Updated 1999.08.16

Charlie's Cat (Part 2)

Röt Hafen Chapter 9

copyright 1998 by Carlos Lourenco

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Charlie's Cat (Part 1)
Röt Hafen chapter nine. copyright 1998 by Carlos Lourenco
Röt Hafen
16 August, 2184 0820 Local

Mellor studied the orbital recon photo printout. He'd just ordered the shot and had it transmitted down.  They were well hidden amidst the rocks of an ancient landslide, inside the gully which lead into Röt Hafen. It had served as their egress into the city several times. Mills had ordered a lane cleared through the mines and sensors, which Bergmann's men had done. Scout teams had reported the route clear into the city, not surprising since the Kra'Vak now had much bigger worries than a  few pesky partisans.

Donner, Mills, Bergmann, Mellor, studied the photo. Besides them was one large trooper in power armor, Huber, and the latest arrival, Master Sergeant Kurt Watermann. Watermann, also known as "the Weasel", had arrived dirtside, during the night, and proceeded alone on grav bike to the rendezvous point. Watermann was arguably the most gifted sniper in the NAC Special Operations community, and current chief instructor at SOTIC, (Special operations Target Interdiction Course).  He'd pulled some strings to get himself attached on a TDY (Temporary Duty) assignment to 1st CAF. Major Deas and SGM Mullen had greased the skids so to speak and gotten Watermann dirtside with a minimum of fuss or scrutiny. As a former member of the company, they' were more than happy to get their hands on him.

"This is the route we're going to take." Said Mellor. "He looked up into the dark visor of Huber. "Can you see this?"

"Ja."

"OK, this is approximately where Lawrence is holed up. Underground between these two buildings. Over here about 500 meters north, you see this crater? Well that's where the power plant was. Beneath it buried about 100 meters down is the nuke. It's currently disabled. But they've spotted the Kra'Vak trying to access it from a tunnel here. Ortillery has temporarily impeded their progress, but the whole underground is riddled with tunnels."

"I though they said there wasn't no tunnels under the damn city. "

"Yeah well someone was bullshitting you. We're going to hook up with Charlie, err I mean Sergeant Lawrence's team, and get to that bomb before the bad guys do, plant a beacon, then have the Pommern drop a penetrator from orbit. "

"We can't nuke the site since we are supposed to be saving the population here. Though we sort of know where the bomb us that's not good enough for targeting through 100m of solid rock. Anything big enough to interdict the bomb without precise targeting would trash a huge part of the city just as good as a nuke, and as you can see, they've already done a good enough job of wrecking the place.  And we would like to see at least one citizen of this fine planet left standing."

"Now to get down there, We are hooking up with Lawrence here. There's a feeder tunnel running utilities out to this section of the city. So we will meet them here and proceed underground, to where they've been hiding. From there it's a straight shot to where the bomb is. Parts of the tunnel will be collapsed as we approach the physical plant so that's where you power armor guys come in handy. Of course the Kra'Vak will be down there too, so expect to get into the shit."

"Once Huber hear gets to where they can plant the beacon, we'll egress along this route. Eventually we'll have to come above ground again to get out. That's where the rest of the Gs, half the power armor guys, and the Weasel, will be waiting for us. We high tail it back here and then move up to the mountains. Clear? "

"Excuse me", came the detached voice from Huber's suit speaker. "What is high tail it?"

"It means haul ass. Split. Evacuate."

"Ah yes, I understand."

"OK, any other questions?" There were none. Mellor studied his watch. "We leave in five minutes. Make your peace."

As the small group broke up Mills approached. "Sergeant Mellor."

"Yep?"

Mills' bald head gleamed in the sunlight. "Bergmann will run the operation from our side. I've got to go into town to link up with some elements that I have positioned for once the main assault starts. I'll be gone until tonight, but I will meet you tonight at the alternate site."

"Don't you think it's a little dangerous to be going into town on your own?"

"It's best that way. One man can hide better than two."

"Fair enough. Good luck." He held out a hand.

"You too." Mills grinned. His red mustache was covered with icecycles from his frozen breath. He grabbed his pack, put on his knit cap and then ran off down the gully towards the city.

Mellor fished inside his pack and pulled out an energy cell for his undersuit. It was his last. He removed the old cell and placed it in his pack. No need to leave trash around for the enemy to find. With the cell in place he indulged in a few moments of extra heat before turning it back down to its minimal setting in preparation of movement."

