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Common Cause - A Reyna Hevn Story (Chapter 5)

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Common Cause - A Reyna Hevn Story (Chapter 5)

PostTue Aug 29, 2017 9:46 pm

Common Cause

“30 seconds”

Rikard Tergo snicked the safety off his rifle then glanced down at the grenades attached to his armor. Running a hand across his abdomen he made sure all of his extra magazines were in place. Finally, his hand passed over his thigh touching the pistol in its holster. His pre-battle check, some would say ritual, completed he mentally clipped into the squad net.

“You heard the pilot – final checks. Weapons free. Try not to shoot UCMF personnel. Technically we are on the same side.” A wave of affirmatives cascaded in his mind.

While he had concerns over this assault he kept them to himself. Why Captain Hevn received orders to assist in repelling a Scourge boarding party on a UCM listening station… well that was not his concern. He received his orders, and would carry them out.

The Accipiter was part of a small task force sent to Aluminia on a mission that- again- was not his concern. Relegated to fringe patrol duty near a Fold Space node that also contained the UCMF listening post. The post was not a threat being equipped with only a few close action weapons. As for detecting them the Accipiter made no effort to hide their signature.

Ten hours previous, the ship went to Condition 2 – enemy detected. A small Scourge incursion- three corvette’s led by a frigate – folded in. Essentially a heavy scout force that even a single PHR destroyer could probably handle. The captain reported the inbound ships with orders not to engage unless attacked. The Accipiter continued her patrol as the enemy headed in system.

Then the UCMF post began broadcasting a distress beacon in the clear. The Scourge had sent a few assault shuttles to take the post. Broadcasting in the clear was a not so subtle request for aid from the PHR. No ships were close enough to respond except the Accipiter. The stations crew were clearly hoping that the mercurial PHR would find common cause against a mutual enemy.

Apparently the PHR task force commander agreed. Captain Hevn alerted Rikard a few hours ago to prepare his force to give assistance. Tactical data flooded in from a grateful UCMF staff. The final update stated that the outpost managed to destroy one of the two inbound shuttles. One dropped off its troops then backed off from the outpost. A mistake as the debris cloud from a Star Athena launched missile attested to.

While normally in charge of the Mosquito drone system on board the Accipiter, Rikard had been a member of the PHR ground combat forces. He eventually requested and was approved for cross-training as a ship-based drone operator. However, every PHR ship had at least a squad of combat troops that could respond to enemy boarders if needed.

For ships such as the Accipiter who could not accommodate dedicated marines such forces performed double duty. His squad was composed of a sub-engineer, drive technician, mechanic and even a cook. But all were combat veterans of numerous ground engagements.

Monthly drills and target practice kept their skill sets from eroding. Each individual came on board with their own set of armor, weapons, and preferred augments. While not Immortals their equipment, training and bio-implants still made them man-for-man exceedingly lethal. Once activated for this mission the first order of business was to swap out their ship specific implants for the ground combat ones.

Gone were his drone connection, target discrimination, multi-phase search and CIC nodal augments. Like slipping on an old glove his bionically enhanced neural pathways re-wrote how his body and mind would respond once the analgesic, enhanced reflex, tactical cascade, and combat stress mitigation augments were clipped in. The rest of the squad was similar.

“Ten seconds” intoned the pilot snapping Rikard out of his reverie. Unbuckling from his seat he rose hooking his hand over the ceiling grab handle. The rest of the squad followed suit. With a few seconds to go they were all rocked back as the pilot performed a combat braking maneuver.

“Contact.” The shuttle hit with a jar that pitched everyone forward. The shudder of the boarding hatch resonated through the ship as it clamped on to the hull. A dull “whoomp” could be heard as the breaching charges went off. Immediately the boarding ramp slammed down through the newly made entryway.

The post was composed of five rings stacked on top of each other with a large half dome on top. The UCMF had sent them a basic schematic of each level to help plan the assault. The bottom ring was a shuttle docking bay that had been opened to vacuum – the probability of a Scourge presence there was low.

Rikard had therefore made the decision to breach ring four. Doing so would allow them to work up ensuring no enemy would attack their rear. Mentally switching communication channel’s he connected to the UCMF personnel.

“UCMF – PHR forces are now in station, ring four. Clearing operations commencing”, Rikard stated in a flat voice.

“PHR – thank god you are here! All survivors are sealed in the main control center. Hurry as they are breaking through!” a panicked voice replied. Unlike the smooth almost lyrical voices he was accustomed to human speech was harsh, brash, and uncomfortable to the ear. Rikard did not bother with a reply.

Ring four was quickly and efficiently searched. Stacked full of cargo, hiding places were few and obvious. The PHR neural network kept the squad clipped into each other. The HUD in each members mind matched the physical HUD display in the corner of his helmet. The search was quick with a chorus of “Clear” echoing through the Clip.

