battlegroup commanders spoke up first. ‘The enemy only had light units out today, but they held on hard. I had to use some of the big guns to move them off. Their regulars only put up a screen sah, but their militia, they fought hard. There’s sharpshooters everywhere. And they’ve mined everything. Everything, sah.’

The other battlegroup commanders nodded, but Harper hadn’t engaged his regiment, so he had nothing to say.

‘And the wireless. The nets have been bad, sah. I’ve barely been able to talk to my front units. My forward observer couldn’t call up his battery. We had to drive off a local counter-attack from militia with small arms. We routed them all the same, but we shot off a lot of ammunition and my trucks are still at the rear.’

The brigade commander listened closely, saying nothing. ‘The other brigades are reporting the same problems. When we go into battle tomorrow it won’t be easy. The news is the division is going to swing north. There’s a full armoured brigade, and we’re going to take it in the flank. We’ll have plenty of fire missions for the forward observers, but the enemy will have real tanks. There’s going to be a big fight, real soon. I want you to remember one thing tomorrow: it’s easier to start a fight than it is to get out of one. We’ve only got to hold them in place, so if we can fight them where we see them and don’t let them pull off, we’ll have done our duty.’

‘Sir, are we winning?’

The brigade commander put his hands out. ‘It’s too early to tell. General Hussein told me that the Eleventh Army is battering the dushman out of position. They think he’s going to try to delay us here and then run back to the next river. Who knows? It’s our job to catch him and kill him. That’s enough for today boys. We’re moving out in four hours. My staffs will have the lines of march to you shortly. We’ll be paired with the Life Guards, so if the dushman’s heavy cavalry shows up, they’ll be there. Good luck gentlemen.’ He saluted and left. The battlegroup commanders made small talk while they walked to their jeeps.

‘The old man knows what he’s doing,’ one said.

Harper remembered a moment from the last war, when the old man had been his regiment commander, and he had called him up on the wireless, a young and stupid subaltern, begging for rations for his men. The brigade commander had given him a recipe to make rat quite edible. He had told him now his men would not use some of the sauces that came in the rations, but store them to be bartered with later, and how combining these sauces together could make a good seasoning for railway rat.

‘He is a man of details,’ Harper said, waving good-bye to the others and getting in the staff jeep. He glanced at the time on the dashboard. One minute to mid-night. ‘Do you want to sleep first?’ he asked Gosling.

But Gosling had already fallen asleep.
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[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:31 pm

June 26th, 2019
Day 2, 0000-2359


This land is mine / God gave this land to me / This brave and ancient land to me

Nishi rubbed his temples. The news was not good. One brigade was already lost in the impossible position at Buman—ironic, he thought, that the characters meant “martial pride.” Today he might have to write off two more, tomorrow another two. Five brigades down. Graphs and nomograms swirled around his head. Thirty-two brigades on the river against fifty-two. One hundred units of fire per hour against three, at a loss ratio of four percent per day to—he couldn’t bear to think any more. He took a drink.

He spun the map around. Perhaps there was some rotation where he could comprehend totally the wiles of the Makou. If he looked at just the right angle, maybe it would be clear which pressure points could be struck. Such epiphanies eluded him.

Nishi took another drink. People weren't supposed to have alcohol in the command post but nobody would talk back to a general-major anyways. There was so much and so little to do. So much staff work: this was the first break he had since two days ago, and what did he do? Work. But what could he do? Follow the Plan, not much more. He was merely a commander of a General Army. Everyone else was expecting him to follow his Plan so they could follow their Plan.

The Rocket Army's Plan, it seemed, was to give Nishi two ballistic missiles a day. Over a thousand rockets, and of those only two could be spared each day. Nishi spun the map some more. Two rockets today, two rockets and the Eighth Route Army tomorrow, two rockets and the reserves every day for the next week after. Better than nothing, for sure, but every angle of the map showed the same thing: more Makou, better-trained, better-equipped, killing more of his men than his killed of them. He feared the worst for their Plan.

