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Story Oh-Dark-Thirty
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Thread: Oh-Dark-Thirty

  1. #81
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    Thanks FMJ.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  2. #82
    Thank you FMJ

    Wayne

  3. #83
    On the road again...
    Now that we're on the road again.
    Thanks FMJ!
    Dang surveillance drones.

  4. #84
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    “Dog...?” Alpha inquired.

    “It was, uh... acknowledging our comms problem?” Dog offered quickly. “I’m just guessing though, you know.”

    “I’ll make a note of that on your next job performance review, “Alpha added with a chuckle. “Dog, I was going to ask you to bring the visors and tight beam back up. We’ve been blind and deaf long enough.

    Hopefully, our appearance must have suggested a realistic mechanical breakdown and comms failure, but it will only hold air till that drone finds what’s left of Yorick.

    Then all the bets are off and we better be ready. Get your visors back on and don’t forget to synch your time stamps with Dog’s local squad reference because it’s all we’ve got now. Reinitialize your thermal and low light augmentations now; you might not have time later.”

    “Almost there,...and...we are... back!” Dog exulted. “Everybody’s comms up?”

    An acknowledgement or two, yet some only nodded their heads, within the privacy of their visors, rather than yielding to utter the affirmative to signify their connection, with an oddly nostalgic sense of loss.

  5. #85
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    Getting used to being alone with their thoughts? Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  6. #86
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    Thanks a bunch FMJ...I suspect things are going to get dicey soon...

  7. #87
    Thanks FMJ

    Wayne

  8. #88
    Thanks

  9. #89
    Thanks again.

  10. #90
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    (9)


    “Our options are limited, but we don’t have much choice,” Alpha reasoned. “My first reaction was to get clear of the transports because once they find Yorick and the nuke, they won’t hesitate to fire on the rest of the convoy. But I doubt that a drone could determine how Yorick died and they’ll have to send somebody else out to retrieve the nuke one way or another.”

    “Your first reaction? Okay, so what was the second one?” Baker asked nervously.

    “If they think one of their own soldiers is still driving the remainder of the convoy carrying high value assets like weapons and water, they won’t fire on it at all,” Alpha explained.

    “Except that one of their soldiers would know where this stuff was going and we headed in the opposite direction,” Fox added.

    "Exactly, so we look like we’re lost,” Alpha concluded with a grin. “Echo, how long would it take to prepare party favors for our guests?”

    “Proximity or remote trip?” the demolitions specialist asked with interest.

    “I think proximity would be best but I’ll leave that up to you,” Alpha replied. “I don’t plan on Harvest being close enough to fire by remote, though.”

    “Couple minutes per truck at the most if Charley gives me a hand. Proxy charges are self contained with arming timers. You’ll want an extra helping of anti-personnel as well, I take it?” Echo inquired nonchalantly.

    “Oh yeah, lots,” Alpha agreed with a grin.
    Last edited by FMJ; 09-02-2017 at 02:20 PM.

  11. #91
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    Oh yes, lots of big bangs, fire and smoke! Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  12. #92
    Thanks FMJ

    Wayne

  13. #93
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    “Coming right up. Please pull forward to the next window,” Echo joked while rummaging in a hard case he pulled from his pack.

    “Hey Charley!” Alpha called through the box wall. “See if you can find a level spot to park the convoy. There’s been a change of plans.”

    “We need to top off our hydration cells if we’re going to be on foot again,” Fox commented. “I was just starting to enjoy this, too.”

    “Good idea, you’re in charge of that, but I’ll help.” Alpha added with a grin. “Baker, as soon as this rig stops moving, I want you to set up a nest from the best vantage point close by and start scanning our perimeter while Echo sets his charges on the transports. I don’t want this party ruined by another drone. Dog? Anything on the comms?”

    “Negative. Our tight beam and a lot of static, Alpha,” responded the CAED. “Widening the scan itinerary on the transceiver now.”

    As he started setting the charges on the ammo cases for the alien heavy weapons, Echo keyed the all-squad frequency, ”Remember shoppers, the transports will all be hot with proximity charges. Do not enter a transport box without a valid flight reservation. Thank you for traveling with Harvest Team today.”

    “You are such a nut,” Baker chuckled from her nest on top of an adjacent ridge.

    “Echo? Fox and I have three extra water rations for you, Charley and Baker when you’re done,” Alpha called over Harvest Team’s shared communication system.

    “Alpha? I think I have a very weak IFF transponder on a heading of one-ninety degrees relative to squad reference,” Dog said quietly.

