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

  1. #41
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    Good sniper training there. Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  2. #42
    FMJ thank you for more of your great story Looking for more when you can

    Wayne

  3. #43
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    4

    “Be thankful you’re not downrange,” Charley commented from cover close by. “Those teeth are in sub MOA groups.”

    “Don’t miss,” Dog added cheerfully. “No pressure though, really.”

    “Thanks guys,” Baker replied sweetly from within the chameleon veil.

    “Cut the chatter, you clowns and let Baker do her job,” Alpha muttered from cover.

    The “road” the convoy was using was only a blazed trail so their progress was slow. The heavy transport trucks crawled at a slow walk to avoid grades, holes or obstacles they could not navigate by simply going around them.

    Twice, the convoy had halted and changed direction, apparently to take advantage of an easier route but generally continued in Harvest’s direction. It seemed as though it took forever for the convoy to reach the position the Harvest team had chosen for their assault.

    The whistle of a turbine engine presently announced the arrival of the first of the heavy trucks above the ridge.

    “Target,” Baker said softly as she centered her crosshairs on the figure in the cab, controlled her breathing and squeezed the trigger exactly between her own heartbeats.

    The muzzle jumped as the bullet left the barrel; her suppressor performing as it was designed to decrease the report and the recoil but the crack of the precision round breaking the sound barrier still seemed unnaturally loud.

    As the noise from the shot dissipated, echoing away down the desolate rocky valley, the figure in the cab slumped to one side and all six heavy trucks slowly braked to a stop in a row.

  4. #44
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    Hope they aren't full of troops! Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted View Post
    Hope they aren't full of troops! Thank you.
    That would tend to spoil their day....

    Thanks for the update, FMJ!

  6. #46
    Thank you FMJ for the post.

    Wayne

  7. #47
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    5

    “Do we have a situation?” Alpha asked the sniper in a calm voice. “Do we need Charley’s AP rounds?”

    “Ah..., negative, Alpha,” Baker replied after a pause. “I have no other targets and there’s no response from any of the other trucks. They’re all just sittin’ there.”

    “I don’t hear any engine noise anymore, either,” whispered Charley listening intently. “Trap? Are they waiting for us to make a move?”

    “We have no idea how aliens would respond to an attack,” Fox added thoughtfully.

    “Well, at least they didn’t lob another tactical nuke at us. That’s an improvement,” Echo chuckled.

    As the silence stretched out without any response from the convoy, Dog whispered inquisitively, “If they all shut down at the same time, could they be slaved together, like a train with cars? Maybe there was only one driver with a dead man switch?”

    “Okay, do you have a driver in the second truck, Baker?” Alpha asked with a wry grin.

    “Ah..., that’s a negative, Alpha. Negative on the third truck as well. I can’t see the cab of the fourth yet.”

  8. #48
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    20

    “For now, we wait. If the trucks are loaded with weapons or supplies, we might be able to use them. If the trucks are loaded with troops, they will get out eventually to find out why they’ve stopped and Charley will light ‘em up.

    If Dog is right and there’s only the single driver, they might all be empty and we have more transportation than we can ever use. But no heroics, not today.”

    A half hour later, the convoy still sat silently on the ridge above them and Alpha decided they had to move. He thought if the convoy stayed stationary for too long, it might look like a mechanical failure and prompt an investigation.

    Harvest team flanked the convoy below the ridgeline until they reached the last truck. Approaching the heavy transport truck cautiously from the rear, they found both the cab and box empty.

    Dog attempted to puzzle out the controls in the cab.

    The cab of the second truck in the line was also empty lending additional weight to Dog’s theory of a single driver. The transport box, however contained a pair of the meter long tracked mechs with RF sensors, although they seemed to be inert or in standby and the team avoided them.

  9. #49
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    Sounds like they will have to go old school with this foe. No electronics and the enemy thinks there is no one there? Or they brought in the RF sensor tracks to track body heat since they turned off all sensors. Can't wait to find out, Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  10. #50
    Thank you FMJ for more of your great story.

    Wayne

  11. #51
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    The third and fourth transport trucks in the row were the prizes and worth the risk of the assault on the convoy by themselves.