And when the morning sun / reveals her hills and plains

Yesterday had been the worst day of Taro’s life. Worse, it had not ended. He lay in a drainage ditch. Up the road one hundred meters a pair of tanks took their sweet time getting behind the barricade. They reversed slowly, trading shots with the unseen enemy for every bound they made.

Taro cursed at them, knowing that they could not hear. Every moment they delayed getting behind his barricades the more he got shot at. Sure, they were proof against everything but cluster bombs and the Big Green Tanks. But those tankers keep forgetting that the infantry isn’t proof against anything, including the cluster bombs and Big Green Tanks!

One of the tanks is hit, and the other soon after. The first one cooks off. Had it been yesterday morning Taro would’ve been traumatized (and when he saw it happen yesterday he was), but his body ran out of cortisol six hours ago.

“Fucking do it!” His sergeant shouted. The other crew was trying to bail out, obviously hurt. The enemy fire had picked up. They wouldn’t make it. Taro squeezed the detonator. Boomboomboom. The detcord snapped the supports holding up the roadblocks. The concrete block, a solid mass of three hundred tons, thudded onto the asphalt. Everything stopped for a moment. Then everything started again.

His sergeant hit him on the shoulder. "Quit gawking, shithead, next one's two miles up the road."

Then I see a land / Where children can run free

"I'd like to enlist in the Ever Victorious Army." Tatsuki handed the noncom his papers. Koseki, clean bill of health, permission from his employer. It has been six hours he'd been standing in the queue, snaking around the lobby like an intestine and then disemboweling itself out the door around the block.

"Papers." Yesterday the soldier would've had some witty remark to tell him. Tatsuki saw the bags under his eyes. He gave him the papers. The soldier typed Tatsuki's name and his koseki's serial number into a computer. "Background check. Regular crimes, thought crimes, you know the deal." The soldier drummed his fingers on the desk as he waited for the monitor to spit out the results. It did, and the soldier's eyebrows rose. "Says here you're already part of a labor unit."

"What? that must be a mistake."

"I get bums coming through all the time trying to get out of digging ditches. Let me tell you, the labor armies are much easier than the real--"

"But I was let go last week!" The soldier sighed.

"Where did you work?"

"On the shipping barges in the harbor." The soldier flipped through a stack of papers. "The coal barges, they're downsizing--"

"I live in the same town you do, buddy, I know. Anyways, you didn't get fired." What? "You didn't get fired."

"But the company, it's going--"

"--nowhere." The soldier pushed a sheet of paper against the window so Tatsuki could read. "Orders straight from the bigwigs in Heian. If you've ever been near a boat in your life, especially the river barges, you're working for the First Labor Fleet." The noncom stamped Tatsuki's enlistment paperwork. Ker-chunk ker-chunk denied. "I've never seen a Labor Fleet before so it's probably important. Congrats, kid. Next!"

So take my hand / And walk this land with me / And walk this lovely land with me

The gauge read 350 knots indicated. The computer pulled that number through the pressure altitude and the outside air temperature to give a true airspeed almost a hundred knots higher and a Mach number of point-eight. The turbojet was straining against the weight and drag of the payload.

"Sun, this is Venus, gauges reading three hundred fifty knots at thirty thousand feet."

"Venus this is Sun, we're tracking you at the same. The Gonnohyoe has a good read on you and Target is at two hundred ten seconds from the point of impact."

"Roger, beginning intecept."

"We'll be tracking you the whole way--just like practice."

Two hundred three seconds. Throttle to full open, slowly, slowly, slowly. The whining grew louder, and the dart-like body of the plane shook from the acceleration. Mach point nine. One hundred ninety seconds. Push the throttle into the afterburner. One hundred eighty-six seconds. Mach one. The cockpit falls silent; all the sound is behind him now. Mach one point two. Keep a slight forward pressure on the stick so the plane doesn't climb. One hundred sixty seconds. One more minute. Mach one point four five. The inter-turbine temperature is rising. One hundred forty seconds. One point six. The plane begins to shake again--the slender fuselage was not meant to go this fast loaded down with this much. One hundred twenty. One point seven. The airframe protests, the temperature ticks into the yellow. One hundred ten. Mach one point eight. Any faster and it feels like the plane would fall apart.

