Hawk Squadron: From Gue'la to Warrior Pt. 16
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It wasn't just the Hawk's anymore, but the Tau hangar and maintenance crews, the Drop Ship crew, and various officers barking orders and dragging in supply crates. The quiet hanger Rook had grown dourly accustomed to in the last few minutes was now loud and obnoxious. And Rook wasn't at all surprised to see Kaerin walk in last. He might have taken a moment to consider her posture, judge her actions and gestures, and take into account her features, had he not decided to put it aside during the mission. It also helped that the details he did happen to noticed beamed with professionalism. Something that must have come with decades of training, and dealing with intense emotions and mental strains from combat.
The Hawk's formed up in two lines, front row and back, some came in sleepy-eyed, obviously from brief napping before they headed into combat. Rook sensed the normal jittery tension in most of them, some seemed downright aggressive for some reason. Even at a distance, he almost felt as though he could see the will to prove themselves. It was a comforting thought, and one that stilled any and all doubt he might have had about this missions' success since his interaction with Kaerin.
Rook started, "What does it mean to be a Hawk?"
"We dookie on large statues of our enemies?" Ralus asked.
"We eat mice?" Cameron shrugged.
Rook covered his eyes with his hand. "No, no. Anybody?"
"We keep our minds keen and our eyes open."
"Very good Markus." Rook nodded to the young man, "We need to make sure that we stay alert out there. I'm not going to go into a long speech because you all know what you're trained to do. However, there are some things I want to get clear right now.
"Put all your animosity aside, if you're having problems with somebody, if you just stubbed your toe, if you woke up on the wrong side of the cot, I want you to forget about it. Look after each other out there. This is for real. Johnston!"
The blonde-haired, blue-eyed man snapped to attention, "Sir."
Rook checked over the small personal-computer he held in his palm, "Our records show that in our testing you exceeded every man on our team in kills. That makes you our official sharpshooter."
Johnston smiled, "Yes sir."
Both man, standing side by side, followed Johnston's crisp display, "Sir."
"You're both team leaders -"
Stromf groaned. Rook looked at him, "Is there a problem, Stromf?"
"We'll talk about it after the mission. Until then you're going to have to deal with whatever it is."
Stromf glowered, but didn't say anything else.
"As I was saying, you're both team leaders. I'm splitting this squadron up into three teams. Team A will be lead by myself. The members include Cameron, Johnston and Laise.
"Team B will be lead by you, Ralus. Your team consists of Galeo, Markus and Harold."
Rook paid close attention to Harold as the orders were read. Harold was originally Assistant Team Leader during the tests, Rook respected the man's enthusiasm and he noted he was a great leader. However Rook didn't hand out the promotions, and without field testing, no more would be handed out anytime soon.
He'd have to see how Harold reacted to real combat, as well as the other officers, before rearranging any team organization. Harold didn't seem to mind at all, but Rook still wasn't convinced completely. Harold had always displayed a desire to command, a high ambition. Rook almost found his will mirrored his own, if only a tad bit more dangerous.
During training, Harold was the type of guy to push you out of the way if you weren't running fast enough, or if you weren't climbing a rope quickly enough. It wasn't odd to have Harold kick you off the line to get ahead. The Tau instructors did reprimand him on a few occasions, and he shaped up briefly, but brief was just that. And he was back to his same old tricks quicker then you could say "ork-spit."
He went back to his notes, "Team C of course goes to Stromf. Stromf will have the remaining three members, Kaerin, Briggs, and Milford. Any questions? No? Good.
"Stromf, you're going to double as our communications man. Your abilities will give us an edge in determining moods and such. Plus you seem to know a bit more about communications then anybody else.
"Kaerin, I'm designating you our team medic. You've just been out of combat, so you know what to expect. You've also the most recently certified." Kaerin shot him a very faint smile, and Rook felt like he really had made no progress in all his thinking. He was still attracted to her.
"Briggs, Laise, you two are my electronics specialists. Guns, hacking, programming, I'm going to come to you for any of that. So if you feel you need to brush up on any of those I suggest you do it on your free time." Both men nodded.
"The next order of business is uniforms. The Tau command has been gracious enough to outfit us with modified armor, you'll note it's similarity to fire warrior matrix weaving. Because of this mission specifications, our armor has been altered to include a small personal shielding device, and some other minor modifications that their research and development teams have come up with.
"Keep in mind we're sort of the guinea pigs for this equipment, so I'm relying on you two tech guys to go over everything to ensure their operational status. Also, the shields don't withstand much outside small arms fire, so don't rely on them.
"We don't have any headgear available to us, so we have two choices. We grab some on the field, or we can get our own from independent merchants. I'll leave that choice to you when we get out on the field. So that about wraps it up. If anybody needs anything, see me privately. The Shas'O should be here shortly to brief us all on the mission parameters. Get suited up, you'll find the uniforms are along the starboard wall."
The Squadron broke formation, a bit more pep to their steps, more excitement to their expressions. Rook hoped that all missions would start like this. The same vigor, anticipation.
He shook his head. First he had to concentrate on getting everyone, including himself, back from this one alive.