Xenonautical Adventures – Part 6: Double Engagement
5th of October, 1979, 07:50
I’ve barely managed to get some coffee and take a seat before the sirens blare again.
“Contact, sir! Confirmed extraterrestrial contact! Far western edge of our detection range!”
“Already? Launch F-”
“Sir… this one is moving faster than anything we’ve seen so far. We think it’s bigger, too.”
I pause for a moment. I was hoping to send only Foxtrot-1 at that range, but can I afford to?
“Is Condor-1 ready to go?”
“Final refueling finished half an hour ago, but the pilot is currently sleeping, sir.”
“Wake him and get him ready, but launch Foxtrot-1 and Condor-2! Condor-1 will be on standby in case more UFOs show up.”
“And get Charlie-1 in the air as soon as the soldiers can get prepped.”
It’s a risky move, but at that range I’d rather have Charlie-1 well underway when the UFO goes down. And they can just turn around if something goes wrong.
5th of October, 1979, 08:16
“Target has turned west again, sir!”
“Understood. Keep after it.”
Dammit… come on you bastard, you can’t escape now.
5th of October, 1979, 10:41
“We have lost contact with the target just east of the Black Sea, sir!”
“Understood. Have Foxtrot-1 and Condor-2 head to its last known location.”
We’re not letting it get away that easy.
5th of October, 1979, 11:49
“Contact! Confirmed extraterrestrial contact! Foxtrot-1 has detected a landed UFO just outside Tehran, sir!”
“Understood. Is it the same one?”
“Impossible to tell, sir.”
“Have Charlie 1 adjust their course to get there. Have our Interceptor squadron make a wide turn to circle the area, and launch Condor-1 to catch up with Charlie-1 and escort them there.”
Now we wait.
5th of October, 1979, 12:34
Foxtrot-1 and Condor-2 have to return to base to refuel.
We can no longer confirm status of the UFO. We can only hope.
5th of October, 1979, 14:31
“Sir, contact has re-emerged! Matches the one detected this morning. Northwest of Charlie-1 and Condor-1, heading in their direction.”
“Understood, tell Condor-1 to break off and engage once in range.”
5th of October, 1979, 14:54
“Condor-1 has shot down the UFO, sir!”
“Understood. Charlie-1 is to keep on course for Tehran, have Condor-1 fall back to escort again, and make ready to do an air strike on the crash site, but hold for my order.”
“You heard me, colonel.”
I might be excessively greedy here, but we need this. I’m sorry, my soldiers, for risking you so.
5th of October, 1979, 15:57
Condor-1 is low on fuel and has to return. Charlie-1 is still a ways out. I might need to adjust on the fly here.
5th of October, 1979, 20:08
“Charlie-1 has reached the landed UFO, sir!”
“Understood. Have them land and engage.”
Charlie-1 Response Team on the ground. Night-time mission. Flares have been distributed. Weapons at the ready. Dropship doors opening.
We are in a train depot, it would seem. At least at this time of night there shouldn’t be much in the way of civilians around.
Cpl Herr starts making his way out of the side-door of the dropship, and is somewhat startled as he immediately spots one of the lizards closing in, its eyes quite fierce in the darkness. He fires a shot that flies wild and stumbles back into the dropship.
Thus alerted, Sgt Labor comes out the back of Charlie-1, raises her LMG and unleashes a barrage upon the thing that takes it down.
The rest of the team deploy and secure the area immediately around the dropship. Even after spreading flares around, nothing else moves in the vicinity.
A series of ballistic shots is heard to our north-east, and even though we can’t hear any responding plasma fire, the sudden cessation of shots doesn’t bode well. We hope the security guard won out, but we have a hard time believing it.
While none of us are especially happy about it, we need to split up to cover this area. Sgts Beargal and Gardes head through the lit area south of the office building to the east, while Lt Riddium and Cpl Troidell head around the back to the north.
Sgts Labor and McNutcase take Cpls Cuftbert and Herr and advance on the train yard. Sgt Labor volunteers to head around the fence, while the other three head towards the door into the closest building.
As they get ready to breach the door, Sgt Labor spots a lizard heading inside the building, and gives a hand-signal to Sgt McNutcase to wait. She moves up closer and gets ready to spray the inside. Another signal, and Sgt McNutcase kicks the door in, getting the alien’s attention and letting Sgt Labor swing around let another barrage fly.
The others quickly enter the building and make sure it’s secure.
In the meantime Lt Riddium and Cpl Troidell make their way behind the office building and start throwing flares to be able to see what’s back there. Nothing moves immediately, so they take cover behind some loaded pallets.