Though I am just a man

"One hundred seconds. Pitch!"

Pull back on the stick. Three G's to tip the nose upward out of the sky. A good amount of weight on the chest, easing off. Mach one point eight and decreasing; the speed turns into altitude. Forty thousand feet. Ninety seconds. Push in the circuit breaker, because the booster rocket has no switch. A kick in the pants as three rocket motors roar into life. The speed is held at Mach one point five. Seventy-nine seconds. Fifty thousand feet, well into the stratosphere. The interstage temperature tiptoes near the red. The engine still has to give a little more. The plane begins pitching to the right as the left wing's drop tank empties. Sixty-six seconds. The trim cannot keep up. More pressure on the control stick. Firm goes to white-knuckle to vein-popping.

When you are by my side

"Sixty seconds!"

Sixty-eight thousand feet. The jet starts to sputter. Throttle back to idle before the turbine breaks. The rockets will have to take it from here. The speed starts to fall once more. The right arm strains pushing against the stick. The plane wants to spiral ever leftwards, but no matter how much it wants to it must not be allowed to. Fifty seconds. The force is unbearable. Strain to push in the circuit breaker for the reaction controls. The rockets in the nose alight. Forty seconds. The rockets flame out. Speed is rapidly falling. Eighty-three thousand feet. Thirty seconds. The control surfaces are useless. Only the nose thrusters can point the plane now. Mach one point two. The missile must be fired while the plane is above the sound barrier. There is no choice. Throttle on, full afterburner. Needle immediately redlines. Not enough air to cool the engine, which instantly starts knocking in the almost nonexistent air at ninety thousand feet. In a few seconds it will suffer irreparable damage. But it only needs to hold for a few seconds.

With the help of God / I know I can be strong

"Twenty seconds! Launch!"

Squeeze the trigger. The drop tank falls from the left wing, and immediately disintegrates in the supersonic airflow. The missile lights its first stage as it separates from the stalling plane. It streaks into the stars; it has plenty of fuel. Fifteen seconds. Every control surface on the plane is stalled, as well as the compressor. Ten seconds. The plane is entering a spin. Full opposite rudder and nose down. But the nose rockets have also given their all. Five seconds. The fatal spiral is hurtling towards earth. As the plane re-enters the atmosphere the control surfaces regain some authority. The plane shakes; the trim is all sorts of wrong.

Zero seconds. "Impact." Says Sun, calmly. "Good shooting, Venus." Sun is relaying what the Gonnohyoe is telling him, between cheers and whoops, in his other ear. Heaven has plucked Hecate's eye. The work is done. The spin flattens, reducing the rate of descent but putting recovery out of the option. The only thing left to do is eject.

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Praetonia » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:29 am

He paced as the jet engines whirred. Back and forth, back and forth. What was going on in that brain? The Tairendians did not seem to speculate. Perhaps they did, perhaps they didn't. They gave no sign. His Frontiersmen wondered, the concern spreading visibly on their faces. He ignored them. Perhaps he already preferred Tairendians. Or perhaps he had no inkling that any of them were there.

The jet engines whirred as they passed over Sovereign Srfland, high and fast over Uiri, into the Nampataland. There they were greeted by old friends. ESTATES NAVY. Their radio messages were terse, but their smiles were broad. How could you tell? They took their masks off especially. And they wiggled their wings before they flew away. The Frontiersmen waved. The aircraft flew north and east, over the battlefields of the Mutiny: Smyth did not stop to look. A hundred thousand men spread out beneath him in the cemeteries of the Associations. He did not give them a second thought. He was thinking on the future.

The jet landed just north of the front. No one came to greet them. No Estatesmen or Rajmen, nor even Tairendians. They do not know we are here, though surely the Estates' simply chose not to intervene.

There was a Wentworth waiting. The Marshal climbed aboard. It flew the black and white flag of Tairendia, his Marshal's standard, and the old red and white. It is not the flag of the Estates', he so often said, It is the flag of all of us - of all that we strive and sacrifice for. The small airfield had few lights, no garrison, and to the south there was nothing. Who would come here? The Wentworth sped off into the darkness.

