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Rogue Lead

Arneb

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Rogue Lead

Greetings everyone,

I recently joined this board though I've known several regulars here for years. They know who they are.

Anyway, I've written a short story involving some friends and am now working on a backstory/prequel. I'm completely locked up. If you need some background info on the universe let me know.

But I appreciate any help you can give.

Here's the original story:

Comrades in Arms

The door to the command post silently opened and the officer walked in and saluted. I returned the salute the immediately returned my attention to the master display. The officer came to stand beside me.

?Reminds me of Arneb IV.?

I scoffed, ?We had more troops are Arneb Major.?

?We were still outnumbered. At least here we?re fighting on our own ground.?

?True.?

Then, in a more sober tone, ?How bad is it sir??

I shook my head, ?Not nearly as bad as it seems. When the colonists first set up here, they wanted to ensure that their capital city would be heavily defended against anything. We have a full defense field, fabricators and fully independent power generation contained within the city.?

?Support??

?Minimal. We have one regiment of regular Army, one artillery battery, a small naval contingent and no air or orbital support. Chain of command consists of you in charge of the infantry, Colonel Michaels commanding the artillery and myself commanding the naval group. I have overall command despite being outranked by Michaels since he?s Army and I?m Navy. Navy?s senior service and I?m the senior naval officer.?

?What about our opposition??

?Oh, they have at least one division of infantry with one regiment of artillery supporting. They have air support, but the shield will be able to handle that. The good news for us is their orbital forces have withdrawn to intercept the Coalition response fleet.?

?What?s our battle plan??

?The shield perimeter extends to about ten meters beyond the outer defense ring, but it stops three meters above the ground. I?ve had three sets of concentric trenches dug. They?re all connected to each other, though those cross trenches can be secured at will and all are rigged with mines and other assorted surprises we can arm if we?re forced to fall back. Spaced between those rings I?ve had larger bunkers dug out and I?ve placed the artillery pieces in there. I?ve yanked the cannons out of the artillery unit?s spotter craft and had them rigged as fixed emplacements. The spotters are spread throughout the higher buildings in the city. I?ve got snipers and shoulder mounted munitions similarly placed. Army will hold the trenches as long as possible, fall back as needed and finally withdraw to within the city walls. There, they will be augmented by militia and security forces. Protection of the shield generator and power supply is paramount.?

?Are we going to have to fallback through the city gates??

?As we speak, the city?s engineers are finishing access hatches in the wall?s foundations. If you and your people have to fall back to within the walls, we?ll make sure you get there under cover.?

?We appreciate it. How long till we engage??

?Unknown. Could be hours, could be minutes.?

?Well, I should get to the line.?

?We only need to hold until the response fleet breaks through the blockade. Once they achieve orbit, we can evacuate within an hour.? I turned and faced her directly, ?Be careful Dara, we made it through Arneb; I don?t want to lose the best soldier I ever worked with.?

She gave me a smile, ?I don?t intend to buy it today Commander. I still have to give you grief for transferring to Navy.? She saluted and left the room.

I glanced back at the display before keying the intercom. ?This is Commander Rogue, all forces report to combat stations. Enemy forces approaching.? I walked over to my desk and picked up my rifle. I might be the commanding officer, but with thousands of lives depending on me and the rest of my fellow soldiers, I?d be damned if I was going to observe this fight from the safety of the command center. I left the room and waved my aide over. ?Lieutenant Yofin, please keep me upraised of enemy movement. I?ll be on the line.? I walked out before he could protest. My comrades were waiting.

Troopers ran past me hurrying to their posts. I saw a few straggling civilians being herded by Militia into the shelters before they too rushed to their stations.

?Commander!?

I stopped and turned toward the sound. A young man carrying a sniper rifle caught up and saluted. ?Corporal??

?Sir, all snipers are in position.?

?Excellent, fire on my command.?

?Yes sir!? He turned and vanished into the front door of the last tall building before the city walls. I stared for a second after him before breaking into a run again. The gates began to close and I slipped through along with several other latecomers. With a resounding boom, the gates closed and sealed. Through the hazy distortion of the energy shield I could see the tree line off in the distance, soon the quiet plains in between would be covered in smoke, debris and blood.

I ran down the main road until I arrived at the final ring of trenches. There, I lowered myself down and set off again, I tapped a nearby Lieutenant?s shoulder and asked for Major Daramis?s location. He pointed and I thanked him. As I approached, I could overhear her giving final orders to the troops nearby and in the other rings.

?Major, could you use another soldier?? She turned around and looked at me with a grin like I hadn?t seen in years.

?Always Commander, even if you?re Navy now.?

I saluted, ?Once infantry, always infantry Major. Where do you need me??

She didn?t hesitate, ?I?m going to command from the center. Captain Noe is taking the left flank and I?ve got Sergeant Redding on the right but he?s still pretty green. He only made squad leader a month ago. Our defense would be a more unified if you would take command over Redding?s men.?

?I?ll break it to him easy.? She nodded and moved to the side, clearing the way for a squad of troopers double timing it through the trench.

I started toward my new assignment, paused beside her. ?After this is all over, I want you to seriously consider transferring to the Navy, we could really use you.?

?We?ll see sir.?

A voice sounded in my ear, ?Commander? OP Three, I have movement five kilometers due west.?

I keyed my comm, ?Acknowledged. Yofin, what have we got??