    Even though the cabs were empty like the first two, the third transport box was loaded with cases of new heavy weapons with ammo and the fourth contained water whose purity was verified by a field test conducted by Fox.

    The fifth truck in the convoy was as empty as the last truck so the team fanned out to approach the sixth and last truck whose driver was shot by their sniper.

    When they cautiously investigated the cab, they found Baker’s bullet had largely decapitated the alien driver who then fouled the entire cab with a copious amount of a noxious smelling circulatory fluid before expiring.

    The transport box however contained a single large case that was carefully and tightly fastened to the deck with heavy restraints to prevent shifting.

  12. #52
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    Fox suspected instruments secured to a shelf on the bulkhead to be radiation detectors of some sort, but the active digital indications were in unknown units and undecipherable.

    “What do you think?” asked Alpha seriously as he and Fox stood in the transport box looking over Echo’s shoulder while he inspected the complex device within the case.

    “Well, physics dictates that everybody eventually arrives at approximately the same design and this sure looks like an implosion assembled fission primary with a fusion secondary.”

    “What did he say?” Charley asked sticking his head in the door of the transport box.

    “Nuke. Big one, too,” Alpha translated.

    “This control panel doesn’t match the rest of the assembly. It looks like no expense was spared to build the weapon but the firing control was farmed out to the lowest bidder,” Echo said leaning over to peer at a bundle of wires. “I’d be willing to bet it’s already armed by the way they had it secured, though.”

    “Oh, great! And I bet the driver drew the short straw,” Charley said from the open door.

    “Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of too,” Alpha replied seriously. “The only good part about the absence of armor in a convoy containing weapons and water is a lower alert state. The really bad part is somebody will be very concerned if this can of sunshine doesn’t arrive at the ammo dump on time and they will come looking for it.”

    “And find us,” Echo completed the thought.

  13. #53
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    Thank you, take what you can use and destroy the rest?
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  14. #54
    Thanks FMJ great story.

    Wayne

  15. #55
    Love the story. Thanks.

  16. #56
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    (5)


    “Look at this,” Fox said holding up the severed head of the alien driver for Alpha to see. “Six eyes, two larger primaries facing forward and four smaller secondary on the sides. I’ll bet they can see in more than 180 degrees of arc and don’t even bother to turn their heads to face something unless maybe the primary eyes give them more detail or color vision or a different spectrum altogether.

    “Ugly sucker, is that supposed to be a nose?” Charley asked from his watch station on top of the cab. “Hey Baker, come see what Fox found!”

    “What’s up?” the sniper called as she rounded the transport truck cab. “Find something useful? Oh..., yuck!”

    “Welcome to Alien anatomy, 101,” Fox said with a grim smile. “We were just admiring your handiwork. I probably couldn’t have done this much cleaner with a scalpel. Good job, Baker.”

    “Uh, thanks?” Baker responded, questioning the sincerity of the complement.

    Dog arrived just in time to see four of his fellow Harvest members closely examining the severed alien head and suggested, “I would recommend a brine soak to remove the wild taste and then stuff with herbs and spices followed by a slow roast at 350 degrees for an hour. But seriously, I do have some extra rations if you’re all that desperate.

  17. #57
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    Well, at least they know what the enemy looks like...As long as it doesn't put them off their feed. Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  18. #58
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    Dog had to quickly dodge the severed head Fox threw at him while Alpha and Baker choked back laughter and Charley pounded the top of the cab in a rare fit of hysterics.

    “What did I miss?” Echo asked arriving in the midst of the joke before the group could respond rationally. Yet unable to speak coherently, they could only point to the head on the ground.

    Echo bent down to examine the strange head and surveyed the hysterical group before being caught up in the contagious laughter himself.

    “Carpe cranium?” he asked them to renewed uproarious laughter. Taking the stage, Echo picked up the severed head and balanced it on one hand while raising it to address the grisly countenance in soliloquy, “Alas poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest!”

    Charley fell off the cab roof with a thump while the rest of Harvest team dissolved in a renewed paroxysm of laughter applauding Echo’s impromptu Shakespearian performance.

  19. #59
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    Don't wake up the tracks in that one truck...lol! They needed to blow off some steam so they can get down to business. Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  20. #60
    Thanks FMJ great story

    Wayne

  21. #61
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    4

    (6)


    “Oh my head,” Baker groaned as Fox tended to a still unconscious Charley seated on the ground beside her.

