Hawk Squadron: From Gue'la to Warrior Pt. 4

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Rook Hawkins


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The main Run'al had fallen quicker then Rook had expected.  The Lions fell prey to the Hawks because of their aggressiveness, and in the end, the entire cadre had been wiped out.  Johnston and Briggs had found sanctuary in grabbing unused cells from fallen Lions, taking out the bulk of the force rather rapidly. 

Milford had been the only casualty in the first engagement, and the blue-eyed man had been deeply sorry he couldn't continue his fight with the Hawk's.  Rook patted Milford on the back, "Think of it this way.  When we get the honors at the end, you can say you took one for the team and mean it."

Milford didn't seem to proud of the comment, but took it for what it was worth.  Hopefully, he would be the only casualty the Hawk's would suffer, however Rook was becoming more and more unsure of that fact as the details of the next assault came into play. This is almost ridiculous.

The heat was starting to take it's toll on the Hawks, several were exhausted from the fighting before, and adrenaline continued to coarse itself through their veins, with the combination, several of the Hawks were shaking erratically at points.  Rook wasn't immune to it and was grateful that the afternoon was waning into the evening.

They stood at the far end of the battle zone now.  Cover engulfed them and kept their position concealed from their enemy which sat on the far end of the battlezone.  The cover was less urban, as there were but paper-mache trees and bushes.  But they did their job well enough. 

A Shas'O waved the Hawk's in a broad circle around him.  "Gue'la's - "
"That'sHawks..." Ralus interjected.

The Shas'O shot him an annoyed look, Ralus ducked his head, blushing, and the Shas'O continued.  " - you did well during your first mission.  You have lost a total of 20 points for your casualties and 10 points for your expendability of the Gyro cells.  However you have earned 200 points for completing the mission and an additional 15 points for accuracy and efficiency." 

Small cheers went up from the Hawk's as the news was given.  Rook didn't know if he felt their pride.  In fact, Rook frowned a bit at the points tally.  They took away 20 points per casualty, so if each mission were 200 points, and they lost five men in one mission, they'd be down 100 points.  Those numbers were frightening, and worked Rook's mind a bit.

The Shas'O fixed his mouth into a smile, "Your next assignment is going to be tougher as will the rest of the missions get harder if you proceed.  This mission is a raid.  Although we Tau have never really prided ourselves as aggressive combatants, we know when combat dictates such aggressiveness and we must all learn how to deal with situations.
 
"You will be fighting against the Cougars in this round.  The objective is to sneak into the enemy installation and plant one remote mine on the base of the comm station.  The remote mine is really a square Gyro gun that shoot's out waves of the same frequency that the lasers in your Gyro's use.  The waves disperse when you activate them, sending pulses of light that paralyze anybody within it's range, which is considerable for a training weapon.  I would recommend you're completely out of it's effective range before triggering it, as it can work against your armor as well as theirs, just as if you were in real combat."

The Shas'O gestured for Rook's map, handing him a new one in exchange for the old.  Rook thanked him, and the Shas'O walked away to the far side of the combat zone, Rook assumed, to talk to the Cougars.

Rook unfolded it quickly, reviewed the map with interest and felt his gut sink as he made a startling discovery. 

Briggs saw the sour expression on Rook's face, "What's the matter, Lead?"

Rook forced restraint from his voice, "Cover for our forces stops twenty meters out from this position." 

"So?"

"So we have another..." Rook took a moment to count, when he finished he sighed, "...fifty before we reach the main facility."  Rook laid the map down on the ground.  He pointed to the large conglomeration of buildings at the center rear of the map.  "The only advantage they have given to us are the trees which line the sides of the battlezone, leaving a square section completely open and it's the only way to get to the entrance of the complex."  Rook stuck his finger down hard on a bulky section of the map, wrinkling the paper a bit.  "This is the main complex and the comm station is at the very rear and to the left."  Rook's finger traced along the left edge of the paper.  "Any ideas?"