She responded instantly, ?Their whole force is moving sir in, this looks like it. They?ll be in maximum firing range in two minutes.?

?Right, Rogue out.? I met Dara?s eye, ?Party?s on.? She nodded grimly, checked her rifle and saluted.

?Good luck Commander.?

I returned her salute, ?And to you.? I made it through the trenches faster than I?d thought I would and found Sergeant Redding?s squad with ease. He acknowledged the abrupt change in command without expression. I glanced over his deployment and nodded my approval. He may have been lacking in combat experience, but he knew his stuff.

I keyed my comm again. ?Where are they OP Three??

?Four kilometers and closing fast, I see infantry mixed with artillery, no air units yet.?

?Acknowledged, attention all sniper units, hold fire until my order. Artillery, begin bombardment at three kilometers?

I stepped up to the trench wall, squeezing in between two other troopers. ?Rogue to Daramis.?

?Go ahead Commander.?

?Major, after the artillery and snipers open up, you may fire at your discretion.?

?Thank you sir.?

?OP Three, three kilometers and closing.?

?Artillery, open fire!?

With the thunderous roar of nearly sixty artillery pieces, the Battle of New Downtime began. I watched the approaching forces to see the results. I wasn?t disappointed. Shells burst all through the formation, flinging troopers into the air and causing the ranks to disintegrate into chaos.

The trooper beside me snickered, ?They weren?t expecting that.? The approaching troopers increased their speed. They seem intent to overwhelm us with sheer numbers.

?Snipers, fire at will.? Acknowledgements sounded in my ear, followed immediately by Dara?s.

?All forward units hold fire until my order. Remember you?re the only thing standing between the Dominion and all those civilians. Aim high.? The enemy artillery began to return fire. Above our heads shells exploded against the shield. They were close enough now to be seen as individuals, any time now Dara would order... ?Ready weapons!? Simultaneously every trooper on the line flipped off the safeties and sighted along their rifles.

?FIRE!?

With another roar, five hundred rifles opened up. The approaching line collapsed under the withering hail. Return fire began to fill the air around us. An energy bolt struck the ground not more than 6 inches from my nose. Blinking dirt from my eyes, I cursed and reached up, slapped my visor down. Maybe Navy had made me a bit rusty. The harsh tones of blaster cannons filled the air as the jury rigged emplacements began sweeping the lead ranks.

More troopers fell. A shriek to my right, cut off almost before it began. A soft grunt beside me. I glanced over, the trooper to my right slid to the trench floor, his head missing. I forced my attention back to my line of fire. No time to call a medic, one wasn?t necessary. A beep from my rifle as it clicked empty. Eject the cartridge, slap a new one into place, resume fire.

Endless seconds passed. More bursts from above. Another man near me dropped. An energy bolt passed me so close I could feel the heat. Another reload, maintain fire. Yofin?s voice sounded in my ear. ?Their first wave is falling back Commander, second wave forming out of rifle range.?

Dara had apparently also noticed the retreat. ?Cease fire! Squad leaders, call out losses.?

?Acknowledged,? I grunted back. I released the trigger, turned and slid down the trench wall. Around me, troopers did the same. Medics raced past tending to the wounded and carrying fatalities out.

I looked around and motioned over to Redding. He gave me a quick tally and I called it in to Dara, ?Major? Right flank has thirteen down, seven killed.?

Dara grimly absorbed the casualty reports then ordered replacements from the forces on the eastern side of the city. Throughout the entire time, the artillery fire on both sides continued non-stop.

?OP Three, they?re moving again sir!?

?Ready weapons!?

I stood up, looked outward. I slapped a new cartridge into my rifle; made sure my visor was locked and sighted. Again the forward lines came into focus. This time, missiles from above and behind me began screaming outward toward the vehicles mixed in.

?FIRE!?

Once again the fusillade of weapons fire cut through the lines like a scythe. This time however, their onward movement continued. I could begin to distinguish facial features when Dara?s calm voice sounded. ?Flanks begin pulling back to second line. Center, we hold to cover their retreat.?

I spun around and shouted at the troopers nearby. ?You heard the Major, fall back! Move! Move! Move!? As the last man in the area passed me heading for a cross trench, I fell in behind them double timing it through the trenches.

?Center units, fall back! Flanks, give us some cover!?

I shouted, ?Rifles up! Fire!?

Dara passed me and shouted over the tumult of battle, ?That?s it, we?re clear!?

I slapped a switch. Anyone who entered the first line of trenches or any of the crossovers to it would be in for a nasty surprise now.

?Commander, we won?t be able to hold them much longer. I recommend falling back into the city.?

I grimaced. ?I was afraid of that. Yofin, where?s the fleet??

?They have engaged the Dominion?s forces outside the sixth planet sir. Estimating another two hours before they can begin evacuation.?

?Blast! Ok, Dara, pull back to within the walls. Yofin, I need all Militia units on the walls. Also, inform the shield techs they?ll need to pull the shield back in to the wall?s perimeter.?

?Aye sir.?

Dara waited until I had completed my order before issuing her own. ?You need to order the retreat sir.?

I smirked, ?I prefer to call it ?redeployment?, Major.? She grinned back at me.

?All forces, this is Commander Rogue, fall back to the city. Colonel Michaels, initiate Foul Nest. Missile teams, give us as much cover as you can.?

I nodded once toward Dara, ?Fall back Major.?

