Xenonautical Adventures – Part 17: Charlie-2 Flies Again
16th of November, 1979, 21:29
Foxtrot-1 has landed and is being re-fitted. The second pilot team are stepping into standby duty.
17th of November, 1979, 07:31
There were some forest fires outside Harare, Rhodesia during the night. Too far away for us to respond to, I’m afraid. Just four days now…
17th of November, 1979, 13:09
Major Merrywhiskers managed to cause a panic when she pulled a plug in the ready room, making one of our monitoring screens to go black. I have unfortunately had to ban her from going back there.
18th of November, 1979, 07:44
The scientists for the American base arrived during the night. Per my order, Commander Dosjevsky has had them start work on alenium explosives. Better air-to-air missiles feel like a priority right now.
I also made the call to pause production on the laser sniper over there, and instead invest the funds in a second Condor for the European base.
18th of November, 1979, 17:21
I went to check on Lt Beargal again. She was awake this time. The doctors say she should be free to go in a couple of days.
I hear responsibility for the possum has fallen on Lt Niña. As far as I know it hasn’t died, so I guess he’s doing a good job.
18th of November, 1979, 18:20
Fishermen report a dead zone off the west coast of South Africa. It is outside everyone’s reach, but I have a feeling it might be another prelude to a mass incursion.
I might not get much sleep tonight.
19th of November, 1979, 07:11
In the end, nothing more happened.
Stuff is starting to get sorted at the Euro-African base. It really only needs to get the radar dish and some defences going to be operational. I can’t afford to hire any soldiers to be guards right now, but it will be on the top of my priority list next month.
18th of November, 1979, 18:02
Had to give Major Merrywhiskers a bath after she managed to spill weapon lubricant onto her fur. She was not pleased.
20th of November, 1979, 07:35
I clean forgot to recommend anyone for the commander position in the Euro-African base. The council made a pick without me, of course.
Brigadier-General Marabello will become Commander of the new base. Not quite who I’d have as my top pick, but I’m sure he can do the job. Bad form of me to forget, but it’s been a rather hectic month.
21st of November, 1979, 00:27
The radar dish in the Euro-African base is operational, after some minor problems with initiation. Condor-5 and Condor-6 are ready to go. Pilots and base personnel are on duty.
It will have to do for now. Next month we can channel funds towards expanding the base and getting them their own Foxtrot. But for now is all we can afford.
21st of November, 1979, 07:24
Early reports only show minor issues getting everything on track and running over by the Mediterranean. Good.
Now for the aliens to show up…
21st of November, 1979, 22:58
With them coming this late, I don’t think I can claim I called it.
It is in Europe though. Commander Marabello reports a Corvette over Spain, heading east. We’ve yet to try taking one of those on without a Foxtrot and its Avalance torpedoes, but it seems we have little choice.
Condor-5 and Condor-6 have been launched.
21st of November, 1979, 23:07
Commander Dosjevsky reports a new development. A Corvette escorted by two Fighters.
He’s seen no option but to launch all three interceptors at it. I support his decision. I don’t think I see another way either.
21st of November, 1979, 23:12
Another Corvette appearing above Greece. Foxtrot-1 is the only interceptor within range, but just barely. And the contact is heading west. If it decides to attack our new base…
I don’t think I have a choice, here.
22nd of November, 1979, 00:59
Foxtrot-2’s squadron engaged the UFOs east of New York. It was not a Corvette. It was… something new.
It exploded quite spectacularly once attacked, much like the Fighters, so all we were really able to recover was the datacore, some alloys and a chunk of alenium.
I have also received a couple of reports from the research team on heavier laser weapons. There’s an idea for a pulse laser we can mount on the Hunter, and rapid-fire lasers for the interceptors, or to replace the LMG.
Having our defence batteries upgraded certainly makes me feel better. I told the Chief to do an analysis of our lizard guest. Checking out a live one could reveal something the autopsy didn’t.
Condors 5 and 6 are close to making contact with their target, but Foxtrot-1’s target has been sitting on the ground for a while. I don’t dare try to launch a Charlie that far. Not in the current circumstances.
Foxtrot-1 is staying on the intercept course for now. It could still lift off before they get there.
22nd of November, 1979, 01:08
Condors 5 and 6 successfully engaged the Corvette over Portugal, and didn’t even get singed. Commander Marabello is organising an air strike right away. Even for Charlie-2, that’s too long of a flight. They need more time in the field, but not at the expense of a 34 hour round-trip across the Atlantic. Much too risky.
22nd of November, 1979, 01:17
A strafing attack off the coast of Senegal. Foxtrot-2 could get there, as well could Condors 5 and 6, I believe, but none of them are ready to fly out again yet.
22nd of November, 1979, 03:00
Foxtrot-1 has to turn back home. The UFO is still sitting on the ground, and there’s no way Charlie-1 could get there safely in time.
22nd of November, 1979, 03:17
A fishing fleet far out into the Atlantic was attacked, but though it is within range of all American interceptors, they are still refueling.