As one they advanced to Ring Three. The lift was not functional so the emergency ladder was the only choice. Rikard climbed the ladder, opened the hatch, and then paused. One of the squad detached a small disc, clipped the squad into it, and flew it up through the opening. The tiny drone showed no sign of the enemy.

Moving as one the squad flowed into the ring, which were living quarters. Two state rooms each with a double bunk, inset wall locker and a small desk. A small, shared bathroom completed this level. Rikard noted the furnishings were as harsh as the voice that spoke earlier. Other than a dead technician lying in a pool of blackened, congealed blood there was nothing else of interest.

The next level was identical to the one below it, but with no body or any other signs of combat. However, Ring One- just below the operations dome- showed extensive combat. This ring was the nominal living area. A small lounge, two private staterooms, personnel airlock, and cafeteria comprised this level.

The ladder opened up into the lounge. The walls here were pockmarked with energy and ballistic weapon impacts. Partially melted areas gave evidence to the corrosive effects of Scourge grenades. The lift located in the lounge was disabled, doors open and control panel shot out. On the floor and walls were bodies, whole and in part, of both Scourge and UCM combatants.

One wall was partially blown out where the enemy assault shuttle had made contact. Stretched across the gaping hole was a thin membrane sealing the hole from the vacuum of space. Knotted scars indicated weapon fire hits but, similar to PHR breach seals, this membrane was self-repairing.

The sound of aggressive impacts could be heard up a set of stairs (thank the Sphere no ladders) located next to the lift. With a quick thought Rikard and his squad flattened to either side of the walls flanking the stairs. With a quick nod he indicated for the drone to launch.

With a barely audible whir the mottled disc disappeared up the stairs. On his HUD Rikard noted the bodies of two armored UCMF crew had given their lives dearly. Scattered at the head of the stairs lay five dead Scourge with another two wounded.

The remaining enemy combatants were gathered around the door to the main control room. The door was partially forced with occasional shots coming from within to hit the opposite wall. Return fire from the Scourge was light as most were busily attaching a demolition pack that would put paid to the door and most likely the forces inside.

Opening the humans channel Rikard stated, “UCMF – this is the PHR assault commander. We are at the bottom of the stairs – take cover in 5 seconds”. Clicking off without bothering to wait for a reply he sent the mental command to the drone pilot who simply nodded. The other members of the squad’ affirmatives washed over his mind – they all knew what to do.

In the HUD the drone darted up over the heads of the Scourge by the door. One of the wounded saw the blur of its passage but before he could cry a warning the drone detonated. A combination of flash bang and flechette grenade enveloped the enemy. Two dropped instantly as the flechettes scythed through their skulls while the rest staggered back from the concussion and blinding light.

As one the PHR squad was already moving up the stairs as lethal wraiths. The timing was such that the FLASH BOOM occurred just before their eyes breached floor level. Errant flechettes whizzed inches over their heads striking the canted ceiling and ricocheting down into the ruins of the lounge.

Guns up each individual put several rounds into their primary targets before switching to secondary’s. In a matter of seconds each Scourge had been shot multiple times by at least two different squad members. Any that still showed a semblance of life quickly had that extinguished.

Rikard informed the crew in the control room to cease fire as all Scourge were dead. The engineer quickly disarmed the Scourge demolition pack before moving it to a safer location. The squad along with the remaining UCMF crew then worked together to get the control room doors open.

Once opened the grateful crew erupted from the control center. Rikard and his men did not quite know what to do when they were tightly hugged, back slapped and overwhelmed by individuals snatched from the jaws of death. Standing stiffly they acknowledged the accolades as best they could.

Taking a brief look around Rikard considered capturing these men and the wealth of intelligence data located just a few meters away. However, those were not his orders this day. Instead this was a day when the two strains of humanity found common cause in fighting an implacable foe. With a quick mental command, the PHR turned their backs as one on the humans to return to the Accipiter.

All characters and settings are copyright Michael Buonagurio. No use of any character or setting is authorized. All rights reserved ©2020.
Last edited by Birdie_Sparrow on Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:09 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Common Cause - A Reyna Hevn Short Story

PostWed Aug 30, 2017 9:02 am

Short and sweet, I always enjoy the flow of your posts. Good work!


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Re: Common Cause - A Reyna Hevn Short Story

PostWed Aug 30, 2017 2:51 pm

BishopBlank wrote:Short and sweet, I always enjoy the flow of your posts. Good work!

Thank you!


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Re: Common Cause - A Reyna Hevn Story (Chapter 5)

PostSat Apr 21, 2018 7:08 am

Great job again! Didn't have much time lately, but will try to read up ASAP!

Cheers, Thunder
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