?Aye sir. FALL BACK!?

I turned back to cover the retreat but Dara yanked me back down. ?Sir, as senior officer you have to evacuate to the city.?

I stood silently, grappling with my need to stay with the men and the fact that she was right. ?All right Major, but you and your people better be right behind me.?

?Naturally Commander.? She smacked my shoulder, then stood up and began firing back toward the enemy lines, barely a stone?s throw away. I joined the flow of me back to the city.

Passing the third and final line of trenches, I glanced back. Dara and her troops were still holding firm. Dominion forces reached the first trench and dropped in. She tossed a grenade, watched the result, then began retreating.

I passed through the hatch into the city. Militia forces were already taking up positions behind and along the top of the wall giving our retreat cover. I found a ramp and headed up to the top of the wall.

Looking out over the parapet, I saw the first and second lines of trenches had been completely overrun. The artillery pieces placed around the city had also been taken but my order to Michaels had had the crews render them useless. To my left, I saw Dara and her final few troops in a running light fight with the Dominion forces. A grenade from the Dominion flew over her head and detonated. The trench wall ahead of her and her squad were collapsed. They were cut off from the city.

I shouted to the men nearby. ?Cover fire, 7 o?clock!? We opened up on the Dominion but to no avail, as I watched Dara and her squad were overrun. I shouted again and then raced back down the ramp. I saw a familiar figure, ?Redding! With me.? He didn?t hesitate, motioned toward his men and they immediately followed me back toward the now closed hatch. Captain Noe saw me and ran to intercepted.

?Commander no! You can?t go out there sir. She?s already dead!?

?You don?t believe that anymore than I do Captain! Now are you with me or not??

?I can?t allow you to endanger the city sir; and that?s exactly what you?ll do if you open that hatch!? From the hatch a loud crash. In a way, I was calmed by it. He was right but I couldn?t -- wouldn?t -- accept what it entailed.?

?Blast it Jay?em! We?re not leaving her out there!?

?If she?s alive sir, we?ll bring her home. All for one.? I looked at him, and my mind?s eye flashed back to Arneb IV, when the four survivors of our squad, Captain Daramis, Lieutenant Noe, Private Redding and myself, gathered around a dirty table in a run down bar to toast fallen comrades, and vowed to watch over each other. All for one, one for all.

Several hours later I stormed into the governor?s office. ?It was my understanding Governor that I and I alone, have command of all military personnel during this evacuation.?

Without looking up from his terminal, Governor Utain Twitz replied, ?That is correct Commander. My authority is solely over this city and its citizens.?

I slammed my hands down on his desk, ?Then why was my order for a rescue mission countermanded??

He finally looked up at me, ?Because Commander, an attempt to retrieve dead bodies is not in the best interest of the citizens of this city. Citizens whom I will remind you are also your primary responsibility. Or did I misunderstand your orders from Fleet??

I tried to keep the fury out of my voice. I was only partially successful. ?Your people are safe Governor. The Fleet will be here in less than one hour, Militia forces have organized the civilians into evacuation groups and the Dominion has been beaten back from the city. My troops are maintaining vigil on the walls and we?ve even retaken the trenches around the city. Now is the perfect time to send out a rescue mission.?

?I?m sorry you feel that way Commander. But as long as there is still a single civilian within New Downtime, we cannot risk weakening our defenses. Once the evacuation is complete, assuming you get clearance from Fleet, then you can go on your retrieval mission.?

There was no point in arguing further. The man?s stubbornness was legendary. He was right to a point. My official responsibility was to the people of New Downtime, but during a declaration of emergency, military command overruled any civilian leadership. He had no standing to countermand my orders. However, the city?s Militia was under his command. I didn?t doubt for second if I attempted to lead any kind of recovery mission out of the city, he would order my arrest. That would result in either a shootout between Coalition military and civilian Militia personnel or my spending a few hours in a cell until the entire issue could be cleared up by Fleet. Neither would be of any help to Dara. That didn?t mean I was happy with it. It definitely didn?t mean I was going to let him have the last word.

?Be aware Governor, I am going to begin organizing a rescue mission. I am also going to contact Fleet for confirmation of my authority to do so. Do not attempt to interfere. I will not hesitate to place you under arrest using my authority as senior Coalition officer during a declaration of emergency.? An empty threat really, and we both knew it. Neither of us really wanted to create the massive division and strife such a conflict would cause, especially since this crisis would only last another hour at most, I hoped.

I spun on my heel and left the office. Noe and Redding were waiting for me in the foyer. Both fell in behind me as I strode quickly out of the building and toward the command post and Yofin.

"What's the word Commander?" Redding asked.

"Jay'em, begin organizing a rescue mission, volunteer only. We launch the moment the last evac shuttle lifts off."

"Aye sir!"

?Redding, I need you to begin getting us supplies. Expect a team of about 5 to 7 men, plan for everything.?

?Yes sir.? As he replied, we entered the command post. Yofin saluted before returning her attention to the display, the other two officers went on to their assigned tasks.

I returned her salute, ?Do we have any idea where they have her yet??

?Nothing solid yet sir, but we do have a few possibilities.?

?Rescue beacon??

?As long as they continue jamming, rescue beacons are useless, the Fleet might be able to punch through though.?

?Maybe, get me the Hedonism, I want to speak to Admiral Sean.?

?Aye sir.? As she moved to the comm station, she shook her head, tsking quietly, ?Who names a warship Hedonism anyway??