"Can't we rush them?"  Johnston asked, looking down his aimed barrel, which pointed in the direction of the installation.

"Negative."  Rook shook his head, "We'd have to assume they're well entrenched and assaulting such a well balanced position as this will result in total casualties.  Especially in open terrain and in this light, we'd be perfect targets."

"Do we know how many men we're up against?"  Ralus shot Rook a glance.

"Not a clue."  Rook paused, "But that could be a blessing.  Chances are they are as unaware of our strength as we are of theirs."

"Either way they're probably expecting a frontal assault."  Cameron sighed.

Rook let a thin smile crease his lips.

"Uh oh, he's smiling."  Ralus frowned.

"That's never good."  Markus looked rueful.

"Lead, are you still on Sa'cea or did you float to Terra?" 

Rook turned his smile into something more sinister, "We may just win this battle yet."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Team Leader Kal Tark stood proudly over his Cougars. Their first engagement was a complete success, only losing four men. Kal didn't see that as such abigproblem. He felt that life was held at too high a standard sometimes for the Tau's own good. In war people die, and to achieve a victory, sometimes men have to be sacrificed to win.

His men were well disciplined and would follow his order no matter what. They knew he'd lead them to victory, despite the cost, and he had no intentions of letting them down.  After all, he'd been leading them from the start, and if they got out of line, he'd find some form of punishment to instill respect in them.

Kal stroked his well-defined chin, considering the possibilities of this plight.  He had already placed several men along the front wall of the Complex, allowing two men, not including himself, to guard the comm station.  It was never a bad idea to be prepared, although he had to be sure he had enough soldiers to lay down fire when the Hawk's had emerged.  He didn't want one of them left at the end of this conflict.  Total annihilation was his plan, and he would make sure he demoralized them all.  It was what he felt worked best, and healways knew what was best.

Inside, Kal felt a tremendous build up of pride, almost forcing him to leap in the air. His men were loyal and he could feel his father on his shoulders, telling him how great of a commander he'd become.

His father was a great warrior, and although he had been a member of an Imperial Guard unit, he had been an officer and led with compassion, despite his orders. In a way, his father had stopped short of massacring Tau simply because he felt it wasn't the rational thing to do. Becoming a part of the greater good had been the best decision he'd ever made, and Kal knew that his father made lots of good decisions. After all, he washisfather.

Kal's confidence was raised further as he had found the terrain to be in his favor. The only entrance into the complex was in front of open terrain, which would be a killing ground as his enemy came at him.There is no other way, so there is noif, onlywhen.

"Sir, movement can be seen around the edge of the tree line."  One of his men, Leer, reported from the defense line.

Kal smiled. This was going to be too easy. The Hawks were playing into his killing zone.

"Sir, they opened fire!" And they had. Eight streams of laser light poured out of the tree line at the entrenched complex. Some of Kal's men tried to duck to avoid being hit by otherwise accurate weapons fire.  But some found targets, letting one - two of his men drop to the concrete shaking and shuddering before turning deathly still.

Kal sneered. Let's give them something to think about. "All men with a bead on the enemy fire at will."

The dark ledges of the complex walls turned bright red as laser fire opened up allowing trailing red lines to crisscross almost beautifully in both directions. The consistent whine coming from the Gyro's barrels inside the complex deadened almost all other noise, probably because of the way the sound reflected off of the structure itself.

He heard a few distant wails and some of his men cheered as they were rewarded when the enemy stopped moving and inflicted some casualties, even some smoke started to rise a bit from the ground, obviously a body hit outside the armor or somebody nailed a tree. That would cost some points, but not enough to worry about. Kal suppressed the yearning to start gloating over his victory. The enemy would never achieve their goal, placing the victory directly into his worn hands.  Soon they'd have no choice but to assault, and it would all be over.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Rook's back almost popped from the pain inflicted from pressing it up against the side of the battle zone so hard. The fact that the battle zone was enclosed with the exception of the roof was rather disappointing. Movements along the wall were difficult to make, sometimes the Hawk's had to climb the poorly made paper trees in order to avoid being seen, and had they not had some sort of supporting metal holding them up they would not have been able to dothat.

