Updated 1.28.1999

Choke Point (Part 2)

Röt Hafen Chapter 8

copyright 1998 by Carlos Lourenco

Return to Bri's Science Fiction Collection

Muldoon was breathing hard as he climbed the steep ridge that made up the southern wall of Loki pass. Was he that far out of shape? He glanced back at Glover and Max. The two pudgy Corporals were sucking wind worse than he. Both were no doubt wondering whom they had angered in the chain of command to land themselves this assignment. Muldoon had no doubts. Unused to carrying all this equipment, they were constantly grabbing for balance and banging something off an elbow, knee or head. By contrast the four schwab paras, maneuvered up the steep slope gracefully, alert and weapons ready, barely winded. About twenty meters below the ridge, Sergeant Siegermann, the Company Fire Support Coordinator, called a halt. "We'll set up here."

"We're not going up to the top?" Asked Muldoon.

"No, Herr Leutnant. It's too obvious up there. When the attack starts we don't want to be exposed. From here we can direct fire onto the mouth of the pass almost from behind the enemy. One or two of us can make their way up top if necessary, but were much safer on the reverse slope."

Siegermann's assistant, Gerfreiter Acker had removed his radio pack and was performing a self-test. He looked over at Glover. "Bring your equipment over here. Let's get this interface hooked up."

Glover carried over his radio. Because the Neu Schwabian League and the Oceanic Union had never worked together in the past, there was little compatibility in their communications. Data to No. 1 Squadron would have to go through its own equipment. "Do you have an SDLI port in that thing?"

"Yes. Right here." Acker removed a rubber dust cover from the side of his radio, uncovering a standard data link interface port. A cable was connected between the two radios, which would allow them to pass the targeting information between them. Glover's radio would convert and encrypted the data in OUDF protocols for transmission. After running a few tests, the interface was pronounced operational. Both Siegermann and Muldoon could transmit their comms to the linked system where it would be relayed to the appropriate recipient.

The other two paras were landsers (infantrymen) from one of the line platoons brought along for security. They moved up the ridge to a position where they could maintain adequate overwatch on everyone. Acker, Glover and Max set about piling rocks to add a little protection to their position. Siegermann and Muldoon found a good spot where they could overlook the action and then picked alternate positions they could displace to in the event of trouble. They sighted in a series of target reference points, matching the planned points with their actual counterparts on the ground. They were confirmed with laser designation and polar plotted to GPS. Once set, they conducted their communications checks to orbital fire control and the No 1 squadron command frequency. The confirmed TRPs were passed forward. Once that was completed, they were in business. They used the rest of the time to improve their positions.

As soon as Acker was satisfied with his position, he removed a container form his large pack and opened it. Inside where was number of components, which he assembled into a small, remotely piloted vehicle. It was an small airplane with a wingspan of a meter. Slung beneath it was a small sensor package. He charged the engine then used a small control console to start the engine and launch it. A small screen, (the vid feed could also be jacked right into the HUD), showed the view from the RPV. It could remain aloft for two hours at a time before recharging. The data could be used to direct fire support. Acker wanted to take it up for a test spin and familiarize himself with the lay of the land.

With only 187 men and 12 vehicles, Kampfgruppe Plummer worked furiously to prepare their positions for the inevitable enemy reaction. The men scraped at the hard ground with their entrenching tools. They stacked rocks and built up individual firing positions. Crew-served weapons were sighted in, ranges estimated, camouflage checked. The vehicles selected primary and alternate firing position then built cover for each. Everyone was working as quickly as possible. Every minute passed meant a greater chance for survival once the attack began.

Plummer and his Company Sergeant Major, Oberfeldwebel Dahl, inspected all the platoon battle positions. Dahl had over twenty years experience, and he put it to good use helping the men set up their fields of fire and TRPs, or shoring up shakily-built fighting positions. Plummer was satisfied that his men were doing all they could. A strong wind picked up, gusting through the pass at over thirty kilometers per hour. The granules of sand stung Plummer's face. The battalion net was not up yet so he contacted Makowsky at landing control. The news was not good. The meteorological section had predicted a sandstorm moving through the area with a potential impact on the landings. Makowsky confirmed that one had passed through the landing zone for the 504th and visibility had dropped to near zero. They were putting only one ship down at a time for safety's sake. That threw the landing timetable out of sorts. It meant Second Kompanie would be holding out longer than expected. Hopefully the Kra'Vak would be sluggish to react.