"Hey Ken." It was Watermann. He stood two meters tall with a bushy crop of chestnut brown hair and squinty eyes. He was wearing his pack with a rolled up suit of some sort affixed to the top by straps. His rifle lay wrapped and slung on his back. He carried a small sub-gun in his hands.

"Yeah Kurt?"

"I heard about Colin. I...I don't know what to say. He was a good man."

"He was my friend."

"Yeah I know, mine too. Back in '79, we went on an op together against the ESU. He was coming in as I was leaving. Miner must be taking it hard."

"Yeah I suppose." Mellor didn't want to dwell on it. There would be time for that later. "Listen, you take Donner with you. I won't tell you how to do your job, just make sure we're covered on the way in and out. You might as well head out now."

"You sure you can spare him?"

"No, but take him anyway. I know you two dogs go way back anyway."

"All right. I'm a dot." Watermann waved to Donner who was ready, and they moved out down the gully. Donner gave Mellor a last nod before they disappeared.

He hoped he would see them again.

    Miner and Daun waited in the first floor of the abandoned building which had been designated as the rendezvous point.  There was a dull rumble of explosions as distant fighting drew nearer to the city. Occasionally it was punctuated by the lightning crack of incoming orbital bombardment, or staccato burst as roaming civilians were spotted and shot down. The citizens or Röt Hafen had seized upon the fighting and confusion to flee the town for the dubious safety of the foothills, and anyone not with Kra'Vak escort was gunned down on sight.

Daun lay slumped in a corner, yet one more unwilling participant in the drama played out by today's events. Pumped with whatever pain killers they had left, he was just coherent enough to have guided them along the underground utility tunnels to the rendezvous point. The small old man now lay in a corner hunched over his hand rocking with the dull ache, which coursed through it. Miner peered carefully out the broken window in the direction his people would be approaching.

Like clockwork they appeared. Cautiously two partisans peered from an open doorway across the street. Between them and destroyed truck lay strewn in parts across the road. From the doorway a rag was waved three times. Miner responded with four waves. Hardly text book security procedures, but there was little time for anything fancy now. The two men dashed across the road and into the open door of the first floor. Eric had his pistol trained on them as they slid through the door into the dark room.

"Five." he said.

The two men hesitated a second to catch their breath. "Vour", one said in heavily accented German.

"Where's the rest of your guys?

The ragged looking partisan straighten up still breathing hard and threw a thumb over his shoulder.  He turned and went to the door, making a hand signal. One at a time others crossed the road. Mellor, Molitoris, and four power armor troopers soon joined them. To Mellor, Molitoris and Miner it was a happy reunion.

"How you doing Eric?"

"I'm Ok."

"We heard about Colin." Said Mellor.

"Yeah." Was all he could say. "Everybody ready? The clock's ticking."

"Lead on."

He lead the down a stairwell to the basement, then to a corner room where a door opened to the utility tunnel which connected most of the government buildings in town.  The tunnels were not very wide. Those in power armor walked bent over, negotiating narrow parts with a combination of finesse and brute strength. It took twenty minutes before they reached Lawrence. Another round of happy reunions took place.  Mellor and Molitoris handed over web kit and L7's to Miner and Lawrence. They ere happy to be reunited with their long guns.  Gibbon's and Handley were particularly thrilled to see the newcomers, though this was offset by the knowledge that they were heading back into harm's way instead of away from it. Gibbons attempted to intervene.

"I say, this going back to the bomb is just not on. You'll kill us all. Why not just bring down some ortillery?"

"Because that far underground it either needs to be a precise beacon guided strike, or a nuke." Answered Mellor. "I don't think they really want to nuke the city."

"It's already a bloody shambles," added Handley.

"Why not just send one or two back?"  Suggested Gibbons. "Why risk the whole party? I think we should..."

"Look." Said Charlie, holding up a hand to cut them off.  "It's my cat, so I'm fuckin' it."

"Excuse me?"  Asked Gibbons, perplexed.

Mellor wore a bored expression. He means he's in charge, so we'll do what he says."

"Cor..." Muttered Gibbons.