    “Here, drink some water, it’ll help. Take deep cleansing breaths, that’s it,” Fox advised as the sniper gazed in a groggy stupor at the disabled team strewn about her on the ground.

    Alpha and Echo were still out cold but Dog was coughing and showing signs of coming around.

    “Apparently, the circulatory fluid of our dearly departed alien friend evolves a gas like nitrous oxide, or something very similar, as it decomposes. When the laughter continued with everyone acting completely out of character, I suspected something was wrong. As I dragged Charley here to the rear of the convoy after he fell from the top of the cab, my head would clear and I realized the dead driver in the first truck was probably the cause,” the medic explained as the wide-eyed Baker did her best to hyperventilate.

  22. #62
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    20

    “Duration of the exposure and proximity to the source apparently dictates the severity of the effects,” Fox continued. “You kept your distance and that’s probably why you’re coming out of it sooner. Fair warning though, it leaves an unholy taste in your mouth so drink lots of that water.”

    “Ghahg! Oh, God! My throat! What did I eat?” choked Baker suddenly.

    “You haven’t heard a thing I’ve been saying, have you?” Fox replied pausing to examine the sniper’s unfocused eyes.

    “Oh, Doc! Thank God!” Baker slurred when she finally recognized him. “You’ve got to help me, I’ve been poisoned!”

    Fox knelt next to Baker and steadied her head with both hands to stop the wobble threatening to advance into nausea before speaking slowly and clearly,” Baker, you’re okay. Drink water now. Relax, I’ll be right back.”

    As Fox stood to go check on Dog, the sniper went limp in the complete confidence of her medic’s assurance that she was okay.

    Fox was amused to discover he had to repeat the diagnosis, the warnings and remedial care, from beginning to end, five separate times as each soldier returned to consciousness with different levels of impaired short-term memory.

    Fox thought about the headless driver slumped in the cab at the head of the convoy as he tended to Harvest team’s ill effects, “I’m sure this wasn’t the way you planned to end your days, but you can rest assured, you got the last laugh!”

  23. #63
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    Thank you!
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  24. #64
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    Nice...laughing gas from "blood"

    Btw, emits (or decomposes into) rather than evolves might work better in post 61...

    Either way, great story! Thanks.

  25. #65
    Thanks FMJ, enjoying your story's.

    Wayne

  26. #66
    Dang, how do you think this stuff up. I really like this one. More please.

  27. #67
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    “Okay, this is what I’ve got so far,” Dog explained sitting in the cab of the last transport truck in the row. “There’s no steering wheel or foot pedals so I guessed that all the functions must be operated by these four “D” handle controls on the dash.
    One of them should be a throttle, one should be a brake and maybe one or both of the remaining two are for steering, but so far, no matter what combination I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to start it or get it to move.

    “No other controls?” Alpha asked curiously.

    “None that I’ve been able to find,” Dog said throwing up his hands in exasperation.

    “Farther up,” Charley said from his position down near the front fender.

    “What..., what do you mean?” Dog asked.

    “Up there, next to your head, by the roof. There’s three rocker switches in a group that must do something,” Charley replied.

    “What positions are they in?” Alpha asked.

    “Left one is up and right two are in the down position,” Dog replied looking at the switches closely.

    “Echo, Baker, check out the cabs of the next four trucks for the switch positions and report back. Fox, can we check the first cab for the switch positions without losing our minds to poor Yorick again?”

    “No way to tell, I’d expect it to diminish over time, but that’s just a guess. It took at least five minutes to really start affecting us last time so, if we get in, check and get out, we should be okay.

    “Okay, check ‘em all,” Alpha replied thoughtfully. “But be careful.”

  28. #68
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    One of those switches probably turns on the transmitter for remote control of other trucks and could be tracked? So many questions. Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  29. #69
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    Thank You. Very good story

    junkhound

  30. #70
    Thank you FMJ

    Wayne

  31. #71
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    “The way my luck has been going, they’ll all be the same and we’ll eventually find out they’re just for lights or something,” Dog muttered as he waited for the information.

