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Update on Fat Trader vs. Desert Raiders

His boots scrunched in the sandy soil of Aleif as he stepped off the back deck of the G-Carrier. Looking around, details that were fuzzy or hidden by the smoke sprung into sharp relief. He recognized the melted flesh/burnt metal/ozone smell that told him a high energy weapon had been in use recently.
“Over here Sergeant.”
She was still very green, but he and the men followed the Star and Cutlass on her collar, not the woman in the crisp Combat Environment Suit; not yet at least. If she made it through this duty assignment and didn’t get too many of them killed, at least not without covering them with glory and bonus pay, they might even begin to respect the sophont inside the gear.
“You see where that vehicle is disabled on the hillside, Sergeant? I want you to take a fire team up there, police the area for weapons and then set up an OP.”
Nodding his salute, he set off to grab the 2nd team, they needed watching.
The ridge line above the landing site gave him a better view, under the smoke, but at a remove that allowed the analytical part of his tactical brain to turn the carnage in the valley into a 3-D reproduction, uploadable later for replay, to be critiqued by those who had not been here. Here where the screams and dust and pounding of blood in your temple would make the simple tasks hard and the complex, worthy only of demigods.
The valley was shaped like a Hiver head, he thought. The Neck was pointed east, the “fingers” splayed out from the Southwest to the Northwest, 5 of some length, the 6th a stubby digit that rose into the foothills as a Groat trail.
He understood that the well-head was why they had chosen this spot. “No other choice really, poor bastards,” he thought, “with water as scarce as it is on this drekhole.”
His lungs and hands were directing the team into position, his eyes catching bits of gear hidden under the bodies of the raiders that the new Marines missed. Having the ability to multitask his limbs and organs had stood him in good stead before, and they obeyed his commands. This allowed his “Fleet Gunney,” as he called the analytical part of his brain, to keep a detachment from the carnage.
The hover jeep had taken hits from small arms, probably the assault rifles and light machine guns the mercenaries guarding the camp had carried. Nothing on the gauss rifles he and his men carried, but he knew Marines who had bought a piece of turf 2m X 1m with an lmg down payment.
The big Aslan running the mercs was a suprise, but then given how well they had held in the face of recoilless rifle fire and plasma rifle fire, perhaps it was not such a suprise.
The raiders had tried to get tricky, using a three prong attack.
From the north, local nomads, likely promised booty and slaves, had made a razziah against the mercs dug in on the ridge line to the north, across the valley from him. The mercs had held, returning fire from the hastily dug foxholes. THe mounted nomads held their charge until only a few hundred meters from the merc line, then they turned tail and ran.
The second prong was a plasma bazooka, hidden in the back of a cargo truck with roll up sides, which arrived just as the nomads made their attack. The camp defenders, trying to get the “supply” truck in before capture, waved it through the gates without inspecting the back as they normally would. It made it all the way to the nose of the grounded starship at the center of camp before stopping. A well placed shot from the plasma bazooka had taken out the sandcaster turret which was the ship’s only defense.
“Why they had it off-line is beyond me, though it looks like maybe they were working on it, given all the scaffolding and crane rigging. Hm.”
There was the place that the 3rd Lieutenant was spending the most of her time. The burnt patch of ground at her feet told part of the story they had heard in the G-Carrier on they way down.
A former Marine, Vargr to boot, had been the ships captain on this refugee mission. Like many marines before him, he had bought the farm defending a patch of soil far from home for people who either didn’t like him or didn’t like the Imperium, the two often conflated in their minds. He had led a squad of the mercs out of the reserve in the center of the refugee camp towards the plasma bazooka once it had taken out the sandcaster and damaged the ship interior through the missing turret armor. While directing small arms fire at the bazooka, effective fire that had killed or wounded most of the weapon team, the captain took a blast at near point blank range for a weapon of that sort. It appears that the raiders had men with the presence of mind to shoot back with their big guns while taking small arms fire, not that it ultimately did them any good.
They had been too few and lost two heavy weapons within the first minutes of the attack.
The third prong had come up another Groat highway running to the south behind the sergeant. Three other hover jeeps, one with a medium machine gun and two with 90 mm recoilless rifles had popped up here, the wreckage of one forming the base of his OP.
“That was some good shooting, and fast thinking, especially for what must have been rabble only a month ago.”
The loss of a recoilless to a good shot must have demoralized the raiders. The reserve in the center had taken out the ruse in the middle of camp, the nomad allies had dissolved like ice in this wasteland, and the bucket of spit the raiders thought the camp to be had been stiffened with a bit more than buckshot.
One of his privates brought him a burnt piece of high tech gear.
“What do you have there, Gani?”
“Looks like a grav module, sergeant. But it isn’t in the right place.”
“Your right, it should be in a vehicle, helping it fly.’
“No, that’s the thing sergeant, it shouldn’t be in a grav vehicle, it should be in a hospital.”
Looking askance at the private, wondering if he had gotten into some of the grog early, the sergeant ominously said, “do go on.....”
“well sir...I mean sergeant, at home my mom ran a medical surplus business, and I had to help out with cataloging stuff and inventory all the time. These modules are from an Instellarms military grav bed, I would recognize the casings anywhere, and the placement of these control leads and power couplings is unique.”
“Really now? This is certainly something the Ell-Tee should hear about. Run down the hill and let her know I sent you.”
Smirking at the trick the sargeant admired the audacity of this circumvention of the interdiction. Things would be hopping in the Gunneys Mess tonight.
Thank you for the complements on the writeup. It was fun to visualize. They haven't role played the repair and damage control on the ship yet. It may be able to limp home on J1 M 0.5. I will see next game session.
Oh my poor desert raiders :(

Time to go back to the ACME Corp drawing board :D

So what do the raiders have left for people...
I surmise they still have a MMG and a recoilles rifle.
Don't sweat it...the Plazooka worked GREAT :eek:

My character was the bits of dog fur scattered about....

Woe be to the departed Captain Khadzerz, Formerly the Commercial Canid Commando of the Linkworlds! WAAAAAAAAH! :(