AN: Here's a basic idea folks that just popped into my head and it doesn't want to go away. I blame my muse. Moreover, I will be injecting a fair amount of realism into this. For example, at the beginning of this story which takes place during the level Wolverines, the VDV at first aren't really going to be able to mount effective resistance against Rangers due to having just done an air drop.
In this universe, timeline wise, the events of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare took place a year after the Second Giant War, so 2011. In five years, Ultranationalist Russia shifts to a Communist Regime and quickly sets about solidifying their powerbase, they take Crimea and annex the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia then begin investing in Shale Oil just like the United States, resulting in a massive economic boom which allows for a rapid modernization and expansion of their military as scores of Petrodollars flows into the economy; however, after the events of No Russian, there isn't an invasion of the United States two days after; indeed you can't just put together a military invasion like that, thus in this timeline the events of No Russian happened in 2015 not 2016.
Another thing of note is that the Russian Federation, while in terms of industry it came out of the collapse of the Soviet Union much better than OTL, subversive elements that wished a return to the old Soviet Union also had a bigger voice which is what led to a civil war that the Ultranationalists eventually won. This also means that the Russian Military is in much better shape than OTL and thus could still constitute a threat. Hence the T-90s all over the place, all of the fighter jets, ships, etc. Not to mention, some of the kit is different compared to OTL, the BMD-3 here being more like the BMD-4 of OTL with the BMD-4 of this universe having tech from the Armata Universal Combat Platform. I also got some surprises in store.
This meant that the United States Military didn't cut funding as much as they did OTL, this means that fancy systems like the M8 Armored Gun System, Compact Kinetic Energy Missile, M8 Rifle, M25 Grenade Launcher; nor did they cut back their military as much, since the 8th Armored Division is mentioned - in OTL that division was deactivated in 1945, which indicates it must had been reactivated in the aftermath of the Civil War in Russia or likely because of it. Furthermore, the 141 went underground for a year, first all surviving members reunited and then they figured out what the hell happened then they began the mission to clear their names which they eventually succeeded in doing.
13 August 2016
Located under Cheyenne Mountain, the North American Aerospace Defense Command was usually fairly quiet. The buzz of activity in its main command center as its people watched their various screens.
The satellites were gliding down on their track as red dots suddenly appeared moving towards Alaska. Dozens of dots, seventy odd dots. An operator upon seeing this on his screen, spoke a quick command. "Sand Bravo, we're seeing bogies in your sector, count seventy. Confirm?"
"Very funny Station, that's a big negative here. Our scopes are clear." The operator raised an eyebrow in surprise.
"Confirm Sand Bravo, I want you to double check with Anchorage Airport just to be safe. We're going to run a diagnostic on our end."
"Roger Station, calling right now."
The operator hoped to god that the sats were wrong. But he waited for several minutes until Sand Bravo came back, sirens were wailing in the background. "Scratch that affirmative! Seventy bogeys inbound! We're scrambling the 3rd Wing right now! All units will be in the air inside fifteen minutes! Alerting Eielson AFB right now! Station, those contacts will be going feet dry over Goodnews Bay inside ten minutes!"
The phones began ringing immediately within moments of that proclamation as more dots began appearing, first off the coast of southern California and then off the Eastern Seaboard. The operator swore up a storm as he glared at his screen. He hit the button that would get the attention of all stations. "All stations, be advised - satellite surveillance has been disabled. SOSUS and PAVE PAWS arrays are inoperative at this time. SCRAMBLE! SCRAMBLE! SCRAMBLE!" He bellowed as a frantic report regarding something being everywhere came in over his speaker.
"Sierra Delta report!" The operator growled surprised.
"I am looking at Flankers, Fulcrums, Fullbacks, the works over the I-95 corridor! How the hell did they get through?! I am seeing plumes of smoke, they're bombing civilians indiscriminately!" A frantic voice blared through his headset, very faint blasts rumbling in the distance.
Well shit, that's not good. He needed boots on the ground to start getting civilians out of there. "Affirmative Sierra Delta, contacting the nearest unit in your sector. Standby!"
The operator punched in a number, there was buzzing. It was answered on the first ring. "I read you. This is First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Sergeant Peyton Foley, acting commander of Hunter Two-One. Do you copy, over?"
The operator flicked through his various callsigns. "Listen up Sergeant" he began, before giving his briefing. Detailing what the situation was and what needed to be done. Which right now, a company of Rangers would be just what the doctor ordered.
All the while on his display, red dots began to become intermingled with blue dots of USAF, Air National Guard, USN, and USMC along with green dots signaling the RCAF. Sprawling furballs began developing over Alaska, the American Southwest, and the Eastern Seaboard. Hundreds of aircraft were fighting and dying in the skies as big bulky transports each containing hundreds of Russian troops, or a couple of BMDs began to disgorge their payload. A wave of red parachutes fell upon the United States.
Some minutes later, he finished his briefing and then looked at the status display and swore softly.
Vandenberg AFB was likely lost. Best to torch it so the Russians couldn't gain access to the Minutemen missiles there, they didn't have any nukes. But their warheads were simulated and they had considerable mass, their accuracy would be complete and utter garbage against American cities, but they could easily drop a kinetic warhead weighing over 200 kilograms into a city like London. It wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as a nuke, but the damage would still be catastrophic since it would be equal to nearly a ton, maybe two tons of TNT in terms of kinetic energy; those simulated warheads would act like the world's largest bunker busters more than likely. They needed to destroy those missiles before the Russians hacked those systems and could do whatever they damn well pleased with those missiles.
He keyed his mic, an AI chimed signaling that it was ready to put his command into the battle network. "I need a precision Hammer Down strike on the Vandenberg AFB silo fields." he rattled off his authorization code. "Priority Alpha Red." he finished, giving the strike maximum priority.