    Echo and Baker quickly discovered the next four trucks all had the three rocker switches in the same positions as the last truck, but the first truck in the convoy with the dead alien in the cab, had all three switches in the up position.

    Echo and Baker trotted back to the last truck, none the worse for their short discussion with Yorick and related the different positions of the rocker switches in the first cab.

    “Hey, you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’,” Dog asked Alpha in sudden realization.

    “Maybe. Why don’t you run with it and we’ll see?” Alpha said with a grin. “What we want to do is make this last truck into the leader of the convoy and I think you know how that might be done.”

    “Swap the switch positions in the first and last trucks?” Dog offered.

  32. #72
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    “Yep, but we still need to figure out how to lose Yorick and his pet nuke as well as the mech twins in the fifth truck. The farther we are away from all of them, the better I’ll feel.”

    Dog still had some trouble with the controls until he was reminded by Fox that the aliens had four arms and then correctly determined the engine start permissive required the driver to grasp each of the four “D” handle controls.

    By the process of elimination, it was eventually proved that the left switch controlled engine ignition. The turbine engine would only crank up when both conditions, the first switch placed in the up position and team members touching all four control handles at the same time, were met.

    It was obvious that the second switch controlled the remote “follow me” function because the rest of the trucks started up when that switch was placed in the up position in the lead truck.

  33. #73
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    Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  34. #74
    Thank you FMJ

    Wayne

  35. #75
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    Until they came up with another way, two team members were needed to start the lead engine.
    Once it was running however, a single team member could operate the throttle, brakes and steering controls to drive it as long as they maintained contact with at least two of the controls and the rest of the trucks would follow suit. Releasing the controls shut down the engine and engaged the brakes.

    Elimination of the dangerous trucks in the convoy was as simple as placing all three of their switches in the down position.
    The third switch identified the convoy leader and the system was even smart enough to realize when there was a new order in the convoy because they slowly maneuvered around Yorick’s hearse and the mechs to form up behind the new leader.

    The function of the fourth control on the dash wasn’t readily apparent until they attempted to cross a slope with a rugged section of loose talus causing one of the trucks to slide sideways down slope. Applying the fourth control engaged more drive axles to gain traction and allow the convoy to proceed without further problems.

    Harvest convoy was mobile with weapons and water.

  36. #76
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    Now to find a target and some more food and they can really mess things up for the four armed critters. Thank you!
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  37. #77
    Thanks FMJ for more of your story.

    Wayne

  38. #78
    Interesting FMJ....

  39. #79
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    Whatever sound the surveillance drone might have made was drowned out by the turbine engines of the transports when it suddenly appeared in the sky and hovered above the convoy before anyone could react.

    “We’ve got company,” Charley called over his shoulder to the team riding in the transport box.

    “Sitrep?” Alpha’s calm voice asked from the other side of the thin wall.

    “Single multi-rotor drone, hovering above the trail in front of us and it looks like it has optics on the front of it,” Charley replied quietly. “But there’s something else happening up here.”

    “Report, soldier,” Alpha replied.

    “Um, the...ah, dash lit up with a string of symbols, or... characters and then a couple seconds later, it did it all over again. It looked like the same string of characters both times,” Charley replied quickly.

    “What do you make of that?” Alpha asked the CAED at his elbow.

    “Um, the drone might have queried the transporter, twice. The driver should probably answer somehow, I guess,” Dog theorized.

    “He would if he could. Charley, your radio is out, wave to the drone,” suggested Alpha.

    “What?” Charley replied in disbelief.

    “Wait!” called Fox. “Keep your fingers together and wave quickly. Don’t let them get a good look at your hand.”

    When Alpha looked questioningly at the medic, Fox replied,” They only have two fingers and a thumb on each hand.”

    “Okay, here goes nothing, ”Charley replied uncertainly. “Hey, the dash lit up again with a bunch of stuff and...well I’ll be a...”

    “What happened?” Alpha asked impatiently.

    “The drone blinked some blue lights a bunch of times and then took off behind us. I can’t see it anymore.”

    “Baker?” Alpha asked the sniper.

    “Heading straight back the way we came, Alpha,” the sniper replied looking through her scope.

  40. #80
    Hmmm, super advanced, but easily bluffed.
    Thanks!

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