- Are you sure about this, Sir? It doesn't sound too likely, even for me.
But i knew that the decision has been already approved, and this is an order, even tho our meeting was more casual than the situation would suggest.
- It might sound far-fetched to you, lieutenant, but we're treating suspicions like those very seriously... -replied Colonel. Not gonna lie, if someone year ago would tell me that Ariadna and ALEPH are supposed to reinforce O-12 on some god-forbidden asteroid, i would laugh into his face. Putting names of those two factions in one sentence is possible, but adding "together" into it makes my brain melt. But apparently it is a thing now.
- ...and while we consider each other allies, we know that with CA anihilating Merovignans few months ago political powers in Ariadna shifted a lot. None of their politicians said anything that would even remotely classified as warming up towards the ALEPH, but we are sure that they lost a rather meaningful part of their army personnel, yet they are still sending their divisions there.
- Towards the Combined' entry gateway.
- Yes, to help O-12.
- Together with ALEPH?
- Together with ALEPH.
This really sounds like some bad fanfiction, honestly.
- And we don't want to break the alliance with them, but...?
- But we need to know if there's anything behind that. - Colonel was visibly annoyed with my childish questions - And so, we need to do some digging. Rather silent, and swift.
- And here is where i would take a part.
- Yes, lieutenant, you. You've spent three years fighting Ariadnian forces, so on the one hand, noone here knows them better than you. - Yeah, i guess he is right.
- And on the other hand - colonel raised his voice a little - you are a minor reason why our alliance is stomping on the thin ice. So, if you allow me to quote an ol' classic...
- It's an offer I can't refuse. - I jumped in.
- It is, lieutenant.
"So, to sum this up. You are going to be send towards the Novyy Bangkok, where small black ops company will be awaiting your arrival."
Novyy Bangkok looked like a loneliest piece of rock in the known space. It made Ilik look like a homeliest place where i had pleasure to stay. The fact that i wasn't here "officialy" like the rest of the army wasn't helping with that.
"Your sole mission there will be to establish if Ariadna is secretly making some deals with ALEPH - since they'll be fighting on the same side, which is again unheard of, there should be few windows of opportunity to check the rumours"
I wasn't just alienated from "ours"; well, of course apart from the guys in the company, poor souls. I also had to keep myself undetected from the rest of the people on this damned icicle. Luckily, Ariadna was helping with that with their lack of sat-lock technology or offensive hackers. Still, i felt kinda lonely.
"The most important part of that operation will be stealth. And no, i don't mean that you're supposed to only carry a knife and walk barefoot. What i mean, is not letting ANYONE know that you're connected to the Haqqislam army. That's why most of the ground forces that will accompany you there are mercenaries, holoprojector wielders, or units that The Silk Consortium already use on the planet. I mean asteroid."
And so, the gameplan turned into a) do not get detected, b) if you fail with a), then do not leave any witnesses. Which is quite heartless for my likes, but i assume that this is what black ops are about.
"And let me make something clear, Commander. Since this conversation started, this operation never took place. There was never a Haqqislam covert task force on the Novyy Bangkok, no cmdr Ikerian, only some merc boons trying to earn some intel to sell from Ariadna' hands."
Ariadna was trying to hold their ground around the old shortrange anti-space battery, which would be quite useful for everyone in case of CA open invasion, so i felt really uncomfortable with trying to waltz there in like a stupid space pirate. Yet it had to be done. One part of the area felt rather unhabitated after heavy fights, but our infiltrators confirmed that some long range communication antennas looks good, and are poorly guarded. This could be a good place to start the search.
Low gravity of the field was really making me dizzy. I still felt the weight of the last week' galactic space barbeque we had. Well, ain't no rest for the wicked. I just hated the idea of barfing inside that atmospherical helmet.
The rest of the squad was holding rather well. Not knowing what we could expect in the OZ, i took rather solid group. Two Azra'ils, Spec-Ops disguised as Djanbazan, Kaplan and me disguised as Ghulam were supposed to give the potential enemies idea that we're local bruisers from Silk Co. I also took some infiltrators like Fiday, Ayyar, Hakim and Mukhtar, and a mobile anti-camouflage option Khawarij. I believe we could find a way to explain it.
We were also accompanied by a local recon guy who provided us intel on this whole area, patrol timings and such. And we also had a drone in the air.
After few hours of slow walk, we have finally arrived. Almost everything that we knew was correct - light warehouse infrastructure, two antennas, little stash of supplies and more howling of the space wind.
I said almost? Wanna guess why?
You're correct, we had some Ariadnians in the zone. And like twice more than usual patrol.
- We have been hired to check the status of the antennas. - Civvie said.
- What? What are you... - Mid-sentence i realized that he has been contacted by the Ariadnans on the short range. Great. I don't think they are going to believe this.
I rolled my arms in the spinning manner, showing him that he has to drag this conversation for a little; meanwhile, i ordered the rest of the group to take the positions.
By the moment we set the fortifications up, we had the OPFOR advancing towards us. Well, it was in their right to do so, and i guess we had to defend ourselves from now on.
OPFOR started with advancing his engineers towards the midfield. I've heard Azra'il's cannon metallic barking.
On the left flank, enemy fireteam advanced towards the antenna, they knew something we didn't?
- Do not engage the troops already, let them come closer, they have the advantage.