That hope was dashed with the sound of firing which lasted for nearly a minute. When it subsided, the call came through from Gorsky. "Ender Six this is Panther Six."

"Ender go."

"Contact. I'm flashing you the coordinates now. We caught some Saus on the reverse side of the ridge to the north. Looks like they had set up an OP and tried to pull back when they saw us coming. Three all together. All dead. One of my suits took some damage but we're working on it."

"What kind of equipment?" "One of them looks like it was carrying a communications device of some sort. Hard to tell because it's pretty torn up."

"Any idea how long they were up there."

"Hard to say, but I'd assume they had a look at the pass and reported it back to their higher."

"I agree. I'll report the contact up the link. Carry on with your screen. We're working furiously down here."

"Roger. Out."

Damn. They'd been spotted. Hopefully they hadn't been there for too long. Plummer needed more time to get his position ready. Again, that hope was dashed as a whooshing sound roared over head. A series of loud cracks burst over Second Kompanie's head. A half dozen airbursts at three hundred meters altitude exploded above the Company. Deadly shards form canister like projectiles rained down on the positions. A second salvo, then a third hit the pass. Plummer could hear the shouts and screams of wounded. He hugged the hard ground of his own fighting position and butted himself up against the small rock wall, trying to contract himself in the smallest amount of space possible. He had an odd though at that moment. In novels he had read that many soiled themselves when being shelled. For him, the opposite seemed true. With all his parts clenched as they were, he was more apt to be constipated. The angry buzzing of shrapnel was terrifying.

"Ender 42 this is Ender Six. Can you get a fix on that incoming?" 42 was the company electronic warfare and information systems (EWIS) man.

"I'm working on a fix now."

"42 this is 49, link your data over to me, I have the RPV up. We can work them in tandem." Another salvo exploded overhead.

"OK I have a azimuth on the incoming. 070."

"Confirming Azimuth. The RPV is getting a fix. One moment." Plummer flinched as a canister exploded above his head spraying the area with deadly shrapnel. Though he wasn't hit, he could hear someone gurgling horribly nearby.

"I have a fix and am passing it up to Ortillery control."

There was an interminable wait as two more salvos came in. The incoming sounded like two pieces of slate being ground against each other. Then the firing stopped. Far in the distance they could hear loud rumbling as orbital fire support blanketed the location of the enemy artillery. Once he was sure the barrage was over, Plummer began to receive situation reports from his platoons. The barrage had killed seven and wounded thirteen. His own runner was dead. Chalk one up to the Kra'Vak.

"Ender six this is Panther Six. We have movement!"

"Go ahead."

"Counting them up now. Sending you the link. It looks like nearly forty vehicles heading our way from across the valley. They're moving incredibly fast. Nearly 100 kph."


Using Gorsky's video feed, Plummer stared in fascination through his image enhancers at he enemy formation. The black Kra'Vak tanks looked both sleek and deadly. They glided effortlessly over the rough terrain and maintained a perfect line abreast formation as if they were a parade ground somewhere. It was a beautiful and scary sight all at once.

"Good copy. Break. Four-nine, can you bring some Ortillery on them."

"Doubtful. They're moving too fast. They'll be on us in about four minutes. Orbital control can't react that fast. It would be danger close. I will put fire on the TRP behind the bridge. If anyone stacks up there then they'll be hit, plus it will hit any follow-on force. I can bring the mortars in close though."

"Do it. Break. Pak One. Can you target them?"

"Jawohl. Opening up in ten seconds." Plummer linked into Four-Nine's RPV link and watched the onrushing enemy grav tanks. A wide multi-channel wadi meandered across the valley. The highway bridged it. Plummer hoped that the enemy would stack up there, but the Kra'Vak tanks merely hopped over the gully in almost perfect line abreast formation. PAZ 1's Lynxes fired off their first Sledge salvos. The missiles sped towards the advancing formation at low altitude, then executed a terminal pop up in order to drop down upon the enemy's (presumably) weaker topside armor. As the missiles dropped down, half were destroyed before reaching their targets. The Kra'Vak had employed a never before seen close in anti-missile defense system. Only two of the remaining missiles found their mark and two enemy tanks exploded.

"The enemy vehicles must contain some sort of anti-missile defense weapon!" A second salvo raced out from the Lynxes followed by a third, and four more enemy tanks were left slewing out of formation. The Kra'Vak armor returned fire on the move and two Lynx's were rapidly destroyed by railgun fire.