The dawn began to break when he passed the first formations, tanks and armoured vehicles dug in or camouflaged by the side of the road. Their crews had been trained well not to move. But once the first sentries got a close look, they clambered on top of the vehicles to see more, or just to stare. Smyth sat impassively in the front of his unarmoured car. In the distance, he could hear the crack of field guns. Not long now. Not far now. His Frontiersman driver checked his watch. They would hit the border precisely on schedule: zero hour.

Ahead of him, the tanks and armoured cars had already begun their advance towards the river.

"Brave countrymen," Smyth took up the microphone, "you are not hearing a recording.

"You are hearing my voice as I speak, in the front of this assault. As a soldier among soldiers, I will fight or die among you all. If yesterday there were factions, tomorrow there will be none: in success, in failure, in resolution to carry on: we are all soldiers of the Solar Republic, united in our great Cause.

"Five years ago, I stood on the bank of this river with an army of over one million men, hardened in battle, steady in mind, strong in spirit, ready to dig out the path of the Universe. My plans then failed. I promised then, that I would return: I have returned.

"But it is not for great masses to be decide the Universe's end. All my famous victories have been won by few men against the masses. And so today: this great little army will decide the fate of all.

"If every man does his duty, as I am sure he will; if every man looks not to himself and his own fate, but to the country and to the Universe; if every man holds himself to account, as one chosen to be here in this place, on this day; we cannot fail: we can only triumph.

"Go on then, and make yourselves glorious, that the millions who will follow you will envy you, and the few of you who fall will be remembered to the end of time."

Far in the west, his air force attacked.
<leis2> Otoh i am also an antiquarian so im legitimately interested in how purple dye was made in sidon
<leis2> (using mollusks)

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Re: Jungle Work

Postby Questers » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:09 pm

June 27th, 2019
Day 3, 0000-2359


Day Three Attacking Movements

Just after midnight – Otaru, Eleventh Army HQ

The headlights of the land rover lit up the dead streets. Here and there, parties of red-caps stood watch. At last, the column found its way to the hotel and pulled in. The guards snapped their salutes and led the men to the back.

The power station had been hit in the fighting, and while fitters worked to get the hotel’s power back on, the courtyard was being used as a headquarters, it being far too hot inside to get any kind of paperwork done. The large swimming pool had been totally drained and a canopy put over it. Inside were the old, familiar sights, smells, and sounds of a headquarters at work.

As he came in, the men there came to a stop, looked around, and began clapping. Abdul waved them back to their work and went to find Copeland. ‘You have summoned me, General,’ Abdul said, hands open.

‘Majesty-‘

‘You said it was urgent, and here I am.’ He patted Copeland on the shoulder.

Copeland was six foot three and built like an old oak. He looked down on Abdul, who looked a decade older than when he had last seen him. ‘Majesty. We are preparing a fresh attack. All my units are across the Rayana now. We engaged a concentration of the enemy’s mechanised units last night. Pinned them against a minor river and whipped them. Meanwhile our forward units’ve met up with the North Pointers at Kamokuji. The boys are ready for blood and the dushman’s got the wind up him. The road to Hoten is clear.’

‘So, what do you need me for?’

‘I need more airpower.’

‘Out of the question,’ Adam said, having appeared from nowhere. ‘The enemy’s sixth route army is currently falling back. We are chasing them with our night interdictors. A big battle in the air is brewing up there.’

‘Sir.’

Abdul’s lower lip turned up. Copeland could tell he wanted to give him what he was asking for. Perhaps he just hated to say no. If it was just Abdul, he could try to push it, but with Adam there, there was no point. Abdul changed the subject.

‘Where are your forward units?’

‘There’s a group of cavalry scouts. Kinsforce. They’re about thirty miles from the Maisen.’

‘Very good.’ Abdul beamed. ‘Very, very good. What regiment are those boys from?’

‘It’s a mixed task force of the division’s crack units.' Copeland saw Abdul’s face try to move to make a comment, but realised he had nothing to say. He offered him some face.

‘Their cavalry are from the Sultan’s Own Dragoon Guards.’

Abdul beamed again. ‘Very, very good. I approve of this.’