I chuckled. ?She?s Admiral Sean?s flagship, it was his choice.?

?I have the Hedonism, Admiral Sean will be on in a few minutes.?

?Thanks, I?ll take it in my office.? She nodded and I walked through the door to the closet I?d claimed as my own. I sat at my desk, and waited for Admiral Sean to appear. God I was tired. I hadn?t slept in days. Of course, that was nothing to what Dara was certainly going through. My mind began to drift, images of what the Dominion did to prisoners began to drift through my mind?They weren?t asking questions. Searing pain shot through her skull. Why aren?t they asking any questions? Barely conscious, Major Daramis Mcejo?s mind was working at an agonizingly slow rate. Nearly every time she formed a complete thought, one of the two troopers conducting the ?interrogation? would hit her, screaming at her as she sagged against the restraints. Always screaming, or yelling, or shouting, but no questions.

She wished they would ask something, anything, so that she could focus on denying them information. But they did not ask, and all she could do was anticipate every fresh stab of pain, or track the sensation of warm blood trickling down from her split lip, or from the gash on her forehead. She closed her eyes, but not seeing was almost worse.

When they finally stopped an eternity later and removed the restraints, Dara fell to the ground in a heap, without the will or the energy to move. They grabbed her arms and hauled her back to her cell, where she lay curled up on the floor, blinking at the intense darkness, trying to regulate her breathing.

A single tear coursed down her cheek and splashed onto the floor. She felt as if she were falling away from the memories and the pain, into a bottomless black. Moments before it engulfed her, her lips began to move and she whispered, ?Rogue won?t leave me to die,? and then, ?Why didn?t they ask any questions??

"I said; did you have a question Commander??

I blinked, shook my head. On the screen, Admiral Sean was staring at me with a smile on his lips. ?Am I boring you Commander??

?Sorry sir, been a while since I slept.?

?Understandable. You?ll be relieved to know that we have achieved orbit and the first wave of evacuation shuttles are enroute.?

?That?s excellent sir. I do have a request though. During the final assault on New Downtime, the Dominion captured a squad of troops alive. I?m not leaving those men behind sir.?

?Since you haven?t done it already I?m assuming the Governor refused to let you go after them??

?We did have a?discussion regarding it. He?s convinced they?re dead?

?I?m afraid I have to share that sentiment Rogue. The Dominion isn?t known for taking or keeping prisoners alive.?

?They?re alive sir. I know they are.?

?And how do you know that Commander??

?I can?t explain it sir, I just do.?

?I need more than that Rogue. I won?t send good men to retrieve corpses based of your gut feeling.?

?I?m not asking for a full fledged assault sir. I already have a group of volunteers. All I need is permission, arms and equipment, a Ranger transport with pilot and maybe an additional surprise or two.?

?No Fleet support??

?No sir, just what I asked for.?

?What?s so important about those men to you??

?They were under my command sir.?

?We command men knowing it might lead to their deaths all the time Commander. It?s a part of war. There?s a specific reason or a specific person you?re worried about.?

I took a deep breath. I?d hoped to avoid this. ?The senior officer captured was Major Daramis Mcejo sir. We?ve served together for years.?

His eyes narrowed, ?Your concern is strictly professional, right Commander??

That was why I?d wanted to avoid it. Too many senior officers, despite years of service and combat experience, couldn?t understand the bond created by surviving hell. ?Strictly professional sir; the two of us as well, as two of the volunteers, survived Arneb IV. I refuse to abandon her to the Dominion?s tender mercies.?

He was silent. He hadn?t been there for the battle, but he had been there for the aftermath. ?You realize that I can?t give you any additional support beyond what you?ve asked for.?

?Yes sir.?

?Ok, you?re approved. Don?t make me regret this Commander.?

?I won?t sir.?

?Now you mentioned a surprise or two.?

?Yes sir. I need one other little item.? The rest of the conversation went smoothly.

Several hours, and one much needed nap later, I stood outside New Downtime watching the last evac shuttle lift off. As it rose toward the waiting fleet, I glanced around at the eight men with me. Our transport had already put down in the woods under cover of darkness and would await our pick up request. We were ready. Jay?em looked down from watching the shuttle and then asked, ?Orders Commander??

I raised my rifle. ?Gentlemen, I thank you, and our comrades thank you. Now let?s go get them.?

Redding grinned, ?All for one sir!?

I grinned as well, ?No matter the cost.? We headed off into the darkness.

"Commander, I don?t remember slogging our way through the woods in the dark being in the mission briefing.?

I grimaced. With the Coalition having completely withdrawn from the planet, the Dominion had abandoned their normal patrols and instead had their people moving randomly across our former territory. I hadn?t anticipated that and so our team had been forced to move only at night and through the densest woods toward what the fleet had determined to be the most probable location of Dara?s prison. Fortunately, our escape transport had set down in what the Dominion considered secured territory and was not in any danger of being discovered.

From behind me, a loud thump followed by muffled curses. ?You all right Redding?? I asked.

?Tree root caught my foot sir. I?m good.?

I could hear Jay?em chuckling quietly. ?I wouldn?t be laughing if I were you Captain. Your nose is still swollen from that limb you clothes lined yourself on.?

He blew a raspberry. ?Wasn?t my fault sir, if I hadn?t been helping the Lieutenant over there I would?ve been watching were I was going.?