Sgts Beargal and Desgardes slowly advance along the front of the building, keeping close watch on all the windows.
Cpl Troidell is suddenly hit by a bolt of plasma in the back, but luckily for her it wasn’t able to penetrate her armour. When asked later, she said it just felt a bit hot. She wheels around and unloads two shotgun rounds straight into the lizard, whose hide wasn’t quite as much protection.
With three down now, Lt Riddium suddenly spots movement inside the office building. The lizard quickly hides so it’s impossible to get a clear shot. So Lt Riddium decides to simply fire at the wall it’s hiding behind.
With some fine aiming, the rocket crashes through the nearest window before it explodes.
Sgts Beargal and Gardes make their way around the building after making sure the front is secure, and the quartet in the train yard make their way out of the depot building and spot the UFO on the far side.
They relay the position to the rest of the team and take up defensive positions while they wait for them to make it over. The final two aliens are likely to be in there, as only civilians have been found elsewhere.
Sgt Labor and Cpl Cuftbert guard the door, while Sgt McNutcase and Cpl Herr sweep the train yard to be absolutely sure that there’s no more aliens out here.
As the whole team is satisfied and starts converging on the UFO, the final two aliens suddenly burst out of the vessel and start firing on Sgt Labor and Cpl Cuftbert. Sgt Labor is lightly splashed by a plasma pistol shot, but Sgt McNutcase comes in from the side and suppresses both aliens with a series of shotgun blasts before the lizards do any serious damage. Cpl Cuftbert plants a bullet between the eyes of one lizard, and Sgt Labor unleashes the final barrage of shots this mission after recovering from the painful surprise on her leg.
After attending to Sgt Labor’s burn and speaking with a local security guard, they all get back on Charlie-1 and take off.
5th of October, 1979, 20:45
Only minor injuries… though that’s enough to make me hesitate. This is the biggest UFO we’ve seen so far. We don’t know how many aliens are inside. How many survived the crash. What they’ve been doing… but I must.
“Charlie-1 heading back home, sir!”
“Belay that. Have Charlie-1 set course for the crash site.”
“Do I need to repeat myself, colonel?”
“Sir! The soldiers are already worn out! We have injured! You can’t just-”
“I can, and I will.”
I check the time.
“Have Charlie-1 fly slowly so they arrive shortly after sunrise. They don’t need another night-time mission. Cpl Herr can attend to any wounds.”
“Your objection is noted, colonel. Now relay my orders, or I will do it myself. I believe the troops can get this done.”
There’s a moment where I actually think he’s going to refuse.
He disagrees, but he does it. He still trusts or respects me that much. Now I just hope that won’t cost us.
6th of October, 1979, 02:24
“Charlie-1 has reached the crash site, sir.”
“Understood. Have them land and engage.”
Charlie-1 Response Team on the ground. Day-time mission. Weapons at the ready. Dropship doors opening.
As the team file off of the dropship and scan the area, several workshops are sighted, along with several civilians hiding among them.
They find the local security forces nearby as well, and softly ask them what they can tell us. They’ve seen aliens move to the north and north-east, but have been helping people hide instead of trying to engage. We assure them that was the right choice, and ask if they’ve managed to count how many aliens have been outside the UFO. They say they’ve seen at least three, but there could be more. We thank them and say they should keep hidden while we deal with it.
The UFO is just a short way north of us.
Sgts Beargal and Labor secure the area in front the UFO, and take up defensive positions along with Cpl Cuftbert while the rest of the team head eastwards to see if they can find any free-roaming aliens.
The workshops all seem to be clear, so they approach the road with Lt Riddium taking point and Sgt McNutcase following close behind. Cpls Troidell and Herr secure the final workshop.
Lt Riddium suddenly spots a lizard across the road and takes cover by the nearest wall. Sgt Gardes is still a bit far behind as he was keeping watch over the others as they secured the front of the UFO, and it’s too far away for McNutcase to get a good shot.
As the alien notices them and starts running across the road towards them, there’s really only one thing to do.
The five of them gather at the corner of the road, sort of admiring what used to be an alien. They begin slowly advancing up the road, keeping an eye on windows and corners.
As if they wanted to check what the explosion was, the door to the UFO opens and one of the lizards is about to step out, except Sgt Beargal plants two shots in its chest and it falls over backward before even crossing the doorstep. He spots three more aliens inside, one of whom looks dead. Sgt Labor and Cpl Cuftbert raise their weapons too, but the door closes again before they have a chance to fire.
Sgt McNutcase spots more movement further up the road, and the team advances, using the cars for cover.