- Copy that. Feuerbach falling back. - Azra'il responded, and i swear i could hear high calibre bullets ricocheting from his absurd armour.
Traktor took the chance to move closer since our big guy hide behind the container. SImultaneously on the right flank, Veteran Kazak logged into the other antenna. I'm sure they want to erase something from there.
Also our civvie looks like he's surrendering to the Vet Kazak, so i guess it was worth it to not tell them who we were.
- Alright, we need to hold our ground. Kaplan, open fire on the Kazak LGL. Khawarij, take out the Veteran on the right console.
- Acknowledged - They both replied.
I've heard the heavy sound of Mk12 on the right, bullets tearing trough the edge of the building, forcing Veteran to abandon his position.
- Kaplan to the command, no success.
- Copy that. Khawarij, check if you can get him.
- Roger that.
Khawarij moved towards the roofs edge, which forced the nearby Strelok and Scout to open fire on him. Sadly for them, he had the Multispectral Visor, so Scout quickly dropped unconscious and Strelok was forced to back off.
Azra'il started pushing Veteran back with his weapon, to a medium success.
- Mk12, opening fire trough the window.
- Proceed. Wait, isn't that window like few meters abo... - In that moment i witnessed Red Turban jumping few meters high up into the air, sending hail of heavy bullets trough the building and finishing the poor LGL Kazak. Alright, i've seen everything now.
- Right, we're slowing them down. Fiday, make your way towards the Strelok. Also, it is a time for the surprise. Team Hakim, you copy?
- Yessir, where are we needed?
- Left flank, we need to take out that ML.
- On it, frontline doc on the way.
I watched Doc and his Nasmat landing gracefully behind the container. Next thing i've heard was the few bursts of submachinegun, dull sound of the Russian missle launcher dropping on the ground, and then an exchange between Hakim and Veteran's heavy pistol. After that, we've lost the contact with our Doc. Crap.
While we were preoccupied with the Kazaks, Irmandinhos jumped out from behind the buildings. First one has been neutralized with Mukhtar nanopulser, the other one proved to be more... troublesome. But before that, Veteran rifleman decided to find the flank on the Khawarij and Mukhtar, forcing the latter to drop on the ground. This allowed the other Irmandinho to close in, chain the Khawarij down, and then Mukhtar. That loss hurt.
All that action was a smokescreen for the Uragan to move forward, but it was successfully stopped with Feuerbach. This forced the Irmandinho to think about leaving the tech coffin, but still we were on the really bad spot now.
We had to get to those consoles. - Kaplan, Ayyar, Husam, move towards the antennas, we need to take 'em out. - i barked on the radio. Kaplan and Husam cleaned the remainings on the Line Kazaks, leaving only Veteran - he took out the Husam, but Kaplan was really close now. On the other flank, Ayyar tried to take out the Irmandinho, but to no avail.
With the resources ending quickly on our side, enemy decided to throw everything it had on us - Irmandinho managed to take out the Azra'il, Vets hugged the antennas and OPFOR backline moved towards the Fiday, who was still stuck between the enemies.
Sadly, flanked from four directions, he didn't stood a chance. With four soldiers operational, we had to make a run towards the consoles. If we can't have them, we need to stop Russians from sending any information about us to the rest of their forces.
It was a time for me to join. I grabbed my LSW and sprayed the remaining Irmandinho down. This let Kaplan the room to move towards the console. Together with Ayyar on the other flank they started their last offense.
I watched as the Ayyar exchange rifle shots with Vet Kazak, but after no success he dropped his rifle, pulled out his viral pistols and took out the Vet. He tried to outrun the Strelok and Antipode waiting behind the corner, but he failed.
"Well, here goes our cover. Now they'll be able to recognize the Ayyar gear, we a-" in this very moment, antipode' trenchhammer destroyed everything that was Ayyar before. "Well, that's a grim luck" i tought.
Kaplan had more luck - he managed to close the distance to Vet enough to take him out.
- Heavy infatry killed, but i'm not gonna be able to move around that wreckage! - he shouted over the radio. What was once the Uragan remote, now was blocking our specialist off the console.
- If that's the case, we... we retreat. No point in dying here.
- Negative sir, we might not get the antennas, but there's still that tech coffin here!
- Kaplan, this isn't of use to us...
- Sir, if it's full of the battery ammunition, the i could blow it up with d-charges. That would cover our tracks perfectly!
I gave it a tought, and meanwhile Kaplan started rushing towards the coffin.
Still under fire, Kaplan made his way towards the coffin.
- Sir, i'm in position, orders?
- Check the box first. Azra'il, grab your big buddy and retreat. I'm on my way for the Khawarij.
After few seconds, as i was grabbing the Turban over my shoulder, Kaplan responded:
- Sir, nothing of much use. Meds, some small caliber ammo, and other junk.
- Alright, blow it.
- Uh, sir? That won't really cover us?
- Think of it, specialist. The only surviviors of Ariadna force saw you, Azra'il, and holoprojector unit. I think passing the blame on Silk Co. security will work just as fine. What's more, they need the ammo for the battery. WE might need it later, so it's in our best interest to leave it operational. But those things in the cache? We don't need it, and blowing it up will cover our objective... That we have failed, and it's sad that we've lost many lives here, but those are our orders. We'll find another way.
- Right. Charges set. On my way towards the Husam.