Up ahead, the trooper on point motioned. Instantly, everyone was kneeling with our weapons pointed outward. After a few minutes, he signaled all clear and we continued on our way. Dara?s prison was only another few hours away. By sunrise, we were less than a kilometer from the base perimeter.

I motioned the men into a circle. ?Hit now or wait till dark? Dark would be shield us better, but their patrols would be inside as well. Daytime has less defenders and obviously more visibility. I?m open to suggestions.?

Jay?em asked, ?Any idea how far out their patrols go? We?d need to consider their response time as well.?

?Fleet intel showed them going as far as two hundred fifty kilometers. That was usually at one quarter and again at three quarters of their patrol. Their closest was only seventy-five kilometers out. Now that they?ve been forced to expand their coverage due to our retreat, analysts estimated they may be as far as four hundred and as close as two hundred kilometers now. Any immediate return would have them using their air transports, which gives us the chance to take them in the air, or force them to land outside our range and come at us from the ground. Either way, we?re looking at about an estimated thirty to forty-five minutes response time.?

?Take ?em during the day sir! We can?t let Dara stay in there any longer than she has to.? Redding said firmly.

Nods of affirmation came from everyone. I nodded, ?Ok then. We wait until twelve hundred hours. Patrols should be at their furthest point.? The team settled in to rest for the next few hours.

When it was time, I gave everyone their orders. ?Start with the guard towers, target by numbers left to right. I?ll take the main comm array. Maintain fire until destroyed. Four, Six, once your targets are destroyed, switch to the gate, get us an access point, all other positions cover fire. One and Nine keep an eye out for enemy air support. Everyone fire on my command.? Everyone acknowledged, and started to spread out. I glanced over, ?Jay?em, Redding?? Both men looked at me. ?Don?t hit any trees.? Both gave me sour looks before heading off to their positions.

I scooted forward; ahead in the clearing was the nearest wall of the base, armed towers regularly spaced across its top. ?Squad, ready missile launchers.? As acknowledgements came over the line, I reached down to my belt and activated a different comm. I tapped in one click and waited. One minute later, an answering click sounded followed ten seconds later by another. I smiled, we were ready.

I took a deep breath; this was it, ?Fire!? Nine missiles streaked out of the woods simultaneously, guard towers exploded, bodies flew and eight towers were neutralized. The array of antennas and jamming machinery disintegrated. Four more missiles launched and decimated the remaining towers on the facing wall. Jay?em and Redding fired into the gate itself. As the blasts from their shots cleared, I could see it had barely buckled. Not good. I lifted my own launcher and called over the line, ?Three, Seven, hit the gate!? I let my remaining missile fly as well. It remained intact. Even as I tried to adjust our battle plan the first defenders appeared on the wall and began firing into our surrounding woods.

?Return fire! Four, if you see a window, get in there and blow that door!? Jay?em responded with a grunt. Even as I said it though, I knew we were in trouble. Minutes passed while we traded fire with the steadily growing number of defenders. I ducked down into the cover of a rock while battle raged around me.

Jay?em landed beside me, ?This isn?t working Commander.? A particularly large blast nearby forced us both to shield our faces while dirt and other debris rained down on us.

Redding joined us. ?We?re dead unless we retreat sir.?

?Yeah, not what I?d planned. Time for a miracle.? I reached down grabbed the second comm unit. ?Hawk to Groundpounder.? Both men looked at me in shock as a calm voice came over the line.

?Groundpounder reads you Hawk, ready for retrieval?

?Negative Bear, requesting air support.?

?Roger that Rogue, Seraphs on the way. Please advise situation.?

?Danger close fire mission, nine man team west of target Alpha. You?re cleared hot.?

?Acknowledged. You want the target razed??

?Negative Groundpounder, friendlies in area. Targets will be marked.?

?Roger, ETA forty-five seconds.?

I scrambled back to my feet. ?We got air support on the way!?

Jay?em yelled after me, ?Where they coming from??

?I told Admiral Sean I needed a surprise. He let me have Commander Bear and Seraph squadron.?

?Nice!?

?Three through Seven, laze targets! Light-riders coming in! Target the gate! Everyone else give us cover fire!?

Bear?s voice sounded over the main line, ?Seraphs inbound, attack direction south, target acquired.? From our right a dozen Longbow fighters appeared, flying barely over the treetops. ?Seraph One, Fox Two.?

?Seraph Two, Fox Two.? The lead two fighters launched missiles at the gate while the others strafed the towers on the remaining walls. A tremendous explosion blew the gate apart and silenced the defending fire from the wall.

?Squad, move in!? I yelled. The nine of us raced into the breach. A Dominion trooper stumbled out of the dust cloud and was immediately gunned down. ?Seraphs, this is Hawk, target penetrated. Request suppression fire.?

?Acknowledged Hawk.?

Redding checked his scanner, ?Dara?s beacon is coming from over there sir.? He indicated a building to our left.

?Four, Six, with me. Cover fire!? Redding, Jay?em and I ran to the building while the rest of the team formed into an outward facing semi-circle trading fire with the few defenders still on their feet.

Jay?em dropped to his knees as he arrived at door and began digging in his bag. He attached a small charge onto the door and moved to the side, ?Clear!? A puff of smoke and he kicked in the door. ?Fire in the hole!? A flash grenade was tossed in. The two Dominion troopers who had been kneeling at the end of the hallway were blown on their backs.