They spot the lizard peeking out from a concrete wall, so Lt Riddium gets his rocket launcher ready, but before he gets a chance to fire again, the alien comes charging out towards Sgt McNutcase and Cpl Herr.
At the same time one comes charging out from to the side of the UFO towards the trio guarding the door, and a third alien is spotted running up from across the road of where the first one was hiding.
The first one is taken down by the combined efforts of Sgts Gardes and McNutcase.
The second one is wounded by Sgt Beargal and finished off by Cpl Cuftbert.
Lt Riddium takes aim at the third one, but just as he’s about to fire it manages to get behind the van, so that is blown up instead.
In the ball of heat that emerges the lizard charges straight and Cpl Troidell who still lets loose a shot, but only grazes the alien.
It turns out to be Cpl Herr who fires two very accurate pistol shots to take it down.
So with the one already dead inside the UFO, and the ones we’ve taken down, that should be six dead aliens, and at least two more alive in the ship.
We sweep the remaining area outside the vessel, but only find more civilians, so we start converging on the door to the UFO.
Everyone takes up firing positions outside, and Sgt McNutcase and Cpl Troidell carefully approach the door. They take cover on the sides as much as they can, and once everyone is in position, they trigger it open.
A vicious firefight ensues as the two aliens inside have dug themselves in and try their darndest to hold us off.
Once the smoke clears, parts of the interior has been destroyed, and both aliens are dead. We also find that Sgt McNutcase is bleeding. A mere flesh wound easily patched up by Cpl Herr, but clearly caused by a bullet and not plasma weaponry. It is however impossible to tell who fired the shot in the chaos that happened. People were firing over and past eachother as best they could.
Several of the team saw another alien head through the doors in the back during the firefight, so we slowly filter into the UFO.
We find another alien killed by the crash. Assuming there is just one more in the back, that would bring the total crew to 10. Probably worth keeping in mind for the future.
Cpl Herr gives Sgt McNutcase a pain killer, so she and Cpl Troidell can get into the back together.
There’s a very narrow hallway leading into the back, and Cpl Troidell takes point as she has the body armour on. They trigger the final door, and find a single alien hunkered down by what looks like a power core.
It raises its plasma pistol, but Cpl Troidell is quicker with her shotgun, and the final alien dies.
We tell the security forces that the threat is neutralised, and then get into Charlie-1 and head out.
6th of October, 1979, 03:06
“Charlie-1 is heading home, sir.”
“Good. Good… understood.”
It worked out, but it so easily might not have.
Another minor injury, this one caused by friendly fire. Which happens, unfortunately, but on the upside bullet wounds tend to be easier to treat than plasma burns.
I do look forward to getting the reports. I expect to be quite liberal with promotions after this.
I head back to my quarters. I should get some sleep after this, but it might be hard. I still feel that tense knot in my chest. And stomach. I hate taking risks like that, but we really needed it to work out, and for the most part it did.
I’m sure the researchers will be happy to have new materials to work with in the morning.
Major Merrywhiskers stirs awake when I open the door. I can see her stretching in my favourite chair and letting out some bleary mews. At least I get to relax with her, if nothing else.
6th of October, 1979, 09:15
No more reports around the world it seems. I went through the small backlog of what appeared as we were dealing with the three UFOs, but there’s been nothing new after we stopped the one by Tehran. Maybe they’ve pulled back for now.
Charlie-1 is still a little ways out, but I couldn’t sleep any longer. Major Merrywhiskers barely moved as I got up, so she is probably sleeping again. I wasn’t aware that cats slept quite this much. Or maybe it had just slipped my mind.
6th of October, 1979, 12:10
Charlie-1 lands. After more congratulations, I tell the team that they’re free to leave their gear here and I’ll have the techs do the maintenance this time. Well, Sgt McNutcase and Cpl Labor don’t get a choice as they’re taken right to the medical centre to be looked at.
The others all refuse though. They take care of their own gear before they head to their bunks. Even though I can see how tired they are. I wonder if they resent me for what I made them do. While I will stand by my position that it was a necessary risk, I won’t blame them if they see it differently.
After I look over the combat reports later, I am tempted to promote them all, but I still have guidelines to go by.
Cpls Cuftbert, Herr and Troidell are now all Sergeants for their performance. Who would have thought our medic was such a sure shot with that pistol?
Sgts Beargal, Gardes and McNutcase are now Lieutenants based on their work in keeping the rest of the team safe, especially on the final mission.
It seems the new armour actually worked. Maybe I should have more of them made.
After the last half of September, I was getting really worried. We might not be out of this, after all.