War To the Knife

Chapter 1

Jason Weiser

Po-Shien Flats, north bank of the Hippotoku River

Dieron

Direon Prefuecture, Draconis Combine

27 March, 3039

Sergeant Allan Folkes looked over his shoulder as he fiddled with the fusing of the C-9 Damn 4th war era pull igniter, if this thing doesn't kill me the damn Dracs will!

His guys pulling security were getting nervous and Morris, the new guy on the team, kept fingering the selector lever on his Zeus. One could hear the rumbling thunder of the distant mech battle beyond the hills. A battalion of the Davion 8th Deneb Light Cav was buying time for the rest of the Davion forces to break contact. Folkes's MI-6 team, attached to the 8th, was ordered to destroy a suspension span over the fast flowing Hippotoku River. It wouldn't stop the Dracs, but it would slow them down long enough for the Davions to load up and get offworld. As for the aforementioned battalion, they were to "hold as long as possible, then act as the situation dictates". They were being thrown away, and Folkes was the one swinging the axe.

His radio crackled to life "Charlie Lead, this is Two, we have two-zero unfreindlies, on foot, moving tactically for the bridge. Expect we have ten to fifteen sierras before contact, over?" This was the two man OP Folkes had left on the South bank to delay any Kuritan pursuit until he could finish fusing the demo and blow this fracking bridge. Damn Dracs are early!

Folkes thumbed his talk switch, "Two, wait till they reach the PDMs then smack their asses hard, pop smoke and we'll cover you from here, out." Folkes then shouted to his assistant team leader, Corporal Mark Feltenhagen "Mark, get your people out, Two's coming in with two dozen dracs on his ass. Make it happen!"

The rest of MI-6 Team 4453 set themselves in a semi-circle some 100 yards in diameter across the South End of the bridge. With that, Folkes redoubled his efforts to prep the demo. Ever since their demo expert had been killed two days before in Sapporo, the planetary capital, Folkes had had to both run the team and work the demo; it was a deplorable state of affairs.

Within seconds, he tested the circuit on the last pull igniter and stood to a crouch. Several WHUMPS then sounded; they were throaty and were accompanied by some screams. Well, sounds like Mr Drac Chu-i- found the PDMs..heh, now let see how long Pollard and Hobart can hold them off. Within seconds, a staccato roar sounded, like canvas ripping as the OP's SAW went to work. It fired in short bursts, and was counterpointed by the heavier reports of what could only be Kuritan Type-38s.

Folkes fiddled with his radio and then found the freq by touch "King this is Rook 53, we have major enemy contact at Avalon, and I need extraction immediately. Send in Oscar 22 on my lightsticks. Have hot LZ; better send a Warrior, over? "

"Rook 53 to King, will do, but our Attack VTOLs are busy, we're working on getting you some other kind of help, but it's going to be a bit late to the party. Mark LZ, will have Oscar 22 call 30 sierras from arrival, out"

Folkes was startled by the pop of a parachute flareā€¦ What the hell? We have NVGs! But the Kuritans don't!

With that, he heard the rumble of an approaching vehicle, a heavy vehicle, and the snout of a Von Luckner, with prominent Kuritan Dragons on both front faces of the turret appeared from the trees on the south side, some 100 meters to the left of the bridge, the tired looking TC was out of his hatch, his hands resting on his pintle mounted machine gun. Oh drek, please, whomever is listening, don't let him see us!

Unfortunately, the deities were not listening, as the TC dropped down into his hatch, screaming animatedly, and the turret slew towards his men, two of whom were frantically unpacking V-LAWs. The Von Luckner's gun spoke first, and after a series of loud booms, 4453's positions erupted into a fountain of dirt and high explosive.

Folkes looked on in a stupor, men he had trained with, eaten with, lived with, fought with and partied with, had been killed in an instant, he pulled the igniter on the demo, it would detonate in 30 minutes, sooner if somebody tripped the anti-handling device, and crawled to the south side of the bridge. The Von Luckner had cleared the woods now, and the firefight near the OP was no longer being heard, the Von Luckner was content to machine gun wounded members of 4453.

Rage pushed Folkes onward, and he crawled ever closer to the V-LAW of one of his men, now dead. Folkes slowly inspected it, it seemed ok, and pointed it, lining up the tank in the crude sights of the weapon. It probably wouldn't kill the damn Von Luckner, but he might be able to slow it down. The tank, seemingly satisfied with the carnage it had left behind, was turning, presenting its side, then its rear to Folkes. Folkes smiled, and then screamed as he pushed the firing stud. "EAT ME YOU DRAC BASTARDS!"

The V-LAW shot was lucky, and it hit the vehicle from behind, right in the exhaust grill, and penetrated through to the engine, which caught fire. As Folkes savored his triumph, he felt something like a small wind pass by him, then a sharp pain to the leg, followed by numbness. He'd been hit. He tried to get up, but his leg gave out from under him, and soon, his vision was filled with the image of a Kuritan infantryman, barely out of his teens pointing a bayonet that looked longer than his rifle right at Folkes's adams apple. He was screaming at the top of his lungs at Folkes, and kicking him in the side for emphasis.

It was then that Folkes heard a loud, primal like roar, like all the dropships of hell had opened up for him and his team to ferry them to the underworld. He and the Kuritan both looked up, and saw a dark, malevolent shape overhead, smaller shapes fell from its wings, and soon, Folkes's world was filled with fire, and pain, and soon oblivion.

It was usually at this point; Folkes would wake up, screaming.