Redding charged in and shot both before they could recover, ?Clear sir.? He started checking cells on both sides of the corridor. ?Our people sir, alive but they?re not in good shape.?

As Jay?em took a position by the door, I started checking cells as well. ?Get them out Redding, everyone?s going home. Hawk to Seraphs, we?ve picked up passengers, get our ride in here.? At the end of the hall I opened the door and looked in. She lay on the ground, unmoving. I dove in, checked her vitals then closed my eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. ?Jay?em, Redding, I?ve got her! She?s alive!?

Jay?em called back, ?Our ride?s here Commander, time to go!? Under cover of the Seraphs, our squad mates had fallen back to the detention building and were helping carry the prisoners to the waiting transport.

I pulled Dara?s arm over my shoulders and hauled her to her feet.

Redding yelled, ?You?re the last one Commander, move it!?

Dara stirred as we limped back toward the door. She opened her eyes, focused on me. I smiled at her, ?Sorry to be rough Major. But the MPs will be here any minute.?

A weak grin came to her face, ?Took you long enough.?

?Blame Jay?em, he ran into a tree.?

?He?s here too??

?And Redding and Bear, we weren?t going to leave you here.?

?Bear??

?Oh come on Major, you remember that hotshot pilot who flew cover for us at Arneb?? We stumbled into the transport. I let Dara down gently onto a padded bench then took my seat as the transport blasted off. I could see the Seraphs assume an escort formation around us. I swung my gaze over my fellow passengers, the survivors of the captured squad and all nine of my rescue team. No losses. I smiled and leaned back. Not a bad day. Redding and Jay?em were talking to Dara and I could see the smile on her face. We were together again. We?d be back, I knew. The Dominion hadn?t seen the last of us.

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Rogue Lead

Ok, I've tried multiple times to post the background/prequel I'm stuck on but the damn "Internal Server Errors" keep getting me.

So, I'm gonna link to the first and second parts since they work over on Blogspot

Arneb Part 1

Arneb Part 2

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Andy

The error is usually the word "from".

I have yet to figure out exactly why. :|

Welcome to GB. :)

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Rogue Lead

Here's what I've written so far on Part 3:

Second Regiment was scattered across their staging room, cleaning their weapons and chatting about the upcoming mission. Rogue made a minute adjustment to the scope on his sniper rifle, inserted a sighting laser into the barrel and checked it through the scope. Satisfied, he removed the laser, took a rag out and began wiping the rifle down. To no one in particular he called out, ?I?m telling you, it is going to get nasty.? The room instantly went silent. Redding, in the middle of breaking an assault rifle down, paused and looked around the room.

A soldier that Redding hadn?t met yet said, ?Why do you say that sir??

?Simple Corporal, Intelligence has planned this mission. Intelligence, egg head, deskbound analysts, who hear a tidbit here, a scrap here and then claim to have a complete picture of what the Dominion is doing everywhere. Now I realize it?s all we?ve got, but seriously people, has Intelligence ever been completely correct?? He went back to wiping down the rifle.

A grim silence hung over the room. Before anyone could say anything else, the intercom paged, ?All regiment commanders report to the Briefing room; all regiment commanders report to the Briefing Room.? Rogue frowned, handed the rifle over to Dara then left the room.

Redding said, ?Wonder what that?s about.?

Dara responded, ?I?m sure we?ll be the last to know Private. We always are.?

Rogue strolled through the corridors of the Liberty nodding at passing crewers. When he arrived at the Briefing Room, he walked in and immediately noticed that Athos and the other division commanders where already present. As he sat down noticed two other individuals, Liberty?s master, Captain Lolz and Major Es?s?em the Liberty?s shadowy Intelligence liaison, in deep discussion at the front of the room.

?Perfect,? Rogue snorted to himself, ?Just perfect.?

The conversation broke up and Captain Lolz motioned for silence. Without preamble he said, ?While the offensive is still underway, the Arneb operation is postponed until further notice. The Liberty has been ordered to assault a Dominion planetary supply depot recently located by Intelligence. Major?? He deferred to Es?s?em.

?Thank you Captain. This depot was discovered due to a recent communication intercept. With this new information, we re-evaluated previous comms and verified that the depot exists. We believe that it is responsible for around thirty percent of the Dominion?s forces in the surrounding sectors. Now while that may not seem like much, it may be enough to blunt the damage caused by out other operations in the upcoming offensive. Hence it has been deemed a high priority target. This facility appears to be of standard layout but intercepts indicate that it is operating with a near skeleton crew. The defenses are therefore well within what our forces can handle. Captain.?

Lolz resumed the podium. ?The Liberty has been ordered to engage immediately. We will be in orbit in two hours. Orbital and air support will smash any kind of orbital or air defense the depot has, landings will commence immediately after that. As soon as the facility is secured, freighters will jump in to remove any salvageable supplies with the Liberty providing escort. Once that is complete, we will raze the facility from orbit, denying it to the Dominion and all forces will withdraw to Coalition space. At that point, I believe we will once again begin preparations for the assault on Arneb.?

From beside Lolz, Es?s?em spoke up, ?We expect no surprises for your troops.?

"Meaning that defenses will be two or three times what he tells us to expect," Rogue muttered sarcastically. The commander sitting next to him snorted.

"Is there a problem, Major Garcia?" Major Es's'em asked, looking directly at Rogue.