More red dots, this time emblazoned with a black anchor, began to appear off the coast of the Northeast. Dammit. If he was to hazard a guess, that was the Northern Fleet. They had Russia's best carriers, Ulyanovsk and Kremlin at their fingertips. If he remembered correctly, the current configuration had fifty fighters, four Yak-44s, and eighteen helicopters. Together, the two of them rivaled a Nimitz class in firepower.
They needed to be handled otherwise, they'd cause the American forces scrambling to mount a defense no end of grief. What was available that could counter them? He swore softly, this couldn't have happened at a worse time. George Washington was undergoing a Refueling and Complex Overhaul in Newport News, ex-Enterprise had her defueling nearly completed and was likewise out of the question, Gerald R. Ford hadn't even been commissioned yet and didn't even have an air wing assigned, Ike was in the Mediterranean Sea, and that meant that Nimitz was all they had to face down the Northern Fleet. The Carrier Group in question was some five hundred miles away from Norfolk, placing her near Bermuda.
If the CIA was right about the composition of the Northern Fleet, then Strike Group Nimitz was going to be in a lot of trouble if they caught her napping. She needed to be alerted now. "Charlie Victor November Six-Eight come in." he barked.
There was a brief pause. "Charlie Victor November Six-Eight here, go ahead Station." the CO of Strike Group Nimitz responded.
"Charlie Victor November Six-Eight, be advised nine hundred thirty nautical miles to your Northeast is the Russian Northern Fleet Carrier force centered on Ulyanovsk and Kremlin. They're launching strikes towards New York City, Boston, and Portland, Maine. Launch strike package bravo on them, I authenticate Tango-Victor-Seven-Five-Nine at twenty-one forty-five Zulu."
"Affirmative, Station, strike package authorized received."
"Roger Charlie Victor November Six-Eight, Lord speed your way."
He distantly heard someone ordering a precision Hammer Down strike on USS Carl Vinson.
USS Carl Vinson would be stuck at the pier and completely helpless in San Diego, having finished a 10 month long deployment not even a month ago. The carrier and her strike group were the very definition of a sitting duck and they didn't have some sort of super pilot that could prevent her from being captured. Thus the secrets she held had to be denied to the enemy. Which meant she had to be destroyed, but they had to do so in a manner that didn't breach her reactor cores. Her island and CIC at the very least needed to be destroyed, but they had to assure the destruction of said assets. That meant basically obliterating her upper works.
The operator groaned as the command center became more and more frantic as orders were being cut. He took a deep drink from his travel cup, enjoying the taste of the Sumatran blend and sighing as he too began giving out orders. God only knew when this would settle down.
Thalia Grace, lieutenant of Artemis, didn't notice the feral screams of jet engines at first as she led her small team of hunters. A new tactic, they had so many hunters now that they often broke into smaller groups so they could cover more ground. She had four hunters covering her back as she calmly strode into Manchester's Table in Manchester, just across the James river from Richmond.
They were tracking a minotaur that was somewhere in the Richmond area, earlier this month Annabeth had a nearly fatal encounter with the thing up in the District of Columbia. She believed that it was the same one that Percy Jackson had killed when he first arrived at Camp Half Blood a decade ago and that ever since Percy slew it during the Battle of New York during the Second Titan War, after it had reformed, the thing had apparently had begun a rivalry against the son of the sea god.
It had decided to announce this by beating Annabeth to within an inch of her life. She was now recovering, but even though they weren't related by blood she still considered Annabeth to be her little sister. Mostly due to the months they'd spent on the run together and the fact that the daughter of Athena had been so young back then, granted she could take care of herself now. But she still worried about her, even more after Jason died.
More than that, a minotaur running around in a major population center was typically a recipe for disaster.
They were stopping here to try and figure out their next course of action in hunting the brute down. The reason they chose this place was simply because at this point it was a little quiet and not well known. Not to mention, it was one of the few places outside of the Waystation that Artemis knew they could trust personally. It wasn't exactly a safe haven like the Waystation, but if needed, the place could be a nice bolt hole.
So here they were clustered around one of the booths sipping drinks of this and that. She thought about those that she had chosen for this. She had Erica, Reyna, Febe, and Sanya with her. One thing that bothered her was that counting herself there were only five hunters on this hunt, enough to deal with a minotaur. Probably not enough hunters to deal with the inevitable FUBAR that was going to rise up, it was telling when even Artemis was used to things going sideways.
"So Thalia, I have to ask, why are we going after a Minotaur when everyone else is tracking the Chimera?" Sanya asked, she had light blonde hair and piercing green eyes. She had been a mortal and her accent was something Thalia hadn't heard before, but Sanya claimed to be from Russia and had fled the country when the civil war had broken out.
She sighed deeply. "This minotaur is different from others of its kind, mostly in that it seems to have developed a grudge against a couple of demigods from Camp Half Blood. Probably because it fell in battle twice to the same demigod inside a decade and it wants revenge."
"I've heard of the more intelligent monsters, Cyclopes and the like holding grudges. Never heard of a minotaur being sentient enough to gain a grudge." Reyna mused, clearly remembering the encounter that Jason, Piper, and Leo had with the Cyclopes of Monocle Motors in Detroit and that the same Cyclope had been hoping to kill them when the army she was in attacked Camp Jupiter and New Rome.
She shook her head. "Not completely unheard of, but this minotaur does seem to be smarter than your average minotaur. Getting dusted twice inside a decade would do that to any monster. It often forces them to get smarter and in many cases more sadistic."
"Well that's great, minotaurs are hard enough to deal with when they aren't sadistic geniuses." Febe groaned, a brown hand sweeping strawberry blonde hair out of her emerald eyes.
On that she agreed, they had fought several minotaurs that were not only sadistic but also smart during the Second Titan War and the Second Giant War. That hadn't been fun. But if anything it was evidence that monsters couldn't be underestimated. Even ones that were supposedly dumb could learn, Hellhounds were a good example, after all Percy did have a Hellhound as a pet.
