-Rachel Wrenlock, Dindrenzi Commander for Sector 024
With Admiral Yount having successfully defeated the Aquan patrol fleet and recovered intel relating to a base of operations for the raiders she made full speed to the location detailed in the Intel. Upon arriving in orbit Yount found the planet devoid of any orbital defences, not wishing to stay too long she instantly ordered Colonel Ziegler to deploy to the planet and destroy the base. She knew that Ziegler would have to act fast as while there were no Aquan ships in orbit yet she knew that the Aquans could quickly redeploy ships and with only the Hitchens currently under her command Yount could not risk another naval engagement.
|The Aquan base was set up in a valley to avoid detection, evidently it didn't work.|
Lieutenant Dawson, the officer in charge of things on the ground until Ziegler dropped in, had deployed his troops in 2 groups with the medium and heavy armour forming one group and the light armour making the other. He had ordered these groups to face the centre of the Aquan line with a pile of boulders separating the two.
Dawson took note of the Aquan's deployment. They had used the buildings well with the infantry on the big one in the back with the other elements of the defence force spread out, directly facing him was the Aquan heavy and medium elements with the light armour further back.
With his enemy sighted Dawson sent the Dindrenzi forward. The heavy and medium tanks crossed over each other and simultaneously opened fire at the Aquan heavy tank damaging it, a volley was also given to the Aquan medium tanks which knocked out all but one which promptly slinked behind a nearby building. In response the Aquan heavy and medium elements responded by incinerating one of Dawson's medium tanks and damaging another. While this was going on the Dindrenzi light tanks speed up the flank, hunting for side armour to rip open. Dawson saw all of this and frowned, this was going to be a hard fought fight and defeat wasn't an option here, a fact the the Colonel and stressed upon all of his men prior to their deployment.
Ziegeler saw all of this from his chair in his Assault pod via the tactical display installed in his seat. Yount was currently holding the Hitchens directly above the battle and was waiting for Ziegler word to deploy his pod. she had already informed him that it was quite likely that the Aquans had sent out distress signals and that they should expect help to be not far off. That, including the fact that the bloody RSN had taken an interest in this operation, had lead to him being very stressed which in turn was the reason he hadn't deployed yet, he needed to deploy at the exact moment when his men could do the most damage and to deploy to soon would be to loose the advantage, usually he wouldn't be so careful but for this operation there wasnt such a thing as too careful.
Back on the ground Dawson was doggedly pushing his units forward, by now all the elements in his force had liked up on the dirt road and were hammering the Aquan heavy, seeing it wounded and going in for the kill. Just as another Kinetic round hammered home the Aquan tank jumped behind a building leaking smoke and fire as it fled. Dawson knew that the Aquan commander was in that tank and if he could just kill it off the Aquan defence could well just crumble. Murmuring a faint prayer Dawson rolled the dice and order his tanks forward.
The second his tanks reached the building line Dawson knew he and screwed up. Aquan light tanks speed down his flak and got behind his heavy unit and unloaded, the tank detonated as its power cells were torched. Still unable to get at the Aquan heavy tank and with the battle slipping away from Dawson order his unit fire on the last Aquan medium tank that had slunk away behind a building but was now visible to Dawson's unit. He smiled as the tank as ripped apart by kinetic rounds. His joy was short lived as the Aquan light tanks came from behind and destroyed all but his Circe support tank. Just before his own tank was destroyed Dawson reflect on how pissed off Ziegler would be that things were going so badly.
|Seconds after killing the Dindrenzi heavy tank the Aquan light tanks sight up the rear section of the Dindrenzi medium tanks.|
Ziegler watched in horrified fascination as the Dindrenzi units winked off his screen, this was only slight fixed by the heroic actions of the Circe tank which gunned over to the Aquan heavy tank and took it out with close range weapons. To Ziegler he wasn't just watching the destruction of his unit, he was watching his career and maybe even his life slowly slipping away from him. He quickly commed Yount and told her to drop him, within the minute he was hurtling towards the plant, feverishly hoping that it wasn't too late.
While Ziegler was speeding towards the battle the Dindrenzi light tanks had begun a desperate battle with the other Aquan light tank unit. Kinetic rounds passed plasma bolts as both lethal rounds speed towards their targets. As two Dindrenzi tanks exploded in flames the commander of the unit charged forward into CQB weapons range and shredded the enemy squad, his job done the squadron leader turned to support the Colonel.
As Ziegler pod hit the ground and he and his men took cover in the nearby building he took stock of the situation, he had his 20 men and 3 light tanks against 5 Aquan light tanks and 20 Aquan infantry. As he was taking stock the Aquan light tanks charged up the flank of the Dindrenzi light tanks and shred two, with a cry of rage Ziegler lead his men out of the building into the flank of the Aquan tanks and blew each one apart with grenade and demo charge. While this was happening the Aquan infantry had advanced into the building facing the last Dindrenzi tank and blew it up with with anti tank weaponry. Seeing as he now only had 20 men left he order them into the building they had come from, he had lost and he had no desire to die here.