‘They pushed up the highway on day one and we’ve been reinforcing them since. They’re now the very tip of our advance, but if it all goes to plan, they will be our flank guard. I need you to give me more troops too, the Eye of the Storm Division.’

‘How many of them?’

‘The whole Division, Majesty.’

‘And what do you plan to do with them?’

‘We think we’ve found the gap in the enemy’s forces. I can’t tell, because we’re not getting enough satellite pictures. And you won’t give me the scout planes I need to find out. But I think it’s there. I think they’re there for the taking.’

‘We can find some scout planes, can’t we, Adam?’

Adam did not look impressed. ‘Yes, I suppose so Majesty. They will be able to take a look, but it will be risky. Our reserves of them are strictly limited.’

‘Then make it happen. The Eighth Army will move on your word also. You may attack when ready, General.’ Abdul saluted.

The morning in the centre, Pangolin brigade scout team

The subaltern climbed down from the water tower and crossed the street, holding his carbine with the carrying handle. On the next street over, Suthee’s little track was sitting next to a car, smoke billowing out of it. The Subaltern grimaced. He could see at least two missiles missing from the racks; at least Suthee had got a shot off. He raised his binoculars and saw in bright orange and yellow flashing colours, tanks moving in the distance.

He ran back to his scout track and climbed in. ‘We’re getting out of here. The enemy’s moving. Don’t turn us around, just back up. I’ll guide you.’ The driver tried his best and eventually they were freed from the little hamlet. The subaltern realised he could have been killed at any moment. Suthee probably didn’t know he was killed. There would only have been a flash and then it would be over.

He heard his gunner screaming. As they turned behind a small petrol station, there was an enemy scout car. It was stuck in the mud. Long reeds had wrapped around the axles. Little figures had attached a rope to a tree and were trying to haul it out. When they saw him, one of them opened up with a pistol. The subaltern’s gunner cut him down with the light machinegun, and then sprayed the car with the heavy machinegun as the others tried to get inside. ‘The engine, the engine. Shoot the engine,’ the subaltern yelled, and the gunner did so. A moment later smoke started pouring out the open doors and windows. It had a gun on top and the subaltern didn’t want to find out if anyone was still alive to use it, so he got the track backed up and took another way. That was the first time they’d actually used the gun in three days.

They moved down the back roads, trying to find the main route. The radio simply crackled. Within seconds, the subaltern was soaked to the bone by a torrential downpour. They came to what he thought was the main road, and he strung a hi-vis jacket on his rifle and waved it out of the scout track.

Quite suddenly a tank broke through the barrier of rain, and then another, and then another; the line went on until the subaltern could not see any further for the rain. The Colonel was standing up in the lead tank; a giant pink beach parasol, propped up from inside the tank, covered him from the rain. There was a big cigar in his mouth which he seemed to munch more than puff. Every time he spoke his lips moved around the cigar, which stayed completely still. ‘What’s the matter son?’ he boomed out, across the rain.

‘Colonel Sir, I found the enemy, but they hit me back real good. I lost a track. Then I tried to move through the village but they got another of my tracks. They shot us up real bad sir, but I reckon I found their rear-guard. They wasn’t even dug or nothing Colonel Sir. Seems there might be a whole Brigade of them out there Colonel Sir. They was moving off the main road leading out of Mitane.’

‘What did you say son!’ the Colonel boomed again. ‘Say it simple boy!’

‘They’re that way Sir!’ the subaltern stood on the scout track and pointed.

The colonel ignored him, unfolded the parasol, and dropped down into the tank. The subaltern could hear him on the radio. ‘Right then lads, tally ho! Regiment, to the front!’

The other squadron and troop commanders replied with the cavalry tally hooooooooooo, and the subaltern realised he was in the middle of the regiment, as ten, then twenty, then thirty, then more and more and more tanks burst past him out of the rain, bouncing over the rice paddies and fields and to the distance, some of them flying huge flags from their antennas; the Marshalcy battle flag; the Regiment’s flag, the Regiment’s cricket club’s flag, even the old house flag of a second rate subcontinental boarding school.