  14. #94
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    Thank you. Avoiding unscheduled flights is good don'tcha know.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  15. #95
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    5

    “Damn,...Baker?” Alpha inquired. “Anything?”

    “No, no movement on one-ninety relative, Alpha,” the sniper replied.

    “Alright, if there is a possibility that one of our people is still alive out here, it’s our duty to investigate,” Alpha replied drily. “Echo? Are we ready?”

    “Affirmative, filling our hydration cells from the water ration now,” Echo replied.

    “Harvest Team,” Alpha called on the all-squad, “We’re almost certain the aliens have used a specialized mech to detect our comms for some time. It isn’t too farfetched for them to try using a bogus IFF to lure us into a trap as well, so be on high alert.”

    Assembled as an elite team once again with comms and augmented visors, Harvest moved quietly away from the mined convoy on one-ninety degrees relative to find the source of the IFF transponder signal.

  16. #96
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    “Signal’s getting stronger,” Dog advised.

    “Same heading?” Alpha asked the CAED.

    “Affirmative, maybe on one ninety-five, now.”

    “Is it moving?” Alpha inquired curiously as they crouched below a ridge to scan the area below them.

    “Ah, negative. We probably changed our approach angle because of the terrain,” replied Dog.

    “I think I’ve got some debris on one ninety-five at..., maybe a thousand meters,” Baker added quietly. “Are we still passive only or can I use my range finder to verify that?”

    “Still passive only, for now. No lasers,” Alpha replied. “If there is anything suspicious about this, anything at all, we are going to just back off and disappear on a different heading without making a closer inspection. If we spring the trap, they will know our location, and we’ve all seen how that works out.”

    “Understood,” chorused the team over the beam.

  17. #97
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    Good plan, don't want any surprises. Thank you FMJ
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  18. #98
    Thank You FMJ for all of the updates.

    Wayne

  19. #99
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    Fanning out to take advantage of the cover provided by the broken rocks and a ridge wall that ran lengthwise along the barren valley, Harvest covered better than half the distance to the debris field containing the signal Dog had detected.
    Alpha called the team to a halt from a position affording them cover while Baker and Charley scanned their perimeter and the planned route down towards the signal source.

    “Alpha, second my view?” asked the sniper in confusion.

    Alpha pulled up Baker’s sniper scope on his visor and saw a jumbled pile of various hard shipping cases, a pile of cylindrical tubes and the blackened remains of shelters as well as what appeared to be bodies strewn about as Baker slowly scanned their objective nervously switching back and forth from telephoto to thermal.

    “Dog, any change?” asked Alpha as he withdrew from the troubling second view.

    “Negative, but that is definitely the source of the IFF because I just started getting range numbers. We are only four hundred and ten meters, give or take a couple, away from the source of that signal now.”

    “Charley and Baker, cover us. Echo and I are going down for a closer look,” Alpha replied quietly on the comm.

    Alpha and Echo moved down the desolate valley approaching the objective stealthily taking advantage of any available cover. When they reached a point above the small camp where they could effectively reconnoiter, the details of the massacre became visible.

  20. #100
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    Survivors? They could use at least one to figure out what is going on. Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  21. #101
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    “I count five casualties that look human from here and there could be more in the shelters. What I don’t see is any weapons or a standard comms uplink or vehicles,” Alpha relayed the visual assessment to the tense team watching above. “Dog, where am I in relation to the IFF?”

    “Twenty-seven meters on heading nine-two relative, Alpha. Second view makes it the first shelter on your left,” the CAED replied from the ridge above.

    “We’re going in,” Alpha returned as he and Echo descended to the silent camp. Echo went from one body to another careful to touch nothing before making an observation.

    “These aren’t soldiers, they’re techs,” Echo observed as Alpha peered into the open door of the first shelter.

    “Looks like a survey team. The camp was probably overrun by an alien patrol and they were taken by surprise with only their side arms to fight with when it happened. They were all hit multiple times...Fox, are you getting this?” Alpha asked.

    “Affirmative, Alpha. Looks like something that chain gun would do that opened up on us at the observation post. Overkill, much,” Fox commented drily.

    “Found it!” Alpha said triumphantly as he gingerly pulled aside debris to reveal the small transponder beneath a field desk.

    “Don’t touch it,” Echo advised. “It might have a tamper charge under it.”

    “I agree,” Dog replied quickly. “The device itself is only for short range friend or foe recognition, but moving it could send a signal that the bait has been disturbed.”