And for once he was glad he gave over most of his units Gyro's to Ralus and the others for the deception.

Rook and his small squad of four men were about half way to the complex when the complex walls burst outward with laser fire. It was only luck that the commander was taking the bait, shooting at Ralus and most of the Hawks which stayed neatly placed behind some quickly made emplacements.

Some screams came from Harolds' direction, and Rook keyed his comm. "Anybody hit?"

Harold returned, "No, Briggs was just getting in some acting lessons. But the trees we dressed up in battle armor are taking a beating. One of the trees in the rear started on fire. We had to douse it quickly in dirt to prevent it from being too noticeable. I think the gag is holding, and with some of us using two Gyro's, I don't think they'll figure on you four."

"Well keep it up. Just remember that with every wail, one Gyro must be silenced as a way to make them think the person holding the gyro was hit." Rook held his fist up as his team approached the front left corner of the complex. He noticed that the width between the walls which encased the battle zone and the walls which encased the complex was enough to fit a human body comfortably between. "We're a go on this end."

"Copy lead." Another scream followed as Rook heard Ralus click off his comm unit.

"Hey Lead, think they'll dock points for having Johnston and Markus take off their armor?" Cameron asked, somewhat concerned.

Rook fitted himself between the two walls, gesturing upward. The roar of the Gyros was bouncing around inside the Complex, and Rook noted the third advantage of the raiders. The way the complex was built and with the materials it was built with, it kept sound from really exiting out of it. This meant that even the most absurd slip up would probably be left unnoticed by the Cougars inside.

"They might, Cameron. But I didn't hear the Shas'O say anything about not being able to do that."

When he felt that they were far enough along Rook gestured for Ralus to climb onto him. Getting on Rook's shoulders, Ralus helped Galeo up onto his shoulders, and then Cameron used the human ladder to pull himself up over the complex walls. Grasping tightly onto Galeo's forearms, Cameron had little trouble supporting Galeo enough to get him over next. Then the two Hawks gave a crisp salute to Rook and disappeared into the complex's construction.

Rook looked over at Ralus, "Now we wait."

"Oh goodie." Ralus pulled off some paper from one of the trees, started to fold it frantically.

"Er," Rook gave a puzzled look, "what are you doing?"

Ralus snorted as if to suggest Rook should already know, "I'm going to make a funny hat." He finished his last contortions of the paper and held it up for Rook to see.

Rook just looked at him.

Ralus smiled, plopping the paper hat snugly over his helmet.

"You know, you get stranger ever day."

"Would you like one too?"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Kal was utterly disgusted at the sheer cowardice that these Hawks were displaying. After the level of praise they received from the Shas'O, he figured he'd see some amazing assault of some kind, but all he witnessed was their hiding. Hiding and dying.

He was pleased however when one of his shooters on the wall informed him that all shooting had stopped.

So they're either all dead, or they're playing a game with me.  If I have to go out and mop them up I will. "McGray, Tanson, you and two others head out to their position and finish off the rest. Use the right and left sides to provide cover and we'll give you supporting fire from here."

Kal glanced back at the two men guarding the comm station. Any attempt now would be an experiment in futility.Besides, they're practically done for. Pride swelled up again.I'm going to win this for you dad.

"Olis, Farke." The two guards managed to snap to attention with crisp perfection, disregarding the heat.  Weariness was found in their expressions. "You two take the places of McGray and the others. Move quickly."

They did as they were told. Kal smiled again at their discipline.Follow my orders, and the victory is ours.

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Cameron jumped down off the riser to the main compound, coming up in a low crouch. Some sweat trickled down his forehead, and tickled his helmet line a bit. He ignored his hair, which was matted to his face in all directions, scanning along his barrel, looking for enemies, but found none.