The subaltern sat back down on the top of his scout track, completely soaked, watching the tanks peel off into the distance. The rain began to fall away a little bit. He poured some rum into a ceramic mug and took a sip. The gunfire rattled, far, far away: like the clack of ten thousand billiards tables, sharp at first as it was close, and then as it got farther, a low thumping. He waited for the rest of his troop to come back. He was waiting for a long time.

The afternoon in the centre, near the Maisen, Kinsey’s headquarters

The car had flipped over and set on fire; maybe a shell, or a bomb. Either way, the people inside couldn’t get out. They had choked before they had burned. Then, the flames had roasted their corpses. Kinsey looked at the child in the back seat, cooked to a char. He had never had one of his own. At first, there had been time, and women too – plenty of them, in fact, but each one had had some small flaw that Kinsey just couldn’t let go of. A mole that could never be covered up. A laugh too horsey; or a laugh not horsey enough. And in the end, time, the one thing he had never been able to master, had left him behind.

Perhaps after this war, if he was a hero, he could find a young wife. He was still virile. But he had thought that in the last one too. Warriors just weren’t in demand, despite the ever-present shadow of war. I should have become an actor, he thought.

But then maybe it would be him in the car, and his wife, and his son.

His deputy tapped him on the shoulder. The man yawned. ‘I got three hours. It’s your turn.’

‘Ok,’ Kinsey said. ‘Did you go back to the command post?’

‘Yeah. The New Sennish are coming up fast on the main road. We have orders to move in four hours or so. There’s a big fight going on which we think we are winning. When it’s over, we’re going to have to spearhead the Army again. Perhaps right over the Maisen.’

‘Ok. Well, make it happen. Anything else?’

‘They’re giving us some New Sennish sappers.’

‘We’re going to be a full Brigade sooner or later.’ Kinsey looked out onto the road. ‘They’re going to name a colour after me’.

‘What?’

‘A blend of white, brown, beige, and yellow.’

The deputy laughed. His turban wobbled. ‘Colonel Kinsey’s Technicolour Brigade.’

Kinsey laughed too. His first laugh in several days. It was exhausting.

‘Ok. I want all the boys hard at work on the vehicles. Especially the tanks. If we’ve found anything out about these people, it’s that if they want to make a fight, they can. I need those tanks to be able to go around them. It’s much easier to get into a fight then it is to get out of one. So, no slacking. Let them spend sweat now for blood later, as the saying goes. But, I want you to get the Provosts to liberate a supermarket and get some goodies for the boys. Alcohol if you want, but not too much. Understood?’

The deputy saluted. ‘Sir.’

Kinsey punched him on the shoulder. ‘Good man. I’ll see you in three hours.’

He walked off to the house he had been assigned to. The family living there had been long kicked out. It was a small thing. A little rack for the shoes outside. Kinsey didn’t bother to take his boots off. Inside, he found that it was untouched. The normal, lively mess of a small, lived-in home. But the bed was made. Pictures of family members were everywhere. A woman’s dresser with a little make-up. A trophy, gathering dust, but centre place on the window ledge. Panties drying on a rack. Somehow, Kinsey couldn’t bring himself to sleep on the bed, so he went to the living room and laid on the sofa.

He couldn’t read the television remote, but he managed to turn it on anyway. To his surprise, it worked. The picture was good. There were two men sitting around a table playing some kind of strategy board game, with plenty of onlookers, a bit like a snooker game. He couldn’t make out the game, but it obviously kept the attention of the people. The hushed commentary came out, but only in short phrases. He couldn’t understand it, but it was oddly soothing. There was quiet clapping when one player made a good move.

Instead of advertisements, the show was interrupted by a news-reader, a woman in her early twenties with hair in a bun reading to the screen. Kinsey couldn’t make out most of the words, but she seemed calm. In fact, not knowing the words made it even more soothing. Within moments, he had fallen fast asleep, boots up on the Taihei flat-pack sofa, surrounded by reminders of the life he had never been able to live.

The evening in the centre, near the Maisen, 9th Lancers/Questarian Rotor Horse

Peter Rabbit: ‘Just confirming from the long-range now. Okay – we’re good to go. I’ll lead you in.’