"Well, I guess a minotaur is better than fighting a fire breathing, poisonous Chimera." Erica mused.
[Mother of God,] Sanya moaned in Russian, the aura for her blessing from Artemis flaring slightly, "I am beginning to dislike the Chimera the more I hear about it."
Febe snorted. "Didn't Percy face the Chimera once?"
She laughed in response. "Yeah, Kelp Head did face the Chimera once, on his first quest too according to Annabeth. The blasted thing actually made him fall off the Gateway Arch."
There was a pause and for a moment the lieutenant of the hunt thought she had gone too far. Then Sanya, the newest hunter in the group, started to giggle uncontrollably. Febe, the oldest hunter in the group, had clear amusement dancing in her eyes. "Yep, that's Percy for you, always getting in way over his head." Reyna commented.
Febe snorted. "When isn't he in way over his head? I swear, it has to be one of his superpowers."
That was one thing that she was pretty certain about, if there was one thing you could say about Percy Jackson. It was that he definitely had a habit of getting in way over his head, which was one thing that even Artemis agreed on. But then again, that had been a fact that she'd known ever since she'd met him. Which had technically been in, she thought about it, 2005? Yeah, 2005. Even if she had been a tree back then, she still had some sense of awareness.
"I thought we were supposed to forsake relationships of love." Sanya said, clearly confused.
Reyna shook her head. "We're allowed family relationships, but that's about it. Artemis knows how important family is and how while we might be immortal, if we have family then we need to keep in touch with them if possible. It's part of the reason why we have a PO Box in Wyoming."
Erica nodded. "Yep, but for those of us who have been part of the hunt for a long time. The only family we have is our fellow sisters."
The Russian hummed. "How long have you been part of the Hunt?" she asked.
"Me? Since the 1930s, I kept track of my family throughout the time they were still alive and when I had the chance I would attend their funerals. The last of my immediate family died a couple years ago." Erica explained, she looked a little down.
It was something that Thalia could understand, losing family never got any easier. She remembered the casualties of the Second Titan War, Second Giant War, the casualties of hunting TF with great clarity. She doubted their faces would never fade from her mind, just like how Jason would never fade from her memory. That was one thing that Artemis had thankfully told her when she had been grieving for her younger brother and feared that she would eventually forget him.
In the distance something began roaring and she jerked her head up in surprise. The other hunters did the same as well, the sound was unlike anything they'd heard before. There was a thundering roar of jet engines overhead, the sound originally having been ignorable was now deafening. It caused Thalia to use her abilities as the daughter of Zeus to begin to try and get a sense of what was occurring.
Shapes of all sizes were whirling through the air, from tiny things that she could barely sense to massive goliaths. They were rumbling overhead as objects began to detach or fall out of the larger formers, a lot of them were supported by parachutes of varying sizes. What was going on?
This confusion continued for several more seconds then she felt something else descending. It was plunging like a meteor through the sky, it was shaped vaguely like a conical bullet, some four meters long and nearly a meter in diameter and it had stubby little wings giving it a wingspan of just over a meter. She guessed it weighed about three thousand three hundred pounds. What could it be? Concentrating, she focused on the object and realized with mounting horror that it was going to strike the floodwall less than three hundred metres away from where they were standing and if she knew anything about mortal devices with that shape, this was going to end in a bang!
She opened her mouth to scream for everyone to hit the deck. But it was too little, too late. The Russian KAB-1500L impacted the floodwall a quarter of the way up its height and with its immense kinetic power it penetrated halfway through the reinforced concrete structure before exploding. A 10-meter section of floodwall was blown open in an apocalypse of shattered concrete, rebar, and flying steel.
The shockwave slammed into the building with such force that it shook as fragments of concrete and steel ripped through the far back wall at supersonic velocities. People screamed, chairs and tables were torn apart, ceramic ware shattered as it fell, and blood splashed upon the floor. "HOLY FUCK!" someone screamed.
An apt reaction Thalia mused grimly as a mad panic began, people began running out of the remains of the restaurant's entrance. Not her, she stood up, pulling a strange coin out of her pocket, the head's side was iron and the tail was made of Imperial Gold. It had been the first and, after his death, the only Christmas present she had received from Jason and it was one of her most prized possessions. With practiced ease she flicked it in such a manner that it landed on the iron side in her hand, when it did so, she was no longer holding a coin, instead she was holding a hatchet.
She was about to bark a command to try and get trapped members of the staff out of the remains of the kitchen, when her senses detected another massive bomb slicing through the air, screaming downwards. But she ignored it when she determined it didn't have their name and address on it. The blast was at least two or three miles away, but she still felt the shockwave in her bones.
"What the Tartarus is going on?" Erica demanded as another blast shook the building.
Sanya whimpered "War. That's what this is, the beginning of a war." she sounded terrified and on the verge of having a panic attack.
She was about to open her mouth to argue that this wasn't war when it hit her. This wasn't war as she knew it, this was a new kind of war, one that mortals waged.
The thing in the distance that was roaring was steadily getting louder. Whatever had it, was coming their way. Not good. She didn't want to face whatever that was for a weapon.
Gunfire exploded outside, civilians screamed as something heavy landed outside with a crash. "Thalia, we can't stay here!" Febe shouted and that shook the lieutenant out of her trance. Everything seemed to slow down as she grew used to the sounds of combat and her body willfully accepted it.
"You're right, we can't." she said, throwing a glance at the kitchen which flames were beginning to lick out of. She dismissed her hatchet and motioned towards the door. "Draw bows and check your corners." she barked as she began jogging towards the remains of the entrance to the building, billowing smoke and screaming alarms joining the carphoney of noise that was beginning to surround them. As she entered the street her bow materialized in her grip as her quiver slings across her back, the weight reassuring her with its presence.
She noted that something in Reyna's posture changed. There was a vivid anger about her. At that moment, the Lieutenant of the Hunt realized that 'Hunter Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano' was gone, indeed there was something in Reyna's eyes that made her downright terrifying and she was a demigod of the Big Three for Styx's sake.