Rogue looked up, "No, sir. Simply wondering how you can be sure of that." Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Athos give a subtle head shake.

Es?s?em?s eyes narrowed, ?Our analysis is based of the best intelligence available Major. I personally reviewed this material.?

Rogue ignored Athos and met Es?s?em?s glare unflinchingly, ?I realize that Major, but you?ve been wrong before. In fact,? he paused, noting that everyone was paying close attention to the exchange, ?I can?t think of an operation where your vaunted Intelligence Analysis has been remotely correct. I don?t like the idea of putting either my men, or myself, into a situation where we?ve been told it?ll be easy and we run into a wall.? Around the room, several heads nodded in agreement. The tension between the two men became palpable.

Before the situation could escalate further, Captain Lolz interrupted, ?We all wish we could have perfect intelligence Major. But we have to operate with what we have; incorrect or incomplete as it maybe.?

Rogue sat back in his seat, ?Yes sir.?

?If there are no further concerns,? Lolz looked around the room, ?Dismissed!? he left the room. Rogue stood up and waited, it didn?t take long.

?That was dumb Major.?

?Sorry sir,? Rogue turned to face Athos. ?It isn?t his skin on the line.?

?I realize you two have a history Rogue, but you?re my Executive Officer. It?s unbecoming for you two to get into a shouting match during a mission briefing. Keep in mind he?s only doing his job.?

?I would prefer he do his job with the goal of keeping our people alive rather than the objective of his next promotion Colonel.?

Athos smiled, ?As do I Rogue, but like the Captain said, we fight with what we have, not what we want.?

?If anything goes wrong, I?m nailing his hide to the bulkhead sir.?

?Only if you beat me to him Major. Come on; let?s go give the good news to the division.? Rogue nodded and the two left the room.

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Rogue Lead

The error is usually the word "from".

I have yet to figure out exactly why. :|

Welcome to GB. :)

Thank you :)

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Rogue Lead

Continuing on what I've got for Part 3

Two hours later the Liberty jumped into the system. Inside the launch bay, troopers ran to their landing craft. Rogue stood at the base of the ramp shouting orders at his men. As the last trooper boarded, Rogue keyed his helmet?s comlink. ?2nd Regiment, all accounted for sir, ready to launch.? He saw Athos, two transports over look over at him and nod in acknowledgment. Rogue then boarded and raised the ramp. He addressed the troopers as they secured themselves for combat landing. ?We are going in with the first wave. Expect heavier defenses than Intelligence calls for. I don?t want anyone under my command underestimating the Dominion. Remember your training, watch out for each other and no stunts!? Dara smiled at him. Rogue smiled back before moving into his alcove nearest the ramp and securing himself.

Jay?em checked his restraints then checked the trooper?s on either side of him, as they all did. Redding, on Jay?em?s left, was breathing deeply. ?Relax Junior, one way or the other, it?ll all be over soon.?

?That?s funny Lieutenant.?

Jay?em chuckled, ?I thought so.?

The voice of the pilot came over everyone?s comm, ?Launch in one minute.? The troops silently waited until the deck lurched beneath them. The engines roared and then they were in space. Silence, the roar of the engines was now a muted hum. After a few minutes, a slight hissing noise started indicating that the ship was encountering atmosphere. Rogue called out, ?When we hit ground, clear the ramp, find cover and await orders.? A massive detonation came fr** outside the hull. Fear crept across a couple of faces as the turbulence buffeted the craft. Rogue continued unfazed, ?Respond to any resistance with maximum force.?

Despite the dampening fields, the troops were still tossed against their restraints by the evasive course the pilot was taking. Several more explosions rocked the ship, but none as close as that first one had been. ?Touchdown in thirty seconds, landing zone is hot.?

Redding began counting down in his head. At ten seconds, he saw Rogue move to the limits of his restraints and reach over to the ramp release. Then the pilot announced, ?Touchdown?NOW!? The floor bounced under them and Rogue keyed the ramp.

Everyone slapped their quick releases and ran for the door. ?Go! Go! Go!? Rogue shouted. Redding ran toward the hatch, hesitated at the top of the ramp as he saw what lay before them. Ahead, he could see a cluster of large buildings, surrounded by open paved fields and even larger warehouses. Several Coalition drop ships had touched down closer to the facility and were disgorging men. Small figures could be seen running toward them, Dominion troopers, already firing on the attackers. Someone shoved him fr** behind and he started running again. He focused on the back of the troopers ahead of him. His boots felt dirt beneath them and he saw a rocky outcropping to his left. Seeing others already diving to the ground he dove toward them, scooting up with his back against it.

He watched as the last member of the regiment cleared the hatch, Rogue yelled something back into the ship before jumping down to the ground and seeking his own cover. The landing craft fired a burst fr** its jets, lifted off the ground, spun on its axis and burned for altitude.

Redding took several deep breaths. Training for this was one thing; actual combat was a completely different animal. He looked over at Rogue who was talking to Dara and the other squad leaders. He pointed in several different directions, received nods fr** each of them then motioned for everyone to get on their feet. ?Listen up! As long as the rest of the division has the defenders tied up, we?re going to secure the command center. Squad Leaders, move your men out.?