"You guys are really giving me a case of the ass." Said Lawrence. "If I want any more shit out of you, I'll have Kenny here squeeze your head. Now grab your shit and let's go.  End of discussion." Gibbons' pale complexion turned beet-red with anger but he said nothing further.
The group now set off anew down the access tunnel, which would take them towards the physical plant. Miner lead the way, followed by two of Huber's PA troopers, then Lawrence, Gibbons, Handley, Daun, Molitoris, and the other two PA troopers. The two guerillas were left back at the last rendezvous point.  The going was slow. Bombardment had partially collapsed the tunnel in a few areas. Also no one was sure how close the Kra'Vak would be, so they moved at the alert. Approximately 100 meters before where Charlie calculated the turn off to the physical plant would be, they came across a complete tunnel collapse. The roof of the tunnel was still intact, the shift in ground had come from one wall. Miner made way for the two power troopers, who set to work clearing rubble. They worked methodically, conscious that there could very well be Kra'Vak on the other side of the cave in. Even in their suits, it took ten minutes to clear an area big enough to pass under. A large plasticrete beam was lifted up sufficiently for the party to pass through, then lowered back into place.
In the pitch darkness of the tunnel tension mounted as they crept forward, quieter still. Soon sounds could be heard down the hall. The din of bombardment and the fighting above ground had been constant, but now sharper, clanking sounds could be heard ahead. It was clear someone was working ahead.

Miner signaled for the group to halt, and Charlie crept forward to confer. Mellor was told to keep the party they while they conducted a recon forward.
The two men set off quietly down the corridor, one on either side of the tunnel. Each wore their NVGs. They knew that the Kra'Vak had some method of defeating IR. In pitch-black darkness, there was little light to amplify, but it was better than nothing. They reached a T intersection which both recognized from their previous trip. Taking a right would lead to the physical plant. A dim glow and work sounds emanated from that direction
     With a quick signal Charlie motioned Eric to take a knee and cover, while he crept forward silently. He was careful to step toe, then heel so as not to shuffle debris underfoot. His NVG's picked up the increasing light levels which allowed him to see better. Finally at the corner, Charlie took two steps back from the wall, rifle held out in the fire position, butt firmly into his shoulder. He canted his torso to the left. He quietly stepped left slicing the angle of sight  down the hall, in hopes he would see anything before it saw them. This was known as "slicing the pie" in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) vernacular. Behind him, Eric quietly followed along with his back to the wall covering Charlie's rear and the opposite corridor. Charlie froze, and so did Eric. Eric watched as Charlie held up his non-firing hand. Two fingers, his hand held upside down pointed down the hall. With a quick flurry of hand movements he identified that he saw two shapes, one on either side of the tunnel around the corner and five meters down. Sentries. He held up a V, thumb and pinky in front of his jaw, the signal for Kra'Vak. He pointed to his eyes then pointed down the hall. Apparently they were both facing in the wrong direction.

Charlie's mind raced. How to deal with this situation. If they backed off and got the others it could very well alert the guards. That would tip off anyone working down the tunnel and perhaps call more reinforcements. A serious firefight in these narrow confines was a non-starter. Neither L7 was silenced.

Shit. Silent kill on a Kra'Vak? Charlie was trembling with fear. He stepped back from the corner, as quietly as possible. Luckily the work sounds were loud enough to mask any slight noise he made. He held out his rifle to Miner who slowly took it. Charlie motioned for him to put it down. Teamwork and familiarity paid off here as any talking, even whispers would be heard. Charlie drew his silenced pistol. Eric quietly put his rifle down and did the same. With hand signals Charlie designated who would shoot each sentry. They had to be head shots. Both men assumed their positions at the corner. Charlie was about to hold up the three finger count when there ware some grunts. They froze. Had they been spotted? There were more grunts. Charlie quietly sliced the pie. The Kra'Vak were still facing towards the work grunting at each other. Perhaps talking in their language. Charlie had the fleeting thought that sentries were the same everywhere. He then held up the three-finger count sign. Eric squeezed his shoulder acknowledging the command. Charlie would bend his knees three times, on the third count they would move. He flexed his knees...

One. Two. Three...

He stepped out to his left, Eric at his side. Both Kra'Vak started to turn. Each silencer barked twice. Both bodies crumpled into a heap. Eric spun and cleared the hallway behind him as Charlie took a few steps forward, knelt at the bodies and fires two rounds into each head again. He quietly steeped back around the corner. It looked like no one had noticed.

"Ken, bring everyone forward, we just eliminated the sentries."

"Roger." It was only then that Charlie consciously remembered to breathe.

A moment later the rest of the party was with them. Charlie motioned for Gibbons, Handley, Molitoris and the Daun to remain there, and secure the intersection. The rest went forward to the work site. The crept near enough to see two men come out of the access-way from the physical plant and head off back down the hall.

"They must be working to clear a path to the bomb through the collapsed building. There's got to be more guards in this hallway, probably on the far side of the accessway, plus inside."

"Agreed."