"Rules of engagement Otipo?" Reyna hissed, the words were icy cold and absolutely furious.
Thalia noted that Reyna had used the rough Roman rank for Lieutenant instead of the English word for it. That revelation made her realize who exactly had replaced Hunter Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano; this indiscriminate attack had brought forth Legionnaire Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano.
"Whoever the hells is doing this, move." she said and then they moved like ghosts, quickly dispersing from the remains of the restaurant and onto West 27th Street.
The air stank of death, smoke traced sinister lines into the evening sky as red parachutes descended from the skies. Some were a lot larger than others and seemed to have platforms slung beneath them. Dagger-like aircraft with triangular wings and twin tails screamed through the skies above them; they had red stars emblazoned upon their wings. Sonic booms crashed down upon them as the fighters roared overhead.
Sanya's temper snapped. [You gotta be fucking kidding me! Those are fucking Flankers, Russia is fucking invading! You see anyone with a fucking hammer and sickle or a flag that looks like the French one turned sideways, you shoot them dead!] she ranted angrily in her native language.
One of the 'Flankers' twisted in the air, dumping something that burned like the sun into the sky. Thalia sensed what it was trying to evade, a tiny little dart that blasted through the sky at many times the speed of sound. The fighter's evasion attempts were for naught and there was a flash of orange and black that ripped an entire wing clean off the aircraft, sending it into a plunge trailing fire in its wake. Something blew off and a tiny figure was hurled into the air out of the stricken fighter which slammed into the ground several miles away, the roar of the fighter exploding on impact caused her to wince in pain.
"I think we should get to Commerce Road, get our bearings!" Febe yelled to be heard over the noise of mortal war that surrounded them.
"Agreed! Move hunters!" Thalia shouted and they dashed across the street and went to go down towards it when gunfire erupted. It came from inside a building, it was quickly joined by screams.
"T-those bastards!" Reyna snarled angrily. "With respect ma'am, I am not going to stand here, getting my bearings while helpless civilians are being butchered by the enemy," the daughter of Bellona then gestured to a building across the street, "give me an enemy and I'll give you victory and I know where the nearest enemy is right now!"
She had no idea what had gotten into Reyna, but she had never seen her so livid. She struggled to figure out why this was and then words materialized in her mind, it was booming and echoing. REYNA'S BEEN A SOLDIER FOR YEARS DAUGHTER OF JUPITER, HERE'S ONE THING YOU MUST KNOW FOR A SOLDIER. THEY DON'T FIGHT WHAT'S IN FRONT OF THEM JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN, MANY OF THEM FIGHT FOR WHAT'S BEHIND THEM. CIVILIANS LIKE THE ONES DYING RIGHT NOW ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BEHIND THE SOLDIERS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THEIR DEFENDERS.
The words left her shaking, that had been Mars speaking to her. If she saw Diana again soon, she would ask her to tell Mars to be a bit more gentle with the telepathy. The experience left her legs unsteady and her mind feeling like it was going to fall apart at the seams. "Steady Thalia!" Reyna barked sharply and immediately she felt herself steady as if steadiness had been injected directly into her.
"Right, let's go! Top floor of that apartment complex!" Thalia barked, gesturing to the building. As they ran across the street, they effortlessly wove through panicking mortals, fear was flowing off of them like tender meat falling off a bone.
The gunfire blasting from the top floor is louder now than ever and they are being answered by shrieks of terror and agony. When she focuses she can sense the tiny projectiles from the guns streaking through the air at supersonic velocities. "Notch arrows!" she commanded as they raced up the stairs, taking them two at a time.
For the first time in her life as a hunter, she was grateful that the silver heads that tipped the arrows of the hunters used a mixture of Celestial Bronze and Stainless Steel then coated with silver. This made it effective both against monsters and regular animals, but she also knew this would make their arrows effective against mortal soldiers.
They burst onto the top level and storm down the drab hallway, the carpet is green colored with interesting patterns while the walls are cream colored. From around the corner up ahead, someone fires and this time the noise which had been partially muted is deafening as it sounds like wood fractures. They wheel around the corner. There, some twenty paces away, is a soldier in dark green fatigues, on his sleeve is a black flag with a hammer and sickle on it. Huh, I guess that's the source of the Communist jokes at claiming for the children of Hephaestus and Demeter at Camp Half Blood, I didn't know that the symbols of communism was a hammer and sickle. Thalia thought idly as she drew back on her bowstring.
Two arrows from Sanya and Reyna strike the man at once as he's winding up to kick in the door. He crumples, shrieking in pain as he brings his rifle to bear. The muzzle is surprisingly tiny but at the same time all too big. There is a flash and noise.
Thalia senses the bullets streaking through the air and she flicks her hands in just the nick of time to send them thudding into the floor at her feet. Aerokinesis is a wonderful thing that she recently learned how to do. Then she releases her drawstring, her arrow smashes into the soldier's face and he goes still, his rifle clattering to the floor.
A moment later his friend appears, coming out of a room whose door is kicked in. The blade attached to the end of his rifle is gleaming red with blood. Gunfire explodes downstairs to a new round of screams below them. "Reyna! Take Erica and Febe and sweep the floor below us, Sanya you're with me."
The man stares at them in shock and begins to bring his rifle up. Far too slowly to Thalia's eyes, holding her bow offhand she summons what she's most well known for. Power arches down her arm, it's crackling and burning, the stench of ozone fills her nose as the energy she's summoning begs to be let loose. She inhales, focusing on the energy that's literally arcing between her fingers and it spikes hard. She thrusts her hand forward at the same time she exhales.
The entire building shakes amid a massive boom as a searing blue flash of light fills the hallway. When the light clears, the man is on the floor, his uniform burning, holes melted in his helmet and uniform. There's also considerable damage to the hallway, the lights are flickering, the carpet is smoldering, while the wall and floor has been partially blown apart. That had been a small lightning blast.
