After the devastation of the third world war, humanity is rising from the ashes and once again reaching for the stars. Two factions, the Corporations, and the Order of the New Dawn, are fighting for the colonization of alien worlds. Military conflict has been banned by treaty on Earth, and these treaties are reinforced by nuclear fail-safes. But the new colonies are ripe with battle; over resources, over trade routes, even for prestige. Livable worlds are rare, and life is cheap.
The ASTRID is perfect when it comes to wreaking havoc. While the Dawnies' cruiser soars off out of range, it'll be our turn to face the enemy on the surface of this planet... I'm the next one on this list; as soon as our suits and weapons are ready, I'll be leading my squads into one of those coffins they call a barge and head for Fantasy Island, granted that the pilot has half enough skill to land us in one piece. This won't be a joy ride, that much is obvious. I hadn't done this in a long while, but it'll come back to me. It always does once you're on the field.
Once I'm done in conference with miss Hayes, we'll go reclaim this dry patch of dirt from the Order of the New Dawn in the name of CrayvenCorp. They have alot of men on the surface already... They're going to fight for every square inch of what they possess. I fear few of us will return.
"Greetings major," The voice came strong with notes of authoritarian arrogance. "I'm glad you managed to make some time for a chat. This meeting was scheduled eight standard minutes ago."
I stood at attention, feet exactly five inches apart, hands held behind my back as I stared at my superior with what one could call respect. "I apologize, miss Hayes. I was verifying our equipment before the mission, no one at maintenance had been assigned to make sure it was in order."
"Quite fine, major Parker. I trust you were set at ease after this verification?" she asked, her voice oozing all but mock concern. Her hand swept over her desk and a holographic image of a soon-to-be battlefield emerged from the glassy surface. Enrica didn't waste a moment. "My analyzing systems agree with you; we must stop the enemy from occupying the Oracle Dunes. Form a squad of infantry, your objective is to destroy the Order's central comms relay at a small installation our scouts have discovered."
My jaw nearly clenched at her mention of infantry. "A single squad? I should require atleast three to brush up against everything the Dawnies will be sending at us once that installation has been raided."
Enrica smirked derisively. "Equipping three squads for such a simple task is not financially justifiable, major. Since the Order's reinforcements are such a concern for you, I would suggest raiding their installation before they arrive."
I had barely stammered a reply when she cut me off. "But-"
"I am sorry, major, I must attend to a comittee meeting. You have your orders." Her voice echoed in the hollow room as her seat retreated into the shadows.
Double doors slid together after her exit. I stood at ease, eyed the digital battlefield before me, and walked up to Enrica Hayes' desk. Two locations were clearly marked. One, yellow, displayed the landing zones for my APC and troops. The other blinked red; the Order's installation.
I held back from slamming my fist into the desk's glossy finish. My eyes peered downward, spied a reflection of myself. I sighed heavily, struck a trigger near the holographic display, and turned on my heel as the image faded. War beckoned.
The UV/4 Barge screamed off the ASTRID's launching bay. My troops seemed content enough about seeing some action. All eight of them were equipped with the usual CB39 anti-hostility infantry suit and standard edition Welby-Simms Dev20011 shield rifles. Judging by the ease with which the soldiers handled their weapons, I could only assume Enrica had decided the Rmm-9 infantry mortars weren't "financially justifiable" either. I spied one of my men eyeing the adjusted portion of my battle armor's chest line and smirked as he hastily looked away.
Sarah Judith Parker, I began reading the present personnel list, Age: 35, Weight: 70kg, Height, 1.73m, Grade: Major, Division: Security Forces. I guess I should feel lucky they didn't have my measurments and favorite foods written down somewhere. Private Wolfe, Private Harding, Private Minster... Bunch of rookies it looked like. I haven't surveyed a battle in months and they send me down into a red zone with gunners straight out of the training sims. I couldn't help but heave a sigh.
I pushed my apc's hatch up and away and rose to view the aftermath of our assault. The Dawnies had half a squad of crusader infantry and two Aeris-4 turrets guarding their outpost. The enemy soldiers lay dead, the turrets were in ruins, and the central comms relay was a heap of smoldering scrap metal. Our job was done.
"Major Parker!" I heard my vehicle's radio squawk, "This is Dropship Chicago, the Order's reinforcements are on our radar and will be at the installation in two minutes. Dispatch to the cliffside marked on your gps, we'll drop the ramps as soon as we land."
I hollered and waved at my men, calling them back into the apc. Few were left unscarred from the brief battle, but the ASTRID's medics would soon be taking care of them. My heart warmed at the fact that all casualties had only been on the enemy side. It always comes back, once you're on the field...
Dust sprayed as the armored personnel carrier's caterpillar wheels ground into this world's sandy dirt. Delta checkpoint kept getting closer. UV/4 Chicago was in sight, its flaring blue reactors contrasting harshly with the orange sky. We were soon boarding, and then off towards the Crayven cruiser.
For this mission, we couldn't dispose of the necessary units to apply the classic assault plan. The best we could do were follow-ups on today's events: Strike fast, destroy an important location of the Order's, and move out before they could organize a riposte. To top it all off, since our cruiser is always changing its position to keep advantage over the Dawnies, we have no accurate telemetric data on this planet. Unless we strike with force soon, it's going to take months for us to locate and destroy all their encampments. I still find it strange that we managed to take out their comms relay so easily today. Maybe the Dawnies don't have all the men they'd like to get, either. But what can they be defending that's more important than their own installations?