The Angler Conflict
The war engulfing the Neroimus region has been raging like a firestorm for the past several months. Analysts on our side are predicting victory by Christmas, and show their reports eagerly to the brass. I can vouch for much of it. That is, that it is fabricated. But in all fairness, I am paid to keep my mouth shut and just nod.
For the better part of two months, I have served on the front lines. Tarakia, Sal Kar, Morskoj...the names of countries, peoples, and ideals, but for me, it is just another mound of dirt I have fought on and survived.
I am the squad leader. Do not think that this reflects highly on me. I am the only one left after most of the battles who knows how things are supposed to work. I was forced into the position because of my 'battlefield experience'. Which is just a candy coated version of "You're all that's left" or "he can tell them what's going on". Winner by default is a win though, if you consider it being a win.
My Rafzakael Unit Number: 31577. My hound operating number is 77 after the last two digits of my RUN#. Call Sign "Stormweaver". However, only the reports show my real name as Robert V. Sharr. Volunteer.
That's right. Volunteer.
That puts me in the enlisted moron section. I volunteered for this assignment in an effort to impress the RZ brass. Turns out, the only ones who get promoted, are the ones who turn in my reports. So here I am, stuck in freezing rain and snow in one of the Morskoj mountains, looking silently through the armored glass of my hound.
"Hey Lieutenant. I wa..." Okay, so I did get promoted a little.
"Clear the comm channel 39."
Private Barry "Nickel" Sardor [RUN# 42139], Defender Cannon Specialist. However, cannons are expensive, and the Tarakians have made sure not to provide us with anything that could actually hurt another hound. Barry inherited his call sign "Nickel" for all the "Nickel and Dimes" he has to put up with to end up with the hound he is currently assigned. If a suitable hound for combat cost a dollar, then Nickel's hound is definitely worth a "Nickel". Valuable hounds and equipment were too expensive to waste on recruits and privates. The only ironic part about this, is that all the nations in the region seem to feel the same way. The grunts that do most of the combat all have cheap substandard weapon systems, so it is startling when any fighting actually gets done at all.
"Okay Lieutenant, just remember not to destroy everything."
Nickel had a point. To cut the red tape, the squad has taken to salvaging from battlefields. Amazing what the military leaves behind if they think it is destroyed. I'd be willing to bet that most squads who make it out alive report the equipment as lost or destroyed, just to keep from having to go back for it. Undamaged armor plates, ammunition, fuel, generators, weapons and more. We liberated a Morskoj cannon for Nickel twelve days ago and put in a quartermaster request for ammunition. In the end, the Brass ended up confiscating the cannon. The squad's unsung rule because of that debacle is to harvest everything from the wreckage, including munitions. In our reports of enemy armament, we fill in the blanks with "Weapons: Destroyed", and from time to time, turn over something we find that is useless to the higher ups. Keeps everyone happy, especially me.
There is a funny story of Adam "Badger" Cooke, Soldier [RUN# 37465], convincing a visiting Colonel that a Sal Kar sniper cannon was actually an old model sniper rifle we recycled to save the army money. He ended up with a date with the squad sniper for that one. Affairs within the squad isn't tolerated, but I'm merc so I turned a cheek. As for the sniper cannon, you see, we painted the thing pink and...well, perhaps that story is for another time.
"Lieutenant, we have movement in sector G8. Fast tracker, following terrain."
Recruit John Barr [Motormouth:RUN# 39114], Commander. John is one of those people who never should have joined the military. He couldn't fire a weapon straight if his life depended on it, which has been tested and proved ironically. He could also talk about nothing for hours and it would never bother him if no one listened. John has a particular affinity for Sergeant Jamie Bennett, [Nightsight, RUN# 34923], Sniper. Once on a three day layover outside Xeres after coming back through Baleares, Motormouth talked Nightsight all night. Only to find when he was getting ready to go to sleep, that she was just getting up and didn't hear a thing. Motormouth's only redeeming trait, is that once you give him something to talk about that is useful, he does it very well. I don't mind the constant chatter when it involves constant intel updates. He is still green as ivy and this is his third tour with the squad.
"Another unknown entering the area via the pass road in the southeast."
Hopefully, this was the patrol returning from scouting the road through the pass.