"Gods upon Olympus, I don't think I've ever seen you cut loose like that." Sanya says in awe, the grip on her bow is slacker than it should be.
The lieutenant of the hunt lowers her hand, smoke is curling from between her fingers. "That wasn't even full power, that wasn't even a fraction of my full power. When I have my spear out, it acts as a focus and it also helps if I am outside and there's a storm going on. If you're curious about what it's like when I really cut loose, ask Febe about it." Thalia says as she regains her grip on her bow and pulls a new arrow out of her quiver.
Sanya looks at her shocked. "Remind me never to piss you off." she says numbly.
It's a statement that brings a faint smile to Thalia's lips as gunfire erupts downstairs. That turns into a scowl, she can hear shouting in what sounds like Latin and Russian. The words in Latin are harsh yet inspiring, the words in Russian are in a shocked tone with an undercurrent of surprise and fear.
The words force the lieutenant of the hunt to snap back into action. "Let's start checking these rooms, make sure there's no surprises. Last thing I want is to be surprised by something." she said, left unspoken was to see how many civilians were still alive.
Roughly 860-meters West Southwest
"Oh shit, we got a BMD! Everyone out!" Sergeant Foley roared in surprise as the thirteen and half tonne monster ground around a corner, its 100mm gun making it look like a light tank.
Private James Ramirez didn't waste any time getting out of the doomed vehicle, he practically kicked open the door for the Humvee he'd been riding in and dove out of the vehicle. "Where to Sergeant?" he asked frantically as he pulled his SCAR-H off his back.
The radio crackled in response. "Over one and half blocks east! Move!"
The Army Ranger Private didn't dawdle, he sprinted as machine gun fire ripped through the street. There was a heavy roar as the thirty-cal on that BMD-3 fired at them. He made it halfway down the street when with a roar, the 100mm gun fired and the Humvee blew apart like a plastic toy. Heat and force slammed into him and he went tumbling to the ground.
"Change of plan, half block! Cut through the backyard!" Foley commanded and Ramirez didn't question it. He scrambled to his feet and dove into the side yard, his boots hammering on grass as the clattering of caterpillar tracks and a chugging diesel engine grew louder. A machine gun was bellowing somewhere as a different engine, one that didn't sound as encumbered by its weight roared as tires squealed behind him. Another Humvee.
The BMD's 30mm autocannon came to life, a heavy hammering filled their ears as the air droppable vehicle unleashed its fury upon something, probably that Humvee. Probably another Humvee or one of the new JTLVs. "Move Hunter 2-1, meet in the backyard of the two story white house with a red roof on Decatur Street." Foley said.
Alright, he had a plan of action. He brought his SCAR-H to a ready position and trotted through the backyard and then to the side yard. He glanced to the left and right as the rumbling of the BMD continued, he palmed his M320 grenade launcher. The weapon would probably be able to tear open the vehicle, but he didn't know and didn't really want to find out. He was confident if he could get a side shot that the grenade launcher would do the trick.
No sign of the BMD. Where was it? Had he shaken it? He didn't see it.
He moved his rifle to a rapid carry position and sprinted across the street, crossing the thirty meter distance in three and half seconds. He rushed along the side of the house and then leaped over a small wooden fence before wheeling into the backyard of the house his sergeant had indicated. Sure enough, there was his Sergeant along with about half the squad.
Foley turned. "There you are Ramirez." the man said before looking at the other members of the squad that they had: Corporal Jack Dunn, one of the fireteam leaders, as well as Privates Simon Wells and Daniel Morgan. He had a SCAR-H with an underbarrel and everyone else barring Daniel had SCAR-Hs, whereas Daniel had a M240L. What some would consider a lot of firepower against airborne. Which against anyone but the VDV that would be true, but considering that the VDV was the only partially mechanized airborne force in the world. A couple rifles, one underbarrel 40mm grenade launcher, and a single machine gun wasn't much.
"What's the plan boss?" James asked, thinking about what they could do as the clattering of the BMD grew fainter and fainter. The heavy thuds of a Mk 19 firing started in the distance. A moment later there was an explosion that only could have been the BMD's ammunition cooking off.
Well that was one BMD down, but they were dealing with a VDV Assault Company at minimum more than likely. Something that a company of Rangers could easily handle, but they had nine more BMDs to deal with. Plus the rest of that battalion couldn't be far off which would have more BMDs, BTR-Ds, BTR-MDMs, Spruts, Nonas, etcetera couldn't be far off. That was something their motorized company couldn't handle. Not without support.
Their company was completely motorized. "How's the VDF doing?" Simon asked nervously.
To be frank, Ramirez wasn't really sure how well the Virginia Defense Force, one of the few active military formations in the entire US Armed Forces that could trace its roots back to the American Revolution was doing. But he figured that they were struggling to mobilize and were likely putting up resistance wherever they could. Given how this had suddenly dropped on their head… that seemed to be logical.
"Not good, D Company got a deployment order to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, they'll be deployed alongside Marines there. Orders are that they are to hold at all costs until they can whistle up something to destroy the bridge. The Regiment headquarters located here in Richmond, the less said the better." Foley replied bitterly.
Yeah that about summed it up. So they could more or less write off the VDF for getting support. "Sir, there's got to be the better part of an Airborne Assault Battalion in the area. Once they realize that we're just a single company of Rangers, we're toast." Daniel said in a dour tone.
"I know, but at the moment we need to figure out a plan of action. I think I see a good place where we can hole-up and rally at least our platoon." Foley said he was consulting his TACPAD which was really just a device the size of a smartphone.
That had his attention. "Alright, what is it?" Jack asked curiously.
Sergeant Foley smiled, revealing pearly white teeth. "It's a McDonalds."
Simon moaned. "Sarge, why did you have to say that? I could go for a Big Mac over an MRE."