Goblin Nine: ‘This is lead. Let’s go. All units sound off.’

Goblin One: ‘One ready.’

Goblin Two: ‘Two ready.’

Goblin Three: ‘Let’s get em fellas!’

Goblin Nine: ‘Who was that?’

Goblin Three: ‘Three ready.’

Goblin: ‘Don’t get your dander up so fast Three.’

Goblin Four: ‘Four ready.’

Goblin Nine: ‘Lead us in Peter Rabbit.’

Peter Rabbit: ‘Watch it Goblin Three. There’s overhead power lines coming up.’

Goblin Three: ‘Yeah, got em.’

Peter Rabbit: ‘Holy shit fellas! There’s more of the bastards than whores on a Eulalia beach. They all down on the yonder road in one big line on my port side!’

Goblin Two: ‘What did you say about Eulalia boy?’

Goblin Nine: ‘Be more specific Peter Rabbit. We’re almost there. Hot scopes on, people.’

Goblin One: ‘Shotgun on the overpass bridge. I can see automatic weapons fire on my starboard. Where the hell is Peter Rabbit?’

Peter Rabbit: ‘Mind your own goddamn business! They’re shooting at me. Where the hell are all y’all?’

Goblin Three: ‘Quit yelling on the wireless, Peter Rabbit, you sound like my goddamn wife!’

Goblin Two: ‘No Three, your wife scream louder than that.’

Goblin Nine: ‘Shut up. We’re nearly in it. All ships, hot scopes, come in with rockets and peel back with guns. Flank ships, cover the anti-air artillery. Here we go… yeeeeeeeee hawwwwwwwwwww!’

Goblin One: ‘Yeeeeee hawwwwwww!’

Goblin Two: ‘Yeeeeee hawwwwwww!’

Goblin Three: ‘Yeeeeee hawwwwwww!’

Goblin Four: ‘Yeeeeee hawwwwwww!’
Continent of Dreams - Official Questers Canon Compendium

[Tue 22:53:29] <colo> holy shit you are the fucking worst guy

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satilisu
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Re: Jungle Work

Postby satilisu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:23 pm

June 28th, 2019
0000-2359


But first, a digression into the future....


An excerpt from Vulture Publishing's Covenanter vs Type 18, the one-hundred forty-eighth publication in their "Duel" series, first published in 2034.

...the first contact between the two machines occurred on the morning of June 28th, when a tank company of Royal Chindwin Hussars was ambushed by a two-platoon tank/infantry battlegroup from 1-81 Mobile Battalion twelve miles north of Tetsuriki. The Type 18s opened fire at a distance of approximately one mile from a hull-down position behind a causeway. Per standard procedure two tanks fired at the lead of the Questers column and two tanks fired as far back as possible, in this case about two-thirds of the way down the column.

Both Covenanters were destroyed, with autocannon fire from accompanying Type 10 armored carriers disabling the thermal sights on at least one tank. The Hussars reflexively slewed their turrets to the side, expecting an ambush from Type 69s. It was not until the Taiheis fired a second salvo that the Hussars realized that the Taiheis were to their direct front, at the cost of two more tanks destroyed. Return fire was individual and ineffective, and the surviving Covenanters made a hasty retreat under a smokescreen.

Questers losses were tallied at four tanks destroyed with seven crew (including the company XO) dead and five wounded, one tank stuck and abandoned, and three tanks with varying degrees of damage to outside armament and sensors, for zero Taihei casualties. The RCH was halted for six hours, in which a battalion of the 24th Motor Rifle Brigade passed through friendly lines towards Tetsuriki.

The engagement was conducted with every detail in favor of the Taiheis: the Chindwins moved too aggressively without proper combined arms support or reconnaissance, and were caught by surprise by a mechanized unit every bit their tactical and technical equal. Able to fight heavy Questers forces on equal terms, the 80th and 81st Brigades contributed instrumentally to the defense of the Maisen.

However, the Type 18 was only the equal of the Covenanter tank. When pitted against the Covenanter in chance encounters or in the attack, the results would be much different...