OK here's what we'll do. Miner, you take Huber and the rest of our friends into the accessway. Clear the area and plant the beacon as close to the where the bomb was as you can. Me and Kenny are going to go past the tunnel and clear it south a few meters."

"I got APDs." Said Mellor.

"Great. We'll sprinkle a few down there. Even if we don't see anything. It'll buy a little time at least."

"I'll lead off. Once at the accessway, you guys are on your own. Ken and I will remain at our position until you guys plant the beacon and pull out. Then it's haul ass out of here. Questions?"

"Nein", said Huber.

"Clear as mud," said Miner.

"Let's move."

They moved to the accessway. It was shored up with some temporary materials as the Kra'Vak used their slave labor, drilled and cleared a path through the collapsed building to the bomb. No one was at the opening, but there was plenty of noise coming from within. Mellor and Lawrence moved past the opening. Miner was about to crawl up the hole but Huber placed a mailed glove on his shoulder. He would lead. Huber went first, fitting his massive bulk up the accessway with surprising agility, followed by a second power armor troopers, then Miner and the last two.
Lawrence and Mellor cleared the tunnel down fifteen meters until it bent to the right. No one was in sight. A string of dim emergency lighting had been erected down the tunnel so the NVGs were not needed. Quickly. Mellor crept out and placed three APDs down the hallway, afar enough apart so they would not detonate each other if tripped. Then he took up a position covering the bend. Charlie moved back to the accessway and covered it in case anyone emerged out behind Miner's party.

At the top of the accessway, Huber stooped and thrust his rifle over the lip. Using the sight, he observed the area with his HUD. A narrow tunnel, well lighted, twisted through the wreckage and bent out of sight ten meters ahead. At the far end, were two human workers, bent over a box-shape object which he took to be a portable fusion generator. There was talking and much noise around the bend. The tunnel presented a problem. It was only large enough for one PA trooper to negotiate. All the fighting would have to be done by the lead man. He held his hand out to Miner and hoisted him up with one swoop. Miner peered over the edge. He saw the two workers, backs to him. What to do? They were probably innocent, but one noise from any of them could spell disaster. He motioned for Huber to wait, then scampered up ahead of them up into the tunnel. It was loud enough that no one heard. Huber watched as Miner crept forward, silencer drawn, to behind the workers.  They were still intent on whatever was happening around the curve. Miner considered shooting both men in the back of the head, but that couldn't bring himself to do it. What if they were innocent? It presented a serious problem. If they made any noise, he was screwed. He took a deep breath then tapped the first man on the shoulder. He turned his head to look behind him and stared into the bore of Eric's pistol. Eric held a finger in front of his lips, shhh. The man was wide eyed but said nothing, his partner oblivious to what was transpiring. Eric motioned him to step back and pointed to the rear where Huber was peering over the edge. The man looked astonished, but instantly understood. He smiled, nodded profusely, then grabbed the other's arm and pulled him back, cupping a hand over his mouth and whispering in his ear. Both workers walked towards Huber, went down the hole and were out of sight.

Well that was smooth. Thought Miner. He slowly peered around the corner when the edge exploded into fragments, spraying his face with shards of rock and plasti-crete. Eric fell back grabbing at his face. Both eyes stung, and he knew had had collected a fistful of debris in them. There was a barking grunt and a Kra'Vak was over him, reaching for him. There was a sharp crack and the alien was flung back.

Miner, still unable to see, started kicking with his legs to move himself away from the Kra'Vak. There was another series of grunts, firing, then something stepped on his foot. Eric pulled one hand away from his stinging eyes, groped for his pistol and drew it. He fired several shots out into the direction of the Kra'Vak before he was grabbed roughly by the arm and dragged back along the tunnel and tossed down the access ramp.

    When the firing started Charlie had been planting a demolition charge to bring down the tunnel over the accessway.  With the shouting and firing he grabbed his L7 and was about to scramble up the narrow tunnel when Eric was tossed down, landing in a heap. Charlie could see blood on his face.  Molitoris was there in an instant, having run down from the intersection at the first sound of firing. He rapidly went to work on Miner. Charlie hoisted himself up the accessway. At the top he had to squeeze by the limp form of a PA trooper, his visor smashed in from a well placed Kra'Vak shot. As he moved forward two large Kra'Vak bodies lay in the hallway. At the bend in the tunnel he peered ahead and saw the remaining three troopers hunched forward moving up the tunnel. There was only room for one to fight at a time. He cringed as he noticed them stepping on a dead worker. The body was mashed into paste by the heavy weight of the power armor.