Galeo followed seconds after, and they moved out along the inside of the complex. They found no resistance at all, which made Cameron a bit nervous. Even worse the firing from the wall seemed to slow and the sound inside the complex became less sporadic and more pronounced, meaning that they were covering movements of troops now outside.  It also meant that the sound that had been covering their attack was soon not going to be much help.

"Set the detonator for remote triggering." Galeo said as he handed the package to Cameron, who shuddered.

"Thanks, givemethe big explosive devices."

Galeo shrugged, "Don't blame me. I'm just your friendly squadron backstabber."

"Don't forget to add a few more names to that list, such as wimp, irritating, glory hound,loser…"

Galeo winced, "Are you done?"

"For now. Hey, I think somebody's coming."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For years now, McGray wanted off this planet. Some people might enjoy the Tau lifestyle, but McGray wanted to fight. Growing up he heard stories of great battles, and intensely yielded to the thought of one day participating in such a scaled conflict. It wasn't that he felt these exercises were unnecessary, but they were so…dull.

He needed excitement and adventure, traveling to worlds he'd never been to before and seeking out new people. He was outgoing, and wanted more then this pitiful molten rock. He wanted action. As a matter of fact, if he ever came in contact with one of those enemy Hawk's, he'd take them out in a split second. He grinned. Yes, a split second, with unreal reflexes. He'd be unstoppable.

Following orders left and right was fine for a few years, but now he was wearing this uncomfortable armor, and lugging this bulky Gyro around and all he could think about were the countless opportunities life had in store for him.Unstoppable.

He shrank into his armor a bit as he realized his current fate. Scouting out along the complex and looking for a good place to climb over. Stanchez was keeping up with his pace, and he supposed it was better, as he didn't want to have to wait for stragglers. Why wait when he could move quickly and explore? Time waited for nobody and he was as impatient as time was when it came to waiting. Why? Because he was unstoppable of course.

About as close to the main complex as he could get, he'd have to work his way between the comm station in order to get around the wall and avoid being seen. Although he became a bit alarmed when he noticed a Gyro just lying on the ground in front of him. He came to a halt, raising a hand to hold Stanchez a few meters behind, panting heavily.

Who would have been so clumsy as to leave a Gyro lying around? Certainly none of the Cougars had complained of losing a weapon, which only meant that it was left from a prior engagement or an enemy had infiltrated the base.

McGray crept silently towards the corner of the main compound, using the wall of the compound to shield his movements, and avoid any fire coming from an itchy finger which might be waiting around the corner. McGray took off his helmet and placed it around the tip of his Gyro. He had complete control although the weight was sometimes unbearable to deal with using only his right arm, extending it so the helmet fell just far enough past the crease of the building that it could be seen around the bend.

He tensed for a moment, bracing for an impact or a sound that although he expected, would still be startling. He flexed a bit as he realized none came, and turned back to signal Stanchez with the 'okay.'

A dark void stared him between the eyes, as he recognized the barrel of Stanchez' Gyro focused on his temple. He thought of running, lunging, bringing up his own Gyro to bear, but he smiled instead, raising his arms above him in the position of surrender. The man holding the gun was not Stanchez, but a man in Hawk colors. Another Hawk was busy holding Stanchez to the wall with intensity, Stanchez' eyes bulged every time the Hawk pressed his face against the brick complex harder.

The one holding the rifle had dark brown hair, matted to his face and at places glistening from the sweat. He spoke first, "If you remain quiet, you won't be shot. If your friend starts to struggle, you'll be shot and then we'll shoot him, and maybe for fun, shoot you again."

McGray nodded, still smiling. He couldn't help it. At least this was exciting, and it definitely wasn't boring. And now that he thought about it, not getting shot wasn't exactly a bad idea. Sure, he might not accomplish his mission, and the Hawks might win, but in the end, he didn't like Kal much anyway. But McGray was still unstoppable. He narrowed one of his eyes. Yes, unstoppable McGray.




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