Everyone but Simon chuckled at the Private's displeasure. The man was known to love McDonalds. Doing so in a active warzone and not being able to get anything was something that must be pure torture.
"Right, so we got our bolt hole, what about reinforcements?" Jack asked.
"I am working on that, according to the Battle Net, the entirety of 8th Armored Division is to our south, a Armored Brigade Combat Team and two Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. They'd be able to sort Ivan out rapidly and give the VDF enough time to properly mobilize. There's a problem though." Foley said consulting his TACPAD some more.
"Lemme guess, Command wants the 8th to launch an attack against the main enemy landing zones?" Daniel grunted irritably.
"Bingo, we'll be lucky to get a single Battalion from that Stryker Brigade Combat Team." Foley said and everyone groaned.
"We might be screwed then." Simons groaned out.
"That about sums it up, let's move people. Ramirez, I want you on point, Dunn I want you behind Ramirez, followed by Simon, myself, and Daniel. Rangers lead the way, hooah?"
"Hooah!" They chorused in unison before getting into their formation and moving out. They had civilians that needed protecting and thus they needed to get to work.
Thus they moved, slipping through backyards and across the street like ghosts. Quick and silent as one could imagine.
It didn't take long for them to encounter their first enemies. Unlucky VDV who were stuck in trees. Simple stabs to vital organs or arteries silenced them. All around them, the sounds of combat were beginning, the dry wood snapping of AK-74s began dueling with the louder pops of SCAR-Hs along with discharges of heavier weaponry such as 100mm cannons, 30mm autocannons, and other weaponry. Every so often there would be a hellish roar as something big cooked off.
As they came up upon East 15th Street they encountered resistance. The heavy crash of a 100mm autocannon split the air, a large two-storey house crumpled inward, dust and dirt flying amid an explosion of fire. Hammering boots became audible through the sound. "Weapons up!" Foley said sharply, the enemy was nearby. Ramirez palmed his grenade launcher, he had a M433 HEDP grenade loaded, the small HEAT warhead wouldn't kill a tank but it could certainly kill a BMD.
The cracking of AK-74s filtered through the air along with screaming civilians. Simon swore sharply, the evacuation hadn't even gotten underway yet and they were already being caught in the crossfire. It was a sentiment that Ramirez shared as well.
Foley looked thoroughly enraged as with an audible thunk from its transmission the BMD began to grind forwards. Its tracks clatter loudly against the pavement. "Ramirez, you got an HEDP loaded?" the squad leader asked.
Ramirez nodded. "Yes sergeant, I do." He replied, he already had a sinking feeling at what Foley wanted him to do.
"Good, since you're damn near telepathic at determining ranges, I want you to kill that BMD. Wells, cover him." Foley ordered sharply.
Ramirez nodded and moved, he could hear the BMD-3. It was moving slow, only at a walking pace, a sign it had unloaded its infantry. It hadn't quite entered the intersection yet, there was still dust everywhere but it was clearing up rapidly. Probably why the vehicle was confident enough to move forward.
He angled his grenade launcher, if he wanted a kill, the grenade would need to hit under the turret. He counted the seconds, the dark shape of the BMD ground into view. He held his breath, his aim steadied. He pulled the trigger. Bloop! The launcher bucked, the grenade shot out of the launcher and covered the distance in an eyeblink.
The grenade smashed against the armored vehicle's side directly under the turret and exploded. With a roar the BMD's autoloader cooked off, the turret was hurled off the hull amid a jet of fire that illuminated the area. "DUST THEM!" Foley roared and immediately James and Simon fired in unison, their SCARs belching out single shots.
Two Russians crumpled immediately, blood spraying from their wounds. That made the other VDV flee in a panic. "Clear!" James said, flicking open the breach of the M320 and letting the spent casing clatter to the pavement. He then loaded a new grenade and brought the rifle to a ready carry position.
Foley nodded. "Alright, Ramirez, Wells. Back with us, let's continue advancing."
There was a howling banshee like a scream in the distance followed by a sound like the world's largest sail being torn apart. In the slowly darkening sky to the west, two aircraft shaped like crosses pulled up from their gun runs. "Chair Force has finally arrived." Daniel grunted as the A-10Cs raced up into the sky.
"I don't blame them for taking this long, I know we had Drakes at Norfolk, I hope they got in the air." Jack added in dismay.
Foley snorted. "Given how shit the situation is, assume that barely anything got in the air from Norfolk or the airbases up in the Northeast," he paused in order to let that sink in, "God, it's probably a damn mess up near New York, if Ivan came in slinging missiles in that air corridor trying to kill US fighter craft, I don't want to know how many airliners had radar guided missiles go after them."
Ramirez shuddered, that was a sobering thought. With stuff like A380s and 747s flying in and around New York, any radar guided missiles likely went after them. Which meant that the civilian death toll had to be outright catastrophic right now. It was something he didn't want to think about.
Foley gave a hand signal and they moved on, quickly crossing the street and slipping through more backyards, dealing with more VDV stuck in trees as they did so. In the distance they began to hear muffled booms, deep and heavy, artillery shells detonating; Simon moaned "Those are heavy mortars, probably Nonas."
Ramirez swore softly. Leave it to Ivan to take things seriously when it came to mechanizing an airborne force, the Nona was a 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar using the BMD chassis as a base. Like all vehicles based upon the BMD, it was airdrop capable.
They came to the edge of a street and spotted more VDV, taking up positions to breach a house. One that Ramirez just had to glance at his connection to the battle network to know there were no friendlies in. "Take them." Foley said softly.
Three SCARs fired as one, three bodies crumpled amid blood sprays as the heavy 7.62mm rounds cleaved through their helmets like paper. The other two whirled as Ramirez brought his rifle to bear on the next, through the holographic sight he could see the man's eyes widening. He fired again and the Russian crumpled as his helmet and head split open like a gourd.
"Clear!" Jack called.
"Clear!" James called.