"Pak One, pull back to alternate positions."


The Kra'Vak formation slowed. Two groups of vehicles spilt off and pulled as far as they could up the ridges on either side of Loki pass. Several of Plummer' OPs reported that they were disgorging infantry which were running up the slope on foot. The rest of the vehicles contracted and ran straight through the pass. Siegermann guided in a mortar barrage directly in their path, mixing in improved dual-purpose munitions (IDPM) with their limited supply of precision guided penetrators (PGP) which Acker lased in with the RPV. The Kra'Vak ran straight through the barrage, losing another four vehicles. Up until now, the platoon battle positions had not fired. They were sighted in on the Kill zones within the pass, which could be engaged from reverse slope. The kill zones were in the narrowest section of the lanes, which ran on either side of CURLY. Each was seeded with anti-vehicle mines.

The Kra'Vak were still running at forty KPH when they passed through the kill zones. The ground erupted in smoke, explosions and fire as Second Kompanie opened up, supported by the power plasma guns of the Weasel platoon. The crescendo of sounds rose dramatically, with thunderclaps of the PPGs, burst of automatic fire, swishes of missiles and the return cracks of Kra'Vak railguns reverberated in the narrow pass.

The Kra'Vak were moving so fast that nearly half the vehicles made it through the gauntlet. Plummer expected them to turn around and assault his position but instead they just kept on going racing for the open plain. Apparently they wanted the main landing zones beyond.


"Wow, they blew past us like shit through a goose."

Muldoon was hunched in his position beholding the terrifying spectacle unfold beneath him. He was mesmerized by the bold Kra'Vak attack and the relative ease with which they had punched through Second Kompanie's defense. Ten or twelve vehicles had been disabled or destroyed within the kill zone. Some carried infantry and the survivors dismounted and now engaged the schwabs in an extended firefight. Two more groups of infantry were nearing the top of the ridge and would soon be able to attack Second Kompanie's reverse slope battle positions from above. The vehicles, which had disgorged these troops, took hull-down positions and added their firepower to the attack. Muldoon's main concern was the force that had broken through. They were still in sight, rushing west. "Acker. I need that RPV shifted west to follow the leakers!"

"Adjusting the flight path, Herr Leutnant."

"Lubber, Lubber this is Walkabout, over."

"This is Lubber. Go ahead, Walkabout."

"Need air ASAP. Are you prepared to receive the data."

"Roger, send it." Muldoon keyed a switch and sent the coordinates and targeting data off to No. 1 Squadron's space based air controller."

That's a good copy, Walkabout. I've got a two-ship element two mikes from your position. Am handing them off to you now. Callsign, Koala."

"Thanks Lubber. Break. Koala this is Walkabout."

"This is Koala one. Push Two Walkabout.

"Roger." Muldoon switched over to Koala's tactical frequency. "Walkabout Push two."

"We read you Walkabout. Send us the dump."

"Sending now." Muldoon fed them with the latest targeting data. At this point he was working off the RPV display which was following the speeding enemy. It occurred to him that they might get out of range of the RPV. "Hey Corporal, what's the radius on your RPV?"

"It's no problem, Herr Leutnant. I can follow them easily."

"Good, stay on them." Back onto the radio. "Koala, who's that up there."


"Magic and Coggs", came back the reply. Lieutenants Robert Mako and Todd Coggshall.

"State loadout."

"Mixture of hammerheads and CBUs. Can you lase the Hammer heads for us?"


"Negative I can't do that function from the schwab RPV. You'll have to target on your own. Suggest a run on from east to west. Make your IP the large crater about five k's west of Loki pass."

"That's a good copy. Any friendless in the area?'


"Any flak?"

"None that I can see but they blew through here in an awful rush. They're moving bloody fast. About a hundred kph."

"Roger. We'll start out with the Hammerheads, at twenty K. Two, you designate, then we'll flip flop."

"Two copy. "

"IP." At this point Muldoon was a spectator. Sixteen Kra'Vak tanks were racing across the ground in four diamond formations, with fifty meters between vehicles.

"Two painting."

"Running in. Con target...Release"

Muldoon watched the RPV's view over Acker's shoulder. Just before the missiles struck the enemy formations separated in all direction and a number of puffs exploded above them. "There goes that canister-like antimissile defense again." He said. "Are you recording this?


