Hawk Squadron: From Gue'la to Warrior Pt. 7

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Rook Hawkins


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The buzzer had sounded just twenty minutes ago, with its usual awkward wail and annoying pitch. Ralus was steadily growing distasteful of that detestable noise, and if he ever found the guy who invented it, he'd give him a swift kick in the pants - or get him to deploy it in the field against enemy troops. After hearing that sound for a few minutes, they'd run away just to keep sane.

Ralus shook the look off his face for the moment, trying to rid himself of the amusing pictures of hardened Guard units running away from giant skimmers with speakers. The mission had begun and he had a job to do. Just as the others had, but how the mission would play out was uncertain and rather unfrivolously rested on the information he'd gather.

Without knowing whom they were up against, there would be no way to win this conflict. So, just to be sure that they had one factor under complete control, the first order of business was to scout out the enemy line.

Of course, it was only his luck that he'd be one to run such an assignment. Ralus held up a fist, extending both his index and middle fingers. Stromf and Galeo, just a few yards to the rear, crawled up to get into a position next to Ralus'.

The land they covered so far had been very generous, giving them plenty of artificial, albeit realistic, vegetation which littered the ground, allowing them to cover their movements expertly and covertly. The mock woodland terrain was excellent for providing shadows to hide in, especially as a crimson hue was the only thing left of the once bright day.

The plan Rook had devised was very vague, which Ralus could understand, given the lack of knowledge of most of the variables. Vagueness provided easy manipulation. It was always easy to change a simple plan with little components then change a complex plan with multiple components.  And with as little as they knew, with no knowledge of how long they had, and without the guns and armor they would most likely need, maneuverability and easy manipulation were the only things they really could depend on.

Stromf made it up first. With a quiet voice that matched his young attitude, he said, "Well?"

Ralus pointed at some silhouettes about twenty yards ahead of them. "I think that would be more of our enemy. It's obvious, they think we're directly in front of them. They're definitely trying to flank us."


Stromf smiled, "We are directly in front of them."

"Shut up." Ralus squinted at the distant shadows. "This squad looks about half the size of the contingent of troops we saw a few minutes ago. Think this is all of them?"

Stromf shrugged.  Not like most of the members of Hawk Squadron, Stromf had been born and raised by a wealthy family of merchants.  However he was never afforded the family business.  In stead his father had made him his personal bodyguard, sending him off to schools to learn how to detect inconsistencies and body habits, personal gestures and tone significance.  If one of his fathers business partners or business enemies attempted to do anything that was against the interest of his family, Stromf would be able to pick up on it almost instantaneously.  How and why exactly he left his family and came to Tau space Ralus didn't know, save that the event was tragic.  But all things aside, his learned abilities made him ideal for scouting and even interrogations if the need ever arose.

He was also one of the only two members with a Gyro left in Ralus' small scouting party, Ralus himself without a gun or armor. The former bodyguard peered through the thermal scopes that had been given to them at the start of the mission, due to the coming darkness.

"There is something odd about them, but I can't put my finger on it exactly. It's hard to tell with all that armor on. Their posture is relaxed, oddly, but there's something else that's just not right."

Of course things weren'tright. Nothing about this mission was right. It was times like this that Ralus wished that Rook had never ordered complete comm silence. Ralus gestured for an answer; "Well?"

Stromf looked up, "Something about them doesn't ring 'human' to me."

Ralus shuddered. A tap on the shoulder turned Ralus' head. Galeo, finally at his right side, was struggling to catch his breath.

"Take your good old time, I see. Why are you out of breath? Youcrawledhere. This won't reflect well on your performance records."

Galeo growled, "Neither of you are wearing this bulky armor. You try to remain stealthy wearing this hunk of junk."  He winced as he took a knee, "I'd have done better wearing a skimmer as a suit."

Ralus nodded, "Point taken. You have my deepest respect and condolences."

Even in the coming darkness, Ralus could see Galeo's eyes roll, "So what now?"

Ralus smiled as if he'd been waiting for somebody to ask him all along. "Now I need to go check something out, but I want you both to pull back to the main line. I'm sure Rook would like to know where the enemy is right now, although by the time you get there they'll probably be a lot closer. Luckily this terrain will make it difficult for anybody to cover much without being blatantly obvious, so they'll have to move slow. Iwill be taking this with me." Ralus twisted the scope off of Stromf's weapon and positioned it on a bed of dirt in front of him. "Now go."

Galeo looked pained, "I should've stayed put." Both of his scouts turned and crawled as fast as they could in the other direction.

It was times like this that Ralus wished he'd just stayed in bed. He looked through the scope, counting, wondering if he just shouldn't throw a grenade right into the mix and vape them all.

Considering his options, and where the other troops were, he would probably eliminate all four of the soldiers here and bring the remaining soldiers in his direction. Without armor, he could move quicker, and without a gun, he would surely get shot eventually. And he'd have to drop himself from the game, and then what?

The idea would work if this were a normal game, with all the evidence in front of him so he could see his variables. But so much was unknown, just waiting for him to relay it back to Rook. So much was left for him to do. And in this terrain it was perfect for scouting and a few other things.

A plan unfolded in his mind, the brilliance was unquestioning, and he'd probably be lost while completing it, but he had to do it. He reviewed it a few times in his mind, perfecting it in his head so he could carry it out flawlessly. He now had set himself up for a good half-hours worth of work neatly packed into an unknown time slot. With that he pocketed the scope and started a slow crawl to his objective.




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