"We're clear! Move!" Foley said and the squad moved on through the heavily wooded area in the backyards. Here they found a BMD with its nose buried into the ground, the back of the vehicle resting on a partially demolished building.
Together the Rangers checked the IFV and found it to be occupied but it was clear that due to injuries, that the vehicle and its squad was completely combat ineffective. This vehicle was also one of the new BMD-4s, crew of two with a Bumerang-BM RCWS and the ability to carry seven men into battle. Foley marked the vehicle's location on the battle network and put a marker indicating disabled but salvageable. James knew that capturing this would be a boon.
"Let's move on." Foley said and once again they dashed across a street, cutting through backyards, stabbing or shooting any VDV that they found stuck in trees.
"Man, they must have had some nasty crosswinds to get scattered like this. We've only encountered what? One full squad of infantry?" Simon said as there was another large scale blast in the distance, it didn't sound too big but it wasn't small either.
Foley nodded. "Yeah and the time of day as well as the terrain probably didn't help them much. Good news for us."
The sergeant was speaking the truth, the part of Manchester they were in had a considerable number of trees and buildings of varying heights. Not exactly the best terrain to be parachuting in, particularly given the design of parachute used by the Russians. They weren't exactly the easiest things to steer, unlike American ones.
"So how long until the Russians get their act together and begin putting up actual resistance?" Daniel asked curiously and Foley frowned.
"Depends on how long they are stuck as Little Groups of Paratroopers and that depends on how spread out they are. If the winds were how I think they are, we probably got at least ninety minutes. But if I was in charge of this invasion, I would be using VDV landings in this part of Virginia as a distraction." Foley said, as they trudged carefully through backyards, climbing fences here and there as they did so.
There was a pause as everyone considered that James swore in Ancient Greek drawing a few confused glances from Jack, Daniel, and Simon along with an eyebrow raise from Foley.
"Have something to say Ramirez?" Foley asked as they came up to another side street. They were approaching the local courthouse now as well as much more open terrain, it was entirely likely that they would encounter more stubborn resistance here.
"Your right Sarge, Ivan has us in a classic Catch-22. We either deal with the VDV and end up completely unprepared to deal with whatever Ivan has in the Delmarva Peninsula or we deal with whatever is in the Delmarva Peninsula and let the VDV run rampant in our rear." Ramirez answered and that revelation caused everyone but Foley to swear.
Indeed, it was a well thought out plan. The Delmarva Peninsula was extremely flat and the roads there were very straight. It wouldn't take much to prepare them for heavy and super heavy Strategic Airlifters. Indeed, it wouldn't be too hard to say that the American Northeast and in particular Washington D.C. was locked in a cage lined with barbed wire with a massive bear that just so happened to have an equally massive shock rod firmly wedged up its ass. Which meant that they were looking at a battle in Washington D.C., not good. The situation really got worse and worse the more and more you looked at it.
This was easily shaping up to be one of the most desperate campaigns he has ever fought in and he took part in the Second Titan War, even its climatic battle. But he had a feeling that the Battle of Manhattan that had been waged in secret some seven years ago, would be nothing in terms of desperation that would mark the early days of this war.
Dunn, who was on point, froze as he came up to a line of trees. "Enemy sighted, estimate twelve foot mobiles and two BMDs." he said, gesturing to them.
Ramirez looked at where Dunn was pointing and nodded. Two BMD-4s, sat pretty in the middle of a parking lot roughly 135-meters away. Infantry was milling around them. The HUD on his helmet highlighted them as he looked at them. Looked like a standard configuration for both squads. Automatic rifles, a machine gun, an RPG.
Still, it was way too much firepower for them to take on with just five guys even with the element of surprise. Once they got over their shock, the surviving Russians would tear them apart, their new body armor was tough but even it wouldn't stand up to sustained automatic fire and cannon fire from the BMDs. Crap… how were they going to get around this?
"To that small rise," Foley ordered, gesturing to it and the Rangers got over there after crossing the street and came to rest on their bellies.
The more that James thought about it, the more he did not like their chances. What was worse was the fact that they would have to face them if there was another squad facing the McDonalds. Which meant that no matter how you looked at this, the Russians had gotten them in a classic tactical catch-22 and they were probably screwed.
The chugging of an engine and the sound of tires on Asphalt got his attention. "Sarge, vehicle coming up on Stockton Street!" he said.
Everyone shifted, bringing their weapons to bear fearing Russian vehicles. Instead… it was a JTLV, which upon seeing them stopped. The vehicle had a 20mm Refraction Wave Gun (RAVEN) in an RWS on its roof. The door opened and out came Lieutenant Scott Barrett, the leader of 2nd Platoon in Hunter Company, and Foley's immediate superior.
Foley got up and went over to the Lieutenant where they began talking, probably discussing an action plan. His hearing was better than the average mortal, but over the sound of the idling engine he couldn't make out much. "What do you think we're going to do James?" Jack asked.
James shook his head. "I wouldn't be surprised if we're going to take action. This has to be probably the largest concentration of VDV within a couple of kilometres, we break it and we're looking good for a while. The problem is that we're probably outnumbered." he said in response.
Simon groaned. "Yay, so odds of getting killed-" he started to say before close by gunfire roared to life, AK-74s but then there was a heavier crash from what could have only been a Dragunov.
"What the fuck?"
James blinked at the expletive, it was unusual for his squad leader to drop an f-bomb. But even so, he couldn't exactly blame him, that sounded like it was coming from Commerce Road, one block north. A quick glance confirmed that there were no friendly units up there, so what were they shooting at?
"Alright, what are they shooting at? Some dumbass civilian who decided to take a pot shot at them?" He heard Barrett say, sounding extremely confused.
"Probably, either way this is our best chance." Foley answered, confusion also clear in his voice.
"You said they didn't get a warning off on that radio!" Thalia shouted, just so she could be heard over the roar of gunfire.