Three of the enemy tanks were hit and disabled or destroyed. The Kra'Vak now split up. While this made targeting more difficult for Mako and Coggs, it reduced the effectiveness of their missile defense.

"Switching to Snake."

"Two copy." The raptors ran on the surviving tanks and laid cluster bomb units in their path. While it was harder to be as precise with free fall bombs, Each Raptor's the CBU payload could blanket a four hundred meter square area. Five vehicles were destroyed in the barrage. That left eight, half of which Coggs and Magic finished off with strafing. The remainder escaped into the temporary safety of a billowing bank from another storm

"Walkabout this is Koala. Mission complete. All ordinances expended. I count twelve enemy wrecks. And we did take some flak on that last pass."

"Roger that Koala. Many thanks."

Walkabout this is Lubber. I'm vectoring a pair of AV72s in on the survivors. They'll be waiting for them on the other side of that storm. It's only five kilometers in diameter."

"Roger that Lubber. Walkabout out."


While Muldoon was attending to the enemy armor, Corporal Owen Glover had been nervously following the remnants of the Kra'Vak attack. If anything, it had become more dangerous after the main body blasted through. Survivors from wrecked vehicles and dismounted Kra'Vak infantry now hid amongst the rocks around the Second Company positions. A confused and deadly firefight was underway. A shout from above had gotten Glover's attention and he saw one of the paras motioning for him frantically. Glover grabbed his rifle, tapped Muldoon on the shoulder and told him to watch the gear. He scampered up the hill, tripping twice and banging his knee painfully. Within twenty meters he was panting heavily, and he would not recall breathing simply and normally again until well after the battle. Eventually he made it beside the schwab. Glover didn't speak German and the neither para spoke English but the frantic pointing was clear.

Seventy-five meters from where Glower lay, was a second finger that jutted out from the ridge. He could make out figures hopping up, moving several meters and dropped back under cover. Their odd gait made it clear that he was looking at Kra'Vak. For a moment he was struck by the fact that he was looking at a non-human race for the first time. He stared with mouth agape until the schwab tapped him in the head with an annoyed look and motioned with his rifle. The schwab held up one hand telling him to wait. Owen awkwardly maneuvered his rifle to sight in on the fleeting forms. Beside him, the two paras opened fire and Owen jumped in surprise. He aimed and fired. Through the dust and kicking sights he could see his rounds impacting around the Kra'Vak but they continued scampering up the hill nonetheless. Owen realized that if the enemy got over the top they would be out of sight and he would be in even more danger. He switched the rifle to auto and fired off nearly a whole magazine in a series of continuos three round bursts. One Kra'Vak flailed his arms and fell backwards, though Glover was not sure that he had got him.

He used his image enhancement and scanned for targets. Surprisingly he saw one Kra'Vak lying on the wrong side of a rock, exposed to him. Maybe they didn't know where the firing was coming from? He thought. Owen sighted carefully and fired off a burst, but his second trigger pull was rewarded with a click of an empty magazine. Glover rolled onto his side and pulled frantically at the magazine pouch cover, finally extricating another one. He slapped it into the weapon and rolled back into firing position. A quick scan found his original target, which was now lying there motionless. To be safe Glover fired another burst and saw dust kick up on the alien. Beside him, grenade launcher barked as the paras blanketed the ridge with explosives. There was an angry buzzing sound followed by spraying rocks. For the first time in his life, he realized that someone was shooting at him. Somebody was trying to kill him! He felt a hand on his collar dragging him back, below the rocks. The para motioned for him to follow and they crawled ten meters to a new firing position. Glover glanced back and saw dust and rocks kicking up by his former spot.

For awhile one of the paras had been shouting something in German. Siegermann now appeared in their midst and began talking into the radio. They continued to trade shots with the Kra'Vak across the gully. One of the paras ran farther up the ridge on their side in order to keep an eye on anything trying to flank them. A particularly loud explosion behind them got Glover's attention. Down in the valley he could see one of the Lynxes burning profusely. Explosions from internal ammo storage were cooking off. The entire pass was echoing with a dozen firefights. The Pak platoon continued to trade shots with the surviving Kra'Vak vehicles but they were no match for the heavily armored alien vehicles.

