Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our Gallente dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears;
Then imitate the action of the tiger…
Blast of war? Yeah, right. Two minutes later and I still can’t hear anything, my ears deafened by the heavy rails of the Dominator class walkers. The dampers in my tacSHELL didn’t even put a dent in the overpressure. Over my left shoulder I see Denton yelling something at me; all the comms are offline after that last data virus strike and we still don’t have our backups operational. This whole op is going to hell, and quickly at that.
Legs tense, bracing for the impact that is sure to come, stupid dropship pilot is going in way too deep. We’re gonna hit.
We bail out of the dropship and onto the tarmac behind the main generating station for the southern sector of the planet and hit the ground running. I underestimated the skill of the pilot- he put us exactly on the mark, finally something went right today. I still can’t hear a damned thing, deaf as all hell from those stupid walkers, but at least we were able to fix our comms after we were scooped by our dropship. Been on the ground now for twenty seconds since our insertion and no enemy contact. The dropship is gone and we’re on our own now- *really* on our own. Five more minutes and then we’ll know if we live or if we die.
The antimatter generators are offline, the cores quenched and cold. It’ll be a while before anyone is able to light them up again. Things were looking good until we stacked up at the front entrance, waiting for our evac. Two flights of Caldari walkers have us pinned in- one heavy and one scout flight. The scouts have the control bunker surrounded and the heavies are setting up overwatch positions and are starting to flank us. I don’t know why they haven’t started firing yet. Maybe they want prisoners?
We fall back to the interior to put some more concrete and steel between us and the heavy guns of the walkers when the first rounds hit. Keller and Owens disappear in the first volley of HVM rounds. I can see the night sky from my position deep in the bunker’s third basement level. We don’t have a roof anymore, or a ground floor, or a first or second sublevel for that matter.
Two scouts jump to the edge of the opening their heavy buddies made a few seconds ago. I can see their guns slaving to the direction their sensor arrays are pointed- straight at us. I close my eyes and wait. The generators are offline, my mission is complete. It’ll be easier this way; nobody will have to risk their life to extract us.
And then the WORLD LIT UP AND THE SKY FELL IN.
I’ve never been in the middle of an orbital bombardment before. I’ve seen it happen from orbit, I’ve seen the aftermath of it on the ground. But never have I been surrounded by the fury and power of a hundred battleships projecting their will from a five hundred kilometers away.
There are divots in the concrete marking the location of each enemy walker and track. If a thirty meter hole could be referred to as a ‘divot’. Everything is coated in a fine film of metallic vapor and dust from the remains of the walkers turning to ionized plasma from the battleships’ railguns and heavy artillery. Artillery. That meant Minmatar. Thinking about the reliability of Minmatar targeting systems gave me pause for a second, and then I decided that it didn’t matter, since I was still here. My team and I quietly wait for extraction. I guess I’ll live to run another mission after all. Those clowns better hurry up, I’m getting hungry.