20 Minutes later there was the sound of aircraft and weapons fire, a pair of Assault shuttles landed nearby and Ziegler and his men hurried on board. The shuttles had been dispatched by Yount to extract the survivors before they were captured or the Aquan patrol fleet arrived. The shuttles returned him to the Hitchens, which jumped into fold space soon after.
Back at sector command Yount, Mills and Ziegler waited in the stations briefing room for Wrenlock to arrive. Upon her return Yount and Ziegler went straight to Wrenlock's office and gave her a quick report, Wrenlock had thanked them, told them to get some food and rest and then head off to the breeding room when ready, which they did.
Wrenlock and a man none of them recognized entered the room, after hey had seated Wrenlcok spoke.
"Before i begin i just wanted to say that i am glad you are all still alive, and while we did suffer looses we can consider this operation a success. Its already being sold to the troops that way so from a morale point of view this has been a win, well done"
She waited until the congratulations from the three officers had died down before going on.
"Admiral, Captain, your execution of the naval aspect of this mission produced one of the best results possible. Not only did we knock out a Aquan patrol fleet but we also captured one of their cruisers. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed, we are all proud of your efforts. However your report of the Colonel's actions during the naval engagement have given us cause for concern. Admiral you noted that he seemed quote unreasonably eager to getting into boarding range with the enemy ships even at the expense of your own and that he turned aggressive when you denied him the chance end quote, Colonel would you like to explain?"
"I would, i felt that there were several missed opportunity for me and my men to board the Aquan ship and retrieve the data without risking the data by damaging the ship"
"Colonel you are a infantry commander, yes?"
"And this was during the naval battle, correct?"
"Yes but that doesn't mean i cant have a valid insight"
"I see, and you believe that this Valid Insight escaped the Admiral, someone who has had extensive naval training and some experience with naval warfare?"
"It could happen ma'am"
"I see, and did the Admaril attempt to point out any Valid Insights to you when you were commanding the ground operation?"
"No Ma'am she did not"
"Perhaps if she did then that operation wouldn't have been such a bloodily screw up"
This came from the man who accompanied Wrenlock into the briefing room, when he spoke it was in a deep brass rumble that brooked no argument, regardless the Colonel tried.
"And just who do you think you are? Addressing a Colonel of the Dindrenzi Armed Forces like that?"
"Colonel Ramon Bryant of the Rense System Navy, or RSN for short Colonel. Not only did you disgrace yourself by trying to tell a Admiral how to fight a naval battle but then you proceeded to screw up your mission showing that incompetence in your own field of warfare"
By the time he had finished the room had gone quite. Yount and Mills, who had been enjoying Ziegler's discomfort until that point had gone grimly silent. Wrenlock looked stern and Ziegler himself and gone utterly still, the outrage replaced by cold fear. Bryant went on.
"Thankfully the Admrail's success meant that your failure was overshadowed somewhat and so we were able to spin the whole operation into a win for the troops. However in truth the operation was half successful as we didn't knock out the enemy base which has probably been relocated to Rense knows where in this forsaken system and all because you couldn't do your job"
As he spoke Bryant's right hand had slowly been moving towards the butt of his holstered pistol, as he finished he slowly took it out. Every pair of eyes bar Bryant's own were focused on that pistol as he went on.
"Normally if someone failed at a mission this important i would just shoot them. Fortunately for you we need all the fighting men and women we can get if we even want to dream about defending this sector"
As soon as he finished Bryant raised the pistol and shot Ziegler in right kneecap. As Ziegler writhed on the floor Bryant carried on in cool, calm tone.
"Unfortunately for you there are ways to make an example of someone without killing them. Admiral, Captain, well done. The Federation and the RSN are proud of you and will need your skill and command in the months to come"
With a nod to each of them he turned and left the room, a medic team hurried in as he left and carried Ziegler out on a stretcher. As they left Wrenlock turned back to the two remaining officers.
"I do not approve of Bryant's methods but cannot condemn his point, we cannot fail because to do so would cost us this sector. But you succeed where Ziegler did not and your example will inspire the defence of this sector. Now go and get some rest, you earned it. Dismissed".
As they left the room Wrenlock turned back and gazed out of the veiwport. Somewhere out there were the enemy, waiting for their moment to strike and burn this sector to dust. Wrenlock was determined to prevent that regardless of the cost.
There you go, part 2 of Operation Blind Strike. Sorry it took so long to get out but a hoildy break will do that. Until next time.