Four explosions in quick succession caused Glover to jerk his attention back around to the Kra'Vak across from him. Mortar rounds were impacting on the ridge and in the air above it. He felt a poke on his cheek and brought a hand up. It came away with red fingertips. Must have been a piece of shrapnel. He kept his head down as a second salvo of mortar rounds landed on the Kra'Vak. He looked over to Siegermann.

"Don't worry, it's just a scratch." He said. "I have to go. That's all I can give you for now." Siegermann rose to a crouch and ran back down the ridge to his OP.

At that moment here was a roar of jets followed by a tremendous explosion on the northern side of Loki pass. He looked up and just caught a pair of Raptors pulling away in the distance. Way to go boys! He thought. He could see Muldoon father down the hill talking n the radio and bringing in air support on the opposite side of the pass. They were dropping their payloads less than three hundred meters from the nearest friendly position. After the roar subsided, Glover noticed a marked slackening in firing. Far across the valley, by the Anvil Massif, ortillery was blasting the hills. He could feel the tremendous tremors and shock waves from where he lay ten kilometers distant. He crawled back into his firing position and scanned for targets but he could see none. The Schwab up the ridge was firing. The para beside him motioned for him to stay where he was and watched the finger then pulled back and ran up top to join his comrade.

The roar of jets returned and another series of explosions hit the mouth of Loki pass. This time as the jets pulled away, a group of black smoky puffs appeared in front of their flight path. One of the Raptors banked hard to the left but the other rolled over lazily and plummeted to the ground. Seconds before impact, the pilot ejected and Glover watched with relief as he parachuted safely into the center of the valley floor.


Gorsky stood in a narrow gully and watched as the pilot floated down. He would land right in no man's land. His section, working in mutually supporting pairs, set up in a line one thousand meters East of the mouth of Loki Pass. The first Kra'Vak attack had bypassed them. Gorsky had chosen to move his section out of that fight and prepare to deal with the follow on attack which had not yet arrived, There was still no sign of any enemy moves from across the valley, perhaps due to the heavy ortillery pasting they were enduring.

"Second squad, send a team to get that pilot."


"Did anyone see where that flak came from?"

"Gehlen here. I'm working a fix on it. Permission to displace three hundred meters?"

"Go." With everything quiet across the valley, Gorsky looked for a way to help out Plummer. The two airstrikes had devastated the Kra'Vak at the mouth of the pass and on the northern ridge. However there were still 4 or 5 vehicles by the southern edge which were putting accurate fire on the company and suppressing its ability to mop up the Kra'Vak around their positions.

"Ender Six this is Panther Six."

"Ender go."

"Things are looking quiet out here. I sent some people to get that downed pilot. I think we'll have a fix on that Flak position momentarily. Also I can get at those vehicles causing you a problem just south of the mouth. Is there any other fire support available that I can use?"

"This is Ender 46. Just got a call from Needler. They have two Av-72s inbound from the 504th. Each is carrying eight Hellcats. Contacting them on preset three, Callsign Alligator."

"Can I have them? Asked Gorsky "I have a better Line of sight than you and if we can take out their flak battery then the rest of the air will have a free reign."

"Permission granted. Ender Six out."

"Six this is Gehlen. I have a fix on the enemy Flak. Two vehicles five kilometers at 060 from my beacon."

"Wait one Gehlen." Gorsky selected preset three, mixing it in with his section frequency. "Alligator this is Panther Six, over." "This is Alligator, go."

"We have some trade for you. One Flak battery and one platoon sized enemy battle position. All armored vehicles."

"Sounds good, send the data." Gorsky sent. "Good copy. We need to take out those Flak vehicles first."

"Right I'm handing you off to Gehlen."

"Alligator this is Gehlen. I'm painting both targets designated Red one and two. Uplinking to you now."

"Roger Gehlen I have the signal. Two hellcats on the way." The two Av-72 skimmers must have been in hull defilade somewhere over a ridge. Using their mast-mounted sensors they could track and fire without exposing themselves. Two missiles streaked over the ridge and dove for the valley floor. They swung wide south and came in behind the Kra'Vak flak, popping up to only one hundred meters and plunging down onto the pair of Kra'Vak Flak tanks. Both exploded.

"Good kill."

Gorsky had moved quickly down the gully and moved up one of its feeder arms to a position where he could see the enemy battle position. From there he could see four of the other vehicles. He sent first squad into a blocking position behind them to catch any trying to escape after the attack. "Alligator this is Panther Six. Are you prepared to copy my targets?"