Acknowledgements were given and 2nd Regiment moved out. Skirting the main battle by a healthy margin, they made it to the outer warehouses unopposed. Rogue motioned everyone down as he surveyed the area. ?Dara, take Second squad over to the right of that warehouse,? he indicated a building ahead of them, one deeper into the facility. ?I?ll take First to the left. Bahms, you and Fourth support Captain Mcejo; Faro, you and third are with me.? Heads nodded. Dara, Jay?em and the eighteen others of Second and Third squad split off. Rogue held everyone still until Dara and Bahms reached the other side of the building before motioning everyone forward. They moved closer to their target.

The soldier on point suddenly flattened himself against the wall. The rest followed suit. A platoon of Dominion troopers ran past the front of the warehouse, only a few hundred yards away fr** them. Rogue quietly unhooked a grenade fr** his harness. Fortunately, rushing to the aid of the initial defenders, none of the Dominion saw the enemy troopers in the shadows between buildings. Giving the Dominion forces another minute to be out of sight, Rogue returned the grenade to his harness and ordered everyone to advance. They finally reached the end of the warehouse area. He scanned the area, noted Dara?s team moving into position to his right a few warehouses over. Ahead of them lay a few smaller administrative buildings and the control center. Fr** seemingly far away, the roar of battle continued. Rogue keyed his comlink, ?I don?t like this Captain.?

Dara responded, ?I agree sir, far too easy. This area should be crawling with troopers.?

?Yep, or it could be worse.?

?Worse??

?Yes Captain, worse.? His glanced at Redding with a sardonic grin, ?Intelligence could be right. Ok, our objective is to secure that building, move in.? He raised his rifle; sprinted forward. He made it to the next building, dropped to one knee and scanned the area with his rifle. Seeing nothing, he waved the rest of the team forward. To their right, Dara?s group was doing the same thing. He glanced over First squad; pointed, ?Redding, take point.?

Redding nodded, sprinted forward. Stopping every so often he checked for Dominion as he?d been taught. Behind him, he could hear the rest of the group following him. Minutes later, all of 2nd Regiment was pressed against the outside wall of the control center on either side of an access door. Rogue waved Jay?em to his side, ?What?s beyond that door Lieutenant??

Jay?em glanced at it, then at either side of the building to get his bearings. ?Security foyer sir, standard complement is between three and five guards, beyond that, corridors and storage rooms. Another security foyer, more guards and then the computer room itself. Unless it?s completely unguarded or we take every single guard instantly, they?re gonna have some kind of warning.?

?Right, blow the door on my mark. Point men, soon as that door?s gone, toss grenades and go in shooting. We?ll sort it out later.? Acknowledgements came and Jay?em moved to the door, inspected it for a second before reaching back and selecting some charges fr** his pack. After placing the charges around the edges of the door, Jay?em moved to the side and gestured everyone back several steps.

Rogue signaled Redding and the other point man. Both nodded, unhooked grenades and raised their rifles. After they were ready, he tapped Jay?em?s helmet. Jay?em raised three fingers, began counting down. The charges exploded inward, hurling the door inside. Redding tossed his grenade, heard the explosion fr** it and stepped into the doorway firing his rifle. Advancing further, he saw a Dominion trooper who had been thrown against a console by the blast reach for his sidearm. His training took over and Redding shot him. Fire erupted in front of him fr** a trooper he couldn?t see. He hit the deck while returning fire. Behind him, he heard the other soldier grunt as he too dove to the deck and the sound of his rifle joined Redding?s.

A grenade arced over their heads, landed near the spot where the Dominion soldier was hiding. Both men ducked their heads as it exploded. The enemy fire ceased. Cautiously, Redding rose to his knees, then to his feet. He moved deeper into the foyer, noting the corpses of two other guards, killed during the initial assault. Kicking aside the mangled door fr** where it had landed, he saw the body of the defender who?d been firing at him. ?Major, I?ve got four dead bad guys. Area is secure.?

?Acknowledged, everyone move in.?

The rest of 2nd Regiment entered the room and began to spread out throughout the room. Rogue tapped two troopers on the shoulder and pointed at the door to the corridor. They nodded, ran to the door, opened it and began to advance.

Redding held his position. A hand landed on his right shoulder. Redding?s head snapped toward it. What he could see of Dara?s face was lit up by her grin, ?Well done Private. Keep it up.? He smiled back. She squeezed his shoulder again before walking off.

Jay?em had been standing behind Dara, heard the exchange and snorted, ?Don?t expect a medal for managing not to get yourself killed Junior.?

Rogue had reached the corridor. ?Third and Fourth Squads, secure anything off this corridor, First and Second, our objective is the final security foyer before the comp center. We can not get tied down in there. Hit it fast and move on. No grenades and watch your fire in the computer center. Anyone tosses a boomer in there will answer to me.?

At a run, Rogue led the group to the final door. He and Dara lined up along the walls, Jay?em and one other kneeled in the middle of the corridor with their rifles in firing position. Rogue met Dara?s eyes, nodded and hit the door release. The hatch slid open, and the four saturated the room. After sustaining fire for only a couple of seconds, they ran in.

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Rogue Lead

IT WORKS!!!

Ok, there, that's everything I've got so far...

HELP!!!!

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Chickenman

I'd love to help as soon as I'm bored enough to read fanfiction, which, coincidentally, is the only time I read fanfiction. :p

Which should be pretty soon, by the looks of it.

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Rogue Lead

If you get really bored....I've got an entire novel underway...similar universe but the characters all all different.

Edited by Rogue198

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