  22. #102
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    “Roger that,” Alpha agreed backing away from the ruined shelter.

    “Another body in the second shelter, that makes six,” Echo added quietly.

    Alpha moved quickly from one body to the next, recording images and scanning embedded ID tags for his report even if he would never get the chance to upload it. “Fox? Can you estimate when this happened?”

    “Not with any degree of certainty without examining a body. Do you want me to come down there?”

    “Ah, negative. We still don’t know for sure if this is a trap. What’s your best guess?”

    “Whew. Okay, with multiple wounds, they bled out real fast so there won’t be any lividity to go by and there doesn’t appear to be any bloat. Switch to a thermal image so I can see if they’re still warm.”

    “Roger that,” Alpha replied changing his visor to heat.

    Okay, they’re already cold. If they’re stiff, in full rigor, it was a day to a day and a half ago. If they’re flexible, it was more than two days ago at this temperature, most likely.”

  23. #103
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    Thank you, been needing some more story today.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  24. #104
    Thanks FMJ

    Wayne

  25. #105
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    “Eww, yuck,” Baker said quietly in disgust.

    There is the sudden coarse sound of scuffling and a muffled shout as Fox keys the all squad alert and his visor relays images of dark figures from an odd angle before going into standby.

    Alpha and Echo sprint from the dead camp back to the cover of the rocky ridge above as the all squad alert tone sounds.

    “Baker, Charley! Report!” called Alpha over the comm.

    “Negative, Alpha. No targets,” replied Baker uncertainly.

    “Clear also, no targets,” Charley added.

    “Dog? What do you have on Fox’s visor?” Alpha demanded.

    “Ah, not good. Visual is in standby but I’m getting a biomedical alert with elevated heart rate and something about a trauma 4 directive,” replied the communications specialist. “I’m forcing the visor active now..., oh, crap, they’re dragging him.”

    The view from Fox’s visor bumped and jolted from side to side as he was apparently being dragged by his feet across rough ground with his head lolling back and forth unconsciously. The view alternated in dizzying succession from an unobstructed view of the sky to a partial view of the horizon and back.

    Alpha sighed as he quickly dropped his pack and drew out a black Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife that bore the signs of long use from its concealed scabbard. “Dog, give me his locator beacon. Charley, you’re next ranking officer so you’re in command of Harvest as of now. Try to get them home. I’m going after Fox.”

  26. #106
    Thank you FMJ for more of your story, I am really enjoying it.

    Wayne

  27. #107
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    Thank you for more FMJ.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  28. #108
    Thank you.

  29. #109
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    FMJ you are a rockin writer. I love your stories. Don't ever stop!!!

  30. #110
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    Normally, Orbital could provide the terrain feedback and position guidance in a detail sitrep to quickly locate any soldier’s homing beacon anywhere on a planet.
    But Orbital was gone; Fox was injured, in enemy hands and probably running out of time with a trauma 4 directive as well as moving away into unknown territory as the sun set on the distant horizon.

    Alpha scanned his perimeter in high magnification and thermal whenever he crossed a ridge or gained a vantage position. He quickly settled into the quick and quiet protocol lope that Harvest had perfected that consumed distance without exhausting energy reserves or resources.
    Luckily, the aliens seemed to be unaware of their prisoner’s active locator beacon or the fact they were being followed and Alpha was able to close the distance between them by crossing the more difficult terrain they had elected to avoid, possibly because they were still dragging Fox.

    With the setting of the sun, the alien’s progress had slowed considerably, but not stopped. Nightfall apparently was still an impediment to them despite their greater number of eyes and Alpha’s augmented visor more than made up for the difference.

    Under the cover of darkness, Alpha crossed a ridge and scanned in the direction of Fox’s locator beacon catching the first glimpse of movement as the rear of the alien patrol disappeared over the next ridge. Alpha picked his route carefully and picked up the pace as he planned his attack.

    The thermal view from the top of the next ridge told Alpha he was dealing with eight hostiles moving single file while dragging a single captive at the head of the column.
    Alpha picked up the pace again and began to parallel the apparent course of the alien patrol while gaining steadily. The broken terrain ahead looked like it could give him the advantage he needed if he used it correctly and he hurried to reach it before the patrol passed.

  31. #111
    Awwww, you can't leave us here. More!
    Thanks, anyway.

  32. #112
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    Closing silently to crouch hidden amongst the rocks, Alpha was finally close enough to strike back. He could smell the strange foul odor of them as the last three aliens filed past his position in the dark.