"I said I thought they didn't!" Reyna snapped back as they cowered behind several parked cars, others had been wrecked with airbags deployed by the suddenness of everything.
"Well you thought wrong and now we can't move!" Thalia snapped angrily as concrete dust rained down upon her. She looked towards Sanya and Febe. "How's Sanya, Febe?" she asked.
"Lucky to be alive, that's what! The bullet somehow missed her heart and great vessels but she has a punctured lung." Febe shouted back as the gunfire redoubled.
Aw Styx. Thalia thought bitterly, a punctured lung while fixable with nectar and ambrosia, it still took days to heal. She rose up out of cover, bow drawn and let an arrow fly in the direction of the green tracers that slashed through the air. A faint surprised scream of pain told her she'd hit her target.
A bullet lanced towards her head and would have killed her then and there had she not been the daughter of Zeus. But thanks to her aerokinesis she sensed the projectile coming and with a flick of her wrist, sent the bullet streaking into the hood of the car as she dove back behind it. Drawing a new arrow out of the quiver as she did so.
This frankly sucked, she could hear bullets chewing into steel and smashing concrete. What was worse was that they were completely pinned down, if they moved then they were likely dead. Ironically enough, while the vision of even a mortal human wasn't anywhere near as good as that of a huntress, with the light conditions they had, they couldn't slip away unnoticed. Thus they could only sling the odd arrow towards the enemy without much hope of aiming.
Febe's face twisted in concentration. "I don't get it, nectar isn't having much effect on this wound."
Reyna's head snapped around and Thalia suddenly got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. If nectar wasn't working like it should on a wound then there was a major underlying issue that was limiting it. But what could that be, she wasn't sure.
"Lemme see!" Reyna said as she shuffled over to where Febe and Sanya were, she spent all of just a few minutes looking at the wound as well as checking Sanya, she promptly hissed in anger. "Shit, Tension pneumothorax; a few drops of nectar won't fix this."
Febe gave Reyna a confused look. "Uh, in English please?"
"Sucking chest wound." The former praetor growled.
Febe blinked and then swore vividly in both Ancient Greek and Latin, she reached into her bag and frantically dug around before finding what she needed. A needle attached to a line, with practiced ease she slipped it into Sanya's chest. "Better?" she asked the down hunter as she secured it.
The Slavic hunter for her part took in a deep breath. "Much better." she wheezed.
"Right, I'll get you sorted but we need to get out of here first!" Febe said, giving Thalia a sharp glare.
The Lieutenant of the Hunt knew she had fucked up. She was too used to fighting the way that the Gods did during the Titan War. It was rare to see demigod patrols using radios, mostly because it drew in monsters like you wouldn't believe and thus, if silenced a patrol you could have hours until they were missed. This methodology of warfare was entirely different and thanks to the Mist, they'd been mistaken as mortal soldiers. Now they were pinned down and screwed.
A faint shouted "Smile assholes!" reached her ears.
Then down the street all hell broke loose, a terrifying kachunk chunk chunk filled the air. Searing red tracers slashed through the air, something immediately caught fire and then exploded. Flames erupted, moments later another weapon roared and began spitting brilliant red tracers as screaming began. It sounded like it was coming from the direction of the Courthouse.
But for Thalia, hearing that sound...had a different reaction. "That's an M2 Browning!" she cried and flattened herself as much as she could, making sure to drag Erica before she could fire an arrow.
"Thalia, what the hell?!" The other hunter cried as she toppled, her arrow going wide.
The daughter of Zeus whimpered, she was back in the Lincoln Tunnel. The M4 Sherman was grinding forwards, a cackling demigod was standing behind the turret firing the M2 Browning. The fifty-caliber machine gun was sending bullets straight through barriers such as cars that would have offered protection against spines, arrows, or bolts. Terrified, panicked screams were filling her ears, she watched as Vicky was a little too slow getting back behind cover after firing an arrow, the machine gun first tore her draw arm off halfway up her arm, then ripped her shoulder off for her bow arm, before finally blasting her head and neck apart. She didn't even recognize the fallen hunter's body. Arrows were glancing off its armor ineffectually, they needed Greek Fire or something to stop that monster!
"Thalia, snap out of it!" Febe shouted sharply and in an instant, the daughter of Zeus was no longer in 2009 but 2016 again.
Thalia took a deep shuddering breath. "Thank you Febe. It's just-"
Febe nodded, she was deathly pale and her eyes were wide saucers. The M2 Browning that the Sherman had been equipped with had been responsible for a full half of the fatalities suffered by the Hunters of Artemis during the Battle of Manhattan. Even with help from Artemis, she still had horrific nightmares. Once she'd even asked her if she could see the nightmare and it had clearly left an impression on the goddess. "I understand Thalia, I don't like that sound either but, this time I think it's on our side."
Indeed the amount of fire that was coming their way was decreasing rapidly. The Russians seemed to be disengaging, meanwhile when she turned her gaze towards the Courthouse, it was pure carnage. At least five vehicles were in flames and there were bodies everywhere. Soldiers and what looked like Hummer H1s and vehicles she couldn't recognize prowled through the parking lots. Flashes erupted from one of the windows, green tracers impacted one of the men in the parking lot and he crumpled bonelessly. One of the Hummers retaliated, a beam of red lanced out amid a deafening roar that sounded like the unholy combination of an electric motor and a continuous boom, masonry shattered and was torn apart in an instant.
Maybe they could use this opportunity to get away and avoid some unwanted questions?
Thalia would later reflect that the Fates must have found her optimism amazing and decided to send their idea of a bad joke her way. For there was a snap-whoosh from the other side of the street, an instant later a rocket caused part of the car she was standing next to explode violently, fire and steel went in all directions. The shockwave slammed into her and her feet left the ground, she landed flat on her back with a crack and her last few thoughts before she slipped into unconsciousness was, I really hope this doesn't become a habit, like it did for Jason after he arrived at Camp Half Blood.