Xenonautical Adventures – Part 25: A Burning Farm
14th of December, 1979, 04:53
It was rough getting back up, but I’ve had worse. Major Merrywhiskers was on the couch as I left the room. Cats are very stretchy.
“Charlie-1 has reached the crash-site, sir!”
“Understood. Tell them to set down and engage.”
Charlie-1 Response Team on the ground. Day-time mission. Weapons at the ready. Dropship doors opening.
As we deploy into the farm’s fields, we can already see smoke rising from several directions, and the now recognisable sound of automated plasma fire comes from somewhere to our north-east.
The aliens seem to have been so busy at work that we’re unsure if there’s even a point in looking for survivors, yet there seems to be someone still being shot at.
As we are hearing evidence of those hover-drones, it seems likely we are dealing with the grey aliens. We quickly secure the landing site and take cover behind a hedge while we decide on a plan of progress. Just as we are about to move forward, something tall and green steps out from behind some hay-bales.
It feels like it watches us for an eternity, but before it has the chance to do anything, Lt Berwolf has taken the shot. Her sniper’s aim is true, and the thing collapses like a puppet that had its strings cut.
Lt Volatar is the first to advance, while the rest of us cover him. At the far end of the field a second robot comes walking towards us, and Lt Volatar drops to the ground to give us a clear shot. Lt Berwolf is ready again.
We quickly hustle over the hedge and are about to divide into two groups, when Cpt Niña spots a hover-drone taking cover behind some farm equipment, probably waiting for us to get closer.
Cpt Jonely attempts to find a good place to fire from without getting too close, but Maj Riddium has other plans. Setting up behind some stacks of hay, he aims a rocket at the ground close to the drone.
The drone is caught right in the blast and instantly vaporised. With that out of the way, Cpts Niña and Jonely advance to the north and spot the UFO while Maj Riddium reloads his launcher. Lts Malo, Squirrel, Troidell and Volatar head east to look for the other drone we still hear firing on something or someone, and Lt Berwolf moves slowly towards the north while maintaining as much line of sight in several directions as she can.
When Lt Troidell spots the third robot behind a fence to the east, Lt Berwolf is able to fell it before she moves after Maj Riddium. Cpt Niña goes to check a nearby shed while Cpt Jonely watches the UFO’s entrance, and when a fourth robot steps out, he is ready.
Another threat neutralised. Cpt Niña found a live farmer hiding in the shed, but no aliens, so he circled around to cover the entrance from behind the stone fence.
Meanwhile Lts Volatar and Squirrel discovered the second drone in the opposite direction of where Lt Troidell had gone. It fires a salvo towards them which gives Lt Squirrel some light burns, then retreats. Lts Squirrel and Volatar pursue, while Lt Malo goes around the side to alert Maj Riddium and to flank the thing.
In the end it takes the combined firepower of Lts Malo, Squirrel, Volatar and finally Cpt Jonely to destroy the thing. Maj Riddium did have another rocket ready just in case, but it turns out to not be needed.
With that done, everything goes quiet. We don’t even hear anything from the UFO. We do a full sweep of the area to make sure no robots are hiding anywhere, but no further ones are found.
We all converge on the UFO, and Lts Malo and Troidell get ready to breach. Cpt Jonely and Lt Berwolf set up in firing positions, and Lt Malo triggers the door. We see two standing in plain sight down the corridor, and Lt Berwolf immediately scraps one of them. The second one fires back, but a couple of well-placed shots from Cpt Jonely puts a stop to that.
Now that the entry corridor is clear, Lts Malo and Troidell move in. They pause for a moment right after entering the door to see if anything tries to charge them, but no movement is seen or heard, so they end up advancing further inside; Lt Malo covers the right, while Lt Troidell watches the left.
Lt Malo checks the door to the right and finds that side of the ship clear, while Lt Troidell heads through the main door and finds a robot to her left that is taken down in a single blast before it can react. Then Lt Malo heads through the left door and finds the final robot standing right in front of her. Slightly startled she fires a couple of shots that seem to glance off the thing’s chassis. It fires back, but only hits the shield. Lt Troidell swings herself over one of the low interior walls, and unloads her carbine into the thing, scattering it across the floor.
We find nothing else hiding in the UFO or the vicinity, and swiftly gather back on the dropship. We apply some burn gel to Lt Squirrel before we give the pilot the OK to take off.
We have no words of comfort for the surviving farmer. Charlie-1 heads home.
14th of December, 1979, 05:34
They all made it out. From the preliminary report, it seems like those robot people are flying UFOs now. I suppose this means we need more laser weapons, and fast. Our typical weapons don’t seem to faze the robots much. The engineers are pretty much working as quickly as they can already, though. Let’s look into setting up more workshops after New Year’s.
I am in two minds of whether to just ask for another pot of coffee, or try to get some more sleep. It’s still hours till Charlie-1 is back home, and none of the paperwork is that pressing, so I think I’ll opt for the latter.
14th of December, 1979, 08:04
Charlie-3 has returned to the Euro-African base, and Commander Marabello has sent his recommendations over. I see nothing especially wrong with his conclusions, as the team carried out a mission in unfavourable conditions with frankly barely suitable gear.
Cpls Campster, Dima, Mumbles, Ruts, Scouter and Wulf are now all Sergeants.
14th of December, 1979, 10:41
Major Merrywhiskers somehow found her way to the cafeteria. I had to go down there and get her, but they fed her amply before I arrived, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up going back down there should she get another chance.
14th of December, 1979, 15:33
Charlie-1 has landed, and the soldiers seemed in fairly good spirits. I don’t think the ones who were at the base expected to face Androns again so quickly, but they handled themselves well.
Looking over the mission report, I feel it’s high time Lt Troidell was made a Captain. She has also earned an Order of Merit now.
With that done, I sincerely hope they all get some time to rest now. Cpt Herr especially needs a while to recover.
14th of December, 1979, 21:07
All aircraft at all bases are in complete working order. I wish I could say the same for the soldiers, but I know they’ll recover in time. Mostly.
Hopefully their scars will be inspirations for stories in the future, to tell friends, kids and grand-kids. Hopefully their minds will make it… they have seen many things humans were never meant to. I sincerely wish it’s not going to haunt them.
15th of December, 1979, 07:12
Another day begins, after a blissfully quiet night. I think I’ll stop by our medical centre to check up on the troops today. Maybe after lunch. I can bring Major Merrywhiskers.