22nd of November, 1979, 05:28
Another fishing fleet was attacked just off the coast of Cayenne, French Guiana. Foxtrot-2 has been launched. Condors 3 and 4 are still rearming.
22nd of November, 1979, 07:22
Foxtrot-2 has found the suspected Corvette, and is moving to engage.
22nd of November, 1979, 07:47
Foxtrot-2 managed to employ a similarly reckless tactic to the one Foxtrot-1 has been using, and the Corvette has been shot down, with Foxtrot-2 suffering minor damage.
Commander Dosjevsky has requested permission to launch Charlie-2. It is nearly 12 hours out, but… I already agree with his opinion that his soldiers need more field experience.
I authorised it, and Charlie-2 is on its way.
Condors 5 and 6 are ready to go again, and Commander Marabello is monitoring the landed UFO closely.
22nd of November, 1979, 08:50
It has taken off, and Condors 5 and 6 are launched.
22nd of November, 1979, 09:40
It has landed again, right outside Leningrad. I have a bad feeling about this. Condors 5 and 6 are returning to base for now. I am tempted to launch Charlie-1, even if there’s no way it’s going to stay grounded for 16 hours.
22nd of November, 1979, 19:02
Charlie-2 has reached the crash site, and they still have daylight to burn. I hope this improves their chances.
Charlie-2 Response Team on the ground. Day-time mission. Weapons at the ready. Dropship doors opening.
The arid air threatens to dry us out immediately as we look out over the desert landscape.
We spread around the dropship and go into firing positions.
Nothing is immediately visible, so we are ready to call it clear when we hear the sound of something running on the sand.
Of course the first live encounter with a Reaper has to happen on the least experienced team, but we are not about to retreat just yet.
Cpl Angnor fires a couple of shots, though it’s a little unclear if he did any damage. Regardless, it forced the thing to go into hiding behind a rock.
We recognise it might be a while until we get such an opportunity again, so Lt NotSoGrump orders the closest soldiers to pull out their gas grenades.
Cpl Angnor throws first, and we hear an enraged shriek behind the rock. The thing is clearly still moving though, so Cpl DeHaan follows up with a second grenade. The alien horror shrieks once more and we hear frantic sounds of it trying to scramble over the rock towards us. Lt NotSoGrump throws a third grenade, and all we hear this time is a thud as the thing hits the sand and finally stops moving.
With that handled, we softly break into four pairs, though we keep a short enough distance between pairs that we can come to assist when we need to.
Lt NotSoGrump and Cpl Angnor are furthest west. Cpls DeHaan and Grump to their right. Sgt Havoc and Pvt Whispers to their right. And finally Lt McNutcase and Cpl Specktre all the way east.
The first to report contact is Cpl DeHaan. One lizard directly north of the dropship. He crouches down and takes a shot. It’s a hit, but the lizard returns fire and hits Cpl DeHaan hard enough to knock him on his back. Cpl Grump steps up and finishes it off before it can get closer though, and Sgt Havoc rushes over with her med pack to treat Cpl Dehaan’s wound.
The injury’s not that bad, fortunately, and Cpl DeHaan is able to keep going.
Which is good, because Lt NotSoGrump has spotted another Reaper coming towards us. We’re still not sure if these things can truly smell us, or if it was just drawn to the sound of gunfire.
Feeling certain that it’s useless to run, Lt NotSoGrump takes aim and hits the thing straight in the body. It recoils, but then breaks into a sprint, weaving behind any rocks on the way to avoid being shot. Cpl Angnor takes up defensive position next to Lt NotSoGrump, while Sgt Havoc and Cpls DeHaan and Grump head over to help out.
We manage to graze the thing as it bears down upon us, but it’s too wily for us to get a good hit. Just as it’s about to pounce on Cpl Angnor, Sgt Havoc fires a shot from her laser pistol that singes one of the thing’s claws. It hesitates just long enough for Cpl Angnor to push his shotgun into its chest and blow it away.
With that dealt with, Lt NotSoGrump orders Cpl DeHaan to go pair up with Pvt Whispers, while she takes Sgt Havoc and Cpls Angnor and Grump to advance on the UFO.
Meanwhile Lt McNutcase and Cpl Specktre end up finding not much of anything over to the east, and start heading north to rendezvous with Pvt Whispers and Cpl DeHaan.
Lt NotSoGrump advances a little further, and spots a lizard holding a really big weapon. She takes a shot, but the thing barely seems to acknowledge it. Cpl Grump starts laying down suppressive fire as the group try to figure out a plan, but the roar of the LMG is hard to miss, so further east Pvt Whispers glances over and spots the lizard. He takes aim, and finishes it off.
With a clear path to the UFO in front of us, Lt NotSoGrump and Cpl Angnor take up defensive positions, while Sgt Havoc and Cpl Grump examine the outside of the UFO in case any more lizards or reapers are hiding around it.
Before we manage to secure the perimeter, the front door of the UFO opens, and a lizard is staring out at us. Lt NotSoGrump takes a quick shot and seems to hit the thing pretty hard.