    Rising suddenly, Alpha silently moved to the rear of the column and closed to within striking distance of the last alien. Waiting a moment for an opening in the rocks to provide cover, Alpha threw an arm around the alien’s neck and pulled it sideways from the column while driving the long fighting knife into the side of its head on a slight upward angle while revolving the point in the hope of severing whatever served it as a brainstem. Alpha knew the technique worked when the alien abruptly ceased to struggle, going limp soundlessly.

    Strangely, the death of the alien soldier went undetected and no calls of alarm rang out as Alpha quickly caught up again with the rear of the patrol. Randomly picking locations that provided cover to attack the rear of the single file patrol, Alpha worked his way forward silently killing the alien soldiers one by one, until only the last two remained still dragging Fox.

    In the dark of the night, Alpha crept close and drove the long knife into an alien’s neck causing it to emit a shrill scream before falling face first and writhing on the ground. The remaining alien stood gaping in confusion at its stricken comrade till it caught sight of Alpha covered with blood, brandishing the long black blade.
    With a strange cry of surprise and alarm, the alien tried to draw the weapon slung over its shoulder and lost the contest when Alpha leaped upon it and rode it to the ground driving the length of the long knife through one of its eyes as it thrashed and screamed.

    Alpha’s hands, arms and chest were soaked with dark blood from the alien kills and he began to succumb to its strange effects, first giggling then laughing uncontrollably in the dark as he checked Fox for vital signs and fought to stay lucid.

    His mind was filled with jumbled dark thoughts as strange sights and sounds combined to compete for his failing consciousness. His last recollection is hearing Charley’s voice call something about an extraction over the tight beam that he doesn’t understand and is unable to make any sense of it at all.

  33. #113
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    Thank you, now for the rest of his team to come find him...Hope springs eternal.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  34. #114
    Thanks FMJ for more of your story.

    Wayne

  35. #115
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    “Deep breaths, Alpha. Remember? Deep breaths, just like last time,” Charley said sounding worried as he looked into his commander’s unfocused blood shot eyes.

    “You probably aren’t going to remember any of this but I’m going to tell you anyway. A Command ship entered orbit under heavy defensive guard and broadcast an all squad alert. Dog verified the encryption and credentials as genuine, so we acknowledged the hail. They sent a drop ship to pick us up and we followed your beacon here. Alpha? Here, drink some water, I think you’re really going to need it because when we got here, we found you with Fox sitting in a circle of severed alien heads. Alpha? Alpha, can you hear me?”

    The team all ducked when a loud warning tone sounded in the troop compartment and the unflappable drop ship pilot spoke over the intercom warning them the drop ship had been targeted by a missile with a high yield nuke signature launched from the surface. He also calmly acknowledged the inability of drop ships to perform realistic evasive maneuvers to escape the effects of nuclear weapons and the lack of available electronic countermeasures as the rapidly rising Doppler radar tone in the background warned of the approaching missile.

    Some of the members of the Harvest team sighed and resigned themselves to their fates while others shut their eyes and held their collective breath in fear awaiting the missile’s detonation as the seconds dragged on interminably.

    The bright yellow glare of the missile booster streamed through view ports to illuminate the interior of the drop ship for a moment as it streaked by continuing on the parabolic path that would return it ultimately, back to the surface.

    After a long pause, a voice replied calmly over the intercom, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. There has been a minor change in our itinerary and we will be docking with the Command ship in a few moments instead of dying instantly in a fireball.

  36. #116
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    Please return your tray tables and seats to their full upright position and make sure your seat belts are securely fastened. All carry-on gear and weapons must be stowed under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins.

    On behalf of Drop Ship airlines and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip and we are looking forward to seeing you on board again in the near future. Have a nice day.”

    Baker shook her head while grinning at Echo, “Is he a friend of yours?”

    Alpha managed to pull himself up a bulkhead by the zero G handholds despite the protests of two medics to meet Echo’s gaze.

    “I’ll bet you had something to do with that didn’t you?” the commander asked groggily.

    In response, Echo only grinned and held up a small pair of wire cutting pliers. “Roger that.”


    The End

  37. #117
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    Thank you FMJ! Nice wrap up.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  38. #118
    Thanks for the very entertaining story FMJ, Looking forward to more story's

    Wayne

  39. #119
    Thank you FMJ. Very good story that could made into a full length novel!
    Great way to end it as well.

  40. #120
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    Nice work sir. Eagerly awaiting you next tale!!

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