09/12/3065 00:33 Location – “Scavenger’s Respite”, Astrokaszy
Sergeant Reinholdt was on edge but hiding it well, he had managed to get a few hours of shut eye since his encounter with Ravina. The platoon had dimmed the lights but at least three soldiers maintained watch clustered around the small stove warming tea in clay mugs. The whole settlement was operating in low gear, they were effectively trapped here by the weather as well but were nocturnal by nature. His platoon was in a similar situation but they needed to stay sharp so they still grabbed shut eye. The platoon’s long distance radio was still not picking up anything interesting just static on all channels, they couldn’t tell if it was being jammed or if there wasn’t much going on due to the sandstorm.
Corporal Hermes and two of his squadmates skulked through the settlement back to the garage. The weapons and ammo cans they had spotted earlier were absent from the back seats of the Sand Cats which set him on guard. The vehicle’s hoods were warm, the scavengers had gone out recently. He checked the Ferroglaz visor built into the garage door, the winds were still fierce out there and there was no light. How did they head out with these conditions? Where did they go? We should get back to Leon and tell him right away.
Corporal Ames Hermes roused Sergeant Reinholdt in German, Sarge wake up
Having interrupted a particularly interesting dream Leon was not really in the mood for Ames’ antics What is it Corporal? My turn for watch? Not yet Sarge but its almost oh-one-hundred, the scavengers went out in the sandstorm recently and they took the guns out of the Sand Cats Leon rubbed his eyes and rose to a sitting position, What do you mean? Its blackout conditions out there. I don’t know Sarge but they went somewhere recently, maybe they have a beacon system Alright wake the others we’ll just have to wait this out with our eyes open until Johnny comes back Corporal Hermes woke the others, Leon took a drink out of his third canteen before grabbing his rifle and armor off the collection leaned against the wall nearby.
A pair of Desert Rat Troopers maintained a watch inside the scavenger’s garage and primary entrance to the settlement. An armed scavenger minder leaned against a wall nearby smoking a cigarette near a fan leading out of the settlement. They watched as the strong winds subsided, there were still strong gusts but the full force gale had subsided momentarily. Radioman Wilhelm managed to get a radiotelegraph message to As’Sab, he received a confirmation, Johnny is on his way Sergeant, He’ll be here within the hour.
Sergeant Reinholdt racked his mind for a way to rescue Ravina from the scavengers, he hadn’t told the others about his conversation with her last night. He was man to man marked by a scavenger soldier who seemed particularly interested in him. It wasn’t the same one from the corridor which wasn’t a good sign. The man asked something in Arabic to the translator, How is your stomach, Sergeant? that chilled him and he breathed deeply trying to calm himself,It’s fine, thank you for your concern. He called Corporals Hermes and Boker to him and huddled on the far end of the garage behind one of the Sand Cats. He spoke in German to his squad leaders, Something is wrong about this, everyone keep your wits about you. before breaking the huddle and dispersing.
Leon was running out of time to institute his rescue, he excused himself to head toward the latrine. His shadow followed him but he left the rest of his platoon behind and another scavenger took his place. He entered the latrine and his mark stood outside. He took a leak and washed his face and hands, his blood streaked blue eyes looking into the dirty mirror above the sink.
This wasn’t him, he was about to betray people who had been nothing but kind to him, who had rescued a heavily injured Mechwarrior from the sands of a battlefield, he lied to his own men, to rescue a women he hardly knew. He saw their kids, their wives, they weren’t monsters or nameless soldiers on the opposite side of a field just average men trying to do their best to provide a future on a desperate world. Right now the Marten coming their way had a box of gold coins and another box of desperately needed medicine on-board. But he was still going to do it, God help him, he had to do it.
He lost track of time as several minutes passed, his escort knocked on the door. The door opened and Leon stabbed his combat knife into the unsuspecting man’s neck covering his mouth as he pulled him into the latrine. He rinsed the blood off his hands, grabbed his rifle, closing the door behind him silently, and headed toward the MedBay.
There was a guard near the MedBay door, Leon fired his suppressed rifle three times hitting the man in the head and chest killing him instantly. The door was locked, he pulled out his pistol and fired a burst into the lock before kicking it in. Ravina was handcuffed to the metal bench, Leon smashed the leg that she was secured to. She freed herself and kissed her savior passionately, I knew you would come, we have to go quickly! More will come. Leon embraced her, Hang onto my armor straps Ravina I will get you out of here. Leon keyed his personal radio, All Desert Rats shots fired, free to engage.
Back at the garage Corporal Ames fired at their minder killing him immediately and surprising the indigenous translator who had been conversing with him, Men get that door open, On it, Corporal Corporal Boker’s men took up defensive positions pulling the Sand Cat’s doors out and firing at scavengers as they turned the corner. Corporal Ames’ men were pulling at the garage door’s pulleys to no avail as the alarm blared, Electronic Lock, Hendrick rig up some detcord and get these locks open, Roger, Specialist Hendrick pulled out a length of C8 detcord attached to a adhesive backing placing it along the door in a figure eight pattern. Boker’s rifleman continued their fire as more scavengers fired at them behind outcroppings in the hallway. I’m hit, more rifle shots were fired down the long but winding corridor ricochets sparking the metal that lined the walls.
Women and children screamed as Sergeant Reinholdt fought his way back to the garage. His armor had been hit several times by lucky rifle shots but he fought like a man possessed clearing each room of riflemen before moving on. Ravina clung tightly to his combat harness, Leon could smell her jasmine spice perfume over the cordite of his assault rifle shells, hear her labored breathing behind him synchronize with his own, feel her touch on his shoulders, it was exhilarating. Then he heard a shriek and felt her fall into him, he rolled over to see a scavenger that had somehow escaped his notice. The man raised his rifle but folded as Leon let loose the entire magazine of his TK MP-76 machine pistol into the man’s chest, crimson blood splattering the walls nearby. Ravina where are you hit? Ravina moaned, He got me in the leg Leon, I don’t think I can walk, Leon grabbed her chin looking into her eyes, No you’ve got this, come on I will help you up but you have to be strong, its not much further
Leon lifted Ravina up wrapping her arm around his shoulders while supporting her injured leg with his own, Come on grab the straps, we have to move she complied and Leon’s M3 rifle hung from its sling, he changed his pistol magazine and continued on, only slightly hindered by the woman clinging to him. He got to the final corridor and let loose semi-automatic death to the rifleman firing on his platoon. The thirty three rounds found their marks splashing more blood into the rusted and bullet ridden metal. Hold Fire! Friendlies! Corporal Boker signaled to his men to hold fire and rushed to help the pair. What the hell Sarge!
She’s in shock we need to get to the chopper Hendrick blow the door The detcord blasted a clean hole into the heavy metal door and the Desert Rats bounded toward the approaching Marten. Sergeant Reinholdt fireman’s carried the shocked Ravina placing her gently onto the transport bay’s floor. The bay had a box of gold coins and a box of medicine. Sergeant Reinholdt leaned into the cockpit. Go! Johnny, Go! Juan “Johnny” Markoi looked puzzled But what about the scavengers? Leon leaned in closer, Leave them, they weren’t worthy of our help, Alright Sarge, I hope your right, already got enough people shooting at us. The Marten gained altitude and sped off to the North and As’Sab.