Suddenly the firing stopped. Charlie moved ahead and squeezed by the bulky armor to the front of the column. It was a gruesome scene. A dozen human bodies lay strewn about I various forms of dismemberment. Two bulky Kra'Vak forms in combat armor lay still also. Huber, a deep gouge taken out of his shoulder armor walked by each one, shooting it in the head to be sure. In the dim light Charlie spied purple robes.

"Hold your fire!" He ran up, his own weapon at the ready. The purple Kra'Vak lay writhing on the floor, a hand and a foot blown off. Beside it was a dead, human handler, decapitated.  "We need this one alive. It's one of their brain-types. Must'a been running this detail."

"No one said anything about prisoners." Huber's voice was flat in the speaker. He he'd lost a man and Charlie knew he was in no mood to do anything but kill.

"We need it. That's a major catch. We get that thing to the scientists and it will be a major intelligence success.

"There's no time. Without a doubt others are on the way."

"Send one of your men back to the main tunnel. My medic is there working on Sergeant Miner. bring him back and have my man stabilize the creature if he can. Then two of you haul him out. Who has the beacon?"

"I do," said Huber.

"Then let's go forward and plant it. I'm pretty sure I know where I am. We'll plant it. And we'll be out of here in five minutes."

There was no response for a moment. Then Charlie realized he was probably conferring with the rest of his men over the suit radios. One turned and ran down the hall. A second stepped over to the purple Kra'Vak and dragged it clear of the other bodies. It emitted a high pitched squeal as it howled in pain. Huber and Lawrence carefully stepped around it.

Molitoris returned with the other trooper. "What's up? You hit?" He must of thought Charlie had been wounded.

"No I'm not but that thing is. Stabilize it so we can get it the hell out of here."

"You're kidding? I'm no xeno-biologist."

"I don't give a fuck! We've got a few minutes. I'm going forward with Huber to plant the beacon."

Molitoris looked down at the wounded Kra'Vak and shook his head.

    Miner sat against the wall, pistol in hand. Molitoris had flushed his eyes out with water and applied a clean dressing. The damage had not been serious but the near miss had sprayed small rocks and dirt into his eyes and potential scratched both corneas. There was still pain. The medic had decided to keep the eyes covered in order to decrease movement of his eyeballs. Of course, that made him combat ineffective. As if that was not bad enough, his foot was broken.
He heard footsteps clomping toward him from the right, then Mellor's voice: "Jesus, you ‘re a mess."

"Thanks for the reassuring words."

"You OK?"

"I'll live."

"What's taking so long? I'm sure we'll have company in a moment"

"Fuck if I know."

    Lawrence was on all fours peering through a crack in the rubble. They had reached the limit of the workers efforts to clear a path to the bomb. Ahead the one time basement of the physical plant was collapsed. There was no time to clear any farther. Charlie got on his stomach and peered through a gap. Through a gap the debris, in the distance, he could just make out the white wall of the room which led to the bomb. That was a break.

"OK I can see the room where we need to get to. Unfortunately it's too far away to clear a lane all the way there. Must be about forty or fifty meters." Charlie sat up. "Huber, lets plant the beacon here then do an offset. I think I can plot it."
Huber produced the beacon and opened the access cover in preparation for activation. Charlie laid back down this time sighting his rifle along the gap. He thumbed the laser rangefinder and got an exact measurement to the white wall.

"OK, thirty-one point eight meters." He set down his rifle and pulled a small compass out of a pocket. Again he sighted it in. "Forty-nine degrees. Let's see declination here is...twenty-three degrees west, Hmm left add, right subtract.... Hmm. Ok I got it seventy-two degrees. Plant the beacon right here and we'll offset seventy-two degrees magnetic for...Twenty-nine meters." Charlie stood up and moved out of the way as Huber went to work. A moment later he was done.

"Ok, we have to get out of here. Can you lay a charge part way down this access tunnel? I'll plant another at the entrance to the main tunnel."  Huber took a moment to communicate the directive over his suit radar then nodded. We need to lug the Kra'Vak with us. If figure that's going to take one of your men. We've also got Miner to carry. I'll have my guys do that.

"I'm taking my man along also." he was talking about the dead trooper. Charlie looked back and saw that one of Huber's men had already popped the suit and extricated the body."

"Can one of your guys carry that body and the Kra'Vak?"

"Yes."

"OK. Then put yourself up on point and the other man in the rear and let's go."