----

Somewhere in Cockaygne
Sometime in the 2000s


"The old colonial days, and the cru-el Sennish ways / with her thunder plunder we will teach the natives...."

A true Tuath public house was a sensory experience. Unlike the sanitary and well-lit gastropubs of Senland or--shudder--North Point, there was something to offend all five senses. The lamps were smoky and the glass grimy, and the light was attracted to all the scuffs and stains in the pub. Outside the door there was a foul odour emanating from the drunks. The benches creaked under the load of even the statistically underweight natives. Every footstep had to overcome the adhesion of dried beer from the night before. And lastly, genuine Tuath cuisine had flavors other than umami, almost always for the worse.

"This is very impressive," said Nikai, impressed. "What can it do for us?"

The Tuath grumbled, in between mouthfuls of minced liver. "It's a rocket, brother. It lights up and pushes things."

"Sure, sure, but what is it supposed to be? I presume the kerosene goes in the narrow end and fire comes out the bottom?"

"In my agency," said Fergus, "we are putting these on solid rocket boosters to push cargo into orbit." He gulped down a stout. Nikai had little taste for the impossibly heavy, dark beers of Cockaygne. "Some of them will be spy satellites that look down on your country and mine."

"In any case I cannot thank you enough. You have done a great service to Heaven." Fergus finished the last of his liver.

"A Sam Browne belt, with the buckle big and strong / And a holster that's been empty many a day (but not for long!)...."

"I hope you can be of any service to Tuathdom."

"We can protect you, it's the least we can do. Polacekia, Flamaguay, even Varnia--there's places even the Vigliance Committee can't reach you, or your family."

"There's no need. I don't intend to abandon my home." Nikai put down his silverware. "I will die someday, anyways. I'll rest easier if I knew I killed a couple Sens along the way."

"That's quite enlightened. I think you might have been a monk in your past life."

"Piss off."

"Oh I've got a brand new shiny helmet and a pair of kinky boots / I've got a lovely new flak jacket and a lovely khar-ki suit / And when we go on night patrol, we hold each other's hands / We're the Sennish army and we're here to take your land"
-----

June 28th, 2019
Underwater


The submarine dived. It was time to move again, said the radio. The trap was about to close. Air fizzled out of its ballast tanks to make room for seawater. The titanium hull sinks to one hundred, two hundred, three, four hundred feet. The screw whirls the boat to a blistering forty knots. Move north, said the radio. Stop after an hour, catch the next downlink. The Association has been spotted. The G-402 duly obeys.

The submarine slows down to five knots just off the continental shelf. The turbulence subsides around the sonar, just in time for it to pick up "launch transients," the distant roar of missile motors igniting underwater. The hunt has begun. The Fleet Reserve boats, slow, noisy, and nearly deaf, have fired the first shots. None of the missiles will make it to target, and given the enemy's abilities, none of the boats will make it out alive.

A necessary sacrifice. The G-402 is hailed over the ELF. The boat rises to periscope depth. Hydrophone contact at these coordinates, bearing southeast, speed thirty knots, profile matching a Pintado-class. The enemy submarine has committed, smelling blood in the water. G-402 smells it too.

The boat angles its bow upward and opens four hatches. With even five-second spacing, four missiles arc into the sky. G-402 tips her bow back down and accelerates. With any luck even a Sennish boat would find four rocket-boosted torpedoes hard to evade, but Luck is not Heaven. The power rammers load a spread of torpedoes, the normal, heavyweight kind. There was only one way to be sure...

Six miles above Shingwye

"Center, this is Crane, on station."
"Crane, tell me what you see."
"Give me, uh, a moment--ah, there it is. Clean hit."
"Good to hear. Keep talking to me."
"I'm seeing the entry wound, as it were--Amidas alive, it's still warm."
"Alright, do you think the tunnel is still operational?"
"You should've sent an engineer if you wanted to be sure. But, uh, I don't think so. No, it's definitely out. I see train bits out the end, I think."
"Okay, I think that's good enough. Careful on the way back, the radar doesn't really work on the bird--they can't see you but you can't fight back if they do."
"Roger. Crane out."


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