DGS Games

Outpost Gamma – A GrogHeads AAR, part 1

The legionnaires are far from home, and facing impossible odds.  ~

Michael Eckenfels, 12 July 2017

Outpost Gamma is one of a dozen Imperial Legionnaire outposts on the harsh, storm-thrashed surface of Irda, home to ten troopers. The site had been chosen by Imperial Pathfinders, as it lay astride one of the busier canal-ways used for travel by the natives and Twargs; the canals are dominated by a series of mesas, on top of which the Pathfinders recommended one of the twelve outposts on the surface.

The twelve teams had seemed to be a little bit of overkill to the Legionnaires, but the importance of the gemstones in the surface overrode any half measures that the generals back on Terra or in the governing regions wanted to initially deploy. The recommendation had come with three platoons of Omni tanks, each of which to be assigned to one of the three strategic locales determined by the Pathfinders, but that was denied; even those that expected full-on trouble thought the Omnis were a bit like giant boots crushing ants.

Better to crush ants with a terrible advantage, thought Outpost Gamma’s commander, whom went by the call-sign ‘MetalDog,’ than to stoop to their level!

Now, I’m worried, he thought darkly.

He’d had trouble raising the other Outposts all day; even with dedicated SATCOM satellites in low Irda orbit, staying in touch successfully was a roll of the dice. Legionnaire doctrine called on such Outposts to stay in communication with each other at least once per day; that meant Outpost Gamma should have eleven contacts. It wasn’t unusual, though, for days to pass on Irda before raising one or two other Outposts. Usually, Outposts would pass along their contacts to other Outposts, which wasn’t ideal but kept everyone generally informed.

Now, I’m worried, he thought darkly. Outpost Gamma, which he nicknamed Denver…a name more popular with him and a few others, for reasons known only to them (ahem), was only but a hundred or so kilometers from the next Outpost, but there were some large native settlements in the vicinity.

 

Two weeks ago, four days had passed before Outpost Gamma had been able to raise another Outpost because of the damned electrical storms. They seemed to gravitate towards mining sites, and of course the Pathfinders saw the Outpost locations as needing to be near mine-heads, which put them at a severe disadvantage were they to be attacked.

 

Besides the electrical storms, the wind was near constant, blowing sand and other particles across the surface and, it seemed, right into every crevasse of their power armor. It was a constant thing for MetalDog to keep on top of his troopers to not only remain vigilant where it was nearly impossible to see more than half a kilometer at times, but also to keep their war equipment in top shape when there was little, if any, concern of conflict. Most of the troopers fully expected to be relieved by Hegemony Army units soon, as it was apparent that the Legionnaire’s presence was more than enough to quell the violence.

 

Two troopers MetalDog didn’t need to worry about were SDR and Bob48, his Heavy Weapons troopers. Each day, multiple times a day, it was common for MetalDog to see them taking cover behind each of their fortifications, meticulously keeping their equipment ready. It was no secret in the Legion that Heavy Weapons troopers were among the more bloodthirsty and fanatical; MetalDog chose to see this as reliability. It was his job to expect the worst, and these two would always be counted on.

 

His remaining troopers, seven in total, were all good men when it came to combat, but fighting boredom was one of the greater challenges in any command – especially when hard-hitting Legionnaires were used as garrison troops and not in their intended role, as the spear-tip to any attack, in any environment. Quicquam, Alicubi, Aliquando would rumble in their mouths like gargling a small avalanche, but their motto boiled them down perfectly: anything, anywhere, anytime.

 

 

The terrain in their area was quite favorable to a defender, but there were too many elevation changes for MetalDog’s likes. They had a great vantage point to keep eyes on the main canal travel-way below them, which ran north-south just to their east.

 

 

MetalDog had done what he thought best when it came to putting the defensive positions in, namely, to put everyone on the high ground. He didn’t like splitting the team up between the two mesas, but he felt they needed to command as many approaches as possible. Besides, one group could make their way to the other mesa if things got too hairy on their side of things.

 

 

He’d spread out most of the troopers among those tall spires, adding fortifications from their stock as best as possible.

 

It had been three days since their last communication with the nearest Outpost, just to the north; instead of static-laced muffled words, he could have sworn he heard firing and screaming…but it could have been the static.

Slowly, over the last twelve or so hours, each signal had cut out.

The problem, MetalDog thought, with the lack of communication wasn’t just the lack of the actual verbal and visual; each Outpost carried a low-band frequency that constantly transmitted, and was able to cut through the storms and magnetism that rippled the surface of the planet. Slowly, over the last twelve or so hours, each signal had cut out.

 

MetalDog had a bad feeling that Outpost Gamma was the last outpost. Not willing to put the loss of the low-band signal to the planet and its shenanigans, he’d put all the men into combat positions a few hours ago. He’d already been thinking he had been overdoing it when mirth and SDR, virtually at the same time, reported movement on the northern and southern horizons. It looked like Outpost Gamma was about to get its share of attention.

 

As they waited, MetalDog brought up his TerranNet data marker, displaying in his command helmet, and went over information he already damned near had memorized…just in case he missed something.

 

The Irdans, he thought, were considered ‘peaceful,’ which means this uprising was all the more dangerous.

 

He shuddered, despite already knowing what delving rods could do to the Mark VI ‘Devastator’ battle armor; he’d demoed its effect on a junked piece of armor to the troopers in his unit, to sober them up about the realities of the locals and their resourcefulness.

 

Those damnable shields – he’d only seen them from a distance, but the recon data indicated they could actually deflect a blast from a JT-85 energy rifle or a Sanvar JT-30 wrist blaster. MetalDog’s J-85S pistol would be even more worthless. He’d just have to hope they weren’t skilled against energy weapon deflection.

 

That ‘guarantee of peace,’ he thought, was only at the point of heavy-duty weaponry, not pansy-ass half-measure stun weapons or crowd control grenades. Leave that crap to the local police forces and let the Legionnaires deal out what they were trained to do. It was an old argument, but one that had not changed in a good, long while.

 

He gritted his teeth helplessly – no more so than his two Heavy Weapon Troopers had, SDR and bob48, when they’d heard they had to leave the lethal stuff behind and use the riot package instead. The two of them could probably fight off the hordes of natives on their own, were they using the lethal weaponry, but as it stood now, all they could do is slow them down.

 

The Twargs had more sense than the Legionnaires – they’d bugged out (so to speak, as Mirth had said earlier, hurting MetalDog’s pun sensitivities), and wouldn’t return anytime soon.

 

It was something of a shame, because the Twargs loved a good fight. MetalDog supposed they just didn’t like a good fight if it meant overwhelming odds…

 

The planet was a dung heap of dirt, worthless metals, and super-precious gems. If it weren’t for the damnable gems…

 

They’d seen the storms blow through before…sometimes small affairs barely large enough to register as storms, sometimes huge monstrosities with a life of its own, cleansing the surface of anything remotely technological. MetalDog scanned the skies again, but knew that was a useless gesture, as the damned things could pop up, literally, in the blink of an eye.

 

Next week – does someone actually shoot someone else?


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