They quickly gathered up the bodies and filed back out into the main tunnel. Molitoris has bandaged and applied tourniquet to the two Kra'Vak stumps. There was little more he could do with little grasp of the alien's physiology. For it's part the Kra'Vak wasn't resisting.

"All the charges are set for five minutes," said Mellor.

"Fine. You take up the rear with this guy", nodding to one of the power armor troopers. "and I'll take the lead. We need to get to the surface to call in the offset."

"Well where are you going to do that?"

"I don't know but I think we'll do it from the last rendezvous where we left the two Gs. Let's move."

It was difficult to get the group moving. Charlie led off followed by Huber. Gibbons and Handley carried Daun followed by the second trooper with the Kra'Vak. Molitoris followed with Miner in tow, but the combination of broken foot and bandaged eyes made the going slow, so Molitoris slung Eric over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. Mellor and the last trooper brought up the rear.

They hadn't been moving for more than two minutes when there was a flash and explosion behind them. Molitoris, carrying Miner, stooped. "Was that the demo charge?"

"No, not big enough. Sounded like one of the toe poppers," answered Miner, grunting in discomfort.

Mellor called up in a loud whisper; "Move, someone's coming." They could hear some shouts behind them, then another explosion as a second APD was tripped.
Mellor was trying to get everyone moving. He started back into the dark tunnel with fear, expecting something to come out and grab him at any minute. He alternated bounding movements with the trooper, ensuring someone always had a weapon trained behind them.
Lawrence lead them trough the tunnel as quickly as they could follow. The feeling that they would be in contact at any moment grew stronger. There was a muffled explosion followed moments later by a larger one. Good, he thought. That would be the demo going off. Come what may, access to the beacon would be blocked for a while.

Eventually they made it back to the gym, where both Gs were waiting. Charlie had the group start off towards their exit point and remained behind with Mellor. He cautiously opened the door which lead to the first floor, The building was abandoned but had suffered some damage form the fighting in the city. Power was out so he took a stairwell to the second floor, and found a window on the western side of the building.

    "Beetle this is Baker over?"

"Beetle this is Baker over?"

"Baker this is wobbly. Jeez how are you?" It was Brooks.

"Nevermind. The beacon is planted do you have the signal?"

"Which one is it? " Lawrence held up a piece of paper with the info. Alpha Seven Zero."

"Wait one." Brooks cross-referenced the beacon number with the frequency listing in his signal operating instructions. Then he dialed in the frequency on the alternate channel. He signal strength meter. "It's weak. I'm rereading a two-three."

"Yeah well it's buried under fifty feet of rubble. Can they read it from orbit?"

"Good enough for government work."

"Right, well listen up, you are going to have to call in an offset. Prepared to copy?"

"Go ahead."

"Offset the shot seventy two degrees magnetic, for twenty-nine meters. The target is one hundred meters below that spot. How copy?"

"I copy seventy two degrees magnetic, for two-niner meters. The target is one hundred meters below that spot."

"Good copy. We're getting out of here and should be at the RV in twenty minutes. Time the hit for then."

"Roger that, set launch for twenty minutes from now. Anything else?"

"Yeah. Get us an evac bird at the rendezvous point. Miner's wounded."

"Bad?"

"Not that bad but he's in pain. Also we have an alien prisoner."

"A Kra'Vak?"

"Of course a Kra'Vak. How many different aliens you think they got on this damn planet?"

"All right, all right keep your shorts on. Anything else?"

"Nothing further, out."

Brooks changed to the ortillery control frequency on the Pommern. "Andes One-one this is beetle one, over."

"Beetle one this is Andes one over."

"Andes one, I have a beacon bombing request regarding target Grumpy. Sorry but my data link is down I need to call it in over voice. Are you prepared to copy?"

"We are prepared to copy."

"Mission: Beacon. ID: Alpha Seven Zero. Offset: Zero seven two magnetic for two niner meters. The target is below that spot one hundred meters. Target description: NA. Request munition: Firer's discretion. "
Requested time on target: One Zero Zero five local. How copy?"

"Readback: Mission: Beacon. ID: Alpha Seven Zero. Offset: Zero seven two magnetic for two niner meters. The target is below that spot one hundred meters. Target description: NA. Request munition: Firer's discretion. Requested time on target: One Zero Zero five local. How copy?"

"Good copy. What munition are you going to use? "

"Two conventional penetrators. Danger close, six hundred meters. We've got the signal on the beacon, weak but steady."

"Roger, this is Beetle one. Nothing further. Out."


Go to Charlie's Cat (Part 3), chapter 9, of Röt Hafen

 


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