It attempts to retreat back into the UFO, but before the door can close Lt NotSoGrump fires a second shot and the thing slumps against the wall.
Lt McNutcase’s group are finding absolutely nothing except rocks, cacti and sand, so they turn west towards the UFO. The plan is to use the same tactic as the Asian team, and launch a gas rocket into the UFO. There are probably more doors in this one, but even if we only get one or two of them, it will make our assault easier.
Sgt Havoc takes up position by the door as everyone is moving into position.
As we are setting up, a lizard pokes its head out from the far side of the UFO. It must have come from a corner we couldn’t see without going around. It’s using the UFO for cover, so we can’t get a clear shot. Lt NotSoGrump gets close, but it’s still a miss.
The lizard loses patience, and comes running forward, only to be mowed down by Cpls Angnor and Grump.
With the outside now clear, we set up in front of the UFO. Sgt Havoc is ready to trigger the door, and Cpl Specktre has the right rocket loaded.
We open the door, and see one of the lizard officers in the back. Cpl Specktre aims straight at its feet and fires. The gas cloud billows out, and the lizard lets out an angry roar. Before Sgt Havoc can close the door again, the alien fires.
The shot hits Cpl Specktre straight on, and he drops without even a scream or anything.
After a stunned moment, everyone opens fire on the lizard. Our accuracy isn’t great, but the sheer amount of shots means the thing gets hit time and time again, but it doesn’t go down until Sgt Havoc finally levels her laser pistol and fires two shots straight into its face.
The door closes and we try to do what we can for Cpl Specktre, but the rifle the officers use seems to be stronger than what the grunts have. It was just a single shot, but it still went right through his armour and burned a large hole in him. He was most likely dead before he hit the ground.
The time has come to assault this thing. Sgt Havoc leads the attack, while Lts McNutcase and NotSoGrump provide back-up. We don’t even get half-way down the hall before two lizards come storming out, one with a rifle and one with a pistol. They fail to overcome Sgt Havoc’s shield though, and are promptly taken down with shotgun and laser pistol.
We advance into the small room with three doors, and Cpls Angnor and DeHaan move up to join us. Sgt Havoc checks the door on the right, while Lt McNutcase takes the one on the left. There’s nothing on the right, but on the left another pair of lizards are waiting. Lt McNutcase fires first, but fails to kill her target, so both lizards return fire on us, forcing us to seek cover where we can.
However, something seems to snap for Cpl DeHaan. He lets out a pained roar, and throws his rifle on the ground before he storms into the room, apparently ready to fist-fight the two lizards. It leads to him getting shot up quite badly, and he stumbles and blocks the entire doorway so we can’t get past him.
Sgt Havoc has had enough. She pulls out her stun baton, and storms through the big door, coming at the lizards from the back. The first one doesn’t even seem to notice her presence before she jams the prod into the back of its neck.
The second lizard tries to fire at her, but she charges it with her shield and knocks it over before she brings the shock-stick straight down on its head.
That was the last alien, so we patch up Cpl DeHaan and help him back to the dropship. Cpl Grump and Lt NotSoGrump take care of getting Cpl Specktre’s body back too.
There is still the issue of the live Reaper we knocked out when we first landed. No one really wants to go close to it, but the scientists said the gas would knock one of these things out for at least 24 hours. Still, we wrap it up and strap it in as much as we can before we take off, making sure to secure all the pointy bits as much as possible.
Charlie-2 heads home.
22nd of November, 1979, 19:43
We were doing so well… well… at least we somehow managed to keep people alive. My hope that we’d suffer no more casualties is broken.
I never even met Cpl Specktre, but he was one of us, and acquitted himself well. The rest is up to Commander Dosjevsky. I will authorise a new reserve to be hired for the base.
22nd of November, 1979, 21:30
The landed UFO has taken off again, and Condors 5 and 6 are in pursuit.
22nd of November, 1979, 23:01
It was intercepted just as it came in over Turkey, and shot down with little issue.
At least that’s done now. I do wonder what it was doing at its landing sites. The fact that we’ve gotten no reports does not put my mind at ease.
Regardless, we are air striking that site, and I am going to try to get some sleep.
23rd of November, 1979, 07:16
Reports on my desk. At least I got some sleep.
First there’s the report on the new UFO we encountered yesterday, dubbed a Bomber. That sounds bad. Looks bad too. Easy to shoot down, but we can’t really afford to let it close to any cities.
The American base have now finished their laser sniper rifle, since we have some funds again.
Charlie-2 arrived back at base around the time I was getting up. Based on a copy of the report and a conversation with Commander Dosjevsky, we agreed to reward Cpl DeHaan with a Crimson Heart, and Lt McNutcase with an Order of Gallantry. For promotions; Pvt Whispers is now a Corporal, Cpls Angnor, DeHaan and Grump are now Sergeants and Sgt Havoc is a Lieutenant. All of them well-deserved.
Now to face another day.