"Roger, go ahead."

Gorsky selected IR to get a better fix through the dust and smoke but oddly, he could not see any enemy tanks. He switched back to visual mode, full enhancement and acquired then that way. He slewed the targeting cursor onto each one then selected designate...hand off, and added it to the shoot list. In this manner all four tanks were painted. He then sent the data to the AV72s.

"Good copy on your targets Panther Six. Priority firezone established. Four Hellcats on the way."

Again the deadly missiles were guided on a circuitous course until the reached their IP where they popped up, acquired the targets, and dove into their exposed upper decks.

"Very beautiful Alligator, four missiles, four kills."

"No problem."

There was some firing and a pair of explosions farther south. Using their GMS, first squad had ambushed and killed the last two enemy tanks as they sought escape.

Plummer broke in on the line. "Alligator this is Ender Six. How long can you remain on station?"

"As long as we have ordnance."

"How are things going back at the LZ?"

"Very slow. Only six AV-72s have been offloaded. The storm had subsided somewhat, which allowed us to sortie. The others went after those tanks that got by you. But TF is hours behind schedule due to the weather."

"Understand. We've got everything under control here for now. When will they have medevac up? I have many casualties."

"They were off loading two Boxcars as we left. I don't know if the aid station is set up yet. Contact them on push four and see if they're up."

"Thanks. Ender Six out."

"Alligator this is Panther Six. We're going to move our skirmish line forward to just this side of the bridge. Can you cover us?"

"Will do."

"Thank you much, we'll keep this freq hot. Panther Six out." It was time to move his men forward and get into the war for real...


Muldoon leaned back against the rocks and stared at the sky momentarily. The cold wind whipped stinging particles of dust into his face and eyes, so he flipped down his visor. He had just lived through his first land battle and it was an experience he cared not to repeat. He had been gripped with terror the entire time. Miraculously, no one at their position had been hurt. A squad was up combing the ridge above them for any left over Kra'Vak, but the airstrikes seemed to have persuaded them to withdraw. Other positions were not so lucky. Muldoon listened in on the company freq as the medevac requests and situation reports were called in. Particularly hard hit was the Pak platoon. 6 of their eight vehicles were destroyed with all crew. Two of the Weasels had also been destroyed. That had severely degraded the company's antiarmor capability. Currently the 504th had a pair of Av72s on station to augment their defense.

The line platoons had also been hit hard. Dozens of dead and wounded were being collected down at the Company casualty collection point. The rest of the men were working hare to improve their positions for a further onslaught. Heavy weapons and fighting positions were shifted in case they in case the enemy planned on zeroing in on them following intelligence gained ion the last fight. More rocks were gathered and piled for cover.

Muldoon picked himself up and started working on his position. In just one short hour of combat he felt hat he was now moving in a different world, than his squadron mates. It was a world of absorption in the fight and in personal survival, which had started the moment he had stepped onto the planet.


Plummer consolidated the reports from his platoon and called in a quick sitrep to headquarters. Several paras made their way down the kill zones to assist the engineers in resetting mines. All were fascinated to have a first look at the dead Kra'Vak and their vehicles. Atkinson found himself shouting at the landsers to keep them from blowing up themselves or anything else.

Suddenly, two previously dead tanks roared to life and sped off. One unfortunate para was hit square by one of the escapees, and was mashed to a red smear by the tank's grav repellors. The turret on a third, still immobile tank swiveled into action and began spraying the surrounding area in all directions. Soldiers dove for cover and a general melee broke out. Plummer watched as Atkinson ran up to the damaged vehicle, timing his run with the swivel of its turret. He tossed a demo charge on the rear deck and ran for his life, diving for cover just as it exploded. A blinding flash sent small pieces in every direction, as the fusion plant exploded.

As second quick-thinking landser grabbed a Panzerfaust hyper-velocity anti-tank rocket ran up and hit one of the Kra'Vak tanks before it could escape. The rocket hit it square in the rear, causing a shower of sparks. The tank swung right in an attempt to dodge another hit, exploded and flipped onto its back. It had hit a mine. The survivor sped off to the east, listing heavily to one side from its previous damage.

"Clear the kill zone!" Shouted Plummer. "I want every wreck cleared or blown in place. There may be more still alive. And get all the battle positions relocated. They've had plenty of time to zero everything in by now." Swearing to himself at the stupid loss of life he went back to his report.

Go to Part 3


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